Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tracking Temperature Changes in Land-Surface, Air, and Sea-Water over 1753-2013

Today, a sudden curiosity struck me. How is global warming since the pre-industrial era?

Before introducing my figures and tables, I want to mention the IPCC's projections. The IPCC AR5 forecasts four different outcomes for global warming. Relative to the reference period of 1850−1900,  the global surface temperature had risen about 0.61 °C until 1986-2005 period. RCP2.6 is keeping the global warming below 2 °C by limiting the temperature rise at 1.61 °C. RCP8.5, the worst cast scenario, predicts the global warming could be 4.31 °C above the 1850-1900 average (Working Group I, 2013).

Currently, our world is walking the path of RCP8.5 (Le Quéré et al., 2014). It means that no climate policy is working. To make things worse, technology does not help the climate mitigation, either. A recent study revealed that the globally-welcomed technological breakthrough known as hydraulic fracturing (i.e., fracking) of shale gas might lower natural gas price but will fail to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (McJeon et al., 2014). If we continue what we are doing now, the 2 °C goal would be shelved forever before the middle of this century.

Table 1. Global Mean Surface Temperature Change
(Relative to the reference period of 1850−1900)
Scenario1986–20052046–20652081–2100
RCP2.60.61 °C1.61 °C1.61 °C
RCP4.50.61 °C2.01 °C2.41 °C
RCP6.00.61 °C1.91 °C2.81 °C
RCP8.50.61 °C2.61 °C4.31 °C
Source: Working Group I, 2013

Now, the following is my attempt to draw figures of long-term annual temperature changes. A recently launched global temperature database (Berkeley Earth, 2014) gave me a good time series data set for answering my question asked in the first sentence of this post. I tried to track down the trends of temperature in land-surface, air, and sea-water since before the Industrial Revolution.

There is a caveat, though. As I have explained in a previous post, temperature change estimates for any periods older than 1850 (in this case, 1753-1850) entail a high degree of uncertainties (You will understand what I mean by "uncertainties" when you see a graph below that shows a wide range of land-surface temperature fluctuations during the first century since the industrialization.). In addition to the annual recorded (or estimated) temperature data, therefore, I will calculate the range of global warming compared to the average temperature of 1851-1880 period. After the graphs, I will copy the data table for anyone interested in specific numbers (Table 3).

Land-surface temperature has shown the largest change among the three series. The global land-surface temperature rose from 7.874 °C in 1753 to 9.622 °C in 2013. It is a warming of 1.456 °C above the 1851-1880 average (8.166 °C).

However, most of our discussion about climate change is about atmospheric temperature. The temperature of air above sea-ice has warmed  from 14.330 °C in 1850 to 15.331 °C in 2013, which is 0.860 °C warmer than the 1851-1880 average (14.471 °C). If the world wants to keep the warming below 2 °C above the pre-industrial level, there is only a 1.140 °C margin remaining. In fact, the IPCC Working Group I's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) stated that the globally averaged combined land and ocean surface temperature showed a warming of 0.85 °C over the period 1880 to 2012.

In addition, there might be some people who wonder if this data set shows an evidence of the global warming hiatus since 1998. (Trenberth, 2015). I made a comparison table for them, below. It seems that there was no such "hiatus" since 1998, although the latest 6 years were slightly cooler than the latest 11 years. Recent studies (e.g., Miller et al., 2014) are listing several reasons for the discrepancies between climate model (CMIP5) forecasts and actual temperature changes. They are (1) less solar radiation than the models estimated, (2) more effects from aerosols than the model simulation results, (3) a bias in the observations due to less data from the arctic regions than other regions, and (4) effects from ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation).

Table 2. Detecting a Likely Hiatus in Global Warming in Recent Years
Period1851-18801981-20101998-20132003-20132008-2013
Average
Temperature
(°C)
Land-Surface8.1669.2469.5309.5769.567
Air14.47115.12115.29615.32415.314
Water15.02815.63615.79415.82015.813
Anomaly
relative to the
1851-1880
average (°C)
Land-Surface0.0001.0791.3641.4101.401
Air0.0000.6500.8250.8530.843
Water0.0000.6080.7660.7920.785







Table 3. Historical Warming since Pre-Industrial Era
YearEstimated Temperature (°C)Annual Anomaly (°C)
(Relative to the 1851-1880 average)
Land-Surface
(1753-2013)
Air
above Sea-Ice
(1850-2013)
Water
below Sea-Ice
(1850-2013)
Land-Surface
(1753-2013)
Air
above Sea-Ice
(1850-2013)
Water
below Sea-Ice
(1850-2013)
17537.874

-0.292

17547.995

-0.171

17557.848

-0.318

17568.333

0.167

17578.465

0.299

17586.181

-1.985

17597.359

-0.807

17606.648

-1.518

17618.199

0.033

17627.980

-0.186

17637.083

-1.083

17648.360

0.194

17658.326

0.160

17668.428

0.262

17678.455

0.289

17686.988

-1.178

17697.957

-0.209

17707.854

-0.312

17718.061

-0.105

17728.308

0.142

17738.326

0.160

17748.840

0.674

17759.092

0.926

17768.139

-0.027

17777.952

-0.214

17788.177

0.011

17798.589

0.423

17809.372

1.206

17818.207

0.041

17827.968

-0.198

17837.835

-0.331

17848.051

-0.115

17857.532

-0.634

17868.498

0.332

17878.257

0.091

17888.677

0.511

17898.529

0.363

17908.138

-0.028

17918.344

0.178

17928.168

0.002

17938.334

0.168

17948.607

0.441

17958.537

0.371

17968.482

0.316

17978.699

0.533

17988.882

0.716

17998.683

0.517

18008.654

0.488

18018.740

0.574

18028.758

0.592

18038.598

0.432

18048.910

0.744

18058.649

0.483

18068.507

0.341

18078.356

0.190

18087.696

-0.470

18097.176

-0.990

18107.085

-1.081

18117.022

-1.144

18127.152

-1.014

18137.841

-0.325

18147.691

-0.475

18157.352

-0.814

18167.066

-1.100

18177.096

-1.070

18187.959

-0.207

18197.497

-0.669

18207.716

-0.450

18218.135

-0.031

18228.259

0.093

18237.768

-0.398

18248.605

0.439

18258.442

0.276

18268.412

0.246

18278.779

0.613

18288.190

0.024

18297.999

-0.167

18308.585

0.419

18317.699

-0.467

18327.477

-0.689

18338.031

-0.135

18348.226

0.060

18357.462

-0.704

18367.646

-0.520

18377.354

-0.812

18387.482

-0.684

18397.654

-0.512

18407.808

-0.358

18417.704

-0.462

18428.034

-0.132

18438.211

0.045

18447.678

-0.488

18457.898

-0.268

18468.587

0.421

18478.110

-0.056

18488.016

-0.150

18498.037

-0.129

18507.90914.33014.898-0.257-0.141-0.130
18518.18914.49515.0450.0230.0240.017
18528.11114.48915.048-0.0550.0180.020
18538.06614.43914.997-0.100-0.032-0.031
18548.22914.50215.0520.0630.0310.024
18558.18314.54315.1040.0170.0720.076
18568.07014.33814.905-0.096-0.133-0.123
18577.82514.23514.809-0.341-0.236-0.219
18588.15714.37814.936-0.009-0.093-0.092
18598.30214.43914.9890.136-0.032-0.039
18608.01714.37114.929-0.149-0.100-0.099
18617.91514.31014.871-0.251-0.161-0.157
18627.59614.21014.790-0.570-0.261-0.238
18638.17614.44915.0100.010-0.022-0.018
18648.00414.38114.940-0.162-0.090-0.088
18658.19614.48215.0390.0300.0110.011
18668.30714.53515.0950.1410.0640.067
18678.43314.55915.1030.2670.0880.075
18688.22014.57215.1330.0540.1010.105
18698.38814.56515.1080.2220.0940.080
18708.18914.48615.0380.0230.0150.010
18718.07614.47515.039-0.0900.0040.011
18728.14114.48815.044-0.0250.0170.016
18738.30314.52815.0820.1370.0570.054
18748.41914.44914.9870.253-0.022-0.041
18757.85214.39814.965-0.314-0.073-0.063
18768.04214.37814.939-0.124-0.093-0.089
18778.49614.76715.3140.3300.2960.286
18788.82614.85515.3900.6600.3840.362
18798.14114.54215.102-0.0250.0710.074
18808.11614.47115.035-0.0500.0000.007
18818.29714.56115.1160.1310.0900.088
18828.15214.50415.078-0.0140.0330.050
18838.03714.43514.994-0.129-0.036-0.034
18847.83014.27714.863-0.336-0.194-0.165
18857.95614.29514.876-0.210-0.176-0.152
18867.99114.27614.853-0.175-0.195-0.175
18877.95314.25214.839-0.213-0.219-0.189
18888.11814.44915.017-0.048-0.022-0.011
18898.35414.57315.1330.1880.1020.105
18908.01114.28414.860-0.155-0.187-0.168
18918.05514.39614.967-0.111-0.075-0.061
18928.09714.35314.910-0.069-0.118-0.118
18938.08514.38614.938-0.081-0.085-0.090
18948.20014.38014.9400.034-0.091-0.088
18958.19414.43814.9960.028-0.033-0.032
18968.30314.56615.1300.1370.0950.102
18978.38214.56215.1140.2160.0910.086
18988.22914.35714.9170.063-0.114-0.111
18998.41414.50815.0640.2480.0370.036
19008.54314.62715.1700.3770.1560.142
19018.58114.55215.0980.4150.0810.070
19028.31514.41114.9750.149-0.060-0.053
19038.26614.30914.8620.100-0.162-0.166
19048.11414.27614.829-0.052-0.195-0.199
19058.26414.42514.9780.098-0.046-0.050
19068.44614.51115.0630.2800.0400.035
19078.00014.33414.898-0.166-0.137-0.130
19088.21814.31014.8540.052-0.161-0.174
19098.21414.25314.8110.048-0.218-0.217
19108.25714.28014.8410.091-0.191-0.187
19118.21814.25814.7990.052-0.213-0.229
19128.20214.34014.8980.036-0.131-0.130
19138.33514.37414.9320.169-0.097-0.096
19148.63314.54715.0980.4670.0760.070
19158.63614.61015.1650.4700.1390.137
19168.27514.36614.9230.109-0.105-0.105
19178.06214.26714.834-0.104-0.204-0.194
19188.16714.41314.9850.001-0.058-0.043
19198.42014.49015.0290.2540.0190.001
19208.37914.50415.0460.2130.0330.018
19218.58814.58115.1200.4220.1100.092
19228.42214.48515.0260.2560.014-0.002
19238.44314.50415.0400.2770.0330.012
19248.52314.52115.0560.3570.0500.028
19258.54914.56115.1080.3830.0900.080
19268.74914.70415.2560.5830.2330.228
19278.55414.59015.1370.3880.1190.109
19288.66414.60415.1460.4980.1330.118
19298.26914.42714.9820.103-0.044-0.046
19308.65014.65315.1850.4840.1820.157
19318.74514.70415.2390.5790.2330.211
19328.73614.66415.2020.5700.1930.174
19338.37214.48015.0300.2060.0090.002
19348.66814.62215.1670.5020.1510.139
19358.55114.58715.1400.3850.1160.112
19368.58714.63915.1850.4210.1680.157
19378.71314.80015.3150.5470.3290.287
19388.88414.80115.3120.7180.3300.284
19398.77914.77115.3180.6130.3000.290
19408.79014.86915.3850.6240.3980.357
19418.78814.84415.3970.6220.3730.369
19428.75814.80415.3400.5920.3330.312
19438.77614.83915.3560.6100.3680.328
19448.86914.94215.4620.7030.4710.434
19458.59814.80415.3420.4320.3330.314
19468.69814.73715.2760.5320.2660.248
19478.81914.82415.3210.6530.3530.293
19488.76614.72415.2740.6000.2530.246
19498.60814.69015.2330.4420.2190.205
19508.38414.61215.1490.2180.1410.121
19518.64614.78815.3220.4800.3170.294
19528.66214.85115.3750.4960.3800.347
19538.89714.91715.4340.7310.4460.406
19548.58314.71815.2420.4170.2470.214
19558.65314.66615.1890.4870.1950.161
19568.30514.59615.1190.1390.1250.091
19578.75814.84515.3860.5920.3740.358
19588.80014.84515.3950.6340.3740.367
19598.76014.81915.3540.5940.3480.326
19608.60814.77315.3040.4420.3020.276
19618.82814.85015.3930.6620.3790.365
19628.77214.80715.3380.6060.3360.310
19638.88914.84815.3910.7230.3770.363
19648.43714.57415.1270.2710.1030.099
19658.55514.67315.2080.3890.2020.180
19668.62814.74115.2790.4620.2700.251
19678.72714.78015.3070.5610.3090.279
19688.54414.72315.2780.3780.2520.250
19698.62214.86115.4020.4560.3900.374
19708.73814.79115.3470.5720.3200.319
19718.64314.67415.2160.4770.2030.188
19728.54314.76715.3100.3770.2960.282
19738.98814.86715.4180.8220.3960.390
19748.51014.64915.1830.3440.1780.155
19758.77914.70315.2520.6130.2320.224
19768.39314.59715.1470.2270.1260.119
19778.89514.89415.4260.7290.4230.398
19788.73814.77115.3170.5720.3000.289
19798.77114.85815.4280.6050.3870.400
19809.02714.97715.5040.8610.5060.476
19819.20615.02415.5291.0400.5530.501
19828.68714.80615.3580.5210.3350.330
19839.07314.99615.5350.9070.5250.507
19848.73614.83115.3590.5700.3600.331
19858.70414.81715.3570.5380.3460.329
19868.88714.86615.4010.7210.3950.373
19879.04715.00515.5430.8810.5340.515
19889.24515.05315.5711.0790.5820.543
19898.96514.93015.4570.7990.4590.429
19909.27715.12015.6441.1110.6490.616
19919.21815.10315.6131.0520.6320.585
19928.87114.92015.4680.7050.4490.440
19938.90614.95515.4820.7400.4840.454
19949.07615.00415.5500.9100.5330.522
19959.38215.15115.6521.2160.6800.624
19969.07015.05015.5370.9040.5790.509
19979.23415.19115.7261.0680.7200.698
19989.55215.34215.8401.3860.8710.812
19999.31715.10715.6121.1510.6360.584
20009.23215.12715.6231.0660.6560.595
20019.44515.26415.7771.2790.7930.749
20029.59515.34115.8381.4290.8700.810
20039.54215.32615.8341.3760.8550.806
20049.35615.23015.7691.1900.7590.741
20059.73015.40815.8881.5640.9370.860
20069.54615.35315.8181.3800.8820.790
20079.76115.36115.8351.5950.8900.807
20089.45815.22115.7261.2920.7500.698
20099.52315.33415.8291.3570.8630.801
20109.72415.40415.8971.5580.9330.869
20119.54315.28115.7701.3770.8100.742
20129.53015.31215.8011.3640.8410.773
20139.62215.33115.8531.4560.8600.825

References:

Berkeley Earth. (2014). Time Series Data. [Data at http://berkeleyearth.org/data]

Le Quéré, C. et al. (2014). Global Carbon Budget 2014. Earth System Science Data Discussions, (In Review). [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/essdd-7-521-2014; Data at http://cdiac.ornl.gov/GCP/]

McJeon, H. et al. (2014). Limited impact on decadal-scale climate change from increased use of natural gas. Nature (In Press; advance online publication). [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13837]

Miller, R. L. et al. (2014). CMIP5 historical simulations (1850–2012) with GISS ModelE2. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, 6(2), 441-477. [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2013MS000266]

Trenberth, K. E. (2015). Has there been a hiatus? Science, 349(6249), 691-692. [Full-text at http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aac9225]

Working Group I. (2013). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Bern, Switzerland: IPCC Working Group I. [Full-text at http://j.mp/WG1AR5]

3 comments:

  1. Wow, A lot of time and effort went into this. Very interesting visual.
    As I glance through the analysis, I don't see any real issues with your work.
    It does seem worrisome. I'm concerned that the "hiatus" that many people would like to believe and the abundant, low-price of oil will lull people into a false sense of security.
    Being more sustainable sooner, not later, has got to be far better...
    Thanks for you graphics.
    I'll book mark them for future reference.
    Elmer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment. Recent studies are listing several reasons for the discrepancies between climate model forecasts and actual temperature changes since 1998. Such as:
      (1) Less solar radiation than the models estimated
      (2) More effects from aerosols than the model simulation results
      (3) A bias in the observations due to less data from the arctic regions than other regions
      (4) Effects from ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation)

      In addition, my previous posts could be a little helpful to you, if you're interested.

      (a) Current Locations of the Net Energy Gain by the Earth over the Past 40 Years (According to the IPCC AR5) http://j.mp/EarthEnergyAllocation

      (b) On the 60% Larger Arctic Ice Cap Year-Over-Year and on the Recent Global Warming Hiatus http://j.mp/GlobalWarmingValid

      Delete
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