It's the blob (anomaly)!

With apologies to Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. and Steve McQueen, I offer this advice: run ! A giant temperature anomaly is attacking Canada and Greenland.

An Example Of Why A Global Average Temperature Anomaly Is Not An Effective Metric Of Climate

Roy Spencer and John Christy of the University of Alabama at Huntsville have reported in their Global Temperature Report that February 2010 was the 2nd warmest February in 32 years (e.g. see Roy’s summary).

Their spatial map of the anomalies, however, shows that most of the relative warmth was in a focused geographic area; see

The global average is  based on the summation of large areas of positive and negative temperature anomalies.

As I have reported before on my weblog; e.g. see

What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?,

it is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, ect] not a global average temperature anomaly.

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Steve Schaper
March 19, 2010 9:43 am

What are the odds this is from using one thermometer for a huge grid, and something has changed that that location?

brian
March 19, 2010 9:45 am

God watching the Olympics?

David Smith
March 19, 2010 9:47 am

An interesting aspect of this is that the warm anomaly occurs near an area of the ocean which is important to the thermohaline circulation.
The area between Greenland and Canada, particularly the southern portion, is an area where the surface water cools, grows denser and sinks. That allows warm water from the south to flow northward and do the same (the “conveyor belt”).
If that area is relatively warm then there may be less cooling and less sinking and less conveyor belt activity this year. Perhaps this is part of the cyclical slowdown of the thermohaline circulation. and its associated net heating of the atmosphere.

Doug in Seattle
March 19, 2010 9:50 am

Where would one go to see what the oceanic heat content is doing?

March 19, 2010 9:50 am

UEA launches staunch defence of staff salaries
“The University of East Anglia (UEA) said last night it needed to pay well to “secure people of the highest calibre” as it was revealed that 18 members of staff were paid salaries of more than £100,000 last year.”
http://www.edp24.co.uk/content/edp24/news/story.aspx?brand=EDPOnline&category=News&tBrand=EDPOnline&tCategory=xDefault&itemid=NOED19%20Mar%202010%2009%3A53%3A23%3A743
What? The Highest Calibre (laughing uncontrollably) The whole public sector in the UK is facing pay cuts and these bankster-like academics from the University whose only claim to fame is Climategate think they deserve more money!

ScuzzaMan
March 19, 2010 9:54 am

So, does the “global average anomaly” tell us ANYTHING?
I always thought the “anomaly” a dubious concept, precisely because it implies that we know what is “normal” … but, assuming some reasonably long-run average is used (and ignoring that we dont have enough data for a long-run global average), is there any merit in discussing the anomaly at all?
Obviously, if it was 10 degrees C that’d be something, but I still dont know if anyone really knows what the effects of that would actually be? Especially linked to increased CO2, which I do not consider a poison, being somewhat fond of plants (for their own exhalations).
Ironically, if it was -10 C, I’m pretty sure that would be bad for all of us.

Pearland Aggie
March 19, 2010 9:58 am

I wonder what that temperature anomaly graphic would look when plotted in a perspective other than Mercator (which tends to severely distort the polar areas).

Veronica
March 19, 2010 10:02 am

As Pearland Aggie says, a lot of this effect is due to the map projection used.
It’s probably a small campfire from somebody’s polar bear hunting expedition.

March 19, 2010 10:04 am

Doug in Seattle (09:50:29):
ARGO site:
http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/Marine_Atlas.html
Deep ocean cooling: click

A C Osborn
March 19, 2010 10:06 am

Steve Schaper (09:43:40) : I think you will find that they are Satellite measurements.
I am still extremely suspicious of the Satellite derived temperatures, they go through too much mathematical conversion compared to a simple thermometer.

Neil McEvoy
March 19, 2010 10:07 am

Steve Schaper,
“What are the odds this is from using one thermometer for a huge grid, and something has changed that that location?”
Zero. These are satellite readings.

Dave Worley
March 19, 2010 10:09 am

A basic element in humor is incongruity.
That’s why it’s so easy to mock AGW “science”

March 19, 2010 10:12 am

Steve Schaper (09:43:40) : I’d say Zero given that it’s satellite data.

Henry Galt
March 19, 2010 10:13 am

This is important, for more than one reason.
Sudden Stratospheric Warming (during extreme cold events).
The electric fields.
Magnetic ropes.
The bow-shock.
The poles coming into, and out of, climatic sync with one-another at the equinoxes and the solstices.
What about the Jan 2010 one.

George Ellis
March 19, 2010 10:13 am

What is even crazier is that the bias a flat map creates towards the poles make the anomoly look much larger than it is.

March 19, 2010 10:15 am

Another Climate Change Gem
Scottish Parliament
Thursday 18 March 2010
[The Presiding Officer opened the meeting at 09:15]
Climate Change
The Presiding Officer (Alex Fergusson): I apologise for the slight delay in starting, but the lens in my glasses fell out and I am completely blind without them.
The Minister for Parliamentary Business (Bruce Crawford): On a point of order, Presiding Officer.
I am glad that your lens is now in the appropriate place.
(…)
Sarah Boyack (Edinburgh Central) (Lab): We need more action and less talk and the debate gives us the chance to talk together about how we move forward. … We need to use the tools that Labour added to the 2009 act—public sector procurement, the public sector duty and the public engagement strategy—to deliver transformational change. I hope that the minister will report today on the progress that he has made on tackling the key issues that we identified when passing the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009—energy efficiency, energy, transport and land use.
We all know that the lack of a global deal at Copenhagen was massively disappointing, but as political representatives our job is to get on and deliver the promise that we made to developing countries and those at the sharp end of climate change and show that we meant it when we said that we would act. Last summer, we all said that a we-will-if-you-will approach was not good enough. Our targets are intended to stimulate action and not just support soundbites.
[Yawn … over 1 hour of meaningless ramble later about not just talking about it]
We must not allow the Scottish experience to become one of delays and missed opportunities.
In Copenhagen, there were posters everywhere that showed world leaders saying:
“I’m sorry. We could have stopped the catastrophic climate change… We didn’t.”
We need to act now so that we do not have to say sorry to future generations.
I am pleased that we have had this debate. I hope that we have many debates on this subject and that the Government has the chance to come to the chamber to report on its progress. I hope that we all participate in that progress and continue to push for real action to be taken. I hope that the Scottish Parliament can be proud of the legislation and not say, “Hey, it was a good idea, but we’re sorry it didn’t work.”
[Scotland, the windiest waviest country in Europe – with the windiest waviest politicians in the world!]

Sou
March 19, 2010 10:16 am

Looking at the chart for February, most of the earth’s lower troposphere was warmer than the seasonal norms, with some parts much warmer.

Stephen Skinner
March 19, 2010 10:17 am

It would be helpful if we could also relate this to a map of actual temps colour coded so that blue colours/gradations show below freezing and red colours show above freezing. And plotted on a more realistic projection as Pearland Aggie suggests.
The use of vivid colours is useful for trying to see subtle or barely visible gradations as can be used when editing photos in Photoshop. It is beyond annoying when used in the AGW context especially when the choice of colour seems deliberately emotive. e.g. If we have somewhere that is considered to be -30C normally and has a whopping 10C rise to -20C it will be shown in a ‘warm’ colour implying that it is warm. I expect a greater care when presenting information of this nature and some frame of reference based on reality.

Doug in Seattle
March 19, 2010 10:18 am

Thanks Smokey. I was looking for a site that has up to date global coverage rather than software, but it appears this software will do that.

pman
March 19, 2010 10:25 am

Try again, without the “denial” accusation. ~dbs, mod.

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 10:27 am

If you make the GISS map for the same month, using the same baseline, the patterns look about the same. At least in the NH. The colorbar resolution in GISS doesn’t let you see all the contours at the top of the ‘blob’, but you could check the numbers to see that.
I don’t know why this is surprising. The Arctic Oscillation has been talked about all winter long.
I agree that regional effects are important to look at. So look at them. Look at the global trend map over the same time period. The odd patterns of one winter’s extreme AO event are not representative of the trends over the last 30 years.
Not sure how stable this URL will be – global trend map, GISS, 1979-2009.
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/do_nmap.py?year_last=2010&month_last=2&sat=4&sst=1&type=trends&mean_gen=0112&year1=1979&year2=2009&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=reg

Brent Hargreaves
March 19, 2010 10:28 am

Blob, eh? Surely the vast AGW industry couldn’t be based on something as straightforward as a few dodgy instrumentation, temporary blips or overextrapolation of trends?
Through my telescope last night I saw a giant insect attacking the moon. Got all excited about headlines and funding opportunities and then realised it was just a fly on the lens.

Brian G Valentine
March 19, 2010 10:29 am

Fear of “the Blob” …
This isn’t some kind of indirect mockery of Al Gore, is it?

richard
March 19, 2010 10:30 am

Very odd indeed. On a largely cooling map there’s a great big hot-spot. Possibly it’s that hole in the ozone layer we used to hear about…

Nemesis
March 19, 2010 10:31 am

Mike Haseler (10:15:31) :
“Scotland, the windiest waviest country in Europe – with the windiest waviest politicians in the world”
I think they may have been shopping here:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160411602416#description

Malaga View
March 19, 2010 10:32 am

Neil McEvoy (10:07:08) :
Zero. These are satellite readings.

It looks like the satellite anomaly data is another can of worms… Magic Java is going some really great work over at http://magicjava.blogspot.com

Vincent
March 19, 2010 10:32 am

I’m a bit surprised to hear this. I keep hearing that although the northern hemisphere had the coldest winter this was more than compensated by a much warmer southern hemisphere summer.

Mogamboguru
March 19, 2010 10:39 am

Think “residual heat”.
Trillions of tons of water have frozen to ice this winter – trillions of tons more than froze over the the past winters. This freezing frees lots of residual, thermal energy which, in turn, has to go elsewhere – exactly, 332,5 kJ per kg of water.
This heat has to go somewhere. And it did.
The huge heat-island up north is the direct consequence of the arctic ice-cap recovery.
This heat island to the west of Greenland / Hudson Bay area is the direct consequence of Global Cooling.

jmrSudbury
March 19, 2010 10:39 am

I live in one of the orange bands in Northern Ontario. February was rather warm. March has been phenominal. Sure we are having a possible drought (I have not looked up the exact definition, but we have received little precipitation), but March sure has been well above average for us. The past couple weeks saw several days where the overnight low was near or above our normal high.
Winter is the best time to have a drought. Last summer we saw way too much rain. I hope we do start to get rain by May though. Our forests are going to be mighty dry.
John M Reynolds

March 19, 2010 10:43 am

I thought it was cold in the UK, and it was.

March 19, 2010 10:45 am

Pearland Aggie (09:58:24) :
“I wonder what that temperature anomaly graphic would look when plotted in a perspective other than Mercator (which tends to severely distort the polar areas).”
There’s distortion all right, but this is not Mercator. More like equirectangular projection.
For equal areas for eyeballing you need something like Gall-Peters, but then that just ‘looks’ wierd.

Mogamboguru
March 19, 2010 10:46 am

Oops: “residual heat” = fusion heat
I am sorry to be german sometimes…

March 19, 2010 10:47 am

The map should be plotted in a equal-area projection, otherwise it shows the Blob as much larger than it really is.

March 19, 2010 10:48 am

Bloody hell – has anyone ever thought to weight the values by geographic coverage??? I would also weight it by number of thermometers (2 hot thermometers spread over 16 ‘grids’ is not the same weight as 20 neutral thermometers spread over another 16 grids.
Is this new math or something?

March 19, 2010 10:50 am

[/quote]
I am still extremely suspicious of the Satellite derived temperatures, they go through too much mathematical conversion compared to a simple thermometer.
[/quote]

I’m guessing you haven’t spent a lot of time studying how thermometer temperatures are created.

G.L. Alston
March 19, 2010 10:55 am

Mike Haseler (09:50:50) — What? The Highest Calibre (laughing uncontrollably) The whole public sector in the UK is facing pay cuts and these bankster-like academics from the University whose only claim to fame is Climategate think they deserve more money!
Yeah, but £100k isn’t really that much money. It would be relatively simple for many/most decent scientists or engineers to top this working for private companies. While I’m sympathetic to the overall premise the reality is that most public sector employees aren’t really doing anything that would merit high pay elsewhere, so pay cuts or salary freezes make sense give that they’re typically overpaid anyway. One HR apparatchik or other paper pusher is much the same as any other. This however doesn’t apply to science and engineering, which is much more competitive at the higher end. In fact I’m rather amazed that they can get most them to work there for that little; they must be truly devoted to their work. (Note that the US armed forces have the same problem, as does the FBI, etc.)
Disclaimer: I’m an engineer, so my viewpoint is skewed accordingly.

March 19, 2010 10:56 am

My daughter, who lives in Alaska, reports that this situation (of higher than usual Far North temps & lower than usual temps further south) is known as the Pineapple Express & happens every few years — probably as a result of an El Nino event. She has noted that they had a comparatively warm Jan./Feb. Pineapple referring, of course, to a current of warm air up from the general direction of Hawaii.

Steve Keohane
March 19, 2010 11:02 am

Pearland Aggie (09:58:24) :
I wonder what that temperature anomaly graphic would look when plotted in a perspective other than Mercator (which tends to severely distort the polar areas).

I agree, it makes the ‘blob’ look much bigger than it is. In this projection, Greenland at 2.2 X 10^6 sq km appears as large or larger than the USA at 9.8 X 10^6 sq km, when it is actually 22% of the USA’s size.

Henry chance
March 19, 2010 11:05 am

I like the red. It leaves the impression that minus 38 degrees is blistering heat.
As I see it, strong winds that dumped frigid temps and snow on New England could have traveled northeast with their 10 degree F winds and really warmed up the region.

jabre
March 19, 2010 11:10 am

Given that we’re in an el nino why would the temperature patterns demonstrated expect to be different? It would be interesting to see this plotted against historical el nino timing to determine how anomalous this is against known cycles.

RConnelly
March 19, 2010 11:13 am

Pearland Aggie (09:58:24) :
I wonder what that temperature anomaly graphic would look when plotted in a perspective other than Mercator
———————————————————-
Using Mercator projection maps has for this kind of display has always been a pet peeve of mine. Over at AccuWeather blog I commented that using a Mollweide projection would be more informative (visually).. later, I noticed that they had changed from a Mercator to what I believe was a Mollweide.

Erik
March 19, 2010 11:20 am

OT:
Oh noooo…. the birds are shrinking!
Climate change ‘makes birds shrink’ in North America:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8560000/8560694.stm

tty
March 19, 2010 11:21 am

David Smith (09:47:40) :
On the other hand the Norwegian sea, the other main area of thermohaline sinking in the northern hemisphere has been exceptionally cold this winter. Perhaps more warm water than usual going into the Irminger Current and less into the main Gulf stream?

ThomD
March 19, 2010 11:21 am

George Ellis
Sometimes simple observations (like the one you just made) are the most brilliant. How can North America, Europe and Asian Russia be so cold yet the temperature anomaly for the Northern Hemisphere by .73? Just because of one graphically misrepresented blob?

jose
March 19, 2010 11:23 am

Anthony:
You and your readers should know that global temperature anomalies are calculated using a weighted average. Not only Canada and Greenland were warmer than usual – note also equatorial Africa and most the southern Hemisphere experienced temperatures above average. Even if the map projection is changed, it doesn’t change the calculated anomaly.
Your final point about weather being a product of the regional anomalies is essentially correct, but this is just noise around the increase in global average temperature.

Walter Orr
March 19, 2010 11:27 am

As a resident of northern Canada, living under ‘the blob’ mentioned in this story, I can attest to the fact that temperatures here were much warmer than normal this February and early March. Being above or below freezing matters some, but the degree of cold matters too, for things like ice roads, permafrost maintenance etc. Although it only went above freezing here one or two days, the lack of normal extreme cold has impacted us here, both positively and negatively.

Dave Dardinger
March 19, 2010 11:29 am

Re: David Smith (Mar 19 09:47),
Contrawise, more cooling and sinking will draw warmer surface water into the area where the cooling occurs. Since there’s been more sea ice extent this year, this could mean that more water sank and thus had to be replenished from further south. Since there are only a few areas where the warm water can enter the Arctic Ocean, they would thus tend to be hotter. But who really knows? We need to see a plot of how much cold bottom water is flowing out of the Arctic Ocean to decide.

Wilson Flood
March 19, 2010 11:29 am

The Mercator projection makes the warm anomaly look much bigger than it really is so expect the WWF etc to leap on this. The warming was caused by the blocking cold air over Europe diverting warm SW winds over Canada instead of over UK, Ireland, Brittany etc. Total Arctic ice not affected though. Weather systems are returning to normal with SWesterlies starting to blow over UK again.

R. Gates
March 19, 2010 11:30 am

I must respectfully disagree. There will always be large “blobs” of temperature anomalies in the both the atmosphere and the oceans, for that is the nature of these dynamic systems, and it is the averaging together of these “blobs”, taken over many years that give us the important trend lines that climate change is all about. These “blobs” represent real heat (or lack thereof) and are important pieces of the overall energy balance of the planet. Afterall, would we really expect some kind of homogeneous rise in temperature in such a dynamic system? From this perspective, you could just as well say that the ENSO cycle is nothing but big blobs of warm water and low and high pressure…yet we know this is an extremely important part of the weather patterns of earth, and if we saw a gradual increase (or decrease) in El Nino “blobs” of warm water over a period of time, this would be meaningful.
Undoubtedly, the “blob” of warm air over Canada and Greenland this winter has been related to the AO index being so negative, and this event is significant and must be taken as part of the overall temperature of the planet.
Right now, every day in March at many of the levels of the troposphere have been above the 20 year record high, so March is likely to equal or exceed Jan & Feb. in terms of record tropo temps. No doubt, “blobs” of heat rising off th oceans from the ongoing El Nino event play a major role in this heat, but, no matter the source, (as the sun is the initial source anyway), if we see this El Nino year of 2010 ultimately hotter than the El Nino year of 1998, and this heat has shown up as a series of “blobs” of heat in the ocean or in the atmosphere, it is still a significant event, and harder to discount in light of the deep and long solar minimum we’ve just passed through, where AGW skeptics would have predicted that there was no way we’d see the kind of warmth we are, El Nino or not…

John Galt
March 19, 2010 11:30 am

ScuzzaMan (09:54:25) :
So, does the “global average anomaly” tell us ANYTHING?
I always thought the “anomaly” a dubious concept, precisely because it implies that we know what is “normal” … but, assuming some reasonably long-run average is used (and ignoring that we dont have enough data for a long-run global average), is there any merit in discussing the anomaly at all?

I agree. The baseline is an average, but temperates can vary quite a bit from day-to-day within that average. When we report monthly temps in terms of an anomaly, it doesn’t tell us if those temps fall outside the range of natural variation.
Another issue is different sources use different baselines so the size of the anomaly also depends upon who is doing the reporting.

Wilson Flood
March 19, 2010 11:34 am

Sorree, not Mercator but it is one that exaggerates polar regions.

R. Craigen
March 19, 2010 11:34 am

Attaching this to the Olympics may be fun, but the Olys were in Vancouver, thousands of km from the epicenter of this blob.
Also, to those conjecturing that this is an artifact of surface temperature absurdities, note that this is from Roy Spencer and John Christie, who derive their data from satellite instrument measurements. Apples and Oranges.
I live in the southern rim of “the blob” and I’ll attest that, despite our unusually cold November/December this whole region was unusually warm since the New Year, while you guys down South and in Europe were freezing your buns off in unusually cold weather.
What will be interesting is what fallout there comes in terms of the Greenland and Eastern Arctic ice sheets. My thoughts: not much. A time-limited anomaly like this has precious little effect. The Arctic ice this year is quite “healthy” — if what we mean by this is that there’s more than there has been in recent years — despite the unusually warm late winter.

Mogamboguru
March 19, 2010 11:38 am

Re: David Smith (Mar 19 09:47),
Contrawise, more cooling and sinking will draw warmer surface water into the area where the cooling occurs. Since there’s been more sea ice extent this year, this could mean that more water sank and thus had to be replenished from further south. Since there are only a few areas where the warm water can enter the Arctic Ocean, they would thus tend to be hotter. But who really knows? We need to see a plot of how much cold bottom water is flowing out of the Arctic Ocean to decide.
—————————————————————-
Add this to the point which I made further above “Re: fusion heat” – and you may have a winner.

Stephen Skinner
March 19, 2010 11:41 am

Considering that the bedrock of AGW is CO2 then this would be interesting overlayed with CO2 distribution. it could be that CO2 is really lumpy.

Steve Oregon
March 19, 2010 11:45 am

This may be stupid.
I haven’t thought this out and I may be all wet or confused but is it possible that the global average temperature trend could be opposite a global median temperature trend?
Is it mathematically possible for a median trend to be opposite an average trend?

Wondering Aloud
March 19, 2010 11:47 am

Most? more like all.

richcar 1225
March 19, 2010 11:52 am

Although there is small positive sst anomaly in the region, I wonder if the anomaly isn’t related to the deeply dipping jet stream related to the negative arctic oscillation which has allowed moisture laden low pressure cells to drop their snow load in the US after which the resultant dry air masses are heated from the latent heat of fusion as water vapor turns to snow and adiabatic heating from descending air masses as the low pressure cells arrive near Greenland from the southwest.

Enneagram
March 19, 2010 11:54 am

Why is it precisely over Quebec?, Too many levogyre thermocephalics up there?

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 11:56 am

John Galt:
The calculated trends are independent of the reporting baselines used. But if you really want to compare the actual magnitudes of anomalies from source to source, that’s straightforward as well.

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 12:01 pm

R Gates:
I’m glad somebody else has finally raised the Arctic Oscillation. The AO was reported heavily on this webpage throughout the winter, though perhaps the emphasis was on the cooler-than-normal US and Europe. What goes with that is a warmer-than-normal pattern further north.
When you look at the map for an individual month, you’ll see weather patterns like that. Blobs here, blobs there. But the blobs of any given month don’t tell you much about the long term trends.
For that, you look at the trend map. In the trend map, you do indeed see stronger warming over the Arctic. But you don’t see this blob, which was specific to this last winter and the AO.

Wondering Aloud
March 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Sou?
What are you looking at? most of the world is normal with below average areas appearing larger than above average. Even with the large polar exaggeration it doesn’t look anything like “most of the earth’s lower troposphere was warmer than the seasonal norms”
Seriously, what the heck? Is this some of that post normal reality stuff? Are you trying to be ironic or do you need to see a specialist?

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 12:03 pm

Steve Oregon (11:45:36) :
Go to GISS and make a trend map. You’ll see the location-specific trends.

Mogamboguru
March 19, 2010 12:05 pm

richcar 1225 (11:52:59) :
Although there is small positive sst anomaly in the region, I wonder if the anomaly isn’t related to the deeply dipping jet stream related to the negative arctic oscillation which has allowed moisture laden low pressure cells to drop their snow load in the US after which the resultant dry air masses are heated from the latent heat of fusion as water vapor turns to snow and adiabatic heating from descending air masses as the low pressure cells arrive near Greenland from the southwest.
—————————————————————-
Exactly my sentiment.
The latent heat from the freezing ice at the polar ice cap may add to that effect, too.

richcar 1225
March 19, 2010 12:10 pm

It would be interesting to see if the difference in anomalies from the US to the blob can be historically associated with eastern US snowfall and the negative arctic oscillation.

Geir in Norway
March 19, 2010 12:12 pm

The huge differences in anomalies in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are no surprise to me living in Norway. The thing is, the colder the temperature, the greater it swings within a day or night or week or month. In the summer, the air is more full of water vapor and the less the temperature varies. In the winter, the air is cold, its relative humidity is very low and large swings are common – more than 20 degrees Celsius in a few hours is not unusual at all, but common most days in January and February given relatively cold nights. As the sun comes up the day warms up tremendously.
So I am actually not affected by the huge anomalies, I think it is semantically wrong to mark them by huge red spots, and I seriously doubt them as showing anything at all except – yes – temperature differences. If one were to show something meaningful, one should show something consisting of temperature anomalies relatively to relative humidity. The lower the relative humidity, the larger the possibility of a huge anomaly, so this should be compensated for.
As it is now, it is as misleading as the global warming modelling in the IPCC reports I just downloaded – the large red areas show differences in average temperature from for instance -30 to -35 and that these should be comparable to differences between +20 to +25. I don’t have a solution to what should be shown instead.
A metaphor to the global temperature chart might be that you are shown two charts, one that shows how a young boy runs 100 yards faster every year as he grows from 5 to 20 years of age and another that shows the world champion’s results every year from let’s say 18 to 33 years of age. One would vary greatly, the other would not vary very much, yet they obviously show the same thing.
In this case, the global warming community would draw the conclusion that the young boy in a few years will run the 100 yards in half the time of the world champion.
Another question with regards to satellite measurements – are the measurements continuous with regards to measuring at least 100 times a day or what? Please tell, I am eager to know.

kdk33
March 19, 2010 12:13 pm

Who dreamed up this global average temperature in the first place. It’s a worthless, meaningless parameter, with which far too many are obsessed.
I don’t get it.

MartinGAtkins
March 19, 2010 12:14 pm

The UK Metoffice has issued it’s own graphic on the phenomena.
http://i599.photobucket.com/albums/tt74/MartinGAtkins/bbc2.jpg

March 19, 2010 12:16 pm

Some want to talk about the AO to distract from what the point is: Take out that One Big Red Blob and you get a flat trend in the rest of the world. So the called “Global” Warming is not really Global it is just one area of the world that has a disproportinate effect on the “Global Trend”. This is more evidence that Dr. Pielke Sr. is right in his postion that you need to look at regional/local trends not a “global temperature trend”.

Doug in Seattle
March 19, 2010 12:16 pm

Mercator or whatever, it still leaves unanswered whether such a localized anomaly has much or any effect on global or even other region’s temperatures.
I think it also leaves unanswered whether a similar phenomenon occurred in the 1940’s when the last warming episode ended.
A re-analysis of the mid 20th century temperature records might shed some light on the transition from warm to cold regimes. We are promised this will occur by the Met Office – I’m not holding my breath, but not ready to dismiss yet.

March 19, 2010 12:17 pm

Stephen Skinner (11:41:34),
The AGW believers here never seem to mention the supposed cause, do they?
That’s because this is natural climate variability.

Jordan
March 19, 2010 12:18 pm

The blob can be viewed as an indicator of additional cooling. There was a movement of thermal energy to high latitude in the NH winter, therefore additional heat energy should have been dispatched off to space.
By the same argument, the opposite ought to have been happening over western Europe and central Russia.
On balance (and without trying anything numerical), there would be compensating changes and this should reduce the temptation to claim anything special in the overall picture.
(And when you look at those sharp edges in the monthly average I am still concerned about aliasing)

kdk33
March 19, 2010 12:19 pm

“it is the averaging together of these “blobs”, taken over many years that give us the important trend lines that climate change is all about.”
Nonsense!
It is the attempted (because it is impossible to achieve) averaging of temperature data improperly distributed around the globe in both time and space and that has been tortured with corrections that is at the root of much mischief and misguided angst.
(I was gonna stop posting this rant – recidivist, I guess)

David Alan Evans
March 19, 2010 12:22 pm

One thing we don’t know is the RH of the blob.
If it’s very low, there may not be much energy there at all.
DaveE.

Michael
March 19, 2010 12:23 pm

Future low solar activity periods may cause extremely cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia
“Summary.
The observed winter temperatures for Turku, Finland (and also generally for North America, Europe and Russia) for the past 60 winters have been strongly dependent on the Arctic Oscillation index (AO). When the Arctic Oscillation index is in “positive phase”, high atmospheric pressure persists south of the North Pole, and lower pressures on the North Pole. In the positive phase, very cold winter air does not extend as far south into the middle of North America as it would during the negative phase. The AO positive phase is often called the “Warm” phase in North America. In this report I analyzed the statistical relation between the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation index (QBO is a measure of the direction and strength of the stratospheric wind in the Tropics), the solar activity, and the Arctic Oscillation index and obtained a statistically significant regression equation. According to this equation, during negative (easterly) values of the QBO, low solar activity causes a negative Arctic Oscillation index and cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia, but during positive (westerly) values of the QBO the relation reverses. However, the influence of the combination of an easterly value of the QBO and low solar activity on the AO is stronger and this combination is much more probable than the opposite. Therefore, prolonged low solar activity periods in the future may cause the domination of a strongly negative AO and extremely cold winters in North America, Europe and Russia.”
http://www.factsandarts.com/articles/future-low-solar-activity-periods-may-cause-extremely-cold-winters-in-north-america-europe-and-russia/
What about the current solar minimum having an effect on the climate? Nice study though.

jorgekafkazar
March 19, 2010 12:28 pm

Mogamboguru (10:46:03) : “Oops: ‘residual heat’ = fusion heat. I am sorry to be german sometimes…”
What you meant was perfectly clear in context.

Editor
March 19, 2010 12:28 pm

OK. Satellite measurements = No single thermometer error is possile.
But, over the whole month o February – how many days/hours did the blob exist?
Was a single meteor shower/incidental/accidental instrument glitch measurement over only 5 days or 10 days enough to throw off the readings for the longer period of time?
For this hot spot, what are the readings over the entire month? Have “blobs” ever been measured before, and if so, what are physical reasons for a “real blob” – if it is not a instrument error?
(After all, there would have been no reason to suspect the Antarctic ozone hole or the microwave background numbers ever existed until either was measured “accidentally” so to speak.)

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 12:36 pm

boballab (12:16:10) :
The blob is weather. Natural variability. Heat being moved around in different ways, around the planet.
Look up some month with an AO index that was extreme in the other direction. Maybe you’ll see different looking blobs.
It tells you nothing about the trends. For that, look at a trend map. The above is not a trend map.

JJ
March 19, 2010 12:39 pm

Steve Schaper (09:43:40) :
“What are the odds this is from using one thermometer for a huge grid, and something has changed that that location?”
Zero. This is satellite data.

kwik
March 19, 2010 12:49 pm

Stephen Skinner (11:41:34) :
“Considering that the bedrock of AGW is CO2 then this would be interesting overlayed with CO2 distribution.”
Exactly!
Doesnt NASA have an AGW Satellite up there? Do they see a great CO2 BLOB ???
I dont believe in the great CO2 BLOB.

Peter Miller
March 19, 2010 12:51 pm

Clearly the result of all the methane gas being given off by the rotting carcasses of polar bears, as they do their bit for AGW and go extinct.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram
March 19, 2010 12:51 pm

That’s where Superman lives

Pascvaks
March 19, 2010 12:51 pm

WUWT – “”As I have reported before on my weblog; e.g. see “What is the Importance to Climate of Heterogeneous Spatial Trends in Tropospheric Temperatures?”, it is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, ect] not a global average temperature anomaly.””
_______________________________
a·nom·a·ly (-nm-l)
n. pl. a·nom·a·lies
1. Deviation or departure from the normal or common order, form, or rule.
2. One that is peculiar, irregular, abnormal, or difficult to classify: “Both men are anomalies: they have . . . likable personalities but each has made his reputation as a heavy” (David Pauly).
3. Astronomy The angular deviation, as observed from the sun, of a planet from its perihelion.
_____________________________
Al Gore did not invent anomalies (or the WWW/Internet, Saltine Crackers, Geratol, ad infinitum that I know of). Paris and the Amazon aren’t burning (much). The Greenland Ice Cap isn’t melting (well not much more than it has any month in the past three months). And as nice and kind as it might seem from the map above, Northern and Northeastern Canada and Greenland are still kinda chilly. ‘Anomalies’ are friendly little things that wouldn’t hurt a fly.

richcar 1225
March 19, 2010 12:55 pm

The following map seems to show to show a vertical wind velocity anomaly over the blob at a 700 mb elevation.
http://www.weatherimages.org/data/imag155.html

NickB.
March 19, 2010 12:56 pm

kdk33 (12:19:18)
*I believe* for the satellite sets they use their own anomaly baseline starting in 1979. I’m pretty sure about that at least.

Tim Clark
March 19, 2010 1:03 pm

Erik (11:20:54) :
OT:
Oh noooo…. the birds are shrinking!
Climate change ‘makes birds shrink’ in North America:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8560000/8560694.stm

Erik, you just picked the wrong study. Depending on how you interpret this headline from the BBC, maybe climate change isn’t all that bad!
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7390109.stm
Great tits cope well with warming.

Sean Peake
March 19, 2010 1:04 pm

The blob appears to correspond quite nicely to the blocking high that entrenched itself around November and helped funnel all that lovely weather and temperatures normally reserved for my neck of the woods (southern Ontario) into Europe. And as far as I’m concerned Europe can have it again next year. In fact, keep it—I won’t miss it.

Harry Lu
March 19, 2010 1:11 pm

AMSU Channel data from satellite data
Data from:
discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
Note that all data is used (there seems to be none before 1998 for these channels
http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/1151/amsuamar2010.png
near surface is warming at 1.21C/day=4.4C/century
3300ft data (now discontinued) was warming at 12deg/century
sea surface is slightly cooling but only 8 years of data.
No problem their then!

Tim Clark
March 19, 2010 1:15 pm

carrot eater (12:01:57) :
R Gates:
I’m glad somebody else has finally raised the Arctic Oscillation. The AO was reported heavily on this webpage throughout the winter, though perhaps the emphasis was on the cooler-than-normal US and Europe. What goes with that is a warmer-than-normal pattern further north.
When you look at the map for an individual month, you’ll see weather patterns like that. Blobs here, blobs there. But the blobs of any given month don’t tell you much about the long term trends.
For that, you look at the trend map. In the trend map, you do indeed see stronger warming over the Arctic. But you don’t see this blob, which was specific to this last winter and the AO.

Last year the blob was over Siberia, remember?

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 1:16 pm

Actually, this is a fun game. Look up a chart of the AO index. Pick out extreme values, both positive and negative. Then look at the map for the corresponding month, and look at Northeastern Canada/Greenland. The AO index isn’t a perfect predictor of what you’ll see there, but it seems better than random guessing.

G.P.
March 19, 2010 1:17 pm

That’s for sure here in Québec, Canada, we didn’t have a winter this year, almost no snow, and temperature which where normally -20 C in jannuary and febuary nights where around 0 Celsius.
I was very “timide” to talk about the nonsense of CAGW to my colleague and friends !
G.P.

Jason S
March 19, 2010 1:18 pm

jose (11:23:40) :
“Anthony:
You and your readers should know that global temperature anomalies are calculated using a weighted average.”
&
“Your final point about weather being a product of the regional anomalies is essentially correct, but this is just noise around the increase in global average temperature.”
I appreciate your attempt to educate the ignorant, but you have completely missed the point. Do you actually believe that anyone here didn’t already know that?
Discussing the regional anomalies is a fabulous approach to learning about what ACTUALLY drives climate. If you stay stuck on the weighted average, then how would you be able to get to the bottom of the temp rise? Do you care to explain how this regional anomaly fits into the AGW hypothesis? While you are content to label the scientific process as ‘noise’, I personally appreciate the effort.

bemused
March 19, 2010 1:32 pm

…and your point is….. what exactly?

John Galt
March 19, 2010 1:34 pm

carrot eater (11:56:20) :
John Galt:
The calculated trends are independent of the reporting baselines used. But if you really want to compare the actual magnitudes of anomalies from source to source, that’s straightforward as well.

Analyzing trends is no more useful than trying to calculate the average global temperate of the 15th century using tree rings from a handful of trees in a handful of sites. People start looking at trends and then they start trying to convince everyone the trend will go on until infinity.
Tell me what’s causing the anomaly. Come up with a testable hypothesis and see if it correctly predicts the temperature in the future.
Here’s a trend I do find useful: Compare the GISS model predictions to the actual measurements. If the model is accurate, the trend will be a flat line. Anything else indicates the model is probably incorrect.

Richard M
March 19, 2010 1:35 pm

I for one think these kind of pictures are pretty much worthless. What does this tell us about the total heat in the atmosphere? Not much.
We need a 3 dimensional view (or vertical summation) of ENERGY (not temperature) and then we just might start to get somewhere.

DesertYote
March 19, 2010 1:39 pm

@Mike Haseler (10:15:31) :
Is this a lampoon or is it for real? It sure reads like a comedy skit. If it is, its awfully funny.

steven mosher
March 19, 2010 1:41 pm

odd blobs.
I think people are missing the main point of the post.
There is a blob in the LOWER TROPOSPHERE. so #1 thermometers are not involved in this measurement as many have pointed out. #2. The blob is a DEPARTURE from the seasonal Normals ( see the chart ) #3.
“it is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, ect] not a global average temperature anomaly.”
This is the issue. so lets break that down. The argument is made that tropospheric anomalies drive weather systems which cause floods and droughts. I dont think anyone who believes in AGW denies that they are the PROXIMATE cause. The real question is this:
1. Will AGW ( which we see SIGNS OF in the global anomaly ) drive the
proximate cause OR.
2. Will a warmer planet exhibit the same frequency, duration, and severity of the Proximate cause?
In other words, will AGW make these blobs more frequent, more widespread, and of higher magnitude. The BLOB is still the mechanism that delivers the final blow. That is not the issue. The issue is the causal chain that drives the BLOB.

Filipe
March 19, 2010 1:43 pm

By the way, the area around the “blob” (Baffin/Newfoundland) has been responsible for a large fraction of the negative artic ice anomaly in the last few months in Cryosphere today’s maps. Last year it was essentially zero for jan-march.

Dave Andrews
March 19, 2010 1:44 pm

I think it is probably an equal area projection. Still distorts at the poles but not as much as Mercator.
As regards the ‘blob’ its obvious that it got fed up sitting over Siberia so decided to go on vacation 🙂

NickB.
March 19, 2010 1:47 pm

R. Gates
OT for this thread, but if you recall our conversation around macro effects of UHI you might find this interesting. Would appreciate any corrections you (or anyone else for that matter) might be able to offer.
Regards!

Robert of Ottawa
March 19, 2010 1:48 pm

I has been a mild winter in this part of Canada, and I hear no one complaining.

March 19, 2010 1:55 pm

Anybody complaining in West Greenland?

Kwinterkorn
March 19, 2010 1:56 pm

The coldest areas on the map are where the most CO2 is emitted, and presumably where the highest relative CO2 concentrations can be found.
So whatever the causes of a “globally” warm February are, it is hard to pin the warmth on CO2.

George E. Smith
March 19, 2010 1:57 pm

Who Author ?

George E. Smith
March 19, 2010 1:59 pm

“”” ‘Anomalies’ are friendly little things that wouldn’t hurt a fly. “””
I thought “Anomalies” were Malaria muskeetos !

Adam Gallon
March 19, 2010 2:01 pm

OK, so what’s the real temperature around the big red blob? Minus 10 rather than -20? Since the cold was pushed far south this winter, is it surprising that the north was warmer than usual?
Do the white areas mean no returns or normal temps?

S.E.Hendriksen
March 19, 2010 2:02 pm

The math function ABS(x) can change the polar regions temperature in seconds.

Stephan
March 19, 2010 2:07 pm

Well R Gates how do you explain this one?
succintly put by Stephen Skinner (11:41:34) :
“{Considering that the bedrock of AGW is CO2 then this would be interesting overlayed with CO2 distribution. it could be that CO2 is really lumpy.”

rbateman
March 19, 2010 2:16 pm

Ask not for whom the blob tolls, it tolls for thee.

David S
March 19, 2010 2:35 pm

Those Canadians must be cooking up something. 🙂

David S
March 19, 2010 2:38 pm

Is there a color key for this map?

Paul
March 19, 2010 2:39 pm

Weather is not climate. Hmm… that sounds familiar…

George E. Smith
March 19, 2010 2:42 pm

“”” S.E.Hendriksen (14:02:26) :
The math function ABS(x) can change the polar regions temperature in seconds. “””
Hey Svend,
I saw the start of the big JAXA Arctic ice melt for 2010 just last week; I figured, you’d be digging yourself out about now.
How goes the big Greenland ice collapse these days ?
Good to see, you back alive and kicking.
George

richcar 1225
March 19, 2010 2:43 pm

I believe the blob results from a temporary (winter 2010) cell of rising moist air masses over the eastern US that resulted in unusual amounts of snow coupled with dry warm descending air masses over Quebec similar to the Hadley cell in the tropics where the corresponding dry, warm descending air creates deserts across the world. The driver was the southwest -northeast trending jet stream and the anomalously moist, low pressure cells brought in from the subtropics due to the negative AO.

B. Jackson
March 19, 2010 2:47 pm

As someone living on the Canadian Prairies I can tell you that this past winter/early spring has been a pleasure compared to what we are normally used to. I think even the warmists in this area of the country aren’t going to argue with that. There have been some harsh winters in recent memory, especially ’07-’08 when temps were rarely above -20C from mid December right through to mid March. Most winters we see an average of 2-3 weeks of extreme cold, in the -35C to -45C plus windchill but, this wniter we had maybe a week in total. As I make my living working outside in these conditions I can attest to how nice this winter has been. I don’t take it for granted, though. Every winter is different, next year could bring something worse. Or, maybe more of the same, you never know.

John in L du B
March 19, 2010 2:50 pm

For two years in a row I’ve cross country skiied here in Manitoba right up to the first of April. This year it ended the first week in March. Also the river ice is breaking up about a month early. Give me back my snow.
Can this be blamed on Al Gore? Did he take all my snow to Washington?

John F. Hultquist
March 19, 2010 2:56 pm

This gentleman has made a career out of showing how maps can be used.
http://www.flipkart.com/lie-maps-mark-monmonier-harm/0226534219-8qw3f73b6d
This book is #13 on the two page list here:
http://www.flipkart.com/search-books/mark+monmonier/author_10
There are quite a number of on-line presentations of map projections. However, I suggest you get an orange, draw a face or some such thing on it (an outline of a house will do), then peel the rind off carefully and flatten it out. When you get that flattened orange-peel-image to look reasonably close to what it did when it was spherical — post a photo for us to see.

carrot eater
March 19, 2010 3:04 pm

Mosher: There’s no thermometer in the map above, but maps using surface thermometers have roughly similar patterns for Feb 2010.

March 19, 2010 3:06 pm

Re: Trend map comments, I found this in a post at Jeff Id’s, it’s a map of the trends in UAH data:
http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b370/gatemaster99/sattrend.png

Gerard
March 19, 2010 3:08 pm

In Melbourne Australia the BoM and also the AGW crowd are proudly quoting the record run of now 101 days above 20 degrees C. I’ve heard it said that this record is an obvious sign that CO2 emissions are the cause.

John Phillips
March 19, 2010 3:13 pm

During a negative AO the very cold polar air is mixing with warmer temperate air. It could be a negative AO results in a positive temperature anomaly because energy varies as absolute T**4. The derivative or change in energy varies as absolute T**3dT. So a change in a lower temp represents less energy change than the same change in a higher temp. Conversely, an equal energy change in cold air results in a larger temperature change than warmer air.
I’m not saying it would change a long term global average trend, but could cause a spike in the positive anomaly direction.

John Finn
March 19, 2010 3:23 pm

The map is misleading. The tropics provided the most sigificant contribution to the Feb anomaly. The area between 23.4N and 23.4S represents around 40% of the total surface of the earth. The UAH Feb anomaly for the tropics was +0.81. RSS use the area between 20S and 20N. The RSS Feb anomaly for this region was +1.015.
The ‘blob’ probably offset some of the NH mid latitude cold but it wasn’t the main reason for the high anomaly.

Gil Dewart
March 19, 2010 3:24 pm

Note that this temperature distribution is not uncommon for the El Ninos since 1957-58.

DR
March 19, 2010 3:33 pm

Re: Smokey (Mar 19 10:04),
But, but, but SkepticalScience says “The Science SaysR” OHC in the upper 750m is sooo old science. Now it bypasses that region and heads straight for the bottom where presumably it awaits the command to rise from the deep and fry the surface. 🙂
So, there’s no sense in falsifying a hypothesis when there’s always an out to save it. That’s the beauty of an irrefutable hypothesis.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-cooling.htm

u.k.(us)
March 19, 2010 3:37 pm

Is it o.k., if I feel guilty about the Catastrophic weather i’ve caused, while enjoying the good weather??
Or should I just feel guilty, all the time?

Tom
March 19, 2010 3:46 pm

For a comparison of the satellite anomaly above with the February surface temperature anomaly on this page for the continental US, try this URL:
http://www.hprcc.unl.edu/maps/current/index.php?action=update_daterange&daterange=Last1m
It looks like they track pretty well, although the surface temperatures are offset to the southeast somewhat.

C. James
March 19, 2010 3:48 pm

I was a meteorologist for 40 years before recently retiring. I always paid close attention to the AO and the Southern Oscillation Index for hints as to the upcoming seasonal weather. You can see from this link: http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/precip/CWlink/daily_ao_index/ao_index.html the AO was indeed very negative (in fact off the chart negative), all winter but has now come back to positive.
The SOI was negative this winter http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/soi2.shtml meaning we had an El Nino, which was actually moderate to strong. Those who correctly forecast these two phenomenon made excellent forecasts for this winter (Joe D”Aleo and others).
The El Nino is currently forecast by all models to weaken quite a bit to a weak La Nina by next fall: http://iri.columbia.edu/climate/ENSO/currentinfo/SST_table.html The AO is already back to positive. Therefore, it seems very likely to me the warm start to this year globally will fade, especially the warm blob area of Canada and Greenland.
It is also interesting to note that even with a moderate to strong El Nino and record negative AO, the global temperatures have NOT exceeded those of 1998, and as I mentioned, should begin to cool slowly again.

March 19, 2010 3:50 pm

‘Geo Magnetic Z bias’ for the emergence of two counterbalancing temperature blobs should not be taken seriously by climatologists.
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/LFC18.htm

March 19, 2010 3:52 pm

Dave Andrews (13:44:16) :
“I think it is probably an equal area projection. Still distorts at the poles but not as much as Mercator.”
No, it’s NOT anywhere close to equal area projection. As I wrote (10:45:28), it’s close to equirectangular or ‘plate carrée’. This distorts areas, shapes and angles but is used for computing as X and Y axes map linearly to longitude and latitude. See here:
http://mathworld.wolfram.com/images/eps-gif/EquirectangularProjection_800.gif
Areas are greatly distorted near the poles because they appear stretched east-west.

Tim Channon
March 19, 2010 3:55 pm

Okay folks, I’ve put up the three UAH Arctic polar plots for February and this gives a far better idea of what is really there. Is done equal area.
http://daedalearth.wordpress.com/
Could just as easily do RSS, all four layers. Is much the same but would be impolite given the article here.
I could do with some help otherwise this work is going to stall, it has already, I am weary.
Ideally I want to make this thing accessible cross platform to all. It is more or less there but a lot remains to be done. (those plots took a few seconds)
The whole thing works from a common format series of databases of gridded data, over a dozen so far. Is just a few Lua scripts, sqlite and gnuplot.

Antonio San
March 19, 2010 4:09 pm

Anyone cognescent of tropospheric dynamic cannot be surprised by this.

Ian H
March 19, 2010 4:15 pm

This information has restored my faith in satellite measurements.
If you want to measure overall global temperatures then satellites are the way to do it. They are not subject to the kind of issues that afflict land based measurements, and they see the whole globe directly. The only problem for climate purposes is that the satellite measurements don’t go back very far.
However my belief in the efficacy of satellite measurements took a bit of a dent over this last year when they were proclaiming a record high February while Europe and the US were experiencing their coldest winter for a long time, and while nobody in the southern hemisphere seemed to be having an unusually hot summer.
Now the mystery is solved and my faith in satellites as a much better way to measure temperature is restored.
The location suggests a link with polar ice. As we know ice cover has increased significantly this year recovering from the wind driven cleanout of the ice pack in 2008. The specific heat released by ice formation is thus a very likely candidate for this hot spot.
If this is true then we should expect this hotspot to disappear completely over the summer (when ice does not form), and if the ice cover is back to normal levels next winter (as I expect it to be), we should not expect a repeat.
I wish they had released such a map at the same time as the earlier pronouncements about a record high February. I don’t understand the reason for the delay as the geographic information as to the distribution of temperature would have been available instantly. I would not have had cause to doubt the efficacy of satellite measurements if this data had been released at the time.

Editor
March 19, 2010 4:16 pm

Pearland Aggie (09:58:24) :
> I wonder what that temperature anomaly graphic would look when plotted in a perspective other than Mercator (which tends to severely distort the polar areas).
For about the 10th time in the last year: It’s not a Mercator projection. In fact, it’s not a projection at all, it just a cartesian plot. Personally, I’d prefer one with x offset scaled by the cosine of the latitude because the polar area is distorted, just not as badly as Mercator does (Mercator maps with the poles are infinitely tall.)

DocMartyn
March 19, 2010 4:29 pm

The hot blob correlates with increased ice cover of the Arctic in the same area. So heating causes sea-ice to grow.
http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20100303_Figure1.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_stddev_timeseries.png

Editor
March 19, 2010 4:37 pm

One effect I’ve noticed this winter, especially after mid-January, is that US east coastal storms would come up the coast, go through the maritimes (US weather reporting hardly ever mentions them), and then curve NW, dumping a lot of heat where the blob is. Sometimes the air mass actually looped around and came back to New England from the north bringing moderate temperatures instead of the frigid ones we’d normally see from that direction.
Well, it’s nice to see I’m not the only one these days who knows those maps are not Mercator projections!

March 19, 2010 4:40 pm

carrot eater (12:36:34) :
boballab (12:16:10) :
The blob is weather. Natural variability. Heat being moved around in different ways, around the planet.
Look up some month with an AO index that was extreme in the other direction. Maybe you’ll see different looking blobs.
It tells you nothing about the trends. For that, look at a trend map. The above is not a trend map.

LOL!
What do you think the “trend” maps are made of?
To get an anomaly trend map you first need anomalies and what you have here is an anomaly map made from the numbers that are used to make the trend maps. Your postiton is just look at the cake, it looks good, quit looking at the ingredients. Hate to tell ya this but you can’t make a good cake out of bad ingredients.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 4:43 pm

David Smith (09:47:40) :
That is just more alarmism about the ‘thermohaline circulation’. Alarmists can always be counted on to construe any event in the ocean into the potential ending of the thermohaline circulation.

R. Gates
March 19, 2010 4:43 pm

C. James said:
“…the global temperatures have NOT exceeded those of 1998, and as I mentioned, should begin to cool slowly again…”
Well, with the Met Office (and myself) predicting that 2010 will be the warmest year globally on instrument record, then we’ve all laid down the gauntlet so so speak. And this is going to be a good test, and really the first of several watershed years for AGWT ahead. Some interesting things to watch:
1) Even if El Nino fades early this spring, will 2010 still eclipse 1998 (or 2003) as the warmest on record? If it does, how will the AGW skeptics account for this wamth, especially in light of the recent long and deep solar minimum. AGWT says the solar cycles play less of a role in climate than GH gases, so the next few years will really start to show the differences.
2) Will arctic sea ice ever go above the long term year-to-year avergage, into a positive anomaly range. I actually thought we might this winter with the deep solar minimum, but it is getting to be a race against time now with the spring melt season starting. If the arctic continues it’s long term negative anomaly, and even approaches the 2007 low this year or next, what does that say about the role lf the long and deep solar minimum? If it can’t get the arctic sea ice even back above average, and it even continues its decline, it gives support to AGWT.
The two sides have pretty much staked their claims– on one side, the AGW believers who think that GH play a bigger role than any natural cycles, and if the world is warmer this year than any other on instrument record, it is a strong bit of support for the theory…and on the other head, those AGW skeptics who think that solar cycles, astronomical influences, and other natural cycles will always be more important than any influence of human activity.
The next few years are critical, and will certainly budge me one way or another from my current position of being a 75% AGW believer/25% skeptic.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 4:49 pm

I have a friend that had spent the winter in Germany and is back now. She said it was very cold and snowy, more than usual. The blue in the map shows this.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 4:53 pm

Vincent (10:32:44) :
I’m a bit surprised to hear this. I keep hearing that although the northern hemisphere had the coldest winter
…………………………………………………………………
The blob is not over most of the land mass of the NH
That’s pretty simple to see.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 4:54 pm

Mogamboguru (10:39:14) :
Think “residual heat”.
Trillions of tons of water have frozen to ice this winter – trillions of tons more than froze over the the past winters. This freezing frees lots of residual, thermal energy which, in turn, has to go elsewhere – exactly, 332,5 kJ per kg of water.
This heat has to go somewhere. And it did.
The huge heat-island up north is the direct consequence of the arctic ice-cap recovery.
This heat island to the west of Greenland / Hudson Bay area is the direct consequence of Global Cooling.
………………………………………………………………………….
You’re theory makes sense.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 4:55 pm

Isn’t this warmth in that part of the earth a normal part of el Nino?

March 19, 2010 5:00 pm

David Smith (09:47:40) :
I really liked your point about the warm anomly occurring right where the thermohaline sinking occurs. Makes sense to me: Less cold, less sinking. Less sinking, less warmth drawn north. Perhaps it is the AMO shifting from its warm cycle to a cold cycle, or a step of that multi-step process.
I’ve been thinking that the warm anomaly was created by the record-setting negative AO.
But what made the AO so negative? Maybe it was the loopy jet stream.
But what made the jet stream so loopy? Maybe it was bacause Asia and North America bred more cold air.
But why did they breed more cold air? Maybe it was due to the extended solar minimum.
This same dynamic which created the record-setting AO also created weaker trade winds, which bred the El Nino.
So all the apparent warmth was set off by a weaker sun. The warmth will soon fade, I expect.
Considering there are all these really neat actions and reactions to study, it seems a crying shame that any scientist would want to waste his time tweaking temperatures in the records from the 1800’s downwards.

It's always Marcia, Marcia
March 19, 2010 5:01 pm

R. Craigen (11:34:10) :
What will be interesting is what fallout there comes in terms of the Greenland and Eastern Arctic ice sheets.
……………………………………………………………………………
So it was -45F instead of -55F? How much difference would it have made? But, again, this isn’t surface temperature.

March 19, 2010 5:17 pm

I am living here in Montreal and we have spring flowers in winter for the first time, there are folks in shorts, the montreal canadiens have a big winning streak, its definitely unusual whats going on.

pft
March 19, 2010 5:43 pm

Monthly, annual, even decadal global averaged temperatures are meaningless in evaluating climate change, at least when the anomalies are in tenths of a degree.
Climate = 30 years +. Anything less is weather.
In this case, the anomlay is due to a negative NAO coupled with El Nino. Most of us froze our butt off, a lucky few had pleasant winters. I suppose the warmers will find some evidence of the warming in Greenland this winter to convince folks it is due to mans CO2.

Joe
March 19, 2010 5:45 pm

I live in the center of the red area and we had a HIGH pressure system that just wouldn’t move for almaost a week at a time. A quick low would go through then high pressure again. This week the temp was 15-18 degrees C. No snow left but some Ice still on the lakes.

Filipe
March 19, 2010 5:46 pm

“The hot blob correlates with increased ice cover of the Arctic in the same area. So heating causes sea-ice to grow.”
No, the white is the current ice, the magenta line the median. There is LESS ice over that area.

TJA
March 19, 2010 5:49 pm

I live on the edge of that blob, and let me tell you, it has been a very nice spring here. In fact, there is a little contraption they put out on the ice for an ice out contest, and it already went through, on St Patrick’s day. The ice isn’t gone yet, but it will be soon, and usually, it is here through the middle of April. So I can attest to the anomaly.

MattB
March 19, 2010 6:12 pm

One question I would have is what kind of cloud cover have they had in that region. I know here in Nebraska we tend to find things warmer when we have that nice little blanket of insulation rather than open to the sky (funny how that works ehh?) and of course an increase in cloud cover is a tenet of the cosmoclimatology theory.

Billy Liar
March 19, 2010 7:20 pm

Places around the edge of the blob (Eastern and Western Greenland and parts of Alaska) have upwards of 7metres of snow on the ground today.
http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/data/analysis/352_100.gif
That may or may not be anomalous – anyone know?

Baa Humbug
March 19, 2010 7:44 pm

Anomalies, trends blobs. Unless we learn more about the vast ocean circulation systems which span all time scales, we know nothing.
Measuring T’s does not tell us the energy budget of the globe. May be a fun exercise but not useful enough regards AGW.
For all we know, the warmth seen by sattelites and measured by ground stations may be caused by the discharge of heat by the oceans.
The atmosphere barely affects the oceans, but the oceans profoundly affect the atmosphere.
This laymans advice? Study the oceans, everything else will fall into place.

Sou
March 19, 2010 7:57 pm

@Wondering Aloud (12:02:26) :
What are you looking at? most of the world is normal with below average areas appearing larger than above average. Even with the large polar exaggeration it doesn’t look anything like “most of the earth’s lower troposphere was warmer than the seasonal norms”
Seriously, what the heck? Is this some of that post normal reality stuff? Are you trying to be ironic or do you need to see a specialist

No need to be upset, but you are misreading the chart. (Maybe it’s time to think and look closely before wondering aloud :D) Try breaking the chart into grids, or even longitudinal sections, and it’s plain that more than half the chart shows above normal temperatures.
BTW, the cream, yellow and red bits are above normal temps, not below! Only the blue bits are below normal (I realise you might live in a ‘blue bit’) and the white bits are unchanged.
The above normal constitutes more than half of the chart. Both satellite records show the lower troposphere temperature was the second hottest ever recorded for February. (If you have a problem with their readings, best write to John Christie or Roy Spencer – maybe they messed up again!)
Click here
to see what was happening around the world last month – like the hottest Feb ever recorded in the Southern Hemisphere; the second hottest global ocean temperatures ever recorded; and the sixth hottest February recorded for both land and ocean temps; and the second hottest lower troposphere. Ah – and much of the USA was cooler than normal – maybe that’s all that some people want to focus on.

Mooloo
March 19, 2010 8:13 pm

R. Gates (16:43:09) :
2) Will arctic sea ice ever go above the long term year-to-year avergage,

We don’t know the long-term year to year average.
We only started measuring using the current methods in 1979. As that was a cold period (relatively speaking), any ice coverage compared to that is always going to be below “average”.
We will see Arctic sea ice go above long term average if the long term average is allowed to be calculated. But not any time soon if arbitrarily taking 1979-1990 as the base.
We all know that the trend is important, not comparison to some arbitrary base. And I’m not convinced we have enough data for that either.

Steve Goddard
March 19, 2010 8:24 pm

The very negative AO kept the cold air on the Siberian side.

Steve Oregon
March 19, 2010 8:53 pm

Is the Blob also “consistent” with what climate models predicted?
I figure it must be since eveything else imaginable is.
If the blob dwindles away and the global temperature average trends like the rest of the non-blob area will it be a travesty?
Are the warmers betting their everything on the blob?
Hey that makes them Blobbers.
And I’m a Blobophobe?

NickB.
March 19, 2010 9:04 pm

Stephen Skinner
Stephan

I hope you guys are joking around, there was an article posted here from some character from NASA talking about “lumpy” CO2 distributions in the atmosphere – this “lumpiness” was somewhere either 6 or 8 ppm (2%) – not very lumpy is it?
…and all the talk of CO2 “domes” around cities, it’s just a temporal manifestation from all the local CO2 output before it has time to disperse. If anyone thinks UHI is caused by CO2 domes and not all the asphalt and energy use then… well, hate to break the news but sorry.
On the issue of the CO2 being well mixed in the atmosphere… show me something to the contrary. I’ve never seen anything to convince me that the orthodox/”consensus”/whatever-you-want-to-call-it view on this one is wrong.

Dave F
March 19, 2010 9:23 pm

Ok, so higher temperature anomalies = more snow because of excess moisture, right? So where did all this snow go to? Europe, which did have a lot of snow? Why Europe and not Greenland, which is in between the two?

Dave F
March 19, 2010 9:31 pm

And where was it that I read El Nino was the dominant temperature signal? That doesn’t look like an El Nino signal.

aired
March 19, 2010 9:47 pm

richcar 1225 (12:10:16) :
“It would be interesting to see if the difference in anomalies from the US to the blob can be historically associated with eastern US snowfall and the negative arctic oscillation.”
Yes! “richcar 1225” and several other posters have gotten pieces of the puzzle, but I’ll try to tie these things together a bit below, after my disclaimer.
Disclaimer Statement – First I should declare this is my initial posting (sorry for its length) at WUWT, and also that I’ve been a meteorologist for many years. I’ve taught meteorology at the university level, but have spent most of my career in government and private practice. I’ve been reading this site for a few years, but more often of late. For the record, I’m an AGW skeptic in the sense that I think that most AGW alarmists grossly overstate their case. However, many AGW skeptics do the same. I’m interested in ultimate truth, and therefore, my aim is to go where science takes me, regardless of political ideology. I believe mankind has some effect on global climate change, but that this effect is much smaller than the effects caused by natural forces over the past millennium. So perhaps I might best be categorized, at present, as a mild luke-warmer.
Now to my interpretation of the warm “blob” in the UAH February 2010 analysis, which I believe to be real. As limited confirmation, I checked February surface temperature data for a station in NE Canada near the bulls eye of the blob – Iqaluit – and it did show temperatures well above average for much of the month, especially the latter half.
Before getting to the immediate cause, we must first understand that short-term upward and downward global temperature trends, over periods of a few months to a few years, have nothing to do with long-lived greenhouse gases such as CO2, methane, nitrous oxides, etc. Because their concentration changes rather slowly, these gases should have only long term effects, so we must look for trends in temperature over multi-decade and perhaps even multi-century periods to possibly see a “fingerprint” due to increasing concentrations of these. For anyone to attribute the “warmest February” in 30 years to AGW is laughable. There are obviously much longer climate cycles at work (MWP, LIA). To explain relatively short-term anomalies, we must look for shorter-term forcings, which can be related to volcanic eruptions, ENSO cycles, etc.
The setup for the record snows in the mid-Atlantic and the anomalous February warmth in eastern Canada may have begun with the last La Nina cycle, which apparently helped damp out tropical storm formation in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Tropical storms are large heat transfer devices, in multiple ways. One transfer is from ocean to atmosphere vertically, and then horizontally in the atmosphere (ultimately northward). Heat transferred vertically in the storm allows some of the energy to radiate to space from near the top of the atmosphere. As we know, radiation from near ground level is not very effective at cooling the Earth at tropical and mid-latitude locations. Once the tropical system is caught up in the mid-latitude jet steam, its heat is transported to more northerly latitudes where the greenhouse effect is lower, there is less solar insolation, and where energy loss to space is more effective. Another heat transfer is downward in the sea, as storms mix water vertically, thus leaving the surface water cooler after they pass.
Given the very minimal Atlantic/GOM tropical storm activity this past summer, the waters off our south and east coasts remained warmer than normal going into fall and winter. I experienced this personally, late in October 2009, as I swam off the SW Florida coastline in water that was 90F one day and 91F the next. Check out the US October temperature anomalies reported by NOAA, and you can see the warm GOM waters had their effect on FL, while most of the nation had temperatures well below average.
Now lets add in the effects of the developing El Nino this past fall and winter. Besides adding heat and moisture to the atmosphere over the subtropical Pacific, this helped move the primary storm track across the southern US. Once those storms reached the SE US, they tapped into a very warm GOM. The higher water temperature resulted in greater moisture transport into the storms, which then dropped extremely heavy, moisture-laden snow in the mid-Atlantic states, which happened to be just cold enough to drop the bulk of the moisture as snow.
Anyone with an elementary understanding of latent heat knows that when water vapor condenses, it releases massive amounts of sensible heat, and if it goes all the way to solid (snow), there is a substantial additional increment of sensible heat release. All of that combined heat release was then carried by the February storm systems as they moved NE – toward NE Canada and Greenland. Do you think all that latent heat release was radiated to space before the storms reached eastern Canada and Greenland? Not enough time! Also, these early February East Coast storms then fed into, and perhaps helped maintain, a persistent, massive, broad area of low pressure covering most of eastern Canada. This low was circulating air counterclockwise from Canada’s east coast all the way back over Manitoba and then down over the western Great Lakes. That large gyre kept spinning for many days, almost stationary, until it finally lost the “steam” (water vapor and energy) that warmed eastern Canada and Greenland for much of February (check for yourself the February temperature curve for Iqaluit on Weather Underground).
I don’t know how much the AO fed into this, but this anomaly seems to be consistent with the AO pattern. The question is, did the AO help cause this anomaly, or did the features that caused this pattern help to cause or at least fortify the AO? I don’t know.
Anyway, this is my interpretation of the origin of all that energy represented by the UAH February “blob.”

AnonyMoose
March 19, 2010 9:57 pm

There are too many polar bears around that thermometer.

jose
March 19, 2010 9:57 pm

R.Gates: Watch out for changing goal posts! In light of the onslaught of evidence, the natives here are getting restless, and soon any metric at all of global climate change will be called into question. Surface records? Junk. Satellite records? No good anymore. Dendrochronology? Worthless. Ice cores? So what. Warmest year EVER recorded? Pfft. Not where I live.
Nothing will be good enough for those who have already made up their minds. That’s my prediction. I’d like to be proven wrong though.

rbateman
March 19, 2010 10:24 pm

Sou (19:57:42) :
Congratulations…you just fell into the Meractor Projection bias.
The USA/Europe/Russia/N. China/N. Atlantic and N. Pacific all ran cold.
The Arctic is small and still quite frozen for the anonaly as is the Antarctic.
Greenland is 2mi thick ice.
Nobody lives on Greenland Ice Cap or the Arctic Sea Ice.
Non-trend = extremes in regions where real people live.
That’s what the topic is all about.
Now we have massive flooding in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Claims are being made about never-before-seen, but nobody is showing data.
Me wonders why.

Antonio San
March 19, 2010 11:02 pm

Steven Mosher quoted Pielke Sr :
“It is the regional tropospheric temperature anomalies that determine the locations of development and movement of weather systems [which are the actual determinants of such climate events as drought, floods, etc] not a global average temperature anomaly.”
Pielke Sr. gets the causality wrong: it’s on the contrary the development of tropospheric weather systems that will lead to temperature anomalies cold or warm; In fact one needed simply to check the satellite evolution in February to understand the chain of cause and effects. From this data, it is clear the warm anomaly was caused by Gulf of Mexico moisture laden warm air advection –which resulted in mega snowstorms on the NE- due to the conjunction of 1) strong polar air anticyclones descending southward over the US –cold anomaly on most continental US, frost in Florida etc…- and 2) descending polar anticyclones on Western Europe. In fact, it is precisely this configuration that slowed the development of arctic sea-ice along Greenland during that time (advected warm temps). Breaking this configuration has since then in March allowed sea ice to grow back in this area (cf. NSIDC maps). Central Europe showed a slight warm anomaly on the western flank of the powerful Siberian anticyclone agglutination (stable over 3 months of -30c in western Siberia) because of warm air advection on the eastern side of Scandinavian anticyclones. Nothing exceptional, if only the strength of polar anticyclones…
Of course, averaging these temperature anomalies is meaningless physically and climatically; anyone having read Leroux could swiftly figure that one out. Moreover droughts and floods are not climatic events but weather phenomena. Honestly, Pielke Sr. should know better.

NickB.
March 19, 2010 11:15 pm

jose
There are moving goalposts on both sides, and I think all level headed folks should shun the practice. That doesn’t mean we’ll agree on everything, but certain things are generally accepted here – IMO at least:
The surface temp reconstructions are junk, sorry. They say they’ve corrected (overcorrected in the case of GISS according to Hansen) UHI, but that doesn’t seem to be the case… and all their adjustments and homogenizations seem to have, at least in the case of CRU a 20% increase in temp trends vs. the raw analysis by Dr. Spencer.
Satellite records are – despite what some people here may say – reliable unless someone comes up with some seriously concrete evidence to the contrary.
Dendochronology… why not use tea leaves? It’s a proxy for CO2 and rainfall maybe more than temperature, hasn’t worked (or maybe it has?) since the 60s, conflicts with historical records, and the definitive reconstruction was put together by a guy who appears to have made up his statistical rules as he went along.
Ice cores? What is the confusion on ice cores? AFAIK they show a MWP… are you talking about the “causative” relationship between CO2 and temp when CO2 lags temp?
I’m all for calling people out when theymake unsupportable statements. The questioning of the sat record of late is misplaced… and at the same time running around chasing AO or ENSO signals and yelling “look global warming” is, IMO, just adding to the noise and not really accomplishing anything.
Make your point, by all means, but that comment seemed to take the shape of a broadside leveled at just about everyone here. Lets keep it civil, right?

Dave F
March 19, 2010 11:49 pm

@ rbateman (22:24:40) :
How about the massive snow cover? Could that have any effect on flooding?
-facepalm-

Glen Bishop
March 20, 2010 12:42 am

February’s high Arctic temperatures do not seem to have impacted the areal extent of the winter ice. Only 2003 shows a greater extent

Sou
March 20, 2010 12:42 am

rbateman (22:24:40) :
Sou (19:57:42) :
Congratulations…you just fell into the Meractor Projection bias.

I don’t agree. Look at the middle of the chart! If you want to only include the bits that are cooler, that’s up to you. It doesn’t change the following facts:
Both satellite records show the lower troposphere temperature was the second hottest ever recorded for February. The Southern Hemisphere had the hottest Feb ever recorded; February had the second hottest global ocean temperatures ever recorded; and the sixth hottest February was recorded for both land and ocean temps.
It does seem odd that some people are looking at such a warm month to argue that it’s cooling (the second warmest lower troposphere temperature for February ever recorded by satellite, and the sixth hottest land and ocean temps recorded for Feb in more than 100 years). I await the rest of the year with bated breath.

March 20, 2010 1:15 am

jose (21:57:58) :
Changing goal posts? HA! You’ve got to be kidding me!
I am tired of all the “adjusting of data” which Alarmists have resorted to, and now have been caught red-handed at. It disgusts me, and what is more it makes me suspicious of honest scientists, when they change charts and graphs for honest reasons.
What sort of changing-goal-posts was it when Mann erased the MWP? Or how about all of Hansen’s and Jones’ tweaking of temperature data? Or how about Briffa ignoring whole series of tree rings to focus only on a small set in Yamal, with a single tree having huge influence? You don’t think the effect of that was “changing-goalposts?”
Once these boobs make a joke of science and peer-review, it forces everyone to go back and look at other changes which we all accepted.
I can move on to the work of GS Callender on CO2 levels, which altered charts he himself was involved with publishing earlier, alterations which scientists like Jaworowski blow a fuse about. In measuring CO2 levels, a lot of “bad readings” are thrown out. Must I now climb Mauna Loa myself, to make sure these guys aren’t selectively throwing out data, due to an agenda?
Or how about the change in TSI charts? Up until around six years ago the charts showed the high points in sunspot cycles had lower TSI in the late 1800’s than in the late 1900’s. Abruptly those charts were changed to show there was no change. Must I go back and re-examine the reasons for the changing charts, suspicious of an agenda?
Sadly, the answer is yes. For Mann did more than break the rules, when he erased the MWP. He broke the trust. It did enormous damage to relations between scientists, the relationship between scientists and the public, and (worst of all) to the ideal of healthy and clean environmentalism.
To break the trust is no small thing. It actually turns out to be an insidious and invisible form of pollution, blacker than any crud poured out by a smoke-stack, and grosser than any strip mine. The fact these fellows such as Hansen and Mann think they are “cleaning” the environment displays a total lack of awareness, on their part, of the existence of things such as the mental, social, and even spiritual environment.
In any case, Jose, you really should blush. It wasn’t the skeptics who “changed the goalposts.”

Jon-Anders Grannes
March 20, 2010 1:26 am

The hotspot is actually not that big!
Its about 10 times smaller than it apears to be on the map above!
But because they use a Mercator map projection it looks as if Greenland(2.175.600 km2) is about half size of Africa.(44.900.000 km2.)
But in the real world it is just 5% of Africa.
Equator to 30 N is about 25% of Earths area
30 N to 60 N is about 18,3%
60 N- 90 N 6,7%(60 N-70 N 3,68%, 70 N- 80 N 2,26% and 80 N- 90 N 0,76%)

Tenuc
March 20, 2010 2:10 am

Geir in Norway (12:12:33) :
“The huge differences in anomalies in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are no surprise to me living in Norway. The thing is, the colder the temperature, the greater it swings within a day or night or week or month. In the summer, the air is more full of water vapor and the less the temperature varies. In the winter, the air is cold, its relative humidity is very low and large swings are common – more than 20 degrees Celsius in a few hours is not unusual at all, but common most days in January and February given relatively cold nights. As the sun comes up the day warms up tremendously…”
We get the same pattern, albeit with smaller differences, when the same conditions happen here in England. The speed of change is sometimes awesome!
I wonder if the algorithms used when processing the AMSU raw data cope with such large and rapid swings at differing geographic scales?

March 20, 2010 3:37 am

aired (21:47:52) :
“I don’t know how much the AO fed into this, but this anomaly seems to be consistent with the AO pattern. The question is, did the AO help cause this anomaly, or did the features that caused this pattern help to cause or at least fortify the AO? I don’t know.”
Thanks for an authoritative meteorological viewpoint. I wonder if an examination of the change in atmospheric pressure would help to resolve the question you pose.
If one compares the AO with the historical record of atmospheric pressure north of 65°N it can be seen that the AO is simply a proxy for atmospheric pressure in the Arctic. This influences the strength of the outflow of cold air from the Arctic. The distribution of of land and sea and in particular the almost permanent high pressure cells over the sea determines where that air goes.
Atmospheric pressure varies with the distribution of the atmosphere which responds (at higher elevations) as an electromagnetic medium responds to change in its electromagnetic environment. A rise in atmospheric pressure at the poles is conjunctive with a fall at the equator.
I look at some of the broader aspects in an article called ‘Natural climate variation’ at:http://climatechange1.wordpress.com/
In the big picture falling pressure at the equator is very strongly related to cooling in the tropics and across the globe.
Tim Channon (15:55:28) :
Thanks Tim, very nice presentation.

R. de Haan
March 20, 2010 5:22 am

Princeton Alumni Weekly: Temperatures rising!
In an interview last year with The Daily Princetonian, Happer characterized hostility toward climate skeptics in harsh terms. “This is George Orwell,” he said. “This is ‘the Germans are the master race. The Jews are the scum of the earth.’ It’s that kind of propaganda.” In an e-mail following an interview for this article, he warns against “the capture of U.S. society” by a “scientific-technological elite.”
http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2010/03/princeton-alumni-weekly-temperatures.html

Pascvaks
March 20, 2010 6:14 am

Ref – R. de Haan (05:22:44) :
“Princeton Alumni Weekly: Temperatures rising!”
___________________________
Thanks for posting this link. So true!
It (AGW or the NEW “Climate Change” Cause) is so like a religion that it’s painful. Scientists and their societies/associations (and psyentists and their PACs) have swallowed this crap to such an extent that I fear the consequences will impact them and the future of their profession more than any other group. Instead of staying on the edge of this, they jumped in with both feet and are up to their necks. Too few had the foresight to see, or the courage to say, that the matter was too unsetteled, unproven, unknown. Tis best NOT sign a petition or statement unless you know all the science and all the ramifications– even if you do support 90% of the data, the 10% you don’t can really hurt you.
About the Blob its only weather.

Harry Lu
March 20, 2010 6:22 am

“Ian H (16:15:51) :
This information has restored my faith in satellite measurements.
If you want to measure overall global temperatures then satellites are the way to do it. They are not subject to the kind of issues that afflict land based measurements, and they see the whole globe directly. The only problem for climate purposes is that the satellite measurements don’t go back very far.”
Please check out my earlier post {correction added]: 4.4 deg C per century seems to be the value for warming. This is not insignificant!!!!!!!!!!!
Harry Lu (13:11:58) :
AMSU Channel data from satellite data
Data from:
discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
Note that all data is used (there seems to be none before 1998 for these channels
http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/1151/amsuamar2010.png
near surface is warming at 1.21[*10^-4]C/day=4.4C/century
3300ft data (now discontinued) was warming at 12deg/century
sea surface is slightly cooling but only 8 years of data.
No problem there then!

beng
March 20, 2010 6:39 am

The “blob” has nothing to do w/CO2. It has everything to do w/a semipermanent low-pressure system just to the SE of the “blob”, pulling up N Atlantic maritime air toward the NW, then W into Canada. To the SW of the low, NW winds are cooling down much of the US.
IOW, it’s weather.

Richard M
March 20, 2010 7:42 am

I saw a prediction about a year ago based on the forecast for a strong El Nino. The forecast is we would see an outpouring of alarmist claims about record warm temperatures proving AGW. It appears that forecast was right on the mark.
I think we were extremely lucky that the colder areas happen to fall on many populated areas of the planet. With the cold in Europe, the US and northern China the total hysteria we would have seen has been muted.

March 20, 2010 9:16 am

As I recall, not many years ago we were told that the arctic had gotten stuck in the positive phase of the AO, and this was a sure sign of global warming.
Actually the AO did stay positive a lot, and the AMO was warm, but whether or not this was due to CO2 is what we are debating.
However, once you have stated the Positive AO is due to Global Warming, it does look a bit absurd to turn right around and state the record-setting negative AO is due to Global Warming.
Back around 2000 National Geographic had, as I recall, a rather neat graphic which displayed exactly how the Positive AO led to arctic melting and Global Warming. Can anyone help me locate the issue, or supply a link to the picture? I think it might even be a topic for a post.

R. Gates
March 20, 2010 9:27 am

Jose said:
“Nothing will be good enough for those who have already made up their minds. That’s my prediction. I’d like to be proven wrong though.”
I completely agree with this Jose…and it cuts both ways for true believers on both sides of the AGW issue…hence why I remain only 75% convinced AGWT is correct, and 25% a skeptic. This means I believe that AGWT is likely correct, but I will always be open to looking at other opinions and interpretations of data. As time goes by I am sure I will be changing that percentage, and it depends on future trends. The next few years are critical, for AGWT makes specific predictions about the trends in many areas that can be readily observed, measured, and analyzed. By 2015, I will be either up to 95% convinced AGWT is correct, or down to 50/50.

Amino Acids in Meteorites
March 20, 2010 11:11 am

Steve Goddard (20:24:40) :
The very negative AO kept the cold air on the Siberian side.
…………………………………………………………………………………..
Thanks for making it simple!
🙂

Steve Oregon
March 20, 2010 11:21 am

R. Gates,
I suspect you are 75% convinced of AGW because of the many atributions attributed to AGW without any link at all.
The bulk of fabricated links creates the false perception of “gee there must be something to it if it’s causing all of this”.
Peel away the all of the baseless attributions and what’s left is nothing but fatally flawed climate models and run amoke suppostion which now declares all things consistent with climate models projections.
It’s a merry go round of nonsense.

Steve Fox
March 20, 2010 11:32 am

Sean Peake: (referring to the Arctic weather, diverted to Europe by blocking high over Greenland) ‘And as far as I’m concerned Europe can have it again next year. In fact, keep it—I won’t miss it.’
Thanks Sean, from icy Normandy. Warming up a little now, but we had a cold one.

kadaka
March 20, 2010 12:19 pm

Near as I can tell from that map, around that area near Greenland was where, as reported here, in 2007 there was a major loss of Arctic ice when the usual ice arches failed to form and the winds pushed the ice through the Nares Strait.
If we accept that the surface temperatures are as warm there as this map says, then we wonder if it is a persistent pattern that needs explanation, such as a localized atmospheric or ocean current condition, or if perhaps there is some source of heat like geothermal activity.
If we go with the theory that these higher temps in the lower troposphere are due to latent heat from lots of ice and snow forming, at the surface it is actually colder, then offhand it looks like things are “averaging out” and nothing special is going on.
First case, something abnormal. Second case, something normal. Which makes more sense?
(I’m holding out for the longshot of previously-unknown geothermal activity, solely because unexpected sudden volcanic eruptions can be rather interesting. And it would also be interesting to see the CAGW-believers’ response to seeing their “melting Arctic ice and disappearing Greenland glaciers” “proof of global warming” be thrown into severe doubt.)

Steve Oregon
March 20, 2010 12:32 pm

Another highly germane point is that one could easily pick any 50 or 100 year period in the last 1000s of years and and find levels of fluctuations in the many same things now being wrongly and without any linkage attributed to CO2 emissions.
The presumption that current variations are new to an otherwise stable and unchanging planet is absurd on it’s face.
But for warmers to be forever looking around and finding every change, real or imagined, to be a trend and indicator of human caused global warming is the stuff of unethical fanatic activism attempting to push forward an agenda by piling up fabricated justification and urgency.
Coupled with their disparaging (to ruin) of all who question and reject these tactics and it’s clear this is just another historical example of attempted tyranny.
Fortunately the global masses, armed with the global Internet, are able to crush such global efforts.
The sound one hears over at RealClimate, ClimateProgress and ClimateCentral, regardless of how clever they think they are presenting it, are the squeals from wanna be tyrants on their last gasp dictates that we all conform to their demands.
The Gavin Schmidts, Joe Romms, Jane Lubchencos, Michael Manns, James Hansens, et al, are indeed scoundrels in the process of getting exactly what they should.

Dave Andrews
March 20, 2010 1:26 pm

Scientist for Truth,
You’re right it is plate carre. I was in a hurry and realised later that I’d confused ‘equal area’ with ‘equirectangular’

MalcolmR
March 20, 2010 5:21 pm

I moved to New Brunswick, Canada at the beginning of 2008 and have been taking my own temperature readings since then. I can attest to the warmth of this winter compared to last winter. My figures are:
Week no ave min 09 ave max 09 ave min 10 ave max 10
1 -9 -3 -1 +1
2 -11 -3 -8 -2
3 -18 -9 -7 0
4 -15 -7 -7 0
5 -8 +1 -17 -7
6 -12 -2 -9 -1
7 -8 +1 -1 +3
8 -8 0 -1 +3
9 -5 +1 0 +2
10 -7 +2 -4 +5
11 -9 +1 -4 +7
So, on average the minimums in 2010 have been 4.5 degrees warmer than in 2009, and the maximums have been 2.6 degrees warmer.
Highly unscientific, anecdotal etc, but that’s the story in my back yard!

Larry Geiger
March 20, 2010 5:35 pm

carrot eater (12:36:34) :
Yeah, the cold blob is down here in sunny FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on spring, we’re tired of El this and El that and all the other Els and blobs!

Dave F
March 20, 2010 10:59 pm

@ R. de Haan (05:22:44) :
Actually, that situation would be perfect. Then the military-industrial complex and the scientific-industrial elite would each be assigned one of America’s two parties as opposition, and we will be able to sort this out rather quickly. Do you support the military-industrial complex or acknowledge its existence?

Amino Acids in Meteorites
March 20, 2010 11:43 pm

Steve Oregon (11:21:43) :
Peel away the all of the baseless attributions and what’s left is nothing but fatally flawed climate models
Here’s a work showing computer climate model outputs not matching observation, in other words, what the computer models predict will happen isn’t happening :
“These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications…”
http://www.pas.rochester.edu/~douglass/papers/Published%20JOC1651.pdf

Roger Knights
March 21, 2010 12:02 am

Cartoon:
Caption: Blob / Blab / Blub
Image: Gore / Monbiot / Hansen (Storms of My Grandchildren)

Steve Dallas
March 22, 2010 11:00 am

It would appear as a cherry on a watermelon. Mercator maps are utterly useless in showing global areas, they were invented for navigation. No projection is perfect, but a Robinson projection (National Geographic standard these days, I believe) would be much more fair and informative.

Barry Kearns
March 22, 2010 2:59 pm

Pascvaks (12:51:24) : ‘Anomalies’ are friendly little things that wouldn’t hurt a fly.
I always thought anomalies were those fringey looking things with all of the edge tentacle in fishtanks. Ah, here we are: “a group of water dwelling, predatory animals of the order Actiniaria.”
Yep, they wouldn’t hurt a fly, because the only flies that make it down to one are already dead.

Steve Goddard
March 22, 2010 11:00 pm
phlogiston
March 23, 2010 4:47 pm

Steve Goddard (23:00:58)
Seems so – I am in Montreal on business, its snowing, will reach -8 C this week at night according to local forecasts. Parts of the Canadian winter were mild but it seems now its making up for lost time. (I remembered to bring a woolly hat at the last minute, just as well.)

phlogiston
March 25, 2010 7:35 pm

Make that -13 C.

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