In 1790, Philly "had a fever", today, not so much

Steve Goddard reminded me that we’ve had “220 Years of Global Warming in Philadelphia”

public buildings

View of various public buildings in Philadelphia about 1790. Left to right, Congress Hall, State House (whose steeple had actually been removed in 1781), American Philosophical Society Hall, Hall of the Library Company of Philadelphia, and Carpenters' Hall. (Engraving (undated) by an unknown artist, in Columbian Magazine (1790). Library of Congress.)

Starting in 1790, a prominent Philadelphia resident named Charles Pierce started keeping detailed records of the weather and climate, which has been archived on Google Books.

His report from January, 1790 is below:

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

Compare vs. January, 2010 which had a mean temperature of 32 degrees – 12 degrees cooler than 220 years ago.  So far, February is even colder.

Here’s what GISS says about the temperature. Note Philly is now about where it was in 1950.

The water temperature in the Delaware River was close to freezing and was frozen over for part of January, 2010 – so it is unlikely that many boys were swimming there this year.

Yes, this is just one month, so here is a more detailed analysis from WUWT.

Advertisements

99 thoughts on “In 1790, Philly "had a fever", today, not so much

  1. Hide the decline.
    Every time we see abuse of the word “record” it should have a qualifier. They should qualify it as to which reports it comes from. Record floods from 80 years ago are ignored.

  2. I love it. My estimation of where we were at about equal to 1953. 1950 is close!
    I do wish, however, that the graph went back to the 1920s so as to see the 1930s temperatures. Starting in 1948, biases the viewing of the overall trend.

  3. You wouldn’t catch me and my Southern Calif. hide swimming in a river in 70F sun… what are you people thinking? Waay too cold for swimming.

  4. I am not sure I understand the graph – it displays annual temperature. What does Charles say for the entire year?

  5. His publisher has extracted a table of the monthly averages in another of its publications (“The American Quarterly Register,” May, 1848, page 156-157).
    http://books.google.com/books?id=JEbZAAAAMAAJ&dq=temperature%20philadelphia%20%20pierce&lr=&as_brr=4&pg=PA156#v=onepage&q=false
    OK S.
    btw, Your google link doesn’t seem to work. Maybe this one won’t either:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=uJA-AAAAYAAJ&dq=temperature%20philadelphia%20charles%20pierce&lr=&as_brr=4&pg=PA3#v=onepage&q=&f=false
    (See page 264 for yearly averages)

  6. Jeremy,
    I’m not sure I have ever had a day at the beach in Northern California when the air temperature was over 70 degrees.

  7. Please be honest with your loyal readers:
    Mr. Pierce didn’t explain how he did the monthly mean (perhaps day temperatures?)

  8. It’s really funny to see AGW alarmists carrying on like idiots trying to convince the world to stop climate change simply because they are afraid of a fraction of a degree rise in global mean temperature over the past 100 or so years. What do they want? A flat line? AGW alarmists must be the dumbest, most stupid people on this planet. To think some of these are scientists is a grave concern to me as the real problems of the world are continuing unnoticed.

  9. It’s hard to tell what the point of this article is. Everyone knows that the climate (both local and global) has natural variability, but that doesn’t mean human factors can’t also have a substantial effect – in fact, it should make us more concerned about anthropogenic climate change, not less so, if it is telling us that climate is quite sensitive to relatively small forcings. IIRC the forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is around 1.6 W/m2 compared to a fluctuation of around 0.2 W/m2 due to the normal solar cycle. This seems significant.

  10. SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, has a temperature series for Uppsala (to the North of Stockholm) — daily means from 1722 to 2004. You can load it down as a zipped text file. (There are two temperature columns, the one to the right has adjusted figures to compensate for local changes of place etc.)
    http://www.smhi.se/klimatdata/meteorologi/temperatur/uppsalas-temperaturserie-1.2855
    I took the July figures and calculated yearly and decadal means, and found that the 1760’s were the warmest decade (18.1ºC). The 1960’s were the coldest (15.4ºC), and the 1970’s the fifth coldest. This means the summers now are more or less like they have always been. The change that I can notice myself is that from 1989 and until 2007, winters have been unusually mild.
    But now we are back again to real Nordic winters with cold and snow, lots of snow, roofs collapsing etc…

  11. Some enterprising PhD student really should get stuck into the British Admiralty records. Every ship in the fleet – and in the East India Company – kept a record several times daily of weather. (The Dutch Admiralty and those of other nations may hold comparable records). This incomparable resource really should be mined for the historic data it contains

  12. There is also quite hot decade 1790-1799 in the temperature record from Prague Klementinum
    http://xmarinx.sweb.cz//KLEMENTINUM.xls
    The mean of last decade 2000-2009 was however 0,96°C above the decade 1790-1799. But if we subtract the UHI – which using the comparison with another stations around Prague is >0,5°C for Klementinum. So then we come in Prague to warming in comparison with the decade 1790-1799 <0,5°C.
    Just BTW a little but maybe breaking OT- Czech Meteorological institute climatologists obtained and published data from CRU together with their own data for the same stations in the Czech republic
    http://portalh.chmi.cz/http:/portal.chmi.cz/files/portal/docs/meteo/ok/files/CRU_CHMI_monthly_temperatures.xls
    and comparing the CRU data with their own data the Czech climatologists claimed in their articles, that the CRU didn't manipulate the Czech data -even there are large differences between the Czech and CRU data.
    However, when I looked into the data I found out, that there are whole years even decades of numbers in the CRU data which even the Czech Meteorological institute doesn't have – for their own stations! – and in one case is confirmed that there the CRU has even data for one of the station (Cheb) in year 1953 – when the station didn't existed at all – because it was founded late in 1954.
    The climatologists from the Czech meteorological institute now absolutely aren't able to answer, where the significant chunks of data from the CRU for the Czech stations (which as usual are mostly airports) come from, and it almost looks like the CRU completely fabricated whole years in the records. Looks like we aren't just on track to prove manipulation, but an outright fraud, and it is maybe the reason why Phil Jones wrote he would rather delete the data, then let them be obtained by FOI and then telling the world the infamous CRU lost the data during moving.

  13. “Mr. Pierce didn’t explain how he did the monthly mean ”
    The Google book said he took 3 temperatures each day – sunrise, 2pm and 10pm.

  14. @ Juan (13:22:20)
    “Please be honest with your loyal readers: Mr. Pierce didn’t explain how he did the monthly mean (perhaps day temperatures?)”
    In the referenced text he explains that he took a reading three times a day, just before dawn, at 2pm, and at 10pm. That gave him the low, the high, and, potentially, any rapid afternoon/evening change in the weather.

  15. You guys are doing it wrong!!! See, if you apply a stat trick, then your graph can smooth out!!!

  16. John Galt,
    Good point. Those boys thought it was warm enough to swim, but clearly did not have the correct academic credentials to make that determination. They were probably paid off by the oil companies.

  17. Jeremy writes:

    You wouldn’t catch me and my Southern Calif. hide swimming in a river in 70F sun… what are you people thinking? Waay too cold for swimming.

    You don’t know Philly kids. All that’s necessary to get them swimming (even two centuries ago) is to tell ’em “Don’t.”

  18. “Icarus (13:41:46) :
    It’s hard to tell what the point of this article is. Everyone knows that the climate (both local and global) has natural variability, but that doesn’t mean human factors can’t also have a substantial effect – in fact, it should make us more concerned about anthropogenic climate change, not less so, if it is telling us that climate is quite sensitive to relatively small forcings. IIRC the forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is around 1.6 W/m2 compared to a fluctuation of around 0.2 W/m2 due to the normal solar cycle. This seems significant.”
    Where does the planet store the heat, Icarus? If the heat doesn’t get stored we don’t have to worry because it’s obviously not a problem of insufficient cooling then. So where is it stored?

  19. James Sexton writes:

    You guys are doing it wrong!!! See, if you apply a stat trick, then your graph can smooth out!!!

    D’you mean something like “Mike’s Nature trick,” perhaps?

  20. So you guys think Jan 2010 was cold throughout? Want to make a bet about what the global number will look like for the month? We can use UAH if you want.

  21. carrot eater,
    The average tells you nothing about the distribution. Suppose you have 10 numbers 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 100, 0, 0, 0. The average is 10, but the median is zero.
    Now suppose you have a very warm area of ocean in the central/south Pacific aka El Nino. That can create a relatively high “global average temperature” which tells you nothing about temperatures on the rest of the planet.
    The point is, the “global number” is misleading during El Nino. Consider 2007 when UAH showed having a very warm January, and then temperatures plummeted more than one degree the rest of the year.

  22. Icarus,
    If the climate is so sensitive, how did we get out of the last ice age? CO2 was very low, albedo was very high. If the climate was that sensitive, feedback should have kept making it colder and colder until Penguins and Polar Bears took over the planet.

  23. A quick glance at the 400 yr. PDO reconstruction shows that it was crashing around 1790 from a high positive state to a slightly negative state. It very well could have been accompanied by a strong La Niña event. This would argue for mild temperatures across the eastern U.S.
    Here in Minnesota, the Minneapolis records go back to 1820. There was also one record of a winter (I believe 1807/08) in the Red River Valley near Pembina, North Dakota… the winter was plenty severe.. but then April was very warm even by today’s standards. Every place has its outliers. The winter of 1877/78 was the mildest here by a huge amount. No other winter in the modern record can touch it.
    What is even more interesting was that Minneapolis saw a strong cooling trend from 1835-1875… about 3˚F over that period. Temperatures more or less warmed to around the 1820-2009 average after 1885 and remained there until around 1920 when temps warmed further and were quite warm from the 1930s-late 1950s. Only the 1998-2009 period has beaten that period.
    What caused the cooling trend from 1835-1875? Why did it warm again so quickly?
    You can check this info out at http://home.att.net/~minn_climo/

  24. carrot eater (15:03:10) :
    “So you guys think Jan 2010 was cold throughout? Want to make a bet about what the global number will look like for the month? We can use UAH if you want.”
    Is that before or after Hansen’s little trick? http://i31.tinypic.com/2149sg0.gif
    Or Australia’s http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/20/darwin-zero-before-and-after/
    Or New Zealand’s http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/25/uh-oh-raw-data-in-new-zealand-tells-a-different-story-than-the-official-one/
    Oh, you must be talking about Bolivia! http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/ghcn-gistemp-interactions-the-bolivia-effect/
    I would not trust ANY temperature information that comes homogenized out of “official” channels including satellite.
    Besides we all basically agree there has been warming since the 1970’s and that warming has pretty much ended. Even the CRU e-mails (It’s a travesty) back that up.

  25. Steve Goddard:
    That’s mathematically true, but the global numbers are still very meaningful. The global trend is of warming since the 1970s, and looking at a trend map, most regions are indeed warming, except for East Antarctica.
    Of course, at any given point in time, you’ll have some places warmer than usual, and others colder. I’m just underscoring that the cold January was a very regional thing.
    As for how we got out of the last ice age, you know the theory. Milankovitch triggers some warming, which set off snow melt and the release of CO2, which saw to the rest. Your image doesn’t make any sense, anyway. The feedbacks don’t lead to infinite changes; they merely amplify the changes. So you reach the glacial maximum, and then wait for the orbital forcing to come back around to trigger warming again.

  26. Gail Combs (15:44:39) :
    There’s no homogenisation in satellite data. Station data isn’t used.

  27. DirkH (15:00:59) :
    Where does the planet store the heat, Icarus? If the heat doesn’t get stored we don’t have to worry because it’s obviously not a problem of insufficient cooling then. So where is it stored?

    In the climate system, and the bulk of it in the oceans. If you have the same energy coming in from the sun and the outgoing energy is reduced by an enhanced greenhouse effect then that is inevitable (until an equilibrium at a higher temperature is reached).

  28. Well, I sure hope icarus is right. We could sure use another couple of degrees warming. Increased crop yields due to longer growing seasons and warmer nights sure would help feed a growing world population.
    The increase in precipitation should lessen droughts as well. Fewer cold weather deaths across the world is surely something to look forward to. In fact, it’s hard to come up with a single reason we shouldn’t all look forward to warmer temps.

  29. Steve Goddard (15:20:19) :
    …Now suppose you have a very warm area of ocean in the central/south Pacific aka El Nino. That can create a relatively high “global average temperature” which tells you nothing about temperatures on the rest of the planet.
    The point is, the “global number” is misleading during El Nino. Consider 2007 when UAH showed having a very warm January, and then temperatures plummeted more than one degree the rest of the year

    It’s true that we don’t have a perfectly accurate ‘global number’, and all climatologists recognise this, and recognise the need to have better monitoring (e.g. Trenberth’s paper). However, the long-term trends are clearly more important than short-term variability, and the warming trend over recent decades is clearly revealed by rising global sea levels and melting global ice cover.

  30. Steve Goddard (15:31:06) :
    Icarus,
    If the climate is so sensitive, how did we get out of the last ice age? CO2 was very low, albedo was very high. If the climate was that sensitive, feedback should have kept making it colder and colder until Penguins and Polar Bears took over the planet.

    We got out of the last ice age precisely *because* the climate is so sensitive to changes in insolation (solar forcing) over the Milankovitch Cycle, amplified by positive feedback mechanisms (albedo, greenhouse gases, clouds etc.). Several billion years ago with a ‘faint young sun’ the conditions might have been right for a ‘snowball Earth’, but now solar irradiance is substantially higher (30%? I forget) and the planet is more likely to have a problem with keeping cool than with warming up from an ice age.

  31. “Richard M (17:04:17) :
    In fact, it’s hard to come up with a single reason we shouldn’t all look forward to warmer temps

    Seriously? How about:
    Loss of many major coastal cities including mine (I live at sea level)
    Increased drought
    Increased wildfires
    Death of most tropical coral and livelihood of millions of people
    Heatwaves killing tens of thousands
    Widespread destruction of rainforest
    Major cities abandoned as glacier-fed water supplies dry up
    Massive crop failure
    Southern Europe turns to desert
    Massive extinctions
    Oceans are largely dead as overturning ceases
    etc…

  32. Icarus,
    The last ice age was only 20,000 years ago.
    As it got colder, feedback caused snow cover to increase and CO2 to decrease, which in turn caused snow cover to increase and CO2 to decrease, etc. etc.
    If the climate was so sensitive, then this cycle of feeding back Hansen’s “strong forcings” (CO2 and albedo) would have been impossible to break – certainly not by a “very weak forcing.”
    Hansen wants to have it both ways, but it isn’t going to work.

  33. Steve Goddard (16:37:09) :
    Hansen says that orbital cycles are “a very weak forcing.”
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/illwesleyan_20080219.pdf

    [snip] what he actually says is: “Chief instigator of climate change was earth orbital change, a very weak forcing.” and “Chief mechanisms of Pleistocene climate change are GHGs & ice sheet area, as feedbacks
    i.e. only a small forcing is needed to result in large global climate changes because of positive feedback from ice sheets, greenhouse gases etc. – precisely why anthropogenic factors are having, and will have, such a huge effect on the climate.
    Please don’t misrepresent other people’s work like that.

  34. Icarus,
    I’m not misrepresenting Hansen’s work – rather I am pointing out that his statements make no sense. Obviously a “very weak forcing” can not be the “primary instigator.” He is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
    I’m just hoping that people like you will try thinking for yourself.

  35. Steve Goddard (16:37:09) :
    Orbital forcing is a weak forcing that (if we’re starting from a glacial maximum) starts a bit of warming, and which starts ice melting, which leads to more warming, and also the release of CO2, which also leads to more warming. How is that inconsistent with what Hansen said? The point Icarus is making is that climate is sensitive – that a weak forcing like Milankovich has such impacts because of feedbacks.
    Keep in mind that in the ice age cycles, CO2 is itself a feedback; it’s the orbital forcing that kicks everything off (either going into, or coming out of, an ice age).

  36. Hansen’s whole tipping point idea is based around the idea that increased greenhouse gases and loss of albedo feed back and overwhelm all other “forcings” – leading the planet to an irreversible Venus like state.
    He can’t then turn around and claim that this theory works sometimes and not others. Using his logic, it should also be impossible to come out of an ice age – certainly not by a “very weak forcing.”
    Or does he also believe that a “very weak forcing” could reverse his “tipping point?”
    His logic is completely scattered.

  37. The uncommon mildness of the weather continued until the 7th of February.
    So this was uncommon.
    The Google book said he took 3 temperatures each day – sunrise, 2pm and 10pm.
    If so, he does not capture the daily minimum Temperature as is done now.
    Has anyone run a check against current data to see the average bias introduced by using different collection methods? Isn’t this a “Time of Observation” problem?

  38. Ron,
    TOBS is an artifact of relying on min/max thermometers, rather than reading the actual temperature.
    Pierce was taking actual temperature measurements and his choice of times were excellent. Probably some of the most unbiased data in the record.

  39. A better knowledge of boundary conditions and the mathematics of chaos theory and feedback mechanisms would help in making points and counterpoints in this discussion. Unfortunately we have neither. However I do believe that until the sun itself enters its death-throws, the Earth’s climate will always trend back to its mean from whatever extremes it experiences from whatever forcings comes its way.

  40. That was back in the day when warm weather brought out yellow fever. If you were anybody at all, you left Philly for your country estate.

  41. @magicjava (13:19:01) :
    “…Want to comment on this, but there are not too many things I’m less interested in than Philadelphia….”
    You and W.C.Fields: Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.
    This was an epitaph Fields proposed for himself in a 1925 article in Vanity Fair. It refers to his long standing jokes about Philadelphia (his actual birthplace), and the grave being one place he might actually not prefer to be. This is often repeated as “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”, or “All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.” which he might have stated at other times. [Wikipedia] {Surely they can do some things right}
    What’s the deal with Philly? Too cold?

  42. Icarus (13:41:46) :
    It’s hard to tell what the point of this article is. Everyone knows that the climate (both local and global) has natural variability, but that doesn’t mean human factors can’t also have a substantial effect – in fact, it should make us more concerned about anthropogenic climate change, not less so, if it is telling us that climate is quite sensitive to relatively small forcings. IIRC the forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is around 1.6 W/m2 compared to a fluctuation of around 0.2 W/m2 due to the normal solar cycle. This seems significant.
    ————————————————————-
    Which means, if you were correct, that the Anthropogenic signal would be clear and pronounced…..
    But it is not. It is not really discernable within the noise of natural climate variation….. Now that you realize this. You must think again about the observations and how they differ from the “models”.

  43. Peter of Sydney (13:23:11) :
    It’s really funny to see AGW alarmists carrying on like idiots trying to convince the world to stop climate change simply because they are afraid of a fraction of a degree rise in global mean temperature over the past 100 or so years. What do they want? A flat line? AGW alarmists must be the dumbest, most stupid people on this planet. To think some of these are scientists is a grave concern to me as the real problems of the world are continuing unnoticed.

    The alarmists are not so much dumb or stupid, but blinkered by groupthink: the desire to please, to get along, to win the approval of peers, to succeed in jobs and career, and (most worrisome) to be part of a grand crusade to save the world from the evils brought about by the modern world, especially the greedy, Western, capitalist world, so obsessed with material comforts and the pursuit of wealth that it ignores ‘the environment’ and the health of ‘the planet’ (never mind that it’s rich countries that can afford clean air, nice parks, and quaint boutiques selling trinkets from ‘primitive’ lands).
    In other words, as as so often been pointed out on this board, it’s not the science, but a perversion of science in the service of an ideological movement. In such circumstances truth takes a backseat to the desperate need to prove oneself worthy of the others in the movement (see Eric Hoffer, The True Believer. The fact of a degree Celsius or two doesn’t matter; what matters is being on the ‘right’ side in the glorious struggle to save humanity from itself.
    Most of these faux scientists are not so much ideologues themselves, as ‘fellow travelers’, ‘useful idiots’ (in Lenin’s phrase); they are time servers, putting their mundane work toward accepted goals. The leaders are not interested in the science, either, except as it suits their ends, which are power and control of the movement and defeat of its enemies.
    Never forget that many here are ‘the enemy’.
    /Mr Lynn

  44. @ Steve Goddard (18:46:42) :
    Is this what Pierce is doing?
    MonthlyAve1 = [ SUM [ foreachDay(T.sunrise + T.2pm + T.10pm) / 3) ] ] / (number of days)
    Or maybe this?
    MonthlyAve2 = [ SUM [ foreachObs(T) ] ] / (number of Obs)
    Or another way?
    And once you have determined Pierce’s method, is it correct to compare Peirce’s averages directory to a series built like this?
    MonthlyAve3 = [ SUM [ foreachDay (Tmax + Tmin) / 2 ] ] / (number of days)
    If someone can provide a Pierce’s algorithm for creating a monthly average I’d like to compare it to a Tmax/min algorithm.
    Also if someone can provide a link to daily weather data, I’d be much obliged. Else I’m gonna have to scrape some 31 days of daily data:
    http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=KPAEASTO7&month=1&day=1&year=2010&format=1
    Thanks in advance!

  45. Loss of many major coastal cities including mine (I live at sea level)
    Increased drought
    Increased wildfires
    Death of most tropical coral and livelihood of millions of people
    Heatwaves killing tens of thousands
    Widespread destruction of rainforest
    Major cities abandoned as glacier-fed water supplies dry up
    Massive crop failure
    Southern Europe turns to desert
    Massive extinctions
    Oceans are largely dead as overturning ceases

    Take out the “extra dryness” and most of those turn out to be the same thing.
    Problem is, global warming won’t cause droughts. Higher temperatures mean increased evaporation. The equatorial areas of the world are hardly dry after all. The dry areas are hot because they are dry, not vice-versa. The Sahara, Gobi etc are all in areas where the prevailing wind does not bring rain. Nothing about global warming will change this. Southern Europe getting hotter will not make it one jot drier.
    The running out of “glacier fed” water is silly beyond belief. If the glaciers were not melting then they would provide no water at all. Yet apparently you believe non-melting glaciers provide more water than melting ones. How does that work?
    That leaves the silly myth about rising sea levels. I can’t argue logically with that, because it is one of those religious beliefs that ignore facts. At current rates the sea will rise far less than 20 cm by 2100.
    And the sea “dying” is one of those lovely scare stories that is possible but implausible. We have no actual evidence for it. We do have evidence that back in the past when the seas were warmer that animals thrived in it. Or do you have some evidence of mass maritime extinctions caused by over-heating you wish to share with paleontology?

  46. Sorry, forgot to add: increase evaporation from warming leads to increased precipitation. The Antarctic is very cold, and sees almost no precipitation. Fiji is very hot, and sees plenty of rain. I would prefer to live in Fiji myself.

  47. Ron,
    Both of your suggested methods will give the same answer – the associative law.
    ( ( (a0 + b0 + c0) / 3 ) + ( ( a1 + b1 + c1) / 3 ) ) / 2 =
    (a0 + b0 + c0 + a1 + b1 + c1) / 6
    By using three equally spaced times during the day, he is probably getting a meaningful average temperature. More meaningful than picking a random time to record a min/max thermometer and applying an arbitrary TOBS adjustment.

  48. I’m in North Carolina right now. Four foot drifts of snow. I didn’t pack long underwear. I mean… it’s North Carolina right?
    Time to adjust to the new realities.

  49. Yeah – I realized that during my drive home tonight! 😀
    But, Steve – you are avoiding the heart of the question.
    Does the average of T.sunrise + T.2pm + T.10pm give substantially the same result as the average of T.max + T.min?
    If not, then is it correct to compare them directly?
    But I think I’m just going to have to calculate it myself.
    I don’t seem to be getting an answer here.

  50. What’s the deal with Philly? Too cold?

    It’s notoriously dull. I lived there and the only excitement was the aggressive drivers, some of whom virtually chased pedestrians up onto the sidewalk.

  51. Those interested in Historic temperatures should go to my web site here where a substantial nunmber of pre 1850 records have been collated;
    http://climatereason.com/LittleIceAgeThermometers/
    The red dots signify actual instrumenetal readings, the yellow dots signify observations- including weather diaries such as the one from Philadelphia.
    Within the articles download section are a number of articles I have written-some carried here-which analyse such as the Uppsalla and Central Park records.
    I hope to do an update shortly and add several more records and articles including this one which related the life of Charlers Dickens to the temperatures of the time and discovered that the image he conjured up of constant Freezing British winters was often illusory.
    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/bah-humbug/
    If anyone has any old records they want me to add some links would be appreciated
    Tonyb

  52. The SUM(T.obs) below refers to a sum of all non-NULL values for the first entry at 07:xx:xx, 014:xx:xx, and 22:xx:xx. (ie 7am, 2pm, and 10pm). Since some values were null, I just summed the non-null values with no regard for which day they came from.
    This is the average using both methods for a sample of three Pennsylvania weather stations in January 2010. See link above for sample data page.
    KPACHEST4:
    SUM(foreachDay(T.max+T.min))/(2*num of days) => 33.3
    SUM(T.obs)/(num of obs) => 33.3
    KPABETHL10:
    SUM(foreachDay(T.max+T.min))/(2*num of days) => 30.2
    SUM(T.obs)/(num of obs) => 30.2
    KPABLOOM2:
    SUM(foreachDay(T.max+T.min))/(2*num of days) => 28.3
    SUM(T.obs)/(num of obs) => 28.1
    So close enough for govt work. 😉

  53. Steve Goddard (18:02:43) :
    Hansen’s whole tipping point idea is based around the idea that increased greenhouse gases and loss of albedo feed back and overwhelm all other “forcings” – leading the planet to an irreversible Venus like state.
    He can’t then turn around and claim that this theory works sometimes and not others. Using his logic, it should also be impossible to come out of an ice age – certainly not by a “very weak forcing.”
    Or does he also believe that a “very weak forcing” could reverse his “tipping point?”
    His logic is completely scattered

    I think you need to read what Hansen actually says. For example:
    “The Earth’s climate becomes more sensitive as it becomes very cold, when an amplifying feedback, the surface albedo, can cause a runaway snowball Earth, with ice and snow forming all the way to the equator. If the planet gets too warm, the water vapor feedback can cause a runaway greenhouse effect. The ocean boils into the atmosphere and life is extinguished. The Earth has fell off the wagon several times in the cold direction, ice and snow reaching all the way to the equator. Earth can escape from snowball conditions because weathering slows down, and CO2 accumulates in the air until there is enough to melt the ice and snow rapidly, as the feedbacks work in the opposite direction. The last snowball Earth occurred about 640 million years ago. Now the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome. There is no escape from the Venus Syndrome. Venus will never have oceans again. Given the solar constant that we have today, how large a forcing must be maintained to cause runaway global warming? Our model blows up before the oceans boil, but it suggests that perhaps runaway conditions could occur with added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2.
    There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time. What is different about the human-made forcing is the rapidity at which we are increasing it, on the time scale of a century or a few centuries. It does not provide enough time for negative feedbacks, such as changes in the weathering rate, to be a major factor. There is also a danger that humans could cause the release of methane hydrates, perhaps more rapidly than in some of the cases in the geologic record. In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.”
    So this gradual increase in solar irradiance over billions of years can account for why it is possible for the Earth to come out of an ice age but not out of a (potential) runaway greenhouse state. Does that make sense?

  54. Sam (13:48:29) :

    Some enterprising PhD student really should get stuck into the British Admiralty records. Every ship in the fleet – and in the East India Company – kept a record several times daily of weather. (The Dutch Admiralty and those of other nations may hold comparable records). This incomparable resource really should be mined for the historic data it contains

    The British Navy was famous for keeping careful records of everything occurring on board their ships. Consider this fascinating tidbit from history.
    Go to Google Books. Look up page 25 of the title Anglo-American strategic relations and the Far East, 1933-1939.
    FDR was interested in the British expedition of 1777 up the Hudson River. He asked his ambassador to Great Britain if he could obtain the logs of the HMS Preston and Dependence. It seems those two ships had fired on the land that became the family estate Hyde Park. Several cannon balls had been found in the area and FDR wanted to know their history.
    The logs specified the dates and times the cannon were fired. FDR was delighted with these highly personal details and it certainly did the British no harm to make the President of the United States happy at a time they needed all the friends they could get.
    This event provides evidence of the fidelity with which the Royal Navy kept their logs.
    To bad other British institutions today cannot keep accurate records entrusted to their care.

  55. Icarus (17:33:32) :
    Seriously? How about:
    Loss of many major coastal cities including mine (I live at sea level)
    Increased drought
    Increased wildfires
    Death of most tropical coral and livelihood of millions of people
    Heatwaves killing tens of thousands
    Widespread destruction of rainforest
    Major cities abandoned as glacier-fed water supplies dry up
    Massive crop failure
    Southern Europe turns to desert
    Massive extinctions
    Oceans are largely dead as overturning ceases

    So, a couple of degrees warming is going to cause all those impacts? ROTFLMAO … You’ve been reading WWF, Greenpeace, etc. articles way too much.
    For the rest of us, we check history and guess what? None of those situations accompanied a couple of degree warming. At least we now know that you, like the IPCC, consider activist organization reports to be factual.
    I think I’ll stay with real science and use logic instead of emotion.

  56. Icarus (02:46:17), Hansen’s statement makes no sense whatsoever.
    All you have to is look at the CO2 linear increase based on the exponential increase in CO2 emissions. The Earth is having no problem sequestering CO2 at an increasing rate. That means we will not see his “modelled” levels of CO2 in the atmosphere EVER. And of course, that pretty much demolishes his conclusions.
    Next, try to understand why the Earth had a habitable climate with 30% less radiation from the sun … could there possibly be a thermostat controlling the climate? Could this possibly be something called H2O? Could it be anything else? Why would that effect stop now?
    Have you ever tried using critical thinking?

  57. Steve Goddard (18:02:43) :
    At this point, I can’t even figure out what your objection to the theory of the ice age cycle is. The orbital forcing has feedbacks from albedo and CO2. I really don’t see how this is difficult, or inconsistent with anything.
    Your impression of what the theory is, and what it actually is, seem to be two rather different things.
    IN any case, I’m still puzzled by the point of this article, beyond just the fun of digging up an old record. Who knows if those measurements from 1790 can be directly compared to the current stations. For being on a website very concerned with microsite influences, it should not be controversial that changes in location, instrument and other practice can affect the absolute readings. As for the TOB issue, I’m glad that Ron Broberg at least seems willing to actually see how comparable the two methods are.
    But beyond that, what meaning is there in comparing a single warm January in some city, to a single cold January in that city? What’s relevant are the trends over time, either regionally or globally; over course there is still weather on top of those trends. And again, the cold snap of this Dec/Jan was quite regional, as I suspect the global numbers will soon confirm. I know this site tends to put ‘climate is not weather’ disclaimers on weather stories, but one wonders if the readership quite appreciated that during the spate of stories about the (regional) cold snap.

  58. Icarus (02:46:17)
    [quoting Hansen]. . . Now the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome. There is no escape from the Venus Syndrome. Venus will never have oceans again. . .

    What evidence is there that Venus ever had oceans, or indeed a more temperate climate? It has a much thicker atmosphere than Earth, and is much closer to the Sun. We don’t need to postulate a ‘runaway greenhouse effect’ to explain the temperature at the surface.
    /Mr Lynn

  59. Ron Broberg (02:15:27) :
    Your spot-check on the TOB question was quite interesting and appreciated. Perhaps it wasn’t unexpected, since 7 am is close-ish to the usual daily minimum and 2 pm is close to the usual maximum, are they not? If that is so, then I guess the 10 pm observation should be pretty close to the daily mean. Did you post more about your calculation somewhere?
    My only concern would be how you handled the nulls. If you used all non-null data, and there were more nulls at 7 am than 2 pm, or vice versa, that would mess with the results.

  60. Richard M (04:56:33) :

    So, a couple of degrees warming is going to cause all those impacts? ROTFLMAO … You’ve been reading WWF, Greenpeace, etc. articles way too much.
    For the rest of us, we check history and guess what? None of those situations accompanied a couple of degree warming

    When in ‘history’ have we seen a couple of degrees of global warming? Are you referring to actual recorded history or to palaeoclimate?

  61. Ron,
    Nobody uses the average of Tmax and Tmin. The “responsible” parties take that number, and apply half a dozen corrections which drive older temperatures down and newer temperatures up leading to this adjustment scheme.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif
    Which “amazingly” leads to a warming nearly identical to the adjustment. In any other branch of science that would lead to the authors being laughed out of the room.

  62. Richard M (05:07:35) :
    Icarus (02:46:17), Hansen’s statement makes no sense whatsoever.
    All you have to is look at the CO2 linear increase based on the exponential increase in CO2 emissions. The Earth is having no problem sequestering CO2 at an increasing rate. That means we will not see his “modelled” levels of CO2 in the atmosphere EVER. And of course, that pretty much demolishes his conclusions.

    What natural mechanism(s) do you think can sequester CO2 indefinitely at an exponential rate, and on the sort of timescales we’re discussing (decades rather than millennia)?
    Next, try to understand why the Earth had a habitable climate with 30% less radiation from the sun … could there possibly be a thermostat controlling the climate? Could this possibly be something called H2O? Could it be anything else? Why would that effect stop now?
    I don’t understand the logic of your point here. Higher global temperature from anthropogenic influences would lead to an increase in atmospheric water vapour, would it not? And that would be a positive feedback, would it not? How would that ‘control the climate’ in any sense that would make you dismiss the possibility of substantial global warming? Perhaps you’re arguing that clouds would constitute a negative feedback that would counteract both the warming from anthropogenic influences and the positive feedback (greenhouse warming) from increased atmospheric water vapour – is that it?

  63. # Steve Goddard (15:20:19) :
    carrot eater,
    The average tells you nothing about the distribution. Suppose you have 10 numbers 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 100, 0, 0, 0. The average is 10, but the median is zero.
    Not my understanding, Steve.
    Averages which may be derived from this sequence
    – 20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 30, 30, 20, 20, 20 –
    Mean: 22 (total of all values divided by total number of readings)
    Median: 25 (mid – point value i.,e, mean av. of 5 & 6 in tis case)
    Modal: 20 (the value that occurs most)
    So choose an average to suit your viewpoint.

  64. Compare vs. January, 2010 which had a mean temperature of 32 degrees – 12 degrees cooler than 220 years ago. So far, February is even colder.
    But those older thermometers measured at least 10 degrees warmer compared to newer ones! Here’s the link:
    http://www.nasa.giss.temp.adjust\fudge

  65. Icarus,
    Increased water vapour means more clouds, which means more reflection of incoming short wave radiation from the sun.

  66. @Steve Goddard (06:12:32) : Nobody uses the average of Tmax and Tmin.
    I do.
    I’m still studying it, but GHCN raw (not adjusted) is Tmean with only a few quality controls (throw out extreme values) and some fill in for missing data (FILNET).
    You can seem me use GHCN raw (not adusted) to feed the released CRU perl gridding and averaging scripts. No TOB adjustments. No UHI adjustments.
    http://rhinohide.wordpress.com/crutemp/
    And while I see your point that the released CRU data sets drive older temps down, as does GISTEMP, as does GHCN adj – none of those data sets appear to me to drive recent temps up. They all compare remarkable well to GHCN raw (not adjusted) in recent decades. And they all show strong correlation with UAH and RSS for annualized anomaly averages and similar trends for the last 3 decades.
    Next big step – Reconstruct GHCN raw from daily reports – much like I did for the Jan aves for those three stations above. (Still looking for aggregated daily data links if anyone has them)
    ‘Carrot Eater’, I’ll post code and stuff this weekend on my site.

  67. Now we’re really bouncing around disparate topics, instead of staying on anything like the original topic.
    Steve Goddard (06:12:32) :
    That graph is for the US only. About half is based on TOB, which like it or not, has clearly described justifications. Anyway, the 0.5 F you see there over ~40 years – not at all equal to the warming over the US over that span, which is more than that. Note that it’s F, not C.
    The same graph, done globally, shows no such bias anyway.
    Steve Goddard (06:14:41) :
    If you consider both changes in solar and CO2, while also keeping track of volcanism and tectonics, you get quite good explanations for most of the geological history. You might want to look into the faint sun paradox. For the last 800k years, here’s an easy graph to make. Granted, the temps in this one are from the Antarctic, and are not necessarily indicative of the globe.
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2010/01/co2-and-temperature-for-800000-years.html

  68. Ron Broberg (08:04:41) :
    Few things in there, which you might already appreciate; I can’t tell.
    TOB is only explicitly done on the USHCN part. There is no separate step for TOB in the GHCN.
    Adjustments are generally done so that the final adjusted dataset is aligned with the current observations. Meaning, if something happened to a thermometer such that from 1950 onwards, it reported with a constant offset of -.2 C compared to the previous, you could either move the post-1950 up by .2 C or the pre-1950 down by .2 C. When working with anomalies, it doesn’t matter which you do, but when using absolutes, the preference would be to move the old data down, so that new data coming continuously in can be just tacked on the end.
    You want to reconstruct the whole ball of wax from daily reports? Good luck; the GHCN uses monthly averages as its input, not daily. The GHCN-D (d for daily) will be of some help, but it’s not complete.
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/daily/
    It can also be browsed using the climate explorer
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectdailyseries.cgi?someone@somewhere
    But you won’t get complete global coverage this way; you could go fishing around for SYNOP reports I guess, but I don’t know of a single archive.
    The GHCN is built off of monthly reports, not daily.

  69. carrot eater,
    As I have been explaining on another thread, CO2 tracks temperature in the Vostok cores, because CO2 solubility in seawater decreases with increasing temperature. As ocean temperatures increase, CO2 outgasses. Thus we see increase in temperature followed a few hundred years later by increases in CO2. And vice-versa. Some people have tried putting the cart in front of the horse.
    However, the CO2 changes over the last 800,000 years are very small compared to the last 600 million years.

  70. According to the Niels Bohr Institute in sunny downtown Copenhagen:
    “Over the last 40 million years the CO2 level in the atmosphere has fallen from 1000-2000 ppmv to a minimum of 180 ppmv 20,000 years ago. Not since the Perm period circa 250 million years ago has the CO2 level been so low.”
    I was once very startled at the extraordinary rate of plant growth that ensued in a 1600ppm environment I created at home. This taught me that contemporary plants are, in fact, famished (Except for those lucky enough to dwell in a C02-enriched city like Brooklyn, where trees grow twice as big as their rural counterparts!).
    Icarus, you said:
    “Earth can escape from snowball conditions because weathering slows down, and CO2 accumulates in the air until there is enough to melt the ice and snow rapidly, as the feedbacks work in the opposite direction.”
    Why does weathering slow down when glaciers form and flow over continents?
    Are the Great Lakes a consequence of reduced weathering?
    Why would atmospheric C02 “accumulate” or increase as a consequence of less weathering?
    i.e., What is the mechanism for that?
    And, do you have any peer-reviewed papers to support these unusual claims?
    Cheers,
    Leon.

  71. Icarus (05:58:15) :
    When in ‘history’ have we seen a couple of degrees of global warming? Are you referring to actual recorded history or to palaeoclimate.
    Yes, both. Sorry, but I don’t subscribe to Mann’s fraudulent rewriting of history.

  72. Icarus (06:14:10) :
    What natural mechanism(s) do you think can sequester CO2 indefinitely at an exponential rate, and on the sort of timescales we’re discussing (decades rather than millennia)?
    Oh, how about the ones that are doing it right now. Can you show any evidence that the Earth is not capable of sequestering Man’s small contribution to the overall carbon cycle? Nope, you can’t. So, you are just making it up as you go along. Until such a time that atmospheric CO2 starts increasing faster you have nothing to stand on. In fact, you can’t even scientifically support the claim that man’s contribution is responsible for increased CO2. You can only claim you don’t know anything else that might do it (argument of ignorance).
    I don’t understand the logic of your point here. Higher global temperature from anthropogenic influences would lead to an increase in atmospheric water vapour, would it not? And that would be a positive feedback, would it not? How would that ‘control the climate’ in any sense that would make you dismiss the possibility of substantial global warming? Perhaps you’re arguing that clouds would constitute a negative feedback that would counteract both the warming from anthropogenic influences and the positive feedback (greenhouse warming) from increased atmospheric water vapour – is that it?

    Yes, I did state H2O was the thermostat. H2O in the form of clouds when the atmospheric content of water vapor increases. Of course, this is ignored or underestimated in all the activist papers and models that want to achieve a predetermined conclusion.
    And this doesn’t even touch other mechanisms (like increased convection) that move more heat to higher altitudes and latitudes. Nature loves negative feedbacks.
    You also seem to be confused in general. Most of the skeptics here don’t doubt there is some effect of increased CO2. They believe there are other processes involved in Earth’s complex climate system that are so poorly understood that drawing conclusions on such poor knowledge is just plain silly. Could the claims of CAGW turn out to be true, possibly, but no one knows and the claims of the IPCC, Hansen and others that they have 90-100% knowledge of the climate system is [self snip].

  73. Steve Goddard (08:35:14) :
    It’s actually a good bit more complicated than that; the solubility pump alone doesn’t explain the observed changes in CO2 over the ice ages. The precise mechanism through which CO2 responds to changes in temperature in the ice age cycles is still an active subject of research.
    But anyway, again, things work pretty well on the longer time scale that you mention. Put together changes in solar forcing, tectonics, volcanoes and CO2, and you can roughly explain much of the inferred temperature history of the Phanerozoic, which is a pretty long time.
    You do realise the sun used to be much fainter?

  74. carrot,
    The fact that the some people believe the sun was fainter affects the absolute temperature.
    Using GHG theory, temperature should still track CO2 – which it doesn’t.

  75. Steve Goddard (10:04:23) :
    “Using GHG theory, temperature should still track CO2 – which it doesn’t.”
    Using the theory, the temperature should track the sum of all forcings. Which it does.

  76. carrot,
    Sounds to me that you re acknowledging that “forcings” besides GHG dominate the geologic record.

  77. carrot eater (10:44:05):

    Using the theory, the temperature should track the sum of all forcings. Which it does.

    Could you please list all “forcings”? Thanks.

  78. Charles Peirce (not Pierce) begins his journal on “Weather in Philadelphia” with a clear explanation of the method and logic of his record of Atmospheric and Weather data, including a summary and informative comments on each and every month over a period of 57 years. A remarkable and commendable achievement, which nicely covers the period from immediately prior to the industrial age up to the middle of the 19th Century, by which time the national recording of weather had began. His logic of averaging the temperatures recorded “just prior to dawn”, 2 pm and 10 pm (the coolest, the hotest and the one following the most rapide rate of cooling) is sound. His results, averaged over each month are likely to be within an accuracy range of +/- 1deg F. If only the AGW climatists would be so open, clear and accurate with their work. Note: Peirce correctly refers to “Atmosphere and Weather”, not climate.
    P.S. Does the Earth have a “Climate”? If so, could someone please define it!

  79. carrot eater (17:52:24) :
    You give the impression of knowing how an ice-age starts?
    I was of the impression this was beyond the scientific knowledge at the moment. Do you have any links to such a theory?
    I’m interested.

  80. One possible explanation for the declining temperatures is that there seems to have been an exceptionally active period of small volcanic eruptions in the decades around 1800. Due to the nature of evidence, the timing is necessarily uncertain, but the beginning of the activity can be plance in the 1780s, particularly to the eruption of Laki in Iceland in 1783.
    An oddity in the graph is that it does not show the effect of Tambora in 1815. This was an impressive volcano — the biggest in the last few centuries — and it produced the infamous “year without summer” in 1816. If the graph is correct, Tambora had no effect on winter temperature in Philadelphia. This would be interesting and — if factually accurate, i.e., supported by other evidence — possibly significant.

Comments are closed.