‘Laughable’ Claim: 2017 Warmest Year Evah (Except For The Others!)
Warmest Year Evah (Except For The Others!)
By Paul Homewood The BBC gleefully reports on the annual “warmest year evah” circus. Manmade climate change is now dwarfing the influence of natural trends on the climate, scientists say. Last year was the second or third hottest year on record – after 2016 and on a par with 2015, the data shows. But those two years were affected by El Niño – the natural phenomenon centred on the tropical Pacific Ocean which works to boost temperatures worldwide. Take out this natural variability and 2017 would probably have been the warmest year yet, the researchers say. The acting director of the UK Met Office, Prof Peter Stott, told BBC News: “It’s extraordinary that temperatures in 2017 have been so high when there’s no El Niño. In fact, we’ve been going into cooler La Niña conditions. “Last year was substantially warmer than 1998 which had a very big El Niño. “It shows clearly that the biggest natural influence on the climate is being dwarfed by human activities – predominantly CO₂ emissions.” Figures were published on Thursday by the world’s three main agencies monitoring global temperatures: the UK Met Office and the two US organisations – the US space agency (Nasa) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). Their datasets are compiled from many thousands of temperature measurements taken across the globe, from all continents and all oceans. Temperatures for 2017 and 2015 are virtually identical. Nasa rates 2017 the second hottest year, and Noaa and the Met Office judge it to be the third hottest since records began in 1850. The Met Office HadCRUT4 global temperature series shows that 2017 was 0.99C (±0.1C) above “pre-industrial” levels – that’s taken as the average over the period 1850-1900. It was 0.38 (±0.1C) above the 1981-2010 average. The Exeter-based agency calculates that the El Niño event spanning 2015-2016 contributed around 0.2C to the annual average for 2016.
But to the facts!
To start with, the claim that 2017 was not an El Nino year is simply not true.
NOAA themselves show quite a sharp El Nino episode from March to May, albeit a short one.
The official threshold for an El Nino is 0.500 on the MEI scale. In April/May it peaked at 1.455, almost as high as the 2010 event.
The raised SSTs can also be clearly seen in the first half of the year, moving from east to west.
La Nina conditions have only just barely appeared in December, but it will take up to 6 months for these to affect global temperatures.
This El Nino episode certainly had some effect during the year, and it is totally dishonest for this not to be mentioned in the official reports.
It is also important to factor that the record El Nino of 2015/16 has not been followed by La Nina, which would have resulted in a sharp drop in temperatures. This is not actually that uncommon – for instance the 2002 El Nino was followed by two broadly neutral years, and then another El Nino in 2005.
As a result, global temperatures did not fall away until the La Nina of 2007/8.
In basic terms, El Ninos result in the release of heat into the atmosphere, which has previously been stored below the sea surface. This energy comes from the sun, and carbon dioxide has nothing to do with it at all.
But what happens to that extra heat? It does not simply disappear.
As NASA explains, this heat is lost at the poles, where there is a negative energy imbalance:
The differences in reflectivness (albedo) and solar illumination at different latitudes lead to net heating imbalances throughout the Earth system. At any place on Earth, the net heating is the difference between the amount of incoming sunlight and the amount heat radiated by the Earth back to space (for more on this energy exchange see Page 4). In the tropics there is a net energy surplus because the amount of sunlight absorbed is larger than the amount of heat radiated. In the polar regions, however, there is an annual energy deficit because the amount of heat radiated to space is larger than the amount of absorbed sunlight.
This map of net radiation (incoming sunlight minus reflected light and outgoing heat) shows global energy imbalances in September 2008, the month of an equinox. Areas around the equator absorbed about 200 watts per square meter more on average (orange and red) than they reflected or radiated. Areas near the poles reflected and/or radiated about 200 more watts per square meter (green and blue) than they absorbed. Mid-latitudes were roughly in balance. (NASA map by Robert Simmon, based on CERES data.)
The net heating imbalance between the equator and poles drives an atmospheric and oceanic circulation that climate scientists describe as a “heat engine.” (In our everyday experience, we associate the word engine with automobiles, but to a scientist, an engine is any device or system that converts energy into motion.) The climate is an engine that uses heat energy to keep the atmosphere and ocean moving. Evaporation, convection, rainfall, winds, and ocean currents are all part of the Earth’s heat engine.
The Earth’s heat engine gradually moves the El Nino heat imbalance from the Tropics to the poles, where it radiates into space. The higher than average temperatures we have recently seen in the Arctic simply reflect this perfectly natural process, a sign that the heat engine is working as it should.
But without La Nina conditions, which would help to reduce tropical atmosphere temperatures, global temperatures remain at a heightened level for some time, until that excess heat has finally dissipated.
The effect of this can be seen in the lower troposphere data from UAH. which is the most comprehensive and reliable dataset we have, (even though the BBC fail to mention it).
Although temperatures are still higher than prior to the 2016/16 El Nino, they are still well below 1998.
By contrast, the NOAA, GISS and HADCRUT sets, quoted by the BBC, all share the same sparse, heavily adjusted and UHI affected data.
Large parts of the world have little or no coverage, even now. As we know, the coverage was even poorer decades ago.
It is laughable that they can seriously claim they know the Earth’s temperature to such small margins.
And, as has been pointed out, they always like to talk in terms of anomalies, to make things seem more alarming.
According to NOAA, the average global temperature in 2017 was 14.74C, so in terms of actual temperatures rather than anomalies the trend looks like this:
Given that temperatures, even in temperate zones, can fluctuate from well below freezing to 40C and more from season to season, such an imperceptibly small increase since 1881 is impossible for anybody to actually notice in their day to day lives.
A vastly different story to the one painted by the BBC.
As for the supposed precision of these global temperatures, we only have to go back to 1997, when NOAA said the temperature was 62.45F, (16.9C). You might notice that this is considerably higher than last year’s 14.74C.
It is easy for NOAA to say they have “changed their baseline”, but it makes a mockery of the claim that they actually know the average global temperature in any meaningful sense at all.
The use of anomalies of course allows NOAA and co to hide the adjustments they have been making to historical data.
But there is one thing in climate science that is very certain. The usual suspects will be back this time next year, proclaiming that global warming is worse than ever!