The relative plateauing of world temperatures since the late 1990s has become the major argument of those who argue that global warming is nonsense. But I wonder what they will say if 2014 turn out to be a new record high point? Personally I’m looking forward to Andrew Bolt’s explanation.
And an explanation is looking more and more likely. I reported earlier this month how, according to NASA, September just gone was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880. Now the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reached a similar conclusion and has speculated as well with a couple of graphics on what the whole year will end up like.
The graphics compare the year-to-date temperature anomalies for 2014 (black line) to what were ultimately the five warmest years on record: 2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, and 2013. Each month along each trace represents the year-to-date average temperature. In other words, the January value is the January average temperature, the February value is the average of both January and February, and so on.
The first graphic shows the basic year-to-date comparison.
The second graphic zooms even further to what were ultimately the five warmest years on record, and shows several end-of-year results based on the following scenarios:
The years 2013 and 2014 are the only years on this list not to begin during a mature El Niño event. The years 1998 and 2010, each of which became the warmest year on record at the time, ended the year in a strong La Niña event, as evidenced by the relative fading of global average temperature later in the year.
The anomalies themselves represent departures from the 20th century average temperature. The graph zooms into the warmest part of the entire history.
(Click on graph to enlarge)
As for the prospects of an El Niño event to kick temperatures along even further, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorologysaid on Tuesday that El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators, as well as Australian rainfall patterns, continue to show some El Niño-like signatures, but remain in the neutral range.
The tropical Pacific Ocean has remained warmer than average for more than six months, while the Southern Oscillation Index has remained negative since early June. However neither has reached typical El Niño levels for any sustained period, and only weak atmosphere-ocean coupling appears to have taken place so far.
International models surveyed by the Bureau suggest that warmer-than-average tropical Pacific waters are likely to persist. While there has been some easing in model outlooks over the past month, three of eight models reach El Niño thresholds by January and another two remain just shy of the thresholds for an event.
Australia has generally been dry and warm over recent months. A warmer central tropical Pacific late in the year typically heralds warmer and drier conditions for parts of eastern Australia, as well as a reduction in the number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region and increased bushfire risk in the south.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is likely to remain neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on the Australian climate from December to April.