There's no predicted hotspot in the upper troposphere, and cooling of the stratosphere is now the new indicator. New paper finds "greenhouse cooling" of the stratosphere over past 52 years
Image

On the left is the data collected by millions of weather balloons.xiv On the right is what the climate models say was happening.xv The theory (as per the climate models) is incompatible with the observations. In both diagrams the horizontal axis shows latitude, and the right vertical axis shows height in kilometers. Image from Dr. David Evans.
On the left is the data collected by millions of weather balloons.xiv On the right is what the climate models say was happening.xv The theory (as per the climate models) is incompatible with the observations. In both diagrams the horizontal axis shows latitude, and the right vertical axis shows height in kilometers. Image from Dr. David Evans

A new paper published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds the stratosphere of the Northern Hemisphere cooled over the past 52 years due to the increase of greenhouse gases. The paper suggests that stratospheric cooling is a "more suitable" signal of anthropogenic global warming than trying to find a mid-troposphere hot spot (which was previously considered to be the definitive "fingerprint" of man-made global warming, but still has not been found despite millions of weather balloon and satellite observations over the past 60 years):

According to the authors,
A major open question that still remains to be answered is whether the stratosphere can be considered as a more suitable region than the troposphere to detect anthropogenic climate change signals and what can be learned from the long-term stratospheric temperature trends. Indeed, the signal-to-noise ratio in the stratosphere is, radiatively speaking, more sensitive to anthropogenic GHG forcing and less disturbed by the natural variability of water vapour and clouds when compared to the troposphere. This is because (a) the dependence of the equilibrium temperature of the stratosphere on CO2 is larger than that on tropospheric temperature, (b) the equilibrium temperature of the stratosphere depends less upon tropospheric water vapour variability and (c) the influence of cloudiness upon equilibrium temperature is more pronounced in the troposphere than in the stratosphere wherethe influence decreases with height (Manabe and Weatherald,1967). Furthermore, anthropogenic aerosols are mainlyspread within the lower troposphere (He et al., 2008), andpresumably have little effect on stratospheric temperatures.
Another open question is whether the lower stratosphere has been cooling in the time since a reasonable global network became available, i.e. after the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957 - 1958. Such a long-lasting cooling from the 1960s until today would need to be explained.To what extent are the cooling trends in the lower stratosphere related to human-induced climate change? Has the cooling been accelerating, for instance at high latitudes in winter/spring due to ozone depletion? Has it been interrupted by major volcanic eruptions and El Niño events (Zerefos et al., 1992) or large climatological anomalies.
This study addresses those questions and presents a new look at observed temperature trends over the Northern Hemisphere from the troposphere up to the lower stratosphere in a search for an early warning signal of global warming, i.e. a cooling in the lower stratosphere relative to the warming inthe lower atmosphere.
However, even the most ardent fans of anthropogenic global warming theory don't agree on why an increase of "heat trapping" greenhouse gases would have the opposite effects of causing the stratosphere to cool and the troposphere to warm.

Further, many warmists claim any source of warming including solar activity, cloud changes, ocean oscillations, etc. would cause a mid-troposphere "hot spot" and overlying cooling of the stratosphere, and would not necessarily be a signal or "fingerprint" of anthropogenic global warming.

The authors also find from 1958-1979 the lower troposphere either slightly cooled or remained unchanged, followed by significant warming 1980-2010:
From 1958 until 1979, a non-significant trend (0.06 ± 0.06 °C decade−1 for NCEP) and slightly cooling trends (−0.12 ± 0.06 °C decade−1 for RICH) are found in the lower troposphere. The second period from 1980 to the end of the records shows significant warming (0.25 ± 0.05 °C decade−1 for both NCEP and RICH). Above the tropopause a significant cooling trend is clearly seen in the lower stratosphere both in the pre-1980 period (−0.58 ± 0.17 °C decade−1 for NCEP, −0.30 ± 0.16 °C decade−1 for RICH and −0.48 ± 0.20 °C decade−1 for FU-Berlin) and the post-1980 period (−0.79 ± 0.18 °C decade−1 for NCEP, −0.66 ± 0.16 °C decade−1 for RICH and −0.82 ± 0.19 °C decade−1 for FU-Berlin).
Thus, although it appears the stratosphere may be cooling, and this could be due to increased greenhouse gases, there is still no evidence of a mid-troposphere "hot spot" predicted by climate models. The slight cooling to no change of lower tropospheric temperatures from 1958-1979 found by this paper also don't support AGW theory since CO2 levels rose ~7% during that period.

The paper:

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 7705-7720, 2014
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/14/7705/2014/
doi:10.5194/acp-14-7705-2014

Evidence for an earlier greenhouse cooling effect in the stratosphere before 1980 over the Northern Hemisphere

C. S. Zerefos, K. Tourpali, P. Zanis, K. Eleftheratos, C. Repapis, A. Goodman, D. Wuebbles, I. S. A. Isaksen, and J. Luterbacher

Abstract

This study provides a new look at the observed and calculated long-term temperature changes from the lower troposphere to the lower stratosphere since 1958 over the Northern Hemisphere. The data sets include the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis, the Free University of Berlin (FU-Berlin) and the RICH radiosonde data sets as well as historical simulations with the CESM1-WACCM global model participating in CMIP5. The analysis is mainly based on monthly layer mean temperatures derived from geopotential height thicknesses in order to take advantage of the use of the independent FU-Berlin stratospheric data set of geopotential height data since 1957. This approach was followed to extend the records for the investigation of the stratospheric temperature trends to the earliest possible time. After removing the natural variability [it is impossible fully distinguish natural variability from anthropogenic] with an autoregressive multiple regression model our analysis shows that the period 1958 - 2011 can be divided into two distinct sub-periods of long-term temperature variability and trends: before and after 1980. By calculating trends for the summer time to reduce interannual variability, the two periods are as follows. From 1958 until 1979, a non-significant trend (0.06 ± 0.06 °C decade−1 for NCEP) and slightly cooling trends (−0.12 ± 0.06 °C decade−1 for RICH) are found in the lower troposphere. The second period from 1980 to the end of the records shows significant warming (0.25 ± 0.05 °C decade−1for both NCEP and RICH). Above the tropopause a significant cooling trend is clearly seen in the lower stratosphere both in the pre-1980 period (−0.58 ± 0.17 °C decade−1 for NCEP, −0.30 ± 0.16 °C decade−1 for RICH and −0.48 ± 0.20 °C decade−1 for FU-Berlin) and the post-1980 period (−0.79 ± 0.18 °C decade−1 for NCEP, −0.66 ± 0.16 °C decade−1 for RICH and −0.82 ± 0.19 °C decade−1 for FU-Berlin). The cooling in the lower stratosphere persists throughout the year from the tropics up to 60° N. At polar latitudes competing dynamical and radiative processes reduce the statistical significance of these trends. Model results are in line with reanalysis and the observations, indicating a persistent cooling (−0.33 °C decade−1) in the lower stratosphere during summer before and after 1980; a feature that is also seen throughout the year. However, the lower stratosphere CESM1-WACCM modelled trends are generally lower than reanalysis and the observations. The contrasting effects of ozone depletion at polar latitudes in winter/spring and the anticipated strengthening of the Brewer - Dobson circulation from man-made global warming at polar latitudes are discussed. Our results provide additional evidence for an early greenhouse cooling signal in the lower stratosphere before 1980, which appears well in advance relative to the tropospheric [assumed] greenhouse warming signal. The suitability of early warning signals in the stratosphere relative to the troposphere is supported by the fact that the stratosphere is less sensitive to changes due to cloudiness, humidity and man-made aerosols. Our analysis also indicates that the relative contribution of the lower stratosphere versus the upper troposphere low-frequency variability is important for understanding the added value of the long-term tropopause variability related to human-induced global warming.

(this post via the HockeySchtick)