Inverse hockey stick in the lower troposphere – real or not?

Bishop Hill via correspondent Gras Albert noted this event early today:

acqua[1]

I looked through the entire satellite record, and couldn’t find any similar event. That meant it was either unique, or indicative of a technology failure like we witnessed with NSIDC when one of their sensor channels gave out. I asked Dr. Roy Spencer if he thought this was real, and he responded with an update, seen below:

Aqua AMSU ch. 5 Bites the Dust

March 25th, 2013By Dr. Roy Spencer

Many people have noted on the satellite temperatures webpage the plunge in temperatures as recorded by AMSU channel 5 on the Aqua satellite. Since it looked pretty suspicious, I decided to investigate.

The following plot shows 3 satellites’ global AMSU5 measurements (Aqua, NOAA-15, and NOAA-18) that I computed this morning from the raw orbit files. The dates run from Feb. 1 through yesterday, March 24:

Aqua-AMSU5-drift-after-mid-March-2013

Clearly, Aqua AMSU ch 5 is now “out to lunch”. The reason why the plunge in Aqua temperatures in the above plot is so much stronger than what is displayed on the daily update website is that the latter shows running 3-day averages, and is only updated through March 23.

We knew that this channel has been slowly failing for a long time, which is why we have not been using it in our monthly updates. We will discuss the possibility of switching to the NOAA satellites on the website, although since the site is NASA-funded, they are reluctant to spend resources on NOAA satellite data. But, given the popularity of the page, we will work something out even if we have to make our own web page.

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56 Responses to Inverse hockey stick in the lower troposphere – real or not?

  1. Jimmy Haigh. says:

    It looks very Marcottian…

  2. john robertson says:

    Now if it had failed in the opposite direction, it would be the basis of a “solid paper” for AR5.

  3. RockyRoad says:

    Looks like “backhoe fade” to me.

  4. Betapug says:

    “…although since the site is NASA-funded, they are reluctant to spend resources on NOAA satellite data.”
    Hmmm…. wonder who funds NOAA and NASA?

  5. Leo Morgan says:

    Satellites are one of the geatest of all human achievements. These stones that never come down. Well, almost never :(
    I’m an ordinary guy. I didn’t know of the existance of Aqua Amsu till it failed. I knew satellites were providing us with the most reliable data we have. I appreciate the unsung service of this technological marvel and the genius of its masters.
    Roy, would you be willing to write a brief guest post about this device? It’s life, capabilities, achievements? What it’s done and how itdid it? I’m sure Anthony would post it.
    I guess that ch5 is one channel from the satellite? What do the others measure and are they going too? I mourn the loss of this device I hardly knew. I’d love to hear a eulogy from those who knew and maybe loved her.

  6. Gary Hladik says:

    For God’s sake, don’t tell Michael Mann! If he can turn the Tiljander sediments upside down, there’s no telling what “Siltdown Mann” could do with this!

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/22/manns-inverted-tiljander-data-survives-another-round-of-peer-review/

  7. Ian Hoder says:

    john robertson said:
    “Now if it had failed in the opposite direction, it would be the basis of a “solid paper” for AR5.”

    Peer reviewed and published In Science.

  8. Mike (from the high desert of Western Nevada) says:

    Leo nice words, I share your sentiment.

  9. commieBob says:

    It looks like several of the channels are exhibiting similar behaviour.

  10. Michael D Smith says:

    It’s hopeless. Nobody is going to pay for upside down hockey sticks. Er, well… OK you got me on that one.

    Gary, “Siltdown Mann”? That’s amazing! Josh?

  11. Bryan A says:

    Was the AQUA data a source of temperature anomalies that has been used to drive the recorded temperatures higher than otherwise reported? It appears to have been recording temperature anomAlies 0.2C higher than the other 2 sources

  12. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    Mann, that’s very cool.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  13. Eliza says:

    It may well be real beause its still within the range of other yearts data? If other channels are showing same then it is probably REAL.

  14. NikFromNYC says:

    Shhhh….

  15. Jaye Bass says:

    Per Mann just invert it then it will represent real phenomena.

  16. Chad Wozniak says:

    I know we’re treading on risky ground concerning a particular individual with our witticisms about him, given his propensity to lawyer up, but he’d better think twice about suing us lest his fabrications be brought to light at trial and his whole world consequently fall apart.

  17. Mark Bofill says:

    Well, it could be a sensor failure, but doesn’t the precautionary principle indicate that we should redouble our efforts to burn fossil fuels to avoid an immediate ice age? I mean, multiply the incredible cost damages against that tiny possibility and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s only prudent to be safe. /sarc

  18. Doug Proctor says:

    If Marcott could get away with bad data supporting his contention, perhaps we could use this data to support Archibald’s global cooling ….

  19. alleagra says:

    Having just enjoyed (well, yes, I did!) The Day After Tomorrow on DVD, I thought for one moment . . .

  20. Stacey says:

    Sorry guys this is a well known type of graph its called a TTocram Curve. Which as you all now know is an upside down Marcott plot which until recently was known as a Nnam Curve. ;-)

  21. FerdinandAkin says:

    AMSU channel 5 does not agree with the model projections therefore it is a hardware failure.

  22. David Smith says:

    Hi, Anthony. This is for any data-oriented readers who might be interested in solving a minor satellite-data mystery. At least it’s a mystery to me.

    The mystery description can be found at

    http://lukewarmplanet.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/intraseasonal-oscillation-x-iox/

    That’s an old blog I started but I quickly ran out of time and abandoned it. I never figured out whether the apparent data oscillation was real or just an artifact of the satellite data analysis process. If it is an actual phenomenon then I’m really stumped about its nature.

    Excellent job you, Steve, Lucia and others are doing on reviewing climate issues. I’m the one, BTW, who used to comment and post regularly about hurricanes at Climate Audit several years ago.

  23. eqibno says:

    Just treat it like an upside-down proxy and wheeeeee! Catastrophy!
    I am surprised that the usual suspects have yet to use this to flummox reality and produce some tabloid climatology.

  24. DaveG says:

    Looks like an Earth hour interest graph = Dropping like a stone!

  25. Mumbles McGuirk says:

    “We will discuss the possibility of switching to the NOAA satellites on the website, although since the site is NASA-funded, they are reluctant to spend resources on NOAA satellite data.”
    —————————————————————————————————————————
    Well, la dee dah! Whenever we have a joint project with NASA, their PR machine cranks out the press releases hardly ever mentioning their NOAA partners. Now the shoes on the other foot they couldn’t be bothered because they might have to mention they’re using NOAA satellites. Thanks, pals, we’re all in this together.

  26. tadchem says:

    It reminds me of the time-vs-current plot for a superconductor as the refrigerant ran out.

  27. Frank K. says:

    Well, Aqua AMSU Ch.5 may have bitten the dust, but our cold weather is now forecast to be with us for a while…

    From Accuweather…

    Midwest, Northeast to Endure More Cold Well into April
    By Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist
    March 25, 2013; 2:16 PM

    …, the overall weather pattern into the first part of April will continue to run about a month or so behind schedule. March behaved a lot like a typical February, and it appears the first half of April will be what March should have been like.

    http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/midwest-northeast-to-endure-mo/8833275

  28. Mr. Africa says:

    I have to admit, I was sort of excited!

  29. BruceC says:

    It’s the same on ch’s 6, 7 & 8. Do they use the same satellite?

  30. Rob says:

    Record March cold in Europe and North America! Historical proportions. Who’s zooming who?

  31. Latitude says:

    can’t they just adjust or improve this somehow….
    …and go on about their business

    SNARK

  32. John Campbell says:

    It’s CAGC (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Cooling)! We were told authoritatively, by Professor John Beddington, on the BBC today, that the severe cold in UK is caused by too much CO2. Looks like he was right! And Mr Mann was right too (but he just got his hockey stick upside down, that’s all – an honest mistake that anyone could make)!
    </irony

  33. Gras Albert says:

    Roy Spencer confirms that Channel 6 & 7 are unaffected by the Channel 5 failure, both show around 0.4degC decline in the past 9 days

    Roy’s plot of the two NOAA satellites AMSU5 (see above) shows a similar fall in 600mb GAT.

    While unusual, a fall of this rate/magnitude in March is not unprecedented, see March 2004 & 2007 for similar events. It will be interesting to watch what happens for the rest of the month.

    As an aside, March CET in the UK is now on target to be the coldest since 1962 and among the coldest five March months for a century

  34. Richard M says:

    It dropped another half a degree today so I think it is now pretty obviously a malfunction. Hopefully, we get the newer satellite data soon.

  35. Day By Day says:

    @ Bryan A says:

    Was the AQUA data a source of temperature anomalies that has been used to drive the recorded temperatures higher than otherwise reported? It appears to have been recording temperature anomAlies 0.2C higher than the other 2 sources

    My vote is yes–the failure has been driving the recorded temps higher making a bitterly cold December and January in the NH look as if it were above the anomaly. I have wondered and whined about this here at WUWT and Dr. Spencer’s blog several times–we have had a bitterly cold NH winter with record breaking cold all over the place and the satellite data reported that we were above the anomaly… Dr. Spencer, could you revisit this?

    Doug Proctor:

    If Marcott could get away with bad data supporting his contention, perhaps we could use this data to support Archibald’s global cooling ….

    He he he–lets do it!

  36. Owen in GA says:

    I love it…the contrast is so evident…Skeptics see data that makes no sense whatsoever, but in the direction of their argument and say “that data looks bad, let’s investigate why.” Warmists see data that makes no sense but in the warming direction and immediately say “It’s worse than we thought!”

  37. “Currently using Central England Temperature (CET) data the mean temperature for March is a fraction under 3.3C.” That’s a 38F mean!

  38. Manfred says:

    There is now everywhere more snow than 5 years ago. In the past cold weather in Europe correlated well with warm weather in North America and vice versa. Now it is cold in Europe, the US and Asia.

    http://home.comcast.net/~ewerme/wuwt/cryo_compare_small.jpg

  39. TomR,Worc,MA says:

    Dare I say it? It’s unprecedented!

  40. Robert Wykoff says:

    How bizarre. It was my understanding that these satellite systems were programmed to display higher temperatures upon catastrophic failure, so that their data would not have to be eliminated from the record.

  41. Village Idiot says:

    As Tony so astutely commented after the NSIDC incident:

    “This is an interesting admission……This makes you wonder what other kinds of issues remain undetected in the satellite data.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/21/greenland-ice-melt-overestimated-due-to-satellite-data-algorithm-issue/#more-82559

  42. R James says:

    So if it was known to be faulty, why was the plot allowed to continue?

  43. Berényi Péter says:

    I am sure this Thing of the Past is nothing but a sensor error as well.

  44. eric1skeptic says:

    People like Village Idiot predictably cast doubt on satellite data knowing that it is the only way to measure global average temperature without homogenizing urban heating into large areas. They can’t be denied their 0.2C per decade even though that itself doesn’t ensure catastrophe.

  45. Rob says:

    The “Year to Date” CET negative anomaly will, within several weeks, almost certainly surpass anything seen since the 1880’s. More importantly, the Northern Hemisphere cold is widespread and severe. It will be interesting to see how the Instrumental vs. Satellite data depict this in coming months.

  46. izen says:

    @- Rob
    “More importantly, the Northern Hemisphere cold is widespread and severe.”

    There have been weird and extreme weather patterns in the N hemisphere this winter, but while the temperate zones are unusually cold, the Arctic is unusually warm. Part of the ‘Lance Armstrong’ climate and caused in part by the increased variation on the path of the jet streams as the temperature difference between the temperate and arctic regions is reduced.

    These extremes, coldest winter in N hemisphere and hottest summerin the S hemihere are just the sort of thing that is predicted from climate changes.

  47. Eliza says:

    From past viewing the AMSU graphs 600mb changes are usually about twice those of the 400mb so the decline maybe not be too far off but probably exaggerated by technical error.

  48. Jeff B. says:

    To Michael Mann that is some solid data.

  49. Bob B says:

    Izen, the Eath’s global temperatures have been flat for more than a decade. That is just the sort of thing not predicted by climate change.

  50. eric1skeptic says:

    izen said “These extremes… are just the sort of thing are is predicted from climate changes”.

    What is predicted is a less variation in the polar jet because a stronger (and thus less variable) jet will be produced by a lower continent to ocean temperature gradient (mainly within the Arctic) and other reasons.

    Essentially the Arctic will become more like the Antarctic with less N/S wave penetraton. See Held 1993: http://courses.washington.edu/pcc587/readings/Held1993.pdf

  51. izen says:

    @-Bob B
    “the Eath’s global temperatures have been flat for more than a decade. That is just the sort of thing not predicted by climate change.”

    Actually they have risen slightly over the last decade, but the expected rise from CO2 forcings of around 0.14degC is swamped by very large ENSO variation nearly an order of magnitude bigger. That is an effect which is absolutely predicted by climate change science. It has been an oft repeated mantra that short term variation will obscure the small long term trend. When Hansen predicted warming in the late 80s he was quite explicity that it would be after 2000 before the warming would be apparent above the shor-term variation.

    That energy is continuing to accumulate is confirmed by the recent findings of increasing ocean heat content, the sea level rise, the loss of land based ice, the shrinking spring snow cover, ongoing droughts, extreme storms……

  52. eric1skeptic says:

    izen, extreme storms and ongoing droughts are created by weather patterns, not by “accumulated energy”. Energy does not “accumulate” except in the ocean, and now we know that’s mostly the deep ocean where that accumulation is simply irrelevant (warms very cold water very slightly). The energy of the earth’s atmosphere fluctuates greatly in local areas and for the planet as a whole. Weather is mainly a cause of those energy fluctuations (far exceeding any by CO2) and not an effect.

  53. Bob B. says:

    Izen, you are joking right?? Hansen’s 1988 prediction is way beyond falsified for scenario A. Only the tin foil hat AGW alarmists still treat that with any trust. But it’s actually funny you are almost admitting the natural variations are way above what the CO2 signature is suppose to be? History has shown us that of course, that the natural variability is large.
    The Ocean heat content since modern measurement systems were deployed is also no where near the modeled values.
    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/01b-argo-era-model-data.png

  54. mike g says:

    Betapug says:
    Hmmm…. wonder who funds NOAA and NASA?

    Unfortunately, the answer is, the Federal Reserve, by buying bonds with IOU’s.

  55. David says:

    Rob says:

    March 26, 2013 at 6:35 am

    The “Year to Date” CET negative anomaly will, within several weeks, almost certainly surpass anything seen since the 1880′s. More importantly, the Northern Hemisphere cold is widespread and severe. It will be interesting to see how the Instrumental vs. Satellite data depict this in coming months
    ————————————————-
    Yes, to see if the spread between the two changes will be informative. Izen, there is no increase in weird weather, be it hurricanes, droughts tornados etc. CAGW is now so distorted that they have predicted anything that may happen. More snow, less snow, bigger frogs, smaller frogs, CAGW does it all.

  56. Rob says:

    Izen,

    The lack of global warming for nearly 2-decades violates every tenant of greenhouse theory. Clearly, another factor or factors must be at work. Also, a decrease in temperature gradient between the poles and tropics must result is less meridional flow, and less climate variability.
    The AGW alarmist have, out of desperation, attempted to confuse the public on this.

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