Saturday, June 21, 2014

Warmest May ever

Sayeth GISS.

In the interest of fairness, I'll be sure to post whenever we have a coldest month ever in the GISS records.

60 comments:

Nick Stokes said...

Sayeth GISS
with a cautious tweet.

Brian said...

Thanks Nick. Doesn't look like a huge data gap, but I'll be sure to check when it's in.

John Mashey said...

Well, "ever" may be an exaggeration, "in modern temperature history" seems likely.

Anonymous said...

Not an exaggeration at all John Mashey.

Ask yourself when we started using 'May' to describe this time of year. Then check the temperatures. It may have been hotter millions of years ago - but we didn't call it 'May' then, did we?

BBD said...

Anon.

Ask yourself when we started using 'May' to describe this time of year. Then check the temperatures.

Never mind the b*ll*cks, let's just check the temperatures:

GISTEMP May only; 1880 - 2014

And yes, it was hotter millions of years ago. CO2 ~1000ppm Eocene Thermal Maximum - ~450ppm mid-Pliocene warm period.

John Mashey said...

BBD: sorry, I should have said more.
May = Roman Maius

We don't have good enough data to know exactly how warm Roman Warm Period was or whether a big El Nino year put some May above this May. After all, CO2/CH4 had risen over a few thousand years, and 60degN solar insolation was higher then. Absent humans, it would have been cooler in Roman times and cooler yet now,as per Ruddiman.

Of course, surely everyone here understands that it is irrelevant whether or not some period in the past was as warm or warmer than now, just as the existence of lightning-strike forest fires does not eliminate the existence of arson.

Andrew said...

So, you`ll be able to post COOLEST MONTH EVER from under the 6 foot welded tuff that Yellowstone has just dumped on most of North America.. That`s dedication, has to be said..

Fernando Leanme said...

I understand the climate model simulations show we are on the edge of entering an Ice Age. Therefore the anthropogenic influence will be offseting a slight cooling trend (??).

This tells me the high May temperature may be caused by El Niño, offset somewhat by other influences (such as a weaker sun) and of course green house gas effects and their feedbacks. The feedbacks are an interesting debate topic, as are the ups and downs we see as the climate oscillates.

My own draw on this topic is that warmer climate in general is bad news, because it tends to raise sea level. I´m not so worried about the warmer temperature because I do look forward to slightly warmer winters, and I´m not afraid of heat waves because I live close to the beach.

What I do wonder is why worry about the temperature from month to month. It seems almost like an emerging hobby, everybody looks at the thermometer, posts temperatures, and either looks grim or happy depending on which side they have chosen.

Anonymous said...

"I understand the climate model simulations show we are on the edge of entering an Ice Age. Therefore the anthropogenic influence will be offseting a slight cooling trend (??)."
Actually, we seem to have been on an entirely natural cooling trend for the last 5,000 years. Right up until the year 1900 or so, when things took a turn for the hockey-stick shaped and haven't looked back since. In the last 100 years we've erased the gradual downward slope of global temperatures that had been going on since about the beginning of written language.

And this isn't from climate model simulations, it's from proxy temperature data.

Also, El Nino probably wouldn't be affecting this year's May temperatures that much. It hasn't even gotten a chance to get going yet.

-WheelsOC

John Mashey said...

WheelsOC:
generally right, but for more, you might take a look at the comments starting here @ ATTP

There was a natural cooling trend, from about 10K years ago, via the normal Milankovitch decrease in 60degN solar insolation.
But, humans slowed that starting about 8Ky ago with agriculture and more, 5ky ago with rice paddies, and even reversed it, causing some intermittent warming spells, including at height of Roman Empire. I'd claim there have been 4 periods in the Holocene and before:, to ~8Kya.

2) Long, slow human influence slowing the natural cooling via cutting trees and emitting methane. (~8Kya to ~2Kya)

3) ~2Kya to start of Industrial Revolution: enough humans to cause visible CO2 (CH4) jiggles via plagues (wars). Roman Warm Period, Medieval Warm period (what there was of it), LIA: not entirely natural.

4) I.R. onward: humans totally overpower the usual jiggly slow descent of CO2/CH4.

No new ice age for a very long time, as per David Archer's The Long Thaw.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

It may have been hotter millions of years ago

I believe I heard someplace on the tubes that the Earth was molten lava once as well. But everybody knows we can't trust those models.

Fernando Leanme said...

I tend not to dwell on the details about temperatures before the 18th century. It would be interesting to see a paper about anthropogenic global warming prior to the industrial period. The key would be to have a pretty sturdy proxy reconstruction.

However, if the climate started changing because Chinese started growing rice then the climate sensitivity must have been incredibly high. I need to think a little bit about that.

BBD said...

Fernando Leanme

It would be interesting to see a paper about anthropogenic global warming prior to the industrial period.

Here you go:

Ruddiman et al. (2011).

BBD said...

However, if the climate started changing because Chinese started growing rice then the climate sensitivity must have been incredibly high. I need to think a little bit about that.

Doesn't follow. If the Ruddiman hypothesis is correct, then what it argues is that it is less cold that it would have been without the anthropogenic alteration of the CO2 and CH4 trends during the latter part of the Holocene. There's no disjoint with the central estimate for ECS of ~3C/2xCO2.

John Mashey said...

BBD: yes
CO2 hung around 255-260ppm 8Kya:6Kya, and with usual jiggles, absent humans woudl ahve been down around 240-245ppm about the time the I.R., got started ~200 years ago. Instead, it went up int othe 270-280 range with a a few blips above 280, and even with the dip into deepest LIA, stuck in 275-280 range, about 40ppm higher than natural.
All that (plus CH4) counted the normal downward 60degN insolation trend.

But you've read the book :-) It would do others some good.

BBD said...

John

Even if Ruddiman is wrong, there's a likelihood that we won't be getting cold feet any time soon.

You mentioned Archer's The Long Thaw but for anyone dismayed by the cost of a book, here's a key paper for free:

Archer & Ganopolski (2005) A movable trigger: Fossil fuel CO2 and the onset of the next glaciation

Anonymous said...

Where's our Horace Silver homage?

JJ

John Mashey said...

BBD: yes on paper, but I often recommend The Long Thaw because:
a) It's cheap
b) It's well-written
c) and it's a good "starter book" for someone who is new to this and wants to learn. I keep an extra copy to lend to people.

Anonymous said...

Is Brian now competing with Anthony Watts for "Stupidest Post Ever"?

Focus on "warmest month ever(!)" is just garbage.

No better than Watts' focus on "coldest month".




Jeffrey Davis said...

"Warmest May Ever" is interesting since it follows the "Warmest April Ever."

Since all the months since the early 80s have been above the 20th century average, I'd be interested in seeing a blog post about the coldest month. Do you have a cite?

Anonymous said...

The "Coldest/warmest month" comment above refers to tracking "coldest/warmest" jan, feb,march,april, may etc.


But given the context of Brian's post, that should not be too hard to figure out,since Brian himself said:

"I'll be sure to post whenever we have a coldest month ever in the GISS records" following his "warmest may ever" claim.

It never fails to amaze me how some commenters here will defend the indefensible.

They will criticize Watts for posting nonsense but will defend Brian when he does the same.

It's just dumb.

Anonymous said...

Warmest May Ever" is interesting since it follows the "Warmest April Ever."

That's really not surprising at all.

It is what one would expect due to autocorrelation.

Anonymous said...

That may be a fair comparison if Anthony Watts promised to blog about the hottest months in addition to the coldest, and if Watts' posts weren't typically limited to the US (or whatever other locale is conveniently available) instead of globally.

Go ahead and search his site for global monthly cold records. You'll be confronted with things like "Chicago's coldest winter ever!" or "Coldest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica!" or "October 3rd coldest in US record!" If you can find posts about the coldest month in the GLOBAL record, and if you find Watts promising to cover the hottest months as well, then you might have a point.

We'll be waiting.

-WheelsOC

Hank Roberts said...

Been there, seen that, got the bumper sticker and parked the car ....

Aaron said...

"Coldest month" would have shock, novelty, and news value.

Every climate, weather, science, finance, business, and agricultural blogger on the planet will want to post about a coldest month. I trust the Rabett to be among the very early finishers.

Mainstream media will follow the story like hounds after a (bunny).

Anonymous said...

WheelsOC

In other words, you are among those defending posts like "warmest may ever".

Thanks for making that clear.



Jeffrey Davis said...

Struck a nerve, apparently.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous doesn't think that details matter.

(see?)

-WheelsOC

Hank Roberts said...

> Anonymous said...
> ... It never fails to amaze me how > some commenters here will defend
> the indefensible.

They're not _defending_ you.
They're tolerating you.

Anonymous said...

Go back to sleep, Hank. :)

Ahsan Afsar said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bernard J. said...

Cool.

According to an anonymous expert, it's not global warming, it's autocorelation.

Besides this Einstein who hides his light under a bushel, who knew?

Anonymous said...

Bernard J.

The fact that most of the warmest YEARS in the last 1000+ have come in the last decade tells us a great deal a great deal about how the climate is changing.

But YEARS are different than months (in case you may not have noticed).

What happens in a single month (or even two successive months) is not particularly meaningful form the standpoint of climate.

Obviously you and others here believe that it is or you would not be so quick to attack someone who challenges Brian's idiotic "warmest May EVER(!)" claim.

And just as obviously, nothing I say (about autocorrelation or anything else) is going to change your mind.

But thanks for the honest response nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

"What happens in a single month (or even two successive months) is not particularly meaningful form the standpoint of climate."

Good thing we're not talking about a single month (or even two successive months), we're talking about the entire record.

The difference between "warmest year" and "warmest May" is that one covers a period of 30 days and the other a period of 365. Both are miniscule slices out of a ~120 year dataset, but both are being compared to every other like slice in the dataset.

We can take your own rebuttal and see how it works:

"What happens in a single year (or even two successive years) is not particularly meaningful form [sic] the standpoint of climate."

- WheelsOC

Anonymous said...

"What happens in a single year (or even two successive years) is not particularly meaningful form [sic] the standpoint of climate."


No disagreement there (and it's actually funny that you seem to think I believe otherwise)

And Brian's statement "warmest MAY ever" is EVEN LESS meaningful from the standpoint of climate than would be the statement "warmest YEAR"

The focus on individual months (or, even individual years, for that matter) is misguided because natural variability can produce outliers (particularly in individual months which are highly susceptible to weather)

I mentioned what IS meaningful which you conveniently ignored (why IS that?)

"The fact that most of the warmest YEARS in the last 1000+ have come in the last decade tells us a great deal about how the climate is changing."



cRR Kampen said...

To conclude, one swallow doesn't make a summer so a million swallows CERTAINLY don't.

Or, actually, what happens in a single month/year may very well be meaningfully symptomatic for a changing climate.

BBD said...

Dear Anon.

The focus on individual months (or, even individual years, for that matter) is misguided because natural variability can produce outliers (particularly in individual months which are highly susceptible to weather)

I posted this at the beginning of the thread, but given what you say, you clearly missed it:

GISTEM May only, 1880 - 2014

That's not just weather noise, Anon.

Anonymous said...

"I mentioned what IS meaningful which you conveniently ignored (why IS that?)"

Here's what you seem to be ignoring:
1) Brian is not focusing on "one month." He is not considering this May in isolation. He is comparing all Mays in the record.

2) Brian's comparison is different from the comparisons Watts makes on his blog. Watts always cherry-picks extremely location-limited data to trumpet, whereas Brian is looking at the whole globe. We can support Brian's comparison and not Watts's because they are fundamentally different things. The devil is in the details, which you have repeatedly brushed aside. Again, if you feel like proving me wrong, you're welcome to do so. If not, I'll ask to you to please stop ignoring this argument while accusing us of dismissing yours. It's a bit hypocritical.

3) The snarky promise to cover the COLDEST month ever helps cement the single named data point into this broader context by highlighting exactly how unlikely it is that he will ever need to be post the follow-up. Because it is very likely that we will never live to see a "coldest month ever in the GISS records." This is another thing missing in Anthony Watts's posts.

Basically, the differences between Brian's post and Watts's posts show far more contrast than similarity. The underlying reasoning and approaches are different enough that yes, we CAN support one and not the other without automatically triggering a hypocrisy alert.

4) As BBD just pointed out, when one actually looks at all the Mays in the record the fact that we're in the warmest does indeed tell us something about the climate. This same information was posted before your attack on the usefulness of the blog post. BBD thinks you've accidentally missed it. I suspect you're ignoring it.

It may be worth thinking about this: you're behaving as if anybody disagreeing with your position is being stupid and "defending the indefensible," and refusing to engage their points with anything other than repetition of your assertion. Nobody else is treating you that way.

-WheelsOC

Anonymous said...

BBD

Now you are "just" playing a word game.

I never claimed it was "just" weather noise.

I will remind you of Brian's title: "warmest MAY EVER(!)".

I will also point out that if the last value on the graph were just 0.1C lower,it would actually no longer be "warmest".

0.1C is well within the standard error for year to year variability (due to weather noise), so, statistically speaking, the claim of "warmest ever" is NOT warranted.

But why worry about being accurate, right?

You and others are "reacting" as if I am challenging AGW (and reading in things I never said), which I am not, nor have I ever done so here or anywhere else (believe it or not)

But unlike some others, I happen to think it is important to be accurate and not to post nonsense.



BBD said...

Dear Anon.

But unlike some others, I happen to think it is important to be accurate and not to post nonsense.

And:

I will remind you of Brian's title: "warmest MAY EVER(!)".

That is not John's title.

Furthermore, you are making a diversionary noise about your ongoing attempt to delegitimise John even though your rhetoric is scotched entirely by presenting the monthly data. When I did that, you start up with more rubbish about word games.

You sound as though you are engaged in the usual tedious denialist rhetoric, although perhaps inevitably, you deny this.

But that's the impression you are creating. If this troubles you, rather than railing at others, you should change your tune. Substantially.

Kevin O'Neill said...

anon says: 0.1C is well within the standard error for year to year variability (due to weather noise), so, statistically speaking, the claim of "warmest ever" is NOT warranted.

And as we all know - uncertainties only count in the downward direction .... if you're a denier.

Tell us anon, which is statistically more warranted - the claim it's the warmest month ever or the claim it is NOT the warmest month ever? Also, please tell us whether May's *true* temperature is more likely higher or lower.

Brian said...

Well, interesting debate. I think warmest "ever" will be read to apply to some database with a reasonable limitation, i.e. not applicable to PETM, to earth any May immediately following the impact that created the moon, applies only to the surface and not temps at the core/mantle boundary, etc. Reading the subsequent two sentences in the post reinforces that.

As WheelsOC implies, the contrasting frequency between record cold and record heat is a pretty striking indicator of climate change. And while a single month at the global level is pretty noisy, it's interesting that we can still have record coldest ever single days at point locations, but that's not going to happen at the monthly global level for the next century or longer (barring a mega-volcano or a miracle cure for greenhouse gases). That suggests the stat does have some meaning to it.

I also have a personal reason for my interest in the horse race aspect of temperature, which is the climate bet I set up in 2007. Before this year I've been trending in the direction of losing my initial bet, but this year should be better. Next year is the first year that actually counts for betting purposes.

Jeffrey Davis said...

I will also point out that if the last value on the graph were just 0.1C lower,it would actually no longer be "warmest".

[from memory]The average decadal increase in temps has been around .17C so a difference of .1C is a large relative number.

BBD said...

Brian

Sorry for inexplicably deciding you were John, above.

To distract from my error, here's a gambler's lament from long ago.

Anonymous said...

Warmest May.

Evidently, also iciest Antarctic ever.

Anonymous said...

"Warmest May.
Evidently, also iciest Antarctic ever."

Which is not unexpected. We probably won't see Antarctic sea ice decline for a while, even in the face of global warming. That said, the Antarctic LAND ICE is in decline, and in fact we now understand that some of its ice sheets may have crossed the threshold into a state of collapse.

And I don't think the land ice on top of Greenland is packing on much weight these days, along with nearly ever other significant glacier on the planet. Land ice, the stuff we care about for sea level rise, is on the way out.

Back to sea ice; it's still below average for the Arctic. When we look at both poles over decades of time, we see a global sea ice decline.

Darn that whole 'bigger picture' thing!

-WheelsOC

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Links to WUWT posts by Harold Ambler are sure to get the attention of science loving bunnies.

Just in case you don't want to click on a strange link :

Harold Ambler. Who? Harold is an expert in climate science with an English Lit M.A. and a specialist in Beckett. His qualifications in everything but science can be found on his Linkedin page he is also a house husband [nothing wrong with that].

He produced one blog entry for the Huffington Post way back in 2009 that is probably an example of the very worst/best example in arguing that AGW is a hoax. Huffington Post blog article. The article drew more criticism for the Huff for choosing such a misinformed writer rather than simply providing a ‘skeptic’ voice. See here for Climate Crock of the Week entry. and a follow up article by staff writers at Huffington Post apologising and correcting the blog. [Huffington Post response]. The claim that he also wrote for the Wall St Journal is that the same post was reposted on their website.

Harold runs the blog talkingabouttheweather.wordpress.com with the strap line-

Climate change” is based on a lie: that climate used to be both stable and gentle. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

and a blog which runs the usual Denial memes and cites such experts as the discredited ‘scientist’ Dr. Nils-Axel Morner who was caught photoshoping a photo ‘proving’ the Maldives were not slowly sinking.
Wrote Don’t Sell Your Coat which follows the ‘sun did it’ ‘the ice age is coming’ blah blah. with the review

“You don’t need to be a right-wing SOB to think that ‘man made global warming’ is an Enron-style scam. Harold Ambler is a card-carrying liberal and he thinks so, too. He’s also very funny. Buy this book!” - James Delingpole, author ofWatermelons: The Green Movement’s True Colors


Well, if James Delinpole loves him, he must be very smart!

Bravo Anonymouse!

Anonymous said...

we see a global sea ice decline.

But with currently a million more km^2 globally, than average.

Anonymous said...

"But with currently a million more km^2 globally, than average."

Look at your graph. 1989 was a million square kilometers higher still, and similar high peaks used to be more common up to that point. We have never reached as high since then, though we had before.

The downward slope over the extent of the record is more than apparent.


-WheelsOC

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Anonymous Number Zero could try to enlighten him or herself on the Antarctic sea ice phenomenon.

http://phys.org/news/2014-03-antarctic-sea-ice-arctic.html

But I guess that would be asking too much of an ignorant WUWT bullshit regurgitator.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how some ascribe the ice increase in Antarctica to wind and the ice decrease in the Arctic to temperature.

And vice versa.

Both wind and temperature are at work at both poles.

Thomas Lee Elifritz said...

Both wind and temperature are at work at both poles.

Well maybe you just missed that huge continent covered with ice sheets and surrounded by the circumpolar current and the roaring forties of the southern ocean at that one pole, and not the other. I know, it's hard to see, better to forget about those little details.

Anonymous said...

BBD: there is no hope for someone who is so careless in their reading that they think John wrote the post.


Kevin O'Neil

Though you may not like it like it, when two values are within the (2sigma) uncertainty of one another, one is actually not warranted in saying which is bigger.

Or as NASA puts it (here for example)

[If] "The difference is smaller than the uncertainty in comparing the temperatures of recent years, [it puts them] them into a statistical tie"

Note that on that page linked to above there were actually 6 years that were statistically tied for third warmest.

NASA's 2-sigma uncertainty for comparing recent YEARS is 0.05C.

But the subject of this post is a comparison of months.

The 2-sigma uncertainty for comparing months is considerably larger than that for years. In fact, it's about 0.15C.

If the temp anomalies for two Mays do not differ by more than the 2-sigma uncertainty,they are considered a statistical tie, by NASA's own methodology.

If anyone here does not like that, please take it up with NASA.

Whether you realize it or not, you and others here have demonstrated that you simply don not understand the use of statistics for making comparisons between two values.


Jeffrey says
"[from memory]The average decadal increase in temps has been around .17C so a difference of .1C is a large relative number."

True enough, but the fact is, the 2-sigma error for monthly temperature values is also relatively large (actually > 0.1C) which means that when two MONTHLY values (two mays, for example) differ by less than that, one can not justifiably conclude that one is warmer than the other.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, NASA gives their (2-sigma) error bars( which, according to NASA, is the uncertainty to be used when comparing two temperatures to see if one is 'warmer" than the other (or even 'warmest') IE, they have to differ from on another by at least that amount )here


"for recent years the error bar for global annual means is about ±0.05°C, for years around 1900 it is about ±0.1°C. The error bars are about twice as big for seasonal means and three times as big for monthly means."

3x 0.05 = 0.15 C (given above for monthly uncertainty)

BBD said...

Goodness.

Are some people still quibbling about the clear climate signal in the monthly data?

Can they be that transparently desperate to confect controversy?

Anonymous said...

BBD

Some people (including those at NASA) are actually interested in being accurate in the claims they make.

That you view "sticking to statements that can be supported with data and statistics" as "quibbling" and "confecting controversy" simply further demonstrates your ignorance.

From comments you have made above, it's pretty clear that you have absolutely no clue about statistics and wouldn't know how to compare uncertain temperatures (which all temperatures are) if your very life depended on it.






dhogaza said...

Anon:

"From comments you have made above, it's pretty clear that you have absolutely no clue about statistics and wouldn't know how to compare uncertain temperatures (which all temperatures are) if your very life depended on it."

BBD speaks of the clear climate signal, which is positive and statistically significant, even if you want to quibble whether or not two measurements with overlapping significance intervals can be considered distinct or not.

And as to your quibbling,
May is the warmest on record, but not to a statistically significant degree. There is nothing wrong with saying this.

dhogaza said...

Not that the subject of comparing values is as simple as anon makes it out to be in the first place …

http://www.statisticsdonewrong.com/significant-differences.html

BBD said...

You are still confecting a controversy to distract from things you don't like, Anon.

You have been making a fuss about nothing much for this entire thread.

And it is a tedious as it is obvious. Why not give it a rest now?

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