While global surface temperature cools, the lower troposphere has record warmest October

Yesterday, we noted the drop in global surface temperature from HadCRUT data. Today, we have this report from the UAH dataset that points out the heat has not left the lower troposphere (about 14,000 feet altitude) based on this report from the University on Huntsville’s Dr. John Christy.

Lower troposphere dataset has warmest October in satellite temperature record

By Phillip Gentry, UAH

Global Temperature Report: October 2017
Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.13 C per decade

Notes on data released Nov. 2, 2017:

Apparently boosted by warmer than normal water in the equatorial eastern Pacific Ocean that peaked in June and July, global average temperatures in the atmosphere rose to record levels in October, according to Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. October 2017 was the seventh warmest month in the 39-year satellite temperature record. It joins September 2017 as the warmest months on record not associated with a typical El Niño Pacific Ocean warming event.

Of the 20 warmest monthly global average temperatures in the satellite record, only October and September 2017 were not during a normal El Niño. Compared to seasonal norms, the global average temperature in October made it the seventh warmest month in the satellite record.

October temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.63 C (about 1.13 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.
Northern Hemisphere: +0.67 C (about 1.21 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.
Southern Hemisphere: +0.59 C (about 1.06 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.
Tropics: +0.47 C (about 0.85 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for October.
September temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.54 C above 30-year average
Northern Hemisphere: +0.51 C above 30-year average
Southern Hemisphere: +0.57 C above 30-year average
Tropics: +0.53 C above 30-year average
(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Warmest months (global average)
(degrees C warmer than 30-year October average)

  1. Feb. 2016     +0.85 C
  2. March 2016   +0.76 C
  3. April 1998     +0.74 C
  4. April 2016     +0.72 C
  5. Feb. 1998     +0.65 C
  6. May 1998     +0.64 C
  7. Oct. 2017   +0.63 C
  8. June 1998    +0.57 C
  9. Jan. 2016     +0.55 C
  10. Sept. 2017   +0.54 C

Among the 39 Octobers in the satellite temperature dataset, October 2017 was the warmest for both the globe and the southern hemisphere by statistically significant amounts: Globally, at 0.63 C warmer than seasonal norms, October 2017 was 0.20 C warmer than October 2015 (+0.43 C). In the southern hemisphere, October 2017 was 0.59 warmer than seasonal norms. The second warmest southern hemisphere October was in 2016, with an average temperature that was 0.42 warmer than seasonal norms.

October 2017 was also the warmest October in the northern hemisphere, but by a smaller amount: +0.67 C in 2017 compared to +0.63 in 2015.

In the tropics, October 2017 was tied as the second warmest October in the temperature record. October 2015 was the warmest tropical October on record with an average temperature +0.54 C warmer than seasonal norms. Octobers in 2016 and 2017 tied for second at +0.47 C warmer than seasonal norms.
Warmest Octobers (global average)
(degrees C warmer than 30-year September average)

  1. 2017 +0.63 C
  2. 2015   +0.43 C
  3. 2016   +0.42 C
  4. 1998   +0.40 C
  5. 2003   +0.28 C
  6. 2005   +0.27 C
  7. 2014   +0.25 C
  8. 2012   +0.24 C
  9. 2006   +0.22 C
  10. 2010   +0.20 C

Compared to seasonal norms, the coldest spot on the globe in October was in eastern Russian, near the town of Omtschak. Temperatures there were 1.97 C (about 3.55 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than seasonal norms.
Compared to seasonal norms, the warmest place on Earth in October was over the Northeast Greenland National Park. Temperatures there averaged 4.61 C (about 8.30 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than seasonal norms.
As part of an ongoing joint project between UAH, NOAA and NASA, Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.
The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data are collected and processed, they are placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.
The complete version 6 lower troposphere dataset is available here:

Archived color maps of local temperature anomalies are available on-line at:

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

— 30 —

Dr. Roy Spencer adds from his website:

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for October, 2017 was +0.63 deg. C, up from the September, 2017 value of +0.54 deg. C (click for full size version):

Global area-averaged lower tropospheric temperature anomalies (departures from 30-year calendar monthly means, 1981-2010). The 13-month centered average is meant to give an indication of the lower frequency variations in the data; the choice of 13 months is somewhat arbitrary… an odd number of months allows centered plotting on months with no time lag between the two plotted time series. The inclusion of two of the same calendar months on the ends of the 13 month averaging period causes no issues with interpretation because the seasonal temperature cycle has been removed as has the distinction between calendar months.

The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 22 months are:
2016 01 +0.55 +0.72 +0.38 +0.85
2016 02 +0.85 +1.18 +0.53 +1.00
2016 03 +0.76 +0.98 +0.54 +1.10
2016 04 +0.72 +0.85 +0.58 +0.93
2016 05 +0.53 +0.61 +0.44 +0.70
2016 06 +0.33 +0.48 +0.17 +0.37
2016 07 +0.37 +0.44 +0.30 +0.47
2016 08 +0.43 +0.54 +0.32 +0.49
2016 09 +0.45 +0.51 +0.39 +0.37
2016 10 +0.42 +0.43 +0.42 +0.47
2016 11 +0.46 +0.43 +0.49 +0.38
2016 12 +0.26 +0.26 +0.27 +0.24
2017 01 +0.32 +0.31 +0.34 +0.10
2017 02 +0.38 +0.57 +0.19 +0.07
2017 03 +0.22 +0.36 +0.09 +0.05
2017 04 +0.27 +0.28 +0.26 +0.21
2017 05 +0.44 +0.39 +0.49 +0.41
2017 06 +0.21 +0.33 +0.10 +0.39
2017 07 +0.29 +0.30 +0.27 +0.51
2017 08 +0.41 +0.40 +0.41 +0.46
2017 09 +0.54 +0.51 +0.57 +0.53
2017 10 +0.63 +0.67 +0.59 +0.47

The linear temperature trend of the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomalies from January 1979 through October 2017 remains at +0.13 C/decade.

Why Are the Satellite and Surface Data Recently Diverging?

John Christy and I are a little surprised that the satellite deep-layer temperature anomaly has been rising for the last several months, given the cool La Nina currently attempting to form in the Pacific Ocean.

Furthermore, the satellite and surface temperatures seem to be recently diverging. For the surface temperatures, I usually track the monthly NCEP CFSv2 Tsfc averages computed by WeatherBell.com to get some idea of how the most recent month is shaping up for global temperatures. The CFSv2 Tsfc anomaly usually gives a rough approximation of what the satellite shows… but sometimes it differs significantly. For October 2017 the difference is now +0.23 deg. C (UAH LT warmer than Tsfc).

The following charts show how these two global temperature measures have compared for every month since 1997 (except that September, 2017 is missing at the WeatherBell.com website):

Monthly comparison since 1979 of global average temperature anomalies (relative to the monthly 1981-2010 averages) between UAH LT deep-layer lower tropospheric temperature and the surface temperatures in the CFSv2 reanalysis dataset at WeatherBell.com.

As can be seen, there have been considerably larger departures between the two measures in the past, especially during the 1997-1998 El Nino. Our UAH LT product is currently using 3 satellites (NOAA-18, NOAA-19, and Metop-B) which provide independent monthly global averages, and the disagreement between them is usually very small.

While we can expect individual months to have rather large differences between surface and tropospheric temperature anomalies (due to the time lag involved in excess surface warming to lead to increased convection and tropospheric heating), some of the differences in the above plot are disturbingly large and persistent. The 1997-98 El Nino discrepancy is pretty amazing. As I understand it, the NCEP CFS reanalysis dataset is the result of collaboration between NOAA/NCEP and NCAR, and uses a wide range of data types in a physically consistent fashion. I probably need to bring in one of the dedicated surface-only datasets for further comparison…I don’t recall the HadCRUT4 Tsfc dataset having this large of disagreements with our satellite deep-layer temperatures. Unfortunately, these other datasets usually take a few weeks before they are updated with the most recent month.

…the 2nd of the following two plots has been fixed)…

Here’s the comparison between UAH LT and Tsfc from the HadCRUT4 dataset, through September 2017. Note that the difference with the satellite temperatures isn’t as pronounced as with CFSv2 Tsfc data, but the HadCRUT4 data has more of an upward trend:

As in the previous figure, but now CFSv2 Tsfc data has been replaced by HadCRUT4 surface data (with the latter having anomalies recalculated relative to the 1981-2010 base period).

The UAH LT global anomaly image for October, 2017 should be available in the next few days here.

The new Version 6 files should also be updated in the coming days, and are located here:

Lower Troposphere: http://ift.tt/2gVtMDe
Lower Stratosphere: http://ift.tt/2gCN2tc

via Watts Up With That?


November 2, 2017 at 03:15PM

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