Global Surface Temperature Anomalies Should Be Higher In 2016 Than 2015

This post confirms what most of us suspect based on the history of global surface temperature data responses to strong El Niño events. That is, if global surface temperatures respond similarly to past strong El Niños, the 2016 values should be higher than 2015.


Table 1 lists the global temperature anomalies from GISS, NOAA NCEI and UKMO for the evolution and decay years, and their differences, during the eight strong El Niño events of 1957/58, 1965/66, 1972/73, 1982/83, 1987/88, 1991/92, 1997/98, and 2009/10. I’ve also listed the 2015 values for the 2015/16 El Niño.  For this discussion, I’ve defined a strong El Niño as one where the peak NOAA Oceanic NINO Index value equals or exceeds 1.5 deg C.  The annual global temperature anomaly values are as provided by the suppliers…that is, they have not been normalized to account for the differences in base years in Table 1.

Global Temps - Strong El Nino Evolution vs Decay Years

Table 1

(Table with all El Niño events, regardless of strength, is here.)

The 1991/92 El Niño was the only strong El Niño event where the decay year was cooler than the evolution year. That unusual response, of course, would typically be attributed to the sun-blocking aerosols emitted by the explosive volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. On the other hand, El Chichon erupted in 1982 during the 1982/83 El Niño and global surface temperatures were higher in 1983 than in 1982…but the eruption of El Chichon in 1982 is said to have had a lesser impact on global temperatures than 1991’s Mount Pinatubo and the 1982/83 El Niño was stronger than the 1991/92 El Niño.


Curiously, though, there have been recent sizeable multi-month downticks in both GISS and NCEI surface temperature data that indicate an early decay of global surface temperature responses to the 2015/16 El Niño, when compared to that of the comparably sized 1997/98 El Niño. (Still waiting for the HADCRUT4 data for May 2016.) See Figure 1. Note that the data in Figure 1 have been normalized to the first 3 months of the respective first years for an easier visual comparison of the responses of global surface temperatures to the two El Niños of similar strength. Contrary to nonsensical alarmist claims, I am not hiding the fact that surface temperatures are reportedly higher in 2015/16 than they were in 1997/98.

Figure 1

Figure 1

IF, great big if, the early decay of [the global temperature response to] the 2015/16 El Niño persists, there’s a chance that 2016 will not be warmer than 2015…and that would be unusual.


GISS LOTI data are here.

NCEI data can be found here.

Annual UKMO HADCRUT4 data are here.

Update:  I’ve added a clarification in brackets to the closing paragraph.

About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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11 Responses to Global Surface Temperature Anomalies Should Be Higher In 2016 Than 2015

  1. After all we’ve seen from climate science, I think all scientists should step back from “global temperature anomalies” in two ways:

    1) Obviously, use temperature, not temperature anomalies (the latter being the difference between a given “measurement” of temperature and the “mean temperature” over some interval of years), and
    2) Every temperature graph should be two graphs, the first one of unadjusted, “raw” observational data…and I could care less right now what the other is, I want some true science and that means unfiddled data above all. That is the best way to begin to clean out the augean stables of the incompetent consensus.

  2. Pingback: La Niña in den Startlöchern: Die Erde kühlt ab! ENSO-Update Juni 2016 – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

  3. Nate says:

    What kind of ‘raw’ data do you want? I dont think you want the hundreds of thousands of temperatures from around the globe? I would think you would want some kind of average.. If so then you probably wouldnt want a simple average of all measurements-that would over-emphasize areas with lots of thermometers (e.g. around cities). So you probably want an average that treats all locations equally? Well then you have to do some filling-in of areas that dont get measured or didnt get measured in the past-so one has to figure out how to do that (e.g. averaging neighboring regions). When they changed how measurements of the ocean or land were done you would probably want to take that into account? So as you can see-the ‘raw’ data is not very meaningful without proper analysis (what you call adjustment).

  4. Pingback: Absturz der globalen Temperaturen! Ungewöhnlich schwache Sonne – La Niña kommt: „Global Warming“ Reality Check Juni 2016 – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

  5. frank says:

    Bob, there is a brand new paper about the Blopp: ( paywalled and sci-hub works very well). A first look: “To date, no clear mechanism has been identified to explain the projected intensification of the NPO/NPGO-type activity.” They assume a link to GHG-forcing… no evidence! Maybe stuff for a post?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    frank, thanks for the link.

    The quote you provided “To date, no clear mechanism has been identified to explain the projected intensification of the NPO/NPGO-type activity” appears to be about the climate-model futures, not reality. It also doesn’t explain why The Blob existed/exists.

  7. Pingback: Schwache Sonne – kühle Erde! La Niña ist da: „Global Warming“ Reality Check Juli 2016 – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

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  9. Pingback: Das Jahr 2016 bleibt kälter als 1998: „Global Warming“ Reality Check September 2016 – wobleibtdieglobaleerwaermung

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