The Global Warming Challenge

Evidence-based forecasting for climate change

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Claims 2019 warmest Australian year inconsistent with satellite record

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The UAH global average  temperature anomaly relative to the 1981 to 2010 average was 0.56°C in December, up from 0.55°C the previous month. The 2019 average was the second warmest year in the 12 years of The Bet so far, as is shown by the blue stepped line in the “Whole-Earth Thermometer” chart on the top-right of this page.

While the global anomaly for 2019 was closer to the IPCC-Gore 3°C-per-century warming extrapolation line than to the Green-Armstrong-Soon no-trend forecast, it was below the warming line, as it has remained for all but two of the Bet’s 12 years to date.

The Climate Bet is concerned with the global average temperature anomaly, but local and regional anomalies do not follow in lock step, and sometimes differ markedly. The claim by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) that “2019 was … the warmest … year on record for Australia … since consistent national temperature records began in 1910” is therefore not inconsistent with what was a relatively unremarkable year in the global record.

But how does the BOM’s warmest-on-record claim—based on smattering of “homogenized” land-based readings—stack up against the UAH satellite (lower troposphere) data for Australia?

Not very well, it turns out.

According the UAH data, 2019 was only the fourth warmest year in Australia in the 41 years of the UAH satellite temperature anomaly record. The warmest year in the UAH data was 2017, with an average anomaly of 0.71°C. The figure for 2019 was 0.58°C. The years 2016 and 1998 were also warmer for Australia.

Roy Spencer—one of the researchers behind the UAH data—has provided an analysis of the relationship between claims of anthropogenic global warming and measured temperature, precipitation, and Australian bush fires.