Tag Archives: climate change

The record closes on 2014. Was it the warmest year on record?

Summary: Alarmists trumpeted that 2014 was the warmest on record, seldom mentioning how long the record, or how much warmer, or if all the datasets agree. It’s innumeracy, an ignorance (sometimes feigned) of mathematics and the scientific method. It’s sad, since they’re repeating long-failed attempts to arouse public fear of climate change by statements beyond those of the climate science consensus — and often contradictory to it. (2nd of 2 posts today)

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
— conclusion of the IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I

Earth Burning

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Contents

  1. Appeals to fear. Will they work?
  2. What do satellites tell us about global warming?
  3. What’s the trend?
  4. Who produces this satellite data & analysis?
  5. For More Information

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(1) Appeals to fear. Will they work?

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Joe Romm at ThinkProgress is a poster child for the Left’s failure to build public support through propaganda. For an example see “2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record Globally By Far” — “The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has announced that 2014 was the hottest year in more than 120 years of record-keeping — by far.”  Quite a bold statement, but not what JMA said.

The annual anomaly of the global average surface temperature in 2014 (i.e. the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.27°C above the 1981-2010 average (+0.63°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.70°C per century.

Five Warmest Years (Anomalies): 1st. 2014 (+0.27°C), 2nd. 1998 (+0.22°C), 3rd. 2013, {4th.} 2010 (+0.20°C), 5th. 2005 (+0.17°C).

No mention by JMA of “warmest by far”, since it was the warmest by only +0.05°C — far smaller than the accuracy of the hodge-podge global surface temperature network (run by individual national weather services, with widely varying funding and effort).

The world has warmed for 2 centuries, since WWII largely due to our emissions (natural cycles caused the warming from the early 19thC). Activists like Romm seldom mentioned how much it has warmed, which allows alarmists to more easily arouse fear. For the answer we turn to the NASA-funded global temperature data from satellites.  This post shows the numbers: the warming since 1979 is small (so far; the future might be quite different). The truth is out there for people willing to see it. Only with it can we prepare for our future.

Before we dive into the numbers, read this cautionary note from Colin Morice (climate monitoring scientist at the UK Met Office):

Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade.

(2)  What do satellites tell us about global warming?

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Satellites provide the most comprehensive and reliable record of the atmosphere’s warming since 1979, measuring lower troposphere temperatures.

The 2014 Global Temperature Report
by the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville
(Blue is cold; red warm}. Click to enlarge.

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UAH satellite 2014 temperature data

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Do scientists play dumb on climate change?

Summary: Both Right and Left in America show a FAILure to learn from experience. Has it become part of our national character, perhaps our greatest weakness? Today we look an example of the Left’s attempts to mobilize us to fight climate change. So far failing to gain substantial public support, frustrated by failure of their amateur predictions of extreme climate, they double down. Perhaps they believe the Green Lantern Theory works in political activism — sufficient willpower can overcome any obstacle.

This follows up on my post predicting (guessing) that in 2015 the now-deadlocked climate wars will tilt decisively to one side. Either dramatic weather will spark a change in public opinion (albeit not necessarily changing the opinion of climate scientists) or the public will tire of the alarmists’ confident predictions of future doom which doesn’t happen. Either way the tide will turn on climate change: the political debate.

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Do scientists play dumb on climate change?

I recommend reading “Playing Dumb on Climate Change“, an op-ed by Naomi Oreskes (Prof history of science at Harvard, co-author of The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future), New York Times, 3 January 2015.  It’s standard alarmist fare, of the sort fed to us during the past 25 years. The characteristics of this rhetoric reveal much about public policy debate in our 21st century New America, and points to a likely near-term future of the public policy debate about climate change (Earth’s climate will write the ending).

Excerpt, from the opening and closing:

Scientists have often been accused of exaggerating the threat of climate change, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they ought to be more emphatic about the risk. The year just concluded is about to be declared the hottest one on record, and across the globe climate change is happening faster than scientists predicted.

… Years ago, climate scientists offered an increase of 2°Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) as the “safe” limit or ceiling for the long-term warming of the planet. We are now seeing dangerous effects worldwide, even as we approach a rise of only 1°Celsius. The evidence is mounting that scientists have underpredicted the threat.

She doesn’t list the kinds of climate change “happening faster than scientists predicted”.  A wise decision, since most of the predicted forms of client change are not happening (such claims have less force when made only as forecasts). See the details here; also see this by Prof Botkin (Prof Ecology, UC Santa Barbara) and this recent book. The “hottest year on record” label is exciting, but less so with the vital details (lay climate alarmists tend to avoid numbers) — with the atmosphere only a few hundredths of a degree above the previous high, and only in some datasets (not the 2 more accurate satellite datasets).

Are scientists incompetent or irresponsible?

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2015 might bring an end to the great age of experts’ experiments on us

Summary: Beam us down to Earth on 31 December 2015. What will we find? My guess is that the massive experiments now underway by experts will have borne fruit, and we’ll know if they were sweet or poisoned. Interesting times lie ahead, and none can say how they will end.

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Crystal Ball

Contents

  1. The age of experts’ experiments on us
  2. Warnings of Climate Change
  3. Economics: monetary and fiscal magic
  4. For More Information

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Photo from the Star Trek episode “Miri” – The landing party arrives in response to a distress call. Experts on the planet have run a massive experiment to produce a better world. Looks like it didn’t end well.

TOS: "Miri" - Landing Party

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(1)  The age of experts’ experiments on us
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The 21st century has seen some of the largest experiments ever by experts, different from the often-mad amateur experiments that shaped so much of human history (e.g., the French and Russian revolutions, the Fascist social “engineers” in the 1930s, the 1970s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia). Some have run to completion, such as the US military’s expeditions to Iraq and Afghanistan — using the techniques of COIN to defeat local insurgents and build new western-style nations (quite mad given the history of almost total failure since WWII by foreign armies fighting insurgents). Other and larger experiments continue running. Let’s look at two of the biggest.

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Will a return of rising temperatures validate the IPCC’s climate models?

Summary: The pause in temperatures since roughly 2000 has become the hot topic in both climate science and climate politics. While scientists study its causes and estimate its duration, activists on both sides use it to work their tribes. On the Left they deny its existence, ignoring or misrepresenting the many papers about it. On the Right they use the pause to discredit climate models and even climate science. In this long and somewhat technical post an eminent climate scientist walks us though the debate.  (1st of 2 posts today.)

Will a return of rising temperatures validate the climate models?

Donald C. Morton, posted at Climate Etc, 15 December 2014

Reposted under their Creative Commons License

World of Equations

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Time Scales
  3. Natural Versus Anthropogenic Contributions
  4. Parameterization in Place of Physics
  5. Uncertainty in the Climate Sensitivity
  6. Applying Statistics to Biased Samples
  7. Nonlinearity and Chaos in Climate
  8. The Validation of Climate Models
  9. What Should We Do Now?
  10. About the Author
  11. For More Information

(1)  Introduction

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The coincidence of the current plateau in global surface temperatures with the continuing rise in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has raised many questions about the climate models and their forecasts of serious anthropogenic global warming.

This article presents multiple reasons why any future increase in temperature should not be regarded as a vindication of the current models and their predictions. Indefinite time scales, natural contributions, many adjustable parameters, uncertain response to CO2, averaging of model outputs, non linearity, chaos and the absence of successful predictions are all reasons to continue to challenge the present models. This essay concludes with some suggestions for useful immediate actions during this time of uncertainty.

What if the global climate began to warm again? Would all the criticisms of the climate models be nullified and the dire predictions based on them be confirmed? No one knows when the present plateau in the mean surface air temperature will end nor whether the change will be warmer or cooler. This essay will argue that the climate models and their predictions should not be trusted regardless of the direction of future temperatures.

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2014 will be the hottest year on record! Except for the details, which ruin that narrative.

Summary: Let’s look at the most recent hot story about climate change. It shows why the public knows so little about it, despite the intense coverage — and why so many are suspicious about what they’re told. Activists and journalists often prefer the simple politically useful narrative to the messy reality.  This is the second of today’s post, a follow-up to this morning’s How much did the world warm in November? How fast is it warming? See the numbers.

The Information Age offers much to mankind, and I would like to think that we will rise to the challenges it presents. But it is vital to remember that information — in the sense of raw data — is not knowledge, that knowledge is not wisdom, and that wisdom is not foresight. But information is the first essential step to all of these.

— Sir Arthur C Clarke, interview with Nalaka Gunawardene, posted at OneWorld, 5 December 2003

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We start with the science, a press release from the UK Met Office, 3 December 2014 (the WMO put out a similar notice that day) — Excerpt:

The global mean temperature for January to October based on the  HadCRUT4 dataset (compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit) is 0.57 °C (+/- 0.1) above the long-term (1961-1990) average. This is consistent with the statement from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) today.

With two months of data still to add, the full-year figure could change but presently 2014 is just ahead of the current record of 0.56°C set in 2010 in the global series which dates back to 1850. The final value for this year will be very close to the central estimate of 0.57°C from the Met Office global temperature forecast for 2014, which was issued late last year.

Colin Morice, a climate monitoring scientist at the Met Office, said: “Record or near-record years are interesting, but the ranking of individual years should be treated with some caution because the uncertainties in the data are larger than the differences between the top ranked years. We can say this year will add to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last decade.”

Note this looks at only one of the global temperature datasets; although the other surface temperature datasets agree (they rely on overlapping sources) neither of the 2 satellite datasets shows a record year.

For an example of accurate reporting on this see the Financial Times (whose demanding audience doesn’t tolerate lies and cant): “This year on course to be warmest on record“, 3 December 2014. They give accurate and precise news, put in context.

  1. The news (burying the lede, it’s at the end):”… The WMO said the average global land and sea surface temperature between January and October was about 0.57C higher than the average recorded between 1961 and 1990. It was also 0.09C above the average for the past 10 years.”
  2. Context:  “Mr Stott said it was “remarkable” to see a record year of heat occur in the absence of an El Niño, a warming water pattern in the eastern Pacific that has boosted temperatures in the recent past. But he added it was still too early to know whether 2014 signalled an end to the so-called pause in the rate of global warming during the past decade.”
  3. Political background (news seldom just happens): “The news came as thousands of delegates to this year’s UN climate negotiations in Lima arrived for the last big round of talks before a global climate-change deal is due to be sealed in Paris at the end of next year.”

Most of the major media follow the same format, but omit the FT’s scientific and political context (e.g., on CNN and The Guardian). They prefer instead to hype the warming.

Liberals tend to get their news from activists like Joe Romm at ThinkProgress. He goes straight for innumeracy, omitting all numbers and provides word salad instead. He quotes a UN official (WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud) who denies the pause — after several years during which climate scientists study its causes and forecast its duration. And he ignored Dr. Morice’s warning.

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How much did the world warm in November? How fast is it warming? See the numbers.

Summary: How warm was the world in November? How fast is it warming? See the numbers. They might surprise you.

The world has been warming for 2 centuries. Seldom mentioned is how much it has warmed, which allows alarmists to more easily arouse fear (e.g., see Joe Romm’s latest; difficult to read graphs but no numbers). For the answer we turn to the NASA-funded global temperature data from satellites.  This post shows the numbers: the warming since 1979 is small (so far; the future might be quite different). The truth is out there for people willing to see it. Only with it can we prepare for our future.

Click to enlarge the graphs. This is the first of two posts today.

“It is extremely likely (95 – 100% certain) that human activities caused more than half of the observed increase in global mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
— conclusion of the IPCC’s AR5 Working Group I

Global Warming

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Contents

  1. What do satellites tell us about global warming?
  2. Was this the hottest November?
  3. The long-term history of warming
  4. Who produces this satellite data & analysis?
  5. For More Information

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(1) What do satellites tell us about global warming?

Satellites provide the most comprehensive and reliable record of the atmosphere’s warming since 1979.

The November 2014 Global Temperature Report
by the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville
(Blue is cold; red warm}. Click to enlarge.

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U AL-Huntsville November 2014 temperature map

Click to enlarge. From the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville

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See the equivalent graph from the surface temperature stations of the Climate Anomaly Monitoring System (CAMS) of the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) at the U.S. National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

Key points from the UAH report (prepared under contract for NASA), which show a world that has warmed since 1979, but only slightly (few alarmists know this; even fewer admit it):

  1. The global composite temperature in November was +0.33°C (0.60°F) above the average for November during 1981-2010.
  2. Global climate trend of temperature starting in 16 November 1978: +0.14°C  (0.3°F) per decade.
  3. Anomalies are computed per the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommended method, comparing the current temperatures vs. a 30 year base period ending with the latest decade.

That warming has not, however, been uniform around the globe.

  1. The fastest warming has been over the Arctic Ocean and the Arctic portions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Those areas have warmed at the rate of 0.49°C per decade, or more than 1.76°C (about 3.17°F) in 36 years.
  2. The oceans surrounding the Antarctic are cooling at the rate of 0.02°C per decade, or 0.07°C since December 1978.
  3. The Northern Hemisphere is warming more than twice as fast as the Southern Hemisphere (0.19°C per decade vs. 0.09°C per decade).
  4. The contiguous 48 U.S. states have an average warming rate of 0.22°C (almost 0.40°F) per decade during the past 36 years. That means the average atmospheric temperature over the lower 48 has warmed by 0.79°C or about 1.43°F during that time.

(2) Was this the hottest November?

Before we look at the numbers, Colin Morice (climate monitoring scientist at the UK Met Office) warns us that…

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Nine years after Katrina, climate activists have earned their reward. We might pay dearly for it.

Summary: We rely on warnings about threats from our watchmen, experts or amateurs, who see danger before we can. Our ability to respond depends on the clarity of their warnings. Sometimes we don’t listen; sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes we suffer because they minimize the danger or exaggerate the time until it arrives. Climate activists have practiced another form of alarm: exaggerating the certainty of the danger and minimizing the time until it hits. That works well, unless they’re wrong about both the timing and scale. Now all we can do is hope that the threat is small and distant, since we’re doing little to prepare.

Extreme Weather

Troubles lies ahead

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“Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson, perhaps apocryphal

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Art Horn (meteorologist) set the background for this sad story in his 9 October 2010 post:

Four hurricanes made landfall on the United States during the 2004 season. All of them hit Florida. … Then there was 2005. The hurricane season of 2005 was one for the record books. The long term average number of named tropical storms in the Atlantic basin is 11. In 2005 there were an amazing 27. The long term average number of hurricanes is 6. In 2005 there were a record 15. Actually the hurricane seasons of 1933 and 1887 were probably very similar in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes. There were no satellites to see all the storms back … This was also the year of hurricane Katrina. …

Making the most of this moment was Al Gore, as in this speech at Sierra Club’s National Environmental Convention and Expo in San Francisco on 9 September 2005. Excerpt:

Winston Churchill, when the storm was gathering on continental Europe, provided warnings of what was at stake. And he said this about the government then in power in England — which wasn’t sure that the threat was real — he said, “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.” He continued, “The era of procrastination, of half measures, of soothing and baffling expedience of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the warnings about global warming have been extremely clear for a long time. We are facing a global climate crisis. It is deepening. We are entering a period of consequences.

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