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ICECAP in the News
Jun 26, 2007
Climate Audit Looks at Gridded Data Issue

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

Gavin Schmidt recently told Anthony Watts that worrying about station data quality was soooo last year. His position was a bit hard to follow but it seemed to be more or less as follows: that GISS didn’t use station data, but in the alternative, as defence lawyers like to say, if GISS did use station data (which they deny), de-contamination of station data would improve the fit of the GISS model. It reminds me of the textbook case where an alternative defence is not recommended: where the defendant argues that he did not kill the victim, but, if he did, it was self-defence. In such cases, picking one of the alternatives and sticking with it is considered the more prudent strategy.

In this particular case, I thought it would be interesting to plot up the relevant gridcell series from CRU and GISS and, needless to say, surprises were abundant.
At this point, I haven’t figured out the adjustments made to go from raw station data to adjusted station data, much less to go from adjusted station data to gridded data. I haven’t worked with these data sets at length and maybe I’m missing something - but the match of the versions over so much of their history suggests that I’ve collated everything correctly. The gridcell definitions are different but the results track closely up to recent years. It seems odd that they can claim to know global temperature in (say) 1040 to within a a couple of tenths of a deg C, when GISS and CRU gridded data in these gridcells disagree by over 0.5 deg in 2005.


See whole blogpost here

Jun 25, 2007
Oregon State Climatologist Still Caught in a Political Storm

PBS New Hour

Oregon Global Warming Skeptic Finds More Controversy - see PBS newshour transcript here

Oregon state climatologist George Taylor does not believe that global warming is due to human activity. Now, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants him to stop using the state climatologist title.

NewsHour correspondent Lee Hochberg reports from Oregon on the controversy there and in nearby Washington State , where the uneasy clash between science and politics is occurring too.

In Washington State, the assistant state climatologist, Mark Albright, was stripped of his title for challenging the estimate of the reduction of the western snowpack as an artifact of the time period chosen. (see Icecap blog on this issue here).

Both George and Mark are exactly right on their issues but like the salmon of the Pacific Northwest, both are swimming upstream against the increasing swift and turbulent political currents. George is a valued Icecap member and expert and we wish both George and Mark success in fighting the good fight against misinformation and politics. 

Jun 21, 2007
Read the Sunspots

R. Timothy Patterson, Financial Post

Climate stability has never been a feature of planet Earth. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually and, at times, quite rapidly. Many times in the past, temperatures were far higher than today, and occasionally, temperatures were colder. As recently as 6,000 years ago, it was about 3C warmer than now. Ten thousand years ago, while the world was coming out of the thou-sand-year-long “Younger Dryas” cold episode, temperatures rose as much as 6C in a decade—100 times faster than the past century’s 0.6C warming that has so upset environmentalists.

Climate-change research is now literally exploding with new findings. Since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the field has had more research than in all previous years combined and the discoveries are completely shattering the myths. For example, I and the first-class scientists I work with are consistently finding excellent correlations between the regular fluctuations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate. This is not surprising. The sun and the stars are the ultimate source of all energy on the planet.

Solar scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun will be starting into its weakest Schwabe solar cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on Earth. Beginning to plan for adaptation to such a cool period, one which may continue well beyond one 11-year cycle, as did the Little Ice Age, should be a priority for governments. It is global cooling, not warming, that is the major climate threat to the world, especially Canada. As a country at the northern limit to agriculture in the world, it would take very little cooling to destroy much of our food crops, while a warming would only require that we adopt farming techniques practiced to the south of us.

See full story here.

Jun 19, 2007
Did Jones et al 1990 “Fabricate” Its Quality Control Claims?

By Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

Did Jones et al 1990 “fabricate” its quality control claims? This hard-hitting question is asked by Doug Keenan. He cites the following claims from Jones et al 1990 and Wang et al: “(1) The stations were selected on the basis of station history: we chose those with few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times. [Jones et al.] and (2) They were chosen based on station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times….” [Wang et al.]

Keenan observed that those statements are vital for the papers. For many years, no one knew what stations were used in Jones et al 1990. Only after recent FOI actions in the UK publicized here at CA did a list of the stations used in Jones et al 1990 become available in March 2007, after years of obstruction. Since then, Keenan has corresponded recently with both Jones and Wang, seeking a valid explanation of the above claims. His conclusion:

The essential point here is that the quoted statements from Jones et al. and Wang et al. cannot be true and could not be in error by accident. The statements are fabricated. Keenan refers to earlier discussion of the China sites at climateaudit, noting that questions about these claims were raised here (for example, here here and here . Since then, we’ve also looked at adjustments in the USHCN, GHCN and GISS networks, observing that adjustments for station history are often very substantial, in many cases exceeding the total estimated AGW effect of the last century. So adjustment and homogeneity are not small and irrelevant issues for temperature histories, but are fundamental representations.

Read full blog entry and comments here.

Jun 18, 2007
Temperature Variability: Global, Regional and Local

Dr Vincent Gray, June 2007

Reliable global, regional and local temperature records show that temperatures variability is cyclic, with a period of about 60 years. The temperature does not display a distinguishable “trend”. The most reliable records show peak temperatures around 1940 and 2005 and low temperatures around 1910 and 1970. These records are incompatible with a belief that there is a distinguishable upwards “trend’ caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

See full story here.

Jun 15, 2007
A Kilimanjaro We-Told-You-So

World Climate Report

File this one under “we been telling you this for years.” The headline of the University of Washington press release reads “The woes of Kilimanjaro: Don’t blame global warming.” The press release was prepared to announce an article in an upcoming issue of American Scientist magazine (linked to by the press release), by Phil Mote (University of Washington research scientist and State Climatologist of Washington) and Georg Kaser (glaciologist at the University of Insbruck, Austria)

The press release begins: The “snows” of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro inspired the title of an iconic American short story, but now its dwindling icecap is being cited as proof for human-induced global warming. However, two researchers writing in the July-August edition of American Scientist magazine say global warming has nothing to do with the decline of Kilimanjaro’s ice, and using the mountain in northern Tanzania as a “poster child” for climate change is simply inaccurate.

Now we have been writing this very same things for years. We started way back in March 2002, when, in our Virtual Climate Report series (not currently available on-line), we debunked the Kilimanjaro-is-melting-because-of-anthropogenic-global-warming idea as an “urban legend.” But no matter how often that we point out that the hard evidence and scientific literature do not support blaming anthropogenic global warming on the declining snows of Kilimanjaro, it never seems to get through the true believers. Evidence the four page spread in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth dedicated to pictures of the diminishing ice fields of the mountain, including a picture of Gore’s glacier guru Dr. Lonnie Thompson standing next to the “pitiful last remnants of one of its [Kilimanjaro’s] great glaciers.” See full report here.

Note: here is the plot of temperatures over the last 29 years at Mt. Kilimanjaro. Temperatures have cooled about 0.3C during that time.


Jun 15, 2007
Parker 2006: An Urban Myth?

Steve McIntyre, Climate Audit

If you are not a climate scientist (or a realclimate reader), you would almost certainly believe, from your own experience, that cities are warmer than the surrounding countryside - the “urban heat island”. From that, it’s easy to conclude that as cities become bigger and as towns become cities and villages become towns, that there is a widespread impact on urban records from changes in landscape, which have to be considered before you can back out what portion is due to increased GHG.

One of the main IPCC creeds is that the urban heat island effect has a negligible impact on large-scale averages such as CRU or GISS. The obvious way of proving this would seem to be taking measurements on an urban transect and showing that there is no urban heat island. Of course, Jones and his associates can’t do that because such transects always show a substantial urban heat island. So they have to resort to indirect methods to provide evidence of “things unseen”, such as Jones et al 1990, which we’ve discussed in the past.

The newest entry in the theological literature is Parker (2004, 2006), who, once again, does not show the absence of an urban heat island by direct measurements, but purports to show the absence of an effect on large-scale averages by showing that the temperature trends on calm days is comparable to that on windy days. My first reaction to this, and I’m sure that others had the same reaction was: well, so what? Why would anyone interpret that as evidence one way or the other on UHI?

Read more here.

Jun 10, 2007
CO2 Takes on Hansen in Special Issue

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso, CO2 Science

In a recent interview broadcast on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin was asked if he was concerned about global warming. His response - “I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with” - prompted a prominent NASA scientist, James Hansen, to tell ABC News that Griffin’s remark was “an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement,” and that it indicated “a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change.” Equally upset was Princeton University’s Michael Oppenheimer, who said that he was “shocked” by the Administrator’s statement and that he felt that he “ought to resign.”

As a public service to help people better evaluate Hansen’s characterization of Griffin, plus Oppenheimer’s call for Griffin to resign, we are devoting this week’s entire issue of CO2 Science to a comprehensive evaluation of Hansen’s 26 April 2007 testimony to the Select Committee of Energy Independence and Global Warming of the United States House of Representatives, which Hansen entitled “Dangerous Human-Made Interference with Climate.” Before any more calls are made for Griffin’s resignation, our critique of Hansen’s testimony, linked below, should be carefully studied. It is very possible that Oppenheimer’s invitation for Griffin to resign might more appropriately be extended to someone else. 

Note story can be found in this section below or on CO2 Science here.

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