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UAH Show Global Temperatures Continue To Fall

March 3, 2018

By Paul Homewood


UAH report another drop in global temperatures for February, following the sharp fall in January.


It is likely we are just starting to see the effects of La Nina, which began last September. There is generally a lag of between 3 and 6 months before atmospheric temperatures are impacted.

Nevertheless, so far La Nina has been a very weak affair, comparable to 2006, when temperature anomalies dipped to about 0.1C.



What is particularly noticeable this month is how far temperatures have dropped in the NH:




Most predictions suggest La Nina will peter out by the summer:




However, we can still expect to see La Nina affecting temperatures for most of this year.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    March 3, 2018 1:43 pm

    The NINO 3.4 has been below the 0.5°C threshold since June of 2016.

    • dave permalink
      March 3, 2018 1:52 pm

      RSS has reported a similar small drop.

      ” …a lag of between 3 and 60 months …” A typo for “… a lag of between 3 and 6 months …” I think.

    • March 3, 2018 5:20 pm

      You’re reading it wrong.

      It’s only been below since ASO 2017

      • dave permalink
        March 3, 2018 5:46 pm

        For clarification:

        > + 0.5 C means ‘El Nino’

        < – 0.5 means 'La Nina'

        Between – 0.5 and + 0.5 means 'Enso Neutral.'

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 3, 2018 6:41 pm

        Dave is right. If one plots ALL three over any long-term length of time the NET trend is essentially nil. The current HadlSST 1.1 Nino 3.4 has been below the El-Nino threshold for 19 months.

      • March 3, 2018 7:17 pm

        There is a big discrepancy between Hadisst and MEI. The latter uses a much wider set of data (as opposed to just looking at the narrow Nino 3.4), and shows that El Nino reappeared between April and June 2017. This event was short, but peaked quite high at 1.455.

        La Nina did not get going till October, and its highest reading is only 0.623, barely above the threshold.

      • March 6, 2018 7:21 pm

        Nice work, Paul. The cooling has been there, in the same UAH temperature chart you show since in tke beginning. It remained unrecognized by “expert” climatologists because they didn’t know what they were looking at. First of all, temperature this century is dominated by the warmth of a large mass of warm water rte super El Nino of 1998 left behind when it abruptly left in 1999. This caused a swift temperature rise that increased global temperature by a third of a degree Celsius in only three years. Since then, global temperature has been slowly cooling. This at first looked like a hiatus but it has been over-ridden by a La Nina and three El Winos that collectively block the view of how the leftover heat from the super El Nino has been cooling. The first two interferences are the La Nina of 2008 and the El Nino of 2010. Since they are adjacent we now can see the global average which is represented by the midpoint between the El Nino peak and the La Nina valley. This is the temperature of the cooling mass left behind by the super El Nino. We can also draw the cooling curve now because we now have a ten year segment of the cooling mass exposed between 2002 to 2012. Beyond 2012 we get a new warming hat leads to the next El Nino at 2016. And the 2016 El Nino is exceptionally large because it is two-peaked, with a subsidiary peak at 2018. Since the accompanying {a Ninas have been dissipated we don’t know the true background temperature there. It obviously cannot be as high as the El Nino peak was as some people looking for record warmth have assumed. To find an approximation just extrapolate the ten year segment from 2002 to 2012 and you find that the temperature in 2016 ought to have be about 0.1 degrees above the zero pint at the UAH chart above. . This is the best we can do with the data available and it is subject to errors in estimating the cooling curve that is blotted out by the double El Nino of 2016-2018.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 3, 2018 1:49 pm

    A strong La Nina reduces the amount of tropical cloud in the Pacific and thereby helps to recharge the heat batteries of the oceans that have been depleted during the preceding El Nino. This current La Nina, being a weak affair, will likely delay and reduce the next El Nino and in all probability mean that the long term trend declines to that of the pause.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    March 3, 2018 2:10 pm

    Strong or weak, forecasting the ENSOs is a hazardous occupation.

    Int J Disaster Risk Sci (2015) 6:94–103..

    “Shades of Chaos: Lessons Learned About Lessons Learned About Forecasting El Nino and Its Impacts” Michael H. Glantz

    • Mary Brown permalink
      March 7, 2018 3:28 pm

      So true. I find the forecast “plumes” often dead wrong.

  4. Athelstan permalink
    March 3, 2018 5:46 pm

    i don’t pretend to understand the dynamics of ENSO, some pretend to, they all end up with egg on their faces.

    On the UAH graph, shows variance – natural fluctuation, it would be stupid to expect anything other than the mean.

  5. jim permalink
    March 3, 2018 7:33 pm

    Paul, you have a wonderful site, its a joy to read it.
    I don’t want my comments about satellite ‘temperatures’ to raise hackles like I obviously did on WUWT. But whatever UAH are showing it isn’t ‘temperatures’, at least not as humans, animals, plants ‘feel’ them. As you know, satellites measure radiance, and these measurements are converted into something they call temperatures, supposedly somewhere in the atmosphere. The advantage over the hotch potch of ground based readings is that they are supposedly the same across the globe. But they are really none of these.
    The radiances are converted using computer models which depend on assumed inputs. The radiance measurements from satellite to satellite depend on the accuracy of the equipment in each satellite. They are not the same, and they are too far away to fix. UAH do not publish temperatures they publish anomalies around an average of 30 years from 1980. Average of what exactly is shrouded in fairly unpenetrable complexity.
    One or two commentators on WUWT observed that the warm and cold blobs corresponded with their knowledge of where local winds were blowing warm and cold air. It is reasonable to suppose that the UAH information reasonably accurately shows the monthly movement of warm/cold air around the globe. However there is a very large jump in logic and measurement accuracy between this and putting any faith in their numbers ( to silly decimal places) actually representing monthly temperatures that are useful.
    In case anyone attacks me for scientific ignorance, I am a physicist, worked extensively in the energy markets and produced lovely computer models that you could really believe meant something if you so desired.

    • dave permalink
      March 4, 2018 8:34 am

      Satellite data crosschecks with radio-sonde data. Whatever they measure they measure it consistently.

      If the point is, that it is never possible to average temperatures since they are intensities, that was always a truth too far for students of climate.

      • dave permalink
        March 4, 2018 8:54 am

        Of course, you can make an average of several different measurements of a single temperature.

      • jim permalink
        March 4, 2018 1:12 pm

        dave, weather balloon data;
        The radiosonde data, while having the advantage of being a direct measurement of temperature, have two major disadvantages. First, most of the radiosonde stations are located in northern hemisphere land areas, leaving large regions of the world’s oceans and the southern hemisphere essentially unmonitored. Second, there are calibration errors or inhomogeneities in the radiosonde dataset that occur over time as instrumentation is upgraded, observing practices are changed, or processing code is improved. The effects of these inhomogeneities need to be removed before long-term changes in temperature can be analyzed. This process has been performed by a number of groups over the past decade or so, resulting in a number of homogenized datasets. We use the most recent versions of these datasets for comparison with the satellite data.
        When you investigate what they actually do to the weather balloon data, you quickly realise its the more or leass the same as the ‘hotch potch’ of data from ground stations. In reality the numbers from radiance measurements converted into something they call temperatures is compared to homogenised numbers produced from modelled from innacurate readings from balloons. And then published to decimal places. GIGO!
        And the zeroth law of thermodynamics tells us that we can’t really measure temperatures in the atmosphere anyway, as its anything but a stable environment.

  6. March 4, 2018 2:50 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  7. March 4, 2018 2:50 pm

    February 2018 in Central England has been quite a bit cooler than 2013. March 2013, remember, was exceptionally cold. This Feb has been only slightly warmer than Feb 2010, when the world was transitioning to a very negative La Nina phase, a trend in negative winter NAO and a significant slowdown of AMOC, during which Britain saw some very cold winter and early spring weather. March 2018 overall looks cool in the UK, but not exceptionally so, even though it started off historically cold. My guess is that the sharp downturn in NH temperature is now being driven by low solar activity and the prospects of a return to rapid NH warming and mild winters and springs in Northern Europe and the UK don’t look too good over the coming decades. But it is just a guess.

  8. Mary Brown permalink
    March 7, 2018 3:31 pm

    Daily temps can be seen here in CFSR data

    The 365 day mov avg has fallen 0.13 since the peak in Apr 2016

  9. March 8, 2018 5:44 pm

    You are all wrong! The rising temperatures are a result of the internal combustion engine and the burning of coal/oil/gas in steam boilers. End of story. If we change it all to passive solar and wind mills, the temperature changes in the atmosphere will all go away. Period. Get with the story! Remember when we solved the ozone problem? Done. Move on to another problem.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 11, 2018 9:18 pm

      You missed off the /sarc tags, Eric.

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