By Mike Mogil
A few weeks ago, returning from an AAAS (American Association For The Advancement of Science) Conference in San Jose, CA, I had the pleasure of meeting another conference attendee at a San Jose airport restaurant. The gentleman, a biologist from the University of Wisconsin, recognized me as a conference attendee because I had a “brain hat” with me. One of the exhibitors at Family Science Days, a major public outreach part of the conference, had provided attendees a chance to learn about the brain and then wear their newly made “brain hats” as they roamed the exhibit area. The gentleman asked if he could join me for dinner and I agreed.
Somehow, the conversation turned to “climate change.” My guest expressed his concerns about the issue, primarily from a plant growth and population feeding perspective. I listened intently because the information he shared was new to me. Then it was my turn.
I told the gentleman about my credentials - Certified Consulting Meteorologist, science writer, blogger, tutor and more. I then proceeded to explain that I was not sure that humans were THE cause of climate change, although I frankly admitted that we humans, are NOT good planetary stewards. I explained that I had reviewed numerous climate-based articles, attended conference presentations about climate change and even done some independent research on matters that were related to climate change. I noted that I prefer to share both sides of the climate change story and let people decide. I almost concluded by noting that I felt that we could spend far less money (I believe I somewhat jokingly said, “gazillions") on climate change and still make very significant strides in lessening human impact on Planet Earth.
Before I could finish my thoughts, the gentleman slammed me, claiming that I was clearly the type of Republican that Fox News just loved. Further, he chided me for sowing seeds of discontent and doubt and then charged me with doing a disservice to the 99 percent of scientists who had proven that humans caused climate change. How dare I write about non-human caused climate change! I needed to come over to the right side and support the prevailing scientific viewpoint in my writing.
It was then that I was able to sneak in these few words, “I don’t name call.” In fact, I noted that I preferred to discuss the matter, as scientists should do, to ensure that all sides receive a fair hearing. Maybe no one will change his/her mind, but I was ready to talk with anyone regardless of his/her point of view.
Finally, I was able to note that, “once, the best scientists of the time thought the planets and the Sun orbited the Earth.”
Our interaction went on for some 20 minutes and I was name called several more times, as my guest continued to berate me for being a bad journalist and a non-scientist. Never did I name call in retaliation; however, I remained true to my position.
The gentleman finally stood up and announced he was leaving and just walked away.
Still, it is ironic that a brain brought the two of us scientists together and the use of a brain was what separated us.
Some of my fellow scientists have scolded me on various occasions for my position on climate change. Never, however, had I been made to feel so small. I now knew one of the many ways that climate change alarmists have managed to silence the masses of opponents.
Another way of silencing opposition is to control the governmental purse-strings. This is typically evident in medicine, environmentalism and other programs in which the government defines the issue and the desired outcomes (collectively referred to as the, “rules") and then doles out funding primarily to those who support the “rules.” Hence, one set of groups and businesses which stand to benefit from the “rules,” act to support the, “rules.” The opposing camp has no choice but to move toward non-governmental support. In the case of climate change, the only group that can support the opposition involves companies that mine fossil fuels and/or benefit from their use.
Yet, new research is always occurring. Recently, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) may have become the bright spot in updating information based on new research. The DGAC, whose information is used in setting government dietary guidelines, just reported that, “available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol .. Cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” Hence, cholesterol was found NOT to be as bad as previously thought and it was now okay to consume eggs.
Surely, a large percent of doctors and researchers in this medical arena agreed with the old findings. Now, the rules had changed by 180 degrees and the prevailing wisdom had changed accordingly. The minority was now moving toward becoming the majority! However, the issue is still not “proven” and probably never will. I am sure that additional research is underway to verify and/or refute the new findings. This is how science is supposed to work.
Coming back to climate change, what is to stop scientists from discovering that the climate change findings, and proposed solutions the government and the climate community have been pushing for some 20 years, are wrong? What if carbon dioxide is NOT the cause of the recent warming, but asphalt paving and urbanization are? What if the deforestation of the Amazon and other places has allowed regional and global temperatures to rise? The list of potential contributions toward a warming planet is endless and some or all may be at work, as much as, or even more so, than carbon dioxide.
The Heartland Organization is fully opposed to the current thinking on climate change. Not surprisingly, they just posted an article about Dr. Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a distinguished solar astrophysicist. The article describes how the climate change community, the so-called 99%, are uniting to discredit Soon. In past years, the non-believing community tried to discredit some in the climate change community, too. Most of the human-caused climate community use intimidation and personal attacks. For the most part, the opposing side attacks the research process, funding and the media and governmental hype.
In my opinion, it is these tactics and approaches to indoctrination (such as spending on biased government research and publicity, slanting school textbook content, and supporting a biased mass media), which are aimed at silencing scientific discussion and isolating dissenters that are the real problem. The brain, which is supposed to help us humans sort fact from fiction, is, instead, being asked to believe (in a religious way) or else.
I am nowhere the stature of Dr. Soon, but have been subjected to these same tear down, degrading tactics. I have stood up against these and will continue to do so, regardless of any professional or other attacks. By my thinking, the freedom of the press and the freedom to use one’s mind to investigate science are far more important than “saving the planet,” from a yet unproven threat.
Alex Epstein’s long-anticipated book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, published by Penguin, comes out today! I reviewed it as, “simply the best popular-market book about climate, environmental policy, and energy that I have read. Laymen and experts alike will be boggled by Epstein’s clarity.”
Alex recently sent us a brief essay based upon material in the book. Alex Epstein is President and Founder of the Center for Industrial Progress - an organization sowing the seeds of energy enthusiasm to counter the tide of climate alarmism. We asked Alex to share a few thoughts with our readers here at Cato; find them below.
If you are in Washington, you might want to meet Alex. He will be giving a Hill Briefing in B-369 Rayburn at 9am on Friday, November 21.
If you ever get asked the vague but morally-charged question “Do you believe in climate change?” someone is trying to put something over on you.
Climate change is a constant of nature and everyone agrees that fossil fuels have some impact on our naturally variable, volatile, and often vicious climate.
The question is whether it will have a catastrophic impact - one so bad it justifies restricting the only practical way to get energy in the foreseeable future to the 3 billion people who have next to none of it: fossil fuels. (No country relies on the sun and wind for energy, but rich countries can afford to pay tens or hundreds of billions to install and accommodate allegedly virtuous wind turbines and solar panels on their grids.)
The real issue is climate catastrophe. I’m not a climate-change skeptic. I’m a climate catastrophe skeptic-and here’s one graph that shows why you should be, too.
No, it’s not showing temperatures have gone up half a degree in the 80 years we’ve used a lot of fossil fuels, which is barely more than they went up the prior 80 years. Nor does it show temperatures have flattened in the past eighteen years while the world’s leading climate catastrophists predicted dramatic, accelerating, runaway warming. Dr. James Hansen predicted that temperatures would increase between two-and-a-half and five degrees in 20 years!
Okay, I’ll show that graph, too. Here it is:
Sources: Met Office Hadley Centre HadCRUT4 dataset; Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of OceanographySources: Met Office Hadley Centre HadCRUT4 dataset; Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
But that’s not the graph that really matters. There is no intrinsically perfect global temperature and, if there was, we would expect it to be warmer. Until it became politically correct for temperature trends to warm, people around the world prayed for far more warming than we’ve experienced. There is no time in human history when it has been considered “too warm” for human beings.
What matters is: is the climate becoming more or less livable? The key statistic here, one that is unfortunately almost never mentioned, is “climate-related deaths.”
The best source I have found for this data is the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters International Disaster Database (OFDA/CRED EM-DAT), based in Brussels.1 It gathers data about disasters since 1900.
Here is a graph comparing CO2 emissions, the alleged climate danger, to the number of climate-related deaths, which reflects actual climate danger to humans. It’s striking as CO2 emissions rise, climate-related deaths plunge.
Sources: Boden, Marland, Andres (2013); Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; EM-DAT International Disaster DatabaseSources: Boden, Marland, Andres (2013); Etheridge et al. (1998); Keeling et al. (2001); MacFarling Meure et al. (2006); Merged IceCore Record Data, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; EM-DAT International Disaster Database
To make matters better, in reality the trend is even more dramatically downward, as before the 1970s many disasters went unreported. One big reason for this was lack of satellite data - we can now see the whole world, enabling us to track icecaps and disaster areas with relative ease. In 1950, if there was a disaster in the middle of what is now Bangladesh, would information have been accurately collected? In general, we can expect in more recent years, more deaths were recorded and in earlier years, fewer deaths were recorded. For some countries there is simply no good data, because in underdeveloped places like Haiti or Ethiopia we do not even know exactly how many people lived in a particular place before a disaster struck. Today we have much better information - and because disaster statistics are tied to aid, there is incentive to overreport.
And the more we dig into the data, the stronger the correlations get.
Here are a couple of striking numbers from the data: in the decade from 2004 to 2013, worldwide climate-related deaths (including droughts, floods, extreme temperatures, wildfires, and storms) plummeted to a level 88.6 percent below that of the peak decade, 1930 to 1939.2 The year 2013, with 29,404 reported deaths, had 99.4 percent fewer climate-related deaths than the historic record year of 1932, which had 5,073,283 reported deaths for the same category.3
That reduction occurred despite more complete reporting, an incentive to declare greater damage to gain more aid, and a massively growing population, particularly in vulnerable places like coastal areas, in recent times.
The climate catastrophists don’t want you to know this because it reveals how fundamentally flawed their viewpoint is. They treat the global climate system as a stable and safe place we make volatile and dangerous. In fact, the global climate system is naturally volatile and dangerous - we make it livable through development and technology - development and technology powered by the only form of cheap, reliable, scalable reliable energy that can make climate livable for 7 billion people.
As the climate-related death data show, there are some major benefits - namely, the power of fossil-fueled machines to build a durable civilization highly resilient to extreme heat, extreme cold, floods, storms, and so on. Why weren’t those mentioned in the discussion when we talked about storms like Sandy and Irene, even though anyone going through those storms was far more protected from them than he or she would have been a century ago?
I have debated representatives of the three leading environmental organizations in the world - Greenpeace, Sierra Club and 350.org - including 350.org’s Bill McKibben, the leading environmentalist in the world today - and every time, I have repeatedly mentioned the climate livability statistics. I raised it to Bill McKibben before I debated him and half a dozen times during my debate with him - he didn’t acknowledge it. He just called it “one number.” Yeah, one number, based on billions of empirical observations, that destroys billions of dollars worth of speculation.
Why? Because the dogma that man is ruining the planet rather than improving it is a religion, a source of prestige, and a career for too many people. But for the rest of us, the statistic climate catastrophists don’t want us to know is very, very good news.
THE debate about climate change is finished because it has been categorically proved NOT to exist, one of the world’s leading meteorologists has claimed.
John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel, shocked academics by insisting the theory of man-made climate change was no longer scientifically credible.
Instead, what ‘little evidence’ there is for rising global temperatures points to a ‘natural phenomenon’ within a developing eco-system.
In an open letter attacking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he wrote: “The ocean is not rising significantly.The polar ice is increasing, not melting away. Polar Bears are increasing in number.”
“Heat waves have actually diminished, not increased. There is not an uptick in the number or strength of storms (in fact storms are diminishing).”
“I have studied this topic seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.”
I have studied climate change seriously for years. It has become a political and environment agenda item, but the science is not valid.
John Coleman, co-founder of the Weather Channel
Mr Coleman said he based many of his views on the findings of the NIPCC, a non-governmental international body of scientists aimed at offering an ‘independent second opinion of the evidence reviewed by the IPCC.’
He added: “There is no significant man-made global warming at this time, there has been none in the past and there is no reason to fear any in the future.
“Efforts to prove the theory that carbon dioxide is a significant greenhouse gas and pollutant causing significant warming or weather effects have failed.
“There has been no warming over 18 years.”
The IPCC argue their research shows that man-made global warming will lead to extreme weather events becoming more frequent and unpredictable.
US News and World Report noted that many of the world’s largest businesses, including Coke, Pepsi, Walmart, Nestle, Mars, Monsanto, Kellogg, General Mills, Microsoft, and IBM, “are now engaged and actively responding to climate science and data.”
Mr Coleman’s comments come as President Barack Obama came under fire from climatologists as federal data revealed The United State’s energy-related carbon pollution rose 2.5 per cent despite the President’s pledges to decrease it.
President Obama told 120 world leaders at the United Nations climate summit last month that America had done more under his watch in cutting greenhouse gases than any other country.
Despite this, the Energy Information Administration’s Monthly Energy Review showed an increase in the use of energy from coal.
World leaders have pledged to keep the global average temperature from rising two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to prevent the worst consequences of climate change.
The US, along with the UK and other developed countries, is expected to pledge further actions on climate change early next year.
Global warming climate change lieThere has been no recorded global warming for 18 years [GETTY]
Climate expert William Happer, from Princeton University, supported Mr Coleman’s claims.
He added: “No chemical compound in the atmosphere has a worse reputation than CO2, thanks to the single-minded demonisation of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control and energy production.”
“The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.”
In 2010 a high-level inquiry by the InterAcademy Council found there was “little evidence” to support the IPCC’s claims about global warming.
It also said the panel had purposely emphasised the negative impacts of climate change and made “substantive findings” based on little proof.
Dr. William Happer at the Marshall Institute
On October 15, 2014 Dr. William Happer, Chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, discussed “The Myth of Carbon Pollution.”
“Carbon pollution” is a propaganda slogan for the campaign against carbon dioxide (CO2). It is not science. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant but is essential for plant growth. Current CO2 levels are far below optimum for most plants, and far below norms of geological history, when CO2 concentrations averaged several times higher than present values. A substantial fraction, about 15%, of current world food production is due to the higher levels of CO2 compared to preindustrial values. Contrary to unambiguous computer predictions, there has been no statistically significant surface warming in at least 15 years. It is now clear that the warming potential of CO2 has been exaggerated by a large amount, and it is unlikely to be much more than 1oC for doubling of CO2. There is not the slightest evidence that more CO2 has caused more extreme weather or accelerated sea level rise. Nor is there the slightest support for the notion that government control of CO2 will “stop climate change.” Many real environmental issues need attention, smog, waste disposal, short-sighted suburban development, adequate clean water, public health, etc. These are being overshadowed by the phony issue of “carbon pollution.”
Dr. William Happer is Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics (emeritus) at Princeton University, a long-term member of the JASON advisory group, and former director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. In addition to being a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, the Alexander von Humboldt award, the Herbert P. Broida Prize and the Thomas Alva Edison patent award.
Dr. Happer’s Powerpoint presentation is available here.
Marshall’s Dr. William O’Keefe leads a panel on the so-called “Social Cost of Climate”.
INDIAN LAKE (NY) WEATHER
In 1900, long before talk of “climate change,” or, per recent presidential re-branding, “climate disruption,” high & low temps started being tracked by Indian Lake Dam keepers. They’re still at it, and their findings may surprise: Hottest-ever at our Dam - to this day free of Urban Heat Island asphalt, cars, heat ducts & tall buildings - was way back in 1911, not the 1990’s, let alone more recently.
All that water in our lake (March 1913 peak: 43.2 billion gallons/167.4 B liters; Feb. 1948 low: 1.5 B gal./5.8 B lit.) greatly moderates nearby air temperature. Hot days naturally get hotter far from shore. On clear, windless nights lake-warmed air stays put, while the air chills out in sheltered valleys away from the lake. The same moderating effect is at work in winter: Water warmth filters up ("sublimates") even through ice.
Point is, you’re in the mountains, on a ball of dirt called Earth unevenly warmed by the rather petite star it keeps circling. What goes ‘round, comes ‘round, so, as you venture afield, in whatever season you’re visiting us, be ready for encores of the “disruption” our star-performer months have staged. Illustrative highlights for these “Fab Five” are next, then their day-by-day readings.
A ho-hum opener, then two days of mini-thaw, gave way to one of the most relentless & extreme North Country assaults our Dam and guests have ever braved: 23 mornings at 0F/-18C or lower, 2 days entirely below zero F plus two consecutive -35F/-37C marks, counterpointed in less than 24 hours by a staggering 78F/43C slingshot up to 43F/+6C.
At Camp Driftwood, Jon Voorhees notched a tad under -50F/-45.6C (not “wind-chill"), paralleling the -52F/-46.7C with which Old Forge (western Adirondacks) tied the NY State all-time low, first set February 1934 at Stillwater Reservoir (near Old Forge). The frozen battery wouldn’t let Jon start his car, so, hands aching, he extracted the battery, hauled it down to the office and thawed it out. Hours later, sure of triumph at last, he painfully put it back in and did start the car...only to discover the transmission oil was frozen so hard, the gears refused to engage. Game over: Nature wins again.
Back then, soon after the Voorhees Family had taken over Camp Driftwood, cabins still were primitive: no hot water, no showers, no central shower, toilet access from back porches. Week-long a.m. 30’s at the Dam, starting with 32F/0C [20’s/-2 to -6 in the usual-suspect valleys], drove one disgruntled camper to coin a new Driftwood motto: “Dirty people freezing!”
Soaring from 42F/5.6C to 89/31.6, day one signaled history aborning. Four 100F/37.8C-or-more scorchers followed, including our Dam’s highest-ever-recorded 103F/39.4C. Extreme stayed the theme: Lake-side lows crashed to low 40’s (near +5C) in week #3 and 38F/3.3C on the 27th, with Big Brook & Cedar River valleys hitting 33F/0.6C to 29/-1C, then rebounding to 95F/35C at month’s end.
This roller-coaster soon plunged to -42F/-41.1C, lowest ever recorded at the Dam, rocketed 77F in under 24 hours to 35F/+1.6C, plummeted within a day back to -22F/-30C, soared in 24 hours back up to 35F, racked up more thaw highs for the whole week following, stayed above freezing all day the 15th and even vaulted to 48F/8.9C that afternoon...only to crater again, to -23F/-30.6C.
See the PDF for the table.
See Han’s Climate Fables vs Climate Facts here.
Watts Up With That
WUWT has previously covered a press release from The OAS on the paper, now, Mike Smith, a CCM at WeatherData Inc. writes at Meteorological Musings:
Another Shabby Attempt to Tie Increased Tornadoes to Global Warming
The paper, Tornado Activity is Occurring Earlier in the Heart of “Tornado Alley” brings up some interesting points about the peak of tornado season occurring earlier in the spring in the conventional “tornado alley” of the Great Plains. The paper is an attempt to link global warming to a change in tornado season between 1954 and 2009. Its primary conclusions appear sound. That result is not surprising given the rise in global temperatures during that period of time (see graph).
My objections are not with the primary thrust of the paper. It appears to be a useful addition to the literature.
My objection is the paper’s attempt to make the change in the time of the peak tornado season into something sinister. For example, the first sentence in the paper (it appears in the Abstract) is,
“Tornado frequency may increase as the factors that contribute to severe convection are altered by a changing climate.”
It also says,
“The lack of evidence is due in part to sampling effort: the number of reported tornadoes has increased over time [Dixon et al., 2011].”
The reference to Dixon has to do with Dixie tornado alley, not the one in the Great Plains.
So, let’s go through this yet again. Let’s begin with all tornadoes of F-1 intensity or greater:
Even though world temperatures have risen, there is absolutely no upward trend in tornadoes. This is especially surprising given the storm chase program that started in 1972 and Doppler radar installations beginning in 1991. There are many small tornadoes that now get into the books that never would have been recorded a half-century ago.
Mike has further graphs and analysis here: Another Shabby Attempt to Tie Increased Tornadoes to Global Warming
I suggest you bookmark his website, and may I recommend his book Warnings: The true story of how science tamed the weather.
I’ve read it, and I’ve lived and experienced much of what he’s written about in the quest to make forecasting, especially severe weather forecasting, more accurate, timely, and specific. For those of us that prefer practical approaches over the rampant speculation on mere wisps of connections to climate, this book is for you.
Derek Alker shared Chuck Wiese's photo.
September 22 at 6:01am
OH YES, you are very, very STUPID love.
BECAUSE there is no greenhouse effect. It IS imaginary. You believe in a pseudo science based upon a falsified paradigm that is ONLY politically correct Climate has always, and always will change perfectly naturally. Belief in homocentric global
warming is, and will be remembered as the largest mass "mistake" in human history.The vast majority of man made climate change believers -
1) Do not even know what, nor have never looked at what the greenhouse effect "theory" is.
2) Do not know what the scientific method is, or who is supposed to use it, what it is supposed to be used for, nor when to use it.Answers to the two statements above
1) For those that have not looked up what the greenhouse effect "theory" actually is, and why it is currently taught in the deliberate stepped manner it is, then this link might be helpful.
2) The scientific method is for ALL. It is inclusive, it is NOT exclusive. It is so “we” the people can check what the “experts” tell us is so, and so that the scientists have a structure by which they can work together.
The scientific method is five very simple stages -
i) Observation - We observe something, preferably with empirical data / measurements.
ii) Hypothesis - Hunch to explain observation.
iii) Experiment - The hypothesis makes predictions of what will happen, these can be tested by experiment.
iv) Theory - IF the experiments confirm the hypothesis, then an explanation has been proven.
HOWEVER, at every stage the proposer must try to disprove his / her own hypothesis and experiment. ALSO, all work associated with observation, hypothesis, and experiment should be made available for all, so they can check too.
v) Law - This is when a theory has “passed” the scientific method, no one can show anything of significance wrong with it. BUT, even Laws, in the scientific method are not above question. As Lord Huxley stated many years ago,
“It only takes one ugly fact to destroy the beautiful theory.”
Science and the scientific method IS never ending, it is open and includes ALL. Anyone who says differently does not understand science, AND is not being scientific. In short, the scientific method is to protect the scientists from making mistakes, and to protect the people from being conned by incompetent, or dishonest science and scientists. This explains WHY so many who believe in the current politically correct pseudo science of homocentric global warming “Theory”, do not understand science, and are usually politically motivated too. This is because man made global warming, is, and always was a politically motivated subject / agenda / movement, by which to control us all, under a one world government headed by the United Nations and the green agenda. ALL, absolutely ALL “justified” by the pseudo science of the greenhouse effect “theory”, that IS a failed hypothesis, according to the scientific method. If only more people understood and practiced the scientific method then there would not be so many STUPID people about....
Paul Dreisen adds this:
The “people’s climate march” is over, but memories linger on - especially those of wealthy Hollywood and other elites who used the occasion to demand that other people change their lifestyles, to protect the planet from over-hyped “catastrophic manmade climate change.”
It was a close call, but my favorite marcher on New York City’s Avenue of the Self-Righteous, however, was Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. He thinks people like me “should be in jail… with all the other war criminals” - for the “crime” of effectively explaining that humans are not causing “dangerous global warming"… that climate change is natural ... and that the policies advocated by Mr. Kennedy and his anti-capitalist comrades are the real threat to the world]s poor and downtrodden.
If there are going to be climate-related trials, I suggest, perhaps they should focus on the alarmists who are perpetuating so much energy-deprivation, poverty, misery, disease and early death in so many countries.
Read his full comments here.
NOAA has claimed “The August global sea surface temperature was 0.65C (1.17F) above the 20th century average of 16.4C (61.4F). This record high departure from average not only beats the previous August record set in 2005 by 0.08C (0.14F), but also beats the previous all-time record set just two months ago in June 2014 by 0.03C (0.05F).” The peak warmth is in the Gulf of Alaska again (join us at WB to see why this will have a major impact on the winter in the US again).
Enlarged. Weatherbell.com satellite ocean temperature anomaly imagery.
UAH satellite derived SSTAs show it was just +0.22C globally over the oceans. There were 73 months warmer with the warmest +0.69C in May 1998 (nearly half degree celsius warmer than August).
Are Record Ocean Surface Temperatures Due to Record Low Wind Speeds?
September 18th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
The fortuitous revelation of record warm sea surface temperatures in August, only days before Climate Summit 2014, begs the question - why?
Why were SSTs so warm? (Not “Why announce it just before Leonardo DiCaprio’s coronation?")
As readers here know, I follow the “ocean products” produced by RSS from the SSM/I and SSMIS satellite sensors, and a curious thing has been shaping up in the last few years.
Global average ocean surface wind speeds have been decreasing. In fact, August 2014 had the lowest surface wind speed in about 25 years.
Even after I correct for the typically lower wind speeds that occur with El Nino approaching (-0.5 m/s wind decrease per unit Multivariate ENSO Index value), it’s still at near a record-low since the satellite record began:
SSM/I and SSMIS monthly global ocean average surface wind speed anomalies.
For those wondering what these wind fields look like, here are the average gridpoint wind speeds for August (1 m/sec is about 2 knots), both as absolute values and as anomalies (departures from the mean):
Grid point ocean surface wind speeds from SSMIS in August 2014, shown as absolute values and anomalies.
Gridpoint ocean surface wind speeds from SSMIS in August 2014, shown as absolute values and anomalies.
Why is Wind Speed Important to SST?
Wind-driven evaporation is the largest source of heat loss from water bodies, including the global oceans. Assuming a global average rate of ocean surface heat loss of 90 W/m2 (which is mostly evaporative), the August value of about 4-5% below the long-term average would mean about 4 W/m2 less cooling of the ocean surface.
Importantly, this 4 W/m2 reduction in heat loss is LARGER than the supposed anthropogenic radiative forcing of about 2.3 W/m2, the IPCC’s RCP6 current radiative forcing value. (The true radiative imbalance is actually less than that because warming has offset some of it with increase IR emission to space). The net result that the wind speed effect is probably at least 4 times the anthropogenic effect.
So, what’s my point? Natural variations in all kinds of things are going on, including a reduction in wind-driven evaporation, which likely contributed to “record warm” SSTs in August.
I have no strong opinions of why the reduction in wind speeds is occurring. Usually the best guess in climate is that it’s part of some cycle that will reverse itself at some point. Only time will tell.
The Curious Case of Record August Ocean Temperatures
September 19th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
Several people have noted the apparent mis-match between the NCDC report of all-time record warmth of global average sea surface temperatures in August, and the satellite tropospheric temperatures which are nowhere near a record.
But, as I have cautioned, there tends to be a time lag between SST warming and atmospheric warming...typically 1 month during non-ENSO conditions, and 2-3 months during ENSO. Furthermore, tropospheric temperature variations are somewhat larger than the SST variations that drive them, making direct comparison of the numbers more difficult.
You can get around both of these problems by plotting one versus the other on a graph to see if the latest behavior departs from the normal relationship previously displayed by the two variables (ocean surface temperature and oceanic lower tropospheric temperature).
If you also “connect the dots”, you get what’s called a phase space diagram. If we make such a plot for the 1997-98 super-El Nino, the 2009-10 El Nino, and the current (still weak) El Nino, it looks like this:
Enlarged Phase space plot of monthly sea surface temperature versus tropospheric temperature anomalies for three El Nino events.
Phase space plot of monthly sea surface temperature versus tropospheric temperature anomalies for three El Nino events (all begin in January, anomalies are relative to 1981-2010 averages).
The time lag of tropospheric temperature behind ocean surface temperature causes a curved trajectory in the data, as I’ve indicated with the light gray line.
What is interesting is that the “record warm” SST month of August, 2014 seems to be an outlier, with the SSTs being too warm (or the tropospheric temperatures too cool) compared to the usual behavior.
Barring some mistake in data processing, the only explanation I have for this is the possibility I blogged about yesterday, that near-record low ocean winds are allowing excessive surface warming while transferring less energy through convection to warm the troposphere. As I also mentioned yesterday, such an excursion would be due to natural variability...not due to “extra” carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which basically remains unchanged from one month to the next.