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Thursday, April 10, 2008
How Not to Measure Temperature Part 57

By Anthony Watts

One of the intrepid traveling volunteers, Eric Gamberg, has been traveling through Nebraska as of late, picking up stations as he goes. He recently visited the USHCN station of record in North Loup, NE. Records describe this station as being in a rural area, which is true. Notice all the shadows and the trees? Unlike many stations I’ve pointed out in the past, this station has an uncertain cooling bias from all the shade around it. The bias is variable, with seasons, with tree growth, tree pruning, and with windstorms that may remove leaves or whole branches from the trees. Other angles of this station are visible in the gallery for this USHCN station.

One of the pictures caught my eye. It was a single picture of a Stevenson Screen at the neighbors location, which also has a significant shading issue with trees around the station. Since it appeared from that description that the station had been moved, I wondered if NOAA had logged the change, so I consulted the NOAA MMS database. The station map showed only two locations as being recorded for this station even though data goes back to 1892 and is used by GISS in their data plots.

I thought maybe I’d try looking at the GISTEMP record to see if I could find any obvious shifts in the data that might provide clues for a relocation. While it might look like there’s a jump coinciding with relocation, other stations in the area, within 100 KM had similar jumps around that time. So it appears the jump was natural, likely due to our rising El Nino year peaking in 1998, or we have another one of those data splicing errors like what was found back in August of 2007.

As a final check, I decided to look at the GISS Homogenized data plot for the North Loup station, and here is where the surprise came, the scales of the two graphs didn’t match. There was a .5 degree C difference in the Y scale. The Raw GISS plot topped at 12.5C while the Homogenized GISS plot topped at 12.0C. This was perplexing, so I thought I’d try a data overlay to see what had changed, and what I found was another one of those counter-intuitive downward homogenization adjustments which used the present as a hinge point and made the past cooler:

See full size here

So this begs the question: Why is a station that is classified as rural, with an apparent cooling bias due to tree cover, with a long history containing only a few moves, in a small agricultural town with little growth in the last century get an adjustment like this that causes the past to get colder, and create an artificially enhanced positive slope of temperature trend? The nearest “large” city is Grand Island, NE, over 40 miles away. There is nothing but farmland all around North Loup, NE. I donít care how you try to reason it, an adjustment for a station of this type wouldn’t need to be done for UHI. So what’s going on? Is this another one of those situation where other stations that have UHI that are within a larger radius are affecting this station and forcing an adjustment?

This is why I have trouble trusting GISS data. We keep finding instances like this one where the historical temperature record has been adjusted for no discernible or apparently logical reason. Cedarville, CA, which I previously highlighted is another prime example of a rural station with a long history, little growth, no UHI, but with an artificially enhanced positive temperature trend . This question needs to be answered. See full story here.

Posted on 04/10 at 10:19 PM
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Wilkins’ Fracture Barely a Blip in the Big Picture as Antarctic Ice Anomaly 2nd Highest on Record

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Last month, reports about the Wilkins Ice Sheet break-up were exaggerated in the media with headlines like “Bye-Bye Antarctica”. We posted several blogs in a reality-check response here, here and here. This week we posted a story where Roger Pielke Sr. reported on Climate Science on a paper in EOS that showed the melting this past summer was 40% below the average for the past 20 years.

The plot of the total ice extent and anomaly (on the Cryosphere Today site of the Polar Research Group of the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana) from the 1979-2000 mean over the last year showed there was hardly a blip in the big picture. It shows we continue to run well ahead of last year by about 2 million square kilometers.

See full size image here

Interestingly the anomaly is already second only to last year in the entire record going back to 1979. 

See full size image here

Since we are just 2 weeks into the fall season and over 5 months away from the peak, it would seem likely were going to at least challenge the record from last year. You can be sure although the media was quick to jump on the Wilkins break-up, they will conveniently ignore this fact just as they did last year’s record. See pdf of this post here.

Posted on 04/09 at 11:48 PM
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008
Still Feeding the World

By Paul Driessen

Norman Borlaug just turned 94 - and is still going strong. He’s the father of the Green Revolution. Penn and Teller call him the greatest person in history. When the Nobel committee awarded him the 1970 Peace Prize, it said his work had saved a billion lives. Norman Borlaug turned 94 on March 25 and, despite cancer that had him sick and hospitalized a couple months ago, just attended a conference in Mexico on new rust-resistant wheat varieties and modern agricultural methods.

He is still “an Energizer Bunny,” his daughter Jeanie says. Decades ago, while neo-Malthusians were predicting mass famine, Borlaug used Rockefeller Foundation grants to unlock hidden (recessive) genes and crossbreed different wheat strains, to create new “dwarf” varieties that were resistant to destructive “rust” fungi. The shorter plants were also sturdier, put less energy into growing leaves and stalks, and thus had higher yields.

In 1985, he began working with former President Jimmy Carter to bring a Green Revolution to Sub-Saharan Africa, emphasizing intensive modern farming methods with new hybrid and biotech seeds on existing fields, to reduce the need to slash and burn wildlife habitat, as soil nutrients are exhausted. Unfortunately, their progress may be undermined by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his misleadingly named Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Annan says biotech crops are unsafe, untested, and likely to enslave poor farmers to mega-corporations and expensive seeds. He wants to battle Africa’s chronic poverty and malnutrition with “traditional seeds” and methods.

Dr. Borlaug fears that would be a devastating failure. As he said during a 2005 biotechnology conference, sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality at the United Nations, he sees no way the world can feed its hungry population without genetically engineered (GE) crops, especially if it relies more on biofuels. He has little patience for “well-fed utopians who live on Cloud Nine but come into the Third World to cause all kinds of negative impacts,” by scaring people and blocking the use of biotechnology. These callous activists even persuaded Zambia to let people starve, rather than let them eat biotech corn donated by the USA. They also oppose insecticides to combat malaria - and fossil fuels, hydroelectric dams and nuclear power to generate abundant, reliable, affordable electricity for poor nations. Read the full tribute to this great man here.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Congress of Racial Equality and Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power Black death.

Posted on 04/08 at 05:23 AM
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Monday, April 07, 2008
Multidecadal Ocean Cycles May Determine If This Cooling Continues and If Summer Drought Occurs

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

The BBC, UK Met Office and UN IPCC had to acknowledge that global temperatures have at least for the time being decoupled from the CO2 rise and levelled off or fallen (6-7 years). They are blaming the cooling on La Nina. They are of course correct, La Ninas global cooling just as El Ninos brings global warming. It must have pained them to do so as they have previously discussed these factors as being secondary to greenhouse gases and with impacts that were mainly regional in nature.

They promise once this event ends, their predicted warming will resume. It is likely that temperatures will bounce as the La Nina weakens but the real key as to where temperatures go over the next few years and decades is not increasing greenhouse gases but whether the multidecadal cycle in the Pacific (PDO) has transitioned back to the cold mode it was in when the earth cooled from the 1940s to the 1970s (and what happens with solar cycles 24 and 25, which many solar scientists the world over feel will revert back to the quiet modes of the so called Dalton Minimum in the early 1800s or possibly worse.)

The PDO warm phase from 1977 to 1997 was dominated by mostly El Ninos (see why here) and since they correlate with warmer global mean temperatures, it is not surprising global temperatures rose. Alarmists blamed greenhouse gases but it was likely the PDO and the Grand Maximum of the longer term solar cycles.  The prior three decades had mainly La Ninas with cold temperatures like this year in more years than not and solar cycle 20 which peaked around 1970 was relatively weak and longer in length. Not surprisingly global temperatures declined.

Wolter’s Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). Red spikes with magnitudes >0.5 are El Ninos, dips in blue with magnitudes in excess of -0.5 La Ninas.  See larger graph here

Then with the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977, the Pacific warmed and PDO turned positive. El Ninos dominated. You can see how the El Ninos in the satellite era since 1979 have been associated with global warmth.

Note how El Ninos are invariably warm globally and La Ninas cool. Major volcanism in the early 1980s and 1990s are also seen producing cooling. See larger graph here

The PDO and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) have also been implicated in drought probabilities in an excellent paper done by Gregory J. McCabe, Michael A. Palecki, and Julio L. Betancourt in 2004. They found More than half (52%) of the spatial and temporal variance in multidecadal drought frequency over the conterminous United States is attributable to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Recent droughts with broad impacts over the conterminous U.S. (1996, 1999-2002) were associated with North Atlantic warming (positive AMO) and northeastern and tropical Pacific cooling (negative PDO) (the bottom right map in the figure below). That is the case this summer.

Warm Atlantic (warm AMO) tend to favor drought, the PDO determines where. See larger image here

Posted on 04/07 at 03:06 AM
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Could 2008 Mauna Loa CO2 Monthly Maximum Come in Lower than 2007?

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

A meteorologist friend has informed me of a comment he has posted on Climate Audit.

Since the beginning of the Mauna Loa data stream in 1958, no annual mean period has been observed with a CO2 concentration lower than the previous year although it came close in the mid 1960s. There is a chance that this record may be broken in this year or next. In just a few instances has the annual maximum in CO2 been lower than the prior max. Since we are just two months away from the normal annual maximum which is currently well below last year’s max (see here) this will likely be one of those exceptional years. None of the AGW crowd has yet suggested that man-made CO2 has declined or that the trend in land use vis-a-vis CO2 has reversed.

Black line represents seasonally adjusted values, red line the monthly observed values. See larger image here

I think that the anomalous decline in the slope of the Mauna Loa CO2 curve during this past boreal winter which is normally a season in which CO2 rises rapidly, is directly tied to the Central Pacific SST. Cooling SSTs raise the oceansí solubility of CO2 which it then extracts from the atmosphere. In the 50-year history of the Mauna Loa record, the slope of the CO2 curve became more positive during the positive PDO regime, ~1975-2005, which favored warm Tropical SSTs (El NiŮos) with just a few brief La Ninas. PDO regimes usually last for about 30 years. Now that the PDO has shifted into a negative phase, we should see cooler La Nina patterns becoming more prevalent with fewer and briefer El Nino episodes. The 20th Century contained two positive PDO regimes and one negative one. Little wonder why there was a net rise in Globally averaged temperature during that period. Consistent on-site measurements of CO2 didnít begin until the latter half of the last negative PDO. Furthermore, should CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa now show a decline, it would suggest again that CO2 is a lagging indicator, not a leading one.

Skeptics continue to look for (and find) climate components that can be construed as falsifying the alarmist AGW hypotheses. Since the foundation of all of these hypotheses are a steady, if not accelerating, increase in man-made CO2, should we now see a year, just one year, in which total CO2 as observed at Mauna Loa shows a decline from the previous year(s) we may have found a smoking cannon.

[Some AGW proponents will say that the current cooling is not a result of CO2 but can be blamed on La Nina and should be ignored. That’s simple sophistry. La Nina is at least as much a component of the Global climate system as is CO2 and according to AGW alarmists, a CO2 driven warming should precede changes in SST, not follow it.]

Icecap Note: Another poster noted this is the second largest winter decline in the record trailing only 1971/72. Most years the rise from March to May is at least 1 ppm which would mean, we will see a higher max but a year-to-year increase much smaller than recent years.

Posted on 04/07 at 01:17 AM
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Friday, April 04, 2008
Fred Ward: New England Winters Have Cooled in Past Decade

By Dr. Fred Ward Op Ed in the Machester Union Leader

In the New Hampshire Union Leader this past summer, I exchanged some opinions on global warming with Dr. Cameron Wake of the University of New Hampshire. With this long, cold winter winding down, it is time to revisit the discussion. The debate started with Wake calculating that the winter temperatures in New England had warmed by 1 1/2 degrees per decade for the last three decades of the last century, or more than 4 degrees! He concluded that this extreme warming was likely due to increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by man’s activities.

Moreover, he warned that if we continued to pump CO2 into the air, we would likely see this warming of 1 1/2 degrees per decade continue into the present century. He also made some dire predictions of the effect of this continued warming on all manner of biological plants and animals, right down to the final New England skier. We have just finished the ninth of the 10 winters of the first decade of this century, an appropriate time to look at the latest data. Did the rise of 1 1/2 degrees per decade (1 1/3 degrees for these nine winters) continue with its attendant catastrophic consequences?

The data for the first five years of the new millennium, 1999-00 to 2003-04, yield an average winter temperature of 24.6 degrees, and a temperature for the most recent four winters of 25.9. But if Wake’s expected warming continued (1 1/3 degrees for 9/10th of another decade), we should have found a temperature for the 2004-05 to 2007-08 winters of between 28 and 29 degrees. Not only did the winter temperature not rise to 28.4 degrees, as Wake projected, it actually fell one to two degrees toward the levels we’ve been seeing all our lives.  This reversal from warming to cooling occurred despite continuing increases in man-made carbon-dioxide emissions. Wake’s pessimistic forecast of catastrophic increases in temperature have simply not comported with reality.

Wake also pointed out that there was a decrease in the winter snowfall in New England in recent times, implying a trend likely to continue. So where did all this snow come from? Read more and comments here. Note: Concord, New Hampshire had a record snowy December to February period and for the entire season is second only to 1873/74. Also St Johnsbury, Vermont yesterday set a new record for seasonal snow when they reached 139.1 inches, breaking the prior record set in 1968/69. Records there extend back to 1894.

Fred Ward of Stoddard has a Ph.D. in meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a meteorologist on Channel 7 in Boston in the 1960s and 1970s.

Posted on 04/04 at 04:14 PM
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March 2008 RSS Global Temperature Anomaly Data: Slightly Above Zero

By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That

The RSS Microwave Sounder Unit (MSU) global temperature anomaly data has been published this morning by RSS (Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA). For March 2008 it has moved a little higher, with a value of .079C for a change of 0.081C globally from February. January 2008 was -0.07, February -0.002.

See larger graph here

The interesting news is the divergence between northern and southern hemispheres, and the plunge seen in the continental USA. I’ll have more on that coming up.  On a related note: Lucia over at The Blackboard just posted a very well done analysis that takes ENSO into account in falsifying the IPCC AR4 projection of +2.0C/century. Here is her graph showing IPCC AR4 projections compared with observations and best fit trend:

See larger graph here

Posted on 04/04 at 03:36 PM
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How Not to Measure Temperature, Part 56

By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That

Our newest volunteer at is Keith Taylor, and he’s gotten of to a great start with 2 stations in 2 days. Hi first was the climate station of record for Williamsburg, KY, USHCN station #158709 (or maybe 158711). Like many USHCN stations, it is located at a sewage treatment plant. I’ve previously mentioned several times how the MMTS electronic thermometer has caused stations converted from traditional mercury max-min thermometers to MMTS get closer to building because of cable laying issues. This one is a little closer than usual.


Keith reports the sensor head is only 33 inches from the brick building wall. And, just off in the background, a new electric power transformer is being installed. In fact it looks like a lot of land use changes are going on around the station due to construction. From the home page of this wastewater treatment plant, we learn that:  The Williamsburg Waste Water Treatment Plant underwent a state-of-the-art expansion in 2003. Today the plant is rated at 2 million gallons with a peak production of six million gallons per day. Thats a lot of waste water (and waster heat) going through. It will be interesting to see what effects those construction and capacity changes may have to the temperature record in the years ahead. Like many stations we’ve found, there is convenient parking available as well.

You can see the complete gallery of photos here. See full post here.

Posted on 04/04 at 02:18 PM
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Thursday, April 03, 2008
Major La Nina Storm with Tornado Outbreak, Flooding and Blizzard End of Next Week?

By Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Although it is a week away, there are continuing signs we may be in for a typical early spring La Nina storm event that will threaten more flooding rains, at least one major tornado outbreak day and a major blizzard on the northwest side.  Flooding in La Nina years averages nearly $4.5 billion compared to an average of $2.4 billion. We have already seen examples of that this year in Missouri and Arkansas.

Major tornado outbreaks occurred in January 1999, a recent La Nina year, in Arkansas and Tennessee and in May in Oklahoma and Kansas with $2.3 billion in damages. And of course the super tornado outbreak of April 1974 with its 148 tornadoes that left 315 dead and 500 injured occurred during a very strong La Nina. In a prior La Nina event in 1965, the so-called Palm Sunday Outbreak had 78 tornadoes, 271 deaths and 1500 injuries.

See huge image here

There were many F3-F5 storms in that 1974 Superoutbreak event (64).
See larger image here

There were 38 F3-F5 tornadoes in 1965, the second most active day on record. See how the frequency of F3-F5 torndoes dropped off after the Great Pacific Climate Shift in 1977. In the cool Pacific PDO mode that preceded it, more La Ninas were favored and occurred and they frequently lead to more tornado outbreaks in the winter and spring along with more northern and western winter snows and spring flooding. We have already seen each of these occur in recent months. 

See full size image here

We can only hope that it doesn’t come together and is not a major damaging event. If it does, with no sense of history, expect the media and friends to blame it on man-made global climate change.

Posted on 04/03 at 03:36 PM
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Wednesday, April 02, 2008
The Wilkins Ice Shelf Con Job

By John McLean

On 25 March the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) jointly published a press statement declaring that the Wilkins Ice Shelf “has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.” I’ve looked at relevant public data and I’m undecided whether this statement was a gross exaggeration, an inept interpretation of the evidence or borderline fraud, because I can see nothing about the collapse to indicate that it was anything but a natural event.

Firstly, there were no other reports of recent collapses in this part of the Antarctic during what the end of the (southern) summer melt period. If climate was the major cause then surely we would have seen other instances of ice shelf disintegration, shelves such as the nearby King George IV shelf or the several shelves along the Bellinghausen Sea just 500km to the west. Secondly and more importantly, there is nothing in the observational data to suggest a dramatic recent change in climatic conditions. The NSIDC/BAS press statement, grandly titled “Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World”, said “In the past 50 years, the western Antarctic Peninsula has experienced the biggest temperature increase on Earth, rising by 0.5 degree Celsius (0.9 degree Fahrenheit) per decade.” By accident or design that press release omitted some very vital details about that increase, details that show the warming to have very minor effect and that the likely cause of recent temperature change is quite natural.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf is located about half way along the western (i.e. Pacific) side of the Antarctic Peninsula, that tongue of land stretching towards South America and reaching latitudes comparable with central Alaska (or for European readers, the Finnish city of Oulu). The NSIDC photographs of the Wilkins Ice Shelf give a clear indication of the normal cycle of events and show a lot about the collapse. The distinct line indicates the natural boundary of thicker pack ice and thinner sea ice. The area indicated as being reformed appears to be part of an old collapse that sea ice has progressively filled. The ice in this region is rougher than the long-term pack ice.

Image is for January 15, 2008, prior to the partial break-up. See larger image here

A plausible hypothesis is that wind and wave conditions during the second quarter of 2007 caused internal forces that opened an old weakness in the ice. Perhaps that weakness was caused by undercutting wave action back in 2004 and the sea ice has until now had braced the pack ice. The hypothesis of previous bracing is supported by the press statement, which said “Satellite images indicate that the Wilkins began its collapse on February 28; data revealed that a large iceberg, 41 by 2.5 kilometers (25.5 by 1.5 miles), fell away from the ice shelf’s southwestern front, triggering a runaway disintegration of 405 square kilometers (160 square miles) of the shelf interior”. One collapse apparently triggered another, which is what we’d expect from bracing. This begs the question of when the Wilkins Ice Shelf last lost ice from its southwestern edge and whether the recent collapse was not some kind of “catch up” of natural processes.

There are many possible causes for this loss of ice, which in itself is hardly a momentous and unknown event, but it seems that neither NSIDC nor BAS were inclined to look beyond the reasons that we all recognize as being likely to interest the news media. If NSIDC or BAS have evidence that the ice shelf collapsed due to man-made warming then they need to produce it very quickly. Until that happens I will continue to believe that their great hype about man-made climate change is no more than a con job. It grabbed some brief media attention but now we can go back to observing falling temperatures and a very poor correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, two factors that unfortunately for many believers threaten to undermine the claims of man-made warming. See full pdf analysis here

Posted on 04/02 at 03:05 PM
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Steamboat Posts Record Breaking Champagne Powder Snow Season

Steamboat Springs Press Release

With more than 37 feet of Champagne Powder snow this winter, the Steamboat Ski Resort will finish the 2007/2008 season in record fashion, breaking its previous season snow record of 447.75 inches set in 1996/1997. “Despite early forecasts calling for a warmer and drier winter, big snows, often the norm in Steamboat, were a common occurrence and provided a season full of epic powder days,” said Chris Diamond, president & chief operating officer for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corporation. “Powderhounds will have plenty of powder tales to tell for years or at the very least until the cycle begins again with the opening of the 2008/2009 season on November 26th.”

Overnight, a storm blanketed the resort with 4 inches at mid-mountain and the summit resulting in a 74-inch base at mid-mountain and 97-inch base at the summit, moving the season snowfall total to 450 inches, 2.25 inches more than the previous record-breaking season. Currently, the top-three season snow totals for Steamboat include this year’s 450 (& counting); 447.75 in 1996/97; and 447.5 in 1983/84.

In addition to establishing a new all-time snowfall record and registering a “four-wire winter”, the resort hit three key milestones within just a month of each other: surpassing 300-inch mark on 2/1/08; six days later surpassing 350-inch mark on 2/7/08; and on March 2nd surpassing the 400-inch mark. Furthermore, Steamboat-Ski Town, U.S.A. received more than 100 inches of snow for three months (December, January & February) for the first time in resort history.

Since November 21st, snow has fallen 91 out of 122 days (74.5%) with 51 of those days recording four or more inches. This season at mid-mountain, the resort has seen 17 inches in October; 23 inches in November; 126 inches in December (3rd snowiest); 129 inches in January (2nd snowiest) and 104 inches in February (2nd snowiest); and 51 inches in March for a combined total of 450 inches (37.5 feet).


Posted on 04/02 at 04:36 AM
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Monday, March 31, 2008
Evidence of a Significant Solar Imprint in Annual Globally Averaged Temperature Trends

By Basil Copeland and Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That

In Part I, we presented evidence of a noticable periodicity in globally averaged temperatures when filtered with Hodrick-Prescott smoothing.  Using a default value of lamda of 100, we saw a bidecadal pattern in the rate of change in the smoothed temperature series that appears closely related to 22 year Hale solar cycles.  There was also evidence of a longer climate cycle of ~66 years, or three Hale solar cycles, corresponding to slightly higher peaks of cycles 11 to 17 and 17 to 23. For the layman reader, this is much like a tunable bandpass filter used in radio communications, where lambda is the tuning knob used to determine the what band of frequencies are passed and which are excluded.

See larger image here

In part 2, a smaller lambda was used. A lower value of lambda would result in much less smoothing. To test the sensitivity of the findings reported in Part I, we refiltered with a lambda of 7. 

And when we look at the first differences of the less smoothed trend line, they too are no longer as smooth as in tghe graph above from Part I.  Nevertheless, the correlation to the 22 year Hale cycle peaks is still there, and we can now see the 11 year Schwabe cycle as well.

See larger image here

The pattern shown, while not as eye-catching, perhaps, as the pattern in first figure is still quite revealing.  There is a notable tendency for amplitude of the peak rate of change to alternate between even and odd numbered solar cycles, being higher with the odd numbered solar cycles, and lower in even numbered cycles. This is consistent with a known feature of the Hale cycle in which the 22 year cycle is composed of alternating 11 year phases, referred to as parallel and antiparallel phases, with transitions occurring near solar peaks. 

Even cycles lead to an open heliosphere where GCR reaches the earth more easily.  Mavromichalaki, et. al. (1997), and Orgutsov, et al. (2003) contend that during solar cycles with positive polarity, the GCR flux is doubled.  This strongly implicates Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) flux in modulating global temperature trends.  The lower peak amplitudes for even solar cycles and the higher peak amplitudes for odd solar cycles shown in bottom figure appears to directly confirm the kind of influence on terrestrial climate postulated by Svensmark in Influence of Cosmic Rays on Earth’s Climate (1998). From the pattern indicated, the implication is that the “warming” of the late 20th century was not so much warming as it was less cooling than in each preceding solar cycle, perhaps relating to the rise in geomagnetic activity. 

Read more of this important new two part series Part I and Part 2

Posted on 03/31 at 04:10 PM
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Sunday, March 30, 2008
Support for Lack of Volcanic Activity Contributing to Recent Warming from Eclipse Study

By Joseph D’Aleo

Back in November, I posted this blog showing some evidence that a lack of volcanic ash may have contributed to the recent warmth especially in the polar regions. The temperature anomalies were shown in this pair of maps for high and low aerosol content. 

See larger image here.
Annual Temperatures when Stratospheric Aerosol content is high as after a major volcano(s) (left) and low (right). Composites are for years where standardized globally averaged aerosol levels exceed 1/2 STD above or below long term average

Eugenio Hackbart of the Brazil Metsul called our attention to a new story in New Scientist Environment by David Shiga that provides support for that hypothesis. He notes:

Last month’s lunar eclipse not only treated skygazers to a ruddy view of the Moon - it revealed that Earth’s atmosphere contains little light-blocking volcanic dust. Some researchers say the low volcanic dust levels in the atmosphere over the last dozen years could be contributing to global warming, but others dispute the claim. During a lunar eclipse, Earth blocks sunlight from reaching the Moon directly. But some sunlight still gets through, refracted through Earth’s atmosphere. The amount varies, depending mainly on how much dust from volcanic eruptions is floating around at high altitudes. Because dust can block sunlight from passing through the atmosphere, more dust makes for a darker Moon during lunar eclipses. “All the big dimmings of the Moon during eclipses can be attributed to specific volcanoes,” says Richard Keen of the University of Colorado in Boulder, US.

Keen and his collaborators have charted the brightness of eclipses back to 1960 and for a few years around the time of the 1883 eruption of Indonesia’s Krakatoa volcano. The most recent lunar eclipse, on 20-21 February, was a bright one, measuring a 3 - the second-brightest level - on an eclipse-rating scale that ranges from 0 to 4. That is in line with eclipse data taken since 1995. In that time, the stratosphere has been especially clear, with very little haze-producing volcanic activity compared to the previous three decades, from 1965 to 1995, Keen says. Because more sunlight is reaching the surface, Earth should be 0.1 to 0.2į Celsius warmer in recent years than it was back in the late 1960s, Keen and his colleagues calculate.

See larger image here.

Susan Solomon of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado disputes Keen’s conclusions. The amount of haze in the stratosphere has been higher - blocking more sunlight - in the past 40 years compared to the 20 years before that, she says. So over the past 60 years, there would have been a slight cooling trend if volcanic haze were the only influence on climate, she says.

Keen acknowledges that depending on the period chosen, volcanic haze can give a cooling rather than a warming trend. But he argues that the relatively long period with a clear atmosphere since 1995 could be having a big impact on climate, especially if the extra sunshine reaching the Earth’s surface could create subtle, longer-term warming effects through the heating of ocean water, as some scientists propose.

Icecap Note: Solomon has been wrong before. She was a lead author of the latest IPCC Summary for Policymakers that greatly overstated the human greenhouse influence on climate. She was a leader in the ozone hole consensus a few decades back that may have collapsed. She is wrong again here. Keen was talking about the period since 1995 in which the volcanic aerosols have been as rock bottom levels not the last 60 years.

Posted on 03/30 at 04:27 PM
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Friday, March 28, 2008
Inching Towards All-Time Snow Record While Cold Holds Back Sugar Makers

By Gary Rayno, Union Leader

Yesterday’s snow in Concord was just enough to slide this winter into second place on the all-time snowfall list for New Hampshire since records have been kept, 115.2 inches, leaving us 6.8 inches short of the record of 122 inches, set in 1873-74. See in this story the listing of the top 10 snowiest winters, most all in the 1800s.

By Matt Sutkoski, Burlington Free Press

Count northern Vermont’s sugar maples among those wallowing in the winter blahs. Sugaring season across the state is dawdling, because continuous cold temperatures are keeping the sap from flowing out of maple trees and into the evaporators Vermont’s sugar makers use to create syrup.  Friday through Sunday is Vermont Maple Open House Weekend, when the public is invited to visit sugarhouses to see how syrup is made and sample the products. Despite the cold, there will be enough syrup to go around. Still, farmers wish the sap flow from maples would pick up the pace.

“It’s just barely dripping, if that. It’s off to a very slow start in our bush,” said Virginia Fleury of Fleury’s Maple Hill Farm in Berkshire. Like most syrup producers, Fleury is far from ready to write off the season. “We can make quite a bit in April if the weather comes off right. The problem is, in past years it warmed up rather quickly. The minute it hits 60 or 65 degrees, you might as well forget it,” she said. Read full story here.

Icecap Note: Just last summer environmentalists and alarmist professors from the region met at Mount Washington to predict the north country would be facing major economic impacts due to lack of snow affecting the winter sports industry and global warming leading to the demise of the maple trees that are at the heart of Vermont’s famous maple syrup industry and fall foliage tourism. So what happens, Burlington and the mountains have a record winter snowfall (December through February) and many areas are pushing all time seasonal snow records. Maple trees will not need a passport to move to Canada as the cyclical changes in the Pacific and the quiet sun ensure we return to the climate of the 1960s and maybe worse. 

Posted on 03/28 at 05:47 PM
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Mystery of Global Warming’s Missing Heat

By Richard Harris, NPR

Some 3,000 scientific robots that are plying the ocean have sent home a puzzling message. These diving instruments suggest that the oceans have not warmed up at all over the past four or five years. That could mean global warming has taken a breather. Or it could mean scientists aren’t quite understanding what their robots are telling them.

This is puzzling in part because here on the surface of the Earth, the years since 2003 have been some of the hottest on record. But Josh Willis at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says the oceans are what really matter when it comes to global warming. In fact, 80 percent to 90 percent of global warming involves heating up ocean waters. They hold much more heat than the atmosphere can. So Willis has been studying the ocean with a fleet of robotic instruments called the Argo system. The buoys can dive 3,000 feet down and measure ocean temperature. Since the system was fully deployed in 2003, it has recorded no warming of the global oceans.
Read the full story here

Icecap Note: If anyone would bother to look at the actual data instead of just pronouncements in the media from NOAA or GISS, they would not be surprised at all by these findings. Here is a plot of actual monthly temperatures and the trends from the Hadley global data set (HADCRUT3v) and University of Alabama satellite derived lower tropospheric temperatures covering the same period as the robots measured ocean heat content. Like the robots they show a downtrend (cooling).

See full size graph here

It is also worth noting that Roger Pielke Sr. has advocated ocean heat content as a better measure of the global changes in temperatures than surface station based trends. Work by Roger and Anthony Watts at have identified major issues with the land stations. In this case the ocean heat content agrees with the land stations, so the cooling over the past 5 years is very likely real. 5 years does not a long term trend make but it does call into question claims the warming is accelerating and that immediate action is required. Indeed Roger has just posted on this on Climate Science. See his post here. He has also reposted this story ”Big Time Gambling With Multi-Decadal Global Climate Model Predictions” by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Roger A. Pielke Jr.

Posted on 03/19 at 06:02 PM
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