Where's Waldo: Antarctica #2

If you’ve not read Where’s Waldo: Antarctica #1, please do so first.

Waldo in Antarctica #1 compares measured rural station temperatures in Antarctica in the 1930s and recently. It is of course empty because there were no such measurements in the 1930s. So when Hansen says that temperatures in the U.S. don’t “matter” because it’s only 2% of the earth’s surface (6% of the land surface actually), it’s a bit deceptive for analysis of relative levels in the 1930s because, as we are finding out, there are no relevant measurements from the 1930s for much of Hansen’s denominator.

Two stations started in the Antarctic Peninsula in the 1940s and there were 12 more by the late 1950s, 6 of which were south of 70S and 6 of which were north of 70S. I show averages for the three groups separately below.

First here is a plot for the six “very high latitude” stations since the 1950s. Obviously they don’t cover the 1930s, but I am unable to discern the Waldo trend here at very high latitudes.

antarc33.gif

Second here is a plot for the six non-Peninsula stations north of 70 S. Again I am unable to find the Waldo trend here.

antarc34.gif

Third here is a plot for the two Antarctic Peninsula stations, which while, they don’t show the 1930s, do show a definite temperature increase over their history. There is a long record at Puntas Arenas in southern Chile which doesn’t have a Waldo-trend though, so whatever trend is taking place in the Antarctic Peninsula doesn’t appear to extend to southern South America. For reference, the Antarctic Peninsula (about the latitude of Norway) is where the Larsen ice shelves have broken off.

antarc35.gif

Any day now, I anticipate that Michael Mann and his school will show (using Mannian RegEM or some other “new” method not used off the Island and buried within 10,000 pages of covariance calculations) that there is a teleconnection between these Antarctic Peninsula stations and bristlecone pines, thereby proving that 1998 was the warmest year in the Holocene to 23 significant decimal places.

As I’ve discussed elsewhere (and readers have observed), IPCC AR4 has some glossy figures showing the wonders of GCMs for 6 continents, which sounds impressive until you wonder – well, wait a minute, isn’t Antarctica a continent too? And, given the theory of “polar amplification”, it should really be the first place that one looks for confirmation that the GCMs are doing a good job. Unfortunately IPCC AR4 didn’t include Antarctica in their graphics. I’m sure that it was only because they only had 2000 or so pages available to them and there wasn’t enough space for this information.

47 Comments

  1. PaulM
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Steve, even the IPCC, in AR4 SPM, admits on page 9 that “Antarctic sea ice extent continues to show inter-annual variability and localized changes but no statistically significant average trends, consistent with the lack of warming reflected in atmospheric temperatures averaged across the region”. (Though I have just noticed that amusingly this seems to directly contradict their statement on page 7 “losses from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica have very likely contributed to sea level rise over 1993 to 2003″).
    Shouldnt you be looking for Waldo in the Arctic regions?

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    We’ll get to the Arctic, but let’s determine where he isn’t first. South America is next on the itinerary.

  3. SteveSadlov
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

    RE: S of 70. Seem’s there may be some sorts of weak inflections ~ 1979 and ~ 1998. Fascinating. If there are any teleconnections (or whatever one might call them) to investigate, it would be teleconnections with PDO, IMHO.

  4. blogReader
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    PaulM: that’s amusing that something that doesn’t show what they want is a “inter annual variability” but when something does it has “likely contributed” Confirmation bias?

  5. Don Keiller
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    I spent 3 months at Rothera (one of the penisula stations showing warming). The reduction in the size of the local ice sheet is quite striking. Also the area covered by terrestrial plants has increased markedly over the last 10-15 years.
    Do I think this is proof of AGW?
    No, the peninsula account for only 2% of the Antarctic’s area and is uniquely sensitive to changes in the circumpolar current. Melting in this region has occured in the past (over the last 2000 years) – and is well documented by researchers at Rothera.

  6. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    As the air is very dry in Antarctica, I would guess the impact of AGHG should be felt more here than elsewhere in the world. However it isn’t. What’s the alarmists take on this? Substitute real world observations with even more dire consecvenses. Or the Antarctica is just a small fraction of land mass anyway?

  7. Demesure
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    # Steve,
    I’m impatiently looking forward to your tribulations in China.

  8. Demesure
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    #6, “I would guess the impact of AGHG should be felt more here than elsewhere in the world. However it isn’t. What’s the alarmists take on this?”

    They blame it on the ozone layer. Sigh

  9. bernie
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    Hasse:
    If your address is valid, perhaps you can help me track down the latest Nordklim data. I can only find precipitation data through 2002. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  10. STAFFAN LINDSTROEM
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    #5 Don! Where was the weather/climate station situated??
    I used Google Images …Always looking for Heat Islands…

  11. STAFFAN LINDSTROEM
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    #10 Google Earth praisest thou…I think I’ve found
    Rothera with GE… Quite good resolution now, but
    probably not good enough to find a Stevenson Box…
    Just joking…What equipment are they using?

  12. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    >> reduction in the size of the local ice sheet is quite striking

    Don, isn’t it correct to assume that the local ice sheet is associated with glaciers proceeding out into the ocean? And if this is true, isn’t this an unstable situation, ie it’s got to break off sooner or later.

  13. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    What’s the alarmists take on this? Substitute real world observations with even more dire consecvenses. Or the Antarctica is just a small fraction of land mass anyway?

    They simply didn’t include it.

    Mark

  14. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Bernie:

    I can see what I can do. I am no scientist however, merely an interested amateur. That’s why I keep my mouth cloesly shut most of the time in such company ;) I live nearby the university of Bergen so maybe they can help.

    Gunnar is also a Norwegian and maybe he can help.

    As for precipitation data its been rainig a lot since 2002 and a lot before 2002;) But in the Norwegian press all rain is now due to AGW. In fact any weather event that is not average is AGW.

    You could try e-mailing this guy and ask if it even exist publicly aviable data post 2002:

    http://ocg.met.no/OCG_Forland.htm

  15. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    Bernie:

    I can see what I can do. I am no scientist however, merely an interested amateur. That’s why I keep my mouth closely shut most of the time in such company ;) I live nearby the University of Bergen so maybe they can help.

    Gunnar is also a Norwegian and maybe he can help.

    As for precipitation data its been rainig a lot since 2002 and a lot before 2002;) But in the Norwegian press all rain is now due to AGW. In fact any weather event that is not average is AGW.

    You could try e-mailing this guy and ask if it even exist publicly aviable data post 2002:

    http://ocg.met.no/OCG_Forland.htm

  16. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    In fact any weather event that is not average is AGW.

    What is never realized is that the “average” of any chaotic/random system is something that occurs only rarely. The “average” is meaningless except to those that profess a fondness of statistical things.

    Mark

  17. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    >> Gunnar is also a Norwegian and maybe he can help. As for precipitation

    Yes, I’m norwegian, but I’m in the US. However, I can explain all the precipitation. It turns out that my cousin is to blame. It was raining non stop all summer long while she was in the Bergen area. When she came over here to visit us, it stopped raining there, and started raining here. She single handedly cured our drought. We went to NYC and it rained, causing that poor city to have the coldest Aug 21 since 1911.

    Bernie, my uncle is a retired professor at the U of Bergen. If you get with me privately, I could query him.

  18. Paul H
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Real Climate discussed this some time ago, their article does discuss some of the plausible causes.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=18

    I’ve also seen work from M van dem Broeke which discusses heat transport on the Antarctic continent. It’s worth looking up his work. Here are two examples:

    Surface radiation balance in Antarctica as measured with automatic weather stations. JGR. 2004. 109 (D9).

    and

    Changes in Antarctic temperature, wind and precipitation in response to the Antarctic Oscillation. Annals of Glaciology. 2005. 39: 119 – 126.

    The former of these two articles describes a very important mechanism present on the Antarctic plateau (largely in Eastern Antarctica) which efficiently removes atmopsheric warmth: katabatic winds transporting sensible heat to the surface to be lost by highly efficient radiative cooling.

    Another point, some of your readers have pointed out that the lack of water vapour should lead to an enhancement of the CO2 forced greenhouse effect. However, there needs to be a consideration of the radiative processes occurring in Antartica. Namely, that 80% of all of the incoming shortwave radiation is reflected back into space. This means that the surface doesn’t warm in Antartica significantly even in the summer. If you don’t believe me look at the temperature records and dig up the references reporting snowpack and surface temperatures on the plateau. The temperatures on the plateau rarely increase above 240K even in the summer. My point, for a greenhouse effect to work you need some surface emission of longwave radiation, yet a surface cooled to ~240K is going to be a weak emitter of longwave radiation. Now, factor this in with the knowledge that low pressure weather systems rarely penetrate into the continent which would bring in with it warmer and moister air and you have the makings of an enivironment starved of any warmth and, thus, any means of generating IR which a fundamental requirement for the greenhouse effect to work.

    The Antartic peninsula projects into the Southern Ocean and is therefore affected by the advection of warmer marine air. This is an external heat source, if you like, and thus allows emission of IR and in turn for a greenhouse effect to function in this region. The air in the Southern ocean would be expected to being warmed to some extent by AGW too. There are a host of coastal sites too which I would anticipate to be affected by the advection of marine air as well. Perhaps you could dig up the records of McMurdo, Neumayer and Halley. My guess is that you would see a minor contrast with the plateau region, and I would also expect to see a difference between these locations and the peninsula which receives much more of its weather from the Southern Ocean. The coastal sites still get some of their weather arriving from inland due to the Katabatic winds. So, I’m saying you should expect weak warming trends at the coastal sites.

  19. Boris
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    And, given the theory of “polar amplification”, it should really be the first place that one looks for confirmation that the GCMs are doing a good job.

    The whole idea of “polar amplification,” or, “bi-polar amplification,” goes back to models that didn’t handle the ocean as well as they do now (models of the early 1980s). It is not accurate to say that today’s models predict both poles to amplify. Even the 2001 TAR makes this clear:

    For the change in annual mean surface air temperature in the various cases, the model experiments show the familiar pattern documented in the SAR with a maximum warming in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere and a minimum in the Southern Ocean (due to ocean heat uptake)

    You also might want to check out the papers on the Southern Annular Mode.

  20. mzed
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    #16: but that’s a silly argument. It’s like saying nobody can tell you whether Florida has a warm climate or not b/c climate is chaotic. But the average does matter; it helps to describe a system, and that’s how we know that Florida has a warm climate. Of course you need more information than that, especially in the case of a chaotic system, but in the case of climate we already have that information, because everyone knows that wild extremes are rare. So we know what that data look like.

    (Besides, from another point of view, you’re wrong from a technical standpoint–since in our cyclical climate system–hot days, cold nights, warm summers, cold winters–temperatures reach “average” all the time! You must just mean “during the time of measurement” or something…)

  21. Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Re: 18

    Halley:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=700890220000&data_set=0&num_neighbors=1

    McMurdo:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/gistemp_station.py?id=700896640008&data_set=0&num_neighbors=1

    — Sinan

  22. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    #16, 20. I also don’t see any problem in calculating averages, chaotic or not, and I don’t want bandwidth here to be devoted to such matters.

  23. Paul H
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Sinan

  24. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    There is a teleconnection between these Antarctic Peninsula stations and bristlecone pines, thereby proving that 1998 was the warmest year in the Holocene to 23 significant decimal places, because they only had 2000 or so pages available to them and there wasn’t enough space for this information.

    lol

  25. MarkR
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    Waldo C. Graphic,..is a computer graphic, as his name suggests,.. he is able to morph into any shape imaginable.

    But he is the creation of Jim Henson who has many friends…..

  26. bernie
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Hasse and Gunnar
    (a) Many thanks to both for following up
    (b) I already sent an email to Eirik Forland who was an author of the earlier Nordklim data – but have not heard back
    (c) Gunnar – an email contact?
    (d) Gunnar, your sister’s experience reminds me of that old joke about Bergen – you know the one about “it rains on everyday of the year except one, when it pours!”
    (e) I spent a great week in Stavanger working with StatOil – very friendly people but crazy drivers despite being sober.
    (f) The abrupt termination in the data record from the very conscientious Scandanavians has me extremely puzzled. Surely it is not a budgetary thing. I posted at RealClimate on their latest regional thread where they mention Glomfjord and a project huge jump in precipitation to almost Assam Monsoon levels – but the first five years of what would be actual increases to compare to the projected ones are not visible. The UK precipitation record shows no marked increase – thought he July storms have not appeared yet.

  27. Abu Liam
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    Re # 16
    I once had a Meteorology professor who wisely said’ There is no such thing as normal weather….
    only average weather.’

  28. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    >> Gunnar – an email contact?

    Too bad the blog software doesn’t have a private contact option

    >> “it rains on everyday of the year except one, when it pours!”

    And we love summer time here in Norway. Everyone enjoys the whole weekend.

    >> very conscientious Scandanavians has me extremely puzzled.

    Didn’t you or someone say that AGW predicts dry weather?

    >> Surely it is not a budgetary thing

    The govt spends as much as they possibly can, and still, revenues exceed expenses by a factor of 30.

  29. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink

    re 24.

    Sam. I am not the person (google) you think I am. I have been mistaken for him in the past.
    On many occasions. I need to be fair to him since he is a public figure. (me too but nevermind)
    I told Timothy Chase the same thing on RC when he tried to use the other guy’s politics
    against me. No harm. No foul. Tim and I are square on that deal. you and I are square
    too. I don’t want the other guy who has my name to get saddled with my occassional…
    ok frequent… outbursts.

    I don’t speak a lick of chineese.. ah…yes I do. Gan bei !

  30. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    I got ya steven. I found out I was incorrect pretty soon afterwards and assume you already saw the correction. :) (But that was in another topic not here in #24 if that was really a re and not a hey i saw you in 24 thing.)

  31. steven mosher
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    re 30.

    yes. this was not an RE 24 thing, but related to another post.
    add ‘air combat’ to the search.

  32. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    For anyone wondering about comparison with the satellite record, there isn’t one. High altitude cold areas like Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau are not included in the analysis of the data. The RSS geographical compilation stops at 70 S latitude and 82.5 N latitude, so the immediate vicinity of the North Pole isn’t part of the record either.

  33. J Edwards
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    #32
    Believe most of the satellites monitoring this are in geosynchronous orbit. This makes it hard to get good data on high latitudes because you are effectively sampling very oblique angles through several layers of atmosphere (more than what you would get if the satellite were sampling straight down). By inclining the orbit, you can make the satellite move through what appears to be a Figure 8 from the ground, and sample a little more notherly or southerly, but there is a practical limit to how far you would want to do this. Polar orbiting satellites (which have highly inclined orbits) would be the only way to sample the very high latitudes.

  34. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    #33, I think there is direct meterological monitoring of the arctic, but perhaps not the one doing IR temperature scans?

    http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/guides/rs/sat/poes/home.rxml

  35. J Edwards
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    #34
    Yeah, if you take a look at the orbit tracks of the POES, you’ll see that they don’t go directly over the poles. The instrument packages on the POES are primarily “look straight down” type, so there are going to capture data for locations directly under them.

    The GOES satellites take a wider view (of an entire hemisphere), but have trouble resolving data at the fringes.

    In either case, the poles get less than optimal coverage.

  36. Don Keiller
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    re #11 & #12
    Didn’t pay much attention to the Base’s meteorology station as I used my own setup for monitoring the microenvironment that I was interested in,

    Yes the main icesheet terminates in Rothera Bay and calves direct into the sea. I was referring to the part of the icesheet that used to cover a portion of Rothera Point.
    Come to think of it they have built a nice black cinder runway in the last 20 years and all the snowmobile traffic coming and going will probably have had some bearing on this part of the icesheet’s retreat.

  37. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    I think it would be very difficult for anyone to argue that humanity doesn’t influence the planet, including its weather and its climate and the land and the land’s use and animal/plant life….
    :)

  38. Gunnar
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    #37, who did?

  39. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

    #38 as far as I know, nobody is arguing that humanity doesn’t influence the planet. I was just stating the obvious in a somewhat rhetorical way.

    It was a comment on Don’s comment that snowmobile traffic could be part of the issue. That I’m sure it does. (How much, that’s a different question of course)

  40. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    By inclining the orbit, you can make the satellite move through what appears to be a Figure 8 from the ground, and sample a little more notherly or southerly, but there is a practical limit to how far you would want to do this. Polar orbiting satellites (which have highly inclined orbits) would be the only way to sample the very high latitudes.

    The Sirius satellites use a modified Molniya orbit, which was originally developed by the Russians so they could get satellite coverage over their primarily high latitude region. Sirius’ modification generates a 24 hour period (instead of 12 for the Molniya) and remains over the Western hemisphere, topping out somewhere in Northern Canada (around the Hudson Bay). There’s a huge delta in altitude between the perigee and apogee, however.

    Mark

  41. Philip_B
    Posted Aug 29, 2007 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    Unsurprisingly, there isn’t much temperature data from the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antartica. Macquarie Island has records back to 1960 and shows no warming trend over that period.

    http://gustofhotair.blogspot.com/2006/11/consistent-macquarie.html

  42. TonyN
    Posted Aug 30, 2007 at 4:02 AM | Permalink

    Don Keiller #5

    Melting in this region has occurred in the past (over the last 2000 years) – and is well documented by researchers at Rothera.

    Do you know if there is anything published on this? I’ve seen various press reports that the present melting is ‘unprecedented’ in the last 10,000 years – which seems unlikely. Or are the Rothera people a little shy about mentioning such things in print?

  43. Jan Pompe
    Posted Aug 30, 2007 at 5:14 AM | Permalink

    # 42 TonyN
    Here is one

  44. DeWitt Payne
    Posted Aug 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    J Edwards and following.

    NOAASIS says the MSU satellites are in polar orbit.

  45. Don Keiller
    Posted Aug 30, 2007 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    # 42 TonyN and here’s another;

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V4/N39/C3.jsp

    Since then the Director of British Antarctic Survey, Chris Rapley, made a strategic decision to focus on Global Warming (that’s where the grant money is) and those who didn’t tow the party line got the boot.

    Here is a clip of Rapley preaching the message.

    http://video.energypolicytv.com/displaypage.php?

    vkey=88a51f6ca8cfc1ac79b5&channel=Climate%20Change

  46. Posted Aug 31, 2007 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Hi,

    For Professor Rapley, here is an easier link to follow:
    http://tinyurl.com/2xca7f

  47. Dan White
    Posted Sep 1, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    test. why can’t I post?

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  1. By Hansen in Antarctica « Climate Audit on May 30, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    [...] subsequent information shed any light on these questions. In an earlier post, we inquired about Waldo in Antarctica . Today his cousin [...]

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