Spencer: Always question your results

Spurious SST Warming Revisited

Dr. Roy Spencer August 31st, 2009

My previous post described what I called “smoking gun” evidence of a spurious drift in the NOAA sea surface temperature (SST) product when compared to SSTs from the TRMM satellite Microwave Imager (TMI). The drift seemed to be mostly confined to 2001, almost a ’step’ jump. The moored buoy validation statistics of the TMI sea surface temperatures from Frank Wentz’s web site (SSMI.com) suggested that the TMI SSTs had good long-term stability.

But 2001 was also the year that the TRMM satellite was boosted into a higher orbit, which concerned me. I asked Frank about the effect of this event on the TMI SSTs (which also come from his web site). Frank couldn’t remember the details, but said he spent quite a bit of time correcting for the altitude change on the retrieved SSTs since the microwave emission of the sea surface depends upon the TMI instrument’s view angle with respect to the local vertical.

I know from our many years of work together on the AMSR-E Science Team that Frank is indeed a careful researcher, yet it seemed like more than a coincidence that the TMI and NOAA sea surface temperatures diverged during the same year as the orbit boost. So, I went back to see what might have caused the problem. I went back and thought about the different ways in which one can compute area averages from satellite data.

To make a long story short, because the orbit boost caused the TMI to be able to “see” to slightly higher latitudes, the way in which individual latitude bands are handled has a significant impact on the resulting temperature anomalies that are computed over time. The previous results I presented were for the 40N to 40S latitude band, which is nominally what the TMI instrument sees today. But before 2001, the latitudinal extent was slightly smaller than it was after 2001.

As shown in the following figure, if I restrict the latitude range to 38N to 38S, which was always covered during the entire TRMM mission, I find that the divergence between the TMI and NOAA average SST measurements essentially disappears.

TMI-AMSRE-ERSSTv3b-comparisons-1998-2009-revisited

Click for larger image

Even though I was processing the NOAA and TMI datasets in the same manner, I should NOT have been. This is because there were not as many gridpoints over cooler SST regions going into the ‘global’ averages before the satellite altitude boost as after the boost. So, for example, one must be very careful in computing a latitude band average, say from 39N to 40N, to make sure that there has been no long-term change in the sampling of that band.

Based upon the above comparisons, I would now say there is no statistically significant difference in the SST trends since 1998 between TMI, the NOAA ERSSTv3b product, and the HadSST2 product. And it does look like July 2009 might well have experienced a warmer SST anomaly than July 1998, as was originally claimed by NOAA. (Remember, TMI can not see all of the global oceans, just equatorward of about 40 deg. N and S latitude.)

In the bottom panel of the above figure, I also have a comparison between the TMI and AMSR-E sea surface temperatures, which are available only since June of 2002 from the Aqua satellite. As can be seen, there is no evidence of a calibration (or sampling) drift in that comparison either.

So, what’s the moral of this story? Always question your results…even after finding the obvious errors. And maybe I should eliminate the term ’smoking gun evidence’ from any results I describe in the future.

Oh…and don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

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59 thoughts on “Spencer: Always question your results

  1. Hey guys thanks for trying and thanks for your commitment to the truth.
    It will always come out in the wash anyway, so might as well catch your mistakes.
    This is a HARD job [especially dealing with observable data]. To err is human.
    Too bad the folks on the other side can never admit their error…rather…they find a way to manipulate, and even flaunt it in some unseemly way.
    “To err…is human.” [Martin Luther]
    “To extrapolate HUGE “errs”… is climate model.” [Michael Mann’s successor]
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  2. Yours is a hardly imitable example of scientific honesty. More than one person should follow your example. Thank you, Dr. Roy Spencer, for the clarification.

  3. Okay, I’m beginning to feel a little whiplash but as I adjust it seems we are about where we started with differences so small there seems little need to try to explain them.
    Graphics: I need to ‘right click’ and open in a new tab to see the right hand edge.
    And, Dr. Roy, thanks for the update and for keeping the high ground.

  4. Well done Dr Spencer. You have finally cracked what was going on in the data. I expect the AGW crowd, who have been very quiet on the issue for the last week or so, will be paying us a visit here…

  5. It is reassuring to see such tenacity Dr. Spencer. Thank you for sharing the play-by-play as the story unfolded (and I don’t assume this is the last installment).

    My main concern is not whether records were set or not; rather, it is distortion that downplays natural factors affecting climate that most concerns me (regardless of whether trends are up, down, or sideways).

  6. Yes we have to thank Dr Spencer for his honesty and not hiding away errors or worse in a file called CENSORED_DATA, as others have been known to have done.
    Still this leaves the Hadley data which, as was pointed out I believe by John Finn, shows the SST July 2009 anomaly as less than the 1998 one.

  7. At least the Dr Spencer was quick to point out his mistake and honest enoght to admit to the error… If only Mann, Hanson and others were as scrupulous.

  8. Dr Spencer wrote, “Based upon the above comparisons, I would now say there is no statistically significant difference in the SST trends since 1998 between TMI, the NOAA ERSSTv3b product, and the HadSST2 product. And it does look like July 2009 might well have experienced a warmer SST anomaly than July 1998, as was originally claimed by NOAA.”
    Except that for HADSST2…
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadsst2/diagnostics/global/nh+sh/monthly
    …July 2009 SST anomaly (0.512 degC) was less than July 1998 (0.554 degC). In graph form:
    http://i25.tinypic.com/f3xobq.png
    It also wasn’t a record in NOAA’s OI.v2 SST anomaly data, far from it:
    http://i25.tinypic.com/24g7kwj.png
    From my July Update:
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/08/july-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html
    So, the ERSST.v3b data is the only SST anomaly dataset of those three showing record SST anomalies for July.
    And based on the preliminary August SST anomaly data posted by NOAA yesterday, August is also not a record month.
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/08/preliminary-august-2009-sst-anomalies.html

  9. Interesting. Thank you Dr Spencer for your integrity and persistence, especially in the face of results that once again seem counter to skeptics’ intuitives, that with a cool Sun the sea must be showing an overall cooling trend.
    I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of it yet. There is plenty of evidence against alarmist AGW, and weather reports definitely seem to indicate the warming of the nineties is gone – so what might be causing the seas to warm – or to show warming? Akasofu might say we’re still in recovery from the Little Ice Age… really? but yes, CO2 rise lags temp rise in the ice records by 800 years or so, which seems to tally with the time taken for the total ocean circulation…
    Exacting mistress, Lady Earth. Yet we need to be sure we understand the natural variations before we can be sure what the human ones are.

  10. Since there’s no possibility to post on jour blog, I’ll do it here Dr Spencer (if you ever read the comments). Thanks for the honesty you showed about the data analysis you performed! It’s always great to see that two different means of measurement actually lead to the same conclusions… And I hope it will make people understand that hasty analyses and conclusions should not form the basis of any scientific approach. I wonder where all the rumors of data manipulaiton will go now…

  11. Mark (01:47:56) : August here in New Zealand was the warmest on record so Niwa say.
    Yes but this follows 3 months in a row of below average temperatures. The absolute temperatures were not that hot. NIWA: The highest temperature during August 2009 was 25.5°C recorded at Henderson (Auckland) on the 11th. The lowest temperature was recorded at Dashwood (Marlborough) with a minimum temperature of -8.6°C on the 18th.
    Its pretty cool in Auckland at the moment. 17 8 and set to fall to 14 5 over the next two days. If it was the hottest there were no complaints. Cant say the same for the fix – cap n trade.

  12. Research long ago showed that really smart people are wrong a little more than 50 percent of the time when deciding on complex issues from incomplete data (no kidding).
    So, rule of thumb, one has to check and find the bad 50 percent — and fix them. Of course, half of those fixes will be wrong — now down to 25 percent error. Then, find that 25 percent — and fix them — leaving only 13 percent in error. Now attempt to fix them. Etcetera.
    Thus, being wrong is not bad — one is in good company. Not being skeptical of one’s own work is what is bad.
    That heuristic has worked for me in actual practice — as I always meet my quota of wrongness when working on hard issues.

  13. Lucy Skywalker:
    “I don’t think we’ve got to the bottom of it yet. There is plenty of evidence against alarmist AGW, and weather reports definitely seem to indicate the warming of the nineties is gone – so what might be causing the seas to warm – or to show warming? ”
    The answer is extreme Proxigean spring tides – see my May 2009 Melbourne talk at:
    http://www.naturalclimatechange.info/?q=node/10
    There was a set of Extreme proxigean spring tides in january and June-July of 2009 which usually heralds the onset of an El Nino event.

  14. I have wondered whether there is a time lag between oceanic temperatures and solar activity, since water has a high specific heat capacity and therefore it may warm slowly but surely in response to high solar activity.
    Given that we have had about 80 years of very high solar activity, this may have led to warming by mechanisms I don’t understand.
    However, it would be surprising to expect rapid cooling of the oceans afterwards, so maintaining higher oceanic temperatures at the start of reduced solar activity would hardly be surprising.
    In my amateur opinion, that’s where research must head – understanding the linkages between inputs and modulating features over the 30 – 100 year timescale.
    A job for patient researchers?

  15. Rhys Jaggar (04:45:36) : “A job for patient researchers?”
    Perhaps it’s not impatience that drives them but rather the need to find the answer before they die. When dealing with relatively long term predictions, most will never know if they were correct.

  16. Thys Jaggar, I think your Question, “A job for patient researchers?” is very correct one to be asked and should have been a statement.
    Dr. Spencer it is good to see a good scientist be skeptical of his own findings when they don’t agree with some one Else’s findings and to check and re check himself. It is like a breath of fresh air to see this. I tire of those that make studies and declare that there is no question of the correctness of their findings. It is bad enough when they don’t follow up on their own findings and check for errors but then restrict the data and method so that no one else can replicate the computations.
    It would be a good thing if more of our researchers would add a good statician to their “teams” to perhaps increase the validity of their computations.
    Very good work Dr. Spencer.
    Bill Derryberry

  17. First of all, well done Dr Spencer for following this up and correcting errors in previous analyses – this is research after all.
    As a bit of a lurker on this blog, I am interested in the impact that the internet (more specifically – blogs) are having in research. We are – in essence – seeing blog posts replace the discussions co-authors and colleagues would have about results prior to publication. I am sure that if this had been a paper for publication, Dr Spencer would have done this kind of error-checking prior to submission.
    This is not a criticism, but a recognition that we can now expand the group of people with which we discuss results prior to reaching some kind of conclusion. The number of people who have read and commented on this series of postings is orders of magnitude greater than would normally have been involved in coffee-room discussions and one can hope that at least some of the comment has been useful. (I am not a climate scientist and cannot follow the maths so I will admit that I am making an assumption here).
    This leads me to a major question: Does blogging remove the need for (or value of) working in a collaborative team? For me, research has always been teamwork, both in designing experiments and interpreting results, yet now it would seem we have a credible alternative, at least where the research is mostly analysis of data. What possible impact does this have on our current research (and more importantly, research-funding) models?
    I could also see an impact of blog-discussion on scientific publication – at what stage does the on-line discussion constitute prior publication? In the field of interest here (climate science) this may be a moot point, given the political involvement in journal editing, but in other fields, the primacy of published (I won’t say peer-reviewed) work is not seriously challenged.
    Maybe this is too philosophical for a Tuesday morning (not enough coffee – or too much?), but are we seeing a fundamental change in the way we do research?

  18. Flanagan (02:44:21) :
    And I hope it will make people understand that hasty analyses and conclusions should not form the basis of any scientific approach.
    I don’t think find many people here would disagree. Will you applying you new high standards to the AGW crowd?
    wonder where all the rumors of data manipulaiton will go now…
    There would be no rumors about data manipulation if all researchers were as open and honest as Dr. Spencer.

  19. Interesting how just a couple of degrees of latitude can make such difference in the time series. So the next question is what about the many degrees of latitude north and south of the observed bands (40N-40S and 60N-60S). Do they vary similarly to the equatorial regions or are they decoupled to any significant extent?

  20. Richard (23:46:54) :
    Yes we have to thank Dr Spencer for his honesty and not hiding away errors or worse in a file called CENSORED_DATA, as others have been known to have done.
    Still this leaves the Hadley data which, as was pointed out I believe by John Finn, shows the SST July 2009 anomaly as less than the 1998 one.

    Bob Tisdale (01:03:57) makes the same point about the Hadsst2 data, but the 2 anomalies are not necessarily inconsistent. There isn’t a huge difference between them (see second plot). It’s perfectly possible for one to show a record while the other doesn’t.

  21. Dr. Spencer,
    The only problem with using the term “smoking gun” is that sometimes that gun fires blanks…
    I like your style. Keep up the hard work, and continue to question your results.
    Mike

  22. Which still leavers us with the question – “Why is ther a higher than usual peak at intervals of 30 to 37 months?” Murray

  23. I like the stream-of-consciousness approach to issues on blogs like WUWT, Lucia’s The Blackboard and CA. We can see the processes, problems and pitfalls in near real time, rather than being handed results with assurances that everything was done correctly. I suppose that that is the main issue I have with much of mainstream climate science: we are presented with black box results.

  24. This actually is a nice delineation of the difference in mindsets between skeptics and advocates. A skeptic being someone willing to question and still willing to accept reasonable conclusions. When advocates find a mistake they cover it, obfuscate and claim it makes no difference until they cannot.
    Thanks Dr. Spencer for your honesty in this. It’s been a very interesting series of posts to say the least.

  25. Flanagan (02:44:21) : .. It’s always great to see that two different means of measurement actually lead to the same conclusions… And I hope it will make people understand that hasty analyses and conclusions should not form the basis of any scientific approach. I wonder where all the rumors of data manipulaiton will go now…
    Yes it is great when another means of measurement confirms the other. Satellite air temperatures were confirmed with radiosondes I believe and AMSR_E with the bouys. I’m afraid you have picked up the wrong message here. You seem to think that surprising results should never be questioned, in fact all results should always be, and cross checked rigourously.
    Doubts about data manipulation will always remain and they should after the infamous hockey stick episode. Besides this there is always the possibility of inadvertent errors. Scepticism is one of the instruments through which science advances.
    Finally it does not change the broad picture. Looking at the Earth’s climate over several million years we can see a cooling trend, with the preponderance and inevitability of the ice-ages and the complete absence of any run-away global warming.
    Reading disaster from the records of a few decades which remain part of a longer term trend remains dubious.

  26. Bill in Vigo (05:30:03) “It would be a good thing if more of our researchers would add a good statician to their “teams” to perhaps increase the validity of their computations.”
    Be careful with that. Academic-level Statistics is a dreamy field. The culture in the discipline leads to methods that lean heavily on untenable assumptions. Crazy assumptions are the problem – i.e. when something complex is not yet understood, that does not mean it is random or that it conveniently follows some abstract notion (despite widespread dreamy mainstream-science conventions that could easily get a practicing engineer in serious trouble).
    It is important to keep in mind that each discipline has an interest in its own survival and that trends in methodology within disciplines (particularly the abstract ones) are largely driven internally. Funding structures have created this jealous & selfish mess which interferes with interdisciplinary research.
    We may yet need to tear into the university education & research system with firm resolve to restructure it to address interdisciplinary challenges.

  27. Lucy Skywalker, I see Ninderthana’s interesting comment in response to your question. Perhaps the mechanism he suggests is working in concert with the other interesting theory being tossed around here lately – i.e. that currently-strong ocean-atmosphere gradients are related to solar minimum and that this has the oceans presently in a state of discharge without net replenishment.
    Whatever is happening, I’ve absolutely no doubt whatsoever that natural climate is dramatically more complex than some would like the masses to believe.

    Comment about the solar minimum / SST theory:
    My request of the proponents is this:
    Explain why the pattern is reversed pre-1930 (all the way back to 1770). This is not something that can be swept under a rug – on the contrary: it should be a key focus. The fact that it works like a switch that flips to anti-phase-relations is a big clue about something very important. I don’t have a theory ready for presentation, but this is on my mind. For those pondering this: I refer you to the works of Russian scientist Yu.V Barkin and wish you efficient, penetrating insight.
    Best Regards.

  28. Re: Bob Tisdale (01:03:57)
    Bob you’re doing a great job with your blog. I was just looking at…
    “Sea Level Data In Monthly Format”
    http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/sea-level-data-in-monthly-format.html
    …and wishing I had some time to run some basin- & region-wise contrasts – i.e. Pac-Atl, Pac-Ind, Atl-Ind, & others — for example I’m curious to compare the 70S, 70W area with others after reading several of the recent works of Yu.V. Barkin. (I’m saving the task for a clearer day in case I run into time-sucking data-format issues, as per your comments.)
    Such contrasts will yield valuable clues about the spatiotemporal rhythm of the hydrologic cycle (which is a major factor interfering with efforts to understand solar-terrestrial relations).
    I’ll keep an eye on your blog in case you beat me to the contrasts.

  29. All,
    Up top, someone was musing about using blogs vs “peer reviewed” and the result of that in light of this “whiplash” episode.
    FWIW – Dr. Spencer’s comment “sorry about the whiplash” to me is why the blog process is an important stop in any scientific investigation. A couple of reasons off the top of my head:
    1. The audience is wide with many different backgrounds, education levels and beliefs (yes they do count in how we think). In the blog environment the scientist can rub shoulders with someone who asks an innocent question from ignorance which sparks a new avenue of questioning the data.
    2. It’s informal – the trappings of academia drop away and anyone can express an opinion, and, if stated with some civility, get an audience to respond.
    3. It prevents the “I have a mind like a steel trap, rusted shut” syndrome because someone is always ready to pick apart the conclusion, and while that can get annoying, it often helps to cause questions.
    4. It is an open rather than closed discussion. I see few are swayed by the Dr. in front of the names here. That allows us to converse as human beings rather than sycophants looking to the all powerful Oz for enlightenment.
    Whiplash? I think not, simply and ebb and flow of a process.
    The conversation here may have prevented a really good scientist from getting egg on his face, which would have hampered any future discussions of AGW.
    I’ll shaddup now…
    Mike

  30. RobP (05:58:33) – Blogs can’t always replace good peer review. Review in some busy blogs with attentive participants can find some problems. But if an RC team member posts on a place like RC, he’ll mostly get echoes of agreement…and disagreements will be deleted (assuming anyone who disagrees still reads there). At most blogs there aren’t enough readers to matter.
    However, similar technologies can be used to help communication between a group of participants. Whether the discussion is also open to the public is a policy decision.

  31. Errors in statistical manipulation of any of this stuff seems equal to the “measured CO2 signal”. Dr. Spencer demonstrates this. I think before AGWer’s speak of a warming signal, someone needs to come up with a standard error of measurement for what some are saying is a warming signal.

  32. A new 2,000-year-long reconstruction of sea surface temperatures (SST) from the Indo-Pacific warm pool (IPWP) suggests that temperatures in the region may have been as warm during the Medieval Warm Period as they are today.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827131832.htm
    Hey I thought the Medieval warm Period (according to the warmers) was only a local phenomenon? But here it appears in the “the largest body of warm water in the world, and, as a result, it is the largest source of heat and moisture to the global atmosphere, and an important component of the planet’s climate.”

  33. savethesharks (19:43:16) : Thank you Chris.
    If Arctic sea ice is any indicator of ocean temperatures then July does seem to have been a warm period for sea surface temperatures.
    I am keeping a record of sea ice extents and melting. In July the melt this year exceeded the July 2008 melt by 311,719 sq kms.
    However from precisely this date (the 27th of July) this year, the trend reversed and the melt today is 459,063 sq kms less than the same day last year.
    The total difference from the 27th of july – 870,000 sq kms. (870,000 sq kms less ice melted from that day, which seems pretty significant to me)
    I’m not offering any explanation. Just an observation. Does anyone have any solar data that matches these dates?

  34. Flanagan (22:38:17) : No on the 27th of july the ice was 311,719 sq kms LESS than the ice at the same date last year. ever since that day the melt has been less than last year and on the 1st of Sept the ice was 459,063 sq kms MORE than that last year.
    Sorry I said the MELT was less – the way I put it was confusing.

  35. This seems to be borne out by the people actually traversing the passage. “”Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean’s overall ice cover is headed for another ‘extreme’ meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.”

  36. Richard, ice extent and area can shift and look like melt when it is actually compaction or movement into another area due to wind.

  37. It did seem that the error you found in the first data sets could have easily been a cooling bias rather than a warming one.
    Thank you clearing it up, however maybe you should also edit the original post as many may go there and not read the follow up?

  38. Richard (00:20:36) :
    Interesting that you saw fit to link to a two week old article which no longer has any relevance since all the yachts referred to have left the NW Passage. At the date it was published the Passage wasn’t clear last year either (see below). The Fleur Australe, which wasn’t mentioned in the article, had already passed through the ice and was in Gjoa Havn and is now anchored in Nome!
    WEDNESDAY, 13 AUGUST 2008
    The Plan
    If such it could be said to be – we should be in Gjoa Havn this afternoon. The ice and weather are not looking at all good in the short term so we will wait in GH and see what happens. Options are to go back and look around the western and northern sides of King William and see whether we can get through to the west, or to nose out into James Ross Strait and feel the ice, or just to sit and wait for an easterly storm to open up a lead for us. If none of these, then we will have to park Berri somewhere for a possibly 50(F) below winter. I don’t know what facilities there are in GH, but I think that we might be able to get her out of the water in Cambridge Bay so contingency plans are hatching for any or all of the above. Appendages please – it’s early yet but not looking too rosy. If it all goes pearshaped, we will aim to be back in Cambridge Bay or GH by the end of September at the very latest.

  39. What whiplash Dr Roy ?
    We can dance as fast as you can; so don’t worry about us being able to adjust to your adjustments. Don’t you wish they had left the blasted satellite alone where it was ? I bet it even has a different orbital period than what it used to have, so I’m sure you will find some new knobs you have to tweak as well, to try and compensate for what those vandals did when they moved your gizmo.
    But I can tell you are having fun doing this; so that is a good thing; we are certainly having fun keeping up with your adventures.
    There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with figuring out what really is going on; so thank you for your diligence, and for letting us in on the progress.
    There really is a law of unintended consequences; when you change something; it’s a bit like Oliver Cromwell’s axe, in the British Museum. It has only had two new heads, and five new handles since Oliver last used it !
    George

  40. Phil. (08:51:53) : Interesting that you saw fit to link to a two week old article which no longer has any relevance since all the yachts referred to have left the NW Passage.
    Phil was any yacht referred to in that quote? It compares this years ice to the last.
    I dont remember if the Fleur Australe had already passed the passage, but if they had then that confirms that conditions got worse after that, when they should have got better. And the Fleur Australe had a mighty tough time getting through. It wasnt a “clear passge” like the last two years.
    Can you post a link to that bit you have posted?

  41. Ok found it and here is the very next post on the same date:
    “Wednesday, 13 August 2008 The Berri is going for it!
    I just talked to Alex on the sat phone.
    He just received my “It’s open” message. ..Alex was very excited about the ice report. The full length of western coast Boothia is open or very thin (East side of Ross- Larsen- Franklin). The Berri is going to skip Gjoa Haven and move up into Ross for the attempt…” and on the 18th of August they got through. They went north of Baffin Island which is blocked this year.
    Phil please dont quibble over inconsequential stuff.

  42. Focus on whether or not records were broken might be missing the more important issue.
    In the eyes of an administrator, strength usually takes precedence over truth…

    Exaggerated scenario for the purpose of illustration:
    If temperatures suddenly doubled, I would suspect natural causes.
    The problem is that the public has been conditioned to think like this:
    “If temperature goes up, it means anthro-CO2 is the cause.”
    Like screwy economic models based on bad assumptions, this overly-simplistic reasoning constitutes a threat to civilization.
    The arrival of the information age does not mean common sense can be abandoned – rather, it means that we now have easy access to statistics that are orders of magnitude more difficult to interpret sensibly.

  43. Richard (11:51:59) :
    Phil. (08:51:53) :” Interesting that you saw fit to link to a two week old article which no longer has any relevance since all the yachts referred to have left the NW Passage.”
    Phil was any yacht referred to in that quote? It compares this years ice to the last.

    So you didn’t read the piece before you linked it? The title is ‘Northwest Passage wrap-up: Boats blocked by ice in Gulf of Amundsen’, the first two sentences name 4 boats and is headed by a photo of three of them!
    I dont remember if the Fleur Australe had already passed the passage, but if they had then that confirms that conditions got worse after that, when they should have got better. And the Fleur Australe had a mighty tough time getting through. It wasnt a “clear passge” like the last two years.
    It confirms nothing of the sort, they sailed along a lead (just like last year) which either closed or the later yachts picked a wrong line. Last year was not a “clear passage” either, here’s Berrimilla’s description of their passage last year a couple of days later:
    “The Berri is just below the tip of the Tasmania Islands. Ice all around, “it’s a wall” but they can see one small opening to the NW. That is consistent with the ice charts and so that is where he will be heading.
    Last night, Alex steered to”what seemed sensible” and is still underway.The Amodino is not so lucky.
    The Berri crew has all been up all night dodging/fighting ice. They have not had time to do anything but handle the boat. (And I would hope to think- a quick bite) The call was short as Alex had to return to deck at once. He sounded tired and stressed. A long, long few miles and they will be out of it.
    ……….
    The Amodino is stuck in the ice. They are much larger and can hopefully push their way around. Good luck to them. The Berri is too small and under powered to help, if there was a prayer to get close enough to help. ……….
    Ice this dense,1/10 to 2/10, doesn’t just float around, it plays bumper penguin. One moving piece bumps into the next stopping but causes the next piece to take off, and so on. Openings close quickly and new opening happen just as fast.”
    Richard (12:09:54) :
    They went north of Baffin Island which is blocked this year.

    No it isn’t, but this year the W-E yachts went through Bellot which was open this year but not last year and cuts some distance off the trip.
    Phil please dont quibble over inconsequential stuff.
    Well I suggest that you stop posting such inconsequential stuff then>

  44. Dr Spencer, You had posted a while back that you thought that there was a spurious warming of 0.2 C in the SST anomalies. Then you said you were mistaken.
    However I just came across this little piece of information which made me wonder.
    “..to enable them to make the case the oceans are warming, NOAA chose to remove satellite input into their global ocean estimation and not make any attempt to operationally use Argo data in the process. This resulted in a jump of 0.2C or more and ‘a new ocean warmth record’ in July.”
    According to this NOAA has not used Argo data in computing their anomaly and with the Argo data the July temperature would have been 0.2C less.
    Would you care to comment on this?
    Regards
    Richard

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