A New Look at the Urban Heat Island Effect

By Andy May

Nicola Scafetta has just published a new paper in Climate Dynamics examining evidence of the urban heat island (UHI) effect (Scafetta, 2021). The paper is not paywalled and can be downloaded here. In summary, Scafetta shows that part of the recent warming shown in the HadCRUT 4 global temperature record may be due to the UHI effect. He uses an analysis of diurnal maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperatures, climate model output, and a comparison of sea surface temperatures (SST) to land temperatures to estimate the possible influence on the HadCRUT 4 record.

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Recent USHCN Final v Raw Temperature differences

By Andy May

While studying the NOAA USHCN (United States Historical Climate Network) data I noticed the recent differences between the raw and final average annual temperatures were anomalous. The plots in this post are computed from the USHCN monthly averages. The most recent version of the data can be downloaded here. The data shown in this post was downloaded in October 2020 and was complete through September 2020.

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The U.S. National Temperature Index, is it based on data? Or corrections?

By Andy May

The United States has a very dense population of weather stations, data from them is collected and processed by NOAA/NCEI to compute the National Temperature Index. The index is an average temperature for the nation and used to show if the U.S. is warming. The data is stored by NOAA/NCEI in their GHCN or “Global Historical Climatology Network” database. GHCN-Daily contains the quality-controlled raw data, which is subsequently corrected and then used to populate GHCN-Monthly, a database of monthly averages, both raw and final. I downloaded version 4.0.1 of the GHCN-Monthly database on October 10, 2020. At that time, it had 27,519 stations globally and 12,514 (45%) of them were in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Of the 12,514 U.S. stations, 11,969 of them are in “CONUS,” the conterminous lower 48 states. The current station coverage is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. The GHCN weather station coverage in the United States is very good, except for northern Alaska. There are two stations in the western Pacific that are not shown.

We have several questions about the land-based temperature record, which dominates the long-term (~170-year) global surface temperature record. The land-based measurements dominate because sea-surface temperatures are very sparse until around 2004 to 2007, when the ARGO network of floats became complete enough to provide good data. Even in 2007, the sea-surface gridding error was larger than the detected ocean warming.

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Ocean Temperature Update

By Andy May

A considerable amount of new information on ocean temperature has been gathered since I last wrote about the subject in 2016 here. In my last post on GHCN and the National Temperature Index, it appeared that ocean temperature trends and the thermal energy distribution in oceans dominate climate change. Land-based weather stations are invaluable for weather prediction, but they tell us very little about climate change. The common definition of climate is an overall change in temperature or precipitation over a period longer than 30 years. But even 30 years is a short timeframe, 100 years might be better. On this timescale, ocean temperature trends are more significant.

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The Rational Climate e-Book

By Andy May

Patrice Poyet has just published a new 431-page eBook entitled, The Rational Climate e-Book, it is free to download here. Dr. Poyet studied geochemistry, remote sensing, and computer science at Ecole des Mines de Paris / Nice University. He received his doctorate in 1986. As an expert computer modeler, he spends much of the book evaluating climate computer models and uncovers their often-unstated underlying assumptions.

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May/Middleton: Rebuttal to Geological Society of London Scientific Statement on Climate Change

Guest essay by David Middleton and Andy May

A pdf version of this post can be downloaded here.

The Geological Society of London recently published a statement on climate change:

Geological Society of London Scientific Statement: what the geological record tells us about our present and future climate

Geologists Andy May and David Middleton have spent the past few days reviewing the Geological Society of London Scientific Statement and have assembled a rebuttal to some of the more questionable items in the paper.

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Poverty and Energy

By Andy May

Poverty and access to energy are closely related. Although it probably isn’t possible to show that access to energy is the key reason so many have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, the data and logic suggests that this so. In the United States, the average person uses about 300 million BTUs of energy per year according to the EIA. This is equivalent to the manual labor of 69 healthy people working hard for 6 hours per day. Worldwide, the average person uses 73 million BTUs, the equivalent of 16 hardworking people.

Prior to the industrial age, which began with the first practical coal- and wood-fired steam engines between 1712 and 1776, slavery, bonded servants and serfs were common, this group made up over 90% of the world’s population in 1800. For a few people to live well they needed lots of servants and domestic animals to do the manual labor for them. Now, in the age of electricity, petroleum and nuclear powerplants, most manual labor can be done by machines. No longer do a few wealthy people live from the labor of others, everyone who has access to energy can live well. Before the industrial age, nearly everyone was extremely poor as seen in Figure 1, today fewer than 10% are extremely poor. Continue reading

A Holocene Temperature Reconstruction Part 4: The global reconstruction

By Andy May

In previous posts (here, here and here), we have shown reconstructions for the Antarctic, Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, the tropics, the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, and the Arctic. Here we combine them into a simple global temperature reconstruction. Continue reading

Changing Climate Debate History

By Andy May

While researching my next book, I found a bit of interesting deception on the Intelligence Squared web site. This is the organization that hosted the famous March 14, 2007 global warming debate on the motion “Global Warming is not a Crisis.” Debating in favor of the motion were the late Michael Crichton, Professor Richard Lindzen (MIT, now emeritus), and Professor Philip Stott (University of London, emeritus). Against the motion were Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA, and Professor Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The debate was held at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City. Their auditorium holds 258 people and, I presume, every seat was filled. The audience was polled on the assertion before the debate and after. According to the verbatim transcript of the debate (one of the tabs on the Intelligence Squared link above), moderator Brian Lehrer, announced the results at 1 hour 37 minutes:

“And now the results of our debate. After our debaters did their best to sway you…you went from, 30% for the motion that global warming is not a crisis, from 30% to 46%. [APPLAUSE]

01:38:58

Against the motion, went from 57% to 42%… [SCATTERED APPLAUSE, MOANS] And “undecided” went from 13% to 12%. The hardcore ambivalent are still among us. [LAUGHTER] So, in terms of opinion change, those in favor of the motion, have carried the day, congratulations to the team for the motion.”

You can hear the debate and the results on an NPR recording as well.

Gavin Schmidt was intensely embarrassed at their clear defeat in the debate. As Anthony Watts wrote in 2018, eleven years after the debate, Schmidt was so demoralized and defeated he still would not appear on stage with skeptical scientists, like Dr. Roy Spencer. Schmidt reportedly said debates are not worthwhile, regardless of the outcome. This is quite shocking to hear, debate is at the heart of scientific research. If you will not debate your points, you are not doing scientific work.

As you can probably imagine, I was nearly knocked to the floor when I clicked on the Intelligence Squared tab for the debate results on 28 December 2020. This was after I had listened to the debate and read the transcript. Under the tab on December 28 and still there January 6th, I read the winner, post-debate, was Against the motion, by 89%! Someone with access to the Intelligence Squared web site had radically changed the results from a win for the climate skeptics to a win for the alarmists. You may still be able to see this when you go to the web site. I wrote to them about this error December 28, and have received no answer.

There is certainly no excuse for lying about the results of this famous debate, but someone did.

Why do the HadSST Sea-Surface Temperatures Trend Down?

By Andy May

The simple answer is that the portion of the ocean, roughly 54%, that has HadSST values is getting cooler. But Nick Stokes doesn’t believe that. His idea is that the coverage of the polar regions is increasing fast enough that, year-by-year, the additional cooler cells are causing the “true” upward trend in ocean temperature to decrease. I decided to examine the data further to see if that makes any sense.

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