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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The hotter nights in Melbourne and some mysterious adjustments

Tom Quirk takes a close look at the long historic station of Melbourne. As we would expect, things have changed around the sensor since 1855 when records started.  Amazingly he finds the maximum trend in Melbourne was largely flat from 1855 – 1995. The  minimums shows a classic warming from 1945.

To find out how much of the warming in Melbourne may be due to the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) we can compare the minima at the CBD station to one on the outskirts — and Laverton is 20 kilometers away. The site near the CBD is warming at 0.2C per decade faster than the site on the outskirts. It amounts to a whole degree warmer over 50 years, though the rate may be tailing off now. It’s hard to fit in more concrete or more skyscrapers than there already are.

Tom has a close look at the adjustments and finds plenty of questions but few answers. These adjustments are done as step changes, and Tom (and I) wonder why the gradual increase in concrete would warm Melbourne “step-wise” rather than as a slope change. Tom also wonders why the BOM say that one change is due to a [...]

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 [...]

The Urban Heat Island effect: Could Africa be more affected than the US?

The mystery: We know when we drive through a city that temperatures warm from the fringe to the middle. We know UHI is real, but how much does it affect the official records? Is a 2010 city 0.3 K hotter than a 1960 city? How would we know?

Frank Lansner has come up with a way that might approximate the UHI effect — very roughly. It’s well known that UHI gets bigger as cities grow, but the devil is in the detail. Frank argues that it’s not just the size of the city that matters, but it’s growth rate.

The USA is full of large cities, but there is not much difference between the trend in satellites and ground stations there. Frank’s approach could explain this — most of the growth in human population has come in regions like Africa, not the USA.

He figured that if we compare satellite records to ground stations and see if there is a divergence, we might be able to see an indicator of UHI. The info coming out of satellites ought not be affected as populations expand, but the ground stations are often near population centres and they gradually get surrounded with [...]

Horrifying examples of deliberate tampering

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse for the cult of the carbon scare.

Now we need to ask if the world has even warmed? I’ve always said, “global warming is real”, but the recent exposés of shocking corruption in science have made me start to wonder whether even that is true.

Today a study by Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts, was announced by the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

From their media release:

An extensive survey of the literature and data regarding ground and sea surface temperature records uncovers deception through data manipulation, reports the Science and Public Policy Institute (SPPI).

Authors veteran meteorologists Joe d’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.

That is to say, leading meteorological institutions in the USA and around the world have so systematically tampered with instrumental temperature data that it [...]

The main “cause” of global warming is air conditioners. p7

The headline is tongue in cheek, but the message is serious.

Look at these pictures of NOAA’s U.S. temperature stations. These thermometers on the ground have recorded faster temperature rises than sensors on satellites and weather balloons.

Lucky heat doesn’t rise off asphalt…

Things may have looked different at this site in 1909.