The US Climate Reference Network, USCRN, is the focus of my efforts to track continental US atmospheric (near-surface) temperature trends, as published earlier (see link) for the decade 2005-2014, inclusive. This network of temperature measuring stations is far from cities, factories, and other artificial warming (or cooling) effects; they are located in sufficiently pristine areas that human influences are non-existent or negligible.
|Continental US Temperature Trends 2005-2015|
source: NOAA and USCRN
The year 2015 was, of course, one in which an unusually strong El Niño occurred. The El Niño was expected to increase surface temperatures across the US as it also warmed much of the Pacific Ocean surface.
The adjacent chart shows (in orange) the resulting temperature anomalies for what I refer to as the USCRN 55, for the 55 locations that have data that extends back to January 2005. Note that the USCRN stations are relatively new and many of the stations came on-line in more recent years. It is inappropriate to include short-duration records with those of longer durations, as it skews the results.
The chart also shows (in blue) the temperature anomalies from NOAA's "climate at a glance" web site, see link, It can be seen that both sets of anomalies closely correspond, but there are some significant differences.
First, the similarities. Both show a warming for 2015, as expected from the El Niño. However, the 2015 result is not the warmest, as 2012 was warmer. The anomalies are essentially identical for the years 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012. 2013, and 2014.
Next, the differences. It can be seen that the NOAA data are somewhat greater for the five years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2015.
This is exactly what I, and many like-minded people have stated all along: the NOAA data shows warmer results when compared to the pristine, USCRN results. This is certainly true for the brief period for which the USCRN has data. What is also true is the NOAA data is consistently cooler in prior decades as a result of systematic adjustments.
A note on the NOAA data, from their website: "Data for the Contiguous U.S., statewide, Climate Divisions, Climate Regions, National Weather Service Regions, and Agricultural Belts come from the U.S. Climate Divisional Database, which have data from 1895 to the present." This has the data from thousands of US locations, as adjusted by NOAA.
Future results are very likely to show a cooling, and a rapid cooling as the El Niño converts into the La Niña mode. What is known from recent history is the small sunspot cycle Number 20 peaked in approximately 1970 at 100 sunspots. As that cycle came to its minimum, very cold winters occurred in 1977, 1978, and 1979. (see below for typical description of those winters) Presently, sunspot cycle Number 24 is also trending down after its peak of approximately 95 sunspots.
"For the first time since modern weather records began in the 1880s, a third consecutive
severe winter occurred in Illinois in 1978-1979. Seventeen major winter storms, the state's
record coldest January-February, and record snow depths on the ground gave the winter
of 1978-1979 a rank as the second worst statewide for Illinois, exceeded only by the prior
winter of 1977-1978 (18 storms, coldest statewide December-March, record longest lasting
snow cover). In the northern fourth of Illinois, 1978-1979 was the worst winter on
Severe storms began in late November and extended into March; the seven major storms
in January set a new record high for the month, the four in February tied the previous
record, and the four in December fell one short of the record. Fourteen storms also had
freezing rain, but ice was moderately severe in only two cases. High wind and blizzard
conditions occurred in only three storms (compared with eight in prior winter), suggesting
a lack of extremely deep low pressure centers. Most storms occurred with Texas lows,
Colorado (north track) lows, and miscellaneous synoptic conditions. The super storm of
11-14 January set a point snow record of 24 inches, left snow cover of more than 3 inches
over 77% of the state, and lasted 56 hours.
Snowfall for the 1978-1979 winter averaged 68 inches (38 inches above normal) in
northern Illinois, 40 inches (20 above) in the north central part, 32 inches (12 above) in
south central Illinois, and 31 inches (22 above) in southern Illinois. Record totals of 60 to
100 inches occurred in northern Illinois. The winter temperatures averaged 7.8 F below
normal in northern Illinois and about 7 below in the rest of the state. January-February
temperatures averaged a record low of 15.9 F, 14 degrees below normal, and prevented
melting between storms so that record snow depths of more than 40 inches occurred in
northern Illinois." -- Illinois State Water Survey, 1980 "Illinois Third Consecutive Severe Winter: 1978-1979," by Changnon, Changnon, and Stone.
The USCRN pristine sites are the ones to track. There is no need for adjustments to that data. The pristine sites are very likely to show substantial cooling in the coming years as El Niño fades, the sunspot cycles weaken, and any carbon dioxide in the air simply fails to deliver the warming that False-Alarmists claim.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright © 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved