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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Comparing USCRN and nClimDiv to USCHN

By Andy May

Steven Mosher complained about my previous post on the difference between the final and raw temperatures in the conterminous 48 states (CONUS) as measured by NOAA’s USCHN. That post can be found here. Mosher’s comment is here. Mosher said the USHCN is no longer the official record of the CONUS temperatures. This is correct as far as NOAA/NCEI is concerned. They switched to a dataset they call nClimDiv in March 2014. Where USHCN had a maximum of 1218 stations, the new nClimDiv network has over 10,000 stations and is gridded to a much finer grid, called nClimGrid. The nClimGrid gridding algorithm is new, it is called “climatological aided interpolation” (Willmott & Robeson, 1995). The new grid has 5 km resolution, much better than the USCHN grid.

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Modern Climate Change Science

By Andy May

The first modern theoretical estimates of ECS, the equilibrium climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide, were reported in 1979 in the so-called “Charney Report” (Charney, et al., 1979). They reported, on page 2, a theoretical ECS of 1.5°C to 4.5°C per doubling of the CO2 atmospheric concentration. This estimate included an estimate of water vapor feedbacks, the effect of ice and their assumed uncertainties. Absent any water vapor feedback their computed value was 1°C per doubling of CO2. They also supply a likely value of 2.4°C on page 9, although on page 2 they offer a value “near 3.0.” The page 9 value is not far off from the empirical estimate of 2°C made by Guy Callendar in 1938, but significantly higher than the 1.2°C to 1.95°C (17% to 83% range, best estimate 1.5°C) given by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry (Lewis & Curry, 2018).

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Greenland Ice Core CO2 Concentrations Deserve Reconsideration

Guest post by Renee Hannon

Introduction
Ice cores datasets are important tools when reconstructing Earth’s paleoclimate. Antarctic ice core data are routinely used as proxies for past CO2 concentrations. This is because twenty years ago scientists theorized Greenland ice core CO2 data was unreliable since CO2 trapped in air bubbles had potentially been altered by in-situ chemical reactions. As a result, Greenland CO2 datasets are not used in scientific studies to understand Northern and Southern hemispheres interactions and sensitivity of greenhouse gases under various climatic conditions.

This theory was put forward because Greenland CO2 data were more variable and different than Antarctic CO2 measurements located in the opposite polar region about 11,000 miles away. This article re-examines Greenland ice cores to see if they do indeed contain useful CO2 data. The theory of in-situ chemical reactions to explain a surplus and deficit of CO2, relative to Antarctic data, will be shown to be tenuous. The Greenland CO2 data demonstrates a response to the Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice Age, Dansgaard-Oeschger and other past climate change events. This response to past climate changes offers an improved explanation for why Greenland and Antarctic CO2 measurements differ. Further, Greenland CO2 measurements show rapid increases of 100 ppm during warm events in relatively short periods of time.

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#greenland-ice-cores

The Paper that Blew it Up

By Andy May

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with Bull…” W. C. Fields

In late February 2015, Willie Soon was accused in a front-page New York Times article by Kert Davies (Gillis & Schwartz, 2015) of failing to disclose conflicts of interest in his academic journal articles. It isn’t mentioned in the Gillis and Schwartz article, but the timing suggests that a Science Bulletin article, “Why Models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model” (Monckton, Soon, Legates, & Briggs, 2015) was Davies’ concern. We will abbreviate this paper as MSLB15. Besides Soon, the other authors of the paper are Christopher Monckton (senior author, Lord Monckton, Viscount of Brenchley), David Legates (Professor of Geography and Climatology, University of Delaware), and William Briggs (Mathematician and statistician, former professor of statistics at Cornell Medical School). In the January 2015 article, the authors “declare that they have no conflict of interest.”

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The Government Corruption of Science

Opinion by Andy May

I wrote my latest book, Politics and Climate Change: A History, because I recognized that government funding of scientific research was corrupting science. We were warned this might happen by President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the public, where he said:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.” (Eisenhower, 1961)

How right he was.

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#government-corruption

Global Cooling will kill us all!

By Andy May

As Angus McFarlane shows in a 2018 well researched wattsupwiththat.com web post (McFarlane, 2018), some 65% of the peer-reviewed climate papers, that offered an opinion, published between 1965 and 1979 predicted that the global cooling seen at the time would continue. He references and is supported by a Notrickszone.com post by Kenneth Richard (Richard, 2016).

Attempts to erase the “global cooling scare” from the internet by the notorious William Connolley, who has rewritten 5,428 Wikipedia articles in a vain attempt to change history, failed. As James Delingpole explains in The Telegraph, Connolley systematically turned Wikipedia into a man-made global warming advocacy machine (Delingpole, 2009). He rewrote articles on global warming, the greenhouse effect, climate models and on global cooling. He tried to erase the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. In the Wikipedia pages he trashed famous climate scientists who were skeptical of man-made global warming like Richard Lindzen, Fred Singer, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas. He also blocked people from correcting his lies.

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Roger Revelle

By Andy May

Roger Revelle was an outstanding and famous oceanographer. He met Al Gore, in the late 1960s, when Gore was a student in one of his classes at Harvard University. Revelle was unsure about the eventual impact of human carbon dioxide emissions on climate, but he did show that all carbon dioxide emitted by man would not be absorbed by the oceans. For an interesting discussion of Revelle’s work in this area see this post on “The Discovery of Global Warming,” by Spencer Weart (Weart, 2007). The original paper, on CO2 absorption by the oceans, published in 1957 by Roger Revelle and Hans Suess, is entitled: “Carbon Dioxide Exchange Between Atmosphere and Ocean and the Question of an Increase of Atmospheric CO2, during the Past Decades” (Revelle & Suess, 1957). This meant that human emissions of carbon dioxide would accumulate in the atmosphere and that the CO2 atmospheric concentration would increase, probably causing Earth’s surface to warm at some unknown rate. This is not an alarming conclusion, as Revelle well knew, but Al Gore turned it into one.

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IPCC Politics and Solar Variability

By Andy May

This post is about an important new paper by Nicola Scafetta, Richard Willson, Jae Lee and Dong Wu (Scafetta, Willson and Lee, et al. 2019) on the ACRIM versus PMOD total solar irradiance (TSI) composite debate that has been raging for over 20 years. ACRIM stands for Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor, these instruments recorded solar irradiance from space for many years. Richard Willson is the principle investigator in the laboratory that studied the results, Nicola Scafetta worked in the laboratory, until he accepted a position as a professor at the University of Naples Federico II.

The paper casts a spotlight on the political problems at the IPCC. In order to properly put the ACRIM vs PMOD debate into context and to show why this obscure and complicated scientific and engineering debate is important, we need to also discuss the messy politics within and between the IPCC and the UNFCCC.

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#acrim, #pmod, #tsi

SAR, the Turning Point

By Andy May
SAR is an abbreviation for the second IPCC assessment report, Climate Change 1995 (IPCC, 1996). As explained in my new book, Politics and Climate Change: A History, this IPCC report was a turning point in the debate over catastrophic human-caused climate change. The first IPCC report, “FAR,” was written under the chairmanship of Bert Bolin. At the time FAR was completed and published, circa 1990, Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” was Prime Minister of the U.K. and a fervent climate change alarmist. Bert Bolin thought she was “seriously misinformed.” The conclusion of FAR was:

“global-mean surface air temperature has increased by 0.3°C to 0.6°C over the last 100 years … The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. … The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.” (IPCC, 1992, p. 6)

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