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Roger Pielke Sr. is now on Twitter!

You can now follow Roger on Twitter. You can find him at @RogerAPielkeSr

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2012 Climate Science Weblog in Review by Dallas Jean Staley – A Guest Post

I hope all of our readers have a great 2013, and I hope you enjoy reading the stats for 2012.  You can follow our publications at our research website.  Thanks for all your support over the years!  The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 440,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 8 years for that many people to see it. Roger Pielke Sr.’ blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Importance Of Land Use/Land Cover As A First Order Climate Forcing

In answer to a question I was e-mailed on the importance of land use/land cover change on climate, I am presenting today excerpts from a NASA article of several yeard ago titled

Deep Freeze and Sea Breeze: Changing Land and Weather in Florida, NASA Earth Observatory

In that NASA article, with respect to the importance of land use/land cover change, it is reported that [highlight added]

Local or Global Problem?

Though their results drew national media attention from many sources, all the scientists involved in the research agree that the scientific arena is where the results should be evaluated. Pielke hopes these results will convince scientists to give the land cover-climate connection more attention. In the past, he has been frustrated by the lack of attention to the topic.

Gordon Bonan is a climate modeler for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “It’s definitely true that historically, the emphasis in global climate change research has been on other climate forcings—greenhouses gases, solar variability, aerosols—and that the role of land cover has been neglected. Roger’s work, his persistence, has really played a large role in bringing people around to the importance of it.” Bonan thinks people are finally beginning to listen.

So far, what research has been done on the global-scale influence of land cover change on climate seems to suggest it plays a minor role. That’s not surprising, says Bonan, considering how small the Earth’s land surface is compared to its oceans and that our most common metric for climate change is global mean temperature. Even significant changes in the temperature where we live can get “washed out” (at least for a while) in the global average of a world mostly covered by oceans.

“Nobody experiences the effect of a half a degree increase in global mean temperature,” Bonan says. “What we experience are the changes in the climate in the place where we live, and those changes might be large. Land cover change is as big an influence on regional and local climate and weather as doubled atmospheric carbon dioxide—perhaps even bigger.” That’s the idea Pielke says he has been trying to get across for years. “Climate change is about more than a change in global temperature,” he says. “It’s about changes in weather patterns across the Earth.” Even if it turns out that land cover change doesn’t significantly alter the globally-averaged surface temperature of the Earth, it’s still critically important. “The land is where we live. This research shows that the land itself exerts a first order [primary] influence on the climate we experience.”

In 2012, finally this issue is receiving the attention it deserves, although there ares still scientists who continue to insist that the radiative effect of CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases are the only major human climate forcings that we need to be concerned about. Examples of this attention include the multi-authored papers

Pielke Sr., R.A., A. Pitman, D. Niyogi, R. Mahmood, C. McAlpine, F. Hossain, K. Goldewijk, U. Nair, R. Betts, S. Fall, M. Reichstein, P. Kabat, and N. de Noblet-Ducoudré, 2011: Land  use/land cover changes and climate: Modeling analysis  and  observational evidence. WIREs Clim Change 2011, 2:828–850. doi: 10.1002/wcc.144.

Pielke Sr., R., K.  Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D.  Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E.  Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J.  Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases.   Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American   Geophysical Union.

McAlpine, C.A., W.F. Laurance, J.G. Ryan, L. Seabrook, J.I. Syktus, A.E. Etter, P.M. Fearnside, P. Dargusch, and R.A. Pielke Sr. 2010: More than CO2: A broader picture for managing climate change and variability to avoid ecosystem collapse. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 2:334-336, DOI10.1016/j.cosust.2010.10.001.

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Comment Submitted To BAMS On The Mearns Et Al 2012 Paper

As discussed in my posts

Follow Up On My E-Mail Request To Linda Mearns Of NCAR

“The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program: Overview of Phase I Results” By Mearns Et Al 2012 – An Excellent Study But It Overstates Its Significance In The Multi-Decadal Prediction Of Climate

E-Mail To Linda Mearns On The 2012 BAMS Article On Dynamic Downscaling

there is a significant overstatement of the implications of the paper

Linda O. Mearns, Ray Arritt, Sébastien Biner, Melissa S. Bukovsky, Seth McGinnis, Stephan Sain, Daniel Caya, James Correia, Jr., Dave Flory, William Gutowski, Eugene S. Takle, Richard Jones, Ruby Leung, Wilfran Moufouma-Okia, Larry McDaniel, Ana M. B. Nunes, Yun Qian, John Roads, Lisa Sloan, Mark Snyder, 2012: The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program: Overview of Phase I Results. Bull. Amer.Met Soc. September issue. pp 1337-1362.

Linda is not interested in discussing this outside of a formal Comment to BAMS in which she and her co-authors can reply.  Thus I have submitted a Comment and reproduced it below. BAMS usually takes quite a while to complete the Comment/Reply process and I will post (and respond on my weblog further if needed) when this publication process is complete. Before I post my Comment, however, I want to alert readers to Judy Curry’s post from today titled

RS Workshop on Handling Uncertainty in Weather & Climate
Prediction. Part I

where she wrote

Regional climate change:

  • Little to no skill here; increased  resolution not helping
  • Dynamical & statistical downscaling adds little value
  • Many extreme weather events not  explicitly simulated
  • Depends on poorly simulated modes of  natural internal variability

GCMs are currently incapable of simulating:

  • Regional climate variability and change
  • Network of teleconnection climate regimes on DEC-CEN timescales
  • Predictions of emergent phenomena, e.g. abrupt climate change

It is unlikely that the current path of development will improve this

which is in complete agreement with my view on this topic. Following is my Comment submission to BAMS

Comment On Mearns et al 2012


The  Mearns et al 2012 BAMS paper with respect to  downscaling from reanalyses it is an important new contribution. However, its claim of that these results can provide useful information about climate change is inappropriate and misleading to the impacts and policy communities.

The Comment

The Mearns et al (2012) article provides documentation of the level of skill of one type of dynamic downscaling. Within that framework it is an important new contribution which will be widely cited. However, the paper only provides, at best, an upper bound of what is possible with respect to their goal to provide to provide

uncertainties in regional scale projections of future climate and produce high resolution climate change scenarios using multiple regional climate models (RCMs) nested within atmosphere ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) forced with the A2 SRES scenario.”

The Mearns et al 2012 study concludes with the claim that

“….. We have shown that all the models can simulate aspects of climate well, implying that they all can provide useful information about climate change. In particular, the results from phase I of NARCCAP will be used to establish uncertainty due to boundary conditions as well as final weighting of the models for the development of regional probabilities of climate change.”

However, this conclusion significantly overstates the significance of their findings in terms of its application to the multi-decadal prediction of regional climate (i.e. “climate change”). The Mearns et al study uses observational data (from a reanalysis) to drive the regional models. Using the classification we have introduced in Castro et al (2005), Mearns et al is a Type 2 dynamic downscaling study.

As we wrote in Pielke and Wilby (2011)

“Type 2dynamic downscaling refers to regional weather (or climate) simulations…in which the regional model’s initial atmospheric conditions are forgotten…..but results still depend on the lateral boundary conditions from a global numerical weather prediction where initial observed atmospheric conditions are not yet forgotten or are from a global reanalysis.….Downscaling from reanalysis products (Type 2 downscaling) defines the maximum forecast skill that is achievable with Type 3 and Type 4 downscaling.”


“Type 4 dynamic downscaling takes lateral boundary conditions from an Earth system model in which coupled interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, biosphere, and cryosphere are predicted ……Other than terrain, all other components of the climate system are calculated by the model except for human forcings, including greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, which are prescribed. Type 4 dynamic downscaling is widely used to provide policy makers with impacts from climate decades into the future……. Type 4 downscaling has practical value but with the very important caveat that it should be used for model sensitivity experiments and not as predictions [e.g., Pielke, 2002; Prudhomme et al., 2010].”

As discussed in Pielke and Wilby, Type 1downscaling is used for short-term, numerical weather prediction, while Type 3 dynamic downscaling takes lateral boundary conditions from a global model prediction forced by specified real world surface boundary conditions such as seasonal weather predictions based on observed sea surface temperatures. Because real-world observational constraints diminish from Type 1 to Type 4 downscaling, uncertainty grows as more climate variables must be predicted by models, rather than obtained from observations.

One cannot, therefore, use Type 2 downscaling to make claims, as Mearns et al have, about the accuracy of Type 4 downscaling. Type 2 downscaling provides a real world observational constraint on how much the regional model can diverge from reality. This is not the case with Type 4 downscaling. A Type 4 downscaling cannot be more accurate than a Type 2 downscaling.

A more appropriate approach is to first assess what changes in climate statistics would have to occur in order to cause a negative impact to key resources, as we recommend in Pielke et al 2012. Only then assess what is plausibly possible and how to mitigate/adapt to prevent a negative effect from occurring.

The type of downscaling used in a study is a critically important point that needs to be emphasized when dynamic downscaling studies are presented. Mearns et al (2012) did not do this.

Indeed, Mearns et al 2012 is a study of the current climate, not of changes in climate statistics over the time period of the model runs. The Mearns et al 2012 study did not look at the issue of their skill to predict changes in climate statistics. Even reproducing the current regional climate in a hindcast mode when the results are not constrained by reanalyses is being shown to be a daunting challenge; e.g.  Xu et al 2012; Fyfe et al 2011; van Oldenborgh et al 2012; Anagnostopoulos et al 2010; Stephens et al 2010; Sun et al 2012; van Haren et al 2012; Kundzewicz et al 2010; Goddard el al 2012; Driscoll et al 2012; Mauritsen et al 2012; Jiang et al 2012.

It is even more challenging to skillfully predict changes in regional climate which is what is required if the RCMs are to add any value for predicting climate in the coming decades beyond what could be extracted from reanalyses.  The Mearns et al 2012 paper is, therefore, misleading the impacts communities by indicating that their results apply to regional climate change (i.e. Type 4 downscaling).

In summary, the Mearns et al 2012 BAMS paper with respect to Type 2 downscaling it is an important new contribution. However, its application to climate change runs (Type 4 downscaling) is inappropriate and is misleading to the impacts and policy communities on a level of predictive skill that does not yet exist.


Anagnostopoulos, G. G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstratiadis, A. & Mamassis, N. (2010) A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1094–1110

Castro, C.L., R.A. Pielke Sr., and G. Leoncini, 2005: Dynamical downscaling: Assessment of value retained and added using the Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (RAMS). J. Geophys. Res. – Atmospheres, 110, No. D5, D05108, doi:10.1029/2004JD004721.

Driscoll, S., A. Bozzo, L. J. Gray, A. Robock, and G. Stenchikov (2012), Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) simulations of climate following volcanic eruptions, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D17105, doi:10.1029/2012JD017607. published 6 September 2012.

Feser, F., B. Rockel, H. von Storch, J. Winterfeldt, and M. Zahn (2011), Regional climate models add value to global model data—A review and selected examples, Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., 92, 1181–1192, doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3061.1.

Fyfe, J. C., W. J. Merryfield, V. Kharin, G. J. Boer, W.-S. Lee, and K. von Salzen (2011), Skillful predictions of decadal trends in global mean surface temperature, Geophys. Res. Lett.,38, L22801, doi:10.1029/2011GL049508

Goddard, A. Kumar, A. Solomon, D. Smith, G. Boer, P. Gonzalez, V. Kharin, W. Merryfield, C. Deser, S. J. Mason, B. P. Kirtman, R. Msadek, R. Sutton, E. Hawkins, T. Fricker, G. Hegerl, C. A. T. Ferro, D. B. Stephenson, G. A. Meehl, T. Stockdale, R. Burgman, A. M. Greene, Y. Kushnir, M. Newman, J. Carton, I. Fukumori, T. Delworth. (2012) A verification framework for interannual-to-decadal predictions experiments. Climate Dynamics Online publication date: 24-Aug-2012.

Jiang, J. H., et al. (2012), Evaluation of cloud and water vapor simulations in CMIP5 climate models using NASA “A-Train” satellite observations, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D14105, doi:10.1029/2011JD017237. published 18 July 2012.

Kundzewicz, Z. W., and E.Z. Stakhiv (2010) Are climate models “ready for prime time” in water resources managementapplications, or is more research needed? Editorial. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1085–1089.

Mauritsen, T., et al. (2012), Tuning the climate of a global model, J. Adv. Model. Earth Syst., 4, M00A01, doi:10.1029/2012MS000154. published 7 August 2012.

Mearns, Linda O. , Ray Arritt, Sébastien Biner, Melissa S. Bukovsky, Seth McGinnis, Stephan Sain, Daniel Caya, James Correia, Jr., Dave Flory, William Gutowski, Eugene S. Takle, Richard Jones, Ruby Leung, Wilfran Moufouma-Okia, Larry McDaniel, Ana M. B. Nunes, Yun Qian, John Roads, Lisa Sloan, Mark Snyder, 2012: The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program: Overview of Phase I Results. Bull. Amer.Met Soc. September issue. pp 1337-1362.

Pielke, R. A., Sr., (2002), Overlooked issues in the U.S. national climate and IPCC assessments, Clim. Change, 52(1-2), 1–11, doi:10.1023/ A:1017473207687.

Pielke Sr., R.A., and R.L. Wilby, 2012: Regional climate downscaling – what’s the point? Eos Forum, 93, No. 5, 52-53, doi:10.1029/2012EO050008.

Pielke, R. A., Sr., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku,J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding (2012), Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective, in Extreme Events and Natural Hazards: The Complexity Perspective, Geophys. Monogr. Ser., vol. 196, edited by A. S. Sharma et al. 345.359, AGU, Washington, D. C., doi:10.1029/2011GM001086.

Prudhomme, C., R. L. Wilby, S. Crooks, A. L. Kay, and N. S. Reynard (2010), Scenario-neutral approach to climate change impact studies: Application to flood risk, J. Hydrol., 390, 198–209, doi:10.1016/ j .jhydrol .2010.06.043.

Sakaguchi, K., X. Zeng, and M. A. Brunke (2012), The hindcast skill of the CMIP ensembles for the surface air temperature trend, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D16113, doi:10.1029/2012JD017765. published 28 August 2012

Stephens, G. L., T. L’Ecuyer, R. Forbes, A. Gettlemen, J.‐C. Golaz, A. Bodas‐Salcedo, K. Suzuki, P. Gabriel, and J. Haynes (2010), Dreary state of precipitation in global models, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D24211, doi:10.1029/2010JD014532.

Sun, Z., J. Liu, X. Zeng, and H. Liang (2012), Parameterization of instantaneous global horizontal irradiance at the surface. Part II: Cloudy-sky component, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2012JD017557, in press.

van Haren, Ronald, Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, Geert Lenderink, Matthew Collins and Wilco Hazeleger, 2012: SST and circulation trend biases cause an underestimation of European precipitation trends Climate Dynamics 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-012-1401-5

van Oldenborgh, G.J., F.J. Doblas-Reyes, B. Wouters, W. Hazeleger (2012): Decadal prediction skill in a multi-model ensemble. Clim.Dyn. doi:10.1007/s00382-012-1313-4

Xu, Zhongfeng and Zong-Liang Yang, 2012: An improved dynamical downscaling method with GCM bias corrections and its validation with 30 years of climate simulations. Journal of Climate 2012 doi:

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Arctic Lower Tropospheric Temperature Trends Since 1979

As part of a set of papers we are working on, Emily Gill of the University of Colorado has analyzed the NCEP/NCAR lower tropospheric temperature trends from latitude 60N and 70N to the North Pole for June,July and August. This is shown below for two time periods; the top figure from the time period when satellite coverage becames global and the bottom figure since the large ENSO event in 1998.

These plots are provided as part of the examination of the reasons for the greater sea ice melt in recent years, which I discussed in the post

Summary Of Arctic Ice Decline – Recommendations For Investigation Of The Cause(s)

These two figures address the issue raised in that post to perform

 “…analyses of lower tropospheric and surface temperature anomalies by season for the Arctic sea ice regions.”

It is clear there has been warming over the period of record. However, it is relatively small.  Using a linear regression, the June, July and August warming since 1979 was +1.0 C, and since 1998 +0.5 to +0.6 C in the region from 60N and from 70N North Pole. There is quite bit of interannual variability such that a linear trend does not explain a majority of the variations over this time period.

Emily Gill has also provided the global June, July and August analyses. The global linear regression change for 1979 to 2012 is +0.73C.  For the period 1998 to 2012 and for 1999 to 2012 the linear regression change is +0.43 C and +0.57 C, respectively (the different start years were to include the 1998 large positive value associated with the large ENSO event).  Interestingly, there is not much of an Arctic amplification of warming.

It is not clear how this modest lower tropospheric warming would have resulted in such large Arctic sea ice melting unless

i) the warmth was accompanied by less cloudiness than average,


ii) the sea ice was always very marginally close to melting.

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Recommended Interview With Burt Rutan By Larry Bell Published On September 9 2012 on Forbes

Larry Bell alerted me to his interview with Burt Rutan on Forbes titled

A Cool-Headed Climate Conversation With Aerospace Legend Burt Rutan

The article has the text that introduces Burt

By way of brief introduction, Burt Rutan designed Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the globe without stopping or refueling. He also designed SpaceShipOne financed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen which won the $10 million Ansari X-Prize in 2004 for becoming the first privately-funded manned craft to enter the realm of space twice within a two-week period. Both, along with three other of his aircraft, are on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  Burt’s recent projects include a flying car, and the Virgin GlobalFlyer which broke Voyager’s time for a non-stop solo flight around the world.

There is lots of informative information on Burt Rutan’s perspective on the climate issue. I have listed just two extracts below

So Burt, what are some of the most important points that you wish to emphasize to readers?

One of the most important is to have the general public, the media, and policymakers understand is that any claims that 97%, 98%, or whatever, of all climate scientists agree that our planet is heading for a climate catastrophe are totally bogus. Have humans had any influence on climate? Sure, probably so, although no one has ever succeeded in accurately measuring them. In the absence of everything else, would adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere have produced some warming?  Again, yes. Answering these two questions, and these two questions only, you will see a very large consensus, not only among alarmists, but essentially, every skeptic would also agree.

But none of this presumed warming should be taken to suggest that the results will be catastrophic, causing terribly dangerous things to happen…like serious heat waves and droughts which cause crops to fail…or that when they occur they are “unprecedented”. It doesn’t require anyone with a climate science-related degree to recognize, for example, that 1938 was the warmest year in recent times, and that CO2 levels were much lower then. These consensus issues are discussed in some detail in three PowerPoint charts included near the end of my “An Engineer’s Critique of Global Warming Science” report. The bottom line: there is no consensus on the claims of planet catastrophe.

Even prominent former global warming doomsayers, are finally seeing the light of reason. One is my good friend James Lovelock who once said that within the next 50 years or so the few remaining humans will be huddled up in high latitudes to escape the heat of the lower latitudes.  He has recently said the alarmists were wrong, and has moved to a new coastal home, unafraid of rising seas.

The entire article is worth reading.

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Contradictory Statements By The American Meteorological Society – Comments On The New Statement Titled “Climate Change”

Update: In response to a request for further inconsistencies in the AMS Statement, I have reproduced my comment to a colleague of mine

The AMS Statement itself contradicts itself. It writes

“Land surface changes can also affect the  surface exchanges of water and energy with the atmosphere. Humans alter land  surface characteristics by carrying out irrigation, removing and introducing  forests, changing vegetative land cover through agriculture, and building  cities and reservoirs. These changes can have significant effects on  local-to-regional climate patterns, which adds up to a small impact on the  global energy balance as well.”

yet earlier highlights that

“…the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past  half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse  gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane,  and nitrous oxide. The most important of these over the long term is CO2…’

It is clear the Statement was not even probably vetted for internal inconsistencies. If they write

“…the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past  half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse  gases”

and later write

“Humans alter land  surface characteristics by carrying out irrigation, removing and introducing  forests, changing vegetative land cover through agriculture, and building  cities and reservoirs. These changes can have significant effects on  local-to-regional climate patterns’

yet dismissing their importance because they add “up to a small impact on the  global energy balance ….”

they trivialize, as I read the Statement,  their role in climate change.

***********Original Post**********************

The American Meteorological Society has released its Statement

Climate Change - An Information Statement of the American  Meteorological Society

where its stated intent starts with

The following is an AMS Information  Statement intended to provide a trustworthy, objective, and scientifically  up-to-date explanation of scientific issues of concern to the public at large.

Unfortunately, the Statement then goes on to write [highlight added]

It is clear from extensive scientific  evidence that the dominant cause of the rapid change in climate of the past  half century is human-induced increases in the amount of atmospheric greenhouse  gases, including carbon dioxide (CO2), chlorofluorocarbons, methane,  and nitrous oxide. The most important of these over the long term is CO2,  whose concentration in the atmosphere is rising principally as a result of  fossil-fuel combustion and deforestation.

The new AMS Statement on Climate Change focus on primarily CO2 has already been refuted as documented in the National Research Council Report

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.

and summarized in the American Geophysical Union EOS article

Pielke Sr., R., K.  Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D.  Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E.  Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell,  W. Rossow,  J. Schaake, J.  Smith, S. Sorooshian,  and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases.   Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American   Geophysical Union.

where specific evidence was presented that clearly shows that the assumption of the dominance of increased atmospheric concentration of CO2 on altering climate is wrong. In the EOS article we documented that the only non-rejected hypothesis (of the three listed) is

Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.

We wrote in the article that

In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, other first-order human climate forcings are important to understanding the future behavior of Earth’s climate. These forcings are spatially heterogeneous and include the effect of aerosols on clouds and associated precipitation [e.g., Rosenfeld et al., 2008], the influence of aerosol deposition (e.g., black carbon (soot) [Flanner et al. 2007] and reactive nitrogen [Galloway et al., 2004]), and the role of changes in land use/land cover [e.g., Takata et al., 2009]. Among their effects is their role in altering atmospheric and ocean circulation features away from what they would be in the natural climate system [NRC, 2005]. As with CO2, the lengths of time that they affect the climate are estimated to be on multidecadal time scales and longer.

The American Meteorological Society itself has a 2010 Statement that contradictions their new Statement on Climate Change. That Statement is titled

Inadvertent Weather Modification - An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society

Inadvertant weather modification is defined in the Statement as

Inadvertent weather modification is the unintended consequence of an act,  either on purpose or accidentally, that results in changes in the  weather.

Inadvertant weather modification is clearly part of “climate change”.

The Statement on Inadvertent Weather Modification starts with the text

This statement highlights the causes and possible effects of  inadvertent weather modification1 at  local and regional scales due to aerosol2 and  gas emissions3 and to changes in land  use.  The known effects can have  unanticipated and often undesirable socioeconomic consequences.  This statement assesses the impacts of  inadvertent weather modification and suggests potential respective actions.

and concludes with

These research efforts on unintended weather modification  should be recognized as addressing parts of the broader question of climate  variability and change, which crosses geopolitical boundaries.  As was the case with acid rain and  stratospheric ozone depletion, national and international frameworks should be  developed for addressing the related environmental and ethical issues for  inadvertent weather modification.

It is clear that in the new AMS Statement on Climate Change they decided to ignore the  Inadvertent Weather Modification Statement by the same society!  We were  precluded from not headlining the Inadvertent Weather Modification Statement as being on climate, but the last paragraph clearly shows it is very much relevant (and broadens quite significantly) what should in the AMS Statement.  I am a Fellow of the AMS, and I am very disappointed that the writers of the Statement on Climate Change did not have the courtesy, nor the perspective, to include what was reported in AMS Statement on Inadvertant Weather Modification.

As a final note on the AMS Statement on Climate Change, they also write

climate models have demonstrated skill in reproducing past climates.

Readers of my weblog should know this is an erroneous claim as documented in the peer-reviewed papers that have been summarized most recently in the post

CMIP5 Climate Model Runs – A Scientifically Flawed Approach

I summarize in the post the requirements to make a claim such as “climate models have demonstrated skill in reproducing past climates“, with the text

The first requirement of the CMIP5 runs, before they should even be spending time and money on projections,  is that they must skillfully (and shown with quantitative analyses) to

  • replicate the statistics of the current climate,


  • replicate the changes in climate statistics over this time period.

However, peer-reviewed studies that have quantitatively examined this issue using hindcast runs show large problems even with respect to current model statistics, much less their change over time.

I concluded that post with the text with respect to the evidence from the peer-reviewed papers that

These studies, and I am certain more will follow, show that the multi-decadal climate models are not even skillfully simulating current climate statistics, as are needed by the impacts communities, much less CHANGES in climate statistics.  At some point, this waste of money to make regional climate predictions decades from now is going to be widely recognized.

It is clear that the new AMS Statement Climate Change is more advocacy by the leadership of the Society, than a balanced presentation of this subject.  When evidence contradicts their advocacy role, they conveniently just ignore it.

Judy Curry also has an excellent post titled

AMS Statement on Climate Change

in which I agree with her conclusion where she wrote

“My strong objections to this type of statement by professional societies has  been voiced previously.  This statement is worse than the previous AMS  statement…….In other words, consensus statements get parroted without any actual  intellectual examination.  In this case, what is the point of the AMS statement.  Apparently, to ‘inform the public’  on this controversial issue by appealing to  the ‘authority’ of the society.

These Statements (including the one I participated on) are not voted on by the members of the society, nor are the committee members’ names made public. This, along with the absence of an open on-line debate, make this process a sad commentary on a professional society (the American Meteorological Society) which has otherwise done so much for science.

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Ye Old Boy’s Club – An Example With Ben Santer and Kevin Trenberth

In 2004, John Christy and I raised questions on the Santer et al paper

Santer, B. et al 2003: Contributions of Anthropogenic and Natural Forcing to Recent Tropopause Height Changes. Science 25 July 2003: 479-483. [DOI:10.1126/science.1084123]

in our Comment

Pielke Sr., R.A., and T.N. Chase, 2004: Technical Comment: “Contributions  of anthropogenic and natural forcing to recent tropopause height changes”.  Science, 303, 1771b.

Ben replied in

Santer, B.D., M.F. Wehner, T.M.L. Wigley, and R. Sausen, 2004: Technical  Comment: “Response to Comment on “Contributions of anthropogenic  and natural forcing to recent tropopause height changes.” Science, 303,  1771c.

Science would not publish a further Comment, but we documented our response in

Pielke Sr., R.A., T.N. Chase, with input from J. Christy, and T. Reale,  2004: Scientific Comment on Pielke and Chase 2004 and Santer et al 2004.

Now, it seems Kevin Trenberth had problems with the Santer et al paper (for different reasons), but instead of sharing with the science community, elected to just show to  a narrow circle of colleagues who are like-minded on the climate issue. This information has just come to light as a result of the newly (August 2012) released e-mails [h/t Fred Singer] reported on at WUWT [click on the image below twice for a clearer version].

It certainly seems that when there is internal disagreement among the Old Boy’s Club, they want to make sure it stays there. As a result, we all lose an important scientific debate on this subject.

source of image

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Global Temperature Report: May 2012 From The University Of Alabama At Huntsville

Philip Gentry has provided us with the May 2012 update of the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomalies. The report follows below.

Global Temperature Report: May 2012

Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade

May temperatures (preliminary)

Global composite temp.: +0.29 C (about 0.52 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.

Northern Hemisphere: +0.44 C (about 0.79 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.

Southern Hemisphere: +0.14 C (about 0.25 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.

Tropics: +0.03 C (about 0.05 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for May.

April temperatures (revised):

Global Composite: +0.30 C above 30-year average

Northern Hemisphere: +0.41 C below 30-year average

Southern Hemisphere: +0.19 C below 30-year average

Tropics: -0.12 C below 30-year average

(All temperature anomalies are based on a 30-year average (1981-2010) for the month reported.)

Notes on data released June 4, 2012:

Compared to global seasonal norms, May 2012 was the fourth warmest in the 34-year satellite record, according to Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. It was the third warmest May in the Northern Hemisphere, and tied as the warmest May over NH land masses, with an average temperature that was 0.68 C (about 1.22 degrees F) warmer than normal for the month. It was 0.95 C (about 1.71 degrees F) warmer than normal over the contiguous 48 states, which made it the fourth warmest May there since 1979.

Compared to seasonal norms, the “warmest” place on Earth in May was along the eastern coast of Russian near the Sea of Okhotsk. Temperatures there averaged as much as 4.29 C (about 7.72 degrees F) warmer than seasonal norms. The coolest spot was in the Gulf of Alaska west of Juneau, where temperatures for the month averaged 2.38 C (about 4.28 degrees F) cooler than May norms.

Archived color maps of local temperature anomalies are available on-line at:

The processed temperature data is available on-line at:

As part of an ongoing joint project between UAHuntsville, NOAA and NASA, John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center (ESSC) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville, and Dr. Roy Spencer, an ESSC principal scientist, use data gathered by advanced microwave sounding units on NOAA and NASA satellites to get accurate temperature readings for almost all regions of the Earth. This includes remote desert, ocean and rain forest areas where reliable climate data are not otherwise available.

The satellite-based instruments measure the temperature of the atmosphere from the surface up to an altitude of about eight kilometers above sea level. Once the monthly temperature data is collected and processed, it is placed in a “public” computer file for immediate access by atmospheric scientists in the U.S. and abroad.

Neither Christy nor Spencer receives any research support or funding from oil, coal or industrial companies or organizations, or from any private or special interest groups. All of their climate research funding comes from federal and state grants or contracts.

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Comments On The Poor Post “Lessons from Past Predictions: Hansen 1981″ By Dana1981 At The Skeptical Science

There is a post on Skeptical Science by dana1981 [another person who will not list their real name but does have a description of themselves here] titled

Lessons from Past Predictions: Hansen 1981

who concludes that the Hansen 1981 predictions are corresponding quite well with observations. He presents the figure below

Hansen 1981 projections vs observations

Using, the “eyecrometer” view, it is clear that the models and observations are in very good agreement.

However, dana1981 fails to take the next step and to compare with the other predictions made by Jim Hansen’s model (GISS) to see if they are in disagreement with the real world. The first disagreement is presented in the post

Comment On Ocean Heat Content “World Ocean Heat Content And Thermosteric Sea Level Change (0-2000), 1955-2010″ By Levitus Et Al 2012

where [highlight added]

Thus either using the 1955 to 2010 time period, or the shorter time period from 1990 to 2010 in the Levitus et al 2012 paper, the diagnosed magnitudes of ocean warming and global warming are significantly less than claimed by Jim Hansen in 2005. This discrepancy is even large if we use the NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory data.

Dana1981 should comment on this discrepancy between real world observations and the Hansen et al model predictions.  This omission on his part, which I presume he will claim  is because he is focusing just on the surface temperature trends, is inappropriate, as Jim Hansen’s predicted surface temperature trends are a result of his model’s radiative imbalance.  Moreover, Levitus et al 2012 reported that

One third of the observed warming occurs in the 700-2000 m layer of the ocean

This warming would not be available to increase the surface temperatures. If the surface temperature trends agree between the GISS model but the radiative imbalance does not and some of the heat is sequestered deep into the ocean,  than  dana1981 cannot correctly conclude that the surface temperature trend values are robust. He would now have to claim that the Levitus et al analysis is in error.

Dana1981, in his post, also has a section titled “Christy’s Poor Critique” based on the post on my weblog titled

John Christy’s Comment On “If You Want To Roll The Climate Dice, You Should Know The Odds”

Dana1981 writes

Of course Hansen et al. did not model atmospheric temperature changes, they modeled surface temperature changes, so this is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

Actually, Hansen et al must have modeled atmospheric temperature changes! They may not have presented  them in their 1981 paper, but they certainly are in the model. Indeed, the observations show a growing divergence in time between the surface and lower tropospheric temperatures, as we report in the papers

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr.,  J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2009: An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the  surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841.

Klotzbach, P.J., R.A. Pielke Sr., R.A. Pielke Jr.,  J.R. Christy, and R.T. McNider, 2010: Correction to: “An alternative explanation for differential temperature trends at the  surface and in the lower troposphere. J. Geophys. Res., 114, D21102, doi:10.1029/2009JD011841″, J. Geophys. Res.,  115, D1, doi:10.1029/2009JD013655.

The “eyecometer” view of the lower tropospheric analysis, reproduced below from RSS MSU, shows a flat trend since about 2001,

which clearly conflicts with the Hansen et al al surface trend in recent years. I present the RSS data (rather than the also excellent Christy and colleagues data) since dana1981 has not claimed this analysis is bad.

This time period might still be too short to satisfy Grant Foster or dana1981, but, if they are going to claim that the Hansen et al prediction is accurate, they also need to statistically compare the behavior of the lower tropospheric temperatures and ocean heat content between the model and observations.

Indeed, we did compare surface and lower tropospheric trends in the Klotzbach et al 2010 paper where we obtained the data from Gavin Schmidt’s site at, where we found amplification factors of 1.1 over land and 1.6 over ocean. Thus, the surface and lower tropospheric temperature trend data are closely linked.

Thus this data is available for dana1981 to compare between the models and the observations.

Dana1981 continues his poor analysis when he writes

“Christy believes the discrepancy is due to a bias in the surface temperature record, but on the contrary, the surface temperature record’s accuracy has been confirmed time and time again (i.e. Peterson et al. 2003, Menne et al. 2010, Fall et al. 2011 [which includes Anthony Watts as a co-author!], Muller et al. 2011 [the BEST project], etc.).  There are good reasons to believe the discrepancy is primarily due to problems in the atmospheric temperature record…”

Actually, Fall et al 2011 showed that there are significant problems with the surface temperature data with respect to siting. As we report in Fall et al 2011

Temperature trend estimates vary according to site classification, with poor siting leading to an overestimate of minimum temperature trends and an underestimate of maximum temperature trends, resulting in particular in a substantial difference in estimates of the diurnal temperature range trends. The opposite‐signed differences of maximum and minimum temperature trends are similar in magnitude, so that the overall mean temperature trends are nearly identical across site classifications.

Dana1981 also ignores the other issues with the surface temperature data that we reported on in the paper

Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.

Dana1981 correctly refuted my analysis of the sea ice trend. But now he has followed up with a poor, incomplete analysis. Lets see if he will now admit that he also needs to eat some crow. :-)  Dana1981′s post Lessons from Past Predictions: Hansen 1981, rather than John Christy’s, is a “Poor Critique”.

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