RSS Feed
Recent Cooling and the Serious Global Database Issue

By Joe D'Aleo
Monday, August 11, 2008

All the global data sources have updated for June. NOAA GHCN data was a clear outlier. NOAA called this the eighth warmest June on record for the globe in the 129 years since records began in 1880. The University of Alabama, Huntsville MSU satellite based global assessment reported the 22nd warmest in the 30 years of records in their data base (in other words the 9th coldest). In fact, their global mean was actually below the average (base period 1979-1998) with a value of -0.11ºC (-0.19ºF). This is a full 1.1ºF degrees colder than the NOAA guesstimate. The other NASA satellite source, RSS had June as the 13th coldest out of the last 30 years.

Hadley came in today with their CRUV3 data update. They also were in disagreement with the satellite data sets with +0.316ºC, the 10th warmest June. However both the Hadley and MSU do show a downtrend since 2002 of 0.15 to 0.2ºC with a rather strong negative correlation (r = - 0.44 with Hadley) with CO2 which increased 3.5% over the period.

Recall the CO2 was negatively correlated for almost 4 decades from the 1940s through the 1970s. It was positively correlated from 1900 to 1930s and again 1979 to 1998. This on-again, off-again relationship suggests CO2 is not driving the climate bus but maybe a passenger in the back.

THE DATA BASE ISSUES

But why the discrepancy of satellite and surface based data bases? A statement is frequently made that the current warming is unprecedented and that using the global data bases something like “the 12 warmest years have occurred in the last 13 years.” This is nonsense. 

Though there has clearly been some cyclical warming in recent decades, the global surface station based data is seriously compromised by urbanization and other local factors (land-use /land-cover, improper siting, station dropout, instrument changes unaccounted for and missing data) and thus the data bases overestimate the warming. Numerous peer-reviewed papers (referenced at end) in the last several years have shown this overestimation may be the order of 30 to 50%. I believe the recent warming is comparable or less than the warming in the 1930s and is now over.

STATION DROPOUT

Station drop-out has occurred-- from a peak of 6,000 stations in 1970 to 2,000 today. The biggest dropoff occurred around 1990. Many of the stations that were dropped were rural. A larger percentage of the stations remaining were urban.

To see for yourself how rapid and extensive this is, look at this animationof reporting stations in recent decades, see the stations drop out rapidly around 1990.

 

URBANIZATION

Dr. Thomas Oke (the winner of the American Meteorological Society Helmut Landsberg award in 2007 for his pioneer work in urbanization), in 1973 showed how even cities with 1000 population could have a significant warming relative to urban areas (2ºC). The global data bases do not consider an area a city and adjust for urbanization until the population exceeded 100,000. This introduces a warm bias into the data bases.

Zhou et al (2005) have shown global data bases (for China) not properly adjusted for urbanization. Block (2004) showed the same problem exists in central Europe. Hinkel et al (2003) showed even the village of Barrow, Alaska with a population of 4600 has shown a warming of 3.4ºF in winter over surrounding rural areas.

 

More and more of the world is urbanized (population increased from 1.5 B to 6.5 B today). Cities grow around airports where we measure temperatures. See this detailed reviewof this Urban Heat Island (UHI) issue. NOAA, Hadley and NASA have argued urban contamination is not an issue mainly using the flawed discredited papers by Jones, Parker and Peterson. NASA’s adjustments have been shown by Steve McIntyre to be erratic with the majority actually warming urban areas instead of adjusting temperatures down.

MISSING DATA


Another issue that has been an issue over the entire history of observations is the erratic nature of station histories and the missing data that must be somehow accounted for.

 

 

Try this to see for yourself how bad the global station data is. Go to this site (GISS - virtually the same as NOAA’s GHCN though the adjustments made differ), scroll down to the map and click on any region. You will see stations listed - notice the highly variable reporting periods. Start clicking on stations. You will get plots. But before you move to other stations go to the bottom and click on “Download monthly data as text”. You will see for many/most stations numerous “999.9"s meaning missing data. How do you come up with annual averages when one to multiple months are missing? I was told that in most cases the data is available (Environment Canada tells us they have their data we show as missing) but that NOAA and NASA is making no efforts to go out and get it.

 

 

INSTRUMENTATION CHANGES UNADJUSTED FOR

Stephen McIntyre has shown in The HO-83 Hygro-thermometerthat the change to the HO-83 went unadjusted for even though Karl 1995 noted a discontinuity of about 0.5ºC before and after switchover.

 

 

BAD SITING

 

Pielke and Davey (2005) found a majority of stations including climate stations in eastern Colorado did not meet WMO requirements for proper siting. He has extensively documented poor siting and land use change issues in numerous peer review papers, many summarized in the landmark paper  Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends (2007).

 

Anthony Watts started a volunteer effort to document siting issues with all 1221 stations in US. He and his team is now through over 554 stations. He and his team is now through over 554 stations. See the results on http://surfacestations.org  and numerous examples highlighted on http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com. Most of these siting issues identified introduce a warm bias.

 

 

Using the government’s own rating system, Anthony has shown a majority of the stations are inadequately sited (87% are CRN 3-5).

 

 

Even with the issues, the US network because it does not suffer from the same extent of station dropout and missing data shows minimal warming since the last cyclical peak in 1930.

 

 

If the estimates if the warming are exaggerated by a 30-50%, the warming is within the margin of error for the instrumentation.

 

In fact the trend for only the stations rated CRN 1 show a lower second peak.

 

 

This is supported by the plot of All-time Record State Temperatures in which 37 of the 50 states set their new records in the decades prior to 1960. 

 

 

Also the record daily highs in June and July in Des Moines show the dominance of the early 20th century with 55 of the 61 records prior to 1960.

 

 

OCEAN TEMPERATURE MEASUREMENTS

 

The change of methodology from buckets to ship intake and satellite raise question as to the accuracy of the global ocean temperatures. Since 70% of the world is ocean, this is no small issue.

 

GLOBAL EXTREMES

Even the global continental extremes show no recent decade represented. All the heat records were before 1950 with the exception of Antarctica which showed its warmest temperature in 1974. There probably was very little monitoring in prior years there. 

 

WORLD EXTREME HEAT RECORDS (ºF)

 

Continent

All-time High

Place

Date

Africa

136

El Azizia, Libya

September 13, 1922

North America

134

Death Valley, CA

July 10, 1913

Asia

129

Tirat Tsvi, Israel

June 22, 1942

Australia

128

Cloncurry, Queensland

January 16, 1889

Europe

122

Seville, Spain

August 4, 1881

South America

120

Rivadavia, Argentina

December 11, 1905

Oceania

108

Tuguegarao, Philippines

April 29, 1912

Antarctica

59

Vanda Station, Scott Coast

January 5, 1974

 

Some other anecodotal evidence that the recent warmth was not as extreme as the 1930s: Hottest in Canada: 45ºC 5 July 1937 in a small town in Saskatchewan. Elsewhere in Canada, most of the hottest temperatures were recorded in the 1930s, ex: 44.4ºC in Manitoba 1936, Alberta, 43.3ºC July 1931. Also in eastern Canada, August 18/19, 1935 recorded temperatures of 36ºC to 39ºC.  Downunder, the recorded hottest days in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney were during a heatwave in January 1939.

 

 

SUMMARY

The global data bases have serious problems that render them useless for determining accurate long term temperature trends. Though the ability to detect a 0.1
ºF temperature change is claimed, the many problems according to one well-known statistics expert question accuracy to within the order of 1, 2 even 5ºF!

 

As stated earlier and shown here, though there has clearly been some cyclical warming in recent decades, the global surface station based data is seriously compromised by urbanization and other local factors (land-use /land-cover, improper siting, station dropout, instrument changes unaccounted for and missing data) and thus the data bases overestimate the warming. Numerous peer-reviewed papers (referenced below) in the last several years have shown this overestimation may be the order of 30 to 50%. I believe the recent warming is at most comparable to the warming in the 1930s and may well now be over.

 

By the way in comparison to CO2, the correlation of the temperatures the last decade with ENSO is rather strongly positive (r =0.6). We should spend our research dollars trying to understand ENSO, the multidecadal ocean cycles and the sun, the real drivers for climate change. I believe we would find the sun drives the ocean cycles which control the ENSO frequency which controls the global temperatures and precipitation.

 

 

References:

 

Ackerman, S., UW SSEC Urban Heat Islands

 

Block, A, Keuler, K., Schaller, E., 2004, Impacts of anthropogenic heat on regional climate patterns, Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L12211, doi:10.1029/2004GL019852

 

Carlson, T.N., 1986, Regional scale estimates of surface moisture availability and thermal inertia using remote thermal measurements, Remote Sens. Rev., 1, 197-246

 

CCSP, 2006, Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding andReconciling Differences, US Climate Change Science Program, Suite 250, 1717 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC , 339 pp,

http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/public-review-draft/sap1-1prd-all.pdf

 

Christy, J.R., W.B. Norris, K. Redmond, and K.P. Gallo, 2006, Methodology and results of calculating Central California surface temperature trends: Evidence of human-induced climate change?, J. Climate, 19, 548-563.

 

Christy, J. R. And R. W. Spencer, 2004. 25 years of satellite data show €̃global warming' of only 0.34 . Press release, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL http://uahnews.uah.edu/scienceread.asp?newsID=196.

 

Christy, J. R., R. W. Spencer, W. B. Norris, W. D. Braswell and D. E. Parker, 2003. Error estimates of Version 5.0 of MSU/AMSU bulk atmospheric temperatures. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 20, 613-629.

 

Davey, C.A., and R.A. Pielke Sr. (2005) “Microclimate Exposures of Surface-based

Weather Stations - Implications for the Assessment of Long-term Temperature

Trends.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 86(4) 497–504

 

De Laat, A.T.J., and A.N. Maurellis (2004). “Industrial CO2 Emissions as a Proxy for

Anthropogenic Influence on Lower Tropospheric Temperature Trends.” Geophysical

Research Letters Vol. 31, L05204, doi:10.1029/2003GL019024.

 

De Laat, A.T.J., and A.N. Maurellis (2006). “Evidence for Influence of Anthropogenic

Surface Processes on Lower Tropospheric and Surface Temperature Trends.”

International Journal of Climatology 26:897—913.

 

Eastman, J.L., M.B. Coughenour, and R.A. Pielke, 2001, The effects of CO2 and landscape change using a coupled plant and meteorological model. Global Change Bio., 7, 797-815

 

Gall, R, K. Young, R. Schotland, and J. Schmitz , 1992.The Recent Maximum Temperature Anomalies in Tueson: Are They Real or an Instrumental Problem?Journal of Climate Volume 5, Issue 6 (June 1992) pp. 657-665

 

Gouretski, V. and Koltermann, K.P. 2007. How much is the ocean really warming?

Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2006GL027834

 

Hansen, J., Sato, M. and Ruedy, R. 1995. Long-term changes of the diurnal temperature cycle: Implications about mechanisms of global climate change. Atmospheric Research, 37, 175-209.

 

Hansen, J., and L. Nazarenko 2003. Soot climate forcing via snow and ice albedos. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 101, 423-428.

 

Hoyt, Doug Urban Heat Islands and Land Use Changes

 

He, Y., Lu, A., Y, Zhang, Z., Pang, H.,Zhao, J. 2006, Seasonal variation in the regional structure of warming across China in the past half century, Climate Research, 28, 213-219

 

Hinkel, K., Nelson, F., Klene, A., Bell, J., 2003, The Urban Heat Island in Winter at Barrow, Alaska International Journal of Climatology, 23, 1889-1905

 

Jones, P.D., P. Ya. Groisman, M. Coughlan, N. Plummer, W-C. Wang and T.R. Karl

(1990). “Assessment of Urbanization Effects in Time Series of Surface Air

Temperature Over Land.” Nature 347 169—172.

 

Kalnay, E., Cai, M., Impacts of urbanization and land-use change on climate, 2003, Nature, 423, 528-531

 

Karl, T.R., H.F. Diaz, and G. Kukla, 1988: Urbanization: its detection and effect in the United States climate record, J. Climate, 1, 1099-1123.

 

Karl, T.R., and Coauthors, 1995: Critical issues for long-term climate monitoring. Climate Change, 31, 185-221


Kalnay, E. and M. Cai, 2003. Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate. Nature 423, 528 - 531

 

Landsberg, H.E., 1981: The Urban Climate, Academic Press

 

Li, Q. et al., 2004: Urban Heat Island Effect on Annual Mean Temperatures during the

Last 50 Years in China. Theor. Appl. Climatol., 79, 165-174.

 

Lyman, J.M., Willis, J.K., and Johnson, G.C.,2006: “Recent Cooling of the Upper

Ocean” GRL Vol. 33, September 2006

 

McKendry, Ian G. (2003) “Progress Report: Applied Climatology” Progress in Physical

Geography 27(4) pp. 597–606

 

McKitrick, R and P. J. Michaels (2004). “A Test of Corrections for Extraneous Signals in

Gridded Surface Temperature Data” Climate Research 26(2) pp. 159-173. “Erratum,”

Climate Research 27(3) 265—268.

McIntyre, S. and McKitrick, R. 2003. Corrections to the Mann et al. (1998) proxy data base and Northern Hemispheric average temperature series. Energy and Environment,14, 751-771.

 

McNider, R. T., W.M. Lapenta, A. Biazar, G. Jedlovec, R. Suggs, and J. Pleim, 2005, Retrieval of gridscale heat capacity using geostationary satellite products: Part I: Case-study application,J. Appl. Meteor., 88, 1346-1360.

 

Molg, T., D. R. Hardy, and G. Kaser, 2003. Solar-radiation-maintained glacier recession on Kilimanjaro drawn from combined ice-radiation geometry modeling, J. Geophys. Res., 108, 4731.

 

Myer, W. B., 1991: Urban heat island and urban health: Early American perspective, Professional Geographer, 43 No. 1, 38-48.

 

Moberg, D. and A. 2003. Hemispheric and Large-Scale Air Temperature Variations: An Extensive Revision and Update to 2001. Journal of Climate, 16, 206-223.

 

Oke, T.R. 1973. City size and the urban heat island. Atmospheric Environment 7: 769-779.

 

Parker, D.E. (2004). “Climate: Large-Scale Warming is not Urban.” Nature 432, 290 (18 November 2004); doi:10.1038/432290a.

 

Peterson T.C. and R.S. Vose (1997) “An Overview of the Global Historical Climatology

Network Temperature Database.” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

78:2837—2849.

 

Peterson, T.C. (2003). “Assessment of Urban Versus Rural in situ Surface Temperatures

in the Contiguous United States: No Difference Found.” Journal of Climate 16(18)

2941—2959.

 

Peterson, 2006 Examination of potential biases in air temperature caused by poor station

locations. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 87, 1073-1089

 

Pielke R.A. Sr., G. Marland, R.A. Betts, T.N. Chase, J.L. Eastman, J.O. Niles, D.D.S.

Niyogi and S.W. Running. (2002) “The Influence of Land-use Change and Landscape

Dynamics on the Climate System: Relevance to Climate-Change Policy Beyond the

Radiative Effect of Greenhouse Gases.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal

Society of London. A360:1705-1719

 

Pielke, RA Sr. and T. Matsui (2005) “Should Light Wind and Windy Nights have the

Same Temperature Trends at Individual Levels Even if the Boundary Layer Averaged

Heat Content Change is the Same?” Geophysical Research Letters (32) L21813,

doi:10.1029/2005GL024407, 2005.

 

Pielke, R.A., Sr, 2003. Heat Storage Within the Earth System, BAMS, March, 331-335.

 

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229,

 

Pielke Sr., R.A. J. Nielsen-Gammon, C. Davey, J. Angel, O. Bliss, N. Doesken, M. Cai., S.  Fall, D. Niyogi, K. Gallo, R. Hale, K.G. Hubbard, X. Lin, H. Li, and S. Raman, 2007: Documentation of uncertainties and biases associated with surface temperature measurement sites for climate change assessment. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 88:6, 913-928.

 

Pielke, R. A., Sr., J. Eastman, T. N. Chase, J. Knaff, and T. G. F. Kittel, 1998. The 1973-1996 trends in depth-averaged tropospheric temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 16,927-16,933.

 

Pielke, R. A., Sr., J. Eastman, T. N. Chase, J. Knaff, and T. G. F. Kittel, 1998. Correction to "The 1973-1996 trends in depth-averaged tropo-spheric temperature," J. Geophys. Res., 103, 28, 909-911.

 

Pielke R.A. Sr., G. Marland, R.A. Betts, T.N. Chase, J.L. Eastman, J.O. Niles, D.D.S. Niyogi and S.W. Running. (2002) “The Influence of Land-use Change and Landscape Dynamics on the Climate System: Relevance to Climate-Change Policy Beyond the Radiative Effect of Greenhouse Gases.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. A360:1705-1719

 

Pielke, RA Sr. and T. Matsui (2005) “Should Light Wind and Windy Nights have the Same Temperature Trends at Individual Levels Even if the Boundary Layer Averaged Heat Content

Pielke, R.A., Sr, 2003. Heat Storage Within the Earth System, BAMS, March, 331-335.

 

Ren G. Y., Z. Y. Chu, Z. H. Chen, Y. Y. Ren (2007), Implications of temporal change in urban heat island intensity observed at Beijing and Wuhan stations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L05711, doi:10.1029/2006GL027927

 

Taylor, G.H., Matzke, A., Mitchell, M., (2002) Oregon HCN Data – New or Old, Which

One Is Correct? Oregon Climate Service, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

 

Torok S, Morris C, Skinner C, Plummer N, (2001) Urban heat island features of

southeast Australian towns. Australian Meteorological Magazine 50 (1) Pages: 1-13

 

Velazquez -Lozada, A.V., Gonzalez, J.E., Winter, A., 2006, Urban heat island effect analysis for San Juan, Puerto Rico, Atmospheric Environment, 40, 1731-1741

 

Vose, R.S., D.R. Easterling, and B. Gleason, 2005, Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe: An update through 2004. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L23822,doi:10.1029/2005GL024379.

 

Willmott, C. J., S. M. Robeson and J. J. Feddema, 1991. Influence of Spatially Variable Instrument Networks on Climatic Averages. Geophysical Research Letters, 18(12), 2249-2251.

 

Woolum, C. A., 1964: Notes from a study of the microclimatology of the Washington, DC area for the winter and spring seasons. Weatherwise, 17, No. 6)

 

Zhou, L., Dickinson, R, Tian, Y., Fang, J, Qingziang, L., Kaufman, R, Myneni, R., Tucker, C., 2004, Rapid Urbanization warming China’s climate faster than other areas, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, June 29, 2004

Advertisements