The incredibly elusive absolute surface air temperature

Dr James Hansen

Yesterday, Dr Vincent Gray sent out his Climate Truth Newsletter (no. 310). In it he adverts to an outrageous admission of common sense by James Hansen. Years ago, Hansen admitted on his GISS web page that there’s no agreement among scientists on what constitutes an acceptable surface air temperature.

Sensationally, he also said that it’s IMPOSSIBLE to obtain a scientifically meaningful surface air temperature (SAT).

Now, with Hansen’s resignation from NASA, Gavin Schmidt has rushed in to take charge of these surprising admissions. Curiously, I see that Schmidt’s description is “NASA Official,” where Hansen was the “Responsible NASA Official.” Significant, interesting or irrelevant? Speculation might be endless…

The link above to the previous version of the page at the Wayback Machine is from 15 October, 2008, but that page is marked as last updated on 12 July, 2005. There are three more words in the body text of the current version than on the old page; I conclude they’re essentially identical.

These comments asserting the impossibility of determining the SAT put a disturbing slant on Hansen’s alarmism based on the SAT during the last 20 years of the 20th Century. Continue Reading →

Climate forecasts fulfilled or what?

Earlier today someone mentioned to me that a Guardian article confirmed the remarkable claim that climate models correctly predicted the evolution of this century’s temperatures. By implication, either they predicted the hiatus or the hiatus hasn’t occurred. I was intrigued.

It turns out the article came from a paper (actually a letter), Test of a decadal climate forecast, by Myles R. Allen, John F.B. Mitchell and Peter A. Stott, published online by Nature Geoscience on 27 March.

All I can access at present is the abstract and a single page (through ReadCube) but I can see some things to question, and I’d like to ask readers to help give some understanding of it.

The hiatus could falsify the DAGW hypothesis, so weakening the hiatus strengthens DAGW. It’s important we understand it correctly.

UPDATE 13 Apr 2013 11:55 am

Professor Mike Kelly, of Cambridge University, has kindly sent me a copy of the paper, saying he would review it for us. Reading through the extra page (two pages that change everything!), I find it packed with questions and comments.

Abstract

To the Editor — Early climate forecasts are often claimed to have overestimated recent warming. However, their evaluation is challenging for two reasons. Continue Reading →

The science is settled: no warming

Published at Quadrant Online on March 26, 2013

The planet is no longer warming. The brief warming episode of the late 20th century completed its course in the mid 1990s, and is now extinct. These are now uncontroversial statements. They are based on hard data which has been available for many years on the websites of many official agencies. But somehow those agencies found ways to interpret the data differently, and to continually sidestep the elephant in the room.

Continue Reading →

The unstoppable MWP

It crops up repeatedly: but there was no medieval warm period (MWP), therefore the modern warming is unprecedented.

The CO2 Science web site has a long-running project to examine records all over the world concerning temperatures in the medieval period. Their overview page makes a great introduction to the project. They cite material from hundreds of scientists and institutions. Really quite impressive.

So when will the warmists stop saying there was no medieval warm period?

Warmth ≠ warming

In my previous post I said that, since the temperature hasn’t gone up (much) in about 15 years, nothing has happened as a result – in short, global warming hasn’t caused anything, harmful or otherwise.

That short chain of reasoning seemed justified by the observed and documented lack of significant warming of the near-surface atmosphere around the globe during the last 15 years, and I thought the logic unassailable.

The above link shows the HadCRUT3 record, but you’ll see a very similar trajectory with the GISTEMP dataset, UAH, RSS or NCDC. All of these records show that, from about 1997, there’s been precious little warming or cooling and that the global monthly mean temperature anomaly has, in the last six months or less, steeply descended through exactly the same band through which it rose in 1997.

To repeat: because global warming hasn’t occurred for about 15 years, global warming hasn’t caused anything else to occur in that time. Very simple. Continue Reading →

NZ temperature record — it’s worse than we thought

Thanks to those who advised me of this amazing email from the Climategate 2 collection, either through comments here or private email. It concerns the pre-1930 cooling of the New Zealand temperature record, and makes food for thought, especially for those supporting NIWA, Salinger and the increasingly shaky AGW story. Although it’s more of a novel, and a bad one at that, with gaping holes in the plot and evidence so carelessly thrown together it fools nobody. Now, as many of us feared was the case, comes evidence that the NZ temperature record has been applied to far more places than where it was observed. We now know it was stretched over far-flung places it was never intended to go. This is the worst result possible.

Cc: t.osborn@uea.ac.uk
date: Mon, 7 Sep 2009 00:13:56 +0100 (BST)
from: “Tim Osborn”
subject: New Zealand summer temps
to: p.jones@uea.ac.uk

Hi Phil,

just a quick Q before I go to bed!

I’ve just updated the IPCC paleo chapter Southern Hemisphere plot where we
showed, amongst other things, Ed Cook’s New Zealand TRW reconstruction,
with CRUTEM2v Jan-Mar smoothed temperatures.

For my update I’ve used CRUTEM3v, expecting them to be rather similar but
with a few more years on the end.

But the pre-1930 temperatures are now very different, being much cooler
(by > 0.5 degC for a 25-year low-pass mean) in CRUTEM3v than CRUTEM2v.
Previously they had been, on average, near or even above the 1961-1990
mean, now they’re at -0.5 degC.

Is this a result of some homogenization work on New Zealand summer temp
data? Or just some random artefact of minor changes somewhere?

Cheers

Tim

– Dr. Tim Osborn RCUK Academic Fellow Climatic Research Unit School of Environmental Sciences University of East Anglia Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~timo/

A case of the blind leading the climatologists

the blind leading the climatologist

There has been no significant global surface warming this century, yet experts say that temperatures rose during the first decade, becoming seriously hot. Hotter than ever before, in fact. For example:

January 21, 2010:

Past Decade Warmest on Record, NASA Data Shows

The decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show.

The agency also found that 2009 was the second warmest year since 1880, when modern temperature measurement began. The warmest year was 2005. The other hottest recorded years have all occurred since 1998, NASA said.

James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said that global temperatures varied because of changes in ocean heating and cooling cycles. “When we average temperature over 5 or 10 years to minimize that variability,” said Dr. Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, “we find global warming is continuing unabated.”

But the only thing continuing “unabated” is the linear trend line — it’s still going up, and its slope hasn’t changed. “It’s all right. Only the data show a decline.” Continue Reading →

Global warming spreads by word of morph

Here in New Zealand, the NZ Climate Science Coalition has battled for several years to understand the national temperature record and get the data released that lies behind it. Now we battle to correct it.
 
Because NIWA, in “reconstructing” the record, manages miraculously to lower past temperatures and increase recent ones to create a spurious warming that overstates the actual national warming over the last hundred years by 168%!
 
We’ve told NIWA about it and we’ve sent them our report that proves it, but they refuse to acknowledge our finding, much less explain themselves. It is a national disgrace which our newspapers, magazines, radio stations and television channels strangely refuse to investigate.
 
The warming is truly man-made, for it hasn’t happened in the real world, it has been created only by the adjustments.
 
Now, from C3 Headlines, we learn that an even more invidious process has been going on in the United States. Continue Reading →

Does this destroy sceptical arguments?

This is surely too good to be true for the warmists.

In the last few days of a failing international conference, here’s a paper carrying strong confirmation of global warming. It’s not attribution, of course, but nobody will notice that. Proof of warming is enough to tweak the guilt nerve.

The Washington Post says:

The global temperature series is one of the clearest pieces of evidence that the planet is heating up. Over the past century, it’s easy to see from, say, NASA’s data that surface temperatures have risen dramatically. But there’s also a fair bit of short-term natural fluctuation from year to year, which can sometimes obscure what, exactly, is going on.

Continue Reading →

Guess, meet fact

Clive Best IPCC comparison

Several readers, among them the evergreen Mike Jowsey (thanks, Mike!) have drawn my attention to Clive Best’s simple yet remarkable post from yesterday. It brings together in a most accessible way the early IPCC forecasts (or “scenarios”, actually — they were never predictions) and the latest observations of global temperature.

So, after 20 years, how well have the consensus scientists done in forecasting the climate? It could be said the results are patchy. Continue Reading →

World temp prediction

Bryan Leyland has sent us his latest report of the Southern Oscillation Index and its ramifications on the global average temperature.

He says that, if the relationship holds, next month will be cooler rather than warmer.

Here’s his latest graph, showing the blue SOI, shifted forward seven months, behind the red global temperature record.

Leyland global temp prediction

The very definition of stasis

UPDATE 22 JAN 2011

Temperatures dishonestly twisted

stasis: Latin; to stand; inactivity.

There is a simple trick by which the recent non-rising temperature record is pretended everywhere to be soaring dangerously.

A merry wee post at Treehugger put me on to this handy table of figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) State of the Climate report for 2010. The figures come from the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and show the top ten average global temperatures since 1997. I started thinking about them.

Notice that the table shows your (US) tax money at work — public scientists toiling for the good of their fellow citizens, finding never-ending practical uses for the torrent of objective science pouring from publicly-funded institutions, laboratories and universities. A process which no doubt repeats itself in progressive democracies around the world. Continue Reading →

Record warming caused by El Nino, not us

Global Warming Science Fiction cartoon

One or the other, but not both

Our warming nerve has been over-stimulated. Every time we hear of warming we get defensive and/or afraid for the future.

But there’s an important feature to the latest “record high” years we would do well to remember — humanity had nothing to do with them.

Dr Roy Spencer discusses the 2010 global average temperature on his web site, concluding that the difference between 2010 and the previous record high year, 1998, is hardly worth mentioning.

In 1998, the world experienced the greatest El Nino ever recorded, pushing temperatures to a new record.

In 2010, the world again experienced a very strong El Nino. Fuelled by that alone, 2010 might have been another record year but for the end-game intervention of a very deep La Nina, which immediately dragged temperatures down so they did not exceed the high temperatures of 1998.

But it’s rather obvious that neither record year owes anything to man-made global warming. The high temperatures were caused by the natural cycles of the ENSO.

This is non-controversial and nobody denies it.

If anyone disputes this, and says it’s all been “exacerbated” by our emissions of CO2, they must answer this:

In 2010, the global average temperature anomaly was about +0.411 °C. How much of that was caused by human emissions?

If human emissions were responsible for, say, 0.4 °C over the last hundred years (which is disputed), that’s the same as an annual increase of 0.004 °C, which was neither here nor there in determining whether 2010 set a record temperature.

Be neither guilty, nor afraid.

More proof global temps lag SOI

SOI forecast January 2011

NIWA, listen to this, it’s amazing

UPDATE 1, 11 JAN 2011, 09:30 NZDT

On December 1 last year, we wrote about Bryan Leyland’s prediction of significant cooling before the end of the year coming true. You can see from the chart exactly what happened. Not only that, it would appear that the temperature has not finished going down yet.

This remarkable forecast, now some eight months old, comes out of a 2009 paper showing a lagged correlation between global temperatures and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), calculated from fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, and indicative also of the start (and the state) of a La Nina (as now) or an El Nino. This correlation is a lot more convincing than comparing global temperature with CO2 levels! Continue Reading →

Cooling forecast comes true

crystal ball

NIWA, where are you?

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, is calculated from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin.

In July last year three climate scientists published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research. “Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature” concluded that nature, not man, was responsible for “recent global warming.”

The paper, by John McClean, Chris DeFreitas and Bob Carter, shows that what the SOI does now, the temperature will do in between five and eight months’ time.

Simple. But does it work to predict global temperatures? Continue Reading →

A tale of two hemispheres

a brain of two hemispheres

Running this blog, people send me stuff.

My new friend Jim has sent me a wonderful graph that pits NASA against NIWA in a way most apposite for our stoush with them. Here’s the graph, showing basically that the Southern Hemisphere has warmed more slowly than the Northern Hemisphere:

temperatures of two hemispheres

This must be compared with the official NZ graph from NIWA.

official NIWA temperature graph

Jim said:

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies [GISS, a division of NASA] explains that the temperature increase in the Southern Hemisphere is less than the Northern due to it being mainly water and that water has a greater temperature inertia than land.

The NASA chart says that a 0.5°C increase has taken place in the Southern Hemisphere as a whole over the 20th century — well below the global average.

NIWA scientists, on the other hand, claim their data series is correct and that New Zealand is warming considerably faster than global averages. Why is a maritime country like New Zealand so anomalous to the rest of the Southern Hemisphere?

Which means that NIWA’s official national temperature series has some well-credentialled scientific opposition. Surely Wratt et al. will struggle to refute the well-muscled NASA without surrendering some humiliating ground. Continue Reading →

Phil Jones: “No global warming since 1995″

Professor Phil Jones

From the Mail Online today comes an incredible turnaround from a scientist at the centre of research into global warming for the past 20 years. Following the Climategate release of emails, he now says there’s been no global warming since 1995 and there is doubt that the Medieval Warm Period was cooler than today. But until recently these points were part of the “unequivocal evidence” for anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and were never denied. These admissions are fatal to the theory of AGW. It cannot survive.


The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.

Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.

And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming. Continue Reading →

Climategate Part 2 — 2,000-page epic of science and scepticism

First published at the National Post: December 21, 2009, 2:33 pm

There’s trouble over tree rings as the Climategate emails reveal a rift between scientists. For Part 1, go here.

In the thousands of emails released last month in what is now known as Climategate, the greatest battles took place over scientists’ attempts to reconstruct a credible temperature record for the last couple of thousand years. Have they failed? What the Climategate emails provide is at least one incontrovertible answer: They certainly have not succeeded.

In a post-Copenhagen world, climate history is not merely a matter of getting the record straight, or a trivial part of the global warming science. In a Climategate email in April of this year, Steve Colman, professor of Geological Science at the University of Minnesota Duluth, told scores of climate scientists “most people seem to accept that past history is the only way to assess what the climate can actually do (e.g., how fast it can change). However, I think that the fact that reconstructed history provides the only calibration or test of models (beyond verification of modern simulations) is under-appreciated.”

If temperature history is the “only” way to test climate models, the tests we have on hand — mainly the shaky temperature history of the last 1,000 or 2,000 years — suggest current climate models are not getting a proper scientific workout.

Two scientists, one British and the other American, straddle the initial Climategate battle over recent global temperature history. Later, the same two scientists appear to abandon their internal disagreements and join forces to present a united front to fight off critics and put down skeptics. Continue Reading →

NIWA’s obfuscation unequivocal — it’s worse than we thought

NIWA have published misleading material on their web site and seem to have advised the Minister for Climate Change Issues to give evasive answers to questions in the Parliament.

For those unfamiliar with the story: NIWA keeps raw data for the national NZ temperature record and makes it available on their web site. The Climate Conversation Group and the NZ Climate Science Coalition conducted a joint study of the temperature record, researched by a science team and published on 25 November under the title Are we feeling warmer yet?.

But we’re only asking about the weather

That study demonstrated that the official graph does not represent the raw temperature data. NIWA told us that adjustments have been applied so we’ve asked for the details. So far they obfuscate. We don’t know why they refuse to disclose what the weather has been.

We conclude that NIWA’s response to our enquiries has been defensive, obstructive and oddly disparaging.

The Hon Rodney Hide became concerned about deteriorating standards in public science and asked in the Parliament whether the Hon Dr Nick Smith would require NIWA to release the full data for the official NZ temperature record. On the last possible day for answering, Nick finally replied: “You must ask Wayne Mapp; he’s the responsible minister (for Research, Science and Technology, the portfolio that covers NIWA).” We won’t get any Parliamentary questions answered now until well into the New Year, so Nick Smith has caused a considerable delay in getting this information to the public.

Gratuitously, he added: “I would note however that the NZCSC have had this information since 2003.” He hoped that little factoid would hurt the Coalition’s reputation, but it won’t, although it might hurt his own — because the Coalition didn’t exist until 2006.

See the email, they said, but they deceive us

NIWA say that the Coalition have had all the information needed to reproduce the official graph since 19 July, 2006, when, they say, “NIWA advised NZ Climate Science Coalition member Dr Vincent Gray” of the need for adjustments and gave him a couple of examples. Dr Gray has located an email of that date and we can now reveal that it was from Dr Jim Salinger, not NIWA, it was not addressed to the Coalition and did not mention the Coalition.

It was sent just a few weeks after the Coalition was created, before they ever discussed the national temperature record. Dr Gray tells us that and other emails before and since were not official communications on either side — they were letters between two scientists who had known each other for years.

But most significantly the email does not give details of the adjustments made to the temperatures, nor does it give the information required to derive the adjustments. Dr Salinger just discusses the changes in a general way and gives a few examples and that’s all. NIWA’s assertion that that email contains the requested information is not supported by reading the email. Continue Reading →

Wratt’s prediction falsified already — by his own graph

A funny thing happened last week involving Parliament but almost nobody noticed. Without my observant scientist friend, I wouldn’t know about it. We’re all pretty lucky that he put two and two together, but that’s what scientists are good at. He tells me they practise putting them together three or four times a week and some of them are so good at it they have trouble getting them apart.

So what happened? First, our study appeared, with a copy of the official NZ graph showing strong warming over the last hundred years. Second, Nick Smith said NIWA tells him New Zealand’s global warming will be much milder than elsewhere. Can both statements be true? Only if our steep temperature rise suddenly slows right down! It’s another mystery. Continue Reading →

Supplementary Information – Hokitika

Are we feeling warmer yet?

NZ Climate Science Coalition & Climate Conversation Group
30 Nov 2009

A number of people have now asked us for the raw data we used to create the unadjusted versus adjusted temperature graphs in our study Are we feeling warmer yet? We will shortly post a list of station names from the NIWA CliFlo database. While we could post the data directly, it would be fairly pointless, as you would need to know in detail the weather stations and the methods we used to combine them. Each station required some experimentation and detective work, assumptions had to be made and we may well have made errors. We make no claim to be infallible, so we publish these notes to let the reader judge whether our study has merit.

We will shortly be making the Salinger adjusted dataset available. We would like to thank Warwick Hughes for providing us with that data.

In this document we want to work through an example weather station—Hokitika—to illustrate our approach and methods. We also want to address NIWA’s response, currently on their website, that the Wellington adjustments are justified by altitude differences between stations where no time series overlap is available (Thorndon, Kelburn and Airport). The assumption is made by NIWA that stations can be adjusted together in such cases (even though they have no common overlap period and are also separated both spatially and temporally) as long as they share a common height above sea level.

By giving examples of stations with both altitude separation and an overlap period, we show that the lapse rate can differ and even the sign of the temperature difference can be reversed. Some higher stations record warmer temperatures than nearby lower stations. Therefore, it is invalid to move two station records together simply because they share a station height.

Go to Supplementary Information — Hokitika

Download Supplementary Information — Hokitika

Notes on replication — station data

Are we feeling warmer yet?

NZ Climate Science Coalition & Climate Conversation Group
29 Nov 2009

We’ve heard from a number of people wanting to replicate the graphs. However, we never expected such a high level of interest in our study so we were somewhat unprepared. We are now putting together a posting that will specify stations and describe our methods which we hope to post in the next few hours. In the meantime, this note outlines the difficulties. It doesn’t answer your needs, and for that we apologise, but we’re working on something more substantial right now. Continue Reading →

Are we feeling warmer yet?

The New Zealand
Climate Science Coalition
25 November 2009

(A paper collated by Richard Treadgold, of the Climate Conversation Group, from a combined research project undertaken by members of the Climate Conversation Group and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition)

There have been strident claims that New Zealand is warming. The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), among other organisations and scientists, allege that, along with the rest of the world, we have been heating up for over 100 years.

But now, a simple check of publicly-available information proves these claims wrong. In fact, New Zealand’s temperature has been remarkably stable for a century and a half. So what’s going on?

New Zealand’s National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is responsible for New Zealand’s National Climate Database. This database, available online, holds all New Zealand’s climate data, including temperature readings, since the 1850s. Anybody can go and get the data for free. That’s what we did, and we made our own graph.

Go to paper
Download paper (pdf, 213KB).

Prove it, iceman!

This was in the Herald this morning:

Icebergs coming en masse

More than 100 Antarctic icebergs – and possibly even hundreds of them – are floating towards New Zealand.

An Australian Antarctic Division glaciologist, Neal Young, said yesterday that the ice chunks, spotted in satellite photos, had passed the Auckland Islands and were heading towards the South Island, 450km northeast.

He said more than 100 icebergs – some more than 200m across – were seen in just one cluster, indicating there could be hundreds more.

Dr Young said they were the remains of a massive ice floe which split from Antarctica in rising sea and air temperatures resulting from global warming.

- AFP

I think it’s exciting that we might see giant icebergs again, because it’s dramatic. However, the assumption that their close approach is connected with warming is odd, since the appearance of ice in my gin and tonic indicates just the opposite—a cooling trend. As you sail to Antarctica, the appearance of icebergs in the sea certainly confirms a cooling trend. A reasonable person, on hearing that icebergs appear because of warming, surely considers enquiring whether it’s actually because of cooling.

Dr Young’s easy attribution of the calving of these icebergs to “global warming” is unlikeable and unconvincing. More likely is that, as usual, the ice shelf reaches such a length (through continual plentiful production of ice, please note!) that the ocean waves can move it about with sufficient force to snap it off. If warming was causing melting, what would survive to embark on a voyage to anywhere?

It is equally likely that, because of cooling seas, the icebergs now survive the long voyage to New Zealand!

I know of no evidence supporting a global rise in temperature recently. Certainly, no more than perhaps 0.2°C, something like that, in the few months which might have influenced the calving. In the Antarctic, such a rise might get you up to around minus eleventy five which is dreadfully chilly and won’t melt anything. There’s nothing abnormal going on here. Might we not reasonably expect the Herald to know this and to question the AFP story?

They have let us down.

The audience strikes back

Emptiness of AGW theory

Dan Satterfield is an experienced TV meteorologist in Huntsville, Alabama—the town which is also home to the world-famous team led by Dr Roy Spencer that tracks the Earth’s temperature with satellites.

Despite his credentials, despite the fact that he deals with climate information every day and despite the fact that he parrots warmist dogma and calls it “climate science”, Dan evinces no actual knowledge of climate facts. And confronted with that fact, Dan finally confesses (by retreat) that he cannot debate the issues on which he claims to be passionate. In withdrawing, he demonstrates the emptiness of the AGW hypothesis.

When the audience strikes back, he cannot mount a defence. His incompetence is great, though he had poor material to work with. Still, alas, he doesn’t make a notable opponent; he is only today’s. One down, thousands yet to go.

Dreary and detailed

Dan’s post tries to describe the imagined “psychology” of “the deniers of climate change”, rather than accepting that there do actually exist real-world observations which fail to support the AGW hypothesis. Everybody believes the evidence of their own senses, and it has nothing to do with having a particular psychology.

What follows is dreary and detailed; I write it because I can, not because I imagine anyone will hasten to read it. Oh—and because I care about the truth. Observing Mr Satterfield squeezing and pinching the truth of global warming out of shape inspires me to pen this lone refutation, dreary and uninspiring though it may be, whose only reward might be a faint righteousness. Continue Reading →

The hockey stick

Here’s a story you haven’t heard, and you should have. An analyst, working for the government, uses computers to crunch numbers and find the truth. Let’s call him “Mann.” The trouble with Mann is, he has an ideology. He knows what he wants his results to be. more…