The blogosphere is buzzing with talk of global non-warming or even global cooling.
First, another sceptic for Marc Morano’s list:
Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Art Douglas recently retired Chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska:
Excerpt: Whatever the weather, Douglas said, it’s not being caused by global warming. If anything, the climate may be starting into a cooling period. Many were greatly alarmed at melting sea ice near the North Pole with about one-third of the normal ice pack melted by 2007. But Douglas said between November 2007 and January 2008 the entire Arctic Ocean froze over, with the ice pack forming farther south than normal. Ice is forming in places in Korea and Alaska where it normally doesn’t, and Siberia’s January snow cover was extensive. “We’ve really never seen anything like this for many, many years,” he said. And the impact has been enormous, with China importing coal “because of a super-cold winter.” The amount of sea ice is the largest ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has even snowed in Buenos Aires, Douglas said. “Within four or five months, it appears that a warming trend can go very rapidly in the other direction.” Douglas said the climate can quickly correct itself, restoring lower average temperatures in as little as two years. He said he doubts global warming. He said if greenhouse gases were responsible for global warming, both the Arctic and Antarctic would be experiencing warming, but they aren’t. Douglas said he believes the weather patterns the world is now experiencing are regional phenomena and not a global pattern. He also noted that the warmest year on record was 1998, but questioned why, if we’re in a warming trend, it hasn’t gotten any warmer than it was that year. Douglas said warming trends put more moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in more snow, which leads to cooling.
Lubos Motl’s The Reference Frame:
Recently we noticed that according to the satellite data, January 2008 was the coldest month since 2000.
However, NASA’s GISS led by James Hansen offers us a more impressive figure extracted from the weather stations (land) and sea surface temperatures (ocean) – a methodology that normally leads to the fastest warming trend. According to the global temperature anomaly in January 2008 was 0.12 °C, the coldest reading since May 1995 when it was 0.08 °C: Hansen’s team hasn’t seen a cooler month for more than 150 months, not even during the 1995-1996, 1998-2000, 2000-2001 La Ninas. Also, January 2008, the globally coldest January since 1989, was exactly 0.75 °C cooler than January 2007.
If we were fans of the alarm and extrapolated the latter trend, we would deal with 75 °C of global cooling per century. That could indeed be a catastrophe. 😉 If we extrapolated the 0.28 °C month-on-month cooling since December, the cooling would remove 336 °C per century, dropping below 0 Kelvins before 2100. 🙂 Entertainingly enough, January 2008 was also 0.27 °C (anomaly-wise) colder than June 1988 when Hansen gave his infamous testimony before the U.S. Congress, predicting a dangerous warming in the following 20 years.
No, I am not comparing apples and oranges here. January 2008 was also 0.39 °C colder than January 1988. Incidentally, NCDC shows January 2008 as the global lands’ coldest January since January 1982.
La Nina (now referred to as a “strong one”) might be insufficient to explain the recent cool weather. An unusually quiet beginning of the solar cycle 24 might be another culprit. I won’t really endorse the predictions of a new ice age but I find it obvious that the solar activity matters; see also sunspots and climate.
Joseph D’Aleo (a big shot meteorologist) argues that the temperature is strongly correlated with the ENSO index (El Nino vs La Nina) but it lags by 2 months or so. With this assumption, we should expect the global cooling to continue in the following months. Also, he argues that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) that switched to the cold phase during this winter (the Great Pacific Climate Shift II?) shouldn’t be included separately: its effect is to increase the proportion of El Ninos (warm PDO phase) or La Ninas (cool PDO phase).
Anthony Watts of Watts Up With That?:
Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Land-Ocean Global temperature index data was released yesterday for the month of January, 2008. Like we’ve reported before for other datasets, including the RSS and UAH satellite temperature anomalies, GISS also had a sharp drop in January.
The GISS ΔT was -.75°C, which is larger than the satellite data from UAH ∆T of -.588°C and the RSS RSS ∆T of -.629°C
The ΔT of -.75°C from January 2007 to January 2008 appears to be the largest single year to year January drop for the entire GISS data set.
This is yet one more indication of the intensity of planet-wide cooler temperatures seen in January 2008, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, which has seen record amounts of snow coverage extent as well as new record low surface temperatures in many places.
A note from blog contributor Arnost:
I’m not really sure that the strengthening of the La Nina is totally responsible for the January drop in temperatures. If you look at the latest NCDC global temp anomaly (+0.18C) and then at the component land and sea temps, it is the land temperatures that have plummeted – by something like 0.8C with the sea surface temps remaining more or less the same:
NCDC Global Combined
2007 11 0.4484
2007 12 0.3975
2008 1 0.1793
NCDC Global Land in deg C
2007 11 0.9856
2007 12 0.8042
2008 1 -0.0129
NCDC Global Ocean
2007 11 0.2536
2007 12 0.2498
2008 1 0.2481
This suggests that the sea surface temps are not the driver.
It also must be remembered that the Nina did not really kick in until mid 2007, and typically there’s up to a 6 month lag between ENSO and global temps. So its effects are only beginning to be felt now. Further, the Nina is at the moment only a borderline moderate/strong event – it does not make the top 7 over the last 60 years (check out Klaus Wolter’s MEI page http://www.cdc.noaa.gov/people/klaus.wolter/MEI/ ). So the current drop in temperatures up to now have likely been caused by another factor. And only the December and January drops may be considered as significantly Nina influenced.
To be fair, I would point out that the GISS January land temp has not decreased as much as the NCDC number (down by 0.3C). GISS does not break-up the land and sea temperatures (as far as I know) so their numbers are: GISS Land + Sea in January +0.18C (down from 0.40C) GISS Land in January +0.31C (down from 0.60C).
It will be interesting to see the HadCRU temps when they come out to see their split. It will also be interesting to see if NCDC corrects what probably is an error.