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Global temperature update

Paul Hudson | 16:08 UK time, Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Average global temperatures remained broadly the same throughout the month of February according to the UAH satellite measure.

The anomaly of -0.116C, relative to the 30 year running average, equates to an anomaly of approximately +0.137C above the more standard 1961-1990 average.

The decline of La Nina has picked up speed in the last few weeks, with most computer predictions expecting neutral conditions by Spring.

La Nina is an area of colder than average water in the equatorial Pacific area, and acts to depress global temperatures. El Nino is an area of warm water in the same region, and acts to increase global temperatures.

As conditions continue to return to normal, global temperatures should recover somewhat.

Computer simulations, shown below, suggests the most likely scenario heading through spring and summer, and into autumn, is for neutral conditions to continue.


Folow me on twitter @Hudsonweather

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I caught bits of an interesting program on sun spot activity. It reminded me of when I went to Sedona in America in 2003, I saw these three massive sun spots on the sun in a triangle. If you can imagine the sun as a two pence piece, each one had a diameter of 7.5 mm. The sun was a purple colour as well. Can anybody explain?

  • Comment number 2.

    too many margaritas?

  • Comment number 3.

    Post 2 Mangochutney. Sorry not the case as I am tea total. It was a very weird experience to say the least, I was out in the desert at a rock called Cathedral, because it looked like one. Sedona is renowned for magnetic red rocks, like what you see in cow boy films.

  • Comment number 4.

    "herbal" tea?

  • Comment number 5.

    #1. - Sheffield_city wrote:
    "The sun was a purple colour as well. Can anybody explain?"
    Can you clarify what you mean by that?
    Was it that colour in a photographic image?
    If so, some solar filters can give an unusual colour to the sun.
    There is quite a big group of sunspots on the sun at the moment:
    http://www.spaceweather.com/
    Solar activity seemed to be dying down, but now seems to be increasing again.

  • Comment number 6.

    If I understand Paul's graph correctly, the probability is that El Nino will not feature until AMJ and even by SON, the probability is more or less equal for El Nino, La Nina and Neutral condictions.
    If Neutral = -0.45c to +0.45c, then what does that mean for SST, i.e. what is that relative to?

  • Comment number 7.

    An observational area of the Pacific, Nino3.4, if temperature anomalies fall below -0.5 for a five month period this defines a La Nina, if temperature anomalies rise above +0.5 for a five month period this defines an El Nino any period in between is ENSO neutral with the ability to switch either way.
    The above graph is predicting neutrality through to the Autumn when there is equal opportunity for a negative or positive ENSO to form through the winter months. ENSO conditions are thought to lead global temperature variations by eight months. Or something along those lines.

  • Comment number 8.

    1. Sheffield_city:

    Everything you describe here could be the result of local and regional atmospheric conditions. Sedona's a dusty old place.

  • Comment number 9.

    Although La Nina conditions didn't develop during 2011, in the brief three months or so when SST in NINO 3.4 poked its head above the zero anomaly, surface temperatures lit up like a Christmas tree.

    Don't be surprised if the same thing happens again this year.

  • Comment number 10.

    @ Paul Hudson

    Paul you know I keep banging on about how temperature cannot be averaged in a meaningful scientific way? Well, Dr Robert Brown of the Physics Department of Duke University, who probably knows more about these things than even I do, has posted some interesting comments over at WUWT. See

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/04/global-annualized-temperature-full-of-snip-up-to-their-eyebrows/

    I am sure your avid readers here would appreciate the Paul Hudson take on this issue given the fact that you were I believe the first and only person within the BBC monolith to ask what happened to global warming.

  • Comment number 11.

    Here are our forecasts for 2012
    Figures in brackets are last year’s forecast
    I have removed Joe Bastardi from the list because we are not certain of his forecast

    “Warmists”
    +0.48 Met Office (+0.44)
    +0.45 Newdwr54 (N/A)
    +0.43 John Cogger (N/A)

    “Neutralists”
    +0.42 Mr Bluesky
    +0.42 Lazarus
    +0.41 quake (+0.36)
    +0.40 Paul Briscoe
    +0.40 Gagetfriend (+0.30)
    +0.40 NeilHamp ( +0.27)

    “Coolists”
    +0.37 Lateintheday’s Holly Bush
    +0.34 QuaesoVeritas (+0.31)
    +0.29 millinia (+0.24)
    +0.29 LabMunkey (+0.25)
    +0.28 ukpahonta (+0.35) (2011 winning entry)

    If ukpahonta is right again for 2012 it will certainly put the polar bear amongst the penguins

    2012 forecasts have not yet been found for:-

    SmokingDeepThroat (+0.39)
    Ken Sharples( +0.18)
    nibor25( +0.15)
    jkiller56

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    I have to say that I'm at a loss to see what was wrong with my post at #12, as I certainly didn't defame anyone. Still, I'll try again.........

    spanglerboy @ #10

    Dr Brown's post is very long and apparently detailed, yet it singularly fails to acknowledge one crucial point that undermines most of what he's saying - that scientists use temperature ANOMALIES rather than absolute values. There are very good reasons for this, described here:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html

    The posts from Nick Stokes, Steve Mosher and KR in the comments section explain why this is such a serious omission from Brown's post.

    Paul

  • Comment number 14.

    It does sound a ridiculous thing to say, that "temperature cannot be averaged in a meaningful scientific way".

    If something can be measured it can be averaged. And that only takes a thermometer.

    Anomalies do solve several problems like all instruments being exactly calibrated.

    By coincidence I have a friend studying a Duke (well a friends son actually) so I thought I'd check out Dr Robert Brown. It comes as no surprise that his published work and research is not climate related and he appears to be a qualified as me to comment on climatology - and I don't consider myself qualified. He does write a lot of fiction though, if that is anything to go by.

  • Comment number 15.

    Laz old fruit you need to get out more. Down at the disco last night the talk was about nothing but enthalpy, relative humidity, mass and pressure and this bird with the most amazing.... - sorry getting off topic.

    And this friend's son studying a Duke - amazes me what passes for education these days. I once studied the Duchess of Sutherland in Crewe station. Now she IS bootiful :)

  • Comment number 16.

    QuaesoVeritas and newdwr54. I was actually there. The sun looking a purple colour could be explained by the atmospheric conditions and cloud, but that it had these three huge spots on it, is a mystery. I was there in October time. The red rocks really glisten in the sun, but when there is no sun they don't look very red.

  • Comment number 17.

    I have just watched the "Horizon" documentary about solar activity and while it was interesting, I thought it was unduly alarmist, especially at the start, with overly dramatic music thrown in for good measure.
    Anyone watching it, who didn't know anything about the subject could be forgiven for thinking that the Earth was about to be destroyed by solar flares.
    The producers of the programme seemed to deliberately set out to make a Hollywood disaster movie, rather than a science documentary.
    Maybe this is the only way they can get the general public to watch such documentaries these days.
    Coincidentally, the news this morning included the warning that we are going to be hit by a CME this morning, from the large spot currently on the Sun!

  • Comment number 18.

    PB #13 bet you were glad to find 3 other people who share your world view. Must have been a bit disconcerting that there were dozens of others who don't and Robert Brown dealt with the anomalies point in his further comments. You really must learn to read everything not just the bits that reinforce your world view. And of course others who do have an enquiring mind can read all the comments and make up their own minds.

  • Comment number 19.

    #16. - Sheffield_city wrote:
    "The sun looking a purple colour could be explained by the atmospheric conditions and cloud, but that it had these three huge spots on it, is a mystery."
    Sorry, I don't understand what the mystery was.
    If you go to Spaceweather.com, you can put in a date and view the sun around that time and there were some large spots at the end of October 2003.
    http://www.spaceweather.com/archive.php?view=1&day=26&month=10&year=2003
    The above link is for October 26th, but you will know the exact date.
    I suppose it was a bit late in the cycle for large spots.

  • Comment number 20.

    Laz @14,

    The problem for you is that temperatures are being "averaged" that were, in cases, recorded hundreds or thousands of miles away and are then "smoothed", "smothered", "tortured" across larger areas that bear no relation to the original point of the recording. Then again, why let real life (tm) get in the way of some alarmism! :)

    Regards

    Mailman

  • Comment number 21.

    QuaesoVeritas. I wasn't seeing things then, because that was roughly what I saw, but the spots at the time looked bigger than that, but I can't remember the exact date. I didn't know about sun spot activity then, I just put it down to a mysterious event. I didn't realise that we could see sun spot activity so far away. I know an American gave me something to look through that shielded my eyes. Sedona is extremly high up and when I came back to the airport in my taxi, my ears kept popping as we dropped down from Sedona. The sky at night used to be unbelievable, especially the red sky as it looked as though martian's were invading. I understand that we may be able to see the Northern lights tonight, as the sky is very clear and due to the solar storm hitting us.

  • Comment number 22.

    Bearing in mind that we are nearly at the peak of sunspot cycle 24 and cycle 25 hasn't even started yet and according to estimates won't start until 2020, we are going to have a period of maunder minimum. Shouldn't we be more concerned with this, than a false belief that we are creating global warming.

  • Comment number 23.

    Spanglerboy @ #18

    I am unsurprised that you choose to believe the claims of Robert Brown ahead of the considered views of scientific organisations such as NASA that have many years of expertise in this area. After all, Dr Brown's views reinforce your own preconceptions! Certainly, if science was judged on the basis of volume of words, Brown would win hands down, but that's not the way science works!

    "Robert Brown dealt with the anomalies point in his further comments."

    I don't think Nick Stokes would agree that he "dealt" with it. The use of anomalies is crucial. So the fact that he didn't even mention it throughout his post and had to have it brought home to him by others ought to ring alarm bells even for you!

    Another thing I find rather incongruous is that the same people who are here hailing Dr Brown's claims that the temperature series mean nothing were a few months ago expressing their support for Prof Muller's BEST project....... which was based on the very principle Brown is ridiculing!!! Of course, the moment that the skeptic Muller found the exisiting temperature datasets to be correct, he became an outcast! This is surely proof, if proof were needed, that far too many "skeptics" will blindly accept anything which might cast doubt on the scientific consensus.

    Paul

  • Comment number 24.

    #22 Sheffield_city

    Plenty of time to worry about that after the last drops have been squeezed out of the threat of global warming. Another couple of years and then we can start running around in circles in the opposite direction.
    Besides the increase in tax revenue to combat cooling hasn't been finalized yet, we need something along the lines of a Solar tax where you are taxed by the amount of sunlight that falls on your property that isn't converted into some useful form of energy storage in the form of photosynthesis or water heating. If it's just reflected away then it is wasting energy and detrimental to the upkeep of society.

    Wow, that actually sounds rather realistic, spooky or what!

  • Comment number 25.

    Paul,

    Its disingenuous of you to use Best as a litmus test for anything...considering their results havent yet been released.

    Mailman

  • Comment number 26.

    ukpahonta. I agree with you, they will start to do something about global cooling too late. That is the problem with having an establishment based on a parent and child, with no half way house, such as responsible teenager. Will there then be a tax for living in the countryside, because you live in a colder place, subjected to harder frosts!

  • Comment number 27.

    #22. - Sheffield_city wrote:
    "Bearing in mind that we are nearly at the peak of sunspot cycle 24 and cycle 25 hasn't even started yet and according to estimates won't start until 2020, we are going to have a period of maunder minimum. Shouldn't we be more concerned with this, than a false belief that we are creating global warming."
    As I have posted before, I don't think that we are near the peak of cycle 24.
    Personally I don't think that the peak will be until late 2014, which would tie in with cycle 25 starting in 2020. I was quite surprised that on the Horizon programme, they talked about the number of sunspots reaching a maximum "during the next two years", although I am not sure when the programme was made, that sounds later than some of the official predictions.
    Personally I am sceptical about the possiblity of another "Maunder Minimum".

  • Comment number 28.

    re 26: Funnily enough I think what will really happen is we start to do something about =global warming= too late. Too much chatter about whether it's stopped and then whoosh it will make up for recent years with a rapid jump. There could be as much as 0.4C warming this decade.

    Solar activity has plummeted since 2002. For those who argue the Sun is a big deal for global cooling wouldn't you have expected temperatures since 2002 to have plummeted? Why not? It's a massive drop in solar output. We've had a quiet Sun for 7 years now and temperatures have not dropped. This is not to mention in addition we've had a flip to negative PDO years ago and an increase in frequency of La Ninas.

    Yet 3 year mean smoothed UAH says it all:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah-land/from:1970/mean:36

    where is the cooling?

    Even if we use RSS there is no cooling:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss-land/from:1970/mean:36

    Here's the problem - when you insist there are significant cooling factors at play and yet global temperature remains flat - you should logically consider there might be significant warming factors in play negating the cooling. But none of the skeptics are willing to consider this. Instead we are told that flat temperature means the warming factors have stopped!

    If I felt the Sun, the PDO and La Ninas had a giant cooling influence as much as skeptics do I would conclude this:

    "Wow something must be warming the earth REAL hard to have held global temperatures so high despite all these cooling factors happening at once since 2002! I dread to think how fast the Earth will warm once these cooling factors die down."

    Yet we never hear that kind of conclusion do we?

  • Comment number 29.

    #28. - quake wrote:
    "Yet 3 year mean smoothed UAH says it all:"
    Why land only?

  • Comment number 30.

    My mistake with the land only I clicked on something that said UAH without noticing.

  • Comment number 31.

    29.
    At 15:12 8th Mar 2012, QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "Why land only?"

    Here's land and sea:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1970/mean:36

  • Comment number 32.

    20. mailmannz:

    "... temperatures are being "averaged" that were, in cases, recorded hundreds or thousands of miles away and are then "smoothed", "smothered", "tortured" across larger areas that bear no relation to the original point of the recording."

    Trends (not temperatures) are being extrapolated across areas where no temperature stations exist, and where satellites cannot 'see' (+/-85 degrees lat. N&S). This is a legitimate tactic if done correctly, as sampling reveals.

    However, it is very likely that the method used by the Hadley Centre and CRU to extrapolate temperature trends in the Arctic is producing data that is biased cooler than reality.

  • Comment number 33.

    I understand that they can look at a sunspot cycle before it even begins and the relationship to the gulf stream on earth. Sunspot cycle 25 should have started 3 years ago and it hasn't. Frank Hill is doing a study on this and it is called solar seismology. This is the full article I found on it. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/123844859.html

  • Comment number 34.

    Mailman @ #25

    "Its disingenuous of you to use Best as a litmus test for anything...considering their results havent yet been released."

    It's disingenuous of you to criticise me for quoting a study which has been carried out following accepted scientific methods and submitted for peer-review when:

    Your own assertions are invariably based on documents and blog posts which never have and never will undergo any type of peer-review.

    You know as well as I do that "sceptics" would have gleefully quoted the findings of BEST in advance of peer-review if it had found the other temperature datasets flawed!!

    ......... and THAT is the whole point. This isn't about whether the BEST study has been through peer-review yet. It's about the hypocrisy of people who were entirely happy to support Muller's efforts until it became apparent that he hadn't found what they wanted him to!

    Paul

  • Comment number 35.

    #33. - Sheffield_city wrote:
    "I understand that they can look at a sunspot cycle before it even begins and the relationship to the gulf stream on earth. Sunspot cycle 25 should have started 3 years ago and it hasn't. Frank Hill is doing a study on this and it is called solar seismology. This is the full article I found on it. "
    I'm not sure why you say that cycle 25 should have started 3 years ago.
    The article to which you posted the link says that cycle 24 began "about three years ago", based on the article date of June 2011, that's June 2008. Since the average cycle is 11 years, that puts the peak of cycle 24 at around December 2013 and the start of cycle 25 at June 2019.
    However, based on the actual number of sunspots, I estimate that cycle 24 didn't really start until July 2009, which puts all of the dates back about 1 year.
    That does mean that cylcle 23 was longer than usual, at about 12.42 years, but 11 years is only an average. Statistically a late start to a cycle does point to a low peak and cycle 9, which I calculate also had a length of 12.42 years, was followed by a relatively weak cycle 10.
    My dates are only based on sunspot numbers and I can't compete with Frank Hill's solar seismology technique, but I still think that talk of cycle 25 not happening, is premature.

  • Comment number 36.

    Sorry to re-post this here but my response to Paul B at the end of the last thread has disappeared for some reason.

    Paul B says variously . . .
    "The flaw in your logic stems from the word "cumulative". ENSO and the solar cycles have a TRANSIENT effect on global temperatures, NOT a cumulative effect.
    "It also appears that there has been a build up of heat in deeper waters that have not previously been monitored."
    Actually Paul, I think my logic is fine but yours seems to have crashed. One simply cannot have a build up of heat without a cumulative effect across solar cycles - even if that build up is eventually shown to be caused by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Your assumption is that the Earth should reach thermal equilibrium within each solar cycle, irrespective of its amplitude or duration, irrespective of oceanic and atmospheric conditions and irrespective of changes in albedo. That's one mighty big assumption, and it was hardly an exhaustive list.
    The earth is not in a completely stable thermal equilibrium, not least because the oceans have an enormous heat storage capacity and variable heat loss potential due in part to cyclical oceanic and atmospheric processes. It's not clear how or if, these cyclical processes are modified themselves by solar variability since this is not strictly limited to TSI, but extends to yet higher variability within its spectral bands. An additional complication is that insolation is not necessarily well correlated to TSI due to variable atmospheric conditions.
    "Similarly, ENSO can't be responsible for the recent warming as it has no TREND. In fact, even if ENSO had become "stuck" in an El Nino state, it STILL couldn't account for the recent warming unless there had been a net cooling of the oceans (we've seen the opposite!)."
    "It is this fact which makes it impossible for the sun to explain the most recent warming."
    No, not according to my reasoning above or your own 'logic' which contends that that has been a build up of heat in deeper waters. Although, quite how you can determine there has been a build up of heat somewhere if you haven't previously monitored it, is slightly bemusing.

  • Comment number 37.

    QuaesoVeritas. They can actually measure what is happening beneath the surface of the sun and even though cycle 25 hasn't officially begun, they should see the activity happening beneath the surface, which it isn't. This is why there have been predictions that we are going to hit a maunder. I am a little more optimistic, I think we will just go back to weather that we were experiencing before the 1990's and this will proof once and for all that it is climate, rather than man made global warming. We didn't set foot on the moon until the 1970s' and satellite technology and the data is still in its infancy, so we have to have much more than a 30/40 year period of data to be accurate with any of our predictions. I just think people are staring into an abyss that doesn't exist, with either extreme of maunder minimum or man made global warming. They were predicting a Maunder minimum in 1976, while we were experiencing a very hot summer. Nothing is nearly as bad as it may seem.

  • Comment number 38.

    #37. - Sheffield_city wrote:
    "They can actually measure what is happening beneath the surface of the sun and even though cycle 25 hasn't officially begun, they should see the activity happening beneath the surface, which it isn't. "
    Sorry, I see what you mean now.
    There was mention of this on the Horizon programme, but I didn't they could see that far ahead. I got the impression it was only a couple of years at most.

  • Comment number 39.

    Right so thats 14 years and counting and still no increase in global warming

    Give up warmistas - nobody is alarmed these days by alarming predictions which have been repeatedly been proven to be bogus

  • Comment number 40.

    QUAKE @28
    I think you'll find my own personal reason not to respond with 'wow' in comment 36. I've argued this point many times (with newdwr54 and no success) that until OHC goes down, atmospheric temps will continue to bounce up and down around current levels.
    Now bearing in mind that just the top two or three metres of the oceans contain more heat than the whole of the atmosphere, it could take a while before any significant cooling would be visible. What we do know, is that in order for the oceans to cool, the heat will have to make its way through the atmosphere.
    So, while the next big El Nino may well be close to/bring a new temp record, lets see what the effect on OHC is. Note that over the last few years we've had a number of La Ninas and OHC has barely changed, when theoretically, we might have expected it to shoot up. Particularly so, if TSI is the only solar variable worth considering, since we are told that this doesn't change very much.
    Some take this as a sign of cooling.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. openside50 wrote:

    "Right so thats 14 years and counting and still no increase in global warming..."

    Or to put it another way:

    "That's 14 years of reduced solar input, negative PDO, and frequent La Nina episodes yet we have had the warmest continuous 14 year period on record. Oh - and still rising: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1998.17/plot/gistemp/from:1998.17/trend "

  • Comment number 42.

    show us the same graph using hadrcut - ie the one that dosnt extrapolate data to create warming where they cant be sure any exists

  • Comment number 43.

  • Comment number 44.

    #43. - openside50 wrote:
    "http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:1998.17/plot/gistemp/from:1998.17/trend"
    Where does that figure of over -1c for early October come from?
    Has *any* data series had a figure that low?

  • Comment number 45.

    Sorry, I meant early 2010, not October.
    Something to do with the 10!

  • Comment number 46.

    lateintheday @ #36

    "Actually Paul, I think my logic is fine but yours seems to have crashed. One simply cannot have a build up of heat without a cumulative effect across solar cycles - even if that build up is eventually shown to be caused by rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations."

    I fear that you're being obtuse here! What you actually said was: "I remind you that until recently, the potential cumulative effect of ENSO and solar activity has been routinely ridiculed by the consensus..."

    Given the context, I took that as you meaning that the cumulative effect was from ENSO and solar, NOT greenhouse gases. ENSO and the solar cycles are by definition cyclical, so although they will obviously have an impact on the planet's energy budget in the short term, over the longer term their NET effect will be negligible - ie. NOT cumulative. Clearly, solar activity CAN have a cumulative effect, but only if there is a trend in mean solar activity.

    "Your assumption is that the Earth should reach thermal equilibrium within each solar cycle, irrespective of its amplitude or duration, irrespective of oceanic and atmospheric conditions and irrespective of changes in albedo. That's one mighty big assumption, and it was hardly an exhaustive list."

    I'm not assuming that at all! In fact, it's very unlikely that thermal equilibrium is reached, as the waning of the solar cycle starts before the oceans have completely responded to the rising part of the cycle (and vice versa). However, the important point is that MEAN solar activity has if anything fallen since the early 1960's, so the sun cannot have been inducing warming of the planet in the 1980's and 1990's.

    Paul

  • Comment number 47.

    lateintheday (continued)

    From my point of view, it is the relationship between solar activity and global temperature over time which is most telling. For example, see the graph in this SKS article:

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

    It's OBVIOUS that the pattern of temperature following solar activity completely breaks down in the late 1970's. So notwithstanding your various (questionable and unproven) theoretical objections, the EVIDENCE strongly supports the view of scientists that the sun cannot explain the recent warming.

    "No, not according to my reasoning above"

    ....... except that your reasoning is not sound, defies the laws of physics and is contradicted by all of the available evidence.

    " .....or your own 'logic' which contends that that has been a build up of heat in deeper waters."

    My point that there has been a build of heat in deeper water was in response to your claim that ocean warming has stopped. No, we don't yet have a record of how this has changed in the longer term. However, the fact remains that warming oceans contradict the claim that ENSO could be responsible for the warming. That was the point I was making. The warming oceans also cannot be explained by solar activity, as that peaked at least 50 years ago.

    There is, of course, another factor that you haven't mentioned - that greenhouse gases DO have a warming effect. Given that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is unequivocal, we would actually EXPECT this to cause the planet to warm. Why ignore/dismiss the obvious in favour of mechanisms which have no sound physical basis and are not supported by ANY of the evidence?

    Paul

  • Comment number 48.

    mailmannz wrote:

    "The problem for you is that temperatures are being "averaged" that were, in cases, recorded hundreds or thousands of miles away"

    But you have missed the point. If the temperatures are treated in the same way, using the same method, then a trend will emerge. You don't need to know the absolute temperature, you just need to know how much it has changed.

    There is a real warming trend, and even without these temperature measurements, there is still enough physical evidence to reliably infer one.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hansen gives a good overview of his work, his motives and the science in a recent TED talk;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fWInyaMWBY8

    I find his presentation a bit dry, nervous even, and what's with the beard?, but well worth watching.

  • Comment number 50.

    "except that your reasoning is not sound, defies the laws of physics"

    Which laws would that be exactly? I wasn't trying to be obtuse Paul, I'm simply pointing to the obvious flaw in your logic when you stated that there could be no cumulative effect of ENSO and Solar.

    You're quite happy to accept that the oceans can warm through the cumulative effect of increased solar activity. There is a clear and well documented rise in this throughout the the early 20thC followed by a sustained, elevated period post 1960. You also accept that the earth doesn't necessarily reach thermal equilibrium within one solar cycle.
    This is why its entirely possible that as the oceans release the increased heat, atmospheric temps would rise. But since the following cycle was also elevated in historical terms, the oceans continued to receive more energy that they could release and thus warmed at the same time as atmospheric temps over this period.
    Although the relationship between ENSO and OHC is unclear, its perfectly reasonable to assume that the two are related. Simply because if OHC is up, there is more warm water available for upwelling during El Nino. This could explain why ENSO was indeed, very positive in the late 20thC. This would appear something like a trend even though it is only a reflection of the OHC. Similarly, should OHC go down ENSO might appear to trend downwards.
    Cumulative effect explained. No laws broken.

  • Comment number 51.

    Analogy time!
    If solar activity is gross income and insolation is net income - then they are related but not necessarily in perfect step because the tax rate (clouds) can change. Expenditure can be seen as heat loss through the atmosphere.

    If net income is £10 per month and expenditure £10 per month you have no savings (no heat gain). If net income rises to £15 pm but expenditure only rises to £12 pm you have both savings and higher expenditure. ENSO can be seen as interest on those savings. It will vary due to the amount of the savings. But it could also vary independently due to tax changes.

    Net income drops to £14pm and expenditure remains at £12.50 pm. Income has reduced, expenditure has gone up but savings are still increasing. Income drops further still to £13pm and expenditure increases to £12.75pm. Your savings are still growing and you're still coining in the interest on top.

    Expenditure then rises to £13 pm to match net income. You still have savings and interest - a positive bank balance despite falling income and rising expenditure.

  • Comment number 52.

    Interesting paper looking at the relation of surface temperature to the previous Solar cycle http://arxiv.org/pdf/1202.1954v1.pdf

    'The PSCL-model predicts a temperature drop of 1.3 to 1.7◦C for single
    Norwegian stations analyzed from SC23 to SC24. For the average Norwegian
    and Europa60 temperatures the temperature drop from SC23 to SC24 is
    1.1-1.2 ◦C. For HadCRUT3N the predicted temperature drop is 0.9◦C. 95%
    confidence intervals for the predicted temperatures in SC24 are given in table
    1, last column. The Arctic cooling as predicted here may be converted into
    a global cooling, which is a factor 2-3 lower due to the Artic amplification of
    temperature differences (Moritz et al., 2002). Tnis means a global cooling of
    the order 0.3-0.5◦C. We may also expect a more direct cooling near Equator
    due to the response to reduced TSI with the weaker solar cycles in the near
    future (Perry, 2007; Mehl et al., 2009; Richards et al., 2009).
    The PSCL relation is determined for the period 1850-2008 when the PSCL
    on average has shortened from cycle to cycle in relative small steps. and the
    Earth has warmed. The large increase in SCL from SC22 to SC23 signals a
    temperature drop, which may not come as fast as predicted because of the
    thermal inertia of the oceans. The warming has taken place over 150 years -
    cooling of the same order may require some decades to be realized.'

  • Comment number 53.

    After rising quite slowly since Feb. 23rd., AQUA ch5-8 have put on a spurt on March 6th., and after starting to fall, the 7 day rolling mean daily change has started to rise again.
    It is difficult to say if this is a temporary phase, in effect the temp. "catching up" on the previous low rate of increase, or an indication that the rise in temp. will continue for longer this time.
    However, the daily anomaly is still well below the peak it reached during February and is starting to take on the erratic appearance it seems to when it reaches a peak.
    At the moment I estimate that the CH5 anomaly is equivalent to a UAH of between -0.15c and -0.05c.

  • Comment number 54.

    #47. - Paul Briscoe wrote:

    "It's OBVIOUS that the pattern of temperature following solar activity completely breaks down in the late 1970's. So notwithstanding your various (questionable and unproven) theoretical objections, the EVIDENCE strongly supports the view of scientists that the sun cannot explain the recent warming."
    I think I am on record as having said that it is difficult to find any evidence for solar activity having a major long-term influence on recent global temperatures.
    However "warmists" must be in a quandary, since if the sun cannot explain "recent warming", then it equally cannot explain why there has been no significant rise in temperature over the last 15 years.
    Personally I don't think it is necessary for those of a "sceptical" disposition to explain why temperatures haven't risen, or provide alternative theories. It is simply necessary to point out that temperatures haven't risen in accordance with climate models and expect those who produced the models come up with an explanation.

  • Comment number 55.

    ukpahonta. I note that your forecast for world temperatures of 0.31 last year is far more accurate than the met office. Did you have bigger computers and better modelling software than them? I suspect the even lower projections for this year will win.

  • Comment number 56.

    lateintheday @ #50

    "Which laws would that be exactly?"

    The law of conservation of energy.

    "I'm simply pointing to the obvious flaw in your logic when you stated that there could be no cumulative effect of ENSO and Solar."

    Now you're also shifting the goalposts!! It's absolutely clear from our exchange of posts that I have been discussing the period since the mid-20th century, during which time solar activity has if anything fallen slightly (and much more just recently).

    In the period prior to this there is no doubt that rising solar activity DID have a warming effect and you only need to read IPCC AR4 (and SKS) to see that they acknowledge this as a significant contributor to warming up to around 1960. So your assertion that the cumulative effect of solar activity has been "ridiculed" is demonstrably false. It is the ability of the sun to explain recent warming at a time when solar activity has NOT risen that is challenged.

    I don't have a lot of time just now, so all I can do is ask you to take another look at the graph of solar activity versus global temperature. There is NO WAY that solar activity can explain the sudden and dramatic rise in global temperature since 1980 - the pattern and scale of the warming are completely different. By that time, any residual warming effect of the solar peak in the 1950's would have worked its way through the system and temperature and solar activity were going in opposite directions.

    I'm sorry, but claiming that recent warming is due to a delayed release of solar energy from the oceans doesn't add up either, because there again, we would still have to be seeing an obvious fall in OHC during the 1980's for your assertion to be correct - the evidence points the other way!

    I note that you haven't even attempted to address my other point about the most OBVIOUS cause for the recent warming.

    Paul

  • Comment number 57.

    We seem worried about a temperature rise (?) of 0.137C but the Vostok ice core data shows that temperature swings of 12C are quite normal and no problem or tipping point.

  • Comment number 58.

    QV @ #54

    "However "warmists" must be in a quandary, since if the sun cannot explain "recent warming", then it equally cannot explain why there has been no significant rise in temperature over the last 15 years."

    It can't explain recent warming because there has been little trend in solar activity over the past 50 years. However, the recent fall in solar activity may well be partially responsible for the recent reduced rate of warming. I don't see any contradiciton between these two observations.

    "Personally I don't think it is necessary for those of a "sceptical" disposition to explain why temperatures haven't risen, or provide alternative theories. It is simply necessary to point out that temperatures haven't risen in accordance with climate models and expect those who produced the models come up with an explanation."

    Foster and Rahmstorf have surely done precisely that. What sceptics DO have to do is provide other mechanisms which can explain the 30 year warming trend. They also need to remember that the present reduced rate of warming is not necessarily indicative that warming has slowed in the long term!

    Paul

  • Comment number 59.

    Re 57: "We seem worried about a temperature rise (?) of 0.137C but the Vostok ice core data shows that temperature swings of 12C are quite normal and no problem or tipping point."

    Vostok is Antarctica, not global temperature. Globally the swings were 5-6C.

  • Comment number 60.

    Paul B.
    You have now added an accusation of 'shifting goalposts' to the earlier 'obtuse'. You also seem to think that the admittedly vague, natural causes argument breaks the conservation of energy law. My off the cuff analogy may not be perfect, but the principle is pretty obviously correct. The ENSO interest bit is, I assume, where you think the laws of energy conservation are broken. Fine, its under the wrong column in the accounts. Maybe I should have put it under national insurance payments 10p a month. It makes no substantive difference to the analogy.

  • Comment number 61.

    #55 Sheffield_city

    It was 0.35C last year and no equations just guess work on my part. Don't put any money down but just for fun we could have an accumulator:
    2012 0.28, 2013 0.34, 2014 0.36, 2015 0.32, 2016 0.26, 2017 0.19, 2018 0.12, 2019 0.05, 2020 0.00
    Uncertainty of +/- 0.02*Y where Y is the number of years from 2010.
    Neil Hamp don't take post 2012 as official for start of year competitions, there will be some real time adjustments I'm sure. :-)

  • Comment number 62.

    53. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "AQUA ch5-8 have put on a spurt on March 6th."

    Yes the whole column rose by the same amount on the same day, interesting, not seen that before, though only been watching for a short while. Not going back checking, will observe along the way.

    Too early for my fag packet to give numbers for March but can confirm that at present running lower than any of the previous decade's. Long way to go and according to Reynolds, Global SSTs are now higher than last year so should start to show through into Global Temps?

    http://nomad1.ncep.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/pdisp_sst.sh?ctlfile=oiv2.ctl&ptype=ts&var=ssta&level=1&op1=none&op2=none&day=16&month=feb&year=2011&fday=29&fmonth=feb&fyear=2012&lat0=-90&lat1=90&lon0=-180&lon1=180&plotsize=800x600&title=&dir=

    Long URL hope it works!

  • Comment number 63.

    Sorry, "higher than last year" should read, higher than this time last year!

  • Comment number 64.

    lateintheday @ #51 and #60

    There are a number of problems with your analogy.

    First of all, our most reliable data over the longer term is for sunspot number (equivalent to your gross income) and surface temperature, which is related to but not necessarily indicative of heat gain (your savings). Heat loss (your expenditure) is more closely related to atmospheric temperature than heat gain.

    Second, solar intensity (your gross income) goes through large cycles roughly every 11 years and the amplitude of these dwarfs any change in mean activity over time. Available data shows that temperature responds to changes in these cycles in as little as 18 months.

    Your analogy only shows that having an excess of energy coming into the system causes an energy imbalance and hence warming, which is something we already know. It tells us nothing about the time taken for the planet to respond fully to this forcing. In practice, given the rapid response of temperature to the solar cycles and the relatively small increase in the mean, peaking before 1960, it is VERY UNLIKELY that full response to the solar forcing would take more than 20 years to realise. Indeed, for this extra stored heat (your savings) to be the cause of atmospheric warming since 1980, it would have to transfer from the oceans to the atmosphere, causing the oceans to cool.

    Yet what we actually see is temperatures rising fast during the 1980’s and 1990’s and OHC rising too – something which is only consistent with an external forcing being active at the time. Furthermore, during the 1980’s, there was a rise in cloud cover (your tax), leading to global dimming. So if anything incoming radiation (your net income) was actually falling as temperatures rose!

    So both ENSO and your solar theory would have to break the law of conservation of energy to explain the late 20th century rise in temperature.

    Paul

  • Comment number 65.

    will look at this in the morning Paul - had one hell of a day!

  • Comment number 66.

    "What sceptics DO have to do is provide other mechanisms which can explain the 30 year warming trend"

    It doesn't need to be explained as it is well within natural variation and only a 0.1 to 0.2% temperature rise.

    There was a much warmer interval a few hundred years ago called the Mediaeval Warm Period which occurred globally, which we haven't yet managed to explain for example.

    Of course that Period is inconvenient, so it was "needed to be got rid of" - which explains the shenanigans exposed in the Climategate whistleblowing.

  • Comment number 67.

    Pingosan @ #66

    "It doesn't need to be explained as it is well within natural variation and only a 0.1 to 0.2% temperature rise."

    That sounds suspisciously like a "get out of jail free card" to me!! ANY change in global temperature, even a natural one, happens for a reason and has to be explained. So simply hiding behind the excuse that natural variation over the Earth's history has been larger doesn't wash. After all, natural variations in CO2 in the past have caused very large shifts in global temperature.

    Also, in the here and now, the increase in global temperature is NOT well within the bounds of natural variability - hence the reason why it is statistically significant.

    "There was a much warmer interval a few hundred years ago called the Mediaeval Warm Period which occurred globally, which we haven't yet managed to explain for example."

    Perhaps you could point me to the papers which show this, because a large number of scientific studies indicate that it wasn't global and that most parts of the world were not as warm as today!

    Paul

  • Comment number 68.

    Lazarus says “If something can be measured it can be averaged.” That may be true but it does not follow that having carried out the averaging exercise the results have any meaning.

    Fred has 11 coins in his pocket. Jack has 7 and Arnold has 12. We can work out the average number of coins that each has – 10. It tells us nothing about the value of the coins. Temperature is similar.

    3 cups contain water of different amounts. Temperatures are 11c, 7c and 12c. The average temperature is 10c. Another 3 cups also contain water of different amounts. Temperatures here are 9c, 6c and 12c – average = 9c. Which 3 cups is warmer? Using temperature as the metric the answer is obviously the first set. We can all agree that 10 is a bigger number than 9.

    But when we talk about warming in the context of global warming what we really mean is that the earth system is retaining more heat energy – manmade emissions of CO2 are trapping more heat in the atmosphere.

    Coming back to our cups of water, if we look at the question of which set of 3 cups has more heat energy we have a problem. The problem is that temperature does not tell us how much heat energy there is in the cups of water. Like the example of the coins we do not know the value of the thing we are measuring. In the case of the water the most important value that is missing is volume/mass.

    This is what is meant by saying that temperature is an intensive quality. By its nature anything that is an intensive quality cannot be averaged in a meaningful way. We need further information to make an intensive quality meaningful.

    Taking the temperature of thousands of cups of water and establishing some sort of baseline for the average temperature of the water and then looking at the temperature of individual cups as an anomaly does not and cannot solve this problem. If you have a problem with this try doing it with the coins and see what the pocket coin anomaly tells you.

    The heat energy of the air around us depends on a number of factors one of the most important of which is relative humidity ie the amount of water vapour in the air. As a commenter on the Robert Brown post says “As I have noted TIME AFTER TIME AFTER TIME…an 86 F day in MN with 60% RH is 38 BTU/Ft^3, and 110 F day in PHX at 10% RH is 33 BTU/Ft^3”. Note higher temperature but lower heat content.

    From the same post, Nick Stokes acknowledges in his comment at March 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm “As to the energy content of air, there’s only so many things you can usefully object to. GISS is measuring temperature anomaly. That’s all they claim. If you want total energy content, you’ll have to work with humidity too.”

    So when we look at the land based temperature records shown as an anomaly, what we see is an index of change of an intensive quality. As such it is of limited value. It may be possible to infer some general trend from the data in terms of temperature. This may or may not have some value. However, what the anomalies do not do and cannot do is tell us what the state of the heat energy content of the atmosphere is in any meaningful way. They are not a measure of global warming or global cooling. And yet that is exactly what they are used for.

  • Comment number 69.

    #58. - Paul Briscoe wrote:
    "What sceptics DO have to do is provide other mechanisms which can explain the 30 year warming trend. "
    Unless there is a return to the warming trend soon, there will be no need for any explanations.

  • Comment number 70.

    Spanglerboy @ #68

    You, like Dr Brown, are overcomplicating things to such an extent that you can't see the wood for the trees.

    As Nick Stokes correctly pointed out, all the scientists are doing is measuring the temperature at various points around the World to monitor changes over time. It is done this way it is primarily because the surface temperature is the easiest to measure and the one for which we have the longest records. Also, although absolute temperature may vary a lot over quite short distances, studies have shown that temperature anomalies correlate well out to quite large distances.

    Does it measure total energy in the atmosphere? Of course not, because even if you allowed for humidity you're still only sampling the air at hundreds of points 2m above the ground and not the atmosphere as a whole. Also, even if you could determine the energy content of the atmosphere, it wouldn't help you that much because it is only a tiny part of the Earth's energy budget and is affected greatly from year to year by ocean cycles.

    Does it mean anything at all? Yes it does, because an increase in gobal surface temperature averaged over a long period of time DOES indicate a build up of heat in the system as a whole. That is all that the scientists want to derive from the information.

    You cited an example of how RH can affect the energy content of air, yet you forgot the most important point - that even RH averages out over time and space. In fact, recent studies show that the total amount of water vapour in the atmosphere as a whole is increasing, which is indicative of MORE energy build up, not less.

    So the surface temperature record is just an indicator of a warming planet, but taken alongside the satellite record it is certainly a reliable indicator.

    Paul

  • Comment number 71.

    Paul

    you say "Does it measure total energy in the atmosphere? Of course not, because even if you allowed for humidity you're still only sampling the air at hundreds of points 2m above the ground and not the atmosphere as a whole. Also, even if you could determine the energy content of the atmosphere, it wouldn't help you that much because it is only a tiny part of the Earth's energy budget and is affected greatly from year to year by ocean cycles."

    Fair enough. You then go on to contradict yourself in the next paragraph when you say "Does it mean anything at all? Yes it does, because an increase in gobal surface temperature averaged over a long period of time DOES indicate a build up of heat in the system as a whole. That is all that the scientists want to derive from the information"

    The system as a whole includes the oceans and you have just pointed out that the atmosphere is a tiny part of the energy budget.

    So thank you Paul for confirming what I have known for a long time and what I have been stating for a long time - the land temperature anomalies are, indeed, pretty meaningless.

  • Comment number 72.

    Paul Briscoe,

    There are hundreds of papers on the global extent of the Mediaeval Warm Period. Google is once again your friend.

    You've played this game before and for someone who acts well versed on the climate discussion it surprises me you need to ask for links every single time you are made aware the MWP was global and synchronised. It does lead one to think your comments here are not entirely made with honest debate in mind.

  • Comment number 73.

    Paul B. In your comment 47 you say . ."except that your reasoning is not sound, defies the laws of physics"

    I ask again exactly which law/laws of physics are you specifically referring to in your comment 47 and how exactly had I broken them before that?
    Note here that I admit that my over simplistic analogy did break the law of conservation through the 'ENSO interest' muddled thinking on my part, but I didn't post that until comment 51. So clearly your 'defies the laws of physics' must have been in reponse to something else I'd said prior to comment 51.

    BTW, I still contend that despite this error, it roughly conveys what I had been trying to establish in principle. Further, since the utility of the analogy here is to describe simple principles underlying complex issues, can I ask that you construct one of your own that explicitly disproves that the increase in solar activity throughout the 20thC could be responsible for both an increase in OHC and a contemporaneous rise in atmospheric temps.

    You say . . "However, the important point is that MEAN solar activity has if anything fallen since the early 1960's, so the sun cannot have been inducing warming of the planet in the 1980's and 1990's."

    This seems wrong to me on a number of levels. First, you assume that mean solar activity is the best measure. Secondly, you assume that there are no longer term positive feedbacks possible as a result of earlier solar forcing. This is a bit rich when so much of CAGW depends on positive feedbacks.
    FYI
    www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1880/every/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1880/trend

  • Comment number 74.

    Spanglerboy @ #71

    "The system as a whole includes the oceans and you have just pointed out that the atmosphere is a tiny part of the energy budget."

    You're missing one CRUCIAL point. The system constantly works to equilibrate the heat energy between the oceans, atmosphere and space, so when you look at the TREND in the mean value over a long enough time period, it DOES reflect changes in the energy content of the system as a whole.

    Paul

  • Comment number 75.

    Paul

    your response is an assertion. not very scientific. which sort of brings us back to where we started.

    regards

  • Comment number 76.

    Pingosan @ #72

    "There are hundreds of papers on the global extent of the Mediaeval Warm Period. Google is once again your friend."

    No! Most of the papers look at conditions in one or two locations and cannot be used to draw ANY conclusions about the spatial extent of the warming. Certainly, many parts of the earth were warmer during medieval times than during the LIA and SOME places were warmer than today. However, large parts of the tropical Pacific in particular were cooler than usual. This is the point - the pattern of warming was very different back then from the one we're seeing now and almost certainly due to a combination of high solar activity and low volcanic activity.

    "You've played this game before and for someone who acts well versed on the climate discussion it surprises me you need to ask for links every single time you are made aware the MWP was global and synchronised. It does lead one to think your comments here are not entirely made with honest debate in mind."

    I'm not playing games, Pingosan and your insinuation is wholly unwarranted. The problem is that you are reading things into the scientific literature that just aren't there! So whilst many bloggers have certainly ASSERTED that the MWP was "global and synchronised", I have stood firm because the evidence does not back this up.

    From the US National Academies of Science review in 2006:

    "Evidence for REGIONAL (my emphasis) warmth during medieval times can be found in a diverse but more limited set of records including ice cores, tree rings, marine sediments, and historical sources from Europe and Asia, BUT THE EXACT TIMING AND DURATION OF WARM PERIODS MAY HAVE VARIED FROM REGION TO REGION (my emphasis, ie. NOT synchronous), and the magnitude and geographic extent of the warmth are uncertain."

    Of course, there have been new studies since then and on a thread sometime last year I provided links to a number of papers which show that the MWP was definitely NOT global......... and NONE of them were written by Michael Mann!

    Paul

  • Comment number 77.

    Spanglerboy @ #75

    "your response is an assertion. not very scientific. which sort of brings us back to where we started."

    Oh come on, Spanglerboy! This is one of the best established principles of physics. ANY body, including the oceans, the atmosphere and the Earth as a whole will ALWAYS work towards achieving energy balance with its surroundings.

    The scientific community are not idiots. Do you really honestly believe that the various national academies, made up of the World's most eminent scientific experts, haven't thought this through? The problem is not with the science. The problem is that Dr. David Brown has overcomplicated things and hence completely missed the point of the temperature series. In the process, he has confused people who haven't thought things through for themselves.

    Paul

  • Comment number 78.

    @76, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    “ So whilst many bloggers have certainly ASSERTED that the MWP was "global and synchronised", I have stood firm because the evidence does not back this up. “

    It has been obvious for some time that you have no understanding of the evidence and are simply singing from the hymn-sheet. Unfortunately for you they have changed the words. It is now considered politically correct to allow the publication of a paper showing a MWP equivalent to the twentieth century mean but you have to make sure that it does not match late twentieth century temperatures or publication will still be problematic.

    In the Ljungqvist et al (2012) paper that you yourself linked to you only need go as far a reading the abstract:

    'Geographically widespread positive temperature anomalies are observed from the 9th to 11th centuries, similar in extent and magnitude to the 20th century mean.'

    The method used is known to reduce historic variance (even if good quality proxies were used) and gives little information about any winter variation.

    If you allow for these factors then it is almost certain that the MWP matched or exceeded not only 20th century mean but also late 20th century temperatures.

    That is, of course, if you believe any of these studies.

  • Comment number 79.

    Question to Paul Briscoe and Lateintheday and anybody else who is about re the mechanisms by which ENSO, EL Nino, La Nina conditions affect global temps.

    Niño 3.4 Region 120°W-170°W and 5°S- 5°N.

    It is my understanding that “El Nino” is the name given to an oceanic variation that gives rise to increased SSTs in the above area? This then leads to increased global surface temperatures by two distinct mechanisms.

    1. The increased SSTs in the above area spread through natural oceanic current movements, migrating eventually towards the poles. This takes some time, probably measured in at least months if not years.

    2. The increased SSTs create increased cloud cover resulting in a reduction of Outgoing Longwave Radiation, thus retaining more energy resulting in increased atmospheric and surface temperature. This mechanism have a far quicker effect on global temps than SSTs.

    La Nina producing similar reaction times but opposite thereby reducing global temps.

    I am asking this question solely with regard to the mechanics, not the magnitude or the timescales or from a pro or sceptic AGW standing, just simply are the above mechanics basically a sound understanding of what we believe is happening?

    Any comments appreciated.

    TIA

    PS, I have no doubt the pro and/or sceptical slants can and will come later!

  • Comment number 80.

    79. greensand:

    Hi GS, you're stuck with me (it's Saturday night man, btw. I've been working all day - what's your excuse?).

    I just want to comment on a general, but important, point. Clouds are problematic. Scientists don't really understand their net impact, or indeed whether or not this impact changes over time.

    I note that in winter temperatures are usually higher where I live if cloud cover is greater. But this may be just a local and/or seasonal phenomenon.

    On the other hand we have Spencer and co telling us that clouds have a net strong cooling impact.

    On the ENSO: this appears to be a naturally occurring distribution of heat between land and oceans, and it will continue whether or not the net balance of the atmosphere's heat energy is rising or falling.

    Like all these things, we shouldn't look for 'Day After Tomorrow' type drama; we should look for La Nina events that result in 'less cold' temperatures compared to previous similar La Nina events, and vice versa for El Nino events.

  • Comment number 81.

    80.newdwr54 wrote:

    Eh up DW, my excuse? Waiting to see Moyes's boys stuff the "Pretenders"!

    Re ENSO, need to sort the "mechanics" at present load of unintelligble being voiced, which is not worth the time of day.

    So do you agree with the mechanics above or not?

  • Comment number 82.

    RobWansbeck @ #78

    "It has been obvious for some time that you have no understanding of the evidence and are simply singing from the hymn-sheet."

    I don't pretend to be an expert on the statistical handling of the proxy reconstructions, but I HAVE read much of the USNAS review. Meanwhile, it's obvious that your own "understanding" comes from reading the explanations fed to you by certain "sceptic" blogs - that does NOT constitute a proper understanding.

    "In the Ljungqvist et al (2012) paper that you yourself linked to you only need go as far a reading the abstract"

    I DID read the abstract and it in no way contradicts what I said above. This is because the 20th century mean is very different from the temperature today. Also, the Ljungqvist study was restricted to the NH and, as stated above, there is evidence that SOME parts of the NH were warmer than today. So what exactly is your point?

    "The method used is known to reduce historic variance (even if good quality proxies were used) and gives little information about any winter variation."

    Do you have a reference to a scientific paper which explains this and the extent to which it affects the results?

    The scientific literature that I've seen points to the MWP being a time of La Nina type conditions, leading to unusually warm conditions around much of the North Atlantic but not in all parts of the World (Graham et al, 2007; 2010; 2011). Perhaps you know of some papers which contradict this view?

    Paul

  • Comment number 83.

    81. greensand:

    I agree that Moyes should be put in charge of any and every thing in the UK. Especially energy policy. We would get similar results with less capital expenditure.

    I regret to inform you that I am also a Glasgow Rangers fan.

    All contributions are gratefully accepted.

  • Comment number 84.

    lateintheday @ #73

    "Note here that I admit that my over simplistic analogy did break the law of conservation through the 'ENSO interest' muddled thinking on my part, but I didn't post that until comment 51."

    There are two issues with your claim that ENSO can cause a cumulative warming effect on the atmosphere (which came on the previous thread). First of all, it has no trend and in the longer term the effects of La Nina will cancel out those of El Nino (and vice versa). Consequently, it can cause short term fluctuations in global temperature but not a long term warming trend. The other point I was trying to get across was that even if ENSO could cause prolonged atmospheric warming, it would be at the expense of cooling oceans. In fact, though, the atmospheric warming has been accompanied by ocean warming. So the suggestion that ENSO could be responsible defies the law of conservation of energy.

    "...can I ask that you construct one of your own that explicitly disproves that the increase in solar activity throughout the 20thC could be responsible for both an increase in OHC and a contemporaneous rise in atmospheric temps."

    No, because it DIDN'T increase throughout the 20th century...... and THAT is precisely the point. It is only a net increase in solar activity that can cause the planet to warm and there has if anything been a net DECREASE since 1960. As stated above, you only need to look at the graph of solar activity and global temperature to see that, in the past, temperature has responded pretty quickly to changes in solar activity. This is to be expected, as the sun exerts a direct warming effect on the oceans. So based on the past relationship between the two, we would have expected global temperature to plateau soon after 1960....... but it did the opposite and in recent times the two have been going in opposite directions. That alone OUGHT to be enough to convince you that the sun is VERY unlikely to be responsible for recent warming.

    However, there are other good reasons why scientists are pretty sure that solar activity can't be responsible. The stratosphere is cooling, winters are warming faster than summers and nights are warming faster than days. All of these observations are consisitent with greenhouse warming but the OPPOSITE of what would be expected with a solar forcing. When you add in the fact that concentrations of known greenhouse gases are increasing, your insistence in clinging on to the idea that it’s the sun becomes deeply troubling to me!

    Paul

  • Comment number 85.

    lateintheday (continued)

    In truth, no analogy can accurately represent such a complex system, and yours tells us nothing about how long it takes for equilibrium to be reached. All we can go on is the available evidence, which suggests that it isn't that long at all. So the only way past increases in TSI could have been exerting a warming effect by the 1980's would be by heat getting stored in and then released from the oceans. Again, though, this would be accompanied by a fall in OHC........ we see the opposite.

    “This seems wrong to me on a number of levels. First, you assume that mean solar activity is the best measure.”

    Why would it not be? Solar activity cycles around the mean value, so its NET effect is determined by the long term mean. This isn’t a difficult concept, surely?

    "Secondly, you assume that there are no longer term positive feedbacks possible as a result of earlier solar forcing."

    I don’t assume that, but the fact remains that in the past, even after a fairly prolonged increase in solar activity, once it has levelled out or fallen, global temperature has tended to do the same fairly soon. I obviously can’t prove that there has been NO delayed response to past solar forcings from slow feedbacks, but slow feedbacks such as the gradual release of methane from the permafrost and lake/ocean sediments are only likely to become potent as the warming intensifies.

    Paul

  • Comment number 86.

    83. newdwr54 wrote:

    "I regret to inform you that I am also a Glasgow Rangers fan."

    "All contributions are gratefully accepted."

    No, DW I am afraid that contributions will not cut it, but a grant, now there is a verdant area, sorry don't mean hooped a "verdant"!

    Relax, it will get sorted. Just don't let Rosie 47 anywhere near

  • Comment number 87.

    greensand @ #79 and #81

    I can't say I've seen any information regarding the way the heat from an El Nino spreads around the atmosphere, although I can't claim to have looked very hard!!

    "The increased SSTs create increased cloud cover resulting in a reduction of Outgoing Longwave Radiation, thus retaining more energy resulting in increased atmospheric and surface temperature."

    I'm not sure that's correct, as the increased cloud cover might also reflect more incident solar radiation to space. I was under the impression that much of the warming effect in the atmosphere was due to conduction/convection from the warm ocean surface and the eventual condensation of the additional water vapour in the atmosphere (ie. the release of its latent heat).

    As I said, it's not something I've really studied, so I couldn't swear to the above. I'll try to read up a bit tomorrow!

    Goodnight!

    Paul

  • Comment number 88.

    @ 87. Paul Briscoe

    Paul I am not sure that incoming has anything to do with it.

    Remember I am not trying to prove or disprove AGW or debate any global imbalance, but just trying to understand how the mechanics of this "thing" we call ENSO affects global temps.

    The ocean surface radiates OLR pro rata to its ability. Cloud cover restricts OLR exit, keeping energy within the system, no clouds more energy leaves the system?

    Goodnight!

  • Comment number 89.

    newdwr54 said . . .
    "we shouldn't look for 'Day After Tomorrow' type drama"
    probably just a coincidence newdwr54, but I referred to that film over at 'the other place' when I followed a link posted in the comments. Fascinating text about the mysterious demise of Mammoths which seemed to be from a set questions paper - perhaps for paleontology students. (just a guess) Really worth a look if you like a challenge. I left my comment in the hope that the poster would identify the original text - partly because I couldn't believe what I was reading.

    Greensand - please don't mistake me for someone who actually knows what he's talking about! The handle says it all. Not only am I late to the global warming party, I'm also completely underdressed. Still, the one thing I do have going for me is that I can usually smell 'spin' since that's kind of what I do for a living.

    FWIW, your take on ENSO looks pretty good to me at first glance. I'll put me thinking cap on.

    I would again recommend ORBIT (BBC2 last week, programme 1) to anyone with an interest in ocean and atmospheric patterns/cycles and how they are emergent phenomena of the Earths rotation caused in large part by the coriolis effect.

  • Comment number 90.

    89. lateintheday wrote:

    "I'm also completely underdressed"

    Nay Lad, its simple, live, learn, question. learn more, but never, ever, stop. I doubt that there is any other word that has restricted the development of mankind more than "consensus"

    IIALOB

  • Comment number 91.

    @82, Paul Briscoe wrote:

    “ Do you have a reference to a scientific paper which explains this and the extent to which it affects the results? “

    I refer you to #72 by PingoSan: “ You've played this game before and for someone who acts well versed on the climate discussion it surprises me you need to ask for links every single time you are made aware the MWP was global and synchronised. It does lead one to think your comments here are not entirely made with honest debate in mind. “

    The effect is very, very well known. It is a fact. The puzzling fact is that someone who has written multiple posts supporting paleoclimate reconstructions hasn't taken the time to research this. There are many other factors that also reduce historic variation e.g. dating errors.

    A good example of potential problems is given here:

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/06/23/histori-hockey-stick-pt-2/

    I would urge you to research this for yourself before you continue to jump to the defence of these papers and criticize others for having reservations.

  • Comment number 92.

  • Comment number 93.

    greensand @ #88

    "Remember I am not trying to prove or disprove AGW or debate any global imbalance, but just trying to understand how the mechanics of this "thing" we call ENSO affects global temps."

    Yes, I appreciate that and it would be wrong to presume that I was trying to score points. I'm just not sure that the effect of clouds on outgoing radiation is a large part of the warming effect of El Nino.

    Paul

  • Comment number 94.

    RobWansbeck @ #91

    Simply repeating PingoSan's claim doesn't make it correct and it also doesn't address the question I asked.

    I asked if you had a scientific paper to back up your claim that the methods used by Ljungqvist et al reduced historic variance in such a way that temperatures for medieval times were underestimated. I can only presume from your response that the answer is "No"!

    "The effect is very, very well known."

    In which case, why can't I find a reference to a scientific paper which demonstrates it? You've simply provided me with a link to a BLOG POST about the Mann 08 reconstruction (ie. a different paper). I am not at all surprised that Jeff Condon has never submitted his work for peer-review.

    To produce a valid temperature reconstruction, the data has to meet 2 key criteria:

    There has to be a good correlation between proxy data and instrumental temperature during the calibration period.

    There has to be a good correlation between reconstructed temperature and instrumental data during the validation period.

    In other words, the same signal has to be present in the proxy DATA as the instrumental data before you can produce a valid reconstruction. Given the large increase in temperature during the instrumental period, you would EXPECT to get a hockey stick shaped graph.

    Of course, Condon's examples don't meet the above criteria and that is sufficient to dismiss them as a pointless exercise. What he appears to have done is FORCED a fit of his "proxy data" to the instrumental data by discounting all proxy data which doesn't correlate to at least r = 0.6........ and lo and behold he produces a hockey stick - wow, that's clever!!!!

    However, you've missed the most important point of all. To conclude that the MWP was not a time of global warmth, we simply need proxy data from parts of the World showing that period as being cooler. The Graham et al (2007) paper provides a number of references to studies which show exactly that.

    Paul

  • Comment number 95.

    93. Paul Briscoe wrote:

    "and it would be wrong to presume that I was trying to score points."

    Sorry Paul but how else is anybody supposed to interpret your reference to incoming?

  • Comment number 96.

    Another large jump in AQUA ch5-8 temperatures on the 8th, has sent the anomalies up again, although ch5 was still at -0.21, relative to 2003-2011.
    The daily change figures are now at around the same level as they were in late January, before they started to fall, but it looks like my prediction of actual temperature falls by the 9th was premature.
    The period of temperature rise is now about 15 days and it will be interesting to see how long this continues and if temperatures exceed the average for this time of year.
    At the moment I put the UAH anomaly within the range -0.12c to -0.02c.

  • Comment number 97.

    Paul Briscoe #77

    so Paul are you saying that the temperature anomaly is a good and reliable proxy for the total energy in the system? That seems to be your message? If so this is also good news for the planet. If you look at the UAH anomaly - see here -

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/03/uah-global-temperature-update-for-february-2012-0-12-deg-c/

    you will see that we are pretty much back where we were in 1979. 30 years of rising CO2 and total energy in the system little changed.

    That really is good news

    Better get a telegram off to Trenberth to tell him there is no missing energy!

  • Comment number 98.

    greensand @ #95

    "Sorry Paul but how else is anybody supposed to interpret your reference to incoming?"

    You've got completely the wrong end of the stick here!

    It is sceptics such as Roy Spencer who claim that it is the albedo effect of clouds, relecting back incoming radiation, that predominates. It is also Spencer and Lindzen who claim that atmospheric warming leads to a negative cloud feedback based on this effect. So if anything I was proposing a "sceptical" argument in this case! In practice, though, I wasn't attempting to make ANY statement about AGW.

    There's no question that El Nino has a significant warming effect on the atmosphere in the short term. I was simply pointing out that clouds have both warming and cooling effects, so the net effect of an increase in cloud cover might not be one of strong warming. Given that one of the main impacts of El Nino is increased rainfall across much of the tropics, I strongly suspect that much of the warming actually comes from the extra evaporation from the warmer ocean, leading to latent heat being released into the atmosphere when the extra water vapour condenses.

    I have tried to find a few more details on the actual process, but so far I've drawn a blank. Most articles seem to concentrate on the different distribution of rainfall between the two phases of ENSO.

    Paul

  • Comment number 99.

    Spanglerboy @ #97

    Your post is what is known as a "cherry-pick"! You only need to look a bit further back through the UAH record to see a value that's significantly lower still.......... followed not long after by very high values. This is what happens with the temperature record due to natural variability. In fact, you should be aware that the satellite data fluctuates far more due to the effects of ENSO than the surface data.

    You'll also note that my post at #74 emphasised the importance of looking at LONG TERM TRENDS. Your post at #97 has vividly demonstrated why this is so important.

    Paul

  • Comment number 100.

    98.Paul Briscoe wrote:

    "You've got completely the wrong end of the stick here!"

    Paul, I haven't got the end of any stick, I merely asked a simple question stating quite clearly:-

    “Remember I am not trying to prove or disprove AGW or debate any global imbalance, but just trying to understand how the mechanics of this "thing" we call ENSO affects global temps.”

    Your comment about Spencer is again about incoming energy and imbalance:-

    “ It is sceptics such as Roy Spencer who claim that it is the albedo effect of clouds, relecting back incoming radiation, that predominates.”

    That is precisely what I am not talking about, as you have previously accepted.

    Also why does an argument have to be designated “sceptical” or not? Does the designation carry any gravitas?

    My reason for posing the question is quite simple, we appear to be at a change in ENSO, moving from negative to neutral and maybe into positive. We all, “sceptical” or “pro” expect this change to have an almost immediate effect upon global atmospheric/surface temperatures. I am simply trying to understand the mechanics.

    The reason for exploring cloud cover comes from actual observational data at the Australian BOM. As part of their “ENSO Wrap-Up” they track “Cloudiness” at the dateline. They do this by measuring OLR:-

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

    This clearly shows a difference in the levels of OLR during El Nino and La Nina. The BOM presently report that “Cloudiness near the dateline has remained suppressed over the past two weeks.” with OLR levels higher than the 1979-1998 climatology level. During the 2010 El Nino conditions it is clear that OLR was far below the climatology which infers that more energy was retained in the system?

    “I have tried to find a few more details on the actual process, but so far I've drawn a blank.”

    So have I Paul, lots about “weather”, but not going there, I am simply exploring the short term effect on global temperatures. If that requires the designation “sceptic”, then I am very proud to be one!

 

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