Was July 2015 really the warmest on record?

Note: This article needs some work.

I have been watching breathless agonizing over a NASA report that July 2015 was the “warmest on record”.

Example: Article by Mariano Castillo and Brandon Miller on CNN.

Example: Article written by Ben Guarino at Inverse.com.

Guarino wrote, “July 2015 was the hottest since we’ve been keeping records, according to separate data from both NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies….”

In fact, the NASA data cited by Guarino doesn’t say that at all. A quick glance over the data indicates many months where the temperature anomaly was greater than July 2015. In fact, July 2015 was the third smallest (coolest) anomaly in the last twelve months.

Below, you will find a clip of the data. Note that July 2015 shows a value of ’75’ which means that July 2015 was 0.75 degrees higher than the 1951-1980 average.

July2015 NASA DATA

So-called ‘science writers’ have a professional obligation to do basic checks the information that they cite. Their articles are being flung around on social media as gospel. In fact, they are nonsense because the underlying science is mistaken.


  • Kevin O’Neill

    The hottest month was in reference to *absolute* temperature – not anomalies.

    • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

      I know that. However, we use anomalies and not absolute temp for a REASON. Like what? Physics tells us that the coolest month globally must be July because that is when the aphelion (the earth’s furthest distance from the sun) occurs. However, the data says the reverse. Instead of figuring out what must be wrong with the data, the data scientists decided to report ‘anomalies’ rather than absolute temps. Neat sidestep of an inconvenient truth. But to now report the absolute temps as if they were accurate is disingenuous. No… it’s dishonest.

      • Dano2

        OMG. Good comedy! The land mass is greatest in the N Hem and in July the earth is tilted to receive max insolation in the N Hem. Land temps are higher due to the lower heat capacity of land than water.

        I LOLzed!



        • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

          Is that enough to overcome a 6% difference in insolation rates??? I don’t buy it without a LOT more evidence. Moreover, once the land and water have become heat saturated, your argument falls apart.

          Perhaps you should educate yourself a little about how this works. Here are a couple of remedial links for you to consider.


          The notion that the oceans somehow radiate less heat to space is pretty silly.

          • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

            LOL. It looks like YOU are the one who needs to take remedial science. You have no clue.

          • Kevin O’Neill

            Croll, J., 1870: XII. On Ocean-currents, Part I: Ocean-currents in relation to the Distribution
            of Heat over the Globe. Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 39 (259), 81–106.

            With some slight modifications, Croll’s theory has been found to be correct. Nearly 150 years of science verifies his conclusions. You have (I suspect) never read Croll. I suspect you’ve never read *any* of the scientific papers on the subject.

            Amateur unfamiliar with the field turns physics on its head ….. or just another arrogant lunatic crank suffering from Dunning-Kruger. You decide.

          • Kevin O’Neill

            “Once the land and water become heat saturated” ?!? WTF? Have you lost it? How does *anything* become heat saturated? Nuclear fission or nuclear fusion?

            H20 at at standard pressure and low temperatures is a solid. Water changes phases if you add enough heat (0C) and becomes a liquid. Add more heat (100C)and it becomes a gas. If we continue to add heat water will reach its critical point (374C) and becomes a supercritical fluid. At even higher temperatures water will begin to disassociate into it’s component elements. At 2200C about 3% of the water molecules will have disassociated. At 3000C more than half will.

            At what point is water “heat saturated”?

            Sorry, but you really need to take a long look in the mirror. You’re a haven’t a clue about physics. Without understanding physics it’s hopeless to talk intelligently about the earth’s climate and how and why it changes.

            Are you familiar with Jerry Seinfeld? Have you ever read his book, ‘Letters From a Nut’? Is this a spinoff- “Blogposts From a Nut’? Completely clueless – but still unable or unwilling to admit ignorance. It both sad and funny.

          • just_jim

            I may be giving him too much credit, but I’m interpreting his ‘heat saturated’ as when it comes into equilibrium. Even so, there would be at least two things wrong with his idea, first that he has no idea how long it would take the earth to come into equilibrium with the forcings it’s had from humanity’s CO2 additions, and two because of day and night, summer and winter, perihelion and aphelion, the earth is never in equilibrium.

      • just_jim

        Considering the simple facts that you get wrong maybe you should change your blog to “stupidheritic”

        • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

          What simple facts am I wrong about? None that I see.

          • just_jim

            1) Physics tells us that the coolest month globally must be July because that is when the aphelion (the earth’s furthest distance from the sun) occurs. One factor tells us that July must coolest, others tell us that July must be hottest. You have rejected the idea that land is more sensitive to insolation than ocean. So I invite you to do an experiment. Take a temperature measurement during January of a random area that is at least 500 miles inland and at least 45 degrees latitude (either north or south). Also take a measurement of the ocean surface where the depth is at least 100 meters. Repeat at the same two places in July. I’m certain that you will find that the land temperatures will vary by much more than the ocean temperatures, much much more. Thus your idea that the greater land surface in the northern hemisphere is not enough to overcome the fact that July is aphelion is disproven.

            2)However, the data says the reverse. congratulations, one thing you got right.

            3) Instead of figuring out what must be wrong with the data, the data scientists decided to report ‘anomalies’ rather than absolute temps. That’s not why climate scientists, use anomalies. They use anomalies because it’s a whole lot easier and more accurate to calculate changes of temperature than absolute temperature

            4) Neat sidestep of an inconvenient truth. But to now report the absolute temps as if they were accurate is disingenuous.

            since you are wrong about 1) there is no inconvenient truth to sidestep.

            I can only point out where you are wrong. Since you seem to lack the intellectual capacity to recognize that you are wrong, even when it is pointed out to you, I doubt that you will benefit from the correction, but I felt it necessary to give you the chance.

      • Kevin O’Neill

        There is less than a 2% difference in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. As pointed out, it is the axial tilt and the much higher percentage of land in the northern versus the southern hemisphere that makes July hotter. You latch onto one fact – that aphelion occurs in July, then immediately stop thinking.

        We report anomalies for many good reasons. But that does not mean we are forbidden to report absolute temperatures. We actually *collect* data as absolutes. We then turn them into anomalies by choosing a baseline period. The anomalies are no more, or less, accurate than the data collected – which are all in absolute.

        You really need to start buying some clues.

        • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

          However, there is a more than 6% difference in the number of watts per square meter.

      • Kevin O’Neill

        1) “Physics tells us that the coolest month globally *must* be July” – so wrong, wrong, wrong.
        2) “However, the data says the reverse.” Yes, because the data reflects *all* of the physics – not just aphelion/perihelion.
        3) “Instead of figuring out what must be wrong with the data” The data is consistent with the physics – there’s nothing wrong with the data.
        4) “Neat sidestep of an inconvenient truth.” Conspiracy ideation!!! Of course wrong because anomalies were chosen for a completely different reason — there was no ‘inconvenient truth’ – only a lack of understanding physics on your part.
        5) “to now report the absolute temps as if they were accurate is disingenuous. No… it’s dishonest.” Having built your views on ignorance, stupidity, and conspiracy ideation you come to this conclusion. But since all of the evidence you have is incorrect, their is zero support for this accusation.

        This is how we have arrived at where we are. Ideaologues like JB Carson are either ignorant, stupid, insane or just plain evil. Has JB now marked his beliefs to market? I doubt it. Has he admitted he’s completely wrong? No. Has he apologized for his accusation? No. Will he continue to spout this type of insanity elsewhere? More than likely.

        The measure of a man is not whether he makes mistakes, we all do. It’s how we handle our failures. We are all ignorant on some subjects. There is no shame in that. But some people insist on building very strident and assertive views from a position of ignorance – and when their ignorance is pointed out they neither apologize nor adjust their beliefs.

        The sad thing is JB probably “learned” all of this nonsense on one of the popular denier sites. Tens of millions of people have his same views based on the same or similar faulty knowledge of actual science. It does no good to point out their mistakes – it’s like water off a duck’s back.

        • http://GreenHeretic.com/ GreenHeretic

          I am not wrong. It’s as simple as that. You have not shown me to be mistaken in any way. I don’t believe that you can.

          You have further made several scurrilous accusations for which you have no basis. Are you interested in an intelligent discussion of the science and the issues? Not in the slightest. You are far more an ideologue that I ever have been. I could apply the same insults to you, but where does that get us? Nowhere.

          • Kevin O’Neill

            You are not wrong? You said that *physics* says the warmest month must be during aphelion. This is incorrect. The full calculation tells us that the warmest months should be during NH summer.

            As I said, you are either ignorant, stupid insane or evil. I could believe you were simply ignorant of the truth, but now you’ve been made aware of the facts you still deny them. You aren’t stupid, so this leaves insane or evil. But evil *knows* the truth and just tells lies for the fun of it. No, I think you’re insane. Believing that somehow you know the *real* truth and everyone else that has studied the physics going back centuries is wrong. Yes, our GreenHeretic has rewritten the physics textbooks. *He* knows the truth and all these poor schmuck physicists better sit up and take notice.

            BTW – it isn’t ‘climate scientists’ that tell us when the warmest month should be – it’s physics. And as I said, you latched onto one factor and stopped thinking, but rather than admit your mistake now you double-down and keep plowing forward. Yes, you’re insane.

            Just like you claimed (with a ROFLMAO to boot) that the satellite temperature datasets had full coverage of the poles because they are in polar orbit. Wrong again. I was fully aware they’re in polar orbits – it makes no difference. As I showed you, UAH only has coverage from 85N to 85S and RSS from 70S to 82N. Now who is ROFL? You with egg on your face again. Displaying your unfamiliarity with the basics of a dataset that you claim to understand? No, once again you reveal yourself to be an ill-informed and arrogant amateur.

            Perhaps someday you will realize there are plenty of people that know far more than you about this subject. Rather than spouting off stupidities you ought to read and actually understand the material before even venturing an opinion. Because all of your opinions right now appear to be nonsense.