Posted by: erl happ | August 11, 2013

The Turning Point

Ozone profile

Sample ozone profile Valentia observatory 52° Nth Latitude, Ireland. The light blue line is called the tropopause where there is sufficient ozone to cause the atmosphere to warm with increasing elevation. The troposphere below the blue line is that part of the atmosphere where temperature falls with increasing elevation. It is the weather sphere where moisture and cloud are present.

Shows the increase in ozone concentration in winter

Shows the increase in ozone concentration in winter

Troposphere and stratosphere-page-001

This diagram of the boundary of the troposphere and the stratosphere, called the ‘tropopause’ has the virtue of showing the average annual distribution of ozone by latitude but it should be borne in mind that ozone content peaks very strongly in the winter hemisphere. The diagram shows nothing of the effects of the interaction of the mesosphere with the troposphere in reducing or enhancing ozone content above the poles.

If you thought that ozone was confined to the stratosphere observe the concentration of ozone over Valentia Ireland (52° North Lat.) between 400hPa and 200hPa, an altitude that is well within the troposphere.  Because ozone absorbs long wave radiation from the Earth (just like CO2 but more efficiently), it heats the surrounding atmosphere, dries it and evaporates cloud cover. A change in the ozone level of the upper troposphere changes surface temperature because more solar radiation reaches the surface when there is less cloud. Ozone is carried from the stratosphere into the troposphere over the oceans on the margins of the Antarctic and the Arctic and also in the high pressure cells of the mid latitudes. These cells are stronger in winter. Change the ozone concentration of the upper troposphere and you change surface climate. The ozone concentration of the northern hemisphere troposphere has doubled over the last 50 years.

Background

Man’s knowledge of the atmosphere and the manner in which it changes over time is still in its infancy. In the 1890s balloonists were very surprised to discover that at about 10km in elevation in the mid latitudes the atmosphere began to warm with increasing elevation. It was not until 1951 that Richard Scherhag first observed a sudden stratospheric warming. In 2013 opinion is still divided as to the cause of these phenomena.

The British meteorologist G. M. B. Dobson, developed a simple spectrophotometer (the Dobsonmeter) that could be used to measure the presence of ozone in the atmospheric column from the ground. Between 1928 and 1958 Dobson established a worldwide network of ozone monitoring stations.

The advent of satellites has enabled exploration of the upper more rarefied atmosphere. Vast resources in manpower and cash have been devoted to this work. Arguably we might have learnt more about the atmosphere and how surface temperature is determined if we devoted more effort to the study of the atmosphere where it is densest, that part of the atmosphere that gives rise to  clouds that reflect sunlight. More than 75% of the atmosphere lies within the troposphere.

The presence of ozone, a strong absorber of long wave radiation from the Earth, accounts for the warming of the atmosphere at elevations above about 10 km (in the mid latitudes). But ozone is not confined to the stratosphere. The role of ozone in modulating air temperature and cloud cover in the middle and upper troposphere is undocumented in mainstream climate science.

Ozone in the troposphere is influential because of its effect on the temperature of the air, its local density and therefore the near surface circulation. Nowhere is this demonstrated as dramatically as in an annular ring of extremely low pressure air that surrounds Antarctica. Surface pressure relationships are vital in determining wind strength and direction, the distribution of heat at the surface by location and by season and the distribution of rainfall.

The pressure of the atmospheric at sea level indicates the weight of the molecules in the atmospheric column. If the atmospheric column gains in ozone content its density falls as its temperature rises. Molecules are displaced laterally into locations where the temperature has not changed . This changes the distribution of surface pressure, especially at high and mid latitudes. It is not generally appreciated that dramatic changes in ozone content occur in the polar regions over time that are influential in determining weather and climate at the surface.

Unlike the temperature record, surface pressure is unaffected by the activities of man. We can have much more confidence in the surface pressure record than the temperature record. Unfortunately however, there are parts of the globe where observations of surface pressure are recent and sparse. This is especially the case in the southern hemisphere in mid to high latitudes. It is fortunate that many research stations were established in Antarctica from the 1950’s onward because the atmosphere above Antarctica is vital for the evolution of surface climate in both hemispheres.

Observation

The data that presented here has been produced by reanalysis work documented by: Kalnay, E. and Coauthors, 1996: The NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis 40-year Project. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 437-471. This data is accessible both in terms of monthly averages and graphically at; http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-in/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

Fig 1

10hPa temperature 60-90° south

10hPa temperature 60-90° south

Figure 1 shows the monthly flux of temperature at 10hPa over Antarctica. We see that, between 60° and 90° of latitude in the late 1970’s there occurred a sudden increase in the temperature of the ozone bearing stratosphere at 10hPa (26km). Temperature increased by about 10°C both in summer and winter. This was a stepwise increase that was most dramatic in winter when the night jet bringing nitrogen oxides from the mesosphere into the stratosphere is most active. This temperature change is undoubtedly due to an increase in the ozone content of the upper stratosphere. That in turn is most likely due to a reduction in the flow of mesospheric nitrogen associated with a shift in the atmosphere that weakened the night jet. Since the stepwise change in the late 1970’s temperatures at 10hPa have tended to fall away.

Fig 2

Fig 2-page-001

30hPa temperature 60-90°south

A temperature increase in the Antarctic atmosphere at 30hPa (22km), in the late 1970’s, is apparent in figure 2, though much less obvious than at 10hPa. The stepwise change is more apparent in the maximum than the minimum. It is apparent from figures 1 and 2 that it is the upper margins of the stratosphere where interaction with the mesosphere is most active, that exhibits the more obvious stepwise change in temperature.

Fig 3

850hPa temperature 50-60°south

925hPa temperature 50-60°south

At 50-60° south where a ring of low pressure surrounds Antarctica, a relatively sudden warming is seen at 925hPa (close to the surface), in the late 1970’s. This is consistent with an increase in ozone in the air column in these latitudes.

Figure 4

Fig 4-page-001

Sea Level atmospheric pressure 50-60° south

The gradual loss of atmospheric pressure at 50-60° south consequent upon the increase in the ozone content of the air (and increase in temperature) is very evident in figure 4. A survey of atmospheric pressure by latitude shows that the atmosphere between 50° and 90° south was progressively depleted. The severe collapse that occurred in the late 1970s is very noticeable. This collapse followed a short reprieve just after the middle of the decade.

The fall in atmospheric pressure that took place after 1950, south of 50° south latitude, is associated with increasing atmospheric pressure elsewhere. The increase in pressure is nowhere greater than at latitude 30-40° south. As pressure falls at 50-60° south it rises at 30-40° south and the differential between the two increases. This differential determines the strength of the prevailing wind, the north westerlies.

Figure 5 shows the increasing, then stabilising, and post 1998 declining difference in atmospheric pressure, between 30-40°south and 50-60° south latitudes. This data is derived quite simply by subtracting the average monthly surface pressure at 50-60°south from the pressure at 30-40° south. The winds between these latitudes are the strongest on the planet. These winds are described by sailors as the ‘Roaring Forties’, the Furious Fifties and the ‘Screaming Sixties’. As noted above, the Roaring Forties are winds of north westerly origin blowing towards the margins of Antarctica. Over the fifty years to 1998 wind strength gradually and relentlessly increased.

This is a phenomenon that is of little interest to mainstream climate science. This is not the first time that these winds have experienced a change in vigour. A similar change is documented in the logs of sailing ships that frequented these latitudes in the eighteen hundreds.

Figure 5

SLP at 30-40°south latitude less SLP 50-60°south latitude

SLP at 30-40°south latitude less SLP 50-60°south latitude in July and August

The pressure differential driving the Roaring Forties et al  in winter increased from about 15 mb in1948 to about 23mb in 1997-8. However, the polynomial curve suggests that after peaking in the late 1990’s the differential is now decreasing.

Figure 6

SLP 30-40°south less SLP 50-60°south in January and February

SLP 30-40°south less SLP 50-60°south in January and February

The pressure differential in summer increased from 15 mb to 20mb. Again, the polynomial curve suggests that the differential is now decreasing.

Causation

  • The pressure differential driving the north westerlies is a function of the strength of the Southern Annular Mode. This mode relates to the annular ring of extremely low surface pressure on the margins of Antarctica and its relationship to the annular ring of high pressure at 30-40° south. There is no plausible explanation in climate science for the existence of this annular ring of low pressure on the margins of Antarctica and no apparent interest in accounting for its existence, let alone the change that occurs over time.
  • While there is no agreement in academic circles as to the reason behind variations in the SAM, it is plain that atmospheric pressure in the polar atmosphere is a function of air temperature in the Antarctic vis a vis the rest of the globe. That is in turn heavily dependent upon the ozone content of the polar atmosphere, especially in winter when enhanced ozone is excited by long wave radiation from the Earth, long wave energy from the Earth being the only source of energy available at that time.
  • The increase in the temperature of the atmosphere in Antarctic regions is at odds with the ideology that suggests that there is a recently developed ‘hole’ in the Antarctic ozone-sphere due to the activities of man. In fact one must recognise the generalised deficiency in ozone in the southern hemisphere by comparison with the northern hemisphere, in all seasons, a phenomenon that is inconsistent with the notion of an atmosphere that is ‘well mixed’ and subject to depletion of ozone only when atmospheric conditions favour depletion by chlorofluorocarbons of anthropogenic origin in spring. This breast beating narrative would be spoiled if the realities  of observed status and change were to be recognised.
  • The primary force determining the ozone content in the polar stratosphere is the degree to which nitrogen oxides, that are hungry for oxygen, descend from the mesosphere. This phenomenon is primarily a function of the interaction between the stratosphere and the mesosphere and it responds to changes in surface pressure.
  • Secondarily, ozone is wasted into the troposphere where it dissolves in water.
  • These two forces depleting ozone from above and wasting it into the troposphere below are much more important than the springtime depletion that aligns with the natural loss of ozone due to impinging sunlight at the end of the winter.
  • The paucity of ozone in the southern hemisphere by comparison with the northern hemisphere is a reflection of the nature of the much stronger atmospheric circulation over Antarctica.
  • The interaction between the mesosphere and the stratosphere and the stratosphere and the troposphere is strongest in winter when the polar atmosphere receives no sunlight and ozone tends to accumulate. In summer the large ozone molecule is easily broken down by short wave energy from the sun. But in winter the polar atmosphere is shaded. So, in winter the breakdown of ozone is of chemical origin. This breakdown is readily apparent in the high altitude night jet directly over the pole. A collapse in the night jet is associated with a plunge in polar surface pressure. These changes are conjunctional. A loss of pressure results in an increase in ozone and marked warming of the stratosphere. That in turn reinforces the loss in pressure.
  • Swings in the ratio of high to mid latitude atmospheric pressure in the northern hemisphere are described as the ‘Arctic Oscillation’. The AO manifests in the Atlantic Ocean as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and in the Pacific as a strengthening and weakening of the Aleutian Low in relation to atmospheric pressure in the mid latitudes. When surface air pressure is high in relation to mid latitudes cold air streams southwards. This produces freezing conditions to the continental land masses of the northern hemisphere. Conversely when polar pressure is low in relation to the mid latitudes warm westerlies stream north and winter temperatures are more benign. The habitability of northern latitudes in the northern hemisphere is associated with relatively low atmospheric pressure in the Arctic. This is a dynamic that has been observed for centuries.
  •  Variations in the Arctic Oscillation Index have been statistically related to solar activity that is measured in terms of ‘geomagnetic activity’ indices.

Implications for surface climate of change in the Annular modes.

  • The high pressure cell that lies in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia strengthens in winter. The relative strength of this cell affects the passage of fronts that bring rain to the southern part of Australian continent. The fronts represent the conjunction cold dry air of Antarctic origin and moist air of tropical origin. The formation of a strong high pressure cell off the coast of Western Australia in winter can be observed in the rainfall distribution shown in this animation: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/GlobalMaps/view.php?d1=TRMM_3B43M
  • Increasing air pressure at 50-60°south is associated with a weakening of the winter high pressure cell in the Indian Ocean. Increased winter rainfall in the SW of Western Australia will be experienced as the annular mode in the southern hemisphere reverses the trend of the last sixty years.
  • The decline in Western Australian rainfall in the populated south west has coincided with a period of increasing temperature in the northern hemisphere, primarily in winter. This is associated with a dominance of El Nino phenomena in the tropical oceans. El Nino dominance is in turn related to diminished cloud cover associated with the enhanced ozone in the counter westerly circulation that carries ozone towards the equator warming the air and reducing high altitude cloud cover, This phenomena is comprehensively described in the last post on this blog.
  • The warming of the northern hemisphere in winter that occurred between 1976 and 1998 associated with a positive AO index is now reversing as the AO index moves into the negative mode (increased polar pressure). This confounds the predictions of those who forecast that the AO would continue to strengthen in association with an increase in the CO2 content of the atmosphere.
  • With the turning point in southern hemisphere pressure relations that occurred in the late 1990s the globe is experiencing a stable temperature regime. There has been no warming since 1998. As the SAM moves into a positive mode cooling should be expected, especially in winter. Neutral to La Nina conditions should prevail in the tropics, continuing a trend that became well established after the turn of the century.

Politics, ideology, resource use, and waste

The narrative that associates increased CO2 in the atmosphere to surface warming and ‘climate change’ is confounded by the cessation of surface warming after the El Nino event of 1998. Those who promoted that idea should now admit that their notion is false. Predictions based upon that notion were and have always been ill founded. This is not the first time that society has been the victim of an evangelistic movement with an appealing political agenda.

A new narrative is required that accounts for the seasonal and hemispheric differences in the advance and retreat of surface temperature that we observe. That narrative will describe the annual modes linking them to the state of surface pressure relations that drive the winds, cloud cover, surface temperature and rainfall. Change in the annual modes will be linked to variation in the ozone content of the stratosphere. Variation in the ozone content of the stratosphere will in turn be linked to the influence of the sun in ionising the atmosphere and the solar wind affecting the electromagnetic environment of the ionised atmosphere. The atmosphere will be seen to move to and from the poles and to pile up in equatorial latitudes when it departs the poles, chiefly Antarctica. This initiates change in the annular modes. Once initiated, forces within the Earth system tend to enhance and exaggerate change in the atmosphere, promoting and lending persistence to new states.

Scarce resources are currently being wasted on a ruinous scale in pursuit of an objective that is based on a false understanding of the atmosphere. The drivers of surface climate relate to ozone not carbon dioxide. The political agenda derived from the CO2 narrative is unbelievably wasteful. Much is to be gained if, and only if, those who have pushed the global warming bandwagon come to their senses and admit their error. Politicians cannot do this for them. It was the ‘science’ that was in error. Too many who claim to be ‘scientists’ have misled us. Now is the time to put matters right.

 


Responses

  1. Hey Erl, very interesting stiff here. I’d be curious to really get your more I depth take on SSW events. They begin as waves that start at lower latitudes and then the air descends over the pole, compressing the air and causing the AO to go go negative, right?

    • That’s the conventional wisdom but I am afraid its simply unphysical,
      to use a word I have heard from Leif Svalgaard many times. It simply doesn’t tally with the evidence.

      The warming and cooling of the polar atmosphere increases in its magnitude with elevation. Each warming of the upper stratosphere is associated with 1, A loss of surface pressure and 2 a dramatic increase in the amount of ozone in the upper stratosphere.

      Consider this: In the middle of winter when the most dramatic stratospheric warming occurs the temperature of the polar atmosphere at all levels (its warmer than the surface) is determined by the absorbtion of long wave energy emitted from the surface by ozone.

      The amount of ozone is dependent upon the concentration of oxides of nitrogen (that are hungry for more oxygen) streaming in from the mesosphere via the night jet.

      The activity of the night jet waxes and wanes with the change in surface pressure.

      Surface atmospheric pressure at the poles varies inversely with that in the mid and low latitudes.

  2. I notice the air pressure data you display only goes back to about the 1950’s. In NZ air pressure was measured daily by the met service at about 30 sites distributed down the length of the country going right back to the 1870’s. The sites are distributed btw about 35 deg and 48 deg sth. Much of the data (which include air temp, cloud and wind info) did not make it into the National climate database. There were two complementary monitoring networks operated by different agencies. Quite a bit of the (now) lost data was published daily in newspaper reports from forecasts telegraphed out by the met service. It could be compiled from historic sources if someone had the time and a bit of research finance. Unfortunately all of the climate research funding goes in other less useful directions.

    A better surface pressure database would be useful in terms of the issues described in this blog post.

    • Rob, That would be extremely valuable data. There is controversy as to whether the models that are used to estimate and extrapolate data across the southern hemisphere back into the nineteen fifties are accurate. The largest changes in pressure globally occur south of 50°south. The importance of the change in pressure and the forces responsible for the change seem to be of little interest to climate practitioners.There are none so blind as those who will not see.

      The waxing and waning of the strength of the ‘roaring forties’ is determined by pressure differences between thirty and sixty degrees south. Pressure at 60 degrees south varies directly with air pressure across Antarctica. The pressure relations at these high latitudes bring about pressure changes in the the same direction, although of smaller magnitude, in the tropics.So, the strength of the wind in the Roaring Forties is directly related to the intensity of the south east trades and of course connected with the El Nino phenomenon, tropical and global temperatures. The El Nino phenomenon is biased towards one end or the other over long periods of time. Since 1998 the tropical Pacific Ocean has been moving towards a La Nina bias. This can be established by plotting the simple difference in pressure between Tahiti and Darwin.Or you can look directly at the Southern Oscillation Index.Mr Walker was a great observer.

      There is also good data in the barometric pressure records kept by sailing ships who chose to travel at high southern latitudes for a fast passage around the globe.

      If only climate science was more observational and less theoretical, fooling about with models based on a less than adequate understanding of the climate system.

      Why is there less ozone in the stratosphere of the southern hemisphere? Begin ones inquiry at a basic level. It has nothing to do with the activities of man.that might be responsible for some depletion for a couple of months in spring.

      By the way, thanks for reading this blog and providing your suggestion.

  3. Erl

    I have started collecting the 9 am and 4 pm daily air temp data that was released with each of the early daily NZ weather forecasts (1886 to 1903 covered so far). The forecasts started around 1867. There are some gaps prior to 1886 but with respect to 9 am temp the daily newspaper records are fairly complete from then onward for more than 30 sites.

    Unfortunately it is too big an ask to assemble the surface air pressure data as well.

    The point to this is the appalling state of NZ max/min temp data, esp prior to 1900. For some years there are as few as 4 or 5 sites with climate data in the NZ climate database. NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) have lost a large part of the early daily data (hardcopy), much of which was never digitized. So we have had to rely on the monthly averages that were calculated way back when. The averaged monthly data has been archived for some, but not all climate stations. One of the problems with this is that it is difficult to call the averaged data a true record of the variability of the climate. It is almost not science if one has lost the underlying data. The temperature record can’t be properly validated.

    A new good-quality daily record of air temperature history can assist in correcting some glaring errors and holes in the long-term temperature history of the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, which NZ straddles quite nicely. Collection of the daily (or twice daily) surface air pressure data would also be useful but there is only so much time available to do this sleuthing in ones spare time. It would be a nice cross-check on hind-casted model outputs and would place some constraints on future modelling efforts.

    Cheers

    Rob R

    • Rob, There are many parts of the globe where climate records are unreliable prior to the second world war including, I have read, the southern states of the USA. In Australia the record is there but stations have shifted several times during the period and the surrounding territory altered beyond recognition. But surface pressure is unaffected by this sort of variation. As the wind varies so does the temperature.

      But there is a further difficulty even when the daily temperature data exists. The problem with the monthly means of daily maximum and minimum temperature is that they can be two degrees or more greater or less than the average of hourly data for the same period. So, in looking at the parameters affecting things like plant growth or acid and flavour depletion in fruits during ripening its necessary to look at hourly data and calculate the degree hours above or below a chosen critical threshold. Then and only then are we getting close to gauging the influence of temperature change on the environment as it affects plants and animals. Until recently hourly data has not been available. Now we have loggers capable of staying out in the field for more than a year and returning a temperature record at fifteen or thirty minute intervals. It’s possible to predict maturity dates and flavour profiles from data at this closer interval.

      In looking at temperature data a hundred years ago with data collected today we can not pretend to be comparing apples with apples. Man has altered the environment around the thermometer too much.

  4. Erl

    I agree with your comments.

    What I would like to see is a concerted effort to identify and collect all the available daily data on (for instance) temperature and see what it is telling us.

    For instance there are multiple observations for some “localities”. By that I mean that for some towns or general sites, even prior to the year 1910 we had measurements taken on daily max, min, mean, wet bulb, vacuum bulb (max/min solar), 9 am and 4 pm (plus 3 am at one locality, plus 8 am at another over a 45 year period). In some cases there were double ups with 2 or more recording stations in the same town at the same time but different observers.

    At Nelson for a while there were two observers taking max/min/mean, another taking 9 am temp and another taking 3 am temp.

    At Invercargill for a while measurements were taken by one observer at Noon, 6 pm and Midnight and by another a 9 am.

    Similar stories can be found in Christchurch, Dunedin/Port Chalmers, Auckland, Wellington and other places.

    In the Christchurch/Lyttelton/Lincoln area (only a few km apart) around the year 1900 we had:
    Max/Min/mean at Rhodes Convalescent home (Cashmere, ChCh suburb)
    9 am temp at ChCh (met service- probably at the Post Office)
    Max/Mean/Min etc at the Magnetic Observatory in the ChCh Botanic Gardens
    9 am, 2pm, 9pm, 2am at the office of the Press (Newspaper)
    Max/min/mean, 9 am at Lincoln (Agricultural College)
    9 am for two sites at Lyttleton (Harbour Master and Post Office)
    Noon, 5pm at Lyttelton (Harbour Master)
    Max/min/mean at Alford Station (inland sheep station)
    (and possibly more data sets as yet not rediscovered)

    Some of the data is available 7 days per week and some 6 days per week (as Sunday was a day of rest back then).

    From this mishmash of data it should be possible to characterise what is happening on an almost hourly basis through the day in the ChCh area (with a few caveats). This is the type of work the climate scientists should be undertaking. Unfortunately for the year 1900 the only data in the NIWA database appears to be the monthly averages from the Lincoln Agricultural College. As far as I can see NIWA is unaware that there is much more recoverable data out there. They just haven’t looked.

    I suspect that if you were to start looking in old Australian newspapers this type of climate data would be present. They were much more interested in the weather in the old days as it was a matter of life and death to many.

    Cheers

    Rob R

    • Rob, Just received an email; from Jennifer Marohasy with this content:

      “At the invitation of the Sydney Institute I will be talking next week about how the Australian Bureau of Meteorology changes temperature records. I’ll be at the Gallipoli Club, 12 Loftus Street (between Bridge Street and Alfred Street), Sydney CBD, on Wednesday 25th June 2014 at 5.30 for 6pm.

      Did you know that the temperature series used to construct the official temperature record, both for Australia and globally, bear little resemblance to what was actually recorded? Indeed temperatures have been diligently recorded at places like Bourke in outback New South Wales since 1871. Then there’s the Bureau’s official record that takes a revisionist approach: first truncating the data and then passing it through complex mathematical algorithms. ”

      Its a black art.

      I began my study of climate by looking at the temperature data for locations in the southern hemisphere. Coastal locations in the south east Pacific show cooling over the available record. This suggests an intensification of the westerly winds and the easterly drift of Southern Ocean waters. It’s a similar situation for coastal South Africa. I would be surprised if Invercargil showed appreciable warming over the last 70 years.

      I suggest that in the mid latitudes temperature is a function of wind direction, rather than atmospheric composition.

  5. Erl

    Yes, to most of that. I read about Jennifer’s up-coming talk recently on her website.

    I have only been following the problems detected in the Aust BOM data via the comments by the likes of Geoff Sherrington on various blogs.

    In the NIWA database for NZ climate I have compared the basic data with some of the original data presented in contemporary newspapers and sources like the official annual NZ yearbook. The basic data archived in the database is still (or was when I last checked) pretty much in its original shape.

    The trick NIWA have come up with is to assemble the data in a nifty way that allows multiple adjustments at splice points. There is not even one single site in NZ that has continuous data extending back further than about 1930. All the long temperature series over here are spliced records because the climate stations were moved on an irregular basis.

    NIWA have a “7 site” record combined temperature record that extends back to circa 1900. They dropped the older (pre 1900) part of the record, possibly because it went the wrong way. Anyway, each of the 7 underlying temperature series (Auckland, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Lincoln, Hokitika and Dunedin) is itself a composite of from 4 to 7 separate stations that generally were maintained for at least one decade. The exaggerated nation-wide warming trend derived by NIWA comes mainly from the way they splice the different local records to produce the individual city records. Most of the splices cool the past relative to the present. In a perfect world this should only happen at approximately half of the splice points.

    One of the problems with the splicing process is that you need to be able to benchmark both temperature series (prior to and after i.e across) the splice date against several other continuous contemporary series that are in some degree of geographical proximity to the two that are being spliced. Over much of the last 150 years or so nearby temperature series are in short supply so the splices tend to be based on contemporary sites that are distant, with only modest correlation to the climate local to the spliced pair.

    In this situation it is easy to fool ones self if you either deliberately or unknowingly confirm a personal bias (where you expect the past to be colder than the present). When your hypothesis or expectation (warming) is confirmed, why would you dig any deeper?

    I am in agreement on regional temperature change commonly being a function of a systematic shift in wind direction. When one raises this valid point the warmists fall back on the argument that the circulation change is driven largely by warming due to greenhouse gases, and this circular argument is naturally difficult to falsify.

    By the way, the daily meteorological data collected in NZ to aid weather forecasting over 100 years ago included wind direction along with cloud cover, temperature and air pressure. It might be possible to diagnose changes in regional circulation if enough such data were recovered from historic sources. In fact the forecasts made by the met service are also a reflection of the state of the weather (high and low pressure systems etc) and are a component of the climate data that should be assembled. In other words a comprehensive record of the expected and received daily weather.

    If I was in charge of the Aust/NZ climate research budget a significant effort would be devoted to the assembly of the day by day weather history of the whole Aust-NZ region from the 1860’s to today. This would include the temperature, pressure and wind fields.

  6. Rob, looking back on our discussion here, the longest that I have experienced in the currency of this blog, it reminds me that when I started to focus on climate I hoped to find people with similar interests to share ideas, and hopefully to work co-operatively and constructively on understanding the climate system. It’s rare to find a commentator who is not trying to score points, advertise their personal theories and skip out. I don’t see much evidence of co-operative endeavour in the blogs that I have participated in.

    Objectivity is impossible of course, We come to any new field of endeavour with built in preconceptions based on our personality and life experience.

    What you are doing is painstaking work. Its unfortunate that it is necessary. Several generations of academics and professionals have been trained and promoted to secure change that aligns with a particular view of the world. This of course is what organizations and movements do.It’s not new.

    I don’t think its possible to persuade evangelists to adopt a new point of view. Men of a practical bent will eventually notice that there is a gap between the predictions of those who say that the globe is warming and experience. That should be happening already.

    When a new generation of thinkers arrives they will hopefully rake over the coals to try and work out what ideas fit reality. Your work is important in that data, accurately recorded is history rather than story, and history is what we need.

    In my work I explored how climate variables changed by latitude. I relied on a dataset that represented the entire globe. The address has changed and it is now here: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

    Looking at surface temperature for the New Zealand area Lat -35 to -45 Long 170-180E, Monthly data, Jan-Dec, No area weight grid, Plot data, we have:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries.pl?ntype=1&var=Air+Temperature&level=2000&lat1=-35&lat2=-48&lon1=170&lon2=180&iseas=0&mon1=0&mon2=11&iarea=0&typeout=2&Submit=Create+Timeseries

    Eye balling the data I see a cooling trend for the New Zealand region since 1955-60. One can produce separate graphs for the summer and winter months. The temperature in Jan-Feb and Jul-Aug has declined especially in winter.

  7. Hi Erl,

    I agree with your view on the tendency for scientists to work towards confirmation of an existing theory/model. In the modern system that is where the money is. In the modern system that is how they pay the mortgage and manage to raise their families. In the modern world they are dumped from employment if they step outside the bounds of the politically correct view.

    So, much of the most valuable and insightful work has to be done by individuals who operate unpaid outside the reservation. That is just the way it is.

    The graph you show is interesting. I got a similar result from the Reynolds SST dataset a while back.

    In terms of the historic surface air temp on-shore in NZ my conclusion is that there was an upwards step change circa 1953 to 1955 followed by a slight upwards trend thereafter and it might even be statistically significant (I havent tested for significance). The trend after 1955 could have a slight UHI influence. The trend is clearer in the North Island than the South Island. Prior to 1955 (i.e from 1854 to 1954) the long-term trend that I get for NZ is fairly flat.

    The step change has been identified previously in the literature and is associated with a change in atmospheric circulation, so it includes a change in wind and precipitation patterns.

    There is some interesting discussion going on with regards to a new solar model for global temperature change over at Jo Nova’s blog. It will be interesting to see where that leads.

    Cheers

    Rob R


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