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Sorry deniers: Eighth warmest June on record means Great Ice Age of 2008 is STILL over

By Joe Romm  

"Sorry deniers: Eighth warmest June on record means Great Ice Age of 2008 is STILL over"

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I know we’re supposed to be going into a period of cooling, at least according to people who don’t believe in the scientific method, but for those who do, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reports in its “Climate of 2008 June in Historical Perspective“:

Based on preliminary data, the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature was the eighth warmest on record for June and the ninth warmest for January-June year-to-date period.

It is pretty darn hot in Greenland and Siberia, not like there’s anything important in those regions:

june-2008.gif

Seriously, though, a 4°C to 5°C anomaly over Siberia is bad news for anyone who worries about the 1000 billion tons of carbon locked away in the permafrost (see “Breaking News — Tundra 4: Permafrost loss linked to Arctic sea ice loss“). Speaking of sea ice:

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the June 2008 Northern Hemisphere sea ice extent, which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites, was below the 1979-2000 mean. This was the third least June sea ice extent on record, behind 2006 and 2005.

june-seaice-small.gif

[And yes, I'm aware that in the last couple of weeks the ice-extent trend line has diverged from last year's record.]

The bottom line is that this decade is going to be the hottest decade in the historical record, as is the next decade, and the decade after that, until it is so friggin’ hot even Senator Inhofe may start to wonder if he was wrong.

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30 Responses to Sorry deniers: Eighth warmest June on record means Great Ice Age of 2008 is STILL over

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Toasted, yet. :-(

  2. Stats is your friend says:

    I’ve alway’s been curious as to what measuring techniques and locations have been used to measure worldwide temperatures before the digital age. I’d say that we’ve been pretty accurate since 79 ( satellites) , but how did they measure the entire earth’s temperature before that ( especially early in the century)? Anyone know?

  3. SunSword says:

    Ummm…the NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center’s statement does in fact point out that yes, June was warm compared to the past 128 years but — it doesn’t support your sarcastic statement that “…we’re supposed to be going into a period of cooling, at least according to people who don’t believe in the scientific method…” Because looking at the graphics from the NOAA they show that yes, for the past 4 years the combined land/ocean numbers HAVE been cooling. So yes, apparently it is a “period of cooling”. Of course, the numbers might start cranking up quite shortly. And the long term trend obviously still averages upwards. Therefore I don’t think the sarcasm is appropriate. Better to just point out the data and move on.

  4. kenlevenson says:

    speaking of ice melt –
    (worthy of a post, but I’ve not had time…)
    Antarctica is melting at record pace in the middle of its winter – as much of the remaining Wilkins shelf is about to collapse.
    here:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/antarctic-ice-shelf-collapse-imminent-866504.html
    and here:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/11/2301297.htm

    This wasn’t supposed to happen for another 15 to 20 years….

    The warming water seems to be melting it from below – this can’t be good for western ice sheet/Pine Island Bay….

  5. John Hollenberg says:

    > Because looking at the graphics from the NOAA they show that yes, for the past 4 years the combined land/ocean numbers HAVE been cooling.

    See this link for an explanation why periods shorter than about 15 years are meaningless for discerning climate trends:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/uncertainty-noise-and-the-art-of-model-data-comparison/

  6. paulm says:

    Can the rate of melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) be obtained?

    Can this be used to extrapolate what the temperature rise rate is for the NH? And possible infer from it, what the expected accelerated temperature rise will be?

  7. Paul K says:

    Stats is your friend,
    If you have always been curious and have an interest in stats, you surely know that thermometer records of temperatures around the world have been kept with varying degrees of accuracy and continuity since 1850. The techniques used to derive the global temperature from these records are roughly described by the agencies such as GISS and HadCru that do the compilations and endlessly commented on at any number of websites that talk about global warming. The process includes lots of extrapolation and data adjustments.

  8. Paul K says:

    Skeptics make a big deal about the divergence of GISS anomaly analysis to that of the other measuring bodies. It is caused partly by differing “climatology” time frames, partly by differing data sources and partly by differing “codes”. There are peer reviewed papers on the topic.

    What jumps out at me is that GISS shows the greatest warming in areas with the fewest data sources and the poorest historical records.

  9. paulm says:

    NOAA: Warm June for U.S. with Wet and Dry Extremes,
    Eighth Warmest June on Record for Globe

    Can we expect extreme weather events to help moderate temperature rise due to dissipation of energy?

  10. CoRev says:

    So does this finding agree with the satellite data?

    Not hardly, UAH, twentieth warmest, and RSS thirteenth warmest since the start of satellite records.

    Pick any set of temperature records and trends can be created to show warming and/or cooling. AND, BOTH WOULD BE ACCURATE.

    The best start and stop dates, the best start and stop baseline dates, and Voila a trend!

    CoRev, editor
    http://globalwarmingclearinghouse.blogspot.com

    [JR: Nice try -- the UAH data is dubious at best given its source. In any case, if you take a short-term dataset then you have what we call weather. If you take a long-term data set, then you have what we call climate.]

  11. David says:

    Here is ICECAP’s comments on this latest (and as usual, completely meaningless) NOAA report. http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/latest_noaa_press_release_in_total_disagareement_with_nasa_satellite

    [Yeah, we'll believe stuff from Christy and Spencer -- not (see "Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?")

    Yes, virtually all the inland glaciers are melting faster than expected, the Arctic ice is melting maybe 50 years faster than expected, the Greenland ice sheet is melting 100 years faster than expected, the Antarctic ice sheet is melting 100 years faster than expected, but some guys who have been wrong for two decades say it is really cooling. Seriously!]

  12. SunSword says:

    >> Because looking at the graphics from the NOAA they show that yes, for the
    >> past 4 years the combined land/ocean numbers HAVE been cooling.

    > See this link for an explanation why periods shorter than about 15 years
    > are meaningless for discerning climate trends:

    OK. Here is a graph from satellite imaging for from 1979 to present:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/MSUJUNE.jpg
    So what we have here, is a fundamental disagreement between the satellite data and the land stations.

  13. CoRev says:

    AS Sunsword says: “So what we have here, is a fundamental disagreement between the satellite data and the land stations.”

    CoRev adds, and a divergence in particular with the US stations. Why?

    How many times do I need to repeat:

    [JR: We got the disinformation the first (and last) time. Thanks!]

  14. Dano says:

    Puh-leez pee-pul.

    If you’re not bright enough to know that UAH/MSU don’t measure the earth’s surface and GISS/HadCRU thermometers do, then perhaps you aren’t the right ones to be carrying industry’s water.

    Best,

    D

  15. John Hollenberg says:

    This article is also relevant to this discussion:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/07/no-man-is-an-urban-heat-island/#more-454

    I especially like “Mistaken Assumption #6: If only enough problems can be found, global warming will go away” and the corollary:

    “If enough holes in their arguments can be found, global warming skeptics will go away!”

    Read the first dozen responses for more sources of data which support that global warming is real.

  16. John Hollenberg says:

    Dano, can you point those of us who would like to educate ourselves to a more detailed description of the UAH/MSU and GISS/HadCRU data? Or provide a more detailed description yourself? I don’t know much about any of these sources.

    Thanks.

  17. Dano says:

    John,

    Satellites measure the “temp” of the atmosphere at various levels above the surface. Surface stations measure the temperature at the surface of the earth, where people live. If you wish to explain the difference to septics, denialists, delusionists, et al., ask if people live in dirigibles, zeppelins and airships. Why? These people would be affected by the temps above the surface.

    Remember: denialists want to assert that the atmosphere being cooler negates the models. Negating model output means that voila! no globul warmin’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Best,

    D

  18. John Hollenberg says:

    Dano,

    Couple of questions:

    1) How high above the surface do the satellites measure the temperature?
    2) Is UAH “University of Alabama at Huntsville” and are these the same guys that had to admit they made a mistake in their calculations (Spencer/Christy)?

  19. Dano says:

    John,

    1) There are 4 different main levels (channels): best viewed here. As the trop is highest at the equator and lowest at the poles, the heights vary but generally the data the denialists are using – TLT (Temperature Lower Troposphere) – is representing “temps” at mostly between 4-7 km above the surface (the data are weighted & the main weighting function is between these two heights* [from the link above].

    2) Yes. Interestingly, S&C were Mannian before Mann and didn’t share their data – and finally after they released their datasets and the data were audited (alas, not by amateurs), their analyses were found to be incorrect.

    Best,

    D

    * About 80% of the signal for this channel comes from the troposphere, with the weighting function peaking from 4 to 7 km above the surface, depending on earth incidence angle. The remainder of the signal comes from the surface and stratosphere, with the exact contribution of each dependent on the surface type and the atmospheric profile at the point of measurement. — Mears, Schabel and Wentz 2003. A Reanalysis of the MSU Channel 2 Tropospheric Temperature Record. Journ Clim 16: pp. 3650-3664.

  20. Dano says:

    Oops. The quote above should note that it appeared on pg 3650.

    D

  21. John Hollenberg says:

    So, if I reside permanently on the top of Mt. Whitney, the satellite data may be relevant to me (over 4,000 meters elevation)? The deniers may be right, it is damn cold up there, even in the summer (I saw two feet of ice in the stone hut in early September of 1973). Of course, for the rest of the earth’s population, that won’t be much consolation :-)

  22. Dano says:

    Clarification:

    If you reside permanently on the top of Mt. Whitney, the trend in the satellite data may be relevant to you (over 4,000 meters elevation).

    Otherwise, the trend at the surface is what the rest of the earth’s human population wants. This won’t stop the obfuscating by industry and ideologues, but still.

    Best,

    D

  23. John Hollenberg says:

    > So what we have here, is a fundamental disagreement between the satellite data and the land stations.

    Debunked here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/satellite-measurements-warming-troposphere.htm

  24. PaulM says:

    Dano does not appear to understand the first steps of the global warming argument he seems to believe in so passionately. The theory is that the atmosphere absorbs more longwave radiation due to CO2, and then radiates it back, heating the earth. If this was happening, the atmosphere should be warming at least as much as the surface.

    As for June being the 8th warmest, CoRev has already pointed that this is not true for the satellite data. For the GISS data, of the last 30 years, June 2008 comes 18th. I know that some deniers don’t want to believe the satellite data, but surely they believe the data of James Hansen?

  25. John Hollenberg says:

    > As for June being the 8th warmest, CoRev has already pointed that this is not true for the satellite data. For the GISS data, of the last 30 years, June 2008 comes 18th.

    Arguing against global warming using minor discrepancies in the noise (=weather) is not going to make global warming disappear. If you go to the web site:

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/2008/jun/global.html

    you will see that the trend (=climate) is positive for all measures (look for lower tropospher). Try educating yourself about the difference between weather and climate. If you are interested, here is a good place to start:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/01/uncertainty-noise-and-the-art-of-model-data-comparison

  26. Dano says:

    PaulM:

    Dano does not appear to understand the first steps of the global warming argument he seems to believe in so passionately. The theory is that the atmosphere absorbs more longwave radiation due to CO2, and then radiates it back, heating the earth. If this was happening, the atmosphere should be warming at least as much as the surface.

    No.

    First, your ‘belief’ try at argumentation is noted and ignored.

    Next, the surface of the earth is heating up faster than the lower trop at this particular time. I don’t know what to tell you as to the reason for this short-term phenomenon. Perhaps you believe that we know everything there is to know and there is nothing to learn. Good for you.

    Lastly, let’s see all the denialist papers that have physical reasons for debunking AGW by having this current short-term trend be lower than the surface. Let’s see those models, equations, papers, testable hypotheses, journal articles, letters, empirical evidence sets, scribbles on a napkin.

    Best,

    D

  27. SunSword says:

    >> So what we have here, is a fundamental disagreement between
    >>the satellite data and the land stations.

    > Debunked here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/satellite-measurements-warming-troposphere.htm

    Well, I don’t think “debunked” is the right term. While they map well to each from a “trend” perspective over the long term, they don’t agree with the total levels. Which is what the base note was referring to. For example:

    http://bp1.blogger.com/_0HiXKAFhRJ4/R5gtnxMkqdI/AAAAAAAAAgc/9yCXzJ7Lto8/s1600-h/Variations2.JPG

  28. John Hollenberg says:

    > While they map well to each from a “trend” perspective over the long term, they don’t agree with the total levels.

    In other words, the big picture is that both support a very similar trend of a warming world. The rest of the details about this difference can be hashed out by the climate scientists. Try Realclimate.org for more technical discussions about this.

  29. John Hollenberg says:

    To quote more extensively from the link I provideed:

    “So where does that leave us? An “Executive Summary” by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, co-authored by John Christy of UAH concludes:

    “Previously reported discrepancies between the amount of warming near the surface and higher in the atmosphere have been used to challenge the reliability of climate models and the reality of human induced global warming. This significant discrepancy no longer exists because errors in the satellite and radiosonde data have been identified and corrected. While these data are consistent with the results from climate models at the global scale, discrepancies in the tropics remain to be resolved.

    This difference between models and observations may arise from errors that are common to all models, from errors in the observational data sets, or from a combination of these factors. The second explanation is favored, but the issue is still open.”

    In other words, according to UAH, satellite measurements match the models apart from in the tropics. This error is most likely due to data errors. According to RSS, satellites are in good agreement with models.”

    Presented in proper context, this is seen as a technical issue for climate scientists to investigate, but one which in no way detracts from the accumulated evidence of AGW. If you are wondering about it in that sense, fine. If you are using it to argue that AGW may not be happening (as CoRev is above), the argument doesn’t hold a drop of water.

  30. Mike C says:

    I find it amusing that so many people quote these PRELIMINARY reports by the NOAA without pointing out that they are PRELIMINARY.