Monthly Archives: June 2007

New Paper On Exceptional European Heat – Another Example of Cherrypicking

There is a new paper that has just appeared that discusses the recent warm period in Europe in 2006 and 2007. It provides an excellent summary of an extreme weather event (and thanks to Juerg Luterbacher for sending to me!)

However, part of this paper is yet another example of following the IPCC policy, discussed yesterday, of ignoring inconvenient other peer reviewed research.

The paper is

Luterbacher, J., M. A. Liniger, A. Menzel, N. Estrella, P. M. Della-Marta, C. Pfister, T. Rutishauser, and E. Xoplaki (2007), Exceptional European warmth of autumn 2006 and winter 2007: Historical context, the underlying dynamics, and its phenological impacts, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L12704, doi:10.1029/2007GL029951. .

The abstract reads,

“Updated European averaged autumn and winter surface air temperature (SAT) timeseries indicate that the autumn 2006 and winter 2007 were extremely likely (>95%) the warmest for more than 500 years. In both seasons, the European SAT anomaly is widespread with anomalies up to three standard deviations from normal. The anomalous warmth is associated with strong anticyclonic conditions and warm air advection from south west. Phenological impacts related to this warmth included some plant species having a partial second flowering or extended flowering till the beginning of winter. Species that typically flower in early spring were found to have a distinct earlier flowering after winter 2007.”

An excerpt from the conclusions reads,

“As SAT [ seasonal surface air temperature] anomalies are expected to increase up to 5 (3) SD from 1961–1990 in autumn (winter) at the end of the 21st century [Scherrer et al., 2007], the AU06 and WI07 warmth discussed in this study may be seen as typical representation of upcoming climate change at continental scale.”

This paper, however, fails to recognize that regional predictive skill has not been shown on any multidecadal (or even yearly time scale) (e.g. see), nor whether in a global context, the warm period is unusual; see

Chase, T.N., K. Wolter, R.A. Pielke Sr., and Ichtiaque Rasool, 2006: Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L23709, doi:10.1029/2006GL027470,

where we concluded

“We place the European summer heat wave of 2003 in the context of other extreme summer tropospheric temperature events from 22 N to 80 N since 1979, as well as globally using annual averages. The analysis is performed in terms of standard deviations (SD) exceeded and correlations between regional extremes and temperatures at larger spatial scales. As has been pointed out previously the heat wave was statistically unusual and was a deep tropospheric phenomenon. In this analysis we also find the following. (1) Extreme warm anomalies equally, or more, unusual than the 2003 heat wave occur regularly. (2) Extreme cold anomalies also occur regularly and occasionally exceed the magnitude of the 2003 warm anomaly in terms of the value of SD. (3) There is a correlation between global and hemispheric average temperature and the presence of warm or cold regional anomalies of the same sign (i.e., warmer than average years have more regional heat waves and colder than average years have more cold waves). (4) Natural variability in the form of El Nino and volcanic eruptions appear to be of much greater importance in causing extreme regional temperature anomalies than a simple upward trend in time. Extreme temperature anomalies in the wake of the1997–98 El Nino were larger than the anomalies seen in summer 2003 both in area affected and SD extremes exceeded. (5) Regression analyses do not provide strong support for the idea that regional heat waves are increasing with time.”

The Luterbacher et al paper also ignored the paper,

Fischer E. M., S. I. Seneviratne, D. Lüthi, C. Schär (2007), Contribution of land-atmosphere coupling to recent European summer heat waves, Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06707, doi:10.1029/2006GL029068. [see also].

That the Luterbacher et al paper chose to ignore these peer reviewed studies is another clear example of ignoring published work that raises questions about their conclusions. These papers should have been discussed even if the authors have reasons to refute them. They should have placed this recent very warm period in Europe in a global context if they are going to assert that this is the type of weather that should become routine in the coming decades.

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Documentation Of IPCC WG1 Bias by Roger A. Pielke Sr. and Dallas Staley – Part I

The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports have the following stated goals:

“A comprehensive and rigourous picture of the global present state of knowledge of climate change”

and

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.”

However, the IPCC WG 1 Chapter 3 report failed in this goal.

This weblog illustrates this defect using the example of their assessment of the multi-decadal land near-surface temperature trend data, where peer reviewed papers that conflicted with the robustness of the surface air temperature trends are ignored. Later Climate Science weblogs will document this issue with other climate issues.

Readers of Climate Science are invited to present other important peer reviewed papers that were available to the IPCC that were ignored in their assessment as further evidence to document IPCC bias.

To evaluate the IPCC’s claim to be comprehensive, we cross-compared IPCC WG1 references on near-surface air temperature trends with the peer-reviewed citations that have been given in Climate Science. We selected only papers that appeared before about May 2006 so they were readily available to the IPCC Lead authors.

The comparison follows where the bold faced citations are in the IPCC WG1 Report:

I. ISSUES WITH THE ROBUSTNESS OF THE IPCC CONFIDENCE IN THE SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECORD

Chase, T.N., R.A. Pielke Sr., J.A. Knaff, T.G.F. Kittel, and J.L. Eastman, 2000: A comparison of regional trends in 1979-1997 depth-averaged tropospheric temperatures. Int. J. Climatology, 20, 503-518.

Davey, C.A., and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2005: Microclimate exposures of surface-based weather stations – implications for the assessment of long-term temperature trends. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., Vol. 86, No. 4, 497–504.

Davey, C.A., R.A. Pielke Sr., and K.P. Gallo, 2006: Differences between near-surface equivalent temperature and temperature trends for the eastern United States – Equivalent temperature as an alternative measure of heat content. Global and Planetary Change, 54, 19–32.

de Laat, A.T.J. and A.N. Maurellis, 2006: Evidence for influence of anthropogenic surface processes on lower tropospheric and surface temperature trends. International Journal of Climatology, 26, 897-913.

González, J. E., J. C. Luvall, D. Rickman, D. E. Comarazamy, A. J. Picón, E. W. Harmsen, H. Parsiani, N. Ramírez, R. Vázquez, R. Williams, R. B. Waide, and C. A. Tepley, 2005: Urban heat islands developing in coastal tropical cities. Eos Trans. AGU, 86(42), 397.

Hale, R.C., K.P. Gallo, T.W. Owen, and T.R. Loveland, 2006: Land use/land cover change effects on temperature trends at U.S. Climate Normals Stations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, doi:10.1029/2006GL026358.

Hanamean, J.R. Jr., R.A. Pielke Sr., C.L. Castro, D.S. Ojima, B.C. Reed, and Z. Gao, 2003: Vegetation impacts on maximum and minimum temperatures in northeast Colorado. Meteorological Applications, 10, 203-215.

Hansen, J., R. Ruedy, J. Glascoe, and Mki. Sato, 1999: GISS analysis of surface temperature change. J. Geophys. Res. 104, 30997-31022, doi:10.1029/1999JD900835.

Hansen, J.E., R. Ruedy, Mki. Sato, M. Imhoff, W. Lawrence, D. Easterling, T. Peterson, and T. Karl, 2001: A closer look at United States and global surface temperature change. J. Geophys. Res. 106, 23947-23963, doi:10.1029/2001JD000354.

Hansen, J., L. Nazarenko, R. Ruedy, Mki. Sato, J. Willis, A. Del Genio, D. Koch, A. Lacis, K. Lo, S. Menon, T. Novakov, Ju. Perlwitz, G. Russell, G.A. Schmidt, and N. Tausnev, 2005: Earth’s energy imbalance: Confirmation and implications. Science 308, 1431-1435, doi:10.1126/science.1110252.

Hansen, J., Mki. Sato, R. Ruedy, L. Nazarenko, A. Lacis, G.A. Schmidt, G. Russell, I. Aleinov, M. Bauer, S. Bauer, N. Bell, B. Cairns, V. Canuto, M. Chandler, Y. Cheng, A. Del Genio, G. Faluvegi, E. Fleming, A. Friend, T. Hall, C. Jackman, M. Kelley, N. Kiang, D. Koch, J. Lean, J. Lerner, K. Lo, S. Menon, R. Miller, P. Minnis, T. Novakov, V. Oinas, Ja. Perlwitz, Ju. Perlwitz, D. Rind, A. Romanou, D. Shindell, P. Stone, S. Sun, N. Tausnev, D. Thresher, B. Wielicki, T. Wong, M. Yao, and S. Zhang 2005. Efficacy of climate forcings. J. Geophys. Res. 110, D18104, doi:10.1029/2005JD005776.

Hansen, J., M. Sato, R. Ruedy, K. Lo, D.W. Lea, and M. Medina-Elizade, 2006: Global temperature change. PNAS, 103, 14288 – 14293.

He, J. F., J. Y. Liu, D. F. Zhuang, W. Zhang, and M. L. Liu 2007: Assessing the effect of land use/land cover change on the change of urban heat island intensity Theor. Appl. Climatol., DOI 10.1007/s00704-006-0273-1

Holder, C., R. Boyles, A. Syed, D. Niyogi, and S. Raman, 2006: Comparison of Collocated Automated (NCECONet) and Manual (COOP) Climate Observations in North Carolina. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 23, 671–682.

Huang Y., R. E. Dickinson and W. L. Chameides, 2006: Impact of aerosol indirect effect on surface temperature over East Asia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 103, 4371-4376, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0504428103.

Hubbard, K.G., and X. Lin, 2006: Reexamination of instrument change effects in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network. Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L15710, doi:10.1029/2006GL027069.

Jones, P.D., and A. Moberg. 2003: Hemispheric and large-scale surface air temperature variations: An extensive revision and an update to 2001. J. Climate 16, 206-223.

Kalnay E., and M. Cai, 2003a: Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate. Nature, 423, 528-531;

Kalnay, E. and M. Cai, 2003b: Impact of urbanization and land-use change on climate – Corrigenda. Nature, 425, 102.

Kalnay, E., M. Cai, H. Li, and J. Tobin, 2006: Estimation of the impact of land-surface forcings on temperature trends in eastern United States J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 111, No. D6, D06106.

Karl, T.R., S.J. Hassol, C.D. Miller, and W.L. Murray, Eds., 2006: Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences. A Report by the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Washington, DC.

Lim, Y.K., M. Cai, E. Kalnay, and L. Zhou, 2005: Observational evidence of sensitivity of surface climate changes to land types and urbanization. Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 32, No. 22, L2271210.1029/2005GL024267.

Mahmood, R., S.A. Foster, and D. Logan, 2006: The GeoProfile metadata, exposure of instruments, and measurement bias in climatic record revisited. Int. J. Climatology, 26(8), 1091-1124.

Parker, D.E., 2004: Large-scale warming is not urban. Nature, 432, 290, doi:10.1038/432290a;

Peterson, T.C., 2003: Assessment of urban versus rural in situ surface temperatures in the contiguous United States: No difference found. J. Climate, 16, 2941–2959.

Peterson, T.C., 2006. Examination of potential biases in air temperature caused by poor station locations. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 87, 1073-1089.

Peterson, T.C. and R.S. Vose, 1997: An overview of the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature data base. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 78, 2837-2849,

Peterson, T.C., D.R. Easterling, T.R. Karl, P. Ya. Groisman, N. Nicholls, N. Plummer, S. Torok, I. Auer, R. Boehm, D. Gullett, L. Vincent, R. Heino, H. Tuomenvirta, O. Mestre, T. Szentimre, J. Salinger, E. Førland, I. Hanssen-Bauer, H. Alexandersson, P. Jones, D. Parker, 1998: Homogeneity adjustments of in situ atmospheric climate data: A review. Int. J. Climatology, 18, 1493-1517.

Robeson, S.M., 2004: Trends in time-varying percentiles of daily minimum and maximum temperature over North America. Geophys. Res. Letts., 31, L04203, doi:10.1029/2003GL019019.

Runnalls, K.E. and T.R. Oke, 2006: A technique to detect microclimatic inhomogeneities in historical records of screen-level air temperature. J. Climate, 19, 959-978

Schmidt, G.A., R. Ruedy, J.E. Hansen, I. Aleinov, N. Bell, M. Bauer, S. Bauer, B. Cairns, V. Canuto, Y. Cheng, A. Del Genio, G. Faluvegi, A.D. Friend, T.M. Hall, Y. Hu, M. Kelley, N.Y. Kiang, D. Koch, A.A. Lacis, J. Lerner, K.K. Lo, R.L. Miller, L. Nazarenko, V. Oinas, Ja. Perlwitz, Ju. Perlwitz, D. Rind, A. Romanou, G.L. Russell, Mki. Sato, D.T. Shindell, P.H. Stone, S. Sun, N. Tausnev, D. Thresher, and M.-S. Yao, 2006: Present day atmospheric simulations using GISS ModelE: Comparison to in-situ, satellite and reanalysis data. J. Climate, 19, 153-192,

Trenberth, K.E., 2004: Rural land-use change and climate. Nature, 427, 213, doi:10.1038/427213a. doi:10.1175/JCLI3612.1.

Vose, R.S., T.R. Karl, D.R. Easterling, C.N. Williams, and M.J. Menne, 2004: Impact of land-use change on climate. Nature, 427, 213-21

Vose, R., D.R. Easterling, and B. Gleason, 2005: Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe: An update through 2004. Geophys. Res. Letts.,. 32, L23822, doi:10.1029/2005GL024379

Vose, R.S., D.R. Easterling, T.R. Karl, and M. Helfert, 2005: Comments on “Microclimate Exposures of Surface-Based Weather Stationsâ€?. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 86, 504–506.

Zhou, L., R.E. Dickinson , Y. Tian, J. Fang , Q. Li , R.K. Kaufmann, C.J. Tucker, and R.B. Myneni, 2004: Evidence for a significant urbanization effect on climate in China. PNAS, 101, 9540-9544.

If the papers were neglected because they were redundant, this would be no problem. However, they are ignored specifically because they conflict with the assessment that is presented in the IPCC WG1 Report, and the Lead Authors do not agree with that perspective!

That is hardly honoring the IPCC commitment to provide

“A comprehensive and rigourous picture of the global present state of knowledge of climate change”.

Moreover, the conflict of interest that was identified in the CCSP Report “”Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences” is perpetuated in the IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 Report [where the Editor of this CCSP Report, Tom Karl, is also Review Editor for the Chapter 3 of the 2007 IPCC WG1 Report].

These comments were made with respect to this CCSP Report

“The process for completing the CCSP Report excluded valid scientific perspectives under the charge of the Committee. The Editor of the Report systematically excluded a range of views on the issue of understanding and reconciling lower atmospheric temperature trends. The Executive Summary of the CCSP Report ignores critical scientific issues and makes unbalanced conclusions concerning our current understanding of temperature trendsâ€?.

“Future assessment Committees need to appoint members with a diversity of views and who do not have a significant conflict of interest with respect to their own work. Such Committees should be chaired by individuals committed to the presentation of a diversity of perspectives and unwilling to engage in strong-arm tactics to enforce a narrow perspective. Any such committee should be charged with summarizing all relevant literature, even if inconvenient, or which presents a view not held by certain members of the Committee.”

The IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 Report process made the same mistakes and failed to provide an objective assessment. Indeed the selection of papers to present in the IPCC (as well as how the work of others that was cited was dismissed) had a clear conflict of interest as the following individuals cited their research prominently yet were also a Review Editor (Tom Karl), works for the Review Editor (Tom Peterson, Russ Vose, David Easterling), were Coordinating Lead Authors (Kevin Trenberth and Phil Jones), were Lead Authors (Dave Easterling and David Parker), or a Contributing Author (Russ Vose).

In fact, as stated above, the CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences“, with its documented bias, was chaired by the same person as the Review Editor of the IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 Report (Tom Karl)! Regardless of his professional expertise, he is still overseeing an assessment which is evaluating his own research. There cannot be a clearer conflict of interest.

The IPCC WG1 Chapter 3 Report clearly cherrypicked information on the robustness of the land near-surface air temperature to bolster their advocacy of a particular perspective on the role of humans within the climate system. As a result, policymakers and the public have been given a false (or at best an incomplete) assessment of the multi-decadal global average near-surface air temperature trends.

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A New Paper That Highlights the First-Order Radiative Forcing Of Black Carbon Deposition

A 2005 National Research Council Report, Climate Science, and our research studies have summarized studies that show that black carbon deposition on snow and sea ice is a major positive radiative forcing; e.g. see

-Page 38 in

National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

-What Fraction of Global Warming is Due to the Radiative Forcing of Increased Atmospheric Concentrations of CO2?

-Strack, J., R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Liston, 2007: Arctic tundra shrub invasion and soot deposition: Consequences for spring snowmelt and near-surface air temperatures. J. Geophys. Res., accepted.

There is a new paper that provides further evidence on the major role of black carbon deposition on snow and sea ice as a positive radiative forcing.

The paper is

Flanner, M. G., C. S. Zender, J. T. Randerson, and P. J. Rasch (2007), Present-day climate forcing and response from black carbon in snow, J. Geophys. Res., 112, D11202, doi:10.1029/2006JD008003.

The paper was also reported in the media by Henry Fountain with the headline Warming in the Arctic? Blame the Snow. The Dirty Snow, That Is.

The abstract of the Flanner et al paper reads,

We apply our Snow, Ice, and Aerosol Radiative (SNICAR) model, coupled to a general circulation model with prognostic carbon aerosol transport, to improve understanding of climate forcing and response from black carbon (BC) in snow. Building on two previous studies, we account for interannually varying biomass burning BC emissions, snow aging, and aerosol scavenging by snow meltwater. We assess uncertainty in forcing estimates from these factors, as well as BC optical properties and snow cover fraction. BC emissions are the largest source of uncertainty, followed by snow aging. The rate of snow aging determines snowpack effective radius (re), which directly controls snow reflectance and the magnitude of albedo change caused by BC. For a reasonable re range, reflectance reduction from BC varies threefold. Inefficient meltwater scavenging keeps hydrophobic impurities near the surface during melt and enhances forcing. Applying biomass burning BC emission inventories for a strong (1998) and weak (2001) boreal fire year, we estimate global annual mean BC/snow surface radiative forcing from all sources (fossil fuel, biofuel, and biomass burning) of +0.054 (0.007–0.13) and +0.049 (0.007–0.12) W m-2, respectively. Snow forcing from only fossil fuel + biofuel sources is +0.043 W m-2 (forcing from only fossil fuels is +0.033 W m-2), suggesting that the anthropogenic contribution to total forcing is at least 80%. The 1998 global land and sea-ice snowpack absorbed 0.60 and 0.23 W m-2, respectively, because of direct BC/snow forcing. The forcing is maximum coincidentally with snowmelt onset, triggering strong snow-albedo feedback in local springtime. Consequently, the ‘‘efficacy’’ of BC/snow forcing is more than three times greater than forcing by CO2. The 1998 and 2001 land snowmelt rates north of 50 N are 28% and 19% greater in the month preceding maximum melt of control simulations without BC in snow. With climate feedbacks, global annual mean 2-meter air temperature warms 0.15 and 0.10 C, when BC is included in snow, whereas annual arctic warming is 1.61 and 0.50 C. Stronger high latitude climate response in 1998 than 2001 is at least partially caused by boreal fires, which account for nearly all of the 35% biomass burning contribution to 1998 arctic forcing. Efficacy was anomalously large in this experiment, however, and more research is required to elucidate the role of boreal fires, which we suggest have maximum arctic BC/snow forcing potential during April–June. Model BC concentrations in snow agree reasonably well (r = 0.78) with a set of 23 observations from various locations, spanning nearly 4 orders of magnitude. We predict concentrations in excess of 1000 ng g-1 for snow in northeast China, enough to lower snow albedo by more than 0.13. The greatest instantaneous forcing is over the Tibetan Plateau, exceeding 20 W m 2 in some places during spring. These results indicate that snow darkening is an important component of carbon aerosol climate forcing.”

Excerpts from the paper read,

“Global annual mean equilibrium warming resulting from the inclusion of BC in snow is 0.15 and 0.10 C for 1998 and 2001 central experiments, respectively. Annual arctic (66.5–90 N) warming, however, is 1.61 and 0.50 C. Arctic annual mean surface albedo for these two experiments is reduced by 0.047 and 0.017, relative to their control simulations without BC in snow. The 1998 and 2001 land snowmelt rates north of 50 N are 28% and 19% greater in the month preceding maximum melt of control simulations.”

“BC in snowpack can provoke disproportionately large springtime climate response because the forcing tends to coincide with the onset of snowmelt, thus triggering more rapid snow ablation and snow-albedo feedback. The model and methods we develop here could be applied to study snow forcing by other aerosols, including mineral dust, volcanic ash, brown carbon, and marine sediment in sea-ice [Light et al., 1998].”

In terms of the global radiative forcings, the fraction of attribution of observed warming to the radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases is reduced by this large radiative forcing by black carbon, as Climate Science has been reporting; e.g. see slide 12 in

Pielke, R.A. Sr., 2006: Regional and Global Climate Forcings. Presented at the Conference on the Earth’s Radiative Energy Budget Related to SORCE, San Juan Islands, Washington, September 20-22, 2006.

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Comment on the Nature Weblog By Kevin Trenberth Entitled “Predictions of climate”

Our research has led us to conclude that

1. Climate prediction is an initial value problem; e.g. see

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746

and

2. Multi-decadal skillful regional climate prediction is not yet been achieved; e.g see

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices.

There is a remarkable weblog on Nature from an unexpected source that supports these views. The weblog is presented by one of the Lead Authors of Chapter 3 the IPCC WG1 report [Kevin Trenberth] and is in direct conflict with statements that climate science is settled.

The Trenberth weblog reads’

Predictions of climate
Posted by Oliver Morton on behalf of Kevin E. Trenberth

I have often seen references to predictions of future climate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), presumably through the IPCC assessments (the various chapters in the recently completed Working Group I Fourth Assessment report ican be accessed through this listing). In fact, since the last report it is also often stated that the science is settled or done and now is the time for action.

In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been. The IPCC instead proffers “what ifâ€? projections of future climate that correspond to certain emissions scenarios. There are a number of assumptions that go into these emissions scenarios. They are intended to cover a range of possible self consistent “story linesâ€? that then provide decision makers with information about which paths might be more desirable. But they do not consider many things like the recovery of the ozone layer, for instance, or observed trends in forcing agents. There is no estimate, even probabilistically, as to the likelihood of any emissions scenario and no best guess.

Even if there were, the projections are based on model results that provide differences of the future climate relative to that today. None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate. In particular, the state of the oceans, sea ice, and soil moisture has no relationship to the observed state at any recent time in any of the IPCC models. There is neither an El Niño sequence nor any Pacific Decadal Oscillation that replicates the recent past; yet these are critical modes of variability that affect Pacific rim countries and beyond. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, that may depend on the thermohaline circulation and thus ocean currents in the Atlantic, is not set up to match today’s state, but it is a critical component of the Atlantic hurricanes and it undoubtedly affects forecasts for the next decade from Brazil to Europe. Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.

The current projection method works to the extent it does because it utilizes differences from one time to another and the main model bias and systematic errors are thereby subtracted out. This assumes linearity. It works for global forced variations, but it can not work for many aspects of climate, especially those related to the water cycle. For instance, if the current state is one of drought then it is unlikely to get drier, but unrealistic model states and model biases can easily violate such constraints and project drier conditions. Of course one can initialize a climate model, but a biased model will immediately drift back to the model climate and the predicted trends will then be wrong. Therefore the problem of overcoming this shortcoming, and facing up to initializing climate models means not only obtaining sufficient reliable observations of all aspects of the climate system, but also overcoming model biases. So this is a major challenge.

The IPCC report makes it clear that there is a substantial future commitment to further climate change even if we could stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. And the commitment is even greater given that the best we can realistically hope for in the near term is to perhaps stabilize emissions, which means increases in concentrations of long-lived greenhouse gases indefinitely into the future. Thus future climate change is guaranteed.

So if the science is settled, then what are we planning for and adapting to? A consensus has emerged that “warming of the climate system is unequivocalâ€? to quote the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Working Group I Summary for Policy Makers (pdf) and the science is convincing that humans are the cause. Hence mitigation of the problem: stopping or slowing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere is essential. The science is clear in this respect.

However, the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate. But we need them. Indeed it is an imperative! So the science is just beginning. Beginning, that is, to face up to the challenge of building a climate information system that tracks the current climate and the agents of change, that initializes models and makes predictions, and that provides useful climate information on many time scales regionally and tailored to many sectoral needs.

We will adapt to climate change. The question is whether it will be planned or not? How disruptive and how much loss of life will there be because we did not adequately plan for the climate changes that are already occurring?

Kevin Trenberth
Climate Analysis Section, NCAR”

This is remarkable since the following statements are made

1. “In fact there are no predictions by IPCC at all. And there never have been.”

2. “None of the models used by IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed climate.”

3. “Moreover, the starting climate state in several of the models may depart significantly from the real climate owing to model errors. I postulate that regional climate change is impossible to deal with properly unless the models are initialized.”

4. “The current projection method works to the extent it does because it utilizes differences from one time to another and the main model bias and systematic errors are thereby subtracted out. This assumes linearity. It works for global forced variations, but it can not work for many aspects of climate, especially those related to the water cycle.”

5. “However, the science is not done because we do not have reliable or regional predictions of climate.”

Kevin Trenberth’s weblog confirms what has been repeatedly emphasized on Climate Science that no regional predictive skill for decades into the futrue has been achieved (e.g. see).

Moreover, since the global variations and trends involve a summation of the regional variations and trends, Trenberth’s claim that the linearity works for global forced variations is more of a convenient assumption to justify his statements at the end of his weblog.

Except for his statement about the linearity of the climate on the global scale, Trenberth’s conclusion supports the main conclusions of Climate Science that

-The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales. Global and zonally-averaged climate metrics would only be important to the extent that they provide useful information on these space scales.

-Global and zonally-averaged surface temperature trend assessments, besides having major difficulties in terms of how this metric is diagnosed and analyzed, do not provide significant information on climate change and variability on the regional and local scales.

-In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate climate forcing on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.

-Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting regional and local climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.

Policymakers should be made aware of this very significant admission by one of the Lead IPCC authors on the limitations of the IPCC report.

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A Meeting Announcement On A Symposium “Improving Commerce and Reducing Deaths and Injuries through Innovative, Weather-Related R&D And Applications for the Surface Transportation System”

Dr. Renee A. McPherson Associate Director of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey alerted me to this meeting, which fits into the recommendation on Climate Science that we need to better recognize and reduce our vulnerability to weather and climate threats (e.g. see). The meeting information is;

“You are cordially invited to the 3rd National Surface Transportation Weather Symposium (3NSTWS) to be held July 25-27, 2007, at the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, Vienna, Virginia. The theme for this symposium is: Improving Commerce and Reducing Deaths and Injuries through Innovative, Weather-Related R&D and Applications for the Surface Transportation System. Please click here to see a preliminary agenda, and click here to access background information for the 3NSTWS. The 3NSTWS is sponsored by the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research and the Federal Highway Administration.

The goals of the conference are to provide a forum for members of the surface transportation operations, research, and user communities to work together to enhance collaboration and partnerships to improve surface transportation weather products and services for those individuals who use, operate, and manage America’s surface transportation infrastructure by:

Enhancing understanding of social / economic benefits derived from the increased use of improved surface transportation weather and climate information

Reviewing, validating, and prioritizing surface transportation weather research and development needs

Defining and prioritizing the products / services needed to support the surface transportation community

Providing recommendations for the weather and surface transportation communities on the way ahead to meet the needs, using attendee input / feedback

Providing information on surface transportation weather and climate activities to enhance decision-making processes

We expect the conference will be attended by federal, state, and local agencies and federal laboratories; transportation operators and planners (highways, railroads, transit, marine, airport ground operations, and pipelines); industry, governmental and professional associations (transportation, meteorological, other non-transportation); non-transportation users of surface transportation weather services (e.g., insurance, emergency response); universities and other academic institutions; public and private weather service and information providers, consultants, and equipment suppliers; and social scientists, geographic information scientists, economists, risk communication specialists, human factors experts, urban planners, and sociologists.

Please register for the 3NSTWS by clicking here. The conference fee is $125.00. The cutoff date for symposium registration is July 13, 2007. NOAA employees will be able to register online, but will not be able to pay online. Please contact Christina Bork at christina.bork@noaa.gov or 301-427-2002 for payment.

Please reserve your hotel room, if needed, by contacting the Sheraton Premiere at Tysons Corner, Vienna, Virginia. Room reservations must be made by July 13, 2007. You may call the Sheraton Premiere at (703) 448-1234, or make reservations through the Sheraton national reservation number: 1-800-325-3535. We have reserved a block of rooms under 3rd NSTWS. The rate is $162.00 per night. This is the Government Per Diem rate. Please click here for more detailed information.

Exhibitors: We invite you to showcase your hardware, software, and service capabilities at the 3rd NSTWS. This is an excellent opportunity to increase your agency’s or company’s profile and exposure, as well as to showcase and promote your products and services. Opportunities for exhibit spaces are available on a firstcome, firstserve basis. Please click here to get complete details on exhibitor opportunities.

Please consider giving this e-mail wide distribution within your agency and with anyone else you believe would benefit from attending this symposium. We look forward to seeing you at the 3NSTWS in July 2007.

Sincerely,
Samuel P. Williamson
Federal Coordinator for Meteorology”

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On the Fundamental Defect in the IPCC’s Approach to Global Warming Research by Syun-Ichi Akasofu

by Syun-Ichi Akasofu
International Arctic Research Center
University of Alaska Fairbanks

The purpose of this note is to point out that the method of study adopted by the International Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is fundamentally flawed, resulting in a baseless conclusion:

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

Contrary to this statement on page 10 of the IPCC “Summary for Policy Makersâ€? (2007), there is so far no definitive evidence that “mostâ€? of the present warming is due to the greenhouse effect. I believe that this baseless conclusion results from the scientific composition of the IPCC study group.

The IPCC study of the present global warming has fallen into a scientific gap between the meteorological approach and the climatological approach. A study of climate change, including a study of the present warming, should belong to climatology, as the name of the IPCC indicates.

One of the most important research areas for climatologists is past climate changes, from the time of the Earth’s beginning. Geologists are also interested in past climate change. Climatology has an element of archeology that is naturally not the main concern of most meteorologists, who are basically physicists. Thus, there is a fundamental difference in how meteorologists and climatologists seek to understand the present global warming, even if both are concerned about it.

Although the media often reports that the IPCC conclusion is based on the “consensus of 2500 world experts,â€? there are perhaps not more than a few hundred genuine climatologists in the world. A large number of the participating IPCC scientists are basically meteorologists, whose study areas are physical processes of weather phenomena, not necessarily weather forecasting; their main scientific interests do not include understanding climate change that has occurred in the past. There is also a large group of scientists in the IPCC study group whose primary expertise is in computer modeling.

Meteorologists identify and provide to the modeling groups the presently known climate forcing functions, such as the greenhouse effect, effects of solar output changes, and volcanic effects. Based on this input, modelers attempt to simulate climate change during the last 100 years. They simulate climate change based on the known forcing functions under the assumption that the computer is programmed to accommodate all the basic elements of weather/climate processes. For this particular reason, they also run their models without the known forcing functions and interpret what the computer output gives as “natural changeâ€?. However, this interpretation of the computer output is doubtful and is perhaps incorrect.

Following this methodology, since none of the known forcing functions are able to accurately reproduce the observed temperature rise (0.6°-0.7°C/100 years), the modelers “tuneâ€? parameters associated with the greenhouse effect (with some justification) and claim that their models can reproduce reasonably well the observed temperature rise of about 0.6°-0.7°C during the last 100 years in terms of the greenhouse effect. An important point here is that the answer (0.6°-0.7°C/100 years) is given at the start. In the past, much of the criticism of climate modeling has focused on this “tuningâ€? procedure.

However, there is a more fundamental problem inherent in the IPCC approach. If natural changes with unknown causes are occurring, they obviously cannot be included among the known forcing functions in the modeling. This is a more serious problem than the “tuning.â€?

In the present modeling, natural changes of unknown causes, including the Big Ice Ages, the interglacial periods, Medieval warming, the Little Ice Age and some multi-decadal changes, are mostly beyond the consideration of many participating meteorologists and modelers. Even if they knew all the forcing functions, their positive or negative feedback processes may be too complex to comprehend in applying them to the Earth system.

I am aware that many climatologists and geologists are deeply concerned about the present trend in the study of global warming, since they are aware of many known climate changes with unknown causes. However, they can contribute little to the discussion of present warming, because they cannot offer concrete forcing functions, other than changes in the Earth’s orbital path around the sun, so that many remain as a silent minority. Further, their main interests seem to be focused on climate change that occurred before the present interglacial period, such as the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles and the Younger Dryas period.

As mentioned earlier, it is important to recognize that studying any period of climate change, including the present warming, belongs to climatology, more than meteorology. A serious defect of the present IPCC approach is that it does not pay much attention to the possible presence of natural changes, which are so obvious as one examines climate changes even during the last several hundred years. This is simply because, by training, the participating meteorologists do not know how to deal with forcing functions of unknown natural causes; some of them may believe that all the forcing functions are well understood. Nature is far more complex than they seem to be willing to admit.

Unfortunately, most meteorologists and modelers tend to concentrate only on details of the known forcing functions. Indeed, most of them are concerned only with the greenhouse effect during the last 100 years, since the physics of the greenhouse effect is well established and aerosol effects may be dealt with. As a result, they do not examine previous climate change, even as recently as during the last several hundred years. They are also afraid of dealing with ‘low quality’ data in the past or of taking too much effort to gather them (compared with satellite data). However, these are what climatologists have to face. This is why I mentioned earlier that climatology has an element of archeology. In some sense, ‘low quality’ data are more valuable in studying the present climate change than accurate satellite data of the last 20-30 years.

If the IPCC had paid careful attention to the view of genuine climatologists about climate change during the last several hundred years, they should have recognized that the range of observed natural changes should not be ignored, and thus their conclusion should be very tentative. The term “mostâ€? in their conclusion is baseless. Actually, it seems that the IPCC report attempts to make the case that the present warming is extremely unusual. It seems that the IPCC is still influenced by the so-called “hockey stickâ€? figure that was prominently displayed in their 2001 report, even though it was discredited and is not in the 2007 report.

Even a casual study of climate change during the last few hundred years, based on the well-known literature, shows that there is a possibility that the Earth is still recovering from the Little Ice Age. This recovery may explain much warming due to unknown causes that has occurred even during the present interglacial period; the warming rate of this recovery may be as much as 0.5°C/100 years from about 1700 to the present*. This is comparable with the rate of 0.6°-0.7°C/100 years, which the IPCC claims to be due to the greenhouse effect. The cause of the Little Ice Age is not known; in consequence, the cause of the temperature rebound is also not known. Therefore, it cannot be included as a forcing function. Nevertheless, it exists. Many glaciers in the world began to recede starting about 1700, and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean began to recede starting in 1800, so these phenomena began long before 1940 when CO2 began to increase rapidly.

Thus, it seems that the IPCC study of the present global warming has fallen into the gap between the meteorological approach and the climatological approach.

In addition, there was one obvious temperature rise from 1920 to 1940, and even a decrease from 1940 to 1975, at the same time as CO2 began to increase rapidly. It is inconceivable that the IPCC did not carefully examine the rise between 1920 and 1940. The rate and magnitude of the increase was similar to those after 1975; note that there is the superposed linear increase associated with the rebounding from the Little Ice Age and others, two together making the temperature rise highest in recent years. Their conclusion “mostâ€? should be very tentative until the causes of the 1920-1940 rise can be identified. There is no conclusive evidence that the rise after 1975 is different from the 1920-1940 rise.

The computers are “taughtâ€? that the temperature rise during the last hundred years is due mostly to the greenhouse effect. If the truth is that only about 10% of the present warming is caused by the greenhouse effect*, the computer code must be rewritten. If the rebounding from the Little Ice Age should continue during the next hundred years, it will contribute a temperature rise of about 0.5°C by 2100. In addition, the greenhouse effect may contribute an additional rise of about 0.5°C by 2100, so the expected temperature rise is about 1°C by 2100. In addition, the multi-decadal oscillation might be either positive or negative in 2100. For these reasons, it may be said that the present state of global warming study is not advanced enough to become the basis of global policy-making based on the temperature rise by 2100 that is predicted by the IPCC.

There are many clear and serious reasons to reduce the usage of energy in the future, completely aside from the IPCC’s incomplete and alarming reasons. It is also very curious that so little has been done to reduce the release of CO2, in spite of the great outcry about global warming and the countless numbers of national and international conferences and negotiations.

*See webpage

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A Recent Paper On Snow Cover Trends In South America

There is an interesting paper in the Journal of Climate (and thanks to World Climate Report for alerting us to it) on snow cover trends in South America. This is a topic you do not hear much about. The paper is

Masiokas, M.H., R. Villalba, B.H. Luckman, C. Le Quesne, and J.C. Aravena. 2006: Snowpack variations in the central Andes of Argentina and Chile, 1951-2005: Large-scale atmospheric influences and implications for water resources in the region. Journal of Climate, 19, 6334-6352.

The abstract reads,

“The snowpack in the central Andes (30°–37°S) is the primary source for streamflow in central Chile and central-western Argentina, but few published studies are available on snowpack variability in the region. This paper develops the first regional snowpack series (1951–2005) from Chilean and Argentinean snow course records. This series shows a strong regional signal, marked interannual variability, and a positive, though nonsignificant, linear trend. Correlations with local precipitation and temperature records reveal a marked association with conditions in central Chile. High snow accumulation is generally concurrent with El Niño events in the tropical Pacific, but only 5 of the 10 driest years coincided with La Niña events. Evaluation of 500-hPa geopotential height anomaly maps during extreme snow years highlights the crucial significance of tropospheric conditions in the subtropical and southeast Pacific in modulating snowfall. Correlations with gridded SST and SLP data and multiple regressions with large-scale climatic indices corroborate a Pacific ENSO-related influence largely concentrated during the austral winter months. This hampers the predictability of snowpack before the onset of the cold season. Annual and warm-season river discharges on both sides of the cordillera are significantly correlated with the regional snowpack record and show positive linear trends over the 1951–2004 common period, probably related to a greater frequency of above-average snowpacks during recent decades. Future demand and competition for water resources in these highly populated regions will require detailed information about temporal and spatial variations in snow accumulation over the Andes. The results indicate that the relationships between snowpack and atmospheric circulation patterns prior to the winter season are complex, and more detailed analyses are necessary to improve prediction of winter snowfall totals.”

An excerpt from the paper reads,

“We found a clear correspondence between the warm phases of ENSO (El Niño events) and above-average snow accumulation in the central Andes, but two of the snowiest years on record did not correspond with concurrent positive SST anomalies in the Niño-3.4 region. Moreover, only 50% of the driest years in the central Andes coincided with La Niña events in the tropical Pacific, suggesting the existence of additional factors outside the tropical Pacific that contribute to explain snowfall variability in the central Andes.”

This study highlights two issues that have been a frequent theme on Climate Science:

1. The relationship explanation for temporal and spatial variations of precipitation over year and decade time scales is quite complex and no skill in the multi-decadal global models has been shown in predicting this behavior. Thus, forecasts, such as increased drought in the Southwest USA (see) and extreme heat in the eastern United States (see) should be viewed skeptically.

2. The climate metric of snowfall in South America is clearly not directly related to the global average surface temperature trends. Climate Science has repeatedly shown that the global average temperature trend is an inadequate climate metric with respect to how the climate system actually impacts society and the environment (e.g. see and see).

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Anthony Watt Analysis Of The Role Of Paint Cover On Monitored Temperature

Climate Audit has a very interesting posting on the role of paint on measured temperatures which is being investigated by Anthony Watts. This is clearly a publishable result when completed and Climate Science urges Anthony to do that!

Each of the postings on Climate Audit on the topic of the assessment of the land surface temperature trends is worth reading.

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An Article “The Politicised Science of Climate Change” by Garth Paltridge

One of the goals of Climate Science is to show that the concerns regarding the lack of balance on climate change issues is shared by a number of prominent climate scientists. This weblog continues this communication to the readers of Climate Science

The essay by

The Politicised Science of Climate Change

Garth Paltridge was completed in 2004 but it is worth reading in its entirety. He is certainly well-qualified to discuss climate change issues (e.g. see). He is Emeritus Professor as well as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, and CEO of the Antarctic Co-operative Research Centre (e.g. see).

The release of the 2007 IPCC Statements for Policymakers certainly perpetuates the issues that Dr. Paltridge raised in his 2004 essay

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Another Paper That Documents The Major Role Of Regional Climate Forcings

There is yet another peer reviewed paper that discusses the major role of regional climate forcings in effecting societally important weather events (thanks to Justin Walters and Paul Biggs for alerting us to this paper!). Such regional forcings play a more significant role in climate responses than a global average surface temperature (see) where Climate Science wrote,

“…heterogenous climate forcing may be more important on the weather that we experience than changes in weather patterns associated with the more homogeneous spatial radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases (see the NASA press release, which is based on the multi-authored paper The influence of land-use change and landscape dynamics on the climate system: relevance to climate change policy beyond the radiative effect of greenhouse gases).”

The paper is

Jeffrey P. Donnelly Jonathan D. Woodruff, 2007:Intense hurricane activity over the past 5,000 years controlled by El Niño and the West African monsoon Nature 447, 465-468 (24 May 2007) | doi:10.1038/nature05834

The abstract reads,

“The processes that control the formation, intensity and track of hurricanes are poorly understood. It has been proposed that an increase in sea surface temperatures caused by anthropogenic climate change has led to an increase in the frequency of intense tropical cyclones, but this proposal has been challenged on the basis that the instrumental record is too short and unreliable to reveal trends in intense tropical cyclone activity. Storm-induced deposits preserved in the sediments of coastal lagoons offer the opportunity to study the links between climatic conditions and hurricane activity on longer timescales, because they provide centennial-to millennial-scale records of past hurricane landfalls. Here we present a record of intense hurricane activity in the western North Atlantic Ocean over the past 5,000 years based on sediment cores from a Caribbean lagoon that contain coarse-grained deposits associated with intense hurricane landfalls. The record
indicates that the frequency of intense hurricane landfalls has varied on centennial to millennial scales over this interval. Comparison of the sediment record with palaeo-climate records indicates that this variability was probably modulated by atmospheric dynamics associated with variations in the El Nino/Southern Oscillation and the strength of the West African monsoon, and suggests that sea surface temperatures as high as at present are not necessary to support intervals of frequent intense hurricanes. To accurately predict changes in intense hurricane activity, it is therefore important to understand how the El Nino/SouthernOscillation and the West African monsoon will respond to future climate change.”

The conclusion from the paper states,

“A coherent pattern of climate change over the past 5,000 years appears to have modulated intense hurricane activity in the northeastern Caribbean. The evolution of ENSO variability over the past several millennia probably played an important part in controlling the frequency of intense hurricanes in the Caribbean and perhaps the entire North Atlantic Basin, with intervals of fewer strong El Nino events resulting in less vertical wind shear over the tropical North Atlantic and more favourable conditions for intense hurricane development. In addition, variations in the West African monsoon and African easterly jet probably also play a critical role in modulating the frequency of North Atlantic intense hurricanes, with increases in convective storms over tropical Africa leading to stronger easterly waves moving into the tropical North Atlantic. Given the increase of intense hurricane landfalls during the later half of the Little Ice Age, tropical SSTs as warm as at present are apparently not a requisite condition for increased intense hurricane activity. In addition, the Caribbean experienced a relatively active interval of intense hurricanes for more than a millennium when local SSTs were on average cooler than modern. These results suggest that in addition to fluctuations in tropical Atlantic SST, changes in atmospheric dynamics tied to ENSO and the West African monsoon also act to modulate intense hurricane activity on centennial and millennial timescales. A better understanding of how these climate patterns will vary in the future is therefore required if we are to predict changes in intense hurricane activity accurately.

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