Our current weather: A test for forecast models – December shaping up to be one of the coldest on record in the USA

It has often been said that “Weather is not climate”, but ultimately it provides the only meaningful way to verify climate models. Did the climate models predict the cold, snowy weather which has been seen across much of the US?

According to NOAA, October was the third coldest on record in the US, with almost every state showing temperatures from one to ten degrees below normal.  Some Parts of Colorado received record snowfall during October, starting the first week of the month.

Image from HPRCC – University of Nebraska at Lincoln

With a few days left, it appears that December is headed for a repeat, with temperatures ranging from one to fifteen degrees below normal.  (Note that the color scale is different from October, now the greens show more negative departure, even South Texas is at -6F)

Image from HPRCC – University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Temperatures for the rest of the month are forecast by NCEP to be below normal for almost the entire country, so it is unlikely that the map will change much before New Years Day.

NCEP two week forecast

So let’s compare the complete Autumn temperatures vs. the forecasts from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.  In August, CPC forecast that most of the US would have above normal temperatures from October through December, and perhaps more importantly did did not predict that any areas would have below normal temperatures.

NOAA CPC Autumn Forecast

As you can see below, their prediction was largely reversed from what has happened.  Most of the country has seen below normal temperatures during the same period.

Image from HPRCC – University of Nebraska at Lincoln

So my question is – if the climate models can’t reliably predict the next three months, what basis do they have to claim their ability to forecast 100 years out?  It is well known in the weather modeling community that beyond about three days, the models tend to break down due to chaos.

We have all heard lots of predictions of warmer winters, less snow, animal populations moving north, drought, dying ski resorts, etc.  But did anyone in the climate modeling community forecast the cold, snowy start to winter which has occurred. If not, it would appear that their models are not mature enough to base policy decisions on.

On the other side of the pond, The Met Office forecast 2010 to be the warmest year ever, as they last did in 2007.   On cue, the weather turned bitter cold immediately after the forecast and it appears that the unusally cold weather will continue at least through mid-January.  As in 2007, the Met office 2010 forecast is not getting off to a good start:

http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp4.html

151 thoughts on “Our current weather: A test for forecast models – December shaping up to be one of the coldest on record in the USA

  1. “it would appear that their models are not mature enough to base policy decisions on.”

    Understatement of the decade.

  2. Here in SW BC, it has been cold but very dry; for quite long stretches. It is normally? wet most of the time. This “dry spell” goes back about 14 months. Last year was somewhat colder, with a bit more precip in the form of snow. This year is a tad warmer, but very dry with little precip of any kind. My records go back about 32 years, (16 of good quality records) and precip for these past 12-14 months have been well below “normal”.

    Looks like we will be getting some snow in a day or two however.

  3. “it would appear that the modelers are not mature enough to base policy decisions on.”

    There. I “fixed” it for you. LOL!

  4. There predictions are based on what is typical of El Nino conditions (I recognize the map). They do not take into consideration the AO, which they should.

  5. Type two quick and I end up with to many errors related too, it, it’s, there, their, and they’re. And I call myself a teacher.

  6. For the remainder of the Winter watch the AO. The ENSO numbers earlier in the autumn pointed towards a “mild” winter for the NH in general and NAmerica in particular. However, a negative AO has allowed colder than normal air masses to drive equatorward beginnign in ealry Autumn. It looked like El Nino would have a final say as rather mild weather dominated both NAmerica and Europ ealry on. Yet, for the last 5 weeks colder than normal air masses have begun the settle in for the duration (Joe Bastardi hit it right, again).

    If El Nino begins to weaken significantly, things could get interesting. If La Nina builds again in late 2010 (like it should witha negative PDO), and a negative AO remains, 2011 could turn out be very very cold compared to the late 90s early 2000s.

  7. Don’t the CO2-forced climate models also predict that the warming will be greater the closer you get to the poles? It seems not only is it colder than normal, the anomaly is colder as you go farther north.

  8. There has been clear cooling since 2005. No argument there. So that is climate.

    I can say that ‘computer predictions are not climate’. Especially since they are always wrong. I’ll stick with the data in the real world showing a cooling earth.

  9. I know i shouldn’t say this about the brutally cold weather you’re experiencing at the moment, but i will say it all the same…..Let Er Rip .. And by the way temperature is now sitting on a balmy 23 c in Sydney.

  10. Pamela Gray (18:48:01) :
    And I call myself a teacher.

    Only when someone calls you “teacher” have you earned the right to call yourself “teacher”, teacher: )

  11. I have decided that NOAA and the Met Office need a new motto:

    “Not even God can sink the ship of CAGW.”

  12. Pamela Gray (18:48:01) : Type two quick and I end up with to many errors…

    To many errors add >i>too many errors and the bats will leave the belfry too, miss Pamela…

  13. “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.”

    -Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love

    Robert A. Heinlein

  14. gtrip (19:05:56) :

    Only when someone calls you “teacher” have you earned the right to call yourself “teacher”, teacher: )

    This is to be remembered when you think of all of those who have called Al Gore a great teacher on environmental issues.

  15. Al Gore impersonation:

    “The entire state of Florida is experiencing temperatures this December that are significantly above normal.”

  16. October was cold, December is cold…

    Anyone else notice how November was so blazingly hot it made for the warmest last quarter of the year in decades? Why that may have been the hottest last quarter since records began!

  17. “If it’s cold, it’s weather; if it’s warm, it’s climate.” Certain sources have indeed correctly predicted –“forecast” is a vexed term– an excessively cold Continental U.S. Autumn 2009 (October – December vs. solstice dates), but these are uniformly cyclical projections rather than modelers’ inherently simplistic linear extrapolations.

    No-one acquainted with Lorenz’s Chaos Theory, whereby sensitive dependence on initial conditions (the “butterfly effect”) entails non-random but indeterminate fluctuations focusing on “strange attractors”, would ever presume to “model” complex systems, defined as those with three or more mutually interacting variables. Climate Cultists’ foolish assertions to the contrary display not mere naivete but willful blindness to mathematical reality, a deluded self-importance concomitant with radically skewed Arguments from Authority by Stipulation: AGW is true because we Ascended Masters say it is.

    Blacklisting, deceit, massive Luddite fraud has typified GIGO effusions by Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann et al. since 1988 if not before. Given this putrescent provenance, we predict that no-one even marginally complicit in Hockey Team excretions will ever publish anything again.

  18. the first person/entity to predict the weather reliabily, even in the 24-48 hour period…….. never mind, too many variables.
    could have made lots of money.

  19. Here in the foothills west of Denver, I am a snow spotter for the NWS. 77 inches of snow so far this season at my location. This is the snowiest start to the snow year since I have been recording data in this spot (last 13 years). As interesting though is the snow has been focused east of the continental divide. We have actually had more snow at my spotter location than at Vail (71 “), Keystone (49″) or Breckenridge (73”)

    See link:
    http://www.snow.com/mountainconditions/snowandweatherreports.aspx#/keystone

    This is a very unusual pattern as the west slope is usually significantly wetter than the east. If time permits, I am going to look into past analogs & implications on what may be the drivers.

  20. Interesting how the most northern tip of the lower 48 shows above average warming. What a weird wacky thing climate is!

  21. CRU climate scientist:

    “It’s a travesty that we cannot account for this unexpected cooling. Quick, we need to use Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline. Oh wait! The tree ring data is going in the opposite direction of the actual temperatures. Homogenize, homogenize!

    And please, tell Connolly to erase any reference to this cold weather in Wikipedia as soon as they appear. The last thing we need is let the public know we’re entering another little ice age.”

  22. INGSOC (18:42:27) “Here in SW BC, it has been cold but very dry; for quite long stretches. […] This “dry spell” goes back about 14 months.”

    You must’ve been away in November! And how about the 3 week interval exactly 1 year ago?

    QBO & ENSO flipped signs and things changed ~mid-2009. You may have noticed that the mountain ranges of western N. America seem to have had warm (west) & cool (east) pools of air (relatively speaking, on average) since about June. This isn’t a pattern that has been common (for such extended periods of time) in recent memory. The recent cool is partly fog / temperature inversion related — the temp goes up (noticeably in just a few steps (walking)) as soon as you emerge from the fog / lower elevation ponded-cool-air going uphill at night, beginning just after dusk. Check today’s Strait of Georgia winds for a revelation (conditions conducive to snowy-peak cold-air-drainage dusk-to-mid-morning). In winter, ENSO/PDO/ALPI/NPI & “arctic outflow” (AO/NAO/NAM) play a big role in temp / precip relations on the coast. The temp / precip relations of the rest of the year literally flip upside-down with the winter dynamic. I don’t buy into a notion of winter “normal” – there are distinct states and the “averages” (“normals”) mask this.

    I saw ice while kayaking in salt water today. (Without giving the answer away) I’d be curious to see if anyone here knows how this happens with such high temperatures (near-zero C). Last year when I reported ice in a coastal inlet, many questioned my honesty. It seems people have a hard time imagining how it happens.

  23. frankr (19:20:30) : “Al Gore impersonation:“The entire state of Florida is experiencing temperatures this December that are significantly above normal.”

    The “normal” temps for my part of Florida this time of year (about 70 miles south of Tampa on the Gulf coast) range from lower 50’s to lower 80’s for daytime highs and from lower 40’s to upper 60’s for overnight lows. Haven’t experienced anything “significantly” outside that range for more that a day or two at a time in over 19 years. Methinks the climate has been pretty steady.

  24. Yes. “Weather is not climate.”

    But promoters of AGW are going to have a hard time selling the public that cold weather is evidence of global warming!

    May the spotlight of public scrutiny melt the dirty Climategate iceberg and expose the other scientific frauds directed by NASA, DOE, NAS, etc.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  25. Apparently the Met office hasn’t yet gotten the prediction racket down pat. As any good shyster can tell you it’s important that a prediction concern events far enough into the future that no one will remember or care when they fail, but close enough in time to make people demand action. A perfect example is the Greenland ice sheet disappearlng by 2020. Or the Arctic summer ice sheet melting by 2018.

  26. Pamela Gray (18:48:01) : Type two quick and I end up with to many errors…
    Your wry humour in this entry is finally comprehended, m’am. Colour me slow; and humbled.

  27. So the CPC outlook for my part of Montana was a 40 percent chance of above normal temperatures…a 34 percent chance of normal temperatures…and a 26 percent chance of below normal temperatures (Oct-Dec). Observed will be around 2 degrees below normal.

    Was this outlook useful? Probably not. There are so many things that affect climate numbers for Montana over a three month period (AO, NAO, PNA, MJO, Sudden Stratospheric Warming, etc) most of which are not predicable beyond 14 days.

    The CPC outlook was done in mid-September and those that put the outlook together know uncertainity of what they are doing. Hence, the 40%/34%/27% numbers.

  28. “It is well known in the weather modeling community that beyond about three days, the models tend to break down due to chaos.”

    Wow, that sure is an understatement. Yesterday, the NWS predicted Chicagoland would receive about 2-3 inches of fresh snow, but instead about a foot of snow covered us. It was beautiful, but the 24 hour weather prediction missed the target times two. Here is the map of snowfall 12/26/09:

    http://weblogs.wgntv.com/chicago-weather/tom-skilling-blog/2009/12/snowfall-totals-from-yesterday.html

    A few more comments gleamed from

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/15/if-you-cant-explain-it-you-cant-model-it/

    What has become obvious is that there are strong natural variations that are not yet understood, nor adequately accounted for in the computer climate models. The current global computer models have over-estimated global warming. There has been lots of speculation about what is causing the present pattern – changes in solar activity, changes in ocean circulation, or changes in clouds and wind and dust patterns. Whatever it is, it is not adequately factored into any CO2 Global Warming computer models. One of the most fundamental rules of computer modeling is that: if you don’t understand something and you can’t explain it, you can’t model it. A computer model is a mathematical description of a physical process, written in a human readable programming language, which a compiler can translate to a computer readable language. If CO2 global warming theorists cannot fully describe the climate change process in words, then computer programmers certainly cannot describe it mathematically in computer languages. Antonio Zichichi, stated “…models used by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are incoherent and invalid from a scientific point of view” Who is Antonio Zichichi? President of the World Federation of Scientists, President of the Enrico Fermi Centre, discovery of Nuclear Antimatter.

    What about those IPCC computer models gloom and doom global temperature predictions? They may allow for taxation of CO2 emissions while
    the IPCC leadership rakes in billions of personal wealth. Sounds like conflict of interest? We get the snowjob, and they get the dough!

  29. I am living in North Central Florida and I have worn a thick jacket for all of Dec 1-2 days here and there I switched to a light coat. Very cold this year..Brrr

  30. Roger Carr (19:56:21) Thank you for making that clear, at first glance, I thought a red beverage may have been involved.

  31. Hold up. I noticed something important.

    Pennsylvania, see the lower-left spot of warming, stands right out. Where are they getting their readings?

    See map of Pennsylvania. It looks like the spot is at Altoona, not much else around. What could be causing warming at Altoona?

    What is at Altoona? Penn State Altoona. That’s right, Michael Mann’s Penn State, Altoona campus.

    What do they offer there? A B.A. in Environmental Studies. (Go ahead and click, enjoy the picture.)

    Example of the faculty for the program:

    Marieta Staneva
    Senior Lecturer in Geography
    Specialist on the impact of global warming

    [kirk]

    MANNNNN!!!!

    [/kirk]

  32. Anthony:

    I noticed that your forecast was dated August 2009. NOAA produces long range climate forecasts every month – check out their prediction for Nov-Dec-Jan 2009-10 from September 17:

    In addition to having above normal temperatures for the central-western US, they actually were predicting ** below normal ** temperatures for the southeast! Is it chilly in Florida?

  33. Following up on my previous post, you can also get plots of NOAA’s predictions for US temperatures for the period Oct-Dec 2009 from forecasts made in:

    Jan 2009:

    Feb 2009:

    Mar 2009:

    Apr 2009:

    May 2009:

    Jun 2009:

    Notice that all of these forecasts were predicting average to above normal temperatures for the central-western US – nothing below normal!

    Clearly, climate forecasts with “short” lead times of 3 – 12 months are really not skillful at the present time. Which is too bad – these forecasts would really be useful if they had any predictive ability. Sadly, it appears that the major of climate funding is going towards the AGW-oriented junk science projects (like the IPCC TAR 5) rather than trying to improve long range temperature and precipitation forecasts…

  34. Pamela Gray (18:48:01) : errors ???

    Oh no! Everyone enjoys finding errors in other’s writing, especially students finding such in the teacher’s work. So by putting them therein you provide enjoyment for others. Don’t phret.

  35. Jeff L (19:45:02) : “This is a very unusual pattern…”

    Just a guess but see if you have had winds out of the east and upslope.

  36. I think it’s safe to assume that if the AGW crowd instituted cap-n-trade (or something worse), the revelation of below running-average temperatures in the near future would be taken as proof they were right and cap-n-trade was the right prescription.

  37. “It has often been said that “Weather is not climate”, but ultimately it provides the only meaningful way to verify climate models.”

    Huh?

  38. Frank K,

    It is true that CPC shows Florida cold in their Nov-Jan forecast, but it will be another five weeks before that forecast can be evaluated. August was the most recent Oct-Dec forecast.

  39. maxx (20:43:26) :

    Can we call global warmists….global cooling deniers now?

    ——————————

    Good idea. I think some have been doing that already.

  40. One major reasons models fail to match reality is that errors in initial conditions propagate in a compounding fashion with successive iterations of the data. In the absence of unphysical constraints and “plug” quantitative adjustments, the whole enterprise quickly runs off the rails. I am not contending the models are entirely useless, merely that they are by definition simulations of reality. The models generally are very poor as to outlier events and step changes that occur in natural variability precisely because model runaway from error compounding must be dampened somehow. Otherwise no good data will ever derive from the model runs.

  41. Even if this blog post has a point, I’ll play devil’s advocate and underline the fact that a correct climate model *could* predict a general long term trend and fail to give us correct medium term predictions.
    I believe the main effect of Climategate, since the warmers are undeterred, has been to give too much confidence to the “skeptics”, so that some comments here have become a bit too optimistic, self-reliant and sketchy.
    We need to stay on guard and question our assumptions.

  42. Steve Goddard (21:08:59) :

    “It is true that CPC shows Florida cold in their Nov-Jan forecast, but it will be another five weeks before that forecast can be evaluated. August was the most recent Oct-Dec forecast.”

    Thanks Steve – I did think about that, but of course we’re nearly 2/3rds of the way through the forecast period. I suppose it could turn colder, but it would have to be a lot colder to markedly influence the three month average. And the short range forecast shown above for the next week doesn’t indicate an imminent cold snap…

  43. Alessandro (22:10:29) :

    We need to stay on guard and question our assumptions.

    ——————————————————

    You have a good idea. The first assumption I will question is yours.

  44. Alessandro,

    Climate models are iterative. Once their results become incorrect, all subsequent results are flawed.

    It is possible (through random probability) that they could come up with the correct answer at a later date, but nothing in the physical record indicates any reason to believe that temperatures will rise much more than 1C this century or that sea level will rise more than 30cm. Their predictions have vastly overreached and have a very low probability of coming true.

  45. Today, on the Weather Channel, they inteviewed a climate “engineer”. Apparently these people are planning ways to lower earth’s temperature such as by injecting SO2 into the atmosphere and other measures. Made my hair stand up at the thought that some idiot might actually propose to do something like that based on flawed data and TOTAL lack of understanding of the environment.

  46. Alessandro (22:10:29) :
    …a correct climate model *could* predict a general long term trend and fail to give us correct medium term predictions.

    If we ever learn all the factors affecting climate *and* the range in their variables, that “correct” model would take those variables into consideration — the result should be a cover-all-the-bases *series* of predictions, shouldn’t it?

  47. Of course by using the Stiegian method, of applying what happens in peninsulas which stick out into a warm ocean to the continent as a while, the winter thus far in the US has been about 2 degrees F above normal.

  48. Prediction from Joe Bastardi for januari 1-10

    Arctic blasts determine the weatehr in the US and Europe.
    Temperatures comparable to the 70’s which means cold, very cold.
    Many new records, snow and minimum temps will be set.

  49. I don’t know if the following link has been posted here already. This Finnish newscast captures the Climategate story pretty well, and that’s no mean “trick”. It’s a complicated tale that requires a clear explication of the e-mails, interviews, science history, statistical references, etc.

    The link was introduced at CA with a comment that there are many countries that now find their historical records of climate to be unrecognizeable after CRU handling.

    This single story, imo, bears repeating and retelling in every language, til it silences the catastrophists. Whereupon, in my perfect world, reason will begin to creep back into the science.

    Meanwhile, Diana DeGette, in today’s Denver Post, “Colorado’s Role in Addressing Climate Change”, is still gleefully spinning away:

    The proceedings in Copenhagen were truly inspiring… (and) Colorado is already leading the way in green initiatives and stands to gain as many as 28,000 jobs, as well as a $2.6 billion net increase in investment revenue”

    http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14066987

  50. I would not agree with the idea that the only way to verify climate predictions is by observing weather. Climate models predict climatology, weather models predict weather.

    Climate can simply be defined as a statistical average of weather events, over relatively long periods (30 years seems to be what the world meteorological organization considers as long enough).

    So the ouptut of climatic models should be compared to collections of weather-related measurements, not to single events. Imagine for example a random event where an integer can take the values 0 or 1 with equal probabilities. The average value (the “climatic” one) will be 0.5, but one will never observe 0.5 when sampling this random variable – however it would be inappropriate to say that the statistical prediction has “failed”. It’s like comparing apples to oranges (or vice versa).

    The interesting thing to look at here would thus be the evolution of the average December temperature over the last 30 years.

  51. It will be very interesting to see how the month of December shapes up on the official NASA stats for the global surface temperatures. Given it was an unusually cold month over most of the planet even going back decades, the December average must drop dramatically relative to the rest of the year. If it doesn’t it proves they are fudging the figures. So, let’s wait and see.

  52. A cold winter is an ordeal for me, as I work outside. I prefer warm winters. However I will concede cold has a benefit, in terms of slapping some sanity back into politics.

    I actually would not be surprised if this winter came out a bit above normal, due to the El Nino. However the Tweakers at places like GISS have cried wolf so many times that, even if they tell the truth, people will roll their eyes.

    This is especially true because the lobes of cold seem nicely placed over population centers, “teleconnecting” over East Asia, Europe, and mid and eastern USA. Nature is a balance, and these lobes will be balanced out in other places, but the people in Tokyo, Paris and New York City aren’t going to want to hear about it, after wrestling with snow far more than they are used to. They are not going to want to hear it is .1 degree warmer, or that it is warmer at the poles. All they are going to want is springtime.

    When it is coldest at the poles it is because a tight vortex keeps the cold trapped up there. The cold just swings around and around the poles, and there are few arctic outbreaks. This winter the hounds of winter have been unleashed, and lakes of frigid air are surging far south. So of course it will be warmer at the poles. The ice might even be a bit thinner up there, but, when ice is forming in the Hudson River, New Yorkers aren’t going to care about far-away ice on Greenland’s shores.

    An interesting thing to consider is the albedo effect of having snow so far south. Even in southern places like Mississippi, where the snow usually melts away fairly swiftly, having snow cover for a few days must reflect a lot of sunlight which usually would be absorbed. Also snow cover enhances night-time radiational cooling, and low temperatures often drop by ten degrees or more.

    Nature is a balance, and it may well turn out that having a warm El Nino and warm poles creates more snow cover, which reflects more sunshine, which balances everything out. However we are not suppose to feel reassured about nature’s ability to balance things out. Instead we are suppose to be in a panic about “tipping-points.”

    New Yorkers may have reached a different tipping-point, however. The credulity of the public can only be stretched so far. If Hansen steps outside and starts to tell New Yorkers it is actually .1 degree warmer, I fear he may get a snowball right in his face.

  53. Can we call global warmists….global cooling deniers now?

    By all means. The evidence is clear. The planet has cooled over the past 10+ years on average if one includes the atmospheric readings.

  54. Bill Parsons 23:52:09
    Thank you for the link. A very interesting program. Maybe, one day, the likes of the BBC, NBC, ABC et al will be producing similar programs.

    Slightly OT. Simon Heffer, a regular columnist in the Daily Telegraph, on Saturday under “And finally, you heard it here first…” gave his, tongue in cheek, 10 year, predictions:
    The Queen will preparing for her platinum jubilee;…alcohol will have been accorded the pariah status of tobacco;…man-made global warming will be a belief of only nutters and extremists;…..

    There were others on the list hence the …

    Enjoy.

  55. I remember feeling a similar shock when my own country of Thailand experienced some record low temperatures last year.
    http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/news.php?id=255212120006

    But that was when I was still taken in by GW propaganda.
    Little fuss was made of this, yet the press love to talk about global warming whenever we get any natural disasters or high temperatures. I believe psychologists call this the “confirmation bias”.

  56. As with predictions of economic success by the Obama administration, warm climate is always just around the corner, but never here.

  57. They (NOAA) didn’t just get it wrong, they got it terribly wrong. And for all that, the head is still stuck in the hot sand theory. Rubber stamping out your current 2 weeks ahead as a photocopy of current conditions indicates analysis paralysis.
    It would be far better to bow out giving no forecast at all than to continue appear as if groping in the dark, wandering aimlessly.

  58. Would not the ‘tipping point’ in a glacial epoch be the conditions that return one to a warmer period, and the ‘tipping point’ in an Interglacial period be the conditions that return one to the next glacial epoch?
    If the last 1 Million years says anything, that would be that the next ‘tipping point’ conditions are those that send the climate back to whence it last came from.
    The last thing one would expect is that a trace gas which has always followed the climate changes would now drive them forcefully.

  59. OT but how long has BBC World News weather been using a globe with both ice caps removed? It makes the earth look strangly… warmer

  60. Fred (19:55:37) :

    Apparently the Met office hasn’t yet gotten the prediction racket down pat.

    I almost read that as “protection racket,” which they have got down pat. After all, their old supercomputers were known as the “Cray Twins.” ( The real “Kray Twins,” Ronnie and Reggie, were a couple of gangsters in London (UK))

  61. kadaka (20:24:20) :

    Hold up. I noticed something important.

    Pennsylvania, see the lower-left spot of warming, stands right out. Where are they getting their readings?

    See map of Pennsylvania. It looks like the spot is at Altoona, not much else around. What could be causing warming at Altoona?

    What is at Altoona? Penn State Altoona. That’s right, Michael Mann’s Penn State, Altoona campus.

    ****************************************************

    It’s warmer there in both October and December. You could be on to something. This bears checking and watching.

  62. RE: kadaka 20:24:20:

    The anomaly shows up consistently in the “Departure from Normal” maps, but is not nearly so noticeable in the average temperature maps. That could be an artifact of the way the map is created or there may be yet more hanky-panky.

    This really needs attention.

    Good eye kadaka.

  63. I don’t understand why they had to change the scaling on the Dec graphic other than a need to try to fool the average person. Often people just glance at a graph without looking at the scale. In this case, more green vs the Oct graph must mean that it wasn’t as cold, right? There doesn’t seem to be enough points <-10 to justify rescaling. They would have ended up with a couple of small hot pink regions but a very large blue region. Then apples could be compared to apples. Just another example of "Hide the decline".

    Can the Dec graph be reproduced with Oct scaling?

  64. “Global Warming” -> “Climate Change” -> “Extreme Weather” … you need to keep up with the labels we are using these days. Just remember, whatever bad happens, it is caused by you not paying your carbon tax.

  65. Climate models are stochastic models, the like populations models that I use in population biology studies and classes. This means that you may run the model 20 times or 500 times with the same parameters and each run provides somewhat different results. This also means, for example, that a population may show a short term decline, even though the average predicted value is positive. The more runs and the longer the runs, the closer the model predictions are to the deterministic long term average. This kind of modeling incorporates uncertainty and shows how a range of variability is not only consistent with the models, but is predicted by them.

    For example, even though the estimated population growth rate is positive, there may be a 30% chance of a dicline over the first 10 years. There would also be a significant chance that the population will increase at a higher than predicted rate.

    An added note–the finite logistic equation for populations shows true chaotic behavior at very high population growth rates. This is a nice demonstration of chaos for students. However, there is not good evidence for chaotic population dynamics in nature. There is a large qualitative difference betweeen high variability on the one hand and chaos on the other.

    In orther words, chaos seems to be more a theoretical construct than something that can be found in nature.

  66. >>An interesting thing to consider is the albedo effect of having snow so far south. Even in southern places like Mississippi, where the snow usually melts away fairly swiftly, having snow cover for a few days must reflect a lot of sunlight which usually would be absorbed. Also snow cover enhances night-time radiational cooling, and low temperatures often drop by ten degrees or more.<<

    I find the albedo effect very interesting. Even though I do not believe co2 is a problem, I am annoyed by the urban heat effect. I am very sensitive to heat and dread when I have to sit in a parking lot in the summer. I remember even as a child (and that was quite a while ago- a time when children were allowed to walk around barefoot) learning to walk on the white lines at the cross walk so that I would not burn my feet on the hot black top.

    I think that it would be very effective to paint all parking lots white. Even paint the tops of building white. Why not go even further, paint car roofs and hoods white. ( I remember two-tone cars. I think it would look very stylish. ) It would not only keep your car cool in summer, thus reducing your need to run your air conditioner while parked or in traffic, it would also, in general make cities more pleasant.

    A few trees in parking lots and cities would not hurt either.

    I think this small effort would have a big result at little cost. Much better than cap and raid.

  67. Funny that the ‘author’ of this article failed to mention November, only October and December;

    “The average November temperature of 46.5°F was 4.0°F above the 20th Century average and ranked as the 3rd warmest based on preliminary data.”

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=national&year=2009&month=11&submitted=Get+Report

    Of course, the global trend is more important that cherry-picking any one nation;

    The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for November 2009 was 0.60°C (1.08°F) above the 20th century average of 12.9°C (55.2°F). This is the fourth warmest such value on record.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/?report=global&year=2009&month=11&submitted=Get+Report

  68. I think I will now turn to Accuweather for weather forecasting and climate predictions. Joe Bastardi seems to have a pretty good sense of reality.

  69. Rob,

    I don’t anyone is claiming a single weather event determines climate. Are you always this sensitive?

    However, the general public may very well look a a series of events and make a judgement. Not much anyone can do about that.

  70. I think the two Departure from Normal Temperature graphics (Oct and Dec) show a clear attempt to hide the temperature decreases by changing the scale used in Dec. To be fair and unbiased NOAA should have used the same scale in Dec that they used in Oct. Are they going to use a different scale each month now to maximize the similarity of the graphs in the future?

  71. Rob Vermeulen (00:33:22) :

    “Climate can simply be defined as a statistical average of weather events, over relatively long periods (30 years seems to be what the world meteorological organization considers as long enough).”

    And that is part of the problem with what they (WMO) consider *average*. Their 30 year period is too short of a time to take into effect longer period oceanic cycles (mainly PDO, AMO…others?) which have major impacts on sensible weather which, over long periods of time, is reflect in climate.

    I would think a much better averaging period needs to be around 60-80 years to take into account full cyclic swings (numerous El Ninos/La Ninas, several sunspot cycles & at least one full PDO/AMO).

    Jeff

  72. Thanks to Frank K. (20:40:51) for the temp maps.
    Interestingly enough, every temperature forecast for Ohio is in the normal range–neither above or below normal. However, I don’t need a NOAA scientist to tell me that this December has been colder and snowier than most in recent memory. A few days ago, local weather forecasters noted that December’s temperatures for central Ohio are running about 5 degrees below normal.

  73. Paul Vaughan (19:49:13) :

    “You must’ve been away in November!”

    No. Just outside of Vancouver! It has been much dryer (and cooler) at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley. My monthly precip amounts are down for every month going back to September last year.

    More in a few minutes. I have chores!

  74. The alarmists have been consistently wrong in their 5 and 10 year predictions for 30 years. They have always been too high. Why should their short term predictions be any better? How often can someone cry “wolf” before they’re ignored?

  75. Just ask the “Chicken Littles”, if its warmer than normal its AGW, if its colder than normal its AGW and if its normal its AGW. AGW causes extreme weather conditions like the lack of any major hurricanes this year. Its great to have everything go your way.

  76. Like Joe Wilson, I have had it with liars and when NOAA changes color for temperature graphs on a monthly basis, they should be called “liars” — loud and clear. None of this “they aren’t being fair and balanced”; $#!^, they are lying for political and ideological purposes. Throw the bums out!!! And I mean end their jobs and fat salaries and fat bonuses and fat retirements.

    John McCain — for whom I voted as the much, much, much lesser of two evils — said “totally disrespectful — [there’s] no place for it [the truth]” to Joe Wilson’s “You lie” when Obama’s claimed that undocumentated immigrants would not be covered in the healthcare bill.

    For Hope and Change, we must support only those who know a lie when they see and hear one, are ready to proclaim it, and are prepared to act for “truths”. Thank you, WUWT.

  77. Showing temperature maps that cut off at Canada is a little wierd. Is there a way of hacing a continuous map?

    REPLY: Yes, we can have the USA annex Canada, then NOAA will cover it. – Anthony

  78. A number of comments appear to be from people who didn’t read the entire article.

    October, November, December is the “last quarter of the year” and was below normal in most of the US.

  79. Alessandro,

    You do have a point. However, NOAA’s winter forecast (initially made last summer) missed significant changes in both the artic and Atlantic SSTs. They overplayed ENSO, and didn’t factor in the PDO. And, as usual, thier long term forecasts were way too warm.

    If NOAA’s climate models cannot predict accurately major changes in teleconnections (in the short term), how can it forecast climate changes with any precision 30 years out? Could it be that our major public scientific organizations weight thier predictions on the warmside? If NOAA was a private firm, it would have lost its paying customers long ago.

  80. Pamela Gray (18:46:22) :

    {Their] predictions are based on what is typical of El Nino conditions (I recognize the map). They do not take into consideration the AO, which they should.

    Their, I fixed it for you. :)

    They also rely on “trends,” and probably more so on “trends” than on El Nino. That is to say, they start (somewhat oversimplified) with “trends,” and then if El Nino/La Nina conditions exist, they try to factor those in also.

    The “trends” have been killing their forecasts. Okay, enough of the quotes, what trends do they use? It is something they call Optimal Climate Normals (OCN), which they describe in the following manner:

    “OCN – THE OPTIMAL CLIMATE NORMALS METHOD PREDICTS T AND P ON THE BASIS OF YEAR-TO-YEAR PERSISTENCE OF THE OBSERVED AVERAGE ANOMALIES FOR A GIVEN SEASON DURING THE LAST 10 YEARS FOR T – AND THE LAST 15 YEARS FOR P. OCN EMPHASIZES LONG-TERM TRENDS AND MULTI-YEAR REGIME EFFECTS. ”

    Sorry for the caps, but I cut and pasted from their web page describing their forecast tools, and it is in all caps.

    These trends are compared to the 1971-2000 climate normals. So if an area has trended warmer, then they work that into their forecasts. Which is killing the accuracy of their forecasts, because the past couple of years have been cooler than normal, but it will be some time before that is picked up in their 10 year “optimal climate normal” trend line.

    If I have the time, I’ll write up a more detailed look at just how poorly their forecasts have failed over the past 2-3 years. And I think it is primarily because of their use of these so-called “optimal” climate normals.

  81. sustainableloudoun

    “The average November temperature of 46.5°F was 4.0°F above the 20th Century average and ranked as the 3rd warmest based on preliminary data.”

    Only the 3rd warmest on record? That’s a pretty flimsy El Nino we’ve got there. 1998 kicked it’s ass. There’s no surprise in getting a warm month in the middle of an El Nino. The real ‘watts up’ is the cold December.

  82. kadaka (20:24:20) : That is not cherry picking but planting cherries. (presumably in a greenhouse with CO2 added).

  83. There is nothing sinister about the NOAA color schemes or maps.

    They only have twelve colors to work with, which means only six colors for below normal regions. December has some very cold anomalies (-18 F) so each color necessarily represents three degrees. In October they only needed two degrees per color.

  84. Basil (07:19:56): “These trends are compared to the 1971-2000 climate normals.”

    Only one more year to go and this *should* change to 1981-2010 … I suspect that could change things a bit.

  85. Steve, and other talented folks:

    Is there a map for the average reader that overlays the station
    locations for U.S. land temperature reports with the monthly
    departure from normal maps above?

    We could use an overlay like that to visualize and infer what’s
    going to be loaded into the existing weather and climate models.

    We could also guestimate the impact of little “cold” pockets that
    might be missed (like most of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas)
    due to the lack of reporting stations.

  86. Alexander Feht (22:41:52) :

    “Looks like The Old Farmer’s Almanac wins again.
    What do they know that Hansen and Mann don’t want to know?”

    In the video it sounded a bit Corbynish.

  87. A little while later

    Paul Vaughan continued;

    “And how about the 3 week interval exactly 1 year ago?”

    Hard to forget that. Land use changes combined with the weather caused all kinds of damage around here last year. Just down the road an entire hillside slipped and a house got pushed off it’s foundation in a mudslide during that downpour. Mind you, there was 18 inches of snow on top of a few inches of frozen soil when that rain hit. The water sheeted along the surface causing much flooding. Then the temp fell drastically and everything got buried under another 2 feet or so of snow! It didn’t completely thaw until June of this year.

    “You may have noticed that the mountain ranges of western N. America seem to have had warm (west) & cool (east) pools of air (relatively speaking, on average) since about June.”

    You got that right! Very much in evidence where I am. It’s like a curtain that seems to be moving back and forth over the valley I am in. Once one moves into the “eastern” air it is much dryer. This is the sort of thing one usually sees much further into the interior.

    As far as the ice you see while kayaking in English Bay, it is probably cold, dry outflow air causing this. Kinda makes your point… I’ll read through the rest of the comments and see what the answer is.

    Cheers!

  88. The problem with many modelers is that they tend to take a simple view that CO2 is changing quickly and everything else in the climate system is relatively static. They are convinced that temperatures should be steadily rising, and constantly look for new and creative ways to prove that their preconceived notions are correct.

    ——

    From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    Hi all
    Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in
    Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We
    had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it
    smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a
    record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies
    baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing
    weather).
    Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global
    energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27,
    doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained
    from the author.)
    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
    travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008
    shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing
    system is inadequate.
    That said there is a LOT of nonsense about the PDO. People like CPC are tracking PDO on a
    monthly basis but it is highly correlated with ENSO. Most of what they are seeing is the
    change in ENSO not real PDO. It surely isn’t decadal. The PDO is already reversing with
    the switch to El Nino. The PDO index became positive in September for first time since
    Sept 2007. see
    [2]http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/GODAS/ocean_briefing_gif/global_ocean_monitoring_c
    urrent.ppt
    Kevin

  89. More from the Met Office / BBC

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8432437.stm

    To be fair Winter is defined by the Met office as December, January and February. With a milder winter in the UK defined as as a winter-mean temperature greater than 4.3 °C. A near average Winter by temperatures between 3.4 °C and 4.3 °C and a colder winter by temperatures lower than 3.4 °C. So there is still a chance that we (UK) could get a mild winter as forcast by the Met…yeah like dates!

    Disruption in Scotland:
    http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Snow-lies-18in-deep-as.5940403.jp
    and:
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/2785634/Scotland-shivers-under-another-foot-of-snow-with-more-blizzards-forecast.html
    and
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8431672.stm

    Even Ireland (which tends to be mild) is in the grip of this winter:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/1228/breaking9.htm
    and:
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1228/1224261301740.html?via=mr

  90. The BBC forecast makes interesting reading. Maybe someone hacked the site.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/weather/forecast/10209

    Published at 09:00 on 28th December

    All times are GMT (Europe/London, GMT+0000)

    (Next update at 09:00 on 4th Jan 2010)

    Written by Rob McElwee
    Summary
    Cold with more snow.

    This winter looks like going down as one of the more memorable “proper winters”. The wind this coming month is anywhere from southeasterly to northerly – all cold at this time of the year.

    All parts of the UK can expect more snow at some time alongside below average daytime temperatures and hard night frosts.

    Monday 28 December 2009 to Sunday 3 January 2010
    Rain, wind, snow and ice.

    A low pressure area in Biscay pumps moisture into the cold air over us now. The result is a significant snow risk. At the moment, the most likely areas to be affected are Wales and mid to north England midweek, then southeast Britain for the New Year.

    At first, southern Britain will be mild, wet and windy – rain rather than snow. Northern Britain will remain cold, icy and at first fog-prone.

    A little more snow is possible in Scotland and northeast England, especially on Wednesday and Thursday in the northeasterly wind.

    Sunshine is in short supply with possible exception of northwest mainland Scotland.

    Monday 4 January 2010 to Sunday 10 January 2010
    Northerly wind all week.

    Below average daytime temperatures, moderate to severe night frosts.

    A reasonable breeze should prevent persistent fog and allow daytime sunshine; With the exception of those areas exposed to the windblown showers there should be above average sunshine.

    The windblown showers are likely to all be of snow and concentrated in northern Scotland. You can also expect a fair few in eastern England, including East Anglia.

    Monday 11 January 2010 to Sunday 24 January 2010
    Cold east or southeasterly wind.

    Temperatures will continue to be below average both day and night.

    Snow and sleet showers will be concentrated in eastern England, especially the northeast.

    Western Britain looks sunnier and drier than elsewhere because of the wind’s direction. Northern Ireland maintains its average.
    Next week

    In my memory, February has always brought the coldest and snowiest weather. My memory may be deceiving me but if not…
    Monthly forecasting

    The weather beyond about a week ahead stretches even the most experienced weather forecaster. Complex numerical weather forecast models from the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) are run many times for the month (and season) ahead to build up a picture of the likelihood of different weather types affecting the UK.

  91. Roger J (05:23:19) :
    You wrote: “I don’t understand why they had to change the scaling ..”

    I suspect the software is sufficiently automated such that the range of values is checked and the contours/shading is chosen without any intervention by a human. This seems to be a common concept except when a ‘one-of-a-kind’ map is wanted for a presentation or a publication. When many maps are produced daily, weekly, monthly – automation is going to drive these images. If you want exact comparisons I think you will have to download the “raw” data and plot the maps yourself.

  92. Steve Goddard (07:49:41) :

    There is nothing sinister about the NOAA color schemes or maps.

    They only have twelve colors to work with, which means only six colors for below normal regions. December has some very cold anomalies (-18 F) so each color necessarily represents three degrees. In October they only needed two degrees per color.

    That is just being lazy, they could come up with any resolution they wanted by adding texture, crosshatching etc. They should have a fixed color/temperature association so that maps can be directly compared without the reader having to sort out how one color that meant normal last month now means warming.

    Larry

  93. JonesII (07:38:54) :

    kadaka (20:24:20) : That is not cherry picking but planting cherries. (presumably in a greenhouse with CO2 added).

    Remember for awhile there they were citing the earlier blossoming of the cherry trees in Washington DC as proof of global warming? Maybe they still are, if it is still happening.

    However I have yet to see a report as to how much of the supposedly increased local temps can be attributable to the ever-increasing concentration of heat-producing bureaucrats. They are getting rather dense.

  94. Plato Says (09:09:31) :

    Oh dear – the Met Office are in the stocks again

    Apparently they are a very good predictor of the weather, if you assume the opposite of what they are saying.

    It’s like when it’s cited as “proof” of telepathy when someone consistently does much worse than pure chance, as with the “What card am I holding” test. To be that bad that often they must know what the answer is, they are somehow just avoiding it.

    And since the current answers involve “there has been no statistically significant warming nor do we see any happening anytime soon,” well…

  95. ” u.k.(us) (19:43:42) :

    the first person/entity to predict the weather reliabily, even in the 24-48 hour period…….. never mind, too many variables.
    could have made lots of money.”

    You mean Group Captain Sir James Martin Stagg who managed to persuaded General Dwight D. Eisenhower to change the date of D-Day from June 5 to June 6, 1944., promising that he would have 5 good days for air support?

  96. kadaka (20:24:20) :

    Hold up. I noticed something important.

    Pennsylvania, see the lower-left spot of warming, stands right out. Where are they getting their readings?

    See map of Pennsylvania. It looks like the spot is at Altoona, not much else around. What could be causing warming at Altoona?

    What is at Altoona? Penn State Altoona. That’s right, Michael Mann’s Penn State, Altoona campus.

    ****************************************************

    It’s warmer there in both October and December. You could be on to something. This bears checking and watching

    Been burning old paper records before the EPA bans open trash burning. It causes a little warming but college kids always like a bonfire. After tweeking the numbers, burning the old documents helps lessen confusion.

  97. Unfortunately, Africa, Siberia, and other difficult to verify locations with poor distribution will show unprecendented warming as they always have. When the books are cooked we all fry.

  98. John Blake (19:40:36) :

    Climate Cultists’ foolish assertions to the contrary display not mere naivete but willful blindness to mathematical reality, a deluded self-importance concomitant with radically skewed Arguments from Authority by Stipulation: AGW is true because we Ascended Masters say it is.

    John: heretical writings such as these will find you wallowing behind bars. Please do not stop as it is delightfully reminiscent of cousin William!

    Is anyone “Ascended” who merely stands upon a pedestal?

  99. I finally get to see the fabled “temperature hockey stick” with my own eyes and it turns out not to look like a hockey stick at all; more like a “tire iron” with its long end pointing downward.

    CH

  100. Joel Shore (07:04:55) :

    This piece http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/09/decadal-predictions/ is relevant to this post.

    Joel:

    the article is interesting in that is begins to recognize the flaws in the entire ethos of computer modeling. At its conclusion the author (Gavin) notes the troubling perception that:

    “… to meet the expectations of society, it is both necessary and possible to revolutionize climate prediction. … It is possible firstly because of major advances in scientific understanding, secondly because of the development of seamless prediction systems which unify weather and climate prediction, thus bringing the insights and constraints of weather prediction into the climate change arena, and thirdly because of the ever-expanding power of computers.”

    Gavin’s response is:

    “However, just because something is necessary (according to the expectations of society) does not automatically mean that it is possible! Indeed, there is a real danger for society’s expectations to get completely out of line with what eventually will prove possible, and it’s important that policies don’t get put in place that are not robust to the real uncertainty in such predictions.”

    This is encouraging as to RC and warmists recognizing the quite remarkable failures in climate modeling to date. A healthy precursor to amending agenda.

  101. Scientists claiming they can predict with 90+% certainty what the climate will be 50 or 100 years from now but really have no way of predicting what it will be 5 or ten years from now defies logic.

    For arguments sake, lets assume what they claim is true. That would mean if they take all their data up to the year 1965 (no data after 1965 can be used because for the purposes of this calculation it “doesn’t exist yet”) and run it thru their models they should easily be able to predict with better than 90% probability what the weather will be like in 2010.

    Or expressed another way, they claim they can now predict what the weather will be like in 2060 based on what they know now, but by the time 2055 rolls around, they will now have no clue what 2060 will be like.

    Bottom line, if your model is no good for 5 years from now, its worthless for 50 years from now too.

  102. If you look at the Weather Channel vs. your actual local forecaster’s forecasts, my feeling is that for the past couple of years TWC’s is always a bit higher (1-2 degrees), even for tomorrow or the next 10 days. With, of course the subsequent reality agreeing with the lower, local forecaster’s numbers. I haven’t done a statistical analysis of this yet, although I want to.

    My feeling is that it is purely propaganda and not based on the NOAA predictions or any difference in scientific models vs. what the local guys have to use. If you say that it is warmer often enough, people will believe it. I believe this kind of plan, if that is what it is, will back-fire though, as people will expect warmer weather when you predict it and the cold will actually then feel more pronounced.

    I’m not saying that this is what the NOAA is doing (which I follow through their weekly ENSO update pages.) It is just an observation and a possibility of what the NOAA might be doing as well.

  103. Ho w many more years of observation do we need before we can seriously dump the IPCC computer predictions of catastrophic warming? The discrepancy between modelled and observed that started a few years ago is now increasing at an alarming rate.

  104. Claude Harvey (12:12:56) :

    I finally get to see the fabled “temperature hockey stick” with my own eyes and it turns out not to look like a hockey stick at all; more like a “tire iron” with its long end pointing downward.

    —…—…—

    No, no. This is not the hockey stick graph.

  105. What you all forgetting, is that is your great President and our wannabe great Prime Minister Rudd have solved AGW – just by attending Copenhagen and of course threatening Mother Nature with a Cap and Trade tax. She just had to back down.

  106. kadaka (20:24:20) :

    Altoona campus.

    What do they offer there? A B.A. in Environmental Studies. (Go ahead and click, enjoy the picture.)

    What are they doing to that tree? Is that legal in the US

  107. So many things wrong with this article I hardly know where to begin:
    a) you’re looking at weather. Just one day can make a big difference to the view.
    Here’s the latest from HPRCC one dat later: http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current/index.php?action=update_daterange&daterange=Year

    b) Notice how they have changed the colour scale to fit.

    c) In the article the author says:”So my question is – if the climate models can’t reliably predict the next three months, what basis do they have to claim their ability to forecast 100 years out?” Well climate models aren’t designed to tell you the weather so don’t expect them to. It’s like asking someone who they think will win the League next year and declaring them wrong on the basis of the result of the first match of the season.

    d) I thought this site didn’t trust surface stations, so why are you using their data to try to make a point?

  108. I said:
    Showing temperature maps that cut off at Canada is a little wierd. Is there a way of having a continuous map?

    REPLY: Yes, we can have the USA annex Canada, then NOAA will cover it. – Anthony

    You tried that once before and it did not work out so well, though it did result in the US developing a more professional army (see Battle of Lundy Lane). Anyway, we like living in the world’s freest country (Canada)

  109. They’re saying my neck of the woods was +2 from October to December with parts in the +4 range and Mike Mann’s turf in the +6-8 range? What planet are they on? October was FREEZING…it was more like December. And it’s cold here now, too, around 15 below normal and projected to keep those temps for at least the next week.

    @ kadaka (20:24:20) :

    Hold up. I noticed something important. Pennsylvania, see the lower-left spot of warming, stands right out. Where are they getting their readings? See map of Pennsylvania. It looks like the spot is at Altoona, not much else around. What could be causing warming at Altoona? What is at Altoona? Penn State Altoona. That’s right, Michael Mann’s Penn State, Altoona campus.

    Yeah, and the part in the west that’s reading +2-4 is Beaver–with another Penn State campus there. I live less than 5 miles from there and I don’t know where Beaver’s station is, but most of that area is rural. Altoona is in the mountains–it gets a lot colder and snowier there than it does here.

    @ James Chamberlain (12:37:31) :

    If you look at the Weather Channel vs. your actual local forecaster’s forecasts, my feeling is that for the past couple of years TWC’s is always a bit higher (1-2 degrees), even for tomorrow or the next 10 days. With, of course the subsequent reality agreeing with the lower, local forecaster’s numbers. I haven’t done a statistical analysis of this yet, although I want to.

    I just checked TWC and I think you’re right. TWC is posting temps higher over the next week than the local forecasters. For example, tomorrow TWC says a high of 23. The local stations are saying 20-23. For Thursday TWC is saying 38 (heat wave!)…the local stations range from 32 to 35 and then back to the freezer next week.

  110. Turboblocke (13:52:41) :

    “So many things wrong with this article I hardly know where to begin:”

    Well…if I may, there are at least 4 things wrong with your reply. Lets take them one-by-one:

    a) “you’re looking at weather.” No…the month of October & the month of December properly qualify as climate – short term climate, but climate none the less. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center starts their climate forcasting period at 2 weeks and beyond.

    b) “Notice how they have changed the colour scale to fit.” Irrelevant – there was no need to shift the colors but the numbers are what the numbers are, by & large, below normal.

    c) “…Well climate models aren’t designed to tell you the weather so don’t expect them to.” No one said the climate models were forecasting *weather* but they were forecasting trends in Temp & Precip for the monthly period which they failed at…which was the point of the article.

    d) “I thought this site didn’t trust surface stations, so why are you using their data to try to make a point?” OK, some or most of the surface obs do tend to be biased…*warm*. Are you implying the anomaly charts should be colder???

    Next…

    Jeff

  111. Richard M (07:53:05) :

    Basil (07:19:56): “These trends are compared to the 1971-2000 climate normals.”

    Only one more year to go and this *should* change to 1981-2010 … I suspect that could change things a bit.

    Yes, but it may take a couple of years after 2010 to develop and publish the new normals. But as you say, it could change things a bit. Here’s an interesting scenario: with the normals then reflecting the warmer 2000-2010 years, but with a very real possibility of temps trending downward, relative to the new normals, we should start seeing lots of blue in the seasonal forecasts, replacing the red/brown that have dominated seasonal forecasts for the past few years.

  112. R Pearse (13:57:42) :

    You tried that once before and it did not work out so well, though it did result in the US developing a more professional army (see Battle of Lundy Lane). Anyway, we like living in the world’s freest country (Canada)

    Didn’t really try real hard or it could have truthfully been said that Canada was the freest (until recently, anyway).

  113. There are a couple of things I picked up on reading this article:
    ** In the first illustration, the range in temperature variance is measured by two. In the next illustration, not only are the colors changed, but the variance is measured by three. This may be accidental, since they had to show a greater range of temperature variances, but it provides a bit of a dishonest picture.

    ** I’ve been following “global warming” online since about 1995. There is one fact that stands out above all others: no “climate scientist” understands the complexity of global climate, and most fail to grasp the number of different variables that affect climate, nor the span of interactions between forcings and feedbacks. Putting all their eggs in the anthropogenic carbon dioxide basket has blinded them to the reality of a hugely complex and chaotic interactive system.

    ** “Garbage in, Garbage out” takes on a whole new meaning after going through the CRUtape mess.

  114. Jeff L (19:45:02) :

    Here in the foothills west of Denver, I am a snow spotter for the NWS.

    Without revealing your exact location, what city are you close to?

    I live in Denver. Have so my entire life. This has been a very cold December.

  115. For what it is worth:

    Watched the weather channel tonight, they said we are setting up in the 70 and 77 Winter pattern. Snow likely for Florida panhandle in next 7 days.

  116. Turbo,

    The Climate Prediction Center predicted that October through December would be warmer than normal for most of the US. They were wrong, as they are more often than not. – indicating once again that their predictive powers are poor.

    Is that difficult to understand? Is it difficult to understand that the US is having an extremely cold autumn?

  117. There are a few large factors “they” don’t consider in the models, (that were supposedly proven useless in the 50’s, before computers and peer review came around.)

    The Moon drives the tides in the oceans (that they know) the Moon in it’s declinational (North to South) movement moves the atmosphere around and is the strongest driver of global weather patterns. (this is the problem with the models with handling time scales past 3 days to 20 years)

    The answers can be found to both enhance short term, (3 days to monthly) forecasts and climate models out to about 15 years or more, by incorporating the periods of the Lunar declinational atmospheric tides and their resultant effects on the Rossby waves and Jet stream patterns, into the models.

    I am offering here for your use, the process to fix these problems. If you look at the “forecast maps” generated by the aft mentioned process, you will see they did much better than the NOAA forecasts in the article above.

    Notice also the large spring outbreak of tornadoes coming around the 22nd through 25th of march of 2010, is mentioned, hidden in the middle of this rather lengthy read, (maps of the days mentioned can be found posted on the site, updates under the national maps will be updated 2 months in advance to reflect areas of the states expected to be affected, by this outbreak of severe weather.

    Richard Holle

    The following text was Originally Posted on another blog: December 13, 2009 11:35 pm;

    One of the problems with the current models is the reference time frame is very narrow for initial conditions, and changes with in the past three days, a lot of times, will introduce presistance of inertia, to the medial flows, for several days, consistent with the actual flows, as the Lunar declinational atmospheric tides, make their runs across the equator from one poleward culmination to another.

    Then as the tide turns and we have the severe weather bursts at declinational culmination, they get confused, or surprised, as the initial inertial effects reverse for about four days before the sweep to the other pole, that brings back the smooth flows, the models understand.

    So that when the Lunar declination went to Maximum North on December 3rd, turbulence and shear introduced into the atmosphere, from the turning tide, (the models do not know about), surprised them with the usual couple of tornadoes. Now (12-13-09) that we are ~20 degrees South Lunar declination, the models have a full buffer, of five days of linear inertial movement, from the Moon’s trip South across the equator (12-09-09) and is slowing it’s movement.

    Coming up on the Southern extent culmination, producing a secondary tidal bulge in the Northern Hemisphere, bringing us to the mid point of a 27.32 day declinational cycle (one of the four routine patterns that cycle on an 109.3 day period). This particular one (#1) that started back on Dec 3rd, has incursions of polar air masses that come down from Western Canada, through Montana and the Dakotas, to make up the Northern part of the atmospheric tidal bulge.

    So I would expect to see a large invasion of cold dry air sweep almost all the way to the Gulf coast again, then the produced frontal boundary with the interesting weather, that includes change state intense precipitation. Freezing rain, where the warm over runs cold, and snow where the cold undercuts the more sluggish warm air, still moving North East by inertia alone, severe weather to form in that trailing edge of the warm moist mass, that gets over taken from behind by the polar air mass that tries to follow the tidal bulge back to the equator, which for the next 4 of 5 days powers up the cyclonic patterns generated by carolis forces, and finishes out as the Moon approaches the equator again.

    Expect the same type of interaction again for a primary bulge production by the passage back North, culminating on 12-30-09, pumping in a solid polar air mass very consistent with the pattern we had on 12-03-09, (the North “lunar declination culmination”)[LDC], then (#2) the next Rossby wave / jet stream regime pattern, comes back into play with much more zonal flow, and air masses invading from the Pacific, (of the two sub types of) phase with lesser amounts of Gulf moisture entrainment in this one, more in the other #4.

    The (#3) third 27.32 day pattern with polar air masses invading in from the Minnesota / Great Lakes area and sweeping out through the Eastern sea board, and mostly zonal flow out west, from 01-27-10 till 02-23-10, comes next.

    The fourth 27.32 day cycle, that looks very similar to #2 but with much more moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, usually has more hail and tornadoes associated with it than Pattern #4, and typically flows up Eastern side of tornado alley. Will be in effect from 02-23-10 through 03-22-10, and should produce the first big surge of severe tornado production, from about March 20th 2010, until about March 26 or later as the Next polar air mass cycle is coming out of western Canada, and should make for steep temperature gradients, and ion content differences.

    Richard Holle
    http://www.aerology.com/national.aspx

    From a viewpoint of how the assemblage of parts seamlessly fits together,the only thing you have to do, is to watch the (short but seemingly) endless stream of (every 15 minute) infrared and/or vapor satellite photos animated, (after fixing the jumping around of the originals, due to lack of foresight, that they might be useful some day), and synchronized by 27.32 days periods, to see the repeating cycles.

    To set up five tiled windows, in the first show day #1 through #27 sequentially, then as they continue on in the same stream, the cycle of the first 27 days continues anew in window #2, synchronized by Lunar declination to #1. Till they spill over into window #3 stepping in phase with the other two, #4 the same idea gives you the four basic patterns of the Rossby wave 109.3 day cycle, of global circulation, that then repeat but seasonally shifted.

    In window #5 then would be the first repeat of window #1 in the same phase of the same pattern, and should look a lot like window #1. As the progression through the total series, proceeds, when you get 6558 days into the five stacks, a 6th window opens and the original day #1 in window #1 opens as #1 in window #6. As the series progresses on, real data can be viewed, in the real interactions going on.

    This would give you a look into the cyclic pattern that develops from the repetitive interaction of the inner planets, and tidal effects, caused by the Lunar declination, phase, perigee/ apogee cycles.

    By adding a sliding ball, vertically moving up and down a +-30 degree scale bar (referenced from the Equator), on the side of each tile space, that shows the plot of the current Lunar declination for the time of each frame. Which will allow you to see the shifts in the Lunar declinational angle’s effects, as the 18.6 Mn signal progresses.

    By adding another slide bar of +-30 degrees (with the heliocentric synod conjunction with Earth, as the zero reference), at the top, of each tile you could view each outer planet as we pass them, as color coded discs labeled, J, S,U, N, shifting from left to right. From viewing this progression of the outer planets, the merit of their influences, can then be seen in the additional surges in ion flux as they go by. You can watch the changes in the normal background, of the global circulation driven by the moon and inner planets, affected by the outer planets.

    By adding in the surface maps for the past historic temperatures, dew points, precipitation, types, and amounts, as overlays onto the IR/VAPOR photos, the patterns will be abundantly clear to 10 year old school kids. At the same time, generating a good long term forecast, set of analogs to base the models upon.

    Once the amount of additional angular momentum, and the process of it’s coming and goings can be clearly seen, it can then be measured, it’s effects calculated, and incorporated into the climate models, as a real quantized feedback. thereby giving us a much better picture, of the interactions, of all of the parts of the puzzle.

    All of the necessary data is in the archives, and free to use, to those that have the where with all, to assemble the real truth, be it inconvenient or not. I will probably spend the rest of my life, trying to do it alone, out of my own funds, as I have done so far.

  118. BillD (05:40:57) :

    The ensemble mean of model output will always drown out the order of magnitude events and the step-changes they can induce in the actual climate. Add this to initiation error, compounded error propagation and the fudge factors and it is hard to validate model results over any meaningful climate time-frame. The GFS operational model is re-initiated every 6 hours and the skill still drops off precipitously around the 100 hour mark. After 300 hours its no better than a random walk. If you accept Santer’s treatment of the confidence intervals, they fail at points to exclude the null (which actually makes sense to me). The models nevertheless are very useful and can help point the researcher in the proper direction. Treating them with the same reverence as short-term forecast tools is, however, utterly unjustified.

  119. If you bothered to read the lengthy entry above, you will understand that there are four patterns of global circulation that alternate, (as stated above) from ones of high zonal flow to ones of High medial flow.

    This is why the weather patterns run warm during the high zonal flow patterns ( September and November 2009) then cold during the alternate months of October, and December2009.

    The patterns induced by the Lunar declination run for 27.325 days at a cycle, as this is just short of a month the pattern slews into and out of phase with the “Monthly periods” so data stored “by Month” has problems with this slewed cyclic corruption. It would help if “they” used sets 27.325 days long to plot trends as they would see sets of clean alternating trends in resultant data sets.

    “They” could filter for the long term cyclic patterns, to reduce the noise in the composite signal, to the point that low frequency patterns caused by solar cycle shifts in activity, could also be filtered out leaving the residual surges in solar wind flux caused by the outer planets influence. Then when that is found, and defined well enough to filter out.

    What would be left should be the CO2 long term forcing, that will probably be very small, but conform well to the CO2ppm increases, in the atmosphere. THEN we would be able to decide rationally what if anything, needs to be done, about carbon foot prints, and suggestions for controls.

    Feel free to ask about the other, and or further defining answers, I have found to understand how the weather and climate really works.

    Richard Holle

  120. JeffK: climate noun 1 the average weather conditions of a particular region of the world over a long period of time, with regard to temperature, rainfall, air pressure, etc.
    weather noun the atmospheric conditions in any area at any time, with regard to sun, cloud, temperature, wind and rain, etc.

    HTH

    The weather models forecast the weather. The climate models forecast the climate. It’s simple if you know the difference between climate and weather. They are not the same thing.

    You may not have noticed that the Oct/Nov/Dec forecast consists of 3 months. Above you only see 2, which have below normal temperatures. If you look at November, which I linked to in my original post, you’ll see that it shows above normal temperatures. Draw your own conclusions.

    It’s inconsistant to complain that the surface stations are inaccurate and then try to use their data to try to make a point.

    If the author was serious about making a point on the accuracy of the weather forecasting, then he would compare every forecast against the actual results. Just picking one smells like cherry picking.

  121. Turbo,

    You seem very confused. A weather forecast is shaped along the lines of “it will snow on Wednesday in Chicago with a temperature of 18 degrees.” By contrast, a climate forecast is structured like “temperatures will be above normal in the midwest over a certain three month period.”

    This article is exclusively about climate forecasts from the “Climate Prediction Center.” Do you see any discussion of weather forecasts?

    And most human beings don’t need a thermometer to know that it is cold.

  122. Like my blood alchohol level at the moment, I predict withh 100% certainty that North America and all of Europe will have above or below average climate this winter.
    Yep! that seems a pretty safe bet. :)

  123. Ha! Funny! Mr. Goddard!! What are you doing here?? Lol! Its your old mechanic.

    Well…in response to the author here. You need to spend some time understanding the science.

    Here’s your homework for you. Show me ONE peer reviewed study that shows clearly that the current WARMING of the globe (not just north america as you like to corner the argument with) isn’t man made/Carbon Dioxide influenced?

    Go to http://www.350.org to understand the CLEAR science that has been put forth by the OVERWHELMING majority of climate scientist.

    Hint. Why are the polar caps melting (still). Why is Greenlands ice continuing to disappear? Why is much of the anceint ice disappearing on the planet? This isn’t temperature change in just 20-50 years. Its over a period of a 100+ years. Since the beginning of the industrial age.

  124. john,

    Temperatures in the Arctic are running at an average of -30C right now and I can assure you that the Arctic is not melting.
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    You might also note that sea level has not risen for the last four years. If the Greenland ice cap is melting at an accelerated pace (as claimed by some) where is the water going?

  125. Steve Goddard (03:55:32) :

    Turbo,

    You seem very confused. A weather forecast is shaped along the lines of “it will snow on Wednesday in Chicago with a temperature of 18 degrees.” By contrast, a climate forecast is structured like “temperatures will be above normal in the midwest over a certain three month period.”

    I think the latter would be called a long-range weather forecast. The Insisters won’t consider anything short of ten years to reflect climatic trends (at least when they’re playing defense).

  126. Roger,

    I think a long range weather forecast would top out at about two weeks, and would provide specific details of the weather in a particular location – like this one for Chicago.
    http://www.accuweather.com/us/il/chicago/60290/forecast-15day.asp?partner=forecastfox&traveler=1&zipchg=1&metric=0

    These types of forecasts change dramatically from day to day – due to chaos. Modelers believe that three days is about the limit for any real accuracy.

  127. The severe cold and snow that we’ve had here in Northern Europe, and in the North East US, is due to the more southerly location of the jetstream. What I’d like to know is whether this is due to the observed cooling of the thermosphere, and whether there is a correlation between this cooling and the reduced solar activity during the same period. Presumably there will be little immediate or noticeable effect in the troposphere due to a short-term reduction in solar activity, but we are now comfortably past the expected solar minimum. Has this caused a genuine change in the climate, involving increased melting of solar ice in summer and increased snowfall in winter? Are we entering a new mini ice age as a result of this reduced solar activity?

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