Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Archive for the ‘Temperature Maps’ Category

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

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Posted in Game, Temperature Maps | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

Follow Up to the RSS Temperature Data

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on February 9, 2009

I had some confusion about the results of the RSS anomaly data as it regarded the Continental U.S. The anomaly was a significant increase from December, and was an overall positive 0.358. This was on the heels of some very cold weather throughout much of the U.S. In some places it was a record cold January. I was surprised to see a positive anomaly.

I sent a missive to RSS in hopes of some explanation, as follows:

Dear sirs,

I have a layman’s interest in reviewing the data you release each month, particularly on the TLT data, since that most corresponds with land and surface temperature measures.

I have my own opinions about global warming, but primarily I just enjoy seeing the data and presenting the information for lay readers like myself, on a blog entitled

The information I last used was from this source:

Thank you for your service in this regard. Occasionally, someone not fully versed in the ins and outs of this technology gets a little confused by the numbers. I do keep an eye on the NOAA climate maps, which I understand are unofficial, throughout the month. That, along with simple knowledge of weather throughout the month in the United States, has me a bit confused by the anomaly for the Continental U.S. for the month of January.

I live in the Midwest, and the entire region was below normal for nearly the entire month of January. I know that the East and Southeast also had its share of below normal temps. Tracking the NOAA maps showed a lot of purple and blue on a weekly basis over wide swaths of the U.S.

NOAA is based on surface station data. So, can you please explain to me in simple terms what drove the significantly higher anomaly in January over December for the Continental U.S.? Is it a difference between the surface and the lower tropospheric measure? Did heat in the West offset the cold in the East?

Any information you can provide would be useful, and if I may, I would like to pass the information on to my readers.

Any help you can offer is greatly appreciated.

Joe Tritz

I received a timely response from Marty Brewer, pointing me to a very cool image file. It shows that the Eastern U.S. was indeed cold, but the Western U.S. was quite warm. Interestingly, the area over the Pacific is warm, even though there are negative anomalies for both the PDO and ENSO indices. Anyway, Marty’s response was:

Hi Joe,

Take a look at the monthly images:

Click Anomaly.

In Jan 09, it looks like the U.S. west was as hot as the east was cold, maybe hotter.


You can follow the link above, but I have also placed the image here:

Posted in RSS, Temperature Maps | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

This Week in Pictures

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on December 23, 2008

Well, it looks like Russia is getting some cooler temps, finally.

Just for kicks, here are the maps of Russia, and also the U.S. and Canada. This comes from the NOAA site on regional data. I have a link on the right.

Former Soviet Union

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Posted in Temperature Maps | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What’s the Deal with Russian Anomalies?

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on December 17, 2008

I keep an eye on the weekly anomaly maps put out by the NOAA which can be found here. I’m always curious to see if I can get a feel for what the global anomalies will be based on what I am seeing throughout the month at that site.

There are neat-o colored maps.

One drawback is that not all areas are covered. For example, we see northern Africa and southern Africa, but not the middle. Also, NOAA is careful to point out the following: “Note: These analyses are based on preliminary and unchecked data.”

Nonetheless, it is interesting to take a look at.

What I’ve noticed anecdotally is that I can usually predict which way the anomaly is going to go based on what Russia is doing. This makes sense from the perspective that Russia is a huge land mass. While Ocean areas take up decidedly more area than land areas, the temperature swings in the oceans probably aren’t swift enough to drive anomalies. That is more the stablizer of the general average from month to month (although we obviously know there are cycles in ocean temperature, from a month-to-month basis the temperatures won’t swing as much as land temps). So it also makes sense that the anomaly is driven from land temperature swings.

So, I don’t dispute the importance of Russia, nor do I dispute the anomalies being driven by large land masses. I want to make that clear, and it isn’t the intent of my post to dispute those premises.

What makes me a little uncomfortable, though, is the fact that a huge land area such as Russia has subpar temperature measuring capabilities. I won’t delve into that here, but clicking on the Watts Up With That link to the right will take you to a bevy of posts and resources that demonstrate U.S. issues with surface stations measurement, and in this context, point out that we are light-years ahead of Russia. If interested in pursuing that point further, I encourage you to spend some time there.

But back to what I’ve seen on the maps…

Blue and purple mean cold, and the reds are hot (bright red is really hot). It can be reasonably expected that from region to region in any given week there will be cold spots, warm spots, and average spots. It’s called weather. You will almost never notice a situation where every region of the globe is red or every region of the globe is blue. This is why it seems so silly to point to a heat wave in one area as evidence of global warming and dismiss cold weather elsewhere as an anecdote. As an aside, I admit to the fact that it is difficult to look outside your own area. In Wisconsin, it seems like every week is blue or purple, and we’ve felt it now for a year and a half, with no end in sight. As I type this, it has finally “warmed up” to 9 degrees, but now we are expected to get 8-12 inches of snow over the weekend. I look at this and conclude that global warming fear-mongers are insane, even though I know in my head that Wisconsin encompasses but a small part of the globe. But this is the point. I can’t claim global cooling because of that any more than Ahnuld Schwarzenegger should be claiming global warming because of wildfires. It’s regional, and it’s weather.

But over the last few months, as I’ve been freezing, I keep looking at these maps and I see the middle U.S. consistently blue and purple. Then I see other regions that seem to bounce between blue and red. But in almost every month, I’ve noticed that Russia is bright red. We’re talking “hot” red. So, every month, no matter how cold it is everywhere else, I suspect that the anomaly will be higher than I’d otherwise expect because of that big red land mass.

While I do question the temperature measurements somewhat, I do believe that a generally warmer Russia is, in fact, reality because otherwise the Satellite measures would be deviating even more wildly from GISS/NOAA. The fact that November, for example, had a warmer anomaly seems to have been driven almost entirely from a warmer Russia based on my cursory review of the weekly graphs.

The site simply replaces the maps each week, so after Sunday the link won’t show what I’m talking about. So let me just show you the current maps here as an example. I suppose now that I’ve done this we’ll see blue areas in Russia next week, but trust me when I say this has been the case a good chunk of the last year or so, even through last La Nina.


Australia - cold in the West and Central, warm in the East.


Canadian Prairies - very cold in the East, slightly warm in the West

East Asia

East Asia - more warmth than cold.


Europe - cold in the West, warm in the East.


India - warm


Mexico - mostly cool or average

Middle East

Middle East - a hodge-podge of cool, warm, and average

Northern Africa

Northern Africa - cold

Southern South America

Southern South America - mostly warm or average.

Greater South America

Greater South America - slightly warm or average

Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia - mostly average or slightly cool


Southern Africa - Warm to hot in the south, cool to cold in the north

United States

United States - Warm West of the Mississippi, cold East of the Mississippi and in the Midwest (note the dark blue directly over my house).

OK, so we get the idea. Some places cold, some places warm, some palces average, some places a combination.

Now, see Russia burn…

Russia 1

Russia #1 - Hot

Russia 2

Russia #2 - Hot

Russia 3

Russia #3 - Only mostly Hot

This is only one week, but it has been the norm.

So, what gives in Russia?

Posted in Climate Change, Earth, Global Warming, Russia, Temperature Maps, Weather | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »