Sunday, January 22, 2017

2016 Global Temperature: The Pause Never Went Away

Interesting to see that someone in the climate establishment has at long last put a number on the influence of the recent El Nino.  And the Met figure of two tenths of a degree is substantial in the context of the very small changes in the climate record.  

Even so, the figure is far too low in the context of the accompanying CO2 stasis, making it difficult to see the figure as anything but a guess.  But David Whitehouse below takes it as read and shows that subtracting those two tenths leaves us with the familiar "hiatus" -- no statistically significant temperature change across this century.  There is NO ongoing global warming.

The [British] Met Office yesterday confirmed that the warm record of 2016 was mainly driven by a very strong El Nino.

Not that you would have heard this fact in the news. But Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre, said in no uncertain terms that, “a particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.”

By removing this temporary El Nino contribution from the Met Office’s 2016 data, it becomes obvious that global average temperatures would be essentially identical to where they were in 2014 (see fig 1). Since the El Nino warming is fading and global temperatures are dropping rapidly, they are close to being back to where they were before the latest El Nino started.

There are two ways to look at the just released global temperature of 2016 and press releases from NASA, NOAA and the Met Office work hard to reflect only one of them.

The emphasis is on long-term warming with the press releases stressing that we are living in the warmest decade of the past 150 years (since instrumental records began) concluding that global warming is continuing unabated. This is one way of seeing the data, but it is not the main lesson which comes out of studying what 2016 adds to the picture of recent warmth.

2016 was clearly among the warmest of years, but what distinguishes it from the previous years in this century? Everyone agrees it is the strong El Nino. But how strong was its influence?

The NASA GISS dataset has the global temperature of 2016 at 0.99 +/- 0.1°C compared to 0.87 +/- 0.1°C for 2015, a difference of 0.12°C. However, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt said that their estimate of the boost to global temperatures given by the El Nino in 2016 was 0.12°C, that is the difference between 2015 and 2016.

The press release from the Met Office says that 2016 is one of the warmest two years on record and that according to the HadCRUT4 dataset it was 0.77+/- 0.1°C above what it calls the long-term average, which is actually calculated between 1961-1990. 2015 was 0.76+/- 0.1°C making 2016 and 2015 statistically indistinguishable from one another.

However, Peter Stott, Acting Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre said, “A particularly strong El Nino event contributed about 0.2°C to the annual average for 2016.” This means that without the El Nino 2016 would have had a global temperature of about 0.57+/- 0.1°C which is the same as 2014 and within the errors of 2010 (0.56) and 2005 (0.54). It would also have been in the 95% confidence range of 2013, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2003 and 2002. In other words, using the Met Office’s 0.2°C El Nino (ENSO) correction 2016 has not been a record warm year but statistically in the same region as the previous 15 years. Gavin Schmidt of NASA disagrees, saying on Twitter, “Oh my. What tosh. In ENSO corrected data-sets 2016 is still record warm.”

According to NOAA 2016 was 0.07°F warmer than 2015, which is 0.04°C. Considering the error in the annual temperature is +/- 0.1°C this makes 2016 statistically indistinguishable from 2015, making any claim of a record using NOAA data specious.

Fig 1 shows the HadCRUT4 data for the so-called “hiatus” period. The recent El Nino years of 2015-16 are prominent. Also on the graph is the 2016 temperature without the El Nino contribution, as calculated by the Met Office. 2015 – a year with an equally strong El Nino effect – is cautiously interpolated – although the 2016 El Nino estimate is the main datapoint, (NASA Giss says that the correction for 2016 is 0.12°C and 0.05°C for 2015. The Met Office has a figure almost twice as much for 2016 which represents a significant difference of opinion between the Met Office and NASA).

However, even with just the 2016 El Nino compensation the data shows that the pause hasn’t gone away. It has simply been interrupted by two very strong El Nino years. Note that there were moderate El Ninos in 2002-3 and 2009-10.

Compensating for those El Ninos as well as the one in 1998 would make very little difference to the graph, and certainly would not invalidate the pause in the data. In fact it would make the temperature flatter.

Time will tell how far global temperatures will drop in the next couple of years. But there is a good chance that the pause will be re-established once the El Nino warmth tails off.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

RSS Satellite Data Confirm 2016 Is Tied With 1998 As Warmest Year

Source of graph

RSS have also now released their temperature data for December, which, as with UAH, shows a big drop from the month before.

Annually, RSS come to the same conclusion as UAH, that 2016 was 0.02C warmer than 1998.

As Roy Spencer has pointed out, the margin of error is 0.1C, so statistically 2016 is tied with 1998 as the warmest year in the satellite record.

The fact that there has been no warming for the last 18 years is a massive blow to the credibility of climate science.


Colder, not warmer, leads to more conflict:

Contrary to what Warmists always claim

Winter is Coming: The Long-Run Effects of Climate Change on Conflict, 1400-1900

Murat Iyigun et al.

NBER Working Paper No. 23033

We investigate the long-run effects of cooling on conflict. We construct a geo-referenced and digitized database of conflicts in Europe, North Africa, and the Near East from 1400-1900, which we merge with historical temperature data. We show that cooling is associated with increased conflict. When we allow the effects of cooling over a fifty-year period to depend on the extent of cooling during the preceding period, the effect of cooling on conflict is larger in locations that experienced earlier cooling. We interpret this as evidence that the adverse effects of climate change intensify with its duration.


Misleading New Republic Hit on EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Demonstrates Ignorance of Subject Matter

In The New Republic today, Abby Rabinowitz predicts that “you can expect to hear a lot about mercury” during upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. According to Rabinowitz, the mercury push is “part of a larger strategy by Senate Democrats to frame his nomination as the culmination of a cynical, years-long attack on science and reason whose purpose was to protect the interests of the fossil fuel industry—and his own.”

That’s a big charge to level! Surely the reporter didn’t merely regurgitate political talking points and instead vetted these accusations. After all, this is The New Republic, which at one point long ago was the in-flight magazine of Air Force One. But in the next paragraph, Rabinowitz demonstrates a profound ignorance of her subject:

Opposing mercury pollution is a no-brainer. Its harms include serious damage to the nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects. In 2011, after years of study, the EPA limited how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit. The agency’s Mercury and Toxic Air Standards (MATS) will save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year. Great, right? Not according to Pruitt, who joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.

Let’s unpack this paragraph. For starters, Rabinowitz claims that the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will “prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births a year.” She apparently didn’t read the source material for this claim, because the hyperlinked EPA fact sheet doesn’t mention “premature births.” Instead, the fact sheet claims that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths.” I can understand why Rabinowitz would make this mistake, because the term “premature death” doesn’t make much sense. To wit, does it count if death is staved off for one second? So I suspect her mind automatically substituted “birth” for “death.”

Whatever it is, a “premature death” is a lot different from “saving lives,” as the latter phrase is understood in the real world. The upshot is that Rabinowitz is wrong twice—over when she claims that the rule would “save thousands of lives and prevent an estimated 11,000 premature births.” The latter assertion is plainly incorrect; the former is misleading.

But she’s even more wrong! In the first three sentences of the paragraph, Rabinowitz makes clear she’s talking about mercury. She says that “opposing mercury pollution is no-brainer,” and notes that mercury can damage “nervous, pulmonary, digestive, and immune systems and developmental brain defects.” She explains that the EPA promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards to “limit[] how much mercury oil-fired and coal-fired power plants can emit.” After these three sentences, all of which addressed mercury emissions, she botches a claim that the rule would prevent “11,000 premature deaths,” as described above.

Here’s the thing: These supposed “11,000 premature deaths” have nothing to do with mercury! Rather, they are putative “co-benefits” to the rule. As we explain here and here, it is grossly disingenuous for the EPA to trumpet these co-benefits, the existence of which are hotly contested. Suffice it to say for this post, mercury pollution has nothing to do with the alleged benefits of the rule. So Rabinowitz is wrong to connect one to the other.

Again, I can understand why she would make this mistake. “Mercury” is in the name of the rule, and the EPA’s ultra-well-funded public relations shop did its best to mislead the public, media, and policymakers into conflating speculative “co-benefits” with mercury pollution. The reason for all this misdirection is simple: Mercury from power plants did not endanger the public. As I recently noted in the course of debunking a different hatchet job on Pruitt:

EPA’s own analyses demonstrate that the emissions controlled by the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards pose no public hazard. According to EPA, the “benefits” of mercury reductions attendant to the rule were accruable to a supposed population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen who eat more than 200 pounds of self-caught fish from only the top ten percent most polluted bodies of fresh inland water. Of course, no such woman exists. Indeed, EPA never identified such a voracious pregnant angler. Instead, they were modeled to exist.

The illusory benefits of the mercury rule get to the heart of Rabinowitz’s final big error in this short excerpt. In the last sentence of her woebegone paragraph, she notes that Pruitt “joined more than 20 states in suing to block the rule—an appeal that was ultimately declined by the Supreme Court last summer, leaving the rule in place.” Pruitt et al challenged the rule based on, inter alia, the claim that it was inappropriate for the EPA to refuse to consider the costs and benefits when it decided it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury emissions from power plants. For its part, the EPA didn’t want to perform such an analysis because doing so would draw attention to the fact that the mercury “benefits” of the mercury rule were nonexistent.

In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court agreed, and ordered the EPA to undertake such a cost-benefit review. However, the Court kept the rule in place (in whas is called a “remand without vacatur”) while the agency did so. For her part, Rabinowitz provides a link to a write-up of a subsequent decision by the Supreme Court that denied a request by the states to pause the rule until their legal challenge (to the reasonableness of EPA’s cost-benefits review) runs its course. By omitting this highly relevant legal context, Rabinowitz misses the mark when she implies that the Supreme Court has vindicated the underlying science of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.

All told, there were four big errors in the second paragraph of this hit job of Pruitt. I’d present the remaining errors, but you get the idea. This article is as mistaken or misleading as the previous attacks on Pruitt that I’ve blogged about of late.


Australian Greens pressured over Australia-hating protests

Outspoken Coalition MP George Christensen has called for Greens leader Richard Di Natale to expel party members who are planning a seven day campaign of flag burning and barbecue disruption in protest against Australia Day.

Senator Di Natale has refused to condemn radical NSW Greens faction Left Renewal, which has called upon supported to steal and burn the “Aus rag” (Australian flag), disrupt barbecues, erect protest banners and spray paint walls and roads in a week-long show of “resistance” against Australia Day.

The group includes party members­, candidates and polit­ical staffers. Senator Di Natale yesterday declined to comment. The Australian has contacted his office again today.

Mr Christensen said members of the Greens who wanted to disrupt Australia Day should be expelled from the party.

“The far left faction of the NSW Greens are actively promoting disruption of our national day of celebration and I call on Greens leader Richard di Natalie to show some spine and expel party members who are encouraging theft and acts of desecration of our national flag,” he said.

Mr Christensen put up a bill last year to criminalise burning of the Australian flag.  “That bill will need to be reintroduced as we now have a new parliament,” he said.

“The need for such a bill is being demonstrated yet again as the vast majority of Australians get ready to enjoy a day of celebrating this great country of ours, and we have this pack of ratbags wanting to grandstand and denigrate what we stand for.”

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, whose staffer Tom Raue is a Left Renewal supporter, told the Daily Telegraph the broader party did not support Australia Day anarchy.

However, he said that January 26 was an “extreme­ly controversial day to celebrate Australian nationhoo­d” because “for our first peoples” it ­“commemorates the invasion of their land and two and a quarter centuries of violenc­e, oppression and dispossession”.

Resigning NSW Premier, Mike Baird, condemned Left Renewal’s actions.

“Australia Day is a day for all Australians,’’ he said. “Anybody setting out to disrup­t those celebrations, or promote disrespect for our flag, will be unsuccessful.”

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese, whose inner Sydney seat of Grayndler is being targeted by the Greens, said the radical group was “out of touch”.

Fellow Labor MP Nick Champion said Australia Day should be about the Australian values of liberty, justice, mateship and democracy and condemned both the Left Renewal group and far right groups who had lobbied to have a billboard depicting two Muslim girls celebrating Australia Day taken down.

“Both of these groups are really sort of missing out on that basic tenet of Australian life of mateship, giving people a fair go and treating people as you would want to be treated yourself,” Mr Champion said.

He suggested both groups should “take a chill pill”.  “Don’t try and take your extreme politics into a day that should be about national unity,” he said.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


No comments: