Climate

Paging Neil Cavuto: UAH global satellite data has record WARMEST day for January

“It’s almost certain by now that January 2010 will also be the globally warmest January on the UAH record”

Yes the anti-science crowd, from WattsUpWithThat to FoxNews, have been touting cold snaps over a small fraction of the globe as evidence of the non-exist cooling trend (see “disinformers to media: Please make case for something that isn’t true using data we don’t believe“).

Well now even they have been forced to acknowledge that the global record that’s going to be set this month is, in all likelihood, for warming — because it is showing up on their beloved satellite data (click to enlarge).

UAH 1-10

Yes, a Revkin tweet put me on to this — and no, I still don’t like green eggs and tweets!

This actually comes from a post by LuboÅ¡ Motl, a Czech anti-science type to judge by his post (he uses phrases like “the AGW fad”), which was reposted by Watts.  Watts seems to think this is

now more from the “weather is not climate department”

That’s his way of pretending that all of his posts on local cold snaps aren’t an effort to make a climate-related argument to persuade his legion of anti-scientific readers that we’re cooling when in fact we’re warming everywhere you look (see “Skeptical Science explains how we know global warming is happening: It’s the oceans, stupid!“).

In fact, the “daily global average temperature” is considerably more relevant than, say, the temperature in Florida.  But a single day’s temp certainly isn’t climate data.  That said, the post Watts reprints goes well beyond one day with this prediction:

By the way, it’s almost certain by now that January 2010 will also be the globally warmest January on the UAH record – the anomaly will likely surpass 0.70 °C. It may even see the highest (or at least 2nd highest) monthly UAH anomaly since December 1978. I will print more exact predictions in a week or so.

Now we’re starting to get closer to the climate realm, as it appears we are increasingly likely to vindicate NASA’s prediction of a year ago that an El Ni±o would soon emerge and that — on top of the long-term human-caused warming trend — means “it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years.”  And again, this is even more impressive because we’re at “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”  It is just hard to stop the march of AGW, at least if we don’t sharply reverse emissions trends.

Of course, this record warming even in the satellite dataset isn’t a surprise — at least to those in the pro-science camp.  NOAA reported today in its 2009 global report:

Since 1979, NOAA’s polar orbiting satellite measurements have also been used to measure temperatures in the troposphere and stratosphere. Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) data are analyzed for NOAA by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Remote Sensing Systems (RSS, Santa Rosa, California) and the University of Washington (UW). These observations show that the global average temperature in the middle troposphere (the layer which is centered at an altitude of 2 to 6 miles, but which includes the lower stratosphere) has increased, though differing analysis techniques have yielded similar but different trends (see below).

In all cases these trends are positive. The analysis performed by RSS reveals a trend of 0.09°C/decade (0.16°F/decade) while the UAH analysis reveals a lower trend of 0.04°C/decade (0.08°F/decade). When adjusted by University of Washington scientists to remove the stratospheric influences from the RSS and UAH mid-troposphere average, the trends increase to 0.15°C/decade (0.26°F/decade) and 0.11°C/decade (0.20°F/decade), respectively. (A journal article is available that describes the University of Washington adjustments to remove the stratospheric influence from mid-troposphere averages.) Trends in these MSU time series are similar to the trend in global surface temperatures, which increased at a rate near 0.16°C/decade (0.29°F/decade) during the same 30-year period.

You know, it was in the 50s in DC today.   Not a record, but surely enough for FoxNews to use as a hook for a larger story on the overall human-caused global warming trend — see FoxNews’ Neil Cavuto still thinks winter chill disproves global warming; actual scientists disagree.  Neil, I’m ready for my close up.

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20 Responses to Paging Neil Cavuto: UAH global satellite data has record WARMEST day for January

  1. blank lord says:

    Motl is a ‘conservative physicist’.

  2. chris says:

    My memory is great when I can find it. Didn’t Motl recently threaten to sue another blogger within an inch of his life or words to that effect?

  3. gingoro says:

    Neither cold snaps nor the warm spells indicates anything about the presence or absence of GW. IMO I want to see a warm or cold year before any real conclusion can be drawn. Maybe the deniers post about cold snaps because the supporters post about warm months.

  4. Leif says:

    So gingoro, eleven of the worlds warmest years in the last 13 don’t count for anything? PS it is a record solar minimum as well.

  5. Doug Bostrom says:

    “I want to see a warm or cold year…”

    How warm, for Pete’s sake? Leif beat me to it, but have you looked at the record of recent years?

    By any chance, are you saying you need to see a 12 month contiguous span of record global temperatures? I know you don’t -really- want that, nobody in their right mind would, but in any case that’s not what we’re going to see. Instead, we’re looking for a trend and unfortunately we’re seeing it.

    Nice boats, by the way, Leif.

  6. Dano says:

    gringoro is just spamming the thread. See, throwing FUD out there helps delay the refutation of the self-identity. Best to simply ignore the ~12% of the population disconnected from reality. Unless you are using them for humor, of course, or ridicule.

    Best,

    D

  7. December 2009 was an extremely warm month globally. It was the 8th warmest December month ever (since 1880) according to NOAA (http://bit.ly/NOAAdec09) and the 4th warmest ever (since 1880) according to NASA (http://bit.ly/NASAdec09). Temperatures in the Arctic were over 4 degrees C higher than the 1951-1980 average (http://bit.ly/NASAdec09map).

  8. Motl has forgotten more science than you can even hope to know Romm.

    [JR: I wonder it that is literally true. Certainly he has forgotten a great deal of science. I’m also inclined to say that one can “go negative” in one’s knowledge of science (much as you can have carbon-negative power and, of course, anti-matter), if you believe things that are anti-scientific.]

  9. ken levenson says:

    Jim Hansen, and gang, has a useful note just out:
    “If It’s That Warm, How Come It’s So Damned Cold?”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2010/20100115_Temperature2009.pdf

    Useful.

  10. Richard says:

    Joe,

    Is the reported ‘new cooperation’ by the ‘intellegence’ agencies with climate scientists providing new satelite data yet? If not, any idea on a timeframe?

  11. Mike says:

    Doesn’t Christy adjust this stuff after the fact? Will the real time numbers end up as the actual numbers?

  12. dhogaza says:

    This actually comes from a post by Luboš Motl, a Czech anti-science type

    He’s a string theorist who used to be at Harvard. He’s also a rabid right-winger, which isn’t uncommon among modern ex-eastern bloc folk (I had a polish refuge software engineer work for me back in the 1980s, and got to know a bunch of people in the refuge community here in my corner of the US). He’s a bit … crazy.

    Someone else above said he’s a “conservative physicist”, which is how he labels himself on his web page. That’s an odd thing to do, in itself – what does his being a physicist have to do with his politics, or his politics, with his science? (oh, wait, I think his position on global warming might be telling …)

  13. Lamont says:

    Here’s the core of Watt’s new argument:

    “…the global mean temperature is irrelevant for you and for everyone else, too…”

    “…The swings in the global temperature won’t visibly help you to improve the predictions of the local temperature…”

    “…it is very important to realize that the changes of the global mean temperature are irrelevant for every single place on the globe. They only emerge when things are averaged over the globe – but no one is directly affected by such an average….”

    “…Different regional climates change differently and most of these changes have nothing to do with the changes of the global mean temperature!…”

    All quotes from Watts’ article on the UAH Jan numbers…

    While there’s always going to be a segment of True Believers who will start parroting this argument because they can’t let Al Gore win, this argument is thin enough that it should be transparent to a lot of people…

    Of course Watts probably posted these numbers up because he knows 2010 is going to be hot, and he’s trying to beta test arguments and rationalizations about it. They’ve got a whole year to hone their propaganda and come up with a better argument, but if this is as good as it gets, WUWT is going to look like failblog in 2010…

  14. MarkB says:

    Re: #13,

    So Watts is saying global warming doesn’t matter because weather exists.

    His argument is somewhat similar to an addicted gambler saying there’s no problem because in any given session, no one can predict with much accuracy whether he will win or lose. All that nerdy number crunching that indicates with very high confidence he will lose in the long-run is irrelevant to his day to day life.

    As for the UAH data, I guess that means Roy Spencer is in on the grand hoax too. Keep in mind that UAH has a very suspicious seasonal cycle, such that its winter anomalies are relatively high and late spring anomalies low. It’s amazing that the favorite data product of deniers is the one that has been so consistently flawed and error-ridden.

    http://deepclimate.org/2009/06/05/uah-annual-cycle-continues-in-2009/

    Still, if you smooth out the effects of this cycle, it won’t shave off all that much from the expected January anomaly, which is too soon to make conclusions on.

  15. Leif says:

    The major problem with anomalies is that they place “road blocks” in the paths of orderly progression of sensitive life cycles. Birds need to arrive at there nesting site when the caterpillars hatch. If the caterpillars hatched a month ago with an unusual warm stretch in February? Failed song bird hatch, that is what!
    Man too needs orderly progression of seasons. The corn needs time to ripen. This year the United States lost about 10% of it corn crop to inclement weather at seasons end. Could that number be 50% in a few years?

  16. Ron Broberg says:

    I enjoyed the Watts/Motl piece posted a couple of weeks ago.

    No statistically significant warming since 1995: a quick mathematical proof
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/12/26/no-statistically-significant-warming-since-1995-a-quick-mathematical-proof/

    No warming since 1995! Wow!

    But wait … what does that article actually say?

    “Only the 72% confidence interval for the slope touches zero. It means that the probability that the underlying slope is negative equals 1/2 of the rest, i.e. a substantial 14%.
    We can only say that it is “somewhat more likely than not” that the underlying trend in 1995-2009 was a warming trend rather than a cooling trend. Saying that the warming since 1995 was “very likely” is already way too ambitious a goal that the data don’t support.”

    72% chance of warming since 1995.
    14% chance of cooling since 1995.

    They are on a heavy spin cycle over at WUWT.

    [JR: As the old saying goes, there are three types of lies: Lies, damn lies, and WUWT. It is a well-known principle in mathematics and logic that if you start with a false premise, you can prove anything.]

  17. From Peru says:

    JR:Very BAD NEWS:

    The Pine Island Glacier (PIG) ALREADY passed the TIPPING POINT…
    …likely in 1996!

    This the Study:

    “Tipping point in the Stability of ice-sheet grounding lines [of the Pine Island Glacier (PIG) on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)]”

    link:http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/01/13/rspa.2009.0434.short

    Farewell Pine Island Glacier (PIG)!

    [JR: It’s on the list to blog on!]

  18. Lamont says:

    That Watts “no warming since 1995” blog post was done better by Tamino:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/12/15/how-long/

    “That does not mean that there’s been no warming trend in those 15 years — or in the last 10, or 9, or 8, or 7, or 6 years, or three and a half days. It only means that the trend cannot be established with statistical signficance. Of course, it’s another common denialist theme that “there’s been no warming.” This too is a fool’s argument; any such claims are only statements about the noise, not about the trend. It’s the trend that matters, and is cause for great concern, and there’s no evidence at all that the trend has reversed, or even slowed.”

  19. Michael hauber says:

    Actually the ‘no statistically significant warming since 1995’ is technicaly correct, but misleading. Basically the result is that there is enough noise in the system that if the data from 1995 was all that we had, we wouldn’t be able to state confidently that the observed warming trend was not due to random statistical variation.

    A less misleading claim would be ‘to determine a statistically significant trend, we have to go further back than 1995’.

    A 72% confidence interval does not mean there was a 14% chance that the real underlying trend was cooling. What it does mean is that if the underlying trend is exactly the trend observed since 1995, and the variation around the trend stays the same, then for the next 15 years, we have a 14% chance to see cooling.