Why there is no reason for you to trust the official global temperature records



The officially published global temperature records all converge on a total temperature rise since the late 19th century of about 0.9 (0.8–1.0) degrees Celsius:


Figure 1.

But to what extent can we be confident that this is how the ‘global average surface temperature’ (GAST) anomaly actually evolved over this time frame?

The truth is: We can’t. At all.


This is fundamentally a matter of data coverage, but – just as importantly – it is also a matter of methodology. How do you make up for a paucity of data? How do you properly compile, weight and interpolate data into a reliable “global average” when that data – the actual observational information that you have collected and thus have at your disposal – provides nothing like a full global coverage? And how do you make this “global average” of yours consistent over time when your data coverage (both in total and in spatial distribution) vastly changes over that same time frame? What basic assumptions will you have to rely on? Because, make no mistake, an interpretive undertaking such as this will crucially have to rest on a foundation of some rather sweeping presuppositions. Continue reading

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Verifying my near-global 1985-2017 OLR record


It appears I was right 😎

33y TLT→OLR connection confirmed!



Turns out the results from my last blog post were challenged even before I published them. In a paper from 2014, Allan et al., the alii notably including principal investigator of the CERES team, Dr. Norman Loeb, went about reconstructing the ToA net balance (including the ASR and OLR contributing fluxes) from 1985 onwards, just like I did; in fact, it’s all right there in the title itself: “Changes in global net radiative imbalance 1985–2012”. I missed this paper completely, even when specifically managing to catch and discuss (in the supplementing post, Addendum I) its follow-up (Allan, 2017). The results and conclusions of Allan et al., 2014, regarding the downward (SW) and upward (LW) radiative fluxes at the ToA and how they’ve evolved since 1985, appear to disagree to a significant extent with mine. I was only very recently made aware of the existence of this paper, by a commenter on Dr. Roy Spencer’s blog, “Nate”, when he was kind enough to notify me (albeit in an ever so slightly hostile manner):

“What is stupid and cowardly is how Kristian refuses to confront the reality that the experts disagree with him about what we actually OBSERVE.

“Kristian, you have tried to draw conclusions from 33 y of data that you’ve stitched together by making various choices about offsets between the sets.

“But as I showed you, and you ignored, Loeb and collaborators have made different choices to produce a continuous set. And do not draw your conclusions.

“Here is a paper. (…)”

Continue reading

The ship-buoy bias correction excuse (HadSST3 and ERSSTv4)

In 2011, the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office replaced their global sea surface temperature series, HadSST2, with a new one, HadSST3, an upgrade allegedly necessitated by, among other things, the particular ‘discovery’ that the recorded temperature evolution of the global ocean surface had, since about 1979, for one particular reason followed a path that trended artificially low. The official global sea surface temperature data as compiled simply showed too little overall warming. Since 1978-79, that is, during the satellite era.

This is funny, because the Hadley Centre’s own official global SST dataset, HadSST2, already showed an overall warming since the late 70s that was much larger than the other official datasets out there, like ERSST, Reynolds OI and HadISST:


Animation 1.

Note that the new ERSSTv4 series is also included in Anim.1 (red curve), and that it distinctly supports the group of ‘others’: The light blue HadSST2 curve all of a sudden makes a giant upward leap of nearly 0.1K at the 1997-1998 transition (light green vertical line). There is hardly any divergence to be observed between it and the others, however, either before or after this point (save that from ERSSTv4 post 2005; more on that later …). Continue reading

What caused the current ToA radiative imbalance?

First the SW (that’s measured reflected SW at the top of the atmosphere (ToA), basically an expression of Earth’s albedo). TSI (incoming sunlight) at the ToA minus reflected SW (albedo) at the ToA equals the ASR (“absorbed solar radiation”) at the ToA, the actual radiant HEAT (net SW) transferred from the Sun to the Earth system as a whole:

(ERBS Ed3 + CERES EBAF Ed2.8 vs. ISCCP FD; tropics, 1985-2004 (20 years).)
Continue reading

Tamino’s radiosonde problem, Part 1

RSS vs. RATPAC tamino

Figure 1. Original found here: https://tamino.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/ted-cruz-just-plain-wrong/

A good month ago, the perennially unsavoury character calling himself Tamino once again tried to hold up the spotty “global” network of radiosondes (weather balloons) as somehow a better gauge of the progression and trend of tropospheric temperature anomalies over the last 37 years than the satellites, by virtue of being essentially – as he would glibly put it – “thermometers in the sky”.

So his simple take on the glaring “drift” between current surface records and the satellites over the last 10-12 years is this: The surface records are right and the satellites are wrong. Why? Because the surface records agree with the radiosondes while the satellites don’t! The radiosondes implicitly – in his world – representing “Troposphere Truth”.

And so, when your starting premise goes like this: the radiosondes = thermometers in the sky = troposphere truth, then any “drift” observed between them and the satellites (as in Fig.1 above) will – by default – be interpreted by you as a problem with the latter.

To repeat Tamino’s fairly simplistic reasoning, then, in the form of some sort of logical-sounding argument: Surface and satellites don’t agree. Radiosondes and satellites don’t agree. But surface and radiosondes do agree. Which means the latter two are right, their agreement robustly verifying the ‘rightness’ of each. (And also, the radiosondes represent “Troposphere Truth”.) Which leaves the satellites out in the cold …

There is, however, a definite issue to be had with this line of argument.

It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny … Continue reading

Why “GISTEMP LOTI global mean” is wrong and “UAHv6 tlt gl” is right

Ten days ago, Nick Stokes wrote a post on his “moyhu” blog where he – in his regular, guileful manner – tries his best to distract from the pretty obvious fact (pointed out in this recent post of mine) that GISS poleward of ~55 degrees of latitude, most notably in the Arctic, basically use land data only, effectively rendering their “GISTEMP LOTI global mean” product a bogus record of actual global surface temps.

Among other things, he says:

“The SST products OI V2 and ERSST, used by GISS then and now, adopted the somewhat annoying custom of entering the SST under sea ice as -1.8°C. They did this right up to the North Pole. But the N Pole does not have a climate at a steady -1.8°C. GISS treats this -1.8 as NA data and uses alternative, land-based measure. It’s true that the extrapolation required can be over long distances. But there is a basis for it – using -1.8 for climate has none, and is clearly wrong.

So is GISS “deleting data”? Of course not. No-one actually measured -1.8°C there. It is the standard freezing point of sea water. I guess that is data in a way, but it isn’t SST data measured for the Arctic Sea.”

The -1.8°C averaging bit is actually a fair and interesting point in itself, but this is what Stokes does; he finds a peripheral detail somehow related to the actual argument being made and proceeds to misrepresent its significance in an attempt to divert people’s attention from the real issue at hand. The real issue in this case of course being GISS’s (bad) habit of smearing anomaly values from a small collection of land data points all across the vast polar cap regions, over wide tracts of land (where for the main part we don’t have any data), over expansive stretches of ocean (where we do have SST data readily available) AND over complex regions affected by sea ice (where we indeed do have data (SSTs, once again) when and where there isn’t any sea ice cover, but none whatsoever when there is), all the way down to 55-60 degrees of latitude. Continue reading