The Charney Report Revisited

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach [see update at the end]

Over on Twitter, Michael Tobis made the claim that the 1979 Charney report entitled “Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment”  was a “triumph of 20th century meteorological science”, in part for predicting “surface warming tending to be concentrated in polar regions”

This got me to thinking and when I think, I think about actual observations. So I went and got the UAH MSU satellite data for the temperatures of the lower troposphere (the part of the atmosphere closest to the surface).

Using that data, I calculated the temperature trends by 1° latitude band for the area that the satellite covers (85 North to 85 South). Here is that result:

Figure 1. Temperature trends 1979 – 2018 by 1° latitude band.
UAH MSU T2LT (lower troposphere) satellite data.

A “triumph of 20th-century meteorological science”?

Hardly … this result is totally unlike what Charney et al. predicted. Not just a little different. Not even in the same ballpark.

My very best regards to everyone on a sunny summer day … going outside now to get some work done.


[UPDATE] My thanks to Nick Stokes, who pointed out in the comments that Charney was talking about the surface and I’d graphed the lower troposphere. So I’ve rectified that below, where I show both the surface (white) and the lower troposphere (red) temperature trends. Lower troposphere temperatures are red as in Figure 1. Note the change in scale from Figure 1 necessary to encompass the surface temperature trends.

Figure 2. A comparison of the trends by 1° latitude bands for the surface (HadCRUT, white) and the lower troposphere (UAH MSU, red)

Hmmm … not sure what to say about that. The surface trends shown in white are not too far from a straight line from 85°North (top right) to about 60° South (bottom left). Also, much more of the surface is actually cooling (trend below zero) and the surface at ~ 60° South is cooling more than the lower troposphere trends.

I do love exploring the data, always more to learn.

[UPDATE 2] In the comments, esalis said:

We in Finland are on the white straight line of the graph between 60 and 70 lat. As far as I know we have not had such an increase in warming towards north. Could you plot as well along longitudes?

Thanks, esalis, for moving the discussion forwards. Here you go:

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Tom Halla
July 21, 2019 6:05 pm

If it is only Northern hemisphere, something else is going on than a CO2 warming effect.

R Shearer
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 21, 2019 7:10 pm

See saw.

Reply to  R Shearer
July 21, 2019 10:31 pm

Indeed, the so called “polar amplification” is not polar it is Arctic only. I also doubt that it is an amplification.

When you see a larger signal and a smaller signal your initial expectation should be to search for the cause near the greatest change.

The polar “see-saw” is well established and only idiots on Twatter seems unaware of this since the media kept deliberately silent about Antarctica while forever banging on about Arctic sea ice loss.

Thanks to Willis for a brief but effective ground zero data check.

Ulric Lyons
Reply to  Greg
July 28, 2019 12:33 pm
Julian Flood
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 21, 2019 9:00 pm

Then why are climate scientists not looking for other causes of warming? There’s no hot spot. The warming distribution does not match the predictions

Sorry, I was forgetting – – the science is settled


Alan the Brit
Reply to  Julian Flood
July 22, 2019 2:44 am

Yep, that’s about the size of it! Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible!”, he sure nailed that one!

c1926, some fella named John Logi Baird, demonstrated his new fangled invention to said Royal Society, he called it a “television” or some such fanciful term. When he’d finished, he was faced with probing questions from these eminent worldly scientists such as, “What’s the point of it?”, & the best, “Who on Earth would want one of those things in their home?”!( 16th July 1969 springs to mind!) Nothing like making a presentation to great scientific minds who possess the ability to see great future potential in the things they are shown, is there? 😉 Whatever happened to that interwebbynet thingamebob invented yonks ago, did it ever catch on? 😉

Apologies for repeating myself, again! This obsession with the above but they are classic examples of intellectual arrogance, potentially dog-in-the-manger attitude,

Reply to  Alan the Brit
July 22, 2019 6:21 am

Well worth repeating Alan. I’m a big fan of the tradition of world changing Brit scientists with little to no formal study or degree in their particular choice of enquiry!

Reply to  Scott W Bennett
July 22, 2019 9:06 pm

“Eminent examples include three Copley Medal winners: Michael Faraday, who did an apprenticeship, and had no degree; Charles Darwin, who got an ‘ordinary’ degree in theology; and James Joule, who had no degree. John Walker, who won the Copley Medal and the Nobel Prize, got a third class honours degree due to illness; and Admiral Henry Jackson, who invented radio communication between ships, did not have a degree. – Francis Hooton”

The Biologist 63(1) p7, “Don’t judge a scientist by their degree grade”

john harmsworth
Reply to  Alan the Brit
July 26, 2019 11:52 am

Practical people invent practical things (Edison, Ford), scientists find reasons why it can’t be done because they aren’t practical people and politicians like Al Gore take credit for the best ones.

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 21, 2019 9:06 pm

CO2 is upside down in the Southern Hemisphere

Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 22, 2019 1:15 am


David A Smith
Reply to  philincalifornia
July 22, 2019 3:49 am

CO2 is fine. The Southern Hemisphere is upside down..

Reply to  Tom Halla
July 22, 2019 6:52 am

In theory, greenhouse gas warming should most affect the northern half of the northern hemisphere (it has) and the southern half of the southern hemisphere (it has not).

So we have some evidence of GHG warming (northern hemisphere) and some evidence warming is not caused by GHG (southern hemisphere).

Of course these facts do not matter.
Climate science is settled.
The world will end in 12 years (Alexandria Occasionally Coherent), or
The world will end in 18 months (Prince Charles), or
The world has already ended, we just don’t know it (Groucho Marx)

john harmsworth
Reply to  Tom Halla
July 26, 2019 10:54 am

There is simple explanation for this pattern of temp. change. The Arctic temperatures are a function of the amount and duration of open water. The increase is a shift to a “marine” climate” from one dominated by permanent and near permanent ice. Whether this is related to a general warming or something like long term ocean turn over in the Arctic I have no idea. If one takes out the high latitude Northern warming which may not even relate to general warming and which no precedent is known or denied to to the paucity of past records for the region, the general warming is minimal and probably natural.

Mod. Why are my posts not going through?

Steven Mosher
July 21, 2019 7:08 pm

somebody didnt read the charney report.

Tom Halla
Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 21, 2019 7:10 pm

If it is atmospheric composition causing the effect, why warming at the North pole only?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 21, 2019 10:36 pm

“somebody didnt read the charney report.”

most of the world’s population have not read the Charney report. What’s your point ?

Well since you presumably have, maybe you can actually say something which makes a point and cite something which contradicts a specific claim made in the article.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Greg
July 22, 2019 8:46 am

Mosher routinely behaves as though it is beneath him to actually contribute something substantive. He seems to prefer snark. I have observed that other alarmists also want to demonstrate their intellectual superiority through snark.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
July 22, 2019 5:18 am

Mosher writes

somebody didnt read the charney report.

Yeah, Tobis doesn’t appear to have read it. For example the statement…

Regarding anthropogenic climate change, a blue ribbon commission was convened by Vern Suomi and chaired by Jule Charney was assigned the problem in the late 1970s by President Johnson, and they produced a (fairly readable) report which actually got the main points right — substantial cooling of the stratosphere, substantial warming of the troposphere and the surface, surface warming tending to be concentrated in polar regions, and at first much larger on land than at sea. If unchecked, eventually becoming a very considerable problem.

Main points right, eh? So…”substantial cooling of the stratosphere” we have the following statement in the Charney report

“One-dimensional radiative-convective models that assume fixed relative humidity, a fixed tropospheric lapse rate of 6.5 K km-I , and fixed cloud cover and height give X = 2.0 W m-2 K-I (Ramanathan and Coakley, 1978). This value is uncertain by at least ±O.5 W m- 2 K”I because of uncertainties in the possible changes of relative humidity, temperature lapse rate, and cloud cover and cloud height. ”

Nothing about the stratosphere and an assumption of unchanged troposheric lapse rate.

And then we have “surface warming tending to be concentrated in polar regions”

Well the Charney report has its cake and eats it too on polar warming.

“The role of the ocean as an active transporter of heat meridionally leads one to consider several possible feedback mechanisms. Atmospheric models suggest that the warming at high latitudes will be larger than at low latitudes. If this reduced atmospheric baroclinicity reduces the wind stress at the ocean surface (and there are not good estimates of the anticipated size of such a reduction), it is possible that oceanic meridional heat flux might be reduced. Because of the required overall radiative heat balance of the total system, the atmosphere would then be required to compensate for reduced oceanic heat transport by steepening the equator-to-pole temperature gradient, thus ameliorating somewhat the predicted polar warming. ”

Also we have “If unchecked, eventually becoming a very considerable problem.”

But from the Charney report


John Tillman
Reply to  TimTheToolMan
July 22, 2019 10:00 am

The word “stratosphere” doesn’t appear in the Charney Report.

Charney took the outputs of Manabe’s and Hansen’s GCMs, respectively ECS of 2.0 and 4.0 degrees C per doubling of CO2, and added an arbitrary margin of error of 0.5 degree to produce the range estimate of 1.5 to 4.5 degree, around central value of 3.0 degrees, which remains “canonical” after 40 years of further GIGO computer gaming WAGs.

The actual range, based upon observations of nature rather than GIGO models, centers on the 1.1 degree C laboratory figure, without feedbacks. These effects are at least as liable to be negative as positive, on a homeostatic planet. So call it 0.6 to 1.6 degree C.

Not to worry. It’s a good thing. Made better by the greening of Earth thanks to a fourth molecule of vital plant food per 10,000 dry air molecules.

July 21, 2019 7:09 pm

At -42 South we just equalled the lowest recorded temp for June of -6.7C in my town. And eyeballing that chart we are at about the same trend as the pole of 0.06 C°/Decade.

So not much GW to see here at the moment, just your typical sequence of low pressure systems, gale-force winds and cold fronts rolling across the coolings surface (c-0.04C) of the Southern Ocean. And you don’t need a model to see them coming!

Reply to  Scott W Bennett
July 21, 2019 9:34 pm

I was eyeballing that first chart and assumed they were surface observations so it’s worse than I thought! Our trend then is zero to negative and the Southern Ocean is now off-the-chart! 😉

S W Bennett
Reply to  Scott W Bennett
July 22, 2019 1:35 am

Doh! So much for eyeballing… I just noticed that the map doesn’t line up with the graph! So we are actually slightly positive here, while the Southern Ocean is cooling way more than were are warming! 😉

July 21, 2019 7:22 pm

Charney (relayed via Tobis)
“in part for predicting “surface warming tending to be concentrated in polar regions””
“This got me to thinking and when I think, I think about actual observations. So I went and got the UAH MSU satellite data for the temperatures of the lower troposphere (the part of the atmosphere closest to the surface).”

Closest? But they aren’t actual observations of the surface. And if the Charney report is to be revisited (rather than Twitter), it should be quoted. Here is one thing they said:
“Hence we estimate that the warming will be somewhat greater in the northern hemisphere and somewhat less in the southern hemisphere.”

Here is an AR5 plot of trends of actual surface observations. The bottom panel covers 1981-2012. Seems to me they got that one right.

John Tillman
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 21, 2019 8:48 pm

The “actual surface observations” are not actual observations but packs os shameless lies.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 21, 2019 8:57 pm

The bottom panel covers 1981-2012. Seems to me they got that one right.

Did they?
Let’s talk about all the data they show:

1911 to 1940. BEFORE co2 emissions became significant. It shows warming in the high north lats. Hey! What caused that? Natural variability I guess… High southern lats show slight warming. Hmmm. More natural variability?

1941 to 1950… is missing. Odd. Why would that be? I can’t be bothered to dig into it, just calling it out.

1951 – 1980. The period when co2 emissions first became significant. Well, well, well. COOLING in the north high lats and slight warming in the south lats. Heh. I thought this co2 was all powerful but looks like it was overcome by natural variability?

1981 – 2012. High northern lats show lotsa warming, southern high lats show either slight warming or cooling.

So back to Charney which you quotes as saying:

Hence we estimate that the warming will be somewhat greater in the northern hemisphere and somewhat less in the southern hemisphere.

So… it is clear that they predicted warming in the high southern lats, just less than the high northern lats. They did NOT predict cooling according to your quote, just less warming. So yeah, they got it wrong.

Now back to that 1911 to 1940 thing…what caused that northern lats warming?

Reply to  davidmhoffer
July 21, 2019 11:13 pm

“They did NOT predict cooling according to your quote, just less warming.”
Well, check Willis’ revised plot, and note the position of zero trend. There is cooling between latitudes about 50-70S, warming elsewhere. 50-70$ is actually a fairly small part of the SH, and they predicted reduced warming for the SH overall, not in every part of it. So it’s still looking good.

As to the rest, they were predicting the coming decades, not trying to explain every wrinkle in the past.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 22, 2019 6:11 am


And a theory has to fit with the past just as much as with the future. CO2 can’t magically increase temperature only in the future. Can it?

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 22, 2019 7:03 am

I didn’t ask THEM to explain those “wrinkles” Nick. I asked YOU.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 22, 2019 4:10 am

Most cooling is found at the southern high latitudes where winds are dominating the oceans and oceans are dominating the surface. More wind would cause more mixing of the upper layers of the oceans and would lower surface temperatures, resulting in lower water vapor in the air above the oceans.

Most warming is shown over northern latitudes where we find most land and during winter time very low quantities of water vapor in the air. In case of warming (especially winter warming) the content of water vapor rises and because of the high [greenhouse] warming effect at low concentrations the warming role of rising water vapor will be huge, especially there where water vapor is most present: close to the surface. Exactly where we find most warming / cooling effects.

Water vapor (TPW) at the end of January 2019:,88.33,415/loc=110.283,65.168

Reply to  Wim Röst
July 22, 2019 6:17 am

So it’s the warming that’s causing warming and the cooling that’s cooling stuff. Great, thanks.

Really intrigued by how we now have more cooling due to winds and ocean mixing than we used to have? And I’m pretty curious as to where the water vapour that’s increasing is coming from if there’s no water? After all, it’s in places where there’s very little water vapor because there’s very little water.

Wim Röst
Reply to  Phoenix44
July 22, 2019 3:07 pm

Phoenix44: “Really intrigued by how we now have more cooling due to winds and ocean mixing than we used to have?”

WR: ICOADS data show high variations in wind speed over oceans. A cycle over hunderd years has been suggested.

Malcolm Carter
Reply to  Wim Röst
July 22, 2019 5:15 pm

Note the lateral bulges in the surface warming curve that correspond roughly to 30ºN and 30ºS with the larger warming bulge at the latitude of the Sahara and the smaller warming bulge at the latitude of the Kalahari and Australia. Is more warming at these drier latitudes due to less cloud cover?

Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 22, 2019 4:55 am

Willis, the scale on left is off latitudes. 60N is marked in the map and it is more to the North than your legend there. I see we’ve got 0.5K/decade which is 2K in forty years. Quite a thing, difficult to see though as has happened slowly.

Reply to  Hugs
July 22, 2019 10:38 am

Ummm. The article has a map that has latitudes varying in width. And it’s a bit different what I see here.

Tom Morgan
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 22, 2019 7:36 am

I always love your articles, especially those involving actual observations. One suggestion, though, to include variances or Std. Dev. when calculating means. I’d be interested to see the variation of the trends near the poles.
Thanks again for your articles.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 22, 2019 8:55 am

With respect to the surface stations, what stations were used in the far north – 75 Deg lat and northward. How many are measurements and not fill-ins?

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
July 22, 2019 10:34 am

Not “sure” about that, but the map in picture ends at ~80N. Assume the data does the same.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 22, 2019 10:54 am

Using surface as opposed to LT doesn’t change the qualitative failures.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
July 22, 2019 2:14 pm


The experiment, the GCMs do not agree or support 1979 AGW protocols, like in the Charney report.

The latest day AGW “science” pushing and promoting Global economy centralized control (Paris agreement) is mostly based within the means of GCMs… not the Charney ones.

And as far as I can tell these two are not even compatible anyhow,,, or maybe I am wrong!
Maybe you can tell me.
that somehow Charney report could be adept for the actual support of Paris agreement….oh well if it was, there would have being one there promoted quite a while ago, successfully.

Maybe I am wrong in this one Nick, but it can be had both ways. Either Charney or the GCMs.

From where I stand, I can’t see that Paris agreement Based and mainly supported up within the clause of Polar warming… and still, maybe wrongly so, I see a non compatibility between Charney AGW and the GCMs one…!! *scratching the head*

Oh just saying Nick.

July 21, 2019 7:24 pm

Looks to me as though trend correlates very well with the ratio of land to water at each latitude.
And that where there is no land, the trend is negative

July 21, 2019 7:43 pm

Ocean Currents?

Jimmy Haigh
July 21, 2019 7:43 pm

CO2 is obviously less dense than air…

Lance Wallace
July 21, 2019 7:50 pm

The first few IPCC reports always showed the same diagram, showing

1) higher mid-troposphere temperatures above the tropics, (the “hot spot” that was never found) and
2) a nearly perfectly symmetrical (around the equator) temperature effect increasing at BOTH poles.

Hard to pack so much wrong-headedness into a single chart.

Reply to  Lance Wallace
July 21, 2019 8:05 pm

“so much wrong-headedness into a single chart”
So how about a reference to the actual chart? What is it of? Observations? Predictions?

July 21, 2019 7:57 pm

Those data are over 2003-2017. They also look similar to the GISTEMP data set, but more extreme near the poles. See here.

DR Healy
July 21, 2019 8:25 pm

I have also been reviewed the Charney Report and been compiling a paper on this topic. It is still in the preparation stage awaiting more detailed information. The Charney Report predicted an increase in temperature from a doubling of CO2 of 1 degree C. I think your figures are pretty much in line with this. Besides, it can be checked empirically. The Charney Report also predicted a much greater increase of some 2.5 degrees C from the increase in water vapor in the upper Troposphere. I’ve been reviewing studies on this aspect and have found the results to be very inconclusive. The earliest studies show a decline in water vapor where the increase was predicted. The 8 more recent studies, many “reanalyses”, have findings varying from minor decreases to minor increases, with some having indeterminate results and indicating that additional studies need to be done.

It would appear that 2/3rds of the predicted warming according to the theory is very questionable, but only one or two of the studies even indicated that there was a significant problem with the theory proposed in the Charney Report and adopted by they IPCC.

Any additional information on the water vapor issue in the upper troposphere would be greatly appreciated. A 1 degree increase in global temperature plus the benefits of CO2 fertilization would appear to be a win-win from my perspective.

DR Healy
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
July 22, 2019 6:57 am

Thanks Willis.

July 21, 2019 8:39 pm

“Here is an AR5 plot of trends of actual surface observations. The bottom panel covers 1981-2012. Seems to me they got that one right.”

LOL… NCDC makes “adjustments” like this to the ” actual surface observations”. Sorry, but they are not credible. Why would we not think they made the same “adjustments” to the MLOST modelscomment image

cLIEmate “UNscientists” don’t use thermometers to measure temperature nowadays!

“The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”

~ Prof. Chris Folland ~ (Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research)

Gary Pearse
July 21, 2019 8:59 pm

It’s good to see the big picture. This indicates that the earth’s heat sink poleward is virtually all in the Arctic. Antarctica seems to be insulated from the dissipation of the heat from the mildly warming earth. Clearly this is because the bulk of the exhaust of heat engine earth poleward is the flow of warm ocean currents into the Arctic Ocean. Warm water melts more ice from underneath than warm air does on top. The much larger land area in the NH is also part of this asymmetry.

The twitter by Michael Tobis reveals a lack of understanding of the simplest aspects of the thermodynamics of a heat engine in his high praise. Charny, as any scientist or engineer, would simply know that dissipation of the heat from the equatorial band would be by moving it to colder regions of the planet -upward through the atmosphere and poleward, so this wasn’t a brilliant prediction. Not identifying asymmetry of the polarward flow might be considered at least modestly careless of Charny by some scientists given the knowledge of the Gulf Stream flows in 1979 and the effect of the much greater land mass in the NH.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 26, 2019 12:06 pm

I agree completely with you statement on Arctic ocean warmth and ice melting.

Mike Maguire
July 21, 2019 9:09 pm

The Holocene Climate Optimum from 9,000 to 5,000 years ago is also thought to have a similar temperature profile with respect to latitudes and Hemispheres.

“The Holocene Climate Optimum warm event consisted of increases of up to 4 °C near the North Pole (in one study, winter warming of 3 to 9 °C and summer of 2 to 6 °C in northern central Siberia)”

“The average temperature change appears to have declined rapidly with latitude and so essentially no change in mean temperature is reported at low and middle latitudes.

“Tropical reefs tend to show temperature increases of less than 1 °C; the tropical ocean surface at the Great Barrier Reef about 5350 years ago was 1 °C warmer”
“In terms of the global average, temperatures were probably warmer than now (depending on estimates of latitude dependence and seasonality in response patterns). While temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere were warmer than average during the summers, the Tropics and parts of the Southern Hemisphere were colder than average.
Out of 140 sites across the western Arctic, there is clear evidence for conditions warmer than now at 120 sites. At 16 sites, where quantitative estimates have been obtained, local HTM temperatures were on average 1.6±0.8 °C higher than now.

Dennis Sandberg
July 21, 2019 9:46 pm

The effect of cloud albedo by itself gives a negative feedback. Thus if clouds at all levels were increased by 1 percent, the atmosphere-earth system would absorb about 0.3 m-2 less solar radiation and lose about 0.5 W m-2 less thermal radiation. The net effect would be a cooling of about 0.4 W m- 2 , or, if this occurred together with a doubling of CO2 , a decrease of flQ from 4.0 to 3.6 W m-2 •

Question – Why 1% more clouds, why not 5%? Seems that the resulting amount of low vs high cloud cover from C02 doubling is the biggest uncertainty in the whole debate. Please respond.

July 21, 2019 9:51 pm

That net heat flux asymmetry – about the equator – of the ocean/atmosphere is well documented. And the Gulf Stream is conspicuous in those diagrams as a source. I’d post a link but I’m not at my computer. I also saw a recent paper that claims the Gulf Stream continued to flow warm under the surface during the last glaciation.

David Blenkinsop
July 21, 2019 10:08 pm

And, well, they’ve been wrong about the amount of warming as indicated by average global temperatures, too, as well as basically wrong about the latitudinal distribution of warming?

This reminds me of the article here on WUWT, less than two years ago, a report on some British climate scientists being more or less stumped by their predictions being off. One little quote from that was, say, from ‘Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford’ (commenting on a temperature increase that was supposed to have been only 3 to 5 years away):

“He (Myles Allen) said that too many of the models used “were on the hot side”, meaning they forecast too much warming…
That’s about 20 years of emissions before temperatures are likely to cross 1.5C,” Professor Allen said.”

But of course, despite it all, I studiously continue to believe in ‘Charney sensitivity’. It’s so good to have a make believe world to escape into (says I as they haul me away, hehe haha) . . .

July 21, 2019 10:25 pm

Willis again shows us something rather remarkable in the face of so much “Settled Science”. This will all be very unsettling for the Warmistas.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ntesdorf
July 22, 2019 8:58 am

You said, “This will all be very unsettling for the Warmistas.” Well, it would be if they were intellectually honest. However, they seem to just shake it off as heresy.

July 21, 2019 10:32 pm

Highly interesting, thank You.

“Hmmm … not sure what to say about that. The surface trends shown in white are not too far from a straight line from 85°North (top right) to about 60° South (bottom left). ”

If You would ask me to to draw a line into the chart, it would be a vertical one from 70 north to 45 south at about 0,15 C. What is the UAH and HadCRUT error margin?

Since You showed the first part being wrong at least for the last 40 years, do You see a way to prove/disprove the (sceptic?) statement: “warming is mainly at the poles, in winter and at night”. I would love to see two addional charts…

July 21, 2019 11:47 pm

My investigation …
… covered only the southern oceans, using sea surface temperature (SST), but it matches Willis’s result. As could be expected, of course.

The journal editor said then “I am in particular intrigued by the fact that the trends you calculate exhibit areas of nearly uniform gradients (negative between 72S and 65S, positive between 65S and 48S and negative again equatorward of 48S) separated by narrow regions of abrupt gradient change. I wonder why this is and it might be telling us about the physics of the system.“. (see ).

Well, it looks to me like Willis’s study covering more latitudes could tell them about the physics of the system too – but not until they look up from their models and look at the real world. What causes that unexpected gradient in temperature change? I don’t know, but I can make a couple of comments:
1. There is a sharp retreat from negative trends to about zero south of about 60S. In my chart, it was an artefact of the increasing presence of land south of 60S – that’s because I was using SST so there was no land data. But in Willis’s study it showed that while the sea was cooling fast the land wasn’t.
2. The data suggests pretty strongly to me that for the answers (the physics) we should be looking at the southern oceans and East Antarctica. That’s because those are the areas that the models have got most wrong, and the models supposedly model the physics.

John Tillman
Reply to  Mike Jonas
July 22, 2019 12:01 pm

There has been no warming at the South Pole at all since record-keeping began there. Yet according to GHG effect theory, that is precisely where there should have been the most. The air there is so dry that adding a fourth molecule of CO2 over the past century should have produced more warming than in the moist tropics, where the tiny effect of CO2 is swamped out by the main GHG, ie H2O.

July 22, 2019 12:04 am

Well lets see: record temps in Alert, N Canada and in Churchill recently.

Sea ice extent today at lowest for date.

Alaska and Svalbard consistently warmer.

Seems to me polar regions ARE warming fastest.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  griff
July 22, 2019 8:59 am

Oh, griffy, you forgot to mention the ice breaker that had to turn back from the North Pole. So sad.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
July 22, 2019 9:07 am

Do you go out of your way to appear logic impaired? You present evidence for warming in the Arctic, and then conclude that “polar regions” are warming fastest. To come to that conclusion, you should have presented similar evidence for Antarctica, and, to distinguish weather from climate, you should have presented long-term changes, not recent short-term changes.

Have you ever publicly apologized for your libel of Susan Crockford?

Reply to  griff
July 22, 2019 9:49 am

Yeah mate but global warming is called that for a reason and one pole isn’t going cut it! 😉

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
July 22, 2019 10:35 am

Arctic sea ice extent yesterday was the same as in 2011.

Do you really not recall when you predicted a new record summer minimum low, just because at some previous date months before September, local WX had produced a lower than average extent?

That ought to have taught you not to extrapolate. Summer minimum will be determined by WX events in August and September. The lowest years suffer cyclones, which pile up and separate the floes.

We can have confidence that man-made CO2 has little to no effect on sea ice extent, since Antarctic sea ice grew dramatically from 1979 to 2014, while Arctic sea ice shrank from 1979 to 2012, in the dedicated satellite era.

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
July 22, 2019 10:44 am

The all time record high in Churchill was 98 °F, set on August 11, 1991.

Maybe you missed the fact that much of North America has just suffered a heat wave, a normal weather event in summer.

John Tillman
Reply to  griff
July 23, 2019 9:05 am

Alaska’s state record high T has held since 1915; Svalbard’s since 1979.

john harmsworth
Reply to  griff
July 26, 2019 11:48 am

Record sea ice extent in Antarctica just what?…4 or 5 years back. So there was reverse warming for the whole century and then it all happened at once in 5 years? And only in one place.
Your intellectual dishonesty is staggering, Griff.
I get it though. As long as it destroys Capitalism and hands control to a group of world elites ( of which I assume you are one), then all is well. When will the camps open up for us non-believers?

July 22, 2019 12:28 am

good work, willis

see also our response to the “arctic warming twice as fast” claim

Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2019 2:26 am

I wonder what the point is of doing this work and publishing it on a site where it is not going to have any influence on anyone?

Whenever I speak to a ‘true believer’, they simply tell me that ‘science’ has shown unequivocally that we are headed for Climate Armageddon, and that millions of people are displaced or dying at the moment. Any attempt to counter this belief with facts is met by a steadfast refusal to listen to them. There is no point waving the above article in front of them – they will simply claim that it is oil-funded propaganda.

Is there no way we can break out of the straitjacket of only trying to convince ourselves, and find a way of convincing other people?

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
July 22, 2019 7:09 am

The straitjacket is totally deliberate: the peer-reviewed journals won’t publish anything sceptical and the alarmists dismiss anything not in a peer-reviewed journal. One death at a time doesn’t work if the ruling paradigm has enough support. The only solution is political, so WUWT has to keep up the message and eventually the public will shift enough for the dam to break. That’s why (I assume) WUWT has recently been a bit more political with a bit less pure science. The election of Donald Trump was a big step in the right direction, Australia voted in Scott Morrison, in the UK Jeremy Corbin now looks dead in the water, and I think Canada is shifting too. There is still the occasional setback, for example today The Times (UK) reports a carbon tax on airlines (which can only have come from the outgoing Theresa May’s unspeakable government). Hopefully that tax won’t last 5 minutes, but even in the centre-right parties around the world there are too many politicians who just don’t get how they too have been brainwashed and are fighting for the wrong side. Everyone, WUWT included, just needs to keep plugging away and have patience. The public “get it” much better than it might appear, and we just need their leaders to follow them. [Note for politicians: then they will vote for you!].

July 22, 2019 5:23 am

From “The Charney Report”…

At low latitudes, the predicted values of the mean surface ΔT for doubled CO2 concentration were slightly more than l.5°C in the M series, 2.5°C in H1, and 3.0°C in H2. Both series predict larger ΔT at upper levels, primarily because of added heating by cumulus convection. The discrepancy in the surface ΔT may well be due to differences in the respective parameterizations of cumulus convection.

From Willis…

“Both series predict larger ΔT at upper levels, primarily because of added heating by cumulus convection”… Reality once again ignored the climate models, as usual.

July 22, 2019 5:52 am

The plot is symmetric with a land/ocean ratio influence. Latitudes 30, 60 and also 85. This symmetry suggests a well distributed gas. Over the past 40 years being more apparent over land.

Willis Eschenbach:
Another interesting topic from you. Can you adjust the plot by an ocean/land ratio? Take each lattitude, count the total cells and the land cells for the ratio. The plot should even up, be more vertical instead of its current slope.

Reply to  Ragnaar
July 22, 2019 8:53 am

“The plot should even up, be more vertical instead of its current slope.”
If your conjecture is true, then would that not suggest the warming is somehow due to land, not CO2? Because CO2 is well-mixed over the surface of the Earth. CO2 concentrations are well-mixed because the bulk of it comes from outgassing in the oceans, not directly from the factory chimneys and automobile exhaust pipes. [Do not tell me the plots here show extremely high CO2 variability until you have checked the map legends and computed the actual ppm variation of these ‘extremes’. You will find 2 or 3 ppm variation, out of 400.

A C Osborn
July 22, 2019 6:03 am

After Centuries of the Northern Hemisphere warming more than the Southern Hemisphere as the world came out of the last Ice Age & Mini Ice Age how is a prediction that the world will carry on doing so got anything at all to do with CO2?

July 22, 2019 6:25 am

Willis Eschenbach: We in Finland are on the white straight line of the graph between 60 and 70 lat. As far as I know we have not had such an increase in warming towards north. Could you plot as well along longitudes?

July 22, 2019 7:13 am

Funny thing tho, the high-summer Arctic temps continue to be avg/slightly below avg & increases are in the colder seasons. That seems like something “good”, not “bad”.

Robert of Texas
July 22, 2019 8:47 am

If I remember right, satellite temperature data is inferred from upward radiation? So in a sense, rather then a direct measurement, it is proxy-like (they have to tease the temperature data out of the noise using assumptions) and is subject to being tweaked or misinterpreted.

As long as the processes to tweak the data remain the same and there are no variances caused by replacing equipment, then a trend should be valid – but still, I would be cautious about giving the data too much credence.

For example, if low level thin (almost invisible) clouds where to increase, I imagine this would change the temperature data but not reflect an actual temperature change (or at least not reflect it accurately). I am not an expert on satellite data so this is all speculative – I just remain cautious.

What is really needed are a set of real direct temperature measurements established in pristine areas to validate the satellite data. Using a few land temperature measurements taken at the end of runways makes me cringe.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Robert of Texas
July 22, 2019 5:03 pm

UAH has been checked against weather balloons. That is “real,” “direct,” and “pristine.”

The lower troposphere should warm at least as fast as the surface, so its trend is an upper-bound, not an exact match to the surface.

Bart Tali
Reply to  Michael Jankowski
July 22, 2019 7:38 pm

The balloons are not perfect. Some discrepancies have been found, in China for example.

The radiosonde system updates in the early 2000s over China caused significant discontinuities and led the radiosonde temperature trends to exhibit less warming in the middle and upper troposphere and more cooling in the lower stratosphere than satellite temperatures.

July 22, 2019 11:26 am

Interesting data. Since the time period covers the switch in the AMO cycle from cold to warm, my guess is that is what it is capturing. As someone said up thread, its ocean currents. Below is a link to a graph. Sorry, I don’t know how to make it clickable.

comment image&exph=588&expw=1024&q=amo+cycle+and+iceland+temperatures&simid=608052907187570432&selectedIndex=8&ajaxhist=0

Steve Z
July 22, 2019 12:53 pm

It’s interesting that the Arctic seems to be warming much more than anywhere else, and parts of the Southern Hemisphere are cooling.

I remember seeing some data that show temperature trends for the area above 80 degrees N as a function of (Julian) date, where temperatures from November through April are highly variable (but always below freezing), but May to September temperatures are stuck a few degrees above freezing (between 273 and 277 K) year after year. This would seem to indicate that as soon as there was ice-free water somewhere in the Arctic, evaporation would cause clouds and fog to form over the remaining ice near the North Pole, thereby obscuring the sun and limiting the temperature increases in summer.

It would be interesting to calculate the temperature trends by month or season, to determine whether the Arctic is warming in all seasons, or only in autumn and winter (when ice cover would limit evaporation, with little or no solar heat input), but (relatively) warm air could be convected from regions further south, particularly over the ocean between Greenland and Scandinavia, due to the Gulf Stream.

Alexander Vissers
July 22, 2019 1:44 pm

I hope it is not the intention to start an item every time somebody writes something grotesk on twitter on some 40 year old climate assessment / modelling report. The graph seems to indicate that there is more to climate modelling than meets the eye and the deeper you dig the more puzzles you come across.
Keeps it exciting.

Bart Tali
July 22, 2019 3:32 pm

Explain like I am five years old. That chart seems to show almost everywhere in the world is warming. There is an anomalous cooling at around 70°S, but that doesn’t discredit the warming everywhere else.
So the Charney report got everything right except 70°S. That doesn’t discredit the entire report. It just means someone needs to explain what is causing the cooling at 70°S.

It’s pretty obvious to me what is causing the warming elsewhere.
It is mostly loss of ice albedo. This is shown clearly in CERES satellite data.

Flavio Capelli
Reply to  Bart Tali
July 22, 2019 8:13 pm

Bart Tall: “That doesn’t discredit the entire report. It just means someone needs to explain what is causing the cooling at 70°S.”

That’s a bit like saying someone just needed to explain why Newtonian mechanics failed to explain reality at very small and very large scales.
Somebody did investigate that, and realized our understanding of reality was off the mark, with Newtonian mechanics being only a subset of Relativistic mechanics.

So, this discrepancy with reality could indeed discredit the entire report.

Bart Tali
Reply to  Flavio Capelli
July 23, 2019 9:27 am

Just want to say, your analogy isn’t really a good one, because we haven’t actually tossed out Newtonian physics. Newtonian physics is a fine approximation for most things that people do. We don’t need to do Lorentz transformations in order to fly an airplane. For spacecrafts travelling at high speeds or approaching large masses like the Sun, we use Einstein’s formulas though.
And even there, Einstein’s formulas are not perfectly predictive, and there is a small anomaly called the flyby anomaly that has been observed, but not yet explained. That doesn’t discredit Einstein’s formulas. They are still a good approximation, just like Newton’s are for many things.

Flavio Capelli
Reply to  Bart Tali
July 23, 2019 7:24 pm

Yes, an approximation valid when certain conditions are met.

The point is, saying “It just means someone needs to explain what is causing the cooling at 70°S.” seems a rather cavalier attitude. This discrepancy could be minor, or major – we don’t know.

Bart Tali
Reply to  Bart Tali
July 23, 2019 3:26 pm

It’s possible the cooling around 70°S may be due to the stratospheric ozone loss. Loss of ozone, a greenhouse gas, would cause cooling.

This is the modeled radiative forcing effect of just stratospheric ozone:

July 23, 2019 3:29 am

Jamal Munshi has several papers on the Charney sensitivity, this is his latest.

Monthly means of Mauna Loa atmospheric CO2 concentrations are used in conjunction with surface temperature data from two different sources for the sample period 1979-2017 to test the validity and reliability of the empirical Charney climate sensitivity function. Detrended correlation analysis of temperature in five global regions from two different sources did not show that surface temperature is responsive to changes in the logarithm of atmospheric CO2 at an annual time scale. Correlations observed in source data are thus shown to be spurious. We conclude that the empirical Charney Climate Sensitivity function is specious because it is based on a spurious correlation.

July 23, 2019 5:48 am

The results are consistent with the movement of earth’s inner core, more north east.
I figured this a long time ago from some of my own results. Geothermal warming is changing. See comment on the relevant thread.

Ulric Lyons
July 28, 2019 12:37 pm

Willis, if you split the UAH data in two and do one chart from Dec 1978 to April 1995, and a second chart from April 1995 to the present, you would see very different changes in the polar regions.

July 29, 2019 12:23 pm

Have to wonder what happened in 1980 to start the continuing divergence between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

July 29, 2019 12:37 pm


Reply to  CMS
July 29, 2019 12:39 pm

Have never figured how to post a graphic on this website.

July 29, 2019 12:38 pm

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