Tag Archives: tempeature data

Why are Skeptics Ridiculed by Society?

Any discussion of our changing climate (aka weather) is by nature somewhat speculative.  I am only a little surprised when tomorrow’s weather is accurately predicted.  When weekly or monthly forecasts prove correct I am impressed.  I expect them to be wrong.

Soooo….answer me this.   Why are people who question the predictions of gloom and doom coming from the global climate community ridiculed by society?

News stories assuming that man caused global climate to change dramatically are everywhere.

  • Today’s paper touted February 2016 as the warmest ever in Alaska
  • Yesterday One news blamed the strong El Nino for floods in Peru
  • Yesterday the Anchorage Dispatch news featured a political cartoon of an argument between person touting global warming and a person noting that it had been warmer 2500 years ago.  The cartoon was drawn to make the skeptic look stupid.
  • Articles are here, there and everywhere calling 2015 the warmest in history for the earth.
  • On Sunday, it was reported that the Arctic Ice cap is at it’s lowest level in history and it stopped growing early this year.  ( A history that is only 40 years old)
  • A month or so ago, I read an article about the recent (last two years)  warmer than anticipated weather.   The article touted climate experts that said climate was again warming rapidly after a 15 year hiatus.  And that it was proof that the UN climate experts were right.

I could go on forever.

We are in the midst of a strong El Nino climate pattern in the Northern Hemisphere.  It has been warmer in 2015 and early 2016 than in the recent past.  2016 is starting out a a bit warmer than 2015.  Interestingly, satellite data and land based temperature data disagree about 2015.  Satellite data is a tiny bit cooler than land based data.  It shows a 13 month  average that is still below the 1998 peak.  If the current El Nino pattern persists, 2016 could be warmer than 2015 or 1998.  Land based data already has 2015 higher than 1998.

https://i1.wp.com/www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_February_2016_v6.png

What happened 50 or 150 or 500 years ago?   How does the current El Nino compare to El Nino patterns in history?  We don’t know.   Study of El Nino is a relatively new science.   Our understanding of it began about 50 years ago as we began to collect better Ocean current and temperature data.  So how did El Nino events impact the climate in the dust bowl era?  Your guess is as good as mine!

Science is a guessing game.  Weather science is a big time guessing game.  And too many of the articles I have read assume Scientists are certain.  Doubters are the fools.  Carbon Dioxide is the culprit and  if we don’t keep it under under control, the world’s climate will  change dramatically.  And if we meet IPCC goals, everything will be just fine.

REALLY!?

How can we really know what is gong to happen to the world climate ecosystem in 50 or 100 or 500 years?   How can we guarantee a small change in a system that changes regularly regardless of what we do or do not do.

And people that have doubts are the bad guys?

I’m one of those guys.  I look at the science and I see lots of guessing.  Wild Ass Guessing.   I’m in favor of a cautious approach to greenhouse gas emissions. They might be bad.  Why take the risk.    But then again other things that Scientists aren’t paid to study are likely more important.  Global temperature changes don’t track particularly well to carbon dioxide levels.  It has been argued that carbon dioxide is a following rather than a leading indicator.

One thing is certain, we need to know more.   Lots more.   Something important is being missed or misunderstood.  I see a society that decided what the answer was in 1992 and UN Scientists and their many comrades have been trying to prove it ever since.

The level of confidence displayed by the scientists and the writers is wildly out of place with the science.  This specific science problem has many many variables.   Orbital variations, solar winds, sunspots and even the relative position of continents matter. Climate changes wildly without the assistance of man.  A change of 10 degrees C is common in a single 100,000 year long ice age cycle. It has been lots warmer and lots colder in the last 20,000 years. And in the climate game, 20,000 is a short time period.

It was warmer that it is today just 1000 years ago.  And skeptics are not stupid just because they have a contrary opinion or wonder what will happen when/if  it starts to get cold again.

Sometimes I think about a Mark Twain quotation or three.  All this has gone on before.

It’s not what we don’t know that gets us into trouble, it’s what we know for sure that just aint so.

and

Get your facts first, then you can distort them any way you please.

and finally

Facts are stubborn things, statistics are pliable.

It’s worth remembering that measuring the average temperature of the Earth is a difficult task full of guessing.  We have very few thermometers in the Southern Hemisphere (only 1 in Antarctica).  The Oceans that absorb heat better than land,  represent most of the Earth’s surface and are underrepresented in any current global climate temperature measurement.  Ocean probes drift with the currents and are not well distributed.  Adjustments are made to temperature measurements to compensate for these shortcomings. Global surface temperature is not a precisely known number.

Was 2015 the warmest ever? NO.  The warmest in the last 100 years?  Well maybe.  How about 100o years?  Unlikely.

Satellite data varies somewhat from surface data.  Satellite data says 2015 was a warm year and 2016 is starting out strong.  2016 might be just a bit warmer than 1998 (another El Nino year) but it might not (according to the Satellite data).  It’s a close call and the data on 2016 has a while to run.

Our collection of Satellite data began in the late 1970’s.  We know the world was warmer than average in the late 1930’s.  And our ability to measure temperature was less sophisticated then than it is today.  We have no idea what went on in Antarctica or in the Oceans back then.   We think it is warmer today than it was back then…but we are not certain.  We were guessing back then and we’re guessing today.

Have a nice day.

Common Temperature Mistakes

Any discussion of climate change begins and ends with a discussion of temperature.  A Bloomberg article titled Holding Back Climate Change Isn’t as Hard as You Think is a typical example.  Apparently the International Energy Agency has looked at recent trends in energy use and is encouraged.  The third paragraph states the following:

Pledges already put forward for the Paris conference, including by the U.S., European Union and China, could hold temperature increases to 2.6 degrees Celsius. That’s significantly less of an overshoot than the 3.6-degree long-term gain in the IEA’s main scenario issued in November. The United Nations is trying to hold the increase to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.

The article goes on to say that countries all over the world are becoming more energy efficient and are replacing coal fired power production with natural gas.

The article is a refreshing change from the gloom and doom normally spouted…but it makes the exact same group of mistakes most articles on climate make.

Mistake 1

Climate is not a static system.  Global temperatures changes wildly and in unpredictable ways.   The UN climate experts continue to make specific predictions even as they admit that background natural climate variation makes specific temperature prediction difficult.    This UK’s East Anglia University temperature chart illustrates the point:

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/documents/421974/487107/gtc_feb2015.gif/1abb0fcd-aecc-4cc3-ac4c-b6ea634379ea?t=1424695677621

UN experts insist that the change between 1910 and 1940 was natural climate variation, and that the change between 1976 and 1998 was mostly man caused.   Change since 1998 has been less than predicted by the UN.  The most recent UN Synopses Report blames natural climate variation for the lack of predicted change since 1998.

How can anyone guarantee any specific temperature in such a dynamic system?

Mistake 2

Climate experts do not make specific climate recommendations.  They make predictions using probabilities from computer models.   These models are not precise.  They routinely have a range of values as figure 3.2 from the 2007 UN report demonstrates.

https://www.ipcc.ch/graphics/syr/fig3-2.jpg

Working from left to right, the chart begins with a graph of the midpoint temperature change predicted by 2100 for four of the six different scenarios considered in the report.  Next to the graph is a bar chart with the six scenarios considered by the report (labeled B1 to A1F1).  Next to that are worldwide temperature graphics of three scenarios.

Let’s zoom in on the middle part of the image, the bar chart. The shaded area of the bar chart graphically demonstrates the range of values different computer models provide for the same scenario.  The bar charts are constructed to include 90% of the computer models run in the study.  One in ten computer models falls outside the bar graph.

News reports routinely report a single number.  There is no single number.

Mistake 3

The UN is not trying to keep temperatures to a 2 degrees C rise, they are trying to keep the rise from current levels to less than a degree.   The article simply quotes the UN stated goal incorrectly.   The UN stated goal is to keep temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees C since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.  The Industrial Revolution began as the Little Ice Age was ending.  It was a particularly cool period of recent history.

The UN chose to start their calculating at this opportune time and nobody seems to care that the premier world climate agency is cherry picking data.  The UN has often stated that most warming before 1950 was natural climate variation. Why add more than 1 degree C of natural climate variation to the total?  It seems an odd convolution of the arithmetic.

Why the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has made such a prediction is anybodies guess.  In a world where a volcanic eruption can cause a 2 degree C shift in a single year,  the IPCC’s goal of 2 degrees C since the Industrial Revolution has always been unrealistic and unattainable.

Mistake 4

Accurately calculating the correct historical temperature is very difficult.  Satellite data only exists for 35 years.  Data on the Oceans is spotty and new with the best data beginning in the 1990’s.  We have only a single data point for all of Antarctica.

Direct data in any form is only 200 years old and the best data has been gathered since the 1990’s.  As predictions go back in time the data gets more and more approximate.  We have general ideas about what the climate was like 10,000 years ago (similar to today), 20,000 years ago (much colder than today — think ice sheets in New York City) or 130,000 years ago when we think it was quite a bit warmer than it is right now.  That information is much less precise than the mass of data being produced every day in the 21st century.

The approximate nature of old data makes small changes over short periods of time difficult to calculate or predict.

Data over 200 years old is indirect data using tree rings, soil bores and ice cores and other indirect and anecdotal evidence.  This indirect data is both regional and has a small sample size which means it is difficult to make precise predictions about the climate of just a few thousand years ago.

Ice cores provide long term data for a single specific location in the coldest place on earth.   Trying to predict climate in New York City some 500,000 years ago based on a the temperature in a single ice core in Antarctica is much less accurate than reading a thermometer.

Regional climate varies wildly and is not a good proxy for worldwide climate.  Most anecdotal evidence is made up of proxies for regional climates.  Small changes to the world climate ecosystem in years gone by will almost certainly be missed.  It is difficult to tell how important today variations are, given the poor historical data sets.  Maybe the climate we are seeing is extraordinary, maybe it’s all happened before?

And the data interpretation keeps changing!

Just a few days ago NOAA announced that they had found errors in recent temperature calculations that help explain the less warm than predicted climate these last 15 years.  Other climate groups are less sure, choosing to take a wait an see attitude. Perhaps they remember other climate missteps (Climate-gate or the Mann Hockey Stick Graph).

Just about every article using temperature data ignores the limitations the science faces.  Specific numbers are used in a world full of approximations and guesses.

And so it goes

Climate Change Studies?

Much money has been spent in recent years studying climate change.   We are oft bombarded with gloom and doom courtesy of these studies.   Most studies I’ve read blame rapidly changing temperatures  caused by man.  Carbon dioxide is responsible for whatever disaster they happen to be promoting.

Suppose, just suppose, that the climate hasn’t been changing as rapidly as advertised.

Let’s look at some temperature data.   I’d like to state up front that I think all land based temperature data is wild ass guess data.  The Earth’s temperature is simply too difficult to calculate.   Most thermometers are located in the developed world.  Much of Africa is sparsely covered and coverage in Antarctica is spectacularly sparse,  only a single location for then entire continent. World temperature wild ass guessing is a virtual certainty.   That said, lets begin with some NASA data that relies on weather stations and ocean buoys:

Fig C

Yep, this chart shows a shift in world temperatures in the 1990’s.  But if  the chart had been started a year later in 1997 instead of 1996, then there would be no real change.   Yep, no net change in climate since 1997.   The last 17 years have been surprisingly stable.   More stable than at any time in the last 170 years as this East Anglia University data shows:

Natural variation; here, there, everywhere.   I particularly like the changes in the 1870’s and 1880’s.   Ocean temperature data stunk back then (it’s not that great today) so we know the data used to prepare this graph is jam packed full of guesses.

Climate change before 1950 is presumed to be natural climate variation by the same experts that are trying to scare us now. My personal favorite,  the stretch from 1907 to 1943.  It seems eerily similar to the data from 1976 to 1998.

Don’t like the NASA or East Anglia Data?   Let’s look at some Satellite Data.  Here’s the University of Alabama at Hunstsville (UAH) Satellite global data for the lower atmosphere:

UAH_LT_1979_thru_April_2014_v5

Fairly stable weather until Mt. Pinatubo erupted, then rapid cooling followed by rapid warming.   And still no net change since the second half of1997.

One key premise of man caused global climate change states that the climate will change more at the poles than in the tropics.   It certainly has been true in the Arctic.   I’d argue that soot and pollution from Asia (mostly) are partly to blame.  Recent studies support this notion as does Satellite data from Antarctica.   If the Arctic is changing due to additional carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, then Antarctica should change too…. and in a similar way.

Take a look at the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) Satellite data for Antarcita.

https://i1.wp.com/data.remss.com/msu/graphics/TLT/plots/RSS_TS_channel_TLT_Southern%20Polar_Land_And_Sea_v03_3.png

Almost flat line.  Now look at the Arctic Data also courtesy of RSS.

https://i1.wp.com/data.remss.com/msu/graphics/TLT/plots/RSS_TS_channel_TLT_Northern%20Polar_Land_And_Sea_v03_3.png

No change in Antarctica, wild change in the Arctic.  Ice core data supports the notion that the Antarctic has not been warming for hundreds of years.   Hmmm.

Most studies I’ve seen, including most IPCC handiwork, start with observed changes in the world around them.  This change is then attributed to man produced greenhouse gases which is supported by computer models that assumed carbon was important.  Round and round we go.  Make an assumption and build a model based upon that assumption and then use that model as proof of the assumption….just a tad circular.

If carbon dioxide is the primary driver of climate change, the data at both poles should be similar.  The data has been diverging for the entire 36 year history of Satellite Data.

Maybe, just maybe, something else is going on.

 

 

 

IPCC Climate predictions change in AR5

Shortly after I left town for a 2 week trip to the East Coast, the IPCC released their latest assessment on climate change, it’s Fifth Assessment is nicknamed AR5.  Today I pulled up some of the report from the web.    It was full of surprises.

The press did not surprise.  Gloom and doom has been everywhere these past two weeks.   Lost is all the hoopla is a significant change in the way the IPCC makes predictions.  They have become more circumspect.    Gone are absolute short term predictions like this one from AR4 made in 2007:

For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emissions scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all GHGs and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected. Afterwards, temperature projections increasingly depend on specific emissions scenarios. {3.2}

AR4 included the following charts to help explain their short term temperature predictions:

https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/fig/figurespm-5-l.png

Now look at what AR5 says:

It is more likely than not that the mean global mean surface air temperature for the period 2016–2035 will be more than 1°C above the mean for 1850–1900, and very unlikely that it will be more than 1.5°C above the 1850–1900 mean (medium confidence).

A quick peek at the East Anglia University  temperature data set will allow us to interpret what 1 degree C since 1900 really means:

The world average from 1850 to 1900 was about 0.7 degree C cooler than the year 2000 baseline used in AR4.   So the new report is saying that the world has about a 65% chance (more likely than not) of being about 0.3 degrees C warmer on average between 2016 and 2035 than it was in the year 2000.  They also say that temperature is very unlikely to be as high as 0.8 degrees C higher.

Compare that statement  to the chart from AR4.  The IPCC predicted  0.8 degree C above 2000 as a most likely case in the year 2035.    The AR5 report lowers their estimate and changes the way it is calculated.  AR5 deals with average temperatures over a period of time while AR4 made much more specific and higher predictions.  AR4 effectively ignored natural climate variation.  AR5 does not repeat the mistake.

AR5 includes two significant temperature prediction caveats.   They acknowledge that natural climate variation makes specific temperature predictions difficult in the short run and they included a statement on volcanic activity:

This projection is valid for the four RCP scenarios and assumes there will be no major volcanic eruptions or secular changes in total solar irradiance before 2035.

IF the earth experiences a significant  (Mt. Pinatubo equivalent) volcanic eruption, then IPCC projections will likely be wrong according to the IPCC.   How likely are Pinatubo equivalent eruptions?  Volcanic eruptions are measured using the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI).   Mt. Pinatubo was a 6.   A chart courtesy of Wikipedia describes VEI and offers their best guess for each classification.  Here it is:

https://climateswag.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/6ac18-veitable.jpg

This chart says both VEI 5 (Mt St. Helens) and VEI 6 (Mt. Pinatubo) eruptions happen at rates that are less than one every 100 years.   What are these guys smoking?    The Wall Street Journal published a chart that shows each VEI 5 or higher event in the last 200 years.

Between April of 1815 and August of 1991, the Earth produced 19 VEI 5 or greater eruptions.   Mt. Tambora,  got things started in April of 1815.   This category 7 event was really special.  5,000 feet of this Indonesian volcano disappeared in a single event.   There was so much crap in the air that 1816 was named the year without a summer.  It was followed by 14 category 5 events, and  4 category 6 events culminating with Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

Recent history is going to give us the best data.  Recent history says the IPCC is ….well…wrong.   We probably will have a significant eruption before 2035.   I suspect wild ass guessing at the UN.  Mother Nature gave us 4 category 6 events in the 108 year period from August of 1883 (Krakatoa) to June of 1991 (Pinatubo).

I am glad AR5 noted the exclusion of volcanic activity and made some references to natural climate variation.  These inclusions make the work so much better. The admission really was necessary.  AR4 short term temperature predictions were so flawed that they had to do something to explain why they were so wrong.

AR4 was full of bad wild ass guessing….and at least  AR5 acknowledges that they might be wrong.  The IPCC admits that there is a one in three chance that they are being too aggressive simply because normal climate variation makes specific predictions difficult.  A VEI 6 Volcanic eruption will totally mess with their predictions.

Lets assume VEI 6 eruptions happen every 40 years or so.   A VEI 6 volcanic eruption between now and 2035 carries a 50% probability.  We must then reduce the probability that the IPCC predictions are correct by that 50% since they admit they assumed a zero probability.

I’m just glad to see the IPCC adjusting to the real world…at least a little bit.

Climate Science – A data plucking epidemic

Cherry picked data and wild ass guessing  are everywhere in climate science discussions.   I just spent three posts discussing a new gloom and doom article by James Hansen and 17 other scientists.   The whole article is chock full of cherry picked data and wild guesses.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the starting assumption, namely that the world temperature has risen 1 degree C in the 20th century.   Well that’s not strictly true.  Here is the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit(CRU) Chart from 2009:

https://i2.wp.com/davidpratt.info/climate/climategate18.gif

The NOAA  data looks similair but a bit different.  The NOAA data is best viewed by looking at their web site.  The NOAA data is interactive.  One can place a curser on any year and get a specific reading for that year.   The year 1900 was -0.1 degree C and 2000 was +0.4.  The years around 1910 were -0.4 which would have been provided a +0.8 net total for the time period.   The only way you get a 1 degree C reading is to stop in 1998 (a strong El Nino year).

And the data keeps changing all the time.   Here is the 2012 East Anglia data.

Notice how 1998 is now cooler and 2010 is the new hottest ever!

Suppose I wanted to support the argument that the climate hasn’t changed much in the last 130 years.  I could start with 1879, a +0.1 degree C year according to NOAA…and end my data in ….well lets look at some Satellite data and cherry pick our best number:

https://i0.wp.com/www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_December_2013_v5.6.png

Let’s pick 2008.

The satellite is using a slightly higher temperature as their zero point which means there is some warming, but probably less than +0.2 degree C. in that specific period from 1879 to 2008.     So how much warming did we have?   And how much is natural climate variation and how much is man caused?  I don’t know and neither does Dr. Hansen.

World temperature is a guess that does not stay constant.   In 2006, a skeptic noticed that the NASA climate data was flawed.   They had used raw rather than corrected data for most of North America in their models and they had been doing it since the year 2000.  NASA corrected their mistake and suddenly 1939 got lots warmer relative to 1998 and 2005.   1939 no longer makes even the top ten.  Between 2006 and 2013…1939 got colder!?  And so did 1998.

World temperature is a SWAG number.  There are two mains reasons I am comfortable saying that.  Oceans and test site irregularities.

70% of the world is ocean.  Before 1979 we had almost no data.  Ships at sea provided temperatures.  These temperatures have been accumulating for a long time, but standards have existed only since the 1950’s.  When should a temperature be taken, how often should it be taken, and at what point on the hull?

Ocean temperature outside shipping lanes began with satellite data in 1979.   And Satellite data measures the air near the surface, not the sea temperature.  Buoys began being used in the 1980’s which provided better data.  But buoys drift and most are near land.  So what was the temperature of the Pacific Ocean near Antarctica in 1879?   What is it right now?  AND how much has it changed between 1879 and 1979?

Test sites are impacted by their environment.   As the environment becomes more urban, the temperature at the site rises.   There are literally thousands of sites that must be adjusted.  A paved road and/or new mechanical equipment nearby have the ability to impact calculations.   Cities are warmer than the countryside nearby.  When a site does not provide data, and that does happen, the data must be surmised is some way.   SWAG is rampant.

Here is a piece of information provided by a skeptic demonstrating the difference between raw and corrected data for New Zealand. .  First the unadjusted data:

https://i1.wp.com/davidpratt.info/climate/climategate8.jpg

And now the adjusted data:

https://i0.wp.com/davidpratt.info/climate/climategate9.jpg

I have absolutely no idea as to whether the adjustments are right or wrong.  I do know this though….they tell a different story.

When I am told storms are becoming more frequent and more extreme, I tend to question the source.  The world is a spectacularly changeable place.  Here are a few simple examples that come to mind.

  • Settlements in Greenland a thousand years ago.
  • Villages high in the Alps that have shown up after recent melting.
  • A Sahara that has gone from sand to lush vegetation and back again to sand in the last 5000 years.
  • Starvation of the Mayans due to severe and prolonged drought less than 1500 year ago.
  • The dust bowl of the 1930’s (at the end of another prolonged warm spell).
  • Krakatoa volcano eruption of 1883. And throw in the 1815 Mt. Tambora eruption.  Krakatoa is assumed to have lowered the world’s temperature for 5 years.  The year following the Mt. Tambora eruption is know around the world as the year without a summer.
  • Parts of New York State were under 5000 feet of ice just 20,000 years ago.

Whenever I hear a climate hawk talk about gloom and doom and a climate tipping point, I think about Super Volcanoes.    Ahhh.   More on that next time.

Dr. Hansen’s Dream World — part 2

It’s time to beat up on Dr. Hansen some more.  My last post only dealt with the introduction of  a new article published by Dr. Hansen and 17 other authors“Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature is the less than catchy title. This post deals with the first section of the body of the article, the section that deals with temperature.

Oh! First a sidebar…NASA (Dr. Hansen’s employer) Climate Research Funding  and Columbia University funding helped pay for the project.   I don’t mind NASA funding research, but I’d rather have them not use their own employees….it feels like we (the people of the United States) are paying them twice.

In part 1 of this discussion I mentioned that Dr. Hansen had been somewhat cavalier with his data selection.   I accused him of using regional data, and of cherry picking data.  But Dr. Hansen does so much more.  He uses old data, he misrepresents data and uses his own work as a resource.

He does all that within the first major section of the article, which is called Global Temperature and Earth’s Energy Balance.   In a subsection titled Temperature, he begins by showing temperature graphs.  The following graphs are displayed:

https://i0.wp.com/www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action

I find those charts difficult to read and I think they misrepresent the recent past.  Here are three other charts that better tell the story.   First is the East Anglia University chart that was prepared in 2010:

https://i2.wp.com/www.climatechangefacts.info/ClimateChangeImages/cru_gtc.gif

The total amount of temperature variation shown is less on the East Anglia chart than on the charts provided in the article.  A lot less.  Dr. Hansen has a rationale for using only average data, but I don’t like the choice.  The 13 year average data masks all recent data and makes details much more difficult to interpret.   It in effect spreads the El Nino data out for a long period of time.

I like the older (pre 2013) East Anglia charts.  The University changed something in 2013 that made 1998 look cooler relative to the rest of the chart.  I suspect data fudging and prefer the older charts.

Next is a 45 year chart I used in my last post.  It shows East Anglia data, and  2 satellite sets of data:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/7e/Satellite_Temperatures.png/800px-Satellite_Temperatures.png

and finally the current UAH chart:

https://i0.wp.com/www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_November_2013_v5.6.png

I like the UAH data best.  It is the most current and the most detailed.   I am fascinated by the changes in data from month to month.  The data Dr.Hansen chose makes it look like there is a steady march upward with a small pause at the end of the chart; the other charts tell a different, less ominous sounding story.

In the text that appears with the graphs, Dr. Hansen tells his story complete with multiple cites, including one to an article by an expert.   Yep, he cites himself.  He does that on 3 different occasions within the first two sub-section of the article.

A little further into the piece we get this statement:

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets began to shed ice at a rate, now several hundred cubic kilometers per year, which is continuing to accelerate.

An article by Edward. Hanna et al. is cited as the source material for the statement.   The article was published in Nature in June of 2013 and the article has this to say about Antarctica:

It remains unclear whether East Antarctica has been gaining or losing ice mass over the past 20 years, and uncertainties in ice-mass change for West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula remain large.

Parts of Antarctica are losing ice, other parts are not.  And there is lots of uncertainty. Surface ice adjacent to Antarctica is at record high levels according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

https://i2.wp.com/nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/12/Figure4a-350x416.png

I am sure that if the world warms, ice will melt.  If enough melts it could become a serious problem. But Dr. Hansen overreached in this area.

The next sentence of the report (after the Greenland stuff) is as follows:

Mountain glaciers are receding rapidly all around the world  with effects on seasonal freshwater availability of major river.

Dr. Hansen provided two cite references for the Mountain glacier section.  Both were published in 2007.  That’s really old data in this field.  Recent studies blame some of the melting  not on carbon dioxide, but on particulate matter.   Air pollution turns the snow a slightly grey color, which causes it to melt faster.  It’s still a man caused problem, but the solution to the problem is to clean the air, not to eliminate carbon dioxide.

Oh…carbon black impacts melting in Greenland and the Arctic too.

The first of two cites supporting his argument for rapid melting referenced an article about the Andes; a part of the world that has not experienced significant warming.  The second site was the 2007 IPCC  Climate Change Report.   I was surprised to see this cite.  This part of the IPCC report is famous…or should I say infamous.  The Guardian ran a story on it in 2010.   The Guardian reported the following:

The UN’s climate science body has admitted that a claim made in its 2007 report – that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 – was unfounded.

The admission today followed a New Scientist article last week that revealed the source of the claim made in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not peer-reviewed scientific literature – but a media interview with a scientist conducted in 1999. Several senior scientists have now said the claim was unrealistic and that the large Himalayan glaciers could not melt in a few decades.

In a statement, the IPCC said the paragraph “refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.”

So, in 2010, the IPCC admitted the cite referenced by Dr. Hansen was flawed.  And his other cite was both regional and at an odd location.

The IPCC makes several statements  in their 2007 Synopses report.  Two are applicable here.  1) Warming has been regional  with most warming occurring over land in the Northern Hemisphere and 2) climate on a less than continental scale is subject to wild swings which makes it difficult to predict.

In finishing up the temperature section of the paper,  the article discusses the changes seen in the world. We are told the following:

Mega-heatwaves, such as those in Europe in 2003, the Moscow area in 2010, Texas and Oklahoma in 2011, Greenland in 2012, and Australia in 2013 have become more widespread with the increase demonstrably linked to global warming

The world is a big place.  I can make any argument I want to by picking my location.  If I want to sound alarmist about tropical storms, I can discuss the disastrous impacts of the Typhoon that destroyed so much of the Philippines.  If I want to sound calming, I can discuss the record low number of hurricanes  in the Atlantic during the same period.

Both events happened.  Both are regional.  And both happened in a part of the world that has not warmed significantly in the last 30 years.

The article provides two cites for the statement saying these items are demonstrably linked to global warming.  One cite provides a statistical argument for extreme weather whenever there is any warming or cooling.  It is in effect an argument that says extremes will appear whenever the average weather changes.   Climate has not been changing recently, so Dr. Hansen’s conclusion seems to be unsupported by the cite. The second site deals with one event, the 2013 drought in Australia.  No link was provided to that reference.

In Part 3, I’ll look at Dr. Hansen’s evaluations as to why climate politics has stalled and what needs to be done.  Stay tuned.

Sea Level Confusion — Part 2

I’ve been reading, trying to understand better why sea level varies so much from location to location. I conducted a google search and found a site affiliated with Yale University.

The site is called Environment 360.   An article titled The Secret of Sea Level Rise: It Will Vary Greatly By Region  provided a bit of insight and some climate propaganda.  The climate propaganda makes me a bit nervous. If the author is inclined to misrepresent in one area, perhaps the rest of the article is less than impartial.  The first paragraph included the following tidbit:

Recent projections suggest a global average warming of perhaps 3 to 4 degrees C, or 5.4 to 7 degrees F, by the end of this century.

A little later in the article:

Sea level, according to the best current projections, could rise by about a meter by 2100, in large part due to melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets.

The article was written in 2010.   Best current projections, give me a break.  In 2010 his best projections would have been IPCC AR4 report published in September of 2007.   That report made no predictions about Greenland and said that data on the Antarctic ice sheet was inconclusive.  AR4 predicted the following in a section titled Projections for Future Changes in Climate:

For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios

Almost immediately thereafter  sea level rise by 2100 makes an appearance in the form of a chart.  The sea level rise that matched 4 degrees C was …are you ready…between .26 and .59 meter.   The data in the chart (labeled SPM 1 in AR4) showed a range of best guess temperatures from 1.1 to 4.0 degrees C.   4.0 was the highest best guess on the chart.   The author took the highest number possible, and made it sound like the most likely event!

And so far temperature predictions made in the AR4 report have been wild high.

Since Y2K there has been no net change in the temperature of the Earth’s surface.  Temperatures peaked in 1998 and have been wandering in  a narrow range for some 15 years.   Carbon dioxide has been rising steadily, temperature has not.  I have no idea what kind of projections he was referring to.   IPCC projections will, in AR5, almost certainly be less specific.  Nobody likes to have their mistakes so easily documented.

That said the article offers some interesting tidbits about why sea level changes.  Most are short term lasting anywhere from a few days to up to 30 years.   Wind, atmospheric pressure, and changes in the ocean bottom are discussed.    None seemed to help explain the errant data I was seeing (see my last post).   And then I read about gravity!

Supposedly, changes in gravity at the poles can impact sea level.   When the Arctic ice cap shrinks (as it has been doing since the 1970’s) this changes the gravitational force in the area.  Sea level goes down.   And this article predicted significant changes.   The whole thing sounded a bit S.W.A.G.-ish to me.  And given the exaggeration in the beginning of the article I had suspicions.   Still it is an interesting notion.

Another article said that when ice in Greenland melts it can take up to 30 years for that change in sea level to work it’s way around the world.   Another article talked about how difficult is to measure sea level.   The subject seethes with SWAG potential.

NOAA keeps all sorts of data on sea level.   They monitor hundreds of sites (perhaps thousands).   But the sites are not uniformly distributed.   Most are in the USA and in Europe.  Africa has only one official site.  Antarctica has none.

Maybe Antarctica could help explain some of the strangeness of the data.  The ice sheet in Antarctica has been growing in recent years.  2013 has set one record after another.  The ice sheet is the largest it has been (surface area) since satellite data began in 1979,or so says the National Snow and Ice Data Center.  And they have pictures:

It looks like gravitational forces in Antarctica have been increasing in recent years.  Sea level should be higher near the coast of Antarctica and lower in the middle of the Pacific.  It would help explain why Hawaii’s sea level is increasing less than ….say San Francisco.   Perhaps the amount of ice over land in Antarctica might offset the melting in Greenland .

Antarctica and the Arctic might be offsetting each other.

It doesn’t explain why folks in Australia show a rise in sea level that does not persist in California.  Maybe it will even out some time in the next 30 years or so, one way or the other?

Antarctica’s mass is growing.  That’s my best guess for why some sea level data makes no sense.  That and time.   Much of the data in the NOAA data base is less than 30 years old.   There you have it,  my current best wild ass guess.   Absent field measurements of actual sea level activity near Antarctica…who’s to say I’m wrong.

At least I admit I’m guessing!

Temperature Data — Can it be trusted?

Climate Science is full of strange and special temperature related climate moments.  Everything from the Mann Hockey Stick Graph to ClimateGate to simple silly mistakes at NASA’s own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

NASA has a storied history of messing up temperature data.

  • In 2007, a skeptical blogger noticed a Y2K conversion error in NASA’s data set.  Many USA based weather stations were using raw rather than corrected data.  This mistake should have been easy to catch, but NASA missed it for years and years.  O000ps.
  • The gap in individual sites immediately after the Y2K conversion should have been a red flag for NASA as this station data point demonstrates:https://i2.wp.com/images.dailytech.com/nimage/5625_large_Detroit_lakes_GISSplot.jpg
  • When the error was found, 1934 was crowned the warmest year ever, replacing 1998.  In the years that followed,  1934 cooled down again…presto….it’s magic.
  • In 2008 NASA used September data in October for all of Siberia and incorrectly claimed that October of 2008 was the warmest on record.  A short while later it was corrected.
  • A satellite malfunction in 2009 caused NASA to miscalculate the summer Arctic Ice melt. Literally a California sized error.  They overstated the melt by a surface area the size of California.

For years I have been using East Anglia University in the UK as my source for temperature data.   Their data was more stable and matched Satellite data more consistently than did NOAA data.

Then last year I noticed something…

The East Anglia Data was changing too.   I’m not sure exactly when it changed…but it changed.   First lets look at some data published by East Anglia University in 2009:

and compare that to current data:

The charts look virtually identical until about 1940 and then things begin to get….well…odd.   The entire data set from 1940 to 1979 appears to have been shifted by perhaps 0.1 degree C.  Satellite data began in 1979.  All the data from 1979 to 2009 looks the same except for 1998 and 2005.   1998 suddenly got cooler and 2005 got warmer.  Why was the data changed in 2012?  What new information caused the change?

Most climate experts now claim that 2010 was the warmest year in history.   Maybe it wasn’t? And by history, they really mean the last 150 years.  Satellite data still shows a peak in 1998.

In 1977 the conventional wisdom was that a new ice age was coming.  Time Magazine ran a cover story discussing it

https://i1.wp.com/www.survivalpodcast.net/images/iceage.jpg

I wonder what the world will be saying 35 years from now?

Local weather extrapolation — A common Climate mistake

We all have a tendency to extrapolate local conditions.   The weather we see at home today has nothing whatsoever to do with climate science.  If it is warmer today than in years gone by it does not mean the world is warmer.   But we think it does.  The Weather Channel lives it’s own special world of extrapolation.    And so do Al Gore and his buddies at the UN .

I make this mistake too often.

Case in point Summer 2013 …Anchorage, Alaska.  We have had a wonderful warm summer with many many days over 70 degrees.   We set a record for the most consecutive days where the daily high temperature was above 70 degrees.  15 days in a row.  And we were close to setting a record for the most days above 70 for an entire season.   Our warm wonderful summer….it’s been  the talk of the town.

And then we almost set a record for the most consecutive days of rain in September.  More rain in Anchorage is supposedly something to expect as the world warms.

Global warming seemed to be all around.

I expected record melting in the Arctic.  2012 had been a record year for Arctic ice  melt, followed by a relatively normal winter.  As the melt season began, the Arctic had extraordinary amounts of first year sea ice.  First year ice is saltier than older ice, which makes it melt at lower temperatures than older sea ice.  A very warm South Central Alaska, quick melting ice; the Arctic was sure to have a record melt year.

I was expecting the regional climate I was experiencing to have wider implications…and I was wrong….as this chart from the National Snow and Ice Data Center demonstrates:

https://i1.wp.com/nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2013/10/asina_N_stddev_timeseries.png

The Arctic had a cool summer and a change in the prevailing winds.   The result was a slow melting year.   And Greenland had a slow melting year too.

But is the world warmer than in the recent past?  Uh….no.   Hot off the presses… the September 2013 world satellite surface temperature data courtesy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH).

2013 has been and continues to be boringly similar to every year since 2002.

I thought 2013 would be one for the record books in the Arctic.  Mother nature constantly reminds us not to draw simple conclusions when evaluating climate.

When Science skips Theory Confirmation

Just about every hawkish global warming discussion reported in the press  begins with the assertion that increases in carbon dioxide will cause a corresponding increase in warming of the Earth’s ecosystem.  Man is impacting climate.  The proof – carbon dioxide has been changing relatively rapidly since the industrial revolution.

Climate theory disagrees.

Climate theory predicts that carbon dioxide will have only a small direct impact on climate.  The amount of direct warming is not generally in dispute.   Carbon dioxide is a small molecule and relatively inefficient as a green house gas.

Climate science as practiced by the IPCC predicts that changes in carbon dioxide will cause other pieces of the climate ecosystem to react in very specific ways.   That reaction is predicted to be significant.  It is widely believed (the conventional wisdom of today) that increased carbon dioxide will cause increased water vapor which will cause the world to suddenly warm much more rapidly until a new equilibrium temperature is reached.

This positive feedback assumes the climate system is highly sensitive to changes in  carbon dioxide.  The only confirmation of this assumption is the output of computer models.  There is no experimental evidence.  It’s difficult to predict how the ecosystem will respond with no spare Earth floating around to experiment on.

Climate scientists use complex computer models to predict climate.  The IPCC has high confidence in these models.

I do not share their confidence.  Computer models have problems.   One can only model the known.  Unknowns are a problem for computer models, particularly important unknowns…..like the Sun.  The IPCC says they have a Low Level of Scientific Understanding about the Sun in the 2007 Report.

Models begin about 150 years ago which means they all encompass only a period of steadily warming temperatures.  The last long cooling cycle (The Little Ice Age) ended about 250 years ago.

The period from 1976 to 1998 was one of relatively rapid warming.  When the IPCC assumed a high positive feedback from carbon dioxide in their models the models worked better.  Carbon dioxide was going up rapidly and so was temperature.  One must cause the other?  They could not find any other explanation.

Perhaps they didn’t look for one.  Or maybe it was something they didn’t know about….like soot.  A study in 2008 predicted that as much as 18% of observed global warming might be due to soot.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been writing Reports on Climate since 1990.  Carbon dioxide has been the culprit in every report.

The latest published report is the Fourth Assessment, nicknamed AR4.  The IPCC used climate modeling scenarios to predict climate in the year 2100.  All Scenarios (B1, A1T,B2, A1B, A2, A1F1)  discussed in the IPCC 2007 Summary Report made assumptions relating to carbon dioxide produced by man.  The scenarios are not quantified in any other way.  No other possible reasons are discussed. Carbon dioxide is the only variable discussed.

Here is a graph from the 2007 IPCC report that describes the various Scenarios considered:

Those scenarios were then used to generate climate predictions using computer models:   Here is the graph presented that showed those predictions:

The bars on the far right indicate the variability of each model at the year 2100. The shading in the graph does not strictly match the bars.  I suspect that is so the chart will be easier to read the more likely guesses (oops I mean predictions!).  The charts were prepared in 2005.   The color stripe in the bar is the best estimate number generated by the IPCC for that scenario.  The IPCC Synopses made no predictions about the Scenarios. Which Scenarios were likely?  Which were silly?  The IPCC preferred not to offer an opinion.

When I look at this data, I don’t see computer models that agree with each other. I see  scattered data.  Scenario A1F1 could produce a 2 degree C change or a 6 degree C change just 95 years after the chart was prepared.  One is a change of about twice the rate of the last 100 years, the other predicts six times the current rate of change.   The press frequently uses the biggest numbers when reporting.  Text associated with the chart stated that the chart only considered 90% of the model runs.  10% were either higher or lower than this chart shows.

There are so many things to consider when trying to model the climate ecosystem… and so many things we don’t know.  I am not surprised the models don’t agree.  Climate modeling is a very difficult task.

We are just beginning to understand the oceans and the sun.  Cloud formations are still a mystery.  Aerosols might be important too.   And soot.   And air pollution.   We have a long way to go.

The IPCC admits to all these shortcomings….and then assumes there is a 90% probability that they are right.  If recent press reports can be believed the certainty level  has risen to 95% in the new soon to be released AR5 Assessment of climate.

I must respectfully disagree.   If computer models could accurately predict ice ages, or at least the Holocene, I’d be more impressed.  The Medieval Warming Period and the Little Ice Age are too difficult for the modelers right now.  So far at least, temperature has failed to live up to the theory presented.  The 21st century has been much cooler than predicted by the IPCC.

Carbon dioxide impacts climate.   The notion of the strong positive feedback between carbon dioxide and the rest of the climate ecosystem is an interesting theory….but it’s just that ….a theory.  It might be right…but recent data indicates that it is wild high.   The world will be warmer than it otherwise would be.  But how much warmer…..and from what baseline….that’s a difficult question.

And the IPCC is guessing!