Category Archives: Books

“Hurricanes: Their Nature And Impacts On Society” Published In 1997 By Pielke Jr. and Pielke Sr. Available As A PDF

Our book

Pielke, R.A., Jr. and R.A. Pielke, Sr., 1997: Hurricanes: Their nature and impacts  on society. John Wiley and Sons, England, 279 pp.

is available as a pdf. The material is not updated for more recent storms (since 1997) but the recommendations and information on tropical cyclones may useful in the discussion of the impacts of Sandy. Of particular interest related to such late season hurricanes is the text on Hurricane Hazel (1954) where we wrote that

Hazel joined with another storm system to devastate inland communities from Virginia to Ontario, Canada. Washington, DC experienced its strongest winds ever recorded……..In 1954, Hurricane Hazel…..underwent a similar rapid acceleration to a speed of 60 mph (27 meters per second), as strong south to southwesterly winds developed to the west of the storm. Hazel crossed the North Carolina coastline at 9:25 am on 15 October, and reached Toronto, Canada only 14 hours later where it resulted in 80 deaths (Joe et al. 1995). At that time, it was the most destructive hurricane to reach the North Carolina coast. Every fishing pier was destroyed over a distance of 170 miles (270 km) from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to Cedar Island, North Carolina. All traces of civilization were practically annihilated at the immediate waterfront between Cape Fear and the South Carolina state line.

We reported that

“….tropical cyclones can become absorbed into developing mid-latitude storms thereby infusing added moisture and wind energy from the tropical cyclone and resulting in a more intense mid-latitude storm than otherwise would occur.

Clearly, this later behavior is what made Sandy a much stronger storm than either a mid-latitude or hurricane would have been separately. In contrast to Hazel, however, Sandy was not as strong a hurricane. It also tracked towards the west as it interacted with the developing mid-latitude storm rather than accelerating northward as Hazel did.  This resulted in the large fetch of easterly and southeasterly winds into northern New Jersey, Long Island and New Your City which produced the large storm surge.

Our book also discusses the impacts of tropical cyclones which includes extreme winds, storm surge, tornadoes, flash flooding and riverine (i.e. large river) flooding. The analysis has yet to be completed, but I suspect that storm surge will attributed, by far, to  largest economic damage.

Also, with a storm of this magnitude, the National Hurricane Center, the National Center for Environmental Prediction, the media and public officials must be recognized and commended for their early warming. This has resulted in a much lower loss of life than would have otherwise occurred.

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Filed under Books, Climate Change Metrics

New Book “Institutions And Incentives In Regulatory Science” (Edited by Jason Scott Johnston, 2012).

There is a very informative new book that has appeared. It is

Institutions and Incentives in Regulatory Science (Edited by Jason Scott Johnston, 2012).

Available at, as well as other online sites.

The book summary reads [highlight added]

From endangered species protection to greenhouse gas regulations, modern regulatory interventions are justified by science.  Indeed, legislators look to science for simple answers to complex regulatory questions.  This regulatory demand for scientific answers collides with the scientific reality that on the frontiers of science, there are no simple answers, only competing hypotheses and accumulating but as yet often inconclusive evidence.   Given inevitable scientific uncertainty, regulatory agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are put in the position of adjudicating unresolved scientific controversies.  As the contributions to this volume show conclusively and in great detail, such agencies (and other assessment organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC) are far from unbiased in how they assess regulatory science.   They instead act as advocates for those scientific positions that further the regulatory agenda of promulgating new regulations and increasing the scope of the regulatory state.

The book describes many facts about how regulatory agencies use science to justify their regulations that may surprise and even shock many readers:

  • In the area of climate science, where the IPCC is advertised as an objective and unbiased assessment body, the facts are that the Lead Authors for IPCC Assessment Reports are chosen by political representatives on the IPCC, and have no duty to respond in any way to the comments of outside reviewers of IPCC draft chapters.  The oft-repeated claim that there are “thousands” of scientists involved in outside review of IPCC Assessment Reports is patently false, with generally only a few dozen truly independent outside reviews submitted even on key chapters.  Perhaps most strikingly, the Editors with responsibility for overseeing the decisions of chapter Authors are themselves chosen by the same people (Working Group Chairs) who pick the Authors.  An outside audit of the IPCC commissioned by the IPCC itself (done by the Interacademy Council) concluded that some body other than the IPCC should choose the Review Editors but acknowledged that there is no such outside body.
  • Perhaps more than any other U.S. environmental law, the Endangered Species Act looks to science for clear answers regarding which species are imperiled and how to protect them.  But as this book shows, for even the most basic threshold question – as to whether a population constitutes a species or sub-species – there is no scientific answer.  As for the definition of a species, there are over a dozen competing definitions, and the categorization of a sub-species is even more problematic, with a plethora of approaches that have allowed the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and its biological advisers in the U.S Geological Service (USGS) to effectively declare sub-species at will, as even slight morphological or genetic differences are seized upon to indicate reproductive isolation and the propriety of categorizing a population as a sub-species.   Even more seriously, the book recounts how USFWS peer review in cases of controversial taxonomic classification has involved the selective disclosure of underlying data to outside peer reviewers and has been actively controlled by USGS scientists with a strong self-interest in USFWS determinations.  The book’s ESA chapters clearly show how supposedly scientific disagreement about whether a population is or is not a legally protected sub-species in fact reflect differing policy preferences, different weights that scientists attach to potential errors in triggering, or failing to trigger, legal protection.
  • Perhaps the most dramatic case studies in the book come from the area of chemical toxicity assessment by the U.S. E.P.A. and National Institute for Environmental Health (NIEH). The book shows how the EPA has made determinations of chemical toxicity that deliberately ignore the most recent and most methodologically sound studies when those studies fail to support the agency’s preferred, pro-regulatory result of significant health risk at low doses.  The case studies here include formaldehyde, where the National Academy of Science (NAS) itself concluded that EPA’s risk assessment “was based on a subjective view of the overall data” and failed to provide a plausible method by which exposures could cause cancer, a failure especially problematic given “inconsistencies in the epidemiological data, the weak animal data, and the lack of mechanistic data.”  Equally dramatic is the story of EPA risk assessment for dioxin.  Here, the agency continues to apply its decades-old assumptions that cancer risks at low doses can be extrapolated linearly from those actually observed in animal studies at high doses, and that there is no threshold level of exposure below which excess risk falls to zero.  EPA continues to maintain these assumptions despite the NAS’s admonition that “EPA’s decision to rely solely on a default linear model lacked adequate scientific support.”  Perhaps most disturbingly, the book provides examples of how supposedly unbiased outside scientific advisory panels are tainted by conflicts of interest. In the case of bisphenol A, for example,  the NIEHS awarded $30 million in grants to study that chemical to scientists who had already  publicly stated that the chemical’s toxicity was already well-researched and reasonably certain.

All told, the institutional details and facts provided by the authors’ of Institutions and Incentives in Regulatory Science paint a picture of a serious crisis in the scientific foundations of the modern regulatory state.   But the authors go beyond this, by providing suggestions for reform.  These proposals span a wide range.  In climate science, author proposals range from calling for a much more open and adversary presentation of competing work in climate science to the abolition of the IPCC as a standing body.  In endangered species regulation, proposals range from more strictly science-based thresholds for sub-species determination to a separation of the science of species determination from the  legal consequences of listing under the ESA.  In environmental regulation, some authors call for a more open and transparent process of scientific assessment in which agencies such as the EPA publicly acknowledge and fully discuss the science on both sides of complex regulatory decisions, while others call for the strict separation of scientific assessment from regulatory authority.

The authors possess a unique combination of expertise and experience: Jamie Conrad is a principal of Conrad Law & Policy Counsel and author editor of the Environmental Science Deskbook (1998);

Susan Dudley, former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in OMB, is the founding Director of the Regulatory Studies Center at George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy;

George Gray, Professor of environmental and occupational health and director of the Center for Risk Science and Public Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Sciences, was formerly science advisor at the U.S. E.P.A. and Executive Director of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis;

Jason Scott Johnston is the Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law and the Nicholas E. Chimicles Research Professor in Business Law and Regulation at the University of Virginia Law School and the author numerous articles appearing in both peer-edited law and economics journals and law reviews;

Gary E. Marchant, formerly a partner at Kirkland & Ellis is Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law, and Ethics and Executive Director and faculty fellow at the Center for Law, Science and Innovation in Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University;

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics at the University of Guelph is the author of Taken by Storm: The Troubled Science, Policy and Politics of Global Warming (2003) and of numerous articles appearing in peer-edited climate science journal such as Geophysical Research Letters ;

Rob Roy Ramey II, principal of Wildlife Science International, has consulted on several of the most significant Endangered Species Act listing decisions of the past decades and is the author of numerous scientific papers appearing in journals such as Science and Animal Conservation;

Katrian Miriam Wyman, Professor of Law at New York University Law School, is the editor and author (with David Schoenbrod and Richard Stewart) of Breaking the Logjam: Environmental Protection that Will Work (2010).

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Book Review By Donald Rapp Of “Who Turned on the Heat? – The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation” – By Donald Rapp

Book Review By Donald Rapp [ see for the post on Donald’s book – The Climate Debate]


Bob Tisdale has produced an extraordinary new book:

 Who Turned on the Heat? – The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern OscillationThe Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation is now on sale in pdf form for US$8.00 – Please click here to buy a copy.

This book is also subtitled “Everything you wanted to know about El Niño and La Niña” and that is quite accurate.

I didn’t realize how little I understood El Niño and La Niña phenomena until I read Bob Tisdale’s book. I learned a great deal from this book, which provides the reader with thorough but easily understandable explanations of El Niño and La Niña phenomena enhanced by many wonderful cartoon-like illustrations. The book provides lucid descriptions of the various indices used to characterize El Niño and La Niña phenomena. It also provides a wealth of graphical data on El Niño and La Niña occurrences. While the book deals predominantly with the last thirty years, it also deals with the entire 20th century.

Perhaps the three most important facts that I had not previously fully appreciated were:

(1) While incident sunlight can penetrate several to many meters into oceans, incident IR penetrates only up to a few mm.

(2) After an El Niño (particularly a strong one) a pool of warm surface water stretches across the Pacific that continues to warm the atmosphere even after El Niño conditions have subsided. (This seems to have been particularly important for the great 1998 El Niño).

(3) A La Niña is not the opposite of an El Niño, but rather is an amplified version of normal conditions in the Pacific Ocean.

In addition, Tisdale emphasizes the enormity of the Pacific Ocean (about 1/3 of the earth’s surface) and he also emphasizes the worldwide climatic effects of El Niños.

Tisdale uses Fact (1) to argue his view that the atmosphere, even if heated by greenhouse gases, does not warm oceans; rather sunlight warms oceans. On the contrary, he argues that warm ocean surface waters heat the atmosphere. So, he disagrees with climate modelers as to which is the dog and which is the tail that wags.

Tisdale uses Facts (2) and (3) to argue that the warming of the atmosphere that began around 1976 commensurate with the beginning of an era of El Niño preponderance was due to the warm surface waters during and after El Niños. He backs up this argument with extensive data.

Looking at the full extent of the 20th century, Tisdale shows that the century can be divided into three periods: 1900-1940; 1940-1976; and 1976-2006. The first and last periods were preponderantly El Niño while the middle period was slightly favored with La Niña. These period are also the periods during which global temperatures rose sharply, dipped slightly, and then rose again. This relationship has been noted previously by many climatologists (see Sec. 4.9 of my book: “The Climate Debate”). Tisdale shows (as my book does also) that the integral of an El Niño index looks amazingly like the global temperature curve for the entire 20th century.

Tisdale’s book is so excellent in so many ways that it is difficult to find anything to criticize. The only thing I can harp on is that Tisdale is perhaps too sure of himself. He seems certain that prevalent El Niños caused essentially 100% of the warming from 1976 to 2006 and greenhouse gases contributed nothing. He said:

“The SST and ocean heat content data for the past 30 years show that the global oceans have warmed. There is no evidence, however, that the warming was caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases in part or in whole; that is, the warming can be explained by natural ocean-atmosphere processes, primarily ENSO” (emphasis added).

Other skeptics have suggested that El Niños provided 70% of warming over the past 50 years (McLean et al., 2009) while some alarmists have suggested 15-30% (Foster et al., 2010).

There is evidence that the 300-year period from say 1600 to 1900 was characterized by relatively low global temperatures (the little ice age) and we might surmise that El Niños were not preponderant during that period. Yet, something changed beginning shortly after 1900. There were two extended periods of preponderant El Niños commensurate with rising global temperatures. The change around 1976 was particularly noticeable and has been referred to in the literature (“sudden and decisive change in the circulation patterns and upwelling characteristics in the Pacific began around 1976”, “… the tendency for more El Niño and fewer La Niña events since the late 1970s is highly unusual and very likely to be accounted for solely by natural variability”, “Several studies have noted that the pattern of El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) variability changed in 1976, with warm (El Niño) events becoming more frequent and more intense”, “Particularly dramatic physical and biological excursions occurred during the 1976–77 change in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation”, “It is now widely accepted that a climatic regime shift transpired in the North Pacific Ocean in the winter of 1976–77. This regime shift has had far reaching consequences for the large marine ecosystems of the North Pacific” (references for these quote given in “The Climate Debate”). During the 20th century when earth temperatures were rising, the CO2 concentration was also rising. Several related questions are suggested. Can variability of preponderance of El Niños explain most, if not all of the 20th century warming? If it can, is there some underlying reason why El Niños  emerged preponderant in the 20th century, or was it merely a statistical quirk? Is there any connection between rising CO2 and the advent of preponderant El Niños? Tisdale says there is no evidence for this.

As for me, in matters of climate, I am not sure of hardly anything.

Donald Rapp


Added info: for other posts by Donald, please see

An Analysis By Donald Rapp Of The Levitus Et Al 2012 Analysis

“The Climate Debate” by Donald Rapp 2012 – An Excellent Addition To The Literature On The Climate Issue

Brief Commentary on Two Recent Papers By Donald Rapp

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Filed under Books, Guest Weblogs

Announcement – Bob Tisdale’s New Book – Who Turned on the Heat? – “The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation”

Bob Tisdale has published his new book, as he announced on his website Bob Tisdale – Climate Observations.

Bob has contributed very important information on the documentation of ocean temperature patterns and trends, and this new book is a significant new addition to the climate science discussion. I encourage objective reviews of the book be published in EOS, Science, Nature and BAMS.

Bob’s announcement about the book is reproduced below.

Who Turned on the Heat? – The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit, El Niño-Southern Oscillation is now on sale in pdf form for US$8.00 Please click here to buy a copy.

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“The Climate Debate” by Donald Rapp 2012 – An Excellent Addition To The Literature On The Climate Issue

I want to alert readers of my weblog to an excellent new book on the climate issue. It is by Donald Rapp. Donald has impressive scientific credentials. His short biography is (see)

I have 50 years of post-doctoral experience. I am a true generalist. I am 50% scientist and 50% engineer. I have worked on an extremely wide variety of technical problems over the years and I have broad knowledge of things technical. I have a solid grounding in chemistry and physics and did fundamental work in these sciences for many years. In the second half of my career I worked on more applied problems, particularly in space technology and space mission design. I am an expert in requirements, architectures and transportation systems for space missions, with particular emphasis on impact of in situ resource utilization, and water resources. I have surveyed the wide field of global climate change energy and I am familiar with the entire literature of climatology. I am known far and wide in the NASA community as for my abilities to plan, organize and lead studies of broad technical systems. My services have been often sought in writing and reviewing major proposals for space ventures.

His recent professional positions include

2008-2009 Research Professor, Viterbi School of Engineering, University of Southern California

2003-2009, JPL Consultant

1979-2002, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA; Senior Research Scientist and Division Chief Technologist, Mechanical Systems Engineering and Research Division; Retired February, 2002

His past books include

Quantum Mechanics by Donald Rapp 1971 Hardcover, 672 pages, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, ISBN 0030812941 (0-03-081294-1)

Statistical Mechanics by Donald Rapp 1972 Hardcover, 330 pages, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, ISBN 0030856531 (0-03-085653-1)

Solar Energy by Donald Rapp 1981 Hardcover, 516 pages, Prentice-Hall, ISBN 0138222134 (0-13-822213-4)

Human Missions to Mars: Enabling Technologies for Exploring the Red Planet by Donald Rapp, hardback, 520 pages, October, 2007 ISBN: 978-3-540-72938-9; two 8-page color sections

Assessing Climate Change – Temperatures, Solar Radiation and Heat Balance Series: Springer Praxis Books – Environmental Sciences by Donald Rapp, hardback, 410 pages, March 2008 ISBN: 978-3-540-76586-8; two 8-page color sections

His new book is titled

The Climate Debate.

It is available, for example, from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

I look forward to seeing wide distribution of what is an important new contribution. His discussion of the viewpoints of what he refers to as “Alarmists“, “Extreme Skeptics“, and ‘Moderate Skeptics”  is quite informative.

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Highly Recommended New Book “When The Sirens Were Silent: How The Warning System Failed A Community”, 2012 By Mike Smith

A new book will be published on May 15 2012 which I highly recommend. It is

Mike Smith, 2012: “When The Sirens Were Silent: How The Warning System Failed A Community”, Mennonite Press, Inc

Mike, Vice President of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, also wrote the outstanding book

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather (Greenleaf Book Group, 2010)

which I reviewed in my post

Review of Mike Smith’s Book “Warnings” – A Truely Exceptional Contribution To Meteorology

This new book is dedictated to the people of Joplin Missouri.

As Mike writes

This monograph focuses on the warning system and attempts to explain why so many died in Joplin. I do not wish to criticize people and institutions I greatly respect. But I feel obliged to write this because it is critical to understand what went wrong in Joplin so we can build more robust systems in the future. After I tell the Joplin story, I’ll provide you with advice that will help save your life (and your loved ones’ lives) when extreme weather threatens.

As Jenna Blum, New York Times and international best-selling author of The Stormchasers and Those Who Save Us wrote in the introduction to the book

Mike has been studying the efficacy of the American warning system for more than forty years, from its inception to today. In When the Sirens Were Silent, Mike puts his unparalleled experience and acumen to work on the Joplin tragedy. He provides evidence from survivors’ stories, scientifc explanation, and photos of what happened on May 22, 2011. In what you’re about to read, you’ll discover what went so tragically wrong that day for 161 souls who didn’t survive Joplin’s EF-5 tornado—what mistakes were made and what otherwise could have kept them alive—and how you, unlike them, can survive whatever weather this year brings.

For anyone concerned about tornado safety, When the Sirens Were Silent is a must-read. It might just save your life.

Mike also e-mailed that

The softcover book has the safety rules at the end printed on thicker paper and perforated so they can be lifted out and posted where they will do the most good. They are the latest versions of the safety rules for home, school, and office.

This is a must-read book for anyone interested in weather, but, even more importantly, to anyone living in tornado regions!

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New Book “Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years Of Monitoring The Atmosphere” By Forrest M Mims III

Forrest Mims III, whose work has presented posts on this weblog; e,g. see

New Paper “Measuring Total Column Water Vapor By Pointing An Infrared Thermometer At The Sky” By Forrest M. Mims III Et Al 2011

Guest Post By Forrest M. Mims III “On Being A Scientist”

Outstanding Climate Science Reporting And Investigation By Forrest M. Mims III

has written a very well written, informative and entertaining book on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory.  The book is outstanding and provides a historical perspective on not only the scientific observations, but also the history and environment of Mauna Loa.  The book also includes a Foreward written by Robert H. Simpson who has finally been appropriately recognized as the father of the Observatory.

The book is

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory: Fifty Years of Monitoring the Atmosphere

published by the University of Hawai’i Press.

The abstract for the book reads

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is one of the world’s leading scientific stations for monitoring the atmosphere. For more than fifty years, beginning with atmospheric chemist Charles Keeling’s readings of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, MLO has provided climate scientists a continuous record of the atmosphere’s increasing concentration of carbon dioxide—and sparked the international debate over global warming. Hawai‘i’s Mauna Loa Observatory tells the story of the men and women who made these and many other measurements near the summit of the world’s largest mountain.

Botanist Archibald Menzies, who trekked up Mauna Loa’s rough, lava-encrusted slopes in 1794, was the first to make scientific measurements from the summit. In the winter of 1840, the US Exploring Expedition spent a grueling three weeks at the edge of the summit crater. Their scientific achievements remained unsurpassed for more than a century and anticipated the research that was begun in 1951, when a primitive weather station was built atop the mountain. Serious research began in 1956 when the first building of the present observatory was erected a few thousand feet below the summit. Recollections of past and present MLO staff detail the historic beginning of carbon-dioxide measurements and many exciting discoveries and near disasters at the remote observatory in this colorful account of the evolution of MLO into a world-class facility.

Today more than a hundred experiments are carried out at MLO, including precise measurements of the ozone layer, the sun’s ultraviolet, the dust and air pollution drifting across the Pacific from Asia, and a wide assortment of gases in the atmosphere. These and other measurements have provided ground truthing for satellite-borne sensors and led to major scientific findings, some of which have influenced public policy decisions.

Hawai‘i’s Mauna Loa Observatory should be read by atmospheric science students to gain an appreciation for the enormous effort required to generate high quality data. Much more than a strict scientific biography of Mauna Loa, this work will also be appreciated by anyone interested in a highly accessible history of the human side of atmospheric observations at a remote, high-altitude observatory.

Forrest’s bio at the University of Hawai’i Press reads

Forrest M. Mims III is the most widely read electronics author in the world. The author of more than sixty books and hundreds of articles published in science magazines and journals, he is cofounder of the company that developed the Altair 8800, the computer that gave birth to the personal-computer revolution in the mid-1970s. In 1993 Mims received a Rolex Award for a global ozone-measuring network that used instruments of his own design. He has been calibrating these instruments and many others at the Mauna Loa Observatory at least once a year since 1992 and has published papers about his findings.

source of image 

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Bob Tisdale’s Book “If the IPCC was Selling Global Warming as a Product, Would the FTC Stop Their Deceptive Ads?”

Bob Tisdale has published a book based on his insightful weblog posts, titled and available from

If the IPCC was Selling Global Warming as a Product, Would the FTC Stop Their Deceptive Ads?

His book is discussed at Watts Up With That and on Bob’s weblog.

I have a copy of his book and recommend it. Even if you do not agree with some (or even all) of his findings, he has provided information as to how to access the original data in order to do your own analysis in Chapter 9 titled

Basic Instructions for Downloading Climate Data and Creating Graphs

We need more such competent scientific presentations where the authors present details as to how to access the raw data, in this case by using the KNMI Climate Explorer, as well as to complete analyses using that data such as Bob has done. I also encourage Bob to pursue submitting his work to peer-reviewed journals.

source of image

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Review Of “Measuring Global Temperatures: Their Analysis And Interpretation” by Ian Strangeways

EOS has published a book review I wrote

Pielke Sr., R.A. 2011: Book Review of: Measuring Global Temperatures: Their Analysis and Interpretation by Ian Strangeways. Cambridge University Press; 2010; xviii + 233 pp.; ISBN 978-0-52-189848-5.

Ian’s book is available from here.

The review reads

This book documents how global surface temperature anomalies (GSTAs) and multidecadal trends are obtained. While ocean heat content change is a more robust metric with which to diagnose global warming, GSTAs have become a primary icon in the climate change debate.

The book begins with a brief overview chapter of the Earth’s radiative energy budget followed by two chapters on measurement approaches to monitoring temperature, including an interesting discussion of temperature scales. Chapters 4–6 concern measuring land and ocean temperatures. Chapters 7 and 8 discuss global networks and how point measurements are converted to obtain global averages. Chapter 9 focuses on changes in time of temperatures, including maximum and minimum values. This is followed by a short chapter on temperature profiles through the atmosphere and a final chapter of recommendations for future observations of this metric.

This relatively short book is a valuable reference on measuring surface temperatures, but it suffers in several substantive ways. For instance, the first sentence in the book reads, “Temperature is probably the most influential of all climatic variables.” However, I suspect that water may be even more important because civilized society and diverse natural environments have developed from very cold to hot climates wherever there is sufficient water. For example, there is an absence of almost any form of life in the hot and arid Sahara desert, while abundant flora and fauna exist in the hot but humid Congo Basin. Only when temperature extremes become so cold that vegetation cannot develop, such as in inland Antarctica, does temperature become a dominant climate variable.

The book raises questions on the robustness of the surface temperature data over land as a diagnostic of GSTA, for example, on page 119, where the author writes that “…within small areas the effects of climate change will be similar, and so the measurements should match each other.” By making this assumption, local site difference issues are masked. Recent publications not discussed by the author quantitatively document a number of systematic biases and uncertainties at observing sites, for example, due to the extent that (1) temperature trends are a function of height near the ground, particularly for minimum temperatures; (2) concurrent trends in absolute humidity affect dry bulb temperature trends at the same site; (3) poor station siting exists even in rural areas; and (4) statistical uncertainties are introduced at each step in converting point measurements to larger-scale averages that have not been properly accounted for. Although there is an informative brief discussion on several of these issues, the author neglected peer reviewed papers that quantify several of them. Because the trend in the global average lower tropospheric temperature anomalies has been essentially flat for more than 12 years, yet the global average surface temperatures are reported to continue to rise, this divergence over time may be a result of systematic warm biases in point surface observations, which are incompletely discussed by the author.

The author does, however, seem to agree with this view to some extent. For example, with respect to urban effects on temperatures, he writes, “What matters [with respect to changes in urban temperature bias] is whether the bias changes over time as the city grows and changes. The chances are that the bias probably will increase, since cities are growing ever more rapidly as the world population grows, especially in developing countries.” Unfortunately, despite published papers that are available, he devotes only a single sentence to the possibility that other land use changes can affect GSTAs.

The author does provide an overview of how surface air temperatures can change in response to atmospheric circulation pattern changes. He writes, “If atmospheric patterns change, it is likely there will be a shift of temperature.” He refers to a shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation from one state to another as one example. The lack of corresponding warming within the troposphere relative to the surface air at higher Northern Hemisphere latitudes is an issue he emphasizes in chapter 10. He writes, “The lack of an equivalent rise in the troposphere [of temperature] in the high northern latitudes in winter to match that at the surface points to the possibility that increased cloud cover may have caused the extra surface warming.” Such changes in cloud cover might be a result of circulation changes.

My recommendation is that readers purchase this book to obtain an incomplete but well-written overview of the current status of diagnosing the global average surface temperature. While it suffers from incomplete coverage of the topic, the book is still a useful reference to have.

source of image [site location is Chihuahua, Mexico]  See my post

New Evidence Of Temperature Observing Sites Which Are Poorly Sited With Respect To The Construction Of Global Average Land Surface Temperature Trends

for other examples.

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Republication Of “The Hurricane”

I am pleased (and surprised) that they have decided to include my 1990 book in the Rutledge Revivals. Unfortunately, it is not inexpensive.

The Hurricane By Roger A Pielke
Price: $115.00
Binding/Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-415-61553-2Publish Date: February 28th 2011
Imprint: Routledge
Pages: 226 pages

The book summary that they posted reads

“First published in 1990, this book describes the nature of the hurricane, one of the world’s most dangerous weather hazards. It examines the formation, development, movement, and impact of these tropical cyclones, and assess the ability of science to describe, forecast, and control them.”

The contents as they list on their website are

1. Geographic and seasonal distribution 2. Mechanism of formation and development 3. Controls on tropical cyclone movement 4. Impacts 5. Tropical cyclone tracks

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