JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Oh Wait! Bricks and mortar will create warmer nights (weren’t we supposed to blame CO2 for that?)

I thought warmer nights were a fingerprint of CO2 induced warming? John Cook has claimed that at least five times on his blog:  The human fingerprint in the daily cycle. It’s also known as Diurnal Temperature Range, and the theory is that extra CO2 keeps us warm all night.

Now Excellent* (Alarmed) Climate System Experts are saying that UHI (Urban Heat Island) effects can cause warmer nights too, at least in the future. (Perhaps this only applies to future-bricks, not past ones — you think?)

City expected to feel heat as it expands

Ben Cubby

Parts of Sydney will be up to 3.7 degrees hotter by the year 2050, as urban expansion spawns ever more asphalt and concrete, new research suggests.

The ”urban heat island effect” – the build-up of heat in built-up areas – will amplify climate change, particularly in the outer fringes of Australian cities, according to University of NSW researchers.

”If you are living near the edge of a city today, you will notice the temperature change, mainly through the minimum temperature change at night,” said Daniel Argueso, the lead author of the study that was prepared at the Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

”There is also the fact that urban canyons prevent winds from moving around freely.”

Read more: The Age

The study they refer too is Argueso et al 2013, where models-that-might-work, project how the landscape of Sydney will change and how that will be affected by the climate predicted for Sydney by other models (which don’t work). It’s a dozen assumptions multiplied by a dozen more to tell us what most skeptics could have told them for free. More asphalt, bitumen, bricks and mortar will absorb more heat in the day and release it at night.

Lucky tarmac, brick walls, roads and planes don’t increase temperatures near official thermometers, otherwise we might find a spurious signal pretending to be a “fingerprint” of man-made CO2 when it wasn’t that at all.

When is a fingerprint not a fingerprint, John?

Why no mention of the UHI factor?

REFERENCE

Argueso, D., J. P. Evans, L. Fita, and K. J. Bormann, Accepted: Temperature response to future urbanization and climate change. Climate Dynamics, 1-17.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00382-013-1789-6

link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00382-013-1789-6

*They work at a Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. Don’t take that too literally.

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57 comments to Oh Wait! Bricks and mortar will create warmer nights (weren’t we supposed to blame CO2 for that?)

  • #
    Incunabulum

    “Parts of Sydney will be . . . hotter by the year 2050, as urban expansion spawns ever more asphalt and concrete, new research suggests.”

    Its taken them this long to figure out something that obvious? I figured it out 20 years ago, the first time I drove out of my hometown at night – Once out of the city proper and going into the desert there’s a sharp drop in temperature at the interface.

    Plus skeptics have been pointing out the UHI interference with ground based monitoring stations for years.

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    • #

      Yes, the urban heat effect should be obvious! Previously, I’ve pointed out that the data shows that their is virtually no difference in the rate of temperature change in recent higher CO2 times, and previous lower CO2 times. The rate is the same. CO2 has apparently NO effect.

      Now, some have suggested that the rate of temp change in recent higher CO2 times is slightly steeper.

      Well, when you look at the “chartsmanship” which shows this very slight difference, which is hardly distinguishable from noise, the difference becomes insignificant indeed if you add to equation the urban heat effect, the systematic retirement of rural temp stations, and a whole host of “adjustments” that always help the warmist case.

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      • #
        AndyG55

        With the amount of “adjustments” by the Hansen stable, and their rejection of UHI effect (urban heat only warms the air, but this doesn’t register on thermometers).. it would not surprise me if the globe had actually COOLED over the last 30-40 years !!!

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  • #
    edwina

    Well, yes, I have lived in Brisbane all my life. As a child we lived near the CBD and never saw a frost. I had seen frosts down south on farms of relatives.

    Anyway, we moved when I was about 12 to an ‘outer’ suburb about 8km further away. Here, surprisingly, light frosts were experienced just about dawn. Over the years these disappeared as more and more houses were built, roads tarred, traffic increased and so on.

    Later, we moved another 10km further out. Same story. Frosts early morning then no more after development filled the area. But if you go toward Ipswich frosts can be still seen.

    In this time period the official BOM weather station has been moved from the CBD; to the airport; then right back to 100m from where I lived as a child. Naturally, the latter spot records higher min’s now.

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    • #
      Ian H

      I have an interesting tale to tell about such moving thermometers.

      During the time it was in the city, I expect temperatures would have risen due to the city becoming more built up. Let us say it warmed by one degree. Then the thermometer was moved to a much better undeveloped location at the airport. But the airport then also became massively built up so temperatures there also warmed by a degree while the thermometer was present. Finally it is moved to a central park.

      Now for some prestidigitation with numbers. What people do with records like these is apply adjustments at each move to splice them together and create one long continuous record. That long continuous spliced record will display both the one degree of warming of the central city plus the one degree of warming at the airport, for a total of two degrees. Yet it is likely that no single location in the city actually warmed by two degrees. Each thermometer records the one time urban warming event at its location. When the record is spliced these one time events end up stacked on top of each other.

      Isn’t that a neat trick.

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      • #
        Andrew McRae

        Holy sprawl simmering ratchet racket, Batman!

        If Geoff Sherrington or his ACORN buddies were here he might be able to comment on the splicing algorithms. But from what I recall the BoM are still quite secretive over exactly how the “movie magic” of scary series is done. You can bet it involves a Green screen.

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        • #

          If there is good overlap (some years) it is a straightforward procedure to splice records from nearby locations. If Site A is moved to Site B and there is good overlap, the minimum and maximum temperatures for the overlap period are examined. Site A’s temperatures are adjusted up or down by the mean difference from Site B. This gives a longer term record which is an approximation of what it might have been if Site B had been operating earlier, all other factors being equal. However this procedure cannot be used where there is insufficient overlap, or where one of the records is poor quality (lots of missing data, spurious readings, poor location). Acorn gets round this by using data from sites hundreds of kilometres away. They also splice without overlap using a complicated algorithm which has not been released.
          Ken

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          • #
            Andrew McRae

            Thanks Ken.

            And now I know of Ken’s Kingdom too. From little ACORNs, warming trends flatten.

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  • #
    Myron Mesecke

    What is almost more criminal than these people perpetrating this scam in the first place is that now they will simply rewrite history (once again) and completely get away with it. They will say that more research resulted in them making corrections. When in reality it is the research they ignored. It was only us open minded skeptics that were willing to look at each and every possible cause and seek the truth. Yet they will take credit for it by patting each other on the back and proclaiming it so.

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  • #

    Does it really matter? It’s all the fault of humans and their incessant building, heating, manufacturing, living houses instead of caves. Just so long as we are clear on the fact that nature did not do this. (/sarc)

    90

  • #

    Has the idiot Cook ever been to a major city like London I wonder?

    It’s usually two or three degrees (C) warmer in the city than it is in the suburbs and has been like that for decades.

    Can I get a Nobel for that?

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    • #
      blackadderthe4th

      ‘Can I get a Nobel for that?’ I wouldn’t give you on if you could turn lead into gold!

      06

  • #
    Betapug

    A motorcycling acquaintance who rode helmetless in Britain in the 1960′s remembered sensing the radiated IR heat of cities with his face as he rode through them at night.

    At an ambient 24C, I can easily outline my CCD illuminated computer monitor by rotating my head from side to side with eyes closed. I do not have the resolution of a snake….but it is not my sole source of nourishment.

    Have to stop now. My wife is coming….

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  • #
    graphicconception

    “(Perhaps this only applies to future-bricks, not past ones — you think?)”

    This seems to be a bit of a thing with alarmists. Now the heat is going into the oceans. Sounds good but where did it go before and why did it change?

    What about the 2°C limit? Now the heat is going into the oceans where does that stand? Was it actually not a problem before and the heat was just going to the “wrong” place?

    Warming is being caused by man now. So, again, what caused it before and what makes you think that is not happening now?

    Same with the various warm periods and interglacials. It is as if physics suddenly changed with the arrival of man and everything that happened before has now stopped and, of course, any “bad” effect is now man-made. Stands to sense!

    /sarc

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  • #
    Greg Cavanagh

    It’s like posing a question to children. 20 hands go up and each one expounds upon a fantasticle explanation.

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  • #

    Maybe I shouldn’t mention this but the making of mortar and bricks uses a lot of fossil fuel and produces a bunch of CO2. I would expect the alarmists would pounce on this and insist that the UHI effect was itself caused by that profound evil CO2.

    It simply can’t be because the thermal mass of brick and mortar absorbs heat during the day and releases it slowly at night. Such a theory won’t do. After all, CO2 causing it is the only thing they will allow theselves to think of.

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  • #
    Mat

    Or possibly…. both, Jo?

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    • #

      Mat, yes possibly both, definitely UHI and to some (but is it measurable) extent – CO2. But John Cook doesn’t seem to mention that possibility on his blog, and he’s devoted a lot of space to it. Moreso, he’s telling us it’s a “fingerprint”. Seems rather less than honest not to mention that quite a bit (could be most) of this particular fingerprint signal is due to UHI.

      As always, Cook’s site is laden with scientificy words, but omits the things that matter and fails the logic bar. It’s science-PR not science.

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    • #
      cohenite

      Ah matty; you’ll never give it up, will you.

      Muller’s latest paper argues that UHIE doesn’t exist. I critique it here at point 3.

      To argue against UHI is not only counterintuitive is goes against the facts. This latest paper confirms it.

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      • #
        Eddy Aruda

        I clicked on you link and from there clicked on the link to your ten worst climate science papers of all times. As usual when reading your comments, I was extremely impressed and I learned a lot.

        Thank you so much.

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      • #
        Michael

        Actually Muller does not deny the UHI effect, he has merely determined through his research that it has minimal effect on the temperature datasets. As far as I am aware it is adjusted for in most temp series.

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        • #
          Backslider

          he has merely determined

          And for this reason we should believe him???

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        • #
          Michael

          And for this reason we should believe him???

          Not at all. Like always I always have proof for my claims based in science. (vikings anyone?)

          “We observe the opposite of an urban heating effect over the period 1950 to 2010, with a slope of -0.10 ± 0.24°C/100yr (2σ error) in the Berkeley Earth global land temperature average. The confidence interval is consistent with a zero urban heating effect, and at most a small urban heating effect (less than 0.14°C/100yr, with 95% confidence) on the scale of the observed warming (1.9 ± 0.1°C/100 yr since 1950 in the land average from Figure 5A).”
          http://www.scitechnol.com/GIGS/GIGS-1-104.php

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          • #
            Backslider

            We observe the opposite of an urban heating effect over the period 1950 to 2010

            Yes, this statement clearly shows that we are dealing with a lunatic.

            As for Vikings, I am still waiting for you to show us all the catastrophic weather events during the period that the Vikings settled Greenland…. a period that was clearly warmer than today.

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  • #
    Yonniestone

    Hey call me crazy but would UHI have an effect on thermometers?
    There John, just did your job for you, any other questions please call 1800 eat s*%$.

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  • #

    Yes , another study to examine what any heurist could tell us.I swear that academia is full of people who have no understanding of their surrounds; no observations or thinking required.
    The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those who speak it.George Orwell.

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  • #

    I could mention a study into responses of meat ants to climate change undertaken by UNE. Conclusion being:the more extreme the weather the deeper they go! The go to paper on the humble meat ant to be sure!

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  • #

    Unfortunately, Australia’s DTR reversed from a long term decline in late 1980s-early 1990s and is now rising strongly. The trend line has been flat for 63 years. So much for declining DTR being a fingerprint of greenhouse warming!
    A wise man knows how much he doesn’t understand.

    Ken

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  • #
    handjive

    Re-Quote Ms. Jonova: “I thought warmer nights were a fingerprint of CO2 induced warming.”

    This quote from Bill Kininmonth (3.00 min) at the book launch of Bob Carter & David Spooner titled, “Taxing Air: Facts & Fallacies About Climate Change” seems relevant:

    “They (UN-IPCC) explain the greenhouse effect.

    They say it’s radiation from the earth is absorbed by these greenhouse gasses, it warms the atmosphere, part goes through into space, but some is reflected back to the earth, and it keeps us warm.

    Now, I’m not sure that I should invite you to, but, I certainly invite you, later in the evening, when your alone, go outside, take your clothes off, and see whether the greenhouse gasses keep you warm.

    They won’t.

    It’s been known for at least 50 years that the green house gasses in the atmosphere, actually admit more radiation than they absorb.

    The atmosphere cools because of greenhouse gasses.”
    .
    For those interested, Bob Carter also at book launch.

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    • #
      Michael

      Actually isn’t it impossible physics for greenhouse gases to emit (admit?) more radiation than they absorb. Would this not be breaking some law of thermodynamics.

      If you went outside and took your clothes off it would indeed be greenhouse gases that are keeping you warm because without greenhouse gases the atmosphere would be 30 deg c cooler than it would be without them and the narrow temperature range we enjoy that allows the night to be only moderately cooler than the day would be much greater without our atmosphere. You only need to look at the moon, about the same distance from the sun, to see that the difference between the day and night sides are in the order of several hundred degrees celsius.

      It is sad that an actual scientist resorts to such low level incorrect logic to sell a book.

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      • #
        Backslider

        If CO2 does so much, as you claim, then why does it take a CLOUDY NIGHT to be significantly warmer?

        00

  • #
    Joshua

    If you subtract UHI effect worlwide to global surface hadcrut, GISS etc you would see a flat line since 1880. Just like CET records which is for all purposes are flat because its right in the middle of England’s countryside rural areas. If you look at RSS or UAH satellite global and SH temps they are basically flat (no UHI effect)which confirms the view. NH temps did show a warming trend which is now rapidly disappearing LOL

    40

    • #
      Carbon500

      Perhaps it’s also worth mentioning that the Central England Temperature record begins in 1659. Essential data for all CAGW believers? How many have looked at it, I wonder?

      00

  • #
    ColdinOz

    One assumes that is a 3.7C increase over the already UHI affected temperature.

    00

  • #
    janama

    Surely if their computer models can model future UHI for Sydney surely they can reverse model and demonstrate that UHI is responsible for past warming.

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    • #
      John Brookes

      But janama, they already do adjust for UHI. Because they know about it. Funny that, scientists knowing stuff.

      03

    • #

      I have to agree with John Brookes, some capital city temps are adjusted for UHI. However Brisbane’s record has been warmed by adjustments, so it’s a mixed bag. And UHI can happen in very small centres as well.
      Ken

      00

  • #
    sophocles

    Bricks and mortar and tar-seal absorb heat from the sun and re-radiate it to create the Urban
    Heat Island effect. Ok. I have noticed that … in summer. Could it all have an opposite effect
    in that other season? Acting as a “cold sink,” and helping further chill winter days and nights?

    In other words, could urbanisation create temperature extremes, in both directions
    depending on season?

    Has CO2 concentration dropped while I wasn’t looking? Either it’s colder this year or I’m getting
    older (true) or both, but the urbs certainly don’t seem as warm as they once were, which is why
    the question.

    10

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    What goes around, comes around.

    10

  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    Not far in the recent century various folk proposed and built houses with “passive heating and cooling.” One strategy was to add mass (brick, dirt, water) to a structure and allow it to warm (or cool) as needed, say by opening a sliding door, a reflective curtain, or an interior hall. Such masses could be warmed by rays of a low sun even on cold days. They could cool at night by the flow of outside air, then keep interior living spaces cooler during the day as the outside temperature rose. These ancient techniques were introduced as innovative principles.

    I’m not actually recommending this book but a look at the table of contents will be suggestive of the ideas of the late 1980s and early 90s.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1931498121/ref=sib_dp_pop_toc?ie=UTF8&p=S00A#reader-link

    I wonder if I can warm my house in the winter by infusing it with added CO2. Please send Champagne or other sparkling wine. Thanks.

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    • #

      Passive solar was in engineering text books in the late 1970′s. Certainly in 1980, judging by the book on my shelf.

      Solar building design has been in airconditioning (Engineering) manuals and standards (e.g. ASHRAE) for a long time. Calculating the “heat load” can’t be done properly without addressing the same factors as those of passive solar engineering.

      Some aspects of passive (solar) design were deliberately applied in architecture from the age of enlightenment. Some architects introduced a small curvature in long walls so that the movement of the sun on that side of the building would be different during the hours of exposure, inducing a small movement of air that was near the wall as it warmed at different rates under the sun, along the length of the wall. It’s thought that the technique dates back to ancient times.

      Another aspect (literally) is that tall building offer more surface to incident sunlight. The vertical faces absorb heat effectively from the sun from sunrise to sunset; unless they’re shaded by other tall buildings or clouds.

      Were the building not there; then the sunlight would (notionally) be incident on a very much larger horizontal surface resulting in a more diffuse storing of energy; i.e lower temperature. There is of course an “offset” in that that surface is in the shade of the tall building, allowing that horizontal surface to continue to cool until it’s no longer in the shade.

      10

  • #
    ursus augustus

    Ahhhh, you fools you just don’t understand. UHI has been cited by DENIERS in the past but that is not real UHI, it is fake UHI (FUHI). Only UHI officially announced by members of the Team and its affiliates who are dedicated to the Cause can be considered as real UHI (RUHI) and of course it is really just a consolidated carbon sort of UHI ( => CCUHI) and so is part of the carbon poisoning of the planet => RUHI = CCUHI. You just don’t get it do you?

    FUHI to you deniers we have identified CCUHI!

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  • #
    Michael

    UHI is not denied by climate scientists, it has just been determined, by many different studies (one authored by Watts himself) to be negligible on the global temperature records.

    03

    • #
      John Brookes

      But that is so unfair Michael! Are you saying that “skeptics” can’t use the UHI argument any more?

      06

    • #
      Backslider

      Was it UHI from their stone buildings that made things warm for the Vikings in Greenland? Is that what melted the permafrost??

      10

    • #
      old44

      Not negligble once you introduce “homogenisation”

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    • #
      Backslider

      it has just been determined, by many different studies (one authored by Watts himself) to be negligible

      I don’t believe that Watts will agree with you on that one. Lying yet again Michael.

      Why don’t you just trot on over there and take an honest look, just at what he shows us all about weather stations is enough…. then come back and apologise for lying to us all.

      10

  • #
    Andrew

    For the warmist-apologists out there, please point out all the Official sources where, during our Hot Angry 4-hour Period in the afternoon of Jan 18:
    - it was pointed out that beating the 1973 record by 0.1C should be ignored as its dominated by UHI
    - higher recorded average temps in cities are almost nothing to do with CO2s
    - carbon pricing, RET etc has no effect on UHI

    I’m sure Flim Flammery was active in doing his job – scientifically and dispassionately informing the population?

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  • #
    Warwick

    My father designed and built a Passive solar heated house in the late 60′s worked really well the sun heated large concrete walls during the day and they released the heat at night, it was written up as the way of the future, with the increased interest in thermally efficient house design we will probably see an increase in UHI in the years to come

    00

  • #
    old44

    We could perform an experiment on UHI effect, setup a monitoring station 150 metres north of the Melbourne weather station situated in Victoria St and spot the difference.

    00

  • #
    Michael

    “We observe the opposite of an urban heating effect over the period 1950 to 2010, with a slope of -0.10 ± 0.24°C/100yr (2σ error) in the Berkeley Earth global land temperature average. The confidence interval is consistent with a zero urban heating effect, and at most a small urban heating effect (less than 0.14°C/100yr, with 95% confidence) on the scale of the observed warming (1.9 ± 0.1°C/100 yr since 1950 in the land average from Figure 5A).”
    http://www.scitechnol.com/GIGS/GIGS-1-104.php

    01

    • #
      ursus augustus

      I suggest that people who find a negative UHI effect have made a fundamental mistake. How can the UHI be negative? It would not even be called by that name. I suggest that someone who finds a negative UHI for the period 1950 to 2010 is somewhat detached from reality because a shtload of UHI has been built all over the world in that period. Appealling to the BEST results is like appealing to Newton’s work in the field of alchemy, authoritive on the face of it at the time but ultimately utter nonsense.

      10

  • #
    tiger

    And you forgot t mention the watering of lawns next to the official weather stations at the airports eg Mildura on hot days which also give false readings..

    00

  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    David Karoly and others sagely noted in year 2004:

    “Diurnal temperature range appears to be a suitable
    index of climate variability and change, in the context of
    similar simple global indices outlined by Braganza et al.
    [2003]. While changes in maximum and minimum temperature
    are strongly associated with changes in global mean
    temperature, DTR provides additional information for the
    attribution of recent observed climate change. Natural
    variability of Tmin, Tmax and DTR is reasonably well
    simulated in long, unforced GCM simulations. Observed
    DTR over land shows a large negative trend of 0.4C over
    the last 50 years that is very unlikely to have occurred due
    to internal variability. This trend is due to larger increases in
    minimum temperatures (0.9C) than maximum temperatures
    (0.6C) over the same period. Analysis of trends in
    DTR over the last century from five coupled climate models
    shows that simulated trends in DTR due to anthropogenic
    forcing are much smaller than observed. This difference is
    attributable to larger than observed changes in maximum
    temperatures in four of the five models analysed here, a
    result consistent with previous modelling studies.”

    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 31, L13217, doi:10.1029/2004GL019998, 2004
    Diurnal temperature range as an index of global climate change during
    the twentieth century
    Karl Braganza
    School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia
    David J. Karoly
    School of Meteorology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA
    J. M. Arblaster
    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, USA
    Received 15 March 2004; revised 12 May 2004; accepted 7 June 2004; published 13 July 2004.
    …………………………………

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  • #
  • #
    Steve

    >>>Perhaps this only applies to future-bricks, not past ones — you think?

    Of course. You cannot create hockey sticks and model complexity that nobody at all could possibly check without such beauties. No anti-human eugenics ideology would be complete without an anti-road and anti-house brick witch hunting angle.

    I can see the extreme greens lying on new roads to be asphalted in front of steam rollers screaming about the world destroying asphalt curse which will melt the polar ice caps even quicker … double? triple? …let’s just add another 3 degrees warming in 100 years based on tarmac projections. Let’s have a Tarmac Trading Scheme … TTS Credits and Brick Trading Scheme. And roof tiles? Oh my God; my world is caving in, it has suddenly dawned on me that we are doomed and the sea is going to rise over the land within my life time. I’m moving to Everest, you guys are doomed, but I’m going to be ok … aren’t I? Tell me it’s going to be ok!!! mommy!!!!!

    10