Rewriting the decline

The great thing about old magazines is that once published, they can’t be adjusted. Jo Nova has a great summary of some recent work from occasional WUWT contributor Frank Lansner who runs the blog “Hide the Decline” and what he found in an old National Geographic, which bears repeating here. – Anthony

Jo Nova writes:

Human emissions of carbon dioxide began a sharp rise from 1945. But, temperatures, it seems, may have plummeted over half the globe during the next few decades. Just how large or how insignificant was that decline?

Frank Lansner has found an historical graph of northern hemisphere temperatures from the mid 70’s, and it shows a serious decline in temperatures from 1940 to 1975. It’s a decline so large that it wipes out the gains made in the first half of the century, and brings temperatures right back to what they were circa 1910. The graph was not peer reviewed, but presumably it was based on the best information available at the time. In any case, if all the global records are not available to check, it’s impossible to know how accurate or not this graph is.

The decline apparently recorded was a whopping 0.5°C.

But, three decades later, by the time Brohan and the CRU graphed temperatures in 2006 from the same old time period, the data had been adjusted (surprise), so that what was a fall of 0.5°C had become just a drop of 0.15°C. Seventy percent of the cooling was gone.

Maybe they had good reasons for making these adjustments. But, as usual, the adjustments were in favor of the Big Scare Campaign, and the reasons and the original data are not easy to find.

Graph 1880 - 1976 NH temperatures

Above: Matthews 1976, National Geographic, Temperatures 1880-1976

Now compare the 1935-1975 decline for the same area – the entire Northern hemisphere – presented by CRU/Brohan 2006:

Source: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climatechange/science/monitoring/CR_data/Monthly/HadCRUGNS_3plots.gif

And when the old and the new are overlaid…hey where’s the decline?

1880-1976 with CRU 2006 adjustments

Above: The blue line is the adjusted CRU average from 2006, overlaid on the 1976 Nat Geo graph.

If temperature sets across the northern hemisphere were really showing that 1940 was as hot as 2000, that makes it hard to argue that the global warming that occurred from 1975 to 2000 was almost solely due to carbon, since it wasn’t unusual (at least not for half the globe), and didn’t correlate at all with our carbon emissions, the vast majority of which occurred after 1945.

The US records show that the 1930’s were as hot as the 1990’s. And the divergence problem in tree rings is well known. Many tree rings showed a decline after 1960 that didn’t “concur” with the surface records. Perhaps these tree rings agree with the surface records as recorded at the time, rather than as adjusted post hoc?  Perhaps the decline in the tree rings that Phil Jones worked to hide was not so much a divergence from reality, but instead was slightly more real than the surface-UHI-cherry-picked-and-poorly-sited records?

Climate Audit Graph: Esper tree rings Esper – Tree ring widths declined from 1940-1975. Records after 1960 are sometimes ignored because they don’t fit the “temperature record”. (All timeseries were normalized over the 1881–1940 period. RCS, regional curve standardization; TRW, tree-ring width.) Thanks to ClimateAudit. (Link below)

Steven McIntyre discusses the Esper data here.

Frank Lansner also discusses the data from Scandinavia, which originally showed that temperatures were roughly level from mid-century to the end of the century, but that the large decline from 1940 to 1975 was…adjusted out of existence. (My post on that here).

Scandinavian TemperaturesScandinavian Temperatures: 25 data series combined from The Nordklim database (left), compared to the IPCC’s temperature graph for the area.

Frank points out that while the older graph is not peer reviewed, the modern data sets are also not peer reviewed, so even if the papers they are published in are peer reviewed, it’s meaningless to claim this is significant when the underlying data can be adjusted years after its collection without documentation or review.

The CRU has an FAQ on their datasets, and it includes this comment on the accuracy of the hemispheric records:

In the hemispheric files averages are now given to a precision of three decimal places to enable seasonal values to be calculated to ±0.01°C. The extra precision implies no greater accuracy than two decimal places.

Do I read that correctly? After an adjustment that may be in the order of 0.34°C, the accuracy is ±0.01°C?

At the time when there was a Global Ice Age Scare, this graph appeared in Newsweek.

Newsweek: Global Temperatures 1880-1970Newsweek: Global Temperatures 1880-1970 (NCAR)

Either 70% of the decline has been hidden in the years since then, or the climate scientists at the time were exaggerating the decline in order to support the Ice Age Scare (surely not!).

Full references available on Frank Lansner’s & Nicolai Skjoldby’s Blog. Stanley is derived from an NAS document. Mathews from National Geographic.

Thanks to Frank for his good work.

Brohan 2006 is linked here, with a pdf.

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Jimbo

OT – Judith Curry interview:
“[Q] Are you saying that the scientific community, through the IPCC, is asking the world to restructure its entire mode of producing and consuming energy and yet hasn’t done a scientific uncertainty analysis?
[A] Yes. ….”
From the April 2010 issue; published online March 10, 2010
http://discovermagazine.com/2010/apr/10-it.s-gettin-hot-in-here-big-battle-over-climate-science/article_view?searchterm=michael%20mann&b_start:int=0

kim

Jiggery Pokey. Zounds!
=============

wolfwalker

There is a simple, obvious explanation: the data from the National Geographic article was collected using older, less accurate instruments.
What evidence do you have that this explanation is wrong?
(Note that I am not arguing this explanation is right. I am offering it as a hypothesis and asking you to disprove it.)

Gil Dewart

It’s anecdotal, but this would jibe with what Russian friends told me. Victims in the Siberian labor camps in the 1930s were buried in the thawed zone on top of the permafrost layer. When attempts were made to exhume them a half-century later the thawed zone was thinner and the bodies were frozen into the permafrost.

pat

[post excerpts and links, not whole articles. ~ ctm]

Leigh

wolfwalker (20:15:50) :
“There is a simple, obvious explanation: the data from the National Geographic article was collected using older, less accurate instruments.”
Are you serious wolfwalker? So 1976 temperatures measured in 2006 are more accurate than 1976 temperatures measured in 1976, because they now have more accurate instruments. How does that work?

Who would have been at NCAR at the time the Newsweek article had/printed their graph (presumably, with permission)?
Any records exist from that time period?
.
.

Peter Wilson

wolfwalker (20:15:50 says:
“There is a simple, obvious explanation: the data from the National Geographic article was collected using older, less accurate instruments.”
Are you suggesting that the CRU measurements taken in 1910 were done on modern, accurate instruments?

Matthew

You don’t suppose we’ve been shined then do you? I am incontrovertibly stunned.
Gold star Frank, thank you.

1976, wasn’t that the peak of the ice age is coming hoax, we will all die unless we cover the polar ice caps with carbon black to stop the ice age from coming was in vogue.
I have been around too long the hoaxes are running together in my head. But they seem to cycle between the ice age is coming, we are all going to die, and the planet is going to melt, we are all going to die. What would have happened if we had melted the ice caps in 1976?
That brings up a really good question, how accurate were thermometers around 1900? Do we even know?

Matthew

Sorry,
thank you too Jo, I was simply so shocked that I forgot my manners…
or maybe it was all that wool over my eyes.

Jim B In Canada

Speaking of old articles. I’ve often seen mentioned an OMNI Magazine (March 1984) interview with Roger Revelle and his thoughts on AGW. I have an original copy of the magazine and was wondering if anyone at WUWT, or anyone else like a scanned copy of the article?
Just trying to help.

Leon Brozyna

Which lays to rest the idea that scientists are logically rational. Just look at how imaginative and creative scientists can be in adjusting the historical record. What was once a minor cyclical variance has been adjusted to present an alarming nonstop temperature rise.
You too can become a modern Chicken Little.

Doug in Seattle

The wolfwalker appears to be implying that CRU’s adjustments bring the earlier instrumental temperatures in line with more accurate modern ones. I believe however that if he were to do some research he’d find that the modern ones are in fact less accurate.

This is a good post, I would love to see the tree rings over laid on the old graft here,
http://hidethedecline.eu/media/Northern%20hemisphere%20temperatures/NHNatGeo76small.jpg
there is evidence to go after the fraud.
Tx ctm for your work on WUWT.
Tim L

John F. Hultquist

The NEWSWEEK article is available here:
http://www.denisdutton.com/newsweek_coolingworld.pdf

We now know both how they hid the decline and where they hid it…

Doug in Seattle

Tarpon:
I don’t think the 1970’s “ice age” thing was a hoax. It actually makes a lot more sense than the current warming scare if you start looking at more than a few thousand years of climate history.
I think both are in part a result of science too often thinking in too short of a time span and then applying linear trends to the data. We see the same logic applied to the post-1998 trend by some skeptics too.
When one looks at the data for the last 100K years it becomes really obvious that 0.5 C up or down is not an issue. If we look at 1 million years it is even more obvious that not only are modern temperature swings (and even those throughout recorded human history) insignificant, but that we are in for a big drop – soon!

Rob Dawg

“Realign the incline.”

Michael Jankowski

So when did the time-of-observation bias revisions begin? Is that part of the reason for the difference between the two charts?
The overlay of Matthews (1976) and CRU (2006) is a fascinating figure.

tarpon (20:57:35) :[…]
That brings up a really good question, how accurate were thermometers around 1900? Do we even know?

Both Fahrenheit and Celsius were developing reasonably accurate mercury thermometers during the mid seventeen hundreds. I go back far enough that we did dangerous experiments in high school physics lab that would never be allowed today; among them, we made our own mercury in glass thermometers that compared well in accuracy to our certified lab thermometers. If a bunch of dumbass kids could manage, I’m sure the technicians of the eighteenth century could manage.
cheers

Who’s tree rings these are, I think I know,
They’re hidden deep beneath the snow,
A great snow job that plunders much,
Claiming ground it cannot touch,
And when the time has come at last,
To prove their point and hoist the mast,
To fly the flag of “PROOF” – but wait!
Their arrogance has sealed their fate.
Their proof’s been lost, where is it now?
Computers cannot model clouds?
And what’s that scraping sound I hear?
The wheels are off? We cannot steer?
Doesn’t matter – we’ll just flap our arms,
Take to the sky, sound the alarm!
Whats that down there? What was that sound?
Ack! Those skeptics shot me down!
Don’t they know that I know best?
They don’t need to test my tests!
Oof! I’ve landed. Here they come.
There’s no escape. The truth has won…
.
.
©2010 Dave Stephens

Allan M R MacRae

Climate heresy – No net global warming since 1940!
Could this ancient heresy be gaining favour?
Say it’s not so, Phil, say it’s not so!
_________________________________
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/is_this_the_beginning_of_global_cooling/
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Is This The Beginning of Global Cooling
By Allan MacRae
Many scary stories have been written about the dangers of catastrophic global warming, allegedly due to increased atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the combustion of fossil fuels. But is the world really catastrophically warming? NO. And is the warming primarily caused by humans? NO.
Since just January 2007, the world has cooled so much that ALL the global warming over the past three decades has disappeared! This is confirmed by a plot of actual global average temperatures from the best available source, weather satellite data that shows there has been NO net global warming since the satellites were first launched in 1979.
See larger image here.
http://icecap.us/images/uploads/uah7908.JPG
Since there was global cooling from ~1940 to ~1979, this means there has been no net warming since ~1940, in spite of an ~800% increase in human emissions of carbon dioxide. This indicates that the recent warming trend was natural, and CO2 is an insignificant driver of global warming.

toyotawhizguy

Quote from the article: “Many tree rings showed a decline after 1960 that didn’t “concur” with the surface records.”
CRU apologists have claimed on at least two sites I’ve monitored that “Hide the decline” (in the infamous CRU leaked e-mail) does not refer to temperature. If true, then exactly what does the “decline” refer to if not temperature? They make the denial, but never explain themselves.

Capn Jack.

Just goes to show when measuring temperature,
Raw apples should stay with raw apples and raw oranges with raw oranges.
It’s not a punch cocktail, unless someones got some rum and some pineapples.
But seriously both data sets, proxy and thermometer can be looked at side by side and a bigger picture emerges. Proxies in their nature as pointed out by Anthony many times are subject to other influences other than temperature alone.

Anthony Scalzi

Oddly enough I just happened to find a copy of the National Geographic issue that the article came from. Here’s an interesting line from the caption for the graph Anthony posted:
“Lower temperatures could produce a climate generally wetter and less stable, one marked by storms, floods, and freezes.”
Sound familiar anyone?

I worked on Australian temperatures in about 1980. I would take this plot of Matthews with a big grain of salt. In 1975 things were much more primitive. The vast majority of the world’s temperature data was not digitized. It existed on often hand-writted forms and logs. Before it could go anywhere it had to be accurately transcribed and often calibrated for thermometer type. This process was only just beginning.
It was even hard to move data around. Think of a few hundred stations, daily data, and a 300 baud line. Not even floppy discs, only tapes.
I strongly suspect this plot is based on US stations, maybe not very many. There is no way they could have got gridded coverage of Australia. This plot is NH, but I doubt that many countries there were in much better shape. I know people here are unlikely to credit it, but people like Hansen and Phil Jones put a huge and valuable effort into just assembling a proper dataset. Before that, the thermometer readings existed, but were just not assembled.

Michael Jankowski

That may be true, Nick, but the track pre-1940 and the divergence post-1940 is striking regardless. Lots of agreement on warming, not-so-much on cooling.

Patrick Davis

“tarpon (20:57:35) :
1976, wasn’t that the peak of the ice age is coming hoax, we will all die unless we cover the polar ice caps with carbon black to stop the ice age from coming was in vogue.”
There was even a BBC program on TV about it back then.

Nick Stokes (22:14:42) :
I know people here are unlikely to credit it, but people like Hansen and Phil Jones put a huge and valuable effort into just assembling a proper dataset. Before that, the thermometer readings existed, but were just not assembled.
Messrs. Hansen and Jones, you deserve credit for that huge and valuable effort of assembling a proper dataset.
Now — why’d you go and $#@! it up?

The temperature anomaly nowadays is calculated relative to the average temperature over the period 1960-1990. The temperature anomaly in the 1976 National Geographic would be relative to some other period. In order to make the comparison, the latter period data would have to be rebased to the earlier period. That would be worthwhile doing. But until it has been done, we can’t be sure any manipulation has occurred.

Rhoda R

“Messrs. Hansen and Jones, you deserve credit for that huge and valuable effort of assembling a proper dataset.”
But didn’t they go and bollocks-up the data set so badly that it might not be useable?

Dr A Burns

Have a look at Briffa 1998
http://eas8001.eas.gatech.edu/papers/Briffa_et_al_PTRS_98.pdf
Fig 6 shows a strong decline from 1940 to 1970. ” … As yet, the cause (of the apparent decline) is not understood”. They don’t consider the reason for what they consider the apparent falling temperatures, is actually falling temperatures !

Arnost

It wasn’t only Newsweek, National Geographic and even Readers’ Digest ran stories on this…
I made this image mosaic up some time back to record what the “consensus” was back then on temperature trends.
http://i34.tinypic.com/2wei1j9.jpg
It shows the Newsweek, Readers’ Digest and National Geographic temp trend graphics as well as (what I believe) is the source doc – the 1975 NAS report “Understanding Climatic Change: A program for action”.
The other interpretation is that the temperatures prior to 1910-50 have been adjusted downwards.
http://i36.tinypic.com/358e135.jpg
I think that thermometer accuracy is not really an issue. In any case the data used by Budyko etc is most probably the same that HadCRU and HGCN use. So the difference due to adjutment (right or wrong) can not be ruled out. And I have wondered for some time if (at least some of) the “divergence problem” can be attributed to the adjustment of the station temps…
Sources for above:
Fig A: Figure A.6 from p148 of the 1975 NAS report “Understanding Climatic Change: A program for action”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:DSCN4904-nas-a.6_crop.jpg
Fig B: Newsweek, April 28 1975 “The Cooling World” p 64
http://firstfriday.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/newsweek-global-cooling.jpg
Fig C: Readers’ Digest, March 1977 What’s Happening To Our Climate
http://newsbusters.org/node/12137
Fig D: National Geographic, November 1975 pp 614-615
http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/DSCN1557-nat-geog-1976_1200×900.JPG
Since I put the mosaic image together, the NAS Document has now been put online at Google Books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=wD0rAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA148&dq=budyko+1969+fig+a6&cd=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false
cheers

rbateman

Michael Jankowski (22:23:00) :
Not according to the old Weather Bureau Records it isn’t.
Especially not when I find an urban station that is possibly immune to UHI.
There may be others like it, but you cannot see them when your eyes are fixed on global data sets.
Rise & Decline, rise & decline.

geronimo

It is pretty clear where the change in temperatures occurred:
“The basic GISS temperature analysis scheme was defined in the late 1970s by James Hansen when a method of estimating global temperature change was needed for comparison with one-dimensional global climate models. Prior temperature analyses, most notably those of Murray Mitchell, covered only 20-90°N latitudes. Our rationale was that the number of Southern Hemisphere stations was sufficient for a meaningful estimate of global temperature change, because temperature anomalies and trends are highly correlated over substantial geographical distances. Our first published results (Hansen et al. 1981) showed that, contrary to impressions from northern latitudes, global cooling after 1940 was small, and there was net global warming of about 0.4°C between the 1880s and 1970s.”
It would appear that Jim fixed it for us.

John F. Hultquist
Peter Jones

There is no denying: the advancement of climate science and computer modeling techniques have resulted in greatly improved methods of securing funding. I’m left with contemplating that it had to be the National Enquirer that uncovered the John Edward scandal, for which they are in contention for the Pulitzer, and that the integrity of mainstream science is not much different than mainstream media.

DirkH

“Gary Turner (21:36:40) :
[…]
I go back far enough that we did dangerous experiments in high school physics lab that would never be allowed today; among them, we made our own mercury in glass thermometers”
Yeah, playing with mercury was fun! Especially when it was spilled and all the tiny mercury droplets would race across the floor to disappear in the corners of the room.

Fascinating. This gives me much more confidence that my dT/dt method is actually working rather well. It fairly accurately reproduces the shape and character of that NatGeo Mathews 1976 graph including the roughly equal 1940’s and now, the 1970’s dip, et. al.
The only real difference I note is that mine is more volatile. ( I go up 1 C and down 1 C where they are doing about 1/2 C). That could easily be due to mine being North America only; and Canada is highly volatile. While their graph is Northern Hemisphere and will have a lot more Mediterranean, North Africa and Southeast Asia in it dampening the range.
But my “zero crossings” pretty much match as does the relative distance traveled after a zero crossing. I used “All Data” from GHCN “unadjusted” so it starts ‘way early’ with only one thermometer (making the left edge very volatile and a bit speculative) but by 1800 we’re up to a dozen or so, and it looks to match well after 1880.
http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/north_america_sh.png
I’ve published how to “do this yourself” (It’s pretty trivial) and will send code to anyone wanting to wrangle FORTRAN. (The “anomaly creation code” is already published in the comments on the Germany Not Warming link:
http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/germany-not-warming/
down near the very bottom.
The algorithm is nearly trivial. For each thermometer record, for each month, once you get a valid value, wait for the next one from future years. When you get it, subtract them, that’s the “anomaly” for that month for that year. Hold onto that last temperature until you get the next one. Stop when you run out of records to process. (Basically “year over year” anomalies calculated by month with carry forward until you get a valid datum on missing data.). Then it’s just “average the 12 months values” to get an annual anomaly for a given selection of records ( like, oh, USA). Make a running total of those annual anomalies to get the net change over time.
If you don’t do FORTRAN it would be faster to start from that description and just write it in C …
The only real ‘wrinkle’ is that when making a ‘running total’ I start in the present and move back in time. The present is always “normal” and the past is the variation. It avoids having that one old thermometer swing the present all over the place and avoids having the present swing around with different “start of time” choices. Planned is to try calculating the anomaly itself “from present to past” in the anomaly data file ( I think it would work better).
Nice, these magazine things…
About a decade ago I bought a canonical set of Nat Geo on CD (it was like, $19 on deep discount somewhere…) Maybe I’ll open it up and look up the article 😉 Yes, it really is sitting in the library / archive unopened… but I got a closet back 8-} in return…

DirkH

“Nick Stokes (22:14:42) :
I know people here are unlikely to credit it, but people like Hansen and Phil Jones put a huge and valuable effort into just assembling a proper dataset.”
Some people surely value it:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8571347.stm
Last paragraph: “Brass From Pockets” (Is Richard Black capable of irony suddenly?)
“”The developing world needs to see clear signals to have something in their hands at Cancun,” he said. “

Excellent article. I always wondered, why the CET record shows 70ties and 80ties as cold as 1900.
http://climate4you.com/CentralEnglandTemperatureSince1659.htm
Even Phil tinkered with CET UHI, it is quite good representation of the NH, UHI-free Armagh Observatory record as well.

Nick Stokes (22:14:42) : I worked on Australian temperatures in about 1980. I would take this plot of Matthews with a big grain of salt. In 1975 things were much more primitive….
Now wait a minute. Seems to me they built nuclear bombs 30 years before that, had a nice set of 56 and 64 bit computers (running languages like Pascal and Algol in addition to others like FORTRAN and APL) and I have very fond memories of a nice Dodge Charger that would blow the doors off most anything from Detroit today… and there was this SR-71 Blackbird flying over my head frequently at the time (still holds a bunch of official worlds records IIRC) not exactly “primitive” IMHO.

It was even hard to move data around. Think of a few hundred stations, daily data, and a 300 baud line. Not even floppy discs, only tapes.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of round tapes.
The entire GHCN would fit on one round tape of the era. No problem. $9.
I still have some around here somewhere with my ‘archives’ from the time. Don’t know where to read them, though 😉
I know people here are unlikely to credit it, but people like Hansen and Phil Jones put a huge and valuable effort into just assembling a proper dataset. Before that, the thermometer readings existed, but were just not assembled.
I was under the impression that NCDC “assembled the data” and Hansen’s GIStemp just sucked it in and changed it… So I’d rather credit NOAA / NCDC with “assembly” (and Hansen / GIStemp with decorating it… )

Re Arnost (23:42:23) :
Both wikipedia and wmconolley.org.uk links now shows “page not found” 😮

Erik

@Patrick Davis (22:26:14)
——————————————————
There was even a BBC program on TV about it back then.
——————————————————
Professor Stephen Schneider, The coming ice age of the 1970s:

Sinclair Davidson (22:51:17) : The temperature anomaly nowadays is calculated relative to the average temperature over the period 1960-1990. The temperature anomaly in the 1976 National Geographic would be relative to some other period. In order to make the comparison, the latter period data would have to be rebased to the earlier period.
I don’t think so… You are assuming anomalies are calculated against a multi year average period. That need not be so. Look again at that graph. “Now” in their time period was at zero. I think they are doing the same thing I did. Fix NOW as the “baseline” and measure anomalies backward in time from that.
If so, then I’ve managed to re-invent the Mathews method 😉 of anomalies.
But I do think that “right hand zero” crossing is diagnostic.
For the present data, matching on the approach to the peak effectively re-bases it to match.

So let’s examine the possibilities. I see two:
1. The data was deliberately massaged to remove the cooling.
Conclusion – do I need to spell it out?
2. The data was corrected for issues found on proper examination.
Conclusion – The 0.7 degree c warming over the last 100 years is far from certain.

pft

“The great thing about old magazines is that once published, they can’t be adjusted. ”
Of course, with the impending demise of the print media, to be replaced by the digital media, rewriting hsitory will be a simple matter for Winston, et all.

CIA confirms Global cooling
But surely this downturn is very well documented and something that has been the subject of many discussions here on WUWT?
This documemt from the CIA in the 1970’s looked at the effects of global cooling on world politics.
http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf
Amongst the host of references is Hubert Lamb -first Director of CRU- Lamb writes in his many books of the climatic downturns which started sometime aroud 1960.
If anyone knows the CIA document to be fraudulent you need to produce your evidence-It certainly looks authentic
Tonyb

geronimo (00:03:43) :
It would appear that Jim fixed it for us.

That I recovered substantially the same result from the GHCN “unadjusted” data via a straightforward anomaly process implies the information is still there, and that you are right: The jiggery – pokery happens after GHCN gets run through the Jones and Hansen sausage factories… (Modulo the 1990 uplift / “splice” that NCDC looks to have put in GHCN)