Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

The NOAA Game – Guess the Anomaly

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on June 2, 2009

I always like taking a quick look at some visuals, and one site I check in with is the NOAA regional climate maps site. The link to that can be found to the right under “Resources – Climate Maps.”

You have to jump around quite a bit to view all the different maps, so I decided to show them here. All visuals in this post are credited to the NOAA website to which I just referred. The other reason I posted them here is because those visuals update each week under the same link. The historical maps aren’t kept (at least not publicly that I’ve found).

Anyway, also under “Resources – NOAA Data” you will find their temperature anomalies. May hasn’t yet been released. This isn’t considered one of the major temperature measures, but it is nonetheless important, because it is the data that is used in the GISS temperature anomaly release. Hansen and company take the information and adjust it according to their algorithms, which is why GISS differs in the end from NOAA.

As a point of reference, the last four anomalies in the NOAA data are:

January: 0.5469
February: 0.5049
March: 0.5392
April: 0.5990

I thought it would be a neat little exercise to look at all the maps, and guess the anomaly for May. Let’s see what we’ve got (note that NOAA bolds and underlines the preliminary nature of these maps (probably so that some fool on the internet doesn’t try to use them to figure out actual temperature anomalies). Oh, and I just scrunched all the maps to the same size, so some look a little funny. Just click on them for a better view.:


No cry for me Argentina


Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you Australia


Brazil wax and wane May Departure


Oh Canada May Departure


Central Former Soviet Union (I got nuthin) May Departure


Beast from the East (another bonus points reference) Asia May Departure.


Europe The Final Countdown May Departure.


Mexico un poco rijo May Departure.


Meet Me in the Middle East May Departure.


North Just a Ways Down in Africa May Departure


Song of the South Africa May Departure.


South Asia (losing focus here) May Departure.


Southeast Asia (brain starting to freeze) May Departure.


Back in the West Former Soviet Union May Departure (no, that no workee either)

NOAA doesn’t have the May departure from average for the United States yet. That usually takes a few days. The best I can do is show the April monthly departure, and the last week of May.


R.O.C.K in the U.S.A April Departure.


Surfing U.S.A May 24-30 Departure.

Edited: Originally I wrote, “I’m submitting my post here without coming up with a prediction. I’ll look at it closer today and submit my guess for the NOAA May anomaly.” Here is my prediction: 0.3133. We just don’t have any hot spots this month that should drive a high anomaly. We have some warm spots, but also some cool ones. Looking at the charts, I came up with a land anomaly of 0.3010. Of course, not all land regions are covered by these maps, so who knows what’s in-between?) I looked at the ENSO, PDO, and AMO index and came up with a Northern Hemisphere Ocean anomaly of -0.284 and looked at the Southern Oscillation Index (Antarctic wasn’t updated past 2007) and settled on a projected Anomaly of 1.15 in the Southern hemisphere. (I am assuming 6-9 month lags in temps). All that gave me my remarkable answer, which I am sure will be completely wrong.

This blog doesn’t get a ton of discussion. I know some people read it. The stats tell me so. That either means my posts are so brilliant that no further discussion is necessary, or it means that you’re all boring. (There are other alternatives that will be ignored, since it requires some otherwise negative explanation regarding me or the blog.) In any case, feel free to submit your own prediction. A free “atta boy” gets tossed out to the winner.

18 Responses to “The NOAA Game – Guess the Anomaly”

  1. markinaustin said

    i will comment just to prove i care and i read it.

    i am hopefully not boring either……ok, well i have to go blow something up now.

  2. Bob H said

    Ok Joe, I can’t resist a challenge. I’ll submit a WAG of 0.41 based on the NW US being quite warm the last week of May (I don’t know the rest of the month) and on the South Atlantic being on the hot side and ENSO is on the rise. Granted, this is a far from technical evaluation, and I would tend to suspect that your prediction will be closer.

    Have a good day.

  3. The Diatribe Guy said

    Very good, Bob. Thanks for the submission. Hopefully I get a few more, because your trophy will be decidedly small if you’re the only entry…

    My prediction is based on the observable maps and recent stats. If someone were holding a gun to my head and my life depended on it, I’d actually predict around 0.5, based on (1) the last few months of anomalies, (2) the fact that NOAA always seems high (I’m sure this is pure coincidence), and (3) the land masses missing will probably be assumed to have about a 5 degree Celsius anomaly.

    But it really wouldn’t be all that imaginative to just pick an anomaly in line with the last 4 months. This way, if I’m right I look like a genius. If I’m wrong, I can chalk it up to conspiracy theory or something.

    But who knows? It could be zero. It could be 1.0000. Keep the guesses coming. Tell your friends! (Actually, try that. I’d be interested on what they say. I’m predicting something like, “Huh? Why would I do that?”

  4. Layman Lurker said

    I’ll go with +.65 as a prediction. I think the anomaly for May will be slightly higher then April for all the metrics. I don’t put too much stack in the NOAA number other than putting things in relative perspective.

  5. Bob Montle said

    I’ve put this blog into my ‘favorites’ so I’ll be checking it regularly now. Just found you from the link in WUWT.
    My guess is +0.53

    Not from the actual graphs but because the number seems to come out .5x(something) regardless of what common sense and intuition suggested before the actual posting.

  6. jeroen said

    I most definitly read it.

  7. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said

    OK a smart ass guess to a smarty pants….lol
    0.48 and to get the “adjusted giss” 48+16= .62

    BTW I live in Michigan, at the 45th parallel if that graft is right I am moving to Tennessee!

    and keep the burn barrels burning, we need the CO2 heat!!! 🙂

  8. The Diatribe Guy said

    The chart you linked to is very interesting. I simply hope that there’s either some kind of measurement error with it or that it is not correlated to temperature. Looks like there could be a lag period of a few years, so we may have a little time before we need to chop down all our trees and use them for firewood.

  9. Mike M. said

    I’m sorry, I fell asleep reading your post. What were you saying? Oh yeah, uh, +.5913! Wait, that’s my Daily Pick Four. Oh, hell just go with it.

  10. Layman Lurker said


    I take mine back (RSS and UAH just came out). Make it +.42C

  11. Mike said

    I never read your comments nor do I post replies.

    But let me make a prediction based on this graph. Around June 20th in the UK there will be a massive press publicity campaing by the UK Met Office releasing news of how bad they think global warming is going to get. Just after the press have got fed up to teh back ears of writing about global warming, the Met Office will quietly release its May global temperature figures showing a massive decrease in temperature.

    Lies, damned lies and global warming propoganda!

  12. The Diatribe Guy said

    #10 – Cheater! 😉

    #11 – I like the prediction. Bonus points for correctly pinpointing conspiracy movements.

    • Layman Lurker said

      Just ruthlessly exploiting the lack of rules for this game.

      • The Diatribe Guy said

        Fair enough. So… where are you finding the UAH data? Following my links doesn’t show the May anomaly. And I went to the site itself and found the parent folder, and I didn’t see any files that looked to have been updated for June.

  13. Page48 said

    I check your blog frequently!

  14. Fluffy Clouds (Tim L) said

    no i bad they have one at .09 and one at .04.
    can i change my decimal point? lol

  15. Layman Lurker said

    Roy Spencer’s blog has leaked the May 09 UAH anomaly:

  16. The Diatribe Guy said

    Ah… Looks like my blogroll needs to grow.

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