Warmth ≠ warming

In my previous post I said that, since the temperature hasn’t gone up (much) in about 15 years, nothing has happened as a result – in short, global warming hasn’t caused anything, harmful or otherwise.

That short chain of reasoning seemed justified by the observed and documented lack of significant warming of the near-surface atmosphere around the globe during the last 15 years, and I thought the logic unassailable.

The above link shows the HadCRUT3 record, but you’ll see a very similar trajectory with the GISTEMP dataset, UAH, RSS or NCDC. All of these records show that, from about 1997, there’s been precious little warming or cooling and that the global monthly mean temperature anomaly has, in the last six months or less, steeply descended through exactly the same band through which it rose in 1997.

To repeat: because global warming hasn’t occurred for about 15 years, global warming hasn’t caused anything else to occur in that time. Very simple.

But Mr Renowden, at his Hot Topic, indicates that I’m wrong. However, he makes an argument that does not refute what I said and it needs to be laughed at. He also includes some personally abusive comments which I’ll ignore – although I cannot ignore his clever, arresting little headline, Prat watch, as it says a lot about one of us.

Anyway, he says:

No warming for 15 years? Tell that to the planet, Richard. Here’s what the World Meteorological Organisation says about the first decade of the 21st century:

[WMO:] …climate change accelerated in 2001-2010, which was the warmest decade ever recorded in all continents of the globe.

No warming for 15 years? After we’ve had the warmest decade ever recorded in all continents of the globe?

He’s claiming warming, but the word “warming” doesn’t appear in the passage he quotes. The WMO is claiming “accelerated” climate change, and they don’t mention warming. He quotes the WMO again:

[WMO:] The decade 2001-2010 was the warmest since records began in 1850, with global land and sea surface temperatures estimated at 0.46°C above the long-term average (1961-1990) of 14.0°C. Nine of these years were among the ten warmest on record. The warmest year on record was 2010, closely followed by 2005, with a mean temperature estimated at 0.53°C above the long-term average. It was the warmest decade ever recorded for global land surface, sea surface and for every continent.

No warming mentioned there, either. It might be warm, it might, indeed, be piping hot, but that does not mean any warming occurred. Is that hard to understand? Then he delivers the killer punch:

No warming for 15 years? Not to put too fine a point on it: balderdash, piffle, stuff and nonsense.

Now he hints that I’m wrong! But notice that he still doesn’t justify his claimed warming. This is nothing but arm-waving – he just asserts it’s been warming. Even though the temperature datasets reveal no warming occurred in that period, he sticks to his guns:

And because there has been warming, it can be linked to extreme events.

But we’re not silly, and the astute reader will share my view that warmth does not equal warming. The warmth can be ever so high yet warming need not take place.

What upsets me most of all is to see the formerly prestigious WMO making this claim, supporting the shallow thinkers like our local warmists with the wicked obfuscation that, because it’s been warm, there has necessarily, at the same time, been warming.

Well, nonsense, I say. Even balderdash.

I see the excellent Richard Cumming has coincidentally provided a handy reference to demolish Renowden’s reliance on the completely unalarming SREX report, which we also reviewed here in Pearls from the giant evil IPCC clam.

The amateur scientist and journalist and radio commentator and wine-maker and truffle hunter at Hot Topic ends with a rant against me (avoiding the climate science) based on a sort of psychiatric evaluation. This has become a popular tactic among climate deniers and warmists. It prevents them having to confront the nasty facts we point out, like: the temperature hasn’t gone up, guys, what do you say to that?

It’s a bit frustrating they don’t seem to notice their own denial. For Renowden to refute my observation about global temperatures he really cannot avoid presenting some evidence. In the meantime, we’ll keep observing the climate and telling everyone the truth about it.

15 Thoughts on “Warmth ≠ warming

  1. Mike Jowsey on March 30, 2012 at 6:13 am said:

    Typical argumentum ad hominem plus argumentum arm-wavingum from Hot Topic. Typical of warmist-alarmist sites generally. Even the comments are usually vitriollic attacks on the character of a skeptic without any reference to observational science. This approach shows two things to the casual observer: CAGW science is very thin; and CAGW proponenents are entrenched ideologues who vociferously attack anybody who would dare question their beliefs.

    Incidentally, I note the acronym some warmists like to use now is ACC – Anthropogenic Climate Change. This neatly removes the need to explain Catastrophic or Warming.

  2. Richard C (NZ) on March 30, 2012 at 7:41 am said:

    Credit is really due to the excellent Roger Pielke Jr for providing the handy BS button but I’m happy to relay the SREX sensibility.

    The inability (or unwillingness) of warmists to discern the difference between warmth and warming has a an attendant trait – the inability (or unwillingness) to accommodate any trend method other than linear regression. Case in point, The Skeptical Science temperature trend calculator

    No moving averages, no polynomials, no PCA or EMD, no cycles, phases or harmonics. The warmist trend toolkit only contains one blunt instrument.

    Meanwhile Scafetta’s solar-lunar cycle forecast -vs- global temperature
    is making the very linear-looking IPCC CO2-forced forecasts more irrelevant by the month.

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  7. Richard C (NZ) on March 30, 2012 at 5:33 pm said:

    There was warmth in England Feb 1779 but Feb 2012 doesn’t rank among the warmest. How does Gareth manufacture warming out of that?

    CET 2-2012: 3.8°C. Rank: 201/354
    Warmest February in this series was in 1779.

    http://junksciencearchive.com/MSU_Temps/Warming_Look.html

    Maybe warming doesn’t apply to February in England

  8. They are still arguing about this at HT. Will sapping stuff

  9. Gary Kerkin on March 31, 2012 at 8:52 am said:

    Been a bit busy the last few days, so I haven’t been monitoring what has been going on. One of the tasks, which you will appreciate Richard T, is revamping a web site. I have an idea in mind and I wish to use a particular development (not trying to reinvent wheels …) but getting into the mind of the developer to bend the work to what I would like is not easy!

    Now, doesn’t that sound familiar? It is equally applicable to this discussion.

    Of course the last decade is the warmest in reaonably well documented records – which is to say the last 150 years! As Bryan Leyland has pointed out, when you reach a plateau after a steady climbe, the plateau is the highest point you have reached, no matter where you are on it. Bearing in mind that we are talking about variations of less than ±0.5ºC in measurements which have errors somewhere between ±1º and ±2ºC.

    In all the rhetoric which has passed back and forth there has been no formal statement or, particularly, conclusions about the errors associated with the temperature record in New Zealand.

    So, those who posture against and insult those endeavouring to seek valid information on errors, on whatever blog, are wasting their time and energy. But, why should we care if they do.?Whatever we say they are going to refute and insult us. They certainly will not accept that it has actually been cooling over the last couple of years and could well continue to do so for at least the immediately foreseeable future.

    In some respects, I hope they are right. I would rather my grandchildren grew up in a warmer climate with a higher carbon dioxide partial pressure to ensure their food supply, than in the next ice-age!

  10. A timely reminder about error margins, Gary. Rather puts some of the interminable, nitpicking arguments in perspective.

    I think there will never be a formal declaration of the errors in the New Zealand temperature record unless we make one. The simple reason for that is we’re the only ones taking responsibility for it. NIWA claim, in their submission to the High Court, that there’s no official record, notwithstanding its prominence on their own web site, and also admit to no errors in it. Perhaps the court case could change their mind and make them accept responsibility for it, even do it properly.

  11. Gary Kerkin on March 31, 2012 at 11:04 am said:

    I have often wondered about that statement (I will not use the term “claim”) because, as I understand it, monitoring climate is one of the responsibilities with which they are charged by their funder — the government. Or am I wrong? In which case, will we see a reduction in their annual budget because this is not one of their responsibilities? Will redundancies follow?

    If it is not an “official record” why then do they even bother? And if they are not charged with that responsibility with regard to climate and its every changing nature, why do they even need a record? Unless it is used to make some sort of predictions for the future and so they can justify their expenditure on a new super computer (at around $20 million, I am led to believe)?

    Of course it is an official record! If it wasn’t, the government would not be justified in using it for policy determination. Or did Drs Mapp and Smith just misunderstand the situation?

    Do you sometimes get the feeling that we have blundered into a Charles Dodson fantasy?

  12. NIWA say they construct the temperature record for “research purposes.” They must surely be charged with collecting the readings from the weather stations they own or supervise, but I don’t know whether that responsibility extends to adjusting (?) the readings and collating them into a single graph. Of course, that’s a big responsibility and perhaps they’re not paid enough to do it for the nation?

    NIWA surely adjust the readings from their own initiative, otherwise their masters would require a graph too, which would make it an official record.

  13. Gary Kerkin on March 31, 2012 at 11:54 am said:

    One surely has to ask whether or not the government blindly accepts the projections of the IPCC or whether they would also like to confirm that what the IPCC says is likely to happen is also likely to happen to New Zealand. Assuming that that is is a logical and reasonable question to ask, who else would they ask other than NIWA? Gareth Morgan? (Well he did conduct a study at his own expense, did he not?)

    If the record is maintained for “research purposes” why bother to create a composite? Why not just show the records for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Campbell Island …?

    I accept there may be a need for some adjustment where an instrument has had to be recalibrated, or a station relocated. But, as others have stated, such the effects of such events tend not to be one sided, but reasonably normally distributed. And they tend to be short-term, rather than long term. The only long-term effects which may have to be accounted for in the records are things such as urban heat island effects, changes around the location of a station, as observed by Anthony Watts, and deterioration in the quality of measurements from a station. Such things need to be backed out if any underlying trend is to be identified. It is not clear to me whether the adjustments applied by NIWA fit those criteria. Examination of the raw data in the last half of the 19th century suggests that there was either no trend, or perhaps a slight decrease in temperature. The likely accuracy of the measurements was such that I would not be prepared to draw a conclusion from the data. So why did NIWA, or at least some of the personalities involved, believe that the record was so wrong that temperatures needed to be adjusted downwards by nearly a degree over that period?

    Of course, they will say that my last point is incorrect because their “research” record starts a decade or so into the 20th century. But the implication of their adjustments is that all the temperatures in the 19th century have to be adjusted accordingly.

    I can only ask “why?”

  14. I too am surprised that NIWA knew enough about the inaccuracies, so long after the readings were taken, to decide the sign of the adjustments.

    To ask “why” of a government department becomes an entirely rhetorical procedure in these days of “Crown-owned” enterprises. It’s as though the concept of “ownership” transcends the concept of “public”. But to my understanding the fact of public ownership has not changed a whit.

    What the Crown owns, we own. Perhaps the Queen would help us bring order to these stubborn, wayward servants?

  15. Richard C (NZ) on March 31, 2012 at 1:43 pm said:

    Why? To compile, in retrospect, long-running location series in respect to a recent datum from a number of dislocated series each in respect to its own datum.

    If this had been done over time with managed overlaps I don’t think there would the situation we see now but if the overlaps/splices had conformed to R&S in NIWA’s retrospective compilation we get what NZCSET has come up with, not what NIWA came up with.

    So then the question “why?” focuses on the motives behind NIWA’s actions, not the necessity for the actions. Given that those actions are much the same as those being undertaken in GISS, NCDC, HadCRUT i.e. all the land-based series, I think it’s safe to say that the illusion of warming had to be maintained even if that entailed foul means.

    The GISS series is now so distorted, corrupted and retroactively adjusted that it is laughable but warmists like Renowden gravitate to it because it suits their mindset. It is no laughing matter though, that the GISS Arctic adjustments in particular amount to outright fraud.

    It will be interesting to find out in their own words (or the Chief Scientist’s) “why” NIWA chose their course of action in preference to established methodology but I’m betting they would rather feign ignorance, lapse of judgment or similar than to admit their real motive. If they don’t ‘fess up though, their motives will be forever clouded in suspicion and we can only assess for ourselves what they were up to because it is very difficult to explain simply by incompetence. These people aren’t dummies.

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