RealClimate logo

The NASA data conspiracy theory and the cold sun

When climate deniers are desperate because the measurements don’t fit their claims, some of them take the final straw: they try to deny and discredit the data.

The years 2014 and 2015 reached new records in the global temperature, and 2016 has done so again. Some don’t like this because it doesn’t fit their political message, so they try to spread doubt about the observational records of global surface temperatures. A favorite target are the adjustments that occur as these observational records are gradually being vetted and improved by adding new data and eliminating artifacts that arise e.g. from changing measurement practices or the urban heat island effect. More about this is explained in this blog article by Victor Venema from Bonn University, a leading expert on homogenization of climate data. And of course the new paper by Hausfather et al, that made quite a bit of news recently, documents how meticulously scientists work to eliminate bias in sea surface temperature data, in this case arising from a changing proportion of ship versus buoy observations. More »

Climatology and meteorology are your friends

The Norwegian Meteorological institute has celebrated its 150th anniversary this year. It was founded to provide weather data and tentative warnings to farmers, sailors, and fishermen. The inception of Norwegian climatology in the mid-1800s started with studies of geographical climatic variations to adapt important infrastructure to the ambient climate. The purpose of the meteorology and climatology was to protect lives and properties.

More »

What has science done for us?

Filed under: — rasmus @ 13 December 2016

Where would we be without science? Today, we live longer than ever before according to the Royal Geographical Society, thanks to pharmaceutical, medical, and health science. Vaccines saves many lives. Physics and electronics have given us satellites, telecommunications, and the Internet. You would not read this blog without them. Chemistry and biology have provided use with all sorts of products, food, and enabled the agricultural (“green”) revolution enhancing our crop yields. The science of evolution and natural selection explains the character of ecosystems, and modern meteorology saves lives and help us safeguard our properties.

More »

AGU 2016

Filed under: — group @ 12 December 2016

It’s that time of year again. Fall AGU is the biggest gathering of geophysical scientists in the world (~24,000 attendees) and while it includes planetary science, seismology and magnetophysics, it is swamped by earth scientists, whose work covers the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, climate, natural hazards and paleoclimate.

As in previous years, many sessions and most of the keynotes will be available On-Demand (which is free but you do need to register) and there is a E-poster facility that lets non-attendees view some of the posters.

Some interesting sessions related to discussions at RealClimate will be the “Betting on Climate Change” (Mon, posters), “El Niño: Global Anomalies and Societal Impacts at Regional Scale” (Wed, Union Channel On-demand), and “The Up‐Goer Five Challenge: A Fun and Radical Way to Distill Your Science” (Fri). Of course, there are always the usual paleo-climate (e.g. Climate of the Common Era), model evaluation, and observational sessions to follow.

Keynotes from Isaac Held,  Christine Hulbe, Nathalie Cabrol, Daniel Jacob and Bette Otto-Bleisner all sound promising, covering tropical cyclones, the last glacial maximum, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, air quality and astrobiology (though probably not all at once).

If there are any other specific sessions or talks, you’d like to advertise or comment on, put them in the comments. Discussion on Twitter is using the #AGU16 hashtag. If anyone wants to write up some sessions or highlights, send them along and we’ll post them.

Record heat despite a cold sun

Filed under: — stefan @ 14 November 2016

Global temperature goes from heat record to heat record, yet the sun is at its dimmest for half a century.

For a while, 2010 was the hottest year on record globally. But then it got overtopped by 2014. And 2014 was beaten again by 2015. And now 2016 is so warm that it is certain to be once again a record year. Three record years in a row – that is unprecedented even in all those decades of global warming.

Strangely, one aspect of this gets barely mentioned: all those heat records occur despite a cold sun (Figs. 1 and 2). The last solar minimum (2008-2010) was the lowest since at least 1950, while the last solar maximum (2013-2015) can hardly be described as such. This is shown, among others, by the sunspot data (Fig. 1) as well as measurements of the solar luminosity from satellites (Fig. 2). Other indicators of solar activity indicate cooling as well (Lockwood and Fröhlich, Proc. Royal Society 2007).


Fig. 1 Time evolution of global temperature, CO2 concentration and solar activity. Temperature and CO2 are scaled relative to each other according to the physically expected CO2 effect on climate (i.e. the best estimate of transient climate sensitivity). The amplitude of the solar curve is scaled to correspond to the observed correlation of solar and temperature data. (Details are explained here.) You can generate and adapt this graph to your taste here, where you can also copy a code with which the graph can be embedded as a widget on your own website (as on my home page). Thus it will be automatically updated each year with the latest data. Thanks to our reader Bernd Herd who programmed this. More »

Switch to our mobile site