Baby, it’s cold outside

Pegsnow.jpg In the make-believe world of Climate Debate Daily, where there are two sides to a great “debate” on the reality of climate change (there aren’t), a great gulf is opening between the opposing teams. Cranks are investing a great deal of (wasted) time and effort into spreading the idea that the world is cooling, while climate scientists think a new record high global temperature can’t be far away.

In The Australian today, The Great Communicator (for it is he!) runs the cooling argument for all its worth:

Thus, using several fundamentally different mathematical techniques and many different data sets, seven scientists all forecast that climatic cooling will occur during the first decades of the 21st century. Temperature records confirm that cooling is under way, the length and intensity of which remains unknown. […] Perhaps a reassessment will finally occur when two-metre thick ice develops again on Father Thames at London Bridge, or when cooling causes massive crop failure in the world’s granary belts.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Robin McKie in The Observer, Jim Hansen nails his colours to the mast:

Deniers should show caution, Hansen insisted: most of the planet was exceptionally warm last year. Only a strong La Niña – a vast cooling of the Pacific that occurs every few years – brought down the average temperature. La Niña would not persist, he said. “Before the end of Obama’s first term, we will be seeing new record temperatures. I can promise the president that.”

There’s a collision coming…

Continue reading “Baby, it’s cold outside”

The heater

global_energy_budget_in.png While some on the crank fringe fixate over a “global cooling” (that ain’t happening), the imbalance in our planet’s heat budget has inevitable — and inexorable — consequences for our climate. More heat’s coming into the system than can leave, as this excellent new article at NASA’s Earth Observatory spells out. It’s an easy to follow, but not dumbed-down explanation of how the earth and its atmosphere respond to energy arriving from the sun, with some superb illustrations — and astronaut photographs. Well worth a read, and a useful reference on the complex reality of the “greenhouse” we live in.

[Mutton Birds]

Winter wonderland

205188main_2007ice_anomaly.jpg Climate cranks are keen to paint the last northern hemisphere (boreal) winter as unusually cold – a clear sign, they say, that “global warming is over”, and that global cooling has begun. Every crank’s at it: Bob Carter at Muriel’s place, Gerrit van der Lingen in an article in a Christchurch magazine and Vincent Gray in a submission to the select committee looking into the Emissions Trading Bill. It’s nonsense. The winter was cooler than many recent ones – but still 16th warmest, according to NOAA. A strong La Niña is cooling the tropical Pacific, and dragging the global average down, the precise converse of the strong El Niño that made 1998 so hot. In other words it’s weather noise, not long term change, as Stu Ostro explains at the Weather Channel. However, the cranks are right about one thing: last winter was unusual, but not for the reasons they think. In this post, I want to explore some of the reasons why this winter was out of the ordinary, and why I think it may demonstrate that rapid climate change is happening now. It’s an expanded version of how I began my last two talks…

Continue reading “Winter wonderland”

Here come the warm jets

Hot Topic has devoted a lot of posts to events in the Arctic over the last northern hemisphere summer. The loss of sea ice was dramatic – there was 25% less ice in September than the previous record, set in 2005. The little graph to the left shows just far off the trend line last year’s September area really was. And as I posted yesterday, recent studies suggest that the Arctic is primed for more significant losses in the near future. If the reduction in summer sea ice continues, there are some pretty major implications for the climate of the northern hemisphere and for our modelling of the global climate, and it’s those things that I want to consider in this post. Please note: I am not a climate scientist, and there are a lot of ifs and handwaves in this argument, but bear with me…

Continue reading “Here come the warm jets”