Philadelphia’s Climate in the Early Days

Guest Post by Steven Goddard

January, 1790 was a remarkable year in the northeastern US for several reasons.  It was less than one year into George Washington’s first term, and it was one of the warmest winter months on record.  Fortunately for science, a diligent Philadelphia resident named Charles Pierce kept a detailed record of the monthly weather from 1790 through 1847, and his record is archived by Google Books.  Below is his monthly report from that book.

JANUARY 1790 The average or medium temperature of this month was 44 degrees This is the mildest month of January on record. Fogs prevailed very much in the morning but a hot sun soon dispersed them and the mercury often ran up to 70 in the shade at mid day. Boys were often seen swimming in the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. There were frequent showers as in April some of which were accompanied by thunder and lightning The uncommon mildness of the weather continued until the 7th of February.

Compare that to January, 2009 with an average temperature of 27F, 17 degrees cooler than 1790.  One month of course is not indicative of the climate, so let us look at the 30 year period from 1790-1819 and compare that to the last 10 “hot” years.

From Charles Pierce’s records, the average January temperature in Philadelphia from 1790-1819 was 31.2F.  According to USHCN records from 2000-2006 (the last year available from USHCN) and Weather Underground records from 2007-2009, the average January temperature in Philadelphia for the last ten years has been 29.8 degrees, or 1.4 degrees cooler than the period 1790-1819.  January, 2009 has been colder than any January during the presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, or Monroe.  January 2003 and 2004 were both considerably colder than any January during the terms of the first five presidents of the US.  Data can be seen here.

According to several of the most widely quoted climate scientists in the world, winters were much colder 200 years ago than now – yet the boys swimming in the Delaware in January, 1790 apparently were unaware.

Another interesting fact which can be derived from Charles Pierce’s data, is that January temperatures cooled dramatically during the period 1790-1819 – as can be seen in the graph below.  The cooling rate was 13F/century.  What could have caused this cooling?  We are told by some experts that variations in solar activity can only affect the earth’s temperature by a few tenths of a degree.  CO2 levels had been rising since the start of the industrial age.  The downward trend is fairly linear and does not show any sharp downward spikes, so it is unlikely to be due to volcanic activity.  What other “natural variability” could have caused such a dramatic drop in temperature?

Looking at the sunspot records for that period, something that clearly stands out is that solar cycle 4 was very long, and was followed by a deep minimum lasting several decades.  Perhaps a coincidence, but if not – Philadelphia may well be in for some more very cold weather in coming winters.
Source for graph:
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142 thoughts on “Philadelphia’s Climate in the Early Days

  1. Now that is very interesting. Keeps getting back to Sunspots, because there definitely wasn’t significant amounts of anthropogenic CO2 being produced by industry back then….

    Probably won’t find this in the mainstream media, well not until they decide to create an Ice Age bandwagon and make a catastrophe out of natural variation and jumble science with fantasy again.

    …. Anyway, it’s kind of reassuring to know that we’ve been there before.

  2. How long before some one claims Charles Pierce was a schill for big oil?

    It will be interesting to see how this evidence is discounted.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful post.

    IMHO, there is one factor that makes a direct comparison between the Pierce records and today impossible; the urban heat island effect. In other words, the UHI is surely making today’s data for the city warmer than it otherwise would have been. If I’m right on that, the real temperature difference is therefor larger than you have shown, and the cooling even more significant.

    Is it just me, or does Solar Cycle 4’s decline look very similar to 24’s? the shape of the slope looks very similar to me.

  4. Well it wasn’t the sun. That giant flaming ball that is so big that our entire planet could fall into it and not even make a respectable splash couldn’t possibly affect things here.

    Since the cooling was harmful and caused crop failures and other problems, it has to have been anthropogenic. My guess is soot from burning coal.

    (and for the humor impaired, yes, this was intended as sarcasm)

  5. I do not understand something…I have read several articles (here and elsewhere) showing sunspot numbers and temperature following each other. What we have not yet found though is why that is. If it was just once then it would be coincidence but from the graphs I have seen global temps seem to follow sunspots. I hold Leif in high regard and he has thrown the BS flag on just about every instance of attempted correlation. Whats more he backs up his flag with his version of instant replay…hard data.

    Is there something that we just haven’t looked at yet?

  6. Dear Anthony
    Just about OT but more an excuse to indicate another impressed learner lurking.
    Do Tambora in 1815 and the year without a summer in 1816 show in those records.
    In Ulster/Ireland there was a famine in 1817 – I suppose following a reduction in temperatures in 1816
    I have seen some contemporary weather notes made by a relative and 1816 isn’t mentioned as unusual which has always puzzled me

  7. That was very intersting. I wonder how many such old diaries exist worldwide.
    Such spells of unusual warm, or cold, weather can be found anywhere. Unusual weather is in fact not unusual.
    If the observations mentioned above occurred today, or especially when Gore testifies this week, think of the doomsday panic he and the media would try to unleash.
    But when Gore testifies later this week, looks like more cold weather.
    http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp1.html
    If we are lucky, the heating system will bonk out just before Gore testifies.

  8. This morning several Maine stations are again establishing new record daily lows. It’s becoming commonplace this month.

  9. Steve Goddard

    Before we start blaming the Dalton Minimum – what was the pennsylvania record like before and after the DM period.

  10. What you haven’t looked at yet is the rest of the records from around the world. Especially for the decade of the 1790’s, which is noted in literature in places such as Russia, China, India, Japan, Australia, etc.
    Else you are going to get hit with cherry-picked data every time from anyone wanting to whip the rug out from underneath.
    Remember, climate is the whole enchilada.
    Put it all together and the graph from Philadelphia might look like the best case scenario for a warmist point of view.

  11. David M. Ludlum wrote a series of American weather books, one of which is titled, “Early American Winters: 1604-1820.” In it he tells the tale of the winter of 1779-80, when the snow started falling in November and just didn’t stop. This is the winter after Washington’s storied Valley Forge freezeout. Washington’s troops were wintering in Morristown, N.J. — one writer said it made Valley Forge of the previous year look like a picnic.

    All of the New York harbor from New Jersey to the lower section of Long Island Sound was frozen to the point of cavalry and multiple cannons being hauled between Manhattan and Staten Island, and several Hessian troops abandoned their posts and walked the 12 miles across Long Island Sound from Lloyd’s Neck to Stamford, CT. Ludlum says that the Connecticut Courant in Hartford provided the most complete temperature record. The temperatures reportedly reached 16 below zero. Even if that temperature isn’t completely accurate to the degree, it was obviously as cold as the severe cold the New York area suffered through in the winter of 1933-34.

    I wonder how 1779-80 and 1933-34 fall as to solar minima and maxima. After all, they’re just local weather events.

  12. For the Western World, the data is being cooked right before our very eyes to meet political agenda.
    For the Russians, they are noting with grim determination what is coming down the pipe, and they are banking on it, literally.
    Kinda makes you wonder, does it not?

  13. Pierre raises an interesting point. Can anyone suggest where would be the best place to look for old records which can be compared to this period? It does seem to keep coming back to sunspots. No idea why. how, etc. and correlation is not necessarily causation, but the current period is freezing my butt, and putting paid to the AR4 projections. -24C this morning. Not pleasant.

  14. Response to Rob B. question

    As I understand the sunspot/global temperature theory, it goes as follows and is based on the idea that low-level cloud cover is the earth’s primary temperature control mechanism:

    Cosmic radiation “seeds” such clouds. Solar wind generated by sunspot activity diverts cosmic radiation away from the earth. Fewer sunspots translates to more low-level cloud cover and lower temperatures.

  15. A very interesting article, which shows us that before the 20th century there was not some sort of climatic Golden Age, with predictable mild springs, warm summers and snowy winters every year (and which, according to AGW theory, was thrown out of kilter by industrialisation and CO2.) The amount of variability appears to have been huge, in the 18th and in any century. In 1776, Washington’s army was crossing the Delaware, which was swarming with ice floes; in 1777-78 they were freezing in Valley Forge. The mild January of 1790 would probably have got people sounding the alarm about CO2-induced “climate chaos”, had the same pattern occurred 200 years later.

  16. @Ralph B. (02:24:57)

    Sunspot correlations are only approximate at best, and rely on an 11-year running average, but there does seem to be a rough correlation. Of course we must expect that other things also affect temperature, so trying to make disproofs of sunspot correlation based on a few years of data is misguided.

    Hopefully we find a better solar measurement than sunspots for predicting temperature, but then we will only have data going back a few decades (which makes proof/disproof hard – perhaps harder than sunspots, since short-term variations in temperature caused by other factors will make such predictions harder).

  17. Ralph B.

    As I understand it, the objection to the sunspot-temperature correlation being meaningful (in the scientific sense) is that we don’t have a mechanism to explain it. Obviously the correlation is there, but is there some third factor we haven’t found yet that explains both? Or do two long-term cycles happen to be coinciding for the last couple of hundred years that make it only look like there is a connection? Until a mechanism is proposed and confirmed, we won’t really know.

    To find a mechanism by which solar cycles influence climate, someone would need to come up with an hypothesis that demonstrates how solar variability might cause (for example) water molecules to behave slightly differently to produce an overall warmer or cooler effect, or perhaps more or less wator vapor in the atmosphere, which over time influences the climate. Something like that.

    Some kind of mechanism is needed, a testable hypothesis, before we can really call it science. The correlations tell us that something is going on (maybe), but until we have a mechanism, we’ll never be quite sure what, and we’ll never really be able to make accurate predictions.

  18. Thank you Steven Goddard for this fine article,

    The most essential point made is the fact that our current temperatures are well within “NORMAL” parameters and AGW is a “HOAX”.

    Forget the endless discussions about CO2 and if you have any doubts left pay a visit to the web site of the late John. L. Daly: http://www.john-daly.com/stations/stations.htm

    Although most temps end by 2001/2002 you will see that most temps (raw data) are…flat and many of them show cooling, a trend that continues today.

    Also read the article “On top of the world” about the Arctic or any other article of interest.

    It’s nice to see that AGW has an history and the warmists have created a habit to keep pushing for the same subjects over and over again to make their point.
    Scaring the public with non existing catastrophic events based on rigged data to serve a political agenda!

    Disgusting.

  19. It’d be interesting to see if there is any correlation between tree-rings and temperatures in the vicinity covered by this and other diarists.

  20. The chart might be even more interesting if we accounted for a UHI factor. Of course, we also need to check where Charlie was living in Philadelphia, how he measured the temperature, and where he kept his air conditioner and barbacue grill.

    It might be interesting to run a thread on historical records – say anything before 1900.

    OT, can anyone tell me the accuracy of the temperature reading on automobiles – 2000 Audi A6, to be precise.

  21. Steven,
    Dr. Masters over at Wunderground is a big AGW proponent…I’m not sure he’d appreciate how you used the temperature records on his website! :)

  22. an interesting snippet from the link to the John Daly website.

    Vardo, in Norway shows the similar “hot” 1930s.
    Likewise http://www.john-daly.com/stations/haparand.gif Haparand in Sweden, http://www.john-daly.com/stations/london.gif , London (The Cannuck one), where there’s a “warm” winter in ’32, http://www.john-daly.com/stations/falkland.gif Port Stanley in the Falkland Isles shows a “cool” period in the mid ’30s and a sharp warming in the mid 40s.
    Interesting. A few places do show a definate, steady rise over the past 150 years, but only by a degree C or so.

  23. Nice article!

    I’m in my “colonial” period of American History reading and have been struck by the meticulous attention to weather and note-keeping of both Washington and Jefferson. Also, it was no secret that Philadelphia was a horrendous place to be in summers during the colonial period, as anyone who’s read David McCullough’s John Adams would know. Al Gore would have had a field day holding hearings in the stifling heat.

    I’ve recently finished George Washington’s War by Bruce Chadwick, which contains many accounts of how weather influenced the course of the Revolutionary War. What strikes me about this history is that, despite the fact that we generally consider the 18th century as the tail-end of the Little Ice Age, the real take home message is…wait for it…weather is a story of extremes. And even in a period that virtually everyone acknowledges as a cold period for the northern hemisphere, the stories are almost as much about unusual warmth as about extreme cold.

    Most Americans know that Washington led a crossing of the Delaware River on early Christmas morning 1776 amidst ice floes, but most don’t know the equally impressive feat of escaping to Morristown in the slogging muck that followed as a result of a warm spell the week after. From years of note-taking while running his Mt. Vernon estate, Washington recognized a narrow window for escape on frost-hardened ground, which quikly warmed and caught the British in a quagmire.

    Most Americans know about the bleak winter at Valley Forge, but that winter was described by Chadwick in this way:

    Although there were sevearl days of bone-chilling weather, the temperatures recorded during those months was not unusually low, and many soldiers used phrases like “pleasant for the season” to note the mildness. Sgt. Ebenezer Wild kept a diary that showed mild temperatures (“very fare and pleasant”) on eleven of the first fourteen days of January. The Valley Forge winter, despite the folklore that surrounded it, was actually quite moderate.

    Chadwick references a meterologist/historian, the late David Ludlum, whom perhaps Anthony is aware of. The actual reference in the book is from a 1975 edition of Weatherwise, but similar works appeared more recently. It appears that the online archives for this magazine only go back to the 90s.

    Here’s Ludlum’s obituary and a couple of articles in the archives of the magazine.

    NYT obit

    Weatherwise citations

  24. Peter (04:23;06) asks:
    “where would be the best place to look for old records which can be compared to this period?”

    I spent a couple of satisfying afternoons at the local library going through microfiche records of our local paper. Armed with only a few dates in mind, I poured through 1930’s edition reading about the “great” heatwaves and record high temperatures and the drownings and deaths before the era of air-conditioning. Just those two episodes convinced me that the doctoring of our climatic record is a criminal act.

  25. Its nice to se the interest in this thread but I am slightly surprised that people are so amazed by the data as it has been posted numerous times here and elsewhere. Generally it is derided by warmists as anecdotal-even when it is stitched together with other information to create a composite overview covering huindreds of years it is still considered ‘unreliable’ when comopared to…err…the Mann Hockey Stick.

    The fact remains that there are many thousands of such records from reliable sources to show that climatically we have been this way many times before and that even during what we understand to be the LIA there are temperatures equivalent to todays, without even getting into the evidence of the MWP’s warmer values.

    This link shows actual unsmoothed Hadley CET data to 1660.

    This shows the Zurich Switzerland figures to 1860 -adjusted for the enormous UHI influence at 0.4C total since 1970-probably a very modest adjustment.

    Here it is unadjusted

    Here is the zoom view that enables people to see the enormous growth round the station (fluntern) Historic note; James Joyce is buried here and Lenin and Trotsky took refuge in Zurich in World War 1

    Here is Fluntern compared to Hadley- demonstrating the atonishing mirroring until modern UHI affects Zuruich more than the CET in the 1970’s onwards.
    http://cadenzapress.co.uk/download/combined_mencken.xls

    CET is said to be ‘indicative’ of the western hemisphere.

    I have numerous records of Historic temperatures and have done much research of my own. Fish are a very good indicator of climate change, so those on the coast can check local records to see that fluctuating temperatures are marked by changes in fishing pattern
    Pilchards warm weather-
    Herring-intermediate
    Co for cold waters.

    Many readers here will know of my complete lack of regard for the artificially concocted global temperatures to 1850 on which so much of the historical ‘evidence’ for modern warming is based. Consequently I am collecting reliable national and regional temperature data sets-the longer the better-so if if you know of any please provide a link which I will produce as a resource

    TonyB

  26. Peter,
    I know that old monastaries in Europe kept such records going way back. But that would be rather local. I wonder if any historical archives in other areas like New England, China, Arabia etc. would have such records. I would think they surely do. Something for scholars to research.

    C.H. Beck has written book called:
    Kulturgeschichte des Klimas
    (Cutural History of the Climate).
    Unfortunately written only in German. In this book he cites many historical written records from various European archives. Of course, the written records contradict what Mann’s hokey stick claims.

  27. One of the problems with correlating sunspot activity with global temperature has been the complication of volcanic eruptions, which are known to cause short-term cooling through cloud-seeding effects. There is a study out there (can’t lay my hands on it at the moment) which purports to have tuned out the volcanic effect and have produced a very good correlation between sunspot activity and global temperature.

  28. One would be hard pressed to find a continuous record such as one in Philly. Europe has a much better record. I know Oxford has created some forensic synoptic weather maps for Europe based on a mix of ship logs and farmer’s diaries. While farmer’s diaries are very subjective, they can give the reader a broad based idea of weather conditions. Important things such as first and last frost of the growing season, crop yield problems due to drought or frost, as well as basic entries covering cloud cover, fog, wind direction, etc.. can give the forensic meterologists a fairly good idea of climate patterns. There are pitfalls, such as comments like “coldest winter in memory”; or “driest July since my grandfather’s time.”

    Climate scientists usually scoff at such things as farmer’s diaries as an anecdotal, but like the Philedelphia’s weather records they are real and not computer modeled output. They are in no way percise. But niether are Mann’s PCAs, Hansen’s Temp reconstructions, or Steig’s back-filled temp grids.

  29. Very interesting piece of information! However, I doubt that the changing temperature of a single city requires much in the way of a climatological explanation that would be broad enough to effect world-wide temperatures.

  30. Moderator

    I posted a number of references and links to historic temperatures a little while ago. Have you moderated it for some reason or has it just disappeared into the ether due to climate change?

    TonyB

  31. Yep this is very interesting data. I wonder if there are folks at Giss that have noticed this record and just how they would homogenize it. If I understand homogenization it means to blend and cook a liquid to prevent any changes or corruption of the mix of components. Therefore there will be no resemblance to the natural variation that would have appeared with out the homogenization. Not so sure homohenization is the way to study temperature.

    Mean while here in N E Alabama of the 26 days of January thus far we have had 13 pipe bursting low temps well below seasonal lows and only 13 days with highs at or above seasonal highs. For those of us here in this area/region this has not been the warmest Jan. on record by a long shot.

    Just thinking about things.

    Bill Derryberry

  32. Ralph B, Chris H, Dan Lee,
    Is it conceivable that the heat in the core of the earth itself is a driver for climate changes? I have no suggestions on possible mechanisms, be it underwater volcanoes, plate tectonics or thickness variations of the crust, but the fact is that –contrary to the sun- this energy source is close to the surface of the earth, and for a large part hidden from direct observation. I’ve heard the statement that we know more about the surface of Titan than of the bottom of the sea. Different ocean currents, be it PDO or AMO, can then transfer and distribute the heat dependent on their flow directions; possibly they are influenced or even caused by this effect.

    Energy from the centre of the earth must transfer to the surface, as the crust will not be a perfect isolator. The questions are whether the rate of heat transfer is sufficient to influence the global temperature and whether there would be a mechanism which induces variability of this rate in time with observed long and short term global temperature changes.

    By itself this does not explain the observed correlation of global temperature changes with solar activity, but at least it provides a possible additional source of energy to explain climate variations.

    I have now followed the climate discussions for well over a year now, and I have so far not come across such a hypothesis, apart from references to underwater volcanoes. Simple Google searches have not yielded more info. Was such a theory discussed and rejected before my time, have I just missed something, or is it so obviously right or wrong that no one discusses it anymore?

    Please comment

    Evert

  33. Climate, Carbon, Solar Cycles, Man Made Global Warming

    Recycling Climate Change for Profit
    By Dr. Tim Ball Monday, January 26, 2009

    It is generally agreed that changes in the sun/earth relationship are the major mechanism driving long-term climate patterns. These are collectively known as the Milankovitch Effect and include; changes in the Earth’s orbit caused primarily by the gravitational pull of Jupiter with a 100,000-year cycle; changes in the tilt of the Earth of undetermined cause, with a 40,000- year cycle; and a shift in the date of equinox with a 19,000-year cycle. Although Milankovitch’s work was initially accepted it lost favor when his results conflicted with some radiocarbon data. I recall conferences in the 1980s when reference to Milankovitch brought vigorous protest. However, by the 1990s he was back in favor.

    IPCC 2001 “The Scientific Basis” says “In climate research and modeling we should recognize we are dealing with a a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    It’s statistically easy to detect cycles within this graph. Some of them seem visible. The challenge is to identify the cause of these cycles, as they are the net result of a myriad of cycles, including the Milankovitch Effect and sunspots cycles. One thing we know is they don’t fit the CO2 pattern.

    So just one apparently simple media article illustrates Schweitzer’s point. They also confirm Rutherford Rogers claim that, “We’re drowning in information and starving for knowledge.” The lack of knowledge does not prevent governments forging ahead based on the completely unwarranted certainty of the IPCC and proponents of AGW.

  34. One of the longest temperature records is the trading posts along Hudson Bay – Churchill and York Factory. The Hudson Bay Company and the Royal Society of England didn’t believe the temperature reports from the traders and they were still thinking about the NorthWest Passage so they established a project to measure temperatures at these forts – some of the records have gone missing but here is a temp record from the arctic going back to 1769.

  35. Good heavens. The entire class of students raised their hands and not one came up with the “first encountered pathology”. Both the jet stream AND the pacific oscillation affects Philadelphia. Other than the Great Lakes snow affect, the weather patterns you all get in the East comes from the frontier. The wild wild west. And the jet stream is often affected by Arctic dips that can take a month to scrub out. I am also thinking that the jet stream may be affected by frontal systems stemming from where cold and warm ocean currents meet. If a cold pacific equatorial current pushes that cold/warm boundary North maybe the jet stream follows? It would be fabulous to study jet stream behavior during oscillation changes. Which comes first? And since oscillations stay around for years, weather patterns stay around for years. Climate in the East has not changed (for several geological reasons). But apparently the weather patterns in an around Philadelphia within that stable climate have cycles. The Sun may or may not be the driving factor as it may have an affect on cloud seeding and atmospheric breathing patterns, and these are questions that still need to be answered. But we should be studying the first encountered pathology “first”. Class dismissed.

  36. I can see that before my post was accepted, other posts just before began mentioning oceanic oscillations. Good. But it still surprises me that it took this long. This may be my own lonely soap box, but unless a plot of ground changes latitude, altitude and/or proximity to a large body of water, the climate will be stable within 10’s of 1000’s of years. It is the weather pattern that changes. Local geology, plate tectonics, and large scale global tilt can and do plunge regional stable climates into new climate zones. But it is my opinion that what we are talking about at this science blog, and what the AGW’s are talking about, are weather patterns. And by and large, the largest driver of weather patterns are the jet stream, and oceanic oscillations. Any other heating or cooling source is drowned by these two drivers. It remains for us to understand these drivers first, and then to talk about and study what might drive the drivers.

  37. The warmth of the latest 18th Century was also shown in Rhodes Fairbridge’s reconstruction of Late Holocene sea levels published in Science in the late 1970s.

    The winter of Washington’s stay at Valley Forge (1777-78) was considered the coldest anyone could remember. It too seems to fit well with the sunspot minima of that decade as does the warmth of the 1790s.

    Also to Pierre Gosselin (05:55:11): “hokey stick” works fine for me.

  38. Bill Illis: I’m sure you’d find Dr. Tim Ball’s Phd thesis of interest. It was founded on temperature/climate data obtained from Hudson Bay company archives of trading post records from York Factory.

    Jack

  39. A key point here is that January in Philadelphia during the “warmest decade in history” has been no warmer than January during the Dalton minimum – a known cold period.

  40. Pamela Gray, forgive me for being the class clown, but there’s no way the jet stream could have affected anything back then, since jets were only invented in the 40s.

    Thank you.

    And yes, there WAS a point besides just trying to be funny. What wasn’t known then would fill libraries. What isn’t known now would too…

  41. My earlier post seems to have disappeared into electronic limbo, so here goes again:

    Bill Illis: I’m certain that you would enjoy reading Dr. Tim Ball’s Phd thesis which was founded upon the temperature/climate data, for Hudson Bay trading post records, that he retrieved out of the Hudson Bay company archives, held in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

  42. By the way, regarding jet stream and prevailing wind direction, click on the 30-day animation of Arctic Ice and watch the flow of ice concentration http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/. Then click on the jet stream Arctic loop http://squall.sfsu.edu/crws/jetstream.html. They don’t exactly coincide because the pictures are taken on different days and have longer in-between data blanks, but you will learn a LOT about sea ice behavior and wind direction. Too bad some enterprising web designer hasn’t made this a possibility. You could super-impose an animation of Arctic ocean currents (temp and speed), wind direction and speed from the jet stream to the inner patterns, air temperature, and sea ice behavior. Goes a long way in explaining Arctic sea ice behavior.

    Which leads back to my point about weather patterns near Philly. A looped animation of weather fronts, jet stream behavior, oceanic currents (temp, etc) and land temperature would also go a long way in explaining weather patterns.

  43. Leonard Hill of East Bridgewater. Mass. kept a daily weather diary from 1806 to 1869. It was published under the title Meteorological and Chronological Register.

    Each day is given a brief description such as Feb 1, 1819: Very warm; clear sun; no frost 61F. Feb 1819 is interesting and the description for the month reads: Warmest February known for thirty years past; no snow since the 4th.

    A few daily entries for that month:
    Feb 10: Frogs noisy and snakes out thick.
    Feb 11: Snakes seen every day for a week past; warm as May.
    Feb 12: Hot as June; 71 F.
    Feb 21: Frost out for six weeks past.

    For March he says: Very warm winter since December.
    For April: Month uncommonly warm
    For May: Hot and dry.
    For June: Very hot
    For August: Very hot month; greatest temperature since 1800.

  44. Mike McMillan (01:43:01) :

    Mike, the one thing I noticed at the climatetrek link you provided was the typical spin. A notation that scientists were not saying due to global warming but consistent with it, El Nino a past factor but not a major one, etc. But… not one word about urbanization, land-use, etc.

    I have to agree with your implied sentiment: A disingenuous characterization.

  45. Here’s some intersting news form the Pew Research Center that shows global warming concerns waining in the public eye. Global warming ranks dead last on the “Top domestic Priorities for Obama”. I hope he gets the memo on his Blackberry.

    Economy, Jobs Trump All Other Policy Priorities In 2009
    Environment, Immigration, Health Care Slip Down the List
    http://people-press.org/report/485/economy-top-policy-priority

  46. Pamela,

    Good point about the ocean oscillations. You might note that the PDO shift in 1977 looked more like a step function than a linear trend as we see in the graph above.

  47. Pierre Gosselin (05:55:11) :

    I meant hockey stick

    Come, come Pierre, you were right the first time LOL.

    DaveE.

  48. One of the reasons there continues to be so much global warming still going around.
    I’m not much of a statistician but couldn’t pass up a chance to provide requested feedback to NOAA concerning their Local Three Month Temperature Outlook. The product is relatively new (couple-several years) but seldom forecasts below normal temperatures. The reason becomes apparent when you look at the figures they use. My reply:

    I was curious as to why there were few instances of forecast “below normal” temperatures with the product so I conducted a little exercise of my own using the summer (JJA) data for Bangor, Maine. Seems these products appear to be no more than an exercise in statistical manipulation. Rather than use the raw 1971-2000 average temperature, you’ve adopted the revised NOW data which drops the average 0.6F. As if that were not enough, you chose to use the “median” instead of the average. This drops the temperature another 0.6F for a total change of -1.2F for the season. This is precisely the value of a standard deviation for the ME-02 climate region. Using the raw average figures for the past 8 years I find that there is only one instance of the average exceeding a standard deviation, which would be 2004 with an average of -1.9F. Using your revised median figures for the eight years the results would be dramatically different: the median would be exceeded four times (50%) and fall within the standard deviation four times. Seems to me that all you have to forecast is “average to above” to see 100% verification. Like I said – an exercise in statistical manipulation!

  49. Peter McWilliam (02:51:29) :

    Do Tambora in 1815 and the year without a summer in 1816 show in those records.

    While reading stuff that led to my New England view of The Year without a Summer I concluded the key feature was the jet stream (and storm track) was displaced southward. Areas south of New England were not as impacted as we were. While the big stories here would have been the freezes in each month of the year, we had several days in the 80s (normal) and the apple crop was very good, so there wasn’t a freeze when they were flowering. (The good crop was also because the insect population had a disasterous season.)

    I suspect the same thing happened in Europe, but haven’t looked into that.

    I have no idea whether climate models would show a storm track displacement during volcanic aerosol events or reduction of irradience. It would be interesting to take a closer look at storm tracks throughout a PDO cycle (and AMO, ENSO, and others) instead of just temperature and droughts as we seem to do now.

  50. In addition to historical documents such as old diaries and farmers’ records, there are naval logbooks, as mentioned here. Apparently some of these logs indicate a period of rapid warming in Europe during the 1730s; it would be interesting to see how this might tie in with the PDO/AMO at that time.

  51. Pamela Gray (07:37:24) :

    Other than the Great Lakes snow affect, the weather patterns you all get in the East comes from the frontier. The wild wild west.

    A couple that affect the northeast don’t have much of a wild west component.

    “Backdoor cold fronts” are common in May and June and come in from north and northeast. They bring easterly wind from the chilling Atlantic. I think of them as seabreezes on steroids. A decent seabreeze makes it 10-15 miles inland, backdoor cold fronts can reach Vermont.

    Nor’easters form off the SE Atlantic coast, generally triggered by a storm that makes it to the midwest before transferring its energy to the coast. They generally are associated with a big dip in the jetstream that pulls up warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico, and mixes it with cold Canadian air. The new storm intensifies over the Atlantic, “bombing out” if the conditions are good, and if we’re really lucky, stalling off the New England coast. I get daily hits on my Blizzard of ’78 page 30+ years after the event.

    You can keep your Pineapple Express. I’ve been in a couple on week-long business trips to San Jose (40 year flooding one year). I’m not impressed (nor with how well most Californians drive in the rain!) The storms that train down from Alaska I have a bit more respect for, at least they bring snow in the hills around the Bay area.

  52. Some more anecdotal weather from the AP:

    Subzero temperatures spread across Maine
    By The Associated Press

    CARIBOU, Maine — Subzero temperatures were felt across Maine on Monday as another round of arctic air spread into the region.

    According to the National Weather Service, the state’s coldest spot was Big Black River, an uninhabited spot in northwest Aroostook County that had a minus 46 reading at 6 a.m.

    The weather service said Masardis came in at 44 below zero, Van Buren at minus 41, Presque Isle at minus 40 and Houlton at minus 36.

    Bangor reached 25 below zero, Sanford hit minus 15 and Portland came in at minus 2.

    Bangor set a record on Sunday with a minus-19 reading, breaking the old record for the date of minus 14 set in 1948.

    The AP along with journalists in general, love to use the word “arctic” when it’s really Continental Polar.

  53. Just a reminder of what is going on in 2009 presently.

    You see, when the Bush administration does it, it is called “denial” and “delay” and acting for political interests (who knew Detroit automakers’ labor unions voted Republican?). But when the Obama administration does it, it is being “guided by science and “acting on the facts” as well as to make us “independent of foreign oil” and so forth.

    Because of course when you don’t drink the kool-aid of climate change, whatever you do to oppose the Vast Green-Alliance Conspiracy’s agenda is swiftly labled in the above terms as Bush was.

    Here is latest on car tailpipe emissions:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28846202

  54. More to the point of this posting:

    Are we looking at 200-something year cycle here? If so, are there any details that we know from the last one (besides, of course, that it was cold)?

    My apologies is if this has been asked/answered in comments. If so, please direct me. If not, does anyone have any answers? Leif maybe?

  55. Whats interesting about Sunspots, is that they are an indirect indicator of solar activity, and it more likely is the amount of solar ion radiation that affects Earths climate.

    One interesting fact that few people seem to connect (correlation or not) is that the last half of Dec 2006 saw some of the highest solar flare activity in a long time.

    http://www.solen.info/solar/old_reports/2006/december/indices.html

    Then January 2007 was the regarded as the hottest January on record.

    Coincidence or connection?

  56. From the Haddingtonshire Courier, 4th January 1901 :

    “Those who watched for the first glimmer of the new century enjoyed a dawn that might almost have belonged to a backward May, so open and fresh and clear was it. New Year’s day was quite ideal for holidaying, albeit the roads were rather heavy. The country looked wonderfully green and ‘growing’ considering the season. Altogether, the first day of the new century was, as we have said, a good augury – and if auguries do no good at least they do no harm.”

    Other reports mention the mild, almost unseasonal weather for that time.

  57. This is purely anecdotal evidence, totally unsupported by bristlecone pine measurements or GCMs.

    As usual, you denialists are clutching at straws!

    REPLY: Mr. Linard, please don’t use that term, name calling is the lowest form of debate. – Anthony Watts

  58. Pam,
    I understand your point, but I fail to see how Philidelphia could act as a proxy for any one oscillation. El Nino events could give Philly a wet snowy winter; put then again so could a positive NAO. I completely agree with you in pointing out the obvious -any given point’s weather is determined by large scale synoptic patterns, which are in turn driven by changes in oceanic variability.

  59. Pamela,

    I clicked on the jet stream over the artic site, also while I was there I looked at the anartic jet stream. They look similiar.

    Just wondering, is this the “permanent cyclone over the poles” that I have read about elsewhere?

  60. Richard Willson, a Columbia University ,

    The Sun May Be Factor in Global Warmup,

    Greenhouse warming, in which gases created by human activity trap more solar heat in the atmosphere, is expected to increase temperatures on Earth by about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 50 to 100 years. By contrast, according to Willson, solar forcing—the sun’s effect on long-term climate—might account for between 0.7 and 1.4 degrees of warming over the next 100 years, if sustained at the pace his observations suggest. The globe has already warmed by about one degree since 1880, scientists say.

    A separate recent study of Sun-induced magnetic activity near Earth, going back to 1868, provides compelling evidence that the Sun’s current increase in output goes back more than a century, Willson said.

    This being the case would not this account for all the warming from 1860.

    http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/sun_output_030320.html
    http://www.earth.columbia.edu/news/2003/story03-20-03.html
    http://www.mitosyfraudes.org/Calen/SolarWind.html

  61. Jack Linard (11:53:13) :
    This is purely anecdotal evidence, totally unsupported by bristlecone pine measurements or GCMs.
    As usual, you denialists are clutching at straws!

    Jack,
    In the future please do not refer to me as a denialist. Henceforward I am to be referred to as a contrarian.
    Thanks for your attention to this matter,
    Mike Bryant

  62. The full data referenced by Steve Goddard’s interesting article can be found in this excellent book -obituary of Charles Pierce

    http://books.google.com/books?id=yXkWAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=temperature+philadelphia+1790&source=web&ots=kDcJ9xhG8H&sig=ocb5JfGI5A8j5ApWfBacyRyY2pY&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result

    As well as Philadelphia information it also contains many references to world climate.

    It was generally accepted that the world was warming and the winters becoming less cold as this quotation shows;

    “The temperature of the winter season, in northern latitudes, has suffered a material change, and become warmer in modern, than it was in ancient times. … Indeed I know not whether any person, in this age, has ever questioned the fact.” —Noah Webster, 1758-1843 (founder- Websters dictionary)

    There are thousands of records showing we have been this way before. In the UK we are fortunate to have extremely detailed research of our Bronze age remains and weather references from Tacitus the Roman general, The Venerable Bede, The Anglo Saxon Chronicles, The Domesday Book, Geoffrey Chaucer and Pepys, as well as records kept by the great estate of the landed gentry, when we tie back into the Instrument records from 1660. That is some 5000 years of what seems to be considered ‘anecdotal’ data which of course can’t be considered as reliable as interpoltated data created by computer models

    Incidentally, the UKs warmest winters to this day remain 1733, 1868, 1833.

    TonyB

  63. Ric: ” You can keep your Pineapple Express”

    Living here in Portland, OR we have great respect for the P. Express, we usually get some flooding.

    Read this from wikipediea

    A Pineapple Express battered Southern California from January 7 through January 11, 2005. This storm was the biggest to hit Southern California since the El Niño of 1998.[1] The storm caused mud slides and flooding, with one desert location just north of Morongo Valley receiving about 9 inches of rain, and some locations on south and southwest-facing mountain slopes receiving spectacular totals: San Marcos Pass, in Santa Barbara County, received 24.57 inches (624 mm), and Opid’s Camp in the San Gabriel Mountains of Los Angeles County was deluged with 31.61 inches (803 mm) of rain in the five day period.

    The unusually intense rain storms that hit south-central Alaska in August 2006 were termed “Pineapple Express” rains locally.

    November 2006 flood, Granite Falls on the Stillaguamish RiverThe Puget Sound region from Olympia, Washington to Vancouver, BC received several inches of rain per day in November 2006 from a series of successive Pineapple Express storms that caused massive flooding in all major regional rivers and mudslides which closed the mountain passes.
    These storms included heavy winds which are not usually associated with the phenomenon. Regional dams opened their spillways to 100% as they had reached full capacity due to rain and snowmelt. Officials referred to the storm system as “the worst in a decade” on November 8, 2006.
    Portions of Oregon were also affected, including over 14 inches (350 mm) in one day at Lee’s Camp in the Coast Range, while the normally arid and sheltered Interior of British Columbia received heavy coastal-style rains.

  64. Dan Lee (04:51:33) said,

    [Ralph B.

    As I understand it, the objection to the sunspot-temperature correlation being meaningful (in the scientific sense) is that we don’t have a mechanism to explain it. ]

    Well it is there and it obviously has nothing to do with CO2,
    correlation is not necessarily causation but unlike gores CO2/temp link this sunspot/temp correlation cannot be reversed.
    As far as the last three solar cycles are concerned, you don`t need a rising level of solar activity to keep temps rising, just a steady high level of activity.

    It`s the sun stupid.

  65. Obama won and he says there is a Global Climate Crisis. So, that’s the end of that. Expect changes asap.

  66. When was the thermometer invented? Wasn’t it in the early 18th century or late 17th? How far back, then, can such temperature records go? I would assume that dealing with old records would entail a host of difficult and arcane issues related to scale conversion and the like, not to mention assessing the reliability of the values given the lack of standard procedures.

    Isn’t the rear-view horizon of reliable temperature records something like 1850 at the most??

  67. @Ralph B.

    Henrik Svensmark is a dutch climate physicist whose theories are also addressed on this site. He has found that cosmic rays seed low elevation cloud formation. i.e. http://www.space.dtu.dk/English/Research/Research_divisions/Sun_Climate/Experiments_SC/SKY.aspx

    When the sun’s magnetic field is high (correlating to more sunspots), fewer cosmic rays reach the earth, fewer clouds are formed and temperatures rise. during minima, reduced magnetic field (resulting in fewer sunspots), more rays reach the earth, more clouds are formed, and cooler temperatures prevail.

    The variation in quantity of cosmic rays reaching the earth also explains why rates of carbon-14 vary in objects with known ages.

  68. What are the natural causes of the record heat in western australia, russia and western USA? I’m debating my alarmist friends. Thanks

  69. Pamela:”Other than the Great Lakes snow affect, the weather patterns you all get in the East comes from the frontier. The wild wild west.”

    Did we forget about weather systems that ride up the East coast from the South? I do believe the annual Bermuda High sets up that flow every summer.

  70. jeff (09.00.10)
    Thanks for the tip, I got over 1300 hits, and one of the first was already very interesting (www.geostreamconsulting.com/geoInv.html). Seems to prove that there may indeed be variable heat exchange between the mantle and the sea. I’ll dig a bit further.

    Evert

  71. Record heat is due to high-pressure cells. Climate is due to the overall big picture. Sticking weather stations next to pavement and metal buildings blurs the record.
    Check out the 10,000 years of Laurentide Ice Sheet over North America and see how climates changed over time as the weather patterns were alterered or unblocked due to retreating Ice Sheets with thier attentdant dominant Highs & Lows.
    We here in No. Ca are suffering from a weather pattern similar to the Younger Dryas period where it can swing from bitter cold to sunny & warm, yet with little precipitation.
    Solar Minima can play the devil with things, it does, and the general outcome has historically been colder climates. It does not matter what the mechanism turns out to be, that’s the way it ends up.
    Europe was known to suffer from Minima induced famine as their climate altered at the close of the Medieval Maximum, and this effect continued to the extent of the Minima that followed in later times. Thier climate went to cool & wet summers which rotted the crops in the field. Thier winters turned colder and lasted longer.
    Other areas of the world likewise got highly disrupted….and colder as a general rule for the Northern Hemisphere.

  72. Evert Jesse (06:43:51) asked “Is it conceivable that the heat in the core of the earth itself is a driver for climate changes?”

    Thanks to the miracle of the internet one can obtain all sorts of information. Using “heat efflux from earth” I found information on actual heat efflux at:
    http://esrc.stfx.ca/pdf/grl-1.pdf

    The number was around 80 mW/sq m. Very small relative to IR radiation.

  73. This from wikipedia:

    “Finally in 1724 Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit produced a temperature scale which now (slightly adjusted) bears his name. He could do this because he manufactured thermometers, using mercury (which has a high coefficient of expansion) for the first time and the quality of his production could provide a finer scale and greater reproducibility, leading to its general adoption.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermometer

  74. Steven Hill (12:59:59) :

    “Obama won and he says there is a Global Climate Crisis. So, that’s the end of that. Expect changes asap”.

    Steven Hill,
    I think the “non existing climate crises” should not be treated like an election theme.

    We have to undertake any effort to convince Obama that he will make a historic mistake if he starts to poor money into an effort to solve a non existing problem.

    If we can not convince him we have to resist all the proposed measures and go to the streets until he gets the picture.

    I am very confident that clean science, reason and common sense will prevail over ideology and religion.

    Otherwise the Socialist Experiment of the DDR that caused the construction of the Iron Curtain would have continued until today.

    As we all know the Socialist Experiment imploded in 1989 causing the collapse of the communist USSR and the end of the Cold War.

    I will not believe or accept that the American People could be loured into a similar experiment twenty years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, don’t you agree?

  75. Off subject I know, but Pierce’s book is a mine of information other than weather. For instance it has a section (pages 292 onwards) on steamboats, which I find interesting. For news junkies there is a good section on the world’s first newspapers, pages 296 onwards. It is worth while browsing through the books comprehensive contents pages.
    OK folks, if anyones reading this, that’s all, stop slacking. Now it’s time to get back on watch.
    Go to it.

  76. ked5 (13:13:06) :

    @Ralph B.

    “Henrik Svensmark is a dutch climate physicist”

    This is not correct.
    Svensmark is from Danmark

  77. lichanos (13:00:10) : asked

    “When was the thermometer invented? Wasn’t it in the early 18th century or late 17th? How far back, then, can such temperature records go? I would assume that dealing with old records would entail a host of difficult and arcane issues related to scale conversion and the like, not to mention assessing the reliability of the values given the lack of standard procedures.

    Isn’t the rear-view horizon of reliable temperature records something like 1850 at the most??”

    That thermometers were primitive and only accurate from 1850 onwards is a popular misconception.
    This from Wikipedia.
    “The thermometer was invented in the sixteenth century, but it is disputed who the inventor was. The claims of Santorio are supported by Borelli and Malpighi, while the title of Cornelius Drebbel is considered undoubted by Boerhaave. Galileo’s air thermometer, made before 1597, was the foundation of accurate thermometry. Galileo also invented the alcohol thermometer about 1611 or 1612. Spirit thermometers were made for the Accademia del Cimento, and described in the Memoirs of that academy. When the academy was dissolved by order of the Pope, some of these thermometers were packed away in a box, and were not discovered until early in the nineteenth century. Robert Hooke describes the manufacture and graduation of thermometers in his “Micrographia” (1665).”

    The next two links refers to the invention of the ‘accurate’ Galileo thermometer in 1597
    http://www.thermometershop.co.uk/more_about____.htm#how
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_thermometer

    This is the “Micrographia” referred to above:
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/15491/15491-h/15491-h.htm

    The thermometer- or thermoscope- became all the rage in Europe from the 1620’s. The Royal Society created the ‘standard’ thermometer in 1663, described in detail here
    http://www.jstor.org/pss/227641

    This standard was the basis for all subsequent thermometer technology and followed on from the original written instructions on how to calibrate thermometers made in 1659, and which was formalised as referenced above in 1665. The Hadley CET records derive from 1659 following this new calibration standard, although the Fahrenheit scale did not come about until 1724, as linked here.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Gabriel_Fahrenheit

    The original measurements from 1659 were fully converted to the Fahrenheit scale by Manley, who also adjusted the readings to take into account the transition from the Julian calendar -introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BC- to the Gregorian calendar. Manley considered the readings to be perfectly accurate to around a quarter to half a degree in the Fahrenheit equivalent. It is thought the Galileo thermometers were accurate to a little more than half of a degree of the Fahreheit equivalent.

    As might be expected Pepys got his hands on one of the new thermoscopes. This text was written as a footnote in the 1893 Wheatley transcription of Pepys diary and is the one Wikipedia have used in the first link given above. It refers to 23 March 1663;

    http://www.pepys.info/1663/1663mar.html

    The instrument referenced above was given to Pepys in 1663 by Greatorex who had been advised by Robert Boyle. This gift is referenced here.
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=jeOMfpYMOtYC&pg=PA267&lpg=PA267&dq=pepys+thermometer&source=web&ots=aBavR_-kac&sig=GA1EQl04anW85TuIEwrdZZ2iJAc&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result#PPA267,M1

    So from around the year 1600, measurements of uncalibrated thermometers were being taken, which became increasingly accurate as the technology improved. By 1659 the measurements were being calibrated to some degree of accuracy, and as the instruments were expensive were generally being read by trained people who handled them carefully. During the 1700’s there was a vogue for placing thermometers in unheated north facing rooms so temperatures could be taken in comfort, but this was seen as a backward ‘country’ habit which was frowned on by those with a more scientific approach and few of these records have survived.

    The measurements -taken under proper conditions from 1660- were accurate to levels not surpassed until well into the 1900’s. The thermometers used in ‘global temperatures from 1850’ were often of poor quality, uncalibrated, placed in inappropriate positions (such as in full sun) and read by people who had no training.

    GS Callendar complains in his notebooks about the variability of these readings from 1850 when there were only 100 global stations- of whom around half had much credibility. He restricted his investigations of his belief in rising temperatures caused by man to as few as 200 stations worldwide in 1936-38, during his investigation for his thesis that rising levels of co2 were driving global warming, which resulted in his seminal paper about CO2 in 1938.

    TonyB

  78. Just posted on “Drudge”

    GORE HEARING ON WARMING MAY BE PUT ON ICE
    Mon Jan 26 2009 17:59:26 ET

    Al Gore is scheduled before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning to once again testify on the ‘urgent need’ to combat global warming.

    But Mother Nature seems ready to freeze the proceedings.

    A ‘Winter Storm Watch’ has been posted for the nation’s capitol and there is a potential for significant snow… sleet… or ice accumulations.

    “I can’t imagine the Democrats would want to showcase Mr. Gore and his new findings on global warming as a winter storm rages outside,” a Republican lawmaker emailed the DRUDGE REPORT. “And if the ice really piles up, it will not be safe to travel.”
    “A spokesman for Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the committee, was not immediately available to comment on contingency plans.

    Global warming advocates have suggested this year’s wild winter spells are proof of climate change.”

    Developing…

  79. Novoburgo (15:56:01) :

    ‘Ron de Haan (14:59:27) :

    Are you sure it’s not “Svansmark” from “Denmark?”

    You are right, I need to wear my glasses.

  80. I’m an AGW skeptic, but this post is farcical. Even assuming the measurements are accurate and scientific, this is a tiny data point. It isn’t measuring the whole US or even a state. It’s a city. It would only be compelling with coupled with other, more pertinent, pieces of information.

  81. Just for the Record…

    Charles Pierce is not now and was not then employeed by Exxon Mobile, he received no grants or contributions from energy lobbyists groups or right-wing political think tanks. He received no advances from the Coal Industry in order to create his journal. Nor was the man mistaken, using faulty equipment, or an out and out fibber.

    Standard Disclaimer regarding any factual historical accounts of weather and/or cumulative weather into climate in order to counter what surely will be claims of “fiction” , not accurate journals, amatuer records, and motivations paid for by corporate greed centuries prior to needing the misinformation,by the fabrication of historical records by time travelling agents on the payroll of the SHELLEXXIBURTON BP Corp.

    Come on you know that will be the next argument tossed into the ring by the floundering AGW movement as more such records are located.

  82. Pamala Gray ((07:37:24) said:
    “Other than the Great Lakes snow affect, the weather patterns you all get in the East comes from the frontier. The wild wild west.”

    I must take exception to that statement Pam. While it’s true that the general circulation provides us with numerous depressions forming in the lee of the Rockies, most of the moisture that falls in the N.E. is from the East. All our tropical storms are products of the Gulf, Caribbean, or Atlantic. The greatest snow storms are generated on the Atlantic seaboard, and Lake Effect snow is generally confined to a 75 mile area downwind of the lakes (this year has been an exception!). The common Alberta Clipper off the Rockies is very dry until it reaches the Great Lakes where they will pick up some moisture, and if strong enough and slow enough may even get some reinforcement from the Atlantic. The biggest thing affecting our weather right now is those dang burn continental Polar air masses from beautiful downtown Dawson and environs.

  83. I found this set of data highly interesting:

    http://www.booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/histclimat.htm

    Although it is billed as a “Climate History of the British Isles”, it nevertheless includes world events. I’m unsure whether it is of any use in the context of this particular thread, but it certainly makes for fascinating reading!

    I particularly like the following observation of the period 4000-3500BC:

    “Climatic optimum”: peaked circa 4000 – 3500 BC (some references say 4000 – 2500 BC); markedly reduced glacier extent. (var. refs); tree-lines in northern areas, particularly northern England & Scotland roughly 300m (or 1000ft) higher than they are now, with forests established at higher elevations than now: this implies that wind-damage might not have been a major problem. This in turn translates into weaker, less frequent spells of significantly low pressure (i.e. major cyclogenesis spells). (see also previous date file .. this period started circa 6200 BC). Both globally & regionally, several references mention an anomaly of ~ + 2degC over those values relating to the latter third of the 20th century.

    Enjoy!

  84. Steven Hill (12:59:59) :

    “Obama won and he says there is a Global Climate Crisis. So, that’s the end of that. Expect changes asap.”

    I wouldn’t be too sure. Obama seems to be intelligent. Smart enough to realize that he wanted all the greenies and AGW folks supporting him. In that vein he has appointed some of these people to his administration. However, that does not necessarily turn into policy. He may just put them to work coming up with ideas which will never turn into anything concrete. Wouldn’t be the first time.

  85. BobK (13:30:10) :

    “What are the natural causes of the record heat in western australia, russia and western USA? I’m debating my alarmist friends. Thanks”

    They are just as you said, “natural” climate variations that have occurred for billions of years. No different than the ones you see highlighted here such as snow near Dubai and all time records lows in Maine and Illinois.

  86. Obama is intelligent, but misguided by those who have his ear. The announcement today concerning automobile emissions, coupled by his many statements and appointments all underline his stance that the world is warming and we are the cause of it.

    I guess my issue with this article is that “anecdotal” statements or observations are ignored in today’s modern computer model era. Apparently Mann has not been sufficiently discredited, nor Hansen in their continuing manipulation of historical temperature records. These observations and evidence just don’t seem to matter much as we jump into an abyss, one of our own making for a massively flawed belief.

  87. Richard M-

    Please consider Obama’s executive orders today. See: www. abcnews.go.com/Politics/Economy/Story?id=6732327&page=1

    >>>>The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also criticized Obama’s memorandums.

    “At a time when we need to jump start our economy, regulating CO2 in this manner would stop most of President Obama’s stimulus proposal cold in its tracks and create a regulatory train wreck,” William Kovacs a vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. “In addition, such a move would put the EPA one step closer to making carbon dioxide ‘subject to regulation’ under the Act. This would … have the unintended consequence of creating costly and burdensome permitting requirements on millions of construction projects including hospitals, schools, and office buildings.” <<<

    Seems to me Obama is moving swiftly.

  88. Sorry for this post but i got a laugh when I read the bristlecone post above!!! I think Climateaudit.org has a lot to say about that issue and how it too has been adjusted to show current warning as “anthropogenic”.

    My apologies Anthony. I should have gone through all the posts prior to posting my last one.

  89. Pierre Gosselin (05:55:11) :

    “I meant hockey stick”

    I think you were right the first time with “hokey” but you misspelled shtick.

    That’s Mann’s hokey shtick ;0)

  90. “I’m an AGW skeptic, but this post is farcical. Even assuming the measurements are accurate and scientific, this is a tiny data point. It isn’t measuring the whole US or even a state. It’s a city. It would only be compelling with coupled with other, more pertinent, pieces of information”

    Ken,
    You’d be surprised what information one station can provide via a time series analysis of this one station. While, it would be impossible to know for sure what the exact state of ENSO or the AMO, this one station could still provide clues. It is real data, and not proxies nor modeled grid output.

  91. See here
    http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/jetstream1.htm
    for some really good info on the jet stream. It drives lots of weather patterns and when it shifts, so does the weather pattern. Large loops can fool you into thinking that weather drivers on the East Coast come in from the Northeast and are not a part of the energy coming from the West. The exception is this: As you travel closer to equatorial climates, one gets further away from the NH jet stream influence. Anyway, enjoy the site.

  92. It’s too late so why are they so concerned? We now live in an age where science is of no consequence.
    ————————————–
    New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible
    January 26, 2009

    A new scientific study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there’s no going back.

    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090126_climate.html

  93. Pamela gray,

    Clarification: When I said “comes from the east” i was referring to the Eastern 2/3 of the U.S. as opposed to the Western 1/3. I did not mean that it comes literally out of the “East.”

  94. A first step in removing your carbon foot-print and the money from your wallet.
    An act of scintillating brilliance.
    —————————————-
    President Obama Signs Environmental Memoranda
    January 26, 2009 12:16 PM

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/01/president-oba-8.html

    The first of the two presidential memoranda — which the president erroneously referred to as “executive orders” — asks Jackson to reconsider the Bush EPA’s denial of a waiver to California and more than a dozen other states to seek tougher auto emissions standards than the current federal level.

    The second presidential memorandum directs LaHood to, by March, finalize the fuel efficiency standards for cars for 2011 and to make recommendations for beyond that year, an action expected to lead to stricter fuel efficiency standards.

  95. Sorry ’bout that Novoburgo. I am a linear literal thinker. Which is why I don’t get most jokes other people tell me, and I only tell jokes I get.

  96. CJ (01:09:31) :

    Is it just me, or does Solar Cycle 4’s decline look very similar to 24’s? the shape of the slope looks very similar to me.

    No, it’s not just you. Anybody who takes 5 minutes with the graphs of the cycles looking for a pattern match will see it. I first spied it 6 months back.
    A child picked it out. The lengths also match well.
    The only difference is that SC23 has a double hump, whereas SC4 had a single peak. SC5 had a double (notice the swap), so I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see SC24 end up with a single peakas part & parcel of the change.

    It goes even further: SC3-4 matches SC22-3 in progression, relative size, and slopes.

  97. We had a twister touch down a couple of days ago causing damage here in No. CA, and another one today. NWS is again invetigating.
    Talking about jet stream and changes, the massive swing of the jet stream off the coast of CA is persistent, pausing only to let a few storms into Oregon & Washington.
    This is our Climate Change here as we descend back to times not seen in 200-400 yrs.

  98. Pierre Gosselin (05:55:11) :

    I meant hockey stick

    Pierre, actually I think you had it right the first time: hokey stick!
    **********************
    This is a very good article. The more rigorous articles are needed to build the case that AGW is a hoax, but articles like this are so accessable and make the point in a memorable way. Kudos.

  99. Ron de Haan (16:20:21)

    I do not think it is true.
    We know that most trees resist a wide variation in temperatures.

    Possible causes could be:
    insects, lack of water, lack of minerals, erosion, forrest management etc. etc

    They can also suffer from root invasion by larger trees. They may survive while they are young but as they grow they need more nutrient. If that isn’t available they become weak and die. Larger trees can also die if the land slips.

  100. Where would one find the rate of gamma ray bursts ?

    Our first detector, designed to pick up nuke tests in the USSR, was found to pick up cosmic events at a rate that, if i remember correctly, made it useless for its intended function.

    Instead it created a flurry of new science curiosity, where/from what could such massive events be coming from, at such mind blowing energy levels, considering distance.

    Perhaps one missing component from the solar activity plots is a measure of the incoming cosmic radiation?

    I would not expect radiation generated by massive cosmic events to be uniform in intensity/frequency. as the cosmic ray bursts are not.

    A solar minimum would have a smaller effect during periods of lower activity, such as cosmic ray bursts ?

  101. Ed Scott wrote:

    It’s too late so why are they so concerned? We now live in an age where science is of no consequence.
    ————————————–
    New Study Shows Climate Change Largely Irreversible
    http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2009/20090126_climate.html

    The scientists emphasize that increases in CO2 that occur in this century “lock in” sea level rise that would slowly follow in the next 1,000 years. Considering just the expansion of warming ocean waters—without melting glaciers and polar ice sheets— the authors find that the irreversible global average sea level rise by the year 3000 would be at least 1.3–3.2 feet (0.4–1.0 meter) if CO2 peaks at 600 parts per million, and double that amount if CO2 peaks at 1,000 parts per million.

    FIrst, increases in CO2 will “lock in” … cause? sea level rise. So, higher CO2 causes a warming of the oceans, it’s not warmer oceans resulting in the outgassing of CO2?

    Second, we’re supposed to worry about 3.2 feet of sea level rise in 900 years with CO2 at 600ppm?! That’s less than 0.5 inch in TEN YEARS!

    And how typical that they focus on drying with no consideration for regions that will be wetter. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t thermal expansion of the oceans mean increased evaporation and therefore increased precipitation somewhere in the world? Surely that increased precipitation can’t all be over the ocean?

  102. Ron de Haan wrote:

    I do not think it is true.
    We know that most trees resist a wide variation in temperatures.

    Possible causes could be:
    insects, lack of water, lack of minerals, erosion, forrest management etc. etc

    There’s also the (former) policy of fire prevention causing crowding, increased competition for resources/sunlight, non-renewal of soil (no ash). Fire prevention could also have artificially decreased tree mortality.

  103. Steve Berry (09:49:42) :

    In your link to bbc, a website I rarely visit anymore because I figure going there supports their company, and well, Im into passive resistance..if no one read their crap, maybe they would get the idea to stop, anyhow. Look at the backgrounds of the trees they are showing, its all green and lovely but the tree in the foreground is sick. Then go look up pine beetle, gypsy moth and the variety of other forest pests that have been ravaging our national forests since the no burn policy got put into effect. Many of our forests are infected and sick. Global warming? I think not. Man made? You betcha! Just one example of mans attempt to control his environment going awry.

    vukcevic (06:05:13) :

    Im with ya there. Nasa shows a change of tone starting about 1995. I wont even guess what happened at that time.

    I have a question for everyone. If I told you tomorrow was going to be 5 degrees warmer than it was today in your neighborhood, would you go into a fit.. throw yourself on the ground and scream the sky is falling?

    The truth of the matter is that we humans, no matter what part of the world we live in (cept maybe dead on equator), experience a greater change of temp due to the noise they call seasons then ever shows up on one of those goofy anomaly charts they show us. Heck the hockey stick appeared on a chart that had a whopping 1 degree above the 0 line. Most of the wicked heat spells the world experiences lately is measured is in 1/100ths of a degree. So when you read stuff like this: “Currently the warmest year on record is 1998, which saw average temperatures of 14.52 degrees Celsius – well above the 1961-1990 long-term average of 14 degrees Celsius.” Do you realize that the disastrous heat they are talking about is 52/100ths of a degree over the entire world and its been averaged?

    Anthony feel free to snip me anytime you need to. I find myself getting frustrated and less eloquent lately.

  104. Evert Jesse (06:43:51)
    the obvious answer is volcanic eruptions: but before they releave pressure
    is there a heat build up? geologists don’t care if the planet is .5C warmer first LOL.
    but what is bad is that the oceans deep water has huge pressures that buffer any change; that you could have a 20% increase, and not realize it for years.
    oh well.

  105. Ked5,

    I understand the GCR cloud formation theory, but so far it hasn’t been proven. I don’t know if there are records of albedo going back too far, but since 2005 and the “Watts Step” has there been any documented increase in albedo?

    Does anyone have a clue as to how much albedo would have to change to have an effect? I hate to postulate but maybe the slight drop in TSI and a slight increase in albedo could cause some cooling. Separately insignificant but taken together?

    Someone commented “its the sun stupid”, we need a smoking gun before making claims like that.

  106. It might be interesting to look at the year 1775 in New England. I have read that one reason the locals were able to revolt against the king was because the spring and summer were kindly, and crops were good. The battles of Concord and Lexington were fought on a “hot” day (for April in New England.) However what caught my attention were notes about getting hay crops in during May, and picking cherries in June. Both usually happen later.

    The ice-core records don’t catch these short-term peaks and valleys. And, of course, Mann somehow manages to “smoothes out” the English producing wine in Roman times, and Vikings growing crops in Greenland during the MWP.

    However our current hot spells get the press howling about the end of the world, while our cold spells seem to reduce reporters to an embarrassed silence…..for the time being.

  107. Pierre Gosselin (05:55:11) : I meant hockey stick

    Sure you did …. uh huh…. right …. ;=}

    I liked it better in the ‘original’ form. Got quite a chuckle!

  108. Ian M (14:20:31) :
    . Using “heat efflux from earth” I found information on actual heat efflux at:
    http://esrc.stfx.ca/pdf/grl-1.pdf

    The number was around 80 mW/sq m. Very small relative to IR radiation.

    Doesn’t that ‘very small relative to IR’ kind of depend on time of day, latitude, and time of season?… I could see it being very large relative to IR in, oh, Antarctica during the night in the local winter…

  109. Ralph B. (21:30:16) :
    I understand the GCR cloud formation theory, but so far it hasn’t been proven.
    […]
    Someone commented “its the sun stupid”, we need a smoking gun before making claims like that.

    All new ideas start as claims before they are proven. We need to make claims like that to find the smoking gun and then to prove it! (Speculation -> hypothesis -> research -> proof)

    FWIW, take a look at:

    http://exp-studies.tor.ec.gc.ca/e/ozone/Curr_allmap_g.htm

    and scroll down to the ‘anomaly’ page. Watching this day to day can be very interesting. The present charts, 1/25 and 1/26 show rather a lot of missing ozone world wide. -10% to -25% or so over most of the world surface (though for some odd reason the N.Pole is higher than normal.)

    Why does this matter? Ozone plugs the 9-10 micron IR band. Less ozone, more IR can leave the planet taking heat with it. The sun is the driver for making ozone, and cosmic rays can break it down.

    When the sun goes quiet, we get more GCR breaking down ozone and making clouds. Thus a two fold driver to the cooler side.

    Proven? Nope. Provable? Yup (and also falsifiable). So I’d suggest that we have a plausible testable mechanism that just needs proving or falsification.

  110. Novoburgo (05:43:28) :

    Peter (04:23;06) asks:
    “where would be the best place to look for old records which can be compared to this period?”

    I spent a couple of satisfying afternoons at the local library going through microfiche records of our local paper.

    A much better source is an online site where you can do keyword searches through hundreds (maybe thousands by now) of newspapers, mostly from the US & Canada. Once you’ve set up your search template on the search page, you can search through a long time series of a paper and harvest the hits, then click on them one at a time to go straight to the temperature data for the day.

    (Note–the site is a bit awkward and cranky and there are tricks to navigating it and using the search feature that take time to learn. Also, I haven’t done a temperature search myself–I’m drawing on my experience with searching for other material.)

    The cost is $12/month on a month-by-month basis, or $6/month if an annual subscription is bought. (I.e., $72/year.) I think there’s a free one-week (or so) trial subscription. Here’s the link:

    http://www.newspaperarchive.com

  111. Ralph B. (21:30:16) :


    I understand the GCR cloud formation theory, but so far it hasn’t been proven. I don’t know if there are records of albedo going back too far, but since 2005 and the “Watts Step” has there been any documented increase in albedo?

    Does anyone have a clue as to how much albedo would have to change to have an effect?

    Albedo has been measured:

    Eos, Vol. 87, No. 4, 24 January 2006 , BY E. PALLÉ, P. R. GOODE, P. MONTAÑÉSRODRIGUEZ,
    AND S. E. KOONIN

    http://www.iac.es/galeria/epalle/reprints/Palle_etal_EOS_2006.pdf

    As you can see in fig 2, the inverted plot agrees with the temperature trends, particularly as there has been somewhere a statement that albedo is constant since 2006.

    I used the toy mode at http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/Earth_temp.html
    to do the temperature from albedo calculation from fig 2, and the trend is there, the magnitude is exaggerated compared to real data.

  112. Elsewhere I made an observation that winters were becoming less cold on average overall, but summers were not showing any great overall change. I am pleased to see that no less an illustrious team than Jones et al agree with my observations and I am expecting them to share their tens of millions of research funds with me immediately.

    “Globally, minimum temperatures appear to be warming at a faster rate than
    Maximum temperatures (Karl et al., 1993), particularly since the 1950s (IPCC,
    2001), possibly associated with a change in cloud cover. Jones et al. (1999)
    found no significant increase in very warm days in the Central England
    Temperature series in recent years, but there was a marked decrease in the
    frequency of very cold days. A decrease in the diurnal temperature range has
    also been found in Northern and Central Europe (Heino et al., 1999)”

    in the UK Winter temperatures have constantly fluctuated throughout recorded history and our expectation of very cold snowy winters was popularised by Charles Dickens who drew on his experiences of the little ice age, although ironically, his life time also saw some of the warmest records in the entire CET series. Our top five warmest winters are; 1733 1868 1833 1988 1974
    Going further back, the MWP also had some notably warm winters. This scientific study is entitled; “Winter air temperature variations in western Europe during the Early and High Middle Ages (AD 750–1300)” which demonstrates that MWP winters were similar to the 20th century
    http://hol.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/8/5/535

    We also have many references to the Roman warm period that were previously cited here, which demonstrate the alpine passes were considerably more ice free than the present;
    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2007/may16/hannibal-051607.html

    and glaciers much higher in altitude. This is the original German version of the study
    http://alpen.sac-cas.ch/html_d/archiv/2004/200406/ad_2004_06_12.pdf

    a much shorter English language version is here;
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=772

    As also previously cited here the 1000 year long records of the Byzantine Empire demonstrate warmth throughout the empire during these known periods and show many other climatic changes. As the climate warmed and became drier we also have their plans of the extensive irrigation systems they built.

    There are numerous contemporary records of climate change from the Venerable Bede, The Anglo Saxon Chronicles, through to Pepys. In the US this comes from the extensive weather records of Thomas Jefferson;
    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/JEFFERSON/ch07.html

    “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their development, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those over flowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now. “

    The following, condensed from the records of the Hudson Bay company, demonstrate that climate change is not a new phenomena.

    “Over the fifteen years between 1720 and 1735, the first snowfall of the year moved from the first week of September to the last. Also, the late 1700s were turbulent years. They were extremely cold but annual snow cover would vary from ‘extreme depth to no cover’. For instance, November 10th 1767 only one snowfall that quickly thawed had been recorded. June 6, 1791 many feet of snow in the post’s gardens. The entry for July 14, 1798 reads ‘…53 degrees colder today than it was yesterday.”

    As well as actual instrumental records we have available to us thousands of such records as the ones above, with first hand accounts that show the lives of real people. In my own town the fortunes of those involved in fishing were made and lost over hundreds of years as climate altered and warm water Pilchards were replaced by cold water Herring and vice versa. The warmth in the latter part of the 18th century caused social dislocation as the Cod moved north to cooler waters and men stayed away longer to reach Newfoundland. The reliability of fish as a temperature proxy is well known;
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=PaEPcGJOxOQC&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=pilchards+climate+change+devon&source=web&ots=S8Dq9v3O4f&sig=l4VMl6UBROkm4qAtPGWkGS2or5E&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA39,M1

    The Bronze Age inhabitants of nearby Dartmoor farmed the tops of the modest peaks and retreated as temperatures cooled-their dwellings are still there and have been subject to numerous studies over 150 years. The MWP inhabitants also farmed the tops in the MWP- we know the crops they grew and their slow descent down into the valley as climate cooled is recorded.

    Instead of respecting this vast volume of material demonstrating that climate constantly changes and historically this current episode is nothing out of the ordinary, some people choose to rely on highly theoretical computer models which even their originators admit are highly flawed and unreliable.

    Why can’t we take them at their word and accept this is a very new science built on many unproven foundations?

    TonyB

  113. E.M.Smith (02:38:04) :
    “That is one flat trend! Out to be easy to see if recent data are near those temps…”
    Recent data it is almost the same. Look at the 1806 peak of about 35°C. We had a similar peak (38°C) in 1998 El Nino; now we are having lower temperatures.

  114. TonyB (12:01:21) : [… wonderful stuff elided …]
    Why can’t we take them at their word and accept this is a very new science built on many unproven foundations?

    Masterful post, just beautiful! Thank you.

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