Spencer: NOAA’s official sea surface temperature product ERSST has spurious warming error, July 2009 SST likely not a record after all.

We should all thank AP’s Seth Borenstein for this, IMHO. Without his article on July SST’s being the hottest ever and it not making much sense, people such as Dr. Spencer may not have been immediately motivated to figure out what was going on with the SST’s. – Anthony

Spurious Warming in New NOAA Ocean Temperature Product: The Smoking Gun

Dr. Roy Spencer August 27th, 2009

After crunching data this week from two of our satellite-based microwave sensors, and from NOAA’s official sea surface temperature (SST) product ERSST v3b, I think the evidence is pretty clear:

The ERSST v3b product has a spurious warming since 1998 of about 0.2 deg. C, most of which occurred as a jump in 2001.

The following three panels tell the story. In the first panel I’ve plotted the TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI) SST anomalies (blue) for the latitude band 40N to 40S. I’ve also plotted SST anomalies from the more recently launched AMSR-E instrument (red), computed over the same latitude band, to show that they are nearly identical. (These SST retrievals do not have any time-dependent adjustments based upon buoy data). The orange curve is anomalies for the entire global (ice-free) oceans, which shows there is little difference with the more restricted latitude band.

TMI-AMSRE-ERSSTv3b-comparisons-1998-2009

In the second panel above I’ve added the NOAA ERSST v3b SST anomalies (magenta), calculated over the same latitude band (40N to 40S) and time period as is available from TRMM.

The third panel above shows the difference [ERSST minus TMI], which reveals an abrupt shift in 2001. The reason why I trust the microwave SST is shown in the following plot, where validation statistics are displayed for match-ups between satellite measurements and moored buoy SST measurements. The horizontal green line is a regression fit to the data. (An average seasonal cycle, and 0.15 deg. C cool skin bias have been removed from these data…neither affects the trend, however.)

TMI-buoy-comparisons-1998-2009

I also checked the TMI wind speed retrievals, and there is no evidence of anything unusual happening during 2001. I have no idea how such a large warm bias could have entered into the ERSST dataset, but I’d say the evidence is pretty clear that one exists.

Finally, the 0.15 to 0.20 deg. C warm bias in the NOAA SST product makes it virtually certain that July 2009 was not, as NOAA reported, a record high for global sea surface temperatures.

UPDATE: Dr. Spencer has an update to this post here:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/31/spencer-always-question-your-results/

186 thoughts on “Spencer: NOAA’s official sea surface temperature product ERSST has spurious warming error, July 2009 SST likely not a record after all.

  1. I can’t wait to hear NOAA’s explanation for this.
    Thank you Dr. Spencer for doing this brilliant detective work. I wish every climatologist had your integrity.

  2. Wouldn ya think that “scientists” whose salaries we pay could crunch the data accurately and not have to depend on academic scientists or citizen scientists to set the record straight???? I want my money back for false/inaccurate science in the past and present. I do not want to pay any more of my tax dollars to prevaricators.

  3. I reckon anyone who claims to know about climate is talking bull… it was warm here today despite it supposedly being cold (according to the BBC!) And I bet they get it wrong tomorrow too! Forget Quantitative easing… I want more Quantitative warming!!

  4. The record ocean temperature for July was due to great warming of the waters near the antarctic according to satelite data. So it makes sense the warming between 40N-40S has not broken a record in July. From my understanding this satelite data has only been available since 30 years, so to claim that the July ocean temperatures are the highest in 130 years seems not right to me.
    I am interested to find out what you guys think of this and perhaps include some of this antarctic warming in your graphs?

  5. Dr. Roy Spencer wrote “I also checked the TMI wind speed retrievals, and there is no evidence of anything unusual happening during 2001. I have no idea how such a large warm bias could have entered into the ERSST dataset, but I’d say the evidence is pretty clear that one exists.”
    The answer?
    “So, we constructed a new SST normal for
    the 1971–2000 base period and implemented it operationally
    at CPC in August of 2001”
    From http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/xue-etal.pdf

  6. We are doomed! lol. No seriously, we are going into an ice age.
    http://icecap.us/index.php
    Aug 27, 2009
    Small fluctuations in solar activity, large influence on the climate
    There is an important new paper in Science (H/T Steve Milloy) that confirms what we have been saying for years. It is Meehl, G.A., J.M. Arblaster, K. Matthes, F. Sassi, and H. van Loon (2009), Amplifying the Pacific climate system response to a small 11 year solar cycle forcing, Science, 325, 1114-1118. It blows away the IPCC and CCSP arguments that the sun is a bit player in climate compared to CO2.
    Our sun does not radiate evenly. The best known example of radiation fluctuations is the famous 11-year cycle of sun spots. Nobody denies its influence on the natural climate variability, but climate models have, to-date, not been able to satisfactorily reconstruct its impact on climate activity.
    Researchers from the USA and from Germany have now, for the first time, successfully simulated, in detail, the complex interaction between solar radiation, atmosphere, and the ocean. As the scientific journal Science reports in its latest issue, Gerald Meehl of the US-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team have been able to calculate how the extremely small variations in radiation brings about a comparatively significant change in the System “Atmosphere-Ocean”.
    Katja Matthes of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, and co-author of the study, states: “Taking into consideration the complete radiation spectrum of the sun, the radiation intensity within one sun spot cycle varies by just 0.1 per cent. Complex interplay mechanisms in the stratosphere and the troposphere, however, create measurable changes in the water temperature of the Pacific and in precipitation”.
    Top Down – Bottom up
    In order for such reinforcement to take place many small wheels have to interdigitate. The initial process runs from the top downwards: increased solar radiation leads to more ozone and higher temperatures in the stratosphere. “The ultraviolet radiation share varies much more strongly than the other shares in the spectrum, i.e. by five to eight per cent, and that forms more ozone” explains Katja Matthes. As a result, especially the tropical stratosphere becomes warmer, which in turn leads to changed atmospheric circulation. Thus, the interrelated typical precipitation patterns in the tropics are also displaced.
    The second process takes place in the opposite way: the higher solar activity leads to more evaporation in the cloud free areas. With the trade winds the increased amounts of moisture are transported to the equator, where they lead to stronger precipitation, lower water temperatures in the East Pacific and reduced cloud formation, which in turn allows for increased evaporation. Katja Matthes: “It is this positive back coupling that strengthens the process”. With this it is possible to explain the respective measurements and observations on the Earth’s surface.
    Professor Reinhard Huettl, Chairman of the Scientific Executive Board of the GFZ (Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) adds: “The study is important for comprehending the natural climatic variability, which – on different time scales – is significantly influenced by the sun. In order to better understand the anthropogenically induced climate change and to make more reliable future climate scenarios, it is very important to understand the underlying natural climatic variability. This investigation shows again that we still have substantial research needs to understand the climate system”. Together with the Alfred Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research and the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum the GFZ is, therefore, organising a conference “Climate in the System Earth” scheduled for 2./3. November 2009 in Berlin.
    Read Icecap story that has shown the importance of these magnifiers like UV here.
    Comparison of Total Solar Irradiance (Hoyt/Willson) vs ocean tri-poles (PDO+AMO) vs HSHCN annual temperatures. Larger image here.

  7. We should all thank AP’s Seth Borenstein for this, IMHO.
    Perhaps we should thank Mann and McIntyre too. It took years before skeptical inquiry was able to knock over the hockey stick. As a result, scientists and others were reminded that healthy skepticism is an important part of the scientific method.
    In the last year we’ve had several examples of studies that don’t feel right get investigated immediately and flaws found quickly. This may be the most important one since McIntyre’s falsification of the hockey stick.
    Good job, Dr. Spencer. Of course, this work needs some healthy skeptics to try to falsify it (and others to confirm it), but when you don’t know what the right answer is, that’s how science works.

  8. A “cool skin” bias and the average seasonal discrepancy wrt to moored buoys have been removed here in the last figure, showing quite impressive verification statistics. My question is whether this is also done in computing the monthly anomalies that are presented as SSTs in various satellite data sets. In other words, are we looking at skin brightness temperature or reconstructed near-surface temperature anomalies?

  9. Anthony, the headline of this entry spells “spurious” incorrectly (“spurous”).
    Keep up the wonderful work.
    [Thanx, fixed. ~dbs, mod.]

  10. Great piece of work Dr. Spencer – think you’ve nailed it!
    Trying to measure any climate parameter accurately on a global scale to a degree necessary to draw worthwhile conclusions is an onerous task. Sloppy work makes it nigh on impossible. Hard to believe that these so called ‘experts’ can get it wrong so often, despite their huge budgets. Time for Climatology to go back to getting the basics right, I think.
    Please keep up the good work 🙂

  11. But Dr. Spencer, you just need to apply various adjustments to get the results!
    Look, the computer models show it must be warming, so obviously the data is incorrect and needs to be snudged upwards until it matches (or exceeds) the ‘expected’ results from the model.

  12. The ERSST v3b product has a spurious warming since 1998 of about 0.2 deg. C, most of which occurred as a jump in 2001.
    What is the implication of this on the AGW hypothesis? And their forecasts?
    At the very least I should imagine that no AGW warming would be seen to exist in the presence of increasing CO2.
    .. I have no idea how such a large warm bias could have entered into the ERSST dataset, but I’d say the evidence is pretty clear that one exists…
    This should be the focus of the next investigation

  13. Thanks Roy for your hard work, but why don’t we ever see the mistake heading south instead of north?
    E.g. instead of +0.2c why not -0.2c , perhaps I’m cynical but it does seem to work this way more often, strange isn’t it?

  14. Anthony,
    Please remove my full name and replace it with MC. Sorry for the screw up on the my post above

  15. What’s amazing is that Jan. 2008 was the coldest measurement for the entire recording period.
    The more time I spend on this website, the more I am impressed by what a complex system the climate is and that our understanding is still, in many ways, quite rudimentary.

  16. Boy I love this…..
    Oct 2008, warmest on record!!!….oh, hang on, we copied Sept into Oct….
    and now another repeat…..which will be quietly retracted without much fanfare.
    Great work Roy and whoever else contributed to this investigation.

  17. Is there any reason why the highest peaks are April’01, Nov ’03, Dec ’06, July ’09, giving intervals of 31, 37 and 31 months. What happens at roughly 33 month intervals? Murray

  18. Spencer’s discovery of 0.175 deg C error (avg of 0.15 to 0.2 deg C) is 24% of the 0.74 deg C global warming claimed for 1905-2005. That’s impressive!

  19. “..Is there actually a climatic data set that is accurate & reliable?..”
    Even if there was a climate data set that has been maintained scrupulously with accurate tested instruments, in an environment where there has been little micro-climate change due to the huge changes which human life has undergone during the last 50 years (which I do not believe there is), there would still be the vexed question of ‘what was it detecting?’. I don’t think climate is accurately ‘measured’ by Stephenson Screen readings at 100 mile intervals around the land mass….

  20. Any bets on this error not being acknowledged at all and the international media running with the screaming headlines – “Oceanic warming in runaway increases..” Oh, wait, no responsible news media woould puiblish that, would they? Unfortunately they already have.

  21. The fit for the second graph would be improved if the ERSST data has its zero point lowered by 0.4C and the amplitude increased by 25%. Same conclusion, though.

  22. I’m late to the party on this issue. With that in mind…
    Question, is it possible to expand the graph to include a period before 1998? It would be interesting to see how past readings line up.

  23. Roy Spencer’s analysis certainly suggests that there is no SST record, but I’m not sure it explains the puzzling divergence of trends between AMSR-E and NOAA data which was the basis of the original post.
    Is it possible that some sort of gradual correction is taking place with the NOAA data.

  24. stephan meijer (14:22:27) “The record ocean temperature for July was due to great warming of the waters near the antarctic according to satelite data.”
    I don’t see any anomalous hot-spots around Antarctica on this global SST anomaly map for July 2009:
    http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=monoiv2.ctl&ptype=map&var=ssta&level=1&op1=none&op2=none&month=jul&year=2009&proj=default&lon0=280&dlon=50&lat0=-60&dlat=60&type=shaded&cint=def&white=def&plotsize=800×600&title=&dir=
    Can you direct us to a link that contradicts this Southern Ocean pattern for July 2009?

  25. Okay, I’m lost. This whole brouhaha started because the “Aqua” data was considerably warmer than the NOAA Data, right?
    But, now the “problem” is that the “NOAA” data was too warm?
    Does that mean the “AQUA” Data was WAY Too Warm?
    And, we’re “Proving” this by comparing various data sets at 40 – 40?
    And, might I remind everyone that for the last six years UAH, and NOAA were in pretty much Perfect Agreement.
    I think we’re all getting a little “deep into the weeds,” here. Satellites, and Buoys are going to vary from time to time. They just are.

  26. pochas (17:55:58) :
    Paul Vaughan (17:20:11) :
    Regarding: NOAA map
    All the orange and red on this map occurs near 70 degrees South Latitude where the areal exaggeration is considerable. Another case of how to mislead with cartographic precision. I assume the actual reported numbers are from real data and not this stretched version.

  27. stephan meijer: You wrote, “The record ocean temperature for July was due to great warming of the waters near the antarctic according to satelite data. So it makes sense the warming between 40N-40S has not broken a record in July. From my understanding this satelite data has only been available since 30 years, so to claim that the July ocean temperatures are the highest in 130 years seems not right to me.
    I am interested to find out what you guys think of this and perhaps include some of this antarctic warming in your graphs?”
    The Southern Ocean SST anomalies don’t show a recent rise in the OI.v2 (satellite-based) SST anomaly data:
    http://i29.tinypic.com/9ubsec.png
    There aren’t any Southern Ocean (poleward of 60S) hotspots either:
    http://i32.tinypic.com/ilanx5.png
    Both of those links are from my July 2009 SST anomaly update here:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/08/july-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html
    Over a longer term, the Southern Ocean SST anomalies have been dropping since the early 1990s:
    http://i41.tinypic.com/29zxus7.jpg
    From my post about the ERSST.v3b version of the Southern Ocean SST anomaly data:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/closer-look-at-ersstv3b-southern-ocean.html
    What’s the source of your thought that there has been a “great warming of the waters near the antarctic according to satelite data?”

  28. Paul, you’ve put up SST’s for July 1, and Aug 22.
    You’ve got it bracketed. Now, fire for effect.
    🙂

  29. I was swimming in the ocean on that day in 2001. I don’t remember the water getting suddenly warmer.

  30. Anthony,
    It might be worth highlighting that Dr. Spencer originally pointed out that the inconsistency could mean that the surface records could be underestimating the warming:
    “Is it possible that the NCDC SST temperature dataset has been understating recent warming? I don’t know…I’m mystified. Maybe Frank, Chelle, Phil Jones, or some enterprising blogger out there can figure this one out. ”
    He aslo acknowledged his own fallibility by admitting that whatever was wrong could be his fault when he said:
    “This does NOT look like an RFI issue…it is too uniform spatially. Someone has made a major boo-boo…and I hope it isn’t me. :)”
    In the past, Dr. Spencer has also identified errors that resulted in spurious cooling in the RSS data set.
    I mention this because there will be inevitable criticism that Dr. Spencer was only looking for something that confirmed his point of view. Fortunately, the public record makes it clear that he was looking for any explaination that would explain the inconsistency – even if it made him look bad.
    REPLY: I agree, see Dr. Spencer’s response below. – Anthony

  31. Thank you Mr. Spencer for finding that. You definitely get a gold star from the teacher.
    (you did it before that auditor fellow too 😉 )

  32. For those of you who are confused that my original post suggested that July 2009 might be even WARMER than NOAA reported, and now I’m showing that it is actually the other way around, well, the answer is quite simple….
    I screwed up with my original coding.
    These different datasets have different spatial resolutions, some start at the north pole, some start at the south pole, some start at Greenwich, some start at the dateline. I ended up having a bug in the way I was sampling the latitude bands.
    So, I went back and started coding from scratch, and tried to use the same procedures as much as possible for all three datasets I analyzed. I’m quite confident in the results now…but I still hope someone else (maybe at NOAA?) will try to do a similar comparison.

  33. Kum Dollison (17:40:53) “here’s the UAH Vortex Data:
    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt
    It shows the warmest water (1.08) at the South Pole.”

    Thanks for pointing this out. Upon a quick glance, this does not appear consistent with other series ….so here’s yet another discrepancy to ponder ….but:

    Kum Dollison (18:13:04) “I think we’re all getting a little “deep into the weeds,” here. Satellites, and Buoys are going to vary from time to time. They just are.”
    I’ll agree that discrepancies in short-term fluctuations shouldn’t be immediately all-consuming as soon as they arise, but add that at the same time I’m pleased to see people watching for data-integrity like hawks.

    Could this discrepancy be related to the “skin” theme?

  34. I don’t see any further comment on this Cold Lynx posting that appears to point to a change in the 30 year average baseline calculation that was put into the record in August 2001around the time Dr. Spencer says the spurious warming was introduced. I would like to hear from someone qualified to speak to this issue.
    Thanks!
    Cold Lynx (14:30:06) :
    Dr. Roy Spencer wrote “I also checked the TMI wind speed retrievals, and there is no evidence of anything unusual happening during 2001. I have no idea how such a large warm bias could have entered into the ERSST dataset, but I’d say the evidence is pretty clear that one exists.”
    The answer?
    “So, we constructed a new SST normal for
    the 1971–2000 base period and implemented it operationally
    at CPC in August of 2001″
    From http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/xue-etal.pdf

  35. Further to Paul Vaughan (19:27:12) regarding Kum Dollison (17:40:53)
    Are you suggesting “Ocean” means SST and not air-temperature-over-the-ocean?
    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    The Read-Me files in the directory don’t clarify, but I do note that “Ocean” anomalies are available for lower troposphere, mid-troposphere, and stratosphere ….so that’s a pretty big clue!

  36. Someone made an “adjustment” to the instrument recording procedure in 2001 to remove the difference between the ERSST v3b data set and the TRMM TMI data set. They assumed the TRMM TMI data set was more accurate despite being an older sensor technology. The adjustment of the ERSST v3b dataset upwards shows the bias of the person making the data recording adjustment. It would have been more accurate to have made the sensor adjustment to the TRMM TMI data set downward to bring it in line with the more advanced sensors on the ERSST v3b. A global warming fanatic manipulating the data again. It has taken 8 years to find it. How many more subtle manipulations are going to have to be removed from the Earth’s climate database.

  37. Roy Spencer,
    I didn’t have the Grreatest job in the world when I was working; but, I’m really, really glad I didn’t have yours.
    Really Glad.
    Hang in there.

  38. pochas (17:55:58) “This NOAA map show the antarctic ocean very warm!” http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/rnl/sfctmpmer_07a.rnl.html
    Paul Vaughan (18:26:16) :”That’s air temperature. Here is the view for SST:” http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/map/images/sst/sst.anom.gif
    Good catch, Paul.
    For fun check out the latest forecast for Vostok this coming week:
    By Tuesday the temperature maximum is forecast to be a balmy -85 F.
    The low? -119 F. Can’t imagine what that feels like….
    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=vostok,%20antarctica&wuSelect=WEATHER
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  39. If it hasn’t been said enough: Bravo, Dr. Spencer for uncovering the truth here.
    Well see if Seth Borenstein is man enough to admit his mistake.
    Oh….uh…..its the AP.
    Never mind then…because they [the AP] can say whatever they want, and never retract their words, even if they are wrong.
    Why? Because they can.
    So don’t count on a correction.
    Surprise me, Seth!
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  40. Dr. Spencer,
    Did you compute the same validation statistics for the ERSST as you did for TRMM? It would be nice to see a chart.

  41. Steven Kopits (15:21:13) :
    What’s amazing is that Jan. 2008 was the coldest measurement for the entire recording period.
    The more time I spend on this website, the more I am impressed by what a complex system the climate is and that our understanding is still, in many ways, quite rudimentary.

    Steve,
    I very much enjoy reading your work, as well as your comments on Econbrowser. (Assuming you are one and the same) Keep up the good work – I am equally impressed!
    http://www.epmag.com/WebOnly2009/item41209.php
    J.

  42. Kum Dollison, Bob Tisdale, & Others,
    The misunderstanding about Southern Ocean/Antarctica SST anomalies got underway in the recent thread:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/08/26/spencer-analysing-alternate-satellite-data-suggests-july-2009-was-not-a-record-for-sea-temperature/
    See pochas (07:54:27) & Paul Vaughan (16:07:22). (Kum, note the dates on the plots there and on the plots here. Different dates have been thrown around.)
    – –
    Rather than studying misunderstandings, I suggest following Bob’s lead to here:
    http://nomad3.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?lite
    That way people can make their own maps of SST anomalies for different weeks & months.
    Bob suggests setting “white” to “0” — I agree – this is the best choice.
    Note also at that site that hovmollers can be produced. I made several for different Southern Ocean latitudes and found no widespread SST hot spots for recent months. (I also found some interesting results for high-latitude NH OLR beginning around 2001.)

    Alternate SST anomaly maps are available here:
    http://weather.unisys.com/archive/sst/
    Note that the anomaly maps are lower in the directory (with “anom” in the file names).

    This July 2009 SST issue has been a useful learning opportunity.

  43. Anthony thank you for providing us with a daily dose of sanity. Its hard to come by these days.

  44. Thank you again Dr Spenser for your exhaustive and maybe brave analysis.
    “Sir Roy” if I had any say.

  45. Am I correct with the following extrapolations?
    * Both Hadley and GISS monthly anomalies are the average of the global SST anomaly and global land anomaly
    * If SST is 0.15 to 0.20 C too high, does that mean that all Hadley and GISS monthly anomalies back to 2001 should be adjusted downwards 0.075 to 0.1? Or am I dreaming?
    Can someone confirm whether Hadley and GISS is this specific product for their monthly global SST anomalies?

  46. John Aiken (20:38:12) :
    “…A global warming fanatic manipulating the data again. It has taken 8 years to find it. How many more subtle manipulations are going to have to be removed from the Earth’s climate database….”
    Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.
    Napoleon Bonaparte
    Again and again and again……….

  47. NOAA SST do show more warm than cold basins around Arctic in July 2009:
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html (click July – Full Global)
    Despite satellite data suggest that there is no significant difference between global and 40N-40S anomalies, it might happen that global was a bit higher than 40N-40S data on that very month.
    How can changing the SST normal to 1979-2000 create such a jump in the dataset?? If they changed normal to later (most probably warmer), data should shift down, not up – but all data, not only those since 2001. [snip]?

  48. John Aiken (20:38:12) :”… A global warming fanatic manipulating the data again. It has taken 8 years to find it. How many more subtle manipulations are going to have to be removed from the Earth’s climate database….”
    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  49. One can now make a prediction. The rising ocean temps and Borenstein’s article have now become Party Line. The Movement will now follow its usual practice. It will defend to the last detail obviously mistaken and unimportant assertions which have become Party Line.
    So we will now see a chorus of personal attacks on Dr Spencer, who will be accused of everything from vegetarianism to living in Georgia and perhaps driving the wrong model of car, being a bad parent, and disliking Coke, or perhaps Pepsi. He will be compared to Cheney, Judas and Attila the Hun. Incredible statistical convolutions will be gone through to try to prove that the original data was correct. Tamino will engage in pages of models full of irrelevent equations, followed by a ringing endorsement of the Democratic Party.
    Whatever this stuff is, its not science.

  50. I think the most notable revelation in all this is the way Dr. Spencer’s mind works. His initial reaction was not the all too common C.Y.A. obfuscation we have unfortunately come to expect. His first reaction was, in effect, “Here’s how it is and maybe I’ve been wrong!” That reaction, coupled with his open admission of the possibility, reflects a reverence for “truth for its own sake” that has sadly gone lacking in our recently politicized scientific community.
    I tip my hat to the good Dr. Spencer!
    CH

  51. Before anyone goes too far with extrapolations, we ought to wait for the people who produce the data to identify the cause of the jump. As shown by the initial error Dr Spencer made whilst performing this analysis it is easy to miss mistakes in calculations – especially when comparing complex sets of data. Once the mistake in the data is found, then we should start worrying about which other data sets do or don’t need to be updated as a result. All this does show us to date is that having independent measurements is very valuable, and some of the scientists are trying hard to ensure that their product is accurate. Any divergence would have resulted in one data set being wrong, this isn’t a case of an adjustment that would automatically reduce the global trend.

  52. Thank you again Roy Spencer, knight in shining armour.
    I’m aware of more and more problems with the most fundamental data that are needed to support the AGW hypothesis. Surface stations. And all the issues of loss of global surface stations, Siberian and Chinese anomalies, and the mess of Phil Jones’ records. Likelihood of satellite irregularities, as shown crucially here, crucially by Scafetta, and now, I discover issues making me doubt satellite measurements of sea levels, highlighted here on the recent Climate Audit thread.
    Reminds me of the battle between Merlyn and Madam Mim in T H White’s novel “Once and Future King”. They used shapeshifting (cf. change disciplines) and Madam Mim seemed to be winning as she shapeshifted into ever bigger beasts. Then Merlyn, using knowledge gained from his time-travel ability, shapeshifted into the microbes, viruses and bacteria we now know, and plagued Madam Mim with measles and all the rest, until she died.
    Or that film “The Firm”… anyone remember it? Floored the corrupt law company on an overwhelming mass of tiny falsifications.

  53. So in 1998 the bulk of the hot SST’s was between 40 degrees North and South, consistent with the vast El Niño of that year.
    On the other hand the record average SST July 2009 was established mainly in the polar regions, particularly the Arctic as we all know.
    The article obviously had to leave 56% of the earth’s surface out in order to meet the title 🙂

  54. Lucy Skywalker (01:41:45) :
    Likelihood of satellite irregularities, as shown crucially here, crucially by Scafetta, and now, I discover issues making me doubt satellite measurements of sea levels,

    Indeed, none of this stuff is easy to do. Nonetheless, I’va attempted some quantifications and cross correlations which do at least show some consistency in relationships between sea level rise due to thermal expansion, SST’s, ocean heat content, and TSI.
    I don’t claim to have a ‘right’ answer, but the exercise itself is worthwhile when trying to get a handle on what might be wrong where…

  55. > Oldjim (01:00:03) :
    > @Walter Dnes
    > You may be underestimating the effect given that the sea area
    > is about 70.8% of the total http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth
    I remember the 71% number from school. What I was talking about in my previous post was that, to the best of my knowledge, Hadley and GISS compute monthly global anomalies as 50% land and 50% sea.

  56. RR (03:09:55) :
    the record average SST July 2009 was established mainly in the polar regions, particularly the Arctic as we all know.

    So how come the arctic melted less this year than the previous two years?

  57. Walter Dnes (22:41:22) :
    Am I correct with the following extrapolations?
    * Both Hadley and GISS monthly anomalies are the average of the global SST anomaly and global land anomaly
    * If SST is 0.15 to 0.20 C too high, does that mean that all Hadley and GISS monthly anomalies back to 2001 should be adjusted downwards 0.075 to 0.1? Or am I dreaming?
    Can someone confirm whether Hadley and GISS is this specific product for their monthly global SST anomalies?

    Re: Hadley (from web-site)
    “The SST data are taken from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set, ICOADS, from 1850 to 1997 and from the NCEP-GTS from 1998 to the present. HadSST2 is produced by taking in-situ measurements of SST from ships and buoys, rejecting measurements which which fail quality checks, converting the measurements to anomalies by subtracting climatological values from the measurements, and calculating a robust average of the resulting anomalies on a 5° by 5° degree monthly grid. After gridding the anomalies, bias corrections are applied to remove spurious trends caused by changes in SST measuring practices before 1942. The uncertainties due to under-sampling have been calculated for the gridded monthly data as have the uncertainties on the bias corrections following the procedures described in the paper..”
    A quick look at Hadley ocean data suggests July 2009 not as warm as July 1998. July 1998 anomaly is ~0.04 warmer than July 2009 which looks to be reasonably consistent with TRMM TMI (first plot above). Note, though the Hadley data is global whereas TRMM data is between 40N and 40S.
    Also I’m not sure how the rest of the data series matches up. Data is here:
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/monthly

  58. Even worse:
    From http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/xue-etal.pdf
    “Interdecadal Changes of 30-Yr SST Normals during 1871–2000″
    Abstract:
    At the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Climate Prediction Center (CPC), the official forecast
    for the tropical Pacific sea surface temperature (SST) index
    is issued as anomalies and standardized anomalies relative
    to a 30-yr normal: climatological mean (CM) and standard
    deviation (SD). The World Meteorological Organization
    (WMO) suggests that the 30-yr normal be based on a 30-
    yr base period that starts at the beginning of each decade
    (1951–80, 1961–90, etc.). Although the WMO did not
    specify the periods on which SD is based, the same base
    periods are used at CPC for both CM and SD. For a
    historical reason, the CM originally used at CPC is that
    calculated for the 1950–79 base period (Reynolds and
    Smith 1995). To comply with the WMO’s standards, the
    1961–90 base period was introduced at CPC around 1997
    (Smith and Reynolds 1998). In early 2001, CPC was requested
    to implement the 1971–2000 normal for operational forecasts.
    So, we constructed a new SST normal for the 1971–2000 base period and implemented it operationally at CPC in August of 2001”
    A new base period was introduced 1997-1998 and then we got all time high anomalies in 1998.
    Coincident? I dont think so….
    Then they constructed a new SST normal in 2001 that seems to be “trimmed” to fit this heat. And of course will the reality not fit the model.

  59. Lucy
    I have posted many times here on satellite measurements of sea levels.
    Historic IPCC tide gauge data is based on three North European sites to 1700 (the data doesnt actually exist but has been interpolated)
    To this has been spliced satellite data which has numerous problems and whose error of measurement is greater than the measurement itself.
    We should realise that global sea level data is even more flawed than global land temperatures-and that is saying something
    Bristol Channel sea rise is negligible and arguably has been falling for three years. To reach the predicted rise of 1 metre by the end of the century UK rise has to speed up by 650% this year and remain at that level for the rest of the century.
    If you want the various items I have posted here I can email them to you
    Tonyb

  60. With the shift found by Dr. Spencer and the improper siting found by Anthony, it seems to me the increase in global temperatures over the last century or so can be mostly explained as instrument error or rather a bias applied to the instruments and not a real trend.

  61. Since most of the hot seas were around the poles in July 09, I do not see how something weird (if ever) in the 40/40 average temperature could disqualify the global record. It only could mean something for the tropics, say.
    I would really be curious to see how the mentioned “spurious” error looks like at the global scale?
    REPLY: The seas aren’t “hot” at those locations. Wrong word, wrong thinking, wrong way Flanagan. If you think they are “hot” I suggest you go there, spend a few minutes in the water, and report back.

  62. Bob H. (06:27:28) : “With the shift found by Dr. Spencer and the improper siting found by Anthony, it seems to me the increase in global temperatures over the last century or so can be mostly explained as instrument error or rather a bias applied to the instruments and not a real trend.”
    Add to these proofs that of E.M. Smith as he goes carefully (with bleary eyes, but a citizens dedication) through the computer code. He is finding a number of “fixes”. Read his posts from at least August 13 on GISSTemp.
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/gistemp-quartiles-of-age-bolus-of-heat/
    My deep gratitude to all those who are exposing the charade (a kind word) designed imo to severely hobble the developed world. Also see E.M. Smith’s posts re we are not running out of energy/stuff. Think affluence. Anthony’s WUWT offers old-fashioned values of abundance, inventiveness, and resourcefulness

  63. @Reply – obviously Flanagan was talking about anomalies, which are +5° C or over in the (sub-)Arctic. In a sense that is ‘hot’.
    If Flanagan’s thinking and ‘way’ are wrong, I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?
    REPLY: Oh puhleeze. Spencer did that to look for something to explain the step function. if there was an event, it would show up in both data sets, though likely less impact due to less area. He used what was available, if you can do better, I welcome you to present it here as a guest post.. – Anthony

  64. I think the individual components of the ERSSTv3b dataset need to be reviewed.
    There is a big difference between the in-situ ship-based measurements and the bouy-based measurements.
    If the bouys do not show much difference and there is no particular significant change in how ships took SST measurements around 2001, there could be some other artifact in the processing or the algorithm for the ship-based measurements.
    The NOAA also produces this comparison of how the SST map looks under the different versions – I don’t see enough of a difference to explain the discrepency in the recorded monthly number.
    ftp://eclipse.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/ersstv3b/maps/ersst4-200907.gif

  65. @Walter Dnes
    What I was talking about in my previous post was that, to the best of my knowledge, Hadley and GISS compute monthly global anomalies as 50% land and 50% sea.
    If correct I wonder how they can justify that basis.

  66. Those with power want only one thing: more power.
    And those with power must be kept in check.
    We are the checks and balances of the Climate Change movement.
    We don’t deny that C02 has a warming effect. But we are naturally skeptical of impending doom and emotional manipulation of the masses from its associated hysteria.

  67. RR, check your math. You’ll find that 64% of the planet’s surface lies between 40 NL and 40 SL. The % of the oceans in those latitudes is probably even slightly higher given the distribution of the continents!

  68. RR: You wrote, “@Reply – obviously Flanagan was talking about anomalies, which are +5° C or over in the (sub-)Arctic. In a sense that is ‘hot’.”
    Please identify that dataset that you are refering to. A link would do.
    Thanks

  69. Walter Dnes (22:41:22) :
    “Am I correct with the following extrapolations?
    (…)
    * If SST is 0.15 to 0.20 C too high, does that mean that all Hadley and GISS monthly anomalies back to 2001 should be adjusted downwards 0.075 to 0.1? Or am I dreaming? ”
    The following panel shows the anomalies of GISS, Hadcrut3, RSS and UAH from 2000 to 2003. I had the opinion that a warm bias could be found in the data of GISS and Hadcrut3 if they used the ERSST dataset (of which i am absolutely not certain).
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2001/to:2003/plot/rss/from:2001/to:2003/plot/gistemp/from:2001/to:2003/plot/uah/from:2001/to:2003/trend/plot/rss/from:2001/to:2003/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001/to:2003/trend/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2001/to:2003/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:2001/to:2003/trend
    I tentatively conclude:
    – there is no lasting warm bias in the data of GISS and Hadcrut since 2001 due to the ERSST dataset;
    – during the three first months of 2002, we find high values in the data of GISS (0.71, 0.70, 0.85) and in the data of Hadcrut (0.60, 0.61, 0.61). This values have no equivalent of that size in the RSS and UAH anomalies. I don’t know what the reason is of this.
    So i think it is premature to conclude that we have to adjust downwards the GISS and Hadcrut anomalies because of the detection of Dr. Roy Spencer.
    It remains true that this failure in the ERSST dataset will have far-reaching consequences. Why did NOAA not draw our attention to their drastic surgery in 2001? Which climatic data sets are reliable?
    A very inconvenient situation for all AGW supporters…

  70. RR
    40°N to 40°S is a lot more than 44% of the Earth. Go back and do the math. Or do you think that 80-90N is 10% of the northern hemisphere?
    Flanagan
    While a difference in data near the poles would explain a difference in the July 2009 values, the article is about a discrete change that appeared in mid-2001. Are you suggesting that there’s a real and consistent difference in the anomalies poleward of 40° compared to 40°N to 40°S since 2001? I’d expect the polar oceans to be consistently close to 0° C with ice melt limiting any trends.

  71. RR (08:14:11) :
    “@Reply – obviously Flanagan was talking about anomalies, which are +5° C or over in the (sub-)Arctic. In a sense that is ‘hot’.
    If Flanagan’s thinking and ‘way’ are wrong, I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?”
    Really? SST anomalies in the arctic/sub-arctic were +5° C or more in July 2009?
    44% of the earth’s surface lies between 40S-40N? Are you sure?
    Are you saying that the area of the earth that lies between 40-90 N and S are more scientifically significant when calculating global average SST?
    Care to share where you get your science from, RR?

  72. If Flanagan’s thinking and ‘way’ are wrong, I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?
    Quibble: it’s not 44%. It’s just 44% of the linear distance. Since the radius is largest at lower latitudes, it winds up being about 64% of the surface area.
    Not talking about land surface, here. I don’t have a way to compute that. I assume that you got 44% because you took 4/9 of the distance.

  73. RR (03:09:55) “The article obviously had to leave 56% of the earth’s surface out in order to meet the title”
    RR (08:14:11) “I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?”


    RR, please show us your calculations.
    I’m very curious to see how you are getting 56% & 44%.
    Be sure to state any assumptions.
    (…for example, if you are assuming Earth is flat – or something like that)

  74. RR (08:14:11) :
    “I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?”
    I think you should check your math. Area is much smaller near the poles. Quick calculation reveals that +-40 degrees is about 64% of the surface area.

  75. Flanagan and R.R.: I believe I found your reference.
    Juraj V: You wrote and attached a link. “NOAA SST do show more warm than cold basins around Arctic in July 2009:
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html (click July – Full Global)”
    Now go and click “July – Full Global” for 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005. The warm spots are there every July. You’re misinterpreting a seasonal component of the SST anomaly data. The seasonal variations in SST anomalies are visible in the following animation.

    Note how the warm anomalies “cycle” into the Northern high latitudes during June, July, and August, but then shift down to the Southern high latitudes during the months of December, January, and February. It happens every year.
    Also, the area of elevated Arctic SST anomalies increased after the 1997/98 El Nino as polar ice melted, so this adds to the illusion.
    In short, you can’t look at a map for a given period of time and determine if SST anomalies are rising or falling. You have to plot the data in a graph as Dr. Spencer has done. Refer to:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/08/july-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html
    Note the SST anomalies of the Arctic and Southern Oceans in the linked data. They are not elevated for July 2009. In fact, SST anomalies for those two datasets are declining. But you can’t see that in a snapshot in time.
    I also wrote a post comparing the NOAA NESDIS and NOAA OI.v2 maps of SST anomalies in the following post:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/03/barents-sea-hotspot-isnt-so-hot.html
    It does not appear that the NESDIS satellite data at high latitudes is supplemented and “corrected” with buoy and ship data.
    If you doubt anything I’ve written in this comment, I suggest you download the data and create graphs and maps with it. You’ll then have to upload those graphs and maps to a picture-sharing website and provide a link so that we all can share in your findings.
    Regards

  76. Come to think of it, what difference does 5 degrees at 233K make to the radiation imbalance, compared with 5 degrees at 313K?

  77. Anthony I am currently arguing with an RR type on another board. He’s implying the same thing that RR did. the Fact is when you look at the NOAA’s Numbers for 40s to 40n the Satellite numbers are simply lower then the NOAA’s numbers. That alone would increase that average!!!

  78. Jason: You wrote, “Anthony I am currently arguing with an RR type on another board. He’s implying the same thing that RR did. the Fact is when you look at the NOAA’s Numbers for 40s to 40n the Satellite numbers are simply lower then the NOAA’s numbers. That alone would increase that average.”
    What “numbers” is he citing? Is he looking at a map and guessing what the mean temperature is? Is he taking into account that Spencer is using a different base period for anomalies than the other dataset? Has he plotted the data in graphs? Does he know that the upward bias in the high latitudes of the NESDIS SST data (also known as the “Miami MCSST” dataset) was documented as far back at 1996?
    What other board are you arguing at?
    Regards

  79. Bob’s post at Bob Tisdale (11:02:09) very strongly highlights the problem with the assumption of cyclostationarity in anomaly time series.
    This further underscores the need to have access to & work with RAW data. Anomalies can be very useful, but since individual anomalies are functions of functions of functions, there are layers of things that must be consciously taken into account in attempts to draw sensible conclusions based on them.

    As for 40N-40S:
    Dr. Spencer controlled for that. (Review his post.)
    The important thing to focus is on is why the series would diverge for any band.
    Dr. Spencer did NOT maliciously choose the band. On the contrary, he worked with what was available. His results apply to 40N-40S. It would be interesting to run the comparison for other latitude bands, but we are limited to available records.
    I will suggest that criticism should be fair.
    Fair criticism can be constructive.

  80. Somewhat related to the above peculiarities; but today started out as a good day for some climate research. it was somewhat humid last night, and this morning as I was getting into my car, the sun was quite low in the south east, over the San Jose hills. Despite the low sun angle, the sun immediately hit me as hot, and that was while standing on the front lawn under a tree that shielded me from most of the high sky. There was a lovely high patchy white cloud layer overhead; at least 50% area coverage; but then almost none of that could see me. I guessed that the higher humidity was preventing me from cooling from evaporation so the full direct (though low angle) heat from the sun (solar spectrum) was being felt.
    So by lunch time today, that high very patchy (pots of small pillows) cloud had come a bit lower, and turned into larger areas of still white clouds, with roughly the same coverage area as the morning clouds. Even though the clouds were a bit lower they were still pearly white indicating not a whole lot of solar spectrum absorption.
    So I walked to my luncheon source, across grassy lawns, and black tar parking lots, and concrete roads, which included on th4e way, lots of small decorative trees, some located so they completely blocked the sun from me (in their shadow) but still left pretty much the entire cloudy sky visible from the tree shadow. These tree were to be found on lawns, and parking lots, and side walks, so I could stand in a direct sun shadow on a variety of surface terrains; and be fully visible to a 505 roughly cloud covered sky.
    Without exception, as soon as I stepped into a tree shadow, on any knind of surface; that “heat” effect shut off, and It felt decidedly cool; and there was NO discernable wind anywhere.
    When crossing a black tar parking lot (retarred two weeks ago), the surrounding “heat” was intense, and seemingly hitting me from every direction; yet when I stepped into the shadow of a small decorative tree barely large enough to shadow me; still on that black parking lot surface; the heat shut off immediately, and it was pleasantly cool in the direct sun shade.
    Well so what ? Well here is what I surmise. The torrid heat that I experienced, both in the morning, and at lunch time, was coming from direct solar spectrum radiation hitting me directly, or it was being emitted from the black (or other) ground surface which also was being struck by direct solar spectrum radiation. Even though in all these situations, my body, and the ground, was directly visible to the vast majority of the cloudy sky, there was no discernable “heat” either directly on me or arising from the ground surface, due to absorption of any long wave IR emissions from the atmosphere, including the prominent cloud layers. The black tar surfaces immediately adjacent to direct sunlit areas, but in the tree shadow, had quickly radiated themselves down to a much cooler temperature; despite the significant presence of green house gases, water vapor and the ever present CO2, and those clouds.
    So don’t try and con me into believing that those ethereal vapors including high clouds are doing much in the way of warming the surface. Even the blackest of black surfaces cools in the absence of direct solar warming radiation.
    And no I am not silly enough to say there is no LWIR coming down from the atmosphere (and clouds); but it pales into insignificance compared to the upward LWIR being emitted from the solar irradiated blacktop; or even grassy surface.
    It alwo points out that the earth is cooling at its most efficient rate from the hottest of hot UHIs and in the heat of the afternoon sun; the earth does not wait till nightfall to cool.
    George

  81. John Finn (04:54:16) : Data is here:
    Can you tell me what the headings of each collumn are? For example
    2009/06 0.500 0.515 0.484 0.610 0.389 0.500 0.500 0.611 0.388 0.611 0.388
    The first is June 2009 but what are the rest of the 11 figures?

  82. Bob Tisdale (11:02:09) :
    There once was a guy named Flanagan
    Who mounted an attack to question the fact
    That the seas were cooler than 98 again
    His reasoning was salty but his maths somewhat faulty
    Now he’s planning another shenanigan

  83. Paul Vaughan (15:07:47) :
    Thank you for that. Collumns 1 and 2 would be all that I would be concerned about then.

  84. Well after reading Dr Spencer’s latest report above, I see he did exactly what I asked if he could (was able) to do; namely match his +/-40 lat data with just that same coverage areea data from the other record.
    So thanks Dr Roy; not that I expect you did that in response to my question; I figure that you could see to do that all by yourself. And so the comparison of like coverage data sets is very comfortable; In my book they are identical.
    Meaning anyone who would claim a difference betwen those two plots would probably also tilt at windmills.
    So now I have to read the rest to figure out just what you are saying about where the glitch in the system has occurred.
    But I’m still leery of the microwave radiometry; all those corrections and fudge factors give me the heeby jeebies; I’d like to see something with any or all of the folowing letters in it (c, h, k) .
    Speaking of which, in a past life I wrote somewhere that the energy (heat) in a system was kT per particle.
    More pedantically, the “equipartition Law” says that the thermal energy is equally distributed among the degrees of freedom in a system; and the amount assigned to each is kT/2, and NOT kT which I assert before; but it is per degree of freedom, and a single atom has three degrees of fredom (x, y, z displacements), so the energy of a monatomic gas is 3kT/2), and 5kT/2 for a diatomic gas, which has two more rotational degrees of freedom that a mono gas doesn’t have. Rotation about the axis joining two atoms of a diatomic molecule, is not an energy storage mechanism that is excitable from an external stimulus. Tri and polyatomic molecules have 3kT per molecule since they do have the full three rotational degrees of freedom; now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
    These global data sets that are the subject here are interesting, but I’m not sure why, because in the end; they don’t really relate to the control physics of the earth system, and its temperature regulation; which I believe is simply the ocean evaporation cloud formation precipitation cycle.
    That’s what needs to be quantified and modelled; not the arbitrary ststistics of surface temperature, which in the end tells us nothing about the radiation balance of the total earth surface.

  85. is this sst data included in NOAAs or somebody else’s global temperature data
    and if so, is the step function visible there as well ?

  86. George, it’s true that the surface temperature by itself is just a small part of the story. But the surface is where most of the sunlight is absorbed, and it is where people live. Huge energy exchanges are occurring there, and of course, we’d like to know what those energy exchanges are (and especially how the vary over time) on a global basis. But that’s just not possible with very much accuracy.
    So, we have to make do with whatever information we have. And if we can figure out that for a certain radiative forcing of the Earth system, that the surface will warm or cool by x.x degrees, then that is very valuable information…even if we do not know all of the energy exchanges that went into the temperature change.

  87. a few points of clarification (based upon comments I’ve seen):
    1) the TRMM satellite can not observe poleward of 40 deg latitude…it’s the TROPICAL Rainfall Measuring Mission.
    2) the base period used to compute anomalies have very little effect on the resulting trends. In other words, it doesn’t matter what numbers you add or subtract from the time series. As long as there is no long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL NOT change any conlusions about spurious drifts.

  88. Flanagan, R.R.: One final note. The NESDIS SST anomaly maps you keep referencing are described under a webpage titled “NOAA Coral Reef Watch – Methodology, Product Description, and Data Availability of NOAA Coral Reef Watch (CRW) Operational and Experimental Satellite Coral Bleaching Monitoring Products.”
    http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/methodology/methodology.html
    What’s so special about this dataset? It uses only NIGHTTIME SST data. Why? The answer lies within the description of the data.
    http://coralreefwatch.noaa.gov/satellite/methodology/methodology.html#sst
    “Nighttime-only satellite SST observations are used to eliminate diel variation caused by solar heating at the sea surface (primarily at the ‘skin’ interface, 10-20 um) during the day and to avoid contamination from solar glare. Compared with daytime SST and day-night blended SST, nighttime SST provides more conservative and stable estimate of thermal stress conducive to coral bleaching.”
    The OI.v2 SST data I’ve posted in the comments above use both nighttime and daytime SST measurements.
    And here’s what the webpage has to say about high latitudes of the “Coral Reef Watch” SST dataset: “Note that these anomalies are somewhat less reliable at high latitudes where more persistent clouds limit the amount of satellite data available for deriving both accurate SST analysis field and climatologies.”
    NOAA’s OI.v2 SST anomaly data on the other hand goes to special lengths to fill in the high latitude SST anomalies. Refer to page 7 of the Reynolds et al 2002 paper “An Improved In Situ and Satellite SST Analysis for Climate.”
    ftp://ftp.emc.ncep.noaa.gov/cmb/sst/papers/oiv2.pdf
    It reads, “A large potential error occurs near the sea ice edge where in situ observations tend to be sparse because of navigation hazards and satellite observations tend to be sparse due to cloud cover. Thus, using sea ice data to generate simulated SSTs in the marginal ice zone (MIZ) helps fill in a region with limited data.” They then go on to describe those adjustments.
    So what does the additional step the NCDC takes to infill the high latitude SST data do? Apparently it lowers SST anomalies in the Arctic. Here’s an OI.v2 SST anomaly map for the week centered on August 17, 2009:
    http://i29.tinypic.com/154d646.png
    Note how there are few areas in the Arctic with SST anomalies in the 3 to 3.5 deg C range, but the “Coral Reef Watch” dataset shows large areas of the Arctic with SST anomalies in the range of 4.5 to 5 deg C. Here’s the “Coral Reef Watch” SST anomaly map for August 20, 2009:
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.8.20.2009.gif
    And the map for August 17, 2009:
    http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2009/anomnight.8.17.2009.gif
    Note also how the “Coral Reef Watch” maps use yellow, a warm color, for their 0 to 0.5 deg, giving the appearance of elevated SST anomalies for much more of the global oceans.

  89. Roy Spencer (16:09:02) “the base period used to compute anomalies have very little effect on the resulting trends. In other words, it doesn’t matter what numbers you add or subtract from the time series. As long as there is no long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL NOT change any conlusions about spurious drifts.”
    If you are talking about, say, n greater than 30, I might agree to loosely agree here. However, (just an example) working with small n around a year like 1998 might be reason for extra caution.

  90. “”” Roy Spencer (16:00:26) :
    George, it’s true that the surface temperature by itself is just a small part of the story. But the surface is where most of the sunlight is absorbed, and it is where people live. Huge energy exchanges are occurring there, and of course, we’d like to know what those energy exchanges are (and especially how the vary over time) on a global basis. But that’s just not possible with very much accuracy.
    So, we have to make do with whatever information we have. And if we can figure out that for a certain radiative forcing of the Earth system, that the surface will warm or cool by x.x degrees, then that is very valuable information…even if we do not know all of the energy exchanges that went into the temperature change. “””
    Thanks for the comments Professor; I hope/wish/whatever, that you guys can (to your satisfaction) measure by some means the exact “skin” temperature of the ocean surface, since by all that is holy; that ought to be the very source of what should be damn near pure black body radiation (LWIR) from the ocean, since it can’t really propagate from any subsurface radiative source (LWIR), and that in concert with some slightly subsurface (-1 metre) temperatures should give some handle on the surface evaporation. I presume that somehow Frank Wentz at RSS can do something like that too.
    And I do hope that when you say sunlight is absorbed mostly in the surface, that you are meaning down to some tens of metres, since the 500 nm peak sunlight easily penetrates that far; in clean open ocean waters.
    Hey we appreciate whatever you can dig up Dr Spencer; because without information/data; you can only achieve so much with a stick in the sand on a desert island.
    Thanks for thrashing this one out; when you goof, and then figure you did, it is doubly satisfying to figure out what was really going on.
    George

  91. This incisive article shows three clear things:
    1. That different sensor systems do not necessarily yield the same Sea Surface Temperature results over a 10 year period.
    2. That plotting year-on-year comparisons is essential monitoring work to evaluate reliability of different measurement methodologies to ensure that any disagreements which may emerge can be resolved scientifically rather than through media-driven mud-slinging.
    3. That ensuring that novel sensor-based mechanisms accurately represent temperature when compared to traditional methods using buoys.
    It amazes me that this is considered ‘beyond the intelligence of Joe Public’ or ‘not in the public interest’ when the subject of ‘climate change’ is discussed in the ‘media’.
    It’s rather like saying that condom manufacturers shouldn’t test their barrier functions, that if it is found that they are faulty that they shouldn’t rectify the error and that even if it is faulty it’s not the business of Joe Public to be raising the matter (it is because they buy the damn things and it is in the case of climate change research because they fund the damn work!)
    Is this where climate change communities had descended to before the more forthright and trenchant arguments of 2008/9?
    If so, the more articles like this that are published in future, the better…..

  92. Roy Spencer (16:09:02) :
    …..
    2) the base period used to compute anomalies have very little effect on the resulting trends. In other words, it doesn’t matter what numbers you add or subtract from the time series. As long as there is no long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL NOT change any conlusions about spurious drifts.
    Exactly: Once again: “As long as there is no long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL NOT change any conlusions about spurious drifts.”
    That mean the opposite to:
    “As long as there is long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL change any conlusions about spurious drifts.”

  93. “George E. Smith (15:21:57) :
    More pedantically, the “equipartition Law” says that the thermal energy is equally distributed among the degrees of freedom in a system; and the amount assigned to each is kT/2, and NOT kT which I assert before; but it is per degree of freedom, and a single atom has three degrees of fredom (x, y, z displacements), so the energy of a monatomic gas is 3kT/2), and 5kT/2 for a diatomic gas, which has two more rotational degrees of freedom that a mono gas doesn’t have.”
    It depends on the temperature of the diatomic gas. At low temperatures it does not rotate, but at high temperatures it also oscillates. Movement and potential energy result into 2 more degrees of freedom (7kT/2). For Hydrogen the temperature-limits are about 100K and 2000K.

  94. Hi all-
    NOAA is full of scientists, just doing their jobs, that continue to maintain that July was indeed a sea surface temperature record:

    NOAA: Warmest Global Ocean Surface Temperatures on Record for July
    August 14, 2009
    The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July, breaking the previous high mark established in 1998 according to an analysis by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The combined average global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 ranked fifth-warmest since world-wide records began in 1880.
    Global Climate Statistics
    * The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the fifth warmest on record, at 1.03 degrees F (0.57 degree C) above the 20th century average of 60.4 degrees F (15.8 degrees C).
    * The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, 1.06 degrees F (0.59 degree C) above the 20th century average of 61.5 degrees F (16.4 degrees C). This broke the previous July record set in 1998. The July ocean surface temperature departure of 1.06 degrees F from the long-term average equals last month’s value, which was also a record.
    * The global land surface temperature for July 2009 was 0.92 degree F (0.51 degree C) above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F (14.3 degree C), and tied with 2003 as the ninth-warmest July on record.
    Notable Developments and Events
    * El Niño persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean during July 2009. Related sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies increased for the sixth consecutive month.
    * Large portions of many continents had substantially warmer-than-average temperatures during July 2009. The greatest departures from the long-term average were evident in Europe, northern Africa, and much of western North America. Broadly, across these regions, temperatures were about 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) above average.
    * Cooler-than-average conditions prevailed across southern South America, central Canada, the eastern United States, and parts of western and eastern Asia. The most notably cool conditions occurred across the eastern U.S., central Canada, and southern South America where region-wide temperatures were nearly 4-7 degrees F (2-4 degrees C) below average.
    * Arctic sea ice covered an average of 3.4 million square miles during July. This is 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the third lowest July sea ice extent on record, behind 2007 and 2006. Antarctic sea ice extent in July was 1.5 percent above the 1979-2000 average. July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979, while July Antarctic sea ice extent has increased by 0.8 percent per decade over the same period.
    NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the oceans to surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

    What NOAA is saying doesn’t match what Dr. Spencer is saying.
    What’s up with that?
    Should I believe the thousands of NOAA scientists and the huge preponderance of evidence, or should I believe Dr. Spencer?
    Decisions, decisions…. 🙂
    REPLY:” This is dated August 14th, so of course it doesn’t match what Spencer is saying. Spencer didn’t discover the error until August 27th.
    Until such time that NOAA responds officially to the error, none of your hand waving and post bombing with noise like this is going to make any difference. Go waste somebody else’s time – Anthony

  95. Leland Palmer (17:22:50) : Blah Blah Blah … What NOAA is saying doesn’t match what Dr. Spencer is saying.
    The only thing of that huge piece you have copied and pasted that doesn’t match what Dr Spencer is saying is this bit: “The global ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the warmest on record, .. This broke the previous July record set in 1998.”
    This Dr Spencer has shown is due to a spurious error and SS temperature July 2009 is not in fact the warmest on record.
    Should I believe the thousands of NOAA scientists and the huge preponderance of evidence, or should I believe Dr. Spencer?
    The number of scientists involved in making the data, and hence the error, that accounted for that statement, could be counted on the fingers of one hand, probably with about 3 or 4 fingers missing.
    The evidence that Dr Spencer has presented for his claim can be read above, this has to be weighed against the evidence from NOAA on this matter, which is at the moment zero.
    Your decision is thus obvious, the huge preponderance of evidence that you allude to lies in Dr Spencer’s favour, and you must decide accordingly.
    There now do you feel better?

  96. When is Seth Borenstein going to retract his story?
    REPLY: Only if NOAA admits to the error, and then the retraction will be weak, and will get 1/10th the coverage as the original. – A

  97. this appears to be a(nother) major error from NOAA.
    wouldn’t it be a good idea to let the experts at climateaudit audit dr. spencer’s computation (input data + code) ?

  98. So the coverage will be…probably as weak…as the press coverage [or lack of it] of the newly established benchmark of 50 day no-sunspots.
    Pathetic. The ones who suppress the truth are worse than the suppressed truth itself.
    They have no backbone….and NO scientific method…that’s for damn sure.
    Let them show their true colors I don’t give a —-.
    Enough about them.
    Keep up the good work, Anthony!
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  99. More pedantically, the “equipartition Law” says that the thermal energy is equally distributed among the degrees of freedom in a system; and the amount assigned to each is kT/2, and NOT kT which I assert before; but it is per degree of freedom, and a single atom has three degrees of fredom (x, y, z displacements), so the energy of a monatomic gas is 3kT/2), and 5kT/2 for a diatomic gas, which has two more rotational degrees of freedom that a mono gas doesn’t have. Rotation about the axis joining two atoms of a diatomic molecule, is not an energy storage mechanism that is excitable from an external stimulus. Tri and polyatomic molecules have 3kT per molecule since they do have the full three rotational degrees of freedom; now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
    To be even more pedantic you’ve forgotten about the vibrational modes so a diatomic gas has 3 translational, 2 rotational and one vibrational, the rotational and translational modes each contribute kT/2 whereas the vibrational contribute kT (both PE and KE). Rotation is excitable by an external stimulus provided that it is a heteronuclear diatomic.

  100. Roy Spencer (16:09:02) :
    a few points of clarification (based upon comments I’ve seen):
    1) the TRMM satellite can not observe poleward of 40 deg latitude…it’s the TROPICAL Rainfall Measuring Mission.
    2) the base period used to compute anomalies have very little effect on the resulting trends. In other words, it doesn’t matter what numbers you add or subtract from the time series. As long as there is no long term trend in what you add or subtract, it WILL NOT change any conlusions about spurious drifts.

    Isn’t the point that NOAA changed the base period in 2001 in accordance with WMO practice and that accounts for the step which you noted. Shouldn’t the anomalies prior to 2001 be adjusted for the change in mean?
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/xue-etal.pdf

  101. NastyWolf (10:57:20) :
    RR (08:14:11) :
    “I guess calculation of the global average SST from the 44% of the earth that lies between 40° NL en 40° SL is scientifically sound and convincing?”
    I think you should check your math. Area is much smaller near the poles. Quick calculation reveals that +-40 degrees is about 64% of the surface area.

    Yes, basically 100*sin(lat) for a symmetric case like this.

  102. A note to Leland Palmer.
    Just give it a rest. When NOAA responds so, can you, in the meantime I’m growing just a bit weary of your commentary style and the tendency to dominate every thread here with very long posts.
    Take a time out for awhile.

  103. Hi Anthony-

    Until such time that NOAA responds officially to the error, none of your hand waving and post bombing with noise like this is going to make any difference. Go waste somebody else’s time – Anthony

    Well, it’s a serious subject.
    It’s about the most serious subject there is, wouldn’t you agree?
    The future of the biosphere, not just of humanity, but the biosphere itself, is after all a subject that we all have a stake in, wouldn’t you agree?
    I don’t think I “post bomb”, but I do try to find what I believe are the underlying logical and scientific fallacies displayed on this blog.
    It’s too important a subject not to be honest about, wouldn’t you agree?
    We’re all in this together, Anthony.
    Every single one of us.
    Hi Richard-
    I posted this because it is a pretty devastating summary of the situation that we are in when it is summarized like this.
    Let me excerpt it for you:

    The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July

    By the way, there won’t be any retraction from NOAA, because there was no mistake made in the first place, IMO.

    The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the fifth warmest on record

    So, we’ve got the warmest ocean temperatures ever for July, combined with the fifth highest combined land and sea temperatures for July. This all seems pretty non-random and ominous.

    The global land surface temperature for July 2009 was 0.92 degree F (0.51 degree C) above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F (14.3 degree C), and tied with 2003 as the ninth-warmest July on record.

    So, we’ve got the ninth warmest land temperatures on record, in July.

    Arctic sea ice covered an average of 3.4 million square miles during July. This is 12.7 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the third lowest July sea ice extent on record, behind 2007 and 2006.

    So, July summer sea ice extent is the third lowest on record. As ICESat shows, this is not just due to the wind shoving ice around, but is a true decline in ice volume, as well.

    July Arctic sea ice extent has decreased by 6.1 percent per decade since 1979

    Guys and gals, it’s just too many temperature records, set lately, for this to be a random variation.
    Even increased ice extent in Antarctica, can be seen as due to increased heating of the southern hemisphere, with a certain amount of the moisture ending up as precipitation in Antarctica. Granted that this is a negative feedback, there are bigger positive feedbacks apparently going on in the Arctic. And some West Antarctic glaciers are accelerating dramatically.
    I do disagree with the majority of people on this blog, but it’s the future of the biosphere we’re talking about here.
    I believe that global warming is not only real, it is on the verge of running away, and will do so unless we drastically, radically change “business as usual”.
    It’s too important a subject not to be honest about.
    REPLY: See my note, take a rest. And….if you want to lecture us here about honesty, I suggest you take a good hard look at this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leland_Palmer
    My view is if you can’t be honest with putting your name to your writing, then you shouldn’t lecture others about honesty. – Anthony

  104. Leland Palmer (17:22:50) “Should I believe the thousands of NOAA scientists and the huge preponderance of evidence, or should I believe Dr. Spencer?”
    I’m trying to think of a place where I’ve worked where everyone agrees and isn’t obliged to toe the company line…

    Leland Palmer (22:56:03) “The future of the biosphere, not just of humanity, but the biosphere itself, is after all a subject that we all have a stake in, wouldn’t you agree? […] I do disagree with the majority of people on this blog, but it’s the future of the biosphere we’re talking about here.”
    You seriously underestimate Nature.

    Leland Palmer (22:56:03) “I believe that global warming is not only real, it is on the verge of running away, and will do so unless we drastically, radically change “business as usual”.”
    “Business as usual” could use an overhaul, but I encourage you to tone down your extremism. “Drastic” & “radical” change would lead to instability and the next thing you know you might have something like a nuclear winter on your hands. Sensible restraint is in order. Panic is not the answer in a crisis, nor is it constructive when there is not a crisis.

    Leland Palmer (22:56:03) “It’s too important a subject not to be honest about, wouldn’t you agree? We’re all in this together […] Every single one of us. […] It’s too important a subject not to be honest about.”
    There are MUCH bigger threats to the biosphere than anthropogenic computer-climate fantasies. I encourage you to step back – way back – and get some sober perspective on the broader array of threats we face.
    Sincerely,
    Paul Vaughan
    Ecologist.

  105. “REPLY: See my note, take a rest. And….if you want to lecture us here about honesty, I suggest you take a good hard look at this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leland_Palmer
    My view is if you can’t be honest with putting your name to your writing, then you shouldn’t lecture others about honesty. – Anthony”
    You are of course right, Anthony, about the length of Lelands contributions (does anyone read them at all ?). But you must admit that the gentleman’s pseudonym is well chosen and fits him like a glove fits a hand.

  106. A note to Leland Palmer:
    If you’ll post a comment (that won’t be made visible here) that allows me to verify your handle, with some public record, or address, I’ll withdraw my contention that your handle is simply a “twin peaks” character.

  107. One thing that has not been addressed in the 3 threads on this theme: the nature of fluctuations of different records about one another on different temporal scales. My impression is that it is not generally considered that drift might oscillate on a variety of timescales according to known &/or unknown factors differentially affecting different instruments. Discrepancies between records are a learning opportunity (as Dr. Spencer has nicely illustrated). Attempts to make series match one another could be robbing us of the the most interesting information (i.e. the subtle nuances).

  108. Paul, if I understand you correctly, would tend to agree that instrumental drifts could, given enough time, oscillate to some extent. I suppose it would depend on what is causing the drift in each system.

  109. Hi Anthony-
    REPLY: Info confirmed thank you. Mr. Palmer is using his real name, and not that of a twin peaks character. – Anthony

  110. Hi Paul Vaughn-

    There are MUCH bigger threats to the biosphere than anthropogenic computer-climate fantasies. I encourage you to step back – way back – and get some sober perspective on the broader array of threats we face.

    I disagree.
    I’ve worked in analytical chemistry labs for a long time, doing analytical method development.
    You have to learn to recognize a positive result (when a theory is making good predictions) as well as a negative one, regardless of where the theory came from, or how unusual the situation is, or whose idea it is.
    In this case, way too many temperature records have been broken by way too big a margin for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis.
    Risks are generally assessed by multiplying the consequences of a scenario by the probability of the scenario.
    The probability is looking huge, and the consequences of runaway global heating are off the scale.

  111. Leland Palmer (14:56:22) :
    “In this case, way too many temperature records have been broken by way too big a margin for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis.”
    Can you provide some examples?

  112. “The probability is looking huge, and the consequences of runaway global heating are off the scale.”
    The probability of runaway global warming is precisely zero. If it could then it would have done during the previous 400 million years. Because it didn’t, even from higher starting temps and higher CO2. It didn’t run away even when flood basalts blew our climate to smithereens, it still restabilized.

  113. [snip – Mr. Palmer I’ve told you when we have a thread on methane, you can post all you want bout it. Until then no more posts from you trying to hijack this thread to your liking. -A]

  114. Leland Palmer (15:38:49) :
    Per the article you cite, “records began in 1880.” The Earth is around 4.5 billion years old, so NOAA has 130 years of questionably accurate data on 4,500,000,000 year-old planet. The sample size seems very small to draw any concrete conclusions from.
    Can you provide any examples demonstrating that that the warming cited by NOAA is usual as compared to the normal/natural long-term temperature variances in Earth’s climate system?
    Also, why if temperatures have increased so much, is Antarctica’s Sea Ice Extent trending above average?
    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_timeseries.png

  115. Mr. Palmer keeps trying to hijack this thread with off topic issues that he wants to push. He just posted two more attempts that have nothing to do with this thread.
    The issue in discussion is sea surface temperature data.
    Mr. Palmer has therefore been banned from posting further comments on this thread.
    Don’t make me ban you from the blog. Stop being a troll and stick to the discussion topic.

  116. Leland Palmer (15:38:49) : Putting aside how easily impressed you apparently are…
    “We can’t talk about wildfire statistics on this thread, but these are also up, dramatically around the world.”
    This is just plain absolutely false.
    Riaño, D., J.A. Moreno Ruiz, D. Isidoro, and S.L. Ustin. 2007. Global spatial patterns and temporal trends of burned area between 1981 and 2000 using NOAA-NASA Pathfinder. Global Change Biology, 13, 40–50.
    “The global trend statistics in the total number of pixels burned in any month or annually were not significantly different from 0 (at alpha = 0.10 significance level). Therefore, no significant upward or downward global trend was found in the burned area data.”
    “Al Gore’s book is also full of such statistics.”
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Okay, I should sue you for that. I’m literally rasping with laughter.

  117. Phil. (17:03:16) :
    Is 0.8 +/- 0.7 a positive trend? Is a point on that trendline “trending above average”?
    I ask this in the context of a corrected temperature trend of 0.12 +/- 0.12 deg per decade not being a material correction to a paper that appeared on the cover of Nature, with the original story being that the temperature in Antarctica was going up “significantly”.

  118. Leland Palmer
    You appear to be a well meaning but highly credulous person.
    You seem to believe that very short term measurements-such as those provided by satellites-should be taken as indicating unprecedented changes over pre satellite readings. You also seem to believe that the data sets you are presented with are always accurate, scientific and beyond reproach.
    To stick to the subject, SST’s were very poorly measured in the past and remain so to this day.
    This gives some idea of the manner in which data is reconstructed. You will come across the word reconstructed and interpolated a lot in climate science.
    http://rainbow.ldeo.columbia.edu/~alexeyk/Papers/Kaplan_etal1998.pdf
    For example the IPCC global sea level data derives from three North European tide gauges which have huge chunks of data missing yet purport to show heights back to 1700.
    The Hadley global temperatures relied on 20 imperfect stations globally in 1850 which have since changed enormously in location and numbers.
    Arctic ice levels have fluctuated considerably over the millenia, the most recent example of melt being during the period 1920-1940.
    All is not what it seems with the statistics you seem to believe are gospel and I do urge you to look a little harder at the authenticity of the information you believe to be so impressive.
    tonyb

  119. Phil. (17:03:16) : How extremely disingenuous. In the first place, the image you linked to has a positive linear trend fitted to it which is barely significant but IS nonetheless. You describe it as saying that such an such is “not happening”. But you missed the caption, which says July anomalies. Why not show all months, or the annual averages? Oh right. Because that has a positive linear trend which is significant at the .001 level:
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.anom.south.jpg
    Since in my experience you (Phil) believe yourself to be lord god of the sea ice data and analysis thereof, know this-I’m not going to bother to explain to you just how wrong you are. Figure it out for yourself.

  120. Leland Palmer (14:56:22) “I disagree […] way too many temperature records have been broken by way too big a margin for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis […] the consequences of runaway global heating are off the scale”
    Distortion & narrow perception of natural phenomena do not constitute a solution to either real or imagined threats.
    I don’t think this exchange can go anywhere productive; you seem to be operating on false premises, including ones about the readership of this site.
    If you want to do something useful for the environment, I will offer 2 suggestions:
    1) Advocate that more pavement be abandoned so that natural (not genetically-engineered) forests can take over (naturally – i.e. not “selected” & “planted” trees — just let nature do what nature does at nature’s pacenaturally!).
    2) Oppose toxicity.
    No CO2 scare-mongering necessary.

  121. TonyB (17:15:09) “Arctic ice levels have fluctuated considerably over the millenia, the most recent example of melt being during the period 1920-1940.”
    When we become aware of discrepancies like the one Dr. Spencer has illustrated, it reminds us to be more conscious of the stunning array of loose ends in our understanding of natural climate. Thanks to Anthony & the moderators for their hard work.
    Does anyone know of any good (& preferably concise) references/links to journal articles &/or datasets on the 1920-1940 sea ice melt? After a quick google search, I get the impression that, like the 1930s severe drought in North America, this phenomenon remains poorly understood.

  122. Re: Cold Lynx (14:30:06)
    Thanks for the link – very interesting graphs, particularly 1930-1940 in the contour plots:
    Xue, Y.; Smith, T.M.; & Reynolds, R.W. (2003). Interdecadal Changes of 30-Yr SST Normals during 1871-2000. Journal of Climate 16, 1601-1612.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/sst/papers/xue-etal.pdf
    – –
    Some made a fuss upthread about July 2009 Arctic SST anomalies —– Relevant:
    Polyakov, I.V.; & Johnson, M.A. (2000). Arctic decadal and interdecadal variability. Geophysical Research Letters 27(24), 4097-4100.
    http://www.frontier.iarc.uaf.edu/~igor/research/pdf/50yr_web.pdf
    “Our results suggest that the decadal AO and multidecadal LFO drive large amplitude natural variability in the Arctic making detection of possible long-term trends induced by greenhouse gas warming most difficult.”

  123. Leland Palmer (14:56:22) : … I’ve worked in analytical chemistry labs for a long time, doing analytical method development.
    You have to learn to recognize a positive result (when a theory is making good predictions) as well as a negative one, regardless of where the theory came from, or how unusual the situation is, or whose idea it is.
    In this case, way too many temperature records have been broken by way too big a margin for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis.
    The probability is looking huge, and the consequences of runaway global heating are off the scale.

    Mr Leland Palmer, I just couldn’t let that go. You seem to have a very poor grasp of probability and also seem to have forgotten your basic science.
    If there is evidence contrary to the hypothesis, the hypothesis is proved wrong and has to be discarded. This is the scientific method, which is the very foundation of scientific knowledge.
    “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” Albert Einstein
    I have to go out and will come back with the contradictions later but two hurried observations:
    Only looking at the temperature records a level or falling trend for 10 years with CO2 rising, is a very unusual event for the hypothesis. But if this continues for another 5 years the hypothesis would find it very difficult to be sustained. NOAA ran several simulations with their models and the simulations ruled out (at the 95% level) zero trends for 15 consecutive years or more.
    If arctic ice is thin now it would have been even thinner during the Medieval warm period and was very probably absent during the summer months.
    Re: the sea temperature record only NOAA says its so. Even the Hadley data doesnt show it as the warmest.

  124. tallbloke (04:50:48) :
    So how come the arctic melted less this year than the previous two years?

    Did it?
    Some people think last year wasn’t a record minimum for the Arctic ice. They think the amount of ice is measured from the surface extent only. In reality, it’s all about volume. This was record low last year again, as more than half the multiyear ice left over from 2007 had gone.
    It remains to be seen if there stil is ice older than 3 years this summer.
    The paradox comes about from the fact that most of the ice melts from below, the simple consequence of increasing SST. This lengthens the de facto melt season, although surface cover will begin to increase in a couple of weeks time (it will increase very fast, skeptics, because it will become winter again!). As the topmost layer of water in the Arctic sea is virtually sweet water, winter ice will exist there for a long time from now.

  125. Leland Palmer (22:56:03) :
    The planet’s ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for July
    By the way, there won’t be any retraction from NOAA, because there was no mistake made in the first place, IMO.

    I would suggest that the NOAA ocean anomaly for July is too high. No other source supports a July record. Hadsst2 shows July 2009 SST cooler than July 1998 – consistent with Roy Sencer’s analysis. NOAA is the odd man out.
    The combined global land and ocean surface temperature for July 2009 was the fifth warmest on record
    So, we’ve got the warmest ocean temperatures ever for July, combined with the fifth highest combined land and sea temperatures for July. This all seems pretty non-random and ominous.

    These 2 facts (even if true) are not independent. If we have warm ocean temperatures then it follows that, because the ocean covers ~71% of the earth’s surface, the combined Land-Ocean temperatures will also be high.
    The global land surface temperature for July 2009 was (0.51 degree C) above the 20th century average of 57.8 degrees F (14.3 degree C), and tied with 2003 as the ninth-warmest July on record.
    This suggests an alarming over-confidence at NOAA. Jim Hansen is on record as saying “For the global mean, the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.” See
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html
    It sounds as though most of this drivel comes from the PR dept.

  126. “Phil. (22:20:44) :
    Yes, basically 100*sin(lat) for a symmetric case like this.”
    Since you like to nitpick as much as I do, let me point out that the correct formula is
    simply sin(lat) = 100% * sin(lat) . And by “basically” you mean “if the earth is approximated by a sphere”.

  127. In this case, way too many temperature records have been broken by way too big a margin for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis.

    Someone needs to be able to distinguish between statement of fact and statement of opinion.
    A statement of fact would look something like: July temperature records this year were more numerous than any previous number of July records.
    A statement of opinion would look something like way too many or way too big a margin or for there to be anything seriously wrong with the AGW hypothesis. A statement of opinion would also link data to a conclusion (AGW, in this case) in some way that the speaker has not supported.

  128. “”RR (07:27:10) :
    “rtgr: So where`s the DATA on Ice Volume,? Facts please not speculations”
    NSIDC press release including references (containing the facts):
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20081002_seaice_pressrelease.html
    This picture might do, though: http://www.knmi.nl/cms/mmbase/images/29518“”
    There is no data there.
    We want a TABLE with NUMBERS. And we want a CURVE.
    Ice-Volume only is a topic because the AGW’s lost on ice-extend; so they need to change the subject. Volume will probably cease to be a topic when the good people in Bremerhaven finally publish their Polar-5 measurments.

  129. From the Alfred-Wegener-Institute:
    http://www.awi.de/de/aktuelles_und_presse/pressemitteilungen/detail/item/new_record_arctic_sea_ice_cover_minimum_climate_researchers_from_bremerhaven_and_hamburg_present_ne/?cHash=6d1fea9ba6
    Die exakte Vorhersage für den jeweils nächsten Spätsommer ist jedoch nicht möglich. Das liegt an zwei Faktoren: Zum einen ist – im Gegensatz zum Eisbedeckungsgrad – die Eisdicke am Ende des Winters in ihrer räumlichen Verteilung nicht bekannt. „Deren Kenntnis ist jedoch von entscheidender Wichtigkeit für eine gute Prognose”, erklärt Gerdes vom Alfred-Wegener-Institut.
    Translation: The thickness of the ice at the end of winter … is not known.

  130. Alexej Buergin (09:24:34) :
    “”RR (07:27:10) :
    “rtgr: So where`s the DATA on Ice Volume,? Facts please not speculations”
    NSIDC press release including references (containing the facts):
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20081002_seaice_pressrelease.html
    This picture might do, though: http://www.knmi.nl/cms/mmbase/images/29518“”
    There is no data there.
    We want a TABLE with NUMBERS. And we want a CURVE.

    Try here for example, last few slides:
    http://eprints.lib.hokudai.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2115/34395/5/Maslowski.pdf
    By the way Alexej you might want to rethink this equation. 😉
    Since you like to nitpick as much as I do, let me point out that the correct formula is
    simply sin(lat) = 100% * sin(lat)

  131. Die exakte Vorhersage für den jeweils nächsten Spätsommer ist jedoch nicht möglich. Das liegt an zwei Faktoren: Zum einen ist – im Gegensatz zum Eisbedeckungsgrad – die Eisdicke am Ende des Winters in ihrer räumlichen Verteilung nicht bekannt. „Deren Kenntnis ist jedoch von entscheidender Wichtigkeit für eine gute Prognose”, erklärt Gerdes vom Alfred-Wegener-Institut.
    Translation: The thickness of the ice at the end of winter … is not known.

    Actually what it says is that ‘the spatial distribution of ice thickness at the end of winter is not known’.
    The ICESat measurements would appear to supply that data though:
    http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaIce/index.php

  132. “”” Phil. (21:59:48) :
    More pedantically, the “equipartition Law” says that the thermal energy is equally distributed among the degrees of freedom in a system; and the amount assigned to each is kT/2, and NOT kT which I assert before; but it is per degree of freedom, and a single atom has three degrees of fredom (x, y, z displacements), so the energy of a monatomic gas is 3kT/2), and 5kT/2 for a diatomic gas, which has two more rotational degrees of freedom that a mono gas doesn’t have. Rotation about the axis joining two atoms of a diatomic molecule, is not an energy storage mechanism that is excitable from an external stimulus. Tri and polyatomic molecules have 3kT per molecule since they do have the full three rotational degrees of freedom; now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
    To be even more pedantic you’ve forgotten about the vibrational modes so a diatomic gas has 3 translational, 2 rotational and one vibrational, the rotational and translational modes each contribute kT/2 whereas the vibrational contribute kT (both PE and KE). Rotation is excitable by an external stimulus provided that it is a heteronuclear diatomic. “””
    Well I take your word on that Phil, since you are a lot more conversant with this stuff than I am.
    I didn’t exactly for get about the vibrational degrees of freedom; and on checking with my thumbnail Physics “handbook (Edited by Walter Benenson, John W. Harris, Horst Stocker, and Holger Lutz; they too mention vibrational modes (in gases) as excited mostly at very high temperatures; and incidently cite the lack of an axial rotationl mode in the diatomic molecule as being a consequence of the extremely small moment of inertia, and hence requiring very high energies to excite such a mode; for an ideal gas that moment would be zero.
    I’ll accept your level of pedantry; but perhaps in the realm of the real atmosphere; those extra degrees of freedom are not going to contribute significantly to the energy of the system.
    In any case my point was really to establish that the concept of temperature, and the mechanical energy properties of real matter are inextricably intertwined. It had been asserted by others that “heat” does not reside anywhere; that it is energy in transit.
    George

  133. Paul Vaughan, John Finn and others thanks for your excellent points.
    Today I am full of anger – Anger because my Prime Minister, who I voted for, is teaming up with the labour party, who I voted against, to pass the cap-n-trade scheme, possibly because his science minister, who is an expert on premature babies or something like that says 1. anthropogenic global warming is a fact and 2. Will be very harmful and 3. cap n trade of our tiny country, (or indeed the world), will somehow fix this “problem”.
    Those idiots in power have forgotten that that their power comes from us and its our opinions that count ultimately, and not the ruling caucus, who can team up with the opposition to stab us in the back.
    Anger also because I am forced to devote time to this scam, which will effect our lives for the worse, though global warming, natural or man-made wont.

  134. This is just my take on the history of the issue. In the 1950’s someone discovered that CO2 was going up and that it was due to our carbon emissions. Some people thought this would be bad and built a tentative hypothesis around it. Today this hypothesis has got a momentum of its own quite divorced from the facts around it.
    [snip ~ direct attacks on other posters are prohibited. I personally suggest you just ignore him ~ ctm]
    We are arguing about every degree of temperature that rises in Texas or falls in Labrador. Every icicle that drips in Greenland or ice floe that melts in the Ocean.
    I thought to myself lets step back and get some perspective on the issue.

  135. When we look at our climatic history of the last few million years, we live in a cooling world. What is virtually certain is that there will be another ice-age sometime in our future and what is virtually certain is that there will not be unstoppable run-away global warming due to the pathetic amounts of one greenhouse gas that we are putting into the atmosphere through the natural process of combustion of natural substances, or for that matter due to any other foreseeable event in the future.
    The real importance of Dr Spencers discovery is not that the oceans are indeed not as “hot” as portrayed to be, but that rather the evidence put forward by the fanatics of AGW has to be examined and questioned at every step, because science seems to be abandoned and manipulated for ideology.

  136. Perhaps what is needed at this stage in the climate change discussion is an array of naturally catastrophic warming scenarios (to see if it is possible to get alarmists to acknowledge the power & complexity of nature).

  137. “TonyB (06:20:18) :
    I am currently working on the 1920-1940 follow up article.
    In the meantime google ‘bob bartlett and the Morrisey’ where his adventures in a melting arctic in the 1920’s to 30’s can be found.”

    Don’t forget to use the recently publicized Soviet measurements from the 1920, 30’s. They would fly a plane and land on the Arctic ice to measure thickness. They landed planes on places where nowadays there is only water or, from October through May, first year winter ice.

  138. ” Paul Vaughan (14:37:13) :
    Perhaps what is needed at this stage in the climate change discussion is an array of naturally catastrophic warming scenarios (to see if it is possible to get alarmists to acknowledge the power & complexity of nature).”

    ‘The God Delusion’, in this case the delusion that man is not a part of nature while at the same time powerless to influence nature.
    The increase of [CO2] has been proved already in 1961 to be the strict result of burning of fossile fuels. Of course humans have had nothing to do with this.

  139. “Phil: By the way Alexej you might want to rethink this equation:
    “Since you like to nitpick as much as I do, let me point out that the correct formula is simply
    sin(lat) = 100% * sin(lat)””
    Since 100% is another way of writing 1: 100% = 1
    these are not just equations, but identities (an equation which is valid for all values of its variables). Sometimes peolple use an identity-sign with 3 horizontal = instead of 2. Example: (a+b)^2=a^2+b^2 is an equation, (a+b)^2=a^2+2ab+b^2 is an identity.
    For lat=40°:
    My result: 0.64 = 64%
    Your result: 100*sin(40°)=64 means that part of the earth-surface is 64 times as big as the whole.

  140. “Phil:
    Actually what it says is that ‘the spatial distribution of ice thickness at the end of winter is not known’.”
    You are perfectly right. And that means one cannot calculate a precise value for the volume.

  141. “Alexej Buergin (03:05:06) :
    You are perfectly right. And that means one cannot calculate a precise value for the volume.”
    That looks like science. One can arrive at pretty sharp estimates but no ‘precise values’. Never.

  142. “RR: That looks like science. One can arrive at pretty sharp estimates but no ‘precise values’. Never.”
    I would consider a number of km^3 as a “precise value” in this example, if the first digit is correct and the second one maybe not (2 significant figures). The sea-ice extend JAXA publishes
    ( “The latest value : 5,447,188 km2 (August 31, 2009)” )
    is unscientific nonsense being much too exact. I would write e.g.
    G = 6.673(10) * 10^(-11) N (m^2) kg(-2)
    the (10) in brackets being 1 SD in units of the last digit.
    Of course there is a limit to precision as Heisenberg established.
    From Webster’s: precise
    2) being exactly that and neither more or less (your use of the word)
    6) exact in measuring, recording (my use)

  143. Alexej Buergin (02:43:41) :
    “Phil: By the way Alexej you might want to rethink this equation:
    “Since you like to nitpick as much as I do, let me point out that the correct formula is simply
    sin(lat) = 100% * sin(lat)””
    Since 100% is another way of writing 1: 100% = 1
    these are not just equations, but identities (an equation which is valid for all values of its variables). Sometimes peolple use an identity-sign with 3 horizontal = instead of 2. Example: (a+b)^2=a^2+b^2 is an equation, (a+b)^2=a^2+2ab+b^2 is an identity.
    For lat=40°:
    My result: 0.64 = 64%
    Your result: 100*sin(40°)=64 means that part of the earth-surface is 64 times as big as the whole.

    Sorry you missed my point, the lhs of the original equation clearly should be something other than ‘sin(lat)’ I would suggest the following:
    % of total area = 100 * sin(lat)
    Your examples of identities vs equations seem to be mixed up since (a+b)^2=a^2+b^2 is only valid if either a or b is zero.

  144. Alexej Buergin (03:05:06) :
    “Phil:
    Actually what it says is that ‘the spatial distribution of ice thickness at the end of winter is not known’.”
    You are perfectly right. And that means one cannot calculate a precise value for the volume.

    Well that’s their opinion, as the reference I gave showed there is data available from ICESat.

  145. “Phil
    1) Sorry you missed my point, the lhs of the original equation clearly should be something other than ’sin(lat)’ I would suggest the following:
    % of total area = 100 * sin(lat)
    2) Your examples of identities vs equations seem to be mixed up since (a+b)^2=a^2+b^2 is only valid if either a or b is zero.”
    1) This way it is correct, even from a nitpicking point of view.
    2) And that’s precisely why it is an eqation, but not an identity, and a=0 or b=0 or a=b=0 are the solutions.

  146. Re: RR (01:41:50)
    I’m not sure if you are arguing semantics or suggesting that humans are unnatural. Also, I can’t see how your comment about CO2 fits in unless I assume you are making assumptions that you assume others are making about assumptions that yet others have made. In summary: Perhaps we are looking at the same thing from different angles and seeing different threats to ‘nature’ – not necessarily a bad thing. Cheers!

  147. Re: Paul Vaughan (02:07:35)
    I was being ironic.
    You wrote: “Perhaps what is needed at this stage in the climate change discussion is an array of naturally catastrophic warming scenarios (to see if it is possible to get alarmists to acknowledge the power & complexity of nature).”
    Very little people, even very little ‘alarmists’ would not acknowledge the power and complexity of nature. But sometimes one has to acknowledge that some evolutions in nature are quite simple to understand. And often one has to acknowledge the power of that part of nature called ‘homo sapiens’. Including the power to rise [CO2] in the atmospere to a level that hasn’t existed since the Neanderthaler still belonged to nature.

  148. “RR: one has to acknowledge that some evolutions in nature are quite simple to understand”
    With the Pettenkofer method they measured a higher value of CO2 concentration as today in 1820, 1860 and 1940. It is known that (much, as in Ma) earlier it was much, much higher, too. And then one has to explain positive forcing, otherwise CO2 is quite harmless. He who calls that “simple” is either a genius, or has not understood anything at all.

  149. Alexej Buergin (07:24:49) :
    With the Pettenkofer method they measured a higher value of CO2 concentration as today in 1820, 1860 and 1940.

    Only in those years?
    Where did ‘they’ measure this, in cities perhaps? (investigate and find out ‘they’ did!).
    How come these higher concentrations are not found in trapped air in ice caps en elsewhere?
    CO2 traps infrared radiation. It is not one of those mysterious unicorn gases that cool when they trap energy. Call that ‘harmless’; it is not without effect.

  150. ” RR (07:46:13) :
    Alexej Buergin (07:24:49) :
    “With the Pettenkofer method they measured a higher value of CO2 concentration as today in 1820, 1860 and 1940″.
    Only in those years?”
    I was sloppy. These years were the peaks, and practically all measurements were higher than ice-core Antarctica (up to 440 ppm).

  151. RR (02:55:51) “And often one has to acknowledge the power of that part of nature called ‘homo sapiens’. Including the power to rise [CO2] in the atmospere to a level that hasn’t existed since the Neanderthaler still belonged to nature.”
    There appears to be some misunderstanding. Perhaps you are making unfounded assumptions about the readership of this blog (which is not uniform – the readership is a diverse group — this is no ducks-in-a-row charade – people here disagree with one another seriously on a whole range of interesting climate issues).
    If you are going to continue disrupting the harmony here, I’m going to encourage Anthony & the moderators to keep a watch on you – and if you keep it up, I encourage them to consider calling upon you to reveal your identity rather than indulging the twisted shots you are taking from behind the cover of a handle. [Click on the “Policy” link at the top of the page.]
    I wish you wisdom & penetrating insight.

  152. Paul Vaughan (12:47:36) :
    “Perhaps you are making unfounded assumptions about the readership of this blog…”
    No, I am responding to specific posts. And perhaps you are making unfounded assumptions about me.
    “(which is not uniform – the readership is a diverse group — this is no ducks-in-a-row charade – people here disagree with one another seriously on a whole range of interesting climate issues).”
    Correct, and that makes this an interesting place. Why are you suddenly playing ad hominem here?
    “If you are going to continue disrupting the harmony here, I’m going to encourage Anthony & the moderators to keep a watch on you…”
    Thank you. You should now rest assured knowing this possibility exists. Please return to the subject matter. Please keep up the harmony, you are disrupting it by suddenly taking shots at me!
    ” – and if you keep it up, I encourage them to consider calling upon you to reveal your identity rather than indulging the twisted shots you are taking from behind the cover of a handle. [Click on the “Policy” link at the top of the page.]”
    I have already added my surname to my initials having remembered the policy. RR Kampen or Remko Roderik Kampen is my real name. Misuse of this identification will be punished.

  153. ” RR (07:46:13) :
    Alexej Buergin (07:24:49) :
    “These years were the peaks, and practically all measurements were higher than ice-core Antarctica (up to 440 ppm).”

    Yes, they were, because they were taken in or very near cities. There CO2-concentration is always much higher than in the average lower atmosphere.

  154. RR Kampen (02:30:32) “Correct, and that makes this an interesting place.”
    Thank you for the clarification Remko.

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