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Will winter pass us by this year?

Paul Hudson | 17:08 UK time, Wednesday, 18 January 2012

As we head into the second half of winter, there's still no real indication of a change in the weather pattern that has so dominated the UK since winter began on 1st December.

Despite one or two short lived cold snaps, which brought some snow mainly to the hills of Northern Britain, many parts of the UK still haven't had any measurable snow at all.

So far it's been the turn of traditional meteorology, and the powerful supercomputers which produce most of our forecasts, which has given the best guidance this winter.

The European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting (ECMWF) - which produces arguably the most reliable short to medium range output up to 10 days ahead, offered a clear signal in October, that averaged over the 3 months of winter, temperatures would be close to average. And so far it's been spot on.

This was published at the time of tabloid headlines of another cold and snowy winter, based on several private weather companies who use at least in part solar considerations in formulating their forecasts.

The ECMWF forecast was largely ignored - after all who's interested in a headline which suggested winter would be average?

Climatology also offered some good advice, in that after three successive cold winters, the record books indicate having four cold winters in a row would be unusual for the UK - a point which I made on this blog in Autumn of last year.

So how are the next few weeks likely to pan out?

Our weather will continue to be unsettled through the rest of January, and still dominated by westerly winds.

Cold snaps are likely, as air is pulled in from a more northerly point at times, which would lead to some snow, particularly over northern hills - but as we've found so far this winter it's unlikely to be long lasting and crucially many populated areas other than in Scotland are likely to escape.

Further ahead, climate records give us an indication of what might lie in store in February.

They suggest that we could see a change to a colder, more anticyclonic 'blocking' type of weather, following such a long run of westerly winds.

Computer models have been hinting that a general change is possible, from the point of view that only slight changes in the initial atmospheric conditions have led to huge variations in what the computer expects our weather to be like 10 days ahead.

But if we do see the jet stream weaken and alter course which would lead to a change in our weather, it's just as likely to be uneventful as it is to be one where widespread heavy snow occurs. And that's unlikely to grab the headlines.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm hoping for the westerlies to continue throughout February as indeed I think it increases the chance of a settled blocking spell, and I'd rather that was in March/April thanks :)

  • Comment number 2.

    Rain, followed by heavy rain followed by downpours would be useful

  • Comment number 3.

    "Will winter pass us by this year?"

    The chances are increasing with every day. My echiums are much happier this year, this year they are still alive!

    Westerlies blowing over a warm atlantic, nice! Leave that jet stream just where it is.

  • Comment number 4.

    It can't pass us by. -20's and blizzards were forecast...

    In seriousness there are still 5-6 weeks of the meteorological winter left. Plenty of time for a few changes/snaps.

  • Comment number 5.

    "Climatology also offered some good advice, in that after three successive cold winters, the record books indicate having four cold winters in a row would be unusual for the UK - a point which I made on this blog in Autumn of last year."

    Indeed, climatology offers little of scientific substance and defaults instead to pseudo-scientific anecdote and subjective probability. In regard to the chaos of global weather circulation, there *is no place* for "science" making pronouncements based on subjective probablistics because the climate *does not* behave in ways constrained by likelihoods. Such pronouncements from this academic discipline betray its very fundamental lack of understanding and inability to interpret the data in a useful way.

    It's akin to a company spending millions collecting market research data on a potential product and then being out-faced by the data they've collected, instead going to market on the marketing director's gut feeling of which features, colours and price-point will *probably* be right. Except that it's not millions that taxpayers have invested in climatology, it's billions!

    For the record, Paul, I have no problem with a meteorologist on TV identifying the probability of rolling a 6 four times in a row. It is not that I don't think it's useful in the street to examine these probabilities. I just have a problem with climatologists describing their subject as a "science" when the discipline depends as heavily on, and integrates as fundamentally as it does with Bayesian subjectivism.

  • Comment number 6.

    5. Simon H wrote:

    "...the climate *does not* behave in ways constrained by likelihoods..."

    Certainly it does. Climate is just 'average weather'. We can make relatively strong projections about how the climate is likely to respond to any given forcing on it, be that solar, volcanic or from increased greenhouse gases.

  • Comment number 7.

    No, newdwr54, you have the cart before the horse. The climate is not constrained by likelihoods. Whether or not a particular behaviour in the climate is in any way predictable is fully disconnected from the mechanisms which drive it.

    A microbiologist is checking a batch of test results which are as likely positive as negative. If the microbiologist checks 3 and they are all negative, s/he might arguably believe, before checking, that there is an increased likelihood of the fourth being positive. This is arguably true. However, the fourth result is not influenced by the microbiologist's estimate of probability either way. It is following an entirely different mechanism than probabilities and is wholly independently positive or negative.

    This disconnect between climatology and science is the same as the disconnect between a game of chance and the gambler who truly believes he's figured out "the system".

  • Comment number 8.

    I see from the last 2 days viewings of the MO website that the MO's computer model runs are almost split 50:50 as to a westerly/southwestely type with well above average temps to a very cold easterly/north easterly setting in. The divergence seems to occur on the 28th Jan with the warmer getting the nod. The course and strength of the jet must be very uncertain. This must be one of those occasions that what a butterfly does or does not do in Brazil makes all the difference (tee hee).
    must be very u

  • Comment number 9.

    Adrian, this is where probabilities and reality part company. The system will do what the system does in response to its forcings. Our ability to predict that behaviour is a temporal transfer from what we understand of initial conditions to what we presuppose will come to bear. The presupposition is driven by physics in very short-range predictions, probablistics further out.

    The collapse of predictive prowess in medium/longer term weather predictions should be the biggest clue that a) we understand next to nothing about how to solve chaotic equations, and b) probabilities are an abysmal substitute for empirical understanding. And yet we bizarrely place faith in pseudo-science which claims, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, to be able to predict climatic conditions in 2030, 2040, even 2100.

    I should clarify, in my microbiology example, that the fourth test result itself is not only not influenced by the microbiologist's predictions, it is also not influenced by the previous 3 results.

    Bayesian probabilities are fun to think about. We all know that the chance of any sequence of lottery numbers is ~14 million:1, across the board. But how much would you pay for a lottery ticket for this week, which has last week's winning numbers on it? Isn't it the same 14 million:1 chance as any other ticket?

  • Comment number 10.

    Simon H - No.7 & 9

    Very well put.

    However if your microbiologist is desperately wanting a positive result in order to maintain funding and credibility he could always fiddle an earlier record that he thought no one was looking at; like Hansen did !

    http://www.real-science.com/new-giss-data-set-heating-arctic

    If he ever won the lottery I would demand a re-draw.

  • Comment number 11.

    jazznick, yowzer! I've been aware of Hansen's "creative record keeping" for a few years now, but I've not seen a visual record so damning as that before! With this at the head of GISS, what can one say of the state of climate science? And if Hansen can do this and keep his post, where is the motivation in climate science to behave with scientific integrity?

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm not sure what the previous writers are trying to say. Forecasting essentially is the use (primarily) of the numerical solutions to the mathematical representation of the atmosphere. The forecasts seem to be pretty good for 24 hours and 48 hours especially considering a parameter such as forecast pressure against recorded.

    for a chaotic system the further you go into the future the less confidence you can have regarding a detailed forecast. The ensemble of I'm afraid I dont know how many model runs these days will all have slightly different initial conditions and say there are 100 model runs looks like 52 are giving a warm February and 48 a cold one. That is all the MO are saying at this stage.

    Regarding climate predictions to make an exact prediction that the weather in London on 16 July 2050 will be 42 degrees, 60% humidity with a chance of a thunderstorm for a chaotic system is ridiculous. The climate model is just to give an indication that UK summer 2050 is likely to much hotter and drier (with general indications of temperature, precipitation) than the summers of say the late 20th century.

    However, if you are trying to say that these predictions could be in doubt now because of unexpected ice loss in the Greenland ice cap and worryingly high levels of Arctic ice loss and that these forcings are poorly understood apart from the fact that these happenings can only be explained by greenhouse gas emissions I would agree. I would also agree that if you look at the natural changes in temperature as indicated by ice cores, changes do not take place in nice smooth curves but in abrupt spikes which reflects a chaotic, non-linear system I also agree.

    Nevertheless the challenge is there to endeavour to simulate the changes that are likely to occur and not bury one's head in the sand and deny that major changes are very likely to happen and think that we have nothing to do with it. Good job we didnt do that with the ozone layer.

  • Comment number 13.

    7. Simon H:

    Climate projections are based on known forcings and their likely impact on future climate.

    Climatology does not work by predicting a linear sequence of events. All it says is that given a particular forcing on climate, i.e. something outside natural variability caused by ocean cycles, etc temperatures are likely to react in a predictable way over a given timespan, or indeed spatially.

    For instance here is a graph depicting various projections or estimates made by 'consensus' scientists such as Hansen and the IPCC versus those made by people who claim CO2 is not a strong forcing on climate: http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/1_Projections_cfMainstreamSkeptics.gif

    People forget that while Hansen's prediction is higher than reality, it was originally made in 1988 when much less data was available, and at least it is going in the right direction, which can't be said for most of the much more recent 'sceptic' predictions.

    You seem to be saying that the climate over the last 30 years might just as easily have warmed as cooled. Ditto the next 30 years, I presume. Very few scientists working in the fields of climate or atmospheric physics would agree with you.

  • Comment number 14.

    @ 13.

    First sentence in last paragraph should be:

    "You seem to be saying that the climate over the last 30 years might just as easily have 'cooled as warmed'."

    (Not 'warmed as cooled', obviously. Apologies.)

  • Comment number 15.

    SimonH,
    You don't seem to understand much about climatology as a science. It has nothing to do with gambling and has everything to do with probabilities and likelihoods based on physics and trends.

    Simply there is a warming trend with a good physics based theory why this should be so. It doesn't mean that next year will be warmer than the last, or even that it will be considered warm at all, but it does mean that on average future years will get warmer than the average until an equilibrium determined by physics is reached.

    Even your microbiology example is flawed. A biologist will have every reason to expect certain starting conditions to give on average certain results based on previous trends. The certainty of a particular outcome will be based on previous results and will be more accurate when this is done that if trends are ignored. What you suggest is akin to giving someone antibiotics, that have work on average to cure an illness, and expect predicting their success to be a coin flip.

  • Comment number 16.

    @13, newdwr54 wrote:
    “ For instance here is a graph depicting various projections or estimates made by 'consensus' scientists such as Hansen and the IPCC versus those made by people who claim CO2 is not a strong forcing on climate:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/1_Projections_cfMainstreamSkeptics.gif



    And you still take SkS seriously!

  • Comment number 17.

    "And you still take SkS seriously!"

    I'm not sure what your point is. According to your link projections from 'skeptics' fared a lot worse compared to your 'consensus' scientists, particularly the IPCC ones.

    It should also be noted that Hansen's graphs were not predictions but possible scenarios.

    Several scenarios were chosen to demonstrate possible futures depending on various levels of green house gasses. But it was not a prediction. No one, least of all Hansen, could know exactly what emissions would be in the coming decades as these depended very much on future global energy needs and industrial development, manufacturing, economics and even volcanic activity.

    When the now known figures are plugged into Hansen's research, as I think SkS might have done, it fairs well and shows that Hansen would have needed a climate sensitivity of about 3.4C for a doubling of atmospheric CO2, which is in the IPPC range for climate sensitivity based on the latest research.

  • Comment number 18.

    The point that Rob is making Laz is that SkS are nothing more than Mann Made Global Warming (tm) advocates who twist and distort the words of anyone who dares challenge the Mann Made Global Warming (tm) religion.

    http://nigguraths.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/skeptical-quote-surgery-pat-michaels/
    But by all means, continue to believe in unicorns if you want to think of SkS as being anything other than the advocates they are.

    Look...lets all hope that winter passes us all by because the obvious benefit to that is the requirement for less energy to warm our homes. And lets be honest here...the last three winters have absolutely SUCKED! Perhaps the only saving grace was that energy was MUCH cheaper than it is today!

    And therein lies the rub...I wish Mann Made Global Warming (tm) would hurry up and get to the UK and transform this place in to a tropical paradise! :)

    Mailman

  • Comment number 19.

    Lazarus/newdwr54 - can you explain that graph a little please. The link didn't give much in the way of context.
    First of all, I'm not sure where the measured temp line comes from - it seems to suggest a 0.6 degree anomaly for 2011?
    Second, why does Lindzen's start lower than the others, and never actually meet the measured temp? Surely, even if with hindcasting, you start with a known temp?

  • Comment number 20.

    It isn't over until the fat lady sings. Massive amounts of snow in the Alps and plenty of snow in America. I can remember snow in May or June in Sheffield and it has been known to be as late as April.

  • Comment number 21.

    Snow fall in June 1975. Does anybody remember it?

  • Comment number 22.

    Paul,

    A heads-up: Hadley has a new version of the global temperature record (version 4). It appears to put temperature anomalies in line with the other records (GISS, NCDC, BEST) due to greater inclusion of high latitude Arctic and Russian station data. Like the others, 2010 and 2005 are both warmer than 1998.

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2012/01/not-so-fast.html

  • Comment number 23.

    Or, is the measured temp supposed to be the GISS record with a filter applied?

  • Comment number 24.

    @21. Sheffield_city

    2nd June 1975 Lancashire v Derbyshire at Buxton - snow stopped play.

    Loads of tinterweb stuff about it, and sadly I am well old enough to remember it.

  • Comment number 25.

    #22. - MarkB2020 wrote:
    "A heads-up: Hadley has a new version of the global temperature record (version 4). It appears to put temperature anomalies in line with the other records (GISS, NCDC, BEST) due to greater inclusion of high latitude Arctic and Russian station data. Like the others, 2010 and 2005 are both warmer than 1998."
    Actually that has been mentioned in the previous blogs.
    One puzzling thing is that it is based on HadSST3, which hasn't been updated since 2006. Also, the pdf file from which the graph is taken, seems to imply that HadSST2 will continue to be used.
    http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/1/e/PresentationMOSAC_16.4_Gordon.pdf

  • Comment number 26.

    The NASA/GISS anomalies for December:
    Global = 0.45c, down slightly from 0.48c in November
    N.H. = 0.74c, up from 0.57c in November
    S.H. = 0.16c, down from 0.39c in November.
    The equivalent anomalies for 1961-90 are 0.34c, 0.676c and 0.023c respectively.
    The above seem to confirm very little change in the HadCRUT3 global figure, and a rise in the N.H. and fall in the S.H. figures, which I estimated from the HadSST2 anomalies.

  • Comment number 27.

    I see that Smokin’ Joe has stuck his head over the parapet again with a post at WUWT. For those who deem WUWT off limits there is a pdf.

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/BASTARDI_STORY.pdf

    As usual with Joe there is no middle ground, the message is that we are going to get colder!

    Lots of PDO, Multivariate Enso Index, CO2, La Nina etc about which I have no comment, there are just too many views to shake a stick at.

    However he does state that “we are near record cold levels again.” for ASMU Ch 5 600 mb (14,000 feet), well I don’t know where Joe gets this from, there are presently 4 years out of the last 10 that Ch5 showed an average at this stage in Jan lower than the present 2012 number? They are my numbers, so will need checking.

    But anyhow Smokin’ Joe at least stirs up interest with his or Ryan Maue’s predictions?

    I don’t make predictions, but I must admit I do enjoy watching them. Nothing beats actual observational.

  • Comment number 28.

    mailmannz says;
    "The point that Rob is making Laz is that SkS are nothing more than Mann Made Global Warming (tm) advocates who twist and distort the words of anyone who dares challenge the Mann Made Global Warming (tm) religion."

    From what I see SkS mostly deal with actual peer reviewed stuff and all posts seem well referenced. If you have examples of distortions then I'd be glad to hear them either here or on one of my blogs.

    http://lazarus-on.blogspot.com/

    lateintheday says;
    "Lazarus/newdwr54 - can you explain that graph a little please. The link didn't give much in the way of context."

    I didn't supply the graph, RobWansbeck did. I'd be happy with more context myself.

  • Comment number 29.

    @19, lateintheday wrote:

    “ Lazarus/newdwr54 - can you explain that graph a little please. The link didn't give much in the way of context. “

    It comes from here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1055

    You also ask 'why does Lindzen's start lower than the others?'

    You are not allowed to ask that question. Look at comment 2 where Charlie A made that very point to find the reply you would get.

    And people still take SkS seriously!

  • Comment number 30.

    @27 greensand

    Unfortunately for big Joe, even the discerning readers at WUWT have begun ripping his post to shreds.

    "I am not going to rehash the sordid details of how the AGW crowd simply ignores the major drivers of a cyclical nature. We all know that. Nor am I going to question them as to why they believe a trace gas like CO2 (needed for life on the planet) with a specific gravity of 1.5 as compared to the atmospheres 1.0, was going to mix with air in a way to affect the earth’s temperatures. Instead I am going to drive home points I have been making since 2007 and are now dramatically validating."

    Is he really suggesting that CO2 doesn't mix in the air? That's from the first paragraph, why should I read on?

    Joe has been forecasting the great cool down for a while... I think he's still waiting.

  • Comment number 31.

    @28, Lazarus, sorry for any confusion but I was quoting newdwr54 @13.

  • Comment number 32.

    Then again many a poster on WUWT will insist that the GHG theory doesn't exist and it's all wrong.

  • Comment number 33.

    @30. john_cogger

    I enjoy Smokin' Joe’s involvement basically because he makes statements/predictions that can be easily checked and in timescales short enough to be revisited. I am not really bothered whether he is right or wrong because all it does is focus the mind.

    A long time ago I stopped getting involved with all the multi-various theories, hypothesis, ideas, views etc. Forcings, clouds, positive, negative, PDO, NAO, Solar, Cosmic, (this list is far from exhaustive) that I resolved to stick with trying to understand the actual observational data.

    Now I track Instrumental and Satellite, NH & SH, Land & Ocean and continue to learn and there are some fascinating things to absorb, especially when relating the actual to the modelled.

    Even Joe, who has the ability to seem daft, and maybe because he is, can at times flush out interesting issues.

  • Comment number 34.

    WOW, maybe Smokin’ Joe is on to something?:-)

    Just checked the latest AMSU Ch 5 data and now there are only 3 Januarys out of the last 10 that have an average at this stage colder than 2012!

    One down, three to go Joe!:-)

  • Comment number 35.

    19. lateintheday wrote:

    "...can you explain that graph a little please. First of all, I'm not sure where the measured temp line comes from - it seems to suggest a 0.6 degree anomaly for 2011?"
    ________________________________________

    Fair point. The graph was published in October 2011 when the GISSTEMP values it uses were at +0.53 for the year to date.

    _______________________________________

    "Second, why does Lindzen's start lower than the others, and never actually meet the measured temp? Surely, even if with hindcasting, you start with a known temp?"
    __________________________________

    Another fair point. The Linzden data is composed from comments Lindzen made about the Hansen projections in 1989. SkS were at pains to point out, and I should have acknowledged this, that these data are 'inferred' from Lindzen's comments, rather than being actual projections forecast by him. You can see those comments here and decide for yourself whether this is fair treatment of them (I think it is): http://www.skepticalscience.com/lindzen-illusion-2-lindzen-vs-hansen-1980s.html

  • Comment number 36.

    26. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "The NASA/GISS anomalies for December: Global = 0.45c"

    Many thanks QV. On the ball ahead of the rest of us as usual.

    This confirms 2011 as the 9th warmest year in the GISS record since it began in 1880, as we suspected it would be.

    Those La Nina systems seem to be losing their punch for some reason?

    BTW, have you seen Joe Bastardi's rather unlettered predictions for 2012 published on WUWT? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/19/global-temps-in-a-crash-as-agw-proponents-crash-the-economy/

    At least old Joe is prepared to stick his head over the parapet. I'll give him that.

  • Comment number 37.

    I also note, having played around with the figures for a while, that the December 2011 value raises the NASA 30 year temperature trend back up to +0.18C per decade.

    So in 2011 will it be 'Joe [Bastardi] versus NASA', rather than the volcano?

  • Comment number 38.

    @37.

    That should read:

    "So in '2012' [not 2011] will it be 'Joe [Bastardi] versus NASA', rather than the volcano?"

    I realise that takes the whole 'zing' off the comment. Even what little 'zing' it had. Everybody makes mistakes.

    I'm going to bed.

  • Comment number 39.

    @35, newdwr54 wrote:

    “ You can see those comments here and decide for yourself whether this is fair treatment of them (I think it is) “

    It is one thing claiming to be open minded but you must also open your eyes.

    The post by Dana Nuccitelli suggests that Lindzen is wrong because a hypothetical projection made by Nuccitelli in 1880 isn't quite as accurate as an actual projection made by Hansen in 1988 and you still take SkS seriously!

    Nuccitelli then claims Lindzen is wrong because he used GISTEMP in 1880 rather than HADCRUT even though Nuccitelli used GISTEMP for his later comparisons, and you still take SkS seriously!

    A further problem is that there isn't actually much difference between the GISTEMP and HADCRUT values in 1880 and Dana1981 is known to have problems interpreting graphs:

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/skeptical-science-digitization-problems/

    And you still take SkS seriously?

  • Comment number 40.

    39. RobWansbeck:

    I don't follow what you mean. The Lindzen graph is based on comments Lindzen is on record of having made about Hansen's projections post 1988. Why isn't it fair to compare the two?

  • Comment number 41.

    newdwr54: "Climate projections are based on known forcings and their likely impact on future climate."

    Nonsense. There is not even agreement on whether clouds are a net positive or net negative forcing. What climatology really needs to do is get honest about what it knows and what it doesn't know, and it needs to stop stating with any degree of certainty things about which there is very little certainty.

    Climatology, as a science, needs its backside spanking. It is appalling, in this day and age, that an academic discipline can be hijacked by a religious ideology, and yet this is what has happened. The collateral damage to the trust placed in real sciences - hard sciences - is immeasurable, and will take decades to repair.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lazarus: "You don't seem to understand much about climatology as a science. It has nothing to do with gambling and has everything to do with probabilities and likelihoods based on physics and trends."

    Tripe. Climatology bears little relation to science. Probabilities will always remain an abysmal substitute for empirical data and climatology's dependence on mathematical modelling in preference to empirical evidence is damning.

    Lazarus: "Simply there is a warming trend with a good physics based theory why this should be so. It doesn't mean that next year will be warmer than the last, or even that it will be considered warm at all, but it does mean that on average future years will get warmer than the average until an equilibrium determined by physics is reached."

    Nonsense. There isn't even a half-decent correlation between warming and CO2 in the instrumental record, let alone any empirical evidence with any certainty supporting the *belief* that the warming is anthropogenic.

    "Even your microbiology example is flawed. A biologist will have every reason to expect certain starting conditions to give on average certain results based on previous trends. The certainty of a particular outcome will be based on previous results and will be more accurate when this is done that if trends are ignored. What you suggest is akin to giving someone antibiotics, that have work on average to cure an illness, and expect predicting their success to be a coin flip."

    Absolutely one hundred percent wrong. I don't know if you've failed to understand the point or what, but "The certainty of a particular outcome will be based on previous results" is utter, complete hogwash. The result is NOT influenced by previous results. The result is whatever the result is, with absolutely certainty and with absolutely no external probablistic influence. Do we BELIEVE there is life on other planets? Almost certainly we do. Do we KNOW if there is life on any other planet? We absolutely DO NOT know. Can you separate personal ideology and dispassionate science?

  • Comment number 43.

    Lindzen is wrong because there's no evidence doesn't support the low climate sensitivity he wants people to believe, and plenty of evidence to support much higher values, and SkS has a series of posts on the matter. Dana's post is one useful way of showing that any reasonable projection based on his climate sensitivity estimates are way off base. Also worth noting how off base some of the attempts at criticism are. Rob in post 29, for example, claims "you are not allowed to ask that question", and points to Charlie A's 2nd comment. I don't actually see a question in Charlie A's comments, so maybe Rob could point it out if there is one. Instead, I see an accusation of "arbitrarily adjusting" data downward. Such accusations violate their comments policy, which tends to be somewhat tight at keeping the conversation above-the-fray, much more so than some other sites. But back to Charlie A's comment. A good skeptic would ask questions if they don't understand how something is done. A fanatic would hurl wild accusations, make false assumptions and ignore context. I find that most self-described climate skeptics seem to fall into the latter category.

    Second, it's also explicitly clear that Dana's projection is his, based on Lindzen's comments, so implying this is some sort of dishonest deception on his part is pretty silly. It was even bolded in his original post.

    "Using these quotes, I reconstructed what I think are two reasonable approximations of global temperature projections based on Lindzen's belief of the small warming effects of greenhouse gases. I want to be explicit that these projections are my interpretation of Lindzen's comments, not Lindzen's own projections."

    Finally, I suggest that Simon H. seek to understand the difference between forcing and feedbacks before castigating the climate science community as religious freaks, and while he's at it, have a thorough reading of the IPCC reports, which have good discussions on clouds and associated uncertainties. His vitrolic rants only appear ironic as it stands.

  • Comment number 44.

    Yeah, clouds as feedback. Yo, 2am?

  • Comment number 45.

    Completely agree with what you are saying SimonH, climate scientists are their own worst enemies. From refusing to release data (because I dont want you to dig holes in my work) to subverting the peer review process...its all been done and worst of all, fully documented by those responsible for these games.

    The real irony here is that had these so called climate scientists vested all that time, effort and money in to Climate Science instead of their vindictive little witch hunts to keep "skeptics" out of sight then climate science today would most likely be lightyears more advanced than it is.

    Secondly, climate scientists like Mann, the clowns at real climate (oh, Mann and Hansen and others), CRU etc will NEVER admit they are wrong in anything. Hell, look at the hockey stick, even though EVERYONE knows Mann used proxies the wrong way up they still refuse to admit they got it wrong...PUBLICLY. Climate Gate emails tell a completely different story with every man (except Mann) and their dog kicking the snot out of Manns work.

    Finally...SkS is nothing more than RealClimate v2. Tells you all you need to know about the site really. Science...bwaaaahahahahahahaaaaa! Science is the last thing on their mind. Their only concern is protecting the religion of Mann Made Global Warming (tm).

    Mailman

  • Comment number 46.

    @45 mailmannz

    Yes it's a good job they have those bloggers to keep them in check...

    The bloggers who keep telling Dr Roy Spencer that his ideas break laws of thermodynamics, or the bloggers who tell everyone that there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect, or the bloggers who tell everyone that the warming is down to siting issues with thermometers yet shove the paper they authored out of the way as soon as possible cause it says the opposite, or the bloggers who threaten to sue anyone who suggest they may be wrong, the bloggers who insist there is a UN conspiracy, the bloggers who insist that climate is a left wing issue........

    I’m afraid I’ll stick to people like Richard Alley over Viscount Monckton.

  • Comment number 47.

    The NOAA/NCDC anomalies for December also now published, but the global data file does not yet seem to have been updated. Also, there seem to be some differences between the NH and SH figures in the data files and those published on the global "state of the climate report", which I am trying to understand.
    The following figures are based on the data file figures and the global figure is an average of the NH and SH figures:
    Global = 0.4547c, up slightly from a revised 0.4406c for November.
    N.H. = 0.6163c, up from a revised 0.4633c for November.
    S.H. = 0.2930c, down from a revised 0.4178c for November.
    The equivalent anomalies for 1961-90 are 0.3167c, 0.5266c and 0.1172c respectively.
    On the other hand, the figures for December quoted in the global state of the climate report, are as follows:
    Global = 0.48c
    N.H. = 0.63c
    S.H. = 0.32c
    Clearly the differences between these figures is too great to be due to rounding errors, so either the data files or the state of the climate report appear to be incorrect. Or I may be missing something obvious which hasn't dawned yet!
    It might be useful if someone else could look at the NCDC/NOAA data files to see if they can spot anything I have missed.
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/anomalies.php
    Again these figures point to very little change in the HadCRUT3 global anomaly, a rise in the N.H. and a fall in the S.H.
    According to the state of the climate report, 2011 was the 11th warmest year on record, with a figure of 0.51c. I cannot yet calculate an annual figure myself based on the latest monthly figures, as the data file does not appear to have been updated, but based on the previous figures, it would be 0.515c.

  • Comment number 48.

    #37. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "I also note, having played around with the figures for a while, that the December 2011 value raises the NASA 30 year temperature trend back up to +0.18C per decade."
    That may be so, but it also puts the 10 year trend into negative territory (just), at minus 0.0018c/decade, for the first time since June 1997.
    Yes, I know that you will say that the trend over 10 years is not statistically significant, but this is a question of the difference between medium-term and short-term trends. The 10 year trend will probably continue to be negative for some time now, unless the data are changed retrospectively.

    "So in 2012 will it be 'Joe [Bastardi] versus NASA', rather than the volcano?"
    I am pleased that someone else remembers this film, which is one of my favourites, and somewhat under-rated I think, although the reference may be lost on some.

  • Comment number 49.

    #36. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "BTW, have you seen Joe Bastardi's rather unlettered predictions for 2012 published on WUWT?"
    I'm still trying to catch up.
    Is there a prediction for 2012 in there?
    I have read it a couple of times but I can't see one.

    "At least old Joe is prepared to stick his head over the parapet. I'll give him that."
    One problem I have with J.B. is that he tends to go over the top. A more restrained approach might be better.

  • Comment number 50.

    newdwr54 and Robswansbeck . . thanks for the links

    Bit of a mess isn't it. Having now read the article, the link to the other Lindzen article and the reported piece from the 1989 MIT speech (which Dana used as the basis for his Lindzen prediction) I then followed through to read many of the comments below the SkS articles.

    It surprises me that anyone in their right mind could support what Dana did. He clearly had no intention of trying to represent Lindzen's position accurately, and simply made some crude assumptions about what he thought a Lindzen model might look like. One particular post summed it up particularly well, and I re-post it here with Dana's response below.

    "I think you misinterpret Lindzen because the model you use to produce a Lindzen prediction is based on random noise and a small bias of 0.1C per century to allow for greenhouse gas warming. Lindzen's 1989 comments suggest he believes that there is a heat source (the ocean) that allows for more warming than just 0.1C and that this produces the long term temperature changes observed. You could possibly model this with low frequency noise. Not to model a heat source (or sink) it is to misrepresent Lindzen's position.

    So far as I can tell in 1989 Lindzen could mainly see noise. He did not have a model that could explain past events nor make predictions; so he made none. The main difference between Lindzen and Hansen is that Hansen had a model with cause and effect that could be tested and make predictions, Lindzen had none.
    Response:
    [dana1981] No, I strongly disagree. Lindzen clearly said the surface warming was only 0.1 +/- 0.3°C. Noise does not cause long-term trends, and I represented the effects of the oceans in the random noise."

    To be clear. I'm not saying that Lindzen is right or wrong. I am saying that what Dana did was juvenile at best. It's a common problem with SkS. They sometimes have good points to make, but always overstate their case and end up looking disingenuous.

  • Comment number 51.

    John Cogger said
    "The bloggers who keep telling Dr Roy Spencer that his ideas break laws of thermodynamics, or the bloggers who tell everyone that there is no such thing as the greenhouse effect"

    Did you follow any of the WUWT meltdown the other day over the Nikolov & Zeller and Hans Jelbring theories. Having trawled through much of it, and the links to Tallblokes site, Dr Spencer's site and then a final excursion to Science of Doom I'm left with a serious headache. In fact, even SOD was left slightly less certain about what he thought he knew - though that may have passed by now.

    I think it's safe to say that we shouldn't snigger at these theories, since very, very few of us have anything like enough knowledge (or mental processing power) to even start to understand where these guys are coming from. They are however, a very long way from convincing the scientific community (even the skeptics/lukewarmers) to re-define the role of radiative physics in our atmosphere.

  • Comment number 52.

    @51 lateintheday

    Yes saw the meltdown, the minor meltdown on big Joe's post and the semi meltdown on Viscount Moncktons defence of himself. It's getting too hot on there!

    Nikolov & Zeller is an interesting theory and a lot goes over my head to be honest. However, most 'skeptical' scientists even agree on the basic GHG theory (Spencer, Lindzen, etc and even Monckton). It's something 99.99% of the scientists do actually agree on. The effects, the feedbacks, predictions, etc are areas of argument it seems.

    N & Z seems to split the bloggersphere,

  • Comment number 53.

    Dont I remember the ECWMF forecasting this winter being dominated by high prssure? If so then that has been wide of the mark so far.

  • Comment number 54.

    From the previous blog:

    #121. - newdwr54 wrote:

    "Not sure about the whole of England, but 'central England' temperatures in December have cooled at -0.6 C/decade in the past 30 years.
    Don't get too carried away by this fact. Because if you take the annual mean (Jan-Dec) then central England has warmed on average by +0.29 C/decade over the same period.
    But it is odd that Decembers are getting colder on average. Does anyone know of an explanation for this?"

    I don't know why Decembers are currently getting colder based on CET, but if you look at how the 30 year trend has changed since 1689, you will see
    that it has varied between about +0.8c/decade to -0.6c, and we now appear to be in a period of cooling. That range, of course implies that the long-term
    trend in December CET is upwards, and that is indeed the case, with a trend over the entire series of +0.035c/decade. The 30 year MA also shows a gradually increaseing trend, with some variations. Actually, despite the recent cooling, the 30 year MA remains very near to the all time high.
    So it looks like the current downward trend in December CET is only temporary and the trend will again be strongly positive in 30 or 40 years time.

  • Comment number 55.

    @47 QuaesoVeritas

    I have had a quick look at the NCDC numbers and agree with the differences that you have highlighted, can’t shed any light on why. Have checked back to Sept 2011 with similar results and can’t see any logical reason, probably there just not obvious.

    There appears to be larger differences in the Land numbers than in the Ocean. If I get time will try and look further

  • Comment number 56.

    #55. - greensand wrote:
    "I have had a quick look at the NCDC numbers and agree with the differences that you have highlighted, can’t shed any light on why. Have checked back to Sept 2011 with similar results and can’t see any logical reason, probably there just not obvious.
    There appears to be larger differences in the Land numbers than in the Ocean. If I get time will try and look further"
    Thanks for going to the trouble of checking.
    Actually I sent an e-mail to them and got the following reply:

    "We produced our December report based on data that was available to us on January 12th. However, sometimes data continue to arrive after we have processed the information for our report and thus the temperature anomalies in the daily-updated files you view are subject to change based on the incoming data. This is the reason for the discrepancy between the current file numbers and the report numbers this month. We also note this at the very top of our report each month.

    The data provided in our reports each month are always preliminary and subject to change slightly. Please also note that the most current data is used for our calculations as we move through the year, for seasonal and year to date anomalies."

    So it seems that NCDC/NOAA have the same habit as the UKMO of issuing reports before the full figures are available. On reflection, I seem to recall having asked this question before and got a similar answer.

    There may be an explanation of this on the report but the 12th seems a bit early to be using the figures, with less than half of the month gone, and to my mind, this makes the global report a bit of a waste of time. I haven't checked to see whether the "real" figures make any difference to the rankings or other conclusions in the report.

  • Comment number 57.

    Sorry, I have just realised that I have misread their reply. Somehow I fell into the trap of thinking they said December 12th., not January 12th.
    Anyway, it looks like it is a simple matter of figures having changed between the 12th and now, as they normally do from month to month.
    Having said that, if I were producing the reports, I would make damned sure that the figures tied in with the data files.

  • Comment number 58.

    It is a surprise about the trend in December. But I keep thinking
    that there is a very clear signal in autumn. When was the last time we
    had a cold autumn? (Not that I mind too much) I bet we haven't had one since 1993 in the post Pinatubo period.

  • Comment number 59.

    Simon H wrote:

    "Tripe."

    Thanks for that articulated gem.

    As I said you don't really understand how science works. It's a well worn myth that climatology relies on modelling. It has no need of models to support the theory and uses models as tools no more than other branches of science and a lot less than some. By all accounts you should be on a blog about particle physics complaining about how much money was wasted a CERN building the LHC. Climate science relies and multiple threads of empirical data and is based on what is now well established rudimentary school boy physics.

    "I don't know if you've failed to understand the point or what, but "The certainty of a particular outcome will be based on previous results" is utter, complete hogwash. The result is NOT influenced by previous results.

    I think it you who failed to understand the point. No one said the outcome is based on previous results, any predicted outcome should be. That is how science works not in the flawed way you give. Biologists do not just randomly mix things up in a beaker and swill them around without the ability to predict a result. Predictions are based upon known starting conditions, data that is built up from recorded observations to determine trends, and then applied to scientific theory. A biologist, or any researching scientist, will be able to predict results and will be correct more often than not within established margins of error. Can they get a different result? Certainly, because science doesn't do absolutes but it is a rare thing when such results require more than adjustments to error bars in any established theory.

    Climatology is no different. There is a warming trend that supports a theory based on physics that pre-dates it. We know from the science that warming on average will continue until all forcing reach a state of equilibrium. That is science based not any belief or ideology.

  • Comment number 60.

    Just a few comments on the original topic (long since lost by now - I must get up earlier!) but for the record.

    A steady westerly winter so far - but will it last?

    By old fashioned meteorology (BC - before computers) - the next significant landmark is around early February. The pattern at this time marks the transition to "late winter" - (or spring quickening - if you are Celtic). This may be more likely to produce periods of "blocking" -which can be persistent and cold; "as the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens". Though not always - it can be the start of the spring warm up (hence "Groundhog Day" - Feb. 2nd).

    If the latter we are in for a very early spring indeed.

    Mention of the 1975 June snow event (way above) is interesting. 1975 had a famously mild winter - about the mildest ever - daffodils and plum blossom everywhere. But March turned out to be the coldest month of the "winter" as I recall. April picked up again but May turned colder - culminating in the infamous snowfall of early June. Barely a week later however - one of the hottest summers on record began!

    Spring is often the most irratic of the seasons. So lack of snow now certainly doesn't guarantee we won't see any later (even much later).

    Much of this is based on the time honoured observation that although the British climate superficially appears quite unpredictable - there are surprisingly regular seasonal patterns which repeat from year to year - with the jet stream governing which "side" of the pattern we feel most keenly.

  • Comment number 61.

    O.K., my estimate for the 2012 global HadCRUT3 figure is 0.342c.
    Unfortunately, this is very close to the likely anomaly for 2011,
    but my excuse is that I don't think there is going to be much change in
    global temperatures over the next 12 months.
    I also know that this figure is higher than my original estimate for 2011, but I have reassessed where I think we are in relation to the apparent cyclical pattern in the 50 year linear trend, and this is what I come up with.
    In reality, I don't think there is going to much change in the annual figures while.
    (famous last words!)

  • Comment number 62.

    Lazarus: "Climatology is no different. There is a warming trend that supports a theory based on physics that pre-dates it. We know from the science that warming on average will continue until all forcing reach a state of equilibrium. That is science based not any belief or ideology."

    You're referring to the properties of CO2, of course, which equates to a climate sensitivity of ~1.2 degrees C of warming. That's the physics. 1.2 degrees, to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels. But 1.2 degrees is not catastrophic. To make the projections catastrophic, providing the purported imperative and call to action by activist scientists, climatology requires the application of... you guessed it... models. Oh and theoretical tipping points, of course, which have not been observed either.

    So no, your assertion is untrue. Rather than standing on empirical evidence, activist climatologists fall back instead on untested theories and the mathematical models that spew from them.

  • Comment number 63.

    greensand,
    Incidentally, were you able to download an NCDC global land/ocean file with a figure in it for December?
    I am still having problems in that the file I download only has the default figure of -999.000. I think it's something to do with my cache, but I can't understand why it should only apply on the global file.

  • Comment number 64.

    @63 QuaesoVeritas

    Not sure if this helps, I did not attempt the gridded data, the data I downloaded came from:-

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/anomalies.php

    “The Global Anomalies and Index Data”

    “The Monthly Global (land and ocean combined into an anomaly) Index (degrees C)”

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/monthly.land_ocean.90S.90N.df_1901-2000mean.dat

    Dec - 0.4570, which I think you may already have?

  • Comment number 65.

    #64. - greensand wrote:
    "Dec - 0.4570, which I think you may already have?"
    Thanks, that's where I usually download the data from.
    I calculated the figure from the NH and SH figures.
    I have now managed to download the complete file after fiddling about with my IE internet program settings, although I don't really know if that made any difference. I think it's something to do with the fact that the file name doesn't change and IE thinking I have already downloaded the file.
    Apparently the NCDC data files are updated daily, so I will have to watch that in future.

  • Comment number 66.

    @65 QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "Apparently the NCDC data files are updated daily, so I will have to watch that in future."

    Interesting info, will bear it in mind for future ref.

    I had no probs with the download using Firefox. (just for info, not saying that is the reason or a solution.)

  • Comment number 67.

    What a couple of weeks - so much for settled science!
    After the Nikolov & Zeller theory, here comes Leif Svalgaard ready to re-write solar history with another potential game changer. Link dropped by Vukcevic over at WUWT.
    On the face of it, it looks like bad news for my pet theory, but god knows what this would do for historic temp reconstructions.

    www.leif.org/research/The%20long-term%20variation%20of%20solar%20activity.pdf

  • Comment number 68.

    lateintheday,

    Doesn't look that Svalgaard's conclusion would affect temperature reconstructions, but may affect attribution. Recall that some of the Little Ice Age warming to the 20th century is attributed to increases in solar activity.

    Looks like the skeptic claim "It's the Sun"

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    with regards to recent warming remains a dead horse, maybe lightly beaten again.

    "Solar Activity is now back to what it was a century ago (Shouldn’t TSI also not be?)

    No Modern Grand Maximum"

    I imagine Svensmark might be furious. Careful with non-peer-reviewed work from a single scientist, though. Shouting "game changer" and "science isn't settled" starts to sound like crying Wolf (pun intended) after a while. Exercise appropriate skepticism.

  • Comment number 69.

    Thanks QV for your 2012 forecast
    Only five takers so far this year
    Last year's forcast shown in brackets

    Met Office (+0.44) +0.48
    SmokingDeepThroat (+0.39) ?
    quake( +0.36) ?
    ukpahonta (+0.35) +0.28
    QuaesoVeritas (+0.31) +0.34
    Gadgetfriend( +0.30) ?
    NeilHamp( +0.27)+0.42
    LabMunkey( +0.25) ?
    millinia (+0.24) ?
    Joe Bastardi (+0.2) ?
    Ken Sharples( +0.18) ?
    nibor25( +0.15) ?
    John cogger +0.43

  • Comment number 70.

    #66. - greensand wrote:

    "Interesting info, will bear it in mind for future ref."
    I haven't checked this myself yet, so I can't be certain it is correct.

    "I had no probs with the download using Firefox. (just for info, not saying that is the reason or a solution.)"
    Yes, it does seem to be an IE problem. I have similar issues with the UKMO figures but sometimes clicking "refresh" works eventually.

    Regarding AQUA CH5 temperatures, I have been watching this declining steadily during January and I wonder how low it will go. In recent months, it has often declined or risen for the first half of the month, then changed direction for the second half.

    Care needs to be taken not to confuse the daily temps. with the cumulative temp. for the month.
    If my calculations are correct, the cumulative temp. for Jan. 2012 is currently higher than that for 2006, 2008 and 2009. At this stage, those for 2006 and 2009 were starting to rise, while that for 2008 was falling. Actually, Jan. 2011 is also a contender, as while it was slightly higher than 2012 at this stage, it fell slightly from this point. I think that 2008 will be the low to beat, although that year may not be entirely accurate as there were no figures for the first 2 days of the month that year, and I have had to assume they were the same as the figures for December 31st and January 3rd.
    I think that it is interesting that the January temperatures seem to split into two groups, one "warm", and one "cold".
    We should also not forget that there are only 11 years of data, so while current temperatures are "low", that is only relative to what are possibly some of the warmest years.

  • Comment number 71.

    Where are the SmokingDeepThroats of yesteryear?

  • Comment number 72.

    I hope some of the "warmist" persuasion do put in forecasts for 2012, because
    I would genuinely be interested to see what they think.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 70 QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "If my calculations are correct, the cumulative temp. for Jan. 2012 is currently higher than that for 2006, 2008 and 2009."

    Yup agreed those are the three I was referring to earlier (my 34 I think) and the comment really was a tongue in cheek one.

    On a daily basis, not that it is all that relevant, if IIRC the coldest single day in the last decade is Jan 15th 2008 this Jan is approaching that level but not there yet.

    I have not bothered with the first few days of Jan 08, just averaged what we have, also with there being no data for Jan 02 just looking at the last decade? Which is my usual beat, what is actually happening now and any trends that may be developing.

    Whilst we do not know when the present downward trend will change, what we do know is that it will change and the longer ii keeps going the closer the change gets.

  • Comment number 74.

    MarkB2020
    "Careful with non-peer-reviewed work from a single scientist, though. Shouting "game changer" and "science isn't settled" starts to sound like crying Wolf (pun intended) after a while. Exercise appropriate skepticism"

    Fair enough, although I did say 'potential' game changer. I think Leif Svalgaard sits in with the Hathaway group and has quite a reputation in the field which is why I thought this particular presentation important. Not necessarily correct - but important nevertheless.

    'Science isn't settled' was a bit cheap perhaps, but there is an important point here. A (fairly) universally accepted historic record is being challenged.

  • Comment number 75.

    72. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I hope some of the "warmist" persuasion do put in forecasts for 2012, because
    I would genuinely be interested to see what they think."

    I think the (consensus) climate scientists have explained the observations more accurately than the 'sceptics'.

    I would hazard a guess of 0.45 for 2012 using HadCRUT3 - higher than that using HadCRUT4, if reports about it are to be believed.

    I think Jan-Mar 2012 are likely to be affected by the cooling 2011 La Nina; after that, unless a volcano goes off spectacularly, I would expect to see a resumption of the long term warming trend.

    Good luck to all with their forecasts.

  • Comment number 76.

    #75. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "I think the (consensus) climate scientists have explained the observations more accurately than the 'sceptics'."
    I'm not sure what you mean by "explained the observations".
    Do you mean the discrepancies between predictions and observations, or the differences betwen one observation and another?
    I don't personally really see the need to explain the discrepancies between predictions and observations, only the fact that there are discrepancies, since the observations are what they are.
    "I would hazard a guess of 0.45 for 2012 using HadCRUT3 - higher than that using HadCRUT4, if reports about it are to be believed."
    Thanks for that. I do find it interesting that even you seem to think that the MO forecast for 2012 is on the high side, despite the resources available to the MO and the sophisticated methodology used. Although your figure is still within the huge MO range of probabilities, but then, so is mine, just!

  • Comment number 77.

    I wonder if anyone here is prepared to come up with a prediction for 2012 which is within the higher end of the MO predicted range?
    Anyone for 0.62c?

  • Comment number 78.

    Time to nail a prediction to the mast I suppose. When you look at the error bars the MO prediction comes with I think we would ALL have won last year if we did the same, but in the spirit of trying to nail the number I will put in a figure of 0.29 for 2012. Not because I think it will be warmer than last year compared to my 2011 prediction, but just because I clearly overestimated the cooling effects on the "official" figures, and will therefore moderate what I consider to be a continuation of that cooling this year.

  • Comment number 79.

    greensand,

    If I am not mistaken, the AQUA CH5 temp. for January 19th., (251.858c), is the lowest January temp. recorded since 2003.
    I make the cumulative figure to the 19th to be 252.081c which is lower than 2009 at the same point and it is almost certain to go lower than 2006 in the next few days.
    I am not sure if the cumulative 2012 temp. will fall below 2008, as that would require a final daily figure of under 251.65c, but we are certainly into record territory as far as the daily figures are concerned.
    AQUA temperatures are falling so consistently that it almost raises doubts (in my mind) as to whether or not they are accurate.
    Incidentally, based on the AQUA temp. for the 19th., I make the equivalent UAH figure between about -0.02c and +0.08c.

  • Comment number 80.

    QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    “If I am not mistaken, the AQUA CH5 temp. for January 19th., (251.858c), is the lowest January temp. recorded since 2003.”

    Yes I think you are right and it is probably not just the lowest January temp, I have not looked but as the lowest annual is usually set in Jan then it is likely the lowest daily value in the last decade. But as you pointed out earlier there are 2 previous decades that we don’t have the numbers for and looking at the anomalies I think we can surmise that there were lower numbers in that period?

    I get the same cumulative and also doubt that it is going to match 2008, if it does than I really will share your fears about accuracy! This particular trend appears to be going on longer than normal I sort of expect a change in direction after about 10 days max, no data just “experience”?

    Way too early to call but if the month were to end with the present cumulative number (which it won’t) my fag packet calcs give a range of -0.17C to +0.07C with a target of -0.02C.

  • Comment number 81.

    There is an analysis of 2011 global temperatures in relation to the last 30 years on the "Open Mind" website, by tamino:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/2011-temperature-roundup/
    It is interesting that after adjustment for "exogenus" influences, such as el Nino, aerosols, and even even solar influences, it was apparently not as hot in 1998 as we thought it was. The funny thing is that I don't recall anyone (warmists) doing such adjustments to prove it wasn't as hot at the time. Of course, such adjustments are only now been dragged out as part of an increasingly desperate attempt to explain falling temperatures by the warmists. Still it's good of them to admit that there are other more significant influences on temperature other than CO2.
    The fact is that the unadusted temperatures are the "actual" temperatures, and no amount of retrospective adjustments will prove otherwise.
    I remember that UK monthly unemployment statistics were seasonally adjusted, which often proved that unemployment wasn't really as high as the figures suggested, if unemployment was lower than it "normally" was at certain times of the year. I wondering whether anyone ever attempted to explain to someone who was unemployed that after seasonal adjustment, he really still had a job.

  • Comment number 82.

    #80. - greensand wrote:
    "Yes I think you are right and it is probably not just the lowest January temp, I have not looked but as the lowest annual is usually set in Jan then it is likely the lowest daily value in the last decade."

    Yes, I forgot to check that, but it does appear to be the lowest daily temp. since 2003.

    "This particular trend appears to be going on longer than normal I sort of expect a change in direction after about 10 days max, no data just “experience”?"

    That's my experience too.

  • Comment number 83.

    0.4C anomaly for me for 2012 temperature competition please.
    I see Piers Corbyn is still claiming outstanding success for his long range forecasts this winter. Is he deluded, or does he think we are all stupid? Still I suppose if February is cold and snowy he will say his forecast for huge snowfalls in December was not wrong, just 2 months early...

  • Comment number 84.

    It looks like the weather is starting to ramp down now. I wouldn't be surprised to see some heavy snow in February. John cogger will end up eating his hat, I hope that he has plenty of credit on his gas and electricity bill.

  • Comment number 85.

    @85 Sheffield_city

    You predict -20's and heavy snow to hit in November? It snows in February? And I'm the one eating MY hat??

    Plenty of gas and leccy thanks, due to the above average temps and mild weather we have had so far.

  • Comment number 86.

    Winter has another two months to run so your claims are a little early especially when the Alps are getting record snow falls and low temperatures. Alaska has record low temperatures and snow falls. Nome, the most northerly city in Alaska, and whose latitude is 64N or a bit further north than northern Shetland, has been snowed in for over two months, a month earlier than is usual.

  • Comment number 87.

    The figures for the usual winter temperature at Nome Alaska is -16C. Last week it was -30C. So a mild January in the UK is fine.

  • Comment number 88.

    So everything's just fine. Have a read of this that's just appeared
    today on the BBC's website.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16657122

  • Comment number 89.

    Simon H wrote:

    "That's the physics. 1.2 degrees, to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels. But 1.2 degrees is not catastrophic. "

    This shows your inability to reason beyond finding what you want to believe. What global treaties or laws of physics suddenly stop CO2 at double industrial levels?

    Even setting that aside, are you claiming that feedbacks are 'untested theories ' in science?

    Another degree of warming will make large parts of the world go from freezing to above freezing - ice will melt and albedo will change. Permafrost in these areas will melt, more methane will be released. No models are required for this just common sense. A degree of warming will also increase the drying of soils in some areas and increase water vapour in the atmosphere causing more precipitation in others - again basic science.

    I'm prepared to admit that one of the greatest areas of uncertainty is what temperature the planet will eventually stabilise at. That uncertainty has as much to be with how much Co2e finds it's way into the atmosphere as other factors, but please don't claim that only 1.2 degrees warming can occur, the science shows it will be higher.

  • Comment number 90.

    Lazarus you are so right. some of the views here
    are remarkably naive and some who have a knowledge
    of another field think they know better than the experts
    and actually demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding
    of the subject.

    a doubling of Co2 may in itself only directly give a rise of
    1 to 2 degrees but then there is the extra water vapour
    a green house gas, large areas that will change from reflective
    ice to absorbent sea, changes in soil behaviour because of the
    changes in temperature and rainfall regime, changes in the ocean
    circulation,etc, etc, etc. not forgetting the emissions of other gases
    that dwarf CO2 in terms of their radiative effect.

    The problem is as I have tried to illustrate in my previous post, the Arctic
    is not waiting for people to be convinced. It's priming itself, in my view, for
    major if not massive change starting I would suspect in the near future.

  • Comment number 91.

    86. John Marshall wrote (23rd Jan):

    "Winter has another two months to run..."

    Actually it's less than six weeks before meteorological spring starts. Stand by for a serious freeze though; the Daily Mail's just said Britain is "on course for the mildest winter since records began..." I'll get my coat.

  • Comment number 92.

    From reading today's met office 6 to 15 day forecast the outlook remains
    completely split. Looking at the T+120 hour chart there are two significant areas of High pressure one to the south of us and one nudging into Northern Scandinavia.
    I should think it's how these develop that will determine if we get a mild to very
    mild flow or possibly a repeat of the remarkable transition that took place late January 1986 (though no one remembers Feb 86 as it was not associated with
    deep snow but was colder than say December 2010)

  • Comment number 93.

    Lazarus and Adrian . . .
    can I interest you in a used sandwich board, perhaps along the lines of 'the end is nigh'. I'm fairly sure I could lay my hands on some from the last apocalypse, or the one before that, or the one before that . . .

    "Another degree of warming will make large parts of the world go from freezing to above freezing"
    Like it does in britain every year. Often daily in 'large parts of the world'. Still, on the upside, they should be able to grow some food.

    I find it funny that those who regularly describe skeptic arguments as pseudo-science or astrology could fail to see the glaring double standard at play in your comments. Well, yea, let it be written that in some places in may raineth a bit more, whereas, in other places it may raineth a bit less.

    Its like the Life of Brian around here sometimes.

  • Comment number 94.

    Lazarus: ""That's the physics. 1.2 degrees, to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels. But 1.2 degrees is not catastrophic. "

    This shows your inability to reason beyond finding what you want to believe. What global treaties or laws of physics suddenly stop CO2 at double industrial levels?"

    Actually, no. What this shows is that I do not succumb to scaremongery inspired by untested hypotheses, flawed GCM projections and imaginary, unqualified claims of tipping points. If you actually knew anything about the subject, you'd know that CO2's greenhouse effect is logarithmic, not linear, and at twice the pre-industrial levels is all but out of its warming puff. Its effect at that point has flattened out to the extent that even a doubling of projected 2100 atmospheric CO2 levels barely features a rise in greenhouse effect.

    Lazarus: "Even setting that aside, are you claiming that feedbacks are 'untested theories ' in science? "

    I'm unable to set aside your lack of reading comprehension.

    Lazarus: "Another degree of warming will make large parts of the world go from freezing to above freezing - ice will melt and albedo will change. Permafrost in these areas will melt, more methane will be released. No models are required for this just common sense. A degree of warming will also increase the drying of soils in some areas and increase water vapour in the atmosphere causing more precipitation in others - again basic science."

    Do you even know what "another degree of warming" means in climatological terms? You probably actually think that there IS such a thing as a global mean temperature. There is no such thing. It is preposterous to even describe the energy reaching and radiating from the earth in terms of temperature. Go educate yourself, for goodness' sake. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNYhp-B39I0

    Lazarus: "I'm prepared to admit that one of the greatest areas of uncertainty is what temperature the planet will eventually stabilise at. That uncertainty has as much to be with how much Co2e finds it's way into the atmosphere as other factors, but please don't claim that only 1.2 degrees warming can occur, the science shows it will be higher."

    I'm awestruck. There is never going to be a time when the earth is in equilibrium. What is it that you think causes the wind, the rain, a tornado, a hurricane or a still? The earth is in constant flux as one side is warmed by the sun while the other cools, as it tilts on its axis and as its orbit takes it closer and further away from the sun, and the sun's activity passes from minimum to minimum over time, and while the sun's radiation that reaches the earth varies from the equator to the poles. There simply is no such thing as equilibrium, nor a global mean temperature, and nor will there ever be until long after the sun winks out or until the universe collapses on itself. It will *never* stabilise, and certainly not to a "global mean temperature".

    And the science does NOT show that the "global mean temperature" will be higher than ~1.2 degrees to a doubling of CO2. We've known the physics for over a hundred years. Whatever you think you know of the physics, if you think I'm wrong then you're relying on something other than physics to back up your claim - hypothetical tipping points, computer modelling using arbitrarily set variables and lots of tuning and "tweaking", but not physics.

    And that is my point.

  • Comment number 95.

    lateintheday your opinion is the very reason why I am quite certain that the wheels
    will fall off before major action is taken (in what form that will take I am not sure).
    Did you actually read the link I put on because I would say that developments in
    the Arctic are potentially very serious.

    so it's a bit like being in 1932 and saying that this nasty character who has taken over in the vacuum of power will try and dominate Europe. Churchill said this and was ignored and we had a very difficult period from 1940 to 45 as a result.

    Of course it's like a growing pain perhaps and despite our present difficulties Europe came through stronger. Likewise the human race, I think we are going to have to endure a very difficult period because of the byproducts of industrialisation and lack of awareness. Replace sandwich board with Churchill's microphone.

    As for stability every climatologist acknowledges that the global temperature has varied throughout geological history for a plethora of reasons. That's why the Earth is so special it is dynamic but on this occasion in time for the first time one single species is dominating the planet and is producing impacts on a geological scale not just on climate but on biodiversity.

  • Comment number 96.

    my guess for 2012 is 0.41C

  • Comment number 97.

    Plenty of time for it to turn 'brassy' Paul.

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/01/22/super-deep-freeze-to-grip-europe-asia/

    We may be living a charmed life in England at the moment but others aren't.

  • Comment number 98.

    By the way Simon H of course you can have a global mean temperature - that is
    the temperature averaged over all the earth's surface which is approximately 288 K.
    Of course there are strong departures from the mean surface temperature such as in Antarctica or in hot or cold spells of weather.

    i think you are getting confused with the concept that the global mean temperature is some sort of mean temperature the Earth should have averaging
    over time.

  • Comment number 99.

    yes - I read the link and watched the video. The whole story was a pack of ifs and buts and maybes which eventually leads to the conclusion that something might happen, we don't know what, but it's probably going to be bad. Now, can we have some more grant money please.

    The video ludicrously exaggerated the bulge, (presumably for dramatic effect) by several orders or magnitude. Personally, since I know what a bulge looks like and can actually visualise centimetres, a static image would have done for me. I can only guess that the target audience was set for people with a lower IQ than mine - and believe me, that's not a very big group.

    One of the few things I learned in History class was this - we never (rarely) learn from our past. If you honestly think Europe will stick together through thick and thin, I'm astounded. We've been at war with someone in Europe in every century for the past 1000 years or more and I'll be surprised if we make it through the 21stC without another scrap. I'll side with Sir Humphrey on that one, "it's not the Germans we need to worry about, it's the French".

    Still, there's always hope.

  • Comment number 100.

    My friend in Iowa tells me that she may not be contactable due to electrical shortages due to the severity of the weather. She has been told to purchase food that doesn't need heating. With what has been going off in the Alps, it is possible to that weather from the East or the West could result in heavy snow for us.

 

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