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One more data point

Filed under: — gavin @ 15 January 2020

The climate summaries for 2019 are all now out. None of this will be a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, but the results are stark.

  • 2019 was the second warmest year (in analyses from GISTEMP, NOAA NCEI, ERA5, JRA55, Berkeley Earth and Cowtan & Way, RSS TLT), it was third warmest in the standard HadCRUT4 product and in the UAH TLT. It was the warmest year in the AIRS Ts product.
  • For ocean heat content, it was the warmest year, though in terms of just the sea surface temperature (HadSST3), it was the third warmest.
  • The top 5 years in all surface temperature series, are the last five years. [Update: this isn’t true for the MSU TLT data which have 2010 (RSS) and 1998 (UAH) still in the mix].
  • The decade was the first with temperatures more than 1ºC above the late 19th C in almost all products.

This year there are two new additions to the discussion, notably the ERA5 Reanalyses product (1979-2019) which is independent of the surface weather stations, and the AIRS Ts product (2003-2019) which again, is totally independent of the surface data. Remarkably, they line up almost exactly. [Update: the ERA5 system assimilates the SYNOP reports from weather stations, which is not independent of the source data for the surface temperature products. However, the interpolation is based on the model physics and many other sources of observed data.]

The two MSU lowermost troposphere products are distinct from the surface record (showing notably more warming in the 1998, 2010 El Niño years – though it wasn’t as clear in 2016), but with similar trends. The biggest outlier is (as usual) the UAH record, indicating that the structural uncertainty in the MSU TLT trends remains significant.

One of the most interesting comparisons this year has been the coherence of the AIRS results which come from an IR sensor on board EOS Aqua and which has been producing surface temperature estimates from 2003 onwards. The rate and patterns of warming of this and GISTEMP for the overlap period are remarkably close, and where they differ, suggest potential issues in the weather station network.

The trends over that period in the global mean are very close (0.24ºC/dec vs. 0.25ºC/dec), with AIRS showing slightly more warming in the Arctic. Interestingly, AIRS 2019 slightly beats 2016 in their ranking.

I will be updating the model/observation comparisons over the next few days.

95 Responses to “One more data point”

  1. 1
    Dominik Lenné says:

    That’s why we need the price on GHG emissions, where it is not already existing. Why in the EU, where it is partly existing, the yearly reduction rate in the ETS (European Trading System) needs to be 4% instead of 2.2%. Why all fuels should be included in the system. Why imports and intercontinental flights should have to devaluate emission allowances. Why all existing allowance systems should merge. And so on and so forth. It does work. German lignite has been nearly crowded out of the market by natural gas and renewables because of the allowance costs, in spite of the latter being still deplorably low.

  2. 2
    Simon Tett says:

    Gavin — I do not think that ERA-5 is independant from the surface data. Assuming it uses the same approach as ERA-Interim then the surface data makes it into the reanalysi. It does through an optimal interpolation of the station T & RH/q data which are then nudged into the soil moisture & temperatures.

    A particuarly stark example of this is that problems with Chinese humidty observations contaminate the ERA-5 reanalysis data — see https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1029/2019GL086140

    Simon

    [Response: Thanks. I was under the impression that only radiosonde T data was being assimilated, not the station T, but if that’s wrong, I’ll update the text. – gavin]

    [Further Response: With some investigation, I think that ERA5 is using the SYNOP reports, which while not identical to one of the inputs into GHCN4, is not totally independent either. I’ve updated the text accordingly. Thanks for flagging this. – gavin]

  3. 3
    Andrew says:

    “The trends over that period in the global mean are very close (0.24ºC/dec vs. 0.25ºC/dec)…”
    Since we are at around 1.2C above the 1880-1900 average baseline as of 2020, a simple linear extrapolation takes us around 1.5C by 2035. I am not aware of any climate policies in place or planned for the next 15 years that would avoid reaching and passing this threshold.

    On the contrary, emissions are still rising year on year and so are atmospheric CO2, CH4 and NO2 concentrations (according to the latest UNEP reports).
    The consequences of reaching the 1.5C global warming threshold are listed in the latest IPCC Special Report, available here: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/

    Perhaps at this point the discussion should shift to how to avoid breaching the 2C threshold in the short 35 years we have left? Or should we abandon temperature targets altogether and focus on reducing emissions as fast as possible, since it’s just about the only factor we have some control over?

  4. 4
    WheelsOC says:

    Well I’ve spent the morning looking over the top-line descriptions of reanalysis and AIRS stuff to get a better handle on them, since I’m much more familiar with the classic surface station and RSS/UAH temperature datasets. It seems to me these things don’t get the coverage they deserve in the more mainstream climate press.

    You mention that issues with station data explain a good portion of the divergence from AIRS skin surface temp data. More to the point, could that be due to areas where station coverage is weak? My understanding is that GISTEMP’s handling for sparsely-covered polar regions uses a relatively simple method of infilling compared to BEST or C&W. Is there any plan to update GISTEMP’s infilling methodology?

  5. 5
    barry says:

    “The top 5 years in all series, are the last five years.”

    I’m guessing that you didn’t originally have the MSU records in the mix, and overlooked this sentence in the edit. 1998 is 2nd warmest in the UAH TLT record, and neither 2014 nor 2018 are in the top 5 for RSS.

    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/msu/time-series/global/lt/dec/ann

    The last 5 years are the warmest 5-year average in all these series.

    [Response: Thanks. I missed that one. – gavin]

  6. 6
    Al Bundy says:

    One data point? Nigel and BPL labeled me DKesque based on similar thinking. There are 365 days in a year. Yep, backing out day-of-year orbital differences would be difficult, but so what? A factor of 365 increase is yummy.

    And correct me if I’m wrong BPL, but it seems to me your statistics is based on independent events. Yeah, one coin toss doesn’t affect the next, but yesterday’s weather affects today’s. Even year on year ain’t independent.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    Anyone want to take a guess where we’ll be in 2029?

  8. 8
    Thomas says:

    Heard you on the news this week Gavin. About the warmest years on record are the last 5 up to 2019. :-)

    And saying a linear temperature progression now places +1.5C circa 2035.

    Possibly earlier should matters surge. Makes good sense to me.

    And I’m pondering what a super el nino might achieve in 2032 or even in 2030 (if push comes to shove.) I’m still positing the first arctic blue ocean event circa 2025 +/- 1 yr.

    Yet still there is this loud chorus from many in the hoi polloi of how the “climate has always been changing” and that “models are not only useless but wrong” and besides that there is no “scientific evidence” for man-made driven “global warming or climate change.” And always stated with overwhelming self-confidence at that.

    And of course the old chestnut that the recent extreme (off the scale) wild fires are caused by arsonists and people building homes among the trees and not by climate change or higher temperatures.

    Comments like that stunned me in the early 2000s.

    How about you today?

    Thanks for the info about ” the AIRS results which come from an IR sensor on board EOS Aqua” – I didn’t know that, been out of the loop a long time now.

    Keep at it, and best of ‘british luck’ to you and yours.

  9. 9
    nigelj says:

    AB @6 you appear to be saying one year of data is enough to define climate, because we are really smart these days with data collection and have 365 data points. This is well beyond my level of knowledge really, but I would guess the problem is you have to consider things like el nino and 11 year sunspot cycles, pdo cycle and subtract them from one years weather data which looks …rather challenging. Maybe impossible.

  10. 10
    Nemesis says:

    @Chris, #7:

    ” Anyone want to take a guess where we’ll be in 2029?”

    We will have passed +1.5°C and we will see +2°C thereafter quickly. To be frank:

    I’d like to be gone by 2040 the latest.

  11. 11
    Zoe Phin says:

    You forgot to make adjustments for latitude drift.

    https://phzoe.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/what-global-warming/

  12. 12
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,

    Hyperbole aside, I’m not advocating for any length of time nor any error limit to “count as accurate”. All I’m saying is that F&R2011 blazed a trail that the brilliant, as armed with supercomputers and gargantuan amounts of data can traverse better in less time than the 1930’s guys, “We need 30 years”.

    Note that I’ve used 10 years in most of my ponderings. I’m confident that F&R could today get a better fix on current climate than any team of 1930s folks could do with 30 years of 1900-1930 quality data. Figure out how to measure more accurately, more often, and with more understanding. We’ve done that.

  13. 13
    Al Bundy says:

    Nemesis,

    2040? Better stop exercising and start scarfing bacon. Or start squirrelling barbiturates.

    Me? I’m planning on living forever. So far so good

    Nigel, when I spoke of seriously short climate analysis times I explicitly spoke of 30,000 years in the future tech. My guess, again, is that we’re at the ten year level. And yeah, cobbling all those variables, including day-of-year is enough to make your head explode. But remember, a scientific team can understand an elephant if they collaborate liberally, as opposed to compete conservatively.

  14. 14

    ZP 11,

    We have had good global coverage since 1850. Your analysis isn’t.

  15. 15

    AB 12: I’m confident that F&R could today get a better fix on current climate than any team of 1930s folks could do with 30 years of 1900-1930 quality data.

    BPL: You still don’t get it, do you? I got the same results with much LATER data. Go back and look at the web page again. Read it this time:

    http://bartonlevenson.com/30Years.html

    And do the freaking math.

  16. 16
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Al Bundy,
    I do think that “climate” can probably be discerned with shorter datasets–but only if we take climate to mean more than just temperature vs. time. Temperature is a very noisy dataset. We might be able to decrease systematic errors, but even now random errors (noise) dominates the uncertainty. If we combine datasets for temperature (both surface and ocean), precipitation, drought, etc., we might be able to get it down to around 10 years. Less than 10 years, I have my doubts, as average solar cycles are 11 years and they do have an influence, and there may also be cycles in ENSO, etc.

  17. 17
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray,

    Good thoughts. Personally, I don’t believe in “noise”. It’s just signal that hasn’t been defined and measured yet.

    Chaos is unpredictable, but it is completely measurable at non-quantum scales. Yep, this or that dipole switched last month and nobody could have exactly predicted it with absolute certainty. But once it happened a post mortem can determine the random cause.

    We seem to agree that compressing a conclusion into a decade of data is doable nowadays. Whether quantum computers compress things further remains to be seen.

  18. 18
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Al Bundy,
    As someone who sifted through tens of millions of particle interactions to dig out a signal, I can attest that there is definitely such a thing as noise. Noise, however, depends on context. Some people study 1/f noise–about as ubiquitous and useless a thing as a scientist ever experiences. The noise is their signal, and their research is interesting to other scientists so they can minimize the noise.

    A reading becomes noise when 1)it interferes with what you are trying to measure, and 2) you cannot model it accurately to the level you need with the models available. Some things will remain forever noise because they are simply too difficult to model.

    On quantum computing, I am afraid we won’t get much help there (although AI may be useful). Quantum computing will never be more than a niche field. It will certainly be useful for simulating and modeling quantum phenomena. And the reason why people will spend trillions developing it despite its niche role is that one of the niches where it will be invaluable is cryptography, and nobody can afford to lose that race.

  19. 19
    Guest (O.) says:

    potholer54, solid and funny as always:

    The cause of Australia’s bushfires – what the SCIENCE says
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0x46-enxsA

    At 32m38s and two times later in the video is a well chosen graph, that shows data until 2020, and adds a prediction graph (RCP 6.0, without error margins).
    The time-axis goes until 2100 and the temperature-axis up to 3 deg.C anomaly. The prediction is drawn until 2100 too.
    This IMO is well a chosen presentation for public (laymen and politicians), because the graph let’s the viewer see, what scientists are talking about: the projection-timeline and temp-range does not fall out of the awareness of the viewer. The year 2100 is shown, even though the data ends at 2019/2020. And the possible way up in temp. is also shown. (Would be good even without the prediction-line to make the graph that long IMO).
    I elaborated on this about a week or so ago. IMO for presentations outside the scientific experts audience, this kind of “extended graph” should be used more frequently.

    You may know a very common experiment, where there are nine circles (in a rectagular shape / bounding box in tech-speak), that have all to be connected with a limited number of straight lines. Most people don’t find the answer, because they think, the lines must lie inside the rectangle/bounding box of the nine circles. The solution requires to use lines that go out of the (bounding)box. When drawing a rectangular box as temp.-graph, ending in year 2020, most people will not be aware of the projection year 2100, because it requires to make the same operation as with the nine circles creativity experiment.

  20. 20
    Don says:

    The increase in CO2 and temperature continuing unabated makes me worry more that there are positive feedbacks that will combine to cause surprises. For example I just happened across a paper about Arctic Ocean circulation “Threshold in North Atlantic-Arctic Ocean circulation controlled by the subsidence of the Greenland-Scotland Ridge” by Startz et al., Nature Communications volume 8, Article number: 15681 (2017) and they say that the subsidence of the Greenland Scotland Ridge to deeper than 50m was a threshold for increased current flow. Interestingly 50m is the average depth of the Bering Strait. The Bering Strait is a shallow bottleneck for the Pacific Ocean current that flows into the Arctic Ocean. However what happens with sea level rise? How much more Pacific Ocean water will flow into the Arctic Ocean as sea level rises? Is this another positive feedback that can accelerate the melting of the Arctic Ice Cap and increase sunlight absorption sooner than expected? Could increased flow from the Pacific Ocean across the Arctic to the Atlantic increase ice discharge from Greenland’s northern glaciers, further speeding sea level rise? Will even more rapid warming of the Arctic also speed up release of greenhouse gases from permafrost?

  21. 21
    zebra says:

    #19 Guest O,

    Your point about the graphs is well taken, but there are plenty of such representations. Just do an image search for “IPCC scenarios”.

    The obvious problem, though, is that what happens 80 years from now doesn’t generate a lot of interest and concern, and in particular if it is an abstract concept like GMST.

    I don’t have the time or patience to sit through videos like that, but skimming it I agree that the approach has a certain charm. And here we have another obvious problem… Denialists aren’t going to watch it.

  22. 22
    MA Rodger says:

    Zoe Phin @11,
    At first sight, I took your comment to be an attempt at a joke. But then I note the author of that analysis you linked-to is you, Zoe Phin.
    So then I’m thinking maybe the whole thing is a joke. But then given the language you use and your crazy-talk in the comment thread beneath, you probably aren’t joking.
    This then leads me to ask you if you are aware of the incredibly stupid mistake your grand analysis involves (& thus you are simply trolling here) or whether you would like your incredibly stupid mistake explained to you?

  23. 23
    nigelj says:

    Zebra @21, oh the denialists will watch the video all right. With morbid fascination just like we read their junk. But they sure as hell wont get the message. Potholer does a lot of videos and knows his stuff, and has a certain sarcastic style that appeals. Check him out people.

  24. 24

    Andrew, “Since we are at around 1.2C above the 1880-1900 average baseline as of 2020, a simple linear extrapolation takes us around 1.5C by 2035.”

    And with fluctuations, we are likely to see the first individual years reach 1.5ºC around 2028-2032. Not long now.

    The observed trend of 0.24ºC/decade over 2003-2019 is more than the 0.18-0.19ºC trend since 1980 – clearly significant, but is it statistically significant?

  25. 25
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, what is the real problem with 30 years of climate data that we are trying to fix? I cant really see one, and BPL’s statistics look like you cant get below 30 years of data.

    If we had climate at ten years we could presumably say after 10 years of warming look we are in a new climate with xyz parameters. But lets say we had 10 years of slow temperatures, then the denialists would say climate change is over because we have 10 years of data which defines climate. They would have us skewered. I suppose 10 years of data is more ‘efficient’ is the best that can be said.

    You are pretty good at solving a rather wide range of problems but Im not getting this one.

  26. 26
    sidd says:

    That AIRS data is interesting. I note the cooling by Amundsen sea, presumably from PIG/Thwaites/Crosson/Dotson et al., more cold by Totten et al., cold streak on the west(!) side of GIS (Jacobshawn ?)

    Strong disagrrement in some, west of Amery in Antarctica.

    Even more interesting is cold patches in High plains USA, central india, streak in S Africa and S. America

    I shall have to watch AIRS. Aqua might be near end of life, any followup missions ?

    [Response: Aqua should be producing data at least until 2025 or thereabouts, at which point it will run out of fuel for orbit maintenance. – gavin]

    sidd

  27. 27
    tamino says:

    Re: #24 (Robert McLachlan)

    I the acceleration statistically significant? See my latest blog post here:

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/is-the-apparent-recent-acceleration-in-temperature-significant/

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Very interesting indeed, but certainly in no way surprising.

    More important than to estimate the future amount of even further temperature rise than the world have already experienced, is it to recognize with the utmost awareness, the breathtaking catastrophic consequences which are since tens of years going on almost everywhere on earth, because of the temperature rise which has already happened…

    “This unease is now very familiar to most of us, and has been heightened by what we’re seeing in Australia. Since the fire season began there, in the middle of last year, 29 people have died, along with more than a billion animals, and an area comparable in size to the whole of England has been ablaze. It’s a vicious reminder that, for all the sophistication of the modern world, something as primitive as fire can still bring us to our knees. As shocking as the scale of the destruction has been, though, it’s easy to see it on our computer screens here on the other side of the world, in the middle of a British winter, and feel disconnected from it. We accept that the climate emergency is now truly upon us yet still feel that it’s mostly happening to other people, elsewhere.

    But wildfires are increasingly a problem for everyone, including in the UK. Last August, there were almost five times as many of them around the world as there had been the previous August. In the EU, the number of wildfires in the first half of 2019 was three times the annual average for the previous decade. And while they used to be a serious problem only in hotter, southern European countries such as Portugal and Spain, now northern Europe is in trouble too.
    The Swedish fires of 2018 were by far the most severe in the country’s history, burning an area almost twice as large as the worst previous wildfire, in 2014. In the UK, 2018 and 2019 were the worst two years on record for wildfires, particularly on moors in the north-west of England and parts of Scotland. One fire last year, at Marsden Moor in Yorkshire, destroyed almost three square miles of land. The damage is on a very different scale to the almost 30,000 square miles that have burned in Australia, of course, but this is still a development we can’t afford to ignore.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/22/australia-bushfires-europe-wildfire-climate

    https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2019/siberian-smoke-heading-towards-us-and-canada

    https://www.pnas.org/content/110/32/13055.abstract

    https://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0760-arctic-methane-gas-emission-significantly-increased-since-2014-major-new-research/

    https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2019/09/arctic-methane-levels-reach-new-heights-data-shows/

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09314-7

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/13/ocean-temperatures-hit-record-high-as-rate-of-heating-accelerates

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08307-w

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/07/one-climate-crisis-disaster-happening-every-week-un-warns

    https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/advances/3/8/e1603322.full.pdf

    percent of area in Germany under severe drought in 2018:

    https://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=44429

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heat_waves

    Etc. etc. etc. One can go on and on.

    It seems to me that the IPCC reports until now have not come anywhere near to recognizing the full extent of the global emergency we are already in now. In fact, the word emergency is an understatement.

    What we need now from the scientists is political action, as seen from James Hansen and others. What the IPCC is doing is just not enough, by far not enough. We need the deeply dangerous global climate situation to be made very unmistakenly and brutally clear to the people of this globe. 95 pct. of the politicians, economists etc. are either deaph or decisively ignorant or something even worse: they have gone mad.

  30. 30
    Thomas says:

    #11 #30 on the blog says: “I’m a financial analyst that can program.”

    Great. Now give up. You’re so far out of your depth and disconnected from reality it isn’t funny.

    #29 I definitely agree. Been on that conga line a long time to no effect. imo the general cause is too much prevarication (umm, not real sure, low confidences, competing data) – must keep inside the set boundaries for published papers when advising the public/lawmakers – do not go out on a limb – no risk taking it might destroy your real career – but the bigy to me is they overall have failed to convey the seriousness of the consequences and the implications of their MEANING – in the real world as a normal average citizen could understand holistically and simply – which is unfortunately always bound within ‘the sciency words’ and numbers they use in their reports.

    The reports are accurate – yes – the reports address known unknowns – yes – the reports are balanced to the known science – yes – the fast they convey are true and correct as best science can deliver – yes.

    However most of the time their reports do not convey the potential impact of those accuracies. I think they keep assuming the average comprehends the true meaning of when the IPCC says 75% of Himalayan Glaciers, with high confidence, are going to be melt out by 2030-2040 (?) what that actually emans to people individually and their communities and their food supply and risk of survival and exactly how that is likely to be played out from 2015 progresive each year until the 2040s – and what their society and cities and villages are going to be like while that happens.

    They really do not spell out the whole truth, the full harsh implications to humanity that is contained in their scientific conclusions.

    And is it is the world discusses this theoretical Idea known as +1.5C – that’s the meme – to 1.5C or not to 1.5C is the questions – but it is a meaningless questions when maybe 98% of humanity have no genuine understanding what that +1.5C means to them, their life, their own, their water supply, their food supply, their livelihood, their societies stability and security, and how massively different their local climate could be in 20 years time as a result – iow what 49C summer heat waves mean to people who live in the outer suburbs of Sydney for example – becasue that is precisely what has already occurred.

    The +1.5C is a meaningless Meme – and all the deniers and fools like MURDOCH and TRUMP and KIA and VICTOR thrive on these bs meaningless memes.

    Instead we argue trade, nuclear yes or no no no, Trump, Russia, Iran, oil and Gas pipelines, the Uighurs, Hong Kong, Prince Harry, ISIS, Global GDP growth and Tesla cars and wind turbines are a winner and so is a $50K plus TESLA Roof for the mega rich.

    The communications, marketing, and social sciences people have all told the climate science people this for a long time, and still nothing changes so my or your comments won’t either. It’s why I gave up speaking about it myself years ago. The agw/cc deniers are not the only ones with a huge blind spot, a large dose of collective cognitive dissonance and a form of denialism at work.

    The latter being: If you cannot understand what the Science is saying via our IPCC Reports and the various outreach programs and press releases; then it’s only YOUR fault and yours alone – not ours – we told you what was coming! Just look, here: 75% of Himalayan Glaciers melt by xyz. What did you think that meant except for progressive mass starvation across India and Bangladesh eventually leading to riots and civil wars?

  31. 31
    Thomas says:

    #29 PS and Gavin’s projection of hitting +1.5C circa 2035. Truly the politicians and the people do not understand the ‘meaning’ of what +1.5C represents on the ground to their lives or their countries.

    A fire fighting C130 water aircraft from the USA has been lost in the snowy mountains region with all 3 crew killed today. If you’re overseas and heard of recent rains in Australia know that there’s still 85 major fires in NSW and half of them are totally out of control not contained. 4 new fires stared in the last 24 hours, two of them at emergency level already. Global temps meanwhile are only at +1.2C thereabouts. What will +1.5C manifest as?

    The science was right … drying out of the biosphere, soils and vegetation, longer period of extensive droughts, longer fire (and summer-like) seasons, more intense wild fires and more extreme fire behaviour. Yet these IPCC, UNFCCC and science papers’ descriptions do not fully or accurately explain the truth of the matter at all.

    I think all climate engaged scientists and those going to the UNFCCC meetings and the IPCC AR authors would be well advised to listen to the rhetoric coming out of the mouths on TV of the Australian State Premiers, the State Rural Fire Commissioners, the Fire fighters on the ground and those who have tried to defend their properties of late. Listen and watch some of the news reporters on the ground – you can tell how scared they are, you can see the fear in their eyes. Saying things like “extreme” or “intense” or “unpredented” simply doesn’t cut it.

    For that is the kind of UNDERSTANDABLE yet BLUNT EMOTIVE DESCRIPTIVE language needing to be applied to the conclusions of climate science papers and IPCC Reports.

    (plus listen and adopt what others have been saying who have gone through the similar FRIGHTENING experiences in Greece, Swedish, Russian, Canadian, Californian, and Chile fires in recent years. and of course those experiences with the hurricanes, sudden wild storms, entrenched droughts, empty dams (Cape Town), and of unprecedented flooding too.)

    People have not and cannot comprehend the gravity of these changed climate conditions using ‘scientific language’. It’s impossible to understand the reality of these impacts by using scientific definitions or numbers like +1.5C above the historical norm.

    I don’t know how to do it myself and I get it’s not easy. Maybe by an analogy? Imagine Australia is much like Tolkien’s Middle Earth … all is well, climate is balance, it gets wet, it dries out, occasionally some fires during a drought then back to wet again, the countryside is lush the farms produce abundant foods, and peace and tranquillity rules the lands.

    Then inn less that 30 years climate change took hold and even before it was at it’s worse disaster struck the land of Middle earth. What used to be a warm summer with a few wild fire outbreaks quickly subdued had morphed into a completely new kind of reality.

    Where every few years spring and summertime was now more akin to living in the bowels of Mordor! A place that Mount Doom had temporarily taken over completely with massive volcanic fireballs erupting all over and literally hundreds of fire breathing dragons in the skies were dive bombing the villages and the farms. The Shire is gone, now unliveable and blackened forever.

  32. 32
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray L: A reading becomes noise when 1)it interferes with what you are trying to measure, and 2) you cannot model it accurately to the level you need with the models available. Some things will remain forever noise because they are simply too difficult to model.

    AB: You do dig down to the heart of the matter. I agree. As to where that sweet spot, where we wring as much ‘right now’ out of the record with the minimum of ‘yesterday’s news’ will be tomorrow is fun and provoking. Full stop?

    Nigel,

    Thanks for not writing off that which grates. BPL’s math is based on a horribly incorrect axiom: every year’s weather is 100% independent of every other year. Dorky on the face of it, eh? A solid ice pack at the beginning of a year will result in different weather than if a depleted ice pack began the year.

    BPL pushes pencils. A grand and useful contribution. Just don’t expect him to do what he doesn’t do. Kind of like me. I don’t push pencils no matter how much BPL insists that I must do so as a prerequisite to contribute.

    And yes, we’re digging deep. There isn’t anything we really need to learn. Because “Stop spewing ASAP” isn’t going to change. But if we focus on detecting change points then we might find tipping points a bit sooner (but still after).

    Then again, when your car is stalled on the tracks hearing the train whistle just makes your last moments suck

  33. 33
    tpaine says:

    I read on a blog the other day that the way RSS and UAH use satellite data to measure the earth’s temperature uses the same technology as the instrument on the AIRS satellite. The implication was the two methods were the same. That doesn’t sound right to me but I have been unable to find enough details about the methods to determine that. If any of the experts that post here could give a brief clarification it would be appreciated.

  34. 34
    jgnfld says:

    @31
    Re. “Climate science people” not doing their job and deniers thriving on meaninglessness.

    The trouble here is that no science can predict all the specific outcomes in detail. A lot involves probability. And probability will ALWAYS leave room for deniers and fools to say that nothing is proven.

    Hell…the tobacco corps made probability–the fact that no one can ever predict who will get exactly which cancer/heart disease from tobacco smoking–the core of their arguments for decades. Why? Because it’s true (in a very specific and limited way) and it sounds truthy to those with no deep knowledge. Lindzen even made that argument.

  35. 35
    Zoe Phin says:

    Thomas,
    A financial analyst has the skills to do proper accounting of precipitable water level.

    Don’t be jealous.

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Thomas raises a good issue (if a little bit on the wrong thread but never mind, its an important issue). For me its like the IPCC reports are fantastically well written on the whole, but some of the key dangers from climate change get a bit lost in the detail. Ive wondered if the document should have a section summarising just the key dangers, especially sea level rise including extreme possibilities , heatwaves and mortality, tipping points, etcetera.

    I suspect scientists might want the documents to highlight key dangers better, but the IPCC is publicly funded and there are powerful political forces that might want to play these key dangers down. So I’m not sure its fair to blame scientists for how its worded.

    You can also see the IPCC writers being very careful to be accurate and not say things that could be interpreted as speculative. We cant blame them for that.

    But I think something has to change, and urgently and drastically. The dangers and their real world implications do need to be more upfront, sticking to the facts of course. The IPCC owe us that.

  37. 37
    Andrew says:

    #24 Robert McLachlan

    “The observed trend of 0.24ºC/decade over 2003-2019 is more than the 0.18-0.19ºC trend since 1980 – clearly significant, but is it statistically significant?”

    You have two blog posts by Tamino about the trend in average global temperature rise, with a good statistical analysis of available data.

    The first in January 2011, https://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/how-fast-is-earth-warming/

    “… presently, Earth is warming at about 1.7 deg.C per century.”

    The second, in August 2019, https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/08/20/global-warming-how-fast/

    “… the present warming rate is about 2.23 deg.C/century…”

    So assuming a round number of 0.2C per decade as the present warming rate, the planet will get to the 1.5C above pre-industrial threshold **around** 2035. Keyword “around”, since nobody can predict an exact date.

    Also, I entirely agree that global warming may temporarily exceed the 1.5C threshold **before** 2035, for example as a consequence of a strong El Niño.

    As Gavin Schmidt often repeats, the exact temperature in any single year does not really matter, what matters is the trend in global warming.

  38. 38
    TPaine says:

    MA Rodger @ 35

    Thank you for simplifying the explanation for someone who can understand math but not the climate science part.

  39. 39
    Andrew says:

    #24 Robert McLachlan

    “The observed trend of 0.24ºC/decade over 2003-2019 is more than the 0.18-0.19ºC trend since 1980 – clearly significant, but is it statistically significant?”

    Well, it seems tamino reads the comments section here, because he directly answers your question in this post:
    “Is the apparent recent acceleration in temperature significant?”

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2020/01/22/is-the-apparent-recent-acceleration-in-temperature-significant/

    Note that whether “the apparent recent acceleration in temperature [is] significant”, or not, changes absolutely nothing to the fact that humanity must decrease emissions from the burning of fossil fuels as fast as possible to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

    Which happens to be a similar conclusion to that of tamino’s blog post:
    “If acceleration has begun, we’re in far worse shape than we thought. Even if is hasn’t, we’re already in trouble and headed for much more. Let’s not wait to start fixing this — and that means, wean ourselves off fossil fuels.”

  40. 40
    Keith Woollard says:

    How much can Thomas get wrong in one post (well one and a half actually)Firstly you owe Zoe Phin an apology, your 31 is completely uncalled for.
    But your 32 is atrocious. you couldn’t be more wrong.
    Global warming 101 says there is MORE water in the biosphere, and if you look at the data that is exactly what is happening. in SE Australia. There is no trend in bushfires in Australia, nor droughts. The fire seasons are not getting longer (yes I know RFS people disagree, but they don’t look at data). This fire season started in QLD and NE NSW in spring which is their peak fire season, and then moved to more southern and western NSW Vic and SA in summer, which is their peak season.
    It was a 40 YO Canadian plane, and it is exactly the sort of plane that was dismissed as expensive, dangerous, impractical and environmentally risky following government testing.
    And yes, it is off-topic, but why would it be stopped by the moderators as it repeats the rubbish dogma that has replaced science here

  41. 41
    William Jackson says:

    No 37 The ability of financial analysts to screw up maths is only one of the reasons so many retirement schemes failed into bankruptcy!

  42. 42
    Thomas says:

    #39 thanks. Nothing I said needs to be taken as blaming anyone nor finding fault.

    #36 when you choose to twist things said by others by reframing it the way you have here is never helpful. I believe what I said make good sense within the context in which it was said and intended – the text provides more than enough information to stand on it’s own two feet just as it is. \

    Agree or disagree or ignore (I don;t care) but there is nothing useful to be gained by misrepresenting it or distorting it’s meaning into something it wasn’t.

  43. 43

    A-B 33: BPL’s math is based on a horribly incorrect axiom: every year’s weather is 100% independent of every other year. Dorky on the face of it, eh? A solid ice pack at the beginning of a year will result in different weather than if a depleted ice pack began the year.

    BPL pushes pencils. A grand and useful contribution. Just don’t expect him to do what he doesn’t do.

    BPL: I am not a pencil-pusher, which is a slang term for someone with a clerical job. Just one more misunderstanding on your part. Another is that whether the weather one year is or is not connected to that the previous year is one of the things you’re testing with the test I described. It affects the answer you get, which is still 45 years even with modern data. You are simply wrong. Deal with it.

  44. 44
    Dan H. says:

    Thomas @32,
    There is nothing inherently special about 1.5. It is only incrementally better than 1.6 and worse than 1.4. The data to date does not show a drying out of the biosphere. Quite the opposite. As temperatures have risen, more moisture has been available to the biosphere – basic science. To date, this has results in increased moisture in the more arid regions, with little change in the more humid areas. This is enhanced by temperature increases occurring disproportionately in the coldest times and regions. Models suggest that this will continue throughout most (if not all) of the 21st century.

    Wildfires, like floods, are notoriously difficult to correlate with changing temperatures. Too many other factors (mostly human influences) after the outcomes.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2014JD022055

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190304

  45. 45
    nigelj says:

    jgnfld @36 “Climate science people” not doing their job and deniers thriving on meaninglessness.”…..”The trouble here is that no science can predict all the specific outcomes in detail. A lot involves probability. And probability will ALWAYS leave room for deniers and fools to say that nothing is proven.”

    True, but being afraid the denialists will attack such things doesnt seem a good reason to say nothing. A lot of the science already uses words including likely or highly likely (or something like that). Impacts of the science on the real world wont be different.

  46. 46
    Thomas says:

    Maybe this might make better sense?

    I’d love to be to see inside Gavin Schmidt’s mind – were he he to sit quietly and contemplate what a +1.5C degree world would be looking like to HIM in 2035.

    Imagining he travels anywhere in the world, his childhood home town included, where Gavin would simply imagine – based on what he already knows himself about the implications of “maths/numbers” of climate science today from his expert position – what the weather might be looking like from place to place, and what might be happening on the ground in people’s lives – from NYC to the Congo, The Sierras to Siberia, the Amazon to Antarctica, Australia to Albania, from Bristol to Bangladesh, from the Hague to Hong Kong and places in between.

    Yeah, I’d like to see it how he sees it when +1.5C is a reality. And I’d like the whole world to be able to see it as Gavin sees it too.

  47. 47
    jgnfld says:

    Posts seem to be hanging for days again. 3 days now.

    Any fix?

  48. 48
    jef says:

    It always amazes me to hear people propose making doing the right thing more expensive. It’s the problem not the solution. We need to pay companies to not produce FFs and emissions . We need to pay people to not drive, fly, consume, waste, pollute.

  49. 49
    nigelj says:

    Thomas @42

    “#36 when you choose to twist things said by others by reframing it the way you have here is never helpful. I believe what I said make good sense within the context in which it was said and intended – the text provides more than enough information to stand on it’s own two feet just as it is. \’

    What utter garbage.I said “For me its like the IPCC reports….” Thus I’m clearly expressing my own views, not framing your views. Jesus wept you are a stupid person.

  50. 50
    nigelj says:

    Jef @48

    “It always amazes me to hear people propose making doing the right thing more expensive. It’s the problem not the solution. We need to pay companies to not produce FFs and emissions . We need to pay people to not drive, fly, consume, waste, pollute.”

    Crazy plan. Who the hell is going to pay for all that? It can only really come out of taxes, so guess what our taxes have to go up like a sky rocket. Duh!