Despite 'extremely sparse' data, Mann's buddy Ray Bradley seems sure that 'High mountains are warming faster than expected '

From the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

High mountains warming faster than expected

UMass Amherst climate scientist and international team call for extra attention

Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network," say members of the Mountain Research Initiative Working Group. Credit Douglas Hardy, UMass Amherst

Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network,” say members of the Mountain Research Initiative Working Group. Credit Douglas Hardy, UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – High elevation environments around the world may be warming much faster than previously thought, according to members of an international research team including Raymond Bradley, director of the Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. They call for more aggressive monitoring of temperature changes in mountain regions and more attention to the potential consequences of warming.

“Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network,” say members of the Mountain Research Initiative Working Group in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.

High mountains are the major water source for large numbers of people living at lower elevations, so the social and economic consequences of enhanced warming in mountain regions could be large, the researchers add. “This alone requires that close attention be paid to the issue. In addition, mountains provide habitat for many of the world’s rare and endangered species, and the presence of many different ecosystems in close proximity enhances the ecological sensitivity of mountains to environmental change.”

Lead author Nick Pepin of the University of Portsmouth, U.K., says, “There is growing evidence that high mountain regions are warming faster than lower elevations and such warming can accelerate many other environmental changes such as glacial melt and vegetation change, but scientists urgently need more and better data to confirm this. If we are right and mountains are warming more rapidly than other environments, the social and economic consequences could be serious, and we could see more dramatic changes much sooner than previously thought.”

UMass Amherst’s Bradley adds that without substantially better information, there is a risk of underestimating the severity of a number of problems, including water shortages and the possible extinction of some alpine flora and fauna.

He says, “We are calling for special efforts to be made to extend scientific observations upwards to the highest summits to capture what is happening across the world’s mountains. We also need a strong effort to find, collate and evaluate observational data that already exists wherever it is in the world. This requires international collaboration.”

Records of weather patterns at high altitudes are “extremely sparse,” the researchers found. There are very few weather stations above 14,700 feet (4,500 m), and long-term data, crucial for detecting patterns, doesn’t yet exist above 16,400 feet (5,000 m) anywhere in the world. The authors say the longest observations above this elevation are from the summit of Kilimanjaro, which have been maintained for more than a decade by Douglas Hardy of UMass Amherst.

For this study, Pepin, Bradley and colleagues reviewed elevation-dependent warming mechanisms such as loss of snow and ice, increased latent heat release at high altitudes, low-elevation aerosol pollutants that increase the difference in warming rates between low and high elevations, plus other factors that enhance warming with elevation in different regions, and in different seasons.

They discuss future needs to improve knowledge of mountain temperature trends and mechanisms via improved observations, satellite-based remote sensing and model simulations. Noting that “many factors make it extremely difficult to determine the rate of warming in mountainous regions,” the team reports the most striking evidence that mountain regions are warming more rapidly than surrounding regions comes from the Tibetan plateau, where temperatures have risen steadily over the past 50 years and the rate of change is accelerating.

This research team with members from the U.K., U.S., Switzerland, Canada, Ecuador, Pakistan, China, Italy, Austria and Kazakhstan, came together as part of the Mountain Research Initiative, a mountain global change research effort funded by the Swiss National Foundation.

###

Note: The name of the paper wasn’t included in the press release, so I took the liberty of looking it up.

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n5/full/nclimate2563.html

Elevation-dependent warming in mountain regions of the world

Nature Climate Change5,424–430(2015) doi:10.1038/nclimate2563

Mountain Research Initiative EDW Working Group

Abstract

There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation, such that high-mountain environments experience more rapid changes in temperature than environments at lower elevations. Elevation-dependent warming (EDW) can accelerate the rate of change in mountain ecosystems, cryospheric systems, hydrological regimes and biodiversity. Here we review important mechanisms that contribute towards EDW: snow albedo and surface-based feedbacks; water vapour changes and latent heat release; surface water vapour and radiative flux changes; surface heat loss and temperature change; and aerosols. All lead to enhanced warming with elevation (or at a critical elevation), and it is believed that combinations of these mechanisms may account for contrasting regional patterns of EDW. We discuss future needs to increase knowledge of mountain temperature trends and their controlling mechanisms through improved observations, satellite-based remote sensing and model simulations.

bradley-edw-fig1

Since they seem to be focused on the Tibetan Plateau, one wonders if this isn’t just another hyped up claim like Himalya-gate. The langage in the PR seems similar, worrying about “…there is a risk of underestimating the severity of a number of problems, including water shortages and the possible extinction of some alpine flora and fauna.”.

From what I can tell, they are using GHCN data for high elevation stations, such as the one from the Sulphur Mountain Weather Observatory, in Banf, Alberta. In 1903, a meteorological observatory building was completed on Sanson Peak, named in 1948 in honour of Norman Bethune Sanson, the observer who tended the recording equipment for nearly 30 years. There is also a nearby cosmic ray monitoring station.

Elevation: 2283m (7490 ft)

Sulphur Mountain Weather Observatory
Sulphur Mountain Weather Observatory © Parks Canada

The GISS plot of the GHCN data doesn’t seem to show much in the way of recent warming though. In fact, even though the record is incomplete, the most recent data segment looks to be a bit cooler.

banf-station-giss

Though given that such places tend to attract the curious, who want to climb the mountain to be close to the science…

station_du_Mont_Sulphur

…one wonders if similar weather observatories in Tibet aren’t simply seeing the effects of increased tourism, resulting in land use modification.

After all, Al Gore’s claim of warming on Mount Kilimanjaro:

Mount Kilimanjaro. Mr. Gore asserted that the disappearance of snow on Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa was expressly attributable to global warming; “Within the decade, there will be no more snows of Kilimanjaro.” That was in 2005 in his movie An Inconvenient Truth.

…turned out to be nothing more than land use change around the mountain, resulting in less evapotranspiration, less snow, and therefore a lower albedo, which tends to make the mountaintop warmer with all that exposed rock. Yep, it’s the trees.

And now, the snow is coming back to Kilimanjaro.

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169 thoughts on “Despite 'extremely sparse' data, Mann's buddy Ray Bradley seems sure that 'High mountains are warming faster than expected '

    • Don’t we already have satellites measuring temperatures at altitude globally? How come these are ignored and instead climate science relies on sparsely sited land-based thermometers, often contaminated by urban growth?
      It doesn’t make any sense, scientifically. Why rely on the worst possible measurements to conduct your science, while ignoring the most exact measurements?
      It seems to me that the “high mountains are warming faster than expected” says a lot more about the expectations of the researchers than it does about the high mountains.
      It’s Colorado rocky mountain high
      I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
      Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high
      Rocky mountain high
      [Climate science would use the satellite records – as soon as the satellite records show something climate science wants to show. .mod]

      • Yes, every single ‘global warming is destroying us!’ studies have that feature: send us more money so we can study this!

      • Satellites do not measure anything. The output from the “instrument” is a calculation, agreed, more precice than a ground based thermometer over large areas, but still, no actual measure of anything. In my engineering days, measure twice, cut once. A basic principal missing from “climate [science]”.
        [“Climate seance” perhaps? .mod]

      • This claim must be true since most claims are based on no data….sparce data has to be true

      • Maybe I can be *ahem*, accused of, spelling mistakes when I don’t wear my bins? (Glasses). Nope! I s(m)pell as bad with or without glasses…

      • Patrick:
        Satellites measure the brightness of a number of oxygen spectral lines, from which the temperature of the oxygen is calculated.
        Ground-based stations measure the volume of a glob of liquid mercury, alternatively the resistance of a piece of wire from which the temperature of the glob of mercury/piece of wire is calculated.
        I fail to see why one of these methods is more or less a measurement than the others.

      • Globs of mercury and pieces of wire work with or without overhead clouds.
        ..
        Not so with satellites.

      • Well I think they have gotten the story all wrong.
        Now I’m not saying the facts are incorrect; just the story is incorrect.
        What they should have announced is :
        Our earlier opinions on how fast higher mountains might warm, appear to be totally wrong.
        We should not have made those earlier claims, without making observations and getting our facts straight, before shooting off our tongues.

      • @ olliebourque@me.com The satellites such as the RSS and the AMSU work well in the presence or absence of liquid water clouds. The lines of the oxygen complex from 50=>70 Ghz are well chosen and there are “window” channels ~34 Ghz to calculate the albedo of the surface to account for reflected radiation. There were some early remote sounding instruments that tried to use the infra-red for the purpose of temperature profile calculation. Those did suffer from the problem that clouds made the profile under the could under the cloud was unobservable and the temperature of the cloud top not well determined. As somebody that did his PhD thesis at MIT in the topic, I assure you, the microwave sounders work and work well, clouds or not.

      • [to mod]: please edit out my stutter “under the cloud” out of my post. My son interrupted me while I was typing. The fingers kept going even though the the mind was someplace else. Thanks.

      • “””””…..
        ShrNfr
        April 23, 2015 at 10:50 am
        @ olliebourque@me.com The satellites such as the RSS and the AMSU work well in the presence or absence of liquid water clouds. …..”””””
        Well we can always use a few more experts here and there at WUWT, to ‘splain some of this to us.
        Dr Roy has occasionally said something about how the oxygen thing works, but I have just never been able to get clear in my head; just what is it that is changing with temperature. I gather from the frequency that this perhaps involves some molecular rotational mode (does it), but just where is the linkage to the actual thermodynamic Temperature of the portion of the atmosphere that is being interrogated.
        Also I am with you on the “a thermometer is a thermometer” thing. Most of what we know about anything comes from researching how it varies with the way the wind is blowing or some other “proxy”, and using that to get information about what we really wanted to know, which might be otherwise unobtainable.
        A good example comes from “Strength of materials” where we talk about the stresses in PSI or other units, in a piece of steel, when that is darn near impossible to observe.
        But strains are relatively duck soup to observe, so Hooke’s Law, and other theory gives us a means of quantifying that which we can’t observe directly.
        The whole donnybrook about the PRTs flying around in satellites not being ground referenced, is a similar non issue. Thermometry is one of the oldest skills in all of physics, with a rich history.
        But I still don’t grasp what about the oxygen is linked to the gas Temperature, as a thermometer. What is the signal that the satellite gets from “down there” and is it passive or active ??
        G

      • Actually Fred, I would say a big reason they pick on the high mountains is that, just like the polar regions, there are so few actual weather stations up there. The lack of real data allows the “warmmunists”, to attempt to feather their own nests by demanding more taxpayers money be spent on research into the “problem”. A real scientist would ask for more weather stations, but this mob ask for research grants instead.

  1. Stupidity in the extreme. Mean temperature drops with altitude (hint, atmospheric pressure not GHG’s is responsible for raised surface temperature) I would be surprised if any mountain above 5000m has mean temperatures above freezing or ever will. Let’s face it, even if you believe in back radiation you would have to be wondering just how many extra CO2 molecules are accumulating above that elevation to be having an impact.

    • Not necessarily. Depending on the albedo, bare rock above the tree line tends to absorb a good bit of heat. The big question for them to show is that there has been a decrease in glacial coverage, and the latest analysis I saw indicated glacial growth and shrinkage was pretty much a wash globally with some glaciers growing while others were shrinking. So they are still probably wrong, but local temperature at ground level is not necessarily directly related to lapse rate like open atmosphere is. (Still related, but sometimes swamped out by the solar absorption and heat conversion of the rock.)

      • I thought we expected glaciers to recede during an interglacial period. I would expect that glaciers have been receding for almost all of the Holocene.
        (note: next the crazies will be telling me that CO2 caused the Holocene itself)

      • Owen in GA

        The big question for them to show is that there has been a decrease in glacial coverage, and the latest analysis I saw indicated glacial growth and shrinkage was pretty much a wash globally with some glaciers growing while others were shrinking.

        As I recall, half the glaciers are retreating slowly, 1/3 are expanding, and 1/6 are “steady” (not enough change to matter). Thus you’d need individual mountain-by-mountain temperature, cloud cover, water/ice/snow rate changes, and albedo measurements over time to tell. Might be “information” there, might not. For example, a glacier “south-sloped” at 10 – 15 degrees on the same mountain as a north-faced glacier largely hidden by shadows all year will behave differently if albedo on both changes.

      • No, I think the world is getting bigger because all the old stuff seems to be buried underground

  2. Sorry for this, it’s kinda my fault.
    I have to pay taxes to ukgov, who allocate some of this extortion to so-called science.. As we have so little real science here a lot of it goes to the NERC. They in turn dish my money out to any monkey-brained project, providing they promise to investigate and find more examples of the imminent disaster from AGW, no matter how buttock clenchingly poor this ‘research’ is.
    So blame me.

    • You cast aspersions on us monkeys. We don’t fund the EDW (Elevation Dependent Warming) working group, for we saw that it seemed to be assuming results of a certain sort before actually collecting any data. Instead we decided to fund the ADC (Alarm-Dependent Careers) working group and their colleagues in the PER (Politically Expedient Results) working group, and look forward to appropriate acknowledgments for our contributions in their imminent papers in Nature Climate Change.
      Up here in the trees we see all. Apart from Evil, obviously. Other than that nothing escapes our collective gaze.

    • I am a UK Tax victim too. I like the Carbon Tax they brought in
      1. UK Gov brings in Carbon tax to tax large energy users
      2. Large Energy users such as Tata Steel, say this will make them uncompetitive and they will move the jobs out of the UK
      3. UK Government offer to pay the carbon tax for them to save the jobs.
      Did you ever come across anything so stupid and pointless???

      • It is a funny old world eh Paul? Actually, in a funny old way it may be a more efficient way to tax the citizen.
        If Tata steel did pay the tax, they would have to raise their prices to consumers to survive. So the government, in paying the tax to themselves directly, bypasses this step. Best of all in this Orwellian economics world of Keynesian’s gone wild, the QE governments just print the money. Do not expect an apology from the elites when the system crashes.

  3. Since the NCEP CFSR SHOWS NO WARMING
    http://models.weatherbell.com/climate/cfsr_t2m_2005.png
    Someone must be cooling equally fast.
    Does the guy even stop to think about that. Its like Dr. Mann with his lack of medieval warming. If there was no warming, and you are claiming the warming observed was “local” then why cant you tell us where the cooling was. The bigger question is why doesnt anyone in the scientific community actually ask these guys that question.
    So mr Bradley, given the NCEP CFSR is one of the premier grids to measure temps out there, and showed the warming after the flip in the PDO to warm in the 80s and 90s, if what you are saying is right and the last 10-20 years there is no statistical warming, WHERE IS YOUR COMPENSATING COOLING to give credence to your worse than ever High ground disaster scenario.
    Timed amazingly to capitalize on the warm ring and resulting western warmth. Will likely go the same way as post 2005 hurricane hysteria, or post 2011 tornado hysteria. But grabs headlines now, that no one bothers calling them on with intuitive questions, or later when the PDO goes back and its frigid in the west.. Then the warming faster than we thought will shift to where its warm
    Its Despicable, Deceptive, Delusional, and a sheep like scientific community that wont ask basic questions is complicit

    • Wow! Well said Joe. I bet you would like to get them in a wrestling ring. They won’t debate you, so do it the old fashioned way. Like your stuff mate. We might make you an honorable Aussie.

    • why doesnt anyone in the scientific community actually ask these guys that question.
      ==================
      he who controls the funding controls the narrative. the science community lives and dies on grant money and those at the top control who get the funds. No funds, no science. Next stop, flipping burgers at Burger King.
      Paranoia strikes deep
      Into your life it will creep
      It starts when you’re always afraid
      You step out of line, the man come and take you away

      • If I had control of the funding I would fund research into the fraudulent research. Rewards similar to the one offered to those who oust tax cheats.

    • It’s cheating to remind cagwidiots that a mean is raised by numbers greater than itself and lowered by numbers less .
      I most commonly point this out in the opposite case where cold is claimed to be evidence of warming . If that’s the case , show us where it heated even more than it colded .

    • Joe Bastardi – The link you provided to a Weatherbell page won’t open (well not for me). You make a very good point though. It’s main weaknesses are that it is rational and non-threatening.

  4. I thought the Tropospheric atmospheric lapse rates are established and well understood (by evidence and not by consensus)? Therefore is there a new type of lapse rate where mountains can warm quicker than expected? Also, wouldn’t the adiabatic lapse rate be more prevalent around mountains as opposed to the environmental lapse rate as the surrounding air will be going up and over these obstructions. For a warmer than expected high elevations this would indicate a very wet adiabatic lapse rates which would be evidenced with increased rainfall/snow in the mountains? If on the other hand there is a simplistic assumption that higher temps mean desert then the dry air going up will cool even more than expected due to the higher dry adiabatic lapse rate and should be colder than expected.

    • The lapse rate is actually increasing going by the fact that the lower troposphere is warming at a lower rate than the surface temperatures are. The weighting of the lower troposphere satellites put the height at about 4 kms or 4000 metres.
      So while there is sparse mountain temperature station data, there is nearly worldwide coverage from UAH and RSS and they show less warming than the surface..

    • Lapse rate in open atmosphere is well understood. On a mountain it is complicated by ground absorption and reradiation. Unlike in open atmosphere, on the mountain between the tree line and the snow line, there is all this dark stuff called rock that converts an awful lot of sunlight into heat. So the mountain near the surface (at say 2m AGL) is somewhat warmer than the lapse rate calculations would indicate.
      I still think they are incorrect in their analysis as they would have to show that the albedo of the rock had significantly changed (ie the snow line retreated to higher elevations) or that the sun was somehow much brighter on those mountains.

      • Owen in GA
        “So the mountain near the surface (at say 2m AGL) is somewhat warmer than the lapse rate calculations would indicate.”
        Wouldn’t the prevailing and surrounding air temp limit the amount of warming. Having still air up mountains is rare so the air as thin as it is will be constantly removing heat as the mountains are mostly ‘air-cooled’. However, as you say there must be something significant and obvious for a change here. After all it would be unusual for the snow line to retreat from the top, unless this some science fiction?

      • I would imagine that that ‘dark stuff called rock” has about the same effect as asphalt on weather station siting. Between the white stuff called snow and the dark stuff called rock a ground level station on a mountain top would be about as useful as t!ts on a boar hog. This whole paper appears to be just another call for more funding (and FAM trips for skiers).

      • Stephen,
        Yes the surrounding air temperature does have an effect, but if you were to launch a balloon on the plains ten miles upwind from that place on the mountain, the two thermometers at the same altitude would measure much different temperatures (compared to global warming claims – I am talking about maybe 1 or 2 degrees F).
        There are some extenuating circumstances though – without going to a mountain and doing the experiment I don’t know which of the myriad of effects would win. One of the problems with mountains is that the wind is either dominated by up-slope or down-slope effects and either way the air picks up heat from the sun-warmed surface. When coming up-slope, the air has lapse rate cooling offset by picking up heat from the surface. When going down-slope the air has lapse rate warming combined with picking up any heat the surface is releasing. Then there are turbulence effects that can bring air pressure changes that change the lapse rate calculations on a second by second basis. The effects would be very dependent on the slope geological features and shape, and high resolution temperature and wind data would be needed to see it all. I bet it would be fun to try to disentangle all the various effects on that data.
        In short though we are talking about adding a radiator in the middle of the lapse rate calculations and heating the air. Of course this is all natural and does not depend on the “AGW” theories or “back-radiation” etc. This is just because nature stuck a heat source in the middle of the air. It is still cold compared to sea level, just not as cold as taking a balloon up to the same altitude above the sea surface at the same latitude.

      • Owen,
        with regards to mountains heating air, I have seen the opposite. A moist airstream passing a cold-soaked mountain (the Matterhorn) causing the water to condense as it passed the mountain. The cloud persisted downstream of the mountain (not orographic).

  5. Mountain microclimes are extremely complex. I am sure about tourist counter argument, however.
    Balloon soundings over time are far more reliable and convincing. The graph appears to show an approximate 2 degrees centigrade over 100 years. Though a more detailed inspection of the data could reveal something else.

  6. “Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network,” say members of the Mountain Research Initiative Working Group in the current issue of Nature Climate Change.

    Seems to me that the lapse rate would tell us that there is no warming at all on top of those mountains; especially given no warming at the surface for 18 years or so. Idiots. This is just more hysteria by people who should never have been granted a degree. “Science” like this we do not need.

    • There is growing evidence that high mountain regions are warming faster than lower elevations

      +1. Why should mountaintops warm faster? Is it because grant money is needed to field studies at southern countries with nice beaches?

      • I’m not sure what the answer is because I haven’t read up on it, but that’s probably not it.

      • It could be similar to the business concept that a business needs to grow it,s bottom line every year, or it is doomed to eventual failure. In regards to that the warmists now find it necessary to expand their gaze to new heights in an attempt to ward off their impending demise as they run out of fresh ground that would replenish their funding.
        Next line of study “Are temperatures rising in space between the Earth and the Moon?”, followed by “How does co2 cause that, and how much time do we have before it is too late to reverse this serious issue?”.

  7. Oh dear lord! More models. For every 1000ft increase in altitude/elevation, there is a ~1C DROP in [temperature]! If anything they are COOL and will always be so.

    • Yes Patrick, & that is why these studies rarely have figures showing the actual temperatures, just ones showing the anomalies. The authors are afraid that no-one would would take any notice if they said the average temperature at 4000m had risen from -x.yzC to -x.yaC. And personally, I don’t blame them for being afraid, because the differences are irrelevant in the real world. A below freezing climate is still very cold, no matter how much it has warmed relative to its prior average temperature.

  8. People who like vacations in mountains state: High elevation environments around the world may be warming much faster than previously thought … call for more aggressive monitoring of temperature changes in mountain regions

      • Vacations Field work in the mountains in the summer.
        Vacations Field work on tropical beachfronts in the winter.
        Vacations are separate.

  9. The signs of a conspiracy (and it takes one to know one), these people are looking for funded fun in the mountains.

  10. According to the authors:
    “Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention…
    There is growing evidence that the rate of warming is amplified with elevation”
    I thought satellite data had the lower troposphere covered and showed slower warming than surface temps near sea-level. What am I missing?
    Oh, I see, they are talking about regional warming/cooling, not climate….
    “these mechanisms may account for contrasting regional patterns of EDW”
    Never mind. Climate science has long ago declared that regional variations do not constitute climate. Or are they changing their minds again… since it mind be convenient to do so…. for today?

    • Given they long stop saying ‘weather is not climate ‘ so they can jump on ever extreme weather event has ‘proof’ of climate doom , you could well be right.

  11. claims of climate doom , check
    GIGO at work , check
    lack of data , check
    calls for more funding , check
    claims there is no time to waste, check
    So having go through the normal check list we can say that yes this is indeed climate ‘science research’ in action.
    The worst part is of course they get paid to do it and the green happy press will jump all it without even asking a question.

  12. “…we could see more dramatic changes much sooner than previously thought.” None of these guys ever says that, as it happens, things are warming much slower than previously thought.
    Commenting on yesterday’s thread I believe I happened upon an axiom regarding such predictions by such types.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/22/failed-earth-day-predictions/#comment-1914507
    “…All these failures are the same. They don’t take into consideration technology and the genius of the few percent who are problem solvers in this world…..The few percent, who have the vast panorama including human ingenuity in their purview, know how foolish it is to try to predict such things…..It is AXIOMATIC THAT PREDICTIONS FROM DOOMSTERS HAVE NOT AND, I WOULD SAY CANNOT COME TRUE because of the missing overpowering dynamic ingenuity factor in their thinking. Unconstrained by this first order principal component, their thoughts (and heartfelt concerns) soar through the roof of reality.

  13. It’s amazing that its always ‘worse than we thought’ when they made it ‘the worst’ to begin with.
    Worster than we thought?

    • I think this calls for productive inflection:
      Bad, worse, worst, worserst, worsererst, worsererstest, worsererstester, worsererstesterst, worsererstesterstest, .. worserst^n .. worserst^aleph_0
      [Lettuce assume you need a county in England to store all of the predictions. The mods suggest Worsterchstershire. .mod]

  14. This Paper has it all:
    1) Claim of possible future danger
    2) Heightened sense of urgency
    3) Plea for more money to study scenario

  15. Since we are talking about weather, it is currently snowing on my short, non-EDW, Burke Mountain even without remote sensing (i.e. look out the window) here in northeastern Vermont – a lovely H2O phase change – although I was hoping for Spring.

    • It’s amazing in Vermont generally its colder on the top of the mountains than down in the valleys. It also snows more there. I don’t know if this strange phenomenon happens on other mountains. I’ll do some research and let you know.

      • It is snowing here in New York, too. The air is very cold, not at all normal for this time of year. Bet more cold records are being set…it is almost May! And the long range forecast for Berlin, NY, is below freezing every night this week and into May 2nd.

    • Looking out of the window IS remote sensing, isn’t it? You could get a grant for that. Every morning and evening, sat on the terrace, glass of medicin in hand remote sensing whatever. I do it most days but it costs me.

  16. Oh noes! This means that all the flora and fauna in their mad dash to higher elevations to escape the frying temperatures at lower elevations are going to have to run twice as fast uphill.
    It’s a travesty.

  17. “UMass Amherst’s Bradley adds that without substantially better information, there is a risk of underestimating the severity of a number of problems, including water shortages and the possible extinction of some alpine flora and fauna.”
    How come there is never a risk of overestimating the severity of a number of problems?

    • One would think that Bradley would have noticed that it was freaking cold at UMass this year.
      Unless, of course, the authors were off researching their alleged paper on that mountain in Hawaii…

    • Why would one make an assessment of any sort without information?
      Science demands data before it can say anything. Otherwise it is activism.

  18. It really must be interesting to sit in on a warmist brainstorming session. I can hear it now –
    ,”Well, we’ve pretty much exhausted tidal basins and coral reefs. Can anyone think of someplace that we haven’t gone yet with our ‘it’s worse than we thought meme’?”
    “Oh yeah! We haven’t asked for research funds for checking out whether or not moss growing on the north side of Hemlock trees are being affected yet.”
    “But didn’t we do a study 2 years ago on moss on the north side of pines?”
    “Yes, but pines aren’t hemlocks! It’s a totally different tree!”
    “Cool! There must be dozens of different trees, right? W can do a research paper on each one of them!”
    “Don’t you think tax payers would catch on if we just kept changing trees?”
    “Naw, they’re too busy watching football and soccer on the TV, or texting to the person sitting next to them or streaming their favorite rap artist on their smart phones to even notice.”
    “Hey! How about doing research on different levels of mountains too? I mean, we can look at changes at every 1000 feet of elevation to see if it is ‘worse than we though’ there too!”
    “Do we have to use 1000 foot intervals? We could make it 100 foot intervals and ask for larger grants.”
    “Now that’s a cool idea!”
    Ka-ching! got to love the sound of the cash register tallying up the funding. I’m sure there will be a paper out soon on temperature changes and their effects on earthworms, and you know, it really has got to be worse than we thought.

  19. Chiefio (E.M. Smith) did an analysis of GISS thermometer choices years ago and discovered that they were rather consistently dropping out the high elevation stations and infilling the data with numbers extrapolated from lower (warmer) stations. Anyone who wishes can check his blog for details. For example, (if I remember correctly), California mountain stations were dropped and the state average was estimated based on two coastal stations near L.A. and one in San Francisco. Bolivia was excluded completely, with it’s values being set according to station near coastal Peru. Is it any wonder that a cursory look at the higher elevation areas of the world might show warming?

  20. Now we know where all the missing heat went.
    Just think, 400,000 Hiroshima’s per day landing in the higher elevations.
    Who would’ve thunk it?

  21. Still here on the right side of the Atlantic, moved from Adelboden back to Fribourg for the next week. All the mountain guides are telling me that the glaciers and snowfields have been growing over the past few years, particularly above Zermatt.We will be going down to Geneva next week, then over to Chamonix, where I’ve heard that the large snowfield on the north side of Mt Blanc is as deep and wide as anyone can remember, When we arrived in Geneva last week, it sure looked like the snowline on Mt. Blanc was pretty low, maybe just above 2000m. I was here in the 80’s at about the same time of year, and I recall that snow was limited to elevations above 3000m. Unfortunately these Rat-B……s are forcing me to eat way too much cheese, chocolate, and drink some pretty brutal swill that they bring down from Bavaria, (you could add a cup of tomato paste and a 1/2 cup brown sugar and use it as BBQ Sauce, as is). I think I’ve gained 8 pounds in two weeks, but then I’ll need the extra layer of body fat to survive the next little ice age.

    • Sounds like a mash up of Saul Alinsky combined with circular logic: “They’re attacking me because I’m attacking them, so they must be bad people, and because they’re bad people they shouldn’t be able to counterattack because I’m a good person, and I only attacked them in the first place because they’re bad people.” Any Federal judge will treat this kind of argument for what it is, nothing.
      And Rachel Carson, for the most part, was wrong…

      • “They’re attacking me because I’m attacking them, so they must be bad people, and because they’re bad people they shouldn’t be able to counterattack because I’m a good person, and I only attacked them in the first place because they’re bad people.”
        I think that was a direct quote from the governor of Minnesota. They do use the same playbook, so no real surprise.

    • Mann’s Serengeti analogy is apt. We do tend to pick off the slow, the weak, the fat, the lazy, the lame. It’s only natural, and a good reason he takes so much of the heat.

  22. I suspect we shall see a lot more alarmism and scare stories between now and the convening of the CoP in Paris.

  23. Ahah! The missing heat is hiding in the oceans AND hiding on the mountain tops. Too bad we don’t have satellites that measure the temperature of the entire troposphere or we could possibly determine if the heat was indeed proportionally higher with elevation.

    • RW,
      You forgot to add, “oh wait, yes we do have satellites that do that already”, but I suppose most of us realize that it was implied in your comment 🙂

  24. “Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network,”
    say members of the “Mountain Research Initiative Working Group”
    Members? That’s plural. So they’re like a choir.
    And they basically admit they know squat, right from the get-go. They basically sing, following the bouncing ball:
    “We haven’t observed much of this, but it’s very important that we pay attention to it, to make sure that that we pay attention to it, to ensure that it exists.”
    This is agenda-speak. The original hymn quoted above is full-on obfuscation. Nothing more…..
    …..uttered by a “group” who are in dire need of doing more research on something that might be there.
    Sparse data indeed. Do they think we are stupid, or what?

  25. Anthony, I live down the way from this station and run up to it periodically.
    After looking at the coordinates, I think the data presented is for Banff CS station which is actually in town and lower in elevation. The station atop Sanson Peak is at 51.147458°N 115.578615°W
    the lower elevation town station is 51.19 N 115.55 W which matches the chart presented.
    Banff has several station locations over the years. One station was on the now closed airfield located at the Minnewanka/ highway 1 intersection. Another station was right in town for years then later moved to its current location at 51.193290°N 115.552648°W and can be seen clearly on google earth.

    • My workday is currently on the flats at the base of Yamnuska ( First Nations land ). The mountain face that never sees snow (hint; lotsa freakin’ snow on all other mountains surrounding. I know,.. cool, right? ).
      Incredible beauty in this place.
      http://www.albertawow.com/hikes/Yamnuska_Mountain/Yamnuska_Mountain.htm
      Working outdoors was a dream this winter in the mountains. Not unbearably cold, when properly attired.
      We enjoyed our winter while eastern Canada got hammered.

  26. When I first read the title, I thought I saw the name Ray Bradbury. If we want think HOT, Fahrenheit 451 would certainly fit the bill. And that was in 1953! How hot would it be now?

    • Due to higher CO2, the ignition temperature of paper has now been lowered to an unprecedented 450 degrees! Our libraries are all at risk from climate change!

  27. I’ve noticed that the preferred sites for areas “Warming Faster Than Expected” are almost always inaccessible to the general public, and thus cannot be easily looked in on. That’s so strange…

  28. Somewhat off-topic, but has anyone noticed that from basically March 11th to April 22nd the rate of Arctic Sea Ice loss has been essentially ZERO???

    • I am now waiting for the “standard reply” from the CAGW crowd which will be:
      “Yeah, but we started out with a REALLY LOW Maximum back in early March, and Arctic Sea Ice is still well below normal”
      In anticipation of just such a reply, I guess I will have to point out that the rate of ice loss being essentially zero from March 11th through April 22nd (a six-week period) is UNPRECEDENTED! (Gotta use their terminology, right??!!??)

      • Or the other reply is that it’s “rotton” ice…that ice just just does not want to comply with models and politics!

  29. In an attempt to adjust to the elevation they chewed too many coca leaves to be able to read the thermometers accurately.

    • According to the CAGW crowd, the words “radiative” and “cooling” can not be used together in a sentence.

  30. Hmm. Now if they want to do an interesting study, they should look and see how the tree line has moved to a higher elevation thanks to higher CO2 levels, and how that affects temperature. More shade means cooler temperatures perhaps?

  31. Has Ray Bradley discovered the missing hot spot in the upper troposphere? He should be more forthright if such is the case.

  32. increased latent heat release at high altitudes
    Does everybody agree that’s happening? It fits with the 2%-7% increase in rainfall reported in O’Gorman et al. Can it be happening without an increase in the rate of heat flux from the surface? Does it imply an increased rate of precipitation at those mountain tops?

    • wouldn’t that be self-correcting? I mean added precipitation at altitude would be snow which would really add to the reflection decreasing the amount of short wave absorbed thus lowering the temperature.

  33. […]“Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network […]”
    Is not this the Climategate individual that, even back then, was having doubts about ‘other individuals’ that were promoting ‘the cause’ rather than Science?
    How time changes one. From the bottom of the Ocean to the top of the Mountains …
    Bradley (Climategate e-mails)
    This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”). Furthermore, it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right, due to underestimation of low frequency info
    But we “antis” certainly have some ‘sophistication’ now Raymond. You recognise that we have ‘the scent’ and will run you down very soon. Agreement at Paris 2015 … Non.

  34. Let me get this right.
    Urban Heat Island does not exist
    but Upper Himalyan Heat Island does exist

    • Wotcha do is find an area that has no historical data. Make up some historical data and compare that to your ‘modelled data of imaginary yesteryear’ and things are obviously ‘worse than we thought’.
      Jeeze – you will never be a ‘scientist’

  35. Give me a cash grant! I want to go hiking in remote mountainous areas also…. but I have to work for a living!

  36. What utter balderdash!
    South America has endured (or enjoyed, if you’re a skier) record cold & snow since at least the rare Atacama Desert snowfall of 2011. Good for the water supply. Every year since has been colder & snowier, if not before, than “normal”. Even the SH summer was so severe that a recent annual expedition to the Pine Island Glacier, Antarctica had to be called off.
    No observable warming in the Andes station record.
    BTW, there’s now a WX station on the South Col of Everest. Or was. Don’t know if it’s still there or not. If still there, expect its readings to be heavily adjusted.

  37. I.e. it may not be a solid, proven fact, that high mountains are warming faster than expected, but they are expected to warm faster than expected.
    What a gem of logic!

  38. “Elevation-dependent warming is a poorly observed phenomenon that requires urgent attention to ensure that potentially important changes in high mountain environments are adequately monitored by the global observational network,”
    Translation: I need millions of dollars in grants, right now!!!

    • If if makes you feel better they are very unlikely to go to the top of these mountains , after all ‘climate models ‘ can give them all the ‘proof’ they need without any nasty messing around with unreliable reality.

  39. If they are using the Sulfur mountain data, did they take in to account that the top of Sulfur mountain is a major tourist location? There are gondolas running daily up the mountain ( http://www.albertaeh.ca/gallery/var/albums/Rocky-Mountain-Region/Banff-Alberta/Sulfur-Mountain/gondola20090720_17.JPG?m=1399744507 ), there is a resteraunt and observation building at the top ( https://cdn2.gbot.me/photos/DW/mR/1284957027/Sulfur_Mountain_Gondola-Banff_Sulphur_Mountain_Go-3000000000777-500×375.jp ) and there are stone and cement walkways providing easy access to the door of the monitoring station ( http://www.websitesbyjudy.com/canadianrockiespicts/banffsulfurmoutaintop.gif ). I would think all of those warm bodies walking around it day in and day out would have some effect on the temperature readings?

    • The weather station is at a different location from the restaurant and tourist activity… in fact, that picture is the weather station from the tourist center. The weather station is upwind of the tourist center in almost all weather situations.
      Using Sulphur mountain for a weather station isn’t very telling, though, and I would say that whether it supported warming or cooling conclusions.
      I live an hour away from there, and have been in and around that area my whole life. One thing that everyone should know is that Banff has uncommonly variable weather. It’s the leading edge of where Chinooks hit. It’s a highly trafficked area because of the spectacular view. It’s not uncommon to experience 60-100 MPH winds up there. Because of its location at the end of a mountain pass the Pacific flow slams it regularly, bringing weather that doesn’t match the surrounding area.
      I actually climbed that mountain on foot, on a whim, with no preparations, water, or food when I was 18, and it’s a good thing they gondola everyone down because there’s no way I could have walked down it. At the bottom of the mountain is a world-famous hot springs, which has changed over the last few decades (there’s a lot of geothermal heat there).

      • the third picture lik is a close up of the weather station and all the people around it and it’s ease of access for tourists, unlike the pictures above. Have been up there a few time my self.

  40. Of course, this is so important ( = “urgent”). Otherwise the “social and economic consequences” … umm don’t bear thinking about. I see the alpine meadows and slopes are intensively developed and heavily settled. They’re also covered with lush forest and dense growth, without exception.
    If alpine species can’t adapt to slightly warmer temperatures and become extinct, then there is an alternative lower temperature habitat for the “endangered” poly-bear. Only vegans need apply.
    Or will that mean polar bears in the back yard, pilfering, pillaging, and plundering our domestic rubbish bins?

  41. The polar bears are sending urgent messages to send many more scientists to study them and for these to please not bring any guns. And dress in grey gear so they look more like seals would be greatly appreciated.

  42. A lot of the data just doesn’t support their “assumptions”:
    12 October 2014: …But in the mountainous Karakoram region of Asia — home to K2, the second-highest peak on Earth — the glaciers aren’t melting. If anything, some are expanding – Ref:
    http://m.livescience.com/48256-asia-karakoram-glaciers-stability.html
    Snow slowly building on Mount Kilimanjaro:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/03/21/kilimanjaro-regaining-its-snow-cap/
    Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing. Hubbard Glacier begins on a Mount Logan ridge at about 18,300 feet. Hubbard is the largest tidewater glacier in North America. Status: advancing:
    http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs-001-03/
    It looks like the largest tidewater glacier of the Patagonian ice field is also advancing. From Wikipedia: “Brüggen Glacier, also known as Pío XI Glacier, is in southern Chile and is the largest western outflow from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The glacier’s source begins at Mt. Cordon Mariano Moreno Elevation: 3490 m / 11450 ft Now about 66 km (41 mi) in length, it is the longest glacier in the southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.” – Status: advancing.
    Taku Glacier of the Juneau Ice field (the largest glacier in that Ice field) is advancing, as opposed to the much smaller glaciers from that same ice field (Taku Glacier) is advancing. Recognized as the deepest and thickest glacier known in the world, the Taku Glacier is measured at 4,845 feet (1,477 m) thick. (outside of Greenland and Antarctica I would assume) The glacier begins at an altitude of between 6 to 7,000 ft. The advance is due to a positive mass balance; that is, more snow accumulates than snow and ice melt. Status: advancing.
    Mt Blanc, the tallest mountain in the Alps increases in height because of growing glaciers:
    http://iceagenow.info/2007/10/mont-blanc-glacier-doubles/
    & http://iceagenow.com/Mont_Blanc_Glaciers_Refuse_to_Shrink.htm
    There was a weather station on Mt McKinley just south of Denali Pass at an elevation of nearly 19,000 feet from 1990 to 2007, but the data is noted as “unreliable”:
    http://www.iarc.uaf.edu/mt_mckinley/mt_mckinley_weather.php

  43. “without substantially better information, there is a risk of underestimating the severity of a number of problems”
    Wouldn’t it follow that without substantially better information, there is a risk of OVERestimating the severity of a number of problems?

  44. The air holds damn little heat at altitude . Even here at 2500m ( 8200ft ) the diurnal variance year round is close to 20c compared to about 8c at sea level in NYC .
    http://cosy.com/Science/NY_WPtemps.jpg
    Right now the snow line on Pikes Peak is below the tree line , the sharpness of which I’ve recently wondered about . Here’s a picture from May a couple of years ago . It could have been taken last week . Now the lowland snow is only in the woods .
    http://cosy.com/images/y13/FrostyMay100743crop1024.jpg
    Anybody who’s climbed to even the 4300m ( 14,000ft ) of Colorado’s mountains knows the air doesn’t hold enough heat to for any change in composition to make it substantially warmer .
    One point often neglected in calculating daytime temperatures at these altitudes is the large amount of unabsorbed 5800k radiant energy density when the sun is out . If it’s sunny , it’s warm ; if it’s not , it’s not .
    I’d be interested in the temperature records for the Tibetan plateau , an enormous area all at 4000m .

  45. Although Mt. Washington (the highest mountain in the NE North America – USA) is not in a glacier area, it has been recording weather/climate since 1935. From its analysis from 1935 t0 2003 here are the results:
    “An analysis of the 1935-2003 temperature data (Grant et al. 2005) showed a statistically significant warming of 0.32ºC (0.58ºF) in annual average temperature. During this 69 year period the winter and spring average temperatures warmed more than the annual average, 0.71ºC (1.3ºF) and 0.80ºC (1.4ºF) respectively. Summer and fall had no significant trends. The difference between daily minimum and maximum temperatures has decreased during this period (Figure 1). These results are consistent with temperature observations across New England. ”
    Not sure why the data hasn’t been updated to 2015, but the results show a decade warming of 0.0457 C increase per decade. Maybe since the “pause”, it doesn’t show warming, but cooling. Not sure why.
    Reference is from here – according to their graph in figure 1, I don’t see where they get their statistics in the above paragraph after looking at the temperature graph::
    https://www.mountwashington.org/research-and-product-testing/past-projects/airmap.aspx
    Looking at the data on temp increase from fig 1., it looks like about a 0.4 C increase over a a 7 decade period from 1935 t0 2003 (conservatively).
    Does anyone see something different??

  46. Next he will tell us that the deserts are warmer than they thought!

  47. The post says, “…turned out to be nothing more than land use change around the mountain, resulting in less evapotranspiration, less snow, and therefore a lower albedo, which tends to make the mountaintop warmer with all that exposed rock. Yep, it’s the trees.
    And now, the snow is coming back to Kilimanjaro.”
    If the snow is coming back are you saying…it wasn’t evapotranspiration from land use changes either?

  48. Whoa! I remember climbing those stairs…over 10 years ago. Already?! Time flies. Thanks for bringing back memories.

  49. “…we could see more dramatic changes much sooner than previously thought.”
    So was it actually warmer or was it just their “thought” that was wrong?
    Thanks for the picture Anthony. Many great memories.
    CodeTech I have many pictures of those steps. In 2010 I took my 8 and 6 year old grand children UP the Gondola and walked DOWN the trail but I was very impressed by a few folks we met that were actually RUNNING up that trail. Made me feel rather ancient.
    As for warming, I am going skiing for a few days next week just one valley west:
    http://www.skibanff.com/
    I predict there will be snow on the ground and Sunshine and Lake Louise will be open for skiing until May 10 this year … although I did rake my pastures today and farmers are tilling and planting but there is still decent snow on the mountains with more in the forecast.

  50. “There are very few weather stations above 14,700 feet (4,500 m), and long-term data, crucial for detecting patterns, doesn’t yet exist above 16,400 feet (5,000 m) anywhere in the world”.
    Exactly how much of the entire world is above 4,500 m? The highest mountain in Australia is only half of that. Can I have a research grant to build a mountain?

    • @ Robber, you are not thinking big enough, you should ask for a grant to raise your whole continent of Oz. The money would flood in.

  51. Well thank goodness someone has found the missing heat.
    It was hiding in the mountains like desperadoes in spaghetti westerns who are on the run from the the law.
    “Don’t worry kind town folk, we’ll get that missing heat and put it back where it belongs, in CCJ, Climate Change Jail. You betcha.”

  52. Observations of the HISTALP projectare showing that highere regions in the alps are warming faster than
    Especially the “Thawing days” at Junfraujoch station show a trend supporting the article mentioned.

  53. The Tibetan plateau has seen a dramatic increase in Chinese “development” between 1961 and 2012. Not exactly your standard high elevation situation on Earth.

  54. Actually if we posit that CO2 does have some effect on temperature and that lapse rate controls the temperature profile throughout the troposphere we can make the following argument which supports the present paper. Because warmer surface temperatures means higher absolute humidity near the surface, which means a decreased lapse rate, so that as you descend from the mountaintop elevation to the surface water vapor increases so lapse rate decreases. Above the mountaintop there is little water vapor so lapse rate remains the same (the dry lapse rate). More CO2 causes the effective emissions height to increase so that the temperature of the effective emissions height (-18C) is found at a higher level and the mountaintop temperature increases accordingly since the dry lapse rate has not changed. But below the mountaintop the humidity of the air increases so that the lapse rate in this range of altitudes decreases. This negative feedback effectively slows the rise in surface temperature, potentially completely bringing it to a stop. Frankly, I consider the positive water vapor feedback mooted by the “climate consensus” to be nonsense.

  55. One can laugh at their supposed demonstration that rising temps on the Tibetan plateau represent global warming. Rising pressure show on the contrary that stronger anticyclones are reaching the zone and that the gradient pole/equator is becoming bigger.

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