NOAA: Second hottest September on record and virtual tie for hottest in lower troposphere from satellite data

NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center has issued its latest monthly, “State of the Climate: Global Analysis,” which found:

The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for September 2009 was 0.62°C (1.12°F) above the 20th Century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F). This was the second warmest September on record, behind 2005, and the 33rd consecutive September with a global temperature above the 20th Century average. The last below-average September occurred in 1976.

Significantly, September was only 0.04°C (0.07°F) off the 2005 record.

This near-record September comes fast on the heels of the second warmest August on record and warmest June-July-August for the oceans.  I previously noted that NASA reported hottest June to September on record.

What is most interesting about this report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the temperature report from the lower troposphere (“the lowest 8 km (5 miles) of the atmosphere”) — the satellite data that began in 1979 analyzed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and Remote Sensing Systems (RSS).

UAH and RSS say September was also the second warmest in their records — a mere 0.01°C off the 1998 record.  NOAA reports that the lower troposphere warming trend for September is

  • +0.13°C/decade (UAH)
  • +0.18°C/decade (UAH

So yes, the satellite data also shows that the lower atmosphere is warming, contrary to what you may have heard.

In fact, the mid-troposphere (about 2 to 6 miles above the Earth, which includes a portion of the lower stratosphere) is also warming, according to both UAH and RSS.  It’s not warming quite as fast because as the lower troposphere in part “because the stratosphere has cooled due to increasing greenhouse gases in the troposphere and losses of ozone in the stratosphere.”

The global temperature anomaly for the month looked like this:

Although the United States as a whole was “1.0°F above the 20th Century average,” with record-tying temperatures in California, as usual the deniers had a few seemingly cool places in the country on which to feast.

We are still seeing staggering warming in some of the worst places from the perspective of the planet as a whole, the land of the the permafrost permamelt, which currently contains contains more carbon than the atmosphere (see here).

Again, what makes these record temps especially impressive is that we’re only in a weak El Ni±o, and we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century,” according to NASA.

Stay tuned.  The heat is on “” or, rather, it’s never been off.


13 Responses to NOAA: Second hottest September on record and virtual tie for hottest in lower troposphere from satellite data

  1. Phil Eisner says:

    Impressive chart! Has anyone given an explanation for the extreme heat in western and central Canada, a real hot spot??

    [JR: Polar amplification: The science says to expect more warming in higher latitudes.]

  2. SecularAnimist says:

    It looks to me like you have posted the same graphic four times … am I missing something?

    [JR: I have no idea what you are talking about.]

  3. This should shut up the people who say it’s getting colder. Based on what? Check the facts, guys.

  4. Wim Prange says:

    I’m also seeing the same chart four times (in Firefox and Chrome)

  5. thingsbreak says:


    RE: Comments 2 and 4

    Check the html of this post. Someone has inadvertently pasted this link:

    Four times in a row, meaning some people are seeing the same chart repeated over and over (I’m just seeing the html).

    [JR: Thanks. It was fine in Firefox, so I didn’t see it at first. Fixed now.]

  6. Dean says:

    All this with a relatively weak El Nino. We figured that a strongish El Nino would help turn the tables on the hot-but-relatively-flat record of recent years. Apparently the end of the La Nina was enough.

  7. dhogaza says:

    “JR: Polar amplification: The science says to expect more warming in higher latitudes.”

    Not really, it was warm here in the Pacific Northwest this September, too. We were getting large, stable, warm high pressure systems that ran far north during much of summer through early fall. Apparently it was running very far north because there was a lot of arctic sea ice melting above Alaska and (flip-side) eastern Siberia.

    I don’t mean to say polar amplication isn’t true – it is – but the exceptional warmth seen summer-early fall was tied in to these high pressure systems which were stable and persistent (Portland setting its record for the most consecutive days > 100F, Seattle it’s highest temp ever (102F), while in Fairbanks it was in the 90s, and even balmy in Barrow).

    Conversely it was colder than normal to the east up in the polar amplification zone, Hudson’s Bay didn’t clear of ice until much later than normal, and ice extent in the east was actually pushing further out than the 1979-2000 average extent (while above the western part of NA and eastern eurasia it was far below).

    Of course it was also cold in the mid-west and eastern parts of the US leading to all the “global cooling!” crap we heard in the midst of what was globally a very warm summer.

  8. From Peru says:

    There are some buoys in the Arctic Ocean. There is even an Observatory, taking photos, temperatures, winds, humidity and pressure right at the North Pole(the “North Pole Observatory”).

    Why NOAA and GISSTEMP do not include that data in the calculations of global temperature?

    Also in the “map room” of NOAA there is a map of global surface air temperatures, that includes the Polar regions right to the Poles.

    Surely the average temperatures would go up inluding those data.

    Any idea why there are still such holes in World Surface Air Temperature records , if there is the data to fill them?

  9. From Peru says:

    A plot of 2009 temperature inside Arctic Circle:

  10. From Peru says:

    OK. Now the link is operative.

    It is evident how in Summer the anomaly is nearly zero, but there are heavy positive anomalies in Fall and Winter.

    I am not sure if the heat comes mostly from warm southern winds or from the warm ocean below the ice.

  11. Alex J says:

    Isn’t the North Atlantic Oscillation in it’s cool phase too?

  12. I certainly do not subscribe to global cooling and I am convinced that more warming is on the way due primarily to AGW.

    Having said that, we must be careful not to overhype a few warm months or even a few warm years because we all know the underlying trend from AGW is so much smaller than the monthly or annual natural oscillations.