16 July 2009

The Warmest Day Ever

Global surface temperatures have increased dramatically in recent days. As can be seen in the figure above from the UAH website, July 14, 2009 is the warmest day ever in their dataset, which dates to 1998 (the little box on the red line shows the July 14 value). July 14th may or may not have been the warmest day ever, however it does portend an end to the debate over global "cooling."


  1. Is this what we've been reduced to?

    Surely this is reason enough to back to the drawing board on this.

  2. It looks like Romm has gotten to Roger.

    He thinks that he needs to prove that he isn't a "denier".

    I'd be happier if he just ignored him. One day, one month or even one large El Nino will tell us very little about where our climate is trending.

    I'm fairly certain that Roger knows this

  3. Ten years of cooling is weather not climate; but breaking a ten year old record for a single day portends an end to the debate over global “cooling”.

    Faith is indeed a powerful force.

  4. "We must be careful not to confuse 'climate' with 'weather'"

    - Susan Solomon, reacting to reports of the coldest Northern Europe on "record," Winter, 2008"

    (Eleven whole years. Record. Wow.)

  5. I see that several of the other colors have hit The Warmest Day Ever now and then, too.

    I think this is some kind of pop quiz.

  6. John Christy sends in this note:


    Please note that the temps on our "real-time" website are not considered calibrated against the full record as they are derived from NOAA-15 (a drifting satellite) rather than AQUA (a non-drifting satellite). NOAA-15 has been drifting into a warmer part of the day, so its
    anomalies will be slightly too warm - but on a daily basis it is not really possible to say what the error really is. Our calibrated daily values will be out after the end of the month.

    John C."

    I wrote back with this question:

    "Thanks John, I'll add this note, however, what is the point of showing the 2009 values on a graph with 1998-2008 if they are apples and oranges?"

  7. The warmest day EVER?

    I hope that was intended as a joke.

    Click here and here for a little reality check.

    As for trends…
    One can cherry pick the temperature data to prove each of the following:

    1) An ongoing cooling trend beginning 30 million years ago.

    2) An ongoing warming trend beginning 20,000 years ago.

    3) An ongoing cooling trend beginning 10,000 years ago.

    4) An ongoing warming trend beginning 2,000 years ago.

    5) An ongoing cooling trend beginning 11 years ago. (Click here -- on NOAA’s page -- and enter the correct parameters to replicate that chart.)

    The lesson is:
    The climate is changing all the time. And, human activity -- demonstrably -- has an utterly inconsequential impact on those changes.

  8. P.S.) For those who assert that the current decade is “the warmest ever”, I offer this chart (also linked to in my previous comment).

    The yellow line is the average of the annual mean temperatures recorded at Vostok, Antarctica for 2000-2008.

    The blue line is the annual mean at Vostok for 2008.

    The black line is the linear trend line as computed by Microsoft Excel.

    Data Sources:

    Current annual mean temperatures at Vostok:
    British Antarctic Survey - National Environmental Research Council

    Vostok Ice Core Temperature Data:
    The data file for Petit et al. 1999 to 3310m can be downloaded from this NOAA page.

  9. Dr. Pielke,

    1) I am just beginning to get acquainted with you and your views.

    2) Although we broadly differ in our views on the impact of CO2 and the need (or lack thereof) for a policy response, it appears we share common ground on the relationship between climate change and hurricanes.

    I am aware of far more rigorous scientific investigations than what I presented. But:

    A) I had lay persons in mind as my target audience.

    B) The evidence I presented further supports what we know from the more rigorous science.

    If you care to offer a critique, I would be interested.

    Best Regards,

  10. Dr. Pielke,

    After skimming your 2005 paper, I decided to cite it in my post on global warming hurricane hysteria.

    I hope you don’t mind.

    Best Regards,

  11. SBVOR- Thanks for the link. I think that our 2005 paper has held up pretty good ;-)

  12. Dr. Peilke,

    In my view, it took courage and integrity to publish that paper. And, it appears you’ve taken some heat for doing so.


    Now, about that CO2 famine (as described by yet another courageous academic)… ;-)

    Best Regards,

  13. "One swallow doesn't make a summer."

  14. Dr. Pielke,

    I see you've said uncertainty is a good reason to act. I believe uncertainty is a good reason to be patient while you gather more data.

    Do an experiment- close your eyes while driving for a second, open them, and then tell me- do you do something right away, or do you wait for more data to tell you position and direction first?

  15. -14-Dirk

    A nice analogy, however, let me suggest altering the experiment in an important way ... keep your eyes closed, let the uncertainty persist rather than disappear, then what do you do?

  16. Dr. Peilke,

    I am certain you know you are advocating for “The Precautionary Principle”.

    I see that principal this way:
    There is no reasonable evidence to suggest we are heading for a climate catastrophe, but just in case we are, let’s create -- for certain -- an economic catastrophe.

    I think you’re smarter than that.

    P.S.) I just updated this post to better address the alarmist hyperbole about the temperatures associated with the current decade.

  17. Roger,

    In your analogy you do not change policy. You act on last information.

    You have no cause to steer left or right all of a sudden.

  18. i'd freeze and do nothing. When no conclusive data is available no action is the most secure option

  19. -16-SBVOR

    Here are my views on the precautionary principle:


    I do not think that it is a useful guide to action

    -17-18-Geckko, petrossa

    I'd apply the brakes.

  20. In your analogy, applying breaks is a costless and, even more importantly, costlessly reversable policy.

    We have no "let's stop everything until we have more information" option here.

    The car is moving, it will continue to move. We can only control its direction.

  21. -19-Dr. Pielke,

    Respectfully, you have turned The Precautionary Principal on its head.

    The adherents to that principal (effectively) argue that CO2 might have some mystical properties we are -- as yet -- unaware of and, therefore, we must stop our dastardly elevation of atmospheric CO2 from 0.03% to 0.04% (even though we know CO2 has been far, FAR higher than that throughout almost all of the last 600 million years).

    Even Obama admits (whether he knows it or not) that attempts to mitigate CO2 will do tremendous economic harm.

    And, even the climate alarmists admit that attempts to mitigate CO2 will have essentially zero impact on climate change. JunkScience.com has done a very good job in quantifying the cost/benefit ratio of The Kyoto Protocol (which even the New York Times -- ex post facto -- FINALLY admits has been an abysmal (and very costly) failure.

    By the way, compounding the logical follies, the star of the cited video clip also falls into the “appeal to authority” trap. The real irony there is that, although the self-described propagandists in the media will never admit it, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of scientists -- myself included -- do not favor regulating CO2.

    Best Regards,

  22. So, one day changes everything? Does that mean that the previous week, which saw well below average temps in Raleigh, DC, and NJ (those were the three I was looking at since I live in Raleigh, was visiting in NJ, and planning a visit to DC) shows an ice age coming?

    Matter of fact, the temps from NJ down to DC were still below average for the 14th.

    My bad. Hot=climate cool=equals weather nothing to see move along.

  23. Dr. Pielke,

    Does this quote accurately describe your father’s views?

    “The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales.”

    If so, would your father find this chart and the associated analysis (exclusively examining localized temperatures at Vostok) more compelling than your chart?

    If you care to solicit his opinion, it would interest me.

    I would like to see more granular data around each of the climatic optimums of the previous 4 interglacial warming periods. I suspect that the more granular data would prove that previous interglacial warming periods produced even higher high temperatures than we are currently aware of.

    Best Regards,

  24. John Christy sends this in by email:

    "If you look at NOAA-15 raw values at:


    you'll note that 15 Jul 2009 is at 254.286K. Two years ago, on 2 Jul 2007 the temp hit 254.279K. Remember that the satellite has been drifting into a warmer part of the day this entire time, which I would imagine would be greater than the 0.007K difference over two years seen here.

    Now, the daily calibrated MSU channel 2 (T2) anomalies back in 1998 were above +0.55 in July on a number of days. The calibrated T2 anomalies from AMSU5 in July 2007 were only up to +0.39. So I wouldn't expect the current values (which are similar to 2007) for July 2009 to be warmer than 1998."

  25. The decision about whether to take precautionary action should involve the credibility of the threat as well as the severity of inaction. The more extraordinary the claim of a threat the more extraordinary the proof should be.
    If you visit a doctor for a check up and are told that your fingernails are a little long and may crack go ahead and clip the nails. However if you are told that the pain you are complaining about may be a symptom of testicular cancer it might be a good idea to have a second opinion and a couple of definitive tests before considering amputation.

    The cap and trade bill that passed the house will cut the productive edge out of our economy and saying “we don’t know” can’t justify going blindly ahead with the law.

  26. SBVOR,

    You claim that mitigation efforts "create -- for certain -- an economic catastrophe."

    Wow. That sounds quite alarmist. Care to back up that strong statement?


  27. -26-OurChangingClimate,

    You can start with comments directly from Obama and follow the links from there.

  28. -26-OurChangingClimate,

    Following the links from the starting point offered in my previous comment will take you to:

    1) The CBO estimate.

    2) The estimate from the Heritage Foundation.

    History with various government programs tells us both estimates are orders of magnitude too low.

    Click here for all my posts on Cap & Trade.

  29. SBVOR,
    Aren't you confusing costs with catastrophe?

  30. -29-OurChangingClimate,

    During flush economic times, climate alarmists have tended to dismiss as irrelevant any and all economic dislocations associated with their eco-extremist policy proposals.

    Obama has described the current recession as something akin to a catastrophe. But, the social and economic calamity which would befall us if Cap and Trade becomes law makes the current recession look quite mild.

    Obama, himself, has confessed that Cap and Trade WILL “bankrupt” our coal companies. Unless Obama is even more ignorant than I imagine, then he must know that:

    1) 48.5% of our electricity is generated by burning coal.

    2) The laws of physics deem it impossible to eliminate CO2 emissions from coal plants.

    3) None of the “green” technologies can even come close to replacing -- in anything even remotely resembling a timely manner -- electricity generated by coal.

    So, Cap & Trade bankrupts our coal companies and the lights go out. Worse still -- for many -- the heat goes off. How long would the nation tolerate that before a violent revolution ensues? In the face of that crisis, Obama would “suddenly” see the need for coal power and nationalize the entire industry.

    But, nationalizing the entire energy sector will have been his plan all along. It’s just one more facet of his master plan -- a plan which an overtly Socialist Carol Browner has been anointed to kick start.


  31. The coldest day ever:

    "A new world-record low temperature was observed at–128.6°F and was recorded at Vostok (Russian station) on July 21,1983. "

  32. Dr. Pielke,

    Isn’t it “interesting” how July turned out for the Continental USA?