And while Watts tours, global warming continues.

Professor Neville Nicholls, Monash University

Contrary to the impression you might have gained from the media, the global climate is NOT cooling. In fact, the last twelve months, June 2009 – May 2010, has been the hottest June-May period on record, in both the 31-year satellite record of lower atmosphere global temperature and the 131-year surface global temperature record. In both data series the last 12 months have been more than 0.4C hotter than the average temperature of the last two decades of the 20th century.

The figure below plots the time series of twelve-month (June-May) global mean temperature anomalies. The data in the figure are the Spencer-Christy lower atmospheric temperatures from satellites (labelled “UAH” in the figure) and the surface temperatures from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (labelled “GISS”). Both datasets are freely available (UAH from; GISS from Both datasets have been plotted as anomalies relative to 1979/80-1998/99, ie the first twenty years of the satellite observations.

Simply eyeballing the graphs of the surface and satellite temperature record should convince anyone that global warming never “stopped”. Fitting linear trends to the data since the start of the satellite observations produces virtually identical trends in the two data sets. Even the variations from year-to-year in the two temperature series are close matches.

The close match between the surface and satellite variations and trends confirms that the warming trend at the surface is NOT due to the urban heat island effect. Nor is it due to changes in the numbers of stations used in the surface analysis, or any problems with the locations of the surface instruments. None of these potential problems affects the satellite data, and the satellite data are completely independent of the surface data.

Nor is the warming due to the Sun getting stronger. Satellite measurements show that total solar irradiance has decreased since the start of the 21st century, and this would probably have caused some weak cooling rather than any warming (

Neville Nicholls is an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow in the School of Geography and Environmental Science at Monash University, President of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (, and an Executive Editor of Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (

2 thoughts on “And while Watts tours, global warming continues.

  1. DeSmog on “crock of the week” also pointed out that even when you compare the data from the very good stations to that of the poorer stations, you don’t get a a significant difference in the data. He also only looks at stations from the US and as you’ve stated before, only brushes off the high correlation of ground station and satellite. All he’s managed to do is cause the expense of installing new stations and created unmerited doubt in a time of change.
    Like Monckton, the only way that this guy managed to make a name for himself is by telling people what they want to hear, rather than the truth.
    BTW, my vote went to your blog on the Big Blog Theory contest. I hope you do well – it’s one of my favorites!

  2. Is the Proposed Trans Global Highway a solution for population concerns and global warming?
    One tremendous solution to future population concerns as well as alleviating many of the effects of potential global warming is the Frank Didik proposal for the construction of the “Trans Global Highway”. The Didik proposed Trans Global Highway would create a world wide network of standardized roads, railroads, water pipe lines, oil and gas pipelines, electrical and communication cables. The result of this remarkable, far sighted project will be global unity through far better distribution of resources, including including heretofore difficult to obtain or unaccessible raw materials, fresh water, finished products and vastly lower global transportation costs.
    With greatly expanded global fresh water distribution, arid lands could be cultivated resulting in a huge abundance of global food supplies. The most conservative estimate is that with the construction of the Trans Global Highway, the planet will be able to feed between 14 and 16 Billion people, just using presently available modern farming technologies. With a present global population of just under 7 billion people and at the United Nations projection of population increase, the world will produce enough food surpluses to feed the expected increased population for the next 425 years. Thomas Robert Malthus’s famous dire food shortage predictions of 1798 failed to take into consideration modern advances in farming, transportation, food storage and food abundance. Further information on the proposed Trans Global Highway can be found at .

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