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July Adds To Globe’s String of 341 Warm Months

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The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures — a more than 28-year timespan that reflects the significant warming observed worldwide since the 1970s.

Global temperature departures from average for July 2013.
Credit: NOAA.

That means that no one under the age of 28 has ever experienced a month in which global average surface temperatures were cooler than average (based on the 20th century average).

Leaked drafts of a forthcoming report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations-sponsored group of scientists tasked with assessing the scientific evidence on climate change, show that the group is likely to more conclusively tie this warming to manmade greenhouse gas emissions, compared to the group’s last major assessment in 2007.

According to NOAA, the last July that had an average global temperature below the 20th-century mean was July 1976, and the last below-average month was February 1985.

The year-to-date tied with 2003 as the sixth warmest such period on record, with an average global land and sea surface temperature of 1.06°F above the 20th century average, NOAA said.

Areas of the globe that were unusually warm during July included the western and northeastern U.S., much of Africa, western and central Europe, parts of southern Asia, and most of Australia, which had its third-warmest July on record.

The U.K. also had its third-warmest July, and it was the warmest July and second-warmest month on record for Northern Ireland, according to preliminary data.

Austria, which has an unusually long temperature record that dates back to 1767, had its second-warmest July, with a nationally averaged temperature that was 4°F above average.

Cooler spots included the central and southeastern U.S., eastern Greenland, and parts of eastern Siberia.

Despite the absence of El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific, which can increase sea surface temperatures, global ocean temperatures were still the fifth warmest on record for July.

Arctic sea ice projection showing the likelihood that the ice will not break the record low, which was set in 2012.
Credit: NSIDC.

July falls during the height of the Arctic melt season, and Arctic sea ice, which reached a record low after the 2012 summer melt season, declined at the second-fastest rate on record for the month, with an average loss rate of 41,000 square miles per day. That is like losing an area of ice the size of the state of Virginia on a daily basis.

Sea ice extent tracked above last year’s record, however, with the average July sea ice extent running 483,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average, making it the fifth-smallest July Arctic sea ice extent since the beginning of satellite observations there in 1979.

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo., the sea ice extent at the end of this melt season should not break last year’s record low.

Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is still winter, Antarctica saw its second-largest July sea ice extent on record. That is in keeping with recent trends that climate studies have shown to be linked to local ocean currents and air circulation patterns, and is consistent with a warming world. 

While the sea ice bordering Antarctica has been growing slightly during the past few years, the massive ice sheets that sit directly atop the frozen continent are shrinking, thereby raising global sea levels.

Related Content
Forget the Melting Arctic: Sea Ice In Antarctica is Growing!
It's Official: Arctic Sea Ice Shatters Record Low
The Bad News Continues to Flow About Antarctica's Ice 
Record Heat in June Extends Globe's Warm Streak to 340 Months


By Eric Peterson (Front Royal, VA 22630)
on August 20th, 2013

“(based on the 20th century average)”

Why is that average the right one to use?  Based on the last 30 years (a typical average for climatology), July 2013 was lower than July in 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 and comparable to Julys about 10 years ago.

OTOH, the 20th century started with cold years still recovering from the Little Ice Age.  Of course it is going to be warmer than that.

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By Larry
on August 21st, 2013

Eric - so we should use less data than is available?  Interesting approach.  Almost sounds like, hmm, what’s the phrase for it?  Oh that’s right - cherry picking.

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By Kermit Freehand (Pasco, WA 99301)
on August 21st, 2013

Comparing current temps to just a few years ago are inappropriate. Thirty years is pretty much the minimum for seeing a trend. Using the 20th century average (or the beginning of the century as a baseline year) is useful because many reliable readings were being taken at that time. We can assume that pre-1900 industrial affects were minimal compared to a century later.

The little ice age was likely a result of aerosols and particulates from volcanic activity. Why do you think we were still recovering by 1900? If natural cycles were the only climate processes going on now, we would still be sliding slowly into the glacial period of this ice age. Instead, all indications are that human production of greenhouse gases (and some other activities, such as reducing snow & ice albedo with soot, deforestation, etc) are swamping those natural changes.

We can see changes in the tree species in old forests, migration of animals poleward, extinctions of species that are millions of years old, etc,  We are getting warmer than we have been in hundreds of thousands of years, and will get much warmer yet, and it is happening at an increasingly rapid rate. The existennce of AGW is no longer being debated scientifically - the debates are in the details. Have the methane clathrates reached a tipping point, how much will the change in albedo of the northern forests affect the rates, what will we see in the next strong el nino year, etc. The fact that global warming is occurring, that it is largely human caused, that the changes will be mostly bad (because of their speed, largely) is not in doubt.

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By Sou
on August 21st, 2013

Don’t panic, Eric Peterson, soon enough July 2013 won’t just be colder than July 2012, it will be colder than July 2020 and 2030 and way colder than July 2040 and beyond.  Enjoy it while you can.

Thanks, Andrew.  Informative as ever.

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By Eric Peterson (Front Royal, VA 22630)
on August 22nd, 2013

Using the 20th century means including the tail end of the Little Ice Age in the average.  It has no basis in science The use of 100 years is a result of our having 10 fingers (most of us anyway) and no other reason.

As for using the “most data available”, the data before the satellite era is very poor.  It consists of unevenly distributed stations on land and very poor and uneven readings from parts of the ocean (ignoring others).

The reason why people use the 20th century is to make claims like the headline of this article.  There is no other reason.

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By Paul Budline (Princeton, NJ)
on August 22nd, 2013

Amusing, no??

“Global Warming Tipping Point Close?”—headline,, Jan. 27, 2004

“Warming Hits ‘Tipping Point’ “—headline, Guardian, Aug. 11, 2005

“Earth at the Tipping Point: Global Warming Heats Up”—headline, Time, March 26, 2006

“Global Warming ‘Tipping Points’ Reached, Scientist Says”—headline,, Dec. 14, 2007

“Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near on Global Warming”—headline, Puffington Host, June 23, 2008

“Global Warming: Those Tipping Points Are Closer Than You Think”—headline,, April 29, 2009

“Have We Reached the Tipping Point for Planet Earth?”—video title,, May 11, 2010

“Must-Read Hansen and Sato Paper: We Are at a Climate Tipping Point That, Once Crossed, Enables Multi-Meter Sea Level Rise This Century”—headline,, Jan. 20, 2011

“Earth: Have We Reached an Environmental Tipping Point?”—headline, BBC website, June 15, 2012

“In spite of the continued released [sic] of 90 million tons of global warming pollution every day into the atmosphere, as if it’s an open sewer, we are now seeing the approach of a global political tipping point.”—Al Gore, interview with Washington Post, Aug. 21, 2013

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By Joe Harbin (Washington NC)
on August 24th, 2013

Sorry, but this article is alarmist garbage. Except for a few BRIEF and isolated heat waves, this year has been cooler than normal worldwide. Arctic temperatures have been at or below normal with ice pack greater than any year since 2004.  It is unfortunate thrat agenda-driven AGW zealots will stop at nothing to perpetuate their pseudo science-even to the point of distorting weather data.

These people will wind up under the ice sheet of History.

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By warrenlong (neptune,nj 07753)
on August 24th, 2013

Your right…..Global warming is a myth and Sea levels are rising because Jesus is crying.

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By Wayne Justice (North Olmsted, OH 44070)
on August 25th, 2013

I have taken the liberty to post this gentlemen’s fine response to Determining Global Temperatures:

rgbatduke says:
August 6, 2013 at 4:57 am

I can’t even think of a good way to take Earth’s temperature.

I can. Take the temperature T measured in each cell of a surface-spanning spherical icosahedral tessellation (that can be rescaled at will to a finer-grained coverage without any Jacobean-linked cell distortion like the one that occurs in spherical polar coordinates or latitude/longitude). Evaluate T^4 per cell. Sum it over the cells. Divide by the number of cells. Take the fourth root of the result. Do at least one subdivision of the tessellation (e.g. halve the cell size, get 4x as many cells) and repeat. Compare the two. Iterate the adaptive subdivision until the result converges, using the scaling of the variation of the subdivision and the eight order cumulant to estimate the error.

This root-root-mean-square average is the only measure of temperature that matters, as it is the “radiation temperature”, directly proportional to the Earth’s radiation rate ignoring its atmosphere. Pre-weighted by surface area, no less.

The current mean temperature is utterly irrelevant and indeed HIDES the radiation temperature.

The problem is that the Earth is actually capable of both warming and cooling that completely overwhelms the GHE while GHGs are neutral, increasing, or decreasing due to seemingly minor changes in the way heat is distributed. Atmospheric/oceanic circulation trends that increase mixing are warming. Ones that decrease mixing are cooling. That is, if tropical heat migrates to the poles, it is net warming. If tropical heat stays in the tropics, it is net cooling.

IMO the LIA was caused not by GHGs, not by solar variation per se, but by a transient variation in global circulation (which might or might not have been linked to solar variation, but I don’t have any good feel for how it might have been so linked). For a while the tropics heated up a little, increasing their radiative efficiency rapidly, but the heat was not conveyed north and south to the temperate and polar regions. The pole cooled more than the tropics heated up, because of the T^4.

Doing an adaptive iterative T^4 rrms average of the temperature (especially comparing the result to T average and T^2 rms average) is highly instructive in other ways as well. It reveals directly how inhomogeneous the temperature distribution is — is the current mean temperature arising — as some above suggested — because a small area is a lot warmer while the bulk of the area is a little cooler? You’ll never know looking at T alone, but you can tell at a glance by looking at the histogram of temperature anomalies, you can tell at a glance by comparing the various cumulants, evaluating the skew (did I mention that we might as well form the third order cumulant as well?) and kurtosis.

The bizarre thing is that the mean alone is almost completely mean-ingless, to a statistician. Without knowing the variance and other moments of the distribution, one doesn’t even know how reliable the measured mean is as a predictor of the true mean. In the case of radiatively cooled Earth, the mean TEMPERATURE is just great — if you want to know the enthalpy or something like that and can calculate it because you know heat capacities per cell (which we are clueless about, of course). Otherwise, it is rrms T^4 that matters in the Stefan-Boltzmann equation.


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By Leslie Graham
on August 26th, 2013

“....this year has been cooler than normal worldwide….”

Desperate or what.
Now that climate change is obvious the denial has become hysterical.

Hey Joe - if no-one answers your posts it’s not because you’re right it’s because you are being ignored.
We don’t have time to debate flat-Earthers

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By Bill Gordon (Los Angeles, CA, 90069)
on August 27th, 2013

Now THAT takes creativity! To call the normal temperatures pre-global warming an “ice age” to make current temperature seem “normal” is the height of the Swiss Cheese Elmer Gantry School of Science.

All the flat-earth, red-baited, holy moleys out there who deny global warming are just grist for the soggy-bottom dustbin of history. What a bunch of suckers.

Opinions are feelings masquerading as thought, use them with the utmost discretion.

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