Weather

The cold easterly which a large majority of computer models were predicting to develop this week has failed to materialise, with a much more unsettled weather pattern expected to return from the Atlantic during tomorrow.

Last week, 80% of the ECMWF model solutions wanted an easterly 'blocking' weather pattern, with the average of those solutions shown below.



Compare that with the atmosphere this morning (according to the GFS model), below.



Crucially the centre of gravity of the large area of high pressure, which should have been closer to Scandinavia, is further northeast than predicted.

This positional error means that Atlantic weather systems will now be able to make further progress eastwards across the UK.

It illustrates very well just how difficult it is sometimes to forecast general weather conditions a week ahead, even when there's high model confidence.

So after a temporary cold and dry spell, it now seems likely that the rest of December will be very unsettled, with showers or longer spells of rain, some of which will be heavy, with only very brief incursions of colder air.

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  • Comment number 67. Posted by lateintheday

    on 17 Dec 2012 18:34

    What I see newdwr54 is that there were 10 solar peaks in the 20thC and six of the last seven were higher than the first three. According to you (and climate science consensus) those first three were strong enough to cause warming and yet for some inexplicable reason, the later six cycles (which were clearly higher peaks) cannot cause warming. That's ridiculous.

    As for the one lower cycle of those latter seven - that would be around the time when temps flattened would it not? Around the time we were told the next ice age was on the way. And this current flat 15 year trend seems to have coincided with half a low solar cycle also.

    Your point that cycles since the 80's have been trending down is simply irrelevant. Those cycles show higher peaks than those which have already been acknowledged to cause warming.

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  • Comment number 66. Posted by newdwr54

    on 17 Dec 2012 17:27

    63. lateintheday wrote:

    "Thanks for confirming that temps have remained fairly flat and have not been 'ramping up' over the last 15 years as McGuire erroneously implied."

    To quote McGuire exactly (with my emphasis) from your own post #61 "... while temperatures have been ramping up in *recent decades*, solar activity has been pretty subdued". "Recent decades" is probably a reference to the WMO's recommended classic period of 30 years; it certainly does not imply a period as relatively short as 15 years. Therefore McGuire is absolutely right to say that in "recent decades" (not 15 years) while sunspot numbers have fallen, global temperatures have risen. This is evidence against the GCR theory of climate change.

    Re the solar activity from the start of the 20th century: as you point out, the IPCC has previously accepted (AR4) that most of the warming seen in the first half of the 20th century was probably due to natural variation, including exceptionally high solar activity. There's no real argument there.

    What they don't accept is that solar activity (whether by direct insolation or via GCR influence) explains the temperatures observed in "recent decades". When you look at the evidence over that period, it's not hard to see why.

    From your Wiki graph, the black line gives the 11 year solar magnetic cycle. You can see that since the 1950s it has been mostly downward (fewer sunspots), and it has been continuously downward since the early 1980s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sunspot_Numbers.png

    The early 20th century warming associated with previous sunspot increases was very responsive, i.e. as sunspot numbers increased temperatures rose with a very short lag. So you would expect the same to occur in reverse. After a few years (allowing for ocean lag, etc) you would expect to see temperatures cool once sunspot numbers reduce *if* sunspots are really driving the climate.

    We don't see that. Instead, when measured across reasonable time-scales, we see continued temperature rise: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1982.83/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1982.83/trend/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1982.83/normalise/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1982.83/trend/normalise

    We keep hearing these dire warnings of imminent global temperature collapse. We've heard them from Don Easterbrook since the late 1990s; from Piers Corbyn and David Archibald in 2008; from Joe Bastardi and co every year almost without fail.... yet the long term warming trend continues (currently ~0.16C/decade).

    When do *you* anticipate that the latent effect of reduced sunspot numbers will be reflected in global surface temperatures?

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  • Comment number 65. Posted by lateintheday

    on 17 Dec 2012 17:10

    And just to really push home the message . . . we haven't yet had a full solar cycle from min-max-min since the sun went quiet. Remember, up until around 2005 things were perfectly 'normal' and Hathaway was still predicting another grand ssn. Moreover, while this cycle looks like being very low, we're still on the up towards (or at) solar max - we haven't even seen the downslope yet.
    Let's see where we are by 2018 once we've had one low cycle. That's assuming this cycle stays low and doesn't drag on too long.

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  • Comment number 64. Posted by lateintheday

    on 17 Dec 2012 16:57

    And just to be clear . . . I understood that much of the early 20thC warming was attributed to an increase in solar activity rather than CO2. The last solar peak at the end of the 20thC, though lower than the 1950s peak, was actually higher than the first three (possibly four) of the early 20thC peaks.

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  • Comment number 63. Posted by lateintheday

    on 17 Dec 2012 16:38

    newdwr54 - I didn't mention Svensmark did I?
    Thanks for confirming that temps have remained fairly flat and have not been 'ramping up' over the last 15 years as McGuire erroneously implied.

    As for sunspot numbers over this period, you seem to have missed the point. Let me help you with our now 'standard' footballing analogy.

    At the start of the season (1900) team solar generally starts winning matches by the odd goal. A quarter way into the season, they are winning matches by 2 or 3 goals and by mid season they are winning matches by 5 goals. For most of the last half of the season they regularly win matches by 3 or 4 goals and have reached the top of the league - hurrah!
    Problem is, the manager gets sacked because apparently, their performance has dropped. The manager pleads that although winning by 3 or 4 goals is not as good as winning by 5, it's still a great improvement on the start of the season results.
    Needless to say, their final few games (2005 - 2010) are still won, but only by the odd goal. Unsurprisingly, they're still at the top of the league.

    The thing is - it doesn't matter a jot to my comment @61 whether Solar is in some way 'amplified' or AGW is real. The point was - McGuire was being very economical with the truth. Why you can't just say "yes" to that is beyond me. It is blindingly obvious that his comments were intentionally misleading. And "yes", I know skeptics are guilty of this too.

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  • Comment number 62. Posted by newdwr54

    on 17 Dec 2012 16:09

    61. lateintheday wrote:

    "McGuire also states that temps have been ramping up in recent decades - again a very dubious claim. Where is the 'ramping up' over the last fifteen years? You know, the same period when Solar Activity actually did fall below the 20thC average."
    _____________________________

    Fifteen years is just over one decade; not a "few decades". It's far too short a period over which to infer trends from surface and lower troposphere temperature data. Even so, here is HadCRUT4 data versus sunspot numbers over the past 15 years:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997.83/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1997.83/trend/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1997.83/normalise/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1997.83/trend/normalise

    You can see that temperatures have remained steady (in fact the HC4 trend is slightly positive), whilst sunspot numbers are in decline. If Svensmark's GCR theory is correct, then global temperatures should have fallen. Over thirty years the difference becomes even more pronounced:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1982.83/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1982.83/trend/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1982.83/normalise/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1982.83/trend/normalise

    The evidence from sunspot numbers and temperatures contradicts Svensmark's theory (that reduced sunspots leads to increased cloud cover and thus lower temperatures due to increased GCRs). The opposite is observed to be true.

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  • Comment number 61. Posted by lateintheday

    on 17 Dec 2012 15:22

    Quake, from your link . . .
    "Professor Bill McGuire of University College London said that the IPCC report reiterates the widely accepted view among scientists that climate change is not a natural process but the consequence of human activities. Alec Rawls’ interpretation of what IPCC5 says is quite simply wrong. In fact, while temperatures have been ramping up in recent decades, solar activity has been pretty subdued,” Professor McGuire said.

    This is spin. Disingenuous bordering on fabrication. McGuire says solar activity has been subdued over recent decades - that's just sophistry. Whether solar activity has anything to do with the warming over the 20thC is irrelevant, just look at the charts. Not asking anyone to change their mind about AGW, simply look at the evidence that the statement was spin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sunspot_Numbers.png
    At the peak of the last cycle, (though lower than the 1950s peak) activity was still considerably higher than the late 19thC/early20thC.

    McGuire also states that temps have been ramping up in recent decades - again a very dubious claim. Where is the 'ramping up' over the last fifteen years? You know, the same period when Solar Activity actually did fall below the 20thC average.

    mmmm?

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  • Comment number 60. Posted by ukpahonta

    on 16 Dec 2012 18:06

    The bombshell, the sequel:
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/12/alec-rawls-responds-to-steven-sherwood-the-bad-professor-is-inverting-the-scientific-method/

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  • Comment number 59. Posted by QuaesoVeritas

    on 16 Dec 2012 10:42

    #39.- buythermals wrote:
    "This is interesting:"

    Thanks for posting that.
    Of course, what Ban Ki-moon says is total nonsense, but he has been indoctrinated, like a lot of other politicians, to believe what he says is true.
    Ban Ki-moon is a career diplomat with absolutely no qualifications in the field he is expressing opinions about. On the other hand, we have 125 qualified scientists who contradict him, but I doubt if it will make any difference to what he says.

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  • Comment number 58. Posted by john_cogger

    on 16 Dec 2012 03:01

    @57 Quake

    As I said earlier, they have moved on already. The next bombshell awaits. :-)

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