Graph of the Day: Satellite Temperature Records

February 2, 2011

Click for larger image

From Ben Santer, whose epic beatdown of Climate disinformer Pat Michaels was a highpoint of last year’s congressional hearings on climate change.

Santer was responding to a quote from  Dr Roy Spencer, in regard to the current extreme winter weather.  Dr. Spencer is “the official climatologist of the Rush Limbaugh show”.

“I believe the events we are seeing are entirely natural,” Roy Spencer, a meteorologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, told AOL News. “Persistent storminess in one location means someplace else is having unusually quiet weather. One of the reasons we know this is [that] our global precipitation measurements from satellites show that the total amount of precipitation that falls on the Earth remains almost exactly the same, year after year.”

Spencer said global temperatures have been falling for about the past 12 months. “The global average is now approaching the long-term normal,” he said.

In response, Dr. Santer sent out the above figure, and a statement:

Roy Spencer’s statement that “The global average is now approaching the long-term normal” is disingenuous and misleading.

The attached figure (meaning, the graph above) shows estimated global-scale changes in the temperature of the lower troposphere (TLT) from January 1979 to December 2010. Estimates are from John Christy and Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) and from Carl Mears and Frank Wentz at Remote Sensing Systems in Santa Rosa (RSS). The datasets are the latest versions of the UAH and RSS lower tropospheric temperature retrievals.

The total linear change in TLT over this 384-month period is 0.47 degrees C for UAH and 0.52 degrees C for RSS. Even the UAH TLT data show a global-scale temperature increase of nearly half a degree Celsius over the past 32 years.

Yes Virginia, this is what Global Warming looks like.  And you too, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania…

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5 Responses to “Graph of the Day: Satellite Temperature Records”


  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Scott A Mandia, Peter Sinclair. Peter Sinclair said: Graph of the Day: Satellite Temperature Records: http://t.co/HgrV9z8 [...]

  2. neilrieck Says:

    The first chart shows two lines sloping at almost the same angle so most people wonder “what’s the big deal?”. You won’t believe the answer.

    I recently did a search for “Christy and Spencer” (of UAH) in a database of the stolen East Anglia Emails (the same ones involved in Climatgate). I found a few entries where two scientists are discussing “mathematical errors in the calculations” by “Christy and Spencer”. The errors were found by “Mears and Wentz” (of RSS) and published in “Science” in 2005. In the letters area of the same issue, Christy and Spencer acknowledged the errors then admitted their cooling graph now indicated a slight warming. (because it was in the letters area, scientists are allowed to publish personal opinions rather than peer reviewed positions). From this point I started to Google the phrase “Christy Spencer Mears Wentz” only to discover a ton of more material.

    So the two-line chart at the top of this page contains repaired “UAH” data which was corrected in 2005.

    It is my opinion that most scientists are civilized and don’t want to rub the noses of bad scientists into the dirt. But since Christy and Spencer have continued to spread their denial of climate science by promotion of politically-biased bad science, other scientists have been quick to leak the UAH bad science episode.

    Two final points:

    1) Spencer continually refers to himself as “U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument on NASA’s AQUA satellite” as a prelude to shooting down other theories. According to this link:

    http://aqua.nasa.gov/about/team_spencer.php

    …he did work at NASA in various roles including Science Team Leader for AMSR-E. But AQUA was launched in May of 2002 while Spencer resigned from NASA in 2001. So whenever he shoots down a competing theory, it is not as a “U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E” or as a NASA researcher.

    2) Spencer is on the board of directors of the “George C. Marshall Institute” which is a conservative think-tank best known for publishing fubars like “tobacco doesn’t cause lung cancer”, “there is no such thing as second-hand smoke”, etc. I don’t see how any self-respecting scientist ever be a part of something like this.

    • pdblouin Says:

      …but tobacco doesn’t cause lung cancer. That’s a factual statement. SMOKING tobacco, on the other hand…

      Anyway, I looked up the George C. Marshall Institute and could not find those batshit insane articles. Maybe they’ve pulled them? There’s a lot of other insane stuff on their site, but nothing about tobacco.

      And technically, there’s only correlation between those two variables. No ethics committee in the world would agree to assign 5000 babies to a smoking condition and 5000 babies to a non-smoking condition and impose an addiction onto them just so that causation can be confirmed via a double-blind study.

      For instance, it’s possible that people who are genetically predisposed for lung cancer are also genetically predisposed to inhale smoke 20-25 times per day. You know, smoke that may or may not contain benzene derivatives.

      • greenman3610 Says:

        the tobacco/climate denial connection deserves its own video, but there’s some info here

        also see Naomi Oreskes talk:

      • neilrieck Says:

        Can’t find “any” tobacco articles there or just the ones I was referring to? For starters, try pasting this line into a Google search:

        site:www.marshall.org tobacco

        which will restrict Google to searching for the word, words, or phrase at the web site you requested.

        But Spencer and his cronies are physicists so what would they know about biology, chemistry, or the pathology of cancer? IMHO, these think-tanks are nothing more than publishers of confusion in order to protect the income of big businesses like tobacco, oil, and coal FOR 30 PIECES OF SILVER.

        A buddy of mine just loves Spencer and Christy because they call themselves Christians. I’ve got devout Christians in my own family and they would never sell themselves out like Spencer and Christy appear to be doing. (I always have to remind my christian friends about people like Jim and Tammy Baker, evil Catholic priests, and the like)


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