Do Doomsters Know How Much Global Surface Temperatures Cycle Annually?

Alternate Title: The Annual Cycle in Global Land+Ocean Surface Temperature IS Far Greater Than 1.5 Deg C, AND Much-Much-MUCH Greater Than 1.5 Deg C Annually for Global Land Air Surface Temperatures

We all were taught early in school that the Earth orbits the Sun…that its path is elliptical…that because of the tilt in Earth’s axis of rotation, we have seasons as the Earth orbits our star annually. Because of the elliptical orbit, and because the ratios of land to ocean are different between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, we might expect that global average surface temperatures would vary over the course of a year.

Later in life we’ve been brow beaten with alarmism about human-induced global warming and climate change…that the Earth will become a literal—not figurative—hell if global surface temperatures rise—formerly 2-deg C—now 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels. But does the average person know much global surface temperatures vary annually as it orbits the Sun?  It’s unlikely, because I’ve never before seen graphs that are similar to what’s presented in this post or seen it discussed in any of the global warming literature.  Am I expecting most persons to find this information to be of any interest?  Nope.  I simply find it noteworthy that, as I mentioned before, I’ve never seen it presented anywhere.  In fact, I just Googled, in quotes, “How Much Do Global Surface Temperatures Cycle Annually?” and Google replied (their boldface), “No results found for “How Much Do Global Surface Temperatures Cycle Annually?”.

Remarkable, is it not, in these times of global warming interest?

Enough with the preamble and on to the meat of the post:

The mainstream media and blogosphere went berserk with the release of the most recent propaganda-overloaded Special Report (SR15) by the UN’s global-politics-driven Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Their stories about the report were filled with all sorts of nonsensical gloom and doom prognostications about life on Earth should the rise in global surface temperatures exceed 1.5 deg C above “pre-industrial times”, which has also been redefined with SR15.

It wasn’t long ago, the gloom-and-doomsters focused on a 2-deg C change in global surface temperatures from pre-industrial times, but the point in time at which we were predicted to reach that 2-deg C threshold of all-nasty-things-to-come must have been too far in the future for them, so they revised their focus to a 1.5 deg C change in global surface temperatures to bring it nearer in time.  In other words, as is characteristic of gloom-and-doomsters, the future gloom and doom is always a moving target.


As the title of the post asks, do doomsters know how much global surface temperatures cycle annually?

DATA SOURCES: The sources of much of the monthly global surface temperature data in absolute form are the following webpages at the Berkeley Earth website:

There, each listing is preceded by “Estimated Jan 1951-Dec 1980 monthly absolute temperature (C):”

For the 1951-1980 averages in absolute global (90S-90N) sea surface temperatures, I used NOAA’s much-adjusted ERSST.v5 sea surface temperature data, which is available through the KNMI Climate Explorer. Berkeley Earth uses the period of 1951-1980 for their anomalies. The KNMI Climate Explorer is also the source of the climate model outputs. As usual, I’m presenting the average (the consensus) of the outputs of the climate models stored the CMIP5 archive, which were used by the IPCC for the 5th Assessment Report. The models for this post are those driven by the historical forcings that precede the RCP8.5 forcings used for climate projections.


Now, we all have an idea of how much surface temperatures vary in our home towns. And we’ve all seen or heard the argument that goes like:

1.5 deg C? Where I live, temperatures can easily drop below -10 deg C (14 deg F) in winter and rise to about 35 deg C (95 deg F) for a few days in summer. We’re used to 45 deg C (81 deg F) swings in temperature each and every year. So who cares about 1.5 deg C (2.7 deg F)?

BTW, those truly are the conditions for where I live…and have been as far back as I can remember.

But few people realize that global surface temperatures vary noticeably as the Earth orbits the Sun and that the annual change in global Land+Ocean Surface Temperature is more than twice the gloom-and-doomsters’ 1.5 Deg C, and much-much-MUCH greater that 1.5 deg C for the annual cycle in Global Land Air Surface Temperatures.

As shown in Figure 1, depending on which of the Berkeley Earth Global Surface Temperature (BEST) datasets are referenced—with air over sea ice or with water under sea ice—the average annual cycle in global surface temperatures for their base period of 1951-1980 is estimated to be somewhere between 3.4 deg C or 3.7 deg C.

Figure 1

Even persons (climate scientists) who live in the politics-driven fantasy worlds of climate models have witnessed in their virtual worlds, on average for the period of 1951-1980, an annual change in global surface temperatures of 3.8 deg C.

Referring to Figure 2 below, according to Berkeley Earth, the average annual cycle (for the Berkeley Earth base period of 1951-1980) in global land-air surface temperatures is 11.8 deg C (almost 12 deg C) and that, of course, is much greater than the annual cycle in global sea surface temperatures (0.4 deg C) based on NOAA’s ERSST.v5 sea surface temperature data. In other words, the annual change in global land surface air temperatures is almost 8 times higher than the 1.5 deg C long-term change that agenda-hungry, unelected UN politicians from around the globe are telling us we need to avoid.

Figure 2

Thank you, oceans, for tempering Earth’s climate.


If you have spreadsheets prepared that convert data from column form to table form and back from table to column again—as I do—it’s easy to take the monthly Berkeley Earth surface temperature data and add to it the monthly average absolute temperatures for their base years of 1951 to 1980, so that the global surface temperature data can be presented in absolute form. See Figure 3 for the Berkeley Earth (BEST) monthly global land+ocean surface temperatures and linear trend, from September 1850 to September 2018, presented in absolute, not anomaly, form.

Figure 3

Figure 4 presents the monthly global Berkeley Earth land surface air temperature data and trend in absolute form, again from September 1850 to September 2018. In other words, there’s no ocean-based data to soften the annual cycles.

Figure 4

[Sarc on.] Hmmmm, maybe the doomsters do know, and the examples above in Figures 3 and 4 are the real reasons why NASA GISS, NOAA NCEI, and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre will only furnish their global land-plus-ocean surface temperature data and global land-air surface temperature data in anomaly form. Oops, it appears that NASA GISS, NOAA NCEI, and the Met Office’s Hadley Centre forgot to tell Berkeley Earth, and Berkeley Earth spoiled it for them all.  Oh well, back to the old drawing board! [Sarc off.]

Again, thank you, oceans, for tempering Earth’s climate.

That’s it for this post.

Have fun, and enjoy your Monday!


Please purchase my recently published ebooks. As many of you know, this year I published 2 ebooks that are available through Amazon in Kindle format:

Just like you may have learned something new today with this post, you might learn much more from the books.

To those of you who have purchased them, thank you. To those of you who will purchase them, thank you, too.



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.
This entry was posted in Global Warming in Perspective, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Do Doomsters Know How Much Global Surface Temperatures Cycle Annually?

  1. Terry D. Welander says:

    Can you get the doomsters to read what you have written on Earth temperature changes?
    This would go a long way into getting the doomsters onto reality.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    Terry, i if anyone could get them to read and understand, it’s not likely it would make any difference. Do you think their beliefs can be altered with reality?


  3. chaamjamal says:

    Temperature data taken at weather stations contain a diurnal cycle, a seasonal cycle, and random natural variations. Along with these they may also contain a long term trend over a period of many years. Typically, the diurnal and seasonal cycles represent more than 80-90% of the total variance in the actual temperature measurements. The remaining 10-20% or so consists mostly of unexplained random variations. In cases where a statistically significant trend is found with OLS linear regression, no more than a small portion of the variance, around 3% or so, can be ascribed to a long term warming or cooling trend.

    Long term trend must be understood and studied in this context. Here is a modest proposal.

  4. Terry D. Welander says:

    Bob. Suggesting the doomsters have no reality begs the question: a court of law needs to take the doomsters to task; for fraud and false information to public. I have requested the Heartland Institute go directly to President Trump to order the US Justice Department to prosecute these frauds and false info to the public. I urge you to do the same. Point out these frauds and false info to both the white house and the justice department; so they can prosecute these fraudsters. Getting facts or reality strait matters big time. False info to the public is a crime and needs to be prosecuted to put a stop to false info to the public; for the sake and safety of scientific inquiry to help keep politics out of scientific inquiry; as we have seen too often in the last 50 years.

  5. ngard2016 says:

    Bob why is the HADCrut4 data trend less than Berkeley since 1850? Here’s the HAD 4 from YORK Uni tool showing 0.055 c/decade from 1850. Berkeley is 0.062 c /dec using this tool. Any comments?

  6. Bob Tisdale says:

    ngard2016, you asked, “Bob why is the HADCrut4 data trend less than Berkeley since 1850?”

    Berkeley infills areas without data, like the Arctic, with make-believe data where the HADCRUT dataset does not.


  7. ngard2016 says:

    Thanks Bob, but can you also tell us what you think of the joint Royal Society/ NAS Q&A. Their point 20 looks at the outcome if all human co2 emissions stopped today. So just a fantasy, just ask China, India and the non OECD countries.

    We know the ice core studies show co2 levels remain elevated for thousands of years after temps dropped at the end of the much warmer Eemian inter- glacial, so I suppose this could be correct if you accept the ice core data.

    But would the temp remain at present level and not drop for a thousand years or more? And would co2 levels not drop to say 1800 levels for many more thousands of years? If they are correct then it doesn’t make much sense to rave on about all their wild so called MITIGATION .

    And the non OECD countries co2 emissions continue to soar, so the Q&A above is just absurd. Here’s their point 20 and a link to the larger graph. So Bob what do you think of their point 20 Q&A and the 2013 Zickfeld et al study?

    Here’s their answer—–

    20.” If emissions of greenhouse gases were stopped, would the climate return to the conditions of 200 years ago?
    Climate change: evidence and causes

    “No. Even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to suddenly stop, Earth’s surface temperature would not cool and return to the level in the pre-industrial era for thousands of years.

    fig9-smallFigure 9. If global emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take a long time for surface air temperatures and the ocean to begin to cool, because the excess CO2 in the atmosphere would remain there for a long time and would continue to exert a warming effect. Model projections show how atmospheric CO2 concentration (a), surface air temperature (b), and ocean thermal expansion (c) would respond following a scenario of business-as-usual emissions ceasing in 2300 (red), a scenario of aggressive emission reductions, falling close to zero 50 years from now (orange), and two intermediate emissions scenarios (green and blue). The small downward tick in temperature at 2300 is caused by the elimination of emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases, including methane. Source: Zickfeld et al., 2013 (larger version)

    If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to ‘pre-industrial’ levels due to its very slow transfer to the deep ocean and ultimate burial in ocean sediments. Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying extremely long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions, and sea level would likely continue to rise for many centuries even after temperature stopped increasing (see Figure 9). Significant cooling would be required to reverse melting of glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet, which formed during past cold climates. The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales. The amount and rate of further warming will depend almost entirely on how much more CO2 humankind emits”.

  8. Bob Tisdale says:

    ngard2016, sorry to say but I have no interest in the joint Royal Society/ NAS Q&A. Additionally, it’s off topic.


  9. Terry D. Welander, PE says:

    No geologic information from the 20 tectonic plate volcanic rift edges appears to be included; over 60,000 miles of volcanic rifts. At over 4000 Deg. C in the Earth interior just below Earth’s crust around 20 to 30 miles down; all the heat escaping to the oceans and Earths atmosphere needs to be accounted. Without it, there is no crediblity in any comments on Earth’s temperature changes. Will you be including the heat from Earth’s interior to the oceans and Earth’s atmosphere in any future temperature computations? Looking at half the problem or less is not helpful, ngard2016; though useful as a partial but incomplete and non-useable review. Or your only a starting point.

  10. Bob Tisdale says:

    Terry, you’ve obviously missed the subject of this post, and you’re asking questions about a topic for which there is no long- or short-term data. If there’s no data, all there is is conjecture, and I don’t plot conjecture.


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