Global Microwave Sea Surface Temperature Update for Feb. 2013: -0.01 deg. C

March 4th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

The global average sea surface temperature (SST) update for Feb. 2013 is -0.01 deg. C, relative to the 2003-2006 average: (click for large version)RSS_mwSST_2002_thru_Feb_2013

The anomalies are computed relative to only 2003-2006 because those years were relatively free of El Nino and La Nina activity, which if included would cause temperature anomaly artifacts in other years. Thus, these anomalies cannot be directly compared to, say, the Reynolds anomalies which extend back to the early 1980s. Nevertheless, they should be useful for monitoring signs of ocean surface warming, which appears to have stalled since at least the early 2000’s. (For those who also track our lower tropospheric temperature [“LT”] anomalies, these SST anomalies average about 0.19 deg. C cooler over 2003-2006.)

The SST retrievals come from Remote Sensing Systems (RSS), and are based upon passive microwave observations of the ocean surface from AMSR-E on NASA’s Aqua satellite, the TRMM satellite Microwave Imager (TMI), and WindSat. While TMI has operated continuously through the time period (but only over the tropics and subtropics), AMSR-E stopped nominal operation in October 2011, after which Remote Sensing Systems patched in SST data from WindSat. The various satellite datasets have been carefully intercalibrated by RSS.

Despite the relatively short period of record, I consider this dataset to be the most accurate depiction of SST variability over the last 10+ years due to these instruments’ relative insensitivity to contamination by clouds and aerosols at 6.9 GHz and 10.7 GHz.

54 Responses to “Global Microwave Sea Surface Temperature Update for Feb. 2013: -0.01 deg. C”

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  1. Nabil Swedan says:

    How come sea level is still rising? If sea level is rising then energy is accumulating in surface? So has warming really stalled?

    • MieScatter says:

      Nabil, the ocean heat content down to 2000 metres has continued to rise.

      It’s the total heat that causes expansion.

      There has also been a continuing loss of land ice, at a rate faster than we had previously measured, here’s the latest assessment of ice-sheets from Shepherd et al:

      More heat in the oceans and more melting ice means sea level goes up.

      Shorter term SST changes are driven by ENSO. And since we’ve recently had a very strong La Nina it’s no real surprise you can’t eyeball a trend on that graph.

      • JayKay4 says:

        According to the abstract in the second link, melting land ice has been contributing less than a millimeter per year to sea level rise. One has to wonder about the significance of this, especially since it represents only a point in time. Will this process contribute as much as a meter to sea level rise before the onset of the next glacial period? Nevertheless, it is nice to sea actual science being done rather than the usual anecdotal activism.

  2. Sean Houlihane says:

    I thought sea level was one of the least accurate of the measurements we have. Significantly complicated by land-mass movements. Yes, there might be an inconsistency in the various measurements – question is where are the errors…

  3. Nabil Swedan says:

    Sea level measurement from orbiting satellites is accurate.

    • even if sea level rise is accurate, which is debatable, why was it rising even before increasing CO2 could have been to blame?

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        I agree, especially about the accuracy of such measurements; and in the meantime I test if I finally can reply to a post without opening a new one 🙂

      • Nabil Swedan says:

        Dr. Spencer:

        We do not know why sea level varied when the concentration of carbon dioxide was steady. In the absence of data and facts, we can only hypothesize about the causes of little ice age, medieval warming, or similar events, which must have caused sea level variations.

      • Hops says:

        Just eyeballing it, the trend line seems steeper all the time.,_1870-2008_(US_EPA).png


      • John K says:


        You wrote: “Sea level measurement from orbiting satellites is accurate.” (Should read “…are accurate.”)

        How do you know? Are all orbiting satellites accurate or just most or only some? Have you performed independent measurements of your own to verify your claim? Multiple factors including instrument calibration, orbital decay, human error and/or oversight, computer/electronic errors, willful human deception and many other measurement problems may go unnoticed for years until finally discovered. I believe, Roy claimed to have resolved satellite temperature data collection problems on multiple occasions himself. We cannot effectively understand anything unless we can properly measure it and measurement itself will always be subject to numerous potential errors. Given all the unknown variables involved in any endeavor to model our environment boasts of accuracy certainly seem odd.

        One gentleman who posts on this blog hilariously provided graphs some time ago purporting to show over a thousand years of global temperature data following 60 year cycles. This is an amazing achievement considering satellite instruments capable of monitoring global temperatures have only been around since 1978-9.

        “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”
        Mark Twain

        • Nabil Swedan says:

          Dears John and Mark Twain,

          GPS is accurate enough. Sea level rise is about 3 mm/year, or about 3 cm/decade. This rise can be detected with reasonable accuracy.

          • Ivan says:

            Actually, the sea level rise was ‘detected for the first time in 2004-05 when the new data set has been introduced. After that, we had a multiple adjustments of the data all of which rendered the trend higher and more in tune with the model projections. Even the European satellite measurements were essentially tripled by adjustments. I have a very low confidence in a trend which is almost 100% a product of tampering with the data and adjustments.


          • John K says:


            Thank you for replying to my response. I can see that you believe in the satellite numbers provided to you. From experience and apparent support from Ivan’s post I’m skeptical. Scientific knowledge by definition comprises only the facts and laws of nature. Any theoretical or hypothetical conclusions and/or “adjustments” to the data involves conjecture/speculation and is as a result not scientific information. Therefore, if in fact the data has been adjusted as Ivan’s linked website claims, and the raw data shows little if any increase in sea level, then the 3 mm/year or 3 cm/decade is simply a phantasm and the satellite “data” not so much science as delusion.


            Thank you for the web link. I’ve read Mortimer’s writings in the past and the information presented reminds me of the book “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay, LLD. Whether it be the “South Sea Bubble” (investment scheme) or Tulipomania (popular 17th century delusional belief in the supposed superiority of tulips. The book notes that one single root of a particularly rare tulip species called the Viceroy bought: 2 lasts of wheat, 4 lasts of rye, four fat oxen, eight fat swine, 12 fat sheep, 2 hogsheads of wine, 4 tuns of beer, 1 tuns of butter, one thousand pounds of cheese, a complete bed, a suit of clothes and a slilver drinking cup) or the 1990’s tech bubble or the long evolving climate disaster myth people seem to have itching ears for fables. As Charles Mackay noted: “Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.” Rather than adjust their theories to conform to the facts, it seems men will frequently adjust inconvenient facts to conform to ready made fables. Unearned wealth, prestige and political power are always powerful inducements. The question is how many more rivers of blood must be shed for ever more idiotic delusions.

          • John K says:

            Correction to last post.


            Forgive me, I wrote “Mortimer” in error I should have written Nils Axel-Morner. Sorry!

      • John K says:

        Hi Roy,

        The very existence of permafrost, mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, giant camel and other ice bound remains in arctic zones no longer capable of supporting such life forms due to extreme cold provides evidence of a much warmer climate several thousand of years ago in which the very polar ice caps we currently seem to think are so important to preserve likely didn’t even exist. DNA researchers now claim these frozen remains are only five thousand years old. Whether or not they’re correct as to the time frame massive climactic change is not historically uncommon. Humanity has experienced it throughout history. Sea levels may well have been rising for thousands of years as the planet’s climate system recovers from the ice age. That thawing process may well take considerable time. Why is a 10 to 15 percent increase in a minor trace gas since 1958 supposedly responsible for every observable climate mutation? When all one has is a hammer the whole world looks like a nail, so the saying goes. Likewise, when all pseudo climate modelers have for an explanation for environmental change is anthropogenic global warming all they can is CO2.

    • John K says:


      Actually Nacil you were correct to use the verb “is.” My mistake.

  4. David Appell says:

    What is the URL for this graph’s data?

  5. jim2 says:

    Nabil Swedan or anyone else. Is there data on the web for the sea level, from satellites, before adjustments are applied – data with no salinity, inverse barometer, isostatic, or other post sea ones?

    • Nabil Swedan says:


      Use these kewwords: sea level University of Colorado

      • John K says:

        Hi Nabil,

        The data you refer to has been altered by glacial isostatic adjustment and possibly others. It is not raw data/measurement. The information provides measurements mutated to conform with the opinions/assumptions of academic research modelers and their beliefs regarding geological changes in ocean volume and possibly other factors. Some information can be found on the website.
        Several questions come to mind. Why only provide adjusted data? Why not provide raw unadjusted data as well? Does the website publicly list and quantify all adjustments made? If not, why not? Since the University of Colorado likely receives public funds shouldn’t the public have equal access to all the research data? If not, why not?
        Thank you for providing the information Nabil.

  6. Geoff wood says:

    Satellite measurements are ‘not that accurate’. Hence NASA’s ‘GRASP’ program to provide a space ‘reference’ to link to the terrestrial reference frame. Until then links to the geodesy have to be referenced in ‘some other way’. With sea level currently, the satellite data is referenced to the tidal gauge network and therefore incorporates it’s inaccuracies!

  7. Ross James says:

    Ocean Heating HAS NOT stalled.

    BOM Australia:

    A neutral ENSO state likely for the next season
    Issued on Tuesday 26 February 2013
    Product Code IDCKGEWWOO

    Atmospheric and oceanic indicators of the El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), such as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), trade winds and ocean temperatures have generally remained in the neutral range since mid to late 2012.
    Climate models indicate ENSO-neutral conditions are likely to persist through the southern hemisphere autumn. While it is known that predictions from dynamical models during the April through June period have lower skill, all models currently forecast an ENSO-neutral state to continue for the next season. Ocean temperatures around most of Australia are warmer than average. This may promote increased regional rainfall in favourable weather patterns. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) has little influence upon Australias climate from December through to April.

    We have had a prolonged nuetral ENSO. As for La Nina we had one of WARMEST on RECORD. Recently as our continent became super heated – a cyclonic pattern set and worked its way over some 3,000 klms from North to South dumping 100 year record deluges over Eastern QLD for 2,000 klms non-stop.
    As such the super heat ENTIRE continental condition of Australia spread as far as Tasmania turning up temperatures never before recorded at those levels. As we in neutral ENSO our minimum temperatures are alarmingly high and flat lining. Such conditions have NEVER before existed on records – in fact our winters should be much colder in minimum temperatures.

    • Mark Biernat says:

      When you say conditions have ‘never existed on record’, or ‘alarmingly high’ I think you need to qualify your statement with, in the last hundred years or all measurable geological history, which could be counted in billions of years.

      Placing your superlatives in caps is not exactly the optimal way to express scientific objectivity.

      What about other systems and planets we do not know about. I would imagine if we could observe another planet’s weather pattern with water and land ratios and cloud coverage and a similar sun it might be similar to our, even without human life, we would see similar gyrations. The real challenge is to be able to see if climate change is natural or man-made and this has to come with objectivity.

      There are so many exogenous and endogenous variables in the weather equation beyond even La Ni

      • Ross James says:

        Hi Mark,

        We are indeed experiencing within our lifetime in this country bizarre weather behaviors I have never witnessed since born in this country. As am I nearly 60 years old and not long in the “geological record” I do have a thing or two to say to Dr Spencer – he is playing a numbers game of determined self assurance in his self made scientific belief. Human modern history can date as far back in a narrow window to some 15,000 years then into 100,000 years of other sundry fossil records of implied humanoids.

        Declaring what you do not know does re-assure me at all. We are entering the time of abrupt climate disruption that may well be unstoppable.

        I have witnessed weather events within our locale that defy even reasonable explanation – its the weather or just climate swings or cyclic. I put the finger at man-made. And the greenhouse gas from coal burning as first culprit as the first cause of extra daily sun energy being held back in climate chain as an accumulation over 10 year time frames.

        Last year the oceans on Western Australia’s NW Coastline became so hot that marine life moved further south to escape the super heated oceans. This year mass migration of sea life of tropical fish are being sighted off Tasmania’s coast. If the seas were cooling or leveling off in temperatures in the aberrant questionable graph by Dr Spencer – why is this happening? I am not saying He lying – what I trying to tell you and that this implied leveling just is not happening – at least in our Australian region.

        Ross J.

        • John K says:

          Hi Ross James,

          You strangely claimed: “We are entering the time of abrupt climate disruption that may well be unstoppable.”

          If you read my other posts above, or have any historical knowledge of climate and geology you will know abrupt climate change occurs commonly throughout history. No mere mortal has ever been able to stop it either. Rather than merely panic, what have you done to prevent and/or bring about any climate mutation? All change in climate will involve disruption. You seem to fear climate change. Do you believe for some unknown reason that today’s climate represents some kind of ideal that should brook no further change or disruption? Do you really believe that a 10 to 15 percent increase in the trace gas CO2 since 1958 when Mona Loa records began caused all the negative climate/weather events you have ever experienced?

          Let’s engage in a thought experiment for a moment. We’ll assume that you and your climate alarmists buddies speak correctly and you really do control the climate, even though we have absolutely know evidence that this is the case. What exactly would you do? Perhaps, unwilling to admit your helplessness you cry “obey the IPCC?” I have yet to see any plan by the IPCC or anyone else for that matter, that would significantly reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if the US & the Europeans agreed to reduce CO2 and actually enforced their agreement (hilariously unlikely) the change would be insignificant. Their past proposals from what I understand only recommended reducing CO2 production to 1985 levels. Examine Roy’s data on global (not just American and European) production of CO2 for the year 1985. It’s scarcely different than today’s levels. At those rates if alarmist models are correct we’re all doomed. Records document CO2 increases ever since 1958 when records began with the exception of 2 years I think when they remained the same. How precisely would you get the entire planet to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas production levels below the 1958 levels? Let’s imagine you have a megaphone to the globe and not just Roy’s blog. What will you cry to the planet?

          Finally, let’s imagine some thoroughly convinced climate change alarmist has an inner green nazi that finally emerges and they recommend as Jacques Cousteau apparently did that we simply eliminate 2/3’s of humanity to reach what he imagined would be a sustainable population level. Apparently, the untold millions of unnecessarily aborted children (completely ineffective at reducing atmospheric CO2 levels) only whetted their appetites. Current human population is almost 7 billion people, We will further assume, for the sake of argument, that enough crazies on the planet listen to the green nazi’s, adopt CO2 paranoia, and proceed to eliminate the skeptics, starting with me and anyone with an I.Q. exceeding single digits that questions their fear driven delusion. After the mass sterilizations, concentration camps, human created famines (socialist policy redux), plagues (shall we include war-nuclear or otherwise?) and other organized death fantasy’s are realized population remains stubbornly at 2-3 billion people. Well that’s the population back in the bad old pollution ridden 20th century. You will no doubt continue to experience ever growing CO2 levels and environmental devastation. That’s not to mention the environmental devastation caused by the green nazi’s themselves in the their final push for green nirvana.

          Now the Australian outback has always been a harsh place. What has happened their that is so bad you feel the need to panic and seize control of the climate, somehow?

          • Nabil Swedan says:

            Jon K, you are way off topic. Ross J is simply presenting his personal experience with the climate. It is certainly warming, and this is my personal experience as well. Farmers around the world will tell you that. Now you are kindly requested to proof that this warming is not man made. Can you do that?

          • John says:

            Nabil Swedan,

            You astonishingly wrote: “Now you are kindly requested to proof that this warming is not man made. Can you do that?”
            (that should be “prove” by the way).

            Actually, you shouldn’t try to shove off your responsibility on to someone else. I don’t claim to know the extent that human produced green house gasses have contributed to today’s global temperature averages. Nor do I claim that they do not have any impact. However, the responsibility lies with proponents of Global Warming theory to prove mankind has significantly contributed to global warming and to what extent. Can you do that?

          • John says:

            Hi Nabil Swedan,

            BTW my post was not off topic in that I clearly demonstrated, that even if one assumes either Ross or anyone else can alter the climate no one has provided a credible plan by which they can induce 7 billion people on this small planet to do your bidding, reduce their carbon footprint enough to make a difference, and make Australia a habitable place for all to live. Just for the record, from what I know of Australia no one ever will. A couple of friends of mine (husband and wife) crossed the outback in a jeep with sufficient stocks of water, supplies, etc. Let’s just say the outback will not be known as a paradise vacation anytime soon.

            Nabil you should also note my previous posts. Their exists ample empirical evidence that the earth has been warming for thousands of years since the onset of the last ice age. Louis Aggasiz convinced Charles Lyell of an ice age based on the enormous physical evidence of glaciation and/or flooding in Europe. Many over sized river and lake beds exist throughout the North American continent I live in. Water cut and formed the Grand Canyon. A thousand years ago massive lakes and rivers covered much of North America. They have since dried up. This all happened before our mass consumption of hydrocarbons. Can you prove that recent warming is not a continuation of warming that’s been going on for over a millenium?

            One other point. If you read my earlier posts or if you have any clue about either geology and/or climate history, you should know that current polar ice caps likely did not even exist a few thousands of years ago. How do I know? Giant camels (30% or more larger than current varieties), mammoths, whooly rhinoceros and many other animals have been found frozen in ice throughout much of the arctic and polar regions. In addition, you should know human remains have frequently been found in ice-bogs as well. Tropical ferns and other lush vegetation have been found their as well. The ice preserved the animals completely. Flesh remains on the carcasses and is actually edible. The remains are frequently found with undigested food still in their mouths as if they froze suddenly. Those regions cannot support such life today, being far too cold. The inconvenient truth is that today’s climate by any geological standard falls far below previous historical norms. Their exists no evidence that earth’s solar orbit changed. Which means the natural equilibrium temperature for earth may well be far warmer than currently exists. Can you prove that historical warming isn’t simply the earth climate’a natural return to thermal equilibrium?

  8. sillyfilly says:

    Perhaps I being too sceptical, but you seem to adjust your climatologoly baseline to fit your commentary Dr Roy. As a credible researcher you should be totally aware that a four year baseline is hardly a credible statistic. Thus this statement:

    “The anomalies are computed relative to only 2003-2006 because those years were relatively free of El Nino and La Nina activity, which if included would cause temperature anomaly artifacts in other years”

    is rather disingenous in relation to the real SOI data.

  9. Willywolfe says:

    While I totally believe we need to ween ourselves from fossil fuels while gradually replacing them with feasible alternatives, I don’t believe they are significantly responsible for climate changes. I worry that those who do believe in AGW will force us to spend all of our resources trying to stop it and if warming is a natural phenomenon we will suffer the consequences of warming with too few resources left to adjust to it. I present the following parable to illustrate my fears:

    Gofigure and Ibelieve live near each other in a river valley. The weather forecast says a huge record flood is coming and it will wipe them both out. Each has $100,000 in their bank accounts. Ibelieve is certain that if he buys $100,000 in carbon credits the weather will change and there won’t be a flood so he buys them. Gofigure doesn’t believe in carbon credits and instead spends his $100,000 building a levee to protect his home from the flood. Now if Ibelieve is right, there will be no flood and both will be safe. If Gofigure is right he will survive the flood while Ibelieve gets washed away. Which strategy was the best one?

    • Kris says:

      Invalid analogy.

      Ibelief is a smart chap so he knows that with carbon credits he won’t change the weather, nor reduce the risk of an immediate flood. Rather, he packs his car and drives out of the valley until the risk is gone.

      Meanwhile, Gofigure builds his levee, but finds that he didn’t build it high enough because he modeled it on past flood events and this flood breaks all previous records. He just about survives. After the floods, a never-before-seen drought sets in and Gofigure’s water-damaged farm burns down in the subsequent bush fires.

      Sadly, Ibelief has not been insulated from these misfortunes either, because these extreme weather events which are becoming the new normal have affected him just as well as Gofigure.

      Both are now destitute and hungry and decide to leave the valley. But wherever they turn, they’re not welcome because people are suffering everywhere and food is in short supply.

      Etc. etc.

  10. Again as each month that passes by the AGW theory becomes more obsolete.

    I am very confident that once solar cycle 24 max. passes by and the ocean heat content wains ,along with the accumulation of sub- solar years of activity lengthening, that the decline in temp. will start in earnest.

    I say post 2014.

    • steve says:

      Sun appears to be going into quiet period. Svensmark could win Nobel prize if world cools. But of course global warmists will say due to something like Chinese soot.

  11. Nabil Swedan says:

    Dear John,

    I am answering here because the reply icon was no longer displayed there. The earth is definitely an amazing machine and you provided examples. I can prove that the the total energy of the earth (Potential energy plus sensible heat)is constant. Climate change and seasonal variations simply exchange energy within the earth, but the total energy of the earth remains constant and the earth’s energy can never be out of balance. Therefore, those scary scenarios such as boiling ocean and run-away greenhouse gas effect cannot happen, they have never happened in the last 4.5 billion years. We do, however, have to acknowledge that warming is occurring, not as bad as they say, and cannot cause the end of the world, because the energy of the earth remains constant at all times. We do have the obligations to assess this warming and whether doing nothing to this warming is an option. The worst thing we can do is to make hypothesis on such an important subject, when in fact we have solid data to develop theories and answer important questions that can affect our lives and livelihood.

    • John K says:

      Hi Nabil Swedan,

      Thank you for a thoughtful reply. Please note, my understanding of physics suggest that total energy includes potential, work (kinetic) and heat or energy in transference from one system to another. I’m afraid I agree with Geoff below that you will have a problem proving total earth energy a constant. The open earth system confronts significant variance in energy impingement. While solar irradiance tends to vary within a finite range, CME’s (coronal mass ejections) follow no precise regular pattern and vary significantly in intensity and duration. Moreover, as the surface of the moon indicates our region of the solar system historically encountered extensive mass impingement from comets, meteors, asteroids and possibly unknown entities. Mass converts to energy. Further, earth systems apparently follow directional change. You mentioned a warming earth. If satellite data is accurate a warming world indicates thermal energy accumulation in the atmosphere. Likewise with ocean water heat content. Some measurements of earth’s magnetic field strength apparently indicate decline over time suggesting a loss of field energy. Does the net effect of all energy flux indicate a net constant of earth system energy? I can only repeat my claim made in a previous post. We can only conceive anything in this finite universe to the extent we can measure it. While science has fascinating assumptive models estimating all the matter (phenomenon, motion and energy) of the earth system, to say we have precisely measured it seems a stretch.

      As to evidence of a runaway greenhouse effect, I agree little evidence exists for it. The 4.5 billion year age of the earth claim has no scientific basis in that all geological chronometers include multiple assumptions (many known to be false) and therefore by definition cannot be “scientific.” BTW I’m not claiming to possess scientific knowledge as to the earth’s age.

      Unfortunately, I’m rushed for time and cannot continue to write now. Thanks again for your post. I’d like to leave you with one thought. While you suggest vigilance in monitoring temperature increase, consider that CO2 alarmism is designed to conceal more than reveal. CO2 accumulation has become in the minds of many a universal cause of just about all environmental problems from desertification, loss of species habitat you name it. This leaves real causes such as poor land and resource management to be too often ignored. More on this later. Have a great day.

      John K

  12. Lewis Guignard says:


    Occasionally I look at the Rutgers Snow Lab graphs of snow coverage of the northern hemisphere. During the winter there is often quite a bit. Presuming global warming is occuring, it seems to be a good thing. The reverse would be to have more snow coverage. Why, please tell me, would anyone want more snow coverage?

  13. Geoff wood says:

    Lewis, with respect, you obviously don’t look very often. Otherwise you would have noted that the Northern Hemisphere snow coverage this winter pays no regard to any notion of warming.

  14. Geoff wood says:

    Nabil, proving that constant cannot be easy. It depends on a chosen depiction of resolution. I totally agree that there is no danger of a runaway effect. But I am a firm believer that the Earth will always tend toward equilibrium with the constantly varying solar flux. The details of that are in the regime of ‘radiation and matter’. The portion of the solar flux that is thermal directly and that can become thermal through process. The interesting thing about physics sometimes, is that the more complicated the dynamics, the more predictable the outcome. The sum of all thermal process being a black body. The more detail we add to the atmosphere, the more predictable it becomes. It converges, not diverges to extremes.

    • Nabil Swedan says:

      Dears Geoffwood and John K,

      Yes, the energy of the earth and the solar energy exchanged with the earth are constant based on observations. No mathematics is required to prove this; mathematics is also in agreement. First, for an average year and at the conclusion of a full cycle our observations suggest:

      1- The height of the atmosphere is constant and or repeatable;
      2- The temperature of the atmospheric air is the same and repeatable;
      3- Surface temperature is the same and repeatable; and
      4- Annual precipitation is constant for an average year.

      Items 1 through 4 suggests that the total energy of the earth resulting from solar radiations is constant (potential plus thermal). Item 4 suggests that the annual solar energy exchanged with the earth is constant. If you wish to see the mathematical proof, it is available.

      Please note that planet earth is not warming, the surface is. Planet earth cannot warm because the total energy is constant. Surface warming is occurring at the expense of energy loss of the upper atmosphere, whose potential energy and temperature are decreasing as you know. This is an internal energy exchange but the total energy of the earth remains constant and unchanged. Similarly, seasonal variations occur as a result of heat transfer from one hemisphere to the other, the total energy of the earth remains unchanged as well.

      • John says:

        Hi Nabil,

        Allow me to address some of your points. Your first point about the height of our atmosphere from what I know is largely correct. I’ve never confronted evidence to the contrary. Your second point seemingly conflicts with both RSS and UAH satellite data. Current UAH lower troposphere atmospheric data indicates that today’s average temperatures exceed those of the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s by about half a degree centigrade and other measurements apparently support it. Some measurements show significant stratospheric cooling (RSS data in particular) but I’ve heard others claim such cooling really doesn’t exist when averaged out over time. I’m willing to accept your claim as likely to be true. Most of the lower troposphere warming occurred in the 1997-1998 time frame. Your third point regarding surface temperature agrees and conflicts with varying measurement attempts. You clearly agree with Roy’s sea surface data above and probably other data as well. However, NOAA sea surface measurements show increases in heat energy. Forgive me, but I need to seek more data before commenting on land surface temperatures. In regards to annual precipitation, you may be largely correct I haven’t encountered any data suggesting permanent large increases and/or decreases in annual precipitation. If anyone knows of any please provide it.

        Your broader claim that overall Earth energy remains unchanged I believe to be largely true for the time period under current observation. Especially since incoming solar radiation fluctuates within a narrowly defined range, performs work (kinetic: fueling our atmosphere, most life on the planet, many electro/mechanical functions (shrinking glaciers)) and is either irradiated and/or conveyed from the earth. Historically, however I return to the geological record and evidence for extensive mutation to the earth’s topography and possibly energy balance.

  15. steve says:

    What about snow feedbacks ? Global warming adds more water to the air. Is it possible this would cause more snow, and white snow reflects sun. Negative feedback ?

    Anybody consider this feedback ?

    • Nabil Swedan says:

      Dear Steve,

      Feedbacks would be a consideration if the earth system departs from equilibrium. The earth’s energy is constant and does not depart from equilibrium. There is no water vapor feedback. The average concentration of water vapor in the troposphere has not changed, Dessler (2010). It has increased in the lower troposphere but at the same time decreased in the upper troposphere.

  16. Mike Flynn says:

    Nabil Swedan,

    The Earth apparently started off as an incandescent blob, some time ago.

    It is currently still mostly incandescent blob, with a thin congealed surface on which we live.

    The surface has managed to cool, in spite of the internally generated energy resulting from the conversion of mass of radioactive elements as they decay. e=mc2 and all that. Geophysicists differ about the amount of mass currently being converted to energy.

    The Earth is still cooling, and will no doubt continue to do until it becomes isothermal (more or less), and is receiving heat from external sources only.

    For a black body, given present Solar output, I believe this would result in a surface temp of around 255K or thereabouts.

    Obviously, we have not reached that situation yet.

    If you believe that wrapping an object (without an internal heat source), with CO2, will cause an increase in energy, and subsequent temperature rise, good for you.

    Neither you, nor anybody else, apparently, can demonstrate such a potentially beneficial effect. Free energy for all! Just fill your wall cavities with carbon dioxide – hey presto! – no need for heating.

    Steam powered cars – just put your boiler inside a container of CO2. Free steam. “Oh, but . . .”, I hear you say, “It doesn’t work that way!”

    It doesn’t work at all. Never has, never will.

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • iya says:

      The slowly cooling earth core does add less than 1 W/m to the surface, on average, but mostly concentrated in hotspots.
      Why do you think you can calculate the surface temperature with the black body model? It’s just wrong. The surface is simply not the effective layer in radiative equilibrium. Of course you could argue if the atmosphere were isothermal it’d make no difference, but for some reason the lapse rate is usually positive, which causes the surface to be warmer than the black body temperature. More CO? will, all else equal, raise the effective radiation layer.

      • Mike Flynn says:


        I agree with you about the black body calculation. However, Warmists routinely claim that the observed temperature of the surface (and try to define that), of around 288K is approximately 33K above that calculated on the basis of “physics”. This “difference” is supposedly due to CO2!

        What rubbish! When the Earth’s temperature was 400K (and it obviously must have been), was that also due to CO2?

        Give me a break.

        By the way, there is no “effective radiation layer”. The overwhelming majority of EMR is emitted from the surface, and proceeds directly to space. Sit in an arid desert, wait for sunset, and check how rapidly the surface temperature drops – to below freezing, from above 40C, depending on location.

        Effective radiation layer? Give me another break.

        No offence intended, please forgive me if you took offence.

        Live well and prosper.

        Mik Flynn

  17. weatherman Australia says:

    Just wondering if any of you guys would like to contribute to my study of the increased global sea surface temperature’s that is linked to fish migration with food shortages in the oceans over the last 30 odd years. Thanks

    • Chris says:

      So you don’t think that over fishing just might have contributed? I can’t see that there is anyway that you will be able to account for the pressure from fishing vs any changes that might have happened due to fishing. Even without changes to sea temperatues, fishing in itself changes the type of fish you will find in a given area.

  18. Rob Shaw says:

    It seems everyone has developed their own ideas on how climate science and AGW works or does not work. My own personal analysis being only a chemical engineer strongly suggests that there is far too much water on the planet and far too little fossil fuel on the planet to get to 2degrees. 1degree perhaps but 2, no. At the recent Doha climate conference 85 percent of the World’s carbon emitters decided to do nothing about AGW.

  19. Douglas Cotton says:

    The reason for the lack of any greenhouse effect and the current fairly level temperatures this century are explained in my article “Roy Spencer’s Misunderstood Misunderstanding and the $100,000,000,000 Question” which is currently the lead article on the popular “Principia Scientific International” website.

    • Mike Flynn says:

      Doug Cotton,

      Any chance of pointing to an actual experiment that supports your “theory”?

      I presume you have an explanation for why he depths of the oceans are cold, while the depths of the atmosphere are warm? You will need to mention that the oceans are much closer to the molten mantle than the atmosphere, but get colder as they get closer to the core.

      The lithosphere, on the other hand, increases in temperature with closer proximity to the core.

      Some explanations, plus experimental support, would be appreciated. I assume that at least one person in the world has access to some limited lab equipment to do appropriate experiments.

      Otherwise, theories are like opinions (or backsides). Everybody has one, but very few are worth further examination requiring the input of time or money.

      No experimental support, care factor remains at zero.

      Live well and prosper.

      Mike Flynn.

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