Little Ice Age thermometers – History and Reliability

Little Ice Age thermometers – History and Reliability

Guest post by TonyB

How reliable are The Little Ice Age thermometers ?

The Little Ice age thermometers project is an attempt to compile instrumental readings from 1660 that predate the era of modern ‘global temperatures’ as recorded by Hadley (1850) and Giss (1880). These datasets are accessed from a graphic through this link;

http://climatereason.com/LittleIceAgeThermometers/

LIA Thermometers

The project will examine the reliability of these historic datasets as a means for climate researchers to gaze into our past to see if there are any lessons for the present. In this respect many of those individual stations found to date will have been included in the Cru datasets that are not readily accessible to those outside selected members of the scientific community. In order to examine these records and place them into context with Hadley/Cru and Giss, the author has produced three separate but interlinked articles as follows;

*This first one deals with activities centred around 1850/1880 a period which has had an important bearing on our current understanding of global temperatures.

*Article two will examine the development of the thermometer and our understanding of climate prior to the 1850/1880 records. In doing so we will pay particular attention to the quality/reliability of the readings used in the project, examine those who carried out the observations, and look at the circumstances under which they were collected. This should answer the question-are the readings a reliable record of the time?

* The third article examines the methods of compiling ‘modern’ records from 1850/1880-to today. In examining whether the historic temperature readings can be viewed as a useful tool for modern climate researchers, we also consider if the modern records are as reliable as they are portrayed.

In order to obtain some context of the period leading up to 1850/1880 some key historic points are outlined here to demonstrate that knowledge of weather, climate and temperatures, is not purely confined to the modern era.

Ancient History

An understanding of the importance of temperatures -and the climate they were a product of- goes back to the ancient Greeks who recognised the expansion of air by heat over two thousand years ago. The earliest writings concerning those phenomena were from the works of Philo of Byzantium (2nd Century B.C.) and Heron of Alexandria, each of whom constructed a crude ‘thermo scope.’

Aristotle subsequently postulated his four qualities, the hot, the cold, the moist, and the dry, and his ideas were adopted by Galen (A.D. 130-200), who was the first man to describe the heat and cold by a number about fifteen hundred years ago.

The rise of Rome coincided with the warm Roman optimum. We are fortunate that we have available the climate references from not only the Western Roman empire, but those of the Byzantine empire (the Eastern Roman empire after the collapse of Rome) approx 380-1453 AD. Collectively, the Egyptian, Roman and Byzantine empires can provide records of some 4000 years of climate change. Geographically this covers a large part of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Knowledge of the Vikings enables us to extend that geographic range far to the North. Studies from elsewhere in the world-including the Southern Hemisphere-provide tantalising glimpses of climate change elsewhere.

Some of the Roman climate references are fascinating. This observation from a series of cold winters -after many warm ones- around the 8th century in Byzantium (centred around Modern day Turkey)

“Theophanes’ account recalls how, as a child, the author (or his source’s author) went out on the ice with thirty other children and played on it and that some of his pets and other animals died. It was possible to walk all over the Bosporus around Constantinople and even cross to Asia on the ice. One huge iceberg crushed the wharf at the Acropolis, close to the tip of Constantinople’s peninsula, and another extremely large one hit the city wall, shaking it and the houses on the other side, before breaking into three large pieces; it was higher than the city walls. The terrified Constantinopolitans wondered what it could possibly portend.”

It would be remiss not to connect the Roman warm optimum and the series of savage winters recorded above that afflicted Constantinople, with the great medieval warming of Greenland and the age of the Vikings several hundred years later. This enables us to contemplate the astonishing notion of Romans and Vikings from respective warm periods co-existing in the same era, as Vikings guarded the capital of the Eastern Roman empire.

http://travdyn.wordpress.com/2008/05/21/the-little-known-tale-of-the-byzantine-vikings/

Constantinople was guarded by an elite mercenary squad of Russianized Vikings (who apparently were fond of the Mediterranean climate) named the Varangian Guard. According to a wonderful entry in this History of Warfare blog, (and we pick this story up in medias res)

In early 989 AD a Viking fleet arrived with the promised 6000 Norseman. A few weeks later they crossed the straits of the Golden Horn under the cover of darkness and took up positions a few hundred yards from the rebel camp. At first light they attacked, while a squadron of imperial flame-throwers sprayed the shore with Greek fire. Phocas’s men awoke to the terrifying sight of the Varangians swinging their swords and battleaxes. The result was a massacre. Basil with the aid of the Varangians soon crushed the rebellion entirely.

The Viking Varangian guard

Figure 1: The Viking Varangian guard

After the rebellion, the Varangians were immediately established as the emperor’s personal bodyguards. Anna Komnena writing in ‘the Alexiad’ claimed that the Guard were far more reliable and trustworthy as bodyguards than native Byzantine troops.”

The Little ice age.

In due course we shall examine the Hadley/Giss data sets from 1850/80 which overlap with the final burst of the LIA. This period commenced around 1350 and is a much misrepresented era;

IPCC FAQ 6.2 Page114 of TAR4.

‘All published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times, cooled to low values in the 16th 17th 18th 19th centuries, then warmed rapidly after that.’

Of course there were periods of bitter cold as this traditional view demonstrates

Hunters in the snow by Bruegel the elder

Figure 2 Hunters in the snow-by Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel the elder 1525-1569. Completed in 1565 and said to depict the first of the bitter winters of the Little Ice Age. This helps colour our view that this period was unremittingly cold-a mistake that even the IPCC make.

But these were interspersed with much warmer periods, illustrating that even through this anomalous period the summits and valleys that typify climate patterns through the ages still operated, as observed from the Roman optimum and Medieval warm period to the Modern warm period.

oscilating_climate2

Figure 3 –Little Ice age and warm periods

Some of these temperature summits will be explored through the medium of the LIA thermometers projects in Article two and are even more startling than they appear in this graphic, demonstrating the periods of warmth during the LIA were not that much different to today.

It enables us to refute the comments of the IPCC by paraphrasing Michael Mann and assert that ‘the LIA is an outdated concept’.

Early temperature devices

Although there are many claims as to who built the first thermo scope (a thermo scope does not have a scale, a thermometer does) most authorities attribute its invention to the Italian scientist Galileo (1564–1642), probably in 1592. There are independent reports of air thermo scopes invented by Galileo’s medical disciple, Sanctorius (1561–1636). It appears likely that these were directly derived from Arabic translations of Philo and Heron’s work -compiled in Greek- from millennia before, referenced earlier.

Thermometers and a hygrometer

Figure 4. Thermometers (1–5) and a hygrometer (6) of the Accademia del Cimento. (From Middleton [2]).physician and mystical philosopher, Robert Fudd (1574–1651); the clock maker, Cornelius Drebbel (1572–1633); and the engineer, Salomon de Caus [1]. The first thermometers had the common property of being a tube of different construction opened to the atmosphere. They either did not have a scale, or they were crudely graduated with notches. They were usually intended for medical or meteorological purposes. The thermometers built by Evangelista Torricelli (1608–1647) had blown glass bubbles of different weight; the ball that floated determined the particular level of temperature. None of the scales were comparable with other instruments or accurate from one day to the other because of changing barometric conditions. The earliest air thermometer that corrected for air pressure seems to be the one described by Guillaume Amontons (1663–1705) to the Académie des Sciences in 1702 [2].

In January 1660/61-the year the Royal Society was established- English diarist Pepys observed; “It is strange what weather we have had all this winter; no cold at all; but the ways are dusty, and the flyes fly up and down, and the rose-bushes are full of leaves, such a time of the year as was never known in this world before here.”

One of the earliest attempts at calibration and standardisation between thermometers was made in October 1663 in London. The members of the Royal Society of London agreed to use one of several thermometers made by Robert Hooke as the standard, so that the reading of others could be adjusted to it. Thus the reading in one laboratory could compare a temperature to reading in another laboratory through the standard correction.

The Danish astronomer Rømer (1644–1710), discoverer of the finite speed of light, is assumed to be the first to build reproducible thermometers. In 1702 he proposed using two fixed points.

http://chemeducator.org/sbibs/s0005002/spapers/520088jw.htm

The development of stable Fahrenheit thermometers was a watershed point in the development of thermometry. The methods of making scale were in confusion at that time, because the craftsman in different countries used different calibration points (there were 18 scales up to 1841 and around 40 at the start of the 18th century).

Thermometers from their earliest days were precision instruments made with great care and at great cost. Some of the early manufacturers included Dolland and Newman, Adams and GB Fahrenheit. They were used as serious scientific instruments to observe, measure and record, but as ever the rich and powerful adopted the new technology and thermometers became fashionable

Frederik became King of Prussia in 1701 and immediately set up a measuring station that became Berlin Tempelhof, one of our oldest records (and mentioned in LIA thermometers) and this started a rash of similar stations that caused Samuel Horsley to comment in 1774:

‘The practice of keeping meteorological journals is of late years becoming very general’. The weather was seen to be important for our well-being. ‘We shall always search for ways to make observations more exact, both for the sake of agriculture and our health’, said Johann Hemmer in 1780. Records were kept for years in the hope of seeing patterns emerge which could have future use. As the LIA thermometers project illustrates, that is exactly what has happened as we are able to view climatic cycles through the centuries, somewhat disproving the Met Offices observations of limited climatic variability in the past. . http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/policymakers/policy/slowdown.html

Extract “Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.”

The 1850/1880 dividing line which this article has taken as its focal point is a useful one, as 1850 is the date from which Phil Jones based his Hadley Cru set.

Annual Timeseries

Figure 5-Global average land temperature from 1850-Crutem3 from Hadley/Cru

1880 is the date from which James Hansen chose to start his global records from.

Fig A

Figure 6-Global average land temperatures from 1850-Giss

The link below is Hansen’s original 1987 paper where he identified the stations that he felt could be used in his own dataset. Figure 2 sums the numbers up.

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff.pdf

GS Callendar -who in 1938 published his theory of man made warming caused by Co2- was a respected amateur meteorologist and believed the number of reliable temperature datasets (as opposed to available temperature datsets) numbered only a couple of hundred when he was making his study. Numbers tailed off dramatically as he regressed through each decade, with extremely poor coverage in the Southern Hemisphere throughout the study. It was for the resons of spatial numbers- not measurement quality- that Hansen decided that 1850 was not a practical start date and chose a later one which had slightly better spatial numbers. Even then there were very few thermometers giving consistent readings for anything other than the Northern Hemisphere and those mostly in Europe/North America.

This from Chiefio http://chiefio.wordpress.com/ illustrates the surprisingly small number of thermometers used in the GISS database (from the 1879 decade). (Article three draws much more from the remarkable work of E M Smith.)

The March of the Thermometers

Year, and 20 degree latitude bands, south to north. Thermometer years.

SP – South Pole SC – Southern Cold ST – Southern Temperate

SW – Southern Warm EQ – Equator NW – Northern Warm NT – Northern Temperate NC – Northern Cold NP – North Pole.

(So everything to the left of the EQ column is SH everything to the right of EQ is NH)

SP SC ST SW EQ NW NT NC NP

DecadeLat: 1709 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

DecadeLat: 1719 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

DecadeLat: 1729 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

DecadeLat: 1739 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0

DecadeLat: 1749 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0

DecadeLat: 1759 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 0

DecadeLat: 1769 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 10 0

DecadeLat: 1779 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 14 0

DecadeLat: 1789 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 16 0

DecadeLat: 1799 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 16 0

DecadeLat: 1809 0 0 0 0 0 1 24 20 0

DecadeLat: 1819 0 0 0 0 0 1 32 28 0

DecadeLat: 1829 0 0 0 0 0 2 54 48 0

DecadeLat: 1839 0 0 0 0 0 4 74 72 0

DecadeLat: 1849 0 0 1 0 2 6 93 82 1

DecadeLat: 1859 0 0 3 0 2 11 137 92 2

DecadeLat: 1869 0 0 15 0 3 7 173 103 1

DecadeLat: 1879 0 0 27 2 15 20 336 110 2

DecadeLat: 1889 0 0 44 10 18 48 624 184 3

DecadeLat: 1899 0 2 57 26 31 87 1175 309 3

DecadeLat: 1909 0 9 111 61 44 133 1510 382 5

DecadeLat: 1919 0 11 174 124 57 160 1789 479 8

DecadeLat: 1929 0 11 187 145 66 212 1961 545 16

DecadeLat: 1939 0 13 220 180 91 304 2156 713 26

DecadeLat: 1949 0 20 261 259 116 407 2412 887 37

DecadeLat: 1959 9 43 347 453 421 1010 3417 1249 80

DecadeLat: 1969 32 68 466 650 729 1310 4121 1511 105

DecadeLat: 1979 34 85 580 747 661 1269 4204 1511 103

DecadeLat: 1989 25 68 495 605 452 916 3805 1307 82

DecadeLat: 1999 9 32 212 250 224 429 2128 314 27

DecadeLat: 2009 7 20 102 132 159 316 1339 241 17

Figure 7-Thermometers by decade

More specifically in 1880 Africa had 14 thermometers; Asia 26, North America 233, Australia 30 and Europe 118.

There was a big upsurge in stations in N America from around this time and numbers rose to 1446 in 1914. Around 1880 there were a number of US weather related developments.

*General Hazen became the chief officer for the Signal Service (1880), but he was later discredited for allegedly embezzling $237,000 dollars. During his administration, other strife existed as the Army became increasingly unhappy that the enlisted men in the Signal Corps could not be pulled away from their duties and the weather.

More Info

*After General Hazen’s death in 1887, General Greely and President Benjamin Harrison were able to quiet some of the unrest and pushed to have the Signal Corps transferred to the Department of Agriculture on October 1, 1870. On July 1, 1891, all weather instrumentation and staff were transferred from the Signal Corps’ to the Department of Agriculture’s new civilian Weather Bureau.

*State Weather Services were organized starting in 1883 by Lieutenant. H. H. C. Dunwoody. In October 1895 control of the State Weather Services passed to the larger United States Weather Bureau formed in 1891.

http://weather.about.com/od/weatherhistory/tp/Signal_Service.02.htm

Whilst there was a lot happening in the States, they were by no means the prime weather service in the world-the British, Dutch, or Swedes would claim that honour. . There was an upsurge in the numbers of stations precipitated by the demands of the embryonic weather services in various countries, military requirements, and partly because this was the age of mass production and thermometers became cheaper and more readily available. It thus made a final progression from a scientific instrument in the hands of well trained recorders to a more workaday tool, with all that meant in terms of the quality of observations made at the ever expanding station network.

There were other driving forces in the weather world at this time, and the most important of these was the invention of the Stevenson screen by British civil engineer Thomas Stevenson- father of author Robert Louis Stevenson- in 1864

It is this device that tends to be the great dividing line between historic and modern era -in as much instrumental reliability is considered better after its creation than before. This impression is somewhat mistaken as shall be illustrated in article two, as it assumes trained observers- whose life work was often recording weather and temperatures- did not understand how to observe temperatures accurately before the advent of the Stevenson screen. Any potential shortfalls there may have been in the accuracy of the historic records have been corrected by later generations of dedicated researchers. One of the most famous of these is G Manley who spent a lifetime researching British temperature records and published his findings in an article dated 1974. The UK has the longest instrumental records of anywhere in the world, allowing recent climate changes to be judged in the context of the last 250-350 years. The Central England temperature (CET) series starts in 1659 and was enhanced by Parker et al. (1992) who added the daily series back to 1772, it is routinely updated and the monthly data can be found online.

http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/ukweather/

The Stevenson screen

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

Stevenson Screen

The Stevenson Screen or thermometer screen is a standard shelter (from rain, snow and high winds, but also leaves and animals) for meteorological instruments, particularly wet and dry bulb thermometers used to record humidity and air temperature.

It is kept 1.25m/4.1ft (UK standard) above the ground by legs to avoid strong temperature gradients at ground level, has louvred sides to encourage the free passage of air, and is painted white to reflect heat radiation, since what is measured is the temperature of the air in the shade, not of the sunshine.

Proper siting and construction are vital if an accurate reading is to be obtained and the early practice of constructing screens of asbestos board, size variations, siting confusion, internal coatings of paint, all had accuracy impacts, many of which persist to this day

http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:jH498fHvnIMJ:wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/14/a-typical-day-in-the-stevenson-screen-paint-test/+invention+of+stevenson+screens&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

and this; http://www.surfacestations.org/

It took some decades before the Stevenson screen became universal. This paper calls on the work of Parker and others in examining the effects of the Stevenson screen and earlier shelters on instrumental readings.

http://www.dvgu.ru/meteo/library/199548746943.pdf

Extract;

“Many early thermometer-stands were open to poleward, allowing reflected solar radiation to affect the thermometers by day, and permitting radiative heat-loss at night. As a result, recorded diurnal ranges were enhanced relative to what would have been measured in Stevenson screens (Figs. 2 and 3). The effect was greatest in summer. There were differences between types of thermometer-stand: for example, the night-time cooling evident in the Glaisher stand (Fig. 2; Margary, 1924) was not found in the French stand (Dettwiller, 1978). Also Young (1920) only found generally small biases in the USA’s fruit-region shelter. His sample, however, was small.

Wild’s apparatus, common in Russia and eastern and central Europe in the late nineteenth century was more complex, consisting of a cylindrical shield inside a

louvred screen. Parker (1994) provides illustrations. However, its biases also enhanced the recorded diurnal ranges (Fig. 4), though with less of an annual cycle than for the open stands. In the tropics, thatched or felted sheds were common until the 1920’s, the thermometers being suspended from the eaves in a cage, or fixed to a trellis in the shed. Receipt of reflected solar and emitted longwave radiation from the ground outside the shed made maxima too high relative to a Stevenson screen, and minima were also too high owing to retention of heat by the roofing material. According to the results of Field (1920) (Fig. 5a) diurnal ranges were slightly reduced on an annual average, but with some seasonal variation; Bamford (1928), however, obtained an enhanced diurnal range throughout the year (Fig 5b). The biases will have been affected by the material used in the shed, by the reflection and emission properties of the ground outside it, and by the radiation and advection (wind)

climate of the site. The results of all instrumental comparisons must be to some extent site-specific.

North-wall screened exposures yield reduced diurnal ranges (Fig. 6; Marriott, 1879). These exposures were common in much of central, northern and eastern Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, Russia before the 1870’s, USA until 1890, Canada in the late nineteenth century (Parker, 1994).

Hazen (1885) examined unscreened north-wall exposures, which were common in the USA and Prussia until the early 1890’s. His results were for fixed hours (as opposed to maxima and minima) and suggest a slight enhancement of the diurnal range. However, the results will have been dependent on the particular sites used, and generalizations must be made with caution. Some old exposures have never been compared with Stevenson screens. A particular example is the Canadian screen and shed described by Kingston (1878) and illustrated by Parker (1994). Reconstruction of the apparatus, and a series of comparative measurements have been recommended (Parker, 1994).

The above results show that in most, but not all, cases, apparent diurnal ranges were reduced by the introduction of new instrumentation.”

The slow spread of the screen can be seen in this article about the Australian experience;

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/21922/abstract

Extract;

“There is ample contemporary evidence that most meteorological thermometers in Australia were not exposed in Stevenson screens until very late in the nineteenth century, and in many places not until well into the twentieth century. There is also evidence, from a long-running comparison at Adelaide, that mean temperatures in a Stevenson screen are lower than in an open stand in Australian conditions. Thus, there are strong grounds for expecting that nineteenth century, and some early twentieth century, Australian temperatures are biased warm, relative to modern exposures.”

So if objections are made to the accuracy of pre Stevenson screen temperatures- and bearing in mind the effective date of almost universal introduction is around 1920- then logically some 70 years of Hadley and 40 years of Giss must be discounted.

At this stage three things must be considered -firstly that mercury or alcohol thermometers can not be used to compute fractional temperature differences. At best they may be accurate to 0.5 to 1 degrees in well trained professional hands.

Secondly, in these days of ‘global’ temperatures it is easy to forget that a thermometer was designed to merely record the microclimate immediately around the device, and thirdly that using such devices to record an accurate global temperature takes an extraordinary leap of faith that sufficient numbers of properly sited, consistently monitored and accurate thermometers are used, and that these stations were never moved, deleted or had all sorts of debatable corrections made to them. That the end result can only be approximate is evident –to believe we know global temperatures have risen by a figure as precise as say 0.7c since 1880 is rather fanciful.

Micro climates

The LIA thermometers project makes no claim beyond the recording of the micro climate around the instrument. The global temperatures go much further in gluing together numerous micro climates which often bear little relationship to the original reading as they have been adjusted so comprehensively.

This observation is fundamental to understanding the relative merits and accuracy of the individual LIA thermometers and the global datasets from Hadley and Giss. What a micro climate is, how they are affected by a variety of factors, and what lessons they can teach us in examining the viability of historic or modern records is explained by the following series of article-this first explains the general principles;.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article6797699.ece

This next link is a good document of a practical study of micro climates (Teignmouth on the South coast of England, and Princetown on the uplands of Dartmoor a few miles away ) This also has very good study of London weather stations, amply illustrating micro climates and the impact of UHI (which will figure prominently in article three).

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/library/factsheets/factsheet14.pdf

This about world climate zones;

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/library/factsheets/factsheet16.pdf

The considerable impacts of land use on local/regional temperatures are discussed here;

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/r-329.pdf

As can be seen microclimates are influenced by many factors, prevailing winds-which can change, the warmth of the sea, humidity, forestation/ground use, relative sunshine, developments, prevailing weather systems etc. These can all alter microclimates characteristics over time so that it becomes warmer, cooler, wetter or dryer relative to another microclimate in which the characteristics –such as a change in the prevailing wind direction-come into play in a different manner.

The emphasis on global temperatures obscures the data the micro climates are providing. One of these is that there are dozens perhaps hundreds of locations from around the world that have been cooling for at least thirty years, some from the 1930’s and even earlier, in contradiction to the IPCC who assert;

“Over 1901 to 2000 as a whole, noting the strong consistency across the land-ocean boundary, most warming is observed over mid- and high latitude Asia and parts of western Canada. The only large areas of observed cooling are just south and east of Greenland and in a few scattered continental regions in the tropics and sub-tropics.”

http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports//tar/wg1/057.htm

Global data also obscures the fundamental impact of UHI on many individual locations, and also that some modern micro climate data no longer actually comes from the micro climate it originally began recording. Add to this data that has been adjusted to such a degree that any rational comparison becomes difficult, and the complexity of unravelling what is really happening becomes evident.

1850/1880 marks a watershed in the transition of the recording of micro climates to that of it being used to measure global temperatures. It also marks a fundamental clash in interpretation of history in as much Dr Hansen’s 1987 paper appears to make no acknowledgement that what was being recorded from 1880 was an upswing in temperatures from the lowest point of the climate cycle that heralded the final epoch of the little ice age. Indeed Dr Hansen says that he could find no sign of a cold period around 1880.

Clearly this interpretation is of fundamntal importance as there also appears to be no mention that taking readings from the top of the previous warm cycle would have caused entirely diferent conclusions to be reached than have been, namely that todays temperatures were nothing out of the ordinary when seen in context against the pre 1880 datasets when coupled with contemporary acounts of the times reaching back through the LIA to the MWP and Roman optimum.

These are themes that will be taken up in the next articles.

Acknowledgements and references not carried in the body of the article

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

http://www.zytemp.com/tutorial/History_Of_Thermometry.htm

http://www.makingthemodernworld.org.uk/stories/enlightenment_and_measurement/05.ST.05/?scene=5&tv=true

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=n0ye-tRYTNkC&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=Works+of+Philo+of+Byzantium+(2nd+Century+B.C.)+and+Heron+of+Alexandria+expasnsion+of+air+by+heat+.&source=bl&ots=Aq5VBnw_-V&sig=W2O30MTo_f48P8nlwknGsuZPgf4&hl=en&ei=REX8StjtFoz24Abhr7jgAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAgQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

(About Greek thermoscopes)

http://weather.about.com/od/weatherhistory/ig/US-Weather-Bureau-History/Early-Weather-Records.htm

Figure 3-. Origin unknown.

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68 thoughts on “Little Ice Age thermometers – History and Reliability

  1. There should be no lack of many records to be taken from the California Gold rush 1850 onwards, where plentiful wealth coupled with mining industry need to make records of temperature, rainfall and snowfall was undertaken across the state.
    Where are these records?
    I assume they have been sequestered, as California is a climate gateway to what happens downstream in the US. Wouldn’t want to find out that the warm era of the Gold Rush gave way to much colder climes in the late 1870’s to 1890’s, as newspaper accounts so indicate. Key hydrological data from the Bowman Reservoir, the first such in the West, is likewise ‘impounded’ by the need-to-know red tape.

  2. USAF Aug 1959-Dec 1963
    Stevenson screen on hangar roof outside tower, mercury bulb sling psychrometer, crank-driven until 1963
    Digital readout after that
    All observations hand recorded and networked on tty
    Whole degrees only
    Tyndall AFB, Fla

  3. Fascinating reading on a rather warm Auusie Sunday morning! As a non-scientist I say (as I so often feel on WUWT) a big thank you for the constant education I get here.

  4. TonyB , I just want to thank you for your efforts in putting actual , observed data in a historical perspective . Unfortunately , I am in the midst of travel for a few days and can’t read this post in its entirety , but will as soon as I can . I truly appreciate the links you have provided throughout the months I have been lurking around this site and your well reasoned posts .

  5. The whole surface temperature argument is bogus anyway, whichever way it happens to swing.
    Take 2 1km sq areas, 1 is humid 2 is arid.
    Area 1 warms by 1ºC
    Area 2 cools by 1ºC
    What’s happened to the energy balance?
    Doesn’t matter which way round you do it, temperature alone isn’t a true indication!
    DaveE.

  6. Excellent work Mr. B !! A Herculean effort!! I often wonder how difficult it would have been to keep a thermometer intact (even in a velvet lined wooden case) on a voyage from England to Fort York on a ship such as the Nonsuch. You can walk on board the Nonsuch in the Museum of Man and Nature in Winnipeg and see for oneself just how cramped the quarters were. Most of those men spent their whole lives at sea. Hard to fathom (pardon the pun). I couldn’t even imagine what it would have been like to “winter over” at Fort York in 17th century. We are very lucky to have the comforts we do today. Sad that so much of what these men have done has to be ignored and marginalized to keep up the false theory of (do I have to say it?).

  7. omparison of grape harvest to plot above (deltaO18)
    http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/4695/delta018vsgrape.jpg
    Note Grape harvest indicates high temp with short harvest time.
    The comparison
    [date] [do18 temperature] [grape harvest] [temperature record]
    1490 cool possible
    1500 warm possible
    1525 warm likely
    1535 cool unlikely
    1610 cool very unlikely
    1620 warm unlikely
    1640 warm possible
    1665 cool very unlikely
    1684 cool impossible
    1695 warm unlikely
    1725 cool unlikely
    1760 warm possible
    1805 cool unlikely
    1820 warm unlikely
    1830 cool unlikely
    1845 warm impossible
    1870 cool impossible impossible
    1875 warm possible possible
    1885 cold possible likely
    1905 warm unlikely impossible
    1935 warm unlikely likely
    1948 cool unlikely impossible
    To me the plot shown above is a poor representation of temperature

  8. Great history. A couple of little glitches you might want to change before some critic tries to make something of them.
    “Aristotle subsequently” > “Aristotle previously had”
    “there were 18 scales up to 1841 and around 40 at the start of the 18th century”

  9. “The Little Ice age thermometers project is an attempt to compile instrumental readings from 1660…”
    I’ll link to this again, my Excel graph of the one station that really goes back to 1660:
    http://i35.tinypic.com/2db1d89.jpg
    We really are only 5-10 years away from the simple temperatures themselves resolving the entire debate.

  10. DaveE (17:42:12) :
    It does seem important though which stations have been dropped and where the remainder are located.
    Or maybe I am missing your point Dave.

  11. That the end result can only be approximate is evident –to believe we know global temperatures have risen by a figure as precise as say 0.7c since 1880 is rather fanciful.
    ————————————————————-
    In my opinion, this is the crucial point of the entire “global warming” argument. The data cannot be trusted………I don’t care who/what “agency” is collecting the data. It is simply ludicrous to believe that the “average” global temperature can be calculated.

  12. bill (18:01:06) “To me the plot shown above is a poor representation of temperature”. Do you mean your plot above or the plot that TonyB posted? Was that a Freudian slip there bill? In your heart of hearts you must know that a proxy is much more prone to fallibility than an actual thermometer reading. I also find it interesting that a proxy for vineyards is used by proponents of AGW when it suits them and dismissed when it doesn’t ( Roman warm period records from vineyards).

  13. It is vitally important to show as much temperature data as possible.
    Escpecially when Mann/AGW etc show what appears to be 1 leg of a temp trend (and suspiciously altered twice).

  14. Brute:

    It is simply ludicrous to believe that the “average” global temperature can be calculated.

    Or that “average” global temperature is meaningful.

  15. TonyB thanks for a very interesting study,I will try to delve into the ‘More info’ links later,particularly the Australian study. Byzantium is a fascinating area of study, western Rome may have ‘fallen’ but eastern Rome (Byzantium) continued on its own merry way for 1000yrs, successfully incorporating local cultures into its population. The book mentioned, The Alexiad by Anna Komnena, is worth reading for its insights into this fascinating culture.
    Just a personal view of temperature. It is 35c outside and unseasonably hot for November but we have big max/min swings in inland Australia and a high overnight temp will influence the next daytime max. upward.
    So,are max/min and the resultant averages necessary for climate records, would not the heat expressed by a maximum reading be enough?

  16. bill (18:01:06) : Do you know the difference between a Pinot Noir and a Pina Colada? Can you explain the table you posted there?
    I always get a bit suspicious when I hear the word “impossible” while claiming something scientific.
    1. Where did you get the data of the Pinot Noir harvests going back to the 14 hundreds?
    2. Which region are these harvests for?
    “Note Grape harvest indicates high temp with short harvest time.” is not very illuminating. Can we examine your logic for alternative explanations. Examine if you have got things by the tail (the flea cant jump because I pulled its legs off – therefore pulling legs off the flea makes it deaf – logic).

  17. bill (18:01:06) : I did a wee search and this is what I found:
    “It has recently been claimed that the April–August temperature in France, in any given year, can be estimated from the harvest date of grapes grown there. Based on this claim, it was asserted that 2003 was the warmest year in the last six centuries. Herein, it is shown that the grape-derived temperature estimates are highly unreliable, and thus that the assertion is unfounded…
    The analysis of Chuine et al. .. makes a comparison of the (April–August) temperature in 2003 with the temperatures in other, individual, years. The analysis implicitly assumes that the model-estimated temperatures for individual years are reasonably accurate. Herein, the validity of this assumption is examined…
    ..the model overestimated the temperature for 2003 by 2.36 C (3.26 standard deviations)…
    Conclusion
    The model used by Chuine et al. (2004) has greatly overestimated the temperature of 2003 and greatly underestimated the temperatures of the warmest years in the instrumental record prior to then. These failures of the model imply that the model is inadequate for estimating the temperature in unusually warm years …”
    No need to examine the logic (which you havent either – simply regurgitated what suited your beliefs) – the proof of the pudding as in AGW is in the results – the model fails to reflect reality hence must be rejected.
    Here is the link http://www.informath.org/pubs/TAC06a.pdf

  18. TonyB, thanks from me also. I really enjoy this sort of historical material and not just because it is currently relevant. Nice work!
    Keith, in contrast to your 35C, in central Washington State we are just under 0C, while in Alaska they are looking at about -40C. However, we have fresh snow on the ground today so a high albedo. Tomorrow, the wind is expected to shift to come from the Hawaiian Islands area and bring warmer temps and lots of melting. So the albedo will alter greatly and the temperature fluctuates widely.

  19. Richard (21:53:03) : Where did you get the data of the Pinot Noir harvests going back to the 14 hundreds?
    Just making a WAG here, but maybe Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

  20. I hope you publish this, TonyB.
    What a thorough history & science lesson on a specific subject. Well done.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  21. A bit OT
    Hello. Not a scientist, just a plumber who specializes in hot water heating. Great blog, really glad i found it.
    Anyway, just want to point out that there is a way to help the finances of these sites (I have been doing this @ Dr Roy’s for a week now), that is fun and quite ironic. Go to the google ads and click on one of the AGW ads and these sites, the AGW site, through google, will pay a small sum to this or Dr Roy’s or whoevers! I love the idea of having the AGW’s fund the DeNihilists! I have been “funding” these sites with a couple of clicks a day.
    https://www.google.com/adsense/login/en_US/
    Leo G

  22. John F. Hultquist (22:26:47) :
    Richard (21:53:03) : Where did you get the data of the Pinot Noir harvests going back to the 14 hundreds?
    Just making a WAG here, but maybe Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
    Is that one of the wines one must taste before one dies? Maybe Bill had one too many of those which took him back to the 14 hundreds.

  23. “Constantinople was guarded by an elite mercenary squad of Russianized Vikings (who apparently were fond of the Mediterranean climate) named the Varangian Guard.”
    Where were they when Constantinople fell to the Turks? Churchill was an idiot. Instead of getting us massacred at Galipoli we could have gone up northern Greece and got Constantinople back from the Turk.

  24. Gene Nemetz (18:33:56) : It does seem important though which stations have been dropped and where the remainder are located.
    I’ve done a fairly through study of the changes in GHCN by year and by latitude here:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/ghcn-the-global-analysis/
    And I’ve started doing “Changes by year by altitude” with some interesting early results. (Things like Japan having no area higher than 300 m as of 2009; where it used to have mountains, it is now flat as Kansas… as far as thermometers are concerned… Similar findings all over the Pacific):
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/ghcn-pacific-islands-sinking-from-the-top-down/
    I also found the comment about “Western Canada” interesting in the context of the Rockies being systematically removed from the Canadian record (per the altitude chart):
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/ghcn-oh-canada-rockies-we-dont-need-no-rockies/
    and the fact that there is now ONE thermometer reporting for all the “Northern Stuff” (Yukon, Nunavut, NWT; north of 60N) and it is in a particularly warm place:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/ghcn-up-north-blame-canada-comrade/#ArcticGarden
    In some of the earlier “by year” investigations I included lists of all thermometers removed / left in; but it got somewhat cumbersome (there being several thousand deletions from GHCN, and GIStemp dropping all USHCN coverage after 2007)
    If folks are really interested in such lists, I can generate them. I just found the “by latitude” and “by altitude” more revealing.

  25. TonyB
    Well, how about that? There’s your article on WUWT just hours after I put in a good word for you! Never knew I had such influence. Seriously, well done and best wishes.

  26. For TonyB:
    You have included the record of Prague Klementinum – there’s a paper about the urban heat island influence and the population changes on the recorded values (under the pay wall):
    Rudolf Brázdil, Marie Budíková (1999)
    An urban bias in air temperature fluctuations at the Klementinum, Prague, The Czech Republic, Atmospheric Environment 33: 4211-4217
    It says in the Discussion part:
    The intensification of the UHI is usually correlated with an increase in the size of the urban population, the extension of the urban built-up areas and the increasing consumption of energy. Thus,Boehm (1979) states, in clarifying the intensification of the UHI in Vienna, that the number of inhabitants between 1952 and 1976 remained practically unchanged, the built-up area increased by 8%, but overall energy consumption increased by 150% . A depiction of the growth of the population of Prague is given in Fig.4, from which a conspicuous deceleration in population growth in the last 50-60 yr is clearly perceptible. Whereas the number of inhabitants in the historical centre and the inner city has decreased, in the outer city and the periphery, it has increased (Hruza,1992). The consumption of energy, however,increased conspicuously only between1975 and1987,the terminal energy consumption increased by
    25.5% (Brazdil,1993). These factors,together with the expansion of the built-up area (for example, the increase in the built-up area reached about 85% of the inner city between 1921 and 1970 (Hovorka,1975), may possibly be considered to be the main reasons for the intensification of the UHI.

    So it’s not only the amount of people around, but also the amount of energy they use, which should be factored in the UHI discussion.
    I can send the .pdf, but I can’t find any contact address. If interested, drop me a message (ewcz at seznam.cz)

  27. Tony,
    thanks for a fascinating article. Keep up the good work.
    “Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.”
    Could it be that the Met Office are – gasp – climate change deniers?
    More seriously, I do find it rather ironic that sceptics are often described as ‘climate change deniers’, bearing in mind that a major sceptical argument is that the climate is always changing. One could also describe the flat part of the hockey stick as the ultimate expression of climate change denial.
    OT, sorry….
    It seems there’s another rising star in the Republican camp who may well fill Sarah Palin’s shoes. A quote from today’s Observer:
    ‘She has attacked global warming by saying that carbon dioxide emissions are a natural part of the atmosphere. “Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas”, she said’.
    I think a lot of people here would agree with that sentiment….
    Chris

  28. David Ball (18:56:35)
    Richard (21:53:03)
    Richard (22:15:54) :
    Apologies
    The grape Pinot Noir grape harvest date is the number of days after September 1 that the grapes are harvested.
    paper: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/chuine2004/chuine2004.html
    data:ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/historical/france/burgundy2004.txt
    There are obviously limitations to this proxy as a temperature indicator –
    1. If too cold grapes will rot before ripening so there will be a maximum date for harvest.
    2. it does not matter how benign the growing conditions the earliest date will be set by biological factors not environmental.
    3. If the grape type is changed then this couldproduce a step change.
    4. Pests and diseases will have an effect.
    However, if it is cold during the growing ripening season with little sun then it is reasonable to assume that harvest will be delayed. Unlike corn (generic) grapes do not have to dry to a certain moisture content before harvest, so rain will have little effect on the date.
    If it is too cold then harvest will fail
    If it is too hot harvest will fail
    If temperatures are ideal then harvest date will be early.
    You will note that I do not show proxy derived temperatures on my plot – just the dates. This is a biological effect of the growing conditions and does not rely on temperature/date interpretations.
    The table I posted was derived from comparing the DO18 red blue plot from the entry with the harvest dates and temperature record.
    The “impossible” rating is purely indicating that the DO18 record says peak high/low but the grape/temperature shows the oppposite.
    The “likely” rating indicates that the do18 and grape/temp records agree.
    David Ball. There are very few temperature records before 16.00. If there were some then this debate would be much different. Grape harvest dates provide just one simple biological indicator of temperatures. Growing conditions (fertilisation, water etc) would be controlled to produce the required acidity for the wine. Temperature cannot becontroled.
    Here is a comparison between a measured temperature and harvest date (same as above but showing onlt the instrumental measurements period)
    http://img22.imageshack.us/img22/668/grapeharvestovertinstru.jpg
    A couple of harvst dates compared:
    http://img204.imageshack.us/i/pinotnoirswissoxdihad.jpg/
    Pinot noir and Central England Temperature:
    http://img101.imageshack.us/i/grapeharvestcetlongqc0.jpg/

  29. Valuable historical retrospective.
    During last 6 months I posted number of comments regarding LIA temperature, questioning some traditional and some more recent assumptions. I would only restate:
    Producing a global temperature anomaly graph is fraught with danger, for simple reason that while in one place temps are going up elsewhere may go down, neutralizing each other (ocean gyres may take 30-50 years or even longer to close the loop). Even regions like North Atlantic can not be easily standardized; the European and American sides have shown widely different trends.

  30. bill (04:18:11) :
    This is fascinating; I had long wondered…..
    There must be data like this in all the major wine poroducing regions/continents going back at least as long as temperature records. I suppose, IF it has been kept, it would be in private hands in many cases and accessing it would be a problem.
    A few more caveats for you (you probably have already thought of):
    – humidity – not just temperature or rainfall will affect rot;
    – conditions during growing will affect sugar content, which will affect not only harvest date but also quality (and thus declaration of ‘a vintage’), selling price, maturation qualities etc.
    If there was some way to capture all this data and feed it into, say, a neural network, the relationships for historical regional weather would be, um, I was going to say valuable, but on second thoughts, on the global scale ‘irrelevant’ might be more appropriate. Oh dear! Sometimes detail seems important, but perhaps we crave too much at times. Lets just stick with temperature with the caveats applied.
    Nice work.

  31. And I thought Celsius existed.
    By the way, If you look closely in Pieter Bruegels painting you can see that the kids are playing ice hockey. With hockey sticks.
    That’s were the idea comes from.

  32. Thanks to everyone for their kind comments and suggested tweaks to the article carried here.
    I am particularly interested in the effects of UHI on urban temperatures, and this was one of the subjects of my article over at Air vent that preceded this current one.
    I have obtained numerous papers on UHI and published a logarithmic graph that could act as some general guide to the effect of UHI -the impact it has on urban temperatures is very much understated by the IPCC I feel.
    Comments on the UHI effect welcome here, or at Air vent, as it plays a key part in my third article-which will look at global temperatures from 1880 to the modern day-very many of which come from stations that have become urbanised since 1880.
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/invisible-elephants/
    The ‘Invisible Elephants’ article also demonstrates the usefulness of looking back further than 1880, as even peering through the UHI induced haze we can clearly see temperatures rising then falling prior to the 1880 records, as part of the natural climatic cycle.
    I would very much appreciate any additional Little Ice age thermometer references-there are many more out there-although unfortunately many records were curtailed when Hadley/Giss didn’t use them as official stations and I guess funding was cut.
    EW
    Yes please to the pdf on Prague I will contact you separately
    Tonyb

  33. According to IPCC, “it is very likely, the most of the post WWII temperature increase has been caused by emissions of greenhouse gases. The increase is most pronounced in Northern hemisphere and Arctic”.
    Looking at US temperature record, there is barely any increase since WWII:
    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/wp-images/US_temps_fig3.gif
    Keep in mind, that half of the increase is caused by land use changes/UHI and Hansen manipulation. So the net increase is zero or negative.
    Looking at the Arctic stations free of UHI/land use changes, they show exactly the same: no net increase since WWII. Unfortunately, GISS webpage is down now, but this is mix of Greenland stations: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=431042500000&data_set=1&num_neighbors=5
    This is Arctic as a whole: http://www.climate4you.com/images/MAAT%2070-90N%20HadCRUT3%20Since1900.gif
    It is very time to debunk the HadCRUT dataset, which is first combination of station data of questionable quality and the combination algorithm (=added value) adds another hockey stick increase.

  34. bill (04:18:11) :”… The grape Pinot Noir grape harvest date is the number of days after September 1 that the grapes are harvested.
    There are obviously limitations to this proxy as a temperature indicator –
    1. If too cold grapes will rot before ripening so there will be a maximum date for harvest.
    2. it does not matter how benign the growing conditions the earliest date will be set by biological factors not environmental.
    3. If the grape type is changed then this couldproduce a step change.
    4. Pests and diseases will have an effect.”
    [too many if buts and so’s – leading to many possible interpretations of the data]
    “However, if it is cold during the growing ripening season with little sun then it is reasonable to assume that harvest will be delayed. Unlike corn (generic) grapes do not have to dry to a certain moisture content before harvest, so rain will have little effect on the date.
    If it is too cold then harvest will fail
    If it is too hot harvest will fail
    If temperatures are ideal then harvest date will be early.
    You will note that I do not show proxy derived temperatures on my plot – just the dates. This is a biological effect of the growing conditions and does not rely on temperature/date interpretations.”
    1. As I brought to your attention it has been pointed out that during the measured temperature records the proxy fails – thus to use it as proxy measurement for the distant past is not very meaningful.
    The table I posted was derived from comparing the DO18 red blue plot from the entry with the harvest dates and temperature record.
    The “impossible” rating is purely indicating that the DO18 record says peak high/low but the grape/temperature shows the oppposite.
    The “likely” rating indicates that the do18 and grape/temp records agree.
    What is the DO18 record? Is that the reconstruction? If so why wasnt the reconstruction carried past 1950? Is that what you have shown in the green curve and if so how have you taken that curve back into the past before temperature records?

  35. If you like the idea of Varangian Viking body guards and the fascinating history of Byzantium you should read ” A Short History of Byzantium ” by John Julius Norwich. Lots of interesting stories of icy cold weather and the trials and tribulations of the various emperors.
    Moving on to France the Battle of Tours on October 10th 732 is interesting for many reasons, but one that stood out in my mind was the mention of the bitter cold. Here is one excerpt:
    “… It was bitterly cold weather, with the Arabs still dressed for their summer campaigns. The wolf pelts of the Franks helped them in the icy cold.”
    I can assure you that the Loire Valley of today is not known for its icy cold.
    You can read more here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tours
    http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/The_Battle_of_Tours/

  36. I kind of jumped from Byzantium to the the Battle of Tours:) I should mention that The Battle of Tours was the famous clash between Charles Martel and Abd-er-Rahman which resulted in a overwhelming victory for Martel.
    Still more here and additional mention of the bitter cold of October 732.
    http://infao5501.ag5.mpi-sb.mpg.de:8080/topx/archive?link=Wikipedia-Lip6-2/46674.xml&style
    For military buffs there is more here, but no mention of weather:
    http://www.standin.se/fifteen07a.htm

  37. Very interesting, TonyB.
    Am looking forward to next installments.
    Your mention of an unusually cold spell in the mid- to late 19th century is interesting. Seems like a poor time to start a record (with the observation that we are seeing “unusual warming”).
    Swiss glaciologists have determined that this was a period during which alpine glaciers reached their maximum extent in 10,000 years. Also a poor time to start the record on receding alpine glaciers (with the observation that we are seeing “unusual shrinking”).
    Starting points are critical.
    Max

  38. E.J.Mohr 10:52:50:
    May I just add to your suggestion about “A Short History of Byzantium” that John Julius Norwich writes in a very accessible way and that anyone wanting to get the context of Byzantium might first like to read his “The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean”, which is also excellent.

  39. Great reading suggestions all. If you like the historical stuff, a book that my father co-authored with Stuart and Mary Houston would be to your tastes. It is called “Eighteenth-Century Naturalists of Hudson Bay”. It is a scholastic text mainly focusing on wildlife, but carries a great deal of material surrounding Samual Hearne and weather of the area. It is available from McGill-Queen’s University Press (Native and Northern Series). It also shows some the incredible science being done at the time in that area. You will also see why it was important for the other side to marginalize my father and his work, for it shows the opposite of what they would have you believe.

  40. Richard (10:25:23) :
    1. As I brought to your attention it has been pointed out that during the measured temperature records the proxy fails – thus to use it as proxy measurement for the distant past is not very meaningful.
    Please check this plot – compare the grape harvest dates (pinot noir and “Swiss”) with the intrument records especially the Dijon. I think the correspondance is good.
    What is the DO18 record? Is that the reconstruction? If so why wasnt the reconstruction carried past 1950? Is that what you have shown in the green curve and if so how have you taken that curve back into the past before temperature records?
    The grape harvest dates are taken back to 1300’s by the records of the time. back to 1600s it can be compared against CET back to 1922 it can be compared to Dijon. These comparisons obviosly only show the quality of the proxy over these dates. One has to assume that the quality continues back to 1300s.
    The DO18 record is the proxy from an ice core presumably, and is used in the header of this piece.
    I compared it against the grape harvest dates in this plot:
    http://img39.imageshack.us/img39/4695/delta018vsgrape.jpg
    I did not originate the DO18 plot.
    The DO18 plot does not compare well to the grape harvest or the instrument record.

  41. David Ball: I enjoyed Samuel Hearne’s Journal’s so it would be interesting to read more on this.
    DaveF: thanks for the suggestion re: Norwich’s Middle Sea. I concur that Norwich is an excellent writer.

  42. vukcevic (13:51:48) :
    Those are very convincing correlations. How much spatial variation is there over a longer timescale and are there suggestions of correlations on this scale too?

  43. Vukcevic and David Ball and E J Mohr
    All fascinating reading. I like the old books pre 1970 or so that are written from an objective viewpoint without an AGWE bias, and those from writers in the modern era who are again writing about their subject without an agenda.
    I dont know if you saw my article here on Historic arctic ice variations.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/#more-8688
    It covered the arctic warming period 1817-1860 and has many references to the Hudson bay co and scientific observations from books dated around the 1820’s. Their science was very good and methodical.
    It seems we forget old knowledge as we gain new knowledge and constantly reinvent the wheel. I also very much enjoy the work of Hubert Lamb.
    I am working on an article covering the period 1912-1940 and also going way back in time to the Arctic Ipiatuk of 2000 years ago.
    The arctic self evidently melts on a regular basis but we seem to want to ignore history. Its not as exciting as interactive computer models I suppose.
    Tonyb

  44. Vukcevic
    That is a very interesting article you have written. Is it finished or do you intend to add any more information?
    I think you will find some of the material mentioned in my article from the 1800’s concerning observations of water temperatures, currents etc-to be relevant to you.
    Tonyb

  45. Richard (00:39:18) The Byzantine Empire once stretched all over the Mediterranean,but like the old Roman Empire was impossible to hold.The gathering forces of Islam concentrated the Empire into the walled city state of Byzantium.
    A plea for military help from Venice was ignored and a disgraceful pillage of the city by the returning 4th Crusaders weakened the city and it fell to Mehmed 2 in 1453. This invasion went west, Austria nearly fell,and we are left with the Balkans as a legacy of all of this. It is to the west’s eternal shame that Rome in the east was not supported,we are all living today with its consequences.
    Byzantium:The surprising life of a medieval empire by Judith Herron is very readable,I have not read the other book mentioned but many are just too detailed to get an overview. and I quite agree with your comments on Churchill.
    This all a bit OT on temperature reading but it is about time that being “Byzantine” stopped being an insult and becomes a rightful part of western history.

  46. TonyB: Wow! Your arctic ice variation post is fantastic. I don’t know how I missed that one. Great work.
    I am intrigued by the reports of Inuit kayaking off the coast of Scotland and sea ice appearing off the North coast of Ireland.
    If memory serves I once read that the original Viking voyages to Iceland during the Dark Ages cold period revealed it to be a cold inhospitable place surrounded by pack ice – hence it’s name. Later as it warmed Iceland became inhabited and served as a jump off spot to Greenland, which it seems, deserved its name, as it had also warmed.

  47. While we are on the topic of books I read a very interesting work by the late great William James Burroughs called:
    Climate Change In Prehistory: The End Of The Reign Of Chaos
    Burroughs does not seem to have any bias and hits the reader with a dizzying array of facts in this romp through the climate of the ice ages.

  48. TonyB (15:58:44) : ,Russia did claim to be ‘third Rome’ but much loot went back with the Crusaders and irony of ironies finished up in Venice. East and west Rome could not resolve their religious differences and the stronger waited until the weaker fell. My reading of this is that their still is great embarrassment in the west that this was allowed to happen. I feel that the latest Roman Pope was trying to make amends by referring to the last Paleogun emperor Constantine 11 in an early speech that seemed to upset everyone.
    You mentioned that you welcomed comments on UHI and this was discussed in Poles Apart a book by Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal. They make a few comments that helped clarify this for me.
    1.” Tall buildings obstruct the night sky and reduce the amount of re-radiated energy escaping to space”……. so these tall buildings would be bouncing IR off each other horizontally I guess and the taller the buildings the more this effect.
    2.”Buildings also reduce the movement of wind”…..so sure about this, wind can be amplified but not everywhere.
    3.”Paved surfaces are not subject to the cooling effect of evapotranspiration”
    4.The entropy effect “Lighting,A/C,combustion engine heat”.
    This is fairly general stuff,but it can be seen that micro-climates could exist within an urban area so the temp reading needs to be specific about which section of the HI you are measuring.

  49. TonyB,
    Another very readable post. Thanks.
    Is there some way of contacting you directly? I started something last night that may interest you but just don’t have the bandwidth to post it on an open forum.

  50. Very interesting read Vukcevic!! Adds more interest to this area for me. The correlation you found is intriguing and raises many questions. I would be interested in any further research you do on this subject. Thanks for posting that. Cheers, …….. D

  51. Bill I owe you an apology – my apologies. You obviously know a thing or two (besides the difference between Pinot Noir and a Pina Colada).

  52. David Ball 11:54:30:
    Last night on BBC television, Ray Mears’ programme “Northern Wilderness” was all about retracing the steps of Samuel Hearne. That will be available on line from BBC i-player, but whether or not it’s available from outside the UK I couldn’t say. Fascinating programme, though (as always from Mears).

  53. TonyB (14:38:19) :
    “That is a very interesting article you have written. Is it finished or do you intend to add any more information?”
    David Ball (20:54:34) :
    “Very interesting read Vukcevic!! I would be interested in any further research you do on this subject.”
    Thanks for your notes. I am not particularly well organized, so there is lot more material to be put together, once I do that I will be back with the details.

Comments are closed.