A Decadal Global Climate Bet – a second view of the race

About six months ago I posted a short article and a graph attempting to show the progress of a global decadal climate bet.  The graph compared the temperature of the two decades Jan 2001 through Dec 2010 and Jan 2011 to Dec 2020.  I wanted to compare the two decades and make it like a horse race.  To do that, I needed to track progress to date.  Admittedly there’s not much scientific merit in this, but as it is still more than 7 years to the finish line, and that seems like a long time, I thought it might add amusement.

Rob Honeycutt (the leader of the warmist team) kindly visited here a few days ago and left some comments querying the validity of my graph.  They were good comments that got me thinking.  While I reckon the graph is technically correct, it does have some peculiarities which need consideration.  I’ve checked the calculations are correct and they are based on directly downloaded data from UAH and RSS.  The method shows the position between the decades by calculating a running average to date.  Both decades were treated equally and fairly.

But Rob raised a valid point.  The early stages of the graph show a lot of variability, ie: the left side is noisy.  It makes the left side of the graph messy and possibly misleading to some.  The variability is caused by the low number of elements in the sample to date.  As time goes on the noise movement in the average to date diminishes.  And of course, in the end it is the finish line that matters.  The ups and downs only having been interesting along the way.

So thanks Rob, with all that in mind, I have tried another way to look at the race.

The new way does not use an average to date.  It uses instead a simple accumulating counter, adding 1/120th of the average of the UAH and RSS monthly global anomalies to a running total.  The sum of these numbers after 120 months will be the global decadal average.

So take a look at the graph.  Use your eye to extrapolate to the green line to the finish point.  It is still a close race and I’m not game to pick a winner … yet.

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6 Responses to A Decadal Global Climate Bet – a second view of the race

  1. get smart says:

    (The above)?? graphic is no longer being updated by the NCDC. An equivalent graphic can be seen at NCDC – Annual Global Land and Ocean Temperature Anomalies (1880-2013) [without the average line or error bars]. It shows a trend from 2003 to 2013 of -0.07°C/Decade. A copy of the original graphic is at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/service/global/global-land-ocean-mntp-anom/201101-201112.png .

  2. richardcfromnz says:

    Hi Robin. I don’t think the early datapoints are problematic because it will become clear as more are added anyway. This accumulating average is a nice variation though.

    Not much chance of El Nino domination either, like Rob H is yearning for (as is Gareth Renowden, and Jim Hansen, and……..) . Rob doesn’t appear to realize (or doesn’t want to) that ENSO has been cyclical for as long as the phenomenon has been identified similar to the PDO. The last 30 yr positive phase of both ended early in the 21st century i.e. for the period prior to end there were both EL Ninos and La Ninas but El Ninos were dominant. Now in the negative phase there will be both but La Ninas will be dominant similar to the last negative phase prior to the 1970s.

    Worth looking too at the IPCC’s AR5 SPM Figure 1(a) where the cyclicity is obvious:


    Their attribution period is 1951 – 2010, but of the 6 decades in the period only 2 (1980 – 2000) exhibited any warming. Now this current decade isn’t looking anything like what the IPCC are projecting or the SkS guys are so confident about. Really though, it’s just consistent with the cyclicity in their Figure 1(a).

    I am however, more interested in longer-scale cyclicity than just 60 yr e.g. quasi 200 year (of which Dalton Minimum was about 200 years ago) and 1000+ yrs (of which Maunder Minimum fell somewhere in the middle given we’re at a Maximum now (or just past it) and the drivers of such which provide the upwards trend and over which the 60 yr oscillation appears.

    I see there’s a lot about that in the SkS comment thread re Milankovich cycles (where SkS do their best to deny any solar effect), but I think they’re all missing the most important development; the 2013 maximum of 11 yr solar cycle 24 is less in all respects (energy basically) than SC 23 and 22 and solar output has been down relatively since 2009. In theory we should see a lagged effect (cooling) from 2009 onwards, small at first then more obvious in the middle of this decade. And we are seeing that so far except for the 2010 El Nino (an exception in this ENSO phase).

    Thing is, solar output is only 0.3 – 0.5 W.m2 less right now than say SC 23 maximum but Shapiro et el (2012?) estimated that it was up to 6 W.m2 less in the Maunder Minimum. Even the IPCC’s CO2-centric Mike Lockwood has recently (since AR5 SPM) upgraded the probability of Dalton Minimum conditions by 2030s to 30% from 5% (I think it was).

    Needless to say, in view of all that, I’m finding this decade’s average very interesting and really appreciate your input.

  3. Mark says:

    “Not much chance of El Nino domination either”

    El Nino doesn’t need to dominate for the warmists to win. ENSO neutral would seem to do it.

    As you point out the years 2001-2011 were dominated by El Nino, and as a result the average for 2001-2011 was 0.226C. High!

    Yet this year, 2013, has averaged 0.221C, but with no El Nino domination. In fact ENSO has been closer to La Nina than neutral.

    This indicates the climate is in a warmer state. 0.2C+ used to take El Ninos, now neutral does it. It also implies that unless this warming of state stops, the warmists are going to win even if ENSO averages neutral this decade.

    La Nina domination this decade is unlikely. Look at past decades, domination either way is rare. It doesn’t follow a cycle, it just depends on how El Ninos and La Ninas happen to align in a particular 10 year timeframe. The 1960s for example were dominated by El Nino.

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