Guest essay by Leo Goldstein
When something pretending to be a science cannot adequately define a quantity for its central subject, this something is inarguably a pseudo-science. This is certainly the case in the self-professed “climate science.” It proposes the hypothesis of a dangerously warming climate, but does it define a meaningful climatic temperature that can be robustly calculated from the observations at the current time? To the extent that it does define climatic temperature (meaningfully or not), does it pay much attention to this quantity? The answer to both these questions is a resounding NO.
The proper term climatic temperature is traditionally used in unapproved climate-related web publications. But IPCC and IPCC-aligned papers typically use the word “climatological” instead of “climatic” (possibly to overcome an insecurity about their status relative to science; like ‘scientology’), but the proper word is climatic.
IPCC AR5 fails to define either “climatological temperature” or climatic temperature. A Google search for “climatological temperature” on the IPCC website (ipcc.ch) finds only 3 results, none of which defines or explains the term. A Google Scholar search for “climatological temperature” finds 2,220 results from 2010, but none of the top results uses this term as defined above.
Per the World Meteorological Organization, climatological temperature is one of the climatological standard normals which are defined as follows:
“The general recommendation was to use 30-year periods of reference. The 30-year period of reference was set as a standard mainly because only 30 years of data were available for summarization when the recommendation was first made,” (WMO, 2011) and “Under the current WMO Technical Regulations, recognising the realities of a changing climate, climatological standard normals are defined as averages of climatological data computed for successive 30-year periods, updated every ten years, with the first year of the period ending in 1, and the last year, with 0.” (WMO, 2016).
The climatist practice of calculating climatological temperature once every ten years while yelling that “it is worse than was thought yesterday” every week is not relevant here. Climatological temperature is a centered simple average of the so-called global surface temperature over 30 years, and can be calculated for any time 15.5 years or more back. But “climatological temperature” is used very rarely. It’s been hardly used by the most notorious climate papers. Typically, these papers show plots of alleged annual surface temperatures with linear regression lines over the convenient time periods. Sensitivity to the selection of end points is a well-known shortcoming of the linear regression, and the “climate scientists” fully exploit this. Thus, failure to define and to use suitable climatic temperature doesn’t seem accidental but intentional, stemming from a desire to confuse scientists and the general public.
The science of climate variability will need to break away from the infamous climate pseudo-science and the influence of international bodies. As part of this break away, I propose the definition and calculation of climatic quantities as an exponential moving average (“EMA”) of the corresponding annual values with a smoothing factor α = 0.048. In particular, climatic temperature, at any time, should be defined and calculated as EMA with α = 0.048 of the appropriate annual global average land surface temperature(1) through the last year for which full data is available (usually the few weeks after the end of the year).
The smoothing factor is selected to match 30 years simple average α = 0.048 ≈ 1/(30*ln(2)). Thus, the present climatic temperature would approximately match 30 years average centered about 15 years ago. It will be calculated once per year, probably in February. EMA is a more robust statistic than simple moving average, and more responsive because it weighs recent years heavier. EMA of temperature has been frequently proposed in climate realist literature.
After the standardized climatic average enters a use, anybody showing plots of annual global temperatures shall be laughed out of the room.
(1) Selection of the appropriate annual global temperature averaging method is a non-trivial problem (Essex, McKitrick & Andresen, 2007), and it is outside of the scope of this paper. Obviously, the method of climatic temperature calculation should not be changed after selection. Preferably, one of few methods widely used prior to the rise of climate alarmism should be used. Another non-trivial problem is finding and building a non-fabricated temperature data set.
Essex, McKitrick & Andresen, 2007. Does a Global Temperature Exist? Journal of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics, doi.org/10.1515/JNETDY.2007.001. Available from Eike-Klima-Energie
WMO, 2011. Guide to Climatological Practices. https://archive.is/Gto4o
WMO, 2016. Update to Guide to Climatological Practices. https://archive.is/IhLuw