Why "Climate Science" Snubs Climatic Temperature

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


175 thoughts on “Why "Climate Science" Snubs Climatic Temperature

  1. ” EMA is a more robust statistic than simple moving average”. I read the article twice and couldn’t find your reasoning. I suppose it might depend on your definition of ‘robust’. Exponential averages are commonly used in signal processing, as are ensemble averages, the only advantage of exponential averages in my work is that you can see when a bad frame of data comes in and then wait for its effect to dissipate. Statistically it seems likely to be noisier because it down weights all but the most recent few samples. The stability from the long tail is small compared with the instability caused by the accentuation of the current sample.

    • … it down weights all but the most recent few samples.


      It all depends on being real clear about why you’re producing the number.

      The thing that gets up my nose is this: Most people make the implicit assumption that noise is gaussian. They may not even realize that they’re doing it. They reflexively average things assuming that doing so will reduce noise.

      The problem is that not all noise is gaussian and not everything that looks like noise is actually noise. The result is that some data sets are equally ‘noisy’ on all time scales and averaging won’t make things better. link

      • Exactly. Temperature data is almost certainly 1/f noise. This can clearly be seen by the mark one eyeball. No matter what scale is selected, temperature appears equally noisy, which has huge implications statistically.

      • commieBob,

        Your comment has to be the winner of “best of thread”!

        Your observation points to something that is part of the larger problem of assuming distributions to be effectively gaussian (“bell curves”). They’re not (gaussian should not be described as a “normal” distribution). The difference is often massive.

        For an example of this error in a different field, look at news about financial markets. Assuming bell curve distributions leads to the frequent description of large daily moves as being of 5 or even 8 standard deviations. Innumeracy in action.

      • Whenever I point out this assumption of gaussian noise, the response is something along the lines of “but you can still reduce the noise with an average even if the noise is not purely gaussian.” To which I reply: yes, however you need to characterize the noise structure in order to determine how much can be removed by your averaging function. This has not been done with temperature data sets, and in fact is probably not even possible for most of them since there are too many unknowns with how they were collected. Post processing only complicates this.

    • This may be the best sub-thread to lead off a comments section that I have seen at WUWT. Congratulations to all involved. (of course I am a little biased in that I agree with everyone :-) )

    • My mistake. EMA with the proposed alpha = 0.048 is less robust than SMA over 30 years. But the robustness should not be the goal. EMA-0.048 is selected because:

      1) it is expected to best match SMA-30, which was established time interval before the rise of climate alarmism
      2) it is more timely than SMA-30, weighing recent years heavier
      3) among all moving averages, EMA is the second most popular after SMA. Selecting anything exotic would smack of cherry-picking.

      Climatic temperature quantity is meant to be just an average of corresponding annual temperatures, to be used in the climate variability research. It is not meant to optimize signal/noise discrimination, because we do not know apriori what is the signal is.

      Taking into account other comments, I would like to re-iterate my proposal to use climatic temperature (calculated on a proper annual temperatures dataset) instead of the medieval “temperature anomaly” as the central quantity in CRV, and to show it on all graphs, plots, and charts.

      I have not made calculations or graphs of the past or current climatic temperature to avoid bias, and because I do not know which annual temperatures dataset is the best one.

  2. I disagree: climate science = science. Science is not only what we know, but everything that can be researched and quantitized. Some subjects we know very well such as energy but many others, including the climate , are part of investigation. Honest scientists always mention the uncenrtainties and assumptions. Pseudo scientists and quacks sell seeming certainties to the ignorant public. There is nothing wrong with climate science but honesty is lacking.

    • “Climate science” is possible. But when it is totally hijacked by political activists and pseudo-scientists, who corrupt it and silence every real scientist, it ceases to be science. I propose a term science of climate variability.

      • What about medical science? Every other 20 years food recommendations are reviewed. A matter of new insights but still science.

      • “If you have to use science in the name, what you are studying is not science.”
        A quick google search of “biological sciences” throws up dozens of such bodies, inluding Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard. The statement is absurd.

      • Ken Iverson made a similar comment but more specifically about university departments .

        To me the big problem is that “climate science” is conducted like a social science or even much agricultural science where much of the statistical techniques developed . The trappings of measurement and statistical analysis are employed but with essentially no foundation in physical theory .

        But temperature , including planetary temperature are issues of applied physics with “settled” quantitative theory tied deeply into all other physical phenomena . While all sorts of fancy theorizing is done in computational clouds , that foundation is ignored .

        In fact the spectral “green house gas” explanation for bottoms of atmospheres being hotter than their tops , is counter to those fundamental equations of radiative equilibrium — which is why there have never been either quantitative , testable equation , nor experimental demonstration of the effect in , now , decades .

        More directly on topic , in response to Ian W’s comment on the impropriety of averaging intensive variables like temperature : It’s more sensible than , eg : averaging phone numbers , because it’s monotonically related to the extensive quantity energy . But , the most meaningful average is to convert temperatures to their corresponding energies , average those , and convert back .

      • “The statement is absurd”. No, it’s mostly right. Your example of “biological sciences” is something different. That describes a grouping of biology related disciplines such as botany, zoology etc, which are all recognized science subjects. You would never need to say “botany science” for example. By comparison, social science, political science, even computer science are all fields that have tried to improve their image by adding science to their name. However, as Ferd says, calling it science doesn’t make it so.

      • “No, it’s mostly right. Your example of “biological sciences” is something different.”
        Why defend the indefensible? Try looking up school of physical sciences.

        It is very common to use the term “science” to describe subjects that are scientific. It is absurd to suggest that the use of the term “science” means that the subject is not scientific, as should be obvious to anyone at first glance, but them must become obvious after a shorth period of investigation.

      • I have to agree with @David, here – but he really should pick a better example. “Dietary science” is just about as full of quackery, flim-flam, ignorant (or deliberate) mis-use of statistics, etc. as “climate science.”

      • Ben A

        I think you are on the right track. But why not factor humidity and temperature together, if the goal is to represent heat? At least use all the information available instead of pretending that temperature is a good proxy for energy?

        No one rating a boiler looks at the Delta T only. To get a performance the extensive metric has to include flow. With the atmosphere we had to know the temp and humidity and then calculate a meaningful number which temp alone is not.

        One can’t even argue that temperature alone is ‘what is felt’. We feel a combination of temp and humidity. Has anyone produced a humidex chart instead of a temperature chart? At least that would be reporting something related to energy.

    • “David June 19, 2017 at 2:15 am

      I disagree: climate science = science. Science is not only what we know, but everything that can be researched and quantitized. Some subjects we know very well such as energy but many others, including the climate , are part of investigation. Honest scientists always mention the uncenrtainties and assumptions. Pseudo scientists and quacks sell seeming certainties to the ignorant public. There is nothing wrong with climate science but honesty is lacking.”

      That is a classic example of a strawman argument. And a method preferred by alleged climate scientists and their pledged acolytes.

      A) Invent something the original author did not state.
      B) Pose your entire counter argument against your own strawman.

      End result, nonsense.

  3. Another key component which is batted around is the global warming potential of co2 gas.

    What does it mean? What is it’s definition? Does it mean anything? If not why is it used to define other gases such as methane?

    • Papiertigre: To your question:-
      The nearest definition of the global warming potential of CO2 is on the IPCC AR4 Working Group 1 Technical paper on (I believe from memory) iPage 133 under Forcing Rate.
      Unfortunately this definition does NOT comply with the Laws of Thermodynamics. I believe it stems from the work of Ramaswamy et al. Circa 1972 or was it 2001?
      Sadly this schoolboy howler appears to have been buried in antiquity, at least from non academic eyes.
      If anyone would like a copy of this definition; just say and I will post it and explain the logic, or lack thereof.

      • Response to Alan Ranger:
        Many thanks. Much appreciated; but I suspect not the paper I look for, albeit that it does give the purported logic on “FDH” used by the earlier one dimensional models.
        I have a problem with this logic; but so far have not identified the flaw. Perhaps someone else could assist here? Meanwhile I will tickle the grey cells!
        Sadly this paper concerns itself with temperature only, with little or no reference to the energy fluxes involved, which to my mind is the crux of the matter. This particularly so as the IPCC identifies the flux (FR) as about 1.2 Watts/sq.m as the basis for future calculations and I suspect that this is where the logical flaw lies. For the IPCC definition is definitely at variance with Thermodynamic Law, in that where energy flows between two adjacent closed systems the recipient system MUST increase its energy State.
        Defining this State as fixed results in the energy flow being equal to zero.

  4. Leo,
    can you explain why you would want to use an exponential moving average? It would appear to have
    no advantages except to more heavily weight the most recent years – so if you wanted to hide any global
    warming you would use it, or if you wanted to predict the next year’s temperature then it would make sense but not otherwise. If you want to see what the climate variation is then a simple average is a better measure.

    An exponential moving average of temperatures gives more weight to the most recent temperatures. Which is pointless unless you are trying to predict the next year’s temperature. It will not tell you how things are changing.

  5. It is not normal scientific practice to average an intensive variable. Averaging an intensive variable based on multiple different specific heats and enthalpies can be done mathematically, but is as of much use as the average chromacity of cars on the interstate or an average telephone number.

    This is an ontology problem. The colloquial terms hot, cold, hotter, cooler and temperature are the wrong metrics. What should be being measured is heat content. For the atmosphere that should be in Kilojoules per Kilogram. Anyone measuring anything else does not understand what they are measuring – or does understand, but is trying to fool the colloquial audience.

    • Ian W June 19, 2017 at 3:39 am

      This is an ontology problem. The colloquial terms hot, cold, hotter, cooler and temperature are the wrong metrics. What should be being measured is heat content. For the atmosphere that should be in Kilojoules per Kilogram.

      Like so, …… right, …… to wit:

      The per se, …… Atmospheric Greenhouse Gases
      Carbon dioxide (CO2) —– Specific Heat Capacity – 0.844 kJ/kg K
      Water vapor (H2O) ——– Specific Heat Capacity – 1.930 kJ/kg K
      Methane (CH4) ———— Specific Heat Capacity – 2.220 kJ/kg K

      I agree 100%, ……. but iffen they use SHCs as the “multiplier” factor ……. along with measured atmospheric temperatures, ….. times the measured ppm quantities of the above named gases, …… then all of their claims of CO2 causing Anthropogenic Global Warming …… gets immediately dumped into the trash bin of junk science scams and idiotic ideas.

      • ” but iffen they use SHCs as the “multiplier” factor ……. along with measured atmospheric temperatures, ….. times the measured ppm quantities of the above named gases, ”

        Samuel, this relates to another poster that seems confused about SHC.

        I am not aware that anyone uses SHC as a multiplier factor – can you explain what you mean?
        SHC is capacity of a specific mass of substance. Concentrations of gas in the atmosphere are expressed as ppm volume. To a reasonable good approximation the % volume relates to the molar (not mass) proportion. Thus a molar volume of dry air contains approximately 0.8 moles of N2, 0.2 moles of O2 and 0.0004 moles of CO2.

        We can convert these to weight proportions by multiplying by molar mass of each – N2=28, O2 = 32, CO2 = 44, but there is very little need to do so as we just use the heat capacity of air.

        The energy contained in the latent heat of water vapor is usually much more than the energy contained by warming air a few degrees. Any variation of heat capacity between CO2 and N2 is totally unimportant and can be neglegted.

      • How do you measure heat content? By measuring the temperature and then do a conversion?

      • Chris. yes, basically you need to know the composition of the thing you are measuring the temperature of. You can then convert temperature into Joules, ususally using some “standard” condition as a comparitor.

      • seaice1 June 19, 2017 at 9:59 am

        Samuel, this relates to another poster that seems confused about SHC.

        I am not aware that anyone uses SHC as a multiplier factor – can you explain what you mean?

        Seaice, ….. “The specific heat capacity of a material is a physical property. … In SI units, specific heat capacity (symbol: c) is the amount of heat in joules required to raise 1 gram of a substance 1 Kelvin.

        To wit:

        Specific Heat

        The specific heat is the amount of heat per unit mass required to raise the temperature by one degree Celsius. The relationship between heat and temperature change is usually expressed in the form shown below where c is the specific heat. The relationship does not apply if a phase change is encountered, because the heat added or removed during a phase change does not change the temperature.

        Q = cm[delta]T …… or …… heat added [Q] = specific heat [c] x mass [m] x (tfinal – tinitial)
        Read more @ http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/spht.html

        Therefore, seaice, the greater the SHC is of a specific atmospheric gas, then the greater the amount of heat that is required to increase the temperature of that specific atmospheric gas by 1 degree.

        So, if the temperature of the atmosphere is 60F, and the atmosphere contains H2O vapor and CO2 gasses, then the temperature of both gasses is 60F. But if you add more heat to the atmosphere to increase its temperature to 70F, ……. then the H2O vapor (SHC 1.930 kJ/kg K ) has to absorb far, far more of that added heat energy to increase its temperature to 70F …… than does the CO2 (SHC 0.844 kJ/kg K) to increase its temperature to 70F.

        Seaice also saidith, to wit:

        SHC is capacity of a specific mass of substance. Concentrations of gas in the atmosphere are expressed as ppm volume.

        So, Seaice, iffen I have a two (2) pound mass of white duck feathers …… just what would be the SHC of those duck feathers?

      • Sorry folks; but it is all a bit more complex than just specific heats etc. It takes 2.5 x 10^6 joules to convert 1 kg. Of water from the liquid to the gaseous phase and this is done AT CONSTANT temperature. Try boiling your kettle above 100 C.
        In a cloud situation you have water droplets and it takes a lot of energy to dissipate that cloud by boiling off those water droplets. Again at constant temperature. All done at the very low partial pressures determined by Dalton’s Law.
        Thus the calculation to determine the energy flux involved requires detailed knowledge on the specific mix, pressure and phase state of the atmosphere at the point at which the temperature is measured. A similar temperature, above, below or alongside the cloud would produce very different results.
        You also have to take into account “potential energy”, where work is done in raising the water to an higher elevation against gravity. This happens when water, being lighter than dry air, rises. (Check the molecular weights)

      • Samuel. Thank you for your attempted explanation. I am aware of what heat capacities are but I still don’t see what you are getting at.

        My reference to molar rather than specific heat capacity is significant. The expressed concentrations of gases in the atmosphere are closer to molar concentrations than mass concentrations. mass concentration for CO2 is closer to 600ppm. Molar heat capacity for CO2 is slightly higher than for nitrogen.

        However, this is all totally irrelevant because the concentration of CO2 is so low that the effect on the heat capacity of the air can effectively be ignored.

        The effect of the water vapor at a few percent has a very small effect on the heat capacity if air, but this is totally insignificant compared to the effect of latent heat of the water vapor. This discussion of heat capacities is irrelevant.

        If we add energy to air with water vapor at a few percent it will take a very slightly larger amount of energy than dry air, but what is your point?

        I have seen no argument for AGW that relies on heat capacities.

        You have not said what this use of heat capacities as a multiplier factor is, but I suspect you are simply confused.

      • I thought the point was to measure trend, not heat content. Regardless of content, if you can agree how to measure it, and the trend shows it is warming up, then you have a useful measurement. Of course, you still have no causation, but you see a trend. Its only once you start trying to assign causation that you need to understand all the components and processes.

        So, we know that the climate has been warming, on average, for over 100 years. We don’t know why. All we can do is rule out that a tiny increase in CO2 is causing all or even most of the general warming, but instead is likely a result of warming.

        This is where computer modeling could be useful if performed by reasonable experts who were not completely biased on the answer. An effort to model climate by “evolving models” where all variables can be mutated over and over, selecting the best results, and then re-running the experiments on our best untampered data until finding which models (note the use of plural) best describe the data would be invaluable in giving us hints at where to look for explanations using science. How models ever BECAME the science is just beyond me.

      • seaice1- June 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Samuel. Thank you for your attempted explanation. I am aware of what heat capacities are but I still don’t see what you are getting at.

        Then stop averting your eyes and your mind to the factual science that I have presented to you for consideration.

        My reference to molar rather than specific heat capacity is significant.

        And iffen your reference had been to nuclear fission rather than specific heat capacity it would have also been significant.

        The expressed concentrations of gases in the atmosphere are closer to molar concentrations than mass concentrations.

        “DUH”, that depends on the person who expressed the “concentration” of the atmospheric gas(ses). And “DUH, DUH”, …… “molar” refers to molecular weight ….. and “weight” is a measurement of mass (density).

        However, this is all totally irrelevant because the concentration of CO2 is so low that the effect on the heat capacity of the air can effectively be ignored.

        Does the above now mean that you no longer believe in the “junk science” claims of CAGWCC?

        The effect of the water vapor at a few percent has a very small effect on the heat capacity if(sic) air, …..

        OH … GOOD …. GRIEF, ……. either you are a “science illiterate” …….. or you believe most everyone else is.

        Without H2O vapor in the near-surface air …… the nighttime temperatures will decrease quickly by several degrees.

        I have seen no argument for AGW that relies on heat capacities.

        Then you are “science blind” in one (1) eye ……. and can’t see out of your other eye.

        You have not said what this use of heat capacities as a multiplier factor is, but I suspect you are simply confused.

        If not your “reading comprehension” disability, ……. then it’s your deviousness and dishonesty that never ceases to amaze me. Here ya go, I will post this to “your attention” for a second time, to wit:

        heat added [Q] = specific heat [c] x mass [m] x (tfinal – tinitial)
        Read more @ http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/spht.html

        And best you do an in-depth study on the following before you post any more tripe and piffle about molar, moles or molecular masses of atmospheric gasses, to wit:

        Air – Molecular Mass

      • Samuel.
        “OH … GOOD …. GRIEF, ……. either you are a “science illiterate” …….. or you believe most everyone else is.

        Without H2O vapor in the near-surface air …… the nighttime temperatures will decrease quickly by several degrees.”

        Just to clarify, do you believe that the reason the water vapor in the air keeps temperatures higher is because the heat capacity if the air has changed?

        And best you do an in-depth study on the following before you post any more tripe and piffle about molar, moles or molecular masses of atmospheric gasses,

        Let us do exactly that and calculate the heat capacity change between moist and dry air. We will use engineering toolbox as a source.

        The heat capacity of moist air is Cp= 1.005 + 1.82H, where H is absolute humidity in KG water per KG air.
        Absolute humidity is 1% at 50% RH at 20C – quite reasonable conditions to consider.

        So the heat capacity of the moist air is 1.005 + (1.82 x 0.01) = 1.023 KJ/KG.K and the heat capacity of dry air is 1.005 KJ/KG.K.

        Yes, there is a slight difference, but as Engineering Toolbox says
        “Note! – the contribution from the water vapor is relatively small and can for practical purposes often be neglected.” This very small change in heat capacity if air does not explain why temperatures drop more slowly when the humidity is high.

        (However, the energy contained as latent heat by the same moisture in the same kg of air is about 20KJ and certainly cannot be ignored.)

        If we do the calculation with CO2 at 0.04% instead of 1% for water (and the heat capacity for CO2 is closer to dry air) the difference in heat capacity very much less. We can probably say that for all practical purposes it can be neglected. I will say it again, the effect CO2 has on the heat capacity of the air is too small to be considered. Please do the calculation if you doubt me.

        This brings us back to your apparent belief in the reason water vapor keeps the temperature high. Since it cannot be due to increased heat capacity if the air – we have just calculated that – it must be something else. That something else is that the water absorbs radiation transmitted from the ground.

        Finally, you have demonstrated a lack of understanding about science whilst disparaging my own scientific understanding (which appears to be orders of magnitude greater than your own). People in glass houses… Or perhaps glass houses are too similar to greenhouses?

        However, if you think I a wrong please point out where I have made a mistake, but please try to keep the insults to a minimum.

      • seaice1 June 20, 2017 at 9:36 am

        J Samuel.

        Just to clarify, do you believe that the reason the water vapor in the air keeps temperatures higher is because the heat capacity if the air has changed?


        Absolutely not, because me and everyone but you sincerely believes that the reason the water vapor in the air keeps temperatures higher is because the Flying Spaghetti Monster has total control of earth’s Atmospheric Thermostat and the near-surface air temperatures are the result of whatever he/she/it determines they should be for any particular area at any particular time.

        Yours truly,
        Eritas Rabuf

        (now go tell your mommy that it is time for your Dr’s appointment)

      • Samuel.
        It appears that you have abandoned your position on heat capacities, which is just as well. I am glad I was eventually able to demonstrate the reality of the science. Thank you for the exchange.

    • Whether temperature of the atmosphere or heat content……..you are still faced with the fact that they vary markedly from pole to equator and over land or sea.

      So the average global atmospheric temperature or average atmospheric heat content tells you a little, but it is only a little.

      • All those fancy terms sound nice but to most people,I believe the question becomes “Do I wear shorts or a sweater today?”

      • barryjo: Agreed. If climate science is global but cannot predict local changes, it really does very little. People live locally, not by a global average.

      • So the average global atmospheric temperature or average atmospheric heat content tells you a little, but it is only a little.

        Shur nuff, …… GregK, ……. “only a little”.

        And the truth be known, ……. it’s the “little end of nothing” that those calculated totals of average temperatures and/or average atmospheric heat content …….. are telling you.

      • All those fancy terms sound nice but to most people,I believe the question becomes “Do I wear shorts or a sweater today?”

        Or if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, the question becomes: “How much fleece and/or flannel do I wear today?”

    • +1 “You are using the wrong metric” either stops or starts an interesting conversation if someone rabbits on about temperatures and warming ;)

      • Alex, as a layman (read: not a scientist) I have puzzled for some time (and continue to puzzle) over why climate discussions focus on temperature rather than heat content. At the moment I am puzzling over the usefulness of dry air parameters. Seems to me that the argument for measuring and evaluating heat content rather than temperature is precisely that real air is not dry. So a given volume of muggy air in Miami can have more energy than an equal volume of air in Phoenix, even though the Phoenix temperature is higher. Where am I going wrong here?

      • Juan. We cannot measure heat content like we can measure temperature, and temperature is what actually matters to us.

        The heat content of moist air is nearly all contained in the latent heat of vaporisation of the moisture contained within it. However, the efffect on you is largely determined by the temperature. Not that humidity does not matter, but it is RH rather than absolute humidity that makes a difference.

        This has led me to an interesting (to me anyway) calculation.

        Say we keep RH at 50% but raise the temperature from 25C to 26C.

        This will give an extra 0.00066 kg/m3 of water vapor. Heat of vaporisation is 2,200KJ/KG, so we have energy of 1.45 KJ as latent heat.

        Heat capacity of air is 1KJ/Kg, and density is 1.2 kg/m3, so energy needed is 1.2 KJ/m3.

        So keeping R humidity the same we have a bit more than half the energy as latent heat and a bit less than half as sensible heat for an increase of 1C.

        Anyay, interesting to me, but the main point is that RH is not so much a driver as a consequence. We have no particular reason to think that RH will change with small temperature deviations of the order of 1-2C. Converting temperatures to energies is introducing an unecessary complication, requiring models rather than measurements.

    • The issue with heat content is that it’s not grokable. We have no inate sense of scale for heat, so it’s easy to disguise big things as nothing or make nothing out to be huge. If you remember the headlines about the argo floats detecting billions of Joules of heat warming the ocean annually, but when you dug deeper, the source of the trend was less than a hundredth of a degree per year? The heat content of the atmosphere is constant within two significant figures, and we are working with a single significatn figure on temperature, so temperature is no less accurate, but it is far more useful.

      • The major issue is the enthalpy of wet and dry air.
        The concern about ‘global warming (sic)’ is that Carbon Dioxide ‘traps heat’. However, the climate ‘scientists’ then go on to measure temperature, which “is the wrong metric”.

        Temperature depends on the atmospheric enthalpy which in turn depends on the relative humidity. An example I use is a volume of air in a Louisiana Bayou after a cooling afternoon thundershower, misty and at 100% humidity and 75degF has twice the energy in Kilojoules per Kilogram as a similar volume of almost zero humidity air in Death Valley at 100degF.

        Averaging those temperatures makes no sense and does not provide any information on carbon dioxide and heat.

      • What do you mean by “Temperature depends on the atmospheric enthalpy which in turn depends on the relative humidity.”?

        Temperature is what we measure. The energy contained by the thing we measure depends on these things you mention, but the temperature des not, because that is the thing we measure.

        Imagine my living room has been the same temperature for a month, set by a thermostat. I measure the temperature of the air and the open 1m3 container of water I always keep in my living room (just in case). The temperature of both will be identical.

        Now imagine I turn my thermostat up 5C and wait another month. The temprature of the air and my m3 of water will again be identical and depends on the thermostat setting.

        The temperature does not depend on the enthalpy or RH.

        Now imagine that instead of setting my thermostat I input a certain amount of energy. Now the temperature will be very dependant on the heat capacities of the water and air. The water will absorb most of the energy and the temperarure will only rise a small amount compared to what it would do without the 1m3 of water.

        However, as I am measuring th air temperature I will register only a very small rise for my energy input.

        I could express this as a tempertaue rise, or I could express this as an energy rise inclusding th energy taken by the water. The latter would be much larger and may give riise to accusations of alarmism.

      • Global Average Temperature is a construct, a meaningless number that is an OUTPUT of the climate system. So is “climate” as defined- a 30 year average of weather. The weather is not driven by averages, but local variations in insolation(and other heat), evaporation, condensation, temperatures, and air pressure. Heat capacity, per se, can’t drive the climate. It requires differences in temperature(and small amounts of diffusion) to move mass and energy. What is the heat capacity of water at 0degC? It depends on which direction the heat is moving.

        A main problem for scientific climate study is the stupendous amounts of matter and energy that move around, driving local climates. As the old military dictum says, mass has a quality all it’s own.

      • “What is the heat capacity of water at 0degC? It depends on which direction the heat is moving.”
        No it does not. The heat capacity if water at 0C is 4.179J/g.K. It does not depend on what direction heat is moving, whatever that is supposed to mean.

        You may be getting confused with heat of fusion.

      • Seaice. Nobody should be measuring temperature as a metric for the amount of energy in a volume of the atmosphere. There is no linear relationship between air temperature and the energy in a volume of air. Temperature is an average measure of the kinetic energy of the gas molecules in the air. Using Avogadro’s and Charles law. Water molecules in water vapor can hold a considerable amount of latent heat which they give up on condensation and then some more on freezing. So it is necessary to know how much water vapor is in the atmospheric volume – the relative humidity – and then calculate how much latent heat energy needs to be added to the kinetic energy of the water molecules, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon Dioxide, Argon etc., if there are water droplets in the volume then that needs to be calculated as well.

        The entire CO2 causes ‘warming’ (sic) hypothesis is based on heat being ‘trapped’ (sic). In that case if you want to measure the effect you should quantify heat not temperature. Temperature is the incorrect metric; it is like using a car’s speed to quantify fuel consumption without worrying which gear it is in,

      • Ian W. I do not get this sudden requirement that everything must be converted to energy rather than temperature. I do get the humidity factors- you will see I have calculated sensible and latent heat content of dry and moist air in several if these comments.

        Temperature and energy are different, but that does not make temperature the wrong thing to measure, just a different thing.

        Heat is used – particularly when discussing heat content of the oceans. If we are to compare ocean with atmosphere then we must convert to units of heat. Scientists may be happier talking in terms of energy, but it does not mean much to most people, and temperature must be converted to energy using models – something usually frowned on here. However there is nothing wrong with discussing atmospheric temperatures, or ocean temperatures, particularly as these are the things we actually measure.

        Temperature and energy are not exclusive – we can talk about both!

    • I’ve seen this mentioned many times here but have never seen or heard of anyone doing it. Does the temp and RH data needed even exist for the last century or so? If so is anybody doing it? It makes sense. After all, which is really “hotter” (more heat content) Phoenix at 110°F and 8% RH or Miami at 90°F and 90% RH?

      • “Does the temp and RH data needed even exist for the last century or so?” Nope. And RH doesn’t matter anyway. It’s called “relative” because is it a sensation that we feel. Everyday, in our airconditioned wonder homes, the air temperature stays very close to what you set, but shortly after dark the dew forms(most places, maybe not Phoenix always) and the inside it starts to feel clammy and close when the temperature hits the dewpoint(due to moisture coming inside). That is what relative humidity is. You feel the difference in how much water evaporates off your skin.

      • Hotter means higher temperature. Which contains more energy is separate question. Do not confuse the two. More heat content is not the same as hotter.

      • Bill, OK, I get the quotes now. The question you pose is interesting.
        At 90F 90% RH there is 0.0308kg/m3 water vapor. Given latent heat of vap. at 2,200KJ/KG this equals 68KJ as latent heat.
        At 110F 8% RH the air contains 0.0048Kg/M3. This is a latent energy of 10.5 KJ.

        The temperature difference is 11.1C and heat capacity if air (dry or moist) at ground level is about 1.2 KJ/m3, so the “extra” energy in the hotter air due to heat capacity (sensible heat) is 13.2 KJ/m3.

        The cooler, moister air at Miami has more energy by 68-10.5-13.2= 44.2 KJ/m3. Quite a large amount.

        You could make an adjustment for the heat capacity of dry vs moist air but it would make very little difference. If it really mattered if the difference was 44.2 or 44.3 it might be worth doing the calculation.

      • @ philohippous relative humidity is the ratio of the existing amount of water vapor divided by the maximum amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold at the current temperature. It closely correlates with physiological perceived hotness, but it’s not the same.

      • seaice1: Thanks for working through that. I knew Miami was the answer but was too lazy to work it through. The question was mostly rhetorical. The real question is why hasn’t anybody tried to work out a “global atmospheric average enthalpy.” And if they have why don’t we hear about it? We hear endless talk about the global average temp and how it’s “0.1°C hotter than ever before” etc. but if global WV was lower then the total system energy was lower and the pause would actually be a decline. And conversely, if atmospheric WV has been going up then the total system energy has been going up as well and the pause may very well be “busted.” I would think the warmists would like to know if the “missing heat” has been hiding in plain sight in the water running out of their air conditioners on humid days. And most skeptics just want to know the truth, whatever it is. Aviation sequence reports and METARs going back before WWII all contain temp, dewpoint and pressure, so the data should exist somewhere.

  6. Why should I trust WMO definitions?

    The WMO claims that longitude has the range from 0 degrees to 360 degrees, contrary to general usage for the last four centuries, International treaty to which most of the WMO participants are signatories, Intenational Standards Organization Standard 6709, and the behavior of virtually all the geographic software on the planet.

    That tells me the WMO is a rogue organization that should not be trusted.

    [? Seems a bit extreme. .mod]

  7. The use of symantics to obscure the central question while calling the accepted science pseudoscience. This site has reached a new low.

    [??? .mod]

  8. I think the ‘real’ elephant in the room is the issue of what value calculating a ‘Global Average Temperature’ is. AFAIK, ‘Global Average Temperature’ is not a robust measurement and it is useless for comparing ‘climate’ from one period to another. Doesn’t matter what statistical techniques are applied, it, at its core, GAT is not a ‘real’ number, you don’t get meaningful information.

  9. Use of linear regression is only justified if the variations from the mean are random. If this is not the case linear regression is not justified. In particular, it is not justified for the purpose of getting rid of inconvenient trends. If there are such trends they are data and what linear regression does in this case is destroy data and give a false impression of what is going on.

    • Temperature is almost certainly a power series with 1/f noise (not random​)
      Which is why so many have misjudged future climate based on linear regression. Climate noise does not average out in the long term. The earth does not have a stable average temperature. The ice age interglacial are the most obvious evidence.

      • It looks like ice ages are the normal situation but during some short periods heat (from vulcanoes?) is generated. Ice ages end relatively quick but settle slowly.

  10. Changing baselines every ten years is fairly traumatic, especially to the warmista because it reduces the temperature anomaly. Of course, given that the last time include a decade+ of warming hiatus, they came up with a great solution and started comparing things to the 20th Century average temperature.

    Problems with annual EMA temps that immediately come to mind include:

    The annual restatement will make things really difficult to compare. Perhaps supplementary data sections will have comparisons to multiple average periods.

    Looking for climatic changes will be based more on comparisons to recent years than past years, which will reduce the signal we’re looking for.

    The ever inaccurate “eyeball average” applied to a temperature plot will become even more inaccurate.

    The proposal doesn’t include sample figures or even the numerical weightings of each year, making it really hard to compare to old schemes. I used up all my WUWT time yesterday, so I’m not about figure that out myself today.

    One plus is that outlier years, e.g. El Ninos, have as big an impact on the first year they show up on a 30 year moving average as they do when they finally fall off. In an exponential scheme, their impact will decline over all 30 years along with the collective memory of them.

    • Ric Werme

      Well, the latest “gimmick” in the CAGW propaganda campaign is to cite the “entire” temperature difference between 1850 and 2010-2017 as the man-made temperature difference caused by CO2!

      Granted, that does retain the 1650-1850 natural temperature rise from the depths of the Little Ice Age – while minimizing it at the same time, but isn’t it interesting that starting CO2’s influence in 1850 more than quadruples the man-made effect from CO2 from the 1970’s low to today’s +0.31 degree increase.

    • Wow – no more global-warming-induced “endless drought” for California, as predicted by the climate experts. Jerry Brown cured it! ;-)

  11. “cannot adequately define a quantity for its central subject”
    Even better (worse); have the bastards defined “climate”?
    Of course not.

    • Does the term climate change include naturally occurring change? If so, how can a carbon tax change this? If natural change is not included, what is natural change called?

      • Yes, it does include naturally occurring change. Carbon taxes don’t change the natural, only human contributions. I believe they figure the natural versus the CO2 humans added by running models with and without the added CO2. I am NOT saying this is a good way to calculate, etc, but simply relaying the answer I have gotten when asking this question. Models are no substitute for reality and can be tweaked to require higher carbon taxes.

    • It’s such a joke… most every attempted definition of climate I’ve seen has the word ‘weather’ in it.

      So climate is weather. It’s not made of anything else. It just how much weather you decide you want to study. It has no force and does not act as a physical agent for something. It’s imaginary.


  12. I tended to glaze over trying to read this article, helped along by the fact that the idea of “global average temperature” seems to be the fundamental idea still being supported.

    If my understanding is correct, and if the world is divided into multiple DIFFERENT climate zones, then WHY do we still use only ONE grand average to conflate all these DIFFERENT climate zones, rather than looking at each climate zone’s trends individually, and then trying to draw some conclusions?

    And then there are sub-climate zones within these major climate zones, right? What about trends in THOSE?

    Might there be a better alternative to the WHOLE IDEA of GLOBAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURE ?

    Why do we even seriously spend so much time with it anymore? It reminds me of the meticulous handling of numbers that some people can do with numerology or astrology. You can spend lots of time creating all this data, and it looks pretty convincing, but isn’t it all pretty meaningless ?

    It’s great to counter a claim using the fundamental tool of the claim to do it — this shows how REALLY flawed such a claim is at its core, which I believe some people have done, using “global average temperature” in countering the claim of human-caused global warming. But an even STRONGER counter would be to finally concede that the whole fundamental tool was absurd.

  13. Perhaps WUWT needs an article “climate change is undefined and thus not science”. Imagine one studied medicine without defining if it included healing.

  14. imo a “global temperature” is pointless since the “average” temp is supposedly around 15c …but that number is woefully indadeqyuate for LOCAL climate..take say boston mass…compare ITS average yearly temp to say RIO in brazil, then compare it to Los Angeles, then compare to jakarta, then copenhagen etc.

    instead of a global temp with just 1 number that is woefully inadequate for defining LOCAL conditions, maybe Climate science should look into a more localized solution, maybe bands of latitude say 5 degrees in width(approx 340 miles or 555km).. since -Generally- a area at one area is similar climatically to another spot in the world that is at the same latitude…wine growers are almost all between lat 20 and 50…and specific wine (grape) types are grown some at specific climatic conditions better than others,.. which is why most “champagne styles wines tend to be grown along the same latitude as the champagne area in france…etc/

    i wonder what the bands would look like on a temperature chart showing the trend for THAT band…and i wonder how many band trend lines would be…flat.

  15. IPCC/WMO also defines the “surface” as 1.5 m above the ground not the ground itself as so many want to assume.

    And 15C/288K/390 W/m^2 is a clueless misapplication of the S-B BB equation. When there are other heat/energy moving processes around, i.e. molecules/conduction/convection/latent an emissivity of .95 or so CANNOT be assumed. The actual “surface” emissivity is about 0.15.

    • Yeah, nickreality65, the vertical consideration too, … I briefly drifted there, but you brought my focus back there, as well.

      So, we have this one number conflating multiple DIFFERENT climate zones into ONE magical height, where a well-known physics equation is seemingly allowed to retro-engineer a desired result.

      … climastrology.

      Off to read my horoscope now.

  16. Fortunately, most moderns can recognize religion when they see it and wall it off into a room only to be entered on ceremonial occasions.

    • The world becomes more understandable if we regard humans as religious beasts: consensus = truth. Science is a diversion from religion by separating truth from authority and consensus. But this requires training in analytical / numerical methods and logical reasoning. Many have turned their back to the enlightenment by embracing unrealistic romantic views of nature. Don’t be fooled however: nature is hostile and outside tropical regions survival depends on technology.

      • I always thought that the age of science was our liberation from the antiquated notion that man is an occupier of his environs.
        A realization the we are the garden.
        ‘Anthropogenic’ is a religious term because there is no distinction between man and nature.

  17. Whilst this amateur can understand most of this article, can someone confirm that after the Climategate scandal, the UK Met office said/promised they would prepare and promulgate a world wide ‘average’ temperature set. Granted this would be from the measuring stations which remained after all the ones which did not show any cooling had been culled, but at least it would be some starting point for future reference.
    Of course they could have just looked at the CET and Armagh records, but where’s the money in that?

      • “BEST was a response to your questions. They came up with the same answer.”

        That’s because they’re using the same silly averaging of different things.

  18. Climate Sensitivity. I studied engineering at a good school, University of Michigan. The Big U has just as many climate fanatics as all the other U’s, big or small, good or bad. My professors drilled me on the concept of significant digits, that a number read from an instrument could not subsequently be interpreted to be more accurate nor precise than the instrument itself.

    Climate Sensitivity is a concept based on the assumption that all warming since 1880 or so has been due to CO2 we put in the atmosphere. Any scientist or engineer looking at this concept from first principles would just laugh! It fails so many ways: 1) we don’t know that warming is due to CO2, 2) we don’t have records from before 1880 for the globe, 3) the records we do have are dodgy to say the least, 4) the records we do have are subject to alteration by those charged with keeping these self-same “records,” 5) shall I go on?

    The entire business about ice is even worse! Records started in, no, not 1879, but 1979! What the hell was the ice doing before that? Glacier Bay started melting backwards in 1779, well-documented, but other than that records are so dodgy as to be virtually non-existent.

    Some physics expert better than I should show an elegant calculation of the relationship between CO2 and Global Average Temperature, whatever that is as 80% of the land has no thermometers, and 90% of the ocean too. Guess What! You Cannot, I tried, cannot be calculated.

    • MIchael Moon,

      “Shall we go on?”

      Yes, let’s, … stating the “hottest year” ever with margins of increase that are larger than the margins of uncertainty in the measures.

      • Robert Kernoodle – I do like the term hottest – please define it in terms of heat (which is what CO2 is meant to trap) and not temperature as temperature is an intensive variable that requires knowledge of the relative humidity and pressure. You do have the relative humidity to go with those temperature measurements of current and previous years – they will all be different of course for each reading taken at all places and times the observations were made. If you don’t have those measurements you cannot say anything about a degree or so change in temperature – it could all be due to relative humidity changes.

      • For christs sake Ian, temperature is measured in degrees whatever. Heat is a different thing. You cannot ask for temperature measured in Joules. Temperature emphatically does not require knowledge of humidity and pressure. Temperature requires a thermomeer to measure it.

        If you want to talk in terms of energy then OK, but do not pretend that temperature and energy are the same thing.

      • seaice- yeah, let’s stick with temperature. After all, humidity is relative. So, have any of these “record” temperatures been outside at least two standard deviations, preferably three, of the previous record temperature? And just where were these “record” temperatures measured. Or are they supposedly global temperatures which we’ve established are meaningless in a scientific or practical sense?

  19. ” after all the ones which did not show any cooling had been culled” ??

    Did you mean ” after all the ones which DID show any cooling had been culled” ??

  20. While you people are arguing about mathematical aspects the average housewife is being alarmed by headlines screeming “Global mean temperatures in July 2016 were the warmest on record not just for July, but for any month dating to the late 1800s, according to four separate newly-released analyses.”
    Gausian distributions!!!. The % of the world’s population that can follow your arguments is been in decline since the introduction of social media, according to four separate newly-released analyses.
    These discussions help us how?

  21. So far it has been a good thread. Lots of good points have been made. Allow me to bring down the bar a bit. :-)

    Back in the beginning of the “CO2 will fry us all” delusion, we were told that “global warming” would not happen uniformly. We would see warming towards the poles and we would see warming at night. In other words. the coldest places would warm much more than the warmer places. New local high temperatures would not be the sign to look for — rather, milder than normal night time temperatures or milder winters in Canada. At some point that was all ditched as it just did not seem to be alarming enough.

    I was also told in the 70s that since we were coming out of the “Little Ice Age” that we could expect a good deal of natural warming to occur. That idea seems to have gone away at some point.

    I wonder if anyone can offer up a reason why most of the public believes there is catastrophic man-caused global warming going on right now when that is, at best, the plot of a cheap horror movie. (zombies are much more believable)

    • Or said differently, 7 Billion people demonstratively benefiting from higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere and 0 people demonstratively being harmed.

    • Markstoval: based on recent polls, I am not at all sure “most of the public believes there is catastrophic man-caused global warming … and if they do believe, they aren’t worried about it).

      Most people I talk to are more concerned about their jobs, their children’s education, safety, housing, having time with family AND the politics of ‘stupid’ going on all over the world. In the last several years, I have had one short discussion about CAGW which was very short since we quickly agreed to disagree and went back to our family discussion.

      It seems to be an issue for activists, grant seekers, applied scientists and people like those who read WUWT who are concerned that the issue is being used to drive an agenda that might end up taking us down a rabbit hole.

      That said, in Canada, the propaganda and indoctrination starts in grade 2, so all students graduating in the next 10 years and beyond will completely believe in CAGW and the inherent “badness” of big business and humans themselves.

      So, I sit out here 45 km from no where, (Faraway, Alberta, Canada). Once in a while I have a visit with my grandchildren to explain that virtually nothing has changed out here in 100 years. Sometimes the crops are good. Sometimes they aren’t. It’s called weather.

      I think they get it in spite of the public school, political, and MSM brainwashing they have been subjected to. They know what 40C below is like. And they know that a 2C degree increase to 38C below isn’t a problem.

      WUWT and other skeptic sites are important. I have squirreled away about 2000 articles for my children and grand children to read after I am gone – if they so choose (plus downloads and graphs of lots of Environment Canada data that just looks like weather. That has allowed me to say to my offspring: “What unusual warming? What unusual precipitation?” Natural variation? Trends are all over the place, up, down, and none.)

    • Mark, it’s remarkable(unintentional pun, sorry) but the UN has established through several world wide polls over several years that climate change comes up dead last in what people are concerned about. It’s a non-starter unless it is hyped endlessly, which it has been. It still doesn’t mean much to people across the globe.

      Plus, most of them wouldn’t even contribute a dollar year for the cause(probably less in poorer countries).

      • @Wayne Delbeke & @philohippous

        I fully understand what the polls say. People have more pressing concerns.

        My point was that the majority believe that driving an SUV will add CO2 to the atmosphere and that addition will make the planet somewhat warmer. They just don’t think it will do all that much — or it will happen a century out and, well, who can worry about that with the rent due?

        I agree with both of you on the issue — but the people still believe in the rGHE deeply. Since they believe, they are subject to being manipulated by the alarmists in government and the media. That was my point.

  22. Except the “Climatologists” don’t use “average Global temperature” no matter how you derive it. They use “anomaly” for just about everything. What should be required is both, that way you can know how the “average Global temperature” number has been changed to derive the “anomaly”. That’s the only way you’ll know that the “average Global temperature” for 1936 isn’t the same in 2017 as it was in 2000 for instance. Allowing the 2 to be used in isolation opens the door for all sorts of shenanigans.

    • using bowling as an example if you take my 6 series over 800 as the baseline then every other game i bowled in my life was UNDER that line, if you take the first 5 games i bowled as the baseline then every game since was OVER that baseline…an anomaly from a selected baseline tells you NOTHING when it comes to science…..it does show the bias of the person selecting the baseline.

      • Bill, say you wanted to know if cornflakes affected bowling performance using 100 players. You would give them cornflakes and set them off to bowl. You would then get back a load of numbers. How would you go about making sense of those numbers? Some are good bowlers and others not so good. It would not be good to just add up all the numbers.

        I suggest a good way would be to use an anomaly. Take their average for the season, then subtract their performance during the test matches with the cornflakes. A positive value means they are doing better than normal, a negative figure means they were doing worse. You could then add up the anomalies to see if the cornflakes had led to a general improvement.

      • Allow me to expand your “example” so that it reflects the “current state of the art” in Climate Science: your 6 series is over 800 when you bowl them in 1936. In the year 2000, your 6 series are only 750 due to “adjustments”. Surprisingly, your 6 series (that you bowled in 1936, 81 years ago!) are only 600 in 2017. It’s truly amazing how poor a bowler you were back then, and we are only realizing it just now!

      • Leo, thanks for the reply. To be honest…. it really doesn’t matter what “average” you use. What’s important is that “anomaly” must also be accompanied by whatever “average” was used to generate it. That provides the needed context to determine just what is being done to the underlying data. When you realize that the underlying “averages” have been so completely fiddled with as to be meaningless, that’s when you tune out this whole debate as I have done for the most part. It’s all complete BS.

  23. Leo, thanks for an interesting post. However, you say:

    “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.”

    I fear that there is a simple explanation—you are searching for the wrong term.

    The term that the IPCC uses in place of your “climatological temperature” is “climatology”. A Google Scholar search for “climatology” yields about half a million results. A search on the IPCC website yields a couple of thousand results.


    • So, I’m not sure that thousands or hundreds of thousands of definitions are much more helpful than 3 undefined definitions. So what is your point?

    • cli·ma·tol·o·gy
      noun: climatology

      the scientific study of climate.

      Willis your turn again

    • Jim G1 June 19, 2017 at 9:50 am

      So, I’m not sure that thousands or hundreds of thousands of definitions are much more helpful than 3 undefined definitions. So what is your point?

      My point is that the author claims that the IPCC ignores climatology when in fact he’s just searching for the wrong term.

      Ian W June 19, 2017 at 9:51 am

      noun: climatology

      the scientific study of climate.

      Willis your turn again

      Thank, Ian. “Climatology” is what is called a “term of art”. This means a word or phrase which is used in an unusual way in a particular field. In the field of climate, the “climatology” of a location generally means the average climate of the location. Do a search on “the climatology of”, you get tens of thousands of things like “The Climatology of the St. Louis Area – National Weather Service”.

      Despite your lovely definition, they are totally ignoring your dictionary and using “climatology” the way it is usually used—to mean the average of the local weather over some given time period.


      • It’s not a unique term of art in the way you imagine. People can just as easily say “the chemistry of the atmosphere”, “the physics of baseball” or “the geology of Arizona”. In each case, the word for a whole scientific discipline is used to elucidate a specific case.

        “Climatology” is no different from these usages. It’s the name of a scientific discipline, like astrophysics, oceanography, what have you. The important distinction IMO is the difference between the science climatology, practices by scientists, and the GIGO computer game “climate science”, perpetrated by at best math and computer “science” charlatans.

    • The term “climatology” is used by IPCC frequently. In some cases it does mean “climatological standard normals,” including temperature. Nevertheless, even when it is used as “climatological temperature,” it is rarely (or never) studied or even shown by itself. They use it either to show “anomaly”, or to calculate delta between it and models’ “predictions”.

  24. Your solution doesn’t appear to address what I think is the central stupidity of the entire global warming theory. Namely, how can anyone possibly derive an accurate global average when the globe is not uniformly covered with temperature reading stations and the number and locations of said stations has done nothing but change radically over time? Would the number and location of stations have some impact on the computed average? Of course it would! Back in the 1950’s to 1980’s from which they derived their 30 reference mark where were most of those stations? Mainly in the US? And where are all these stations now? Did they compensate for this as they calculated their averages? From what I have seen the answer is no. It looks to me they devised their methods and spent their money to get the answers the wished for. Or finding that answer they were satisfied and looked no further.

    • These things are said to be taken into account. Unfortunately, a lot of interpolation and extrapolation occurs in the process. I haven’t found many studies on how accurate these procedures are, but looking at a temperature map of a state, the temperature variation within even a small area is often quite large. Getting any kind of accurate estimates seems unlikely.

      • Sheri- the “accuracy” of interpolation in temperatures at widely distant places can’t be done. There are no real thermometers in between. If there were they could just look at them. There have been some limited studies that show that interpolation(by skipping over some stations) that the inbetween temperatures generally aren’t ridiculously out of line. When it’s cold in Red Deer, Alberta it’s usually just as cold in Saskatoon, Sascatchewan or Kindersley in between.

        The NOAA practice of using one notably warm location in northern Canada to estimate temperatures across the arctic to Russia does push the boundaries a lot, though.

      • This is a subject I have done a fair amount of work on. I think my conclusions are rock solid, but I am living in my own echo chamber. I have an enormous amount of data down loaded from various places. One of these data sets is raw station data from the NOAA. I have found there is just as strong of a correlation between the number of temperature monitoring stations active per year and their bogus annual temperature average as there is with CO2. On my blog I explore both of those correlations. The CO2 temperature correlation breaks down but the correlation to the increase in monitoring station does not. I then demonstrate a very straight forward example of why that may be.


        I have additional work in process examining the number and locations of stations in the years 1950, 1980, and 2000 which is as yet unpublished. While incomplete as yet, the results indicate the cumulative effects of opening and closing stations induced a cooling trend from 1950 to 1980 and a warming trend from 1980 to 2000.

        Let me put it this way. I could solve the crisis on their books by closing stations in the tropics and adding stations in colder climes gradually over the next 5 years. I could show the global average going down every year. Just give me a trillion bucks each year and control over the program. I will come up with some BS algorithm to justify those moves. At the end of 5 years I will collect my Nobel price and retire.

    • It is hard to say which stupidity of the global warming theory is central. The global average temperature can be defined (in many ways) and calculated. A “problem” (using quotes because the solutions have been looking for a suitable problem for long time) is that variability of climatic temperature is comparable with the calculation errors.

      • Problem is define warming. Is it rise in temperature at surface? Rise in energy at surface? Or rise in total energy? Or rise in average temperature of all parts?
        Each one of these is separate from the other.

  25. There are still so many signal processing issues with this article – but it is still better than what the alleged science of climatology is doing.

    Let me enumerate a few:

    1. There are known 70 year cycles in the climate. Nyquist says you need a 140 year period to even see them at all, and since there are overlapping 70 year cycles with different phases, you probably need 5x oversampling – 350 years. (I ran a monte-carlo analysis on this several years ago).

    2. The choice of exponential moving average filter is still wrong. What’s wrong with a reasonable blackman moving window? Heck a gaussian filter is also perfectly reasonable.

    3. As noted in some other comments, trendlines on time-series data is almost always the wrong thing to do. Nyquist fail, and with 1/f noise also the noisiest part of the signal to look at with effectively a sample size of 1 for that low frequency bin.

    Everyone involved needs to take 2 courses – signal processing for EEs and DSP for EEs, the first is an undergrad course and the second is a first-year grad course.


    • To study everything that affects the Earth’s weather, the concept of a 30 year average simply fails. If you look as successive 30 year periods, you lose the shorter solar cycle effects. And the longer ones, like a 200 year cycle that shows up in long term data won’t have much influence in 30 years.

      Like energy sources and models, they all have pluses and minus. It’s a messy field and always will be, at least as long as we have an atmosphere.

      • Thank Ric. The 30 year thing picked by the WMO just blows me away. It certainly wasn’t the “definition” of climate we got when I went to school 60+- years ago.

        And when designing structures and facilities, we sure as heck didn’t look at 30 year periods. We looked for extremes and then added a bit for safety because you don’t know WHEN an extreme will occur.

        And that is one of the reason’s averages have always bothered me. And average is where 50% of your information is less extreme; and 50% of your data is more extreme. No one designs to the average. That’s why we have adjustable seats in cars.

        Based on the WMO concept; I have lived through over 70 climate “cycles”. Sure.

        Enjoy your comments, among others.

        Time to go spray some pastures.

    • The Guardian dated 19th June 2017 presented a report by Danian Carrington, Environmental Editor titled “Global Warming brews big trouble in coffee birth place Ethiopia” —

      This report is based on an article published in nature Plants, Vol. 3, Article 170081 titled “Resilience potential of the Ethiopian coffee status under climate change” by a group of authors — https://www.nature.com/articles/nplants201781.epdf?

      In early 1990 I travelled all around Ethiopia including Sudan bordered coffee growing region. My rainfall study showed 36 year cycle with high rainfall. Gore rainfall data showed around 2006-07 started below the average 18 years pattern. It is a part of natural variability part of climate change but nothing to do with global warming part. With the low rainfall during this period, has resulted high temperature regimes during these years?

      It is most unfortunate scientists without studying the climate of the region make statements with pre-conceived mind set. Media give hype to such reports.

      WMO 1966 “Climate Change” mannual: To study spectral analysis, we need more than twice the cycle. But to understand the cyclic nature even with less than this data one can follow two procedures, namely (1) moving average technique — to understand the trend in global temperature anomaly a report presented 10-, 30- and 60-year moving averages. The 60-year moving average showed the clear cut trend after eliminating the 60 year cycle from the data and (2) by simply plotting the data around the mean. I followed this in the case of Ethiopia where clear cut cyclic pattern is evident. Then using curve fitting procedure defined the cycle length.

      30 year is suggested by WMO to compile the averages and extremes in meteorological parameters uniformly for the same period. These are defined for a location.

      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • Peter, I disagree. This is not a filter processing problem, like amplifying a signal and suppressing noise. One of the purposes of studying climate variability is to find out what is the signal (or signals). Proposed EMA would preserve cycles, while suppressing high frequency noise.

  26. Leo,

    Something that needs to be addressed, but wasn’t, was just what are you going to average? Not uncommonly, the only data that are available are daily highs and lows. Do you average those before taking a monthly average and then an annual average? More properly, one should be using hourly temperatures through the whole day, but those are probably only available with modern, automated weather stations. My preference is to keep the diurnal lows separate from the set of diurnal highs.

    There is a question in my mind whether the averages being reported are actual temperatures, or the interpolated grid-cell temperatures from the nearest 1200 Km station. What happens when the different stations are in different climate zones or just different elevations? Far too much is being claimed based on far too little rigorous data.

    An honest climatologist would say, “This is our best estimate, based on data known to be less than optimal, and should be taken with serious reservations.”

    • My thoughts exactly. Are there published articles which examine the value of daily high-low temperatures as a proxy for the overall daily average energy or heat content?

  27. Leo, re non fabricated temperature records, I offer the following: some months ago, a South African commenter supplied the raw long record from Capetown. I was struck by its similarity to the raw temperature trace for the United States. Similarly I noted like patterns for Canada, Greenland, Siberia and, IIRC, Scandinavia from threads on WUWT several years ago. A couple of years ago, Paul Homewood of “Not a lot of people know..” blog reported raw records of similar pattern from Paraguay and Ecuador. I’m sorry I don’t have links handy but someone here will.

    I also believe that these similar patterns by their nature, contain within them a robust corroboration of the records’ cosistency, as is, for the purposes of evaluating climate change. Moreover, I also believe it puts to rest the idea that major changes (MWP, LIA, etc. ) can be local. It would seem that first the warming folks altered the data strongly for the US (1937 was the record high for the Lower 48 until it was pushed down below 1998s by GISS) , and then egregious adjustments were made with the rest of the world. Checkout Paraguay temp for an idea how brutal the changes were.

    • Re the “pushing down” of pre 1998 temperatures to bury the 1937 record for the lower 48 states, GISS did this only in 2007! – I believe they were waiting for a new record to develop naturally (they even built another station in Death Valley in a parabolic embayment in the toe of a mountain range to try to break the old DV record without success. They discredited the real long standing world record high in Morocco to make it easier to break the temp record (the French were adequate to make a decent weather station. After all, scientific weather forecasting was one of Napoleon’s many contributions, along with canned food, all to give his military campaigns any advantage).

  28. Climatological temperature means the statistical study of temperature, that is, the probability of a given temperature. Climatic means peak, so climatic temperature is peak temperature over some period of study. Climatological comes from climatology, the study of weather over a period of time sufficient to derive a probability of various atmospheric measurements, and standard deviation from that mean. Weather is point data of some type, and climate is the probability of that data value occurring. Climatology is statistical study of weather. Climate science is a term for anyone who is not a climatologist wanting to pretend an involvement for purposes of research funding.

  29. Project: Calculate the Average Annual Temperature of the Earth.

    OK, looks tricky, can we do something simpler first just to check we have got the science and mathematics correct. Say something a lot lot lot smaller. Like the average temperature of my house and garden. No? Still too difficult. What about the average temperature of my kitchen, just one room, OK its got some things that are hot (back of my fridge), some things that are cool (inside of my freezer), some things that vary a lot in temperature (inside of my oven) and don’t forget the kettle.

    So what are we going to do? AND, more importantly, how do we check our result. If I tell you that the Mean Annual Temperature of my kitchen is 18.47 degrees C how can you possibly contradict me, especially when I tell you I have taken all the hot/cold things previously mentioned and used a data set of over 10,000 individual readings correctly weighted for significance. Readings were taken EVERY day. How dare you suggest that the fact they were taken at 7 pm after I had eaten my dinner and done the washing up are important.

  30. This … just … in … killlllllllerrrrrrrr ayyyyyyyyyyyyy geeeeeeeee doubleeeeeeee youuuuuuuuuu! Evennnnnnnn morreeeeeeeee killlllllllllerrrrrrr nowwwwwwwwww! Morrrrrrrrreeee killlerrrrrrrrrr heat-T …. huhwayyyyyyyyyyves! (Like this “NEWS” article!) :-)

  31. I seem to remember Patrick Moore in his presentation to a skeptic conference a few years ago said the average global temp for the last billion yrs was 22.5C and it’s now 15C ……we are in an ice age!

  32. Robert of Texas:

    June 19, 7:08 pm. You wrote, “So, we know that the climate has been warming, on average, for over 100 years. We don’t know why”.

    Actually, the control knob for Earth’s climate is simply the amount of dimming sulfur dioxide aerosols in the atmosphere. This is true now, and throughout Earth’s history, where Ice Ages were caused by periods of intense volcanism, the Little Ice Age being a weak example.

    Global anthropogenic SO2 aerosol emissions peaked circa 1975 at approx. 130 Megatonnes, and Clean Air efforts have been reducing that amount ever since. The increased insolation resulting from the cleaner air is responsible for all of the anomalous warming that has occurred since then; there has never been any warming due to greenhouse gasses.

    World-wide, probably a trillion dollars have been wasted in attempting to control CO2 emissions, a harmless gas with no adverse climatic effects.

    Google “Climate Change Deciphered” for proof of the above.

  33. One subject that never seems to be addressed, and I’d like to understand it more, is amount of heat (i.e.. BTUs) versus temperature. A higher amount of heat in one system versus another does not necessarily correspond to the temperature of the first being higher than the second. Usually because of water – vapor, liquid, ice – but possibly because of other factors. Measuring temperature at a surface does not necessarily tell you how much heat is in the system.
    Does anybody try to account for this?

    • There was one article on WWW that did. Your proof of this by the way is how el-nino/nina can change global temps by 10X decadal “warming” averages. Moving energy from one point to another shouldn’t destroy it.

  34. The article, sorry to say, was written most inappropriately by the author.

    The traditional text books on meteorology & oceanography presented the terminology used in this field of science.

    Climatology, Meteorology, Hydrology, geology, ecology, etc: The term climatology is used to refer to the science of climate.

    Specific adjectives refer to specific field of climatology. Agroclimatology or Agricultural Climatology, Agrometeorology or Agricultural Meteorology, etc: The former refers to climatic condition, for example: Climate of Hyderabad, Climate of India, Rainfall Climatology of India, Rainfall Climatology of West Africa, etc; and the later refers to how climate impact agriculture: Crop phenology [growth stages] & Crop Growth – See my book [1993]: Agroclimatic/Agrometeorological Techniques: As Applicable to Dry-land Agriculture in developing countries”, http://www.scribd.com/Google Books, 205p [Book Review Appeared in Agricultural Forest Meteorology, 77:121-125 [1994] – this is recommended as reference book to students of Agricultural Meteorology at post-graduate level.

    Thornwthwaite’s Climatic Classification, Agroclimatic Variables: Derived parameters based on climate data of a location or region or country or globe.

    IPCC used a term “Climate System”, which refers to factors that influence climate at any given place.

    The most important parameter that is widely misused is climate change. Though people talk of temperature, but they are shy of using Global Warming. They invariably use the term climate change that refers to a system.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  35. What are some examples of cherry picked endpoints? Kerry Emmanuel published a Power Dissipation Index for hurricanes that starts in early 1970s.

  36. Still a garbage measurement. At what pressure and at what humidity!!! Are you measuring from!! The average temperature is shown to change by degrees based on wind patterns aka el-nino/nina so using it alone is nonsensical. What is important is energy! Here is some real highschool physics temperature is not a unit of energy nor a measurement of energy nor does it have a linear relationship to it.
    How do you know many subtle wind patterns didn’t cause that rise or fall over thirty years of 0.3 degrees? You have no clue if it is even important because you don’t know if energy increased or decreased in the atmosphere. No less the oceans or land. To restate temperature is an almost meaningless measurement at these magnitudes.

  37. DonM- In any case, it’s certainly not Rocket Science. << LOVE this retort.. you are my hero of the day!

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