Satellites – "not good enough to tell us global temperature", but apparently good enough to tell us global climate sensitivity

Remember that video produced a few weeks ago from the usual suspects that says satellite data is no good for climate data? Others in science don’t seem to think so.

Mapping the world for climate sensitivity

By using information gathered by satellites, a group of biologists have developed a new method for measuring ecosystem sensitivity to climate variability.

Global map of the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), a new indicator of vegetation sensitivity to climate variability using satellite data. Red colour shows higher ecosystem sensitivity, whereas green indicates lower ecosystem sensitivity. Grey areas are barren land or ice covered. Inland water bodies are mapped in blue. CREDIT: LEFT
Global map of the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), a new indicator of vegetation sensitivity to climate variability using satellite data. Red colour shows higher ecosystem sensitivity, whereas green indicates lower ecosystem sensitivity. Grey areas are barren land or ice covered. Inland water bodies are mapped in blue. CREDIT: LEFT


By developing this method, the international team of researchers has been able to map which areas are most sensitive to climate variability across the world.

“Based on the satellite data gathered, we can identify areas that, over the past 14 years, have shown high sensitivity to climate variability,” says researcher Alistair Seddon at the Department of Biology at the University of Bergen (UiB).

Seddon is first author of the paper Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability, which has just been published in the journal Nature.

Globe-spanning results

The approach of the researchers has been to identify climate drivers of vegetation productivity on monthly timescales. The researchers have found climate sensitivity in ecosystems around the globe.

“We have found ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability in the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, the tropical rainforest, alpine regions worldwide, steppe and prairie regions of central Asia and North and South America, forests in South America, and eastern areas of Australia,” says Seddon.

Creating a sensitivity index

The metric they have developed, the Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), allows a more quantifiable response to climate change challenges and how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term climate anomalies; e.g. a warmer June than on average, a cold December, a cloudy September, etc. The index supplements previous methods for monitoring and evaluating the condition of ecosystems.

“Our study provides a quantitative methodology for assessing the relative response rate of ecosystems, either natural ones or those with a strong anthropogenic footprint, to climate variability,” Seddon explains.

Using satellite data to get results

For their study, the researchers have used satellite data from 2000 to 2013, and Seddon describes their method.

“First of all, the method identifies which climate related variables such as temperature, water availability, and cloudiness are important for controlling productivity in a given location,” says Seddon.

“Then we compare the variability in ecosystem productivity, which we also obtain from satellite data, against the variability in the important climate variables.”

VSI provides an additional vegetation metric that can be used to assess the status of ecosystems globally scale.

“This kind of information can be really useful for national-scale ecosystem assessments, like Nordic Nature,” Seddon states.

“Even more interesting is that as satellite measurements continue and so as the datasets get longer, we will be able to recalculate our metric over longer time periods to investigate how and if ecosystem sensitivity to climate variability is changing over time.”


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February 18, 2016 4:41 pm

Highly specialized biomes with tenuous holds in regions of extreme environmental stress are more sensitive to small changes. Color me shocked.

February 18, 2016 4:48 pm

14 years and they use the term ‘climate?’
Ohhh…. I think they just reinvented the little growing zone map that’s printed on the back of seed packets.

Mick In The Hills
Reply to  H.R.
February 18, 2016 5:09 pm

And have you ever checked out the temperature ranges most seeds can handle?
Obviously, the seed companies haven’t got the memo yet.

Richard G.
Reply to  H.R.
February 18, 2016 6:03 pm

“Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Russian German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936.”
In use a bit longer than 14 years, eh?
Climate science used to be the province of biologists (science) until it was hijacked by Marx as a means to redistribute wealth! (politics)
Engineers use it too: “The tables below show the climate zone number for a wide variety of International
locations. Additional information on international climatic zones can be found in
ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007 Normative Appendix B – Building Envelope
Climate Criteria.” (pdf Not shown just used to make a point)
It’s not rocket science, it’s CLIMATE SCIENCE.* rim shot*

Reply to  Richard G.
February 18, 2016 10:37 pm

Richard G.:
You assert

Climate science used to be the province of biologists (science) until it was hijacked by Marx as a means to redistribute wealth! (politics)

Really!? Please state and reference what which “Marx” (Zeppo?) said what about “climate science”.
For a century there had been a scientific hypothesis that humans’ release of greenhouse gases (GHGs, mostly CO2) would enhance the greenhouse effect (GHE) to raise global temperature before right wing Margaret Thatcher elevated the issue to a major international policy issue (politics).

Reply to  Richard G.
February 19, 2016 2:49 am

Mrs T graduated in chemistry from Oxford, so in the early years I took it for granted that she was correct. In retrospect the transition from coal to gas powered generating in the UK explains why she may have used a minor physical process towards achieving major politically (possibly economically) motivated goal, perhaps not realising the magnitude of the global monster that her personal fight with Arthur Scargil initiated. Or am I wrong?

Reply to  Richard G.
February 19, 2016 5:40 am

The event with Ms T demonstrates the dangers of a small lie in the name of political expediency.
When a lie is held to be truth, evil follows.

Richard G.
Reply to  Richard G.
February 19, 2016 11:36 am

Richard C, thus illustrating that there is no simple answer to most questions. I was referring to the current political iteration that has the reins in it’s teeth. I should have said MARXISTS (my bad) or POLITICIANS , but the world is evolutionary and various political factions have used it as a vehicle towards their different ends.
My understanding is that Thatcher used it as a wedge issue during a strike by coal miners unions. IPCC officials have admitted that they intend to use it for wealth transfer even if the CO2 science is wrong.
Carbon trading was a scheme hatched by Enron exec Ken Lay and Vice President Gore to make money and gain power. Christopher Monkton worked with Thatcher at the time. Perhaps he should speak for himself, but I think he has changed his tune. To quote President John Kennedy, “Everyone makes errors. An error only becomes a mistake if you fail correct it.” That is a pretty humble thing for a President to say.
It should be climate SCIENCE, not climate POLITICS or fear mongering.

Reply to  H.R.
February 18, 2016 7:51 pm

Climate used to refer to locations, like “California has a Mediterranean climate.” But it’s such a handy, can-mean-anything word that it’s been Orwellified.

Reply to  dbstealey
February 18, 2016 9:27 pm

Yes, the climate of my back yard was much better last spring than it is this winter.

Reply to  dbstealey
February 19, 2016 8:52 am

The climate in my home right now seems just about perfect to me. But the climate surrounding the presidential debates is foul. Some are trying to generate a climate of openness while climate science is generating a climate of plain stupid.

george e. smith
Reply to  dbstealey
February 19, 2016 5:08 pm

Climate is not global; otherwise why don’t we have 10,000 feet of solid ice in northern California ??
10 miles or 16 km down the road from where I am sitting right now, has a climate that is more different from the climate where I’m at, than the climate where I’m at was in 1852.

Robert Austin
Reply to  H.R.
February 19, 2016 9:56 am

short-term climate anomalies

Young whippersnappers! In my younger days, it used to be called “weather”.

Reply to  Robert Austin
February 19, 2016 3:07 pm

I suppose they get paid by the syllable.

Reply to  H.R.
February 19, 2016 11:27 am

“short-term climate anomalies” is the new term for the phenomenon formally known as weather.
I think I’m going to save this paper and use it to troll the Warmists. Any time it is colder or snowier than average, I’ll point to it as evidence against CAGW (knowing it’s not), and when the Warmists respond that weather is not climate, I’ll point them towards this paper and say it’s not weather, it’s short-term climate anomalies.

February 18, 2016 5:04 pm

Dr Carl Mears of RSS says “stronger case can be made using surface temperature datasets, which I consider to be more reliable than satellite datasets”
I wonder what purpose he sees in their own data if he considers it inferior to surface measurements? And would he see this modelling as invalid due to the use of unreliable satellite measurements?

Reply to  Analitik
February 18, 2016 5:20 pm

Satellite measurements are not ‘unreliable’. RSS and UAH both look over each others’ shoulders to make sure everything is on the up and up.
They are competitors, and what better way to keep them both honest? Satellite data is the Gold Standard of global temperature measurements. It is far more accurate than surface stations, as Anthony has repeatedly shown to be the case.
Mears is a politician more than a scientist. His statements are self-serving and false. They are designed for public consumption, otherwise he would be fixing what he claims is broken.

Reply to  Analitik
February 19, 2016 3:11 am

The purpose of the RSS data was as a crosscheck to the UAH version, which when it was introduced contained several errors (pointed out by Mears, Fu etc). RSS therefore developed their own version which initially differed significantly, over time the UAH errors were eliminated although still showed differences. With their recent complete overhaul UAH have transitioned away from producing a TLT product and now produce an higher altitude version.

Reply to  Phil.
February 19, 2016 3:57 am

Which indicates what the major problem with the satellite data is – even if all the errors in numerical processing have been identified, the results are model dependent. They depend upon how you define ‘Lower Troposphere’, and this definition varies between the different reconstructions.

Reply to  Phil.
February 19, 2016 12:00 pm

Mears has spread a lot of disinformation in the name of Climate Inc, and probably at the request of his handlers. It is propaganda 101 to find perceived authority figures and then have them tell the masses a politically approved opinion disguised as an expert analysis. Let’s take a look at how many lies and half truths are in his paper.
“While some of these reports have “cherry-picked” their end points to make their evidence seem even stronger, there is not much doubt that the rate of warming since the late 1990’s is less than that predicted by most of the IPCC AR5 simulations of historical climate”
Flat out lie. No one is cherry picking a starting point or end point. The start of the hiatus is how far back you go and see no warming, it is not cherry picked, it is what it is by it’s very definition, just like my age is not determined by cherry picking my birth date.
“Does this slow-down in the warming mean that the idea of anthropogenic global warming is no longer valid? The short answer is ‘no’. The denialists like to assume that the cause for the model/observation discrepancy is some kind of problem with the fundamental model physics, and they pooh-pooh any other sort of explanation. This leads them to conclude, very likely erroneously, that the long-term sensitivity of the climate is much less than is currently thought.”
This sounds like it was written by an idiot with no clue as to what they are talking about, but that’s what happens when you are forced by your handlers to write something untruthful. Us “denialists” have been the ones saying that there will be no runaway global warming for decades now (essentially that the projections given in the 90s would not happen because the trend was caused mostly by nature, not man), but when this reality comes to fruition, we are said to be the ones making erroneous assumptions, it’s laughable.
“Part of the cause of the hiatus could simply be due to bad luck, that is, the last 15 years could have been cooler than normal simply because of random fluctuations in the climate system.”
This sentence sums up the Warmist double-speak. First it’s us “denialists” that have created the hiatus from cherry-picking, then it exists, but only when a Warmist speaks of it. Then he suggests that “random fluctuations,” something the “denialists” call natural forces, is the reason for the hiatus. Doesn’t that confirm what us “denialists” have been saying for decades? He either isn’t allowed to say, or isn’t sharp enough to realize it, that the “random fluctuations” are not only the cause for the hiatus, but are also the cause for the warming that preceded the hiatus, and the cooling that preceded that warming, and the warming that preceded that cooling that preceded the latest warming, and so on.

Sun Spot
Reply to  Analitik
February 19, 2016 11:29 am

Analitik; try analyzing this, Satellite measurements are calibrated and validated against Balloon Radiosonde measurements (so these balloon data sets are wrong as well?).
What are surface measurements, calibrated and validated against, infilling of surface measurements is the dodgiest science ever.

george e. smith
Reply to  Sun Spot
February 19, 2016 5:29 pm

Well it seems to me that the surface data sets have no global validity whatsoever, they don’t even come close to conforming to the required sampling regimen demanded of sampled data systems theory.
I’m not even convinced that the USA surface system is even any good for just the continental USA, as so many of the thermometers, are located to tell airline pilots it is safe to try and take off.
And since 70+ % of the global surface is covered by water, and it is known that near surface water Temperatures are not the same as near surface air Temperatures (lower troposphere); and moreover they are not correlated (why would they be correlated, with such a wild difference in velocity of water and atmosphere currents (winds), then all of the historic oceanic data is just so much junk, since most of it was taken from water measurements at some quite arbitrary water depth.
Heat (noun) flows depend on Temperature differences (at the same time); not on Temperature differences taken at quite unrelated times at quite unrelated points. So the surface sampling network, can’t tell you a thing about where heat is moving around the globe which affects what the climate will be doing.
And there is NO surface network of global cloud coverage and cloud density and cloud persistence time, and cloud geographical location (relative to solar insolation).
So we have no good data, on the primary feedback mechanism, which is how Surface Temperature changes, change cloud attenuation of TSI, and hence vary the flux of solar radiant energy which reaches the condensed phase surfaces and gets partially absorbed and transmitted to sub surface storage regions.
And since surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2 abundance, do not always both change in the same direction, then it is ludicrous to postulate that they are related by some simple mathematical function where such bidirectional change is totally impossible.

Mark from the Midwest
February 18, 2016 5:07 pm

“First of all, the method identifies which climate related variables such as temperature, water availability, and cloudiness are important for controlling productivity in a given location,”
Here’s a thought, just ask a local farmer! Me thinks that the academia of the world needs a visit from Mr. Obvious.

Reply to  Mark from the Midwest
February 19, 2016 12:04 am

@ Mark from the Midwest, 5:07 pm. I am starting to think “Farmers Almanac”?

Reply to  tobias smit
February 19, 2016 5:29 am

Talk to a farmer about global warming in say, Wisconsin this year, and you will get an earful or even your head ripped off.

Reply to  tobias smit
February 19, 2016 5:57 am

Talk to a farmer
this is a serious question that should be answered by the government, especially in this election year. billions of dollars in fuel taxes are collected. why are they not being paid back to the people to compensate them for climate change?
every year the government collects billions of dollars in taxes on fossil fuels. Why are the citizens not receiving compensation from the government from these taxes for global warming and climate change? Every dollar in these taxes should go back directly to the citizens and not be diverted to other purposes.
for example, if what the government says is true, then every farmer in the US should be getting compensation for the changing climate they must endure. Everyone with property at the sea shore should be receiving compensation for sea-level rise. every citizen should be receiving compensation for the carbon pollution they must endure and the millions of premature deaths.
So why is the government which tells is daily of the horrors we are having to endure due to climate change, why is the government not making good on paying us for these damages using the billions of dollars it collects in fuel taxes? Why instead is the government using this as an excuse to raise even more taxes, when they are not even compensating us using the fuel taxes they already collect?
given the billions of dollars in fuel taxes already being collected, and given that the government is not using these to compensate people for the damages of climate change, how likely is it that any new taxes will ultimately go towards paying compensation for climate change. Isn’t it more likely the government will simply divert the new taxes for its own benefit and the benefit of large political donors?

February 18, 2016 5:12 pm

Satellites – “not good enough to tell us global temperature”, but apparently good enough to tell us global climate sensitivity . . .
. . and apparently good enough to measure sea level.

Reply to  garyh845
February 18, 2016 5:27 pm

It’d be the other way around if satellites showed a rise in temperature and ground based temperatures showed a decline. That is how climate science works. And if both don’t agree with models, then the models are correct and the real temps have to be adjusted.

Reply to  garyh845
February 19, 2016 5:50 am

… and sea-ice extent and/or mass.

Reply to  garyh845
February 19, 2016 9:27 am

Except the article referenced isn’t about temperature. It’s about vegetation change, and it utilizes entirely different satellites from those that make the temperature measurements.

Ernest Bush
Reply to  pd2413
February 19, 2016 9:56 am

If the temp data is unreliable, why should we have any trust in any other satellite data product?

george e. smith
Reply to  garyh845
February 19, 2016 5:34 pm

Doesn’t water flow from high to low ??
So why wouldn’t a thermally induced bulge just flow to some other lower place and re-level everything. ??

February 18, 2016 5:30 pm

Which satellites? What data? Why only back to 2000?

February 18, 2016 5:37 pm

If they are truly contributing to our knowledge of our world I am for them.
Rather think commodity “Futures” traders could have written their paper (covering productive areas) decades ago. Much cheaper for the public too. More useful too.

R Shearer
February 18, 2016 5:44 pm

Model forcings are not good enough either, according to Trenberth @ 4:05.

george e. smith
Reply to  R Shearer
February 19, 2016 5:39 pm

Well in Dr Trenberth’s case, MODELS aren’t any good either.
He thinks the earth is flat, with the sun permanently suspended 186 million miles above it night and day. (what is night with the sun always at the zenith ??)

Keith Minto
February 18, 2016 5:52 pm

Full 3 page letter

Taylor Pohlman
Reply to  Keith Minto
February 18, 2016 8:18 pm

Any idea how they factor in rising levels of CO2 and the corresponding greening? Or do they subtract that factor to look at other variables? It would be nice to see a paper that actually gets CO2’s effect right…

February 18, 2016 5:58 pm

Like I said when Mann et al released that idiotic video….Do they even realize how many other scientists…and their studies….and their departments….and their LIVES….they just screwed over by insinuating that the satellite data isn’t good enough to use? The absolute arrogance/stupidity of the people who put that video together is still just mind blowing. They just started throwing their own under the bus for no good reason. I hope there is some blow-back from other scientists whose work will now be viewed as less than trustworthy.

February 18, 2016 6:09 pm

“First of all, the method identifies which climate related variables such as temperature, water availability, and cloudiness are important for controlling productivity in a given location,” says Seddon.
That would be impressive. We hillbilly farmers have been using NDVI for a while. It tells us what is stressed, but we have to boots on the ground truth soil moisture, soil nutrients, leaf water potential, tissue nutrient levels, etc. to figure out why the plants are stressed. Often the reason is an off the wall nutrient that may be very abundant in the soil but unavailable to the plant due to microbial/soil chemistry.
Personally far more comfortable with satellite TLT.

old construction worker
February 18, 2016 6:11 pm

Monsanto must hate Co2.

george e. smith
Reply to  old construction worker
February 19, 2016 5:42 pm

Well that’s because Monsanto is Company one, and they don’t give a rip about Company two.
g Roundup is your friend, if you have green where green is not supposed to be.

February 18, 2016 6:17 pm

First they work out which factors control productivity, then they look at the data. To me, that’s backwards.

February 18, 2016 6:40 pm

It’s not that Satellites are “not good enough to tell us global temperature”, rather it is that they do tell us global temperatures but not the global temperatures that the Warmistas want to hear. If the Satellites had shown higher temperatures they would have been the Bees’ Knees to Warmistas.

george e. smith
Reply to  ntesdorf
February 19, 2016 5:45 pm

Global Temperature is somewhere between about +60 deg. C with maybe +90 deg. C peaks, down to -94 deg. C, and pretty much everywhere in between can be found some place on earth all at the same time.

February 18, 2016 7:04 pm

How did we end up in a world where more CO2 and slightly higher temperatures are bad for plants? /rhetorical

Reply to  RH
February 18, 2016 10:51 pm

Off topic, but worthwhile for the thinkers out there. I sort of liked Trump and I gotta say this… Can you imagine ‘lawsuit happy Donald Trump” as president? Talk about executive orders galore and stepping all over anyone who gets in his way.? Government will be all over anyones ass who does.
I had a desire to see opposition to what we have now, but if you take what we have seen so far from Trump and extend and expand out his potential power, it will only get 100 times worse with him with as president and I am sure there will be sorrow. Obama is bad, but Trump will multiply the sorrows for everyone. A cool, sober, steely eyed President will not be found in Trump.
Just take a cool, logical, calm look at his campaign so far and extrapolate. He can’t even deal with a presidential primary campaign without going off the rails. His grasp on the reasonableness of the law and the Constitution is nowhere to be found. He acts like a petulant little child when confronted, even with the truth. I am done with my previous support for him. I have come to realize that my anger with the current situation will most likely be much worse with him at the helm as president. My imagination is even probably lacking in how really bad it can get.
Please think about it.
Thanks… A fellow U.S. Citizen on the conservative / constitutional side / I love my country side.

Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 6:15 am

thanks Hillary, glad to see you could take the time to let us know your views. your common sense approach to storing above top secret information at home is an inspiration to us all. and deleting those 35000 troublesome emails before anyone other than the Russians and Chinese could look at them, well that was simply brilliant. we can be absolutely sure that none of those were marked classified and that the safety of the nation is assured in your hands.

Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 6:20 am

in every election the People are given a choice between an incompetent and a crook. the crook has already been chosen. all that is left now is to select the incompetent.

george e. smith
Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 5:48 pm

Well you can rely on the republicans to give us either a lying Clinton crook, or a self professed Communist.

Reply to  RH
February 18, 2016 10:53 pm

Oh…And satellites are really cool.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 5:58 am

Yes, Trump would be a travesty, and I’m not crazy about Cruz either (though I’d still vote for him if he were the nominee). I know Rubio is a bit of a greenhorn and tends to sound scripted, but he’s about as ideal a candidate as we have. What Republicans have had are two groups of voters; Trumpers and non-Trumpers. And, as the field has winnowed down, the non-Trumpers are most decidedly not climbing on the Trump bandwagon.

Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 9:53 am

If the two front runners are nominated, there will be a third-party candidate … and a fourth. Who knows how the kookie will crumble after that.

george e. smith
Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 5:53 pm

Well either candidate with a D after their name would be a travesty, and that is what we are going to get, with all of the doofusses running on the alternative ticket. Everyone of them, has an agenda, which has nothing to do with restoring the Constitutional Government of the USA.
The shattered remnants that big O leaves us with, may not be rebuildable into anything the founders entrusted to us.

Reply to  Dahlquist
February 19, 2016 8:29 pm

Bernie Sanders is gonna put out 90 billion a year of our tax money to pay for college educations for the retards coming out of high school these days. How well is that gonna work out when they graduate college and nobody will be able to hire them because their taxes are so high they can’t keep their businesses open and also, consumers won’t be able to afford to purchase anything these free educated, genius graduates produce.
The best thing to do would be to re open jr. high and High school industrial and technical, shop classes. Or offer jobs in the military in exchange for education. “Free College” would be the biggest form of wasted welfare for retired teenagers. What a F%&#ing joke. Let us all simply shoot ourselves in the head and be done with it.
And the lying, delusional, “don’t give a crap about anyone other than herself” presidential wanna be, who would do absolutely “Anything… Absolutely Anything, guys and gals”… If you were so inclined, to be president. Doesn’t matter at all that you may be infected with some nasty STD… She would do it for the prize. And “what does it matter” that her lax and self serving contempt for the law and security for classified info or for one of her Ambassadors or deep cover operatives overseas. They are simply peons in her sick climb over peoples corpses or backs to get to her goal… Or to her lifeboat. As far as ‘women first’ in the traditional sense, I do not consider her even a proper member of the human race and not worthy of the title “Woman”. Perhaps that’s why so many of these younger women have a bad feeling about her. They sense an incongruence and unconsciously recognize that she is not one of theirs. Or of anything worthy of claiming. Something slightly resembling a human which washed up on a beach, wrapped in seaweed and stinking like something dead.
Now, I have a problem with some of these politicians …And…
[Please do not insult the mentally challenged, physically challenged and physically handicapped (nor the truly insane) by comparing them to today’s high school students. .mod]

February 18, 2016 7:08 pm

Satellites are more accurate than any ground-based temperature data-set simply because they represent the shape of El Nino peaks and Las Nina valleys more accurately. If you look at Figure 15 in my book (“What Warming?”) you will see a satellite temperature curve with an ENSO wave train consisting of five El Nino peaks and La Nina valleys on the left. The average temperature difference between an El Nino peak and the bottom of its neighboring La Nina valley is 0.5 degrees Celsius. The background grid has 0.2-degree spacing and makes it easy to judge the vertical temperature difference. Figure 23 in that same book shows a HadCRUT3 ground-based temperature curve from 1850 to 2008 with the ENSO oscillations clearly shown for the entire length of the temperature curve. The background grid is the same as that in the satellite data – a 0.2-degree grid. There is a red transparent overlay that gathers together the El Nino/La Nina peaks and valleys and allows us to judge that the difference between an El Nino height and a La Nina valley bottom for most of this temperature graph is about 0.2 degrees Celsius, less than half of what is shown by satellites in Figure 15. Furthermore, this graph just happens to include the same temperature graph as Figure 15 does. In this version the height difference between El Ninos and La Ninas is only 0.2 degrees, not 0.5 degrees as shown by satellites. This is a typical difference because I have noticed that changing the scale of ground-based data sets does not improve the resolution. This vertical temperature difference is extremely important for understanding the nature of the super El Nino phenomenon. In Figure 15, for example, the average El Nino – La Nina temperature difference is 0.5 degrees. But for the super El Nino it is one full degree Celsius. You cannot detect this in ground-based data. It tells us that the super El Nino is not part of the ENSO oscillation and does not follow the rules that ENSO does.

February 18, 2016 7:27 pm

“Creating a sensitivity index…”
Like the global average temperature index thing?
“The crowd settled and a scientist at my table asked me why I objected to global temperature. I replied minimally, ‘on physical grounds.’ To my surprise, my interrogator simply nodded and accepted the explanation. He obviously knew the physics. However, he said, “but an average over temperatures is OK to use as an ‘index,’ isn’t it?”
‘Well, er, yes. I suppose it’s OK,’ I replied. But if increasing temperature means ‘warming,’ what does increasing ‘index’ mean? Global ‘indexing’?”
(God give us more like Christopher Essex!)

February 18, 2016 7:42 pm

There has been no global warming this century, but they can measure the effects of it. What am I missing here?

old construction worker
Reply to  Skeptical
February 19, 2016 1:32 am

“What am I missing here?”
Missing is the link between Co2 and run a way global warming.

Reply to  old construction worker
February 19, 2016 4:11 am

“Missing is the link between Co2 and run a way global warming.”
No, Missing is run a way global warming.

Reply to  old construction worker
February 19, 2016 6:30 am

The Piltdown Man was the missing link found in the last century. For forty years the best scientists in the world were fooled as to the truth.
Global warming is this century’s Piltdown Man. Why should anyone think the current crop of scientists are any better at detecting fraud? Especially when their grants depend on not finding it.

Thomas Homer
Reply to  old construction worker
February 19, 2016 6:38 am

It seems that wherever there is a “missing link” there is “settled science”

February 18, 2016 7:46 pm

““Based on the satellite data gathered, we can identify areas that, over the past 14 years, have shown high sensitivity to climate variability,””
Since there has been no warming during this time, anything they detect must have other causes or indicate that their wonderful program/model egregiously sucks.

Taylor Pohlman
Reply to  higley7
February 18, 2016 8:21 pm

That’s my point above about CO2 greening -it sure wasn’t temperature

February 18, 2016 8:33 pm

My son lives in Fairbanks, Alaska. He’s witnessed temperatures from -50 to +85 degrees Fahrenheit, which indicates humans can survive and thrive extreme temperature swings

Reply to  Tony Rohl
February 19, 2016 6:36 am

A swing of -50 to +85 degrees, that we can survive. It is the relentless 0.15 F per decade that has people dying in the millions.
Looks at the statistics, they speak for themselves. Every year 55 million people die worldwide. Over the next 100 years we expect that more than 7 billion people will die. 7 billion people!!
We need to stop people from dying of global warming and climate change. And the only way we can do this, the only possible solution, is to tax them to death. No more deaths due to global warming and climate change, problem solved.

Reply to  ferdberple
February 19, 2016 8:59 am

Good one!
Maybe one could do a survery that asks the question, “Do you prefer being taxed to death, being bludgeoned by Global Warming propaganda until you kill yourself, or dying from despair when your local climates changes?

george e. smith
Reply to  ferdberple
February 19, 2016 6:00 pm

Well the way I figure it it has to average at least 70 million a year over the next 100 years, and likely many more because of the replacement rate.
I heard somewhere, that the first person (since Methuselah) to live to 150 years old, is already over 50 years old, and the first person to live for 1,000 years (including Methuselah) has already been born.
Yes I heard that; I didn’t make it up.

February 18, 2016 8:46 pm

“Even more interesting is that as satellite measurements continue and so as the datasets get longer, we will be able to recalculate our metric over longer time periods to investigate how and if ecosystem sensitivity to climate variability is changing over time.”
Please keep us employed for another 30 years.

February 18, 2016 9:28 pm

“. . .how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term anomolies; eg. a warmer June than on average, a cold December, a cloudy September, etc.” The climate during the 1960’s and ’70’s, which alarmists claim was not only typical but ideal, never had ANY anomolies like a warmer than average June, a cold December or a cloudy September. Every month was the ideal temperature with just the correct amount of clouds and precipitation. It was nirvana for every plant and animal species, not like today with “Carbon Pollution” threatening all and sundry with the apocalypse. The winters WERE cold during the 1960’s and 1970’s. I know as I lived in Toronto and walked to school during the ’60’s and early ’70’s. They were cold, just like the winters of 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015 which alarmists also blamed on Global Warming or Climate Change or whatever. Another thing that was ideal during the ’60’s and ’70’s was the limited amount of alarmist climate scientists. Now their population is totally out of control – something MUST be done about it before we are inundated with even more of the scoundrels!

Reply to  3¢worth
February 20, 2016 3:19 am

Another thing that was ideal during the ’60’s and ’70’s

was I was 40 years younger and my wife loved me dearly.

James Bull
February 18, 2016 11:35 pm

“These are not the droids (satellites) you want!”
James Bull

February 19, 2016 1:04 am

Anthony, would I be right in saying that this method will catch all manner of other effects on regional vegetation in the same net as “climate sensitivity” on said veg.
Parasites, soil issues, regional weather issues, geological events and so on

Reply to  Mark
February 19, 2016 3:45 am

“Parasites, soil issues, regional weather issues, geological events and so on”
The will detect all those things. And they’ll blame it all on AGW.

Keith Willshaw
February 19, 2016 1:34 am

Climate sensitivity IS a real problem for agriculture especially if as some suggest we are about to enter a cooling phase. A late spring or early autumn frost can devastate some crops, especially soft fruits and citrus. Most farmers already know this but an old hill farmer friend of mine in North Yorkshire tells me a number of incomers have been caught out by bad winter weather in recent years. The old timers still keep crude sheep shelters in place on the high moors, often nothing more than an angle in a dry stone wall it can make the difference between life and death for the flock. In recent years an entire industry has grown up manufacturing animal shelters, seems the uplands of Britain didn’t get the memo about global warming.

Reply to  Keith Willshaw
February 19, 2016 5:23 am

I used to have a flock of sheep in upstate NY before free trade dropped prices from $250 a head to $50 a head. We had a sheep house for winter and fed them hay harvested in summer! Keeping them out in the cold is a Brit habit from the previous Modern Warm Era which began to fade back in the 1970’s and will resume fading in the next 50 years.

old construction worker
February 19, 2016 1:36 am

Are the saying that more Co2 may be helping plants on the endanger species list?

Dodgy Geezer
February 19, 2016 2:01 am

…Really!? Please state and reference what which “Marx” (Zeppo?) said what about “climate science”….
It was Harpo.
The comment was “Honk, Honk!”
Here he is opening the 1930 IPCC conference:

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
February 19, 2016 5:14 am

Dodgy Geezer:
Excellent! Thankyou.

Richard G.
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
February 19, 2016 11:48 am

Honk Honk!++

February 19, 2016 2:46 am

Well of course the satellites are not good enough. Besides they are expensive and unnecessary.
All you need it one old tree as long as it tells you that CO2 is going to kill us all. That tree can make you rich and famous; just ask Mike “I sees what I wants to sees” Mann.

Disclaimer: It is also true that group think, conformation bias, and dishonesty are widespread in more areas of ‘science’ than just climate “science” so I don’t think “Dr.” Mann has a good case against me for this comment.

Reply to  markstoval
February 19, 2016 10:31 pm

Well of course the satellites are not good enough. Besides they are expensive and unnecessary.

To be certain. Anyone who says otherwise is a pommy bastard. All we need is one old tree and this ashtray.
We just need this old tree, this ashtray and this chair. And this table. All we need is one old tree, this ashtray, a table and this chair. That’s it. That’s all we need.

Reply to  Bartleby
February 19, 2016 11:24 pm

And your Optigrab! The chair, the lamp…and the Opti-Grab, but that’s all we need!
thanks for the chuckle!

Reply to  Bartleby
February 19, 2016 11:39 pm

That old tree would make an excellent set of chairs, tables and ashtrays.
Yamal pine… the go to furniture timber.

February 19, 2016 2:48 am

the WMO flag up that Africa needs 9000 temp stations , that is how bad it is for 1/5 th of the world’s land mass and that’s just for starters.

Reply to  richard
February 19, 2016 10:28 pm

Good lord man! Start the engines! Full speed ahead! We MUST save Africa from itself! Damn the torpedoes!

February 19, 2016 4:54 am

So satellites found changes over a period satellites found no warming, warming being the claimed source of human driven changes. Did they also show areas becoming more stable as co2 offers benefits to plants? With deserts greening globally the areas that thus far became more stable look rather immense I would think.

February 19, 2016 5:20 am

Notice how all the great deserts are totally ‘insensitive’ to ‘climate change’ because they are stubbornly hot and totally dry!
Furthermore, all the ‘sensitive’ places are mainly where glaciers a mile thick form every Ice Age! Except for Brazil which supposedly is ‘sensitive’ yet the jungles there lived there during Ice Ages, after Ice Ages and so on. Whereas humans evolved rapidly thanks to Ice Ages being a really nasty hammer changing chimps into humans.

February 19, 2016 6:23 am

If it rains more than usual my grass grows faster and I have to cut it more often. If Punksatony Phil sees his shadow on February 2nd my grass cutting season will start later in the spring.
100 years from now, when CO2 has supposedly doubled in the atmosphere, it will be 1 degree Celsius warmer, assuming other natural variation and feedback’s do not actually make it cooler.
To what extent will the sensitivity of my grass to “climate” be changed? Will the end of civilization be looming?

Reply to  GTL
February 19, 2016 6:51 am

sensitivity of my grass to “climate”
no doubt in 100 years you will have a solar powered Roomba to cut the grass, so you can enjoy all the free time made possible by labor saving devices.
just think, as short a time as 50 years ago, it took only 1 parent working to pay for the house and car, while the other parent stayed home to raise the children. and now, with all the conveniences of modern society we have been able to dramatically alter this so that it only takes two parents working to pay for the bus. the car and houses are too expensive for anyone to buy, so no one need worry about having children. truly we have made great advances.

Wayne Delbeke
Reply to  ferdberple
February 19, 2016 10:21 am

ferd: 100 years??
Nope. Tomorrow if you want one. (Well maybe not self contained solar powered but if you have solar panels to plug in to charge it….)

ferd berple
Reply to  ferdberple
February 19, 2016 3:12 pm

folks 100 years ago had full automated lawn mowers. we are still catching up.

Reply to  GTL
February 19, 2016 10:16 pm

You’ll be dead. Your children will be dead. No one will care.

Reply to  GTL
February 19, 2016 11:43 pm

” my grass grows faster ”
Would someone PLEASE cut down the atmospheric CO2.
Its summer down here and I have to mow my grass every bl***y weekend. !!!!!
which of course, releases even more CO2

February 19, 2016 7:10 am

The interesting thing to me is that the paper refers to climate sensitivity of various ecosystems to the variability of climate. Each is a local effect.
“Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI), allows a more quantifiable response to climate change challenges and how sensitive different ecosystems are to short-term climate anomalies; e.g. a warmer June than on average, a cold December, a cloudy September, etc.”
I’m not sure that the information is useful in a larger sense, as we haven’t any way to control those variables, but it is interesting to see how the vegetation reacts to natural (or unnatural) variability.
This paper does not seem to be “yet another volley” in the Climate Wars.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
February 19, 2016 12:09 pm

Most of the effects of climate variables on any given plant/plant group/ ecosystem are known from centuries of botanical studies. If the known effects can be monitored via satellite this index could be useful. I really doubt, however, that the vagaries of daily/weekly/monthly weather can be assessed from space. For example, one could have a very warm June, but if one night of frost occurs at any time during the month, the effects will override any normal growth, or even survival (of annuals). Similarly, two years ago we had a brutally cold December with no snow cover. Frost went on average about 8 feet down, and some as low as 11 feet. This has a totally different outcome than a similar month with a meter or more of snow cover and frost down to 3-5 feet. I’m not sure how satellite data can detect subtle (or overt) climatic effects (really weather) in such a broad-based scheme of measurement. Unless they have thousands of folks on the ground monitoring vegetation change as these “short-term climate anomalies” occur there is no way to coordinate weather/vegetation response from space. If their data allows adequate measurement of parameters they might be able to compare against a well-established system such as Koppen’s, the boundaries of which should be measurable over time. Get back to me after 50 years of observation. Until then it is another computer game.

Reply to  R2Dtoo
February 19, 2016 10:12 pm

R2, very much appreciated discussion. Thank you.

February 19, 2016 9:01 am

It’s called very high altitude cherry picking.

February 19, 2016 9:05 am

Gee, I never knew how weather affects how my grass grows. I thought it was either all random or some grass god that controlled the grass. Thank goodness for scientists.
Sarcasm aside, I am not clear what these guys are trying to prove, discover, or measure.

February 19, 2016 2:40 pm

“We have found ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability…”
Could someone please explain, in plain English, what the heck this means?

Hocus Locus
Reply to  katherine009
February 19, 2016 2:52 pm

It’s your fault.

Reply to  Hocus Locus
February 19, 2016 9:33 pm


Hocus Locus
February 19, 2016 2:46 pm

GOLDEN OLDIE from 2009: The Secret Life of Climate Researchers [Iowahawk] “Our very planet depends on them. Yet they remain nature’s most elusive scientific species, inhabiting some of the world’s most delicate and daunting academic environments. But thanks to new breakthroughs in high speed cameras and email files, metascientists are finally beginning to understand their mysterious behaviors and complex social interactions. Tonight on Iowahawk Geographic: step inside the Secret Life of the Climate Researchers…
This part never fails to crack me up into fits of shrill world’s end hyena-laughter,
In this sequence, we see one group of researchers entering the hive each carrying a datum they have retrieved from a distant climate measuring station. This is the cause of much excitement among their colleagues, who buzz around in a grant-writing frenzy.
[Show: Infrared heat map film of highly agitated researchers]
“But there’s a problem: as the worker researchers attempt to store each raw datum into the neat honeycomb hockey stick structure provided by the hive’s Alpha Grantwriter, they discover that few will fit. The infrared shows them growing cool with fear. This signals the climate researcher’s instinctive behavior to begin viciously beating, rolling and normalizing the data into submission. According to Dr. Nigel V.H. Oldham, professor emeritus at Oxford University’s Centre for Metascience, this violent data dance is what makes climate researchers unique among breeds of scientists.”

Of course any resemblance to actual persons, real or imagined, is completely coincidental.

Reply to  Hocus Locus
February 19, 2016 9:32 pm

But the real question is, does it keep them from breeding?

February 19, 2016 9:29 pm

I never liked satellites. You just can’t trust ’em. Or Mears either. Those darned satellites! We spend all that money on them and they lie! Like Mears. We should stop funding both.

February 19, 2016 10:05 pm

They are always accurate when measuring sea level – strange eh!

Reply to  davidgraham08
February 19, 2016 11:46 pm

Actually, Satellites are not at all good with elevation. Certainly NOT to the cm range.

Bill Partin
February 20, 2016 3:13 am

“We have found ecologically sensitive regions with amplified responses to climate variability in the Arctic tundra, parts of the boreal forest belt, the tropical rainforest, alpine regions worldwide, steppe and prairie regions of central Asia and North and South America, forests in South America, and eastern areas of Australia,” says Seddon.
Is there any place else that could have an amplified climate sensitivity?

February 20, 2016 4:11 am

I am gratified by the heading of this post because last Wednesday the alarmist Melbourne Age (which is aimed at Australia’s second largest City’s inner -city green leftists) published the map and article about using satellite mapping to identify areas of vegetation likely to be sensitive to alleged climate change in our state of Victoria.
I quickly shot off a letter the next day to the new editor asking if the Age thought it appropriate to use satellite based data to report vegetation sensitivity to climate change then why did they not also report satellite data to report atmospheric temperatures –as had John Christy Professor of Atmospheric Physics at Alabama University in his evidence to the US House Committee on Science in February 2
I then asked could that be because the satellite data shows atmospheric warming over the past 37 years much less than the excessive predictions of 102 IPCC models-and as the satellite data was much less alarming -presumably it was probably also much less salable as news?
Not unexpectedly my letter was not published
This dishonest hiding the evidence from the public riles me and I expect many who read this blog

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