Where's the Climate Beef?

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

A while back in the US there was an ad for a hamburger chain. It featured an old lady who bought a competitor’s hamburger with a great big hamburger bun. But when she opened it up she asked …

I got to thinking about this in the context of whether there is any real danger in a degree or two of average temperature rise, or whether it’s a big bun with no beef. In my previous post, “Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics … and Graphs”,  I closed by saying:

My conclusion? Move along, folks, nothing to see here …

A commenter took exception to this, saying

When talking about global average temperatures, tenths of a degree really do matter.

Now, if tenths of a degree changes over a century “matter” for the globe, they certainly must matter for parts of the globe.

So here’s your pop quiz for the day: Which US State warmed the most, which cooled the most, and by how much?

To answer this, I used the USHCN State Temperature Database.  Here are my findings:

Figure 1. Temperature trends by state, USHCN data. Seven states cooled, and forty-one warmed.

The state that warmed the most was North Dakota (top center), which warmed 1.4°C per century. The state that cooled the most was Alabama (middle of three dark blue states, lower right). It cooled by 0.3°C/century.

To compare with my previous post, here’s a similar graph, of the decadal changes in North Dakota by month.

Figure 2. North Dakota decadal average temperatures by month, 1900-2009. Red line is the average for the decade 2000-2009. Photo is an old North Dakota farmhouse.

As with the US, for much of the year there is little change, and the warming is in November to February. Note that unlike the US, during that four months, the temperature of North Dakota is below freezing (32°F) …

Now, if tenths of a degree “matter”, if they are as important as the commenter claimed, we should have seen some problems in North Dakota. After all, it has warmed by 1.6°C since 1895. That’s almost three times the global average warming.

But somehow, I must have missed all of the headlines about the temperature calamities that have befallen the poor residents of the benighted state of North Dakota. I haven’t seen stories about them being “climate refugees”. I didn’t catch the newspaper articles about how it has been so hard on the farmers and the frogs. I am unaware of folks moving in droves to Alabama, which has cooled by -0.4° since 1895, and thus should be the natural refuge of those fleeing the thermal holocaust striking North Dakota.

In fact, I don’t remember seeing anything that would support the commenter’s claims that tenths of a degree are so important. North Dakota has warmed near the low end of the range forecast by the IPCC for the coming century, and there have been no problems at all that I can find. So I have to say, as I said before,

My conclusion? Move along, folks, nothing to see here … where’s the beef?

APPENDIX: R Code for the US Map

(I think this is turnkey. Sometimes WordPress puts in extra line breaks. If so, it is also available as a Word document here.)

The code requires that you download the USHCN Temperature Data cited above and save it as a “Comma Separated Values” (CSV) file. I downloaded it, opened it in Excel. I split it using “Text to Columns …” into the following columns, as detailed in the USHCN ReadMe file:

FILE FORMAT:

STATE-CODE        1-3    STATE-CODE as indicated in State Code Table above. Range of values is 001-110.

DIVISION-NUMBER    4     DIVISION NUMBER.  Value is 0 which indicates an area-averaged element.

ELEMENT-CODE      5-6

02 = Temperature (adjusted for time of observation bias)

YEAR              7-10   This is the year of record.  Range is 1895 to current

year processed.

JAN-VALUE        11-17   Monthly Temperature format:  Range of values -50.00 to 140.00 degrees Fahrenheit.  Decimals retain a position in the 7-character field.  Missing values in the latest year are indicated by -99.90.

FEB-VALUE        18-24

MAR-VALUE        25-31

APR-VALUE        32-38

MAY-VALUE        39-45

JUNE-VALUE       46-52

JULY-VALUE       53-59

AUG-VALUE        60-66

SEPT-VALUE       67-73

OCT-VALUE        74-80

NOV-VALUE        81-87

DEC-VALUE        88-94

If that is too complex, the CSV file is here.

Here’s the R code:

# The code requires that you download

# the USHCN Temperature Data

# and save it as a "Comma Separated Values" (CSV) file.

# I downloaded it, opened it in Excel, and used

# "Save As ..." to save

# it as "USHCN temp.csv"

#Libraries needed

library("mapdata")

library("mapproj")

library("maps")

# Functions

regm =function(x) {lm(x~c(1:length(x)))[[1]][[2]]}

#Read in data

tempmat=read.csv('USHCN temp.csv')

# Replace no data code -99.9 with NA

tempmat[tempmat==-99.9]=NA

# split off actual temps

temps=tempmat[,5:16]

# calculate row averages

tempavg=apply(temps,1,FUN=mean)

# calculate trends in °C by state

temptrends=round(tapply(tempavg,as.factor(tempmat[,1]),regm)*100*5/9,2)

# split off states from regional and national

statetrends=temptrends[1:48]

#calculate ranges for colors

statemax=max(statetrends)

statemin=min(statetrends)

statefract=(statetrends-statemin)/staterange

#set color ramp

myramp=colorRamp(c("blue","white","yellow","orange","darkorange","red"))

# assign state colors

mycol=myramp(statefract)

# names of the states (north michigan is missing for ease of programming)

myregions=c("alabama", "arizona", "arkansas", "california", "colorado", "connecticut", "delaware",

"florida", "georgia", "idaho", "illinois", "indiana", "iowa", "kansas", "kentucky", "louisiana", "maine",

"maryland", "massachusetts:main", "michigan:south", "minnesota", "mississippi", "missouri", "montana", "nebraska",

"nevada", "new hampshire", "new jersey", "new mexico", "new york:main", "north carolina:main", "north dakota",

"ohio", "oklahoma", "oregon", "pennsylvania", "rhode island", "south carolina", "south dakota", "tennessee", "texas",

"utah", "vermont", "virginia:main", "washington:main", "west virginia", "wisconsin", "wyoming")

# draw map

par(mar=c(6.01,2.01,4.01,2.01))

return=map('state',regions=myregions, exact=T,projection='mercator',fill=T,

mar=c(5.01,8.01,4.01,2.01),col=rgb(mycol,maxColorValue=255),ylim=c(10,60))

# set up legend boxes

xlref=-.48

yb=.37

ht=.05

wd=.08

textoff=.025

# assign legend labels

mylabels=round(seq(from=statemin,by=staterange/12,length.out=13),2)

#draw legend

myindex=0

for (i in seq(from=xlref,by=wd,length.out=12)){

xl=i

xr=xl+wd

yt=yb+ht

rectcolor=myramp(myindex/11)

rect(xl,yb,xr,yt,col=rgb(rectcolor,maxColorValue=255))

text(xl,yb-textoff,mylabels[myindex+1],cex=.65)

myindex=myindex+1

}

text(xl+wd,yb-textoff,mylabels[myindex+1],cex=.65)

# add annotations

text(0,1.08,"US Temperature Trends (°C/century)")

text(0,1.03,"USHCN Dataset, 1895-2009",cex=.8)

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184 thoughts on “Where's the Climate Beef?

  1. And I would be willing to bet that North Dakota isn’t the most extreme case globally.
    Yet we haven’t heard about the refugees from those other “worse off” places either (if they’re not actually better off – you ever been to North Dakota? Brrrr). More over, I bet a few of them are probably 3rd world countries where the refugee story would play well on the cable outlets.

  2. “Figure 1. Temperature trends by state, USHCN data. Seven states cooled, and forty-one warmed. Note that the center point (white) is a warming of about 0.5°/century, near the global average.”
    Do you mean yellowy-orange? White seems to be 0°/century.
    HTH.

  3. Interesting — New Jersey has warmed considerably, and the prevailing winds across that state are from the southwest — Pennsylvania, which *hasn’t* warmed to any horrendous extent.
    What *has* changed is the landscape. In 1895, New Jersey was mostly rural farmland. In the 1970s, developers started planting 2x4s on the farmlands and growing condominiums, and the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 95 are the two main transportation arteries between New York and points south. Looks like a textbook example of UHI.

  4. Actually, everyone in North Dakota is swimming under 25 feet of water…
    But no one ever goes there, so none of us would notice if they were.
    /sarcasm

  5. Where I live (in SE Australia) there were two occasions this recent summer where there was a 20C difference in the max temps on succeeding days.
    On the first occasion the max of 40C on Day 1 was followed by a max of 20C on Day 2. On the second occasion, the max of 43C on Day 1 was followed by a max of 23C on Day 2.
    Tenths of a degree? Give me a break!
    And thanks for the work, Willis.

  6. Look at how much North Dakota and Nevada have warmed. Both Senators from North Dakota voted for health care reform and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada played a key role in pushing through the very same legislation. The Senators from the cooler states generally voted against health care reform. This proves there is a direct link between statewide warming and support for massive government run health care schemes. Thus, heightened CO2 levels are responsible for Obamacare.
    Should I publish my findings in Nature? It’s not like it’s any more ridiculous than the usual crap they turn out.

  7. I will.send this to my Senator Lindsey Graham, not that I expect him to read or understand it.

  8. ‘When talking about global average temperatures, tenths of a degree really do matter.’
    I bet he says that to all the girls.

  9. Thanks again Willis for keeping it real.
    It was always one of my main questions; If “global warming” is projected to happen mostly in the upper NH, in the winter and at night was there ever anything to worry about?
    Second q; why should the warming “target” those particular times and places? If the guesses are true then all the worries about Africa and India and such are unfounded 😉
    I have a sneaky feeling that the places (upper NH – particularly the pole) were warming anyway and the modellers couldn’t explain why so they added the area to their “concerned science”.

  10. Odd. The comment I just left on the “NOAA says…” post seems to fit in perfectly here as well at least for short term changes. Here in Sudbury in Northern Ontario, most of 2010 has been nice and warm. We had maybe a half dozen record breaking highs and a few nights that did not go below the normal high in March. It was warm. We also only received 1.4 mm of precipitation instead of the normal 65 mm in March. January, and February were below normal for rain and snow too. Once the snow melted, forest fire warnings abound in March, but that has happened before, just not so early in the year. Indeed, we have been rather warm since late January. This week we are again 4 to 7 C above normal. It is great. Golf courses opened early though this has not been the earliest.
    Even snowmobilers, that were disappointed in the lack of snow, were not complaining much. They enjoyed the warmth too. This winter was a huge improvement over our pitiful rain filled summer of 2009. Farmers were a bit worried, but we have now received some rain in April (45 mm so far out of the normal 65 mm for the month), so even their complaints have quieted down.
    This winter, we were simply above normal more often than we were below normal.
    John M Reynolds

  11. nice article. I have one question.
    I have seen in this post and in your previous one that the largest warmings happenend during winter. Does this empirical data falsifies CO2 based global warming?
    Here is my line of thought. If CO2 were the main culprit of warming, I would expect to see it acting mainly during summer in the north hemisphere. when there is more light and therefore more uv-visible-ir radiation hitting the northern hemisphere than during winter. (the opposite in the south hemisphere) But what happens is just the opposite, temperatures raise mainly during winter, when CO2 has less time to adsorb radiation, due to the shorter days.

  12. About 18 months ago a freind speculated that Mr Gores film ‘An Inconveiniant Truth’ had sublimable messages inplanting pitures of skellitons sexual acts and death. He said these images induce a religious response to the material presented. I realise theres a little pagan earth loving spirit in all of us, but, ‘HELLO’ whats to crusade over a miniscule tempature change.
    I think my freind has hit on something.

  13. urederra,
    “Here is my line of thought. If CO2 were the main culprit of warming, I would expect to see it acting mainly during summer in the north hemisphere. when there is more light and therefore more uv-visible-ir .”
    Most people say the opposite. The problem with your theory is that the forcing due to GHG is constant, at about 1.5 W/M^2. During the summer, insolation is very high, maybe 500 W/M^2 so the proportion added to by CO2 is very small. In winter however, insolation may be only 100 W/M^2 and the addition made by CO2 is proportionally greater. Even more, during winter, absolute humidity is lower, so the proportion of CO2/H2O is greater than during summer.

  14. That new climate in North Dakota now includes the annual disastrous springtime flooding in Fargo.

  15. ….Note that unlike the US, during that four months, the temperature of North Dakota is below freezing (32°F) …
    this will only offend a few people (646,844 to be precise) – but you need to be careful about little things like this – people are touchy these days

  16. urederra,
    If you want a falsification for CO2-based AGW consider the following – The IPCC/”consensus” theory used feedbacks to explain all the warming between 1980 and 2000. The main feedback is atmospheric water vapor. Their theory stated that Anthropogenic GHG forced rising atmospheric temperatures, rising surface temperatures, increased water vapor *and* rising ocean heat content. Since 2000, GHGs and water vapor content have continued to increase, while temperatures have increased less quickly (surface records) or flatlined/slightly-cooled (sat records). In the last three years OHC leveled off too.
    This means, as Lindzen said, their models are breaking. If their theory was correct there would be an absolutely massive amount of energy missing somewhere in the system and that is not the case. This implies that the variability from 1980-on was most likely, mostly caused by something else and their CO2-causing-water-vapor-feedback-to-result-in-enhanced-warming mechanism is bogus.
    To say that and look at it another way, based on observation from 2000-on, GHG forcings are not capable of explaining 1980-2000.
    Q.E.D.

  17. For totally unscientific reasons I can say Global Warming will not happen.
    How?
    Because In Britain we are already paying £6 a gallon of petrol.
    Oil Prices are on the rise.
    Interest rates are going to go up.
    Financial pain is coming and freezing temperatures will be the icing on the cake for people who are already struggling.
    It’s called ‘Sods Law’.
    Add to that the overwhelming evidence against AGW and I think lots of ordinary people are going to get very impatient with the Pro Climate change Lobby very soon.

  18. Daniel H (03:20:08) : “Look at how much North Dakota and Nevada have warmed. Both Senators from North Dakota voted for health care reform and Senator Harry Reid of Nevada played a key role in pushing through the very same legislation. The Senators from the cooler states generally voted against health care reform. This proves there is a direct link between statewide warming and support for massive government run health care schemes. Thus, heightened CO2 levels are responsible for Obamacare.
    Should I publish my findings in Nature? It’s not like it’s any more ridiculous than the usual crap they turn out”
    Since you have failed to use the word “robust”, you may not publish your findings anywhere!

  19. Wendy’s burgers are great, and those were brilliant commercials. That catch phrase is still being used over 25 years later.

  20. Those old Wendy’s commercials were pretty good. But nothing compares to the pure awesomeness that was Jason Alexander’s McDLT commercial.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTSdUOC8Kac&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0]

  21. Has aybody thought to ask how accurate were the thermometers used to measure the temperatures in 1895, or if they are still in existence, can they be compared to todays thermometers.

  22. I just don’t get that logic; I think the glacier melt argument is a deliberate diversion, throwing sand in the faces of those who don’t stop to think critically for a moment. If the glacier is below zero, then nothing will happen to it until it gets above zero. The only melt will be du to direct insolation.

  23. I wonder what is driving us stupid Canadians to Florida and Arizona every winter in droves. I don’t think we are fleeing the heat waves of November through April up here.

  24. Bill Tuttle (03:00:07) :
    Since I live in NJ, I too noted that the degree of claimed warming is much greater than the surrounding states especially Pa. You may be right with UHI but I suspect that other factors may also be in play.
    For example I was investigating following up on a station in Monmouth County very near the ocean, but then Anthony advised me that this station was dropped as an official station. I even wrote an e-mail to the university where the station is located without reply. On the east coast we all know how much cooler it is close to the ocean and selectively dropping such stations may meet an objective.

  25. Willis,
    Was it you or the USHCN that forgot about the existence of Michigan’s upper peninsula? I’ll assume you meant CONUS so that the absence of Alaska and Hawai’i are understandable. I guess in looking at your code you have a comment about leaving out “northern michigan” for programming ease (though most in Michigan usually refer to the northern and southerns halves of the lower peninsula as northern and southern Michigan, respectively, and upper peninsula simply as the UP.

  26. I live in Nevada, and I can attest to the fact that we no longer have glaciers. Our malaria rates have tripled. Climate refugees have poured into Las Vegas from cooler neighboring California. Weather stations have been forced to be located inbetween airport runways.
    And there’s a chance of snow Monday thru Tuesday night according to Wunderground….

  27. Koba,
    Mercury thermometers are relatively easy to calibrate. They are accurate to well within 1°C if done properly.
    Calibration consisted of an ice bath for 0°C, and boiling water at sea level for 100°C.
    Today greater accuracy is possible, but the old mercury thermometers were more than adequate to record accurate temperatures and temperature trends.
    And yes, the old mercury thermometers are still in existence. Check out ebay.

  28. Willis,
    Nice work, as always. On a related point, climate scientists have this nasty tendency to ambiguate their own data. Instead of recording actual temperature measurements, they take two or more measurements for each day and average them. What genius came up with this idea? An individual measurement is an empirical fact. An averaged measurement is a human contrivance subject to human whim. Please, climate scientists, stick with the empirical facts. Resist the intrusion of human whim. In practical terms, the averaged temperature measurements are highly likely to hide the heat island effect. The average measurements take a daylight reading and a nighttime reading and average them. Yet the heat island effect is most likely to show in the nighttime reading and its prominence is hidden by the averaging. In conclusion, please climate scientists, stick with the empirical facts and resist the human contrivances.

  29. Vincent,
    You said: “Most people say the opposite. The problem with your theory is that the forcing due to GHG is constant, at about 1.5 W/M^2. During the summer, insolation is very high, maybe 500 W/M^2 so the proportion added to by CO2 is very small. In winter however, insolation may be only 100 W/M^2 and the addition made by CO2 is proportionally greater. Even more, during winter, absolute humidity is lower, so the proportion of CO2/H2O is greater than during summer.”
    I think you need to rethink your hypothesis or your source. When acting as a GHG, CO2 absorbs and re-emits heat radiated from the Earth’s surface. This forcing is therefore DIRECTLY proportional to the power emitted by the surface, which is proportional to the fourth power of the surface temperature. Since the surface of the earth in the northern hemisphere is decidedly colder during the nothern hemisphere winter than it is in the northern hemisphere summer your statement above is an absolute non-starter. I’m not suggesting the statement your replying to might not be an oversimplification of the physics, but I think you need to take a look at your figures again.

  30. quote Smokey (05:38:55) :
    magicjava,
    Now I’m hungry! And it’s not even 6 a.m. here.

    Also solution for global warming. Put polar bears and ice caps on cool side, tropics on the hot side.
    The hot stays hot and the cool stays cool.
    There are no problems that Jason Alexander cannot solve.

  31. Smokey (05:51:51) :
    Koba,
    Mercury thermometers are relatively easy to calibrate. They are accurate to well within 1°C if done properly.
    Calibration consisted of an ice bath for 0°C, and boiling water at sea level for 100°C.
    Today greater accuracy is possible, but the old mercury thermometers were more than adequate to record accurate temperatures and temperature trends.
    ___________________________________________________________________
    Then the questions become those of QC on both the observers part and the encoders part.
    Given this is YAGG (Yet Another Governmental Group) effort, I need to round up a pinch (or ton) of salt to go with those fries.

  32. Another good post, Willis, which tells it the way it is.
    My beef is the way that the public face of climate change has been simplified to the level of using global mean temperature anomaly as the main diagnostic.
    GMT is a poor proxy for indicating the state of Earth’s energy balance at any moment in time, even if we could find an economic way of measuring it accurately. Climate scientists need to be challenged on the value of this metric to our understanding of what climate oscillation means.

  33. The data show RI also is a high warming state; in fact, the highest of all the Northeast states. Some of this is due to the location of one of its three stations at the state airport situated in an urbanized location. The other two stations – one somewhat rural and the other on an offshore island – show warming trends that are not as strong, but are positive nonetheless. Monitoring of the primary geographic feature of RI, Narragansett Bay, for the past 40 years has shown that the temperature increase of Bay waters is highly correlated to changes in the marine ecosystem and species composition.
    While I find Willis’ posts well-reasoned and informative, in this case he may be missing the boat, at least as pertains to local effects of temperature change over time. We’re not debating the cause of the change here (I think it’s a combination of natural and artificial sources, btw); we’re talking about local effects that impact livelihoods (commercial fishing) and quality of life (fish kills from summertime oxygen depletion). These aren’t caused by warming alone, of course, but warming contributes to the problem. A generalized analysis like this is a starting point. It may not be fine enough of a sieve, however, to come the conclusion that there’s no “beef” here.

  34. I take the point you make with the article but I’m a little concerned about the graph you’ve started using (such as fig 2).
    Surely the thickness of the lines represent about 1 degree, you’re not going to see much in terms of trends that way. Is that your intention?
    Secondly I don’t think it’s the temp over Dakota per se that is the issue but the effect on sea levels etc that matters.
    This is mildly humorous but not really a serious look at the subject.

  35. North Dakota is just south of Winnipeg, Manitoba, known as the land of the triple forties:
    +40 C in the summer, -40 C in the winter, and 40 km/hr winds all of the time.
    Ten degrees (C) of warming from November thru March would justify a new Provincial holiday to celebrate the milder winters!

  36. Smokey (05:51:51) : Mercury thermometers are relatively easy to calibrate. They are accurate to well within 1°C if done properly. Today greater accuracy is possible, but the old mercury thermometers were more than adequate to record accurate temperatures and temperature trends.
    Yet we’ve sifted out just 0.6C and deem that we are heading for catastrophe? The thermometers are accurrate to within 1C? I have birdges and swamp land for sale if anybody is interested.

  37. North Dakota?
    Hot?
    You can buy a coffee mug in Bismarck that makes the point:
    “35 below keeps the riff raff away”
    One would expect that they would revel in a little global warming.
    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack

  38. urederra (04:05:36) :
    This from The Guardian….
    Global warming monitoring needs to find ‘missing heat’, say scientists
    Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo, climate scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, say that only about half of the heat believed to have built up in the Earth in recent years can be accounted for. New instruments are needed to locate and monitor this missing heat, they say, which could be storing up trouble for the future.
    Give them funding quick!

  39. Tenths of a degree is nothing. In the data I’m analyzing I’ve seen a 5C difference on the same day only a few hours drive from each other. One only has to watch the weather channel to see several degrees difference in close proximity locations.
    Tenths of a degree in the AVERAGE of the year means is nothing. You can get that kind of increase from a single month in the year being a little less colder at night.

  40. HR….Do glacials occur? When was the last one? How long has sea level been rising? Do you really think that mankind can reverse a trend in sea levels that has been occurring for 1000’s of years? Good luck with that. Adapt!

  41. Don Shaw (05:49:53) :
    Bill Tuttle (03:00:07) :
    … but I suspect that other factors may also be in play.
    For example I was investigating following up on a station in Monmouth County very near the ocean, but then Anthony advised me that this station was dropped as an official station. I even wrote an e-mail to the university where the station is located without reply. On the east coast we all know how much cooler it is close to the ocean and selectively dropping such stations may meet an objective.

    You’ve raised a very good point, Don. I know that school (I flew helicopters for the Jersey Guard for thirty years) and it’s only about a half-mile from the water. The Atlantic breezes reach almost ten miles inland in New Jersey, and in the southern half, the westerlies cross Delaware Bay and add further cooling. I’ve seen temperatures of +10°C at Trenton turn to 0°C after a twenty-minute eastbound flight — but that’s aviation weather, not aviation climate…

  42. Thanks Willis. N. Dakota needs all the degrees it can get. I spent a Christmas outside Dickenson at -40°F with 50 mph winds, absolutely miserable. Furnace ran 24/7, with frost on the inside of the outside walls. Serious cold.
    Clicked on the Google link to help out Anthony, it was for Al Gore’s website, Repower America, got this message:
    “Firefox doesn’t know how to open this address, because the protocol (s-p) isn’t associated with any program.”
    Hope you get paid anyway, Anthony.

  43. Mercury freezes at about -38 (C or F – take your pick). To measure temperatures in that region, you have to use an alcohol thermometer.

  44. C. Shannon (02:53:56) :
    And I would be willing to bet that North Dakota isn’t the most extreme case globally.
    … – you ever been to North Dakota? Brrrr). ,,,

    Lived in Fargo for over 25 years. Mom’s side of the family all lives there still. And I can tell you, over that period of time at least (the most accelerated warming period according to the data), it hasn’t felt like it has changed 1/1000th of a degree. And I don’t believe it has.

  45. Oh, my friends, we should give the warmists a break. After all, they worked long and hard, long into the night, year-after-year to find alternate causes for the alarming warning observed in the last few decades. They thought of everything and tried every combination of factors, but the polynomial was always the same. Only CO2, emitted by human activity with wild abandon, could explain the temperature variations. Can’t we just relax and let the hard-working experts guide us to utopia?

  46. A small and minor nit pick. The upper peninsula of Michigan is missing from your map. Adding that back into Michigan could lower the temperature some as my home town in the UP is listed as having the 5th lowest average temp in the US of 39.7 F. If that average could only rise we in the UP would be very greatfull.
    😉

  47. I was curious about something for a while
    would it be possible to only plot the average of the nighttime LOW temps?
    we always get a composite temps averaged per day/per month/per year
    would it be possible to just graph the night time low temp averages over time and see if there is anything there, if UHI is a factor then shouldn’t the night time low temps be affected the most?

  48. The observed increase in ocean level is primarily due to the production of groundwater from slow to recharge aquifers i. e. fossil water mining. The worldwide rise in ocean level from this water is 2.6 mm per year. Due to dropping aquifer water levels the pumped rate has slowed somewhat in the past 10 years or so. The US rate slowed a bit before that.
    This same production of water results in heat being added to Troposphere to the atmosphere for the first evaporation-condensation cycle, then becomes part of the earth’s hydrological system — but the 93% of the water that does not recharge into an aquifer remains on the surface of the earth — in the hydrosphere, primarily the oceans.

  49. The type of graph that Willis has used here is perhaps the most “let’s put things into perspective” style of presentation that I have yet seen. When the annual variation is about 65°F (36°C), and the “calamity” that we are supposedly facing is smaller than the thickness of the modest lines used to draw the curves, it is clear that there is an enormous amount of exaggeration going on.
    This is a wonderful representation. The only thing I would do to change it would be to repeat three months on either end so as to clearly show the harmless oscillations involved.
    /dr.bill

  50. Out at work, one person has a New Mexico coffee mug, with the state logo on one side, and some facts on the other. These facts include some average numbers, such as average temperature. I happened to be reading these facts one day, while waiting for the microwave to finish. What I found startling was the average temperature, which they said was 62 degrees F. For anyone who is familiar with New Mexico, this seems a little odd. Then I realized they were averaging our highest temperatures with the lowest ones. We can get high temperatures of 115 degrees F in the southern desert areas during the summer, and low temperatures of -10 degrees F in the northern mountain areas during the winter. The temperature of my small mountain community can be quite different from the temperature, just a few tens of miles away, of some of the valley communities. Average temperatures are really only meaningful for the farmers and ranchers and airports, which is what our weather stations were originally set up for.

  51. len (07:00:17) :
    I do that (plot highs and lows) and yes, UHI shows up at night in cities.
    http://www.robertb.darkhorizons.org/WhatGlobalWarming.htm
    Plotting high & lows is much more work. A lot more work.
    But not all cities exhibit UHI. Where there is a natural air circulation cutoff, there is no UHI, city or no city. It is in those place that I see the real direction the climate is going…down.

  52. chris y (06:24:27) :
    North Dakota is just south of Winnipeg, Manitoba, known as the land of the triple forties:
    +40 C in the summer, -40 C in the winter, and 40 km/hr winds all of the time.
    Ten degrees (C) of warming from November thru March would justify a new Provincial holiday to celebrate the milder winters>>>
    Yes! There are no skeptics or warmists in Winnipeg. Just pessimists and optimists.

  53. Willis Eschenbach
    I think you should do a lot more, of this visual work. And publish all, as a book.

  54. Frankly, I don’t believe it is even possible to correctly measure or properly characterize the earth’s temperature to a tenth of a degree Celsius. The inherent uncertainty in such a measurement is likely 10 times the number itself. I really wish someone who understood this conundrum better than I would write some papers on this problem.

  55. If most of the warming was due to increased use of energy in urban areas, a majority of the warming over the last century would be at night and during the winter.
    Part of that extra warming in the western states would be due to increased irrigation. I suspect the hottest temperatures have gone down thanks to the latent heat of evaporation, and nighttime temperatures have gone up more than daytime temperatures have gone down- thanks to condensation of water vapor at night.

  56. I think this posting makes me think more about thermal energy and its importance. Most of the heating in North Dakota was in the winter – when it’s very cold. When it’s that cold, the absolute humidity is much lower and much of the surface water is frozen.
    Lower humidity and frozen water have one notable thing in common – they both LOWER the heat capacity of the system. Thus, it takes a much smaller energy change for ND to warm up 1 C in the winter than it does for AL to cool 1 C in the summer (or anytime during the year I’d imagine).
    Although UT and NV may not be super-cold during the winter, they’re both very dry relative to the SE and should have lower heat capacities too.
    Now obviously more stuff is present in the system than just water (and its vapor), but I’d guess that rock/asphalt/etc has a fairly constant heat capacity with respect to temperature compared to water.
    Any thoughts?
    -Scott

  57. HR (06:23:41) :
    I take the point you make with the article but I’m a little concerned about the graph you’ve started using (such as fig 2).
    Surely the thickness of the lines represent about 1 degree, you’re not going to see much in terms of trends that way. Is that your intention?
    ——————–
    Reply:
    So Global Warming…er, I mean, Climate Change is lost in the width of a graph line?
    No wonder people are hysterical about the outcome!

  58. Koba,
    Those old USA mercury thermometers were calibrated in degrees F. Typical temperature division marks were every two degrees. The normal instrumentation rule is that kind of thermometer can be read reliably to one half of a division or in this case one degree. That is to say, a high quality mercury thermometer from the 1800 could normally be expected to have a calibration accuracy of plus or minus one degree F with a reading precision of plus or minus one degree F for a total accuracy of plus or minus two degrees. This was, and probably still is, considered high enough accuracy for weather reporting. After all, day versus night and summer versus winter temperature differences are so great that a degree or two off in one direction or another is not going to even be noticed when we head out the door.
    The problem is with the false logic that you can simply average a bunch of two degree accuracy instruments to produce a more accurate temperature value. Treating reading errors as simple white, pink, or red noise is not defensible. The total accuracy of the final value can be no more accurate than the instrumentation base accuracy.
    Now picture that sailor on the deck of a rolling square masted sailing ship pulling a thermometer out of canvas bucket of sea water to take a reading by the light of a swinging oil lantern. That is what we are using as our base for a one degree F temperature rise per century.

  59. Now, if tenths of a degree changes over a century “matter” for the globe, they certainly must matter for parts of the globe.
    Why? Why must they “certainly” matter?
    If you’d link the comment you’re responding to, perhaps one could understand the context. As a general statement, though, surely you can see the difference between the amount of energy it takes to warm the entire planet a tenth of a degree and the amount of energy it takes to warm North Dakota a tenth of a degree.
    So why does it “certainly” matter? If you’re going to base an entire post on a single premise, it would be well to be able to support it logically.

  60. Whilst you’re worrying about all the toasty weather in North Dakota, in the UK we are under a cloud.
    Not just the volcanic ash cloud.
    But the metaphorical cloud of an election where all the three major political parties are actively vying with each other to be more incompetent and ludicrous than each other.
    I thought readers on here might enjoy one manifesto promise from the Liberal Democrats (aka “The Dims”). At present the others two Party Leaders are enthusiastically schmoozing with the Dims because they fear there will be no clear overall winner. So they are likely to have at least some role in the next British Government.
    They promise:-
    Energy efficiency: The Liberal Democrats are committed to securing a legally binding global agreement on limiting the increase in global temperatures to below 1.7 degrees Celsius.
    So, you see, tenths of a degree REALLY DO matter. I’m not certain how they are going to measure this and using which thermometer where, (I’m sure Phil Jones will advise), or even when the “increase” starts from. Also can’t say whether they allow for El Nino effects, let alone UHI.
    But, never mind that, 1.7 degrees Celsius it is.
    1.6 degrees may be hard to take but, just let it get to 1.7 degrees and you can get ready. Out come the handcuffs and the truncheon (our cops still don’t carry guns). This is no laughing matter! I’m sure they’ll come down on that pesky thermometer like a ton of bricks! They’ll show ’em!

  61. I don’t much agree with commentary that conflates climate change with the thermometer. Most of us wouldn’t even know anything was happening or care that much so long as our plant life and animals were healthy, and our water supplies were strong. The “climate beef” is the tangible manifestation of many factors that test our elasticity to adapt, maintain, and prosper in less than ideal conditions over a period of time. Much like the volcano that has brought air travel to its knees, there’s nothing we can do to effectively address flattening the climate rhythms.

  62. Willis,
    It’s hotter’n hell down here in Atlanta during the summer, and we are not supposed to have winter, according to the chamber of commerce. So, don’t confuse us with facts. Our minds are made up.

  63. The hysteria caused by AGW promoters over temperatures is not really any different fromthe hysteria caused by eugenics promoters over perceived racial impurity issues.

  64. GaryW (07:36:23) :
    “Now picture that sailor on the deck of a rolling square masted sailing ship pulling a thermometer out of canvas bucket of sea water to take a reading by the light of a swinging oil lantern. That is what we are using as our base for a one degree F temperature rise per century.”
    This is an excellent point, given NOAA’s famous criticism of the surface stations project:
    “…as many different individuals participated in the site evaluations, with varying levels of expertise, the degree of standardization and producibility of this process is unknown.”
    I’m sure all of those early 20th century ships, on which the sea surface temperature database is based, were just teeming with “qualified” climate observers…

  65. OT, I guess, but this belongs in the synchronicity or “spooky coincidence” file (if you have one):
    When I was writing a comment to your last post suggesting that the background image of your “scary” graph might be Homer Simpson reenacting Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream”, I wondered whether to also point out the enviro-climatic significance of the painting – i.e., that many think the nightmarishly red sky that Munch actually witnessed in 1883 and that inspired the painting with its screaming figure representing nature in torment was probably caused by the cataclysmic eruption of the Krakatoa volcano. I decided against because its relevance to the topic was marginal and those who would likely find it interesting would probably already know about it.
    Then, by some fortuitous coincidence, the volcano Eyjafjallajokull erupts in Iceland causing mayhem to air traffic and bloody red sunsets in parts of Europe. And the Daily Mail publishes this radar picture of the volcano to reveal a spooky similarity of its three craters with the screaming face in Munch’s picture:
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/16/article-1266403-0928E978000005DC-548_964x571.jpg
    The full background story is here:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1266403/Iceland-volcano-space-The-dramatic-ash-plume-engulfing-Britain-seen-above.html

  66. GaryW,
    The problem with your logic concerning the accuracy of old thermometers is that we are talking about an average of thousands and thousands of readings. The accuracy of the individual measurements is of far less importance when you are talking about an average.
    For example, imagine that you are taking a census and averaging the age of a population. You will probably only ask people their age in years, not years and months, so there is a +/- margin of error of 11 months, or almost one year, for any individual. But when you compute the average age for a population of thousands of people, you will wind up with the exact same answer that you would have gotten if you had asked people for their age to the nearest month. The only reason why this would not happen would be due to disproportionate things like more people having been born in the winter months.
    In the case of temperature readings, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that any set of readings would be consistently misread in one particular direction at any time.
    And the fact that you got an average age of, say, 23.4 years for one population versus 25.6 for another is not incorrect simply because it appears that you are extending the average age to a degree of accuracy that exceeds your original, individual measurements. Quite to the contrary, using decimals is very appropriate, and the margin of error involved depends not on the accuracy of the individual measurements, but rather the size of the population that you used to compute your average.

  67. Merrick,
    “I think you need to rethink your hypothesis or your source. . . Since the surface of the earth in the northern hemisphere is decidedly colder during the nothern hemisphere winter than it is in the northern hemisphere summer your statement above is an absolute non-starter. ”
    Well then, perhaps you can explain why the models all predict the main effect of GHG’s to be less cold winters, not hotter summers?

  68. actually fargo nd has been having record spring floods for about a decade now, but i don’t trust the temperature map anyway. what happened to michigan there? are texas and kentucky off the radar scope or light blue? i liked the premise and agree with the sentiment…

  69. Alan D McIntire (07:31:18) :
    If most of the warming was due to increased use of energy in urban areas, a majority of the warming over the last century would be at night and during the winter.
    Energy use is a small part of UHI, by my rough estimates probably 10% – pavement and structures are the biggest part. They collect energy better than natural surfaces, express it back into the atmosphere only through radiation and conduction (temperature) where natural surfaces release most through transpiration and evaporation (humidity), and have much higher thermal capacity (especially pavement).
    Part of that extra warming in the western states would be due to increased irrigation. I suspect the hottest temperatures have gone down thanks to the latent heat of evaporation, and nighttime temperatures have gone up more than daytime temperatures have gone down- thanks to condensation of water vapor at night.
    I believe there was a paper by Christy and Spencer (I found it referenced in one of Pielke’s papers), that described irrigation in California as resulting in lower daytime temps but higher nighttime temps than an equivalent, un-irrigated environment close by. I believe there was another paper by someone else that found the same results in New Mexico.
    Scott (07:32:17) :
    I think this posting makes me think more about thermal energy and its importance. Most of the heating in North Dakota was in the winter – when it’s very cold. When it’s that cold, the absolute humidity is much lower and much of the surface water is frozen.
    Lower humidity and frozen water have one notable thing in common – they both LOWER the heat capacity of the system. Thus, it takes a much smaller energy change for ND to warm up 1 C in the winter than it does for AL to cool 1 C in the summer (or anytime during the year I’d imagine).

    Temperature, by itself, tells us little about atmospheric energy – it’s just a proxy. There was a good conversation on this topic after the Meier post here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/08/nsidcs-walt-meier-responds-to-willis/
    Now obviously more stuff is present in the system than just water (and its vapor), but I’d guess that rock/asphalt/etc has a fairly constant heat capacity with respect to temperature compared to water.
    When looking at a surface in respect to the atmosphere (climate) it can get very complex, but when I look at anthropogenic forcings of the climate… surface changes have not received their proper due. What’s important to consider is what was there before and what replaced it.
    If, for example, you replace a field with a parking lot there are some important differences in place other than thermal capacity:
    One is surface area – 1m2 topographic is not 1m2 surface area from an atmosphere standpoint when you’re talking about leaves or grass – they’re more like radiator fins. Mainstream climate science seems to say the only change of significance to their current analysis is albedo, which means that replacing a field of 10% albedo with concrete at 20+% would have a cooling effect. Evaporative effect is a big deal too. The one really interesting thing that not many people think about – pointed out by Anna V recently – is that like any living thing, plants work to maintain an optimal internal temperature to perform photosynthesis – they do this passively by clustering leaves in cold environments to hold heat in better, and actively through controlled transpiration.
    To make a long story short, we all know what it feels like to walk on an asphalt road during the summer… and how roads are the last surfaces to hold snow and the first to melt during the winter. In the US we have paved 61,000 square miles – which is roughly the state of Wisconsin… and that’s only accounting for roads and parking lots.

  70. Has anyone given any thinking to what temperature delta between the building and the MMTS does? How much would it throw stuff off to a MMTS that is 10′ from a building if the temp difference is, say 20C vs a temp difference of, say, 40C?
    I say that looking at those Jan/Feb numbers for ND. I assure you most sincerely that the temp differences between the buildings and the MMTS location are much larger in Jan and Feb in ND than they are the entire rest of the year.
    So I guess what I’m asking is does MMTS micro-siting bias get worse the larger the temp delta is between the “polluting building” and what the environment temp of the MMTS would have been if the building wasn’t there?

  71. Willis;
    You’re certainly in good company with this post…….Richard lindzen has
    been saying the same thing for quite awhile now…….of course since he’s
    an academic type, it takes him a lot longer to say it.

  72. Richard Graves (06:31:13) :
    urederra (04:05:36) :
    This from The Guardian….
    Global warming monitoring needs to find ‘missing heat’, say scientists
    Kevin Trenberth and John Fasullo, climate scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, say that only about half of the heat believed to have built up in the Earth in recent years can be accounted for. New instruments are needed to locate and monitor this missing heat, they say, which could be storing up trouble for the future.
    Give them funding quick!
    ———————
    That is the controversial “dark heat” Al Gore and the climatologists have discovered, sort of: they can plot its effects, but it’s hiding in nature and can’t be measured directly 🙂 “Blessed are they who haven’t seen and yet believe.”

  73. Looking at my question again it looks pretty obvious. But I’m talking about monthly changes in temp deltas. So in January maybe the average difference is 40C, but in July the average difference is only 15C. The first has got to pollute a too-close MMTS more than the second, right? And then you get a graph that looks just like the one Willis is showing.

  74. Montgomery AL is so hot that my mother claims it was built over the gates of Hell. It could use whatever cooling it got.

  75. David S (06:41:21)- When it’s -38 degrees anything, the last thing you want to do is waste alcohol on measuring temperature. Incidentally, does Scotch work in thermometers? I bet if I marketed a clear flask, with a standard Centigrade scale on the side, Global Warming would be history.

  76. Merrick, Vincent, urederra:
    I had a good post in response to urederra’s comment on GHG effects, but for some reason it never made it (deleted? marked as spam? Internet gobbler got it?).
    But to repeat myself, the problem with urederra’s original statement, and Merrick’s interpretation, is that CO2 does not get it’s “heat” from the sun. CO2 is primarily transparent to the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation received by the earth from the sun. This energy heats the surface.
    The surface then emits infrared radiation, which is absorbed by greenhouse gases like CO2 and H2O. It is quickly re-emitted in all directions. What goes down warms the ground. What goes sideways warms the air. What goes up warms the air above, or eventually makes it back into space.
    The temperature that you feel during the daytime is certainly very dependent on the amount of sunlight received, which is affected by the angle of incidence of the sun (lower in winter), length of the day (shorter in winter), and other factors like cloud cover.
    But when night falls, the amount of heat retained by the earth and atmosphere, as opposed to quickly escaping back into space, depends on greenhouse gases. For this reason, the effects of GHGs are more strongly felt in winter, and at night.
    To use a familiar analogy, most deserts (which by definition are arid and so have little moisture in the air) get very hot during the day, but cool dramatically at night. In contrast, places like the southeast United States are very humid. Georgia is at the same latitude as the Sahara desert, and so gets the same insolation year round, but nights there are hot and humid. People sit on the porch after dark fanning themselves, because the GHG effect of the water vapor in the atmosphere keeps the air warm long after the sun sets.
    This is still true in the winter, even though there is less water vapor in the atmosphere, and as Vincent pointed out, the effects of CO2 become even more relevant in cases where humidity is low (arid regions, winter, etc.).

  77. “But somehow, I must have missed all of the headlines about the temperature calamities that have befallen the poor residents of the benighted state of North Dakota.”
    Yeah, Willis, you missed the record floods of recent years.

  78. Richard Graves (06:31:13) :
    urederra (04:05:36) :
    This from The Guardian….
    Global warming monitoring needs to find ‘missing heat’, say scientists.

    “Where’s the heat?” — Maybe Minnesotans for Global Warming could produce a spoof commercial of a LOL (Little Old Lady) going into Al Gore’s Restaurant and asking that question.
    Maybe they could work in the line, “Fried with that?”

  79. geo (08:56:27) :
    …I’m talking about monthly changes in temp deltas. So in January maybe the average difference is 40C, but in July the average difference is only 15C. The first has got to pollute a too-close MMTS more than the second, right? And then you get a graph that looks just like the one Willis is showing.
    I’m not sure if microclimate corruption can really explain all of it – due to wind and convection trying to understand the spatial effects – even for putting asphalt down under a station – are not an easy equation. If you get a hold of Pielke’s work he spends a lot of time analyzing boundary layer conditions in the atmosphere and how they interact with stations – it’s really friggin complex.
    I think, in this case, coming at the problem from the other direction is probably best, as Spencer did here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/16/spencer-direct-evidence-that-most-u-s-warming-since-1973-could-be-spurious/

  80. urederra (04:05:36) :
    This from The Guardian….
    Global warming monitoring needs to find ‘missing heat’, say scientists
    Kevin Trenberth apparently can’t account for 50% of the Earths heat buildup. I would bet he thinks “it’s a shame that he can’t”.
    Strange, according to Willis, Colorado has been heating up!

  81. sphaerica (09:37:52) :
    But when night falls, the amount of heat retained by the earth and atmosphere, as opposed to quickly escaping back into space, depends on greenhouse gases. For this reason, the effects of GHGs are more strongly felt in winter, and at night.
    Overall nice post – just a minor nit… but are you implying that all of the winter and Tmin trends are due to GHGs?
    If so, don’t you think that maybe 61,000 square miles of pavement in the US and documented effects of irrigation on Tmin might have a *little* to do with it too?

  82. len (07:00:17) :
    I was curious about something for a while
    would it be possible to only plot the average of the nighttime LOW temps?
    we always get a composite temps averaged per day/per month/per year
    would it be possible to just graph the night time low temp averages over time and see if there is anything there, if UHI is a factor then shouldn’t the night time low temps be affected the most?

    Is it possible to chart the highs and lows separately?
    I know, it’s possible — does the data exist to chart the highs and lows separately? How charting at different times of day? Is there data there for that?

  83. I wonder how these temp changes would compare with population changes. Just looking, I can see it wouldn’t have an r sq. near .9, but I suspect it would show some relationship.

  84. I have not read all of the posts, but want to add that:
    Warming is essentially less cooling in the winter. The hot parts of summer have not gotten hotter.
    So there would be no warming refugees, just fewer corpsicles to locate in the Spring. That’s a good thing.

  85. Russ Blake (09:54:38) :
    Kevin Trenberth apparently can’t account for 50% of the Earths heat buildup.
    If these guys had ever taken a macroeconomics course from a good professor they’d know what their problem is – it’s really not difficult.
    They’re missing a REALLY big variable (more likely variables) from their equation. While not exactly like this we could, more or less, recreate their work as follows: Take the temperature trend from 1980-2000, assume that CO2/GHGs have a direct causal relationship with temperature, assume water vapor content is driven by temperature which is driven by CO2/GHGs, and assume that CO2/GHGs are really the only variable changing (everything else changes in reaction to it – the system, after all, was in balance before we came along right?). From this you work out the power of the mechanisms and feedback (sensitivity) – a relatively simple calculation described here: http://brneurosci.org/co2.html
    Since CO2/GHGs continue to increase after 2000, the derived sensitivity implies there has to be more warming than observed – and now that OHC has stopped increasing they can’t say it’s going into the ocean. Make no mistake – this indicates a very serious issue with their theoretical model.

  86. In respone to NickB.
    You’re right, some of that UHI warming will be due to less evaporation from streets, buildings, and sidewalks than from grassy land. A better measure of temperatures should include humidity- I think Pielke Sr addressed this issue.
    Back to temperatures, the world’s population has quadrupled,
    from about 1.6 billion to about
    6.5 billion in the last century. , and urban populations have more
    than quadrupled. The world’s energy use has gone up by a factor of
    10 over the last century, again most of that increase being in
    urban areas. I get a rough estimate of 0.26 watts per square meter
    heat energy produced. Assuming that 3% of the land surface is
    Urban, and 30% of the earth’s surface is land, I get
    29 watts per square meter assuming most of that heat is produced in
    urban areas. And that has
    gone up by a factor of 10 since 1900- implying an increase from 2.9 to 29 watts. Since most of our temperature measurement is in populated areas, i think that 26 watt increase would have a significant effect on temperature measurements.

  87. David S (06:41:21) : “Mercury freezes at about -38 (C or F – take your pick). To measure temperatures in that region, you have to use an alcohol thermometer.”
    When was lack of data a problem in global warming calculations?

  88. sphaerica (09:37:52) : The surface then emits infrared radiation, which is absorbed by greenhouse gases like CO2 and H2O. It is quickly re-emitted in all directions. What goes down warms the ground. What goes sideways warms the air. What goes up warms the air above, or eventually makes it back into space.
    The above is what is the crux of the issue.
    CO2 absorbs/emits in three places. 2.5, 4.7, and 15 micro. Using the 15 micro and Wein’s Law that is 200 K. Atlanta at night could be 300 K. CO2 will have nothing to do with the IR coming from the earth at night there. As for the 4.7 Atlanta will never get that hot (700 K).
    Your statement about the desert tells exactly how ineffectual CO2 is as it is not capable of maintaining/increasing temperature. CO2’s specific heat is less than one so it is not able to do anything and again the desert IR would be outside its range.
    So to my mind it is the latent heat of water and water vapor plus convection from the cooling surface that keeps the south warm at night. And our body temp is so close to the air temp of the south in the summer that only a small gradient exists for cooling to take place. Bring on the rain and wind.
    Listening to baseball games in the summer you will at some point hear an announcer tell you how hot the outfield is compared to the air temperature. A difference of 30 or 40 degrees F is not uncommon. When we say that the CO2 in the air can heat the ground that is not possible as it is the ground that heated the CO2 either via convection or conduction. Any IR from CO2 in the summer to the earth has no effect. Cooler does not heat warmer.
    Some portion of the suns heat is conducted down into the earth. Some portion is convected away from the surface by all the gases. And some is radiated away from the surface. We have no idea what the percentages of each are. Which most likely vary be surface type.

  89. I really doubt that the climate is so sensitive to tenths of a degree.
    Here in the Uk a typical year fluctuation in temperatures would -6C winter night to 31C daytime in summer and we havent dies yet! When I was in Ohio USA the annual temp fluctutaion might be -20C winter night to 38C summer day, and out of the city the wild life thrived
    Far too many people making a living out of enviro scares

  90. mkelly,

    CO2 absorbs/emits in three places. 2.5, 4.7, and 15 micro. Using the 15 micro and Wein’s Law that is 200 K. Atlanta at night could be 300 K. CO2 will have nothing to do with the IR coming from the earth at night there. As for the 4.7 Atlanta will never get that hot (700 K).

    You can’t apply Wein’s Law here, because that applies to a blackbody, which individual certainly objects are not. All complex molecules emit in the IR spectrum as a result of losing vibrational energy. The exact wavelength depends on the chemistry (molecule, atoms, bonds, etc.), not the temperature.
    See here for a good course in chemistry and radiation. There are many elements there I do not agree with, but you are safe in the area of pages 8 to 24.

  91. Has anyone ever calculated (at least as an estimate) the actual heat release from mankind’s combustion of fossil fuels for some period of time up to the present? That heat has to go somewhere into our environment. It will of course eventually leave the planet as a long-delayed balancing release of solar radiation that was captured by life eons ago.
    But is it totally unreasonable that a measurable contribution to the warming of the planet might come directly from combustion?

  92. NickB.,

    … but are you implying that all of the winter and Tmin trends are due to GHGs?

    I’m doing nothing more than explaining how GHGs work, and why any GHG effect would actually be stronger, not weaker, in winter and at night. I don’t care what people choose to believe about AGW (well, I do, but I’m not touching that here and now at all), as long as those beliefs are firmly rooted in knowledge and understanding, and not a fallacious grasp of science.

  93. To those of you who think that flooding in Fargo is the result of global warming, I can tell you that I grew up in a town on the Red River of the North in the 1960s and 1970s. We had plenty of major floods then, and learned in history class of large floods going back to the time of the earliest settlements.
    To really understand what’s going on, check the excellent link first posted by Bill Parsons. http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/2007/55/pdf/finalWebGIP55.pdf Take a good look at the 3D topograhic that forms the background for that page. And be sure to look at the summary of factors affecting the floods, that is found at the far right of the page.

  94. VicV,

    But is it totally unreasonable that a measurable contribution to the warming of the planet might come directly from combustion?

    Yes. It has been calculated, and if we burned every ounce of fossil fuel on the planet it is still the merest, tiniest fraction of the energy that the planet absorbs and sheds every day from the sun. It seems powerful because we are able to so easily harness the energy from it (as compared to the power of the sun), but in terms of heat generated… not so much.

  95. Once again Willis, you have shown that this emperor has no clothes.
    On the other hand, to follow Monty Python’s ‘Meaning of Life,’ which appears to be one of the AGW camp’s main sources of inspiration, could this catastrophic North Dakota warming be the ‘last wafer’ tipping point that finally ignites the planetary fever?
    Or cause more volcanoes in North Dakota? Or Nevada?
    And I’m very concerned about New Jersey since the governor just slashed their spending on their valiant AGW research-industrial complex, exposing that state to the full cascading effects of that heat wave. Those refugees may need to flee to Pennsylvania where the climate has apparently been stabilized by the heroic efforts of Mann.
    Or will Maine be the last refuge for humanity?

  96. Boris (09:44:36) writes:
    “But somehow, I must have missed all of the headlines about the temperature calamities that have befallen the poor residents of the benighted state of North Dakota.”
    Yeah, Willis, you missed the record floods of recent years.
    ————
    Boris you need to read some history, and learn about how land use changes and channelization can impact apparent flood levels.

  97. sphaerica (11:39:18) :
    I’m doing nothing more than explaining how GHGs work, and why any GHG effect would actually be stronger, not weaker, in winter and at night. I don’t care what people choose to believe about AGW (well, I do, but I’m not touching that here and now at all), as long as those beliefs are firmly rooted in knowledge and understanding, and not a fallacious grasp of science.
    It was more of a curiosity question than anything – apologies if it came across the wrong way. It wasn’t intended if it did 🙂
    That is the interesting part about the conversation in general, especially once you start looking at anthropogenic surface changes. I jokingly refer to it as the chicken and the egg. For example, concrete production causes CO2, but the roads sidewalks and buildings its used for change the equilibrium of the earth’s surface creating UHI. We know by lab tests that CO2 should have some effect on the behavior of the atmosphere – we also know by simple observation that UHI, on the scale we create it, have a real effect too. How much is one vs. the other?
    …and that’s assuming all of our impact is measurable and not just noise in the grand scheme of things.

  98. This is a silly thread, pursuing a red herring.
    The AGW proposition is that there is a temperature increase that is at least proportional to the increase of CO2 concentration. Were this hypothesis true, then recognizing it early would allow for corrective action so that the increase doesn’t become a problem. The few tenths we have seen so far is not a problem except to the extent that it could be an indication of what is to come.
    Fortunately the AGW hypothesis appears to be false.
    It is pretty clear that there is a thermostat somewhere, and it looks to be near the equator, so that the temperature rise is not proportional to the CO2 concentration, but the rate of increase of the CO2 concentration. Imagine a big room with an air conditioner in it, and a thermostat near the air conditioner. The area near the air conditioner will have a near-constant temperature, but the rest of the room will be warmer if the outside temperature goes up.
    CO2 production is in the higher latitudes, and the thermostat is near the equator. That’s why most of the warming seems to occur at he high latitudes.
    Willis, please incorporate this reasoning into your thermostat hypothesis, and also make use of the fact that there seems to be a clear correlation between the satellite observed temperature anomaly and the rate of increase of the Mauna Loa CO2 (http://www.2bc3.com/warming.html). This model fits the lack of temperature rise over the last decade accurately, and also predicts a return to a minor temperature rise when the economic recovery happens. (All bets are off if Laki goes off.)

  99. sphaerica (11:39:18)
    It nice to see a dispassionate contribution from your side, the side where you “don’t care what people choose to believe about AGW (well, I do, but I’m not touching that here and now at all).”
    But on your blogsite, as is typical for True Believers, you paint all skeptics with a broad stroke of hyperbole, then proclaim your prescience by telling us how it’s going to be.

  100. Willis,
    Just as a general commentary, I find your posts to be very hit-or-miss. That is, I occasionally find your arguments compelling and well thought out, but then you come up with something like this North Dakota vs. The Globe comparison.
    First, the issue of scale. Are we really going to look at an area the size of North Dakota and extrapolate the effect (or lack thereof) of climate change to the rest of the world? Why not just pick a city and do the same thing? Or just measure the temperature in your backyard and draw conclusions about the (non-) effects of climate change? Ridiculous.
    Second, for decades now scientists have been pointing out that even “modest” changes in global temperatures have serious consquences for the atmospheric capacity to hold moisture, for example. Or the fact that a given volume of water (e.g. oceans) expands as its temperature increases. Or the fact that dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems is inversely related to temperature. What you perceive to be “small” changes are, in fact, critically important for numerous ecosystems that indirectly support human life. This is not new information, simply information you and your cohorts have chosen to ignore.
    It is exactly this sort of “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that has resulted in numerous environmental and public health disasters in the Industrial Age. I would urge you to assume a more holistic view of ecology in your future commentaries.
    For an example of how important a few degrees in the winter can be, do some reading about the bark beetle in the Western U.S. To sum up: the “slight” elevation of minimum temperatures, which is imperceptable to humans in the absence of instrumentation, results in an excelerated life cycle for the bark beetle, among others. One already observed effect of increased beetle populations has been the large-scale decimation of native tree populations in many areas of the West.
    This is an example of the “observe then act” paradigm you seem to be promoting. I must say, I’m quite glad the scientific community at large does not share your myopic view of resource management.

  101. Phil M – The mountain pine beetle AGW poster child is not quite the poster child it appears to be. True, a series of warmer than normal winters did allow them to survive and spread. But they could only do so as they did if they had vast expanses of mountain pine beetle habitat.
    The most publicized of these beetle epidemics happened in British Columbia and involved the lodgepole pine. The beetle requires mature pines for habitat and there were vast expanses of even-aged mature lodgepole pines because ‘Smokey the Bear’ thinking suppressed the fires which would have otherwise naturally burned them. No matter how warm the winters were, if not for this unnatural intervention which created this unnatural quantity of beetle habitat, the results would not have been anything like what they were.
    And don’t worry. Those forests will grow back. They already are.

  102. sphaerica (11:35:02) : All complex molecules emit in the IR spectrum as a result of losing vibrational energy. The exact wavelength depends on the chemistry (molecule, atoms, bonds, etc.), not the temperature.
    OK. I’ll accept that. That is not what is argued in most sites about AGW and CO2 but OK. But let’s be clear black body radiation is constantly being used as the means to show how much W/m2 we get from the sun, what the temperature of the earth would be without GHG’s etc.
    So again you show the ineffectiveness of CO2. If the above quote is true that “All complex molecules emit in the IR…” Then O2 and N2, 99% of atmosphere, are what will control the transmission of IR around in the atmosphere. Not something with so small a percent like CO2. So CO2 is vindicated again.
    All gases dissipate heat they donot on their own add heat to anything. The air cannot heat the ground.

  103. Now you folks be kind to North Dakota. It is intergalactically famous for its musical scholarship, thanks to one man: Peter Schickele, “Very Full Professor ” of “musicolology” and “musical pathology”, at the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople (a little-known institution which does not normally welcome out-of-state visitors).
    Thanks to him we have the Periodic Table of Musics, and the rediscovery of the composer P.D.Q. Bach, famous for:
    -Canine Cantata: “Wachet Arf!” (S. K9)
    -Good King Kong Looked Out
    -Trite Quintet (S. 6 of 1)
    -“O Little Town of Hackensack”
    -A Little Nightmare Music
    -Pervertimento for Bagpipes, Bicycle and Balloons
    and much more.
    This is impressive stuff!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Schickele

  104. Charles Higley (10:35:13) :
    I have not read all of the posts, but want to add that:
    Warming is essentially less cooling in the winter. The hot parts of summer have not gotten hotter.
    So there would be no warming refugees, just fewer corpsicles to locate in the Spring. That’s a good thing.

    This fact has always been one of many AGW dirty little secrets. The overnight lows are higher and the winter is less cold. The world is not burning up.
    Warmer winters might persuade more people to remain in North Dakota.

  105. Do a few “tenths of a degree changes over a century “matter?
    I certainly understand your question and your logic. However, I do not think that we can dismiss quickly a degree or two. I suspect few people believe that the LIA was more than 1 or 1.5 degree cooler for GMT; however, the Thames froze and glaciers advanced and crops suffered. On the other hand, from February 98 to February 08, GMT dove almost one degree with little impact. How and WHEN a small change in GMT can lead or would lead to noteworthy impacts appears to be a poorly explained phenomenon in climate science.

  106. VicV,
    I calculated the total specific heat of all energy (except fossil groundwater) released into the atmosphere for the last 100 years and got 0.2 C or roughly one third of the observed increase of the surface temperature. The ground water production adds about .6 C per decade, which would indicate a temperature relief valve somewhere.
    Since the relative humidity of above 700 mb has been decreasing since 1948 according to NOAA measurements, it appears to me that water is being displaced due to partial pressure decrease of water due to increasing carbon dioxide content, probably in or near the Tropopause due to some crossing of the 300 mb and 400 mb lines near that level. I don’t understand the radiation physics at that level so am relying on thermodynamics and equilibrium considerations.
    There are some who believe that these the sun overpowers fossil fuel heat and ground water energy releases. However, I suspect that addition of new energy into the earth’s atmosphere should be treated on a differential basis.

  107. Sphaerica,
    Regarding anthropogenic heating, .03 W/m2 (most recent year I could find was 15.8 TW in 2006) is small, but still 3x bigger than the contrails forcing that was included in the IPCC assesment. It is also left out of the models. There is no excuse for that.
    Phil M
    Alarmist scientists also claim that AGW will cause earthquakes and, now, volcanic eruptions. People say all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons.. but consider this: do you really think this change in the greenhouse effect is capable of controlling the oceans? Atmospheric temps are one thing, but extrapolation of this to the ocean is a different ball of wax. It holds 1000x the energy of the atmosphere.

  108. “Now, if tenths of a degree changes over a century “matter” for the globe, they certainly must matter for parts of the globe.”
    The entire argument for this article rests on this single, unsupported assumption. What’s more, the part of the globe that was selected to illustrate the main point (the continental United States) lies in a temperate zone where direct impacts of climate change would be much more difficult to detect.
    It seems as if very few of the commenters here have noticed this. . . in fact it seems like a bunch of like-minded individuals nodding heads in agreement.

  109. Johnny D (04:26:18)

    That new climate in North Dakota now includes the annual disastrous springtime flooding in Fargo.

    Johnny, the flooding is hardly new. The Red River Valley could have been designed specifically to flood, and has been doing so since forever. There’s a large (4.7Mb) but very good historical overview of the flooding from the USGS. Has lots of photos, some from the 1800’s.
    w.

  110. C3 Editor (05:14:44)

    We did a tongue-in-cheek posting about a year ago using the same NCDC data. Instead of a map, we had a tabular chart with the states ranked hottest to coolest – see here:
    http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/06/20-worst-global-warming-states-in-us-should-they-pay-reparations-for-climate-change-caused.html
    [Willis, btw, are you using Excel to produce your actual charts for your postings or other software?]

    Good stuff, C3. A small point, my data is from USHCN.
    For most of my work I use Excel. The computer language “R” is much better than Excel for big datasets and specialty work, it’s what I used to make the US map, using the “R” code posted at the end of the article. So Fig. 1 is done in “R”, and Fig. 2 is done in Excel.
    w.

  111. meklly,

    So again you show the ineffectiveness of CO2. If the above quote is true that “All complex molecules emit in the IR…” Then O2 and N2, 99% of atmosphere, are what will control the transmission of IR around in the atmosphere. Not something with so small a percent like CO2. So CO2 is vindicated again.

    The key word is complex. Complex molecules, consisting of many atoms (chlorophyll b, for example, has 136) absorb visible light and emit IR. Certain simple molecules, such as CO2 and H2O absorb and emit IR, because they have molecular bonds with the ability to vibrate.
    O2 and N2, which make up 99% of the atmosphere, are unusual in that they do not have any ability to vibrate or absorb or re-emit in the low IR range (they can do so in the upper IR range, due to rotational energy, however the energy level there is so low, and the physics are such, that it is inconsequential).
    This is because O2 and N2 consist of two equal atoms bound together by a single, very strong, very stable covalent molecular bond. There is no room for vibration in that bond, unlike H2O, which has a “V” shape in the bonds between the two hydrogen atoms and the central oxygen atom, or like CO2, which normally has a perfectly linear shape but is induced to bend and vibrate.
    Again, I would encourage you to follow this link to read about the vibration of gases, and this link in general to read about the physics behind the absorption and emission of infrared radiation by molecules. It’s not that complicated.

  112. VicV,
    I’m not sure what your point is. I explicitly said “but I’m not touching that here and now at all.” What part of that sentence is unclear, or untrue?

  113. Merrick (05:50:14)

    Willis,
    Was it you or the USHCN that forgot about the existence of Michigan’s upper peninsula? I’ll assume you meant CONUS so that the absence of Alaska and Hawai’i are understandable. I guess in looking at your code you have a comment about leaving out “northern michigan” for programming ease (though most in Michigan usually refer to the northern and southerns halves of the lower peninsula as northern and southern Michigan, respectively, and upper peninsula simply as the UP.

    As you note, if you look at my code, it says

    # names of the states (north michigan is missing for ease of programming)

    R calls the two halve “michigan:north” and “michigan:south”. I have 48 sets of data, corresponding to the 48 lower states. But in the R mapping software, they divide north and south Michigan. It was late (2 AM) and I didn’t feel like munging the code to make it use the same set of data twice, so I just left out the upper Peninsula … no slight intended.
    The USHCN only has data for the “Lower 48”, as they say in Alaska.

  114. Allan M (13:14:02)
    Anything that threatens the University of Southern North Dakota at Hoople, Professor Peter Schickele or the works of P.D.Q. Bach would certainly run into a great deal of resistance.
    In fact, almost as much resistance as any attempt to perform any of those works usually generates?

  115. The 48 States as a group represent only about 1.5 % of the earth’s surface, so obviously aren’t a big part of global warming. But do State trends tell us anything about local trends? Perhaps they do for people who live in small States like Rhode Island. But for other States, particularly the large ones like Texas and California, the trends don’t tell residents much about where they live.

  116. sphaerica (08:34:02) :
    If you add up a bunch of temperatures measured in different places which have an error of +/- 1 deg C and divide by the number of readings the average still has an error of +/-1 deg C.
    This is a different situation from measuring a physical variable with a noisy sensor where you can reduce the error by averaging over time and taking lots of readings.

  117. “”” Vincent (04:24:31) :
    urederra,
    “Here is my line of thought. If CO2 were the main culprit of warming, I would expect to see it acting mainly during summer in the north hemisphere. when there is more light and therefore more uv-visible-ir .”
    Most people say the opposite. The problem with your theory is that the forcing due to GHG is constant, at about 1.5 W/M^2. During the summer, insolation is very high, maybe 500 W/M^2 so the proportion added to by CO2 is very small. In winter however, insolation may be only 100 W/M^2 and the addition made by CO2 is proportionally greater. Even more, during winter, absolute humidity is lower, so the proportion of CO2/H2O is greater than during summer. “””
    Well there is also a problem with your theory. The 500 W/m^2 solar insolation is 6000 K black body spectrum radiation, which travels deep into the oceanic waters. The 1.5 W/m^2 +/- 50 %CO2 “forcing” is LWIR radiation which is stopped in the top ten microns of any water body, and leads promptly to evaporation.
    so you cannot compare the two on a W/m^2 “forcing” basis because the physical response to each is entirely different.
    Adn that seems to be what classical climate scientists do not seem to understand; they are comparing Strawberries and coconuts.

  118. Hypothermia is defined as the body’s temperature dropping below that required for normal metabolism and body functions: 95.0 °F
    Normal body temperature is in a range of 98–100 °F
    Now, I got to thinking: if 3 or 5 °F “matter” for the entire body, they certainly must matter for parts of the body.
    Trying for the slam dunk, we got Timmy to prove that even with his hand at an average temperature of 50 °F (cooled in ice), this didn’t really “matter”:
    http://www.upaa.org/winners_mic/2005_09/news3.jpg
    Timmy quit the study.
    Next, we asked Makiko to keep her hand in 60 °F water for 2 hours.
    Later, using an infrared scanner, her hand measured an average of 91 °F in temperature. Now, if 4 °F “matter”, clearly we should have seen some problems with 8 °F, double the magic “cooling”. Somehow, Makiko managed to avoid shivering, mental confusion and hepatic dysfunction, proving that hypothermia is not a problem.
    My conclusion? Move along, folks, nothing to see here with this hypothermia alarmism …

  119. Gary (06:23:11), thanks for the thoughts. I love climate science, there’s so much to learn.

    The data show RI also is a high warming state; in fact, the highest of all the Northeast states. Some of this is due to the location of one of its three stations at the state airport situated in an urbanized location. The other two stations – one somewhat rural and the other on an offshore island – show warming trends that are not as strong, but are positive nonetheless. Monitoring of the primary geographic feature of RI, Narragansett Bay, for the past 40 years has shown that the temperature increase of Bay waters is highly correlated to changes in the marine ecosystem and species composition.
    While I find Willis’ posts well-reasoned and informative, in this case he may be missing the boat, at least as pertains to local effects of temperature change over time. We’re not debating the cause of the change here (I think it’s a combination of natural and artificial sources, btw); we’re talking about local effects that impact livelihoods (commercial fishing) and quality of life (fish kills from summertime oxygen depletion). These aren’t caused by warming alone, of course, but warming contributes to the problem. A generalized analysis like this is a starting point. It may not be fine enough of a sieve, however, to come the conclusion that there’s no “beef” here.

    Climate has always changed. Always. At any given instant, it is either getting warmer, or it is getting cooler.
    The shift in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation from warm to cool spelled the end of the sardine fishery in Monterrey Bay, California, the site of Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row”.
    So yes, I agree with you, when the climate changes (which is always), species adapt. My point is that a slight winter warming is a very minor change, not one to spend trillions of dollars trying to avoid.
    Next, in truth we don’t really know if Narragansett Bay has warmed or how much. From The Warming of Narragansett Bay, I find:

    The Brenton Reef lightship measurements were among the earliest and longest running coastal water temperature measurements on the Atlantic coast, but they suffered the same fate as virtually all other early monitoring efforts. They were discontinued or disrupted as different government agencies stopped and started measurement programs or switched the location where measurements were made. After January 1942 there appears to have been no regular program of daily water temperature measurements in Narragansett Bay until August 1954, when daily measurements began in Newport Harbor that continued until the mid-1990s. While the shift from Brenton Reef to Newport Harbor is not far, there is no period during which measurements were made at both locations. Without some overlap, we can not adjust the data from the two stations to assemble a “continuous” record of water temperature for the Bay.

    So there are records at one site from 1878 to 1942, and another site from 1954 to the mid ’90s. Not good.
    Despite not having data for Narragansett Bay for the period, they make the (in my opinion unfounded) claim that Narragansett Bay is warming … why? Because Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, in a small bay on the open ocean, thirty-five miles from the mouth of Narragansett Bay, is warming.
    They go on to look at the Woods Hole data, and as is depressingly common, say that recent changes are “due to the emission of anthropogenic (human-induced) greenhouse gases.”
    Fortunately, they link to the Woods Hole data. They have good data from 1970 to 2009. Here is the decadal change in that record:

    Figure 3. Sea temperatures taken at the dock of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Photo is of the Woods Hole dock.
    Now, the Woods Hole dock is a busy dock in a busy bay. It is likely that a variety of warm water is discharged into the bay from industry, fish processing, septic systems, warm water discharges from ships’ engine and refrigeration cooling systems, and the like. Of course, in the summer this makes little difference. But in the winter …
    In any case, we see that the big changes in the Woods Hole sea temperatures take place in January and February, with the rest of the year showing little change. Same pattern as in North Dakota, and the US as a whole. Will this affect the fish and other sea creatures? If the changes are real rather than a warm fresh water artifact, sure, and the PDO affected the sardines, wiped out a huge commercial fishery … but that’s the nature of climate.

  120. Smokey: “Mercury thermometers are relatively easy to calibrate. They are accurate to well within 1°C if done properly.”
    My Chemistry professor back in 1953 didn’t agree with your statement. What you got from calibrating a mercury thermometer was that you knew, for an individual thermometer, was where the top of the mercury column was at the boiling point and the freezing point of water. He said that midrange readings were uncertain due to variances in among other things, the cross sectional area of the mercury tube itself, which was known to not be constant for any thermometer. The actual volume of mercury in the bulbs of thermometers varied, also making midrange readings uncertain as to accuracy.
    Errors can also be introduced if the reader’s eye is not at a right angle to the thermometer at the top of the mercury column due to parallax.
    If there was bit of a “pinch” (smaller cross section area) in the tube below the top of the mercury column, the temperature reading would be higher than the actual temperature, and there was a bit of a “wow” (larger cross section area), the temperature indicated would be lower than the actual temperature. Mercury thermometers aren’t perfect, nor are they the same.
    We students were also cautioned not to assume that the “pinches” and “wows” would “average out”.
    Even the $10 thermometers back then, however well calibrated, had these inaccuracies regarding mid-range readings.
    Also, as to what the real margin of error was, there was no possible way to determine that one, as there was no standard of temperature by which it could have been determined for midrange temperatures.
    And the above is with laboratory conditions. In the world outside of the laboratory, in the actual measurement of temperatures, lie a good many problems.
    Another thing I was taught was that the result of averaging set of numbers could be no more precise than the least precise of the datum in the numbers set. That is, if the most precise was say 50.5, then the result could not be more precise than one figure after the decimal point. Averaging a set of numbers with one figure after the decimal point and then producing an average with 2 figures after the decimal; is most improper, and is implying a level of accuracy that simply isn’t there.
    To average a set of numbers with the most precise having one significant number after the decimal point, with a margin of error of +/- 1 and showing a result with 2 figures after the decimal point is sheer folly, and most improper.

  121. HR (06:23:41)

    I take the point you make with the article but I’m a little concerned about the graph you’ve started using (such as fig 2).
    Surely the thickness of the lines represent about 1 degree, you’re not going to see much in terms of trends that way. Is that your intention?

    My point is exactly that. When the change is so tiny that it is hidden in the thickness of the lines on a graph of the monthly temperatures, I don’t see much to get excited about.

    Secondly I don’t think it’s the temp over Dakota per se that is the issue but the effect on sea levels etc that matters.
    This is mildly humorous but not really a serious look at the subject.

    First, lots and lots and lots and lots of people have made the claim that a couple of degrees rise in land temperatures would cause all kinds of calamities. According to them, it is not just sea levels that matters.
    Second, the claim has been made over and over that with AGW, we would see an acceleration in the rate of sea level rise. Nothing even remotely resembling an acceleration in the rate of rise has occurred, despite a century of warming. See Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 in my reply to Dr. Meier for what’s actually happening with the sea levels.

  122. Alan D McIntire (07:31:18)

    If most of the warming was due to increased use of energy in urban areas, a majority of the warming over the last century would be at night and during the winter.
    Part of that extra warming in the western states would be due to increased irrigation. I suspect the hottest temperatures have gone down thanks to the latent heat of evaporation, and nighttime temperatures have gone up more than daytime temperatures have gone down- thanks to condensation of water vapor at night.

    Alan, you may have read it, but there’s a great study of the effects of irrigation in the Central Valley of California by John Christy of UAH here.

  123. Paul Daniel Ash (07:38:48)

    Now, if tenths of a degree changes over a century “matter” for the globe, they certainly must matter for parts of the globe.

    Why? Why must they “certainly” matter?
    If you’d link the comment you’re responding to, perhaps one could understand the context. As a general statement, though, surely you can see the difference between the amount of energy it takes to warm the entire planet a tenth of a degree and the amount of energy it takes to warm North Dakota a tenth of a degree.
    So why does it “certainly” matter? If you’re going to base an entire post on a single premise, it would be well to be able to support it logically.

    Well, the premise seemed so obviously true I didn’t bother to support it. So lets try it this way.
    Suppose the whole globe warmed up by 2°C, evenly around the planet. In that case all of say Africa would warm up by 2°C. And whatever effects that would have on Africa would occur.
    Now suppose that all of Africa warmed up by 2°C, and the rest of the world didn’t. Since the warming of Africa (2°C) is exactly the same in both cases, the effects of the 2°C warming on Africa would be the same in both cases.
    Thus, if 2°C matters for the globe, then 2°C matters for Africa. Sure, it takes more energy to heat the globe than to heat Africa … so? That has nothing to do with whether the warming matters for Africa.
    I didn’t link the comment because I didn’t think it fair to the commenter to single him/her out. However, if you can’t find it with Google …

  124. Boris (09:44:36)

    But somehow, I must have missed all of the headlines about the temperature calamities that have befallen the poor residents of the benighted state of North Dakota.”

    Yeah, Willis, you missed the record floods of recent years.

    No, you missed the record floods of earlier years. See my post and citation above.

  125. VicV (11:36:05)

    Has anyone ever calculated (at least as an estimate) the actual heat release from mankind’s combustion of fossil fuels for some period of time up to the present? That heat has to go somewhere into our environment. It will of course eventually leave the planet as a long-delayed balancing release of solar radiation that was captured by life eons ago.
    But is it totally unreasonable that a measurable contribution to the warming of the planet might come directly from combustion?

    Yeah, I have. Over the surface of the planet it’s trivial, from memory some tenths of a W/m2. In densely populated developed areas like say Holland, on the other hand, I have read that it gets up to a watt or two … I should look at that … in my spare time …

  126. VicV (11:36:05)

    Has anyone ever calculated (at least as an estimate) the actual heat release from mankind’s combustion of fossil fuels for some period of time up to the present? That heat has to go somewhere into our environment. It will of course eventually leave the planet as a long-delayed balancing release of solar radiation that was captured by life eons ago.
    But is it totally unreasonable that a measurable contribution to the warming of the planet might come directly from combustion?

    Yeah, I have. Over the surface of the planet it’s trivial, from memory some tenths of a W/m2. In densely populated developed areas like say Holland, on the other hand, I have read that it gets up to a watt or two … I should look at that … in my spare time …

    Well, things like this are like a very bad itch … I have to scratch it.
    From the BP Energy Excel Spreadsheet, I find that in 2008 Netherlands used the following energy in megatonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE).
    Oil, 46.5
    Coal, 9.2
    Gas, 42.4
    Total, 98.1
    One TOE contains 42 gigajoules of energy. 98.1 MTOE when burned releases 4.12E+18 joules annually. Divide through by the number of seconds in a year (365.25*24*60*60) gives us 1.3E+11 watts instantaneous.
    Surface area of the Netherlands is 41,526 sq km, or 4.15E+10 sq metres.
    Divide watts by square metres gives us … 3.1 W/m2, slightly less than the doubling of CO2.
    Hmm.
    Check my numbers, I’ve been wrong before …

  127. The heat release from nuclear power generators also has to go somewhere into the environment. In NZ we have no nuclear power, and mostly use hydro power with a bit of geothermal and wind power. Also a bit of coal since we have enough coal to last thousands of years.

  128. Phil M (12:31:24)

    Willis,
    Just as a general commentary, I find your posts to be very hit-or-miss. That is, I occasionally find your arguments compelling and well thought out, but then you come up with something like this North Dakota vs. The Globe comparison.

    Heck, Phil, all that means is that sometimes you agree with me (in which case my arguments are “compelling and well thought out”), and sometimes you don’t. Did you expect otherwise? Do you find that meaningful?

    First, the issue of scale. Are we really going to look at an area the size of North Dakota and extrapolate the effect (or lack thereof) of climate change to the rest of the world? Why not just pick a city and do the same thing? Or just measure the temperature in your backyard and draw conclusions about the (non-) effects of climate change? Ridiculous.

    Well, when someone says a tenth of a degree rise in average temperature is important, I say “OK, let’s go find some big area with that kind of rise and see how important it is.” Perhaps you think that a state that is bigger than many countries of the world, a state filled with farms and hills and cities and rivers, is too small … why? If a tenth of a degree is important, and North Dakota has warmed sixteen times that since 1895, surely we should see some kind of deleterious effects?

    Second, for decades now scientists have been pointing out that even “modest” changes in global temperatures have serious consquences for the atmospheric capacity to hold moisture, for example.

    Same objection. If North Dakota’s air can’t hold as much moisture and that causes “serious consequences”, why do we see no evidence of that?
    I think what you mean is “for decades now scientists have been pointing out that even “modest” changes in global temperatures might possibly have serious consquences for the atmospheric capacity to hold moisture”. However, the wide range of temperatures seen on the planet makes that doubtful. If the atmosphere were that sensitive to temperature, we’d all be dead.
    And what “serious consequences” are they saying might happen? And why haven’t we seen these “serious consequences” already, since the world has been warming for three centuries?
    The ability of scientists to conjure up doomsday scenarios, with lots of “might” and “maybe” and “possibly” and “could happen”, might impress you. If so, you should read Paul Ehrlich’s work. Near as I can tell, he’s never once made a correct prediction … but the climate scientists continue to fete him and laud him and give him awards. Then you tell me I should pay attention to dire warnings of imaginary heat death from those same scientists who think Paul Erlich deserves awards?

    Or the fact that a given volume of water (e.g. oceans) expands as its temperature increases.

    Again, we have seen no evidence of any increase in sea level rise. Sure, water expands when heated. When you heat it a little, it expands a little. So? What ever happened to evidence? I show the evidence, you tell horror stories designed to frighten children … I know which one I follow, I follow the facts. The fact is, despite the horror stories, there has been no acceleration in sea level rise, it’s still doing what it has done for decades. Come back to scare us when you have facts on your side.

    Or the fact that dissolved oxygen in aquatic ecosystems is inversely related to temperature.

    Of course it is. Now, look at the water temperature in Woods Hole I show above. Over the year, it ranges from about 30°F to 70°F, or about -1 to 21C.
    The corresponding dissolved oxygen content ranges from 14.6 mg/l to 8.9 mg/l, whatever lives there can handle a huge temperature swing, and a nearly two to one change in the DOC … and you want me to worry about tenths of a degree? Climate changes. Get used to it, because the plants and animals are.

    What you perceive to be “small” changes are, in fact, critically important for numerous ecosystems that indirectly support human life. This is not new information, simply information you and your cohorts have chosen to ignore.

    Not true. While (as you point out) some kinds of life can only exist in a very, very narrow range of environmental conditions, the fact that we have winters and summers and wet and dry times on the planet restricts them to a very, very narrow subset of locations. Most animals and plants can handle a wide range of conditions, or they would have died out long ago. Like say anything living in North Dakota has to be able to handle huge temperature swings. You don’t give nature enough credit, life is generally tough.

    It is exactly this sort of “out of sight, out of mind” mentality that has resulted in numerous environmental and public health disasters in the Industrial Age. I would urge you to assume a more holistic view of ecology in your future commentaries.

    “Out of sight, out of mind”??? I’ve never said that. I’ve said that small factors have small effects, and large factors have large effects. Your point of view seems to be that of homeopathy, where the more diluted the factor is, the more effect it is claimed to have. This is homeopathic climatology, the idea that an animal that can handle fifty degree temperature swings on a regular basis is going to be irreparably damaged by a change in the average temperatures of tenths of a degree.

    For an example of how important a few degrees in the winter can be, do some reading about the bark beetle in the Western U.S. To sum up: the “slight” elevation of minimum temperatures, which is imperceptable to humans in the absence of instrumentation, results in an excelerated life cycle for the bark beetle, among others. One already observed effect of increased beetle populations has been the large-scale decimation of native tree populations in many areas of the West.

    Right, before evil humans came along and screwed with the temperature, there were never insect outbreaks …
    The relationship between insects and plants is quite complex, and often cyclical. When enough plants grow, they get dense and get stressed. Suppression of fire can create extremely dense stands of a single species. So can increased warmth in the proper seasons.
    In such dense stands, insects that feed on them can have a huge population boom. For some kinds of plants, they kill masses of them. Then, of course, there’s no food for the insects … so they die way back. Freed of the insects, the plants recover, and the cycle starts again. You seem to think this is new, or is significant. It is part of the natural cycle of forests.
    Often climate is a factor in this, with a host of important variables which may or may not play a part – summer temperature, winter temperature, timing of frosts, humidity, soil moisture, rainfall amount, rainfall timing, the list is long. You seem to think “heat –> insects killing plants”. It is far, far from that simple.

    This is an example of the “observe then act” paradigm you seem to be promoting. I must say, I’m quite glad the scientific community at large does not share your myopic view of resource management.

    Not sure which “observe then act” paradigm I’m promoting, I’ve never used that term, so your meaning isn’t clear. Are you proposing “don’t observe, just act” would be better? Or “just observe, then don’t act”? Or “don’t observe, then don’t act”? Those seem to be all the possible combinations , and of the four, I’d take the first …
    Finally, what is my “myopic view of resource management”? I can’t recall discussing resource management. I’ve been talking about whether tenths of a degree of warming will bring us terrible outcomes. To observe that, I looked at North Dakota, where we’ve seen sixteen tenths of a degree of warming since 1895, with very little to show for it.
    Yes, you’ll find changes, climate is like that … but are they of a scale worth spending trillions of dollars and impeding the development of the poorest countries to avoid? And do you think this is the first time in history that pine bark beetles have killed scads of trees?
    The pine bark beetles will be back down to low levels in a while, and the forests will regrow, as they have done for millennia, they go up, they go down. For example …

    Using tree-ring data, Swetnam and Lynch (1993) and Ryerson et al. (2003) examined the correlation between western spruce bud worm outbreaks and climate variability over multi-century periods. They found that “periods of increased and decreased budworm activity coincided with wetter and drier periods, respectively.”
    Some well-studied insect outbreaks are apparently not linked to climate; examples include recent outbreaks in New Mexico of forest tent caterpillars in aspen, as well as past outbreaks of the pandora moth (Furniss and Carolin, 2002). However, the inability of the trees to recover from defoliation has been associated with low moisture availability (Ford, 1996).
    In summary, effects of insects on forests are complex, and species and site dependent. Many influences, such as increased stand density, decreased precipitation, and increased temperature, combined in nonlinear and overlapping ways to create the recent and devastating pine bark beetle outbreaks in Arizona forests.

  129. ND warmed the most ??….
    ”Cold comfort” if I would have known; in mid-winter 2009 when it got down to -42.7 degrees BELOW zero F. one morning.
    Of course have to admit it wasn’t as cold this winter here in northern ND:
    Low temp for 2010 was ”only” -33 degrees below zero F. on New Years Day; not worth mentioning; just another routine winter day. Still:
    It would be fine by me if it would only get down to, say, -25 or so degrees below zero F. for the lowest winter temp. I could accept that much ”global warming” during the ND winter; NO problem.

  130. LarryOldtimer (16:42:41),
    You are exactly right in your analysis. I especially agree with your comments regarding the averaging of data points.
    I worked in a metrology lab for thirty years, and one of my jobs was calibrating mercury thermometers.
    There are two levels of calibration traceable to N.I.S.T. [formerly the National Bureau of Standards]. The most accurate calibrations are those using a physical standard as a reference, such as the triple point of water.
    Secondary calibration is done by calibrating an instrument to another instrument, which in turn was calibrated to a primary physical standard, and remains within its calibration interval.
    Normally the instrument used as a secondary standard for calibration is required to have a 4:1 ratio of accuracy over the instrument being calibrated. Secondary calibrations are much less expensive and time consuming, and are the industry norm. Primary calibrations are done only when the best possible accuracy is required.
    Calibration labs are aware of the concerns you identified regarding the linearity issue, which applies to all calibrations, not just mercury thermometers. Glass slump over time is also an issue [but a relatively minor one]. There is much more to calibration than first meets the eye.
    We found that even old mercury thermometers from the 1930s and 1940s retained their accuracy for the temperatures they were designed to measure. In fact, a good mercury thermometer retains its calibration much longer than modern electronic thermometers. We would often do a quick ‘n’ dirty check verifying an electronic thermometer using a known accurate mercury thermometer.
    I would have to research the question, but I think by the 1890s the construction of precision mercury thermometers was very good. Methods of measuring column diameter were quite advanced by the 1890s, due to the requirement of accurate, linear bore diameters in rifles to within thousandths of an inch.
    Even the old mercury thermometers we calibrated retained the required accuracy for their particular use. Unlike numerous electronic thermometers, I can’t recall a mercury thermometer ever failing routine secondary calibration.
    That is why I gave an example of a tolerance of ±1°C, which is quite generous. Most merc thermometers have tighter tolerances. I still have an old mercury thermometer with a magnifying lens and double reticle that allows you to line up at an exact right angle and view the temperature in 0.1°F increments. Before I retired I calibrated it, and it was right on throughout its range [-8° to +89°F].
    Aside from the question of accuracy, if the same thermometer is used correctly for X number of years, it will show if there is a trend even if it’s an alcohol thermometer and not very accurate. That can’t be said for electronic thermometers, which rely on PRTs, thermistors, or thermocouples that have an output in microvolts, and which drift over time due to thermocouple degradation, hysteresis, and/or changes in the voltmeter-based temperature readout if it is not regularly calibrated. It doesn’t take much to alter the output of a thermocouple by a few tens of microvolts, or drift in the voltmeter, which can translate into an out of tolerance temperature reading, or an erroneous in tolerance reading.
    For long term reliability in measurements like Surface Stations, I would prefer a good mercury thermometer.

  131. jaymam (18:33:06) : edit

    The heat release from nuclear power generators also has to go somewhere into the environment. In NZ we have no nuclear power, and mostly use hydro power with a bit of geothermal and wind power. Also a bit of coal since we have enough coal to last thousands of years.

    True, but globally (and in most countries) nuclear is a small fraction of total energy use. Belgium/Luxembourg and Japan lead the pack, nuclear contributes about 0.2 W/m2 of heating to each country.

  132. Peter Pond (03:08:11) :
    Where I live (in SE Australia) there were two occasions this recent summer where there was a 20C difference in the max temps on succeeding days.
    Heck that’s nothing, in Calgary we can have a change of 20°C in the winter, and in either direction!

  133. Willis – You wrote that “pine bark beetles will be back down to low levels in a while, and the forests will regrow, as they have done for millennia, they go up, they go down.”
    This is very true in general but the mountain pine beetle epidemic in British Columbia that was so famously used as an AGW poster child is a little different. A series of less cold winters – actually less cold falls are most critical – did allow it to spread further north and northeast than historically known. But what made the recent infestation so huge and rapid was the unnatural lodgepole pine forests created by fire suppression. And that came after earlier widespread fires had effectively planted them.
    This beetle lives in the cambium layer under the bark, and that layer is only thick enough in mature trees. (In a hyper-abundant epidemic like this recent one they will attack younger trees, and even non-hosts like spruces, but those trees cannot sustain them.)
    In past prehistoric warm periods when it had the same potential to spread it did not have huge swaths of mature even-aged pines because periodic fires created a more patchy and mostly younger type of forest. Lots of lightning and dry summers in most of this tree’s range plus Native North Americans burned them.
    So this Canadian AGW poster child is a particularly fraudulent one because while climate enabled these epidemics, the ‘catastrophic’ results were caused by human intervention in forest ecology. Smokey the Bear stomped out all the fires. They would rather log trees than let them burn. And while this epidemic was inevitable, it started in a large provincial park where everybody loves ‘old growth’ even when its not natural.
    This beetle does attack other western pines, notably the Ponderosa, but the stand characteristics of the lodgepole pine create the most ‘catastrophic’ looking results. That is because under natural conditions, they are short-lived species adapted to regular burning, and when a fire hits it pops all their cones and simultaneously replants whole even-aged stands. Until the next fire or, if they live long enough, the next pine beetle epidemic.
    And after a beetle kill, voila, a forest of dead wood ready to burn and pop those pine cones lying on the ground. Without fire, spruce forests typically take over… and the pines lose out… until the next fire which kills the spruce, pops the pine cones and the pines take over again.
    So, yes, its a cycle, and the pines with with fire. But what happened was a disturbed cycle and what they do next will determine whether it will just repeat itself.
    On the bright side, that epidemic is all but over because the beetle killed off most of the available mature pine stands. Now the beetle will go back to its usual mode of just infesting scattered mature trees, which can survive those infestations if there are relatively low numbers of beetles and the trees are not otherwise stressed.
    The AGW hype about this was spectacular. Some stories left the impression that this beetle was going to spread across Canada and kill every tree, when in fact it only attacks certain host species and they are all out west.
    Sorry for rambling on about what is now an old story. But its such a whopper. They hype about it was one of the things that confirmed to me that the AGW crowd was telling tall tales to flog their story. And polar bears!!!

  134. ———————-
    VicV (12:21:16) :
    sphaerica (11:39:18)
    It nice to see a dispassionate contribution from your side, the side where you “don’t care what people choose to believe about AGW (well, I do, but I’m not touching that here and now at all).”
    But on your blogsite, as is typical for True Believers, you paint all skeptics with a broad stroke of hyperbole, then proclaim your prescience by telling us how it’s going to be.
    ———————–
    sphaerica (14:59:31) :
    VicV,
    I’m not sure what your point is. I explicitly said “but I’m not touching that here and now at all.” What part of that sentence is unclear, or untrue?
    ———————–
    Didn’t claim anything to be unclear or untrue. Anything unclear or untrue about what I said?
    Regardless of how ‘objective’ you’d like to present yourself, you’re in the tank for CAGW, right?, and you have little respect for CAGW falsification efforts (i.e., finding out what’s really true).

  135. Phil M. has a problem with looking at North Dakota in isolation for a very simple reason: it reduces the issue of climate change to a scale where it can be realistically examined. With the issue yielding to inspection it becomes possible for us to ask a precise question: “we have seen warming (well, maybe). Do we see any consequences?” The exercise is repeatable and concrete, and claims made in either direction can be reviewed and falsified.
    When no ill consequences can be found Phil wants to look elsewhere. He and other AGW proponents are much more comfortable in the vague and ambiguous global sphere, where there is always a drought, a coral die-off, a hurricane or heat wave somewhere that can be used to claim confirmation of looming catastrophe.
    Meanwhile the local landscape with its flora and fauna that is influenced but not dominated by a slightly changing climate, but for all intents and purposes is repeating its yearly cycles without much attention to these minor changes. Such is apparently the case in a place we know as North Dakota.
    Sort of like Aztecs in a solar eclipse, Phil and many others want to atone. It makes them feel better.
    Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It’s the evangelizing that gets annoying.

  136. {Al Gored (20:58:47) :…}
    sensational summary of the pine beetle infestation. I read about the lack of fire cause in Canadian Goegraphic about 6 years ago. I have tried to point this out on certain other blogs, but of course, no one wanted to hear it.
    sigh..

  137. I don’t have Willis’ capacity to make all this real. Kudos to Willis.
    I’ve thought so many timers about what he says here, but don’t have the knowledge he has, just my own real world experience.
    But part of that real world experience is that I can’t see HOW a +1C or +2C can cause the MWP and a -1C or -2C can cause a Little Ice Age.
    Willis, would you be capable of putting that in a great concise way some time, and in the same vein?

  138. nuclear contributes about 0.2 W/m2 of heating to each country.
    That, presumably, is the energy usefully generated. We can multiply this many times for the heat generated that isn’t transformed into electricity.
    I would guess France generates a fair bit of nuclear. Have to add in non-power nuclear too, mainly naval vessels: it is still heat into the system.

  139. Mike Borgelt (15:37:56) :

    If you add up a bunch of temperatures measured in different places which have an error of +/- 1 deg C and divide by the number of readings the average still has an error of +/-1 deg C.
    This is a different situation from measuring a physical variable with a noisy sensor where you can reduce the error by averaging over time and taking lots of readings.

    You need a refresher course in statistics.

  140. Dr Burns
    Regarding the thermometer error… the idea is that even if not absolutely accurate, the thermometer will still be accurate to itself and can be used to demonstrate changes over time. The problem is more when a new thermometer replaces an old one – then, considering the error range, a step change of some amunt should be expected unless they get lucky. Allegedly this is all addressed by the Quality Controls (and adjustments).
    I’m not saying I necessarilly agree with all that, but that seems to be the explanation I heard.

  141. Sphaerica
    Your example of estimating the average age of populations is a good example of estimation, not accuracy. We ASSUME that the normal distribution of error around a claimed age is random. It would be interesting to find out if a study has ever actually verified that. However, it would be unwise to use that precision of 0.1 year to justify a trillion dollar effort to change the world’s economy.
    Remember, there is a difference between accuracy and precision. Accuracy is how close we are to the real value. Precision is how fine a division we can apply to a value. High precision does not grant high accuracy.
    Likewise, averaging one degree temperature values and displaying them to a precision of one tenth of a degree does not meet instrumentation standards for tenth of a degree accuracy. This may seem counter intuitive. Were all the instruments from the same manufacturer with the same errors at the same temperatures? That would produce a bias in the averaged value. That biased value would still be accurate to the instruments specifications but not necessarily to a tenth of that claimed accuracy. Of course, we have not even brought into the discussion, thermometer siting issues.
    For the example of population age, we assumed absolute accuracy. That is to say we assume everyone surveyed actually knew their age. In instrumentation terms, that means an instrument error tolerance of 0.0%. Next, we assume that distribution of birth dates throughout a year is random. So basically, again in instrument terms, we are using an extremely accurate instrument with a well known and predictable precision and error characteristic. Neither of those characteristics are present in our temperature records.

  142. “No, you missed the record floods of earlier years. See my post and citation above.”
    2009 was the record flood for the Red river. Also, your link notes that increased temperatures during snowmelt and increased precipitation are causes of flooding. Moreover, there is a clear upward trend in peak streamflow:
    http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/3305/redriverfargopeak.png
    This seems to be exactly what you are looking for: a problem in North Dakota clearly associated with warmer temperatures.

  143. Regarding Anthropogenic Heating… ultimately all power consumption that is not sourced from hydro, wind, solar is adding energy into the system that was not there prior.
    From a climate standpoint (meaning atmosphere, ocean, and land) the only energy that is lost is that which is stored in, more or less, permanent chemical bonds.
    In 2006 (again, the latest number I could find) average annual global power consumption was 15.8 TW – that works out to 0.03 W/m2 globally.
    That said, consumption should be expected to correlate, more or less, with population and economic level (1 average person in the US, for example, will use more gasoline and electricity than someone else). This means the greater the population density, the greater local power consumption forcing.
    As stated earlier, power consumption is a smaller factor for UHI than paving, structures, and other LULC changes, but it explains Roy Spencer’s latest UHI post here – where he demonstrated a log correlation between population density and surface temperature trend.
    Willis
    You have my e-mail, I would love to help you out with a write-up if you’d like.
    Best Regards.

  144. @ Mooloo (02:21:08) :

    nuclear contributes about 0.2 W/m2 of heating to each country.
    That, presumably, is the energy usefully generated. We can multiply this many times for the heat generated that isn’t transformed into electricity.
    I would guess France generates a fair bit of nuclear. Have to add in non-power nuclear too, mainly naval vessels: it is still heat into the system.

    Just curious if you are pointing out nuclear as a particularly bad heat generator, since the power would have been generated somehow, since the nuclear power is essentially a substitute for coal, oil or gas.
    So, nuclear has serious drawbacks, and it IS putting heat into the system, perhaps of 0.2 kWm^-2, or even more, as you suggest, but it is not all a net increase.
    Even the environmentalists’ beloved Mother Earth News wood burning stoves and fireplaces are “still heat into the system.” And collectively it is no small effect. The enviros were shocked back in the 1970s when it was found that the inversion layer “brown smog” over Denver every winter was coming from their wood burning stoves and fireplaces.
    Even the solar arrays in the deserts are “still heat into the system.” Whatever is collected from them and turned into energy is not available to re-radiate into the desert night sky. If it doesn’t go OUT, it must be staying IN. Ask the AGW folks about that argument.
    …And BTW, France produces 78% of its power from nuclear, per Wikipedia.

  145. sphaerica (04:39:53) :
    Mike Borgelt (15:37:56) :
    If you add up a bunch of temperatures measured in different places which have an error of +/- 1 deg C and divide by the number of readings the average still has an error of +/-1 deg C.
    This is a different situation from measuring a physical variable with a noisy sensor where you can reduce the error by averaging over time and taking lots of readings.
    You need a refresher course in statistics.

    I am with Mike in this one.

  146. “Mooloo (02:21:08) :
    nuclear contributes about 0.2 W/m2 of heating to each country.
    That, presumably, is the energy usefully generated. We can multiply this many times for the heat generated that isn’t transformed into electricity.”
    Nuclear plants are thermal baseload, you run a turbine and the efficiency of such a turbine is about 35% to 40%. So your “many times” boils down to a factor of 3 at most.
    “I would guess France generates a fair bit of nuclear. Have to add in non-power nuclear too, mainly naval vessels: it is still heat into the system.”
    Naval vessels would heat up the ocean in which they are operating, not France, so we would have to divide the heat they’re generating by the area of the oceans… which are much larger than France.

  147. “Feet2theFire (10:05:34) :
    […]
    Even the solar arrays in the deserts are “still heat into the system.” Whatever is collected from them and turned into energy is not available to re-radiate into the desert night sky. If it doesn’t go OUT, it must be staying IN. Ask the AGW folks about that argument.”
    Like photosynthetic plants, PV is endothermic. So a PV cell driving a load will be cooler than an unconnected PV cell; the load in turn will get warm when it performs its work – think about a resistor heating up. Basically, you move heat around.

  148. Boris (08:31:43) :
    “No, you missed the record floods of earlier years. See my post and citation above.”
    2009 was the record flood for the Red river. Also, your link notes that increased temperatures during snowmelt and increased precipitation are causes of flooding. Moreover, there is a clear upward trend in peak streamflow:
    http://img404.imageshack.us/img404/3305/redriverfargopeak.png
    This seems to be exactly what you are looking for: a problem in North Dakota clearly associated with warmer temperatures.

    A few years ago newspapers were publishing articles about the increased severity of flooding in southern states bordering the Mississippi river. From what I could gather it was pretty well understood that sandbagging of rivers and tributaries upstream was the culprit. Man is the culprit – just not in the way AGW-folks want to claim. By preventing spring stream and river uplands from overflowing they’re channelling larger amounts of water every year into narrower river courses downstream. Nowhere for the water to go but up – and into the annual streamflow history books. This year they reported the Red River cresting some 40′ above its banks at Fargo (“A record!”. The local schools let out so the schoolkids can go fill sandbags in a great community effort to save Fargo again. This year officials planned to fill 2 million bags against the river’s onslaught.

  149. Willis,
    Trying to learn R so naturally I tried your script:
    R has a problem with the line:
    statefract=(statetrends-statemin)/staterange
    There seems no “definition” of staterange?
    ie R Console comes up with:
    Error in eval.with.vis(expr, envir, enclos) :
    object ‘staterange’ not found
    By the way commentors here. There is some good work out there in blogland and people like Jeff Id, Nick Stokes, Zeke, Roman, Eugen etc,etc are putting out some neat stuff to investigate global temperatures. Fun way to learn R and to do your own unique temperature investigations.

  150. Willis,
    Couple of other things in case novices like me are trying to run the code:
    I needed to download mapdata_2.1-1.zip from r-project.org.
    And if people download your cvs file the name needs to be changed from:
    USHCN_temp.cvs to USHCN temp.cvs to run the scripts as is.

  151. That’s adjusted data. Raw data shows much less warming (and much greater cooling in the SE).
    I ran the USHCN station stats state by state myself.

  152. Steve Hempell (15:34:20)

    Willis,
    Trying to learn R so naturally I tried your script:
    R has a problem with the line:
    statefract=(statetrends-statemin)/staterange
    There seems no “definition” of staterange?
    ie R Console comes up with:
    Error in eval.with.vis(expr, envir, enclos) :
    object ’staterange’ not found

    My bad, appears a line got lost …

    staterange=(statemax-statemin)

    Needs to be immediately before the line that gives the error.

  153. Steve Hempell (16:45:40) : edit

    Willis,
    Couple of other things in case novices like me are trying to run the code:
    I needed to download mapdata_2.1-1.zip from r-project.org.
    And if people download your cvs file the name needs to be changed from:
    USHCN_temp.cvs to USHCN temp.cvs to run the scripts as is.

    Yes, you’ll need to download the three libraries listed in the start of the program.
    And the name of the data needs to match the name in the program. I changed it half way through so I could put it on the web.
    Thanks, any other questions, please ask.
    w.

  154. Willis Eschenbach (14:57:15) :
    Good stuff, C3. A small point, my data is from USHCN.
    Thanks, Willis. I do have another question for you that is not germane to this posting. If you ever have any free time, send me an email: c3headlines@gmail.com
    ‘JP’, C3 Editor

  155. Willis,
    That fixed it .
    Like to see this for the European countries. Any hints on how to do this if I want to tackle it?

  156. Steve Hempell (20:32:14)

    Willis,
    That fixed it .
    Like to see this for the European countries. Any hints on how to do this if I want to tackle it?

    I don’t know if there is anything comparable to the USHCN that gives the European climate records country by country … let me know if you find something.
    Plotting Europe in R is a bit trickier than plotting the US, you need to use the “regions” variable in the mapping program and spell out (exactly) the names of the countries you are wanting to plot.
    w.

  157. C. Shannon (02:53:56) : And I would be willing to bet that North Dakota isn’t the most extreme case globally.
    I’ve just started a series of “Monthly Cumulative Anomaly” investigations by country. It’s interesting… As Willis found here, the results vary by month and by location rather a lot. In some cases you have 2 months “warming” by 3 or even 5 C, but the month between them cooling…
    It is “young code” and needs a better QA series done on it prior to touting it as ultimate truth, but the results are still interesting. IMHO, doing differential anomalies by month pretty much shows that “Climate Change” is an instrument and processing issue. The way different months change is very “un-physical”…
    For example in Australia:
    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/australia_dmt.png
    we have, since the 1950s, June cooling while November warms dramatically. Yet December doesn’t change much.
    This Russian Asian sector graph:
    http://chiefio.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/russiaasian_dmt_full.png
    Has a (volatile) basically flat Jan, Feb falling like a rock, Nov rocketing up, but Sept basically flat.
    I’m still trying to ‘work out the kinks’ in how best to approach this process and how best to display the results. (It’s in the ‘early investigative stage’). But it is an intriguing “Dig Here!” as the results are very unlike what CO2 would be expected to cause…)
    Willis Eschenbach (10:40:00) :
    “Steve Hempell (20:32:14) Like to see this for the European countries. Any hints on how to do this if I want to tackle it?”
    I don’t know if there is anything comparable to the USHCN that gives the European climate records country by country … let me know if you find something.

    The GHCN uses the “Country Code” as the first three digits. You can break out any country via those first three digits. USA is 425. Australia is 501, New Zealand 507. Also, the first digit is “region” so “3” gets South America, “4” gets North America. “5” is the Pacific Basin. “6” is Europe.
    There are some “odd bits” like Russia gets two “country codes” (635 and 222) as half is in Europe (Region “6”) and half is in Asia (Region “2”).
    You can see the world broken out this way, by continent, then by country, with an anomaly graph for each here:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/the-world-in-dtdt-graphs-of-temperature-anomalies/
    I’ve started “playing” with the cumulative anomalies by month, but I’m not happy with the visualization yet. You can see some of it here:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/dmtdt-climate-change-by-the-monthly-anomaly/
    and here:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/australian-anomaly-walkabout/
    I have to think that using something like R and a better idea about graphical presentation would work better (he hinted broadly at Willis 😉

  158. Willis,
    Thanks for a very interesting post but I failed your pop quiz. In fact, I wasn’t even close!! Out of curiousity, I decided to examine the Al data. (Source: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cirs/drd964x.tmpst.txt.) I calculated and normalized the annual temperature. I was quite surprised by the step-wise change in Det T that became apparent in the graphical display. Although the 1895 -2009 trendline has a cooling slope of -0.0066 s.d.’s/yr (-0.00747⁰F/yr), the step-wise change makes it rather meaningless. One might draw an eye-ball trendline from 1895 to 1957 and it would have a warming slope; then draw an eye-ball trendlne from 1958 to 2009 and it would also have a warming slope.
    I have no idea why the AL state-wide data would have a step-wise change in 1958. There are currently many surface temperature stations in AL that are incuded in NCDC’s data set. I would have to do more research to see that number has changed and in particular, if the number changed in 1958.
    Oh well …

  159. So, sphaerica:
    “But to repeat myself, the problem with urederra’s original statement, and Merrick’s interpretation, is that CO2 does not get it’s “heat” from the sun. CO2 is primarily transparent to the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation received by the earth from the sun. This energy heats the surface.
    The surface then emits infrared radiation, which is absorbed by greenhouse gases like CO2 and H2O. It is quickly re-emitted in all directions. What goes down warms the ground. What goes sideways warms the air. What goes up warms the air above, or eventually makes it back into space.”
    Please explain to me how that differs from what I explained?
    And Vincent:
    “Well then, perhaps you can explain why the models all predict the main effect of GHG’s to be less cold winters, not hotter summers?”
    Perhaps you misunderstand the difference between absolute heating and differential heating. I can explain that, if you like, but please explain to me why you would take a statement you found somewhere that suggests warming is more pronounced in winter and use that as evidence to contradict a physical law that was originally deduced by Newton and can be (and has been) experimentally verified in labs (as opposed to AGW)?
    And at the same time, perhpas you can explain why, if as you say all the models predict less cold winters and not hotter summers, that all I hear all summer long on hot days “global warming, global warming, global warming!” and when it’s bitter cold, like last winter, all I hear is “that’s weather, not cimate”?

  160. Re: My 04/18 15:57:04 comment
    I mentioned in my prior comment that after failing Willis’ pop quiz; I decided to examine the AL data and was quite surprised to see that a step-wise reduction in temperature occurred in 1958.
    When considering the entire 1895-2009 interval:
    • TAvg = 63.32⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.13⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = -0.0074*yr+77.79
    When considering only the 1895-1957 interval:
    • TAvg = 63.81⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.06⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = 0.0237*yr+18.24
    When considering only the 1958-2009 interval:
    • TAvg = 62.73⁰F
    • s.d. = 0.92⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = 0.0278*yr+7.513
    Using the 1895-1957 and 1958-2009 BSFL equations, the calculated 1957 and 1958 endpoints are 64.92⁰F and 61.95⁰F, respectively. In other words, the step-wise discontinuity at the 1957 and 1958 endpoints is -2.97⁰F. Furthermore, a warming trend exists before and after the discontinuity with slopes of +0.0237/yr and +0.0278/yr, respectively.
    I’m not suggesting that considering the trends before and after the discontinuity is better way to interpret he change in temperature between 1895 and 2010, I’m suggesting that when discontinuities as large as 3⁰F are observed, there is something strange about the data. I suppose that something strange may have happened in AL in 1957-58; I’m more inclined to think that there is something strange in NCDC’s data set for AL. (I’m certain that the strange discontinuity has nothing to do with the fact that my wife and I were married in ME on 06/29/1957!!)
    Can anyone tell me if there is a NCDC subdirectory that contains the specific surface station temperature data sets that NCDC uses to calculate the state-wide monthly temperature data set? If such a subdirectory doesn’t exist, is there a listing of the specific surface stations that NCDC uses?

  161. Willis,
    Re: My 04/18 15:57:04 and 04/19 12:40:51 comments
    Having examined the AL temperature data, I decided to examine the ND data. The graphical display of the data is not unusual. However, although less apparent because the data is ‘noisier’, I can discern two step-wise changes in the ND data; one in 1917-18 and the other in 1980-81.
    When considering the entire 1895-2009 interval:
    • TAvg = 39.57⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.94⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = 0.0135*yr+26.323
    When considering only the 1895-1917 interval:
    • TAvg = 37.99⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.47⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = 0.0043*yr+29.732
    When considering only the 1918-1980 interval:
    • TAvg = 39.51⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.51⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = -0.0038*yr+46.89
    When considering only the 1981-2009 interval:
    • TAvg = 40.94⁰F
    • s.d. = 1.98⁰F
    • BFSL Equation: T = -0.0482*yr+137.43
    Using the 1895-1917, 1918-1980 and 1981-2009 BSFL equations, the calculated 1917 and 1918 endpoints are 37.98⁰F and 39.60⁰F, respectively; the 1980 and 1981 endpoints are 39.37⁰F and 41.95⁰F, respectively. In other words, the step-wise discontinuities at the 1917 and 1918 endpoints and 1980 and 1981 are +1.62⁰F and +2.5⁰F, respectively . Furthermore, a slight cooling trend exists after both discontinuities with slopes of -0.0038/yr and +0.0482/yr, respectively.
    Again, I’m not suggesting that considering the trends before and after the discontinuities is better way to interpret the change in temperature between 1895 and 2010, I’m suggesting that when discontinuities as large as 1.5⁰F to 2.5⁰F are observed, there may be something strange about the data.

  162. hmccard (15:56:03) : edit

    Willis,
    Re: My 04/18 15:57:04 and 04/19 12:40:51 comments
    Having examined the AL temperature data, I decided to examine the ND data. The graphical display of the data is not unusual. However, although less apparent because the data is ‘noisier’, I can discern two step-wise changes in the ND data; one in 1917-18 and the other in 1980-81.

    Yeah, I know, but you gotta live with the data you’re offered. I didn’t look at Alabama, but I did see the big step change in North Dakota. Kinda odd, because it is the average of a whole raft of stations …
    I haven’t looked at the homogeneity algorithm they use yet, but I’ve suspected that it might accidentally amplify a problem in a few stations into a larger problem … or not.

  163. Willis,
    I have calculated the difference between monthly raw and TOBS GHCN datasets (http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/ghcn-monthly/index.php) for a number of surface stations. The graphical results displayed step-wise changes typically in the range from 0.5⁰F to 1.5⁰F. My analysis shows that the adjustments are made on a seasonal basis, i.e., DJF, MAM, JJA and SON.
    IMO, the TOBS adjustments are step-wise aperiodic for a given surface station, two or three occuring during the last century, and somewhat random for different stations, Randomizing the TOBS adjustments allows NCDC to claim that the bias introduced is small. That doen’t mean that the bias is small for any given station. My analysis also showed that the bias can be quite large for a set of closely-spaced stations. I did’t examine the bias related to a set of stations separated by 500km or 1200km.
    I assume that NCDC’s state-wide temperature dataset is based on their adjusted datasets for whatever surface stations they selected. Perhaps the TOBS adjustments for AL were not that random after all. If I knew which surface stations NCDC used in their state-wide dataset, I could probably check some of the TOBS adjustments.

  164. Willis,
    Fyi – I used the USHCN v2 1895-2009 monthly temperature datasets for the 15 Alabama surface stations ( http://cdiac.orl.gov/ftp/ushcn_v2_monthly/) and calculated the state-wide averages for the raw and TOBS-adjusted temperature data, Traw and TTOBS . I then compared these annual datasets to the annual dataset that I calculated using the USHCN State Temperature Database (USHCN STB) (ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cirs/drd964x.tmpst.txt) that you referenced in your post. A graphical comparison of the annual temperatures here shows they are temporally similar but there are differences.
    For brevity’s sake and specificity, I refer to the difference between annual temperature from the two USHCN datasets as difTraw = USHCN v2 Traw – USHCN STB Tavg and difTTOBS = USHCN v2 TTOBS – USHCN STB Tavg; also ΔTOBS = USHCN v2 Traw – USHCN v2 TTOBS . A graphical comparison of the temperature differences may be found here.
    It seems quite strange to me that:
    1. For the 1895-2009 interval:
    a. difTraw > 0 most years (104 out 114 years); average = +0.38⁰F; slope = +0.0041⁰F/yr
    b. difTTOBS > 0 most years (84 out 114 years); average =+ 0.27⁰F; slope = +0.0051⁰F/yr
    c. ΔTOBS > 0 most years (87 out 114 years) but average = +0.11 ⁰F; slope =- 0.0001⁰F/yr
    2. A step-wise change in temperature occurred in 1957-58
    3. For the 1900-1957 interval:
    a. difTraw > 0 most years (105 out 114 years); average = +0.29⁰F; slope = +0.0048⁰F/yr
    b. difTTOBS > 0 most years (84 out 114 years); average = +0.02⁰F; slope = – 0.0012⁰F/yr
    c. ΔTOBS > 0 most years (90 out 114 years) but average = +0.27⁰F; slope = +0.0060⁰F/yr
    d. TTOBS tracked Tavg quite closely during this interval as a result of the TOBS-adjustment
    4. For the 1958-2010 interval:
    a. difTraw > 0 most years (114 out 114 years); average = +0.49⁰F; slope = +0.0108⁰F/yr
    b. difTTOBS > 0 most years (109 out 114 years); average =+ 0.47⁰F; slope = +0.0177⁰F/yr
    c. ΔTOBS > 0 most years (90 out 114 years) but average = +0.02⁰F; slope = -0.0069F/yr
    It is clear to me that the USHCN v2 and USHCN STB databases for Alabama are different. Apparently, NCDC made some additional adjustments to the STB dataset for Alabama.
    Oh well…

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