How long before we reach the catastrophic 2°C warming?

Guest essay by Neil Catto

The other day I conducted a presentation using the UK CET, like I have on several occasions. Along with explaining it as the longest recognised instrumental record of historical temperature anywhere on Earth, it is the best record we have to understand long the past.

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Fig 1 Central England Mean Monthly Temperatures 1659-2012

As part of this presentation I point out that the temperature from 1659 to 2012 has only increased 0.87 Deg C in 353 years, or equivalent to 0.025 Deg C/decade. Considering this is a recovery period from the Little Ice Age it is hardly surprising and just part of natural variation. At this stage I normally get a few “really?” questions.

“The UK MetOffice’s own figures”, I reply.

The other day however was a bit different, someone in the audience asked “so how long will it take to get to the dangerous 2 Degrees C?”

Pause, why hadn’t I worked that one out before? Quick calculation done, 800 years I replied.

“Say again?”

I recalculate, and say “800 years given the current trend”. Gobsmacked audience!

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We probably had 2C warming in the 1930s but that has been adjusted and hidden. That’s when most of the high temp records were recorded, in the US at least.

Janice Moore

Hear, hear!
Well done. Thank you for all the time and effort you have dedicated to prevent Envirostalinist tyranny. John Milton would have written a sonnet in your honor, O Valiant Defender of Our Liberties.

Crispin in Waterloo

Heh-heh. Well done. And the time will be extended further by 2016. At some point late in my lifetime it may reach the point of ‘never’.

Steve Cords

One can also ask, “Just what is the right temperature?” or “What is the temperature supposed to be?” Sea levels have risen 5 feet in the last 8,000 years (times and elevations approximate for discussion) and we are suddenly concerned about the last few inches.

Good answer.
Also, follow it up with other questions?
2 degrees… from where? (why pick that spot?)
What is the most alarming period of warming on the chart? (1680-1750).
That was more than two degrees from trough to peak.
What sort of catastrophic climate change happened in 1750? From my history, i think it was party time in Brittan

gbaikie

“I recalculate, and say “800 years given the current trend”
Yeah, but probably have some warming effect from higher CO2 levels.

Thank you for this. That this is the met Office’s figures is surely damning!

James Bull

It never hurts to recheck your figures, as I was told many years ago and have passed on to others measure twice or thrice cut once, and nowadays don’t “model” it on made up numbers.
I was once in a workshop where one of the drawing office guys was known as “do it to the drawing” after being told that if you followed the dimensions on the drawings he did things ended up on sky hooks or on another drawing the internal dimensions were greater than the overall measurement. Boy was that hard to make!!!!!!!!
James Bull

Cheshirered

Only 800 years? Oh my, it’s worse than previously thought.

M Courtney

Stephen Rasey says: October 30, 2013 at 11:31 pm

What sort of catastrophic climate change happened in 1750? From my history, I think it was party time in Britain

Well, yes, relative to France. We were preparing to win the 7 Years War that was brewing. Paris had riots (again) and Prussia was being expansionist (no comment).
If this relates to climate (and it might) then the nation surrounded by water may well be slowest to be affected.
Of course, I don’t know if catastrophic climate change happened in 1750 but the fact that Britain was on the way up is not proof that there wasn’t.

Peter Miller

I hope someone is hanging on to the original data here, as it sure looks like someone in the Establishment overlooked doing the usual ‘adjustments’.

John Law

I’ll be 867 years old then, I ‘m not sure my constitution will be up to that sort of temperature rise.
Something must be done!

Jquip

In 17 817 years.

Olaf Koenders

At the rate over the last 17 years? Hmm.. I calculate approximately ∞ years.. ¯\ (ツ) /¯

Tim welham

Anthony: I believe the CET published figures are ‘adjusted’ before release. Are they any more reliable?

The actual temperature rise might be less because of the enhanced heat island effect that relatively speaking is a fairly recent phenomena. In the 1701 century the population of Britain was 5.5 million, 100 years later it was 9 million, with most people living in the countryside. Now the population is 60 million with most people living in cities with airports which is where many of the air temperatures are measured.

William Astley

It gets better or worse depending on one’s view of whether lukewarm warming is or is not beneficial. It will take 800 years for the planet to warm 2C assuming 100% of the past warming was due to the increase in atmospheric CO2. Now if Shaviv’s calculation is correct (see attached link for details) and 75% (0.54C ± 0.12C) of the warming in the last 100 years was caused by solar magnetic cycle changes then the planet will cool roughly 0.5C if the very recent grand maximum of solar magnetic cycle activity is followed by a grand minimum. The cooling will last for 80 to 120 years.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/solar/
http://www.solen.info/solar/images/comparison_recent_cycles.png
Spoere-type minima have a duration of about 120 years, and Maunder-type minima have a duration of about 80 years. The decadal C14 record in recent 10,000 years shows about 20 events of increase in C14 content, indicating there were 20 grand solar minima in the last 10,000 years or one grand minimum every 500 years. Following analysis of the data, Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.
http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/Shaviv.pdf

Dario from Turin

Here in NW Italy we have the historical proofs (i.e. written records, mainly by official fiscal autorities of that time) of the production of olive oil referring to the X – XI – XII centuries. From an agricultural point of view, this fact demostrates that the climate was AT LEAST 1° C WARMER than today, with no frost episodes during the winter. So, we have had a catastrophic DECLINE of 1° C….

H.R.

Uhhh… 800 years, assuming the warming continues. If you had given that presentation a few hundred years before the Little Ice Age, I suppose your audience might have been asking how many years before the glaciers would return. Global temperature, she goes up. Global temperature, she goes down. Up, down. Up, down.

GeeJam

Given that the last one hundred years has been utterly void of any kind of noticeable technological advance or revolutionary invention or any life-changing scientific breakthrough, then in eight centuries time (about 70 x family generations), no doubt humans will be completely incapable of thinking of ways to adapt – given the current trend – to TWO whole degrees of warming. However, I hear that if we spend everyone’s money on filling our planet with millions of wind turbines whilst removing every last drop of man-made CO2 from the air before 2020, it will solve their problem for them. We need to help them get through it. They’ll never cope. We need to act now before it’s too late. (sarc off).

CRS, DrPH

…I’m inspired to form a new not-for-profit corporation, 800.org! /sarc

Luigi Mariani

If we consider the CET time series of the last 100 years, al the warming is centered in two steps. The first step is perhaps in 1935 and the second (the main) is centered in 1987. This latter is the result of a well known abrupt change of phase of the NAO. The abrupt character of these changes make difficult the adoption of a generalized approach bases on trends (more specifically the trend analysis should be limited to the homogeneous sub-periods) and gives the idea that an approach based on the analysis and forecast of the discontinuities determined by changes in macroscale circulation is the most suitable for this kind of time series.

H.R.

@CRS, DrPH says:
October 31, 2013 at 3:26 am
“…I’m inspired to form a new not-for-profit corporation, 800.org! /sarc”
Leave the ‘/sarc off.’ I like it! Set up a little site and I’ll join. If 4-5 others here are of the same mind, you’ll have more members and traffic than 350.org.

Nick luke

Just a small quibble…0.87Deg/353years = 0.00246 X 100 = 0.246deg/century. Not 0.025deg/cent. Small typo, I know, but we moan at inaccuracies by the AGW proponents. It makes the difference between your, correct, 800 years and 8000 years…

Kevin Hearle

Mmmm so by 2650 we will see all the benefits of increased temperature provided we aren’t falling into a Maunder Minimum or worse which might be worth it to see the shock and horror on the face of Warmists
[2065 ? ]

Noticed interesting year of 1740(deep fall of temps) and the preceding warming of more than 2 degrees in 15 years. What happened? Well, its not the sun and it aint volcanoes according to David Archibold in a previous blog here on WUWT(JUNE 2013). He proposes a potential 1740 event occurring in the next 2 years based on a statistical methodology. Baring in mind this is a central england/ north european event of 1740 it is not therefore a record of world temps which may hint at a local mechanism? unfortunately most other records dont go back this far.
smiffy

Nick luke says:
October 31, 2013 at 3:40 am
In the post, the figure was for decadel rate of increase, not per century.
cheers,
gary

Chris Wright

If you zoom into the CET graph, it shows that the English climate has been rapidly and consistently getting colder since 2000. And it certainly feels colder.
Recently the Daily Telegraph had a headline claiming that the British climate is getting warmer faster than the rest of the world. Clearly, climate scientists have a strange idea of the present tense. It was actually true during the 1990’s, CET shows a rise of about one degree C in little over a decade, which is extremely rapid. But to say that our climate is rapidly getting warmer now is a lie, pure and simple. Right now, and for the past 13 years, it’s been getting colder.
That’s why I often find myself wearing a sweater at the height of summer. And staring out at thick snow in the winter.
How much longer will our politicians be taken in by this nonsense. Quite a long time, I suspect, with outrageous lies like this to keep them going.
Chris

Martin McPhillips

Here’s the Wikipedia Holocene temperature chart. Can someone explain why this doesn’t simply end the debate? What’s the problem here? I understand that there’s nuance upon nuance, but ther is nothing dramatic or unprecedented about current temperatures. Is that correct?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ca/Holocene_Temperature_Variations.png

Bruce Cobb

Since we’ve been gradually cooling over the past 7k years, by perhaps 0.5°, there’s no reason to think that trend won’t continue, and certainly no reason to think we’ll be warmer. We are after all, headed for another ice age eventually.

Stacey

Our friends at the MET office I believe ably assisted by [fragrant] Phil still manage to create a Hockey Stick Graph?
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcet/graphs/HadCET_graph_ylybars_uptodate.gif

Jim Cripwell

I may be wrong, but your 800 tears is valid if, and only if, the data is ergodic. Since the data is almost certainly not ergodic, then the 800 years is meaningless.
[Wasn’t there a song a while back about “800 teardrops” ? Or was that “800 teargodics”? .. 8<) Mod]

Jeff Alberts

As part of this presentation I point out that the temperature from 1659 to 2012 has only increased 0.87 Deg C in 353 years

Which “the temperature” would that be? There is no “the temperature” when it comes to climate. Averaging temperatures over disparate areas gives you nothing physically meaningful. You’re playing the same silly shell game as alarmists.

herkimer

800 Years to raise temperatures by 2 degees C
One can now see how absurd the past MET OFFICE forecasts were when they projected 4 degrees C by just 2060 . Yet IPCC is still projecting in their A1FI scenario a rise of 4 degrees C by 2100 in their latest report. AR5

So what now?
Western civilization must reduce its standard of living so that children, 800 years from now, will know what snow is.

janama

In 1996 when the Australian temperatures were homogenized/adjusted Sydney Observatory Hill data had adjustment made where due to the addition of a Stevenson Screen all previous data was adjusted down .5C and because the thermometer was moved the 10m to where the new box was all previous data was adjusted down by .7C – that’s a total of 1.2C.
Can you believe it?

H.R. says:
October 31, 2013 at 3:38 am
@CRS, DrPH says:
October 31, 2013 at 3:26 am
“…I’m inspired to form a new not-for-profit corporation, 800.org! /sarc”
Leave the ‘/sarc off.’ I like it! Set up a little site and I’ll join. If 4-5 others here are of the same mind, you’ll have more members and traffic than 350.org.

Agreed. Do it! I believe WordPress hosting is free?

Guest essayist Neil Catto said,
The other day however was a bit different, someone in the audience asked “so how long will it take to get to the dangerous 2 Degrees C?”
. . . 800 years I replied.
“Say again?”
I recalculate, and say “800 years given the current trend”. Gobsmacked audience!

– – – – – – –
Neil Catto,
A anectodatal sign of the times. Good news I think because it implies some awakening from the ‘settled’ alarming climate mythos.
Hey, I am trying to track back to the root source / fundamental basis of the claim of there being a “dangerous 2 Degrees C”.
It crops up frequently in dialog on climate. I want to critically review it for premise detection and analysis purposes.
Anyone, a few pointers to primary sources of the basis of the idea of a “dangerous 2 Degrees C” would be appreciated.
John

Is the Global temperature record correct?
Looking at the CET you would expect to see the large increase in global temperatures showing to some degree but it hasn’t.
Check this graph of temperature vs monitoring stations.
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/nvst.html
Perhaps this can explain the standstill. The cull takes out stations in the colder regions so the global temperature record rises. After the cull the situation is stable and the stations are reflecting the true global temperature which is not rising. This would explain why we had a massive step in the global temperature record and the current pause.
Apologies to anyone who tried contacting me via my website, Gmail would not accept the autoforwards set up, but they seem to be working now.

Bruce Cobb

Regarding an 800.org, I assume we’re talking ppm, not years. A good motto might be “Do it for the plants!” Yes it would be the perfect antidote to the 350.org idiocy.

Richard Barraclough

Most of the hysteria over global warming does not concern itself over what are seen as purely natural fluctuations over the 300 years from 1650 to 1950. The trend of the CET data over this period is even less, at 0.18 degrees per century, or about 1100 years to increase by 2 degrees.
Since 1950, which is the focus of the anthropogenic scare, the trend in CET has been almost 10 times as much, at 1.7 degrees C per century. Even at this rate, it’s about 120 years to increase by 2 degrees. I realise one cannot really extrapolate a linear trend in something as chaotic as temperature, but that was the gist of this post, and , yes, it has been dropping for a few years, so perhaps 120 years is too short.
Some commentators have attributed the sudden fall in temperature in 1740, after the benign 1730’s to a volcano or two on the Kamchatka peninsula. The cold weather and associated crop failures killed 20 per cent of the population of Ireland.

David S

OK this is not a criticism. I’m just curious. What kind of thermometer was used to make those early measurements? The modern thermomether wasn’t invented until the early 1700’s.

Steve Oregon

Steve Cords says:October 30, 2013 at 11:21 pm
…”Sea levels have risen 5 feet in the last 8,000 years (times and elevations approximate for discussion) and we are suddenly concerned about the last few inches.”
The difference is no one knew about the 5 feet as it rose. No one was telling the folks about it or what it meant.
Now we have mad scientist alarmists measuring everything and purposefully interpreting every change as a worrisome indicator in order to justify their continued monitoring,.
Monitoring change has become the ticket to ride for every lazy and nonproductive academic wishing to be a legitimate scientist.
It’s the easiest pitch possible for those needing to gin up reasons to make their hobby time look like work.
They’ve managed to turn their endless observation gibberish into deliverables.
They monitor, speculate and report whatever they can dream up.
It’s limitless and thousands upon thousands are using this gig.
A fine example is Oregon State University academics (Lubchenco, Barth and Chan) engaged in their perpetual and expensive monitoring of oxygen levels in our sea water off the Oregon coast. Every single new reading delivers another layer of speculation about how something very serious MUST be occurring. Accompanied with declarations of how useful their work and information gathering is.
http://www.piscoweb.org/research/science-by-discipline/coastal-oceanography/hypoxia/hypoxia-updates
It’s all as useless as counting grains of sand on our beaches.
Just Google “Oregon ocean dead zones” and see how massive the ruse has become.
It’s an entirely baseless problem, falsely connected to global warming and embellished over many years into being accepted by RealClimate types as “established science”.

BioBob

David S says:
October 31, 2013 at 8:57 am
OK this is not a criticism. I’m just curious. What kind of thermometer was used to make those early measurements? The modern thermomether wasn’t invented until the early 1700′s.

——————————————–
see http://www.rmets.org.uk/sites/default/files/qj74manley.pdf
but if you are lazy, the data is pretty bad, sometimes consisting of reconstructions employing dubious techniques like temps taken from unheated rooms inside, etc.
For what it’s worth, this data is what it is….not very useful but of some interest.
This IS criticism:
Most importantly, there were no replicates, no random sampling, questionable adjustments, etc. just as is the case in essentially ALL temperature records globally.
The data is crap; It always has been crap, and it likely always will be crap if history to date is any indication.

M Courtney at 1:17 am
I don’t know if catastrophic climate change happened in 1750 but the fact that Britain was on the way up is not proof that there wasn’t.
But it is counter evidence to the notion 2 degrees of warming is catastrophic.

NeilC

A few reasons for this this post;
a. to show how little warming there has been (on record) over the length of instrumental data (I agree the data has been adjusted in all manner of ways especially the very small adjustment for UHI, which I believe is ~1.6 Deg C) In a post from earlier this year.
b. I thought 800 is as nice a number as 97% or 95% or 100% settled
c. yes it was done in fun – but from a serious point I would like this 800 years spread wide and clear to remove the fear of CAGW from as many as possible ( I get phone calls from people genuinely frightened and wanting to make life changing decisions)
d. I’ll bet Auntie doesn’t mention this, any bets?
In late 1739 mt Tarumae erupted: temp went from 9.2 Deg C in 1739 to 6.84 Deg C in 1740 and back to 9.30 Deg C in 1741
thanks for all your comments

Marcos

iirc, the 2 degrees C ‘limit’ was a number pulled out of thin air by some German climate scientists. they looked at what historical temp variations had been, saw that a difference of 2 degrees C had happened with no catastrophic results and declared that to be the ‘safe’ range.
a link to this story was in the comments here in the last month or two

John Finn

Regardless of whether one accepts AGW or not, it’s time readers of this blog were a bit more critical of some of the WUWT posts. Neil Catto concludes that it will take 800 years for the 2 deg C threshold to be breached – presumably based on the 353 year trend since 1659.
This is a ridiculous conclusion. As far as AGW is concerned the first 300 years of the record are largely irrelevant. The relatively shallow trend since the 1650s is simply due to the fact that the trend in the first 200-300 years was more or less flat (which pretty much puts the kibosh on the LIA at least as far as Central England is concerned). Analysis of CET trends show the following
1700-1900 -0.05. degrees per century
That’s about as flat as you can get. Now what about the trend since 1900
1900-2012 0.81 degree per century
So virtually ALL the warming in the CET record is in the last 100 years or so – but even that trend is dwarfed by the last 50-60 years.
1950-2012 1.7 degree per century
or warming of about 0.85 degrees per 50 years. There was essentially NO warming trend for at least 250 years . All the warming has taken place in the last few decades. The CET record doesn’t provide much support for either natural variability or LIA recovery.

John Finn,
That is only on your planet. Here on Planet Earth, the natural recovery from the LIA has been ≈0.25 – ≈0.35º/century.
I don’t know where you get your assertions, but even über-alarmist Phil Jones shows that global warming did not just happen recently.

richardscourtney

John Finn:
re your post at October 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm.
If I need a cherry picker then I now know who to contact.
Scroll up and look at the graph.
It shows a clear linear trend (that is the straight red line in the graph) with variability of the actual data (that is the wiggly blue line in the graph) providing variation around that trend.
There is no indication of any change to the trend. However, because of the wiggles it is possible to pick periods of warming or cooling of the actual data to fit whatever one wants to (mis)represent.
Richard