‘Ground Zero for Global Warming’? State of Alaska temperatures in 2012 refused to cooperate

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While some claims have been made that “Alaska is Ground Zero for Global Warming” it turns out that the state of Alaska was significantly below normal in 2012. For example, Fairbanks had the coldest year in the 21st century so far, and it was also the second coldest year in more than 40 years accroding to the data presented in this report below. – Anthony

The Climate of Alaska for 2012clip_image002

Gerd Wendler, Blake Moore and Kevin Galloway

Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, UAF

This review of the climate of Alaska is predominantly based on the 20 first order climatological stations in Alaska, which are operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service. These stations are all of high quality, operated by professional meteorologists with identical or similar meteorological instrumentation and observational practices. However, this should not be taken as a sign that other stations, which might be operated by other agencies, industries or private individuals, are of unsuitable quality. The normals used in this analysis are based on means of the 30-year time period from 1981-2010 and were calculated by NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC). A convenient source for the NCDC normals of all stations for Alaska can be obtained at:

http://ggweather.com/normals/AK.html

Temperature

The mean average annual temperature in 2012 for the twenty stations was 30.0°F, a substantial negative departure of 2.9°F from the 30-year normal of 32.9°F.

This is in stark contrast to the lower 48 states where record high temperatures were observed. There was only one station with a positive deviation, specifically Barrow in Northern Alaska with a deviation of +1.3°F, continuing the trend of warming observed on the North Slope over the last decades (Wendler, Shulski and Moore 2010). All other stations were below normal, continuing the cooling trend of Alaska seen in the 21st century (Wendler, Chen and Moore 2012). The largest negative deviations were observed in the Bering Sea area, with both Bethel and King Salmon reporting a deviation of -5.0°F, a very substantial value for the extent an entire year.

Figure 1 presents the temperature deviation data, and it can be seen that solely northwestern Alaska was above normal, while all the rest of Alaska was too cold when compared to the normal. It is interesting to note that a new minimum in the sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean was observed in September. The lack of sea ice affected Barrow’s temperatures, and in October the temperature deviation from the 30 year normal was a very substantial +10.3°F. The greatest negative deviations were found in the Bering Sea area, which is understandable after noting that the sea ice extent for the Bering Sea recorded a new maximum in April for the time period since microwave satellite measurements became available. (Microwave instruments provide for observations of the sea ice though clouds and darkness.) This is, of course, in direct opposition to the above noted sea ice minimum observed in the Arctic Ocean.

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Figure 1: Isoplete presentation of the temperatures deviations from the normal (1981-2010) for 2012 based on all first order Alaskan meteorological stations.

The stations in southeastern Alaska reported all deviation between -1°F and -2°F, rather typical for a maritime climate where deviations are less prominent. In summary, nearly all of Alaska was below normal for 2012, and this was even more pronounced than what had been observed in 2011. Actual temperature deviations by station can be seen from Table A, with nineteen of the twenty stations recorded negative temperature deviation values, and an overall mean deviation of -2.9°F.

Station Temperature
Observed
(°F)
Normal
(°F)
Delta
(°F)
Anchorage 34.4 37.1 -2.7
Annette 45.2 46.6 -1.4
Barrow 13.1 11.8 1.3
Bethel 25.7 30.7 -5.0
Bettles 20.0 23.5 -3.5
Cold Bay 35.2 38.8 -3.6
Delta Junction 26.2 29.0 -2.8
Fairbanks 24.1 27.7 -3.6
Gulkana 24.8 28.2 -3.4
Homer 35.2 38.7 -3.5
Juneau 40.2 42.1 -1.9
King Salmon 30.2 35.2 -5.0
Kodiak 39.0 40.9 -1.9
Kotzebue 19.2 22.9 -3.7
McGrath 23.7 27.4 -3.7
Nome 23.6 27.4 -3.8
St. Paul Island 31.3 35.4 -4.1
Talkeetna 33.2 36.0 -2.8
Valdez 37.2 39.0 -1.8
Yakutat 38.4 40.3 -1.9

Table A: Mean temperature for 2012, normal temperature (1981-2010) and deviations from the mean for the twenty first order meteorological stations in Alaska.

The mean deviation of temperatures by month is presented in Figure 2 for the first order stations. The figure shows that only February and April were warmer than normal with positive deviations of above 2°F. All other months were too cold when compared to the normal. Especially remarkable was January, with a mean deviation for all stations exceeding -14°F. For one station it would be a very large deviation, however for the mean value of twenty stations, fairly well distributed over such a large area as Alaska, it is astounding. Many new record low temperatures were observed. For example, Bettles, in the northern Interior, recorded temperatures at or below -60°F for the last 3 days of the month, and the monthly deviation exceeded -25°F, making it the coldest January on record. In addition, January was also the coldest on record for Bethel, Homer and Nome, and tied for the coldest at Cold Bay. It was the second coldest January for Kotzebue since 1929 and third coldest January for Kodiak and St. Paul Island (with 99 years of data to draw on). In general Figure 2 shows that the winter months were much too cold across Alaska, while the summer deviations, though still negative, were much smaller in magnitude. This is also reflected in the record events reports, where new record lows outnumbered new highs by a ratio of about nine new lows to five new highs for the first order stations.

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Figure 2: Mean monthly temperature deviation for the twenty first order stations in Alaska by month for 2012.

Precipitation

The mean annual precipitation of the twenty stations was 35.86″, which is close to the long-term mean of 36.86″. As reported previously (Shulski and Wendler 2007), there is a very large variation in the precipitation totals, when traversing from the southeast, e.g. Yakutat reported in 2012 a total of 107.94″, then to the north with Barrow recording a total value of just 6.27″. It is even more remarkable that for 2012 Barrow reported 138% of normal precipitation, a value that is, when expressed as a percentage, not surpassed by any other first order station in Alaska for 2012. This large gradient in precipitation explains the fact that the most glaciers are found in southern Alaska, with many calving in the ocean. While in the Brooks Range, in Northern Alaska, with much colder temperatures glaciers are less common and smaller in size. In Figure 3 the precipitation values are presented across Alaska, however isolines are not provided, as large variations can occur over short distances, especially in the summer due to localized shower activities. The figure shows that most of Interior Alaska had deficits in precipitation, while the coastal areas were somewhat above the expected values. However, altogether the deviations were relatively small. More details can be seen in Table B, in which the actual deviation values by station are presented.

clip_image008

Figure 3: Precipitation deviations (%) from the normal (1981-2010) for 2012 based on all twenty first order stations in Alaska.

Station Precipitation
Observed
(in)
Normal
(in)
Delta
(in)
Delta
(%)
(%)
Anchorage 21.48 16.58 4.90 30% 130%
Annette 103.23 101.63 1.60 2% 102%
Barrow 6.27 4.53 1.74 38% 138%
Bethel 21.27 18.54 2.73 15% 115%
Bettles 12.86 14.90 -2.04 -14% 86%
Cold Bay 44.01 41.67 2.34 6% 106%
Delta Junction 8.94 11.62 -2.68 -23% 77%
Fairbanks 10.60 10.81 -0.21 -2% 98%
Gulkana 11.19 11.26 -0.07 -1% 99%
Homer 28.88 24.34 4.54 19% 119%
Juneau 63.44 62.27 1.17 2% 102%
King Salmon 25.31 19.49 5.82 30% 130%
Kodiak 57.94 78.00 -20.06 -26% 74%
Kotzebue 13.27 11.00 2.27 21% 121%
McGrath 22.99 18.00 4.99 28% 128%
Nome 18.78 16.81 1.97 12% 112%
St. Paul Island 25.90 23.67 2.23 9% 109%
Talkeetna 27.07 27.97 -0.90 -3% 97%
Valdez 74.05 69.03 5.02 7% 107%
Yakutat 107.94 155.12 -47.18 -30% 70%

Table B: Observed precipitation for 2012, normal precipitation (1981-2010) and deviations from the mean for the 20 first order stations in Alaska.

The precipitation deviations by month are presented in Figure 4 for the mean of the twenty stations. The figure displays that the first three months of the year observed above normal precipitation, while April was much too dry. The dry April was a bad start with respect to wildfires, however, the following three months reported above normal rainfall, and it became a “good” year as far as acreage was burned. Less than 300,000 acres were consumed by wildfires, less than 1/3rd of the normal value. May 16th witnessed 0.84″ of rain in Nome, a record of any day May with data stretching back to 1907. August was a bit dry; September was quite wet, with Valdez setting a new daily record of 4.27″, more than double the 1993 record of 2.01″. There was little snow in November and December, allowing for the frost to penetrate deeper into the ground than normal. The low precipitation in November was exemplified by Nome, with just 0.02″ total precipitation equivalent, tying the record low for Nome for November. All together, the precipitation came out at 18% above normal.

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Figure 4: Precipitation deviation for the mean of the twenty first order stations in Alaska by month for 2012.

Snowfall

Precipitation falls in summer as rain, but in winter as snow. “Winter” is, of course, much longer in Northern Alaska, e.g. Barrow, then in the Southeast, e.g. Annette. In Figure 5 the annual snowfall for the stations is presented. It should be pointed out that four stations did not report snowfall amounts (Big Delta, Gulkana, Homer and Talkeetna) and one station (Bettles) was excluded for questionable data quality. It can be seen that two stations, Cold Bay and Yakutat, both coastal stations, measured more 80% above the expected amount of snowfall. Kodiak, King Salon and Barrow, again all coastal stations, surpassed the expected snowfall by 60%. On the other extreme was Kotzebue, with only about half of the expected value.

Anchorage hits the books in 2012 with a record winter snowfall. On April 7th the total reached 134.5″, topping the old record of 132.6″ set in 1954-1955. This last bit of snow broke the record while ending the snowfall for the winter. The new winter record was built from numerous light snowfalls, with at least 36 days of more than an inch, and only two days of more than 7″. Only one daily snowfall record was set during the winter in Anchorage, and that was 9.1″ on February 3rd, which beat the 1970 record of 5.4″. Cold Bay also set a seasonal snowfall record of 83.6″, topping the 80.9″ from 2008-2009. The frigid January saw a record monthly snowfall for Kodiak at 48.6″, breaking the 2004 monthly record of 40.4″. Valdez set a February snow depth record with 97″ on the ground on the 27th, besting the 1990 record of 94″. Maximum snow on ground in Valdez occurred on March 3rd at 100″.

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Figure 5: Mean annual snowfall deviations for sixteen of the first order stations in Alaska for 2012.

Element Date Station Value
Highest Temperature 6/23/2012 Annette 87°F
Lowest Temperature 1/31/2012 Bettles -61°F
Highest Daily Average 6/23/2012 Fairbanks 71°F
Lowest Daily Average 1/31/2012 Bettles -55°F
Most Daily Precipitation 9/20/2012 Valdez 4.27″
Most Daily Snowfall 2/26/2012 Valdez 20.9″
Most snow on the ground 3/6/2012 Valdez 100.0″

Table C: Some interesting facts for 2012 for the twenty first order stations in Alaska.

For more exhaustive monthly statewide summaries as well as some select station summaries, including more detail on record events, please visit the ACRC website at: http://akclimate.org. For seasonal values visit ACCAP’s website for the Alaska’s Climate Dispatch at: http://ine.uaf.edu/accap/. In addition, the papers referenced below can be accessed from the ACRC’s website.

References

Shulski, M., and Wendler, G. 2007. The Climate of Alaska. University of Alaska Press, 216pp

Wendler, G., M. Shulski and B. Moore 2010: Changes in the Climate of the Alaskan North Slope and the ice concentration of the adjacent Beaufort Sea. Theoretical and Applied Climatology. 99, 67-74

Wendler, G. and M. Shulski 2010. A Century of Climate Change for Fairbanks, Alaska. Arctic 62(3): 295-300

Wendler, G. L. Chen and B. Moore 2012. The first Decade of the New Century: A cooling trend for most of Alaska. The Open Atmospheric Science Journal 6, 111-116

This information consists of preliminary climatological data compiled by the Alaska Climate Research Center, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks. For more information on weather and climatology, contact the center at 474-7885 or visit the center web site at http://akclimate.org. Please report any errors to webmaster@akclimate.org.

Source for the report:

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48 thoughts on “‘Ground Zero for Global Warming’? State of Alaska temperatures in 2012 refused to cooperate

  1. ‘ it turns out that the state of Alaska was significantly below normal in 2012. ‘

    Yes but that is just ‘weather ‘ so means nothing , of course if then been above normal that would have be proof of AGW becasue of ‘magic ‘

  2. I do wish you Americans would use the standard meteorological temperature scale of Centigrade/Celcius as this is the reporting standard. Please keep up.

  3. Normal is then the average of the sum of the averages? So if one observes normal that is an unusual event that would rarely occur? Isn’t normal better defined statistically as plus/minus one std. dev.? As in most kids normally crawl between the ages of 4 and 10 with the averate at age 8 but to say normal is 8 is more than confusing.

  4. If Alaska is the guinea pig for climate change, it is certainly changing, this would be in line with the sun having a holiday. Those on this site with a nose for the historical, perhaps could inform me of how far into the sleeping sun in the Maunder minimum did the ice fairs start on the Thames in London.

  5. cedarhill says: March 6, 2013 at 3:31 am
    … As in most kids normally crawl between the ages of 4 and 10 with the averate at age 8 but to say normal is 8 is more than confusing.

    Most of us skeptics were crawling before the age of 1. Can’t speak for the warmists.

  6. johnmarshall says:
    March 6, 2013 at 2:30 am

    I do wish you Americans would use the standard meteorological temperature scale of Centigrade/Celcius as this is the reporting standard. Please keep up.

    John, while I totally agree with you, Richard Muller of LBL doesn’t. In one of his Physics for Future Presidents webcasts he admits that he prefers to work in Fahrenheit!

    If the number of speakers of a language is any criterion then American English is now the de facto standard. ;)

  7. I read a comment advocating the US changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius thermometers. I have always thought of Celsius as being, not only cumbersome, but nowhere near as accurate as Fahrenheit. It is not hard to remember 32 DF as freezing water at sea level, and 212 as boiling it, so F thermometers are easy to use. Zero degrees Fahrenheit is the point at which all water will freeze regardless of other conditions (turbulence, saltiness, etc.), as I understand it; what reading is that in Celsius? One degree C is 1.8 degrees F, so C is a much rougher scale. I understand the rationale and the motivation for such a change; but those factors don’t change the fundamental superiority of F to C. Let’s leave my thermometer as is, please!

  8. Alaska is ground zero for climate change.
    Alaska is cooling.

    Global Cooling!!!!
    Ice Age!!!!
    YELL!!!!
    Panic!!!
    The Humans did it!!!!
    Ban Fossil Fuels!!!

    Do I really need to add /sarc?

  9. Oldfossil,— thanks. perhaps using the same metric system would prevent satellite launch failures. how anyone works in degreesF I cannot imagine. OK Fahrenheit invented a good instrument but his system was drempt up after too many glasses of snapps. (probably the ”invention party” with his mates). Celcius fits with all SI units by definition.

  10. johnmarshall says:
    March 6, 2013 at 6:56 am

    Oldfossil,— thanks. perhaps using the same metric system would prevent satellite launch failures. how anyone works in degreesF I cannot imagine. OK Fahrenheit invented a good instrument but his system was drempt up after too many glasses of snapps. (probably the ”invention party” with his mates). Celcius fits with all SI units by definition.

    Perhaps that Aqua-vit was more in use by Anders Celsius after all his Celsius scale was 100degC for freezing point of water and 0degC for the boiling point. If a standard temperature scale needs to be used then Kelvin would be the one to use, but try to sell that to the European standards bureaucrats.

  11. What i found interesting was the record low for arctic ice was in the same year as a record high for Bering Sea ice, according to the article. Although these were obviously different months (April for the max and September for the min), it does raise the question of whether the focus should be on where the ice is rather than how much in one particular place.

    I seem to remember a lot of people pointing to wind patterns with respect to arctic sea ice extents – does anyone know if this was given as a reason for the Bering sea max?

  12. The warmth in Barrow is a function of the extra numbers of ice free days along the arctic.

  13. The columns in the first table are incorrectly identified which is quite confusing.

    Before this:
    Observed
    (°F)

    you need this:
     

  14. Temperature Change in Alaska 1977 – 2011: http://climate.gi.alaska.edu/ClimTrends/Change/7711Change.html

    That’s a 34 year annual overall cooling trend before adding in 2012. However, the popular science media has a slightly different interpretation of this:

    “…communities so battered by climate change that they must relocate entirely. ” “Over the past 50 years, warming in the state has been double the global average…” http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=alaskans-try-to-flee-climate-change-impacts-but-find-little-help

    Wow, there must have been some kick ass warming from 1961-1977 that is just now causing some Alaskans to “try to flee” climate change.

  15. The coast is warm because the Arctic Ocean is warm? But the Arctic Ocean is frozen now?

    There is more snow at the coast because the air coming from the Ocean area is warmer and moister (absolute humidity or relative?) and hits the cold land, where it precipitates.

    Comes back to the Arctic: in the dark, but still warmer? Can’t be the soot or aerosols in winter. Where is the warmer Arctic air coming from? Open water as per Austin says: March 6, 2013 at 7:32 am

  16. ****
    Dr. John M. Ware says:
    March 6, 2013 at 5:25 am

    I read a comment advocating the US changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius thermometers. I have always thought of Celsius as being, not only cumbersome, but nowhere near as accurate as Fahrenheit.
    ****

    I agree. My threshold for “feeling” air temp differences is about — 1F. And the common yearly extremes here are about — 0F and 100F.

    As an engineer, it’s not difficult (and was necessary) to be well-versed in both systems.

  17. mpcraig says

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/06/ground-zero-for-global-warming-state-of-alaska-temperatures-in-2012-refused-to-cooperate/#comment-1240608

    henry says
    I personally checked two weather stations in Anchorage, which you can see in my tables

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2013/02/21/henrys-pool-tables-on-global-warmingcooling/

    I had some good data from that army base in Anchorage going back to 1942 which was found to follow the sine wave which I had already predicted globally

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2012/10/02/best-sine-wave-fit-for-the-drop-in-global-maximum-temperatures/

    (look at the graph below the global graph)
    Every place on earth is on its wave of 88 years, the only difference being the height of warming/cooling.
    So, we are cooling. In Alaska it is quite significantly. If I were living there with the figures currently on the table, I would pack my bags and leave….The farmers there have crop failures and to tell them the world is warming is a lie…The crops will fail again this year.

  18. beng says:
    March 6, 2013 at 8:26 am
    ***
    I agree. My threshold for “feeling” air temp differences is about — 1F. And the common yearly extremes here are about — 0F and 100F.

    Indeed. I notice the change between 75 and 76 degrees as the shift between “comfortable” and “getting warm” depending some on humidity.

    I would really prefer to see temperature anomalies plotted against an experiential range like that – say +/- either 50-deg. F or 20-deg. C. Shrinking the anomaly scale range down to a couple of degrees magnifies “trends” and is effectively nothing but a rhetorical device that permits the speaker to say, “ooh, look how it’s warmed!” Global climate may very well have warmed over the last 30 to 40 years, but the change is not something perceptible to your built-in, biological instrumentation. In that sense, climate has not changed at all.

  19. Consider one kilogram of pure water at 4 degrees centigrade; it is at the maximum density so it has a volume of 1000 cubic centimeters or one litre. Now cool the water to freezing and freeze it.
    A very quick search and calculation reveals the energy removed is 334 kJ (freezing the water) and about 17 kJ to change the temperature from 4 to 0 centigrade. So 351 kJ of energy removed.
    Now drop the frozen water, that now has a volume of around 0.916 liters or 916 cubic centimeters, for 1 second near the surface of the Earth. After that second of falling the kinetic energy is roughly 50 Joules; 0.5(1kg)(10m/s)^2.
    Do this easy calculation with your ‘imperial’ ideal. Use a US gallon, not a Canadian, British or Brazilian one. Also use the British Thermal Unit (is their an American Thermal Unit?) and let me know how much energy will be required to cool the gallon from 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit to 32.0 and then the latent heat of fusion…then calculate the kinetic energy from dropping the ice, and what is the volume of the ice in cubic inches, after one second of dropping in a gravitational field of 32.14 ft per second squared…good luck.
    I did not use a calculator for this demo.

  20. Oh my goodness; i forgot to consider the mass…use pound mass not pound force…hope this helps :)

  21. Kajajuk says:
    March 6, 2013 at 10:15 am

    shouldn’t that be 9.8 m/s2 acceleration of gravity?

  22. yeah Russ you got me; but i rounded it for convenience and the error is minimal when compared to 334 kJ. I should have approximated the total at 350 kJ. Too lazy to use a calculator or do the calculation ‘old school’ and it also underlines my point of the metric system as a much much better system of units instead of a system constantly spun as science advanced over centuries…resulting in an ‘Imperial” system that compounds complexity and counters stepwise advancements in the use of a Standard Measurement System. (wanted to underline STANDARD).

  23. oh wait; that is the kinetic energy formula and it is the speed after one second of free fall…so it could be between 9.7 (at the equator) to 9.8 m/s…i.e. the ice accelerated for one second so i rounded the speed, after the free fall, (used in the kinetic energy formula) as 10 m/s.

  24. My simple explanation:
    Heat from the Sun is concentrated at the equator and moves to the Poles.
    1) Sun ON -> Jet streams move north/ south from the equator toward the Poles.
    2) Heat moves further to the Poles. Cold from the Poles is blocked.
    3) Sun OFF -> Jet streams move toward the equator.
    4) Heat doesn’t move as far to the Poles. Cold from the Poles [is unblocked] moves toward the equator.

    Expect more of the same in future with increasing cold moving further toward the equator.

  25. Kajajuk,

    “Consider one kilogram of pure water at 4 degrees centigrade; it is at the maximum density so it has a volume of 1000 cubic centimeters or one litre”

    “Now drop the frozen water, that now has a volume of around 0.916 liters or 916 cubic centimeters”

    If the water is at it’s greatest density at 4 degrees centigrade and you freeze the water reducing the temp to 0 degrees centigrade then the volume should increase not decrease.

    If the rest of your math / reasoning is equally as bad as this, then your conclusion is suspect.

  26. oldfossil says:
    March 6, 2013 at 5:24 am

    johnmarshall says:
    March 6, 2013 at 2:30 am

    I do wish you Americans would use the standard meteorological temperature scale of Centigrade/Celcius as this is the reporting standard. Please keep up.

    John, while I totally agree with you, Richard Muller of LBL doesn’t. In one of his Physics for Future Presidents webcasts he admits that he prefers to work in Fahrenheit!

    If the number of speakers of a language is any criterion then American English is now the de facto standard. ;)

    *********************************************************************************************

    I must admit I just love your quaint English dialects :-)

    Steve T

  27. MattS says:
    March 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Thanks, and i know water expands, doh! That’s what i get for doing calculations in my head while on a break.

    So the volume is wrong. Is the point? Long live the slug, the troy oz, 4 types of gallons, a few inches, a couple of yards, likely several miles…?

    So what is the total energy of the system after one second? Can you do the calculation from first principles using the ‘Imperial’ system? Or will you use a conversion factor from Joules to b.t.u?

    The point of the demo is erroneous, because of this mistake?
    Please point out my mistakes so that i can learn.

  28. The Standard for language by the aforementioned criterion would be Mandarin? Or Hindi? No?
    Our number system uses Arabic numerals, the SI system was credited to the French….but a system based on medieval units of the King’s thumb width and notions of energy being a vapour is better? Cool.

  29. Kajajuk,

    I don’t know the relevant formulas well enough to tell if you have made any other mistakes or not.

    As a simple matter of logic, the relevant calculations should be doable in any system of units, provided you know the correct formulas relevant to that system. If one wanted to go to the trouble, it should be possible to do unit conversions on the formulas themselves.

    That said, the SI system is likely better for most scientific purposes. However, weather, and particularly weather forecasting is different. As others have said, the Fahrenheit scale is better tuned to how people experience temperature.

  30. True MattS, relevant calculations ARE very doable in any system of units, but the SI system is ‘streamlined’ by incorporating derived units based on fundamental measures (kg, m, s, C, are used to define the Joule, the Newton, the Tesla, the dyne, blah blah blah) this removes the constants of proportionality that are required in the calculations using the ‘Imperial’ system to express units of energy or force (for that matter).
    After one second the ice has accelerated to 32 feet/s and if i square this speed and multiply it by the mass of one gallon (need to choose one gallon amongst many “standards” and then look up the density at 39.2 F and it will likely be in pound force and not in pound mass) then i get an unclear “energy” unit of lbs.ft^2/s^2, which is not a standard unit of energy (and a drag/headache) but the beauty of the Metric System is that i would get kg.m^2/s^2 = N.m = J or a Joule when using the kinetic energy formula to calculate the energy of motion.
    You CAN calculate kinetic energy in terms of stones, hands, and heartbeats. It will be as useful as pounds, feet, and seconds in this modern world.

  31. Anyways, i disagree wholeheartedly; i experience temperature easily by the notion of freezing water for my juice and steam for steeping tea.

  32. IanW:- You are right but Celcius did have a change of heart. Yes Kelvin would be ideal but the numbers can get unwieldy with that odd 0.15 tagged on but the SB formula uses it. Remember K and C have the same numeric interval, 1K=1C.
    Snapps, Aquavite both the same, tasteless compared to Malt Whisky

  33. If Co2 is “well-mixed”, and colder places have less humidity, how can Alaska possibly be a “ground zero” for CAGW?

  34. Henry@dr. Lurtz
    Actually it is quite simple. In a cooling period such as now the major cloud formation and condensation shifts a bit from north to south. Arctic Norway is an exception because of the Gulf stream. Other clues are in my previous comments…

  35. I prefer Fahrenheit to Celsius for the reason of personal relevance of scale.

    Fahrenheit: 0 == Very cold outside, 100 == very hot outside
    Celsius: 0 == Quite cold outside, 100 == dead

  36. Two points: there’s a misprint in the text which says the positive anomaly at Barrow is 10.3 F, which really would be substantial, whereas the table has + 1.3 F. That seems more credible. Second, the USA is nearly the only country that continues to use the Fahrenheit scale; even in the UK, where we still use miles for distance (perhaps because of the cost of changing road signs throughout the country), nearly everything else is metric (pints of beer are still non-metric). It’s not a question of language (American English dominates) but of adopting the generally used standard scientific units. Yes, one degree C is 1.8 degrees F, so less precise, but we can use decimals! 1 F is 0.55 C, and this can be measured. In Britain I grew up with the term billion meaning 10 to the 12th, a million million, while in the USA it was and is 10 to the 9th, a thousand million. This latter meaning was adopted in scientific language, and I happily follow it. Other SI units for concepts such as energy and specific heat are related to degrees Celsius in a simple way, so why not just use the scientific world’s common language? The whole Imperial system, as it was called in the UK, was great for practising mental arithmetic, but a pain when you wanted to calculate things quickly: 12 pennies in a shilling, 20 shillings in a pound, 21 shillings in a guinea; 3 feet in a yard, 1,760 yards in a mile, 220 yards in a furlong, 8 of those in a mile; 16 ounces in a pound, 14 pounds in a stone; 16 fluid ounces in a pint, 8 pints in a gallon; and so on and so on (and in the USA some of the same words meant different quantities). Let’s go metric! Use multiples of ten in everything, it’s not hard to get used to. Living in Mexico, I can also set a simple scale of comfort: 0 C is cold, because it’s unusual and we don’t have insulation or central heating; 20 – 25 C is comfortable, for me; 35 C is my upper limit of comfort (and only when there’s near zero humidity), way beyond what British people would call ‘hot'; over 35 C, which happens in April and May some days, and I start to wilt.

    I’m pro-USA, and have dear American friends, but at times I get frustrated with the fact that so many Americans live in such an insulated bubble that they don’t relate to other cultures and ideas and systems at all! Sorry. I refrain from the full rant.

  37. And on the point about human experience: what is more common than finding water, at standard atmospheric pressure, freezing or boiling? You make your tea or coffee on a winter morning, with snow, ice or frost around, and you give that range a value of 0 to 100. Easy numbers, easy understanding.

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