How much does Earth temperature change in one year?

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by tochatihu, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

    Apr 10, 2004
    Kunming Yunnan China
    2001 Prius
    Not a discussion of how warm it is or how it changes over long time. Simply, from one year to the next, how much can it realistically change?

    There are two different (I’d like to say complementary) ways to measure it. One is compiling data from land-surface and sea-surface measurements with thermometers across the globe. That is done by HADCRUT and several other groups. All those present similar results. HADCRUT starts in 1850 and others’ starts vary. Those who doubt surface-T compilations refer to ‘adjustments’ that might vary over the long term; not from one year to the next.

    UAH and RSS use observations of ultraviolet emission from oxygen from several satellites, starting in 1978 December. They extract lower-troposphere temperatures (related to surface T) in slightly different ways. Here I only consider UAH because it is more widely called upon by both sides of the climate debate.

    Set all that aside and think about Earth. Big. About 1/4 land area, and about 3/4 ocean area with more thermal inertia. Ice also has thermal inertia but most of it is in poorly-lit areas. From one year to the next, solar input does not vary much. Even if infrared-absorbing gases change, they don’t change much in a year. Cloud cover (reflectivity) can change promptly and other factors can do as well.

    Putting all that together, I appeal to ‘common sense’ and assert that from one year to the next, global T cannot change a lot. Perhaps you agree. In any case, if it did, we’d probably detect it in other ways.

    Now to those data. Throughout HADCRUT record the largest year-to-year (YTY) increase was 0.31 oC and largest decrease was 0.27. Those were rare and 71% of YTY were from -0.1 to +0.1 oC. UAH, covering much less time, had YTY changes from -0.5 to 0.49 oC, with only 50% within -0.1 to +0.1 oC. HADCRUT during UAH era had YTY changes from -0.23 to 0.21 oC and 72% in the 0.1 oC range.

    Too many numbers eh? Same data can (perhaps more kindly) be expressed graphically:

    YTY temps.png

    If you are not much on squiggles I’d like to say that UAH is very different from these others. But whether one prefers numbers or squiggles, it remains that UAH temperatures show more YTY variability than HADCRUT (or any other) surface-T compilation. What may we conclude?

    Not, I think, that surface-T compilations are ‘adjusted’ to limit YTY variations. No one has suggested that. UAH (etc.) satellite retrievals are much more responsive to ENSO, and no one from the satellite-T side has ever suggested why that may be so; thus why more-variable satellite-T is the better measure of global earth-surface T.

    Thermometers are where they are and obviously not everywhere. Satellites look down everywhere; that is their greatest strength. But the latter have much more YTY variability, and their champions remain silent on this. I guess that vertical mixing of troposphere differs during extreme ENSO years, and because higher troposphere is so cold, satellite-T retrievals can get made wrong sometimes.

    Stepping back, since 1970, HADCRUT and other surface-T compilations show +T of about 0.17 oC per decade. UAH since 1979 shows +T of about 0.12 oC per decade. I don’t consider those vastly different. It’s a problem that satellite-T is short, more variable, and (because of the latter) has been invoked to claim that over a short, carefully selected interval that warming has stopped.

    We want best global T that can be known. Perhaps facing YTY variability amongst the records can help with that.
    #1 tochatihu, Jan 29, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2018
  2. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web i3 and Prime

    Nov 25, 2005
    Huntsville AL with 2014 BMW i3-REx
    2017 Prius Prime
    Prime Plus
    I've grown fond of BEST (Berkley Earth) in part because they compare their data to the climate models and cross check the other leading sources such as HadCRU:

    Then there is this paper that discusses the impact from going from coal to natural gas using China and the USA as an example of what we can do:

    I look at polar ice because these are the areas predicted by the models to be our climate 'canary.' They are removed from dense human populations and tend to have more wild than modified surfaces. The phase change between ice and water are relatively easy to survey by satellite. But you really can't use polar ice as a metric for global temperature changes, just confirmation of the direction.

    A better paper for 2014 temperature change is found in this paper:

    BEST pays attention to regional differences across the earth and for impact on humans, this is key. As areas become unlivable, populations will suffer stresses of war and migration. That appears to hold true and has national security consequences.

    So my eyes see a distinct, upward growth between 1970 and today in the BEST data:
    Straight line between 1970 and 2014, it looks to be +0.0127 C per year with obviously a lot of variability. The BEST data is downloadable so it will take a day or so to do a distribution curve of changes.

    Bob Wilson