What Is The Average Global Temperature?

12/07/201516 Comments

The average global temperature is…impossible to measure and harder to calculate than you might think. While GISS and RSS and UAH and GHCN might be a confusing jumble of letters to most people, there are people pushing for global taxes, global courts and individual carbon budgets based on these data sets. So let’s roll up our sleeves and take a look at the concept of “average global temperature.”

The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature

Q&A – An Audience With David Suzuki

Jail politicians who ignore climate science: Suzuki


Temperature anomaly relative to 30 year mean for different datasets

RSS Continues To Diverge From GISS

The robust Pause resists a robust el Niño Still no global warming at all for 18 years 9 months

GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Percentage of Reporting GSCN Stations that are USHCN

Data Tampering At USHCN/GISS

Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit


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  1. hankblackgraphics says:

    That was really well done! You are getting even better with age. Unfortunately, I doubt this will even dent the religious zeal of those who buy the alarmism, even those not that invested in the particular climate arguments. Now it is once again the protracted rah-rah campaign season. Remember Bernie said climate change is a direct cause of terrorism, like the Paris shootings. If you say you are voting democrat, you will not entertain such blasphemy…especially if math is involved. How many are aware that even the word average can be different for the same data set, depending on whether you use median, mean, or mode average.
    And there are arithmetic means and geometric means and exponential means to boot. BTW, which type of averages were being referred to in your video?
    Are there any apples and oranges in the different charts?

  2. doublek321 says:

    Another great video. Not sure if you’re aware but WhoWhatWhy.org (which I generally like a lot) is on the other side of this debate (believing in AGW). I believe Russ Baker is sincere in his beliefs but it’s interesting to me when there are people/sites I like who/that disagree with each other.

    Also one other thing – In order to get to the comments on the “main video”, I had to click it to go to YouTube. Then on YouTube, there’s a link that let me click back to CorbettReport.com. Any chance you can make it easier for viewers to get to this page directly from the main page? Let me know if you’re unclear w/ what I’m saying. I notice there aren’t any comments on your video right now and I’m guessing this is contributing to it.

    • Simon says:

      Only got this page and comments via the recent comments section so agree with the ‘ Any chance you can make it easier for viewers to get to this page directly from the main page?’ part. Cannot see this on Video’s dropdown either. A minor gripe and a big well done and thank you James for the quality content.

    • Corbett says:

      Thanks for the suggestion. To access old videos show notes and comments you can always use the “Video” tab in the menu bar, but I have added a “CLICK HERE FOR SHOW NOTES AND COMMENTS” link underneath the YouTube embed on the front page. From now on you will always be able to access the video that way (unless the Featured Video is a video from another website or channel).

  3. pertinax193 says:

    Are there any studies that correlate all of this temperature data with the sun solar activity and the earth magnetism measurements?

    • keenan67 says:

      “Are there any studies that correlate all of this temperature data with the sun solar activity and the earth magnetism measurements?”

      Many decades of peer reviewed science articles have examined all the many factors that influence the climate, including solar activity and magnetism. The idea that the mainstream science expertise on this issue has ignored the influence of solar activity or volcanoes or many other such things that AGW skeptics have proposed as the real cause of the warming is a complete myth that has been created and circulated by the skeptics. Anybody who is familiar with the peer reviewed research would know that this assertion is false.

  4. keenan67 says:

    I have been a long time listener to the Corbett Report and appreciate your generally credible in depth reports on many issues that are either not covered, or poorly covered by the mainstream media. Your 9/11 stuff is particularly informative. When it comes to the issue of Climate Change science, however, I find your reporting on this issue not very well informed, and methodically not very credible. I would like to point out some of the issues I found with your latest video report regarding “What is the average global temperature?”

    It is obvious that you are coming from a position of AGW skeptic, and there are some particular errors and false assumptions in your reporting on this issue that are typical of most AGW skeptics. One of the most frequent false assumptions that skeptics make regarding the so-called “15 year pause” in global average land surface temperatures (which lasted from 1998 to 2013 at which point the data shows a resumption of rising land temperatures) is to assume, falsely, that the entire body of evidence of the warming climate consists entirely or mostly of this land surface temperature data. A related false assumption that usually follows is that, therefore, if there really was a 15 year pause in rising surface temperatures (which is not necessarily accurate) then that means that “Global Warming stopped for 15 years”. Both of these assumptions are completely false.

    These false assumptions on your part could be why you may have mischaracterized David Suzuki’s response as “ignorant” when he responded dismissively to the guy who claimed that the data showed a “17 year flat trend which suggests there is something wrong in the CO2 warming theory”. Suzuki explained that the claim was by a skeptic “merely taking the data and coming to that conclusion”. You called that a “display of ignorance”. Based on your subsequent discussion of the temperature datasets that showed the 15 year pause, and that therefore that shows that David Suzuki is ignorant and unaware of that data, it appears to me that you mistook David Suzuki’s response as him being unaware of the data.

    Here is where it appears you erred in your interpretation of Suzuki’s response: What David Suzuki was referring to as a false conclusion was not the apparent 15 year pause in surface temperatures, but in the 2nd part of the guy’s assertion, which was that the data “suggests there is something wrong in the CO2 warming theory”. In fact, David Suzuki’s explanation is completely in line with mainstream Climate Scientists who do NOT claim that the apparent 15 year pause in surface temperatures are an indication that the CO2 warming theory is wrong, and that people who are coming to that false conclusion are indeed cherry picking the data.

    I’m going to give you 2 numbers that are crucial in looking at the data for global warming: 2 and 90

    These numbers are the percentage of global warming heat that is absorbed in the atmosphere vs the amount of heat stored in the oceans. 2% is stored in the atmosphere, 90% in the oceans (the rest, 8% is what is stored in land, glaciers, lakes, etc). This is why cherry picking ONLY land surface temperature data to assume what is happening globally regarding global warming, while ignoring the rest of the body of evidence, is completely useless, and leads to such false conclusions as “well, global warming must have stopped as reflected in the apparent land surface temperature pause”. The reason for this is the difference in Specific Heat and Heat Capacity of various kinds of mass. Water, for instance, has a Specific Heat of 4.190 J/goC (Joules per gram per degree C). Dry air has a specific heat of approximately 1.0 J/goC. What this means is that for a given mass (g) of air vs the same mass of water, the heat storage capacity of water is 4 times that of air – per gram (not per volume). And since the density of air is much less than water at standard temperature and pressure (sea level), you can see that per volume the heat storage capacity of water increases to many orders of magnitude higher than that of air.

    Here is a good summary of the breakdown in where the heat goes:

    “The amount of heat stored in the oceans is one of the most important diagnostics for global warming, because about 90% of the additional heat is stored there (you can read more about this in the last IPCC report from 2007). The atmosphere stores only about 2% because of its small heat capacity. The surface (including the continental ice masses) can only absorb heat slowly because it is a poor heat conductor. Thus, heat absorbed by the oceans accounts for almost all of the planet’s radiative imbalance.”
    (from: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/09/what-ocean-heating-reveals-about-global-warming/)

    It is at this point that I should mention the difference between heat and temperature, and why heat is the more substantial data point to look at, particularly when discussing global warming projections. Temperatures should be looked at as a temporary snapshot of one expression of heat in a particular location that varies, but tells you little about the heat available going into the future, whereas heat should be looked at as the power source or a battery that can produce temperature rises in the future. It makes no sense to only look at average surface temperatures for only 15 years, or only a few decades, while completely ignoring the amount and rate of heat build up in the oceans – the major store of heat for the earth’s climate.

    The only way to get a real idea of the actual warming of the earth’s climate is to include ALL places where heat is being absorbed, and Especially the oceans. And in fact if you look at the rate of warming for the oceans, you can see a much more steady and uninterrupted rise. I don’t know how to display images or graphs here, but if you can click on the link below, you can see the graph of the increasing heat absorption of the oceans:


    Furthermore, regardless of the apparent fact that the data showed that land surface temperatures paused for 15 years (which more recent analysis indicates may be inaccurate) future surface temperatures cannot escape the effects of the substantial build up of heat in the oceans and are guaranteed to reflect this increased heat over time in rising average temperatures.

    I have many other important points to make regarding problems in your assumptions and methodology, but this will have to wait for later comments due to the size constraints of the comments, as well as may time schedule. But here is some food for thought in the meantime: If you acknowledge the massive Geoengineering program being conducted by the US Air Force, which I firmly accept is the reality via my own observations for the last 8 years, then would you not agree that it might be possible to mask for a certain period of time some of the effects of global warming on land surface temperatures, and that those who are the primary financial interests in geoengineering (fossil fuel and mining industries who have $Trillions of future profits at stake) may have an interest in slowing down the effects of global warming, either temporarily or apparently, long enough to avoid global panic that would risk a sudden restriction on the use of their products?

    • Apollo Slater says:

      If surface temperature records aren’t an accurate indicator of global warming / climate change, why are warmists always citing them? Why does the IPCC use surface temperature records? Why hasn’t all that data been thrown out as useless by now, if it’s as useless as you say?

      It’s funny. The warmists pick one measure for their prediction. Then that prediction fails … and they change the measure! The theory is never at fault, you see. That’s what we call dogma.

    • rtamaki says:

      So much apologetic, so little substance.

      The ignorance portrayed by Suzuki was that he was unaware of the major global temperature datasets. How can anyone claim to be reasonably informed about global warming when they don’t even know the datasets used to inform that discussion.

      Suzuki makes a snide remark about the work of Spencer and Christy at UAH, but fails to acknowledge that the other satellite dataset, RSS, operates completely independently from UAH, and it is their data that is used to calculate the 15 (now 18) year pause. The RSS directors are firmly established in the AGW camp, so they have no reason to adjust their dataset downward. Given that both satellite measures are substantially in agreement, then we can place a fair amount of confidence in their results.

      As for the land surface temperatures, it seems you must have blanked out for that portion of James’ video that shows how these indices have been continuously adjusted to increase current temperatures and decrease historical temperatures. It’s curious how all the adjustments only work in one direction. Random or systemic errors would presumably work in both directions, except in climate science, where it is a one-way street.

      Nevertheless, you suggest that the pause has now ended, and surface temperatures have re-commenced their inexorable climb. That termination is reflected only in the NCEI and GISS datasets, and not HADCRUT or HADSST3, nor in the satellite microwave records. The reason for the recent increase in both datasets is that they have adopted the ERSSTv4 sea surface temperature dataset as described by Karl 2015. This study adjusts the sea surface temperature record to correct for the transition from Engine Room Temperature Sea Surface records from passing ships to the ARGO float network. While there may be merit in making that correction (this is still widely debated), the way that it was applied was to increase the modern temperatures, whereas it could equally have been applied to decrease prior temperatures. Basically, the record high temperatures reported in 2014 are an artefact of the Karl adjustment.

      Regardless of the merits of these adjustments, by the measure of any of the datasets, the global land-ocean surface temperatures are all strikingly below the CMIP5 computer model average, and below the vast majority of model runs. The clear takeaway is that the computers have been significantly overestimating real temperatures. This implies, as have been pointed out by numerous studies published since the closing date for AR5, that climate sensitivity is far lower than what is popularly projected by the activist class. In short, the catastrophe is cancelled.

      And as for realclimate, you obviously are unaware of the raison-d’etre for that site. It is a propaganda machine that was established in 2004 to try to preemptively counter the publication of papers by McIntyre & McKitrick (M&M) that were sharply critical of the hockey stick curve (M&M have subsequently been thoroughly validated in their criticisms). It operates as an echo chamber, blocking dissenting views, maintaining strict discipline over its messaging. That’s why nobody really pays any attention to it anymore, except for died-in-the-wool AGW extremists. It is a site for indoctrination with a scientific veneer. It is not a site for rational scientific debate.

    • keenan67 says:

      Hi Simon. I’m interested in what you actually know regarding the science, and if you understand how to assess the credibility of sources. Anybody can do a google search to come up with links that support their point of view, and then present those links assuming that they have proved something. Links do not impress me. The one link “www.populartechnology.net” that you provided that attacks realclimate.org appears to be a web site set up by the typical disinformation folks tasked with attacking climate change science. Its attack on realclimate.org is short on evidence or scientific arguments, and long on ad hominem attacks and baseless assertions. And it has not refuted any of my points or arguments.

      The information I quoted from realclimate.org was from peer reviewed science and from the IPCC. Trying to smear realclimate.org without being able to dispute or refute any of the actual scientific points or facts I discussed has not accomplished anything.

      So, if you have any actual scientific arguments to make that are backed by provable evidence or by credible sources regarding my points, then I would be interested in seeing them. But simply putting up some links without being able to discuss any specifics doesn’t really cut it.

      • cabanaobr says:

        Hi Keenan! I am wondering why you haven’t responded to the posts that *have* disputed your claims on substance, and have *only* replied to someone who questioned your source, RealClimate, with reason, as RealClimate was explicitly implicated in Climategate.

        Even if the research cited in Climategate was peer reviewed (the peer review mantra continues to hum in the ears of alarmists) it is highly likely, given the circumstances surrounding RealClimate. As a point of comparison, I wonder how you would respond to anyone who cites studies posted on Watt’s Up With That. In your words, anyone can do a google search and come up with data that supports their view. And it seems that this is the standard operating procedure at RealClimate, except that they are likely to have sources of alarmist data at the ready on speed-dial.

        I also wonder what your personal credentials are. I have spoken with NASA employees about AGW, and I have found them to be, on the whole, defensive and light on justification for their dogmas.

        I also wonder why you continue to cite the IPCC as any sort of credible source on Climate Change. I would look for sources that bypass the IPCC, given the institutional corruption that has befouled that institution. Or perhaps you feel it’s just fine for an organization to pretend that it compiles only the best material on climate science, and then proceed to use “grey” research conducted by the World Wildlife Fund, and then not tell anyone about it.

        I also wonder what your view is as to why the surface temp. record and the satellite record are diverging so suddenly. Do you have any peer-reviewed CYA research explaining this divergence? And what exactly is the purpose of devaluing surface temperature data sets when the surface temperature data is what is (after considerable massaging) showing slight warming. It is that satellite sets that are showing stasis. (CYA, by the way, is not an official institute; it is rather a colloquial acronym.)

  5. jgreny says:

    “The majority of weather stations used by NOAA to detect climate change temperature signal have been compromised by encroachment of artificial surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and heat sources like air conditioner exhausts,” Anthony Watts, a seasoned meteorologist and lead author of the study, said…”
    source: http://dailycaller.com/2015/12/17/exclusive-noaa-relies-on-compromised-thermometers-that-inflate-u-s-warming-trend/

    “Since September 1994, University of Alabama in Huntsville’s satellite temperature data has shown no statistically significant global warming trend. For over 20 years there’s been no warming trend apparent in the satellite records and will soon be entering into year 22 with no warming trend apparent in satellite data — which examines the lowest few miles of the Earth’s atmosphere.”
    source: http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/17/satellites-earth-is-nearly-in-its-21st-year-without-global-warming/

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