Troy's Scratchpad

October 28, 2011

Will 2011 be one of the top ten hottest years?

Filed under: Uncategorized — troyca @ 12:22 pm

Disclaimer: This post is for entertainment purposes only…no scientific value is suggested.

In a previous post on OHC GISS-ER model projections, Bob Tisdale pointed out a RealClimate post from earlier this year, in order to reconcile some differences between my graph and the one over there (Layman Lurker has suggested one possibility, the other possibility being that it is showing GISS-EH projections in the RC graph rather than GISS-ER).  And yet, the other tidbit from that RC post that piqued my interest is a prediction from Gavin Schmidt:

Consistent with that, I predict that 2011 will not be quite as warm as 2010, but it will still rank easily amongst the top ten warmest years of the historical record.

He stuck to his guns even when a commenter brought up the issue of La Nina, which I like.  

Anyhow, there was quite an interest over whether 2010 would set a record in all the major indices, and so in order to try and emulate some of that “temperature race” excitement from last year, I now have an excuse to show a new race – for tenth place in each of the major indices.

In the following graph, I have shown how the current temperature for the year is shaping up, versus that of the 10th hottest year in each of the major indices (they are different).  I have left each of the indices in their “native” reported baseline (which gives some separation), so this graph should NOT be used to compare the anomalies from one index against another.  Furthermore, the reason you notice more variability in the graph towards the beginning of the year versus the end is because the average is cumulative…so that the value for January shows the anomaly for January only, whereas the value for June shows the average anomaly for January through June.  The value for December is thus the average for all anomalies January through December, or the annual average.

So, how does the graph look through the first 9 months of the year?


This year, GISS and UAH are currently on pace to be in the top 10, while HadCRUT, RSS, and NOAA are outside of it.

The GISS average anomaly for the remaining months would have to be below 0.36 C in order to avoid the top ten, and even though it is on a downswing (the September anomaly was 0.48 C), the strong La Nina from earlier in the year only dropped the temperature down to 0.43 C, so this will likely be in the top ten.

UAH would need to average below –0.06 C for three months to avoid the top ten (September anomaly was 0.29), which, even with the second part of the double-dip La Nina, would appear to be out of reach.

On the other hand, the satellite temperatures from RSS would require an average anomaly of 0.332 C to crawl INTO the top-ten, and even though this would seem feasible given the September anomaly (0.288), the fact that daily MSU temperatures have dropped significantly suggest that it will not beat out 2004 for tenth hottest.

NOAA needs to average 0.57 C to beat out its competition of 2001 for a place in the top ten, but with the recent posted anomaly of (0.52 C) being down from the previous months, it may be difficult.

And finally, HadCRUT, which just posted for September, needs to average .534 C over three months to crack the top ten (and beat 2007).  This also seems unlikely, given September’s drop down to .371 C. 

There you have it – with the hindsight of 3/4 of the year having reported, I would venture that GISS and UAH will be in the top ten, while NOAA, HadCRUT, and RSS will fall outside of it.  Of course, things may change.

Script available for this post here.

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