How hot was Oct 2023?

The October temperature anomaly was a top-5 anomaly overall and a record for October, but this shouldn’t be surprising. If one follows the red bars and El Niño months, the 2023 anomaly follows that trend, and the expectation is that October 2023 will officially be an El Niño month. Expect more record monthly anomalies because (from NOAA)

El Niño conditions that emerged in June continued into October, and according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center there is an 80% chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring (March–May 2024).

NOAA has the time series data. More on this and other notes can be found in my Briefed by Data Quick Takes post.

What will it take to run the U.S. on electricity?

That is the title of a recent post on Briefed by Data. The graph here, from that post, shows our current electricity consumption and what we would need to add to move all cars to electric.

How does this compare to existing electricity generation? Figure 1 has the answer. We currently use somewhat more than 4 trillion kWh of electricity. If all vehicles were converted to electric, we would require an additional 7 trillion kWh of electricity.

Read more: What will it take to run the U.S. on electricity?

Did you read classroom connections?

Over at Briefed by Data I’ve started doing a classroom connections post. I include material that I think could be used in a classroom somehow. The topics will vary based on what I’ve run into. This past one includes a range of math being used, from calculus and statistics to modeling to data science. The graph here is from an article that did hierarchical clustering, and the data is available. Click the link if you are looking for classroom ideas.

How hot was Sept 2023?

September 2023 set a record for a monthly anomaly, but when you read something that says it was surprising, outrageous, crazy, etc., you are being misled. As far as I’m concerned, this is the media making matters worse. A new record anomaly like September is expected, and, in fact, it will happen again. Suggesting that scientists didn’t know this implies that they aren’t credible. Please read the full argument here and while you are there, subscribe to my Substack Briefed by Data. You can subscribe for free and get data-based articles right in your inbox.

Summary from NOAA, which has the data available:

The September global surface temperature was 1.44°C (2.59°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.0°C (59.0°F), making it the warmest September on record. September 2023 marked the 49th-consecutive September and the 535th-consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th-century average. September 2023 was 0.46°C (0.83°F) above the previous record from September 2020, and marks the largest positive monthly global temperature anomaly of any month on record. The September 2023 global temperature anomaly surpassed the previous record-high monthly anomaly from March 2016 by 0.09°C (0.16°F). The past ten Septembers (2014–2023) have been the warmest Septembers on record.

Looking for a Climate/Math Faculty Job?


I’m doing this post as a favor and because this is a unique faculty position that I’m happy to promote. If you are interested or know someone who might be then please pass it along.

Harvey Mudd College invites applications for a tenure-track position, beginning Fall 2024, at the assistant professor level. Exceptional candidates at higher ranks will be considered. The position is jointly held through the Hixon Center for Climate and the Environment (HCCE) and the Department of Mathematics. All areas in the mathematical sciences that align with the HCCE goals will be considered, with preference given to candidates who can significantly contribute to our course offerings and develop a shared vision for climate and environmental studies at a liberal arts college of science and engineering.

For more information go here.

Is global warming speeding up?

My question here is largely rhetorical. Global warming trends have been roughly quadratic for decades and that means the rate of increase is increasing. Still, the NTY thinks this is something new to write about in their article I Study Climate Change. The Data Is Telling Us Something New (10/13/2023) with this first sentence:

Staggering. Unnerving. Mind-boggling. Absolutely gobsmackingly bananas.

I provide a response to this article in my Briefed by Data post A Response to a NYT Climate Article, suggesting that this first sentence is just alarmism. The article includes an animation illustrating that quadratic functions have increasing slopes and so the NYT image here is not surprising. Also, one should ask why the lines on this graph are over different periods.

Please check it out the Briefed by Data article. The basic conclusion is that yes, warming is speeding up, which is bad, but at the same time nothing we are seeing now is all that surprising or unpredictable.

Which energy source uses the most minerals?

Here is an excerpt from my Briefed by Data post Minerals for renewables:

A few things stand out. The first is the amount of minerals utilized for offshore wind, which is 50% more than for the next category, onshore wind. The second factor is the importance of copper in all energy sources. Figure 2 shows the copper price from FRED. Prior to 2004, the price remained below 3,000 per metric ton, and it has climbed around four to five times since then.

The post includes links to the IEA data plus other graphs. If you aren’t getting the Briefed by Data newsletter in your inbox then consider subscribing when you read the post.

How should we measure energy subsidies?

In my post of the same name on Briefed by Data I make the case that normalizing energy subsidies by BTU in the same year is misleading. If you do so you get the graph here and can make statements like solar gets 300x more subsidies than nuclear per BTU.

In fact, solar subsidies per BTU are higher than for every other energy source, including wind (solar is 4.4 times higher) and oil and gas (solar is 135 times higher). This metric has three flaws, in my opinion.

Read the three reasons I give. The post includes links to the EIA data.

How hot was August 2023?

From my post of the same name on Briefed by Data. Figure 1 shows that the August 2023 anomaly was a record for August by a half degree Fahrenheit, or about a 30% increase over the previous record in 2016. Here is what NOAA has to say about August 2023:

The August global surface temperature was 1.25°C (2.25°F) above the 20th-century average of 15.6°C (60.1°F), making it the warmest August on record. This marked the first time an August temperature exceeded 1.0°C (1.8°F) above the long-term average. August 2023 was 0.29°C (0.52°F) warmer than the previous August record from 2016, but the anomaly was 0.10°C (0.18°F) lower than the all-time highest monthly temperature anomaly on record (March 2016). However, the August 2023 temperature anomaly was the third-highest anomaly of any month on record.

Links to the data are in the post, plus two other graphs.