Most months I show the UAH Global Temperature update. As I’ve explained before this is not neccesarily the best way of tracking global warming but it is the one, that in principle, puts the best case forward for the denialists. Produced by a climate change ‘skeptic’ and using a process that doesn’t use weather stations and is not an artefact of an urban heat island effect etc etc.
After last months spike there is a dip back down but as the green line I’ve added shows this ‘low’ relative to the past few years represents the kind of anomaly that was a ‘high’ for most of my lifetime.
The skeptical/non-global warming/its-all-natural hypotheses (such as they are) predicted rapid and substantial cooling in the wake of the highs at the end of 2016 – sufficient to bring temperatures back to the baseline level. Nearly a year on and temperature anomalies are still running consistently higher than most of 21st century – itself a period of record warmth.
I’ve been posting most months the UAH satellite lower tropospheric anomalies not because this is the best or most accurate way of tracking global warming over time but because this is the record that the Global Warming denialists should (in principle) agree is correct. It isn’t based on ground based weather stations, it should be independent or urban heat island effects and the guy who does the number crunching (Roy Spencer) is a regular contributor to the denialist milieu.
Having said all that, the data for October looks so high that I’m a bit sceptical – maybe there has been an error?
The anomaly isn’t quite as high as the late 90’s El Nino nor as high as the 2016 El Nino but otherwise it is very high. Yet we don’t currently have El Nino conditions in the Pacific.
So I don’t know. Maybe Roy Spencer has got his maths wrong again or we really should be freaking out even more than the level of freaking out that we should be doing but aren’t…because if that’s the new normal…shit…
The UAH-Global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly – posted not because it is better or more accurate than other temperature records but purely because in theory it should be the one that global warming denialists have the least issue with.
Is this what the new post-El Nino normal looks like? Because it looks warm. In the 1980s, last month’s middling, unremarkable temperature anomaly would have been a record breaking high. In the 1990s, the figure was only reached during an El Nino event.
This is the latest graph for the UAH sattelite (lower tropospheric) temperature anomalies.
I added the orange line to make it easier to see how the latest result compares with past results.
As I’ve explained before, other data sets may be better than this one but I like to point at this one precisely because in principle it is the record more favoured by global warming denialist/contrarians. In reality they tend to shop around for whatever data set suits their argument of the day but the UAH set has the advantage of not being based on ground weather stations and is maintained by Dr Roy Spencer who is sympathetic to their viewpoints.
To recap: the denialist narrative was that 2015/2016 was just a natural occuring cyclical blip of high temperatures caused by a El Nino. The empahsis is on the “just” – in reality that was a powerful El Nino event but global warming contributed. What’s the difference between the two claims? The denialist predicted that there would then be a massive drop big enough to bring those average temperatures down to historically normal levels. As we can see that isn’t what happened – after temperatures peaked there was a decline but the new ‘low’ is comparable with old ‘highs’.
Does that mean there might not be further falls in temperature? No, temperatures will fluctuate but the long term trend keeps going up and ‘natural cycles’ just don’t work as an explanation of that trend.
In his last attempt to disprove global warming, John C Wright has pointed out that he doesn’t know who discovered global warming.
” Again, who is the scientist who discovered Global Warming?” http://www.scifiwright.com/2017/07/last-crusade-unearned-laurels/
Arguably it isn’t the most illogical argument he has used in his on going struggle against reality nor even is it his silliest. It requires both a simplistic view of science, where each discovery has one and only one owner and an elevation of his own ignorance to the status of a counter-argument.
So, firstly, mapping single individuals to distinct discoveries is a simplification, intended to make the history of science easier to follow. Yes, Charles Darwin wrote the Origin of Species and hence is a central figure in the theory of evolution by natural selection but his genius was not solitary.
Still, maybe global warming is still somehow unusual in this regard. Maybe Wright has some sort of point that the theory just popped out of nowhere. Yeah, but no. It really is as simple as Wright being intentionally ignorant and then claiming that his own ignorance demonstrates a flaw in global warming as an idea.
So, who did ‘discover’ global warming, given the basic caveats of all such discoveries being upon the shoulders of giants/research communities. Well, firstly what is the thing being discovered? It can be broken down into several parts:
- the Earth’s surface is warmer than would be expected (i.e. there is some kind of ‘greenhouse’* like effect)
- the atmosphere is what makes it warmer
- some gases in the atmosphere must be ‘greenhouse gases’ and play a role in keeping Earth warm (of which water vapour is the biggest culprit)
- Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas
- If you increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere then average surface temperatures should increase all other things being equal
- This is actually happening
- 1820s Joseph Fourier – noted the discrepancy in surface temperatures https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Fourier#Discovery_of_the_greenhouse_effect
- 1850s John Tyndall – investigated the way atmospheric gases absorbed radiant heat (i.e. infra red ) from which he found water vapour was a greenhouse gas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tyndall
- 1890s Svante Arrhenius found that CO2 was a greenhouse gas and hypothesised that additional CO2 in the atmosphere would lead to temperature increases https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius#Greenhouse_effect
- 1950s onward David Keeling’s measurements of atmospheric CO2 demonstrated that levels where increasing
So, in the unlikely event that John C Wright ever reads this, now he knows who ‘discovered’ global warming.
*[No, greenhouses don’t work that way exactly – the name is a metaphor]
It is deeply saddening that the anti-science attitude has become so entrenched on the right and in the government. However, it is nice to find all your targets standing in a row.
- Vox Day announces that “modern science is non-science” http://voxday.blogspot.com.au/2017/03/modern-science-is-non-science.html and links to…
- Breitbart, which announces ‘Fewer Than 1 Percent Of Papers in Scientific Journals Follow Scientific Method’ http://www.breitbart.com/tech/2017/03/29/j-scott-armstrong-fraction-1-papers-scientific-journals-follow-scientific-method/ and cites…
- Climate-denial ‘think’ tank, The Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0i3HnA0TI4 specifically…
- “Wharton School professor and forecasting expert” J. Scott Armstrong’s and Kesten C Green’s presentation “Are Forecasts of Dangerous Global Warming Scientific?”
The minor good news is that watching the presentation and recognising the names, I’d already debunked this nonsense. https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/dont-forget-climate-change-chapter-12-climate-science-venus-market-researchers/
Yes, this is the same warmed over nonsense I tackled when I went through a climate change denial book last year.
From the presentation:
What I found then was that Armstrong and Green, to reach a conclusion that a forecast of global cooling was more ‘accurate’ than global warming, had to make the following errors:
- Use only ONE warming scenario
- Use a cooling scenario smaller in magnitude to the warming scenario
- Use a retroactive forecast using the warming scenario that does not actually correspond with the warming hypothesis (specifically using modern rates of warming for the mid 19th century)
- Ignore more recent data (specifically from 1975)
What was even more notable was that some of these problematic steps were in violation of their own ‘principles of forecasting’.
There’s more, but I’ll come back to it later.