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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Everything you wanted to know about California’s drought (except when it will end)

Summary: For decades scientists warned us that the American southwest had experienced long brutal droughts. We did nothing to prepare. Now we reap the consequences, as California experiences the worst droughts of the past century. With no end in sight, we must mobilize to mitigate the damage. Which might prove severe. This can become a blessing, if we learn from it. While we bicker about the climate change in 2100, which depends on innumerable and unknowable factors (how much coal will we burn?), scientists warn us that we’re unprepared for the inevitable occurrence of past extreme weather.  Katrina and Sandy were normal, as is this drought. More exciting weather is coming.  This is the second of two posts today.

“We don’t even plan for the past.”
— Steven Mosher (member of Berkeley Earth; bio here), a comment posted at Climate Etc

Preparing for Extreme Weather

From the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center

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Contents

  1. The California drought: it’s bad
  2. Climate Science Research gives us worse news
  3. Articles about this and past California droughts
  4. Useful Sources of Information
  5. For More Information
  6. The Hydro-Illogical Cycle

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(1)  The California drought: it’s bad

It’s bad, with no end in sight.

  1. California Facing Worst Drought on Record“, NOAA, 20 January 2014
  2. California breaks drought record as 58% of state hits driest level“, Los Angeles Times, 31 July 2014
  3. Groundwater: California’s big unknown“, NOAA, 27 August 2014 — We’re in trouble if that starts to run out.

How bad is it? Let’s look at the past year (the California “water year” runs from October to September). The average is 23″; 1924 was the driest year at 9″; the last 12 months was 12″. Six of past 8 years were dry. The new “water year” started in October a little dry: 0.7″ vs average of 1.2″. But not as bad as 1917 – 1934: a 17 year-long period with only one year of ab0ve-average rainfall (including the record low of 1924)! Click all images to expand.
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California: Annual precipitation

From the California Climate Tracker website. Click to expand.

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Do we all share the pain? Not equally. California is like that.

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“Disasters & Climate Change”, an important new book illuminating the debate

Summary:  Here’s a recommendation about a brief, powerful, and timely book about climate change (one of the great public policy issues of our time).

The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change

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Review of

The Rightful Place of Science:
Disasters & Climate Change

by Roger Pielke Jr.

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Let’s cut to the chase. There are two important things to know about this book. First, this is a valuable contribution to the public debate about climate change, a brief, clearly written, thoroughly documented description of state of the knowledge about one aspect of climate change: the current trends in disasters.  It’s essential reading for any layperson interested in this vital issue, no matter what your political tribe. It’s especially valuable as assertions that we’re suffering the effects of extreme climate have become frequent page-one features in the news media. Prof Pielke shows the research and benchmarks the research vs the most recent conclusions of the IPCC.

His conclusion about the science (spoiler):

This short volume has sought to answer a straight-forward question: Have disasters become more costly because of human-caused climate change? Only one answer to this question is strongly supported by the available data, the broad scientific literature, and the assessments of the IPCC:

“No. There is exceedingly little evidence to support claims that disasters have become more costly because of human-caused climate change.”

Of course, a lack of evidence does not prevent people from believing in God, aliens, or for that matter, a small celestial teapot orbiting the Sun in the asteroid belt. People may indeed have very good reasons for believing in any of these things for which data and observational evidence are unsupportive, unavailable, or inconclusive. The issue of disasters and climate change will be no different. And of course, science evolves. There may be future research which overturns present understandings. If and when that happens, our assessment of what the science says should change accordingly.

Thus, the conclusions presented here should be interpreted as an indication of the current state of scientific understandings, and not a prediction of what a future scientific assessment might say in the years to come. Nonetheless, one point should be abundantly clear. The evidence available today points to a clear answer to the central question at the focus of this short volume: Human-caused climate change has not led to a detectable increase in the costs of disasters.

But the climate is changing. It would be a mistake to conclude that because the evidence shows that human-caused climate change has not led to demonstrable in-creases in the costs of disasters that (a) climate change is not occurring, or (b) we need not worry about it.

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Krugman shows us why the Left loses, despite its advantages

Summary: This is the fourth in a series about why the Left loses. America’s drift to the Right since 1980 has not only become impossible to ignore, but has accelerated despite the many fundamentals favoring the Left. Such as demographics and the increasing acceptance of behaviors an anathema on the Right (e.g., gay marriage, abortion). Increased concentration of wealth and income by the 1% explains much of the Right’s success. As this series will show, weakness of the Left explains much of the rest.

Closed Mind

Contents

  1. A symptom of the problem
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Significance
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. More evidence

(1)  A symptom of the problem

Triumph of the Wrong“, Paul Krugman, op-ed in the New York Times, 6 November 2014 — Excerpt:

The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday. … So now is a good time to remember just how wrong the new rulers of Congress have been about, well, everything.

First, there’s economic policy. … In short, the story of conservative economics these past six years and more has been one of intellectual debacle — made worse by the striking inability of many on the right to admit error under any circumstances.

Then there’s health reform, where Republicans were very clear about what was supposed to happen: minimal enrollments, more people losing insurance than gaining it, soaring costs. Reality, so far, has begged to differ, delivering above-predicted sign-ups, a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, premiums well below expectations, and a sharp slowdown in overall health spending.

And we shouldn’t forget the most important wrongness of all, on climate change. As late as 2008, some Republicans were willing to admit that the problem is real, and even advocate serious policies to limit emissions — Senator John McCain proposed a cap-and-trade system similar to Democratic proposals. But these days the party is dominated by climate denialists, and to some extent by conspiracy theorists who insist that the whole issue is a hoax concocted by a cabal of left-wing scientists. Now these people will be in a position to block action for years to come, quite possibly pushing us past the point of no return.

One of these three things is not like the others. For the first two Krugman clearly identifies the GOP view and provides rebuttals, all supported by links (I agree 100%). The third asserts that the GOP is dominated by climate extremists — and implies that the Democrats represent the consensus of climate scientists. He provides no evidence for either claim; there are reasons to doubt both. Certainly the public does, with climate change near the bottom of major threats (See Gallup polls, other polls, other evidence).

Is the Republican Party “dominated by denialists?” In Leftist usage, “denialist” has no fixed meaning beyond “people who disagree with me about climate change”. Much like “terrorist” to the Right, it’s a political tool rather than a category. It includes prominent climate scientists skeptical of some aspects of the IPCC’s views (e.g., Judith Curry and Roger Pielke Sr) — or critical of the Left’s exaggerations of the IPCC’s views, and have supported their view with studies in the peer-reviewed literature (e.g., Roger Pielke Jr).

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Prof Botkin gives us good news about our changing climate

Summary: Is the climate growing hostile? Daniel B. Botkin, professor Emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at University of California Santa Barbara, doesn’t believe so. Here he gives a fact-rich rebuttal to the conclusions reached by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their recent report. It’s long, but gets rolling in the middle. Read and learn things in the major climate datasets seldom mentioned by journalists. See his bio at the end.

Good news!

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Climate Is Changing, And Some Parks Are Endangered,
But Humans Aren’t The Cause

By Daniel B. Botkin

National Parks Traveler, 26 October 2014

Posted with their generous permission

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For those of us who love our national parks and are confronted daily with media, politicians, and pundits warning us of a coming global-warming disaster, it’s only natural to ask what that warming will mean for our national parks. This is exactly what the well-known Union of Concerned Scientists discuss in their recent report, National Landmarks at Risk: How Rising Seas, Floods, and Wildfires Are Threatening the United States’ Most Cherished Historic Sites.

I’ve done research since 1968 on the possibility of human-caused global warming and its possible ecological effects, and have published widely on this topic, discussing possible effects on biodiversity and on specific endangered species as well as on forests, cities, and historical evidence of Arctic sea ice change. I’ve also been involved in the development of some aspects of some climate models, and having developed a computer model of forests that is one of the principal methods used to forecast global warming effects on vegetation, I sought out the UCS report with great interest.

Powering the Future

The approach the Union has taken is to have the report written by four staff members: Debra Holtz, a journalist; Kate Cell, a fund-raiser for the organization; Adam Markham, with a B.S. in zoology, who was the founder of Clean Air-Cool Planet, a nonprofit organization “to promote innovative community-based solutions to climate change in the Northeast”; and Brenda Ekwurzel, the Union’s Senior Climate Scientist. She is the only author with research experience on the subject, has a Ph.D. in isotope geochemistry from the Department of Earth Sciences at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and has been on the faculty of the University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Water Resources.

These four authors took the standard reports from such organizations as the United National Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, treating them as accurate and true, and then discussed the implications for 16 American historic sites. As shown in the accompanying table, they write that 11 of the sites are threatened by rising sea levels and their consequences (coastal erosion and flooding); two by inland flooding; two by wildfires; and one by “extreme heat and drought” (table 1).

The report opens with a bold assertion: “Many of the United States’ iconic landmarks and heritage sites are at risk as never before. Sea level rise, coastal erosion, increased flooding, heavy rains, and more frequent large wildfires are damaging archaeological resources, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes across the nation.” The report later goes on to add, “All of the case studies in this report draw on observations of impacts that are either consistent with, or attributable to, human-induced climate change based on multiple lines of scientific evidence.” To which the authors add, “This report sounds a wake-up call: as the impacts of climate change continue, we must protect these sites and reduce the risks.”

The point of the report, its opening theme and its major conclusion, is that these historic places are in trouble and it’s our fault, we have been the bad guys interfering with nature and therefore damaging places we value. This is consistent with the IPCC 2014 report and the 2014 White House Climate Change Assessment, for both of which I acted as an expert reviewer and testified before the House and Senate about.

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More good news about climate change from the IPCC: no sign yet of the methane apocalypse

Summary:  Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, and a favorite hobbyhorse of alarmists. It’s also an example of how they’ve abandoned the IPCC — the “gold standard” of climate science consensus. The IPCC’s most recent report, AR5’s Working Group I, is quite clear that methane levels in the atmosphere have grown more slowly than projected by their models — and that the risk posed by methane is real but not yet extreme. This is a follow-up to Some good news about our changing climate. Enjoy it, for it might not last long.

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The report of Working Group I of the IPCC’s AR5 is quite explicit about the risk of methane emissions.

  1. Models’ projections of the growth in methane levels range from small to large.
  2. These projections have come down in each IPCC report.
  3. Methane levels have increased more slowly than in any of their projections.

You can read a hundred alarmist articles about methane and global warming — and never see this information from the IPCC.

Such complex stories are typical of many key questions about climate change (it’s science, not accounting), which is why we need the IPCC to put these things in a context understandable by laypeople.  It’s not that the consensus is always right (it’s not), but rather that the science is not settled.

Let’s start with figure 1.6 from Chapter 1. This shows methane levels in the atmosphere in parts per billion (i.e., very small amounts), over time — compared with several generations of models’ projections.

AR5 WG1: Figure 1.6 of methane

AR5 WG1: Figure 1.6 of methane

Observed globally and annually averaged CH 4 concentrations in parts per billion (ppb) since 1950 compared with projections from the previous IPCC assessments. Estimated observed global annual CH4 concentrations are shown in dark blue. The shading shows the largest model projected range of global annual CH4 concentrations from 1950 to 2035 from FAR ( IPCC, 1990); SAR (1996); TAR (IPCC, 2001); and from AR4 (2007). The bars at the right-hand side of the graph show the full range given for 2035 for each assessment report.

The full story is told in Chapter 2 (citations omitted; red emphasis added):

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