By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With that
The global surface temperature anomaly data from the UK Hadley Climate Research Unit has just been released, and it shows a significant drop in the global temperature anomaly in January 2008, to just 0.034C, just slightly above zero. This caps a full year of temperature drop from HadCRUT’s January 2007 value of 0.632C.
See larger image here.
The change in temperature for the year then is 0.595C which is in line with other respected global temperature metrics that I have reported on in the past two weeks. RSS, UAH, and GISS global temperature sets all show sharp drops in the last year. We are in an extended solar minimum, we have a shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to a cold state, and we are seeing arctic ice extents setting new records and rebounding from the summer melt. While weather is defined as such variability, the fact that so many things are in agreement on a global scale in such a short time span of one year should give us pause. See Anthony’s blog here.
Icecap Note: You have access to all the data sources in our Climate Library Resource section with this link.
By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That
My post How not to measure temperature, part 51 was also cross posted over at Climate Audit, and has created quite a stir when Atomz, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona, tried to demonstrate that the temperature spike shown in the GISS data at Lampasas, TX, was not due to the relocation next to a building and asphalt parking lot, but rather some problem with GISS algorithm to do homogeneity adjustment to the data.
Steve McIntyre had doubts and posted a tongue in cheek rebuttal where he blamed the problem on UFA’s (Unidentified Faulty Algorithms). It seems reasonable given the fact that Arizona is already the center of surface measurement weirdness given the parking lot weather station operated by the Atmospheric Science Department of the University of Arizona. Enter serendipity. Warren Meyers son Nicolas, has been actively surveying Arizona stations for his school science project. My inbox had a new station from him today, Miami, AZ. So I decided to take a look at it. As is typical when an MMTS sensor gets installed by NOAA/NWS to replace the traditional Stevenson Screen, it got closer to human habitation, and in this case, a LOT closer. Too close I’d say.
See full size here
So I though I’d take a look at the raw GISS temperature plot for Miami, AZ to see if the move would show a spike, it did. (Anthony overlaid the homogenized NASA GISS data after adjustment over the raw data as he had done with Lampasas, Texas.)
See full size graph here
Notice that after the GISS homogeneity adjustment, the past temperatures go down, thus making the slope of the temperature trend rise. The rise is purely artificial, and appears to be an artifact of data adjustment by NASA GISS on this rural station.
In a comment on the subject, Steve Mosher offers an explanation: “In Hansen 2001 Hansen says he uses nightlights to determine if a station is Rural in the US and population everywhere else. Miles city population is less than 10K which makes it rural, BUT, nightlights (satellite imagery taken in 1995) indicates a brightness factor for Miles of 26! effectively making it urban.”
I concur, there appears to be a flaw in the GISS nightlines methodology and adjustment algorithm. I look forward to seeing GISS investigate, and if this problem is indeed verified, a dataset correction. See full post here.
UPDATE: see yet another example of the GISS adjustment issue for a rural station with a good record and little in the way of station moves, and that had changed little in 100 years, Cedarville, CA here.
By Dr. Tim Ball in the Canada Free Press
In his book State of Fear, Michael Crichton wrote about exploitation of fear by environmental extremists. He should write another book about exploitation of lack of knowledge. Climate and environment were previously outside of politics, but once they became potential election issues politicians exploited them better than environmentalists. It fulfills H.L Mencken’s observation that, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
So before anyone attempts to make political gain from the tragic events of the tornados that killed people across the southern US recently, let’s put the science on the record. And while we’re at it let’s explode another false claim that storms and severe weather will increase with global warming.
Storm and accompanying tornadoes that caused the recent deaths were partly created by increased warm moist air off the Gulf of Mexico as a result of La Nina. This influx of warm moist air is needed to meet with the cold air that pushes far south, as it has all this winter. It will continue to do as the Earth continues to cool, as it has generally since 1998. The dilemma then is that storms will most likely increase in frequency and severity, but it will be because of global cooling, not warming.
Proponents of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis have positioned themselves to continue to claim they are right no matter what ultimately happens. They switched from calling it ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change’ as the concern as global temperatures began to decline while carbon dioxide levels increased. This position produces incredible statements that merely demonstrate ignorance such as Greenpeace climate spokesperson Steven Guilbeault’s comment, “Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that’s what we’re dealing with.” Unfortunately most of the public are not yet knowledgeable about the issue to know how silly Guilbeault’s comment is, but they’re learning. Read more here.
See larger graph here.
Dr. Timothy Ball is a Victoria, British Columbia-based environmental consultant, former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, and Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project .
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
A warm wedge of air that brought rain and very mild temperatures even to the nation’s midsection for a day this weekend and to the east today will be moving off the coast today and cold arctic air will again follow. You can see it beginning to pour into the northern plains now.
It will like most of the arctic air the last two months focus most in the central states to start but will be felt to a greater extent further east in a day or so with less of the moderation seen with earlier outbreaks. As is typical in many La Nina years, the cold can expand more into the east and the storms that were mainly snow early and mainly a messy mix or rain of late will tend back towards snow again as we move towards and into March. The last La Nina in 2000/01 brought very heavy snows to much of the country in November and December and then parts of the northeast late in the winter. This was my street in central New England in mid March of 2001 after two successive 24 inch snowstorms. Not promising the same this year, but I do expect more snow reaching the northeast just as it did early.
Regardless this winter will be one of the snowiest winters in some time for the nation as a whole although many in the Mid-Atlantic up to southern New England have felt left out (or overjoyed if you dislike snow). You will probably get some late chances here in the weeks ahead along with many other areas that were hoping winter would go away quietly (see snowfall map of the midwest develop by the ISU Mesonet here).
By Alan Caruba, USADaily
I can understand why people believe that global warming is real and that all the things Greens say are true. One cannot read a newspaper or magazine, turn on the television or radio, without getting the Green message. Since switching their message in the 1970s that an Ice Age was coming to the complete fiction of a massive, dramatic global warming due to greenhouse gases, the Greens have been able to influence policy at the international and national level. They have been utterly relentless, a modern version of the Mongols on horseback who swept out of the East to conquer everything before them until the reached the gates of Europe. These days the Greens have long since conquered Europe. One thing alone stands against the Greens. The SCIENCE does not support them.
Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, Merited Scientist of Russia and fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, is staff researcher of the Oceanology Institute. He recently published a commentary asserting that a global cold spell could replace global warming. Note that the Earth has been warming-about one degree Fahrenheit-since the last mini-Ice Age ended around 1850. “The real reasons for climate change are uneven solar radiation”, said Dr. Sorokhtin, while citing others that include the Earth’s axis gyration and instability of oceanic currents.
Large numbers of scientists have sold their soul to the global warming lies in order to receive millions in research grants, but increasingly other scientists have been coming forth to tell the truth. On March 2-4, several hundred will convene in New York for the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change to offer papers and serve on panels disputing and debunking the global warming hoax.
Beyond the climatic threat of a cooling planet is the one posed by U.S. politicians and their counterparts in Europe who are seeking to impose all manner of regulation and limits on energy use based on the false assertion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing global warming. They want to mandate a “cap-and-trade” scheme that will make some people and industries wealthy selling credits that will permit greenhouse gas emissions. But it is not greenhouse gases we need to fear, it is the action or, in this case, the inaction of the Sun. At the very moment the Earth is on the cusp of what is likely to be a very long cooling and possibly a full scale repeat of the last Ice Age, all the engines of government, nationally and internationally, are trying to inhibit the discovery, extraction, and use of energy reserves that will be needed to cope with climate changes that will impact millions and, ultimately, billions of people. All the wind turbines and solar panels in the world will not keep you warm in your home or apartment when a short or long term cooling of the Earth occurs. Ironically, as the Greens rant about so-called endangered polar bears in the Arctic, the bears are far more likely to survive than humans. Read more here.
NASA Earth Observatory
Biting cold seized much of southwest Asia throughout January and into February 2008. This image illustrates how much colder temperatures were between January 17 and January 24, 2008, compared to previous years. The image shows land surface temperatures - how cold or hot the land is to the touch- compared to average land surface temperatures in January 2000-2005 and 2007. (Data from 2006 were unavailable at the time of this posting.) In 2008, land surface temperatures were as much as 20 degrees Celsius cooler than in previous years. The overall blue tone of the image reveals cold temperatures throughout the region, but the most intense cold was in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.
See full image here
The extreme winter conditions were the worst in decades in both Afghanistan and Tajikistan. In Afghanistan, the cold left more than 750 people and 230,000 cattle dead, reported Reuters. Many families rely on cattle for food security, and their loss will likely cause great hardship. Tajikistan was similarly taxed by the severe cold. Even as cold temperatures increased the demand for electricity, power production decreased when inlet streams feeding hydroelectric power plants froze, said the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on February 11. Tajikistan derives 76 percent of its electricity from hydropower, said the UN. The power shortages left urban areas without heat.
See also the Planet Earth story on the true impact of the worst winter in living memory for this region here.
By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That
This NOAA USHCN climate station of record #415018 in Lampasas, TX was found to be tucked between a building, and two parking lots, one with nearby vehicles. According to the surveyor, it is right next to the ACE Hardware store on the main street of town.
While likely representative of the temperature for downtown Lampasas, one wonders how well it measures the climate of the region. In her survey, volunteer surveyor Julie K. Stacy noted the proximity to the building and parking, which will certainly affect Tmin at night due to IR radiance. Daytime Tmax is likely affected by the large amount of asphalt and concrete in the area around the sensor. The main street of the town (28 ft from US 183) and the ACE Hardware parking. According to MMS, station has been at this location since 10-01-2000. Previous location was an observer residence, which appears to have been a park-like location according to MMS location map. The sensor was apparently converted to the MMTS style seen in the photo in 1986, so the move did not include an equipment change. See the complete survey album here.
Since there has been some discussion about how well “adjustments” take care of such problems, I thought I’d show you just how well the GISS homogeneity adjustment works with this station.
Here is the GISS raw data plot (blue) with the GISS homogeneity plot overlaid on it (red):
See full size image here.
The effect is quite clear. The recent “spurious” measurement remains unchanged, and the past gets colder. The result? An artificial warming trend that is created by GISS adjustments. See full post here.
World Climate Report
Over the past decade, considerable debate existed regarding the temperature history of the Earth on the time scale of millennia. If you followed our (WCR) discussion on the subject, you know that one camp would like you believe that the highly-publicized warming of the planet over the past century is absolutely unprecedented over the past few thousand years. This group seems to fixate on the “hockey stick” representation of the temperature history of the past 1,000 years, and they hold on to the stick in spite of evidence to the contrary. Many others have argued based on proxy evidence throughout the world that the past few thousand years include a very warm period 1,000 years ago and a cold period 500 years ago; in their eyes, the warming of the past century is not at all unusual. These folks even go on to suggest that the Earth today may not be yet as warm as conditions 1,000 years ago, despite the 100 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past century.
Several articles have appeared in Energy and Environment recently with results of considerable interest to us at World Climate Report. The first piece is by Dr. Craig Loehle who received his Ph.D. in mathematical ecology in 1982 from Colorado State University. Loehle gathered as many non-tree ring reconstructions as possible for places throughout the world. There are dozens of very interesting ways to peer into the climatic past of a location, and Loehle included borehore temperature measurements, pollen remains, Mg/Ca ratios, oxygen isotope data from deep cores or from stalagmites, diatoms deposited on lake bottoms, reconstructed sea surface temperatures, and so on. Basically, he grabbed everything available, so long as it did not rely on trees (about which Loehle and World Climate Report show “are not simple thermometers”!)
Following publication of the first article, several errors came to light regarding how temperatures were reported from the various locations. In the second paper, Loehle and co-author J. Huston McCulloch decided to re-do all the calculations, including improvements in terms of confidence intervals. The improved plot below shows little change from the graph above, although for data reasons, the last point now represents the 29-year average temperature centered on 1935. The two statistical wizards note “The corrected data continue to show the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly.” The confidence intervals “indicate that the MWP was significantly warmer than the bimillennial average during most of approximately 820-1040 AD, at the 5% level (2-tailed). Likewise, the LIA was significantly cooler than the bimillennial average during most of approximately 1440-1740 AD.”
See full size image here
We suspect you have been living your life unaware of the articles by Loehle and McCulloch. The reason is obvious - they found evidence that temperature variations over the past 2,000 years indicate that the earth’s average temperature bounces around naturally to a larger degree than other paleo-reconstructions indicate, and further, that temperatures about 1,000 years ago were not that dissimilar to today’s temperatures. This suggests that the earth’s ecosystems are more resilient (and adaptive) than some pessimists give them credit for - not a favorite topic in the mainstream press.
By Cara Harshman, Badger Herald
Last night’s snowfall sent Madison’s winter total plowing into the record books, breaking the all-time snowfall record of 76.1 inches in 1978-79. “Anytime you set records, it is sort of a momentous occasion, but it doesn’t mean anything more than we’ll be out just like any other storm,” said Madison streets superintendent Al Schumacher. Jon Martin, University of Wisconsin chair of the atmospheric and ocean sciences department said there is a lot of variability from one winter to another, and it is difficult to put a finger on why this winter has been so snowy. “This is a very abnormal winter,” Martin said. “We break the all-time snowiest winter record, and we still have 5 or 6 weeks left for possible snow.”
Since Dec. 1, it has snowed 41 times in Madison, taking a toll on everyone in the city, especially streets employees working 16-hour days plowing streets and fixing potholes, Schumacher said. This is one of those winters we are not going to see again, Martin said, with continuously cold temperatures and very few rainy days. Cold temperatures carried by northwesterly winds have not ceased all winter. Madison has not seen westerly or southwesterly winds that would bring warmer temperatures. “We may crush this thing,” Martin said, referring to the snowfall record. “That’s what I’m hoping for, because all of us who live through this will have seen the greatest snowfall in our lifetimes, especially if we get to 100 inches.” See full story here. See also the official NWS report here.
Icecap Note: Record or near record snows will be reported in many spots in the midwest before it is over. See this story about Rockford, Illinois which has the most snowfall to date and after today’s storm will rank only behind 1978/79. Also see Tom Skilling’s blog on how snow days and zero degree days are running twice the long-term average. See also how this cold spell set a record in the “Nation’s Icebox”, International Falls, MN here. See snow depths across Iowa, also hard hit this winter here.
A light to moderate snow event early in the week is likely to propel Madison to a new seasonal snowfall record. As of February 8, 2008, the total of 75.6” was just 0.6 inches shy of the record set in the harsh winter of 1978/79 and 0.4 from the old-time winter of 1885/86 (you all remember that one).
Below is a list of the top 10 winter season snowfall amounts for Madison, Wisconsin
See official NWS statement here.
By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That
There have been a number of indications that January 2008 has been an exceptional month for winter weather in not only North America, but the entire Northern Hemisphere.
We’ve had anecdotal evidence of odd weather in the form of wire reports from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and China where record setting cold and snow has been felt with intensity not seen for 30-100 years, depending on the region. From our remote sensing groups, we have reports of significant negative anomalies in both the RSS and UAH global satellite data for the lower troposphere. Then there’s NOAA’s announcement that January 2008, was below 20th century averages, plus news that Arctic sea ice has quickly recovered from the record low extent of Summer 2007.
Now to add to this, we have images and reports from NOAA and Rutgers University of large anomalies of snow cover extent for the northern hemisphere in January 2008. Rutgers Global Snow Lab has an anomaly graph and it shows January 2008 had the largest areal Northern Hemisphere snow cover for the period of 1966-2008, just slightly larger than the previous largest anomaly of January, 1984. Finally, there’s the massive La Nina said to be the driver of all this but may be a harbinger of a more permanent phase shift according to veteran forecaster Joe Bastardi. Icecap Note: and discusssed in detail in the blog post below.
Yes, we live in interesting times. Read more here.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
Early in January 2007, the Phil Jones of the UK Hadley center predicted that 2007 would be the warmest on record due to the El Nino, which some scientists including Hansen predicted could be the strongest in history. Well of course the El Nino quickly faded and La Nina slowly came on during 2007. Temperatures globally cooled, starting in the Southern Hemisphere winter and then transitioning into the Northern Hemisphere winter. At the end of the year, the Hadley center announced it was the 7th warmest, blaming the oncoming La Nina for the cooling and busted forecast. This January, MSU satellite data indicated the globe was cooler than the 1979-98 average for the first time in years.
With the recent global cooling that is the result of the moderate to strong La Nina, I thought I would again look at the last decade and see how well the global temperatures reacted to the transition from a super El Nino in 1997/98 to La Ninas from 1998 to 2000/2001, an El Nino in 2002/03 and borderline El Ninos in 2003/04 and 2004/05 and again 2006/07 followed by the return of La Nina in 2007/08/. I used the MSU lower tropospheric temperatures and the Multivariate ENSO Index of Wolter.
Temperatures track well with the ENSO state as indicated by the MEI. There is an apparent lag of 2 or more months of temperature to the MEI. With a 2 year lag applied, the Pearson correlation of the raw (unsmoothed data sets) is 0.67 (r-squared of 0.45). For the same time period, the CO2 correlation is only 0.07 (r-squared of 0.005).
See how the ENSO (El Nino and La Nina) frequency relates to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation which has turned negative here. As to whether this strong La Nina and strongly negative PDO this winter marks the start of the new cold period or just another false alarm like 1998-2001, the next year or so will tell. The last three PDO phases each lasted 25-30 years and we are 30 years since the last change called the Great Pacific Climate Shift so it appears this time, the change may be for real. If indeed the sun which many solar scientists believe is about to go into a quiet mode seen only seen every 200 to 400 years, is much weaker this upcoming cycle, this may be very interesting indeed.
By N.F. Glasser and T.A. Scambos
Global warming may not be entirely to blame for the collapse of an Antarctic ice shelf in 2002, according to research published today. The 10,000-year-old Larsen B ice shelf was initially believed to be a victim of climate change. But a paper published in the Journal of Glaciology claims the shelf had been teetering on collapse for decades. Professor Neil Glasser, of Aberystwyth University, the paper’s lead author, said cracks and fault lines in the ice had significantly weakened the structure. “A number of other atmospheric, oceanic and glaciological factors are involved. For example, the location and spacing of fractures on the ice shelf such as crevasses and rifts are very important too because they determine how strong or weak the ice shelf is.”
From their abstract: We define domains on the ice shelf related to glacier source areas and demonstrate that, prior to collapse, the central Larsen B ice shelf consisted of four sutured flow units fed by Crane, Jorum, Punchbowl and Hektoria/Green/Evans glaciers. Between these flow units were ‘suture zones’ of thinner ice where the feeder glaciers merged. Prior to collapse, large open-rift systems were present offshore of Foyn Point and Cape Disappointment. These rifts became more pronounced in the years preceding break-up, and ice blocks in the rifts rotated because of the strong lateral shear in this zone. We suggest that the ice shelf was preconditioned to collapse by partial rupturing of the sutures between flow units. See full paper here.
Icecap Note: The breakdown in 2002 as the authors showed may have had its seeds in antecedent conditions which affected the ice-shelf’s structure and stability. A factor that may be pertinent to the timing of that break-up was the high solar flux, second solar cycle max that occurred from September 2001 to April 2002. Notice in the image below the coincident timing of the high flux and ice decline.
See full size image here.
In work done by Shindell et al. at NASA GISS, they showed how high solar flux which usually means high ultraviolet leads to heating due to ozone chemistry in the high atmosphere in low and middle latitudes. That heat makes its way down with time into the troposphere in the models. This supported the work of Labitzke who found diffferences from solar minimum to solar maximum that she related to the 6-8% changes in ultraviolet radiation during the cycle. She also found empirical evidence the warming extends from the stratosphere down into the troposphere.
In 2001/02, this warming was observed in low and middle latitudes causing heights to rise and the polar vortexes in both hemisphere to shrink. It was a warm ‘zonal’ winter in the Northern Hemishere. In the southern hemisphere, the vortex split into two in November/December, it was reported for the first time in recorded history. The changing winds and currents MAY have helped trigger the break-up. You can see the average 500 mb heights during November and December showing a split in the southern vortex which may have started the changes in low levels that broke up the “teetering” ice shelf. The ice quickly reformed by the following winter.
By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM
It has been at times a harsh and overall very snowy winter over areas north and west, typical of La Nina.
This is already the snowiest winter in Chicago in almost three decades. The heaviest snow in the latest fell northern suburbs of Chicago north and west. 21 inches fell in Ordvillee, north of Beloit. See Tom Skilling’s blog on the snowfall. Madison, Wisconsin with a foot of snow actually is closer to 74 inches now for the season with the additional snow last evening, roughly running 225% of normal. Just over 20 inches of snow fell in Saukville and 19 inches at Jackson, both north of Milwaukee. Occasional brief periods of blizzard-like conditions developed along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Milwaukee to Kenosha as the snowfall picked up Wednesday, said meteorologist Rusty Kapela of the National Weather Service’s Sullivan office. (see the Wisconsin storm story). In Wisconsin it was the worst storm since January1999, another La Nina winter.
Photo in Antioch, Illinois by Carl Frystak on Tom Skilling blog
Schools and universities canceled classes in parts of Kansas, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan, where up to 14 inches of snow fell north of Detroit. The Detroit area got a mix of rain, snow and sleet. See the Lower Michigan totals here.
Southeast Iowa was hard hit. Brad Small, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, called this winter Iowa’s “coldest and snowiest” since 2000-01, also a La Nina winter. The harshness has led to shortages of road salt in many cities, including Tipton, in eastern Iowa. Getting more will be difficult because a frozen Mississippi River has blocked barge traffic.
The snow extended into northern New York State and New England with as much as 15 inches in Burlington, Vermont. Expect more of thr same in the weeks ahead but with areas to the east getting more of their share.
ICECAP UPDATE: NOAA agrees with the satellite assessment. The average United States temperature in January 2008 was 30.5 F. This was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 49th coolest January in 114 years. This despite a very warm week 2 that brought hundreds of records to the central and east.
By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That
University of Alabama, Huntsville (John Christy) just published their UAH lower troposphere data for January 2008. Like the RSS data set, it shows a negative anomaly, and a steep decline in the past 12 months though the magnitude of the anomaly is slightly lower at ∆T -.588 than the RSS ∆T -.629 degrees Centigrade.
I’ve plotted the UAH data below, as I did for the RSS data in the previous post:
See full size image here
And a zoomed version with the Delta T highlighted:
See full size image here