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February 2016 Global Temperature Update

Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations

We recently discussed the February 2016 El Niño-related upsurges in the RSS and UAH lower troposphere temperature (TLT) data in the post March 2016 Update of Global Temperature Responses to 1997/98 and 2015/16 El Niño Events.  Not to be outdone, the GISS Land-Ocean Temperature (LOTI) data showed a +0.21 deg C jump in global land+ocean surface temperatures from January to February 2016…tacked on to the +0.24 deg C jump from September to October 2015.


GISS Land-Ocean Temperature Index

This post provides an update of the values for the three primary suppliers of global land+ocean surface temperature reconstructions—GISS through February 2016 and HADCRUT4 and NCEI (formerly NCDC) through January 2016—and of the two suppliers of satellite-based lower troposphere temperature composites (RSS and UAH) through February 2016.  It also includes a model-data comparison.


The NOAA NCEI product is the new global land+ocean surface reconstruction with the manufactured warming presented in Karl et al. (2015).  For summaries of the oddities found in the new NOAA ERSST.v4 “pause-buster” sea surface temperature data see the posts:

Even though the changes to the ERSST reconstruction since 1998 cannot be justified by the night marine air temperature product that was used as a reference for bias adjustments (See comparison graph here), and even though NOAA appears to have manipulated the parameters in their sea surface temperature model to produce high warming rates (See the post here), GISS also switched to the new “pause-buster” NCEI ERSST.v4 sea surface temperature reconstruction with their July 2015 update.

The UKMO also recently made adjustments to their HadCRUT4 product, but they are minor compared to the GISS and NCEI adjustments.

We’re using the UAH lower troposphere temperature anomalies Release 6.5 for this post even though it’s in beta form.  And for those who wish to whine about my portrayals of the changes to the UAH and to the GISS and NCEI products, see the post here.

The GISS LOTI surface temperature reconstruction and the two lower troposphere temperature composites are for the most recent month.  The HADCRUT4 and NCEI products lag one month.

Much of the following text is boilerplate…updated for all products. The boilerplate is intended for those new to the presentation of global surface temperature anomalies.

Most of the update graphs start in 1979.  That’s a commonly used start year for global temperature products because many of the satellite-based temperature composites start then.

We discussed why the three suppliers of surface temperature products use different base years for anomalies in chapter 1.25 – Many, But Not All, Climate Metrics Are Presented in Anomaly and in Absolute Forms of my free ebook On Global Warming and the Illusion of Control – Part 1 (25MB).

Since the July 2015 update, we’re using the UKMO’s HadCRUT4 reconstruction for the model-data comparisons.


Introduction: The GISS Land Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) reconstruction is a product of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies.  Starting with the June 2015 update, GISS LOTI uses the new NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 4 (ERSST.v4), the pause-buster reconstruction, which also infills grids without temperature samples.  For land surfaces, GISS adjusts GHCN and other land surface temperature products via a number of methods and infills areas without temperature samples using 1200km smoothing. Refer to the GISS description here.   Unlike the UK Met Office and NCEI products, GISS masks sea surface temperature data at the poles, anywhere seasonal sea ice has existed, and they extend land surface temperature data out over the oceans in those locations, regardless of whether or not sea surface temperature observations for the polar oceans are available that month.  Refer to the discussions here and here. GISS uses the base years of 1951-1980 as the reference period for anomalies.  The values for the GISS product are found here. (I archived the former version here at the WaybackMachine.)

Update:  The February 2016 GISS global temperature anomaly is +1.35 deg C.  It jumped noticeably since January 2016, a +0.21 deg C increase.

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