The Weekend Wonk: “Science” Committee Reduced to Tweeting Denial Nonsense
December 3, 2016
Climate deniers are in a bit of a bind. They’ve been riding the bogus “global warming stopped” meme for a decade and a half, as the video above explains.
Problem is, with the recent huge El Nino event, global temperatures have taken another “stair step” upwards – resulting in 3 record setting years in a row. (2014, 2015, with ’16 all but a lock)
Kevin Trenberth actually predicted this pattern almost 3 years when I interviewed him via Skype. (you can hear that starting at 8:50 or so here)
So the Anti-Science crowd is desperate to get back to that “no warming” nonsense, to salvage what they can of their rapidly fraying Trumped-up street cred.
What they’ve decided on, is to focus on the normal, expected El Nino pattern, which is a large spike in global temp, as heat pours out of the Pacific, followed by a downward spike as we slide into the complimentary “La Nina” event – and claim that a normal artifact of a global cycle signals a new period of “global cooling”.
But in the past week, particularly egregious claims emerged that have been perpetuated by outlets with large audiences.
These two dubious and deceptive assertions must be dismantled:
1) The global land temperature has just experienced its biggest drop on record.
2) Record cold is predicted for most of the U.S. next week.
The Earth’s temperature has not crashed at a record pace
The misleading claim that global land temperatures have plunged by a record margin was first reported by David Rose of the Daily Mail last week, and it was amplified today in a piece by James Delingpole at Breitbart News.
“Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year — their biggest and steepest fall on record,” Rose’s article begins. Yet it’s easy to explain why this assertion is not only misleading but also pointless.
First, Rose’s claim relies on the satellite record of Earth’s temperature estimated from space, which only dates to 1978. The surface-temperature record, which directly measures the planet’s temperature using thermometers and dates to the late 1800s, exhibits a drop but not a record drop.
Federal and international agencies have said that 2016 will likely be the hottest year on record, eclipsing the record set last year. In its report, The Daily Mail cited a recent decline in temperatures over land since the weather phenomenon known as El Niño ended this year, and said that El Niño, and not climate change, was responsible for the record heat.
But scientists said that while the recent El Niño did contribute to the record warmth, climate change played a major role, too.
“Nobody said the record temperatures were exclusively the result of climate change,” said Mike Halpert, the deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Deke Arndt, the chief of the climate monitoring branch at the NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, said that the long-term warming trend was quite clear, and that the impact of El Niño was in addition to what were already higher temperatures. “You can have both climate change and a goose from El Niño,” he said.
Earth is heating up, fast. This year we’re destined to set a new record for hottest year globally … for the third year in a row. Sea level is now high enough that coastal cities are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fight flooding they get even when there’s no rain or wind or storm … just high tide. Arctic temperatures lately have been crazy hot, not just hot, but crazy hot, while sea ice in the Arctic and the Antarctic is at all-time lows for this time of year. Greenland ice is disappearing before our eyes. Heat waves are on the rise, killing thousands. Persistent drought plagues the U.S. southwest, but in other areas, when rain does fall it’s heavier than it used to be, causing once-in-a-thousand-years flooding to become a lot more common that once in a thousand years. Climate has been changing, not for the better, and it still is.
David Rose, who writes for the U.K. Daily Mail, doesn’t want you to believe it. He wants you to think that the worldwide heating we’ve seen for decades now has somehow, magically, come to an end … that it has shown some kind of “pause.” To give that impression, he had to search far and wide for one set of data from which he can cherry-pick one span of time in which he can focus on one recent event, so he can blame this year’s record-breaking heat on something other than mankind and our greenhouse-gas emissions. Thanks to the many many organizations that publish climate data, there are lots and lots and lots of data sets to choose from … so it’s no surprise he found one.
It’s global average temperature, not for Earth’s surface where we live, but for the lower layer of the atmosphere … not for the whole world, but for the land areas only … and it’s not all the data, it leaves out the part David Rose doesn’t want you to see. Here’s all the data from this source (RSS, a.k.a. Remote Sensing Systems):
David Rose only shows you the part inside the red box. How stupid does he think you are?
Data like this, in fact almost all data, are a combination of trend — the long-term pattern that actually has some persistence — and fluctuation — the short-term ups and downs that are only temporary. And there are fluctuations. Plenty. They go up and down and down and up, but never really get anywhere.
It’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, completely clear, and pretty simple, that when it comes to climate what matters is the trend, not the fluctuations. For climate deniers, what’s abundantly obvious, resoundingly unambiguous, and completely clear is what they want to avoid. Because it’s so simple, they have to bend over backwards to distract you from it. Like David Rose did.
NASA’s Gavin Schmidt tweets:
The troposphere temperatures for November 2016 have been released. The lower troposphere is recorded in UAH v6 beta 5 and RSS TLT v3.3. This report also covers RSS TTT for the troposphere (without the “lower”) and follows pretty much the same format as previous monthly updates.
For RSS TTT (troposphere), last month was the hottest November on record. For 2016 to be colder than the previous hottest year (1998), the troposphere would have to average a negative anomaly:- less than -1.57 °C for the remaining month. It’s an understatement to say that is unlikely.
The lower troposphere (UAH beta v6.05) was also the hottest November on record with 2015. For 1998 to remain the hottest year in the UAH lower troposphere record, the anomaly for December would need to be below minus 0.21 °C. That’s not likely but not impossible.
Troposphere temperature (RSS TTT v4) chart
First here is RSS TTT with the latest dataset, version 4. TTT seems to be measure more of the troposphere than TLT (that is, it has a greater vertical profile) with less of the stratosphere than the mid-troposphere data (TMT). It shows a higher rate of warming than RSS v3.3 and higher than UAH. Hover the cursor (arrow) over the plots to see the data points, trend etc.
The chart below is the average of the 12 months to November, from December 1979 to November 1980, through to December 2015 to November 2016. The 12 month averaged anomaly was 0.79 °C, which is 0.17 °C higher than the previous hottest 12 month period in 1998. The rate of warming is 0.18 °C/decade or 1.8 °C/century.
From the RSS website, TTT is derived from TMT and TLS with the formula:TTT = 1.1*TMT – 0.1*TLS.
This combination reduces the influence of the lower stratosphere, which is cooling at most locations. TLT gives most weight to the temperatures closer to the surface. TTT gives more weight to the troposhere and less to the stratosphere than TMT does, but not as much to the lowest levels of the troposphere as TLT does. However TTT has version 4, while TLT is still only provided as version 3.3. For a fuller explanation see the RSS websiteor the July 16 report here.
Below is the TTT chart just for the month of November. The anomaly for November was 0.735 °C, which is 0.194 °C warmer than November 2015. The rate of warming just for Novembers is 0.16 °C/decade.
Below, University of Alabama Huntsville graph of global temps in the satellite era, to October of 2016.