Another positive feature of global warming – less record breaking cold

From the INSTITUTE OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES and the “cold kills” department.

Human influences have reduced the likelihood of record-breaking cold event in China

It is controversial whether Eurasian mid-latitude cold surges are becoming more likely as a consequence of Arctic warming. A strong cold surge occurred during 21st-25th January 2016 affecting most areas of China, especially Eastern China.

Daily minimum temperature records were broken at many stations. The area averaged anomaly of minimum temperature over the region (20-44oN, 100-124oE) for this pentad average was the lowest temperature recorded since modern meteorological observations started in 1960.

This cold event occurred in a background of warming winter trend and 2015/2016 is the warmest winter in terms of minimum temperature since 1960.

Given the vast damages caused by this extreme cold event in Eastern China and the previous mentioned controversy, it is compelling to investigate what role was played by human influences on this record-breaking cold event and to quantify how much anthropogenic forcing agents have affected the probability of cold events with an intensity equal to or larger than the January 2016 extreme event.

Collaborative efforts among scientists from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP, CAS), China Meteorological Bureau, Met Office Hadley Centre of UK, University of Reading and University of Edinburgh, investigated the effect of anthropogenic forcings on the likelihood of such a cold event.

They used the Met Office Hadley Centre system for Attribution of extreme weather and Climate Events and station observations.

“Anthropogenic influences are estimated to have reduced the likelihood of an extreme cold event in mid-winter with the intensity equal to or stronger than the record of 2016 in Eastern China by about 2/3.” Says Cheng QIAN from IAP, the first author of the study.

“Still, we caution that even under human-induced warming, extreme cold events can still occur as a result of natural variability.”

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This work was published in Bulletin of American Meteorological Society. (open access PDF)

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61 thoughts on “Another positive feature of global warming – less record breaking cold

  1. Tell that to most everyone in northern North America, from coast to coast. It was -36 here overnight with windchill down in the -50’s. And getting colder all week. This is an old fashioned winter just like the ones we got back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I fear a global cooling trend is developing, but am desperately hoping the AGW crowd are actually right, that we will manage some significant warming over time that is just not a 30 year natural warming trend that we have had since the early 1980’s. Significant cooling spells trouble ahead, as it always has. Read history. It’s a big cold universe out there…

    • That bottom trend line indicates (if the side bar grid is correct) that there has been 3d of warming since 1960?? It would appear thet China has tipped…

      Runaway Global warming…Run Away

      • “That bottom trend line indicates (if the side bar grid is correct) that there has been 3d of warming since 1960”

        If you read it, it’s the temperature for a specific 5-day period in January. It obviously does not apply to annual averages. This kind of thing is of course hidden by the averaging and kriging that goes on in the “official” data sets.

      • This is the take home point of the entire thread, and something everybody should be looking at. The CAGW crowd love to average the min and max temperatures specifically to hide this detail. So I want to ask them, why exactly is warming minimums so bad, and how, if there is actually less temperature variation, can “extreme” weather events be increasing? I doubt I’ll get a cogent answer from any of them.

      • Paul Penrose December 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm
        This is the take home point of the entire thread, and something everybody should be looking at. The CAGW crowd love to average the min and max temperatures specifically to hide this detail. So I want to ask them, why exactly is warming minimums so bad, and how, if there is actually less temperature variation, can “extreme” weather events be increasing? I doubt I’ll get a cogent answer from any of them.

        They haven’t provided a cogent answer for almost 30 years, I’m sure they’re not going to start now.

        John of Cloverdale WA December 26, 2017 at 4:12 pm
        As Tony Heller has shown, NOAA cannot be trusted, unless you are satisfied with final raw data adjustments of temperatures to achieve the desired warming trend. BoM in Australia are quite good at it too.
        https://realclimatescience.com/2016/12/100-of-us-warming-is-due-to-noaa-data-tampering/
        Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from a coolish 21 deg max in Albany, Western Australia, today.

        Tony Heller will tell you right off the bat that the graphs above from NOAA’s Climate at a glance represent “Fake” data. In actual fact if the original data were more easily accessible the slope of those two linear trend lines would be much steeper. But, as I’ve told Mr. Heller, even “Fake” data shows that there’s not a problem.

    • Cold; AKA Low Temperatures, is very very bad for planet earth, and everything on it.

      It is simple 4-H club Thermo-dynamic Physics that Thermal Electromagnetic Radiation cooling of hot bodies results in a cooling rate, that decreases as the fourth power (T^4) of the Temperature. Well more strictly, the maximum thermal radiative rate of cooling is bounded by the fourth power Stefan-Boltzmann total thermal radiant emittance of a hypothetical Black body, and in detail by the spectral radiant emittance boundary set by the Planck radiative law for that hypothetical black body.

      So lower temperatures can and will result in dangerously lower cooling rates for this planet, and could result in serious overheating due to inadequate cooling.

      If this cooling trend continues, we may be forced into some geo-forming engineering in the form of creating new and large tropical dry desert regions to artificially increase the rate of cooling of the planet, so that it doesn’t overheat.

      It has been suggested that we might face by the end of this century some 1.5 to 2.0 degrees of overheating due to the Temperature getting too low to radiate efficiently.

      G

    • Just checked the NWS site here (ZIP 05452).

      Wind Chill Advisory Late Tonight Through Wednesday For Portions of the North Country

      Dangerously low wind chills of 15 to 25 below are expected to develop across the region late tonight and through the day Wednesday, with the most severe conditions across the northern Adirondacks and northeastern Vermont. Even lower wind chill readings of 25 to 40 below are likely to develop Wednesday night and Thursday. Frostbite dangers exist; dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves

      Predicted HIGH Thursday -1F(-18C)

      On top of which, lots of road and sidewalks are icy.

      What is this global warming thingee and where can I buy some?

  2. “They used the Met Office Hadley Centre system for Attribution of extreme weather and Climate Events and station observations.”

    I always appreciate science from neutral, unbiased sources.

    • Attribution Science 101:

      “If it’s warmer, it’s caused by human activity”

      “If it’s cooler, it’s caused by natural variation”

      These rigorous attribution methodologies are only to be applied after filtering the data with the fundamental analytical principle: “If it’s warmer. it’s harmful” and the corollary “if it’s cooler, adjust the data”.

      There is a second school of thought that uses as the Potsdam Principle: “It’s always warmer”,

      and even a third school of thought that uses the Hansen Principle: “Adjust the data anyway”.

      • There will always be natural variation, both high and low.. There will always be natural events such as volcanic eruptions and changes in oceanic currents that affect temperatures It’s overall trends and averages that are the issue.

        Data adjustments are often legitimate and necessary to get an accurate picture of change – just because one doesn’t understand the particulars of why they are being adjusted doesn’t make them corrupt..

  3. Why does this revelation merit discussion? The Chinese climate alarmists are just setting up a concocted study to reference when the weather turns colder. The straight line fit means nothing. During the first 30 years, the temperature trend is increasing. During the next 27 years, the temperature trend is increasing but at a decreasing rate. The rate of increase will likely become negative less than 30 years in the future. Much ado about nothing.

    • Which temperature trend, Tom? If you look up-thread you will see graphs from NOAA that show only the minimum temps have a positive trend – the maximums are flat. Of course when you average them together, you get a positive trend for that average, but average temperature is not a physical property, it is a conceptual value only. What we experience, and affects us the most, is the actual min and max temperatures. So what is so bad about slightly elevated minimum temperatures?

      • I don’t know about you, but it is not just the maximum and minimum temperatures that I experience,

  4. In the 48 contiguous United States, since 1885, cold February nights warmed at a rate of 3.2 °F per century while hot July afternoons warmed at a rate of just 0.5 °F per century. CO2 and water vapor are both active in the same IR bands, and water vapor levels are low when the air is very cold, so warming caused by CO2 should be more apparent on cold nights. However, the urban heat island effect also tends to warm nights more than days so we can say for sure that CO2 caused all the cold nigh warming.

    Nevertheless, if the trend continues, future “global warming” is likely to be mild and uneventful. Just like it was in the past.

    Since humans have been putting CO2 into the atmosphere for over 100 years, I think we can declare the experiment over. We don’t need models because we have completed a very long term experiment. The results show CO2 might have caused a inconsequentially small amount of warming, probably mostly on very cold nights.

    • “We don’t need models because we have completed a very long term experiment.”

      Well, by my calculations (crude) we are now experiencing about half of the AGW a doubling of preindustrial CO2 levels should involve. Not half catastrophic by any measure ; )

  5. “Anthropogenic influences are estimated to have reduced the likelihood of an extreme cold event in mid-winter…….”

    …and their graph shows them increasing

  6. Another brutal winter is developing in the Northern Hemisphere with many new snowfall and cold temperature records being broken:

    1) Greenland’s Net Ice Mass will actually increase by 44 gigatons, which NOAA claims is a 100-yr record.

    2) The largest and earliest Deep-South snowfall event in 100 years occurred in the US.

    3) Siberia suffered -54C temps at the end of November which is Lowest November temp ever recorded.

    4) Parts of Pennsylvania will get upto 96” of snow this week which is weekly record.

    The more such cold event records are set, the more even ardent CAGW acolytes will begin to understand CAGW predictions are not coming close to reflecting reality.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens to global temps once the weakest solar cycle since 1790 starts in 2021, and the AMO enters its 30-yr cool cycle at about the same time..

  7. Looking at panel (c) in the above figure set, it seems likely that the circled (red) 2016 -4 deg C anomaly will be followed with another year of negative anomaly. Those negative anomalies seem to come in paired years, which does not appear to be the same case as positive anomaly years, which seem more random.

    But also it should be pointed out that 1961-1990 climatology reference choice may be a Cherry Pick. It could be that, was what range of years they have/had sufficient data to select the reference range from.

    • You should distrust linear trends being projected into what is a likely cyclical time series data set (as in a ~60-65 yr AMO effect).

    • “.I really don’t care what it’s doing on the other side
      I care about what it’s doing where I am….”

      This seems to be a fairly common attitude among those who dismiss climate change. The problem is that it can affect the nation’s economy as a whole. For instance, you may not care if king tides in Florida and along the east coast are more and more often flooding coastal residential areas, but you may care if the housing market there goes bust, causing a ripple effect in the industry.

      And that’s apart from the inherent selfishness of the comment. If/when your areas feels negative effects of climate change, will it be excusable for the rest of the country to not care?

  8. Less record breaking cold? On what planet?

    I keep track of the weather. So far this cold weather is really in line with “normal” (whatever that is) winter weather, in the teens daytime and single digits or below zero at night. However, last winter at this same time, this kind of cold snap lasted 15 days and then gave up, and this one looks to last a mere 9 days before it breaks, which is fine with me. I have to go out in it, willy-nilly, so I dress for it, but day-ummm, I do wish Mama Nature could just back off a tad on the lows at night! What we don’t have in this area is a lot of snow, which came first last winter and subsequently melted in the spring thaw.

    A dry winter (little to no snow) is not a good thing in farmland. Snow in winter melts in the Spring, waters the surface before planting time, and seeps into the water table. Of course, if you live in Boston and you get 14 feet of snow, that goes into the harbor come Spring, doesn’t it? If you have short shrift with snow in the winter in farmland, you may have a problem if the rains don’t come as often as they should or rain at their normal volume of precipitation.

    That is what the Chinese should be looking at, not weather/climate “disasters”. There is too much emphasis on how many people will kick the bucket if the weather gets hot, and not nearly enough – ANYWHERE – paid to how it affects crops, especially with a dry winter in the previous season.

  9. “Human Induced Warming”?
    So this exists where?
    Inside my house at -34 degrees Centigrade outside temp?
    Given the rather pathetic saga of Environment Canada and their 1990s automatic weather stations, I am sure the “likely-hood of recording less record breaking cold” is quite high.
    If your equipment is unreliable at -40C and less, it is very difficult to “record” record low temperatures.
    What was that “record low” in Alaska a couple of years back?
    Sorry cannot say as government equipment fails at -40…

    And of course the Agencies collaborating on this speculation have such a record of successful prognostication.
    How about I consult the warm entrails of a Ptarmigan?
    What answer do you need?

    Sarcasm aside does anyone know the accurate range of current government issue temperature sensors?
    Who calibrates them?
    And what is the error range/drift per year?
    Besides the siting issues created by requiring a reliable power source in near proximity.

    • Minus 25C in Calgary right now – without accounting for the wind chill factor.

      It seems much colder than minus 25C and the city is suffering – any idiot who mentions “global warming” is likely to get bashed over the head and left outdoors.

    • Only data point I can offer you is that Mercury freezes at -38.3C (-37.9F) so I guessing that older temps from the era of Mercury thermometers that are below those temps are likely not to be too accurate.

    • John Robinson writes: … government equipment fails at -40…

      In Australia, the CSIRO liked this idea so much, they instituted logical minimums into their records that capped how low certain temperature data could go. Because we’ve got to get those Southern Hemisphere hockey sticks, don’tcha know.

      Making me believe that you can be a government paid bureaucrat or you can be a real scientist, but it’s damned difficult to be both at the same time.

  10. Hmmm…The all time (recorded) record low for my little spot on the globe was -22 F set 1/19/94.
    The all time (recorded) record high was 106 F set 7/21/34 and tied 7/14/36.

  11. Another garden variety Indonesian strato-volcano will fix that straight away. We’re experiencing near- record cold in lower Michigan right now. But it’s a big world, and climate, in so far as one can even speak of a global climate, is complex. I still believe natural processes predominate.

  12. Most of the current climate research is concentrating on finding out possible causes of global warming.
    I however, happen to think (not entirely certain, and wouldn’t want to believe it, even if I knew it) that in the next few decades cooling will dominate. In order to find out existence of any natural variability in the short term cooling signal I scanned over 4,250 months of the CET data looking for the coldest month’s anomaly in every single year.
    Not surprisingly months of Jan & Feb and Dec came on the top, but all of the 12 months are represented to a certain degree.
    Spectral response for the full set of data produced periodicity of just under 34 years, this is periodicity that I have not encountered before. In order to eliminate possible error I repeated whole exercise for a number of various lengths of data, producing the same result.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CETcma.gif
    (click on the image to enlarge)
    Only other data I could find with the same periodicity is the Ap index, the measure of geomagnetic activity caused by the solar storms. Data from NOAA for the Ap index is available only for 1880-2011 period .
    But now for a surprise: shock & horror, solar activity not only warms but also cools temperatures (?!)
    Graph above shows:
    – there is some cooling around 7.5 years (presumably associated with lunar cycles)
    – there is no cooling around 11 years, hence sunspot cycles warm (verb)
    – the most prominent cooling periodicity is around 34 years, where there is also a strong Ap component.
    Geomagnetic storms are caused by solar flares often accompanied by a coronal mass ejections and they are only loosely related to the sunspot activity (inset). It is important to note that the sunspot data does not contain the 34 year periodicity of any significance beyond and above the noise levels.
    The big question is how a solar storm could cool N. Hemisphere winter?
    I happen to think that solar storms load upper parts of the polar region’s atmosphere with charge particles. It is the region where polar vortex is active, not to be confused with polar jet stream but they are related. Fast atmospheric circulation within vortex creates electric currents, and consequently due to the bifurcation of the NH magnetic field splitting of the polar vortex occurs, now it is known to be a cause of a sudden winter cooling.
    For more details on splitting polar vortex spliting see NASA ( link 1 and relate to link2

      • hi Mr. Martin
        As far as I can ascertain (an initial assumption, with reservations) what might be happening here is:
        Solar sunspot cycles drive the land temperature considerably higher than the variability in the TSI might suggest.
        Then in the second half of the cycle as the solar storms intensify (see the Ap inset in the above graph) via effect on the polar vortex (as described above) a month or two of cold winter weather ensues, and as a result most of the temperature rise from the sunspot cycle rise is obliterated, hence claims that no significant effect of the 11 year cycle can’t be detected in the temperature data.
        From the above spectral distribution :
        – 11 year Ap component (solar to geomagnetic storms) is much stronger than 34 year one, but no cooling is present (possibly) because of the somewhat stronger sunspot cycle warming.
        – 34 year Ap component although not as strong as 11 year one, it shows very sharp cooling in the CET data since there isn’t anything in the sunspot cycles at that periodicity.
        Where the 34 year component comes from it is not clear. Since the Ap index combines effects of the magnetic variability in the planet’s magnetosphere, it could be some combination between earth’s and solar magnetic variability, btw, at the same time GCR penetration (as per Svensmark) will be affected, giving an alternative explanation for the periodic sharp cooling in the long CET record.

  13. Record high and low temps for the day.
    Several years ago The Weather Channel used to include them on their “Local on the 8’s”. They phased them out. (But they are quick to point out a record for this or that city could be potentially broken.)
    My impression is that my local stations’ weather reporting has followed suit.
    Have other’s out there noticed the same?

    • None of the local stations (Chicago area) are reporting record highs or lows any more. Doesn’t make sense, when a real record like January 1985 (-25F temp wind chill -80F) WAS a real record. Maybe there’s a gag order on record temperatures?

      • Don’t know about a “gag order” but I’d mentioned a number of times in the past that after “Inconvenient Truth” came out, “CAGW” caught my attention. (Full disclosure. If Al is pushing it, my default mode is “suspicious”.) TWC was still putting up the record highs and lows for the day. It seemed like the record highs were rarely recent. I got the list of the record highs and lows for my little spot on the globe. (That was in April 2007.)
        Most of the record highs were set before 1950 and most of the record lows were set after 1950.
        (This was just to satisfy my personal curiosity.) If what Al’s “Truth” was right, seems like it should have been the other way around.
        In late 2011 or early 2012 I found WUWT. Adjustments to past temperatures was mentioned. I got the 2012 list and, Lo and Behold, even the record highs and lows for my little spot on the globe had been changed.

        If the record highs and lows for the day for my little spot on the globe have been changed, what about the other daily temperatures? That went into the “Global Temperature” calculations?

        Were the changes to my local records “bottom-up” or “top-down”?
        I have a suspicion…….

  14. The statement of the key conclusion of this study is:

    “Anthropogenic influences are estimated to have reduced the likelihood of an extreme cold event in mid-winter with the intensity equal to or stronger than the record of 2016 in Eastern China by about 2/3.”

    This is an unfalsifiable statement. I mean, how would you falsify this statement? I suppose in principle one could do a decades-long study that might collect enough samples to make some kind of statement about whether the likelihood has changed, but it probably would never achieve statistical significance. Unfalsifiable.

    A statement that is falsifiable about extreme events like this extreme cold would be to predict that the number of such events will decline. Then if they don’t decline, the statement of the prediction is falsified. In other words, science.

    Pielke has shown over and over that once you correct for the obvious factors, like more building in flood prone areas, that increase the nominal number or severity of extreme events, you don’t see the trends in extreme events that have been predicted. So of course the field has moved on to unfalsifiable approaches to characterizing extreme events, like this paper. Non science. Junk science.

  15. Discoveries in the ice can give a glimpse of our planet’s fluctuating, never static, climate history.

    During WW2 a macabre find was made 16,000 feet up in Indian mountains – a lake full of corpses. Later scientific analysis would date them to the 9th century AD – at the start of the Medieval Warm Period about 1000 years ago. They had been killed by large hail-stones. What is interesting about this is that the lake corpses had remained hidden in ice for the several centuries of the intervening Little Ice Age, only emerging part of the year from ice in the current warm period – in 1942. More evidence – for those with eyes to see – of climate oscillation over the period of a thousand years.

    https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-skeleton-lake-of-roopkund-india

    Another story of death in the ice came more recently from Siberia – in 2016 there was an outbreak of the deadly bacterial disease anthrax among reindeer and their herders in Siberia. It was not from human weaponised pathogens, but a natural event. A reindeer had died of (natural) anthrax 75 years ago and its body was iced over. Only to be thawed out in 2016. So the last time that Siberia was as warm as in 2016 was in 1941. This shows once again a window on natural climate oscillation, this time the approximately 60-70 year wavelength of the ocean driven Atlantic Multidecadal oscillation.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/anthrax-western-siberia-outbreak-reindeer-corpse-blamed-a7164821.html

    Climate oscillates naturally over a range of different timescales. Such fractal-like behaviour with time is to be expected of a dynamic and complex chaotic system. This puts in context any claims that 20th century warming is somehow unusual and alarming. It is not – it is business as usual for earth’s climate.

    • Anthrax? Same thing happened in the Plains states of the Midwest in 2006. Anthrax spores had been dormant in the Dakotas for over 100 years, because the weather had been relatively dry for that long.
      A drought in the central parts of the cornbelt was offset in the Dakotas by excessive rain, and the anthrax spores came back to life. Cattle got sick because they hadn’t been inoculated against it. Hadn’t needed it. Anthrax had been wiped out, right?
      Wrong. It was just dormant. Remember the anthrax scares in the mail back then?
      All it takes is a small change in the weather.

  16. Don’t believe a word from any governmental official in China unless he has defected and is sitting in a western country somewhere. Especially about climate stuff. The Chinese realized from the beginning that the Developed world of the West including Japan would commit economic suicide by following the AGM theory and reacting to it. So the Chinese at every opportunity have agreed with the rest of the Developed world that AGM is real and needs action. The problem is that AGM is not real and the Chinese know it. They however are pretending that it is real and are reinforcing the beliefs of the West and are urging us on in reinforcement of this belief. They not only have not done any action to counter global warming but have actually accelerated their energy program that has put them in 1st place of CO2 production and are nearly double what the 2nd place Americans are producing in CO2 29 % versus 15% of the world total. I predict that we will soon see even more fake studies and reports out of China about the threat of AGM. However the Chinese will never commit economic suicide. Even though I think President Trump is a disgusting individual he will lead the US away from any AGM theory and thus save the US economy. However in Canada we have a joke for a prime Minister called Justin Trudeau who is forcing all our provinces into a carbon trading /taxation scheme.

  17. There are, just directly south of my house, two fields. About 12 to 15 acres each and right next to each other.

    This year one of them grew winter-barley and the other grew potatoes. Both crops are now completely gone/harvested and the ‘potato field’ has been planted with winter barley. It was planted hardly 4 weeks ago and (surprise to me) is actually growing. Very slowly though, the field has a ‘green tinge’ and that’s about it.
    Hence, field #1= black bare dirt

    The other field, what was barley, is still stubble and at one point tried to grow very green.
    (Most arable crops round here grow an under-storey of weeds plus, and shall we say, the farmer’s combine harvester is maybe past-its-best and a lot of spilled grain germinated)
    It has actually been ‘Rounded-Up’ Twice in fact but still a lot of vegetation on the surface.
    Field #2= Not black bare dirt

    It snowed here about a fortnight ago and it settled, briefly but and variably.
    Two days later it had (mostly) all gone – APART from field #1

    The black-bare-dirt field remained covered in snow for nearly 3 days after everywhere else had melted

    Did Carbon oxide do that?
    What about Cosmic Rays, infra-red radiation, Stefan Blotznjck, The Jet Stream, El Nono, Milankovic, the BBC, Korean Kim or did Griff sneak past and melt the field next door?
    And half of Nottinghamshire???!!!??
    Nice one Griffo 😀

    Would more CO2 have melted it faster slower not at all?
    That’s before we wonder why the new barley crop isn’t a hazard to Aerial Navigation, just 4 weeks after planting – what with all the extra plant food its getting. Plant Food innit
    Maybe thanks to Norman Bloglog that we can still get to Benidorm or Orlando for our winter sun.

    The non-melting snow was nothing at all to do with the dirt?
    Right?

    All the while we celebrate ever increasing yields of the annual plants growing (tasteless, toxic and nutrient-free mush that passes for) food.
    And burn ever more trees (and corn and palm oil and and and) leaving ever more blackened bare dirt behind.

    There Are No Free Lunches out there…………

    • is there a God. Did I ‘say something’ :-)))

      A pretty epic blizzard has, just this very minute, struck-up

      that carbon oxide just gets everywhere. sigh
      even Worksop at 9:57 GMT 27 Dec ’17

  18. Record-breaking cold spell turned into a global warming story? Doesn’t that just warm your heart?

    If you tried to write a fiction about religious-idealogical totalitarian state propaganda, in the style of 1984 – That Hideous Strength – The Handmaiden’s Tale – The Chrysalids – Never Let Me Go, you couldn’t do better than this. These people are exquisite artists of propaganda!

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