July global temperatures


The usual caveat: I use this data set just to cut through one layer of disingenuous counter-argument from the right. It’s isn’t necessarily the best or most representative, not that it matters. It is getting warmer, we’ve known that for years and we’ve known why for years. I’d challenge anybody to point out a major area of modern political policy where the underlying facts and evidence are this strong. Not crime, not economics, not foreign policy, not taxation, not even healthcare have the same level and quality of evidence behind the policy debate. If you think we don’t have enough evidence yet to take action on this topic but claim the facts back you up in some other policy area you are frankly talking bullshit.

A not-actually-a-paper has the Right excited about global warming denial again

One of my favourite topics is the methodical destruction of our planet’s climatic status-quo by our fun habit of burning the deep past for larks aka Global Warming. As a reminder, global warming currently looks like this*:

UAH satellite temps – not because they are the best record but just because they avoid two thoughtless arguments

The 1990s argument of ‘we need more research is dead, the 2000s ‘pause’ argument is dead. It’s getting hotter and anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are definitely the cause.

One lingering hypothesis is Henrik Svensmark’s comsic-rays versus cloud cover theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrik_Svensmark#Galactic_Cosmic_Rays_vs_Cloud_Cover ). It doesn’t work and the evidence is against it but the mills of denial keep coming back to it because cloud cover is hard to model. So there’s always some mileage to obstuficate the question by waving your hands at clouds.

Enter a new ‘paper’ with the clickbait title “No experimental evidence for the significant anthropogenic climate change”. The paper isn’t about experiments or experimental data and doesn’t back up that title. Instead it is an unreviewed discussion of some modelling that’s available on the open access arXiv.org: https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.00165

The paper points to a relationship between temperature and cloud cover (fewer clouds ~ warmer temperatures) asserts that it is the changes in clouds cover that is driving changes in temperature (rather than vice versa or a complex mix of both) and that if clouds change temperature following their model then they can account for all the increase in warmth.

Except, that then leaves a massive hole in why the anthropogenic gases aren’t leading to warming as well, never mind why cloud cover should be changing in this way.

It would be uninteresting, except the usual suspects have got very excited about it because it looks sciencey. Russia Today published this article: https://www.rt.com/news/464051-finnish-study-no-evidence-warming/ and from there the story was picked up by braniacs such Paul Joseph Watson, Stefan Molyneux and, of course, our old pal Vox Day.

It’s a cold day here today but global warming is still warming

Satellite temperature record with May 2019:


Just as a reminder: I cite the UAH satellite temperatures not because it is the best data set but because it cuts through a lot of disinformation. It’s maintained by a “climate sceptic” and doesn’t depend on land based surface stations.

In the 1980s, last May’s temperatures would have been a record breaking month. It is getting hotter, noticeably within our lifetime.

How hot was April?

I haven’t posted satellite temperatures for awhile, here is April:


As always, I’m using the UAH record because its the one that the deniers should have the least argument against.

According to the Australian Bureau of Metrology, there’s a 70% chance of El Niño conditions this year but likely a short lived set: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

The magical cooling that is supposed to occur according to those who say warming is just solar cycles or just some other cycles, remains invisible.

Feeling cold? Here’s some global warming links

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that 2018 was the fourth warmest year since instrumental records began.

“Global temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest on record, US government scientists have confirmed, adding to a stretch of five years that are now collectively the hottest period since modern measurements began. The world in 2018 was 1.5F (0.83C) warmer than the average set between 1951 and 1980, said Nasa and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa). This means 2018’s average global temperatures were the fourth warmest since 1880, placing it behind 2016, 2017 and 2015.”


According to the satellite temperature record, 2018 drops a bit to being the sixth warmest on record:

“The 2018 globally averaged temperature anomaly, adjusted for the number of days in each month, is +0.23 deg. C, making 2018 the 6th warmest year in the now-40 year satellite record of global lower tropospheric temperature variations.


Dr Spencer (who is a sceptic of global warming, so has no reason to exaggerate) also produced this graph showing ranking of years in his dataset:


While the US has had some chilly polar vortex woes, January was the hottest month Australia has had since records began according to the Bureau of Meteorology:

The Bureau of Meteorology released its climate summary for January on Friday and said the widespread heatwave conditions and daily extremes were “unprecedented”.
“There’s been so many records it’s really hard to count,” said Andrew Watkins, a senior climatologist at the Bom.


And despite those extremely cold temperatures in North America, globally January was relatively warm in the satellite record:


Satellite Temps for August

The usual caveats and observations apply.


Still in a relatively low point, that’s a historical high.

As we did a bit of solar discussion a few weeks ago, a reminder that if global temperatures were all due to solar cycles then we would already be in a historically cold period. If you don’t want to trust the temperature data then ask yourself “Is the world COLDER than it has been in decades?” The honest answer, unless you have a very confused memory is “no” – at which point you need to ask why.



(UAH Satellite temp anomaly versus monthly sunspot number, both normalised to fit on same axes)


How Coal Runs Australian Politics

The latest news in Australian politics is that ex-PM Malcolm Turnbull will resign his seat sooner than expected triggering a by election. I suspect this won’t bring down the government but it’s a more assertive act by Turnbull than I expected.

The Guardian has a report here: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/27/malcolm-turnbull-to-trigger-byelection-by-quitting-parliament-on-friday?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

Further down in that article is a comment from Turnbull’s son Alex, that confirms an observation I’ve made about this chaos:

“After Turnbull’s leadership loss last week, his son Alex Turnbull has started speaking publicly about his frustrations with the federal Coalition.
On Monday, Alex said he suspected a powerful group of coal mining companies on Australia’s east coast was having an “undue level of influence” on federal Liberal party policy.
He said the Coalition’s “singular fixation” on the Galilee Basin – a gigantic coal deposit in central Queensland – and on keeping ageing coal-fired power stations alive, had led him to believe “there are other forces at work” to explain the Coalition’s unproductive policymaking.”

“That there is an undue level of influence on Liberal Party policy by a very small group of miners who have some assets they probably now regret having purchased which did not make a lot of sense anymore and are trying to engineer an outcome which makes those projects economic,” he told the ABC on Monday.
When asked who the miners were, he laughed. Then he said: “People who own a lot of coal in the Galilee Basin.”

The observation certainly fits known facts. And here is a weird twist or perhaps an example of saying the quiet part loud: Denialist website Wattsupwiththat has an article loudly complaining that the press aren’t giving ENOUGH coverage to the fact that Turnbull was ousted because of climate policy: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/08/25/l-a-times-conceals-facts-regarding-climate-policy-repudiation-which-triggered-australian-pm-turnbulls-ouster/