Monday, November 16, 2009

Cold October: Can you spot the global cooling?

Here in Virginia, it was a cool October. My cousin hiking the Appalachian Trail ran into some of the state's earliest snowfalls on record in the early part of the month, with temperatures plunging well below freezing. In the Washington DC area, the whole month seemed to be the worst kind of weather imaginable: 45 degrees and raining.

If you live outside of VA or DC, you probably felt like October was cold too. And you would be correct: the whole United States experienced its 3rd coldest October on record.

climate skeptics, this is evidence that global warming has stopped. Indeed, the unusually cool weather seems to be affecting Americans' views on climate change. And it's happened just as Congress is trying to get the courage to pass climate and clean energy legislation.

But like politics, all weather is local. Climate is not. Here's what the "cool" October actually looks like:

(courtesy of Joe Romm at

It seems Nature has a cruel sense of irony: the only place on the planet that is "cooling" is the country whose leadership we most need to stop it from warming.



  1. 1) Did your nose grow when you falsely asserted that “the only place on the planet that is ‘cooling’ [is the USA]” ?

    I see lots of other blue dots on that map (derived from surface stations with a documented warming bias).

    2) Why, in the above map, use the myopic baseline of 1971-2000? Don’t you know the difference between climate and weather? ;-)

    Are you still oblivious to the ongoing, uninterrupted 10,000 year cooling trend in both the Arctic Circle AND the Antarctic Circle?

    3) I refer you -- again -- to the FAR more accurate satellite data.

    4) Were the GISS Goddard Groupies just kidding when they asserted that AGW would be most evident in winter warming in the Northern Hemisphere?

    Note: The USA --located in the Northern hemisphere -- has been in a winter cooling trend for the last 17 years.

    Click here to reproduce that previous chart.

    5) Even the alarmists at NOAA know there has been no global warming since 1998. They further admit that (emphasis mine):

    “The [computer model] simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends [in global temperatures] for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

    The satellite data indicate we are -- even by NOAA standards -- only 4 years away from creating “a discrepancy” in the IPCC computer models.

    All other major datasets agree.

    Additionally, peer reviewed science from May of 2008 suggests that:

    “global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade”

    Uh Oh!!!
    Looks like we’re in for a NOAA/IPCC busting 20 years without any warming!

    Personally, I’m betting on a 30 to 40 year cooling trend very similar to 1934 to 1979.

    I would offer Romm my observations. But, Romm is notorious for censoring any science he finds “inconvenient” to his purely political agenda.

  2. Point #1
    Don't take the sentence too literally - I was taking some literary license for a better sentence :) The spattering of blue dots here and there don't alter the point that very few places on earth actually experienced a "cold October."

    Point #2
    If you don't like the 1971-2000 baseline, you can create your own map here:

    Point #3
    Why is the satellite data far more accurate? In any case, it agrees that the there's a positive temperature anomaly for Oct (+0.28)

    Point #4
    This is the point of the original post - you can't use temperatures just from the US to make a judgment on the global trend. The northern hemisphere IS experiencing the most warming, especially above latitudes greater than 60 degrees:

    Point #5
    So if there's another record within 4 years, will that confirm the models in your view?

    Also, the Latif study? This is a misinterpretation, since the study is talking about 10-year running averages, not temperatures of specific years. According to Latif himself:

    "Thus, based on our results we don’t expect an increase in the mean temperature of the next decade (2005-2015)... our results show a pick up in global mean temperature for the following decade (2010-2020). Assuming a smooth transition in temperature, our results would indicate the warming picks up earlier than 2015."

    Yes, that's from Joe Romm, but unless his "bias" is causing him to fabricate quotes from Latif, there is no way to logically interpret the study as predicting cooler temps from 2008-2018.

  3. I need to add a little nuance to the point that only global temps matter, not regional. That's true if you're trying to understand whether the climate is currently warming. It's the ultimate metric we care about.

    But if you're trying to understand how temps will change in the FUTURE, it absolutely matters where those changes are taking place. If you notice on the graph, the biggest red dots are over Siberia and the extreme northwest of North America - exactly where permafrost contains massive amounts of CO2 and methane. Methane feedbacks are poorly understood, but it's likely that models underestimate its impact (and why would we take a chance?)

    The skeptic position rests entirely on Lindzen's claim (which you cited earlier) that a 1.2 degree increase is not enough to cause positive water vapor feedbacks. But if that 1.2 degree is unevenly distributed such that it melts permafrost, it's possible that methane feedbacks could kick in, making Lindzen's argument irrelevant. (Don't quote me on that - I don't have the expertise to quantify the various impacts, and don't know what the models say).

  4. That map is a work of art.

    In NE Canada there should be a big blue dot.

    Eureka daily average -22c

    Eureka Oct average -23.33

  5. Looks like the GISS data doesn't go up that far.

    But for the nearby Resolute station, the 1971-2000 Oct daily average is -14.9, compared to -13.62 C in Oct 2009 (anomaly = +1.29 C).

  6. 1) Satellite data are far more reliable for countless reasons. This link more comprehensively explains why.

    2) Tell me why you refuse to deal with the ongoing, uninterrupted 10,000 year cooling trend in both the Arctic Circle AND the Antarctic Circle.

    3) Tell me why you refuse to deal with the fact that the Greenland ice sheet was generally warmer during the 1930s and warmed FAR more rapidly during the 1930s.

    All these charts demonstrate that there is nothing even remotely unusual about the latest warming. It’s just the latest saw tooth on each chart. The next cooling trend began 11 years ago and will last for decades -- two at a minimum. Sorry, the AGW fad is OVER! It’s time to find another new age religion.

    Again, all the source data for each chart are readily assessable from this link.

  7. WAG,

    Don’t expect Joe Romm -- at Climate Progress -- to answer the question either.

    I made, in this thread, my first ever attempt to comment at Climate Progress.

    I was pretty sure Romm would censor my “inconvenient question”. He did.

    Click here for the “before” screen shot -- as my respectful question (#8) awaited moderation.

    Click here for the “after” screen shot -- documenting that my question was not tolerated.

    My question is gone and a new #8 comment has replaced it.

    Romm -- being more propagandist than scientist -- is notorious for this sort of behavior.

  8. The cooling trend actually makes the present warming more remarkable, since it shows we're deviating from the natural trend. Remember, we're not concerned with how climate has already changed--the important thing is how it will change in the future. It's irrelevant to say "the 1.2 degrees of arctic warming we've experienced is similar to past changes" - what matters is that the 5-10 degrees C of EXPECTED warming in the Arctic is unprecedented. The low-end estimate for change over the next 90 years is 2.5 times the change you presented over the last 10,000.

  9. WAG,

    1) Are you willfully blind to all the other warming trends over the last 10,000 years which prove the present trend to be utterly unremarkable?

    2) Are you willfully blind to the 11 year cooling trend which is likely to last at LEAST 20 years?

    2) Where did you get your crystal ball? From the IPCC? Seriously?

  10. So, much like the racist hurricane Katrina, the cooling weather in North America is evidence of a conspiracy against science....

    I see.

  11. 1) Already answered that

    2) Already answered that. Not sure where you're getting the "20 year" figure, considering Latif predicts warming to accelerate by 2015

    3) The IPCC is the synthesis of all the scientific evidence. It's not a "source" of original evidence in itself, so it makes no sense to criticize it.

    As for Lindzen, I can't claim to have the expertise needed to pick apart the "iris" hypothesis. However, keep in mind that it is the ONLY hypothesis ever presented to explain how it could be possible to increase CO2 without major increases in temperature. So if it's wrong, the game's up for skeptics. And it's a LOT more convoluted than any standard climate model, considering that it's trying to explain how increasing water vapor could lead to a decrease in the greenhouse effect.

  12. WAG,

    Clearly, AGW is your religion and your devotion to your religion is, as I said, willfully blind.

    Have a nice life.

    SBVOR out...