Newly found weather records show 1930’s as being far worse than the present for extreme weather

Plot of NOAA/NCDC state high temperature records by decade with atmospheric CO2 concentration overlaid. From C3 Headlines with thanks – click to visit website

The Heat Was On—Before Urbanization and Greenhouse Gases

By Patrick Michaels on World Climate Report

Sure is hot out! And what better time for a paper to appear in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology describing the construction of the “all-time” records for various types of weather extremes for each of the 50 United States plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The paper details efforts of the U.S. State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) established by the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and led by Dr. Karsten Shein. Basically, the SCEC dusted off old records and found other new sources. So now we have “new and improved” data (available here) for the value, the date and the location of the all-time high and low temperature, greatest 24-hr precipitation, greatest 24-hr snowfall and greatest snowdepth for 50 states and two territories. The statewide record extremes have been updated through 2011 and are subject to continuous updating.

This paper is an interesting read for those who perseverate on climate history and how it is constructed from a variety of observations both made from “official” (federal) observing stations as well as those deemed reliable from “non-official” observations (such as 12-oz soda bottles or credible “amateur” observer accounts). The new effort resulted in “the revision of 40 percent of the values” contained in the old dataset at NCDC and “underscored both the necessity of manual quality assurance methods as well as the importance of continued climate monitoring and data rescue activities to ensure that potential record values are not overlooked.”

It also is useful for putting the recent heat wave in perspective. Despite the 24/7 caterwauling, only two new state records—South Carolina and Georgia—are currently under investigation. And, looking carefully at Shein et al. dataset, there appears to be a remarkable lack of all-time records in recent years.

This is particularly striking given the increasing urbanization of the U.S. and the consequent “non climatic” warming that creeps into previously pristine records. Everything else being equal—and with no warming from increased greenhouse gases—most statewide records should be in or near big cities. But they aren’t.

This year there were a huge number (many thousands) of reports of daily high temperature records being set across the eastern two-thirds of the country in recent weeks, and even a large number (a few hundred) reports of all-time records high temperatures being set for a particular location. But if only two new statewide records were set, that’s hardly an historic heat wave when considered in its totality.

In Table 1, below, we list the all-time record daily maximum temperature observed in each of the 52 entries (as compiled by the SCEC) and the date and location where it was recorded. Notice that the vast majority of the all-time records were set more than half a century ago and that there are exceedingly few records set within the past few decades. This is not the picture that you would expect if global warming from greenhouse gas emissions were the dominant forcing of the characteristics of our daily weather. Instead, natural variability is still holding a strong hand.

Table 1. All-time statewide maximum temperatures (from NCDC)

In Table 2, we’ve compiled the top five years when the most records were set. When multiple years tie for the high, each individual year gets a fraction of a “record”. So, for example, 1954 and 1933 each get a half of a record for Colorado.

Table 2.

But this doesn’t stop people from implying that last week’s heat wave as an indication that global warming is leading to unprecedented conditions.

Capital Weather Gang (CWG)—the popular and respected weather blog for conditions in and around Washington DC, and one which is closely watched by the media, was quite vocal all about all-time records of one sort or another being set in our Nation’s Capital during last week’s heat wave.

If the Shein et al. methodology is applied to DC’s temperatures, then CWG’s very public pronouncements (they were picked up on the Drudge Report) are not all going to stand. That’s because CWG relied only on a single record, while largely ignoring the comprehensive set of observations historically taken within the geographical boundaries of the District of Columbia. The single record used by CWG is the “official” version of the Washington DC daily temperature which is a record which has been stitched together from observations made at National Airport (from 1945 through the present), which by the way is not even in the District of Columbia, and from observations taken at a Weather Bureau location at 24th and M street (1889 through 1944, and other locations prior to then). But when the records were concurrent (which they were during the 1940s and 1950s), only one is included (DCA).

If you really wanted to establish all-time records for Washington DC, you’d have to consider all available records that are credible—rather than relying on a data for a single “station.”

That’s what Shein et al. did. Although the SCEC has not yet compiled the all-time weather records for Washington DC, the word is that they are in the process of doing so, and are considering all available observations.

The CWG should do the same when discussing records for “Washington DC”. Or at the very least, they must be very clear that they are discussing a single (changing) location (i.e., Reagan National Airport, the downtown City Office, etc.) rather than Washington DC as a whole.

Here is an example of how things can go awry.

According to CWG, the recent heat wave “Washington D.C.” tied its record for the longest string of consecutive days in which the daily high temperature was 100°F or above. According to the CWG, the record was/is 4 days set in 1930 and 2012. However, in July/August 1953, 5 days in a row with temperatures of 100+°F were observed at the old Weather Bureau observing station at the City Office. These observations were from “an” official weather station within DC but not part of “the” “official” stitched together record. If the NCDC SCEC were compiling all-time strings of consecutive days of 100+°F, they most certainly would consider the old City Office records (including during the time of overlap with DCA observations), something that the Capital Weather Gang opted not to do.

Whether or not additional examination would alter any of the other “all-time” temperature that the Capital Weather Gang identified as being broken in “Washington DC” during the recent heat wave is unknown at this time.

One lesson here is that when considering “all-time” extreme weather records for a particular region, a comprehensive study must be undertaken (as described by Shein et al.) rather than simply deferring to a single station record.

The other take-home is that one has to be very careful about attributing the recent extreme temperatures to dreaded global warming. As noted above, there are surprisingly few all-time state records in recent years. Further, a look at their table indicates that only one of these—Providence RI, in 1975—comes from a city. Somehow—and this seems impossible—the dreaded greenhouse effect cannot raise already climbing urban temperatures to state record levels.

We can thank the SCEC for helping to do most of the dirty work in establishing an accurate dataset of all-time statewide record extremes for the United States that can be relied upon into the future, so that accurate assessments can be made when comparing current extreme weather events to past ones.

Reference:

Shein, K., D. Todey, F. Akyuz, J. Angel, T. Kearns, and J. Zdrojewski, 2012. Evaluating Statewide Climate Extremes for the United States. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, doi:10.1175/JAMC-D-11-0226.1, in press.

 

111 thoughts on “Newly found weather records show 1930’s as being far worse than the present for extreme weather

  1. per·sev·er·ate
    Verb:
    Repeat or prolong an action, thought, or utterance after the stimulus that prompted it has ceased.

    I had to look it up.

    The rest of Pat Michael’s report doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  2. Nice:-) Great to see that there are people still doing a good job.

    How many articles do we see where some journalist solemnly proclaims that some weather event or other is at an all time high due to climate change? The easiest way to illustrate the proof is with a graph, a picture painting a thousand words and all that, but how often does it happen? Apart from arctic ice and global temperatures can anyone think of a warmist graph?

    Sceptics need to have a slogan ‘SHOW US YER GRAPH!’

  3. Yes, yes, all of this is mildly interesting, but highly premature until the older records have undergone the proper “adjustments”.

  4. Even with a lower population, about a half million people were forced to leave the Dust Bowl states then.

  5. If July 1936 happened this year… To quote Bart Simpson…. so many folks in the climate science community would ‘have a cow’.

    I suspect that the retort is that the 1930s was an event brought on by natural variability with the confluence of xyz variables which all translate into warming forcings and feedbacks– WHILE 2012 is one where just about every single ‘natural variability’ indicator would point to us being in the ice box, were it not now for AGW … and then further posit that if 1936’s “natural” conditions were to occur in the futre along with our present-tracked AGW component, well, we may not survive it.

  6. I would have thought that heat waves might contribute to an increase
    in mean temperatures. Others seem to want to put the cart before the
    horse … Beats me.

  7. Well, is it just my eyeball Mark I seeing a flat, if not declining trend in the plot of NOAA/NCDC state high temperature records, or do you see the same trend as I do?

  8. Classic confirmatin bias on a massive scale is the only explanation these records hadn’t been surfaced by any of the thousands of main stream “scientists” involved in the AGW fraud. What do you expect with activists, not scientists, running all the major societies.

  9. Conditions in the N. Atlantic 1n the early 20th century were comparatively different to the late 20th and early 21st. This is clearly demonstrated by the CET (N. Atlantic is the main driver) when the summer – winter temperatures were running in the anti-phase.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETseasons.htm

    If USA temperatures were equally affected it is not known to me.

  10. Most certainly these records from the SCEC will be altered at some point. We are all aware of how current Global Warming causes prior temperature records to be adjusted downwards

  11. Claims of drought seem overblown.
    3 states have set a monthly record for driest month in the last 12 months.

    Colorado Mar 2012, Delaware Feb 2012, Wyoming Jun 2012.

    http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/2012-isnt-that-dry-so-far-noaa-precipitation-data-by-state/

    6 states have set a monthly record for wettest month in the last 12 months.

    Florida June 2012, NH Aug 2011,NJ Aug 2011,NY Aug 2011, Pennsylvania Sep 2011, Vermont Aug 2011

    http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/wettest-month-noaa-data-surprise-not-as-dry-as-they-claim/

  12. In Figure 1, note that the 1930s decade couldn’t be “adjusted” enough to prevent the perturbation of the otherwise “perfect” temp/CO2 fit. I now see what a Herculean effort Hansen et al made to squash the 1930s temps down – they had to go well beyond the limits of decency in their quest. I was a 30s baby but just missed 36 by 2 years. That decade was a topic of conversation in the parlours (we don’t have parlours in houses anymore – no kids allowed, for visitors like the preacher, etc.) of the continent throughout the 40s and when the dust storms came back in the fifties (I grew up in Winnipeg-flat prairie) I got to see what I had missed in the middle 30s – brown air, orangy-yellow sunlight, handkerchiefs over the nose, black/brown sweat-mud inside collars and cuffs, black snot, and tiny barchans of topsoil around the leaside of telephone poles, fence pickets and house corners.

    Well this extended the parlour talks of the dirty 30s for another few years – but winters had turned cold in the late 40s. I had a paper route and my mother used to walk with me in a January evening to collect for the newspapers – fearing that I might be overcome on my long walk in the dark cold from Portage Avenue – an east-west main streat on out of town to my last customer – a dairy farmer.. For her effort, I treated her to a movie – at night the fare was adult black and white silver screen stuff with Bogey, Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwick, and the like – 12 cents each – a fortune compared to the Saturday afternoon “Horse Operas” with Roy Rogers, Rod Cameron, Hoppy,… at 5 cents.

    Definitely, there has been a cherry-picking industry at work to hide this weather history..

  13. I had commented on other post how list I had from 2007 differed from list from 2009 and 2012. (I’d even put up a couple of the whole lists. They may have been more annoying than informative. 8-)
    I certainly hope that the differences were due to things being actually corrected rather than “adjusted”.
    PS The biggest was lowering the record high, set on the for the same day in the same year in the late 1800’s by 5*F. The very latest list raises it back up to the 2007 temperature.

  14. 10 years ago, when I was trying to decide if I should get a heat pump, I did several searches of the average heating days per month/day for my city and for areas where I had good, solid, data on the kWhr usage per day for heat pump usage. I found quite a few of these historical records and many went all the way back to the 30’s and even earlier. There were many daily accumulative tables of the heating degree days (HDD). A few years ago I had a brain storm that if it was getting warmer then the daily HDD would show this. I have spent many hours over the last few years trying to find this data again. It is not there. It has been removed. There are some that go back 10 years, and some that go back 20-25 years, depending on the city you look for and who is keeping it, but I can’t find the old NOAA tables that had the “ancient” history of these numbers. Where did they go? Why did they remove this information? Where is it? What are they hiding? Are they trying to revise history again?
    Second question. Why is it that when you read a thermometer, by sight, that you always visually round it to the closest whole digit or in some cases will indicate 1/2. But, when you convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, the decimal is carried out to two(+) places? Surely this has some effect upon the historical temperature reading. This would be further exacerbated by the fact that when it is cold out you unconsciously tend to see a colder temperature and when it is hot you see a hotter temperature.

  15. There is a case of “the mysterious trapper” in Canada. He was chased by authorities through what was thought to be an impassable mountain trail after shooting a constable. It is interesting that this occurred in 1934.

  16. I’ve seen articles that blame the dust bowl on farmers’ unsustainable practices.

    Studies which blame globlal warming for environmental issues come from scientists who fail to find a cause, or a remedy, for a local environmental issue, They take the easy way out, blaming the catch all “Global Warming” and in their minds they turn failure into success….and press! They might as well be blaming God, but then they are probably secular humanists, so that option is out.

    If they were honest scientists, they would admit that they cannot find a specific cause or remedy (for instance where oyster yields are down in Oregon). Instead they just piggy-back on the latest global catch phrase and act as though their research is relevant……and worthy of additional funding.

  17. pat says:
    July 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm
    Were the records found in Hansen’s garage?
    >>>>>>>>>>>

    Wrapped in discarded tree ring data and marked “secret”.

  18. All-time records are peculiar statistics because they amount to severe dependency of the data: each record redefines the records thereafter. Am I the only one who cannot make sense of the graphs and tables?

  19. The interesting thing about the 1930s in my opinion is that they still lack a decent explanation. Warmists are too busy trying to revise history so that it never happened. Sceptics are often too busy celebrating the fact that it was warmer back then and seldom go beyond that. Nobody seems to have much interest in explaining WHY it was so warm back then and why it shopped being so warm shortly thereafter.

  20. NCDC seems to have downscaled the Colorado max from the 1888 record of 118 at Bennett to a couple of more recent 114 degree readings (which may have been tied this year). Our state climatologist effectively discredited that old 118 reading some years ago, so the change is warranted – even though it might add a heat record (or tied record) to the current decade.

  21. I don’t see the 1930’s spate of USA entire-state alltime record highs, or the lack
    of these since the 1990’s, being proof that AGW does not exist at all. Have a
    look at the UAH lower troposphere global temperature anomaly index, and see
    that since 1979 the world has *warmed*, in part from natural cycles such as AMO.

    The 1930’s spate of records appears to me in part caused by farming practices
    that were a significant cause of the “dust bowl”.

    One effect that I see of global warming – whether by AMO/PDO or by CO2 –
    extratropical weather, especially in the northern hemisphere, getting milder.
    Extratropical weather events of scale that show up on weather maps are
    largely caused by horizontal temperature gradients. The Arctic has warmed
    more than the tropics – and the models predicted that item.
    So, I expect extratropical windstorms and temperature swings to get milder.
    The record shows a slight decreasing trend since 1950 of tornadoes in USA of
    strength F2 or more. The Blizzard of 1888 and no extratropical storms since
    then caused record low tides in Washington DC’s tidal waters, and probably a
    few snowfall records farther north that still stand.

    There is the matter that about 40% of reported post-1973 global warming
    (as reported via HadCRUT3) appears to me caused by a set of periodic
    natural cycles. And also, it appears to me that about 20% of the warming
    caused by increase of greenhouse gases appears to me caused by ones
    other than CO2, and whose increase was largely stopped in the 1990’s.

  22. Dear sweltering folks across the pond,

    “24/7 caterwauling” from the doomsayers? In 1988 this whole thing started as a result of ‘partial US Summer heatwave alarmism'; got promoted to ‘global warming'; got rebranded as ‘global climate change’, and has now slunk back to its parochial roots.

    It’s been said so many times in the last few weeks, but American AGW alarmists have no idea how absurd they currently sound to those of us in the outside world. Or indeed to anyone outside the little blob of red over part of the US.

    Travel more! Come and join those of us who will be shivering and drowning during the London Olympics! Watch with merriment as the Olympic Torch gets put out for the hundredth time by the rain!

    Yours faithfully,
    The unaffected 99% of the planet.

  23. Speaking of old data I thought you would all get a kick from this recollection of my mother’s yesterday. She assertively wrote this “good ‘ole days” (1936 +/-1yr) anecdote for me to pass on to WUWT:

    “Dear Mr. Watts,

    My son Paul and I have been discussing the recent heat wave and I was going back recalling some of my childhood days, some 75 years ago. Our home in Cleveland, Ohio was on a corner lot. I can remember when, in the very hot summer afternoons, the intersection in the center of the streets would blow up at least two times each summer and had to be replaced by the street pavers. The street was of bricks and the whole center of it left quite a mess. Fortunately, no one was hurt from flying bricks. Then, when the intersection was re-laid we had fun chewing the new cooled black tar which surrounded the perimeter (of the intersection).

    (Her drawing of the intersection left out, unfortunately.)

    So, this is my story and the heat and humidity this year has brought back another recall.”

    Mom was 9 in 1936 and don’t tell her it’s hotter these days and she very much appreciates AC over ice blocks!

    PLM

  24. Apparently the UK Met Office released a report this week that, according to Louise Gray in the Telegraph, ‘for the first time, attributed a number of severe weather events to climate change. The study concluded that the devastating heatwave in Texas last year was about 20 times more likely to have happened because of climate change rather than natural variation’. And supposedly ‘the second hottest (UK) November on record in 2011 was 60 times more likely than in the 1960s because of climate change’. Lengthy quotes follow from Peter Stott, including the inevitable ‘it will take much more research to know…’ and ‘Our vulnerability to extreme weather is much greater than it used to be.’

    Sounds like a load of tosh to me, but has anyone seen this report?

  25. I’m surprised that the NCDC would put this out. It must mean that an independent steering committee was appointed to oversee this work and Tom Karl and Tom Peterson were kept out of it somehow.

    Just look at the 1936 numbers. 4 records of 120F or 49C on different days in Oklahoma in the same year. What was “The Grapes of Wrath” about again?

  26. Re: Dust Bowl and farming practices

    No, it wasn’t the farming practices that caused the dust bowl. Yes, they made it worse, and yes, new farming practices such as leaving stubble to stand in the field instead of burning it off made things better. But the cause of the drought was likely natural. Captain John Palliser explored the Canadian prairie in (if memory serves) 1857 to 1860. He reported the entire region as arid, desert like, and unfit for human habitation. Happened before, and the conditions that caused it will most likely happen again. With better land management practices such as zero till, planting of wind breaks and erection of snow fences, hardier strains of grain, and yes, one of the biggest helping hands of all, more CO2, the next round of drought won’t be as hard on the local farmers as the dirty thirties was.

  27. I hate to be the bearer of bad news,but I have found a fatal flaw in Mr.Michaels’ work. His start point for these record temperatures obviously goes back WAY to far.We all know that no temperatures (recorded at least) existed prior to 1985 A.D. Who’s cherry picking and adjusting now??
    (MOD squad….surely I don’t have to add the sarc tag?)

  28. The wqrmists know this but must continue pushing the big hoax. How can they life a life of lies and deceit?

  29. UzUrBrain says:
    July 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    10 years ago, when I was trying to decide if I should get a heat pump, I did several searches of the average heating days per month/day for my city and for areas where I had good, solid, data on the kWhr usage per day for heat pump usage. I found quite a few of these historical records and many went all the way back to the 30′s and even earlier. There were many daily accumulative tables of the heating degree days (HDD). A few years ago I had a brain storm that if it was getting warmer then the daily HDD would show this. I have spent many hours over the last few years trying to find this data again. It is not there. It has been removed. There are some that go back 10 years, and some that go back 20-25 years, depending on the city you look for and who is keeping it, but I can’t find the old NOAA tables that had the “ancient” history of these numbers. Where did they go? Why did they remove this information? Where is it? What are they hiding? Are they trying to revise history again?

    Two or three years ago there were a few similar posts to this one here one WUWT, one by me. If there were any sort of well-organized, well-funded machine behind us, its opposition research investigators would have got on the scent pronto. Instead, this valuable lead has languished.

    How about it, Heartland? It wouldn’t cost much, and the potential payoff in public perception would be high if it turned out there had been an effort to dump these records down the memory hole. That’s something “you don’t need a weatherman” to understand.

  30. Ted says:
    July 14, 2012 at 5:17 pm
    The wqrmists know this but must continue pushing the big hoax. How can they life a life of lies and deceit?
    >>>>>>>>>>>

    $ conquers ethics.

  31. The answer is clear: just let Jim Hansen and friends “adjust” the data until the correct answers are given…. /sarcasm

  32. We must get rid of the 1930s warm period. Get ready for new graphs showing the 1930s like the Little Ice Age.

  33. Does anyone actually believe any of these high temperatures are actual “records” in the sense they are the highest ever? Of course not. They are only the highest in recorded history. There’s a little bit of arrogance about man thinking once he got around, the world began.

    That having been said, records will be more easily “broken” when measurements start, and then it will become increasingly difficult. Breaking “records,” may show an unusual trend, or not.

    It’s a waste of time.

  34. Everything else being equal—and with no warming from increased greenhouse gases—most statewide records should be in or near big cities.

    I don’t think this is right. Urban areas have their biggest effect on nighttime temperatures, and on an exceptionally dry, hot day the tendency for urban areas to have watered lawns and shrubbery tends to keep the temperature down a bit compared to the surrounding baking countryside. Right downtown where concrete defeats lawns I’d expect exceptionally high temperatures, but that’s not where most of the urban thermometers are.

    In the 2011 Texas drought, for example, Dallas Love Field had some of the hottest nights anywhere, but wasn’t in the running for hottest days.

  35. I’m not a warmer, but these repeat posts with the same flawed analysis makes me wonder if I picked some other form of wrong side.

    No Miendert Eiting, you are not alone.

  36. Mindert Eiting says:
    July 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm
    All-time records are peculiar statistics because they amount to severe dependency of the data: each record redefines the records thereafter. Am I the only one who cannot make sense of the graphs and tables?
    ======================================
    What is the trouble? An all time record is just that, the hottest recorded. Here is a different way of looking at the data…From Steve Goddard…
    ” There are 901 USHCN stations which were operating during both 1930 and 2011. Out of those stations, eighty-nine percent set their all time July 14 maximum temperature record with CO2 below 350 ppm.

    Thirty-eight percent (347) set their all time July 14 record during the 1930s and eighteen percent (162) set their all-time July 14 record during the 1950s.

    Only three stations have set their all time July 14 record during the current decade.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/89-of-us-july-14-high-temperature-records-were-set-below-350-ppm-co2/

  37. My daughter just finished 7th Grade and one of the books for them to read was “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
    I had ordered the DVD for her to watch after she finished, and the first line of the movie says it all. The movie is set in 1932 in Maycomb, Alabama.
    From the script, this is the start of the movie as they fade in on the sleepy town:

    “Maycomb was a tired, old town,
    even in 1932 when I first knew it.
    Somehow it was hotter then.”

  38. John N-G pointed out correctly above that the urban areas often don’t compete with rural areas for hottest high temps due to cooling factors such as irrigated lawns. But then he gave this example:

    “In the 2011 Texas drought, for example, Dallas Love Field had some of the hottest nights anywhere, but wasn’t in the running for hottest days”

    Love Field is nothing more than an a heat sink. It is a giant area of concrete, not very dark colored and heat absorbing, but it is heat retaining. We would expect both lower highs and higher lows there, all other things being equal. I doubt that nearby irrigation has much of an effect. I have often pointed out that Reagan National has some higher lows due to gravel around the thermometer. It was the subject of a post here a few years ago (incorrectly id’d as asphalt) but has doubled in size since. My observations are that it raises nighttime lows on clear calm nights.

  39. David asks what is the trouble. I want to be constructive: standardize all weather variables for the considered period, producing z-scores. Report for each year the sum of squared z-scores. Like sport-statistics these weather records are nice stuff but, as other readers also pointed out, they cannot be used in a meaningful analysis. Just some remarks by a skeptic.

  40. RE: morebrocato says:
    July 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm
    “…I suspect that the retort is …….. 2012 is one where just about every single ‘natural variability’ indicator would point to us being in the ice box, were it not now for AGW … ”

    You are correct. I have already heard this retort during quite a number of conversations, here and elsewhere. (It can be annoying, especially when the same people who said the sun had no effect now say Global Warming is negating the “quiet” sun’s cooling effect…..but never mind that.)

    However a problem with this retort is that one “natural variable” is a sixty-year-cycle, and according to that we were suppose to return to Dust Bowl conditions (and have severe 1938-like East-coast hurricanes) starting back in the 1990’s.

    Instead it is cooler.

    The only way around the fact we have not returned to the heat of the 1930’s is to ignore how hot it was back then, and to exaggerate how hot it is now. And that is exactly what I see some doing.

  41. How is any statistical bias based on the number of observations dealt with? If no observations are made at all, then no ‘records’ of any kind could be broken. Conversely, if a ‘record’ of any kind does occur, then a large number of stations/thermometers is more likely to capture that data.

    I would guess that in modern times there might be more observations made, even if this is due to simply having a larger population. Is this the case?

  42. This is particularly striking given the increasing urbanization of the U.S. and the consequent “non climatic” warming that creeps into previously pristine records. Everything else being equal—and with no warming from increased greenhouse gases—most statewide records should be in or near big cities. But they aren’t.

    Up to the 1950s, aerosol levels were much higher in cities than rural areas. These aerosols and aerosol seeded clouds reduced solar insolation and this would be most marked on otherwise cloudless days, ie days that are cloudless in rural locations. These cloudless days are also the days on which very high temperatures are recorded. This is the reason few record high temperatures were set in cities before the 1950s.

    After the 1950s, aerosol levels began to decline. A trend that accelerated in the 1970s when vehicle aerosol emissions were sharply reduced. As aerosol levels declined, solar insolation increased, resulting in higher temperatures.

    Thus, the post 1970s warming was largely caused by decreasing urban aerosol levels combined with an increasing urbanization bias (including an airports bias) in the surface temperature datasets.

  43. UzUrBrain says:

    July 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Why is it that when you read a thermometer, by sight, that you always visually round it to the closest whole digit or in some cases will indicate 1/2. But, when you convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit, the decimal is carried out to two(+) places?

    And if you hold a thermometer vertically above your head at arms length it reads colder and if you hold it vertically below your head at arms length it reads hotter. Tilting it backwards and forwards has the same effect.

  44. We in the UK have suffered a very cold, wet and windy May, June and so far July. Flash floods have been common. This is due to the Southerly positioning of the jet stream. But, of course, the warmists are blaming it on AGW. Unfortunately our Met Office has yet to carry out a search of
    relevant records that might show if and when similar conditions have arisen in the past.

  45. I’m surprised that an alarmist hasn’t bothered to mention that US weather is local not global.

  46. michael hart says:
    July 15, 2012 at 1:36 am
    How is any statistical bias based on the number of observations dealt with? I would guess that in modern times there might be more observations made, even if this is due to simply having a larger population. Is this the case?
    ——————————————————————————–

    Yes, these factors would lead to more records, both cool and warm. And it would be good to know how many of the all time recorde are from a station operating for the entire period, instead of creating complicated questionable statistics, and dozens of debatable fudge factors. it is far better to do for the entire record, what Steve Goddard did here….
    …From Steve Goddard…
    ” There are 901 USHCN stations which were operating during both 1930 and 2011. Out of those stations, eighty-nine percent set their all time July 14 maximum temperature record with CO2 below 350 ppm.

    Thirty-eight percent (347) set their all time July 14 record during the 1930s and eighteen percent (162) set their all-time July 14 record during the 1950s.

    Only three stations have set their all time July 14 record during the current decade.

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/89-of-us-july-14-high-temperature-records-were-set-below-350-ppm-co2/

  47. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not missing the obvious – it was easier to set temperature records in the 30’s because the temperature record had only been running for about 40 years. Surely it is harder to set them today because there are 120 years of records to beat?

    Yes, it does appear that the 30’s were a decade with some extremes of temperature, but some sort of normalisation needs to be applied to account for the fact that the existing temperature record was so much shorter back then.

  48. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past decade it’s that there’s a lot of people who aren’t interested in data, they are only interested in their own self-interest.

    You see it in politics with parties of all hues transposing onto their opponents their own grubby behaviour (be that Tories/Labour to Libdems in the UK currently; Democrat/Republican to Republican/Democrat at pretty much all times in the US). Truth goes out the window, but if you repeat the lie often enough and loud enough, enough people are fool enough to believe it.

    You see it in climate change.

    You see it in the nature/nurture debate in biology (although that’s pretty close to politics when it comes to the attitudinal states of the brain as a result of childhood).

    You see it in the GM crop ‘debate’ (trench warfare is a more accurate description of that pair of interests-based protagonists).

    As a person who can’t win fights by thuggery, I’ve never behaved that way and until recently I couldn’t understand why others did. Now I realise it’s their way of gaining/retaining influence/wealth.

    I wouldn’t be surprised by what you describe: I’d describe it as situation normal.

    What you need to monitor is whether any approach you use to overcome it is actually successful.

  49. Unfortunately we have our own idiots over here in the UK. David Attenborough was reported as saying that the cold, wet non-summer we’re having in the UK is due to global warming.
    In March the Met Office forecast for the next quarter was that most likely it would be warm and dry (at the time much of the country was warm and experiencing drought). In fact the summer has been extremely wet and very cool, exactly the opposite of the Met Office quarterly forecast – and the exact opposite of their climate predictions. In other words, yet another BBQ summer. They never seem to learn.
    .
    In today’s Sunday Telegraph Christopher Booker lists some UK extreme weather events going back many decades, including Lynmouth (34 people killed) and the North Sea flood (307 people killed in England alone). Both of these occurred in 1952. If you go back into the Little Ice Age some storms in England and Europe each killed 100,000 people (from H.H.Lamb) and one storm killed 400,000.
    Perhaps Attenborough should look at the actual data, rather than newspaper headlines. Unfortunately we’re being forced to pay for this lunacy through inflated energy bills.
    Chris

  50. Oh very, very funny.

    Please put the 2000’s in the bar chart. It stops at the 1990’s. I WONDER why that is. I do understand that you can’t put the 2010’s in yet, however the records in the 2010’s are comprehensively breaking the records set in the 1930’s.

    Oh and whilst the 1930’s broke a LOT or earler levels, if you take the 1930’s out of the picture, then the 2010’s will be breaking ALL of the records and have a bar much higher than the 1930’s.

    Another point is that the 1930’s were fuelled by “No you DIDN’T guess it”. Global Warming. Global warming is not a 21st century phenomena, it’s been going on “industrially” for 200 years.

    Nice try but I’m not buying it.

  51. It was pretty bloody hot in the US in the 30’s. I hope it never gets that hot again.

  52. Simon Wood … you’re not wrong … and add the fact that the recent records break the records set then! I fail to understand the logic of comments in this thread, but then I guess that must make me a “warmist”?

  53. Some 30s extreme weather from Canada not surpassed (and apparently not hidden away):

    http://www.ec.gc.ca/meteo-weather/default.asp?lang=En&n=6A4A3AC5-1

    •The Deadliest Heat Wave in History – July 5-17, 1936. Temperatures exceeding 44°C in Manitoba and Ontario claimed 1,180 Canadians (mostly the elderly and infants) during the longest, deadliest heat wave on record. Four hundred of these deaths were caused by people who drowned seeking refuge from the heat. In fact, the heat was so intense that steel rail lines and bridge girders twisted, sidewalks buckled, crops wilted and fruit baked on trees.
    •Hottest Day on Record – July 5, 1937. The highest temperature ever recorded in Canada was reached at Midale and Yellowgrass, Saskatchewan when the mercury soared to 45°C.

    •Ontario’s Coldest Day on Record – December 29, 1933. Fourteen sites recorded their coldest-ever temperature, including Ottawa at -38.9°C and Algonquin Park at -45.0°C. Outside Ontario, record cold temperatures were also set in Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
    •Cold Wave Grips Eastern North America – February 1934. A cold wave engulfed the continent from Manitoba to the Atlantic seaboard and down the east coast to Palm Beach, Florida. Ice trapped fishing vessels off Nova Scotia, hospitals were jammed with frostbite victims and, for only the second time in recorded history, Lake Ontario froze completely over.

  54. Dave Worley on June 14 you associated Warmists with atheists and liberals.

    If that’s the general attitude on this site then I’d say it was agenda-driven, wouldn’t you?

    I’m a “born again” climate skeptic having recently “converted” from the climate change religion. But as a genuine skeptic I don’t swallow anyone’s BS even when I agree with their outlook on the whole.

    For example, we have had many articles and comments on this site saying that global warming is actually a Good Thing. Being an emergence from the Little Ice Age it will re-open high latitude areas to habitation and agriculture. Then we have other articles and comments saying that no warming is happening at all.

    We can’t have it both ways, people. We’re making ourselves look bloody stupid. Which is it going to be? Is global climate moving into a beneficial interglacial Warm Period, or is warming just a myth? Make up your minds.

    PS I’m a devout atheist.

  55. The worst droughts to hit North America in the last 800 years occured during the 17th Century during the coldest decades of the LIA. And these droughts occured along the Eastern Seaboard and not the Great Plains. Dr. David Stahle of the University of Arkansas studies of North American Cyrpess trees uncovered some fascinating information concerning the climate of the Tidewater States. Early Spanish missionairies attempted to set up a mission in Virginia, but had to abandon their settlement due to lack of rain and excessive heat (They eventually found a place to settle in present day Saint Augustine Florida). Later, came the English settlers, who suffered during the worst years of the drought. From1008-1624 over half of the 8000 settlers at Jamestown starved due to the severe drought. Little to no rain fell during the years 1606-1609 and again during the early 1620s.

    What is interesting is the fact that this drought occured during some of the coldest decades on the globe during the last 1000 years.

  56. Why does the graph at the top of this page stop in the year 2000? Is it NOAA unable to report the last decade’s data, over a year later? Or has the graph been drawn specifically to exclude the 2000’s?

    REPLY:
    It doesn’t. You’ve misinterpreted what the graph is. This is about all time record high temperatures by state per decade. Note the there’s no data in the 2000’s, (i.e. no new records ) just as there are none in the 190’s and 1960’s – Anthony

  57. I’ve always been vaguely irritated by the drama queen squealing that the current weather is “all mankinds fault” because there are newspaper reports from the late 1920’s and mid 1930’s saying very similar things to the pro CAGW factions of today.

    Those who do not study history……

  58. rogerknights says:
    July 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    UzUrBrain says:
    July 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm
    10 years ago, when I was trying to decide if I should get a heat pump, I did several searches of the average heating days per month/day for my city and for areas where I had good, solid, data on the kWhr usage per day for heat pump usage. I found quite a few of these historical records and many went all the way back to the 30′s and even earlier. There were many daily accumulative tables of the heating degree days (HDD). A few years ago I had a brain storm that if it was getting warmer then the daily HDD would show this. I have spent many hours over the last few years trying to find this data again. It is not there. It has been removed. There are some that go back 10 years, and some that go back 20-25 years, depending on the city you look for and who is keeping it, but I can’t find the old NOAA tables that had the “ancient” history of these numbers. Where did they go? Why did they remove this information? Where is it? What are they hiding? Are they trying to revise history again?

    Two or three years ago there were a few similar posts to this one here one WUWT, one by me. If there were any sort of well-organized, well-funded machine behind us, its opposition research investigators would have got on the scent pronto. Instead, this valuable lead has languished.

    How about it, Heartland? It wouldn’t cost much, and the potential payoff in public perception would be high if it turned out there had been an effort to dump these records down the memory hole. That’s something “you don’t need a weatherman” to understand.

    I also posted several times on HDD and CDD histories. Many power companies have collected that information for decades to help them do load planning, as heating and cooling requirements follow HDD abd CDD quite closely. That same information is also used by mechanical engineers in heating and cooling design calculations to plan air handling systems for buildings. I would be very very surprised if there are not extensive tables of such information in older books aimed at the heating and cooling industry that could be harvested.

    Likewise I also posted that official weather service temperatures were parallel recorded in local newspapers, as each day the newspapers would publish the most recent daily high temperature and often published stories about weather such as “we just missed breaking the record high of xx set in 18xx”. A diligent research effort to go through newspaper archives would I am sure totally blow the current “adjusted” temperature records out of the water as there is no way they can remove or adjust data that was published in public records like the major newspapers decades ago. All that data is just sitting there in your local libraries.

    Even a volunteer project like the surface station audit could assemble historical temperature records from library microfilm archives of local news papers.

    More importantly it would also help document the historic movements in locations for the temperatures of record. For example here in Colorado the local official temperature has been taken in several locations. Comparing the old Stapleton National Weather Service temperatures to the current measurements now made out at DIA is comparing apples and oranges, not to mention the older measurements made in down town Denver up until 1949, prior to the move to Stapleton

    At the Weather Underground you find that the weather station location has moved 3 times in the last century.

    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/PCG/comment.html?entrynum=23

    From 1871 to 1949 Denver’s weather was recorded at the National Weather Service’s office in downtown Denver. In January 1950 a move was made to Stapleton International Airport.

    As that facility aged Denver opened Denver International Airport on the plains northeast of Denver in 1995. The weather service followed suit and moved the Mile High City’s official weather station the 12 miles to DIA.

    Those three locations are different micro climates. Downtown Denver is at the confluence of the Platte River and Cherry creek drainages and sits in a shallow river valley. At the time the core city was relatively small with few skyscrapers and abundant watered lawns and trees through out the central Denver Metro area.

    Stapleton was located to the North west on higher ground, at the time near the edge of the green Metro area with lots of trees in the nearby metro neighborhoods but transitioning onto an open plains environment with most of the ground to the north east open grass plains prairie. After the construction of I70 in the late 1960’s and expansions of the runways, the Stapleton weather station has concrete runways and a major highway on 3 sides of it.

    Now DIA sits out on the high plains in totally barren high plains prairie with a distinct lack of local shading or local lawn watering or trees. In the summer time when the wind is calm this area turns into an oven. The Location of the old record high of 118 degrees claimed for Bennet is just a few miles south east of DIA.

    Larry

  59. NeilT

    You can simply look at the table to count the number of daily records afterr 1999. It is a grand total of 0.5–a tie in South Dakota. You wouldn’t be able to see the bar in a bar chart.

  60. NeilT says:
    July 15, 2012 at 5:18 am
    Please put the 2000′s in the bar chart. It stops at the 1990′s. I WONDER why that is. I do understand that you can’t put the 2010′s in yet, however the records in the 2010′s are comprehensively breaking the records set in the 1930′s.

    Better contact NOAA and tell them you think their records are wrong, then.

    Oh and whilst the 1930′s broke a LOT or earler levels, if you take the 1930′s out of the picture, then the 2010′s will be breaking ALL of the records and have a bar much higher than the 1930′s.

    As long as you look at it that way, take the past hundred years’ out of the picture — look at all the records that 2012 would set!

  61. Simon Wood (@smimon) says:
    July 15, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not missing the obvious – it was easier to set temperature records in the 30′s because the temperature record had only been running for about 40 years. Surely it is harder to set them today because there are 120 years of records to beat?

    Thanks for posting. The logic of the color graph needs explanation, since “all time records” would logically tend to be broken at a lesser rate over time – unless you have more temperature-gathering stations and more temperature gatherers. If either of these statements is true, this graph is an absurdity.

  62. The bulk of climate lies and deception has reached dangerous levels!

    Thhey havent really thougt of what the conseqvenses will be people dont like to be lied to and they react in different ways. when they find out. How can NASA just watch GISS to drag its reputation down in mud? There are now miljons all ower the world who has become dependent of this climate fraud Its important that they get a fair chance to be able to get off this gravy¨train before it will kill everyone ombord when the wheels allredy has lsot contact with the rails!

  63. I’ve been searching the NCDC site and I have to say that Patrick Michaels seems to have cherry-picked the data for his chart. Multiple other datasets show different results. What is going on?

  64. When you think about the size of the world (which we have been lulled into believing it is the size of a marble, or maybe a bowling ball, depending on the size of the book depicting the Earth), and all the days of the year, and all the sensor locations, which translates into all the opportunities to set records, random chance would dictate that occasionally and for no special catastrophic reason, records will be set. Yawn.

  65. So if the AGW hypothesis is correct, those exact same sensors, minus any UHI, should have been the same ones that recorded this most recent record and at the same point in the season. Each sensor should have recorded an even hotter high temp. And each successive year, continued to record higher temps. Else they are simply recording weather events, nothing more.

  66. Pat raises a fair point that CWG would have been more thorough to examine multiple stations rather than just the “official” record for DC (which includes Reagan National, and predecessor sites in the District). We used the official DCA record because that’s what the local NWS uses for records and what we had time to analyze. But for the future, we’ll try to look at multiple sites.

    Note: when Pat says “at the very least, [CWG] must be very clear that they are discussing a single (changing) location (i.e., Reagan National Airport, the downtown City Office, etc.) rather than Washington DC as a whole.” I think we were clear about this. Note this excerpt from the blog post of ours that Pat critiques:

    “Caveat

    “Comparison of modern Washington, D.C. temperature data from Reagan National Airport with data prior to the 1940s – when temperatures were measured near Georgetown – is complicated. The two observing stations have different environments and both areas experienced population growth and urbanization over time.

    “Due to the effect of urbanization and the station move to Reagan National (a somewhat warmer, lower elevation location), it’s likely somewhat “easier” to set warm records now versus earlier decades – especially for low temperatures. Thus, the 1930 and 2012 comparison above is not exactly apples to apples”

  67. Pat makes a VERY good point about the records at DC. and yes there has been some awful ” reporting : ( if one can call it that) by the main stream media about this heat wave and AGW. That being said Pat’s point about the 1930s is NOT relevant. The problem with this argument … which conservatives ignore… is that the warmth of 1930s or say 500 years ago ..does not prove or disprove that the current warming is or is not Human drive or Human induced.

    It may be warmth of 1930s may indeed have some bearing on the silly argument that the current warmth is Unprecedented . But based on what Pat presents here… that is not supported .

  68. Oldfossil

    What is your problem? I am merely stating what is in Shein’s paper! Further, I have a bit more information, thanks to Karsten Shein, namely that they are looking at SC and GA to see if they re-set the record in the last heat wave, and that he thinks that the DC record will yield results similar to what we detailed in our response to Capital Weather.

    To all citing the “length of record” issue: If climate data is a random variable with a normal distribution, then the chance of an individual year being a record is 1/n, where n is the number of years. It doesn’t matter if there are, say, 40, i.e. in 1936, or 115, i.e. now. Prior data have no influence on the present. If they did, you could make a killing at any crap game.

  69. BTW, to remove some of the “heat” from this discussion, I suggest that everyone go back to see how Capital Weather took great pains during the 2009-10 snow season to check all of the DC records. They noted the problems with the “official” station moves then, and all both of us (CWG and yours truly) are doing is to remind everyone of the multiple station problem when claiming records.

    May I reiterate that the remarkable findings in Shein are that the early statewide records are so robust and how they haven’t been beaten by urbanization?

  70. Seeing as the jump was so high from previous decades (1920s, 1910s etc), the 1930s was a decade full of extreme hot record-breakers.

    Here is the annual temperature plot for the contiguous USA.

    Annual time series from 1900

    Clearly the US has warmed over the period, and while the 30s was a hot decade nationally, it’s not as hot as the last of decade.

    Now look at the time series for just the month of June to present.

    Time series plot month of June from 1900

    Whoa! Suddenly the 30s appear to be hotter than recent.

    July 2012 isn’t available yet, so we’ll plot July values up to 2011.

    Time series plot month of July to 2011

    For July, the 30s seem to be about on par with the most recent decade.

    It seems that summertime temps in the 1930s for the contiguous US were comparable to recent, even while that decade was cooler than the most recent.

    It is quite possible there were more maximum temp records broken recently in cities and towns nationally than in the 1930s. But to discern that, you’d need to make an apples to apples comparison.

    From March 2012, according to NCDC:

    Every state in the nation experienced a record warm daily temperature during March. According to preliminary data, there were 15,272 warm temperature records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records). Hundreds of locations across the country broke their all-time March records. There were 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2012/3/

    Similar for June (170 records broken).

    A single location within a state may experience some freak weather event causing a massive temp spike well above the normal maximum and this is likelier to occur wherever the state is warmest in general. This is the NCDC data Michaels uses. But records may be broken in other parts of the state that don’t get recorded simply because the record isn’t the hottest in the state.

    It will be interesting to compare again when the July data are all in.

  71. barry, I charted the year with the warmest month for each state using NOAA data.

    March did set a lot of warmest month records.

    April and May set none. June set 1 – Colorado.

    All of the blue squares were in the last 10 months. All of the yellow were before 2000,

    http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/07/11/noaa-warmest-months-for-each-state-june-2012-edition/

    And I believe some or all of this data is heavily adjusted upwards.

    And I think there are almost as many set in the 1895 to 1899 as there were in 2012 so far.

  72. In simpler words, Michaels is referring to a data set where 24 maximum temp records were broken in the 30s (that may or may not have been broken this July). But nationally, the US is recently seeing hundreds and even thousands of records broken in some months.

    Point of interest: most of the records broken during the 30s were in 1936. Must have been a freakishly hot summer that year.

    Amendment – I noticed there were some states that had more than one record-breaker. That doesn’t impact much on my point.

  73. sunshine,

    Good job on the chart.

    Those are the hottest all time records for one (or a couple of ties) place in each state. It’s still not an apples to apples comparison. It may well be that there are more hot records being set recently, but they may be located at cooler regions in each state, and therefore don’t show up in the NCDC database you’re using. Much more data is needed to compare with the recent incidence of record-breakers throughout the US.

  74. barry: “Those are the hottest all time records for one (or a couple of ties) place in each state.”

    No. Those are highest state average temperatures for each month.

    I think it is interesting that 10 out of the 48 states have 1895 or 1896 as the warmest May. 7 have April as the warmest in the 1890s. 5 Septembers in the 1890s.

    Imagine how warm it could have been before 1895.

  75. Ok, you’re using a different metric from Michaels.

    Out of interest, I tallied up all the record-breakers for the 1930s (in keeping with the subject of this thread) and then the last 10 years, using your chart.

    1930 to 1939 = 115 record-breakers

    2003 to 2012 = 129 record-breakers

    Of course, we’re only half-way through 2012.

    (I’d be glad for you to double check. It’s possible I miscounted)

  76. I see that the records do not extend before 1895, so I tallied up the decade from that year.

    1895 to 1904 = 49 record-breakers

  77. Steve Mosher in another (later) thread here

    As for times before 1979? it doesnt really matter one way or the other. world is getting warmer, you can expect expect less arctic ice..

  78. @michaelspj, on the ncdc site I looked at about 20 data tables. Every single one of these tables shows rising temperatures and (where applicable) a hot 2001-2010 decade; every table but one. That one table was used to generate the chart I’m complaining about.

    America is the only nation in the world where it is a fundamental tenet of Christianity that the theory of evolution is false. I went to a Catholic school, not in America, and we were taught evolution. We were taught that it is perfectly compatible with Christianity. To the rest of the world, American fundamental Christians look stupid.

    Of all the climate skeptic pages on the net, this is the only one where it is a fundamental tenet that there is no warming. (No I lie, there’s also the somewhat fanatical C3 page.) I don’t see why WUWT followers have chosen such a shaky platform to fight on. Rising global temperatures are perfectly compatible with the CAGW-skeptic position. The skeptic does not accept unproven claims that the warming is anthropogenic; the skeptic has evidence (from verified historical records not hypothetical computer models) that a warm planet is a happy planet. That’s a pretty strong place to be. Why compromise your stance by getting into a futile controversy over the temperature records? It’s not essential to the skeptic argument, and even if you are one hundred per cent right, John Public is not going to believe you without a lot of convincing, and John Public hasn’t got the patience for that. You are making yourselves look ridiculous.

  79. oldfossil: “Of all the climate skeptic pages on the net, this is the only one where it is a fundamental tenet that there is no warming. ”

    It warms and cools.

    These are the number of warmest months for the continental 48 states. And the data is heavily adjusted to favor recent years.

    189x 29
    190x 30
    191x 37
    192x 42
    193x 99
    194x 38
    195x 53
    196x 37
    197x 12
    198x 37
    199x 42
    200x 69
    201x 51

    Supposedly CO2 caused a lot of warming after 1950.

    When all the pre-1950 warmest months are gone, then you can tell me it is warming.

  80. Simon Wood (@smimon) says:
    July 15, 2012 at 4:57 am

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but is this not missing the obvious – it was easier to set temperature records in the 30′s because the temperature record had only been running for about 40 years. Surely it is harder to set them today because there are 120 years of records to beat?
    (also
    Bill Parsons says:
    July 15, 2012 at 12:17 pm
    Ed Barbar says:
    July 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm )

    OK. The chart shows ALL TIME temperature records – not just temperature records from starting point up until that decade. Otherwise, the first decade would set every record, and there would be a declining number of records subsequently. A random distribution of data for ALL TIME records would produce a flat line, whereas a random distribution of data of breaking the record to date would produce the declining trend tending towards zero that you imagine.

  81. Mindert Eiting says:
    July 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    All-time records are peculiar statistics because they amount to severe dependency of the data: each record redefines the records thereafter. Am I the only one who cannot make sense of the graphs and tables?

    No. My understanding of this is that a new all-time record replaces the previous all-time record within a particular data series. Thus there is only ever one all-time record in each data series. Therefore examining a dataset for all-time records examines all the data points for a particular series and picks out the (highest) record from that series. Thus there is a fixed number of all-time records distributed across the years (decades), and would produce a flat line for random data. When a new record is set, that becomes the new all-time record, eliminating the one it supercedes.

  82. Oldfossil,

    If you would actually do some background work you would find that most of the scientists trained in relevant fields who blog on thie site in fact do agree that the surface temperature has warmed. The argument is not about the heat, it is about the sensitivity–and peculiarites like the paucity of statewide records in recent years. If all of this is true, it is another victory for the “lukewarmers”.

    So, at the outset you are dead wrong about WUWT, which leads me to believe you have some other ax to grind. Given that, why are you writing here?

  83. oldfossil says:
    July 16, 2012 at 3:42 am
    America is the only nation in the world where it is a fundamental tenet of Christianity that the theory of evolution is false.

    Christianity is not a monolithic block in America. I had a Catholic education and was taught that religion and science do not conflict, because the former is based on faith and the latter on evidence.

    Of all the climate skeptic pages on the net, this is the only one where it is a fundamental tenet that there is no warming.

    It’s been warming since the LIA, and I doubt you’ll find any posts or comments disputing that. Did you mean to say that pretty much everyone here is in agreement with the empirical observations that there hasn’t been *increased* warming lately?

  84. Curious to know if this ‘forgotten’ record continues back in sunspot records? The energy outburst of all the sun’s bodies make a permanent record in the sun, sort of like grandma’s photo album showing you in your bonnet and booties. So, I would like to find a site that expains how long these energy events last –probably related to energy input. So could the explosion of the northern hemisphere of the sun Jan 2012 be a ‘reflection’ record of an energy event in the past?

  85. Charles,

    Please note there have been no records broken for the last 12 years.

    Michaels appears to have found the one metric where this is so – maximum temp record-breakers for specific location(s) in each state.

    In 2012 alone there have been 7000+ maximum temp records broken in locations across the US, mostly in March.

    Maximum temps records for each state in the US (not specific locations but for the whole state) have been broken 129 times since 2003, according to this excellent data presentation by sunshine, posted above. Same database as Michaels – NOAA.

    As far as I can see, no other decade has broken as many records. The 1930s had 115, probably the closest.

    I don’t accuse Michales of cherry-picking datasets. Perhaps that was the first one he came across and he simply stopped looking.

  86. barry, “Maximum temps records for each state in the US (not specific locations but for the whole state) have been broken 129 times since 2003″

    No. The mean temperature record for a month for a state has been set 120 times since 2000.

    I will not vouch for the data other than the NOAA claims it is accurate. They do a lot of adjusting.

    There are 576 state monthly records. 456 were set before 2000. 29 were set in the 1890s.

    275 were set before 1950 (which is when CO2 supposedly really started to effect climate)

    Considering how big UHI really is (which I think was the point of this article) and considering the bug adjustments, it is amazing so many old records have never been broken.

  87. barry, before arguing it it warming, you might want to consider this table:

    Using NOAA data (mean temperature), how cold are the last 12 months (Jul 2011 to Jun 2012) compared to the warmest month.

    For example, October 2011 in Alabama was -13.6F colder than the warmest October in Alabama – 1919

    October 1919 was 74.0F

    October 2011 was 60.4F

    http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/how-cold-is-the-48-states-for-each-month-compared-to-the-record-temperature-noaa-data/

  88. I find it extraordinary to read ”newly found records”
    I studied Meteorology in 1967 and this ”newly found” was common knowledge.

  89. Sunshine,

    No. The mean temperature record for a month for a state has been set 120 times since 2000.

    My method is pretty simple. To check your tally, CNTRL F for page search, type in 200, and keep clicking which gives all values for 2000 – 2009 inclusive. Then search for 2010, 2011, and 2012 individually. Just count the clicks (watching for any anomalous cursor jumps).

    2000 to 2009 = 86
    2010 = 13
    2011 = 16
    2012 = 30

    Total is 145 records broken since 2000.

    For my tally above (the last decade from 2003) I clicked for the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, and subtracted that from 145. Doing that again, I get;

    2000 = 2
    2001 = 10
    2002 = 4

    Total for 2003 to present, 9.5 years, is 129.

    I think that’s the *decade* with the most hot record breakers acording to your chart.

    (Be pleased for you and anyone else to check the numbers)

  90. Ah yes.

    Actually, that doesn’t matter. All the data applies to regions, states, contiguous 48. Including those metrics might even be a good idea.

    But to round off, the results for the states only are:

    1930 to 1939 = 99 max temp record-breakers

    2003 to 2012 = 106 max temp record breakers

    Far as I can tell, the last ten years has seen the most record-breakers by the metric you’ve nominated.

  91. Thankyou Barry. The chart at the top of this page cannot be replicated by selecting any other dataset from the ncdc site. Therefore, ergo, QED, it’s cherry-picking.

    Now for a serious question, though I don’t expect a serious answer. The way the greenhouse effect works is that the earth radiates most incoming energy, back into space. On the way out, some energy is absorbed by CO2 (and other) molecules, which in turn radiate the energy again. Some of this re-radiated energy will go back in the direction of earth, partially offsetting the outward energy flow. Okay, got that.

    But surely then, the same CO2 molecules must also absorb INCOMING radiation, and “bounce” most of it back into space? To my rusty (and admittedly never very sharp) mind it would seem that the reduction of incoming radiation should more or less balance the reduction of outgoing radiation, taking us back to the status quo ante.

    Next question. I’m looking at the diagram on the Wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TyndallsSetupForMeasuringRadiantHeatAbsorptionByGases_annotated.jpg. This experiment is the foundation of the Greenhouse Gas theory. It proves that CO2 absorbs energy, because when CO2 is introduced into the gas tube, the radiant energy measured by the thermopile DROPS.

    A simplified version of the apparatus would look like this:

    Heat source —- >>>> —- gas tube —- >>>> —- thermopile.

    Let’s change the names and see what happens:

    Sun —- >>>> —- atmosphere —- >>>> —- earth’s surface.

    According to the Tyndall experiment, introducing CO2 into the atmosphere should reduce, not increase the earth’s surface temperature.

    I’m a newbie to climate science with not even undergraduate science and engineering training. So obviously I’ve missed something. The solution can’t be that simple. Can it?

  92. Oldfossil,

    Thanks to the Wein Displacement, the sun radiates maximally in the ultraviolet, which largely is unabsorbed by carbon dioxide. The earth radiates maxmallly in the far infrared, which is absorbed.

    Get it?

  93. Sunshine,

    If you start at 2003 and compare a roughly equal period (10 years), then the latest decade pips the 1930s. If you include the three years prior to 1930 so that the time period matches 2000 to 2013, then the more recent period is still ahead.

    1927 to 1939 = 109
    2000 to 2012.5 = 120

    There is no good reason to compare different length of time periods. But the differences are probably not significant. The reason there are still many records standing from the 1930s is what I remarked on in my first post this thread. I don’t know how to do the mathematical analysis, but I am reasonably confident that the same principle would apply over averaged regions as large as an entire state. The last decade in the US is on average hotter than the 1930s, so it is likely – but not inevitable – that the number of max temp records broken will be greater than then. It will still be possible to slice and dice the data in such a way as to present the opposite, but if all the data is examined, that will give a clearer picture of what has happened. Short answer – the real world doesn’t slavishly follow statstical probability estimates. But you’ll get closer to the mark with more data.

    You mentioned UHI effect – you realise that NCDC make a downwards adjustment in their long-term data to account for this? You may speculate, of course, but it’s just muddying the water without proper analysis. Anthony Watts co-authored a paper which corroborated the mean temperature time series of the official records using a suite of best-sited weather stations. That paper discussed problems with the max and min temp trends, finding that

    “Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends.”

    According to that paper – and hinted at by Menne and others – maximum temps may be overestimated in the past or underestimated in recent times. I’d guess the former problem is more likely.

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