Mid-Winter Report Card

Mid-Winter Report Card
Guest post by Steven Goddard

We are almost at the half way point for the meteorological winter (December through February) and it is a good time to evaluate how the NOAA CPC (Climate Prediction Center) and UK Met Office winter forecasts are doing so far.  As seen below, CPC forecast the highest probability of warmth for Alaska and the upper midwest.

Looking at the results, it appears that the CPC forecast map was approximately inverted from what has actually occurred.  The near record cold air which has been sitting over Alaska, is now pouring into the upper midwest.  As of this morning, the temperature in International Falls, Minnesota is -22F, and historical cold is forecast for the coming weeks across most of the midwest and eastern US.
Here is the Month of December:
Current Climate Summary Map
On the other side of the pond, The Met Office famously forecast another warm season for the UK.

Trend of mild winters continues

25 September 2008

The Met Office forecast for the coming winter suggests it is, once again, likely to be milder than average.

Their scorecard is doing equally well, with the UK having it’s coldest winter in decades, as reported by the BBC.

last month proved to be the coldest December in more than 30 years, with the average temperature at 1.7C (35F), compared with the long-term average of 4.7C (40F) for the first part of the month.

On December 12, they issued this press release:

The Met Office seasonal forecast predicted the cold start to the winter season with milder conditions expected during January

Yet the Met Office appeared undaunted by yet another incorrect seasonal forecast, as reported by the always faithful Guardian earlier this week.

In the midst of a cold snap – a hot weather warning

As temperatures stay stubbornly well below freezing, it may feel like the last issue on anyone’s mind, but the government has been warned it may need to start thinking about introducing emergency hot weather payments to help poorer households keep cool.

And today, the Met Office reports

The cold spell caused significant problems in many areas of the country. The Government’s bill for Cold Weather Payments is expected to rise to more than £100 million

How we did

The Met Office correctly forecast the spell of cold weather and kept the public informed via our various forecasts.

So what can we infer from this?  Even on the short time scales, models don’t reach claimed accuracy.  Climate models, though different in design and time scale have a 90% confidence level, as reportedly claimed by the IPCC.
Of course, “Weather is not climate.” But, skill level in atmospheric model design should not automatically be assumed to be better for one than the other.
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175 thoughts on “Mid-Winter Report Card

  1. “Partly to Mostly with a Chance of…” -Sage advice on forecasting from and old
    Weather Service forcaster i knew.Never go out on a limb…
    Especially with an AGW saw in your hand….

  2. The conclusion I draw is that the Met Office continually get it wrong but continually claim the opposite!

  3. Well, this — the CPC forecast — is what you get when your primary model for forecasting is a 10 year trend. I.e., if you forecast a trend that comes from a time when a positive PDO and El Nino dominated Pacific SST’s, into a time when the PDO has gone negative an La Nina dominates, you should expect to be mostly wrong in your forecast.

  4. “…rather than being dry because it is cold, the air instead becomes cold because it is dry.”
    Brutal Cold in the IPCC Models versus Nature
    January 9th, 2009 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/brutal-cold-in-the-ipcc-models-versus-nature/
    What does all this mean for the theory of manmade global warming? How fast have these coldest airmasses warmed, compared to the IPCC models? Well, the location in Siberia that is traditionally the coldest, Ojmjakon, hit -60 deg. C (-76 deg. F) twice last month (December, 2008), a temperature that has been reached only one other time in the last 25 years. So, I suspect that global warming isn’t happening nearly fast enough for the folks who live there.

  5. Coming soon to the USofA.
    —————————————————
    The Australian government has produced a draft document by the Department of Climate Change on Australian Climate Change Science – A National Framework
    “The Exposure Draft on Australian Climate Change Science is planned as a justification for a massive new investment of public funds in a lot of very speculative ventures. It is produced entirely by the people who are seeking the funds. The authors are anonymous but obviously have a big vested interest in the result. The guiding principles are taken, not from science, but from political manifestos.”
    http://carbon-sense.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/science-by-bureaucracy.pdf
    The whole global warming hysteria (which underlies this entire document) rests on one fundamental and unproven assumption which can be summarised as: “Man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have caused unusual global warming and unless emissions are curbed by government caps and taxes, we will reach a tipping point and face runaway global warming which will cause significant damage to our environment.”
    There is no empirical evidence from the past, and no scientific proof of this assertion. The ONLY “evidence” is the voluminous and continually changing output of several complex but un-validated computerised models of world climate. These models give different answers depending on the input assumptions.

  6. I expect these nonsense predictions and claims from the mainstream propaganda outlets, but not from national climate centers. From now on, it appears that there are no “authoritative” sources for climate information that can be trusted.

  7. The Met Office says “Met Office seasonal forecasts are expressed as variations from 1971-2000 averages”
    So, for these forcasts they include the cooler period 1971-1978 and eliminate the warmer period 2001-2007 thus making the “average” temperature lower in an attempt to make current temps appear higher. I am finally beginning to understand climate “science”.

  8. Don’t worry – it’s getting warmer fast.
    From next week the UK is going back to warm, wet and windy weather
    The odd thing about this spell of cold weather was that the Azores high actually joined up with the high over northern Europe and blocked all the depressions and warm fronts from getting into the UK. I don’t remember it doing it to this extent in the last 20 years which is probably why the sea froze for up to 20 metres off the Dorset Coast. http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/photos/flickr/4034746.The_big_freeze/

  9. Weather and climate are both chaotic systems. Chaotic systems are inherently difficult to model. Why would anyone expect these kind of models to produce accurate predictions?

  10. Oh I love this one http://icecap.us/index.php/go/political-climate
    “Britain’s wind farms have stopped working during the cold snap due to lack of wind, it has emerged, as scientists claimed half the world’s energy could soon be from renewables. The Met Office said there has been an unusually long period of high pressure across the UK for the last couple of weeks, causing the cold snap and very little wind.
    Since Boxing Day much of the country has suffered sub-zero conditions with frozen rivers and lakes and even the sea in the south of England, at Sandbanks in Dorset. In the last few days temperatures in southern England plunged as low as 17.6F (-8C). However the weather is expected to warm up over the weekend, with wind speeds also picking up. But sources in the energy industry say that the lack of wind has caused the country’s wind farms to grind to a halt when more electricity than ever is needed for heating, forcing the grid to rely on back up from fossil fuels or other renewable energy sources. “

  11. The British are also getting a valuable lesson in just how useful wind energy is …
    All that wasted opportunity cost.

  12. The BBC changed their December story without comment today. It now reads:
    The start of the meteorological winter is 1 December and last month proved to be the coldest December since 1996, with the average temperature at 3.1C (38F), compared with the long-term average of 4.2C (40F) for the first part of the month.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7816005.stm

  13. Looks like quite a demonstration of how a belief system can get in the way of objective analysis of facts. Looks like for the near future, reality will refuse to conform to warming belief system. And in the last couple of days the Arctic has gone back to building up the ice.
    I can’t stand any more warming like we’ve been having of late.

  14. So what can we infer from this? Even on the short time scales, models don’t reach claimed accuracy.
    Anyone with too much time on his hands — here’s a fun exercise: print out the 10-day forecast off any of the popular online weather sites two or three times a day for 10 days, and see how they change. I’ve been trying this with The Weather Channel site for the last week or so, and I’ve seen temperature predictions for a given date fluctuate by as much as 20 degrees during the course of a day, and I’m talking about predictions that are only 24 to 72 hours out. Generally, by the time the 10 day mark is reached, it bears almost no resemblance to what was forecast 10 days before.

  15. Anthony,
    The Winter outlook that I saved was issued as an updated version issued on 20 Nov 2008.
    It shows the Alaskan “above” (40%) center shifted SW and expanded to take in about 1/3 of the state. The CONUS center over Wisconsin was pushed S and is centered over OK & MO. These forecasts of course, will be verified using the GISS data base which will be proof of a positive anomaly. In fact, my part of the country will have ZERO months of below average temps through next year according to the CPC . I’m already making plans for an unprecedented Summer!

  16. “… Even on the short time scales, models don’t reach claimed accuracy. Climate models, though different in design and time scale have a 90% confidence level, as reportedly claimed by the IPCC.
    “Of course, “Weather is not climate.” But, skill level in atmospheric model design should not automatically be assumed to be better for one than the other.”
    As a general rule in my field, if the outcome of tests and experiments diverges wildly from the predictions based on models and simulations, we either:
    a. Screwed up the test/experiment. i.e. We didn’t account for or control all external factors.
    b. Our models/simulations are seriously flawed.
    c. We’ve uncovered a previously unobserved behavior. (Which has happened. But we didn’t make that assertion until after MUCH review and evaluation of the test conditions, setup, simulations, etc.)
    I realize that on some arbitrarily short time period it’s “weather,” and some arbitrarily longer period it’s “climate.” I realize the AGW crowd is going to change that period to claim any specific data conforms to their agenda. What mystifies me is how they can assert a forecast for 5, 50 or 100 years, but they don’t understand the phenomenology well enough to accurately forecast a week or month out.
    The claim of “we can predict climate accurately, but not weather” sets my Fraud Detector off at max volume.

  17. George Orwell’s “1984” is alive and well… cold is hot, snow is tropical rain, white is black, according to the AGW proponents.

  18. A correction:
    It was the coldest *start* to December in 30 years. However, December overall was the coldest since 1996, at 0.7C below the 1961-1990 average.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/2008/december.html
    (As also stated in cited BBC article: “last month proved to be the coldest December since 1996……”; n.b. the bit which follows in the article doesn’t quite make sense but the statement just quoted is correct)

  19. So, despite all the money and effort we expend into these organizations, they still can’t make a better prediction than the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Just shows to go ya, it’s awfully difficult if not impossible to make any sense out of a chaotic system with so many variables that can affect it. That’s also why it’s so hard for us to screw it up with any one element, be it CO2 or anything else we do.

  20. After a while, you’d think that people who “reason” only in terms of being politically correct would themselves even wonder why it is that they get nearly everything wrong, and, indeed, often exactly the opposite of what is and turns out to be the case – that is, why it is that their perceptions, fears, and wishes are not reality. But maybe that would simply be asking too much, given the mental substrate they apparently have to work with.

  21. My tax dollars feed these fools? This has stopped being funny. I don’t even get a warm feeling of self-satisfied smugness anymore when it blows back in their faces. I just want them to do their best to get it right, rather than doing their best to prop up an agenda.

  22. It is turning milder over the coming week; however, there is still a good chance January will finish below average after the recent very cold snap.
    The Central England Temperature for 1st-9th Jan is 3.8C below the average.
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/cet_info_mean.html
    It is fair to say that the first half of winter has been unusually cold overall, and you correctly highlight that this is not what was predicted by the Met Office’s original seasonal forecast.

  23. As of early this a.m., the combined votes for WUWT and ClimateAudit have exceeded 50% of all votes for the first time.
    Please help this trend continue by voting once every 24 hours: click
    Voting ends Tuesday. Thanks for your support!

  24. Well I can tell you all that it’s much worse than that. I have long pointed out that the Central England Temperature (CET) just doesn’t seem to tally with actuality. According to that, 2008 was half a degree C WARMER than the average. This is despite us not really having a summer at all and everyone feeling decidedly chilly all year. Yet they come to the conclusion that we’re warmer than usual! But it gets worse. Currently England is freezing. Where I live in the south we had -12c one night. Today, the temperature has stayed below freezing all day. It’s been damned cold since before Xmas. Yet the CET says that the average is just -0.2! It just cannot be! As I have been saying for some time, the CET is a big fraud.

  25. People in the UK and northern Europe should not worry about this winter.
    The currently strenthening La Nina will give them a mild winter (whereas an El Nino causes a cold end to winters.) According to the Met Office and the Hadley Centre right now that is – of course completely opposite information is also available from the same researchers.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/hadleycentre/news/lanina.html
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20081209.html

  26. I’ve been watching these NOAA CPC forecasts for a couple of years, and can’t say any appeared accurate. It seems like there are never any below normal predictions. I have to admit I don’t look at them for the warm months as heat isn’t a hazard here.

  27. For the record, the Old Farmer’s Almanac was also 180 degrees out of phase for the month of December as well (at least in the Western Carolinas). Their forecast was for 4.5 degrees colder than normal, and the actual temperatures were more like 10 degrees *above* normal. They forecast snow for the entire month of December and we didn’t see a single flake.

  28. As a Brit I love the sarcastic comments aimed at our Government and their little green friends.
    Most of the people I speak to know that AGW is nonsense and we are slowly but surely seeing the Met Office talking irself into a corner. They are only being protected by their friends in the media and the politicians who have backed the wrong horse.
    There is a long way to go yet but when the day of truth arrives it is going to be very funny.

  29. Here’s a tip for my British friends: I sell dry ice. Please buy some, and place it outside your home. The dry ice will sublimate into the atmosphere above your home, thus trapping much-needed warmth.
    No worries about increasing the globe’s CO2 by doing this. The UK is a fairly small amount of the Earth’s surface, and the problem is short-term. The CO2 will gently blend into the atmosphere and go undetected.
    Have a go, please! Call BR-549, and ask for Billy Bob.
    Sincerely,
    Billy Bob.

  30. Ed Scott:

    The whole global warming hysteria (which underlies this entire document) rests on one fundamental and unproven assumption which can be summarised as: “Man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have caused unusual global warming and unless emissions are curbed by government caps and taxes, we will reach a tipping point and face runaway global warming which will cause significant damage to our environment.”
    There is no empirical evidence from the past, and no scientific proof of this assertion. The ONLY “evidence” is the voluminous and continually changing output of several complex but un-validated computerised models of world climate. These models give different answers depending on the input assumptions.

    Plus, as Mogli said in “The Jungle Book” movie, ~ “The Monkeys know it’s true because they always say it’s true.”

  31. David L. Hagen (08:43:27) :
    Life At Negative 78 Degrees In Alaska
    “Day to Day, January 9, 2009 · Right now it’s cold in Alaska. Really cold. In the town of Tok, it was 78 degrees below zero yesterday.”
    David,
    I know you’re only copying what someone else reported but you should use a little common sense when relaying information. The NWS reports that TOK had a low temp of -60F!!! Someone mistook that as a Celsius report and converted it to F. Ach, -78F would be an all time record.

  32. Re: Steve Berry – “According to that, 2008 was half a degree C WARMER than the average. This is despite us not really having a summer at all and everyone feeling decidedly chilly all year.”
    There is not necessarily a contradiction here.
    The average CET for June-Dec 2008 was 11.43C
    This is 0.2C below the June-Dec average for 1961-1990 which was 11.63C.
    It’s just that due to a very mild Jan and Feb and very warm May, Jan-May 08 was 1.4C above average. (Cold snap in April notwithstanding). Hence ~0.5C above average for the year.

  33. LOL!
    “Climate models, though different in design and time scale have a 90% confidence level, as reportedly claimed by the IPCC.”
    Err, that’s when solar factors are ignored.
    Of course any model that ignores solar factors is only fantasy.

  34. In Germany (Central Europe) it’s been the coldest winter in at least 12 years, possibly 20.
    Indeed the summer was short.
    Germany got snow last Easter.
    And London got snow in October.
    Germany then got more snow in November.
    and this January has been cold.
    Still, things are supposed to moderate a little next week.

  35. The AGW scam is like a huge game of musical chairs. As long as temperatures rise, or are made to appear to rise, the beneficiaries of this hoax remain employed. The music has stopped. When will they be scrambling for truth?

  36. Why not check out the UK ‘met office’ website, its got a whole section on why AGW/MMCC is “real” and just to press the agenda home they have plenty of space to attack the climate realists/skeptics going into full on attack dog/smear mode.
    The ‘met office’ is supposed to be a scientific organisation and it has an illustrious history(sadly well behind it) all that is left is a hollowed out shell puking out meaningless political propaganda liberally laced with lies.
    When you have visited the ‘met office’ web(lie)site you will understand clearly I think.

  37. The arctic high pressure systems that have blocked the flow of warm Atlantic air to Britain are now shifting and we expect ameliorating temperatures – but can anyone tell me how you generate high pressure over the dark arctic in winter? These ‘blocking highs’ also indicate that the North Atlantic Oscillation’s recent 25 year warm phase may be over – and hence we could expect a cold phase coincident with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in the North Pacific – and thus, this winter may be rather representative of the next two or three decades (unless carbon dioxide saves us!).
    I don’t understand why the MetOffice continually points to La Nina and doesn’t mention the NAO, or the 70 year Arctic Oscillation. These cycles involve alternate pressure patterns – with the NAO negative reversing the ‘normal’ high over the Azores, low over Iceland. But what drives the regular cycle?
    Cornwall just had a visit from a Snowy Owl! I nearly drove down to see it today – an icon of the times, as it normally lives in Arctic tundra.

  38. Stan Needham (09:19:11) :
    Anyone with too much time on his hands — here’s a fun exercise: print out the 10-day forecast off any of the popular online weather sites two or three times a day for 10 days, and see how they change. I’ve been trying this with The Weather Channel site for the last week or so, and I’ve seen temperature predictions for a given date fluctuate by as much as 20 degrees during the course of a day, and I’m talking about predictions that are only 24 to 72 hours out. Generally, by the time the 10 day mark is reached, it bears almost no resemblance to what was forecast 10 days before.

    I tried that for a while, and quickly came to the conclusion that they really have no idea what’s going to happen, but will, by sheer chance, get it “right” half the time.
    I travel a lot for work, and often check the forecast for the area I’ll be heading into. Here’s an example:
    I traveled to Philadelphia in early December. I checked the Forecast on Saturday, which said sunny every day until Thursday when it would be a bit rainy. I flew in on Sunday. It was rainy every day until Thursday when the sun finally came out.
    This is pretty typical of what I encounter. Again, I challenge ANYONE to make weather forecasts a WEEK in advance with any consistent accuracy. They never have been able to, and in spite of claims to increased accuracy over the years, I have seen none. Sure, very short term stuff is more accurate, since they can see clouds forming as they form and can then say it will probably rain in a few hours. But beyond a day or two, no better than tarot cards…

  39. Novoburgo — “David, I know you’re only copying what someone else reported but you should use a little common sense when relaying information. The NWS reports that TOK had a low temp of -60F!!! “
    Follow the links from drudge and the writer of that has a blog. In one entry she complains that the problem is that there are few thermometer units that can actually read anything below -60. Based on this, one wonders about accuracy of very low temps. From what I could tell that which COULD measure correctly was showing -80. There’s a pic to that effect.

  40. “that the lack of wind has caused the country’s wind farms to grind to a halt when more electricity than ever is needed for heating, forcing the grid to rely on back up from fossil fuels or other renewable energy sources. “
    What tickles me is that they continue to pretend that there are significant “renewable” energy sources. Solar isn’t going to work very well in winter when nights are longest and sun angle is lowest.
    Again, the nuclear technology we already have with recycling of fuel would end this problem. In this economy we could use some construction projects that actually add something to the economy.

  41. “but can anyone tell me how you generate high pressure over the dark arctic in winter? ”
    Air aloft radiates its heat into space and cools. As it cools, it sinks generating an area of high pressure.

  42. Saturday night in central England, still cold. Warmer weather has been promised ‘tomorrow’ since around wednesday. It has not arrived. Strangely the forecasters have not noticed this mistake, and continue to forecast it for tomorrow. Funny how they don’t explain what happened to yesterday’s forecast.

  43. G Alston (10:36:23)
    “From what I could tell that which COULD measure correctly was showing -80. There’s a pic to that effect.”
    Alcohol thermometer will!
    The temp that the article reported was -78F which just happens to be precisely -60C, which is exactly what the NWS reported in its State summary…in Fahrenheit!
    There was no -78 reading: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=pafg

  44. The Met Office is run by propagandists these days. Mitchell at the Met Office and Jones at its offshoot, the Hadley Centre. Not much honest science there then.

  45. Ok boys and girls we’ve all had our fun but have any of you got an idea what might be happening in the deep ocean currents. My view is we will see a continuing cooling of the Arctic oceans but a weakening of the La Nina.
    Next summer in the northern hemisphere should be fair bit cooler than the average of the last eleven years and the +20/-20 tropics to be more or less neutral.
    Either way I doubt i could stuff things up as badly as the UK Met Office or the CPC.

  46. “The Met Office seasonal forecast predicted the cold start to the winter season with milder conditions expected during January”
    In magic circles that’s called “covering all the outs.” In other words, no matter what happens, just take credit for it. Once you’ve mentioned all possible outcomes it’s simple enough to say: “See that cold spell I predicted just showed up a week early or see that warm spell I predicted just lasted a week or so longer than even I thought.” Such is how 90 % accuracy figures are constructed.

  47. Amusingly I issued this prediction for the UK in late October:
    “On balance I think the coming winter will be colder and drier than the long term average, possibly by a surprising margin but too much depends on the winter jet stream which can be very unpredictable in Western Europe.
    Last winter was, as they say, warmer than the average here and in W Europe. However that was during a colder N Hemisphere winter overall.
    What happened was that the plunges of cold air over N America distorted the jet stream which then approached us persistently from the South West bringing frequent flows of mild air.
    Since the recent global cooling trend has intensified since last winter I suspect that the jet stream will this year push more often into the Mediterranean thus cutting off the supply of warm air to us. IF that happens (no guarantee) then the Greenland and Scandinavian high pressure cells will affect us more than for many years past and give us persistent cold”.
    As to the mechanism which I believe is involved in driving global temperatures please see here:
    http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=2499

  48. Many good points here.
    But at what point will, or can, this tremendous AGW fraud trigger the all out, blowback attack it should be under today?
    Something is missing in terms of what the populous could and should do when the governing establishments perpetrate such global scam.
    At this point there should already be many IPCC casualties facing consequences for their manipulations.
    Something has happened in societal evolution that enables such a massive growth in corrupted governance and policy making.
    It seems we humans, (the little people?, peasants?) have lost the ability to deliver a 21st Century revolt, lynching, tar and feathering.
    Figuratively speaking of course.
    IMO there should be dire consequences for this AGW crime.
    So I guess the shorter question is,
    “How do we begin to really punish some of these perpetrators”?
    Or when?

  49. Has anyone noticed the latest from Mauna Loa?
    2008 CO2 increase of just 0.24 – lowest since their records began.
    Is a cooling ocean absorbing more CO2?
    Or does it mean anything at all?

  50. I barely noticed the ‘what is the red dot’ link (near ‘Actions” above) that takes you to: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/10/what-is-the-red-dot
    I can tell you from personal experience that if they have that sensor near black asphalt in Arizona it will be ‘way hot’. I still remember the summer I was in Phoenix and they shut down the airport because the asphalt was melting in the sun at somewhere over 126 F or so… The air temp is hot enough, but when the air is just laying there, asphalt gets sooooo hot in the desert.

  51. Richard Sharpe (09:09:35) :
    The British are also getting a valuable lesson in just how useful wind energy is …
    You’re singing to the choir mate.
    I seem to remember the Met Office failing to predict the icy start to winter until AFTER the event, when I was telling everyone it was gonna be a brass monkeys Winter back in Summer.
    They used to laugh but they don’t now. 😀
    DaveE.

  52. Tom in cooler than I like Florida (08:54:32) : The Met Office says “Met Office seasonal forecasts are expressed as variations from 1971-2000 averages”
    Oh well spotted Tom. Met Office “correctly forecast” my foot! – especially with that troublesome alteration Steve Goddard noticed,
    from
    Last month proved to be the coldest December in more than 30 years, with the average temperature at 1.7C (35F), compared with the long-term average of 4.7C (40F) for the first part of the month.
    to
    Last month proved to be the coldest December since 1996, with the average temperature at 3.1C (38F), compared with the long-term average of 4.2C (40F) for the first part of the month.
    Now here’s the real European evidence. Serious snow in Milan? Marseille? Keep it up please dear Sun – but not for too long!
    Slightly OT, but I regard these two pieces that should have been peer-reviewed, published and praised as really important missing info – part of why we’ve been misinformed for so long.

  53. Peter Taylor (10:24:39) : Cornwall just had a visit from a Snowy Owl!
    Well, since the UFO hit the wind turbine in frosty Lincolnshire, perhaps Hedwig is bringing us a message.

  54. I live in the Pacific NW and the weather has been strange here.. Slams us with massive snow fall then warms enough to turn the entire countryside into a wet mess. It has been very unusual weather, but trust me, its not warm:)
    I think its time for the sun to start kickin up a fuss and for the ocean currents to go neutral. A couple years of normal solar activity and no ocean current to blame for the non rising temps and GW will be dead. It will take just a few years of absolute normal to kill that movement.
    I have been dismayed a bit reading this site lately. We have to be careful not to turn chicken little ourselves. Screaming the ice age is coming the ice age is coming is no more responsible then the people we dislike who scream hot tipping point.. I think people would be best served if we could just show that the earth has a variable climate and if you dont like it, wait long enough .. it will change:) Its no disaster and not even really scarry.
    When that happens we can go back to dealing with real problems and the world may become a nicer place overall.

  55. Lucy Skywalker says, in part:

    Slightly OT, but I regard these two pieces that should have been peer-reviewed, published and praised as really important missing info – part of why we’ve been misinformed for so long.

    It is not much good pointing out a paper if you don’t provide a link to the paper.

  56. It is 08:40pm in Pembrokeshire and the temperature is 8C. Four days ago at this time it was -7C. There has been little or no sun over that period. This global warming is terrible!
    (umm.. the wind changed from northeast to southwest 🙂 )

  57. Steve H. (11:23:49) :
    But at what point will, or can, this tremendous AGW fraud trigger the all out, blowback attack it should be under today?

    I can’t tell you when, but I can tell you how to know it’s started… Watch “The Tonight Show”. When they start doing regular jokes about something, it’s dead meat. As soon as the AGW failure jokes are getting big laughs, we can begin the celebration… I did see one such joke on Letterman, so we’re “warming up” for it 😉
    On my daily constitutional walk around the neighborhood a week or two ago I made an AGW joke with each person I met. Not One failed to laugh. Not One supported AGW. It was a very cold day…
    Something has happened in societal evolution that enables such a massive growth in corrupted governance and policy making.
    Actually history is full of such folly, it’s just not been climate related. From witch hunts to Russian genetics to Aryan psudohistory to the Chinese Maoist system. What was unusual was the (short) century or two of rational western thought. I hope we can retrieve it before it is lost completely.
    It seems we humans, (the little people?, peasants?) have lost the ability to deliver a 21st Century revolt, lynching, tar and feathering.
    Figuratively speaking of course.
    IMO there should be dire consequences for this AGW crime.

    Patience grasshopper, patience… It takes time to sharpen the knives…
    Figuratively speaking; of course…
    I give it 5 to 10 years max. After the first 3 winters like this one, folks will be shouting Bull at any more AGW nonsense. At 5, they will be rioting if the politicians haven’t moved on. Politicians are in the business of getting in front of the parade and claiming to have led it. Frozen folks will be having one heck of a parade toward warmth.
    Just remember, to the average person: 1 is a fluke. 2 is a pattern. 3 is a trend. 4 is a certainty. 5 is Truth.
    We are presently at 2 and getting colder.
    People don’t remember things well, or long. They don’t handle long term lag times or cyclicalities well. This worked for the AGW thesis when PDO and sunspots were pushing for warming. Now this ‘long knife’ cuts the other way… So patience. And humor.

  58. If you’re verifying CPC for December, why not assess their December outlook instead of D-J-F? The December outlook doesn’t verify all that well but at least you’re apples:apples.

  59. IMO there should be dire consequences for this AGW crime.
    So I guess the shorter question is,
    “How do we begin to really punish some of these perpetrators”?
    Or when?

    I think more at issue, is to explain to the general public that the problem was one of a breakdown of good scientific process and check and balance by an honest no agenda peer review process.
    We should be careful about “punishing the snake oil salesmen of global warming”, it could result in a general back lash against science, rather than reinforcing good science unless carefully done to reinforce the concept of good science.
    The best way to “punish” in my view, would be to use this recent scandal to demand the teaching of good honest no agenda science in our schools. The future of the respectability of science is to show that many “scientists” who were not degree’d, or tenured, or even professional scientists in the traditional sense, did see this breakdown, and tried to warn the public about it.
    The primary failure was a media that was not scientifically competent or good enough journalists to ask probing questions of the high profile advocates of global warming, and hold them accountable for failed predictions and to adequately communicate the level of uncertainty of their “projections/predictions” to the public.
    As mentioned in some previous posts on this blog, the skeptical citizen scientist has been the only honest peer review in many cases for the current state of climate prediction, and we need a cultural shift where the ownership of a degree or a title does not give undue weight to an expressed opinion. Sound and well reasoned review by people “outside” the priesthood of the current fad of science need to be given their appropriate level of respect in the media based on knowledgeable evaluation of the quality of their science, not on their resume.
    If you have ever seen some of the very old articles in Scientific American about highly reputable scientists of years gone by making predictions or assertions of complete understanding of processes that are today seen as obviously flawed or even absurd shows this is in no way new.
    The political leadership needs to be held accountable for not having adequate independent scientific review of the data, and predictions, and the primary custodians of that data need to be both properly funded to do good work, and held accountable for proper quality control of the data so it is reliable.
    At least that is my view.
    Larry

  60. Here’s a thought {I have them on occasion}:
    AGW proponents are fond of making a fuss about how their models are forecasting future climate, not weather; implying that just because weather forecasts are so often wrong, the same cannot be said of climate forecasts.
    So what we have here is a three-month climate prediction {not weather forecast} that is so wide of the mark that the question that should be asked is:
    If NOAA can’t correctly predict the climate three months out, why should anyone believe any climate prediction for a hundred years out?

  61. DaveE (11:53:53) :
    I seem to remember the Met Office failing to predict the icy start to winter until AFTER the event, when I was telling everyone it was gonna be a brass monkeys Winter back in Summer.
    They used to laugh but they don’t now. 😀

    And that is how we will effect change. I have an engineer friend, fairly hard core green. For over 3 years I’ve been ‘working on him’ to get him to see that AGW was bunk. Slow, painful, one at a time baby step progress. I’d claim thermometer errors. Then have to spend 4 months to get him to look at the proof. Then method error (data massage). Same lag. Gave him Skeptical Environmentalist and Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 years (returned unread months later). I eventually got him to “I don’t know and maybe AGW is wrong, but I can’t say anything like that in public”.
    This summer I predicted a very cold winter (based on Landscheidt et. al.) and got a polite “Yeah, sure”; though he did take the papers to look at. As of now, he’s reading some of the papers I’ve provided per the problems with AGW and snickering at the snide remarks about if it gets any warmer I’m gonna need new long johns.
    There is nothing like being right about the cold to make a convert, especially when you’ve done it in advance. One person at a time is all it takes.

  62. I know it will sound odd coming from me, but we can probably predict with better accuracy on climate, then weather.
    Climate is the statistics of weather. Weather is mostly chaotic, so predictability is not high.
    Lets say I throw a die. It has about a 17% chance of any particular number coming up. That’s weather.
    Lets say I track this for 1000 throws. I can predict how many times a given number will come up, with pretty good accuracy. That’s climate.
    For a given throw, no. But for a great number of throws, yes, prediction is possible.
    If a number does not appear as predicted, within a certain confidence level, then we need to look at the die and see what changed. That’s climate change.

  63. It’s also very cold in Madrid,
    “However, it should be recalled that weather conditions are the result of extremely complex interactions, and, therefore, one particular event cannot be attributed to one specific cause,” the UN weather agency said.

  64. John W. (09:27:58)
    “I realize that on some arbitrarily short time period it’s “weather,” and some arbitrarily longer period it’s “climate.” I realize the AGW crowd is going to change that period to claim any specific data conforms to their agenda. What mystifies me is how they can assert a forecast for 5, 50 or 100 years, but they don’t understand the phenomenology well enough to accurately forecast a week or month out.”
    One thing that’s clear from the instrumental record and documentary evidence (Danes in Greenland, grapes in England etc) is that climate is cyclical. Temperatures go up for a while (over decades at least, sometimes longer) and then it goes down for a while; then up again and so on. If you take data within any one cycle (eg based on the instrumental record since 1850 or so with several cycles) and extrapolate the resulting “projection” over anything more than a year or two is obviously complete nonsense. Pick a downward trend and you get an ice age, an upward trend and you get catastrophic warming. And if it isn’t bad enough with a 20 year extrapolation, try 50 years, then 100 years.
    When the IPCC define “climate” as being over a 25-30 year time scale, I don’t think it’s arbitrary. Making a projection some time around year 2000 it is exactly the time scale you would choose to make the most of the warming cycle since about 1970. If you chose 70 years, going back to the 1930s (any takers on why 30 years is climate but 70 years isn’t?) you would include the cooling period that preceeded the latest warming period, with much less satisfactory results.
    The other reason for choosing a time scale of 25-30 years is career progression. If you are a “climate scientist” over 35, and can get away with persuading people that observations over a period less than 25 years tell nothing about climate, you are guaranteed to be able to reach retirement before you are shown to be wrong. (Pity the under 35s)
    So rather than being arbitrary, the time scale for “climate” is very carefully calibrated.

  65. “Is a cooling ocean absorbing more CO2?”
    A cooling ocean would hold more dissolved CO2.
    But if you look at the global mean, it shows a larger increase in 2008 than in 2007. scroll down to “global”. But the global number doesn’t have December 2008 in the data set yet.

  66. This summer I predicted a very cold winter (based on Landscheidt et. al.) and got a polite….
    But is it a cold winter?
    The UAH December anomaly for NH is +0.42. Sure – the UK and some parts of Europe have had a longer cold snap than is normal, in recent times at least, but it hardly ranks with some past winters. For us in the UK, this winter has been a bit of a shock because we’ve become accustomed to much milder winters in the past decade or so. People are reading far too much into this.

  67. The Australian BOM have been continuously forecasting warmer conditions but not getting them. Seems as if they do not like to admit it, almost as if they cannot believe that the weather in places can actually get cooler:
    Forecast –
    http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/climate/ahead/20081126T.shtml
    Actual –
    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/month/aus/summary.shtml
    Sea Surface temp forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef are also for higher than normal temps:
    http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/key_issues/climate_change/management_responses/coral_bleaching_status_2008-09/seasonal_bleaching_forecasts/poama_image
    And the Coral Bleaching forecast is also high:
    http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/key_issues/climate_change/management_responses/coral_bleaching_status_2008-09
    But current GBR SST anomaly plot does not show anything alarming and I have not heard of any devastation yet this summer from the GBR:
    http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/key_issues/climate_change/management_responses/coral_bleaching_status_2008-09/reeftemp_image
    Global SST –
    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

  68. My local radio station, “LincsFM” noted that the temperature at RAF Waddington airbase, near Lincoln, has been no higher than -2C all day!
    There’s a column in today’s The Daily Telegraph, on the weather page.
    The author, one Philip Eden, notes the claims being made for December being “The coldest since..”.
    Depending on which days you pick, you’ve got since 1998 (Dec1st-8th), 1991 (1st-12th), 1976 (1st-10th)
    He carries on to say that for the whole month of December, it was “the coldest for just 7 years, not 30”
    Seems to be in a bit of a huff about it.
    I’ve “Googled” him, he runs a weather site
    http://www.climate-uk.com/
    He notes on that website that December was “It was the driest and sunniest December, averaged nationally, since 2001, and the coldest also since 2001”.
    As for windpower, well, it’s contributed a magnificent 0.5% of our national electricity usage, during the past few days or so, scarcely a breath of wind.

  69. Nice and simple explanation Les. But the problem is, we really don’t know how many dice we have, and exactly what numbers are on those dice.

  70. D Caldwell said (11:33:34) :
    “Has anyone noticed the latest from Mauna Loa?
    2008 CO2 increase of just 0.24 – lowest since their records began.
    Is a cooling ocean absorbing more CO2?
    Or does it mean anything at all?”
    Surely it shows the normal 2ppm increase over the whole year? Which data are you looking at?
    ML is on a volcanic island over a continually outgassing warm ocean and mixing isn’t as great as is often claimed. If there is absorption going on and levels are dropping ML would probably be the last place it will show up
    TonyB

  71. hotrod (12:50:09) :
    Very good points. More than that though, it is not just that the media is not scientifically competent to understand or report the uncertainty to the public, there has been a general dumbing down of scientific reporting in most of the MSM in the last 10 years. There is a fear of alienating audiences or readerships, and scientific documentaries are now full of recaps and summries. This has even been evident even in the BBC’s science programmes, such as the formerly excellent Horizon. It is maddening.
    Having participated in several information films and been present when news crews report on science breakthroughs, you end up doing what they want and biting your tongue. They want to sensationalise any small breakthough, link any chemical to cancer, hype negative change, create fear in their audience who will then hunger for more information about how this will affect them.
    They are shouting for attention too, and really fear not getting it. After all lack of readership or audience is death to MSM. Joe Public does not care about science, except when it might affect him. Create fear – make him read the article. It is no wonder science is viewed so negatively by so many.
    Much colder weather allows the media to do what they want, hype the dire consequences.

  72. Steve M: I totally agree. Weather and climate are hellishly more complex than dice.
    But, I would have more confidence in a long range climate forecast, than a long range weather forecast.
    And yeah, it would be nice to know how many sides on the dice, and what numbers, before we spent 40 trillion dollars betting on those dice.

  73. Global mean temperatures from IPCC AR4 here. Labelled FAQ 3.1 Figure 1
    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch03.pdf
    Examples:
    1) rise in T from 1860-1880 is about 0.6C; extrapolate 100 years to 1960, projected T about 17C, actual in 1960 about 14C
    2) fall in T from 1880-1910 is about 0.6C; extrapolate 50 years to 1960, projected T about 12.5C, actual in 1960 about 14C; extrapolate 100 years to about now, projected T about 11.5C actual about 14.5C
    Two points if you look at the graphs: other data sets I have seen (eg US) have the 1930-40 period much closer to T in 2000.
    Look at the slopes of the segments 1860-80 and 1910-40 and compare with the slope of the segment 1970-2000. The slope is the rate of change of T. Pretty much the same? I’ve often hear it said that it isn’t the temperature itself that is of concern (this comes out when the possibility that the 1930s were about the same as now, not seen in this data set), but the unpredecdented rate of increase. Well, it isn’t unprecedented according to the IPCC data.

  74. Noting the UK Met Office forward projections.
    News release 19th Aug 2007
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070810.html
    predicts:
    “Over the 10-year period as a whole, climate continues to warm and 2014 is likely to be 0.3 °C warmer than 2004. At least half of the years after 2009 are predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.”
    “1998 is the current warmest year on record with a global mean temperature of 14.54 °C”
    30 December 2008 Press release
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2007/pr20070810.html
    “2009 is expected to be one of the top-five warmest years on record despite continued cooling of huge areas of the tropical Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon known as La Niña. ….the global temperature is forecast to be more than 0.4 °C above the long-term average. This would make 2009 warmer than the year just gone and the warmest since 2005.”
    “The warmest year on record is 1998, which was 14.52 °C, a year dominated by an extreme El Niño.”
    1998 downgraded by 0.02°C in 18 months?

  75. ML original site here:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    Les Johnson:
    I don’t think the dice example is a very good analogy for long term climate prediciton – far too simple and stable.
    I would imagine the climate system is more like 3 dozen irregular objects, each with multiple faces; some faces change their values from throw to throw in random patterns and others change from throw to throw in a more predictable pattern. Most can provide fairly broad ranges of values both negative and positive.
    You can know the approximate values contributed in each throw by 12 of the objects + or – 10%, you can only be given a broad range of probable values contributed by the next 12, and you know nothing about the contribution of the final 12.
    You are given the total value of each of the previous 30 throws and you know that the total value fluctuates a lot within a certain range and statistically has increased by about 0.13 per each 10 throws. You are not told whether or not the trend is just statistical noise.
    Assume you will throw them all 200 times. Now predict for us the trend of the total value over the next 200 throws. What is your prediction for the average of your first 100 throws? The last 100 throws? What is your prediction for the average of the last 10 throws?
    I would imagine that the above game would actually be easier than predicting Earth’s climate over the next 200 years.

  76. John Finn (14:02:03) :
    But is it a cold winter?

    E.M.Smith (15:04:13) :
    Yes.

    Any data to support this? (not newspaper reports).
    Note that both satellite records (RSS & UAH) for December are ~0.2 deg above normal globally and ~0.4 deg above normal in the NH.

  77. Re the weather vs climate distinction, I can’t see it is valid to claim that CO2 climate forcing is compatible with anything other than a steady observable increase in the planet’s heat content year on year.
    So if the surface temperature is not showing this trend then that can only be explained away by uneven distribution patterns and believers in AGW have to show where it is being stored. The evidence is that it is not being stored in the oceans (Pielke snr’s Climate Science, 6 Jan 08).

  78. Re UK Met Office claim that December coldest for 30 years.
    I’ve been reading this blog for a while and found it a fount of knowledge, amazing common sense and great scientific debate and entertainment. Hope I can chip in with a little reference to an article on the ‘media’ claim for the ‘coldest December for 30 years in the UK’ that injects a bit of perspective.
    Philip Eden meteorologist for Daily Telegraph (no sign of his article in online Telegraph – Weather statistics offer cold comfort) says basically this claim is due to ‘media’ ignorance and press offices trying to provide the media with attention-grabbing hype (I assume the press office in this case is the Met Office).
    Eden said: ‘What the press release did not make clear was that the ‘coldest since 1976′ line referred to the period Dec 1-10…’ [presumably the *start* to December that Chris referred to] and he said any other selection of dates would not be particularly newsworthy.
    Eden says Dec 1-8 coldest only since 1998; Dec 1-12 coldest since 1991; and claims monthly figures show December coldest for just 7 years not 30.
    He then says a little about ‘cherry-picking’ statistics…

  79. Les Johnson: “Lets say I throw a die. It has about a 17% chance of any particular number coming up. That’s weather.
    Lets say I track this for 1000 throws. I can predict how many times a given number will come up, with pretty good accuracy. That’s climate.”
    Sorry Les, apparently you are not much of a gambler. Each throw of the die is totally independent of all previous throws and has no relationship to them. Of course, using algorean science and by hansenizing the data you may be able to make people think you can predict with a degree of accuracy.

  80. I’m going to make this my tagline on future emails:
    “All forecasts should be written in pencil”

  81. TWEEEEEEEET!!
    Piling On! 10 yard penalty!
    1. I didn’t say that climate could be predicted with any accuracy. Or weather. But climate should have better longer term predictablity.
    2. I was using an analogy, to show how a series of chaotic events could be predicted better than the individual events. Note that I said that climate is “hellishly complex” to predict.
    3. Tom : I am a very good gambler. If we throw the dice 1000 times, I predict that a 6 will come up 167 times, plus or minus 10. Did you want to bet me on this?
    If you were thinking that I could predict an individual event; well, that would be just silly, now, wouldn’t it?

  82. FYI, unpredictable weather and unreliable forecasts are largely a NH phenomena.
    Most of you would be amazed at how accurate short term (up to a week) weather forecasts are in the SH.
    Although, that doesn’t make our seasonal outlook forecasts (3 months) any more accurate, as Warwick Hughes has documented. Nor are (global warming biased) long term predictions any better.
    My point being that forecasting short term weather and longer term climate are different things and success or failure in one tells us nothing about success or failure in forecasting the other.
    The dice analogy is actually quite a good one.

  83. We can infer from the UK Met Office that they have their heads up their ars*s.
    The seas around even the South coast of the UK are freezing, albeit in sheltered areas at present, but this hasn’t happened since the windter of ’62-63. I’d say that is 46 years.
    Just an anomolly; nothing to see here; move on. Besides, we predicted this warm spell.

  84. John Finn, You are assuming that you know what “normal” is. That’s the kind of misleading misuse of words that we all complain about. The anomaly is against a chosen baseline. Who knows if that’s normal or not! IMHO it’s wrong to characterize any arbitrary choice of time frame with connotative words until a better understanding of the climate exists.

  85. Cool Tim in Florida hansenizing the data I think this phrase will go down in imfamy 🙂
    From my boss when a customer realizes the product doesn’t meet spec: “Hey, did you Hansenize the data?”.
    Disclaimer: I am not now, nor ever have been, a Hansenizer.

  86. crosspatch (10:52:53) :
    ” “but can anyone tell me how you generate high pressure over the dark arctic in winter? ”
    Air aloft radiates its heat into space and cools. As it cools, it sinks generating an area of high pressure.”
    My question, then, is why does the high pressure area happen this year, for such a prolonged period, but not every year? Surely the air above the arctic radiates its heat into space each year?
    I am very familiar with black body radiation.
    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  87. The Moana Loa Observatory CO2 reported for December 2008 (384.11) just happens to be identical to the value reported for November 2008. I expect them to revise the value shortly.

  88. Tom in cooler than I like Florida (16:55:19) :
    ‘Sorry Les, apparently you are not much of a gambler. Each throw of the die is totally independent………’
    Not unless the die are loaded. (hocky stick)

  89. “Ellie in Belfast (16:22:12) :
    Noting the UK Met Office forward projections.
    News release 19th Aug 2007
    “1998 is the current warmest year on record with a global mean temperature of 14.54 °C”
    30 December 2008 Press release
    “The warmest year on record is 1998, which was 14.52 °C, a year dominated by an extreme El Niño.”
    1998 downgraded by 0.02°C in 18 months?”
    Ellie,
    How else can we make all these cold years warmer than 1998?
    It’s just an adjustment. No one has been upset about the last three or four hundred thousand adjustments. Why should that one matter? Please pay no attention to the adjustments. We are doing it for the children.
    Mike Bryant

  90. Roger E. Sowell
    Areas of persistent high pressure vary from one year to the next in intensity and location. For example, the summer hurricane season is greatly dependent on the intensity and location of a persistent high pressure zone off the coast of North America called the Bermuda High. If the Bermuda High is strong, strong trade winds blowing across the surface cool the sea surface resulting in storms having a harder time forming. If it is farther South or West, storms are pushed into the Gulf of Mexico. If it is farther East, storms come up the Eastern seaboard.
    This year in the Atlantic, an area of high pressure was farther North than usual preventing the usual pattern of mild rainy weather and they experienced clear cold air instead.
    These areas of pressure difference are always there, they just vary in their strength and exact location from one year to the next. If we could figure out exactly why, we would have weather forecasting pretty much figured out.

  91. Apologies, forgot to change year on calendar. Pielke reference above should have been 6 Jan 09.

  92. Roger Sowell (18:01:59) :

    My question, then, is why does the high pressure area happen this year, for such a prolonged period, but not every year? Surely the air above the arctic radiates its heat into space each year?

    It does form each year. The drape of the jetstream and stormtracks influences host it moves south, but here in New Hampshire we our share. It’s often modified on a trek from the Dakotas and Minnesota (thanks guys!) so it’s not quite that cold, but I consider the winter a waste if it doesn’t go below 0F at least once each winter. The air is so clear, the sky so blue, it’s a delight to go outside (as long as the sun is up and the wind is still).
    This year either the air has been trapped longer to radiate more or the starting air was pretty cold to begin with. Or something like that, I haven’t followed things closely.
    Closer to you, there’s a persistant area of low pressure over the American southwest during the summer. The air is so hot that density drops and the air column ways less than average.

  93. “into a time when the PDO has gone negative an La Nina dominates, you should expect to be mostly wrong in your forecast.”
    Yep. The current climate and weather models do not take into account several of the most important factors in our weather and climate:
    1) The Oceans. As Oceanographers will tell you themselves we do not yet have the capability to understand or PREDICT the oceans behavior.
    2) The clouds. None of the AGW models take into account cloud formation caused by 3)
    3) The Sun/Cosmic Rays. The sun and cosmic rays are the engine that helps drive our climate. When the sun is less active it causes more cosmic rays to get through which causes more cloud production, which causes even less of a weak sun’s energy to reach Earth.
    Historically it takes far longer for the Earth to warm than it does to cool.
    Historically cultures and peoples are much better suited to dealing with warmer climates than colder climates.

  94. Roger Sowell asks:

    Air aloft radiates its heat into space and cools. As it cools, it sinks generating an area of high pressure.”
    My question, then, is why does the high pressure area happen this year, for such a prolonged period, but not every year? Surely the air above the arctic radiates its heat into space each year?

    Perhaps the reduction in UV from the sun has lead to a decrease in ozone allowing radiation to escape more readily.

  95. Les Johnson (17:18:44) :
    “I was using an analogy, to show how a series of chaotic events could be predicted better than the individual events.”
    Unfortunately it’s a very bad analogy. For a start, with tosses of the dice you are just as likely to get the hottest day of the year in the middle of winter and the coldest in the middle of summder as the other way around. Does that seem a good analogy? One that abolishes winter and summer?
    The problem with your analogy is that it models weather as a series of independent events, whereas in truth every weather event is very strongly determined by what went just before.

  96. I eventually got him to “I don’t know and maybe AGW is wrong, but I can’t say anything like that in public”.

    It’s the new Scarlet Letter.

  97. Les: “I am a very good gambler. If we throw the dice 1000 times, I predict that a 6 will come up 167 times, plus or minus 10. Did you want to bet me on this?”
    Les, it’s that kind of thinking that has made billionairs of Las Vegas casino owners. Let me give you a better way to phrase it. If we take groups of 3 sets of 1000 throws, 6 should appear 167 times in 2 of the 3 sets but will either appear a far greater or far fewer number of times in the other set. However, we can never really know which set we are observing because each set could be part of a different sequence of 3 sets. Our 3rd set could be the either the 3rd set of the first group, or the second set of the second group or the first set of the third group etc, etc, etc. End result: we really don’t know. BTW, betting is illegal at Bushwood and I never slice.

  98. sigh….I never equated the dice directly to climate. It was a simple example, as I also stated. Remember “hellishly complex”?
    While its hard to predict individual chaotic events, like weather, its easier to predict a series of chaotic individual events as a likely outcome.
    We can’t define both the position and the momentum of a single electron, but we can predict that sufficient electrons can power a computer, and transmit sufficient electrons, so that a coherent message is possible.
    I can’t predict the weather 4 months ahead of time, but, using historical records and experience, I can predict that western Africa will quite probably experience lots of rain in 5 months. What will the weather in Lagos be, around May 15? I have no idea. It could be hot and sunny, or cool and raining. I can say that around May 15, plus or minus 5 days, it will probably rain.
    My point, again, is that long term climate may be easier to predict than short term weather. I make no claims as to the accuracy of such predictions, only that they should be more accurate than long term weather predictions.

  99. les,
    And you confuse chaos with randomness. Probably the simplest example:
    The logistic difference equation is given by
    x(n+1) = rx(n)(1-x(n))
    where r is the so-called driving parameter. The equation is used in the following manner. Start with a fixed value of the driving parameter, r, and an initial value of x0. One then runs the equation recursively, obtaining x1, x2, . . .xn. For low values of r [eg 2], xn (as n goes to infinity) eventually converges to a single number. Repeat with a different value of r gives strkingly different results [eg 3.57 does not converge].
    If you actually try this (using a calculator or spreadsheet) you will see successive values x1, x2, … jump around such that they might look to be random. But if you repeat it you get the same values, so they are not random.
    This is a better analogy for weather (each x depends on the previous one and behaviour is sometimes erratic, sometimes not) but of course far too simple. Note that if you can’t specify x2 well, you can’t x3 and so on … it gets worse, not better. So there is no hope of predicting long term behaviour unless you can predict short term behaviour.

  100. WUWT is leading in the Weblog Awards in the science category. Real Climate is currently running at #6 out of 10. I believe that this is as it should be since Anthony strives to make the science understandable to many, while maintaining integrity and decorum.
    Don’t forget to keep voting!

  101. John Finn (16:46:41) :
    John Finn (14:02:03) :
    But is it a cold winter?
    E.M.Smith (15:04:13) :
    Yes.
    Any data to support this? (not newspaper reports).
    Note that both satellite records (RSS & UAH) for December are ~0.2 deg above normal globally and ~0.4 deg above normal in the NH.

    Demonstrate to me that averaging a random collection of different things means anything. Prove that one single number can adequately describe the planet and climate.
    Averages hide more than they reveal…
    IMHO, we are now in what I would call a ‘battleground’ if it were a stock chart. (There are remarkable similarities in stock prediction and climate prediction that I will not go into). At inflection points in trends, there are forces pulling both up and down. Volatility rises.
    Averaging in the high highs over the (still warm) oceans with the low lows over the newly (very cold) land says “nothing happened”. This is wrong. One needs to look at the progression of the highs and the progression of the lows. (In fact, for stocks, you track the lows on the way up and the highs on the way down. They each tend to bounce off of the moving average lines)
    What we have seen is a ‘failure to progress’ to the upside over the last couple of years (see the other threads on this site.) Along with that, we have spectacular new lows over land, especially at the polar extremes of both hemispheres. This is called ‘lower lows’ in stock trading. Failure to progress to the upside along with lower lows to the downside is an inflection. (There are also numerous references on this site to lower lows. I don’t know if anyone has collected them into a peer reviewed data set to your liking.)
    So, take a look at the cold places. They are really cold. That is a colder winter. And go ahead, take a look at Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and even New York up until recently when the warm gulf water was keeping them hot. They even had very high temperatures. That is a battle ground. Now watch all that cold air mass swamp that warm in the last week or so (and getting colder every day); that is the battleground resolving to the downside. Same thing happened in Europe.
    All of this is hidden by a single magic number average.
    I’m more willing to trust the giant snowfall reported at the (world wide!) ski resorts and the rising wheat prices due to (expected) crop reductions from the measured cold over the growing areas (as reported on Bloomberg by Gartman). And frankly, even the Der Spiegel photo spread of a frozen Europe (including snow in Marseille and Milan and frozen ocean on the south shore of England) along with the reports of 1 in a 100 year snow in Baghadad and snow in Jerusalem. (And snow in southern Brazil, and Australia and…) than a funky average single number.
    But if you want a data set, go knock yourself out. Then you can average it all together and explain what that means.

  102. Les:

    While its hard to predict individual chaotic events, like weather, its easier to predict a series of chaotic individual events as a likely outcome.

    This statement would be true if you replaced “chaotic” with “random”. But weather is not random, it’s chaotic. As such, it is hard to predict both short and long term.

  103. One needs to look at the progression of the highs and the progression of the lows. (In fact, for stocks, you track the lows on the way up and the highs on the way down. They each tend to bounce off of the moving average lines)

    That is a logical argument I have been using for some time now. If you accept the hypothesis that there is a steady (or even an unsteady warming trend).
    Once that set of assumptions is stipulated, then, what would happen if that set of assumptions is true?
    If true, the record high temps and record low temps of a weather reporting station should take on a trend as well. You would expect that over time the number of new record highs would begin to out number the new record lows in the case of global warming.
    If the climate was steady and uniform over time, a long mature temperature record would gradually reach a point where new high and new low temperature records became very rare, and they would be just as likely to be a new high record as a new low record.
    If there was a persistent trend to the climate, you would have more new records on the side that is moving with the trend and fewer new records on the side that was counter to the trend.
    In the case of global warming, eventually you would find that the average age of the record low temps were very old and the average age of record high temperatures would gradually get shorter and shorter as they dominate the data.
    We don’t see this (at least in casual observation), we frequently see statements like, this is the lowest temperature since 1973, but unreported by the media, is that the same temp has been reached before 3 times, in 1886, 1913, 1973. That sounds to me like a stable lower limit for that date.
    The next question for the statistical wizards here, is how would you determine a statistically significant bias in the number or age of the high records vs the low records?
    Could you say you have a genuine trend if the new high temperature records out numbered the new low records by x percent over a span of y years?
    How old would the station record need to be (with nearly uniform local conditions such as no parking lots added recently) for there to be a long enough basis of comparison?
    Larry

  104. I agree, George, the fundamentals are good, and the story makes sense; but it’ll be a lot easier to sell once the low goes below A.D. 2000.

  105. Les Johnson (13:24:21) :
    “I know it will sound odd coming from me, but we can probably predict with better accuracy on climate, then weather.”
    I understand your point but … there are chaotic elements of BOTH weather and climate. It’s highly unlikely that GHGs will have much of an impact on daily weather. In the same vein, an individual cold front won’t have much impact on climate.
    The point is the chaotic elements of weather and climate are two different animals and I don’t think either lends itself to easy predictions. I’m not even sure we’re smart enough to name all the components of climate let alone model it.
    While I agree weather is probably more difficult to model we’ve had the advantage of validating the results for around 50 years (and look at how good that is going). If we consider a decade in climate may be equivalent to a day in weather that means we have a long, long way to go in climate to get where we are today in weather even if it is simpler.
    PS. I’m an AP living in Las Vegas and I understood your analogy. However, I think weighted dice is probably a better analogy where we have almost no idea how they are weighted 😉

  106. I notice a small spot of below normal temperature in SE Arizona, near where a 6-8° hot spot appears in the previous story. Any possible co-incidence there?

  107. Mike F
    “This statement would be true if you replaced “chaotic” with “random”. But weather is not random, it’s chaotic.”
    True, and the Law of Large Numbers does not apply (so more is not better). Nor do standard statistical procedures which assume random samples from a population, but I’m not aware of any robust alternatives right now. A whole new field waiting to be developed? Or are the methods based on serial correlations enough? Maybe yes (lucia/Blackboard has done good work on these), but if so just.

  108. hotrod (21:50:02) :

    One needs to look at the progression of the highs and the progression of the lows. (In fact, for stocks, you track the lows on the way up and the highs on the way down. They each tend to bounce off of the moving average lines)

    If true, the record high temps and record low temps of a weather reporting station should take on a trend as well. You would expect that over time the number of new record highs would begin to out number the new record lows in the case of global warming.
    We’re saying two slightly different, though related, things here. I’m talking about the progression of the highs for each time period for each place, while you are talking about the record highs for a place.
    The failure to progress of the current sequence of highs tells you that the current trend is breaking (confirmed by the occurance of new lows lower than the recent lows trend line). The record lows / highs tells you the very long term behaviour. Is something growing, or oscillating in a bounded state? Given that clarification, I agree with a lot of what you are saying.
    A bounded oscillating system ought to have ever fewer records (in both directions). A growing system with oscillations ought to have ever fewer records in the direction being abandoned and ever more in the direction of growth.
    The next question for the statistical wizards here, is how would you determine a statistically significant bias in the number or age of the high records vs the low records?
    The problem, I think, is that for record highs / lows to be meaningful, you must have a record the spans all the ‘typical’ oscillations. For stocks this is about 10 years (the business cycle).
    A company that is stagnant will have a 10 year biz / economic oscillation, and an annual weather or reporting oscillation, and quarterly reporting / options expiration oscillation, and weekly Monday-humpday-Friday oscillation (most day traders go home ‘flat’ on Friday – i.e. sell out or cover shorts), and daily news cycle, and even intraday market mechanics cycles (ring up/down at open to ‘run the stops’, resolve to a direction based on demand/supply, move opposite that trend at about 1pm Eastern time to cover shorts to high demand or sell longs bought from panic sellers, oscillate once more then resolve at 3pm to a final end.)
    Until you’ve got a decade data, the intraday and even annual movements look like records, but they are nothing compared to the bear market lows (as everyone has just seen…)
    The problem is that there is a known 1500 year climate cycle (Bond Events in the Holocene and Dansgaard-Oeschger events in the glaciations). And these are on top of a 100,000 year glaciation cycle.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1500-year_climate_cycle
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dansgaard-Oeschger_event
    So we know that we don’t really have any real record highs or lows. The best that you can do is try to work one of the smaller cycles and assure yourself that you are not near an inflection point in one of the larger cycles. And that, IMHO, is where you run into trouble…
    We’ve got a few hundred years data from a few places and a few dozen years data from almost enough places. By definition, we will be getting record highs and record lows for at least 1500 years as we work through the Bond cycle (and we are likely to get records from the 200 year Suess and maybe even the 88 year Gleisberg cycle for some places.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_variation
    And who knows what other cycles there are that we just haven’t identified yet.
    So you can look at local inflections in the current series fairly easily with moving averages and ‘failure to progress’ / ‘new lows relative to trend’ (or ‘failure to progress to the downside’ / new highs relative to trend). But for the new records to be useful, you need to know where you are in the longer cycles and make sure you are not being fooled by them.
    Could you say you have a genuine trend if the new high temperature records out numbered the new low records by x percent over a span of y years?
    I would assert that this is true, but the trend you identify may be only that of a longer term cycle. Or one could say: but you need to know what trend you are addressing and what cycles are confounding. The satellite data may give a new high for a spot of ocean with a 20 year history. Not so new. Cycles of >20 years can confound your ‘trend’. A land site with 200 years of data? Now you have reason to say that only cycles longer than 200 years are confounders. Unfortunately, there are several of these…
    How old would the station record need to be (with nearly uniform local conditions such as no parking lots added recently) for there to be a long enough basis of comparison?
    What cycles are you willing to exclude / adjust for as confounders? My present paranoid moment worry is: Bond Event 1 started in about 450 AD, add 1470 years = 1920 C.E. it is possible our present sunspot slumber could be the start of the Hansen Pessimum
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migration_Period_Pessimum
    IFF you are SURE that we are not headed that way, then trend spotting with the present data for long duration sites is probably OK. Then again, if you are looking at a short term hot end of the cycle just before the inflection point, you are fooling yourself into a warming trend just before the waterfall…
    In short: about 1500 years data would be good, but 100,000 would be better, otherwise you need to be really really careful and adjust for known or probable inflections / slopes from longer term cycles; and that’s hard.
    For stocks, my solution is to pick a time period I care about, mask the shorter cycles with a moving average, and ignore the very long term cycle for most of the time. That is, I use a 50 trading day moving average as my baseline (or trend line) for daily price data on a 1 year chart. Now I’m focused on movements shorter than a year, but longer than a week (roughly) with a baseline that looks at a couple of months (20 ish trading days in a month) and anything shorter than one day completely gone via the daily data. I watch for tradable trends in that ‘few days’ to ‘few months’ range.
    If the short (less than 1 yr) cycles are not making sense, I back out to the 10 year chart to make sure I’m not at a longer term top / bottom / inflection. I look at a 10 year chart of weekly prices every month or two to make sure I’m not near a longer term inflection, but otherwise ignore it.
    Something similar can be done with temperatures, but the risk is that you end up looking at that moving average and seeing a trend that you project infinitely into the future (ala Hansen) and don’t realize it’s just a segment on a 10 year bull cycle about to fall off into a bear market cliff (Al Gore Cold Period)… Now AT that inflection point, if all you have for ‘record highs’ is from that small segment, you will see failure to make new record highs. But it will take the length of your record period to retrace back to where you are making new ‘record lows’ all over the place. (Though before that, any single data point could be ‘way low’ as that place / date is several sigma’s from the mean for whatever reason.)
    I hope this makes sense. Translating graphs into words is, er, messy. You can go here:
    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=spy&time=&freq=
    and see what a chart looks like. Fill in SMA 50 under the moving averages drop down if it isn’t already plotting the moving average and make it a 1 year daily chart (that ought to be the default, I think).
    Change it to a 10 year weekly with a SMA 40 (40 weeks is 200 days in market time – a good longer cycle moving average) and I’ll just bet you can clearly see when the bull / bear markets start / end…
    The difference between those two perspectives is what you would like with a temperature graph, you only have the data for the short term graph from thermometers. The long term is from proxies. Proxies don’t do record high / low very well.

  109. So exactly would one expect? That the AGW idiots would come out and say, “Sorry I got you to completely ruin your economies for nothing. Mea Culpa.”
    I don’t think that is ever going to happen.

  110. MikeP
    John Finn, You are assuming that you know what “normal” is. That’s the kind of misleading misuse of words that we all complain about. The anomaly is against a chosen baseline. Who knows if that’s normal or not! IMHO it’s wrong to characterize any arbitrary choice of time frame with connotative words until a better understanding of the climate exists.
    I know the anomaly is against a “chosen baseline”. With respect to the satellite readings the baseline is 1979-1997. According to the surface
    temperature record the satellite baseline is actually rather warm compared to similar periods in the past 100 years. So the fact that our NH winter is, so far at least, warm relative to a ‘warm period’ suggests that the anecdotal evidence presented by a number of posters on this blog is not representative of what’s happening in reality.
    I don’t accept your argument regarding the ambiguity of what’s ‘normal’. Most posters who are claiming exteme cold are making comparisons from their own experiences. However, in the context of the last 30, 50 or 100 years the NH winter is warm.

  111. But if you want a data set, go knock yourself out. Then you can average it all together and explain what that means.
    But if I condense your post down all you seem to be saying is that some places have been cold – and you only want to focus on those places. If the average temperature is higher than normal that means some places have also been warm. You cite news reports. The media are happy to hype up fairly mundane events – it helps sell papers. Some place, some where at some time will always be the hottest, coldest, driest, wettest it’s been in 10, 20 30 or 100 years.
    You mention England or the UK, as a number of others, have done. Much has been made of our ‘cold’ December. In fact, December 2008 was the coldest December since …. wait for it ….. 2001. Not the coldest on record – or the coldest in 50 years – or even 30 years – but the coldest for 7 years. Since just before the new year we’ve had a fairly cold spell which has affected the south of the country (i.e. London) a bit more than usual. In a few locations, overnight temperatures dropped as low as -10 deg C (14 deg F) – cold but nowhere near a record. The 10+ day cold spell is now coming to an end. It’s already ended in the Northern part of the country where temperatures are now around 10 deg C (50 deg F). What will happen during the rest of the month – who knows?
    The point is a lot of media attention has been focused on what was, at one time, a fairly routine winter event. Too many on the “sceptic” side are seizing on these reports and suggesting the events reported are a significant pointer to long term cooling. They’re not. There is no evidence that “global cooling” is underway. Despite the solar minimum and despite the negative PDO and despite the developing La Nina, global temperatures are still higher than during 1999-2000.
    December 2008 UAH NH anomaly is +0.4 (relative to 1979-1997). While temperature averages are not perfect we don’t have anything better.

  112. Speaking of the CPC they still haven’t updated their Historical ONI page. An enquiring public wants to know!

  113. Smokey (04:53:54) :
    John Finn:
    There is no evidence that “global cooling” is underway.
    Wrong, John. There is plenty of evidence:

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/__VkzVMn3cHA/SQkAxK2k6CI/AAAAAAAAADs/F4NlhqTzFgM/s1600-h/U+11+Year+Temp+Data.bmp
    It means nothing. Use a starting point of one year earlier – or one year later and you get a warming trend. The trends are not signigficant anyway so no cooling!
    http://www.nationalpost.com/893554.bin
    This looks to be a fraud. The polynomial trend is smoothed so should not extend up to the end of the data. Note most temperatures between ~1982 and ~1988 are well below the ZERO anomaly line but the trend is just below the 2008 end point. Look at the data ~1984. The plot is rubbish.
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/ALL_SINCE_2002.jpg
    So now we’ve got cooling since 2002 – just about. 2002/03 were El Nino years – 2008 was a La NIna year. This is desperation. As I have always maintained the 2008 dip was due to La Nina. There has been a clear recovery in temperatures since ~late summer. Another La Nina may hold back temperatures again – just as happened in 1998-2001 but this says nothing about the long term trend.
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CRU_AND_MSU_vs_CO2.jpg
    This is irrelevant as to whether or not cooling is taking place.
    The final link is the Monckton piece which I’nm not prepared to wade through now.

  114. A couple of clarifications. The most anomalous UK cold has been in January. December was cold, but January has been much colder. We are at the mid-point of the meteorological winter this week. The Met Office did predict the cold weather in their short term forecasts. This article is pointing out that their predictions more than about 10 days out have not been correct, and that they have seemingly not acknowledged that publicly.
    Interesting article in Pravda.
    The earth is now on the brink of entering another Ice Age
    http://english.pravda.ru/science/earth/106922-earth_ice_age-0

  115. From the original Met Office winter forecast :
    The forecast of another mild winter across the UK has been welcomed by Help the Aged, who work with other agencies to support older people.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/2008/pr20080925.html
    Today’s Guardian reports:
    This winter’s death rates could well be the worst since the turn of the century, as freezing temperatures and virulent flu take their toll on tens of thousands of Britain’s frail and elderly.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/jan/11/elderly-death-rates-winter

  116. John Finn
    “December 2008 UAH NH anomaly is +0.4 (relative to 1979-1997). ”
    The global UAH is DOWN -.18. So Please stop telling us it’s getting warmer. Nice trick.

  117. John Finn,
    I would consider the word “normal” to mean within the bounds of what has happened historically. If you are saying above average, which is more of a statistical statement and closer I think to what you were actually trying to say, then you always need to specify what time period and what data set that you’re referring to. As I’m sure you’re aware, you get different answers if you use the past 30 years, the past 50 years, the past 100 years, or our best knowledge of the past 1000 years. You also get different answers with different reference data sets. You refer to the past hundred years, in which we’ve been coming out of the LIA. If you are handwaving, like many, that the LIA does not represent what happened globally, please supply enough legitimate records to show that this is true. I do not think it is sufficient to simply dismiss out of hand the 600 + records from around the globe that seem to show the LIA did have a global effect. I do not think it is sufficient to claim that there is not enough global information, therefore it is impossible to show that the LIA was global, therefore we are right in saying it wasn’t.
    I have seen many times in my life when published papers have reached a conclusion that contradicts what was previously known. In every case that I know of, many people made hay out of the new numbers, only to eventually find that the historical values were close to right. One example is the rate of energy loss from the earth-moon system due to tides. A paper came out concluding that the energy loss was much higher than historical estimates from eclipses. Many people wrote proposals about where the “missing” energy was going. Eventually, after about ten years, the number settled about 10% higher than the original calculation and all the people who wrote those proposals quietly went on to something else.
    So I believe that anyone who comes up with “novel” results needs to provide supporting evidence. Supporting evidence that I’ve never seen from the hockey stick people.
    Mike P

  118. The global UAH is DOWN -.18. So Please stop telling us it’s getting warmer. Nice trick.
    The UAH global anomaly for December is +0.18 which is warmer than last December and the 11th warmest in the satellite record. La Nina conditions and the solar minimum (the temp difference between solar max and min is ~0.1 deg) account for the fact that it’s not as warm as some recent years.
    The NH global anomaly for December is +0.42 which makes it about the 4th or 5th warmest December in the satellite record – and despite all the hype about lots of snow and record low temperatures suggests that the first part of NH has actually been on the warm side.

  119. A correction to my previous post [John Finn (08:57:57]
    The second paragraph begins “The NH global anomaly ” whereas it should read “The NH anomaly”.

  120. Regarding Kum Dollison (14:44:12) : and Mike Rankin (18:16:41) :
    If the Mauna Loa data is not “corrected,” and CO2 levels remain stable, it is big news. Usually the data shows CO2 levels jump up in the November-December time period. The idea is that northern trees shed leaves, and stop gobbling up the CO2, just as everyone in the north starts heating their homes, and consequently producing more CO2.
    Mauna Loa data shows a yearly dip in CO2 levels in the summer, when all the plants are active in the north. However a dip this time of year, or even a flat-line, would be “unprecedented.” You can see why they might be very careful about releasing this sort of data.
    If you check out the chart at
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    then you will note that, while the “trend line” shows a dramatic drop, the actual data hasn’t been posted yet.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it was “corrected.”
    Perhaps a slow-down and even down-turn of world-wide CO2 levels would reflect the slow-down and down-turn of the economy. Also it might reflect the briefly very-high gasoline prices, which resulted in a steep drop in consumption. Or perhaps it might indicate the cooler sea surfaces are out-gassing less and absorbing more.
    In either case, it would make mincemeat of Hansen’s dire predictions. Therefore the people releasing such data would be very wary, and perhaps even frightened, about releasing this sort of news.

  121. MikeP
    So I believe that anyone who comes up with “novel” results needs to provide supporting evidence. Supporting evidence that I’ve never seen from the hockey stick people.
    I am simply countering the claims that this winter (NH) is cold. Most people who make these claims are, I would suggest, usually making comparisons with winters they’ve experienced during their lifetime. This might be over 30 years, 50 years or in some cases a bit longer. Whatever – I am saying that over any of those timescales the current NH winter (up to the end of December at least) is on the warm side – or warmer than average, if you prefer. This is (or will be) confirmed by the various datasets which will undoubtedly show postitive NH anomalies relative to whichever base period they use.

  122. John Finn tries hard to pretend that denialist hype is worse that AGW hype when he says:

    and despite all the hype about lots of snow and record low temperatures suggests that the first part of NH has actually been on the warm side.

    Perhaps the best we can say is that this year the AGW hype has been moderated by a dose of reality.

  123. John Finn:
    There is no evidence that “global cooling” is underway.

    There’s no evidence that global anything is underway, except global hysteria.

  124. John Finn:
    To respond to evidence [which is admittedly not proof] by saying “It means nothing” indicates either that you do not understand the meaning of ‘evidence,’ or that your mind is closed tight and nothing said will make any difference. Steven Goddard also reports on the evidence of increasing cold-related deaths. None of these facts are conclusive, but each is a brick in the anti-AGW wall. And that wall is becoming very solid.
    Allow me to refer once more to this chart, which you claim “means nothing.”
    Observe that out of four government/university temperature records, only GISS shows a slight warming. All the others show cooling. After dismissing this chart out of hand as ‘cherry picking,’ you do your own [un-cited] cherry picking by saying that if only some other years were picked, everyone would see the warming results that you want.
    You accuse skeptics of ‘desperation,’ yet your own statements: “This is irrelevant,” and “This looks to be a fraud,” and “This is desperation,” and “The plot is rubbish,” and “The trends are not signigficant anyway so no cooling!” actually reek of desperation.
    Against all the evidence, John, you insist that there can’t really be any cooling of the planet. Why is that?
    Is it because you have bought into the canard that the AGW-CO2-runaway global warming-climate catastrophe hypothesis is still credible? It is not credible; that hypothesis has been repeatedly falsified.
    Since the Earth is still emerging from its last Ice Age, the planet has been naturally warming, in fits and starts, for the past 11,000+/- years. Your belief that carbon dioxide will cause runaway global warming is falsified by the plain fact that even as CO2 levels increase, global temperatures are falling.
    Once you accept that the Earth’s climate is well within its normal, natural historical parameters, you will begin to understand that the demonization of beneficial CO2 is a scheme being pushed for money and power.
    If Al Gore really believed that his profligate energy consumption and “carbon” emissions contributed to runaway global warming, and if the UN/IPCC really believed that its conspicuous consumption in Bali and elsewhere was leading toward climate catastrophe, they would be traitors to the human race for their actions. Wouldn’t they? But they know that AGW-catastrophic global warming is a scam. I suspect that you know it, too, John.

  125. In the dice analogy I think the die are loaded, shaved, and over time the load and the shave is changing not to mention the number of pips on each face. The challenge for the weatherman is to inspect the die and predict what the next roll will be. The challenge for the climatologist is to observe the progression of the rolls, determine how the load, shave, and pips are changing and predict the likely value of rolls some specified number of rolls in the future. I don’t think the climatologist has an easier job of it than the weatherman, or that he can be more accurate.

  126. John Finn (02:44:05) :
    “…all you seem to be saying is that some places have been cold – and you only want to focus on those places. ”
    John, you really have been missing some important points. We are currently in the grip of a global hysteria that says that catastrophic global warming is
    underway. The only way out is to shut down industrial civilisation NOW (their caps). Hansen says that Creation itself is under threat. Rather than look at the temperature records to assess these claims (and the widespread reduction around most of the world shows that they are false) you seem to be considering the question to be: one of the following must be true
    a) we are experience catastrophic warming, civilisation ends; or
    b) we are experiencing catastrophic cooling, civilisation ends.
    You conclude (correctly, of course) that the evidence for b) is very weak, but then seem to imply (incorrectly, of course) that therefore a) must be true.
    No possibility that there could be some intermediate position? We don’t need to be punished?
    PS From someone accusing others of cherry picking, I liked ” … just before the new year we’ve had a fairly cold spell which has affected the south of the country (i.e. London)”. So you live in London then?

  127. you seem to be considering the question to be: one of the following must be true
    a) we are experience catastrophic warming, civilisation ends; or
    b) we are experiencing catastrophic cooling, civilisation ends.

    You conclude (correctly, of course) that the evidence for b) is very weak,
    Yes.
    but then seem to imply (incorrectly, of course) that therefore a) must be true.
    I’ve just checked back and can’t find anything which might lead you to this conclusion.
    PS From someone accusing others of cherry picking, I liked ” … just before the new year we’ve had a fairly cold spell which has affected the south of the country (i.e. London)”. So you live in London then?
    No. But we have enjoyed similar recent mild winters. The fact that the South East and London, in particular, has been affected by the recent cold spell is a factor in the level of media reporting.

  128. “The 11th warmest [winter] in the satellite record.” wow, that is saying something, 30 years of data, and it is the 11th warmest, that is something. So, if we had a thousand years of similar data, and a got a similar reading it would be roughly the 300th warmest? Is that right?
    That wouldn’t sound so rhetorically impressive though.

  129. That wouldn’t sound so rhetorically impressive though.
    I didn’t say it was impressive or particularly warm – I said it wasn’t cold . Many posters on here (and elsewhere) have been suggesting that the NH is having a brutally cold winter and generally implying that global temperatures are plunging sharply downwards. This clearly isn’t the case. Some places have been cold – but some have been warm and, overall, NH temperatures have been above the 30 year average.
    Many are expecting much lower temperatures due to ‘weaker’ solar output. I think they’ll be disappointed. I also think the hype about the negative PDO is overblown. A developing La Nina will hold temperatures back a bit, but once that’s over expect them to recover to the level of the recent highs.

  130. John Finn: Well, that’s the standard line. I think you will be surprised. Temperatures are above the 30 year average partly because of the removal of rural weather stations in the 1990’s. Satellite temperatures show that your ‘above average’ temperatures are only above average by a tiny fraction of a degree, and the trend is downward, just as it has been with declining solar activity throughout time. La Nina, PDO on top of this. Perfect storm.

  131. John Finn says:
    I also think the hype about the negative PDO is overblown. A developing La Nina will hold temperatures back a bit, but once that’s over expect them to recover to the level of the recent highs.
    Tell you what. Why don’t you give us your email address.
    In a couple of years time, if the cold downturn has not materialized we can all email you and tell you you were right. On the other hand …

  132. I realise that this is only loosely related to the thread, but has anyone else noticed how cold it is going to be in Washington DC for Obama’s inauguration? The latest GFS (18h00 Jan 13) suggests an almost impossibly cold scenario. It’s a long way off, so it could end up completely wrong.

  133. RS
    Tell you what. Why don’t you give us your email address
    Give me yours and I’ll email you.
    Lulo
    Satellite temperatures show that your ‘above average’ temperatures are only above average by a tiny fraction of a degree,
    Well 0.2 globally and 0.4 in the NH is not exactly insignificant.
    and the trend is downward
    Is it? Jan 1999 to Dec 2008 (10 years) is up isn’t it? Or do you mean if you only select certain start years it’s down?

  134. The trend is only downward for a few years. AGW supporters are quick to point out that this has occurred during a period in which the sun is taking a bit of a nap and we may have switched into a period of La Nina dominance. They are correct, and I’m fully aware of what the long term surface temperature looks like. However, this is like a tacit admission that these effects are stronger than CO2 impacts, but they couldn’t get their models to the impact of La Nina dominance until the pattern had already begun. As for the sun, solar effects still aren’t properly included in any of these climate models, which have done a terrible job of predicting the climate changes occurring in this decade, yet a number of my colleagues continue to tell me that, since the solar constant only varies by much less than 1%, that its climate impact must be very small. I think this is misguided, and ignores some important correlations. You can correlate running mean sunspot activity or solar cycle length or even earth magnetic field effects against temperature over time and get much higher correlations with temperature than you can with CO2.
    Carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas with its ability to affect temperature logarithmic due to saturation issues. It is swimming in a sea of other gases, including water vapour, which largely has a very similar absorption spectrum, not to mention orders of magnitude higher concentration. The bulk of the temperature rise took place during the most recent Grand Maximum, and, now that it is over, temperatures are falling along with the weaker solar wind and our shrinking outer atmosphere. If you want specifics, I believe that the CO2 effect has been overestimated by a exaggerating the alpha value used to determine radiative forcing (the scientific literature on this is somewhere between abysmal and non-existent, yet the IPCC continues to apply it without explanation). Furthermore, I feel that the positive impacts of CO2 (enhanced plant growth rates, water use efficiency and nitrogen use efficiency) likely outweigh the negative (a very minor warming effect and temporary ocean acidification), so we should probably focus on other issues, such as land degradation, air and water pollution, wealth inequity, space travel and eradication of disease. If you don’t mind a digression, have you ever noticed that most physicists (who are the only ones who really understand how CO2 might interact with other gases in the atmosphere) deny climate change theory, while most supporters either come from fields like geography, biology, environmental science, oceanography and political science, or are political activists. It won’t be the first time consensus is wrong, but it is going to be a bombshell.

  135. Can we start calling climate models “weather models”? Please? Until climate models start modeling orbit wobble, continental drift, and subduction zone lift, I hereby REFUSE to call it climate change and climate modeling!

  136. John Finn (02:44:05) :

    But if you want a data set, go knock yourself out. Then you can average it all together and explain what that means.

    But if I condense your post down all you seem to be saying is that some places have been cold – and you only want to focus on those places.
    No. Not at all. What I said was that the cold places have been very very cold, outside the recent trend / norm and in many cases setting records. AND the warm ones are still warm, but have had a ‘failure to advance’ to the warm side. AND that adding these two interesting and valuable bits of insight together to get an average destroys that insight. I challenged you to explain what that average means.
    What is the flavor of the average of all food served today? If it is all put in a blender, what does the change of flavor to tomorrow tell you? Nothing.
    You have some nice space based data sets, go knock yourself out with them. Have fun. Average them and find nothing. Then step back and look at the patterns and see something.
    See a suddenly very cold north polar area. See the way low ozone. See the open IR window that O3 was blocking, especially at the poles. See the air getting very cold. See the lobes of very cold polar air shooting south and the (residually overheated) hot air from the tropics headed north. Watch this heat engine wobble back and forth, sometimes freezing Portland, sometimes heating it, sometimes heating New Hampshire, shortly to be freezing it. Moving heat from tropical warm waters to the frozen north to be cooled.
    Or average it all together and see nothing. Your choice…
    There is no evidence that “global cooling” is underway.
    Yes, there is. The cold places have gotten much colder. It is only by foolishly averaging away that insight that you see nothing.
    December 2008 UAH NH anomaly is +0.4 (relative to 1979-1997). While temperature averages are not perfect we don’t have anything better.
    Yes, we do. Now I have a bit of an advantage here because I spend all day looking at hundreds of charts of chaotic price data and looking for patterns in it. And I use a variety of tools too. I use averages to hide things I don’t want to see and I use other tools to make patterns stand out. After a while you get good at it. In a ‘battleground’ or inflection zone, you look at volatility, the delta between high and low. It is critical.
    So take the UAH, and divide it at the jet stream. Take the trend of the cold side. Watch just that. As a separate behaviour, take the trend of the hot side. Watch just that. If you are really ambitious, watch them both at once. But do not average them together…
    Like I said: You want a dataset, knock yourself out. Then tell me what does your average mean. To that I would add: And why do you want to use an average to hide the strain between hot and cold areas?
    I am an expert at spotting an inflection point in price data ahead of darned near anyone else. I have a decade or so experience at it. Fortunately it’s now built into my brain since doing it long hand would be very time consuming and I have to evaluate a chart in about 20 seconds. I don’t expect anyone to pick up that skill in less than a year or so. What I’m fairly sure of at this point is that the same techniques can be used to spot inflections in major weather (and by extension climate) cycles.
    Do you have a tool that will do that for you with weather data? Probably not, but you are free to go build one. Sort the data into hot and cold sides of the jet stream. Compute 2 simple moving averages for each. Look at the slopes. Look at the convergence and divergence between the simple moving averages. Finally, look at the number of hot vs cold datapoints (in stock terms, the advance / decline line). Integrate all that. Thats your trend. Inflection to the downside is when the hot data fails to advance, the cold data has the bottom fall out, and the MACD (the 2 moving averages of different time periods) converges and inverts to the downside. Having the AD line rollover to the downside helps too (more places on the cold side, fewer on the hot side).
    Just don’t ever ever average it all together into one useless meaningless number. Ever.
    “Averages hide more than they reveal”.

  137. Pamela Gray (19:08:15) :
    Can we start calling climate models “weather models”? Please? Until climate models start modeling orbit wobble, continental drift, and subduction zone lift, I hereby REFUSE to call it climate change and climate modeling!

    This has bothered me somewhat too… but I’d ignored your other posts since I felt like I had no choice but to use ‘climate’ to differentiate the longer terms.
    I have a modest suggestion: Call it weather, but with a duration qualifier. You can have 1 week weather reports, and 30 year weather models… Adds both clarity and precision. Lets me stop saying “weather or climate” … Also gets rid of the stupid notion that 30 years is climate. As though there were no 30 or longer year cycles of weather drivers…
    OK, you’ve got a convert… I’m going to try to always use ‘weather’, ‘short term weather’, ’30 year weather’ etc. unless quoting someone else.
    My mind feels tidier all ready 😉
    Weather channel reporting hard freeze warning north of Tampa FL, 15F in Atlanta, minus oh my god up north… Slovenia is violating the terms of it’s agreement to enter the EU to run a nuke to keep warm. Germany has 3 rivers closed by ice. Thailand having 30s temps and declared cold emergency (wimps…), below zeros in the N.E. tomorrow, but it must be warmer, Finn said so… He averaged it with the Sahara Desert and it’s not cold anymore…

  138. I am certain that the original met office forecast churned out the usual stuff back in August as regards the coming winter. It went a bit like this………
    “Temperatures throughout Northern Europe including the UK are more likely to be average or warmer than average”.
    Perhaps not surprisingly, it is now very dificult to access that original forecast as when you go to the winter forecast, all you get is the most recent update. Interstingly, as Autumn has progressed so their update has become progressively colder. The November update suggested a cold beginning to winter, while the December update finally conceded that December and January were likely to be colder than average with February close to average. Of course, this is now a complete reversal on their original forecast. There is never any reference made to previous forecasts!
    I await with bated breath the met office appraisal of their seasonal forecast for this winter whiich will finally have to recover the original statement in order to compare it with what happened!! Wrong again!!
    Ben

  139. E.M.Smith (03:23:27) :
    Yes, there is. The cold places have gotten much colder. It is only by foolishly averaging away that insight that you see nothing.
    Which “cold places” are much colder? since when? You can’t average away a cooling trend as you put it. If you have an average of 0.5, say, then some places will be warmer than 0.5 and some will be colder. If the cold places have got much colder, then either the warm places have also got warmer – or the warmer places have grown in area.
    Here’s the UAH anomaly map for December
    http://climate.uah.edu/
    and here’s the GISS anomaly map
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2008&month_last=12&sat=4&sst=0&type=anoms&mean_gen=12&year1=2008&year2=2008&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg
    Note how consistent they are – where it’s warm on UAH it’s also warm on GISS where it’s cold on UAH it’s also cold on GISS.
    As for the rest of your post. I’ve said that there is no evidence that global cooling is underway. You appear to disagree with this but provide nothing to show that my statement is in fact, incorrect. So do you have the evidence or not?
    You can take it as read that I understand the limitations of using averages, but the temperature anomalies offer a reasonable comparison of a particular month to a given base period.

  140. John Finn (09:50:54) :
    You can take it as read that I understand the limitations of using averages, but the temperature anomalies offer a reasonable comparison of a particular month to a given base period.

    The anomaly maps are averages over time for a given place. What you need is the ‘anomaly map’ from the cold side of the jet stream vs the warm side, and I doubt that those are available since you would need to dynamically pick temps to track as the jet stream moves.
    The cold air within the cold pool at the N. pole moves. Right now it’s warm in California. A few weeks ago it was cold. Now that cold air mass is sitting over the central USA. Now they are cold. If you take a time average over a place (like a monthly average over California) you are hiding how cold that air mass is by averaging when it is here vs when it is somewhere else. (When the ‘cold place’ moves from California to Colorado).
    Put at it’s most direct, I’m saying that the cold air source, the N. Polar air mass, has gotten very anomalously cold and is advancing to colder; while the hot air source, the water of the equator and gulf of Mexico is still warm, anomalously warm on a long term trend, but failing to advance to warmer.
    Averaging them together on a macro scale (the whole world) hides this. Similarly, picking a physical spot like California, and averaging the temperatures over a month where 1/2 the time it was under cold polar air and 1/2 the time it was under hot tropical air hides the same same thing.
    Perhaps I was unclear when I said ‘the cold places’ and ought to have said ‘the cold times in the places that are suffering the cold air mass’…

  141. Averaging them together on a macro scale (the whole world) hides this. Similarly, picking a physical spot like California, and averaging the temperatures over a month where 1/2 the time it was under cold polar air and 1/2 the time it was under hot tropical air hides the same same thing.
    No it doesn’t. If the cold polar air is getting colder and the warm tropical air is getting warmer then if California is getting 50% polar air and 50% tropical air, California’s temperatures will fall and this will show up in the anomalies. Even if there were a shift over California whereby there were only 40% polar air and 60% tropical air then California’s temperatures may rise (or remain constant) – BUT the polar air that isn’t now moving over California will shift to some other place and the temperatures will fall there.
    However, I dispute the fact that there is any evidence that polar air is actually getting colder.

  142. Correction to previous post :
    This
    If the cold polar air is getting colder and the warm tropical air is getting warmer then if California is getting 50% polar air and 50% tropical air, California’s temperatures will fall and this will show up in the anomalies
    should read
    warm tropical air is NOT getting warmer

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