Climate

Good news: “Met Office wants re-examination of 150 years of climate data”

Now let’s hope they’ll fix the problems that have caused them to lowball recent warming.

The Met Office has called for a re-examination of more than 150 years of global temperature records as part of a new comprehensive approach for analysing temperature data – to better assess the risks posed by changes in extremes of climate.

Great idea, especially since an independent December 2009 analysis found The global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.”

Everybody but the anti-science disinformers has known for a long time that the Hadley/CRU (Climatic Research Unit) temperature data UNDERestimates “” not OVERestimates “” the recent global temperature rise.  Why?

“There are no permanent weather stations in the Arctic Ocean, the place on Earth that has been warming fastest,” as New Scientist explained (see here and here). “The UK’s Hadley Centre record simply excludes this area, whereas the NASA version assumes its surface temperature is the same as that of the nearest land-based stations.” Thus it is almost certainly the case that the planet has warmed up more this decade than NASA says, and especially more than the UK’s Hadley Center says.

I’ve repeatedly written about this (see “What exactly is polar amplification and why does it matter?” and here).   So has NASA’s James Hansen (see bel0w).

Mean temperature difference between the periods  2004-2008 and 1999-2003 RealClimate has an excellent post on this very subject “” “the ‘hole in the Arctic’ in the Hadley data, just where recent warming has been greatest” “” with this great figure (and caption):

Figure. The animated graph shows the temperature difference between the two 5-year periods 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. The largest warming has occurred over the Arctic in the past decade and is missing in the Hadley data.

See also “Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds.”

Thus contrary to what the global warming disinformers say about the recent temperature record, it is almost certainly the case that the planet has warmed up more this decade than NASA says, and especially more than the UK’s Hadley Center says.

In December, the Met Office admitted as much with a new analysis published on their website:

New evidence confirms land warming record

New analysis released today has shown the global temperature rise calculated by the Met Office’s HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming. The study, carried out by ECMWF (the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts) with input from the Met Office, performs a new calculation of global temperature rise. This independent analysis is based on information from a wide range of sources. It uses all available surface temperature measurements, together with data from sources such as satellites, radiosondes, ships and buoys.

The new analysis estimates the warming to be higher than that shown from HadCRUT’s more limited direct observations. This is because HadCRUT is sampling regions that have exhibited less change, on average, than the entire globe over this particular period. This provides strong evidence that recent temperature change is at least as large as estimated by HadCRUT. This conclusion is in contrast to a recently released study by the Institute of Economic Analysis (IEA) think tank based in Moscow. The IEA’s output is consistent with HadCRUT as they both confirm the global warming signal in this region since 1950, which we see in many other variables and has been consistently attributed to human activities.

Increase in mean near-surface temperature (°C) from (1989-98) to (1999-2008)

Increase in mean near-surface temperature (°C) from (1989-98) to (1999-2008)

The lower figure is the ECMWF analysis which uses all available observations, including satellite and weather balloon records, synthesised in a physically- and meteorologically-consistent way, and the upper figure represents the same period from our HadCRUT record. The ECMWF analysis shows that in data-sparse regions such as Russia, Africa and Canada, warming over land is more extreme than in regions sampled by HadCRUT. If we take this into account, the last decade shows a global-mean trend of 0.1 °C to 0.2 °C per decade. We therefore infer with high confidence that the HadCRUT record is at the lower end of likely warming.

I would say, “Duh” but apparently even stuff that has been obvious in the scientific literature is missed by the media and ignored by the antiscience crowd.

How far back was this known in the literature?  As Hansen explained (again) — see NASA reports hottest November on record, 2009 poised to be second hottest year, Hansen predicts better than 50% chance 2010 will set new record:

As discussed by Hansen et al. (2006) the main difference between these analyses is probably due to the fact that British analysis excludes large areas in the Arctic and Antarctic where observations are sparse. The GISS analysis, which extrapolates temperature anomalies as far as 1200 km, has more complete coverage of the polar areas. The extrapolation introduces uncertainty, but there is independent information, including satellite infrared measurements and reduced Arctic sea ice cover, which supports the existence of substantial positive temperature anomalies in those regions.

If you want a debunking of the anti-science spin on the IEA’s work (by Delingpole!), see Deltoid’s 12/17 post, “Russian analysis confirms 20th century CRU temperatures.”

Here is the Met Office’s “Proposal for a New International Analysis of Land Surface Air Temperature Data.

Bottom Line:  I applaud the Met Office’s efforts to be more transparent about the temperature record — but even more important is for the Met Office to be more accurate.

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12 Responses to Good news: “Met Office wants re-examination of 150 years of climate data”

  1. pete best says:

    This is a terrible thing to have happened for the rigth will never stop and its just another delaying tactic that will delay action for a few more years. The data is already in, the warming is unequivical. Its warming but if that is believed why are you and RC hammering the keyboards of your PC so much.

    Politically its never over – the right will never stop.

  2. prokaryote says:

    It is now 30 years or so that scientist can meassure with certain, the signal from human induced climate changes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Angry_Earth

    Is there a transcript of this book?
    http://www.amazon.com/Our-Angry-Earth-Isaac-Asimov/dp/0812520963

    Could someone suggest a similar reading with current numbers?

  3. Leif says:

    Peter Best, #1: …”the right will never stop.”
    Perhaps, but rendered irrelevant, I have no doubt. Whether in time to prevent humanity from crossing the threshold of doom is another question entirely. The right’s actions do appear to be rather frantic however as they continue to support bankrupt responses to earth’s threatened life support systems and humanities survival there in.

    In that I find hope for us all. Even them. Thou I know that they would not reciprocate were the shoe on the other foot. They have said as much. Their actions testify to that truth.

  4. From Peru says:

    JR:

    There ARE data from the Arctic, that is BUOYS and SATELLITE data about temperature,pressure, winds and precipitations.

    Here is a link to an important buoy station, called the “North Pole Observatory”
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/northpole/

    That show, in this case:
    “latest meteorological data(02/25/2010)
    Location: 85.234°N – 163.975°W
    Temperature: -27.2°C
    Pressure: 1046.3mb ”

    NOAA must have also the data to show maps like these:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/clim/glbcir.quick.shtml
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmpmer_01b.fnl.html

    That show warm anomalies in the Arctic between +5ºC and +10ºC.(sometimes they hit +20ºC!)

    Why NASA GISSTEMP do not use this data instead of extrapolating temperatures from land stations?

  5. Bill Waterhouse says:

    The globe graphic in the post showing anomalies might be more striking with polar views, showing the n and s hemispheres with the poles in the center.

  6. dhogaza says:

    Why NASA GISSTEMP do not use this data instead of extrapolating temperatures from land stations?

    I imagine one reason is that perhaps they don’t go back far enough?

    Another possibility might be that the buoys wander.

    I’m just guessing …

  7. David B. Benson says:

    I used GISTEMP together with CO2 concentrations from Law Dome and the Keeling curve to construct a global temperature predictor, decade by decade, using the previous decade’s CO2 to compute the average temperature for the following decade. In the following, GTA is the decadal average GISTEMP anomaly, AE is the Arrhenius formula Estimated anomaly and the resdiuals are the differences.
    decade GTA AE residual
    1880s -0.28 -0.28 +0.00
    1890s -0.25 -0.23 -0.02
    1900s -0.26 -0.20 -0.05
    1910s -0.28 -0.17 -0.10
    1920s -0.18 -0.13 -0.04
    1930s -0.04 -0.09 +0.05
    1940s +0.03 -0.05 +0.08
    1950s -0.02 -0.03 +0.01
    1960s -0.01 -0.00 -0.01
    1970s -0.00 +0.07 -0.07
    1980s +0.18 +0.18 -0.01
    1990s +0.31 +0.33 -0.02
    2000s +0.51 +0.47 +0.04
    2010s xx.xx +0.64
    Note the prediction of great warmth in the decade just now starting.

  8. WAG says:

    Joe – can you report on Tamino’s utter destruction of Anthony Watts et al?

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/shame/

    This needs to hit the mainstream.

  9. Michael T says:

    Take a look at this post by Joe Bastardi over at Accuweather. He says “the Earth’s temperature is in for a big tumble in the coming years”.

    Here is another qoute from Bastardi’s post: “My point is the warming is expected, but the collapse of that is on the way and with it probably a step farther down in the up and down of the turnaround that has been occurring since around 2000. (I disagree with Jones, there was steady warming until the late ’90s)”.

    http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2010/02/warmest_n_hemispheric_winter_i.html#comments

    I know this is probably his opinion, but why does he say things like this that are not supported by the mainstream science. I think he is just giving the denialists more of what they want to hear.

  10. It’s not uncommon for Bastardi to make outlandish predictions. And it’s also not uncommon for them to never come to fruition.

  11. The Irritator says:

    Hi Joe,
    I know this seems very unlikely to you, but it certainly would be great news for the planet and its inhabitants if the MET office’s recalculations show no significant warming. I’m sure you’d be just as delighted with such an outcome as I would!

  12. dhogaza says:

    I know this seems very unlikely to you, but it certainly would be great news for the planet and its inhabitants if the MET office’s recalculations show no significant warming. I’m sure you’d be just as delighted with such an outcome as I would!

    How would you explain warming in the satellite record? Accelerated melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica? Steadily disappearing arctic sea ice? Bird and insect species expanding their ranges north? And the whole other laundry list of observations that point to one thing only: warming.

    Yes, it would be nice if dozens of lines of evidence and multiple datasets of observations were wrong.

    Care to think about the odds of that? The natural world doesn’t lie, isn’t “communist”, isn’t part of a world-wide plot to form a one-world government. The natural world just *is*. And everything we see in the natural world points to warming.