Warming at the Top of the World

March 2, 2015

The view from the Eastern US notwithstanding, this winter continues to provide evidence, not only of a warming planet, but that warming is proceeding in exactly the ways scientists predicted decades ago, based on an in-depth understanding of atmospheric physics.
Above, see a clip from a BBC production, “The Greenhouse Effect”, from 1988, where Syukuro Manabe predicts enhanced warming in the northern polar regions.

In a world warming from anthropogenic releases of carbon dioxide, we expect, for instance, that the troposphere, the atmosphere’s lower layer, will warm, even while the upper layer, the stratosphere, cools. And indeed, we observe that.

In addition, the dynamics of global change should produce a greater warming in polar areas, in particular the northern polar areas. This is due to several processes, including the loss of sea ice and its reflective, cooling influence, and increased areas of dark sea water and soil.  This winter has seen the continued shrinkage of the pool of cool arctic air that typically covers the most northern areas.

Jason Samenow in the Washington Post:

Using an analysis of atmospheric temperature data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Martin has been tracking the size of the Northern Hemisphere cold pool during winter (December-February) over time. Specifically, he has examined the total area of the hemisphere covered by temperatures 23 degrees (-5 degrees Celsius) or lower at an altitude of about 5,000 feet, for the period 1948-1949 to present.

In a study accepted for publication in the Journal of Climate, Martin found that four of the five smallest Northern Hemisphere cold pools on record — averaged over the winter — have occurred since 2004.

“Only 12 of the 43 winter seasons before 1990-1991 had below average seasonally averaged areas whereas 20 of 24 winter seasons have had below average seasonally averaged areas since,” the study says.

The study only incorporates results through last winter but reported last year’s “desperately cold” conditions in the eastern U.S. coincided with the most diminutive Northern Hemisphere cold pool on record up to that point in time.

Taking into account Martin’s analysis of the current winter, the size of the Northern Hemisphere cold pool has reached records low levels in back-to-back years.

The article points out that while the eastern US has shivered this winter, large parts of Alaska and northern Europe have been warmer than normal, and that the decline in the Arctic cold pool mirrors the decline in arctic sea ice.




The Post story finishes this way:

While some warming naysayers have attempted to discredit surface temperatures datasets because of adjustments made for quality control (the methods for which have been published in the peer reviewed journals and gained widespread acceptance), Martin says his results from upper air data are difficult to refute.

“Skeptics have jumped all over the surface data, but you can’t really do that with temperatures about a mile above sea level [analyzed from atmospheric data],” Martin says. “They make a pristine signal.”

UPDATE: Andrew Freedman makes the point in Mashable:

Starting sometime in December, the Alaskan winter packed up and left the state, like an indignant teenager running away from home. No one knew where it was headed until late January, when the Frontier State’s typical winter climate suddenly turned up moved more than 3,000 miles southeast, in southern New England.

Now, Alaska is eyeing the epic winter in places like Boston and Portland, Maine, with envy. Much as the cold weather in the lower 48 states has smashed records, the relative warmth in Alaska has broken numerous records and led to some unusual weather phenomena.

For example, on Feb. 22 and 23, Fairbanks picked up the most freezing rain it had seen in the month of February since the 1920s. Because the ground in that inland city is comprised of a layer of permafrost, which means the soil is permanently frozen, freezing rain can be especially hazardous there. The ice led to the closure of Fairbanks International Airport, for example.

The freezing rain event means that four out of the five past winters have had significant freezing rain events in Fairbanks, which typically receives mostly snow in the winter. According to Richard Thoman, a climate specialist with the National Weather Service in Alaska, this frequency of ice storm events is “Unprecedented in a century of climate records for Fairbanks.”

And on Feb. 24, National Weather Service employees in Nome, Alaska, which is about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle, witnessed an extremely rare, if not unprecedented, event for that location: thundersnow. The NWS observers saw several lightning flashes accompanied by thunder and heavy snow.

Thoman told Mashable in an interview that thundersnow, which is typically seen in more temperate locations in the continental U.S. since its formation requires relatively warm, unstable air aloft, had never been seen before in Nome.

15 Responses to “Warming at the Top of the World”

  1. anotheralionel Says:

    Hah! If you chose to watch that, very apposite, Manabe clip by exiting to YouTube it will be followed by an interview with one of the biggest fossil fuel interest paid propagandists of our times – Marc Morano on something called ‘The Mind Renewed’ which appears to be the project of Independent Christian thinker, preacher and presenter Julian Charles.

    Charles, who appears from articles at his place to like Tim Ball, Dr. Nils-Axel ‘The Great Sea Level Humbug’ Mörner and Don Easterbrook as well as Marc Moreno introduced that latter in the following way (do not be eating or drinking at the keyboard):

    ‘…its great to be talking to Marc Moreno of ClimateDepot.com which is a US based news and information web site serving as perhaps the clearing house on all matters to do with the climate, the environment and energy…’

    WRT what Manabe explained it could be pointed out that the heat transferred from the oceans will cool that body resulting in some oceanic areas showing a cooling as is reported recently such as at this (inefficiently designed) page: Cooler Pacific Ocean Behind Global Warming “Pause”.

    Why do ‘they’ insist on using the word pause when there has not been any such, it is a redistribution of heat and not a halt in the radiative imbalance.

  2. Gingerbaker Says:


    ” This winter has seen the continued shrinkage of the pool of warm arctic air that typically covers the most northern areas.”

  3. Meanwhile, in today’s other March 2 news….

    “Naomi Oreskes Warps Climate Skeptic History”

    No doubt you guys will go ballistic over the source. Of course the words could be printed at ThinkProgress, but then you’d just trash the writer. The 800lb gorilla-in-the-room will still present no matter what: not a single one of you will be able to view the old ‘leaked coal industry memos’ Oreskes says were archived in the American Meteorological Society’s D.C. collection…. because they were never there for ‘scholars’ to view in the first place.

    Think about it: the memos that were THE source for the collective accusation about skeptic climate scientists being paid industry money to lie were ones that the general public on your side of the issue were and still are not available for you to view. Funny how you guys demand to know who funds skeptics, but you seem to show no intellectual curiosity about why folks on your own side won’t show you the evidence proving that accusation.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      H-e-e-e-e-e-e-r-e-‘s Russell! Earning his whore’s dollar as he joins other rear guard whores like Ron Arnold as they fight their losing battle. Yes, the release of the Merchants of Doubt movie has them running scared. Perhaps it will get more people to read the book and see for themselves the many thousands of pieces of damning evidence against the denier cabal.

      I say to all—-DO read the Ron Arnold Heartland article Russell links. It’s full of laughs, including Ron giving a tip of the hat to Russell for writing “excellent horseshit”.

      Ron expands on Russell’s “they were never there for ‘scholars’ to view in the first place” by making it clear that they were most certainly there but probably removed and shredded many years ago because they were an embarrassing smoking gun.

      Keep it coming, Russell—-you are a gas, and I for one will sign your Heartland time card so that you can get paid. And it’s nice to see you have another tune to play for us besides “Ross Gelbspan, Al Gore, and the Discrepancies”, although you’ve already worn out “I don’t like Naomi’s Truth” because you sing off-key and can’t hold a tune.

      (Ballistic amusement & laughter)

      • “… running scared … ” Psychological projection, we much?

        Notice when you read the actual Arnold article, he does not use the *expletive deleted* that commenter “dumboldguy” does. I wonder if we could dispense with the foul language in this blog? I have no need to use it.

        “… but probably removed and shredded many years ago because they were an embarrassing smoking gun….” Not paying attention to who the AMS has been this whole time. They’re on YOUR side. Smoking gun? For whom? Push conspiracy theory, we much? Oh, wait, it seems that is all you have done with your enslavement to the “skeptics R paid shills” mantra.

        “… another tune to play for us besides ‘Ross Gelbspan, Al Gore, and the Discrepancies’ …” Not paying attention, are we? Oreskes only throws more logs onto the discrepancy fire.

        Sign my “time card” if it makes you feel better, but you will have to fabricate one first

        Glad you do read all of my links. But the rest of your pals will continue to notice how you have a compulsion to sidestep all that I say and otherwise have yet to refute specific detail points. Give it a shot. Call the AMS archivist, ask her why she lied about those leaked docs in the archives when Oreskes said they were there, and then ask her exactly when the docs were shredded, removed, etc. Come on, you can do it.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      PS I forgot to mention that it’s almost a year to the day that Arnold last “went ballistic” in the Examiner about a movie—-“Greedy Lying Bastards”. This column is perhaps even more poorly written than the recent Oreskes one.


      (PS In the Washington DC area, The Examiner is mainly used for training puppies and lining bird cages, certainly not as a source of News. Unless, of course, you are a dedicated Fox News viewer on TV and listen only to Gasbag Limbaugh on the radio).

      An interesting post is this review by Media Matters of the Heartland Conference last July in Vegas


      The link includes brief playbill bios of Heartland’s Vegas cast, some 60+ of them, many of whom are rather obscure and worth a look. Among the “cast” are the following standouts, and they are all potential academy award nominees all (except for Russell).

      Ron Arnold
      John Coleman
      Russell Cook
      Tony Heller
      Craig Idso
      Christopher Monckton
      Marc Morano
      S. Fred Singer
      Willie Soon
      Roy Spencer
      Anthony Watts

    • redskylite Says:

      Just wondering what is meant by “you guys” – what on Earth do you mean by that I wonder, I am not a U.S citizen and am not particularly interested in politics or finance (apart from wanting a relatively comfortable life for me and my offspring). I am interested in science and now follow the latest research mainly released by universities, I do not see any sides to this issue.

      All I see is potentially serious news being issued by academic institutions on the effects of industrial emission of GHG’s. I do have a respect for learning, research and the value of these centers.

      I remember when I was a child, my parents used to hang strips of brown sticky tape to catch the occasional unwanted guest of flies, sometimes this blog seems to have a similar effect.

      Anthony Watts on the Heartland list “Wattasuprise”, you could knock me over with a feather.

  4. Did you gents catch the short piece the Daily Kos had about me? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/27/1367335/-The-Soonami-rolls-on Big irony there, I’d much rather have my online writings placed at HuffPo, DailyKos or right here at ClimateCrocks, as opposed to just getting it in at WUWT (a preaching to the choir thing, ya know). But by default I just succeeded at that in a roundabout way, since DailyKos linked straight to my WUWT piece on Dr Soon.

    The errors within the DailyKos piece are hilarious. Notice the best spin they could come up with was to say my bits about Kert Davies were no more than guilt-by-association, as though his association with what I call “Greenpeace USA née Ozone Action” was some sort of tenuous thing. Oh, Lordy, talk about invoking the Streisand Effect (nothing to see here, move along). Notice how they, just like all of you, still cannot refute what I say about your collective failure to provide evidence to prove skeptics operated under explicit instructions, paid to lie and fabricate false assessments. So if none of you can do this, don’t feel bad, since DailyKose, Davies, Oreskes and Gelbspan can’t either.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      That’s right, NO ONE (not even God if he exists) can refute the irrefutable logic of Russell.

      Uh, Russell, time out—-take a look—-Daily Kos has just ripped you a new anal orifice. It’s a good thing that you’re so deluded and such a motivated reasoner that you can’t see that and just keep trucking’ with your no-logic denier horseshit. That is what makes you so valuable to Heartland—your dogged persistence in the face of all rationality.

      It’s a great country! The land of opportunity! And just think, Russell is staying off the “moocher” roles through his whoring (and his mother won’t have to sell off any more furniture to support him).

    • dumboldguy Says:

      PS Followed the link to your WUWT piece.

      “Commit “debating” suicide, we much”?

      LMAO I am reminded of the clip of you at Heartland July 2014 reading from your book with all the post-its. In this piece you have AGAIN spent 95% of your time quoting the arguments for “OUR” side and 5% of the time stating rather unclearly whatever it is you’re trying to make of all of it. You are the gift that keeps on giving, Russell. Thank you.

    • anotheralionel Says:

      “Notice how they, just like all of you, still cannot refute what I say about your collective failure to provide evidence to prove skeptics operated under explicit instructions, paid to lie and fabricate false assessments.”

      That is true, but not in the way you think. True skeptics weigh up all the information that they can and then decide which is nearest the truth. Deniers OTOH, which is what this is really about, do not. What they do has been described thousands of times and their conclusions debunked in turn.

      It has often been said that deniers are deluded and you have proved that by your crowing about being highlighted at WUWT when any self respecting thinker would steer clear of that place as it can only lower your perceived IQ.

      As it is, going via that Daily Kos piece readers are pre-warned what to expect, if you think this is good for your image then once again you are displaying signs of delusion.

      WUWT and others like it are pantomime and circus all rolled into one.

    • anotheralionel Says:

      And before you go on some more, you really should take in this from Greg Laden noting Greg’s comment reply currently @ #6. John Mashey, as ever, also has some pertinent points he has been looking into this stuff for years as anybody reading at DeSmogBlog knows.

      Also elsewhere at this blog a certain IREA memo has been cited, maybe you missed that.

  5. anotheralionel Says:

    HTML link FUBAR there, try this: Cry for me, Willie Soon @ Greg Laden’s Blog

    also another post at Greg Laden’s:

    Science Denialists Have Delayed Action On Climate Change: Soon vs. the Hockey Stick

    Russell, you gotta be kidding yourself for you ain’t fooling us.

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