HH Lamb–“Climate: Present, Past & Future–Vol 2”–In Review–Part I

Guest post by Paul Homewood (reposted from his blog Not a lot of people know that please visit and  bookmark) Part 1 of a three part series.

Lamb-HHubert Lamb was one of the leading climatologists of his time, indeed described in one obituary as the greatest. He spent most of his career at the UK Met Office before founding and becoming the first director of the Climatic Research Unit. He wrote many books, but perhaps “Climate: Present , Past & Future” was the most significant. Here we review Volume 2, amounting to 836 pages, which particularly looks at climatic trends over the centuries.

Originally published in 1977, the volume offers great insights into the thinking not only of Lamb himself, but also of many of his peers. Not only does Lamb give us the benefit of his own work and experience, but much of his research is into work carried out by a host of other scientists of his time and earlier.

Everything that follows is based on Lamb’s writings in this volume; any comments of mine will be within [ brackets ]. I would also point out that sections in italics are direct quotations from the book.

Climate during the Holocene

The Holocene begins around 10000 BC, at the end of the last Ice Age, and continues to the present. In this section, we will look at the period leading up to the Medieval Warming Period.

How did temperatures in this first part of Holocene compare with today’s and what confidence can we have in their accuracy and extent? Lamb presents a good deal of evidence to suggest that, for much of the period, temperatures were warmer than now. For instance he presents much evidence from glaciers.

It was after 2000-1500 BC that most of the present glaciers in the Rocky Mountains south of  57 o N were formed and that major re-advance of those in the Alaskan Rockies first took place.

And at their subsequent advanced positions – probably around 500 BC as well as between 1650 and 1850 AD – the glaciers in the Alps regained an extent, estimated in the Glockner region, at about 5 times their Bronze Age Minimum, when all the smaller ones had disappeared.

 

Treeline studies, including Southern Hemisphere sites, paint a similar picture. Quoting a study by Markgraf in 1974, which encompassed the Alps, Carpathians, Rockies, Japan, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, East Africa and the Andes, Lamb writes :-

Summer temperatures in these regions were 2 C higher than now in the warmest postglacial times (around 5000 BC).

He then quotes a similar study by Lamarche in 1973:-

Study of the Upper Tree Line on the White Mountains in California, similarly indicates warm season temperatures about 2C higher than today all through the warmest millenia, from before 5500 BC until about 2200 BC.

[Many recent studies in Baffin Bay, Greenland and Iceland come to similar conclusions, i.e. that for much of the Holocene, temperatures were higher than now and also that the Little Ice Age was probably the coldest period in the last 10000 years.]

What about the cooler periods Lamb mentions?

He describes this as the “Sub Atlantic Period” from about 1000 BC.

Glacier advances, changes in the composition of the forests, and the retreat of the forest from its previous northern and upper limits, indicate significant cooling of world climates, its start being detectable in some places (e.g. Alaska, Chile, China) from as early as 1500 BC.

In Europe, the most marked change seems to have been from 1200-700 BC. By 700-500 BC, prevailing temperatures must have been about 2.0C lower than they had been half a millenium earlier, and there was a great increase of wetness everywhere north of the Alps.

Another aspect of the centuries of colder climate around 500 BC in NW Europe was evidently their storminess. There was perhaps a final climax of the first of these epochs of marked storminess in the great North Sea storm, or storms, about 120-114 BC, which altered the coasts of Jutland and NW Germany in a great sea flood, “The Cymbrian Flood”, which set off the migration of the Celtic (Cymbrian) and Teutonic peoples who had been living in these areas.

The probable course of prevailing temperatures in Europe and the Far East has been presented in Fig 16.22. [Not shown]. In both regions, the last few centuries BC register some general rise in temperature, representing a recovery from the coldest conditions of the onset of the Sub Atlantic climatic period, which had culminated in great glacier advances in the Alps (HEUBERGER 1968), at various times between about 900 and 300 BC, and apparently a lower snowline in the high mountains of Lebanon and elsewhere in the Near East and Equatorial Africa.

 

Lamb goes on to describe how temperatures recovered in the period leading up to the MWP.

There was a gradual fluctuating recovery of warmth in Europe over the 1000 years after 600 BC, particularly after 100 BC, leading to a period of warmth and apparently high sea level around 400 AD. [We would recognise this as the Roman Warming Period].

The Roman agricultural writer, Saserna, wrote that in the last century BC, cultivation of the olive and vine were spreading further north in Italy, where in the previous century, winters had been too cold for transplants to survive (WARNER ALLEN 1961).

After some reversion to colder and wetter climates in the next 300-400 years, sharply renewed warming from about 800 AD led to an important warm epoch.

.

 

Medieval Warming Period

Lamb had no doubt that the MWP was real and global.

Evidence already cited at various places in this volume suggests that, for a few centuries in the Middle Ages, the climate in most parts of the world regained something approaching the warmth of the warmest postglacial times.

He cites many examples in Europe and North America which indicate warmer temperatures than now.

  • The northern limit of vineyards with a long history of cultivation lay some 300-500 km north of the limit of commercial vineyards in the 20thC.
  • In many parts of England there are traces of medieval tillage far above anything attempted in the present century, even in wartime: up to 350 m above sea level on Dartmoor and 320 m in Northumberland.
  • The tree line and upper limits of various crops on the hills of Central Europe were higher than today.
  • Mining operations at high levels in the Alps which had long been abandoned were reopened, and water supply ducts were built to take water from points which were subsequently overrun by glaciers and are in some cases still under ice.
  • In Central Norway the area of farming spread 100-200m up valleys and hillsides from 800 – 1000 AD, only to retreat just as decisively after 1300 AD.
  • The Viking colonies in W and SW Greenland were able to bury their dead sheep in soil that has since been permanently frozen.
  • It was also a warm period generally from N Mexico to N Canada, where forest remnants between 25 and 100 km north of the present limit have been found, radio carbon dated between 880 and 1140 AD.

[Recent studies, that have found evidence that Alaskan glaciers were smaller in the MWP than now, tie in with this North American conclusion.]

But as Lamb makes clear, the warming was not limited to the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Holloway (1954) has reported evidence from the forest composition of a warmer climate in South Island, New Zealand, between about 700 AD and 1400 AD, than in the centuries before and after.
  • On the coast of East Antarctica, at Cape Hallett, a great modern penguin rookery seems, from radiocarbon dating tests, to have been first colonised between about 400 and 700 AD, presumably during a phase of improving climate, and to have been occupied ever since.

Little Ice Age

Lamb has this to say about the extent of the LIA.

The period we are discussing has been dubbed “The Little Ice Age” because, not only in Europe but in most parts of the world, the extent of snow and ice on land and sea seems to have attained a maximum as great as, or in most cases greater than, at any time since the last major ice age.

Lamb also recognises that there were timing differences between the two hemispheres when he points out

On the whole the culmination seems to have come earlier in the NH, particularly in N America, the Arctic and China/Japan, and later in the SH, where the maximum advance of the glaciers in Chile seems to have been in the 18thC and the greatest extent of ice on the Antarctic Ocean may have been as late as around 1900.

There was, however, an important late climax of the Arctic sea ice around Iceland between 1780 and 1830, and many glaciers in the Alps reached their greatest extent towards 1850.

He sums this period up very well.

The course of the climatic deterioration over 500 years from 1200 AD can quite well be traced by its effects under the following headings.

  1. Increasing spread of the Arctic sea ice into all the northernmost Atlantic and around Greenland, forcing the abandonment of the old sailing routes to Greenland, which had been used from 1000-1300 AD.
  2. Advances of the inland ice and permafrost in Greenland and of glaciers in Iceland, Norway and the Alps.
  3. Lowering of the treeline on the heights in Central Europe and the Rockies.
  4. Increasing wetness of the ground and spread of lakes and marshes in many places in North, West and Central Europe, and all over Northern Russia and Siberia.
  5. Increasing frequency of the freezing of rivers and lakes.
  6. Evidence of increasing severity of the windstorms and resulting sea floods and disasters by shifting sand.
  7. In the records of harvest failure.
  8. In the records and archaeology of abandoning crop growing, tillage and vineyards, abandoned farms and villages.
  9. In the incidence of disease and death among human and animal populations.

As to the causes, Lamb explains

It is reasonable to consider the whole sequence, from about the time of Christ, through the early medieval warm centuries and the cold climate that followed, to our own times, as an oscillation on the same time scale, and possibly of basically the same nature, as the Bolling & Allerod oscillations in Late Glacial Times, the Piora oscillation [around 3000 BC], and the Bronze Age and early Iron Age changes in the last 4000 years.

[For further information on the LIA, I would recommend Brian Fagan’s excellent book “The Little Ice Age].

In Parts II and III, we will look at how climate changed during the 20th Century, what the future had in store, and the impact of man on the climate.

I believe that the book is currently out of print, but a new publication is due out in December from Routledge.

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66 thoughts on “HH Lamb–“Climate: Present, Past & Future–Vol 2”–In Review–Part I

  1. And what, pray tell, caused the CRU to plummet into decline after being shepherded by the likes of of Hubert Lamb? They seem to have dismantled all of his work to serve their back-room agenda.

  2. Hubert Lamb’s “Climate History and the Modern World” 2nd Edition was the first climate book I had read. It is clearly the work of a very distinguished scientist. I can’t help cringe when I see the hapless idiots that followed him.

  3. Dr. Hubert Lamb was an inspiration to me when I attended his very informative lecture at the University of Washington in the mid 1970′s. I also have his wonderful book mentioned in the above submission, A big thank-you from Rod Chilton.

  4. Sad. First truth, then error. Gresham’s Law applied to advoscience: “bad science drives out good”.

  5. I had the privilege of Professor Lamb’s assistance while working on my doctoral thesis. I visited with him at the CRU and we discussed many topics besides the thesis. We discussed the serious lack of data and the need for long climate data reconstructions, which, as he explained in his autobiography was the main purpose of establishing the CRU.

    “When the Climatic Research Unit was founded it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.”  Page 203.

    He writes about hiring Tom Wigley and identifies a conflict almost from the start. “The research project I put forward to the Rockefeller Foundation was awarded a handsome grant, but it sadly came to grief over an understandable difference of scientific judgment between me and the scientists, Dr. Tom Wigley.” Page 204.

    Finally, he identifies the shift, that in my opinion led to the debacle that was exposed in the leaked emails and other places.

    “Since my retirement from the directorship of the Climatic Research unit there have been changes there and in the direction of my own efforts. My immediate successor, Professor Tom Wigley, was chiefly interested in the prospect of world climates being changed as result of human activities, primarily through the burning of wood, coal, oil and gas reserves…” “”After only a few years almost all the work on historical reconstruction of past climate and weather situations, which had first made the Unit well known, was abandoned.” Page 249.

    Volume 2 is major piece of evidence in my argument that climatology has advanced very little since establishment of the IPCC.

    There is even less data now than when Lamb stepped down. Records have been abandoned, expurgated, modified and raw data lost or modified without explanation. As a result, computer models, that became the centre of climatology, are built on virtually nothing. I watched this ascendancy and it has been an unmitigated disaster. Lamb was right in his original objective and his wider understanding to climatology.

  6. The Git seconds Paul Homewood’s recommendation of Hubert Lamb’s excellent books about past climate. Climate: Present, Past & Future–Vol 2 is available Print on Demand from Stratford Books in the UK, so no need to wait for Routledge to reissue it. There is an additional 10 day delay while Stratford await delivery from the printer.

  7. Paul

    very good review. it is rather sad that many years after its publication this book remains the modern benchmark for climate studies for those like me who value historical climatology. I have Vol 1 and 2 on my desk at this very moment, borrowed from the excellent Met office library in Exeter. I note that someone else borrowed it in April and the previous time prior to that was eight years previously which might say something about the lack of esteem his work is held at present by the climate hierarchy.

    I wrote an article comparing the temperature reconstruction of Lamb and Dr Mann’s hockeystick here;.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    I think Lamb got much nearer to the truth than Mann, even without any computer models to help him
    tonyb

  8. Let’s hope the new edition continues to focus on the need for further study in natural conditions and drivers of past, present, and future climate. I fear it will include a new chapter that says any climate change now and in the future will be caused by my trail rated cherry red Jeep Grand Cherokee. Or possibly because I target shoot, hunt and fish.

  9. Good to know that once upon a time climatology used to be a science instead of the pathetic pseudoscience it has become. It gives hope.

    The thing is most people don’t realize that true science, as any other valid branch of the human endeavor is based on faith. In this particular case faith in objective reality, that is, in the notion that there is truth out there waiting to be discovered (never invented).

    This faith itself is not based on science. There can never be a scientific proof of the existence of Laws in nature. In fact some postmodern philosophers explicitly deny it. It is clearly a metaphysical principle, so it is inaccessible to the scientific method.

    On the other hand, there can be no science without accepting it. So. The proposition “there are truths out there which are given independent of the fact if we knew them or not” is not based on science, quite the contrary, science itself is based on it.

    For one thing, a true scientist who has faith in this proposition, would never dare adjust raw measurement data. For there may come another guy who performs the same measurement and he would be shown to be the fraud he is for everyone to see.

    On the other hand whoever is not bound by this faith, it is only a matter of pushing harder his own point of view to make it into an undeniable scientific truth. For him anything goes in this struggle, redefining peer review, have editors of scientific journals or university professors fired, embedding himself in Grant Committees, labeling opposition as deniers (relying on the fallacy of Reductio ad Hitlerum), dancing for the Press, going for Government Science Advisory positions and repeating the importance of consensus endlessly. People like these have no shame, because they feel truth is never genuine, only an emergent social phenomenon so they don’t even dream of finding it, they want to define it.

  10. Dr. Lamb was able to do his work free of any political “climate”. If he published today those using GAGW for monetary and political gain would seek to suppress it. It probably wouldn’t pass “pal-review”. That’s a shame. The real catastrophe of CAGW.

  11. Berényi Péter has written well.
    Please read his post again. Shows where we are now, unhappily.
    Thanks.

  12. Lamb was pushed out by Tom Wigley, the cuckoo in the CRU nest. I quote Tim Ball:
    “In 1977 he produced the comprehensive classic two volume set, Climate: Past, Present and Future. I was privileged to have Lamb help with my doctoral thesis and act as reviewer on an early article. He would be mortified by what has happened at the CRU but not surprised. Lamb knew what was going on because he cryptically writes in his autobiography, “Through all the Changing Scenes of Life: A Meteorologists Tale” how a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation came to grief because of, “… an understandable difference of scientific judgment between me and the scientist, Dr. Tom Wigley, whom we have appointed to take charge of the research.”
    (from ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon’.)

  13. There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:

    “warmest postglacial period” 5000 BC (7000 bp)
    5500-2200 BC (7500-4200 bp) warm period
    2000-500 BC (4000-2500 bp) glacial readvance
    3000 yr interval warm-cold
    1200-500 BC (3200-2500 bp) Sub-Atlantic period, cold
    800 yr interval cold-warm
    500 BC-400 AD (2100-1600 bp) Roman warm period
    650 yr interval warm-cold
    400-800 AD (1600-1200 bp) Dark age cool period
    450 yr interval cold-warm
    800-1300 AD (1200-700 bp) MWP
    500 yr interval warm-cold
    1300-1800 AD (800-200 bp) LIA
    350 yr interval cold-warm
    1800-2000 (200-0 bp) current warm period

    What happens when it hits zero?

  14. Berényi Péter @ June 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Misses an important point. Both liars and truthsayers have a profound respect for truth. The liar knows when he/she/it [delete whichever is inapplicable] is not telling the truth. Bullshitters on the other hand have no respect for truth and regularly contradict themselves. These are the people who demand we believe them regardless of the the lack of consistency in their stories.

  15. Apart from anything else, I am hugely impressed with the sheer quantity of research and knowlege that Hubert Lamb showed. Volume 2 is over 800 pages and the first Volume, which concentrates on the technical aspects of climate is, I believe, of a similar length. They are both chock full of highly technical and factual data.

  16. This was most interesting as it runs counter to what The Team would have us believe, or rather, would have us believe it would be the result of warming, not cooling:

    In Europe, the most marked change seems to have been from 1200-700 BC. By 700-500 BC, prevailing temperatures must have been about 2.0C lower than they had been half a millenium earlier, and there was a great increase of wetness everywhere north of the Alps.

    Another aspect of the centuries of colder climate around 500 BC in NW Europe was evidently their storminess. There was perhaps a final climax of the first of these epochs of marked storminess in the great North Sea storm, or storms, about 120-114 BC, which altered the coasts of Jutland and NW Germany in a great sea flood, “The Cymbrian Flood”, which set off the migration of the Celtic (Cymbrian) and Teutonic peoples who had been living in these areas.

    Cooler and wetter. Colder and more storms. That is definitely not what we are deluged with today. This is more typical of the unresearched drivel spewed today:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2009/0109-global_warming_causes_severe_storms.htm

  17. There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:

    “warmest postglacial period” 5000 BC (7000 bp)
    5500-2200 BC (7500-4200 bp) warm period
    2000-500 BC (4000-2500 bp) glacial readvance
    3000 yr interval warm-cold
    1200-500 BC (3200-2500 bp) Sub-Atlantic period, cold
    800 yr interval cold-warm
    500 BC-400 AD (2100-1600 bp) Roman warm period
    650 yr interval warm-cold
    400-800 AD (1600-1200 bp) Dark age cool period
    450 yr interval cold-warm
    800-1300 AD (1200-700 bp) MWP
    500 yr interval warm-cold
    1300-1800 AD (800-200 bp) LIA
    350 yr interval cold-warm
    1800-2000 (200-0 bp) current warm period

    What happens when it hits zero?”

    The echo fades.
    What was the sound?

  18. Shouldn’t these books be required reading for budding “climate scientists”? You know, part of their “common body of knowledge”. Or are people like Phil Jones, Michael Mann and the rest of the CAGW crowd so ignorant of what others have done before them that they believe they are the first? And what about those that awarded Mann et al their PHD’s and peer reviewed their papers? Are those people also absolutely ignorant of past research? Or are they truly charlatans of the first order who banked on the ignorance of the public and the politicians?

    Jay Davis

  19. “What happens when it hits zero?””

    Unfortunately for the world, I suspect we will start to find out over the next 20 or 30 years as temperatures drop. The sun is being pretty darn lethargic at the moment .
    I certainly hope that THERE IS warming from CO2 (I don’t think there really is) as it would provide some sort of moderation of the temp.

    Temperture reconstructions of the Holocene period shows that we are basically nearing the peak of a slight warm period, but that warm period is actually cooler than most of the earlier Holcene. Over the 10,000 year period, the Earth is getting colder NOT warmer,

    I hope the likes of Easterbrook are wrong, and the IPCC are correct..but reality is not that kind.

    Rug up, people !!!

  20. Our present slight warming of 0.7C ( last 100+ years) comes after the end of a minor ice age, so what is unusual or unprecedented about this increase in temp?
    Also SLR until 2300 shows zero evidence of being dangerous according to “all models” graphs used by today’s scientists.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/364/1844/1709/F4.expansion.html

    So where is all that melt water to come from while 89% of stored water ( antarctic ice) is increasing for the next 300 years.

  21. jayhd

    Phil Jones is much maligned, he is very knowlegable on the basics.
    He helped edit this book which is really excellent;

    I think he is more ambivalent about the real extent of warming than is often portrayed, but painted himself into a bit of a corner with his need to maintain his reputation as a leading player. I wonder if a number of leading climatologists such as him are secretly wishing they hadnt been quite so forthright in their beliefs before temperatures stabilised.
    tonyb

  22. Hubert Lamb was a climate scientist.

    Today, they are almost all ‘climate scientists’ motivated by things other than the honesty of true science, such as fame, comfortable lifestyles, the demands of their political masters and the modern day environmentalist industry.

  23. Neville says, June 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm:
    Our present slight warming of 0.7C ( last 100+ years) comes after the end of a minor ice age, so what is unusual or unprecedented about this increase in temp?

    I don’t know why this figure of a 0.7degC warming in the past 100 years persists. The actual figure is 0.41degC/century of warming over the whole 150 years of the instrumental record. See:

    http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html

    Why exaggerate the reality? It has been warming by a much smaller amount than skepics widely quote.

  24. Thank-you to Dr. Tim Ball for enlighteneing us all on the very good work that Dr. Lamb accomplished during his illustrious career. signed, Rod Chilton.

  25. Sir Isaac Newton said (paraphrased): “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

    Phil Jones is a disgrace to everything Dr. Lamb stood for. Not only did The Team miss the opportunity to stand on Dr. Lamb’s shoulders, they’ve made a concerted effort to cut his legs out from under him. Were he alive and publishing today, they would likely be pushing to have his doctorate degree revoked for blasphemy against their Gospel:

    http://www.maciverinstitute.com/2009/12/miffed-climatologists-want-uw-madison-to-revoke-global-warming-skeptics-phd/

  26. I like the use of historical evidence, rather than hysterical models. It was ultimately the historical evidence that convinced me the Warmistas were plain wrong and deliberately ignored natural variability because they were paid by governments to perpetrate a lie.

  27. dp says:
    Cooler and wetter. Colder and more storms. That is definitely not what we are deluged with today.
    =================
    This is because in the brave new world order of post-modern “science,” reality only exists as a social construct. It works like this…

    Why is it so cold?
    Why is it so wet.
    More snow. More wet.
    Winter blast arrives early.
    Freezing conditions again.
    More freezing conditions.
    Ice, Ice, and More Ice.
    More snow, More ice.
    —>Study reveals: Hottest year ever!

    See for yourself:

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/archive/2010

  28. phlogiston says:
    June 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:

    Is it not perhaps just an artifact what we can observe from ice cores and the like, with the older portions of the record in poorer shape such that only larger oscillations can be observed?

  29. David Socrates says:
    June 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Neville says, June 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm:
    Our present slight warming of 0.7C ( last 100+ years) comes after the end of a minor ice age, so what is unusual or unprecedented about this increase in temp?

    I don’t know why this figure of a 0.7degC warming in the past 100 years persists. The actual figure is 0.41degC/century of warming over the whole 150 years of the instrumental record. See:

    http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html

    Why exaggerate the reality? It has been warming by a much smaller amount than skepics widely quote.
    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Yes I agree with the exaggeration David. But of course the rate of warming depends directly on the starting point of the linear fit. In your example it is 0.41 deg C per Century. But look at the graph that is Figure 1 in :

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    for the UK Central temperature record from 1659 to 2010. It shows a warming rate linear fit of 0.24 Deg C per Century. That result is interesting as I have also plotted this temperature record independently some time ago with exactly the same result. So over more than 350 years the temperature has risen 0.8 to 0.9 Deg C, not necessarily over 100 years but over about 350 years since the little Ice Age (LIA). The more recent rise since the second half of the 20th century is an increase superimposed on this longer term trend from the end of the LIA and is the rising limb that can be attributed more to Pacific Decadal Oscillation periodicity than any other cause, that has now reached a “peak” (flatlined) and appears to heading for a decline.

    Clearly the obsession has been about the most recent (late 20th century) rising limb in the temperature record but its attribution to CO2 is clearly flawed given its not following the CO2 trend.

  30. This 2009 presentation by Lindzen is worthy of re-emphasis. Posted on WUWT back in 2009.
    Q&A at the end is illustrative.
    “…the field is corrupt…..” “..the students are aware of it, but they cannot bring it up ….”

  31. PS to my post Above to David. Socrates
    Of course just to put another “spanner” (US wrench) in the warmists works go look at recent post at Jonova site and see what the South –East Australian temperatures were doing from the late 1800’s to recently:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/06/has-north-victoria-cooled-not-warmed-and-is-that-a-solar-cycle-signal-we-see/

    Sure, there is again a average temp rising limb from mid 20 century but overall from the late 1800’s there has been a 0.5 Deg C drop. This applies for a range of weather stations in the region.

    Looks like they’ll need to “adjust” down the pre 20th century temps to match the computer models!! /sarc. Post modern science – fit and filter the data to the theory.

  32. Looking into the deep future when this quasi bistable attractor heads for the real warm attractor after bouncing around near the cold attractor for a while (geologically of course), will the future climate scientists, imbued with an overweening sense of human infallibility, assume that we are thus influencing the setting of this position. Chaos (deterministic or otherwise) won’t care.

    I do wonder about the bistable nature of these chaos plots though, is it that the Earth’s climate is a bistable system, or is it that the big yellow thing in the daytime sky is a bistable system. I don’t think we have enough evidence to conclude anything about cause and effect relationships for the phenomena at hand. Both things could be caused by an unseen third or fourth (or fifth, sixth seventh…ad infinitum) phenomena we haven’t even discovered yet.

  33. Should read:
    “‘adjust’ down the late (from 1950) 20 century temps to match…………”.

  34. Owen in Ga says:
    June 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm
    Looking into the deep future when this quasi bistable attractor heads for the real warm attractor after bouncing around near the cold attractor for a while (geologically of course), will the future climate scientists, imbued with an overweening sense of human infallibility, assume that we are thus influencing the setting of this position. Chaos (deterministic or otherwise) won’t care.

    Are you referring to the future jump back up to 22C, the mean temp for most of the phanerozoic, from the present 12 C, the periodic lower attractor? Some have commented that the dip to 12C occurs every 150 million years, roughly our galaxy’s orbit time, so we could for instance just be orbiting through some dirty space with more cosmic rays a.k.a. Svensmark. But it does also have the appearence of an attractor. One dominant factor in global temps is the continental configration, and its effect on ocean currents. Our cold epoch probably wont be ended until the current Arctic configuration is disrupted, and also for something to block the Antarctic circumpolar current.

  35. Reading this portion of Lamb’s work makes me realize where the IPCC originally got its first temperature reconstruction from – the one that showed the MWP and that they seem to think was sketched on a paper napkin at a gathering of the clan. Lamb makes so much sense, and backs his claims so magisterially. What a pity the science then went mannic.

  36. FrankK

    You reference my article showing the longer temperature record and re-emphasise the point I continually make. The 1880 Giss or 1850 Hadley record merely show the CONTINUATION of ‘the long slow thaw’ (since 1660) they do not pick up the start of it.

    In my own humble way I attempt to use historical records in my various articles, but unfortunately many scientists sneer at them (warmist bloggers are worse) and insist they are merely ‘anecdotal’ -meant in a pejorative way. Lamb said this just before he died, in his preface to his re-issued book
    ‘ Climate History and the Modern World.’;

    —– —— ——

    “The idea of climate change has at last taken on with the public after generations which assumed that climate could be taken as constant. But it is easy to notice the common assumption that mans science and modern industry and technology are now so powerful that any change of climate or the environnment must be due to us. It is good for us to be more alert and responsible in our treatment of the environment, but not to have a distorted view of our own importance. Above all, we need more knowledge, education and understanding in these matters.”
    Hubert Lamb DEC 1994 ”

    ——- ——

    It is good that Paul brings Lamb to the attention of a modern audience, where it is plain to see that his books still have much to tell us.

    Tonyb

  37. phlogiston says:

    June 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:
    Lambs work, when building his past climate temperature graph, shows a shorter and shorter warm period as the planet approached the ice ages. So maybe you are right? Who knows?

  38. This lay person read Lamb’s book only last week. I found it very easy to follow, and fascinating, As noted above, the climate he dealt with is clearly a very different one to that fabricated by today’s generation of “scientists”. The poor man must be spinning in his grave

  39. It would seem that Dr Lamb’s book has its results confirmed by the latest high resolution ice core data sets from Antarctica which show exactly as he describes.

  40. FrankK says, June 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm says: …Yes I agree with the exaggeration David. But of course the rate of warming depends directly on the starting point of the linear fit. In your example it is 0.41 deg C per Century. But look at the graph that is Figure 1 in :

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

    for the UK Central temperature record from 1659 to 2010. It shows a warming rate linear fit of 0.24 Deg C per Century.

    Excellent, so we are agreed that a global warming rate of 0.7degC/century (as suggested here by Neville, on June 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm) is a wild exaggeration and that a more likely rate is 0.41degC/century as shown here:

    http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempsworld.html

    All we can hope is that Neville and other skeptics will now note this FACT from the longest global instrumental record (HadCRUT3 Land+Sea) available and use it in the future.

    You are so right to say that the mean rate of warming depends critically on the starting point. The 0.4degC/century figure is the mean from 1850 onwards. This is for the simple reason that records before that date are considered doubtful. So finding the linear regression slope over the whole period available is the best we can do with that particular data set.

    Of course warmists often prefer a starting date around 1970, a mere 40 year span. I wonder why. Looking again at the graph above, starting at 1970 gives a mean warming rate of 0.6degC over the following 40 years. That is equivalent to a rise of 1.5degC per century – nearly four times steeper that the 0.4degC/century long term average. Warmists then say that this is so anomalous that it must be due to the significant increase in man-made atmospheric CO2 that has occured since World War II, ignoring of course that there was an almost identical rate of rise of 0.5degC in the 40 year period between 1905 and 1945, a period when man’s contribution to atmospheric CO2 was comparatively minor.

    Referring to the latter 40 year period from 1970, you rightly say: Clearly the obsession has been about the most recent (late 20th century) rising limb in the temperature record but its attribution to CO2 is clearly flawed given it’s not following the CO2 trend. .

    Yes, taking the whole 160 year data record and running one’s eye along the red curve (11 year symmetrical running mean) in the chart linked to above, the naturally undulating nature of the temperature record is very obvious, with a roughly 67 year periodicity, and with an up-and-down amplitude of around plus or minus 0.25degC (red dotted tramlines). And just as I have predicted for the last several years, the curve is now turning down again. I predict it will continue to do so for the next 30 years as we experience the next downward cycle of a natural climate oscillation.

    Just as it did between 1880 and 1910.

    And just as it did between 1940 and 1970.

    So the moral of this story is that if you cherry pick short intervals on the global mean temperature data set you can prove almost anything. Statistically, therefore, the only sensible thing to do is to take the mean over the longest possible range which in this case is the full 161 year period from 1850. And then look at the underlying oscillations about that mean and come to a sensible view on whether or not they are natural. I think most skeptics have long ago come to the correct and sensible view.

    Concerning your reference to Tony Brown’s article on the Central England Temperature record, yes this certainly does show an even lower rate of 2.4degC/century – a figure that I also support here:

    http://www.thetruthaboutclimatechange.org/tempscentralengland.html

    However the CET is a regional average, not a global average, and so will be heavily pounced on by warmists who are increasingly desparate to grasp at straws. (Likewise, with reference to your later post on the South East Australia temperature record.)

    So I suggest it is best to stick with the 0.4degC/century which, being a sufficiently trivial temperature rise per century to neutralise alarmism, is probably a better standard measure to use for the most likely long term rise in global mean temperature.

  41. Anthony Scalzi says:
    June 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm
    phlogiston says:
    June 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:

    Is it not perhaps just an artifact what we can observe from ice cores and the like, with the older portions of the record in poorer shape such that only larger oscillations can be observed?

    The degree of agreement between various cores (Vostok, Law etc.) on the major warming and cool periods would seem to argue against such a poor condition of the ice core temporal record, although if this is true it would seriously undermine the value of the ice cores. I thought the problem with ice cores was the most recent century or two where contamination from the surface was possible, not the record further back – although of course dislocation/shearing is a problem for the older records.

  42. Berényi Péter says:
    June 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm
    Good to know that once upon a time climatology used to be a science instead of the pathetic pseudoscience it has become. It gives hope.

    Berenyi makes an important point. Although, technically, scientific advance continues to dazzle us, intellectually it is in danger of collapsing under its own vast weight of emitted verbiage. The sheer volume of published material can bury the true gems of science – consider for instance the army of climate PhD students today obediently boot-camped in AGW orthodoxy and most of who have never heard the name of Hubert Lamb. In many fields new researchers only use publications available electronically and never cite anything more than 10 years old, thinking (mistakenly) that it is obsolete – or maybe politically questionable.

    Journalism plays a corrosive role in science in this respect – there is an enormous arrogance with which news releases of “breaking” research present the work as brushing aside anything which has previously been done on the subject. As if we are being instructed by our political overseers “das ist dran” – this is the new established position on this subject.

  43. Did anyone else catch the fact that Lamb refers to the climate “improving” as it gets warmer and “deteriorating” as it gets colder? Interesting characterization, which I think is also correct–since his data relies on things like the growing regions for olives and grapes.

    More olive oil and more wine is definitely an “improvement” in my book!

  44. Volume 29, Issue 1 (February 2000)
    AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment

    Article: pp. 51–54 | Abstract | PDF (2.30M)
    How Warm Was the Medieval Warm Period?

    Thomas J. Crowley1 and Thomas S. Lowery2

  45. @phlogiston
    Yep, that’s the attractor I am talking about. If we were to be at the actual end of an ice age and the temperature shot up to 22C as it naturally will, what sort of doomsday predictions will we get from the church of CAGW. I understand it could be a million years coming, but if the world isn’t ruled by intelligent rabbits all the men long gone (or maybe even if it is,) someone will proclaim that the thermal end times are nigh.

  46. climatereason says:
    June 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Phil Jones is much maligned, he is very knowlegable on the basics.
    He helped edit this book which is really excellent; …

    The hockeystick is on page four,
    say no more …

  47. billy liar

    read the rest of the book-jones is merely one of the editors. He sometimes ‘over interprets’ the data and tries to protect his position but his basic knowledge is good
    tonyb

  48. This was a good effort and supportive of concerns about long term cooling, which, for a brief period mid last century, seemed to get some visibility. Unfortunately the Malthusians embraced it to help tout their population control mantra and somehow the notion of a future cooling challenge got discredited by association. That’s really a shame, because all indications are that the cooling is indeed underway when a long scale is selected.

  49. Stephen Richards says:
    June 25, 2012 at 1:14 am
    phlogiston says:

    June 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm
    There seems to be a shortening wavelength of oscillation between warm an cold periods:
    Lambs work, when building his past climate temperature graph, shows a shorter and shorter warm period as the planet approached the ice ages. So maybe you are right? Who knows?

    Are you referring to previous ice ages e.g. Eemian and earlier? I would be interested to see this research.

  50. Owen in Ga says:
    June 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm
    @phlogiston
    Yep, that’s the attractor I am talking about. If we were to be at the actual end of an ice age and the temperature shot up to 22C as it naturally will, what sort of doomsday predictions will we get from the church of CAGW. I understand it could be a million years coming, but if the world isn’t ruled by intelligent rabbits all the men long gone (or maybe even if it is,) someone will proclaim that the thermal end times are nigh

    I think REM said it best, “Its the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine…”

  51. Gwen says
    Thank you, Owen, for describing temperature in such a term as ‘shotup’. I really do get tired of reading scientifically produced material (as well as weather forecasts and so on) which describe temperatures as becoming ‘warmer’ / ‘cooling’. Climate or weather may be so described but not the temperature or the mercury. This review does not escape altogether – read ‘Climate during the Holocene’.

  52. An excellent precis of volume 2 by Anthony Watts.

    - Uncomfortable data for the CAGW camp. In the past it has been substantially warmer than today and the results have been far from catastrophic; except that
    - The excerpts quoted by Anthony Watts are eurocentric, describing extents of agriculture in Europe and North America. Was this cherry-picking or did Lamb’s work not discuss the effects of warmer climate in regions inhabited by the other 90% of the world’s population?

  53. @Oldfossil

    The extents of agriculture are based on documented historical evidence, which does not tend to be available in many places, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. Lamb acknowleges the lack of evidence there.

    However evidence from expanding glaciers in places such as New Zealand and Chile during the LIA suggests that the LIA (and logically therefore, the MWP) was a worldwide event.

    Most importantly, though, Lamb states categorically

    Evidence already cited at various places in this volume suggests that, for a few centuries in the Middle Ages, the climate in most parts of the world regained something approaching the warmth of the warmest postglacial times.

  54. Dr. Ball’s observation is that a “takeover” be Wrigley and followers destroyed Lamb’s files and the focus of the CRU, in the service of a political agenda. This is/was a template for what Warmism has been attempting to do to climate science ever since.

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