Friday, January 18, 2013

Arctic Sea Ice Area Back To Normal! Dramatic Record Refreeze Wipes Out "Dramatic" Melt Of August!

That return to normal only means one thing. The "dramatic melt" of August 2012 had to have been reversed completely by an equally dramatic refreeze this winter. Unfortunately we're not going to find any news stories about that in the media, are we? Ice and many other climate developments are only one-way dramatic for the warmists, i.e. only when it melts, and not when it refreezes.

"Oh! But hold on!" some of you out there may say. "It's thickness (i.e. volume) that's really important, and not area."

Yes, that's correct. But how come we never here the media talk about ice volume in August? In August, suddenly only area counts. Funny how they bring up volume only when ice refreezes and things are back to normal.

If you do look at volume (Antarctica and the Arctic), then there really is nothing to worry about. Global ice volume varies by only a few thousandths of a percent globally each year - even over decades. I discussed this once already not long ago HERE.

If you charted global ice volume (Arctic + Antarctica) over time, the thickness of the line would more than cover the decadal variations. But don't hold your breath waiting for a warmist to show such a chart. You'll never ever see it from them.



The GWPF has been right all along. In a new report Hansen, Sato and Ruedy (2013) acknowledge the existence of a standstill in global temperature lasting a decade.

This is a welcome contribution to the study of global temperature. When others reached the same conclusion they have been ridiculed; so this admission should provide some pause for reflection by those who have attacked the very idea of a recent temperature standstill, often without understanding the data, focusing on who was making the argument and their alleged non-scientific motives.

According to Hansen et al. the Nasa Giss database has 2012 as the ninth warmest year on record, although statistically indistinguishable from the last 12 years, at least. Noaa says it's the tenth warmest year. The difference is irrelevant.

Hansen discusses the possible contributions to global temperature in the past decade from stochastic variability and climate forcings. Personally I don't think that the variations are demonstrably stochastic.

Very early in the report Hansen makes the statement; "Global temperature thus continues at a high level that is sufficient to cause a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme warm anomalies." To say that such an assertion is debatable is an understatement.

La Nina Years

Hansen has an explanation as to why the year was only the ninth warmest. He says that much of 2012 was affected by a strong La Nina that kept temperatures down. In fact less than half of the year was so affected. In addition, the warming El Ninos and the cooling La Ninas of the past decade or so are not responsible for the standstill in global temperatures. Rather they provide quasi-oscillations around a constant mean. Such is the lack of a trend in global temperatures that a moderate El Nino is enough to push an individual year's mean temperature to be a record, though still statistically indistinguishable from previous years.

Hansen says; "Comparing the global temperature at the time of the most recent three La Ninas (1999-2000, 2008, and 2011-2012), it is apparent that global temperature has continued to rise between recent years of comparable tropical temperature, indeed, at a rate of warming similar to that of the previous three decades. We conclude that background global warming is continuing, consistent with the known planetary energy imbalance, even though it is likely that the slowdown in climate forcing growth rate contributed to the recent apparent standstill in global temperature."

I don't think this is a safe conclusion. Looking at the last three La Nina's (1999-2000, 2008 and 2011-2012) I think it unwise to use the first one for any comparison. It occurred immediately after the very unusual El Nino of 1998 (said by some to be a once in a century event) and clearly the two subsequent La Nina years must be seen as part of that unusual event. It would be safer not to include 1999-2000 in any La Nina year comparisons. Which leaves us with two, 2008 with a temperature anomaly of 0.49 and 2010-11 which has 0.66 and 0.54. That's not a great difference, and besides one shouldn't look for trends with just two datapoints. You cannot conclude anything about background warming from this data.

In addition there is no similar effect in El Nino years; 2002-04 is 0.60 - 0.59, 2006-07 is 0.59 - 0.62 and 2009 is 0.59.

Hansen says that the continual warming since the mid-70s has been associated with greenhouse gasses. His attribution of the global temperature standstill between about 1940 - 1980 as being due to a balance between aerosol cooling and greenhouse gas warming is not as well established as he portrays it; he also contradicts himself when he adds that there is no satisfactory quantitative interpretation of this period because we just don't know enough. It is also not the explanation that the IPCC attributes to this period which says it can be explained by solar and volcanic effects.

The bottom line is that the recent global temperature standstill is a real event. It is explained in a hand-waving way as due to natural climatic variations masking the long-term trend, even if we do not understand those natural variations. Some believe the standstill might be pointing the way to a deeper revision of our understanding of climate. One thing is clear the stuff you heard until very recently about mankind's signal of warming being the strongest (and getting stronger) is wrong. The standstill has already taught us that.


Climate watch: 2012 figures confirm global warming still stalled

The two major US temperature databases have released their consolidated results for 2012, and as had been expected, global warming has failed to occur for approximately the fourteenth year running. One of the US agencies downgraded 2012 to tenth-hottest ever: it had been on track to rank as 9th hottest.

The tenth-hottest result comes from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the three main global databases used to assess planetary temperatures and the only one of the three not so far linked to political climate activism*.

The NOAA says that the 2012 average was 14.47ñ0.08øC, which makes it the tenth hottest in its records. Preliminary figures released last November ahead of the Doha carbon talks by the World Meteorological Organisation, which averages all three datasets, suggested that the year would be ninth hottest and NASA agrees. However the difference is not a big one: the projected WMO figure was 14.45øC.

However one slices it, the world has not warmed up noticeably since 1998 or so, though all three datasets show noticeable warming in the two decades prior to that. The UK's Met Office acknowledged this fact in November, with the Office's Dr Peter Stott saying:

"We are investigating why the temperature rise at the surface has slowed in recent years, including how ocean heat content changes and the effects of aerosols from atmospheric pollution may have influenced global climate."

Since then the Met Office has radically amended its warming forecast for the coming decade, such that if the forecast is right there will have been essentially level temperatures for two decades or more - a fact which has caused much comment in climate-sceptic circles.

Nonetheless a majority of academic climate scientists still contend that global warming will definitely resume in the near future.


A forecast the Met Office hoped you wouldn't see

By Christopher Booker

It is the graph the Met Office didn't want you to see, in an episode which, according to one newspaper, represents "a crime against science and the public".

Inevitably last week it didn't take long for the bush fires set off by Australia's "hottest summer ever" to be blamed on runaway global warming. Rather less attention was given to the heavy snow in Jerusalem (worst for 20 years) or the abnormal cold bringing death and destruction to China (worst for 30 years), northern India (coldest for 77 years) and Alaska, with average temperatures down in the past decade by more than a degree. But another story, which did attract coverage across the world, was the latest in a seemingly endless series of embarrassments for the UK Met Office.

Some of this story may be familiar - how on Christmas Eve the Met Office sneaked on to its website a revised version of the graph it had posted a year earlier showing its prediction of global temperatures for the next five years. Not until January 5 did sharp-eyed climate bloggers notice how different this was from the graph it replaced. When the two graphs were posted together on Tallbloke's Talkshop, this was soon picked up by the Global Warming Policy Foundation which whizzed it around the media.

The Met Office's allies, such as the BBC's old warmist warhorses Roger Harrabin and David Shukman, were soon trying to downplay the story, claiming that the forecast had only been revised by "a fifth", and that even if the temperature rise had temporarily stalled, due to "natural factors", the underlying warming trend would soon reappear. But they were only able to get away with this by omitting to show the contrast between the two graphs.

In 2011, the Met Office's computer model prediction had shown temperatures over the next five years soaring to a level 0.8 degrees higher than their average between 1971 and 2000, far higher than the previous record year, 1998. Whereas the new graph shows the lack of any significant warming for the past 15 years as likely to continue. Apart from how this was obscured by the BBC, there are several reasons why this is of wider significance for the rest of us.

For a start, it is not generally realised what a central role the Met Office has played in promoting the worldwide scare over global warming. The predictions of its computer models, through its alliance with the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (centre of the Climategate emails scandal), have been accorded unique prestige by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ever since the global-warming-obsessed John Houghton, then head of the Met Office, played a key part in setting up the IPCC in 1988.

A major reason why the Met Office's forecasts have come such croppers in recent years is that its computer models since 1990 have assumed that by far the most important influence on global temperatures is the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Yet as early as 2008, when temperatures temporarily plummeted by 0.7 degrees, equivalent to their entire net rise in the 20th century, it was already clear that something was fundamentally wrong with this assumption. The models were not taking proper account of all the natural factors governing the climate, such as solar radiation and shifts in the major ocean currents. Even the warmists admitted that it was a freak El Ni¤o event in the Pacific which had made 1998 the hottest year in modern times.

But the Met Office was not going to abandon easily its core belief that the main force shaping climate was that rise in CO2. As its chief scientist, Julia Slingo, admitted to MPs in 2010, its short-term forecasts are based on the same "numerical models" as "we use for our climate prediction work", and these have been predicting "hotter, drier summers" and "warmer winters" for decades ahead. Hence all those fiascos which have made the Met Office a laughing stock, from the "barbecue summer" that never was in 2008, to the "warmer than average winter" of 2010 which brought us our coldest-ever December, to its prediction last spring that April, May and June 2012 would probably be "drier than average", just before we enjoyed the wettest April and summer on record.

Such a catastrophic blunder is scarcely mitigated by the Met Office's sneaky attempt to hide that absurd 2011 graph. One day it will be recognised how the Met Office's betrayal of proper science played a key part in creating the most expensive scare story the world has ever known, the colossal bill for which we will all be paying for decades to come.

Meanwhile, it is not just here that this latest fiasco, reported in many countries, has been raising eyebrows. Our ministers love to boast that British science commands respect throughout the world, They should note that the sorry record of our Met Office is beginning to do that reputation no good at all.


Global warming apocalypse canceled

21st century has seen no rise in temperature, after all

By Patrick J. Michaels

My greener friends are increasingly troubled by the lack of a rise in recent global surface temperatures. Using monthly data measured as the departure from long-term averages, there's been no significant warming trend since the fall of 1996. In other words, we are now in our 17th year of flat temperatures.

Since 1900, the world has seen one other period of similar temperature stagnation (actually a slight cooling) that lasted for 30 years and ended around 1976. The current one is happening with much more putative warming "pressure," because the atmosphere's carbon-dioxide content is much higher than it was in mid-century.

From the Industrial Revolution to 1950, atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations rose by about 15 percent. Today, the increase is up to 41 percent, making long periods without warming either 1) increasingly unlikely, or 2) the natural result of simply overestimating how "sensitive" surface temperature is to carbon dioxide. My money is on the latter.

Now, just for fun, let's assume that on Jan. 1, another warming trend began, at the same rate that was observed in the last such period, from 1977 through 1998, or 0.17 C per decade.

Running a large experimental sample reveals that, on average, the rate of warming will have to continue through 2020 before a statistically significant trend emerges in the post-1996 data. (Remember that a "trend" that does not meet the normal grounds for significance is one that cannot scientifically be distinguished from "no trend.")

In other words, it's a pretty good bet that we are going to go nearly a quarter of a century without warming.

In response, the climate establishment is becoming increasingly polarized, with a growing number of researchers calculating less warming this century, while the apocalyptics, such as NASA's James Hansen, simply edge out further on increasingly thin limbs.

This is quite a change. In 2002, I published a paper, "Revised 21st Century Temperature Projections," which used a variety of independent sources and generally predicted a range of 21st century warming of 1.0 to 3.0 C. In response, the 2009 "Climategate" emails revealed a number of surreptitious attempts and schemes to either get the paper removed, get the esteemed geographer who was the relevant editor of the journal Climate Research fired from his University of Auckland professorship, or, if all else failed, destroy the journal itself.

Formally, the "climate sensitivity" is the total amount of warming projected for a doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In their last climate compendium, published in 2007, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gave a "likely" range for the sensitivity of "2 C to 4.5 C with a best estimate of about 3.0 C." Since then, it appears that a new "consensus" is lowering the forecast. The reason I'm betting that the sensitivity of temperature to dreaded carbon dioxide has been overestimated is the number of recent publications saying just that. Here's a partial list:

Richard Lindzen gives a range of 0.6 to 1.0 C (Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 2011); Andreas Schmittner, 1.4 to 2.8 C (Science, 2011); James Annan, using two techniques, 1.2 to 3.6 C and 1.3 to 4.2 C (Climatic Change, 2011); J.H. van Hateren, 1.5 to 2.5 C (Climate Dynamics, 2012); Michael Ring, 1.5 to 2.0 C (Atmospheric and Climate Sciences, 2012); and Julia Hargreaves, including cooling from dust, 0.2 to 4.0 C and 0.8 to 3.6 C (Geophysical Research Letters, 2012). Each of these has lower and higher limits below those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

What commonly occurs when weather forecasts begin to go bad? As every child knows, if the forecast starts out calling for a foot of snow, and then is cut to six inches, that usually results in about three.

Similarly, as projections for warming are lowered, don't be surprised if planetary temperature finally settles in the bottom half of the newly predicted ranges.

Science historians have repeatedly documented that we are particularly reluctant to abandon widely held views, or scientific paradigms. When professional advancement (i.e., research money) is particularly dependent upon a certain view (we wouldn't spend billions on climate research unless it was important, right?), it's even harder to let go, but that is what we may be seeing.

People are beginning, cautiously, to dial back 21st century warming because there has been none. Because dreaded sea-level rise is also proportional, those estimates are going to have to come down, too.

One of these years, the upcoming end of the world from global warming is going to be officially canceled, to be replaced by a new apocalypse, which I predict will be called "acid oceans," or something like that.


The Authoritarian Science Myth

The image above shows President Dwight Eisenhower swearing in James Killian as the first science advisor to the US president. Eisenhower rushed through the ceremony because he wanted to leave on a golf trip to Augusta, Georgia. Little appreciated is that James Killian, widely celebrated at the best and most powerful science advisor was not a scientist at all.

Writing in yesterday's New York Times, physicist Laurence Krauss repeats a common call for scientists to occupy a position more central to political power:
Scientists’ voices are crucial in the debates over the global challenges of climate change, nuclear proliferation and the potential creation of new and deadly pathogens. But unlike in the past, their voices aren’t being heard.        

He wistfully invokes a mythological golden age of scientific authoritarianism:
The men who built the bomb had enormous prestige as the greatest physics  minds of the time. They included Nobel laureates, past and future, like Hans A. Bethe, Richard P. Feynman, Enrico Fermi, Ernest O. Lawrence and Isidor Isaac Rabi.

In June 1946, for instance, J. Robert Oppenheimer,  who had helped lead the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, N.M., argued that atomic energy should be placed under civilian rather than military control. Within two months President Harry S. Truman signed a law doing so, effective January 1947.
There are two problems with Krauss's diagnosis and prescription. First, science and scientists have never been more central to policy making than they are today. Second, the golden age of scientific authority that he invokes is a fable that scientists tell themselves to justify their current demand for more authority in politics.

These themes are discussed in our 2009 paper playfully titled, "The Rise and Fall of the Science Advisor to the President of the United States," published in Minerva and here in PDF. The science advisor is arguably the most prominent scientist in the US government and the focus of decades of discussion about authority and power of science in government.  Here is what we concluded:
Over the second half of the 20th century and into the 21st governance can be characterized by an ever increasing reliance on specialized expertise. There are several reasons for this trend, which include the challenges of dealing with risks to human well being and security—from terrorism to the safety of food supplies, from natural disasters to human influences on the environment, from economic shocks, globalization, and many more. Some of these risks are the result of purposive technological innovation, such as the invention and proliferation of nuclear technologies beginning with the Manhattan Project during World War II. Because innovation can create new risks, a new proactive politics has emerged seeking to limit technological innovation and diffusion. Examples of this dynamic can be seen in efforts to limit the presence of genetically modified crops in Europe, to contain research on stem cells in the United States, and to militate against the consequences of economic globalization around the world

In this context, the need for expert advice in government has increased exponentially. But one of the effects of the triumph of expertise has been the diminishment of the president’s science advisor as the ‘‘go-to’’ individual on issues with a scientific or technical component. In many respects, the science advisor is just another person with a Ph.D. staffing the Executive Offices of the President. President Obama received high marks from the scientific community for appointing a number of prominent scientists to administrative positions, including a Nobel Prize-winning physicist to Secretary of Energy, illustrating that the science advisor s but one of many highly qualified people in an administration. The science advisor does have a very unique role in helping to oversee and coordinate the budgets of agencies that support science, but even here the science advisor’s role is subject tothe idiosyncrasies of each administration.

In the future it seems improbable that the science advisor’s role would return to the exalted position that it held for a brief time during the Eisenhower Administration. In any case, that exalted position may be more mythical than real, which has set the stage today for some unrealistic expectations about the position.
Do read Krauss' piece and then read ours. Feel free to come back and comment.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


No comments: