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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Panic! 2014 hottest year ever (Not so fast, say the satellites)

What’s almost as good as an actual record? A could-be-a-record Headline!

“2014 could become the hottest year on record” – said CBS, The Guardian, Time, Washington Post, Discover Magazine, The Japan News, Wired, and 319 other outlets.

 None of the investigative hardened editors or science reporters knew enough to ask the question, “what do the satellites say?” Which would have been interesting because the satellites say “bollocks”. h/t SPPI

On his site, Dr Roy Spencer explains that 2014 won’t be the warmest year on record. Satellites track almost all of the Earth for 24 hours a day and the data shows that we don’t need to go back to the Medieval Warm Period to find a hotter year, just back to 2010.


It might be the hottest year if you live in a white louvered box above a carpark, next to a concrete-heat-sink-superstructure, and not far from a runway. Though even then you might need to be homogenized and adjusted to really feel the heat. But for the rest of the surface of the Earth, 2010 is not a record, not even close.

It’s all pretty pointless anyway Roy points out — we’re arguing over a [...]

Even with the best models, warmest decades, most CO2: Models are proven failures

This beautiful graph was posted at Roy Spencer’s and WattsUp, and no skeptic should miss it. I’m not sure if everyone appreciates just how piquant, complete and utter the failure is here. There are no excuses left. This is as good as it gets for climate modelers in 2013.

John Christy used the best and latest models, he used all the models available, he has graphed the period of the fastest warming and during the times humans have emitted the most CO2. This is also the best data we have. If ever any model was to show the smallest skill, this would be it. None do.

Scores of models, millions of data-points, more CO2 emitted than ever before, and the models crash and burn. | Graph: John Christy. Data: KMNI.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the blue-green circles and squares that mark the “observations”. These are millions of radiosondes, and two independent satellite records. They agree. There is no wiggle room, no overlap.

Any sane modeler can only ask: “But how can the climate modelers pretend their models are working?” Afterall, predicting the known past with a model is not-too-hard; the modeler tweaks the assumptions, fiddles with the fudge [...]

Fourier Analysis reveals six natural cycles driving temperatures, no man-made effect: predicts cooling

Thermometer circa 1790

UPDATED: Post note below, with a couple of extra caveats…

Lüdecke, Hempelmann, and Weiss found that the temperature variation can be explained with six superimposed natural cycles. With only six cycles they can closely recreate the 240 year central European thermometer record. There is little “non-cyclical” signal left, suggesting that CO2 might have a minor or insignificant effect.

The three German scientists used Fourier analysis to pick out the dominant cycles of one of the longest temperature records we have. The Central European temperature is an average of records from Prague, Vienna, Hohenpeissenberg, Kremsmünster, Paris, and Munich.

The dominant cycle appears to be about 250 years. There is also a cycle of about 60 years, corresponding to the Atlantic/Pacific decadal oscillations.

Data is of course, always the biggest problem. If we had 10,000 years of high quality global records, we could solve “the climate” within months. Instead, we have short records, and Lüdecke et al, make the most of what we have. The European records are only 240 years long, or (darn) one dominant cycle, and only one region, so to check that the results are valid over longer periods they also analyze a the 2000 year Spannagel Cave [...]

Has the world started cooling? Hints from 4 of 5 global temperature sets…

I’m not keen on short term trends at all, they have a habit of flicking in and out of statistical significance with each month’s new data, or even switching from cooling to warming. But for what it’s worth, and only time will tell, perhaps the world entered the downswing of the PDO cycle in temperatures circa 2005.

If the world was entering a gently cooling phase, this is what it would look like

Syun Akasofu pointed out that there was a simple 60 year oscillation of global temperatures (about 30 years of warming, about 30 years of mild cooling) on top of a long slow rise that started more than 200 years ago. He predicted that we were at the top of one of the cycles, and were about to see the beginning of a cooler cycle. This early data suggests he may be right.

See the little red dot with the green arrow at about the 2010 mark. Dr Syun Akasofu

The cooling for the last eight years is statistically significant in 4 of the 5 major air temperature datasets. One, UAH, shows a small (statistically insignificant) rise since 2005.

And here’s the political point: how many of [...]

Skeptic win: UK Met Office quietly drops prediction by 20%, hopes no one notices

Joint Post: Jo Nova and James Doogue

The UK Met Office are completely impartial about global warming, and delighted that things are not going to warm as fast as they thought. So to draw attention to the good news they waited to release it on the … quietest possible news-day of the year. Oh. But remembering that they are public servants, they had to settle for the second quietest, and release it on the day before Christmas instead.

These are the people who said the science was settled, and the deniers were wrong, except that it wasn’t and they weren’t.

Unfortunately for the Met boys, the skeptics noticed (h/t Tallbloke and Richard Smith), and now, not only do they have to handle the heat of that partial reversal , now they also have to admit the cheap PR trick backfired — they were caught in a cowardly attempt to hide the news. Busted.  See Bob Tisdale here for very nice graphs.

Graph from The Australian. (Don’t blame me for the decadel’s – sic)

This has been picked up now by Daily Mail, GWPF, Delingpole, The National Post (Canada) and this weekend, The Australian.

Daily Mail

 “To put it mildly, it [...]

Has CO2 warmed the planet at all in the last 50 years? It’s harder to tell than you think.

Joint Post: Jo Nova and Tony Cox

Even most skeptics agree that the world has been warming during the last 50 years, but there is apparently no significant underlying warming trend in 46 out of 47 years of data. Something decidedly unusual happened to the world in 1977 and we don’t know for sure what it was. The world got warmer, and the change “stuck”. But there were no extra emissions of CO2 in that year, so there is no reason to pin this to CO2.

It’s difficult to believe we are not sure – but the last 50 years of warming trend depends on that single stepwise leap in 1977. Look at the graph below. Does it show one strong underlying warming trend, or is it really a trend so insignificant that it wouldn’t exist if there was not a step change that artificially bolstered it?

A series of two flat lines can appear to be a continuous warming trend if a linear trend line is fitted because it ignores the step change.  McKitrick and Voselgang

This step effect was first noted by David Stockwell in 2009

The continuous warming appears to be obvious in the records of [...]

Global cooling coming? Archibald uses solar and surface data to predict 4.9°C fall (!)

David Archibald, polymath, makes a bold prediction that temperatures are about to dive sharply (in the decadal sense). He took the  forgotten correlation that as solar cycles lengthen and weaken, the world gets cooler. He refined it into a predictive tool, tested it and published in 2007. His paper has been expanded on recently by Prof Solheim in Norway, who predicts a 1.5°C drop in Central Norway over the next ten years.

Our knowledge of they solar dynamo is improving, and David adds the predicted solar activity ’til 2040 to the analysis. Normal solar cycles are 11 years long, but the current one (cycle 24) is shaping up to be 17 years (unusually long), and using historical data from the US, David predicts  a 2.1°C decline over Solar Cycle 24 followed by a further 2.8°C over Solar Cycle 25. That adds up to a whopping 4.9°C fall in temperate latitudes over the next 20 years. We can only hope he’s wrong. As David says ” The center of the Corn Belt, now in Iowa, will move south to Kansas.”

He also predicts continuing drought in Africa for another 14 years, with droughts likely in South America too.

If he’s right, [...]

THAT famous email explained and the first Volunteer Global Warming Skeptic

Years before Climategate, THAT email, from Phil Jones to Warwick Hughes told us everything we needed to know about the scientific standards at the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia. THAT email was the tip of the iceberg, and below is what lay underneath the surface — the things that were said behind the scenes at the time. Geoff Sherrington has pieced together a sequence of climategate emails, his own emails, and parts of Warwick Hughes work to recreate the sequence.

And for the true skeptic-aficionados, here’s a new layer of history to the skeptical chronology. Where did this volunteer audit movement begin?

Who would have guessed that at least one skeptic, Hughes, was asking for the data Phil Jones worked with, as long ago as 1991? (That was way back in the days where people worked with hard copy print outs, and drew graphs by hand!) Does Hughes rank as volunteer Skeptic Number 1?

UPDATE: I asked Warwick, and he thinks the first unpaid skeptic was Fred Wood in 1988*.  — Jo


Guest post by: Geoffrey H Sherrington, Scientist.

This is the longer story behind one of [...]

Messages from the global raw rural data. Warnings, gotcha’s and tree ring divergence explained!

Have you wondered what the global raw rural data tells us?

What did those thermometers say before the adjustments, smoothing, selection, and averaging?

This just might be the first time anyone has publicly compared the global raw data to published adjusted data sets in this way.

Frank Lansner has been dedicated in the extreme, and has developed a comprehensive Rural Unadjusted Temperature Index, or RUTI. One of the most interesting points to come out of this extensive work is the striking difference between coastal stations and inland stations. Frank kept noticing that the trend of the inland stations was markedly different from coastal stations and island stations.

Fig1. Red-Blue lines mark regions where there was a different coastal to inland trend. In green areas the two trends were similar.

What he finds is perhaps not so unusual: The coastal areas are heavily influenced by the sea surface temperature. Inland stations record larger rises and falls in temperature, which is hardly surprising. But, the implications are potentially large. When records from some stations are smoothed over vast distances (as in 1200 km smoothing), results can be heavily skewed by allowing coastal trends to be smoothed across inland areas. What Lansner [...]

It wasn’t CO2: Global sea levels started rising before 1800

Fans of man-made global warming frequently tell us seas are rising, but somehow forget to mention the rise started 200 years ago, long before our coal-fired electricity plants cranked up, and long before anyone had an electric shaver, or a 6 cylinder fossil-fuel-spewing engine. Something else was driving that warming trend.

Here is the data from tide gauges going back 300 years from a paper by Jevrejeva et al 2008.

[Graphed by Joanne Nova based on data from Jevrejura et al located at this site PMSML]

This graph was calculated from 1023 tide gauge records [Jevrejeva et al., 2006] going back to 1850.The 2008 study extended the record further using  three of the longest (though discontinuous) tide gauge records available: Amsterdam, since 1700 [Van Veen, 1945], Liverpool, since 1768 [Woodworth, 1999] and Stockholm, since 1774 [Ekman, 1988]. Obviously since there are only three old records, the error bars are a riot.

The Jevrejeva paper is also useful for portraying the 60 year rolling cycle. The regular ups and downs are obvious when the rate of change is plotted (see below).