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Thursday, August 16, 2007
Positive Feedback: Have We Been Fooling Ourselves?

By Roy Spencer on Roger Pielke Sr’s Climate Science Weblog

There are three main points/opinions/issues I’d like to explore, which are all interrelated:

(1) The traditional way in which feedbacks have been diagnosed from observational data has very likely misled us about the existence of positive feedbacks in the climate system.

(2) Our new analyses of satellite observations of intraseasonal oscillations suggest negative cloud feedbacks, supporting Lindzen’s Infrared Iris hypothesis.

(3) I am increasingly convinced that understanding precipitation systems is the key to understanding climate sensitivity.

I think it is time to provoke some serious discussion and reconsideration regarding what we think we know about feedbacks in the real climate system, and therefore about climate sensitivity. See this thought provoking analysis here.

Posted on 08/16 at 10:41 PM
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Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Musings on Carbon Dioxide

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap

Carbon dioxide is 0.00038 or 0.038% of our atmosphere by volume. Only 2.75% of atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic in origin. The amount we emit is said to be up from 1% a decade ago. Despite that increase, our annual contribution each year is just 0.00001 or 0.001% of our atmosphere by volume. Despite the increase in emissions, the rate of change of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa remains the same as the long term average (+0.45%/year). This is likely because the oceans are a far more important sink for excess carbon dioxide than generally accepted. If the atmosphere was a 100 story building, our anthropogenic CO2 contribution today would be equivalent to the linoleum on the first floor. By comparison, water vapor, a far more potent greenhouse gas, on average would occupy on average 1 floor and at times, especially in the tropics, up to 4 floors.

See in this brief paper, how the changes year-to-year relate to ENSO and volcanic eruptions rather dramatically which suggests the carbon dioixde in the atmosphere reacts rapidly to changes in the oceans and as Segalstad and others have speculated likely has a far shorter residence time in our atmosphere (5-7 years) than claimed by the IPCC (150-200 years). This could have a significant effect on the ability of climate models to forecast future levels of carbon dioxide and temperatures. 


Notice a pattern? The annual rates of increase in carbon dioxide El Ninos tend to be more, La Nina less, volcanic years least.

For El Ninos the average increase has been 1.80ppm/year, La Ninas over 40% less at 1.03. For years after major volcanic eruptions (Agung, Mt St Helens, El Chichon, Pinatubo, Cerro Hudson) the average increase is just 0.61 ppm. For ENSO (eliminating major volcano years), the Pearson correlation is a moderately strong 0.67 with the CO2 changes.
The reason the rate increases during El Ninos is that El Ninos cause global land and sea temperatures to rise. As oceans warm, they release more of the stored carbon dioxide. The CO2 rate of increase diminishes after La Ninas and volcanic eruptions as land and sea cool. As the oceans cool, they take in more carbon dioxide.

This rapid response supports the notion of a shorter lifetime for CO2 (5 to 7 years) as suggested by Segalstad and 35 other studies he compiled, far short of the 150-200 years the IPCC claims. If this more rapid atmospheric response and shorter residence times are correct, it is another flaw in the global climate models that may exaggerate the changes upcoming.

Posted on 08/15 at 04:57 PM
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New Model Supports Our Theory the Oceans May Be the Real Key

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap

In an earlier blog and paper, George Taylor and I made a case for the multidecadal cycles in the ocean temperature patterns controlling tempeerature cycles over at least the United States, Greenland and the arctic.

Michael Asher in the Daily tech reports that a team of mathematicians have come forth with model that supports this theory. Led by Dr. Anastasios Tsonis, their model says the known cycles of the Earth’s oceans—the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation, El Nino (Southern Oscillation) and the North Pacific Oscillation—all tend to try to synchronize with each other.  We had earlier reported on this paper in What’s New and Cool as covered by Science Daily but we fell it is worth reiterating.

The theory is based on a branch of mathematics known as Sychronized Chaos.  The math predicts the degree of coupling to increase over time, causing the solution to “bifurcate,” or split. Then, the synchronization vanishes.  The result is a climate shift.  Eventually the cycles begin to sync up again, causing a repeating pattern of warming and cooling, along with sudden changes in the frequency and strength of El Nino events.  They show how this has explained the major shifts that have occurred including 1913, 1942 and 1978, just as our analysis showed.

PDO+AMO vs US Annual Mean Temps (Icecap)

Posted on 08/15 at 03:34 PM
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Wednesday, August 08, 2007
New Rankings for Warmest Years

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap

With the changes to the GISS data made today after an error was found by Stephen McIntyre, 1998 falls to #2 behind 1934 as the warmest year, followed by 1998, 1921, 2006, 1931, 1999 and 1953. Expect more changes to come in the months ahead as more scrutiny of the data bases takes place. Note in the graph below, the peak in the five year mean around 2000 is a mere 0.25F higher than that in the early 1930s.


10 of the top 20 warmest years occcurred since 1980, 10 from the 1920s to 1950s. Only 4 of the top 10 occurred since the 1980s, 6 fell in the prior warm period. See details of the new rankings here.

Don’t expect any press releases from NASA or NOAA about this change nor much coverage on the networks or major newspapers.

Posted on 08/08 at 09:10 PM
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Sunday, August 05, 2007
Three Radically Different Versions of Central Park Temperatures

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap

Our national centers regard station data as critical to measure recent climate change. The raw observations are taken from the stations then adjusted to account for local factors like site changes, changes in instrumentation, time of observation and in some cases urbanization (Karl 1988). One would think the differences would be small and that once adjusted, the data would stand the test of time.

We found that to be far from the truth by examining the data sets for our biggest city, New York City and the climate station in Central Park. We have looked at this in two separate blogs. I have combined the two and added to it in this analysis.

Central Park, New York City Observing Site at Belvedere castle

I find the data mind boggling. For our own government to maintain three different versions of historical data for a single site whose average July temperature for much of the record varies by 11F! and where the adjustments to the data decrease in recent years introducing a warming not in the raw data.  These kinds of variances and ‘adjustments” in the “data” have got to have you question whether we can trust any surface station based data set to determine changes the order of a tenth of a degree for climate change assessment.

See the updated analysis here.

Posted on 08/05 at 04:27 PM
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Why We Can’t Ignore the Urban Factor

The IPCC and NCDC with their GHCN and NASA with their GISS data bases admit the importance of urban warming locally but suggest the effect of urbanization on the global data bases is small and can be neglected. This judgment is largely based on the comments in a paper in 2003 by Petersen that stated: “Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures.” This same argument is being used to discard the urban heat island adjustment of the original USHCN data set when the new version 2 is released shortly.

In recent blogs by Stephen McIntyre, Steve discusses Petersen’s paper, his analysis and errors in the analysis and conclusion. Another paper surfaced this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres by Della-Marta et al., in which the authors blatantly admitted to cherry picking stations and adjusting data (downward) in the early warm part of the record allegedly because of changes in instrumentation. They said this suggested a more alarming warming of 1.6C instead of 1.3C since 1880 in Europe.

See why in this blog and the links provided why both Petersen and Della Marta have it all wrong and why it is the rural areas that become towns, small towns that become bigger towns, towns that become cites where the warming seen is the greatest. Those locations are what cause the global unadjusted data sets to show the warming they do.  That is not to exclude the natural ups and downs due to the natural variability which is superimposed on this urban induced rise. 

Read the full blog and see the links in WORD here. or for PDF here.


Posted on 08/05 at 04:23 AM
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Monday, July 23, 2007
Shining More Light on the Solar Factor- A Critical Review of the Lockwood and Frolich Paper

By Joseph D’Aleo, ICECAP

Just recently, with the release in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of the paper “Recent Oppositely Directed Trends In Solar Climate Forcings And The Global Mean Surface Air Temperature” by Mike Lockwood and Claus Frohlich, the global warmers declared victory and went home.

In their abstract, the authors noted “There is considerable evidence for solar influence on the Earth’s pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the first half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an influence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.”

Read in this review with comments from Richard Willson, Columbia University and Chief Investigator for the NASA ACRIMSAT project and Dr. Nicola Scafetta of Duke University, co-author of a landmark paper that used a phenomenological approach to study the solar impact on 400 years of a global surface temperature record since 1600 where Lockwood and Frolich went wrong and why the sun is very likely still the leading candidate for climate change responsibility.  Lockwood_and_Frolich_Review.pdf

Posted on 07/23 at 01:25 PM
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Sunday, July 15, 2007
MetSul Weather Center and ICECAP Special Report: Cold Spell in Brazil

BY Alexandre Aguiar / MetSul

One of the most important cold spells to affect Southern Brazil in recent times brought record low temperatures, widespread and severe frost as well as snow to the region. On Thursday (July 12th), the state of Rio Grande do Sul was whitened by frost.  The freezing temperature was associated to the same air mass that prompted the first snowfall to the city of Buenos Aires (Argentina) in 89 years. Temperature in the city of Bage, state of Rio Grande do Sul, fell to minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1955. Nearby, inside Uruguay, the national low in Mercedes was minus 6.6 degrees. At least three Uruguayans died in consequence of the cold temperatures. On Wednesday (July 11th), Porto Alegre, the state capital of Brazil’s southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, recorded one of its lowest ever record daily highs with clear skies. The high only reached 9 degrees C. In the following morning, the city awakened with frost inside the urban heat island, a rare fact not observed since July 14th 2000. The low temperature of 0.3 degree was the lowest since July 14th 2000.

All over the state the temperature dropped to the freezing level, even in the coastal areas. In the city of Pelotas, frost was observed in the sands of Laranjal Beach in the Patos Lake.  One day after the snow in Buenos Aires, Argentina, snow was also recorded in three cities of the State of Rio Grande do Sul: Soledade, Arvorezinha and Itapuca. The snow fell for about one hour and was heavy at some times. Residents from the hills in the state of Parana, closer to Central Brazil, reported to local meteorologists a brief snowfall. If confirmed, it would be the first snow to be recorded in the region since 1999. Temperature monthly anomalies are below average in the state of Rio Grande do Sul since May in the coldest climatic winter in recent memory.

See story with photoes on METSUL’s website here

Posted on 07/15 at 10:48 PM
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Saturday, July 14, 2007
Global Warming - Is Carbon Dioxide Getting a Bad Rap?

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap for the Energy Tribune

With the prospects of climate change legislation that could cost American families up to $4,500/year by 2015 by some estimates or talk of using known technology to sequester carbon through well drilling, which Michel Economides (in Energy Tribune 2007) has estimated could cost up to $7.2 trillion or 60 times the current costs of drilling, the need to be certain we really have a problem becomes even more critical. I was asked by Michael to address the climate change issue to determine whether the earth was truly warming out of control, whether carbon dioxide was really to blame and if not what other factors might be important.

In this guest editorial for Energy Tribune, I addressed the issues of climate change and the possible causes. I talked about the problems with the earth’s surface data that is being ignored, made the case that greenhouse gases get a bum rap for what is really natural cyclical changes induced by cycles in the sun and oceans. I show how these cycles suggest cold and not warm was in our future. Before the next assessment, the world may be taking note of the cooling or the cessation of the warming.

Lost in all of this is the fact that we have been in a climate optimum the last 30 years with warmer temperatures, more rainfall, and increased CO2 that has enabled us to grow more food more places and consume less energy than we would have had the cold weather of the 1960s and 1970s persisted. Descending back into a little ice age has far greater negative consequences than a slow and relative minor warming. Crop failures and famines are more common due to dryness and cold and the world would consume more energy for heating. We may look back at the late 20th century and the early 21st century as the golden years.

Future generations will shake their heads at how we didn’t recognize a good thing when we had it and how science was hijacked by politics, environmentalism and greed. We would be better off spending all our dollars and efforts on maximizing energy sources, new and old than trying to eliminate a gas that does far more good than harm.

See the full story here.

Posted on 07/14 at 02:54 PM
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Thursday, July 12, 2007
Central Park - The Differences Between the Global and US NCDC Data Bases

By Joseph D’Aleo, Icecap

A few weeks back, we looked at July and January in Central Park at the version 1 variances from the raw observed data in a blog on Central Park Temperature Comparisons.  Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit did the same with Central Park: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

We have discussed how the global data bases are contaminated by station dropout, missing data, poor coverage, inadequate urban adjustment and poor siting issues. NCDC in addition to the HCN maintains a global data base of stations which it uses to track climate change. I decided to compare Central Park in that GHCN data set (the latest V2) with the HCN data set relative to the raw data.


The differences between the data sets is startling large for the July monthly mean through much of the record (11F!). it diminishes since 1990 as HCN adjustments for urbanization have inexplicably diminished even as NYC population grew.


These kinds of variances in the “data” have got to have you question whether we can trust any data set to determine changes the order of a tenth of a degree for climate change assessment.  See full pdf with full size images in printable form here.

Posted on 07/12 at 05:22 PM
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Tuesday, July 10, 2007
The Unbelievable Day (Hundred Year Snow Event for Argentina)

By Alexandre Amaral de Aguiar, MetSul Meteorologia Weather Center Communications Director

It was June 22nd 1918. Buenos Aires got covered by snow. That last time the Argentineans saw their capital covered in white the world was still fighting the First Great War, the former Russian czar was executed by revolutionaries, the Spanish Influenza started to attack and Woodrow Wilson was in office as the 28th president of the United States of America and the planet was leaving the very cold period of the Little Ice Age.

It was July 9th 2007. Buenos Aires got covered by snow. The Argentinean capital was white again after nearly a century. No superpowers are in conflict, terrorism is the new menace, AIDS and bird flu are the health concerns, George W. Bush is in office as the 43rd president of the United States of America and the planet is warming in a fever of studies pointing to a global catastrophe due to human-induced greenhouse effect.

“Despite all my years, this is the first time I’ve ever seen snow in Buenos Aires”, 82-year-old Juana Benitez was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency. That was the overall feeling. Thousands of Argentines cheered in the streets of Buenos Aires as the capital saw the first of its kind since 1918. The initial report of snow came from the Ezeiza International Airport, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, but minutes later it was also snowing in the densely populated areas of Central Buenos Aires. Wet snow fell for eight hours in the Argentine capital and at sometimes it was heavy. Late in the afternoon snow became heavier and several districts of Buenos Aires were already accumulating snow in the parks and over parked cars.

The frigid weather was not confined to Buenos Aires. It snowed for the first time in 35 years in some cities of the northern Buenos Aires Province. It snowed for the first time in history in some towns of the Santa Fe Province. Southern Santa Fe Province experienced the snowiest day since 1973. Cordoba City the heaviest snowfall since 1975. Mendoza went trough he heaviest snowstorm in decades. Temperature fell to minus 19 degrees Celsius in Patagonia and near all-time record in Bariloche (most famous ski resort in South America). Windchill in Bariloche was record: -minus 22 degrees. Low temperature in Bahia Blanca, Southern Buenos Aires province, fell to outstanding 9 below zero Celsius. Snow also fell in northern Provinces and in Bolivia isolated the capital La Paz from the rest of the country.

The snow event followed a bitterly cold month of May that saw subfreezing temperatures, the coldest in 40 years in Buenos Aires. That cold wave contributed to an energy crisis and dozens of deaths. This 2007 May figured among the coldest in recent decades also in Uruguay and Southern Brazil.

See full story replete with some photographs here

Posted on 07/10 at 03:01 PM
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Friday, June 29, 2007
Guest Blog on State Records in the 20th Century

By Peter McGurk, Icecap member and Senior Meteorologist, WSI

Expanding on the work of Bruce Hall in the “Hall of Fame” blog, I took a look at how the state temperature extremes compared when stratifying the data by whether or not the record was set during the first half of the last century (1900-1949) or during the second half of the last century (1950-1999).

Looking at extreme state maximum temperatures, there were 298 recorded during the years from 1900 to 1949 while only 245 records were set during the period from 1950 to 1999. This in spite of the bias, noted by Hall, of listing only the most recent record location in the event of a tie. For extreme min temperatures, the data shows almost the exact opposite. Only 246 extreme record state low temperatures during the period from 1900-1949 while 301 extreme low state records were set during the period from 1950 to 1999.

As far as extreme maxes are concerned, not only is the overall average greater during the first half of the last century, but 2/3 of the monthly averages are also greater during the period 1900-1949. Only for the months of March, June, October and December were they warmer during the period 1950-1999. For the extreme mins, the first half of the 1900s was decidedly colder than the second half, in spite of the fact that the majority of the record mins occurred during the period 1950-1999. Only 1/3 of the months, May, June and July were the monthly averages cooler during the period 1950-1999.

I suspect that if we were truly headed for a Global Meltdown, that this data would vastly different than it is currently. Namely, we would be seeing many more record state maxes occurring more frequently during the recent past that the distant past. Additionally, we should not be seeing more state record extreme mins set during the second half of the past century.

See Pete’s full data analysis and charts here

Posted on 06/29 at 10:19 PM
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Temperatures in the United States, Greenland and the Arctic, Relationship to Ocean and Solar Cycles

By: Joseph D’Aleo, CCM and George Taylor, CCM

The IPCC Fourth Assessment, Working Group I Report R4 devoted many pages to a discussion of mulitdecadal ocean teleconnections and various solar factors but in the end discounted them or concluded their relationship with climate changes were at best uncertain.

Multidecadal Oscillations in the Pacific and the Atlantic are acknowledged to be the result of natural processes. In the attached we show how the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) leads to more El Ninos and general warmth and the cold phase to more La Ninas and widespread coolness. The warm mode of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) also produces general warmth especially across Northern Hemispheric land masses including Greenland and the Arctic and the cold phase colder temepratures over the Northern Hemisphere continents and Polar Regions. When you combine the two effects, you can explain much of the temperature variances of the past 110 years for the United States, Greenland and the Arctic. 

Similarly increased solar activity when you consider more than just the solar brightness or irradiance and include other more indirect solar warming factors such as ultraviolet which through ozone chemistry warms the high and middle atmosphere in low and middle latitudes and the decrease in cosmic rays which reduces low clouds, also correlates extremely well with temperature changes in the United States and the Polar Regions. 

Though correlation does not always imply causation, the strength of these relationships suggest the oceans and sun play a far more important role in climate change than the IPCC admits to.

See full paper here.

Posted on 06/27 at 05:05 PM
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Thursday, June 21, 2007
Central Park Temperature Comparisons - Before and After HCN Adjustment

By Joe D’Aleo, Icecap

We compared historical Central Park, NY data from the National Weather Service site in New York City as taken from the periphery of the park from 1909 to 1919 at the Arsenal Building 5th Ave (between 63rd & 64th) and then since 1920 at the Belvedere Castle on Transverse Rd (near 79th & 81st) with the Central Park data from NCDC Climate at a Glance USHCN database with HCN adjustments made to the NYC observations. We picked the two extreme months (January and July) for the comparison. The two data sets for July are plotted below.


Note the adjustments were significant (a cooling exceeding 6 degrees from the mid 1950s to the mid 1990s.) Then inexplicably the adjustment diminished to less than 2 degrees. The result is what was a flat trend for the past 50 years became one with an accelerated warming in the past 20 years. It is not clear what changes in the metropolitan area occurred in the last 15 years to warrant a major adjustment to the adjustment. The park has remained the same and there has not been a population decline but a spurt in the city’s population in the 1990s.


See full story including the January differences here.

UPDATE: Also see Steve McIntyre’s interesting follow-up analysis on Climate Audit Central Park: Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

Posted on 06/21 at 05:04 AM
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Thursday, June 14, 2007
Where’s the Beef (Heat)?

By Joe D’Aleo, Icecap

Because of a report that was blogged by Joe Bastardi of Accuweather that indicated no record daily June highs for Iowa were in recent decades, we took a look for ourselves at the Des Moines records and look what we found for number of record highs by decade for June and July.


It is very clear that the 1930s stand out with a total of 33 days during the two month period. Both the 1910s and 1950s had 7 days. 1988 made an impressive showing in June with 5 days. July was hot that year but the 1930s were hotter. There were more records set in the 1880s (4) than in the last 20 years (0).  For Des Moines, Iowa at least record daily June and July highs show no propensity for increasing in this so-called global warming era.

For a report with larger images and a total for June and July graphic see Des_Moines_June and July_Records

Posted on 06/14 at 04:25 PM
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