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Weakest solar cycle in 100yrs could intensify drought

Paul Hudson | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 4 May 2012

News from NASA this week that on-going weak solar activity will continue, leading to the weakest solar cycle in around 100 years, could have important implications for the UK's weather.

Research over the last few years has pointed to a link between low solar activity, and incidences of 'blocking' weather patterns.

In three out of the last four winters, the jet stream has been much weaker than normal, leaving us more exposed to colder air from the north and the east, as 'blocking' areas of high pressure become established.

In these situations, winters are not just colder than average but drier, too.

It's these weather patterns that have led the government to warn of the risk of stand-pipes in the streets next summer should winter again be dry in southern and eastern areas.

It suggests the government could be right to be worried about the risk of low winter rainfall in coming years, and the implications for water supplies in parts of the UK.

Normally our winters are dominated by a strong jet stream, bringing mild air and rain in from the west.

Winter rainfall is crucial in that evaporation is very low, and plants and trees don't take up much of the water in the ground, and this is the time when ground water levels and reservoirs normally recover.

In summer, evaporation and water taken up by plants and trees in all but the very wettest summers outweighs any rain that falls.

The theory that weak solar activity could impact our weather gained credibility when Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University published research two years ago.

He found a correlation between weak solar activity and the occurrences of 'blocking' weather patterns, leading on average to colder & drier winters.

Professor Mike Lockwood said that weak solar activity does not guarantee colder winters, but suggests that such winters could become more frequent.

There could also be implications for weather at other times of the year.

The intense heat wave that Russia and parts of Eastern Europe experienced in summer 2010 was also caused by a similar blocking high.

Professor Lockwood told the New Scientist following this event 'there's enough evidence to suspect that jet stream behaviour is being modulated by the sun.'

And it's certainly a headache for computer models that predict our future climate based on increasing levels of man-made greenhouse gases.

They are unable to model the impact of weak solar activity, simply because the precise mechanism of how this affects climate patterns is unknown.

These climate projections suggesting that winters will become milder and wetter, with summers drier and warmer, have been of little use to the water authorities in the south and east of the UK who are trying to cope with successive dry winters.

Follow me on twitter @Hudsonweather

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Lockwood has noted that the relationship between low solar activity and central England winters breaks down after 1900, as greenhouse gases muddy the picture.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2010/apr/14/sun-blamed-for-europes-colder-winters

    Another hypothesis for potentially colder regional winters involve the depletion of Arctic sea ice. That might explain the wild swings in AO values in recent years.

    Lockwood has published work indicating a large drop in solar activity is possible, and we are certainly just off one of the longest solar minimums of the last 100 years. However, like any qualified scientist, he notes

    "the popular idea (at least on the Internet and in some parts of the media) that solar changes are some kind of alternative to GHG forcing in explaining the rise in surface temperatures has no credibility with almost all climate scientists."

    http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/466/2114/303.full

    In the most extreme case of a Maunder Minimum, to which Lockwood assigns an 8% chance, multiple studies indicate it would not offset global warming much.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/what-would-happen-if-the-sun-fell-to-maunder-minimum-levels.html

  • Comment number 2.

    Interesting. The problem with blocking highs is that the weather you get can be so extreme and variable depending on which side of the high you happen to be or whether it moves. Dryness is about the only consistent factor when under the high itself but exceptional heat/cold, dullness or sunshine is something of a lottery (at any time of year).

    However, I would guess even extreme rainfall is a possibility if a high, based elsewhere,"traps" a zone of low pressure in one place. This seems to be the pattern of weather we have been experiencing this spring.

    And now we seem destined for a blast of arctic air. If this produces the severity of frost recently forecast - it will be one of the most devastating unseasonal freezes for many years, because vegetation- even of hardy native species like oak, is quite well advanced. They can take a bit of frost - but temps around -5c (as suggested) are something else.

    If the blocking theory as reported by PH above proves correct - expect a roller coaster of unusual weather!

  • Comment number 3.

    This is an abrupt change of direction. CAGW theory posits that the Sun has little or no effect on temperature, and the Hockey Stick goes to absurd lengths to support this theory, wiping out both the LIA and the MWP. Surely it should be possible to assess the myriad proxies from the Maunder Minimum era, before large quantities of CO2 entered the atmosphere, and establish a base to compare the weather conditions of the next minimum with increased CO2? True, this would necessitate empirical data gathering which might upset the preconceptions contained in most GCMs, but it would be a return to real science.

  • Comment number 4.

    Imagine that, the sun has a major impact on our weather, I can barely fathom the spin that is going to be required to place the blame on SUV's and western excess.

  • Comment number 5.

    PS. GCMs already have a severe headache. Global temperature increases, if any, have been running below the projected warming parameters for the last 14 years.

  • Comment number 6.

    Is the present solar cycle tracking the Dalton minimum?

    http://www.landscheidt.info/?q=node/50

    The Dalton minimum went through solar cycle 5 & 6 from 1790 to 1830

    You can check out historical weather here

    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1750_1799.htm

    http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1800_1849.htm

  • Comment number 7.

    Global warming by man was supposed to cause more rain fall. I am gaining more evidence that the sun causes global warming, not man. Not to say that we shouldn't be careful about caring for the planet and looking for cleaner and greener energy solutions. I keep finding all these broken hockey sticks and I have to look under stones for people who still believe that we are the cause of global warming. Then again at the start of the football season I said Wednesday would get promoted and United would blow it, some predictions take longer to proof.

  • Comment number 8.

    I was a little sceptical about whether there was a relationship between low solar activity and low rainfall, so I did some crude number crunching, comparing the annual SSN with annual rainfall for England & Wales since 1766, using the HadUKP data series.
    At first glance, the direct correlation between the figures is low, at +0.107, positive but definitely not significant. However, I noticed that low rainfall figures did seem to coincide with SSN minima, so I compared years with below/above average SSNs with those below/above average rainfall. The results are as follows:
    Years with below average SSN = 137
    Of those, years with below average rainfall = 80 = 58%
    Years with above average SSN = 100
    Of those, years with above average rainfall = 51 = 51%
    Also, I compared SSN minima and maxima years with rainfall:
    SSN minima years = 22
    rain below mean = 13 = 59%
    SSN maxima years = 21
    rain above mean = 10 = 48%
    There were two maxima years with SSN below the mean, of which 1 had rainfall below the mean and 1 above the mean.
    So on the basis of the above, admittedly hasty calculations, I think that there may be a tendency for rainfall to be slightly lower during years with low SSN and during SSN minima.
    If that is the case, and if predictions of lower SSNs are correct, we can probably expect lower rainfall in the U.K.
    However, I am not entirely convinced that the current cycle will be the weakest in 100 years. Personally I expect the maxima to be about the same as around 1928, which saw above average rainfall in 1927, 1928 and 1930, but below average in 1929.

  • Comment number 9.

    @1 MarkB2020 wrote:

    “Lockwood has published work indicating a large drop in solar activity is possible, and we are certainly just off one of the longest solar minimums of the last 100 years. However, like any qualified scientist, he notes”

    "the popular idea (at least on the Internet and in some parts of the media) that solar changes are some kind of alternative to GHG forcing in explaining the rise in surface temperatures has no credibility with almost all climate scientists."

    I am quite sure, like any qualified scientist, Professor Mike Lockwood would be appreciative of his words being quoted in context:-

    “It is important not to make the mistake made by Lord Kelvin and argue that there can be no influence of solar variability on climate: indeed, its study is of scientific interest and may well further our understanding of climate behaviour. However, the popular idea (at least on the Internet and in some parts of the media) that solar changes are some kind of alternative to GHG forcing in explaining the rise in surface temperatures has no credibility with almost all climate scientists.”

    Only time will tell what homo sapiens, climate scientists, bloggers and the MSM may eventually attribute to this so called "solar minimum".

  • Comment number 10.

    greensand writes

    "I am quite sure, like any qualified scientist, Professor Mike Lockwood would be appreciative of his words being quoted in context:"

    Since the additional quotes you added are not in dispute here, could you clarify what context you are trying to add?

    Lockwood, in "Solar Induced Climate Effects", wrote

    "From solar-induced variations of cosmogenic isotopes over the past 104 years, Lockwood [61] has deduced there is an 8% chance that the Sun will return to Maunder minimum conditions within 50 years. Feulner and Rahmstorf [289] used a coupled model to predict that this will offset anthropogenically rising global mean temperatures by no more than 0.3°C in the year 2100, relative to what would happen if the solar output remained constant. Similarly Lean and
    24 Rind [290] found that the solar decline would delay reaching a given temperature level by no more than a decade."

    A few goofy bloggers and journalists, relying on a Svensmark or two, might imply otherwise.

  • Comment number 11.

    @ 10. MarkB2020 wrote:

    "Since the additional quotes you added are not in dispute here, could you clarify what context you are trying to add?"

    Precisely none!

    I would not deem to "add" context to a qualified scientist such as Professor Mike Lockwood. I just quoted him in full.

  • Comment number 12.

    Sounds like we need a change in policy in how we collect and store water for human use. Telling the public that they have to use less is firefighting the problem rather than providing a solution.
    Does this have connotations of what we witnessed in Australia with the dams, ie policy based on incorrect decadal meteorological advice?

  • Comment number 13.

    Prof. Lockwood says . .

    "weak solar activity does not guarantee colder winters, but suggests that such winters could become more frequent."
    Clear as mud - thanks.

    "They are unable to model the impact of weak solar activity, simply because the precise mechanism of how this affects climate patterns is unknown."
    We have no clue how climate works but we're sure about the next bit.

    "the popular idea (at least on the Internet and in some parts of the media) that solar changes are some kind of alternative to GHG forcing in explaining the rise in surface temperatures has no credibility with almost all climate scientists."

    Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that most climate scientists have almost no credibility left with the general public. This piece is an exemplar of why that is.

  • Comment number 14.

    Looks like Piers Corbyn's comments back in April are about right on this occassion

    "The coldest or near coldest May for 100 years in Central and East parts with a record run of bitter Northerly winds. Snow at times especially on high ground in NE / East. Spring put in reverse"

    "Piers Corbyn astrophysicist of Weatheraction.com says "We are making this headline from our 45day ahead Britain & Ireland forecast public because of its importance. It is an economically impactful forecast and more detail of the timing of cold and wintry blasts, East-West splits and drought or not implications are available to subscribers and will also be reviewed for the 30day ahead forecast due at end of April."

    "The very cold expectations apply to East parts and near – Europe rather than Ireland and West Britain”

  • Comment number 15.

    The published UK rainfall figure for April, ended up at 126.5mm confirming that it was the wettest April in the U.K. since 1910.
    The figure for England & Wales, based on the longer HadUKP series, was 149.0mm, making it the wettest April since 1766.
    Unfortunately the HadUKP series only goes back to 1931 in the case of Scotland & N. Ireland, so it isn't possible to say for certain that April was the wettest in the U.K. as a whole since 1766.
    In fact, according to HadUKP, the wettest April on record for Scotland is 1947, with 2012 in 8th, and for N.I. is 1950, with 2012 in 36th. However, given the fact that E&W take up about 62% of the area of the U.K., it does seem possible that this April was the wettest since 1766.
    So does this support those who are convinced that "climate change" is reflected in U.K. rainfall figures?
    In order to help decide, I calculated 10 year and 30 year moving averages and standard deviations for the April E&W HadUKP series.
    Since 1910, the 10 year ma has ranged between 79.9mm and 44.8mm, showing no real upward trend, being 61.7mm in 1910 and 58.4mm in 2012. On the other hand, the 30 year ma has increased fairly steadily from 55.8mm in 1910, to 67.3mm in 2012.
    At the same time, the 10 year sd has ranged between 11.9mm and 41.9mm since 1910, showing a general upward trend from 16.5mm in 1910 to 41.9mm in 2012, while the 30 year sd has also shown an upward trend, from 20.5mm in 1910 to 37.0 in 2012. Based on these figures, there seems no doubt that E&W rainfall has increased in volume and range since 1910.
    However, when you look further back, you see that the 10 year ma was 73.8mm in 1830 and the 30 year ma was almost as high as it is now, at 65.3mm, in 1838.
    At the same time, the 10 year sd reached 41.6mm in 1786, and the 30 year sd reached 31.7mm in 1846. Both the ma and sd figures showed a general decline between about 1830 and 1910.
    So it seems to me that what we are seeing at the present, is a return to rainfall figures as they were in the early 1800's, i.e. evidence of "changing climate", rather than "climate change".
    I therefore think it is possible to accept that while UK rainfall figures have increased in volume and range over the last 100 years, that is not necessarily confirmation of man-made "climate change".

  • Comment number 16.

    Well I don't know young Mr Hudson. I thought I would drop by see how you were doing.

    Its all a bit confusing now and at my age life is confusing enough. Matron has had to increase me pills.

    IPCC AR4 2007 told me that Northern Hemisphere Winters would be increasingly mild and wet, and we could expect more run-off and more flooding. To be fair this was close to the thoughts from the early naughties (when we had quite a few floods) - well as you know persistence is often a good forecast.

    BUT as soon as the ink was dry on AR4 we have had 4 cold NH winters in a row. In fact some parts of Alaska and Siberia, Northern Scandavia have broken winter records and not for run-off I can assure you.

    Now after a drought period the story has to change again to one where we end up with less rainfall. I saw Prof Lockwood's interesting thoughts on the Sun and its effects. I also noted others trying to tie lack of Arctic sea ice to blocking patterns.

    Basically all these later ideas are postulated because the original AGW theory is plainly wrong. BUT never mind the science is settled you know.

    I thought this farmer had an interesting view on the last decade.

    http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/12/03/2012/131835/Climate-change-predictions-are-drying-up.htm

    Well it made me smile.

  • Comment number 17.

    That's a pretty controversial posting by Paul Hudsun.

    He seems to be suggesting that any perceived warming of the surface is caused by solar activity; not greenhouse gases. Not sure what the academic level of support for this hypothesis is? Has Lockwood identified a statistically significant correlation between weak solar output and jet stream blocking? It's not clear from this post.

    As I understand it, the consensus view is that the difference in the temperature gradient between northern (colder) air and southern (warmer) air is what causes fluctuations in the jet stream.

    A cold north vrs a warm south causes the jet stream to whiz around, like a lasso at high rpm. If the temperature gradient is diminished, either because the south warms or because the north cools, then the 'lasso' slows, causing it to become droopy.

    It looks like the UK is currently caught in a slow moving dip in a slowed jet stream; allowing colder air escaping from the north to settle above us. Just as the US was caught in a slow moving crest of warm air during March, causing record high temperatures.

    If so, then we need to ask what has caused the temperature gradient between the cold north and the warmer south to diminish? Global surface temperature records suggest that the Arctic has warmed very strongly in the past decade. 2010 and 2011 where the warmest years on record in the Arctic. This evidence tends to support the consensus view.

    Does reduced solar output really explain this as thoroughly? I don't believe so.

  • Comment number 18.

    17. I wrote:

    "If the temperature gradient is diminished, either because the south warms or because the north cools, then the 'lasso' slows, causing it to become droopy."

    Sorry, that should read:

    'If the temperature gradient is diminished, either because the south [cools] or because the north [warms], then the 'lasso' slows, causing it to become droopy."

    Also, the 'where' after "2010 and 2011" should of course be a 'were'.

    I've had a tough couple of days.

  • Comment number 19.

    13. lateintheday wrote:

    “Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that most climate scientists have almost no credibility left with the general public. This piece is an exemplar of why that is.”

    It must be remembered that Professor Lockwood penned this in October 2009, just one year after the UK Climate Change Act.

    Times they are a changing...

  • Comment number 20.

    15. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "So does this support those who are convinced that "climate change" is reflected in U.K. rainfall figures?"

    It shouldn't. UK rainfall is not a good proxy indicator for anyone trying to convince others that climate change is having a profound effect on precipitation globally.

    The UK is 0.05% of global surface area, washed by the Gulf Stream and Atlantic weather systems. We're already a few degrees warmer than we should be, based on latitude. We have a long tradition on these relatively small islands of regarding ourselves as being at the very centre of the universe in terms of global importance; but based on global surface area, we are, at best, a small outlying galaxy.

    I realise it's boring, and that it rarely produces headlines, but if we're talking about *global* climate change then we need to think globally and in periods of decades.

  • Comment number 21.

    17. & 18 newdwr54 wrote:

    “Does reduced solar output really explain this as thoroughly? I don't believe so.”

    Think I know what you mean DW but not sure that there is any “thorough” explanation of this planet’s climate. Or that there is any claim to thoroughly know, other than possibly some who are convinced that all known and unknown elements of our climate are overruled by relatively unknown accumulations of one single gaseous element?

    Sorry to hear you have had a few bad days, I thought “The Toffees” were doing rather well?

  • Comment number 22.

    The Met Office have recently issued their 3 month outlook for May to July. For temperatures

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/3/d/A3-layout-temp-MMJ.pdf

    "The balance of probability, both for May and the period May-June-July 2012, favours UK-averaged temperatures above the 1971-2000 climate mean, but in line with those observed over the last ten years."

  • Comment number 23.

    Annual rainfall for England in graphical form 1910-2010

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/image16.png

    Look at the graph. 100 years, pretty much more of the same.

    Orriginal from this metoffice page.

    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/

  • Comment number 24.

    Is Rob Napier still running the Met Office PLC, or is he a bit busy wearing his other hat as non-exec director at Anglia Water PLC? I simply ask. Boy, is it a small world!

  • Comment number 25.

    #22. - mjmwhite wrote:
    "The balance of probability, both for May and the period May-June-July 2012, favours UK-averaged temperatures above the 1971-2000 climate mean, but in line with those observed over the last ten years."
    Arrived at in a similar manner to the April rainfall forecast, so likely to be just as (in)accurate.
    I am still amazed at how little mention there has been of the April rainfall forecast, in the mainstream media. Presumably they are unaware of it, because of it's low profile.

  • Comment number 26.

    RSS data for April +0.333 C. Upswing coincides with steady rise in central tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures from mid March onward. AMSU daily satellite also data indicate concurrent and continuing rise in atmospheric temperatures.

  • Comment number 27.

    #23. - mjmwhite wrote:
    "Annual rainfall for England in graphical form 1910-2010
    Look at the graph. 100 years, pretty much more of the same."
    Actually the graph includes the provisional figure for 2011.
    I haven't done any calculations for England based on the 1910 series, and it isn't possible to separate Wales from the HadUKP series, but using the data for England & Wales, there is evidence of a slight upward trend in rainfall since 1766.
    That said, current 10 year and 30 year averages are similar to those in the late 1800's.
    The highest 10 year s.d. was in 1856 and the highest 30 year s.d. was in 1877.
    Rainfall and variability *appear* to have increased since 1910, because they were relatively low at the start of the 20th century.

  • Comment number 28.

    #26. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "RSS data for April +0.333 C. Upswing coincides with steady rise in central tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures from mid March onward. AMSU daily satellite also data indicate concurrent and continuing rise in atmospheric temperatures."
    Drat, I was so obsessed with UAU that I forgot to check RSS!
    Believe it or not, my estimate for April RSS, based on AQUA CH5, was 0.306c.
    The RSS figure is equivalent to 0.48c over the period 1961-90, and suggests that my estimates for UAH of 0.25c and HadCRUT3 of 0.46c, may be fairly accurate.
    Actually the increase in RSS global anomaly comes mainly from a rise in the N.H. anomaly from 0.143c to 0.535c, while the S.H. anomaly increased from 0.003c to 0.122c.
    The main N.H. rises were in the +20 to +82.5 deg. region, from 0.325c to 0.918c and in the +60 to +82.5 deg. region, from -0.086c to +1.424c.
    The anomaly for the +20 to -20 deg. region was virtually unchanged at -0.119c, compared to -0.121c last month.

  • Comment number 29.

    Looking in more detail at the rolling standard deviations for England & Wales rainfall, I think it is interesting that the 10 year sd reached a low in 1988 indicating that rainfall variability was lower at that time.
    Consequently, now that these have increased again, many people may get the "impression" that rainfall is becoming more variable and associate that with "climate change", because they have been told to expect that.
    However, similar lows in the 10 year sd occurred in 1945, followed by a peak in 1960, and in 1920 with a peak in 1930, and 1838, with a peak in 1856, with many more in between.
    On a longer time-scale, there were similar lows in the 30 year sd in 1952, followed by a peak in 1976, and in 1838, with a peak in 1877.
    Such changes in variability are probably cyclical and it is very difficult to say whether low variability or high variability is the "normal" situation.

  • Comment number 30.

    100% capacity where I live in Yorkshire so what is the issue. The South East is over populated, especially with immigrants, so what do you expect. Renationalise the water companies and I am not a socialist at all, but believe they should be state owned, not run for profit by other countries.

  • Comment number 31.

    lateintheday writes

    "Unfortunately, he neglects to mention that most climate scientists have almost no credibility left with the general public. This piece is an exemplar of why that is."

    This also appears to be at odds with the evidence.

    http://www.enviroknow.com/2011/12/10/republican-climate-change-trust/

    Maybe by "no credibility" and "general public", you mean the 8% who strongly distrust climate scientists. I don't think that is representative of the general public. Instead, it is mainly composed of the unreliable sources Lockwood is referring to along with their readers. Among leaders who tell us not to trust climate scientists, credibility is very low.

  • Comment number 32.

    Quite a strong allegation:
    East Anglia Climatic Research Unit shown to be liars by results of latest FOIA ruling and investigation
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/05/06/east-anglia-climate-research-unit-shown-to-be-liars-by-results-of-latest-foia-ruling-and-investigation/

    It will be interesting to see the response, but don't expect it will be any different to the MO's response to fiddling the CRUTEMP4 data.

  • Comment number 33.

    @32 ukpahonta wrote:

    "but don't expect it will be any different to the MO's response to fiddling the CRUTEMP4 data."

    Eh up ukpahonta, have the MO actually responded? Is there a quote/link?

  • Comment number 34.

    Nope not a thing!

  • Comment number 35.

    Yup, sounds about right!

  • Comment number 36.

    markb2020@31
    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. I note that the survey you refer to asks the bizarre question "how much do you trust the following as a source of information about global warming".
    Not surprisingly, climate scientists fare better than GPs or politicians on this question. But even here, in their own specialist field, only 1 in 4 surveyed responded with 'strongly trust'.
    To make any sense of these survey results, one would also have to ask questions like "who do you trust as a source of information about medical conditions" and see how much trust there is in GPs.

    I've seen many a survey in the past that shows the public are gradually losing faith in AGW. This is very surprising when you consider that it is supposed to be accepted science and as such, forms part of the school curriculum.

    Having said that, I suspect that all surveys would give different results depending on the prevailing weather conditions during the period/day in which the survey was carried out. Rightly or wrongly, a bit of winter snow here in the UK is enough to dampen belief in AGW. I'm equally sure that if a survey had been carried out in early March during our unseasonably warm spell, confidence in AGW would have scored very highly.

  • Comment number 37.

    I agree with lateintheday about this survey.
    The fact that 56% of the people surveyed trusted in what their primary care doctor as a source of information about "climate change",
    must tell us something about their general gullibility on the subject.

  • Comment number 38.

    I wouldn't trust my doctor with my health, never mind his or her views on "Climate change".

  • Comment number 39.

    I have been looking again at the RSS anomaly figures for individual regions.
    As I mentioned in my post #28, most of the increase in the global anomaly for April has come in the N.H., and most of that is in the N. Polar region (+60 to +82.5 deg.) and in the N.H. Extra-Tropics region (+20 to +82.5 deg.).
    However, what puzzles me is that if the current rise in temperature is being driven by the ENSO, why this seems to be having a disproportionate effect on N.H. temperatures, in particular at the N.Pole.
    Perhaps someone who understands this process better than I do, can explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    NeilHamp at 14 is correct. The much maligned Piers Corbyn was ahead of the MO game here. His predictivity from weeks out has been vindicated by the events of this month. If a Maunder type minimum occurs, then it won't be difficult to find out who has been right or wrong.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "However, what puzzles me is that if the current rise in temperature is being driven by the ENSO, why this seems to be having a disproportionate effect on N.H. temperatures, in particular at the N.Pole."

    Hi QV, not sure that it is ENSO, well it is not showing through in NH SSTs, through April the following was showing cool in the NH waters:-

    http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif

    Interestingly just starting to show a warm pool off Japan which is usual for La Nina.

    Also Reynolds SSTs for the month showing little change in NH with +0.10c up from +0.07c in March 12 and +0.09c March 11.

    SH numbers:- +0.16c April 12, +0.14c March 12 and +0.15c March 11

    SST climatology for 1971-2000

    http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh

    Haven't done any other regions and still awaiting UAH Land - Ocean numbers.

    PS, Ryan Maue showing some quite warm numbers at present:-

    http://policlimate.com/weather/current/ext_raw_temp_c.html

  • Comment number 42.

    In science news this week

    "New Research Brings Satellite Measurements and Global Climate Models Closer

    ScienceDaily (May 7, 2012) — One popular climate record that shows a slower atmospheric warming trend than other studies contains a data calibration problem, and when the problem is corrected the results fall in line with other records and climate models, according to a new University of Washington study.

    The finding is important because it helps confirm that models that simulate global warming agree with observations, said Stephen Po-Chedley, a UW graduate student in atmospheric sciences who wrote the paper with Qiang Fu, a UW professor of atmospheric sciences.

    They identified a problem with the satellite temperature record put together by the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Researchers there were the first to release such a record, in 1989, and it has often been cited by climate change skeptics to cast doubt on models that show the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming."

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120507151209.htm

    lateintheday,

    "most climate scientists have almost no credibility left with the general public."

    Did you have actual evidence to support that? I didn't see it in your dancing. Public polls clearly indicate otherwise. Keep in mind that those blogs going around calling climate scientists "liars" or equating belief in global warming to terrorism don't represent most of the public, and the public does not hold the accusers in high regard.

    Now you might try QV's line of reasoning and claim that the public is just gullible or stupid, but then the argument will come full circle.

  • Comment number 43.

    QV, Greensand

    It's not ENSO, I believe changes take about 8 months to filter through to Hemispheric temperatures and I think the science is too coarse as yet to infer sole attribution at regional level, although that's only from following blogs and keeping an interest, I'm no scientist.

  • Comment number 44.

    @40 Boanta

    How has he been vindicated? Havethe Eastern regions been at the lowest average temperature in 100yrs yet? (after 8 days...)

  • Comment number 45.

    #41. - greensand wrote:
    "Hi QV, not sure that it is ENSO, well it is not showing through in NH SSTs, through April the following was showing cool in the NH waters:-"
    Thanks,
    I take it that what you mean is that the current increase in global/NH temperatures isn't ENSO, not that ENSO doesn't cause short-term increases in global temperatures?
    If not ENSO, then what?
    The RSS N. Pole anomaly increased from -0.086c to +1.424c in April. If not from the ocean, then the only logical place this increase in temperature can have come from is the N.H. extra-tropics. That region increased from -0.024c in Feb. to +0.325c in March, to +0.918c in April, after having generally fallen since last August.
    Meanwhile, the temperature at the tropics has also fallen steadily since last August, showing no recent rise.
    The N. Pole anomaly does seem to show large fluctuations in the anomaly, but is a smaller area than the N.H. extra-tropics , so it could be expected to show larger increases than that region.
    Just trying to get my head around what has caused this large increase in the N. Polar anomaly. What it can't be, is a sudden increase in the "greenhouse" effect.

  • Comment number 46.

    45. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I take it that what you mean is that the current increase in global/NH temperatures isn't ENSO, not that ENSO doesn't cause short-term increases in global temperatures?"

    Yes, well up to a point, because I have never been able to understand the mechanics of the "ENSO short-term" effect.

    A few weeks back there was quite a long discussion on this subject which ended with no sound conclusion. It started when I asked the question "what are the mechanics of the ENSO short-term effect and could the change in "cloudiness" at the equator have an influence?

    The BOM track "cloudiness" on a daily basis and report it as the level of OLR, Outgoing Longwave Radiation.

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/mjo/graphics/region.ts.dateline.gif

    "Cloudiness along the equator, near the Date Line, is an important indicator of ENSO conditions, as it typically increases (negative OLR anomalies) near and to the east of the Date Line during an El Niño event and decreases (positive OLR anomalies) during a La Niña event."

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/


    My rather simple question was could a reduction/increase in OLR be part of the short-term ENSO effect. The discussion got off track very quickly as some thought I was out to disprove AGW with my reference to clouds, as somebody said at the time "it stirred up a hornets nest".

    That was not my intention, I was and still am trying to understand the "short-term" mechanics. The longer term effect of increasing SSTs migrating from the NINO region is easier to comprehend and track.

    So QV I would be appreciate any light you can shed on the mechanics of the ENSO "short-term" effect.

    Regards

  • Comment number 47.

    #46. greensand wrote:
    "So QV I would be appreciate any light you can shed on the mechanics of the ENSO "short-term" effect."
    Thanks for your comments - I don't think it is likely that I will be able to add anything to your understanding of the subject!

  • Comment number 48.

    #42. - MarkB2020 wrote:
    "Now you might try QV's line of reasoning and claim that the public is just gullible or stupid, but then the argument will come full circle."
    I didn't say "stupid", but if 10% of the people surveyed "strongly trusted" their doctor, (who is no more qualified to comment than anyone), one has to wonder.
    Maybe they misunderstood the question and thought that they were being asked if they trusted their doctor on medical matters.

  • Comment number 49.

    47. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    Many thanks QV, we shall therefore remain in observational mode!

    Eventually all will become clear.

  • Comment number 50.

    QV writes

    "but if 10% of the people surveyed "strongly trusted" their doctor, (who is no more qualified to comment than anyone), one has to wonder."

    about those 10% at least. Trusting unqualified non-experts on a topic is indeed irrational. Glad we agree. Prof. Lockwood might too. His papers explain why.

  • Comment number 51.

    This may help, lots of info and links to further discussions:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/13/tisdale-on-the-importance-of-el-ninos-little-sister/

    "During a La Nina event, tropical Pacific trade winds rise above normal levels. The increase in trade winds reduces cloud cover. Reduced cloud cover allows more Downward Shortwave Radiation (visible light) to warm the tropical Pacific. These coupled ocean-atmosphere processes associated with La Nina events were discussed in the post:"
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2009/11/26/more-detail-on-the-multiyear-aftereffects-of-enso-part-2-%E2%80%93-la-nina-events-recharge-the-heat-released-by-el-nino-events-and/
    "During Major Traditional ENSO Events, Warm Water Is Redistributed Via Ocean Currents”.

    "Trenberth et al (2002) briefly describes how La Nina events recharge the heat that had been discharged and redistributed from the tropical Pacific during El Nino events. On page 16, paragraph 57 they write, “The negative feedback between SST and surface fluxes can be interpreted as showing the importance of the discharge of heat during El Nino events and of the recharge of heat during La Nina events. Relatively clear skies in the central and eastern tropical Pacific allow solar radiation to enter the ocean, apparently offsetting the below normal SSTs, but the heat is carried away by Ekman drift, ocean currents, and adjustments through ocean Rossby and Kelvin waves, and the heat is stored in the western Pacific tropics. This is not simply a rearrangement of the ocean heat, but also a restoration of heat in the ocean.”

    ENSO surface shortwave radiation forcing
    over the tropical Pacific PAVLAKIS ET AL (2008)
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/6697/2008/acpd-8-6697-2008-print.pdf

    And from Billy Kessler of NOAA:
    http://faculty.washington.edu/kessler/occasionally-asked-questions.html

    "Note that the rising air over the western Pacific is associated with rainfall (see the figure of rainfall and winds just above). When air rises it cools, and can hold less evaporated water. The water comes out as rain. But in returning to a liquid state, it releases the heat that was used to evaporate it from the ocean surface (heat that came from the sun), and this middle atmosphere heating amplifies the rising motion. This is a principal mechanism for heat from the sun to warm the atmosphere (the atmosphere by itself is relatively transparent to solar radiation).

    Because the warm pool pumps great amounts of heat and moisture into the upper atmosphere, this system is one of the major driving forces of world climate. The huge source of heat helps set the path of the jet streams (storm tracks) that control temperate-zone weather, much as a large rock in a stream determines the pattern of water flow, including wavey motions that extend well downstream of the rock. Therefore, when the warm pool changes shape or position, the effects ripple outward to affect much of the world's weather.

    During El Niño events, this entire system relaxes. The trade winds weaken, particularly west of the Dateline, and the piled-up water in the west sloshes back east, carrying the warm pool with it. The region of rising air moves east with the warm pool, and so does the pumping of heat and moisture into the upper atmosphere, distorting the usual paths of the jet streams, which eventually causes the changes in weather around the world. With weakened trade winds, the upwelling in the east correspondingly weakens; as the warm pool moves east the upwelled water is also not as cool as during normal periods. When eastern SST becomes warm the east-to-west temperature contrast is small, and so the trade winds weaken even further, leading to a complete collapse with essentially flat conditions across the entire equatorial Pacific."

  • Comment number 52.

    51. ukpahonta wrote:

    "This may help,"

    Sure does, will have to read and digest. I have read through a lot of Bob T's work over the years but always due a revisit. The basic ENSO recharge/discharge of heat and subsequent distribution through ocean currents is good solid stuff.

    What has always intrigued me is the claim of "short-term effects" on global atmospheric temps, sometimes expressed in weeks and there does appear to be some correlations. However I am not sure, can't get the mechanics clear yet, but the link you give to Billy Kessler of NOAA looks very interesting. Many thanks

  • Comment number 53.

    #52 Greensand

    If you find info on short term effects on gat by ENSO let me know, but I will also be surprised.

  • Comment number 54.

    markb2020
    "Public polls clearly indicate otherwise."
    Didn't see that in your dancing either. Your link, which presumably you would count as evidence, was to a totally obscure american survey which compared apples with kangaroos, tattoos and aubergines. Whatever it is you're smoking - I'll try some.

    And strange though you may think, I don't cut and paste a scrapbook of opinion polls. Perhaps I ought to, as you seem to think they are central to settling the science.

    And you say . . .
    "Keep in mind that those blogs going around calling climate scientists "liars" or equating belief in global warming to terrorism"

    Association fail - nil points. Words be nimble, words be quick - words resemble walking sticks. Plant them, watch them grow - see them flower so.

  • Comment number 55.

    How entertaining is your dancing, lateintheday, complete with singing too! Let's look at this diversion:

    "And strange though you may think, I don't cut and paste a scrapbook of opinion polls. Perhaps I ought to, as you seem to think they are central to settling the science."

    The opinion poll of the general public presented here is sufficient at demolishing this pretentious and clearly incorrect statement:

    "most climate scientists have almost no credibility left with the general public."

    We are left to speculate as to why you are deluded, which might involve believing certain amateur contrarian blogs that regularly defame scientists in some way represents the "general public". Maybe these sorts of grandiose delusions results in PR strategy failures of this sort.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/06/diageo-end-funding-heartland-institute?newsfeed=true

  • Comment number 56.

    Always pleased to entertain Mark. Pretentious - Moi? Please provide evidence.

    Since you think I'm just making it up - here's an extract of a Gallup poll (link below) that asks a more sensible question.

    "In response to one key question, 48% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated, up from 41% in 2009 and 31% in 1997, when Gallup first asked the question."

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    So, 31% in 1997 and 48% in 2010 think AGW is exaggerated. This is after 13 years and billions spent on research worldwide. Then add the billions spent on promoting the myriad 'green products' including everything from soap to packaging, financial schemes and bio this that and the other. Let's not forget the extra taxes levied on industry or the subsidies for windfarms, solar power etc etc, all apparently in the name of reducing CO2 emissions.

    The end result - joe public is less convinced than he used to be.

    What I find most incredible, is that you chose to link to such a ludicrous poll. Did you not read it - did you not understand it.

  • Comment number 57.

    markb2020
    Yes, Heartland have shot themselves in the foot - not for the first time either. Do I take it Gleick is your hero? Have you already forgotten or forgiven what he did? Have you also forgotten the 10:10 video of exploding children. Do you revel in calling people 'deniers' and then spuriously claim no intentional link with the death camps? Despite your moniker, are you irrationally blind in one eye?

    When I've got the time, I follow maybe half a dozen 'climate' blogs. From what I see, they are largely populated by professionals and academics, some of whom have studied aspects of the climate in great detail. Where they are not directly involved in climate study, I suppose they could be counted alongside joe public. Clearly though, these engineers/chemists/statisticians etc., possess transferable skills which affords them better access to the science than folks like me. But even here, among the science/math educated joe public group, we see that your favourite site (SkS) is struggling to connect with people. The site traffic stats actually reflect public opinion among those who have made/are making the effort to learn more about climate science. I'm afraid you'll just have to live with that.

    In the end of course, public opinion polls prove nothing. They can have a direct influence on policy though and perhaps that's why you're so bothered about them.

    The mods removed the link from the previous post - don't know why.
    Try searching the Gallup website for March 11, 2010 and the post title: Americans' Global Warming Concerns Continue to Drop.

  • Comment number 58.

    Does anybody know the UAH figure for April, I suspect it will have dipped. I have just heard that flatulence from dinosaurs caused global warming in the past, I don't know where they come up with things like this.

  • Comment number 59.

    #58. - Tim wrote:
    "Does anybody know the UAH figure for April, I suspect it will have dipped. I have just heard that flatulence from dinosaurs caused global warming in the past, I don't know where they come up with things like this."
    The April UAH figure hasn't been published yet.
    There was a hint from Roy Spencer that it would be late due to John Christy being out of the country for several days.
    Based on AMSU ch5 temperatures & RSS, it is most unlikely that it will have gone down.
    My own estimate is 0.25c +/- 0.05c, compared to last month's 0.11c.

  • Comment number 60.

    Even James Lovelock thinks that "climate change" has been exaggerated (including by himself).
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17988492
    The idea that the human race would be reduced to "a few breeding pairs in the Arctic", is so ludicrous as to be almost insane.
    One thing I am fairly certain of, is that "climate change" won't have any impact on the inexorable rise in human population.

  • Comment number 61.

    Ah Ha!
    UAH global anomaly for April = 0.295c, N.H. = 0.411c, S.H. = 0.179c and tropics -0.120c.
    So just within my estimated range, but I must admit, higher than I expected.
    No more detail yet, but it is interesting that the anomaly for the tropics is slightly lower than last month.

  • Comment number 62.

    61. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "UAH global anomaly for April"

    Thanks QV, when they are available, I will be very interested in the Land/Ocean numbers.

    53. ukpahonta wrote:

    "If you find info on short term effects on gat by ENSO let me know"

    Well nothing immediately jumps out of my initial "research":-) Will keep a watching brief. Thanks for the links.

  • Comment number 63.

    #40 Boanta

    Make sure your wood pile is well stocked for the weekend and next week, according to the French this is when we could see some cold!

    UK Outlook for Monday 14 May 2012 to Wednesday 23 May 2012:
    With winds mainly from the west or northwest, temperatures will probably be average or a little below for the time of year but there is a chance of some warmer spells, most likely in the south of the UK.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/uk_forecast_weather.html

    Average for this time of year, possibly 14C to 15C max temp 5C to 6C min temp?


    Move your cursor over the radio buttons to the left on this French site:
    http://www.meteociel.fr/modeles/gfse_cartes.php?&ech=6&mode=1

    French 'projection' 0C to 4C max temp -4C to 0C min temp

    Obviously not using the same models.

  • Comment number 64.

    63. ukpahonta wrote:

    "French 'projection' "

    ukpahonta, I could be wrong, so check it, but I think that projection is for 850hPa (1.5km)?

    There is a "Temp. 2m" option above the map. Interestingly there is also a "UKMO Europe" option at the very top.

    There is a good explanation as why the 850hPa is used here:-

    http://weatherfaqs.org.uk/node/142 and scroll down

  • Comment number 65.

    #63. - ukpahonta wrote:
    "French 'projection' 0C to 4C max temp -4C to 0C min temp"
    I normally like "French models", but there is clearly something wrong with that one!
    Is says the temp. for the N. of England at 14:00 today would be below zero.
    Actually it's about 12c.
    Isn't 850hPa equivalent to 1.5km?
    Isn't the 2m temp. more appropriate?
    http://www.meteociel.fr/modeles/gfse_cartes.php?ech=6&code=0&mode=9
    Or am I missing something?

  • Comment number 66.

    Greensand, QV

    You are so right, my bad, should take more time to look at the description at the bottom of the graph, Doh!

  • Comment number 67.

    ukpahonta,
    That's the sort of thing I usually do myself!
    Actually a useful site, when you get round the language problem.
    I notice there is a jetstream forecast, which is something I have been looking for.

  • Comment number 68.

    #64. - greensand wrote:
    " Interestingly there is also a "UKMO Europe" option at the very top."
    I don't understand that one.
    Is z500 equivalent to 500mb i.e. 5km?
    Are the colours representative of pressure, not temp?

  • Comment number 69.

    The French Projection - sounds like a good film, when's it on.

  • Comment number 70.

    67. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "That's the sort of thing I usually do myself!"

    Same here!

    Re Jet Stream try this one, there is a little irritating bug that it drops into precipitation, but I am used to it and the charts plus static/rollover/animation are the "best" I have come across:-

    http://www.theweatheroutlook.com/twodata/datukgfshires.aspx?display=jetstream

  • Comment number 71.

    68. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I don't understand that one."

    Same here, I just ignored it and went to the UKMO Europe "Temp 850hPa" option.

    I will have a look around and see what I can find.

  • Comment number 72.

    QV, I think it is "Pressure Reduced to Mean Sea Level" - PRMSL:-

    http://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/SOURCES/.NOAA/.NCEP-NCAR/.CDAS-1/.DAILY/.Intrinsic/.MSL/.PRMSL/

    Beyond me!

  • Comment number 73.

    I owe an apology to the people who run this French meteorological site, it is quite amazing.
    It allows the ability to compare the results of so many different models, for example rain tomorrow afternoon:
    http://www.meteociel.fr/cartes_obs/comp_panel.php?mode=3&ech=18&size=2

  • Comment number 74.

    #73. - ukpahonta wrote:
    "It allows the ability to compare the results of so many different models, for example rain tomorrow afternoon:"
    Interesting.
    It's a bit hard to see, but do I get the impression that most of these models are predicting most rain in the North, whereas the MO warnings are out for the South?

  • Comment number 75.

    Re. Piers.

    Current CET is at 8.9 (-1.3C compared to 1961 - 1990), therefore after 8 days the average would be the coldest in 100yrs (an 8.9 at the end of the month would be the 5th-8th coldest on record). Still 22 days yet to go!

    Coldest in last 100yrs are -
    9.1 - 1996
    9.2 - 1923
    9.4 - 1941
    9.7 - 1955
    9.8 - 1968
    9.9 - 1935
    9.9 - 1975
    9.9 - 1984
    10.0 - 1979
    10.1 - 1951
    10.1 - 1987

    Claim was -

    "The coldest or near coldest May for 100 years in Central and East parts with a record run of bitter Northerly winds.

    Confidence of E / SE England mean temps: Coldest in 100yrs 80%; In 5 coldest in 100yrs 90%"

  • Comment number 76.

    Tim wrote:
    "I have just heard that flatulence from dinosaurs caused global warming in the past, I don't know where they come up with things like this."

    Cattle are contributing to it now. Methane release from various sources has caused it in the past. All fairly simple science really.

  • Comment number 77.

    john_cogger,

    I am not sure how it will be possible to validate the prediction about the "record run of bitter Northerly winds", since as far as I know there are no available long-term records of wind direction or strength.

  • Comment number 78.

    Piers Corbyn was further vindicated by last night's BBC chart showing blizzards and below 5 Celsius daytime maxima for the Highlands and with the cooler weather moving southwards in due course.

  • Comment number 79.

    77. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I am not sure how it will be possible to validate the prediction about the "record run of bitter Northerly winds", since as far as I know there are no available long-term records of wind direction or strength."

    Not like WeatherAction to make claims that can't be validated, is it? According to Netweather and BBC the most frequent wind in eastern England over the next five days appears to be south-westerly.

    BTW, I note that the WeatherAction video showing Piers Corbyn making his highly inaccurate winter 2011/12 UK prediction has been hit with a 'Private' notice and can no longer be viewed.

  • Comment number 80.

    greensand et al,

    The following may be completely stupid, but I would be interested to know what others think.
    I have been looking at the relationship between temperature anomalies at the N.Pole, relative to the rest of the N.H., in particular at the periods around rapid increases (or decreases), in the N.Polar anomaly, and corresponding changes in the N.H. Extra Tropical anomalies, according to RSS & UAH.
    While there is a general similarity between the anomalies for the two regions, clearly those at the actual N.Pole are usually much more extreme, and there isn't always a correlation between the N.Pole and the N.H. E.T. figures.
    It strikes me that since the mean temperature of the N.Pole is much lower than that of the E.T. region, and of a much smaller area, any influx of warmer air into the N.Pole would have a disproportionate effect on the anomalies for the N.Pole. You only have to look at the 2m temperature map on the French site which ukpahonta drew attention to, to see what I mean.
    http://www.meteociel.fr/modeles/gfse_cartes.php?ech=6&code=0&mode=9
    In fact, any such influx of air wouldn't even have to be warmer than average for it to produce a significant anomaly in the N. Pole region. Indeed, it might even be colder than average for more southerly regions, to produce a positive anomaly at the N. Pole. Also, in theory, without any overall change in average temperature, an increase in the N.Pole anomaly may correspond to a fall in the E.T. anomaly, although due to the areas involved, that would be correspondingly smaller. So it may be futile to look for anomalies in the E.T. region which correspond to a large change in anomalies at the N.Pole. I think that this means that it may be slightly misleading, and possibly alarmist, to look upon some of the very large anomalies in the Polar regions as being significant.
    One problem that the N.H. E.T. region includes, the N.Pole, certainly in the case of RSS, but I am not sure about UAH. This leads me to wonder if it might be possible to calculate the probable anomaly figures for the N.H. E.T. region, excluding the N.Pole, by deducting the anomaly for the N.Pole, although this would probably involve some complicated weighting, due to the different surface areas involved.
    No doubt none of the above is new, but I just wondered what others thought.

  • Comment number 81.

    #78. - Boanta wrote:
    "Piers Corbyn was further vindicated by last night's BBC chart showing blizzards and below 5 Celsius daytime maxima for the Highlands and with the cooler weather moving southwards in due course."
    I don't think that P.C. will be vindicated by short-term, local conditions in the Highlands, especially since his predictions related to central and eastern parts of the U.K.
    We will have to wait until the final regional temperature figures are available for the U.K. as a whole before coming to any conclusions.

  • Comment number 82.

    81---I suggest that you re-read Weatheraction's 17th April prediction for May. The cooler weather was to affect northern and eastern Britain. The Highlands are indeed part of Britain and until 2014 at least, are still within the UK. So far WA have been correct, however irritating this may be for the Beeb and the MO.

  • Comment number 83.

    80. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "The following may be completely stupid, but I would be interested to know what others think."

    Not stupid, all interesting stuff, put it out there and maybe at times we all learn, don't have time to reply in full, hopefully get back later today.

    The NP variations have been intriguing for a while, just had a look at Bob Tisdales latest:-

    "April 2012 Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Anomaly Update"

    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/april-2012-sea-surface-temperature-sst-anomaly-update/

    In there is the following:-

    "Arctic Ocean SSTs"

    http://bobtisdale.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/12-arctic.png

    Which seems to show increased variation over the last decade confirming some of your thoughts.

    PS, bit of a battle going on in Nino 3.4 - BOM SOI index has turned its nose up again:-

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/monitoring/soi30.png

    However the sub sea picture shows warm water spreading east but maybe loosing intensity? Cold in the east virtually gone. So should be heading to El Nino

    http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/oceanography/wrap_ocean_analysis.pl?id=IDYOC007&year=2012&month=05

  • Comment number 84.

    A UAH of +0.3? Strange thing this global cooling. Before 1998 the UAH never reached +0.3. Now it's seen as something almost normal?

  • Comment number 85.

    80. QuaesoVeritas:

    Re your thoughts on Arctic warming being overly influenced by warm air encroaching from the south due to the relative difference in size between the two regions:

    My thoughts on this are that the 30 year UAH anomaly reference value would surely take all such fluctuations into account? If it's always been the case that the Arctic is particularly susceptible to warm periods, then the anomaly value should already reflect that fact. In other words, what you're saying could be right, but fluctuations around the 'long term average' are no less significant for that.

    Some new phenomenon would therefore, in my opinion, best account for the evident rapid increase in Arctic temperatures over the past decade. It's true that the reduced speed of the jet stream and its increasingly 'loopy' pattern is allowing warmer air to enter parts of the Arctic for longer (and colder air out, of course, as we've been experiencing lately).

    But the problem here is that it is thought to have been warming in the Arctic that caused the jet stream to go loopy (if you'll pardon the expression) in the first place. Arctic warming preceded the jet stream's wayward behaviour; so changes in the jet stream's behaviour aren't a good explanation for initial Arctic warming.

    In my view the very recent increased surface temperatures in the Arctic are most likely the result of the long term decline in the sea ice and snow cover, which is allowing more UV radiation to be absorbed by the land and oceans in that region. As to what's caused the reduction in sea ice....?

  • Comment number 86.

    #85. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "My thoughts on this are that the 30 year UAH anomaly reference value would surely take all such fluctuations into account? If it's always been the case that the Arctic is particularly susceptible to warm periods, then the anomaly value should already reflect that fact. In other words, what you're saying could be right, but fluctuations around the 'long term average' are no less significant for that."
    Thank you for your comments newdwr54,
    What I was trying to explain were the rapid fluctuations in N. Polar anomalies, not the long-term trend. For example, in the case of RSS, +1.2c in Feb. 2012, -0.09 in March, and +1.42c in April. However if it is the case that the N. Polar anomalies are being exaggerated by the fact that a small amount of warm air can have a disproportionate effect on the relatively small polar region, then it seems also possible that the trend is being exaggerated.
    In any case, while you refer to the "evident rapid increase in Arctic temperatures over the last decade", in fact the trend over the last 10 years is lower than that over the entire 30 year period. The highest N.Polar anomaly in the RSS series was actually in January 1981, and the greatest increase in the anomaly appears to have been between 1993 and 1995, in the case of both series.

  • Comment number 87.

    Nasa/Giss temperature anomalies for April:

    Global = 0.56c, compared to 0.46c last month.
    N.H. = 0.95c, compared to 0.61c last month.
    S.H. = 0.16c, compared to 0.31c last month.
    After adjustment to the HadCRUT3 1961-90 baseline, the above are equivalent to 0.45c, 0.89c and 0.023c respectively.
    The adjusted global anomaly is very close to my central estimate of 0.46c for HadCRUT3, based on AQUA CH5.
    The fall in the S.H. anomaly is a bit puzzling, since UAH and RSS both show rises.
    Since the rise in the GISS N.H. anomaly is similar to UAH and RSS, this means that the rise in the GISS global anomaly is lower than for UAH and RSS. I would expect HadCRUT3 to show a similar pattern.

  • Comment number 88.

    @80. QuaesoVeritas

    QV, have you seen:-

    "What Causes the Large Swings in Global Satellite Temperatures?"

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/03/what-causes-the-large-swings-in-global-satellite-temperatures/

    It is not focussed on the Arctic/NH but does attempt to explain some of the month by month global swings. Also interesting comments section. One by Bob Tisdale with animations of ENSO events

  • Comment number 89.

    86. QuaesoVeritas:

    Thanks. I was using the UAH data, and although the Arctic decadal 'trend' has dipped in past 10 years, rolling 10 year average temperatures have continued to rise in that data set.

    The ten year period May 2002-April 2012, at average +0.67C above the anomaly value, is the warmest 10 year period in the Arctic, according to UAH data.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88. - greensand wrote:
    "It is not focussed on the Arctic/NH but does attempt to explain some of the month by month global swings. Also interesting comments section. One by Bob Tisdale with animations of ENSO events"
    Thanks, I think I was aware of it, although I don't think I have read it in detail.
    While it deals with short term swings in the global satellite temperature, I don't think it explains the large monthly swings in the polar anomalies.
    The short-term swings in satellite temperature tend to cancel each other out over the month, and the monthly global anomalies are usually much smaller than those for the N.Pole. Or putting it another way, the monthly polar swings are usually much larger than the global ones.

  • Comment number 91.

    Well that's the BBC prediction for drought lasting till Xmas gone for a 'Burton'. With exceptional cold weather predicted for next week, especially in Scotland, it looks like Piers Corbyn will have a well deserved, non -CO2 induced warming smirk on it!

  • Comment number 92.

    Piers Corbyn predicted "The coldest or near coldest May for 100 years in Central and East parts"

    ""The very cold expectations apply to East parts and near – Europe rather than Ireland and West Britain”"

    I don't know what east parts are specifically but I assume that isn't Scotland. It's certainty a good start to May with temperatures below average, but I am not sure they have been low enough so far for the prediction of top 5 coldest Mays to bear out, let alone the coldest May.

    I don't know how to track how well the prediction is doing as I can't find daily station data. The Met Office only seems to put daily forecast data up. So that's all I have to go on. The forecast daily means (max-min) for Boulmer (somewhat North-East) for example Sat-Tues are:
    8C
    8.5C
    10.5C
    7.5C
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/ne/boulmer_forecast_temp.html

    The normal for May for that station is about 9.2C:
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/averages/19712000/sites/boulmer.html

    Although bearing in mind that the "average" temperature for the start of May in the UK is typically colder than the "average" at the end. So what's "normal" for the coming 4 days is probably not quite as high as 9.2C.

    In anycase that suggests an anomaly, in that single location at least, of about -0.6C for the next 4 days.

  • Comment number 93.

    92---last time I looked Scotland was geographically part of mainland Britain and will remain so whatever the political outcome in 2014. The nearest part of mainland Europe to Scotland is Norway.( nearest railway station to Lerwick is in Bergen) Scotland has a northern and eastern part and right now the hills there are covered in snow. This is because the temperatures have been below average.

 

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