Website Status

April – 2024: This website is under construction. It’s purpose is to post interesting analysis, regarding the Global Climate.

About “Paris Agreement Temperature Index” Website

The website is maintained by an individual, based in Brighton UK, using sparse spare time. I have a mathematical degree from decades ago, but I am no Climate Scientist / Data scientist / Statistician. I aim to make sure any work I produce can be easily tested / re-created. All data processing, analysis and Climate Graphics are best-efforts, and testing / sanity checks are used to avoid mistakes, but there is no team picking up on anything that is incorrect. Fear of embarrassing mistakes will give me a fair bit of motivation to get things right. Constructive criticism is welcome regarding mistakes, mis-conceptions, data issues and/or pointing me towards others who have done similar work already. Indeed if there are any interesting ideas for further climate related visualisations I can add, I am interested. Just post a comment in one of the blogs. The website and my twitter handle will remain anonymous. I am not hiding my identity, but I’m not broadcasting it either. I have reached out to a few people.

Website Purpose

This website is inspired by my frustrations with reporting on the 1.5C and 2.0C Paris Agreement targets. As per Climate Reporting – Why so many different values, I keep seeing news articles where you read something like: it is 1.1C, 1.54C, 1.48C … all in the same article, but no acknowledgement that this seems ridiculous. Especially “if every tenth of a degree counts”. For the unwary it just sounds like NumberWang (YouTube clip of NumberWang comedy sketch). When you read the article carefully, you realise the numbers are all correct, but they are telling you different things. E.g.

  • Temperature for one day from one data source
  • Temperature averaged over a month, from a different dataset with a different baseline
  • Temperature representing “The Climate”, using one smoothing method (30-year-running-average)
  • Temperature representing “The Climate”, using another smoothing method (15-year-centred-average-with-climate-model-projection-for-future-months)

Huge thanks to the key Institutions that make their GMST Data Sets available, with global temperature data.

It has been really interesting seeing the stories pop out of the data, with the graphics I have crated.

After spending time with the data, and trying to learn what it is telling us, I started to realise that the differences between data sources and “smoothing” choices, can at most make about 15 years / 0.4C GMST difference. Of course, with so much focus on the Paris Agreement “1.5C”, that is quite a large range. When articles jump around between baselines, timescales, datasets, models … the unwary / uninitiated can be left totally confused.

Personally I think it is time that the IPCC defined once-and-for-all, what does “1.5C” mean: How is it measured, and when are we passed it.

Of course there are other valid points:

  • Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST)is a measure which has some drawbacks.
    • There is a lot of yearly / decadal oscillations
    • It is quite an abstract measurement, and the GMST temperature changes seem tiny, when compared to:
      • Daily temperature ranges for individual humans
      • Seasonal change between winter and summer
      • Regional differences between temperatures that humans successfully live
  • There are arguably better and less volatile measures of how the earth is gaining energy / heat:
    • Ocean Heat Content – As a measure of the stock of additional heat the earth is holding
    • Earth Energy Imbalance – As a measure of the flow of additional heat we are gaining per unit time.
    • Key Climate Indicators – Factors that affect the points above
  • Global Mean Surface Temperature should be thought of as “an index”
    • E.g. 1.5C (once fully defined), means … these consequences…
    • This is something I’m working towards. Is there a single scale. that could be created, against which all the others are pegged / index. This is probably too much to chew off, but I’m thinking on it.