People send me stuff. Today I got this email from Scott Stolnitz who sent an unsolicited email to NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. He writes:
In response to your post of the monthly, “hey, it ain’t getting’ any warmer for the last 17 years and 11 months”… (see WUWT here) I thought I’d email a NOAA representative with your link and see what they had to say?
Here’s their response:
Dear Scott Stolnitz,
To answer your question, we generally recommend that rather than looking at only one metric of how our planet’s climate is changing (in this case satellite-derived temperature of the lower troposphere) and for only a limited time period (such as starting on or just before the remarkably strong 1997-98 el Nino event), one should look at many different metrics of how our climate is changing and examine long enough time series that one can focus in on a wide variety of different time periods, including short periods.
The most up to date and comprehensive source of this information is on page 3 (technically page S3 as it is a supplement to the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) of the annual State of the Climate which was published in July and is available via this
link. This remarkable document is a world wide effort of several hundred authors and experts in a wide variety of climate disciplines and I’m proud to say is led by colleagues here at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
Scott adds a follow up conversation:
From: Scott StolnitzSubject: Re: How does NOAA explain this?Date: September 5, 2014 at 4:50:47 PM EDTTo: Thomas Peterson – NOAA Federal
Tom,Again thank you for your response.From some personal research I’ve done, it seems that the Atlantic and Pacific Decadal Oscillations are both in or going into a cooling phase?If so, that heat may not continue to build up in the ocean data as we have seen in the recent past. As I’m sure you know better than most, the ocean lags regarding temperature. As such, we might see this “pause” extended. Do I know that? Of course not. But given that these cycles seem to have shown this in the past, it is likely in the future. Add this to higher than average aerosol particulate due volcanic activity and we may truly be in for a longer “pause”. The Atlantic is now having it’s second well below seasonal named storms average. I watch the SST’s in the equatorial Atlantic (as I’m currently in Ft. Lauderdale).My personal interest in this is that I have been sailing around the world on my own boat for the last 7+ years so I watch and study climatic events closely; most especially ENSO cycles.I have come up with a rule of thumb for long distance sailors looking to stay in the Eastern South Pacific Hurricane belt over the cyclone season. It’s anecdotal. I say this despite my own backtesting the data. It seemed to be valid in the El Nino of 2009-10. I subscribe to the monthly ENSO report that NOAA publishes which is where I get my data.I’ll stop asking too many questions now as I’m sure you get a lot of emails.Thanks,Scott StolnitzOn Sep 5, 2014, at 4:22 PM, Thomas Peterson – NOAA Federal wrote:
A reasonable question, Scott.One of the figures I find insightful is:which is from thisWhen el Ninos hit they release a lot of heat to the atmosphere and global temperatures are above the non el Nino and la Nina years.When la Ninas hit global temperatures are lower than other years around those times in part because increased upwelling of cold water in the eastern tropical Pacific.So for a fair comparison, it could be argued that one should really draw three trend lines: through el Nino years, la Nina years and neutral years to eliminate the impact of changing mixes of ENSO. If you do that over the last 15-20 years you will tend to see increases in temperature. But given the changing mix of el Nino and la Nina events, the surface temperature is not rising rapidly as it did in the 1980s and ’90s.So if the surface temperature and the upper air temperatures are not rising, the question could be: has the earth’s temperature stopped rising or is the heat going somewhere other than the surface. If you look at that link I provided you, you’ll see that ocean heat content (top right of page S3) has risen fairly steadily throughout this period in question.As a side bar, I thought you might enjoy the attached little paper that looks at the energy in the atmosphere.Regards,Tom
Thomas C. Peterson, Ph.D.
President, WMO Commission for Climatology
Principal Scientist, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center
On Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 1:56 PM, Scott Stolnitz wrote:
Mr. Peterson,I realize you’re most likely quite busy and don’t have too much time to answer lots of questions. I will link you to the Wall St. Journal article that was also published today.http://online.wsj.com/articles/matt-ridley-whatever-happened-to-global-warming-1409872855?mod=rss_opinion_mainIf you cannot get through that link, I also found it here in more detail:A highlight of the story is the eighth paragraph (on the link above).It states that according to NOAA:“If the pause lasted 15 years, they conceded, then it would be so significant that it would invalidate the climate-change models upon which policy was being built. A report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) written in 2008 made this clear: “The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more.”
How does this statement align with the paper you linked me too? Has NOAA revised the above statement since 2008?
Is the fact that temperatures have been flat for 15-20 years (depending on the source one uses) not made the above statement carry even more weight?
Thanks for your time,
Scott StolnitzOn Sep 5, 2014, at 12:31 PM, Thomas Peterson – NOAA Federal wrote:
Dear Scott Stolnitz,To answer your question, we generally recommend that rather than looking at only one metric of how our planet’s climate is changing (in this case satellite-derived temperature of the lower troposphere) and for only a limited time period (such as starting on or just before the remarkably strong 1997-98 el Nino event), one should look at many different metrics of how our climate is changing and examine long enough time series that one can focus in on a wide variety of different time periods, including short periods.The most up to date and comprehensive source of this information is on page 3 (technically page S3 as it is a supplement to the peer-reviewed Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) of the annual State of the Climate which was published in July and is available via thislink. This remarkable document is a world wide effort of several hundred authors and experts in a wide variety of climate disciplines and I’m proud to say is led by colleagues here at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.Regards,
I’ve always considered Dr. Tom Peterson to be a cordial guy, our exchanges have always been pleasant, except when he wrote a ghost talking points memo about the surfacestations project. Climategate revealed him to be a bit of a political cartooning prankster, but then so am I.
In case you don’t recognize the people being spoofed, they are top left, Dr. John Christy, Dr. Roger Pielke Senior, Dr. Pat Michaels, Dr. Richard Lindzen, bottom left: Senator Inhofe, and Dr. Fred Singer.
He does have his moments though:
date: Tue, 19 Jun 2007 14:56:55 -0400
from: Thomas C Peterson <Thomas.C.Peterson@xxxx>
subject: Re: Lots about USHCN on Climate Audit
to: Phil Jones <p.jones@xxxx>
FYI, the radio interview seemed to go well. I must say in fairness
that, considering the photographs of how not to observe temperature on
Anthony Watts’ blog, http://www.norcalblogs.com/watts/weather_stations/
, Mr. Watts gave a well reasoned position. For example, when asked if
the stations with poor siting were removed from the analysis would it
show less warming, Mr. Watts said we won’t know until the analysis is
More here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/22/ncdc-mr-watts-gave-a-well-reasoned-position/
Despite his cordial persona, I think he may harbor one of the worst cases of confirmation bias I have ever seen in a scientist. This is particularly dangerous because he is the gatekeeper for the GHCN surface temperature data set, which is used by GISS, CRU, and BEST. I believe that dataset contains the built-in bias of Dr. Peterson. By saying a document you co-authored is a “remarkable document” we can see a window into this sort of bias.
[note – I made a comment on the quote related to ‘the pause’ and got the attribution mixed up …a mistake entirely my own – I’ve removed that quote and attribution – Anthony]