UK Met Office: Global Temperature Standstill Continues

  • Date: 24/01/14
  • Dr David Whitehouse

With none of the fanfare that accompanies their prediction of the global temperature for the forthcoming year the Met Office has quietly released the global temperature for 2013. It will come as no surprise after the 2013 temperatures released by NASA and NOAA that it shows the global temperature standstill – now at 17 years – continues.

 

Hadcrut4 from 1997

 

HadCrut4 since 1997. Click on image to enlarge.

Here is HadCrut4 monthly data starting Jan 1997, ending Dec 2013. Click on image to enlarge.

Hadcrut Month 1997

The temperature anomaly (above 14.0 deg C) for 2013 is 0.486 making 2013 the 8th warmest year. Statistically with errors of +/- 0.1 deg C ranking the warmest years is meaningless, but it seems to be something many scientists and the media do. So, 2013 is cooler than 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1998 and only 0.003 above 2007. Note that the early part of the 2000s was warmer than the latter part. Four of the five years between 2002-2006 were warmer than 2013, but only two of the past seven have been. Note also that 2013 is cooler than 2003.

The forecast for 2013 made by the Met Office in late 2012 said it would be between 0.43 and 0.71 deg C with a best estimate of 0.53. Once again the Met Office predicted the following year would be considerably warmer than it turned out to be.

There is something seriously wrong with the Met Office’s forecasts. Consider the assessment given by the Met Office’s Vicky Pope in 2007.

 

 

Vicky Pope: “By 2014 we’re predicting it will be 0.3 degrees warmer than 2004, and just to put that into context the warming over the past century and a half has only been 0.7 degrees, globally, there have been bigger changes locally but globally the warming is 0.7 degrees. So 0.3 degrees over the next ten years is pretty significant. And half the years after 2009 are predicted to be hotter than 1998 which was the previous record. So these are very strong statements about what will happen over the next ten years, so again I think this illustrates we can already see signs of climate change but over the next ten years we are expecting to see quite significant changes occurring.”

This ‘state-of-the-art’ estimate, and advice to government, could not have been more wrong. 2014 will not be 0.755 deg C. Only one of the four years since 2009 has been warmer than 1998, and that by less than 2 hundredths of a deg, again statistically insignificant.

The Met Office predict that 2014 will have the same range as it did last year – 0.43 – 0.71 deg C but their new best estimate is 0.57 which will make 2014 the warmest year ever. It might be possible if 2014 is an El Nino year (the reason why 2010 poked its head marginally above the means of the other years) but that would prove nothing about global warming, just inter-annual variations. Many expect 2014 to be an El Nino year.

It is time some best practice seeped into these temperature datasets, at least as far as their communication to the public and the media is concerned. If a pre-university student produced a measurement of 0.486 +/- 0.1 they would be failed. Global temperatures should be quoted to one significant figure. This would mean all years since 2001 would be either 0.5 or 0.4 deg C with errors of +/- 0.1.

Feedback: david.whitehouse@thegwpf.org