Tuesday, 20 November 2007

World extreme weather records don't support climate hysteria

In 2005, at the Montreal United Nations Climate Change Conference the director of the Greenpeace movement for Quebec said, "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter, that's what we're dealing with." The fact that not one of the 10,000 delegates at the conference called him on it is a damning indictment of the true political nature of the Climate Faithful's agenda.

Al Gore has been spouting off about a "planetary emergency" for so long now that Webster's has had to change its dictionary to provide a new definition for the word 'emergency'.

The IPCC has recently released a more dramatic appraisal of the danger the world is in but still doesn't go far enough for the politically charged activists driving the world's climate agenda.

Polar bear are disappearing. The polar ice caps are melting. Greenland is melting. Tuvalu, and other low lying islands, are being inundated. The snow atop Mt Kilimanjaro is melting. Lakes are disappearing. Glaciers are retreating.

The world is ending.

And it's all happening right now, before our very eyes, while we blissfully go about our business going to work, flying overseas, playing Xbox, watching TV, warming ourselves, cooling ourselves, washing ourselves, feeding ourselves, watering the garden and generally kicking back and relaxing with a beer.

Or is it?

In order to support the position that we really are in a "planetary emergency" - and I'll use the Al Gore term here, you can substitute your own expression - then we should see evidence in the temperature record? Right? Right.

The following table is from the NOAA's National Climatic Data Center and lists the hottest temperatures ever recorded for each continent and the date upon which the record was set.

Have a look at the dates that the records were set. All bar one were set prior to 1950 and the last was set at Antarctica in 1974. Surely, it's reasonable to expect that a temperature record would be set somewhere in the world in the last 30 years given that's the period of supposed rapid increase in CO2 output and average global temperatures, as 'demonstrated' by the infamous Hockey Stick?

I've marked the period in which most of the high temperature records have been set in the following Hockey Stick graph:

Now check out a table of the coldest temperatures ever recorded. The lowest in Europe is measured in Russia but the date was unknown so the next lowest, from Sweden, is also listed.

Compare the dates that low temperature records were set for each continent with the high temperature table.

Notice anything?

With the exception of Asia, and possibly Europe, all the records for low temperatures were set after the high record.

So I say phooey to the Climate Faithful.

If we're really in a "planetary emergency" then we should at least have seen the odd record temperature set over the last 30 years.

We haven't.

(Nothing Follows)


Anonymous said...

Anyone with even the remotest idea of what statistics are about would know that you can't derive a trend from the outliers. It's a bit like saying that, because Bob Beamon's long jump record stood for 23 years, long jumpers were getting worse during that time. You want real records? Let's see now. Hottest year on record:2005. Second hottest: 1998. Third: 2002. Fourth: 2003. Fifth: 2006. Are you noticing something about these dates?

Jonathan Lowe said...

have to agree with anonymous here, you can't drive a trend through outliers which makes your analysis interesting, but kinda useless sorry.

Jack Lacton said...

Having very much more than the "remotest idea" about statistics, I wholeheartedly agree that outliers can't be used for trends. The information that anonymous has posted are not 'real' records, as is now being shown by Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts etc, is extremely dodgy.

My point is to put things in some sort of perspective, which is sadly missing among the politically active liars known as environmentalists.

Back to the stats, though, when the increase is meant to be as great as shown by the Hockey Stick then the expectation of record high temperatures occurring in the last 30 years is probably > 90%. If I can get some time I'll do some work on that - though I might outsource it to one of my climate scientist mates.

Anonymous said...

Recently revised records for the United States (the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases) tell a different story. According to NASA's newly published data:

The hottest year on record is 1934, not 1998;
The third hottest year on record was 1921, not 2006;
Three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940; and
Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred before 90 percent of the growth in greenhouse gas emissions during the last century occurred.
NASA's ground based temperature records for the past 120 years, which have been the basis for most of the claims that global warming is happening at an unprecedented rate, almost entirely due to human actions, have now been corrected to show that much of the warming occurred before CO2 emissions and concentrations began to rise significantly.

Anonymous said...

Stefan - the USA covers about 2% of the world. It seems to be a common mistake among global warming unbelievers to think that temperatures measured in the US alone can somehow be extrapolated to the whole world. They can't. The hottest years on record for the whole world are, in descending order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006.

Jack - I don't think you do have much of an idea of statistics. The range of temperatures the world experiences over its whole surface each year is over 100C. The variation in global average temperatures over the last half a billion years is only about 12C (chart). So the variations about the mean are way larger than the change in the mean. The expectation of record high temperatures at individual locations is not elevated much by global warming.

Jack Lacton said...


The US temperature record is being promoted as only covering 2% of the world by the Climate Faithful because the US record, which makes up the majority of global surface station data, is so much more accurate than the rest of the world, the data from which is horribly affected by UHI.

I have a degree that includes stats and use stats nearly every single day so I'm pretty sure that I have at least some idea. If the clustering of outliers was random then your criticism would be valid. The fact that they're not supports my position.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand that global warming refers to the whole world. The US is not the world, no matter how accurate the temperature measurements there. You cannot extrapolate from 2% of the world's surface to the whole thing.

And if you don't trust temperatures measured outside the US, presumably you can't trust the very temperature records you're quoting. Given the enormous range in global temperatures about the mean, the record highs and record lows tell us nothing about the change in the average.

The urban heat island effect has been found to have an insignificant effect on measurements of global average temperatures.

Jack Lacton said...


You're spouting the realclimate religion.

1. the quality of the non-US temperature record is in the process of being demolished at present
2. the work that Wang et al did 'proving' that the UHI has minimal impact is also being demolished

Not that truth will make its way into the message of the Climate Faithful.

Anonymous said...

Being demolished by whom? Random bloggers, or actual scientists? Will the results be published in journals, peer reviewed, or just on websites?

Jack Lacton said...


It doesn't matte who it's being demolished by - blogger, baker, programmer or weatherman.

Einstein was a patents clerk when he created his most famous equation.

These people are trained to understand statistics, geology etc in a way that climate scientists seem to lack.

Anonymous said...


Obviously Anon is one of those climate tragics like Carbonsink or Ender, who spend their pitiful lives trolling sensible websites spouting their misconstrued nonsense.

In fact, Anon is a total fuckwit saying the land area of the USA is 2%, when in fact it is about 6 1/2 percent!

These people are utter losers.

Anonymous said...

Wow, so now your average confused blogger might be a genius on a par with Einstein? What matters here is that these 'demolitions' appear not to exist because you haven't given a link to them. You haven't said who, you haven't said where. And if they are not in peer-reviewed scientific journals then they are not science.

kaboom - only a fuckwit of the highest order would confuse the world's total surface area with its total land area. Try doing some thinking before you post.

Anonymous said...

O.K. Ender, Anon or whomever, if you want to include oceans, fine.

Let's just scale back the numbers by 75%. Coincidentally, this will be a worthwile intellectual exercise for you, as 75% is roughly the proportionate amount of that major greenhouse gas that none of you envirotards ever seem to mention - water vapour.

Let's see... what did you say?

Thats right:
"The hottest years on record for the whole world are, in descending order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006."

Come on, you can show us a link to your dataset for the whole world, can't you?

Your oft repeated numbers are surely based upon a world wide dataset?

I can't even begin to imagine the oceanic input data that this will show.

Anonymous said...

Your comments betray your ignorance and stupidity. First, let's take your 75% - we can do some really simple sums. The greenhouse effect, in total, is about 33C, right? So let's attribute 75% of that to water vapour. That means 25C is due to water vapour. So we have 8C left. So that's due to the other greenhouse gases. The most important of these is CO2. Let's say half the remaining effect is C02. That means warms the earth by 4C. Now, if you were to increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere by 50%, what do you think might happen?

Now, as for the global temperature record, and temperatures measured in oceans. You've heard of islands, right? You find them scattered throughout the oceans. You've heard of ships, maybe? They cross all the oceans. You know about satellites? They can see the oceans as well.

Anonymous said...

No dataset of "for the whole world" regarding the hottest years on record, hey?

O.K., let's look at your latest attempt to obfuscate your innate inability to back up what you say.

My 75% for water vapour was incorrect - it's actually 95%.

Your figure of ~33C for the "greenhouse effect" is roughly correct, but if 95% of this is attributable to water vapour (31.35C), that means the remaining 5% is responsible for ~1.65C warming.

I would disagree with your assertion that "half the remaining effect is CO2" - by concentration, CO2 is about 99% of the balance, but when equalised by Global Warming Potential multipliers of trace amounts of NOx and CH4 and others, the global warming effect of the CO2 is about 75%.

So, 75% of the ~1.65C greenhouse effect (~1.24C) is due to atmospheric CO2.

The question that you have to ask yourself, Ender, is what proportion of the atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenically produced, as opposed to naturally produced?

Care to hazard a guess? Post your answer, along with the world wide dataset upon which you based your statement:

"The hottest years on record for the whole world are, in descending order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006."

And yes, I'm sure that carefully calibrated and maintained temperature instruments on islands, ships etc. will assist in creating a statistically valid dataset. However, I'm not too sure about satellites deriving accurate surface temperature data from 300 odd km in space.

C'mon Ender, show me the facts! You can do it!

Anonymous said...

No, water vapour is not 95% of the greenhouse effect. Check your facts. Maybe cite a reference, if you have one. And who the fuck is 'ender'?

what proportion of the atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenically produced, as opposed to naturally produced? - 100ppm, more or less - the whole of the rise from pre-industrial levels is due to human activities. You can tell this very easily from isotopic ratios.

Anonymous said...

Anon: The "Ender" issue? I collect scalps. Ender is one of my scalps, and bugger me if you don't sound exactly like Ender and act exactly like Ender with your obfuscation and refusal to cite your sources.

You are the one who made the outlandish (and patently wrong) claim that:

"The hottest years on record for the whole world are, in descending order, 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003, 2006."

Your words, not mine. I have asked you repeatedly to provide a link to the dataset used by you in arriving at your erroneous conclusion.

You have repeatedly failed to provide the data, and instead attack me personally - a typical "Ender" approach, and one embraced by a number of global warming believers.

Consider yourself one of my scalps.

Seeing that you are not "Ender", please provide me with a screen-name (if you dare) for my trophy wall.

By the way, you make the same basic mistake as all the other scientifically illiterate global warming believers, that doubling atmospheric CO2 will double the greenhouse effect.

The effect of atmospheric CO2 is logarithmic, not linear.

Look it up, sometime.

Consider yourself scalped.

Oh, by the way:

The Energy Information Administration (US) says at http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/alternate/page/environment/appd_d.html

"Given the present composition of the atmosphere, the contribution to the total heating rate in the troposphere is around 5 percent from carbon dioxide and around 95 percent from water vapor."

Anonymous said...

Anon, just a final word.

You say that:

"the whole of the rise from pre-industrial levels is due to human activities. You can tell this very easily from isotopic ratios."

Really? I'm almost afraid to ask you to cite your source for this extraordinarily stupid statement.

According to you, exactly 100% of the increase in CO2 from 280 ppm to 380 ppm "is due to human activities", the corollary being that 26.3% of CO2 in the atmosphere is anthropogenically produced.

Never mind,I'll do your work for you.

Just look at a simpleton greenie site where you can see that even they admit anthropogenic CO2 production is 5% of all atmospheric carbon dioxide.

FIVE percent, not 26.3% as you postulate.

So, Anon, 95% of the greenhouse effect is from water vapour (proven), and assuming the remaining 5% of the greenhouse effect is from carbon dioxide (which it isn't, but that's far too complex for you), and if only FIVE percent of atmospheric CO2 is "due to human activities" (proven), then human activities account for 5% of 5% of the greenhouse effect, or 0.25%.

A quarter of a fucking percent of the greenhouse effect!

Hardly worth worrying your stupid head over,is it?

Consider yourself scalped AND pwned.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Jack,

I hope that wasn't one of your favourite pet trolls that I stepped on.....

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, kaboom - you really are very stupid. Not content with confusing the land area of the world with its total surface area, now you're confusing annual emissions of CO2 with the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The 5% you quote is the proportion of annual emissions that come from human activities, not the proportion of atmospheric CO2 that is anthropogenic.

So, given these massive errors, do you think your scientific literacy on the complex business of climate change is adequate? I certainly don't. But try reading these:

On the attribution of the rise in atmospheric CO2: Science article, Nature article.

On the proportion of the greenhouse effect that is due to water vapour: New Scientist article, Realclimate article

On the five hottest years on record: NASA.

Now, if you're going to post again, try to think before you do and avoid the embarrassingly basic errors that make you and your ilk look foolish time after time. But I'd love to hear where you think the extra CO2 has come from, and how you can increase the concentration of a greenhouse gas by so much without affecting climate.

Jack Lacton said...

Ok, Anon, happy to answer your questions but you need to answer one for me first.

A few million years ago the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was 10,000ppm. Where did it come from?

Anonymous said...

Sure thing, Jack. Billions of years ago when the earth first formed, the atmosphere was mainly hydrogen and helium, from the Solar Nebula out of which the whole solar system formed. Pretty soon, though, that was lost due to the comparatively small mass of the Earth and the lightness of these gases. But by then, earth had a crust and a huge amount of internal heat. This meant a huge amount of volcanic activity, which released a huge amount of CO2. At this point, the atmosphere was largely CO2, and far more dense than it is today. As the planet cooled, a lot of the CO2 was absorbed by the nascent oceans. About three billion years ago, bacteria appeared which started to produce oxygen - the first time that was a long-term component of the atmosphere. As the amount of oxygen slowly increased, eventually the protective ozone layer formed. This allowed life to explode, and the vast increase in plant life sucked a whole lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere. This happened in the Devonian period, about 400 million years ago. After that, CO2 levels dropped from the high levels you mention, to the sort of levels seen over the past few hundred thousand years. After almost a million years in which CO2 never rose about 300 ppm, it's now at 380ppm, and that has been conclusively shown to be down to humankind.

Any more questions?

Jack Lacton said...

You first state that huge quantities of CO2 have been stored in the oceans etc, then follow up with a statement that a tiny increase in historical terms has to be caused by mankind and not being released by the warming related to the end of the LIA.

If you believe that CO2 has been conclusively shown to be anthropogenic in origin then there's no argument that can be made by anyone. You have bought into unscientific claptrap of the type propagated by Lysenko, Hwang etc in other fields.

Anonymous said...

Three simple questions for you: if the rise in CO2 since 1850 is due to warming, rather than fossil fuel burning, then

a) How come the oceans are absorbing CO2 and not releasing it? (read the science paper I linked to earlier)

b) How come previous rises in temperature over the last 100,000 years (like your fabled Medieval Warm Period) didn't see CO2 rise even to 300ppm?

c) Why has the ratio of C12/C13 in the atmosphere changed over the last 150 years, becoming more similar to the value seen in fossil fuel deposits? (read the nature paper)

Anonymous said...

Two days and no answers yet? I wonder why. I think perhaps both Jack and 'kaboom' are considering themselves 'scalped AND pwned' on this issue.

Jack Lacton said...


You call the MWP 'fabled'.

You know nothing of the science.

Climateaudit is absolutely massacring the Hockey Stick, surface station record (via Anthony Watts) and other articles of faith of the Climate Left.

And guess what?

They use real science that involves actually going into the field and having a look at what's going on.

Ice core records show MWP at current + 0.2C and the work they're doing on tree rings gives the same result.

1850 is the low point of the LIA and when the world started warming prior to CO2 being stuck into the atmosphere. For some reason, Climate Liars like yourself pick this as a reference point and then fail to give the reason as to why the warming started. Once you can get it into your thick heads that something other than CO2 has drove the warmth that ended the LIA and that whatever it is should make up some part of the models then you might make progress.

At the moment, it's just embarrassing to real scientists.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Anon, you are just totally pwned.

Please give me your screen-name for scalping purposes.

Jack Lacton said...

Kaboom - I'm actually doing a post with that document at the moment...

Anonymous said...

You really don't think there's any connection between the rise in world temperatures starting in 1850, and the industrial revolution, starting at about the same time? Instead, you appeal to some unknown factor which has somehow not been noticed by anyone, and about which you offer no details whatsoever. That's not science, that's pure religion - or pure stupidity.

Does this mystical substance offer any way to you of answering my three questions, which you've ignored?