Australia swaps summer for Christmas snow
Excerpts from Physorg.com
Snow and ice covering buildings and cars on December 19, 2010 at Mount Hotham,Victoria, as snow fell in Australia. The usual hot and summery December weather was replaced in parts by icy gusts sweeping up from the Southern Ocean, giving the country a taste of a white Christmas. Snow has fallen in parts of east coast states New South Wales and Victoria.
Snow fell in Australia on Monday, as the usual hot and summery December weather was replaced in parts by icy gusts sweeping up from the Southern Ocean, giving the country a taste of a white Christmas.
Snow has fallen in parts of east coast states New South Wales and Victoria, leaving ski resorts — some of which are usually snow-free at this time of year — with dumps of up to 10 centimetres (four inches).
“It’s white, everything is white,” Michelle Lovius, the general manager of the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel at Charlotte Pass told AFP.
Lovius said such an amount of snow was unusual for early December, normally the peak of the wildflower season in the New South Wales mountain region.
Further south in Victoria state, Mt Hotham had 10 centimetres of snow on Sunday and Mt Buller up to five centimetres, Victorian Snow Report spokeswoman Maureen Gearon said.
The cold blasts carried through to Sydney, where the temperature fell to 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) early Monday, and dipped to 9.8 Celsius in the city’s west while winds of up to 100 kilometres (62 miles) an hour are forecast for much of the state’s coastline.
It was a different story on Australia’s west coast, where the worst flooding in 50 years isolated the town of Carnarvon, 900 kilometres north of Perth.
Here’s some data:
All that rain seen in the plot above happened before the December flooding mentioned above…and the temperature today? Hardly summerlike continent-wide:
Townsville in the Northeast was balmy (isn’t it always?) but the vast majority of the country was well below normal. Bear in mind, this isn’t just a few stations at a few cities. I got a healthy respect for the size of the continent when I gave my tour with David Archibald in June. This can help you visualize the size:
Image from Mr_P’s blog here
Meanwhile, George Monbiot with the help of the kids at the “Climate Rapid Response Team”, try to argue that the cold and snow in England is a localized event.
George helpfully provides a link to NASA GISS’s map generator along with this hotsy totsy prose:
Last month’s shows a deep blue splodge over Iceland, Spitsbergen, Scandanavia and the UK, and another over the western US and eastern Pacific. Temperatures in these regions were between 0.5C and 4C colder than the November average from 1951 and 1980. But on either side of these cool blue pools are raging fires of orange, red and maroon: the temperatures in western Greenland, northern Canada and Siberia were between 2C and 10C higher than usual. Nasa’s Arctic oscillations map for 3-10 December shows that parts of Baffin Island and central Greenland were 15C warmer than the average for 2002-9.
Here’s that map, plotted with the defaults at GISS (same link as George provided), showing their world famous 1200km smoothed map, where data is “splodged” to places where there really isn’t any:
As proof of the “no data”issue, let’s plot GISS with 250 KM smoothing, by simply changing the GISSplotter pulldown menu:
Hey, that’s a lot of gray, note the caveat in yellow about missing data:
All the sudden, those “raging fires of orange, red and maroon” don’t look so big, do they George? There’s no reds, oranges or yellows over northern Greenland, or Iceland, or the East Siberian Sea, or most of Africa, and much of Antarctica’s coastline and the southern ocean.
In fact, a lot of those isolated red and maroon splotches in Greenland, Canada, and Russia are single data points. Yep, GISS takes data from these stations and smears the effect writ large on the 1200KM smoothing map. Journalists like yourself often don’t notice, they simply see the issue in shades of smeared red.
And guess what George? In those remote locations like Nuuk, Greenland, (see arrow, under a red splotch in SW Greenland) what have we there? Remote pockets of humanity. Humanity building little cities of warmth in the cold Arctic, growing cities:
With 15,469 inhabitants as of 2010, Nuuk is the fastest-growing town in Greenland, with migrants from the smaller towns and settlements reinforcing the trend. Together with Tasiilaq, it is the only town in the Sermersooq municipality exhibiting stable growth patterns over the last two decades. The population increased by over a quarter relative to the 1990 levels, and by nearly 16 percent relative to the 2000 levels.
Nuuk population growth dynamics in the last two decades. Source: Statistics Greenland
Nuuk is not only a growing city, where UHI might now be a factor (but don’t take my word for it, see what NASA had to say about it at AGU this year), it is also a place where the official GHCN thermometers used by NASA are right next to human influences…like turboprop jet exhaust, such as this one in Nuuk’s airport right on the tarmac:
Hmmm, I wonder what happened in Nuuk? The plot below is from NASA GISS (see it yourself here). No wonder George sees red dots on the map in Greenland. That “instant global warming” line seems out of character for natural variation in Nuuk. Note the data discontinuity. Often that suggests a station move.
And here’s the interesting thing. Nuuk is just one data point, one “raging red” anomaly in the sparsely spaced hands-on-human-measured NASA GISS surface temperature dataset for the Arctic. The patterns of warm pockets of humanity with airports and GHCN stations repeat themselves all over the Arctic, because as anyone who has visited the Arctic knows, aviation is the lifeline of these remote communities. And where do they measure the weather data? At the airport of course. Aviation doesn’t work otherwise.
See my complete report on the weird temperatures from Nuuk here. And while you are at it George, read my report about the weird temperatures from Svalbaard, another warm single data point from NASA GISS. Interestingly, at that station a local citizen did some science and proved the UHI effect at the airport.
Yes these are just two examples. But there is no denying these facts:
- Remote communities in the Arctic are islands of anthropogenic warmth
- These communities rely of aviation as a lifeline
- The weather is measured at these airports, it is required for safety
- Airports release huge amounts of waste heat, from exhaust, de-icing, terminal buildings, and even tarmac in the sun.
- The majority of GHCN weather stations (used by NASA GISS) in the Arctic are at airports.
So, George, when using NASA GISS to prove to your readers that warm pocket weather patterns elsewhere cause cold in England:
There is now strong evidence to suggest that the unusually cold winters of the last two years in the UK are the result of heating elsewhere.
The global temperature maps published by Nasa present a striking picture.
But on either side of these cool blue pools are raging fires of orange, red and maroon: the temperatures in western Greenland, northern Canada and Siberia were between 2C and 10C higher than usual.
Remember Nuuk and Svalbarrd’s thermometers, and then ask Jim Hansen why NASA GISS, a “space studies agency”, doesn’t use satellite data but instead relies upon a surface record that another division of NASA says likely has significant UHI effects that NASA GISS doesn’t filter out sensibly (they only allow for 0.05°C downward adjustment).
Be careful of the colors, George.
Speaking of colors, George doesn’t dare link/show you this image of the monster La Niña though (or maybe he’s simply unaware), where there’s scads of actual satellite measured data:
Look at all that colder water surrounding Britain, look at the size of the Pacific La Niña and the swath in the Atlantic of cool water and compare it to the size of Britain. That splotch of red by Greenland may be partly due to a somewhat persistent blocking high, much like the one that caused the heat wave in Russia this year.
Since George argues with colors, how about this one from UNISYS? No “raging fires of orange, red and maroon” on this one, but there are some warm pockets south of Greenland. The Pacific Warm Pool north of Australia even seems anemic.
The oceans are the biggest heat sink on the planet, and there are no cities, no airports, no asphalt sea surfaces to bias the data. There’s no immediate human influence on the sea surface where the satellites look. The sea tells a different story that the human touched thermometers on land at airports, and the sea has no reason to boast its temperature.
The sea — this truth must be confessed — has no generosity. No display of manly qualities — courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness — has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power. - Joesph Conrad
So George, I ask you: “hottest year ever” or “hottest year at the airport”?
For more on La Niña and its effects in our current year, have a look here, particularly the Nino3.4 graph.
I should add this: I’m not denying that we’ve had a warm year. In fact we started out 2010 with a strong El Niño and ended with a strong La Niña, as illustrated here:
In the space of a single year, we’ve had a complete reversal. The forecast is for it to go even lower:
So in cooler times ahead in the dip of La Niña, the question is this: will we still see those “raging fires of orange, red and maroon” in the Arctic? NASA GISS history during the peak of the 2008 La Niña suggests we very well might:
I added this in comments, so I’ll add it here also:
And finally, can you really trust data from an organization that takes incoming data for that station and shifts it more than an entire degree C in the past, making a new trend? See the difference between “raw” (which really isn’t raw, it has a scads of adjustments already from NOAA) compared to the GISS final output in this chart:
The data is downloaded from GISS for the station, datasets 1 and 2 were used (raw-combined for this location and homogenized) which are available from the station selector via a link to data below the charts they make on the GISS website. The data is plotted up to the data continuity break, and again after. The trend lines are plotted to the data continuity break, and there’s no trend in the raw data for the last 100+ years.
The curious thing is that there’s no trend in the raw data at Nuuk until you do either (or both) of two things:
1. You use GISS homogenized data to plot the trend
2. You use the data after the discontinuity to plot the trend
I believe the data discontinuity represents a station move, one that exposed it to a warmer local environment. And clearly, by examining the GISS data for Nuuk, you can see that GISS adds adjustments that are not part of the measured reality. What justification could there possibly be to adjust the temperatures of the past downwards? What justification in a growing community (as shown by the population curve) could there be for doing an adjustment that is reverse of waste energy UHI?