Fools rush in…

by Gareth on May 18, 2010

At the Heartland climate crank conference in Chicago a speaker predicts global cooling, and immediately becomes headline news for Morano and the denial echo machine. At the very same time, NOAA releases its global climate report for April, and notes that not only is April the warmest in the long term record, but that January to April is also the warmest start to any year. If you were gambling on 2010 becoming the undisputed warmest year ever, the odds just shortened considerably. As Joe Romm noted yesterday, the last 12 months is already warmer than any other 12 month period…

On the other hand, this is what Don Easterbrook thinks will happen:


Interesting graph. It might need some work, given that he seems to start all his blue lines almost 0.5ºC below where 2010 is likely to end up. I’ll bet it got warm applause from the crank crowd…

Meanwhile, Jeff Masters notes the continuing high sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic: “an eye-opening 1.46°C above average during April.” Not good news for the hurricane season…

Hat tip to Andy Revkin, first to note the delicious irony.

[Ricky Nelson]

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

C3P0 May 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

So the last twelve months are the warmest on record. Amazing.

Yet has anywhere experienced unusual warmth? Sorry if I am being ignorant here, I completely accept it if I am so please don’t reply with insults and anger, but what obvious examples are therefore this extraordinary warmth? What are some of the counties that have also recorded warmest ever days and months, and years?

Sitting where I am it feels like a normal year, and I haven’t seen any reports of heat waves and hurricanes.

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 4:07 am

Read the item under the NOAA link, and follow that to the full NOAA report. They list them. To see where it's been warm (and cold) click on the little image at the top of the post.

mustakissa May 18, 2010 at 11:56 am

It's nice and warm here in Finland… up to 27C, unusual for the time of year. Already for a week, another promised.

No, it means absolutely nothing for climate…

cynicus May 18, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Indeed, it's weather. Here in Holland -a few 100 kilometer southwest of Finland- we have the coldest May so far since 1982 with an average of 8.2 degrees C.

bill May 19, 2010 at 1:00 am

Further to Finland / Holland as above heres the large version of the NOAA chart, showing the interesting northern-Hemisphere high-latitude warmer, lower-lats cooler phenomenon for much of Europa and Asia, and even the US (remember the record snowstorms?)

And, no, not much happening either way in NZ. So, all personal experiences present and accounted for.

So, C3PO, do you accept that stats win out over individual experiences?

Yet again, if you wish to find examples of extreme weather of late you're as capable of using Google as any of the rest of us!

I did, and quickly found this fascinating item (so thanks!): 'Changes in the climate of the Alaskan North Slope and the ice concentration of the adjacent Beaufort Sea ' and yet I have little doubt there have been many balmy Tuesdays, icy Novembers, and mildly warm Mays, while all this has been going on.

C3P0 May 19, 2010 at 5:26 pm

"So, C3PO, do you accept that stats win out over individual experiences?"

Haha nice try to strawman me. Of course individual experiences are nowhere near as robust as robust stats. However if an ad for a sports drink claimed, "research has shown a 20% increase in performance" and after using the drink I noticed no change I would become sceptical of that research. I would look for other research. Once I had found new research I wouldn’t believe the research that agreed with my individual experience, I would look at how that research was done and try to explain the difference in results.

A similar approach can be taken to reports of record temperatures. If research does not feel right one should look other sources and note differences. For example what do the satellite records show? This article has taken one method only (ground based measurement) and not critically evaluated this method against others. How does the satellite record compare against the GISS record for the last 12 months? If that also says the last 12 months are the warmest since 1979 then I will be a lot more convinced.

Gareth May 19, 2010 at 5:32 am

See David Appell's post on current satellite temps:

bill May 19, 2010 at 10:07 am

Ooh – 'strawman' is a verb now! I await the past-participle with considerable interest…

One might always go straight to Romm's blog in such matters – he's very keen on the temp records.

NASA appear to believe 2010 is strongly likely to set the new record (as reported here by the WaPo which, while on-the-way-to-disastrous, will at least mean we won't have to hear about an ice age for another 5 years or so (by which time the world will have doubtlessly been cooling since 2010, or 11, or 12…)

ctg May 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

So, having looked at the satellite temperatures, you are now a lot more convinced, right?

bill May 19, 2010 at 10:55 pm

the sound you're not hearing is me holding my breath

lyndon May 18, 2010 at 10:39 pm

If it was 1.46 degrees warmer than usual for the time of year, you would expect to notice?

Gareth May 19, 2010 at 12:40 am

1.46ºC above or below a monthly average is a lot. August 2009 was the warmest August in NZ since records began – but it was "only" about 2degC above the long term average.

George D May 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

I don't have any special knowledge, but I would imagine it would depend on the anomaly for the previous year. More movement, more likely to notice.

dappledwater May 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm

The title applies to the first comment. Note that NASA GISTEMP has the period January to April 2010 as the warmest on record too:

cindybax May 18, 2010 at 5:14 am

I like Revkin's "go figure" remark about the chicago conference.

@C3PO: I'm not sure your personal experience is particularly scientific.

Macro2 May 18, 2010 at 6:44 am

Cindy! don't blind poor C3 with science! That's just Bunkum.

James May 18, 2010 at 6:39 am

It looks like Katla is getting excited.
If that one pops, we really will be in for a very long spell of cool weather.

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Reference please? The Eruptions blog at Sciblogs is pretty reliable, and if what you say is true it would be reported there — in the comments at least.

It's unlikely that any Icelandic volcano could produce enough ash/sulfates to cool the globe (see my earlier post for why), but it could certainly disrupt European weather in a big way — not to mention air transport…

James May 18, 2010 at 8:01 pm

The Year Without a Summer (also known as the Poverty Year, Year There Was No Summer and Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death[1]) was 1816, in which severe summer climate abnormalities destroyed crops in Northern Europe, the Northeastern United States and eastern Canada.[2][3] Average global temperatures decreased about 0.4–0.7 °C (0.7–1.3 °F),[4] enough to cause significant agricultural problems around the globe.

Historian John D. Post has called this "the last great subsistence crisis in the Western world".[5]

Most consider the climate anomaly to have been caused by a combination of a historic low in solar activity with a volcanic winter event; the latter caused by a succession of major volcanic eruptions capped off by the Mount Tambora eruption of 1815, the largest known eruption in over 1,600 years.

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 8:16 am

That has nothing to do with Iceland. Tambora != Katla. I suggest you read my earlier post for why the latitude makes a difference.

James May 18, 2010 at 8:29 am

"When Katla went off in the 1700s, the USA suffered a very cold winter," says Gary Hufford, a scientist with the Alaska Region of the National Weather Service. "To the point, the Mississippi River froze just north of New Orleans and the East Coast, especially New England, had an extremely cold winter.

"Depending on a new eruption, Katla could cause some serious weather changes."

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 8:30 am

And that's not global. Are you being deliberately dense?

James May 18, 2010 at 8:50 am

At what point did I claim that Katla would cool the Globe?

I said "we" could be in for some cold weather, meaning mankind in general, HH in particular.

Regardless of geographical location, Katla, combined with the collapse of the Euro, and the blackout of Britain, would have a fairly profound effect on our lives, I suspect.

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 10:30 am

Katla — and you have yet to provide a reference justifying your original comment — would not have a global impact. The collapse of the Euro might. A blackout of Britain might upset a few friends and family, but would go more or less unnoticed by most of the world.

Gareth May 18, 2010 at 7:51 am

I give up trying to embed a video… Here's the link. Eyjafjallajokull in full throat, last week.

bill May 19, 2010 at 1:10 am

C3PO reminds me of The Australian's bold challenge to the notion that the oceans were rising; a handful of sun-bronzed old blokes from Bondi who didn't notice anything different! (And we even get some pre-emptive tone-trolling, so everyone be on their best behaviour…)

I mean, would you notice. By the time you do we're all really in trouble…

Yet again, I'm struck that with the denialati, although there's always a rush to point out that the majority opinion (overwhelming) of actual climatologists does not really PROVE anything, 100%, cross-our-hearts-and-hope-to-die, beyond-
-reasonable-doubt (and-all-common-sense!) on the other hand, well, it's a case of a cheerful universal acceptance that One Crank an Ice Age Doth Make…

Oh, and the Roman legions wore skirts, therefore Britain was warmer for Jesus (or something!) Must inform the Scots…

billr May 19, 2010 at 1:16 am

On a historical note, prior to the celts etc, in Scotland, there were the picts, I was always told that they ran around naked and were painted blue. I always suspected that if you ran around my homeland naked you would turn blue without the need of paint. or woad, or whatever it was.

ctg May 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

So, to summarise James: If a certain volcano erupts, even though there is no evidence it is going to erupt any time soon, it may have some unspecified regional effects on weather for some people for an unspecified amount of time.

Well, I'm glad that's cleared up, then.

bill May 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Well, the US National Academy of Sciences has just announced –

"Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems."

I'll observe again, the denialati will now spend their time cheerfully nitpicking yet another thoroughly investigated credible scientific finding supported by multiple streams of evidence – heck, the Academy even say themselves that science is 'never settled' *; aha! NASgate looms! – but one outlier paper at Crankfest 2010 will doubtlessly be sufficient proof for squadrons of self-styled 'skeptics' that the opposite is occurring!

Or perhaps a late-20th Century influx of cosmic rays is causing mercury to expand at a molecular level and that's why all the thermometers are wrong? The oceans are rising due to the combined displacement of unprecedented numbers of giant cargo vessels? Al Gore controls a 'spoiler' satellite that interferes with NASA's station readings? (George Soros paid for it!) Mutant star-goats? (for those of us old enough to remember the Hitchhiker's Guide!)…

And they'll have the audacity to accuse others of purblind groupthink!

*Which is a pretty reasonable indicator of being grown-ups, and adds to their credibility (if not their tactical nous!), don't you think?

Doug_wellington May 20, 2010 at 12:19 am


I know who I would put on the B Ark.


bill May 21, 2010 at 10:14 am
ctg May 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm

After literally minutes of exhaustive investigative research, I have finally uncovered the conspiracy. Turns out Wrathall was right all along.

Remember that satellite NASA was going to put up to monitor CO2, only it "crashed" on launch? Well, here's what I have found – there was no satellite on the rocket! It was just an empty rocket, launched to cover up the fact they had already spent the money – several billions of your tax dollars.

What did they spend the money on? Well, they had to prove global warming somehow, and they decided the best way would be to make it look as though the Arctic ice was melting. So, they spent some of the money on faking 9/11. All the people that supposedly died were actually spirited away to NASA's secret slave camp in Ogallala, Nebraska. From there, they were shipped up to the Arctic circle, where for the last few years they have spent every summer breaking up the ice – with HOCKEY STICKS!!!.

And that's the real reason why the ice looks like it's melting.

It's true. Just ask Wrathall.

bill May 20, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Now you're just being silly; everyone knows NASA's secret slave camp is set up between Carrizozo and Roswell, New Mexico, where the internees are forced to mine dilthium crystals to power the captured alien spacecraft…

TomG May 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I'm not very good at passing along links but try looking for:
Voktun Eyjafjalla-og
If you manage to find the site, click 'English' at the top right corner and that will give a map of Iceland showing recent earthquakes.
About 24 hours ago Katla had a small quake.
Just one, nothing more so far.

ctg May 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Before you click the English link, the page has a large banner saying:

Katla is NOT erupting and there are NO indications that Katla is about to erupt.

I wonder where you get your information, from James…

James May 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

At what point did I say Katla was erupting?
I said it was getting excited – i.e seismic activity, which often preceeds eruptions.

Please stop misquoting me

TomG May 20, 2010 at 5:56 am

Exactly ctg.
One little quake does not an eruption make.

dappledwater May 18, 2010 at 11:09 pm

"If that one pops, we really will be in for a very long spell of cool weather." – James

So "pop" is James euphemism for erupt?. James stop trying to weasel out of your previous comments, you tried to imply Katla was about to erupt and would cool the climate.
It's not about to erupt and even if it did, as Gareth pointed out, it's effects would be localized not global, due to it's latitude.

James May 18, 2010 at 11:36 pm

It MAY erupt, and it MAY cool MY climate.

Which part of that do you have a problem with?

James May 18, 2010 at 11:52 pm

I am very sorry for any misunderstanding.
What I meant to say was:

Katla MAY erupt (based on historic connection between the volcanoes and the recent seismic activity) and it MAY cool MY climate.

(Also, based on historical evidence that Icelandic volcanoes have cooled the NH, where I am from)

I hope that clarifies my position.

dappledwater May 19, 2010 at 12:26 am

Okay, much better.

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