Record Snow in Toronto

The National Post reports:

A winter storm dumped more than 30 centimetres of snow on the Toronto area yesterday, with some parts of southern Ontario receiving as many as 50 centimetres of snow. Toronto usually receives approximately 30 cm of snow during the entire month of December. Yesterday’s snowfall likely trumped the previous record of 28 cm set on Dec. 11, 1944.

I can confirm that this storm was real.

In a statement from Bali, Al Gore warned:

if Canada did not immediately change its ways, it would be hit with more winter storms.

Gore added that climate models showed that global warming would lead to more Canadian snowfall or less snowfall or about the same amount of snowfall or all three and that the need for change was urgent.

Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit was unable to comment because he was shoveling his driveway. From poolside in Bali, the Canadian delegation said that McIntyre could shovel out their driveways when he was finished.


  1. Frank K.
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    We got hit with about a foot of snow here in western NH, and the winds are very gusty – temps about 20 F. All in all, this November/December has been one of the coldest (and snowiest) that I can recall in my 12 years in this area (high temps lately have struggled to get above 15 – 20 F).

    Meanwhile back, at NOAA’s climate prediction center…

    October 18, 2007
    “In the first scheduled update to the 2007-08 U.S. winter outlook, NOAA seasonal forecasters say the latest data and model runs confirm their earlier prediction for above-average temperatures over most of the country and a continuation of drier-than-average conditions across much of the Southwest and Southeast.”

  2. Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    I remember the 1944 snowstorm in Toronto. I thought it was wonderful because I had half a dozen books from the library and didn’t have to go to school for days. We had just got delivery of a load of coal and kindling wood. In those days food supplies seemed to stretch further. Maybe we didn’t eat as much. Besides we had two grocery stores just across the road. My recollection was that the fun lasted about a week and then everything returned to normal.

    Funny, nobody mentioned global warming in those days. If anybody ever mentioned climate change at all, they speculated about the coming ice age.

    Even when I studied climate at university, I didn’t know anybody who was interested in climate *change* except the Roman Warm Period and before. The consensus was that there had been no significant climate change in the last 5,000 years and if climate change was coming, we could expect the world to become colder.

    I felt like the odd one out because I did not believe that climate change was a matter only of ancient history. Neither did I believe that the positions of the continents were fixed.

    Our lecturers carefully pointed us toward the orthodox positions, just in case we were interested in persuing academic careers in North America. So we kept our unorthodox thoughts to ourselves. Plus ca change…

    Now I wonder if climate predictions work like stock market predictions: counter to actual outcomes.

  3. John Andrews
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Apparently we get more snow when there are fewer sun spots… We got flurries in Knoxville today and it isn’t even winter yet!

  4. jeez
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    I can confirm it’s #@$%% cold in Toronto. I arrived 2 hours ago and apparently was the only air traveler in North America today who hadn’t suffered from flight delays.

  5. Bill
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:22 PM | Permalink

    Gore added that climate models showed that global warming would lead to more Canadian snowfall or less snowfall or about the same amount of snowfall or all three and that the need for change was urgent.

    Actually, I believe this is a misquote. He said that climate models showed that global warming would lead to more Canadian snowfall and less snowfall and about the same amount of snowfall and all three and that the need for change was unprecedented.

  6. Dan White
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

    Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit was unable to comment because he was shoveling his driveway. From poolside in Bali, the Canadian delegation said that McIntyre could shovel out their driveways when he was finished.

    LOL – too funny! I think we need to hit the tip jar so Steve can hire someone to shovel all that snow. He’s been cleaning up Al Gore’s droppings for years. Enough’s enough!

  7. Philip_B
    Posted Dec 16, 2007 at 11:54 PM | Permalink

    I lived in Toronto for 13 years. I now live in Perth where it never snows. I don’t miss the white stuff one bit.

    And when people here complain about the rain, I use the Canadian expression,

    “Well, at least you don’t have to shovel it.”

    They just look at me blankly.

  8. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 12:02 AM | Permalink

    McIntyre gets snow job in Bali?

  9. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    Toronto Snows Gore Hysteria

  10. P. Pindar
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 1:14 AM | Permalink

    Time to relocate a Zubranska, Greenland, since ice is supposed to melt there…

  11. Caleb
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 2:01 AM | Permalink

    We got clobbered in southern NH, but I have hope for a thaw. According to the long-range forecaster Joe Bastardi, (who I respect because he often is surprisingly correct in a difficult science,) the La Nina off Peru will eventually result in warm anomalies up the east coast. If this is true, be prepared. Even if the La Nina sets the the record for being the coldest ever, (which it has a chance to do,) you can bet the focus will be on the warm east coast.

    I work hard, and mostly lurk on your site because I find your dilegance and loyalty-to-the-truth refreshing. I don’t have time to check things out to the degree you do. Could you check something out for me?

    I heard a disturbing rumor that the surface area of various “seas” and bays which make up the Arctic Ocean don’t stay the same in some data Hansen employs. IE, the area of a bay will be larger when it it is melted, in the summer, than it is in the winter, when it frozen.

    I would scoff at the very idea of an “adjustment” as silly as this, but Hansen’s way of handling data has made me a bit, shall we say, paranoid.

  12. Phil
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 4:27 AM | Permalink

    Random observation which doesn’t really belong here but I can’t think of a better place to ask.

    I read at the weekend that the Earth’s magnetic field strength has dropped “10% since the 19th century”. This may be a very obvious question, but would this be expected to have had any affect on global climate? And if so, is it factored into the current models?

    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

    #7 …Philip_B …Perth West Australia??!! …I
    think you shouldn’t be too sure of any weather
    anywhere anymore…See Youtube snow in BARI Italy
    which had two days above 45C this summer 2007…
    12/15/2007: Tmax +1.7C Tmin -0.3C …TURTURICI
    More ITALIAN SNOW REPORTS…Perhaps the Weathergods
    thought ALGOR was in Bari, hence the snowfall, it
    settled for some hours…when did that happen there
    first half of December??? 1686? Just a guess…

    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

    #14 More snow…According to WZ (Wetterzentrale) it looks
    like almost half US was covered by white goods a couple
    of days ago…Same question as of Bari. Still
    weather not climate….[SWNC]

  15. bender
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Steve M, what exotic tree species best ‘teleconnects’ with winter precipitation in Toronto?
    (a) California bristlecone pine
    (b) Swiss limber pine
    (c) Swedish conifers
    (d) Chinese juniper

    Surely, Toronto winter precipitation would be a useful proxy for something, if only we look hard enough 🙂

  16. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    A useful proxy for miniskirts and maxicoats in Montreal….

  17. David Clark
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    In my experience, having lived in North Dakota for ten years, I find that snowfall is a relative indicator of temperature. When it really got cold, 10 to 20 degrees below zero (F), it did not snow very much. The heaviest snowfalls happened when it “warmed up” to zero or above. I remember February being the coldest time of year when the high temperature for weeks at a tme would never be higher than 10 degrees (F) below zero. I do not remember much snowfall in February. Actually having all the moisture frozen out of the air seemed to make the insulating properties of clothing more effective and the extreme cold was not quite as miserable as one might expect, or perhaps I just got used to it over time. The heaviest snowfalls usually came later in the spring when it “warmed up.”

  18. Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    One anomaly that has been ignored is the way NOAA is now reporting high temperature records… a screwy calculation of average temperature for the month.

    I’ve been tracking “record high” temperatures as reported by NOAA for a couple of years when I noticed that so-called records in Michigan were relatively cool compared with those I remembered years ago. My suspicions were confirmed when I discovered that new statewide records by month had plummeted drastically after 1998 and that the decade with the most statewide high temperature records [for all 50 states] was in the 1930s. I use a crude measure of how many 90° days we have here to indicate whether the weather is hotter than normal. The use of average temperature which includes higher lower temperatures resulting from a widening urban heat island effect simply didn’t make any sense to me.

    Subsequently, Steven’s analysis of mathematical bias in the data confirmed what I perceived intuitively. This latest snowstorm dumped about 10 inches [25 cm?] in southeastern Michigan. It’s about half the amount we got hit by in 1974 when nothing moved for days.

    Sure, this storm is just weather, not climate change, but as far as the Great Lakes area goes… there is absolutely no indication that the climate has warmed over the past decade… and maybe for decades prior. The last warming trend seems to me was back in the 1980s after some really cold years.

    My question remains: is some additional warmth really a bad thing? Ice ages bring famine and drought while warm periods bring lusher vegetation and more expansive habitats for animals. More people die from cold-related complications than heat-related ones.

  19. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    I think that the trees near Marseilles are teleconnected to Toronto precipitation (on the same basis that the rain in Maine falls mainly in the Seine). Accordingly a dendro program based in the French Riviera is immediately required. In addition, whether the Starbucks Hypothesis will apply to cafe au lait is a highly controversial issue in modern dendroclimatology and it is important to resolve as soon as possible.

  20. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:12 AM | Permalink

    18 Bruce Hall says:
    December 17th, 2007 at 8:00 am

    The summer of 2007 in Western Washington was very much of a dud with cold temperatures making vegetable gardening an unproductive pursuit. Seeing frequent news reports and charts claiming the State of Washington was sooo much hotter this year as a result of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) has been quite an irritant as the plants in the garden languished for want of some proper warmth for the growing seasons.

    Looking at the NOAA climate charts which are using the time period of 1971 to 2000 as the basis for compaison of anomolies, I found these charts contradicted those used so prevalently in the news reports. Whereas the charts appearing in the news reports show Western Washington with warmer than normal temperatures in 2007, these other NOAA charts show temperatures about 2F lower than normal temperatures, even during the summer heat waves.

    Cherry picking charts?

  21. Larry
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    21, seconded. It was the first summer in memory when I didn’t even bother to put the fan in the bedroom window. There was no need.

  22. Larry
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink


  23. Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    #17 David Clark

    I, too, spent 5 winters in North Dakota while in the Air Force [late 60s]. Certainly, absolute temperatures were quite cold and blizzards were commonplace. Your argument about less snow in colder temperatures doesn’t seem to gibe with my experiences. The coldest weather I experienced 35-40° below zero [F] and 50 mph winds also brought significant snowfall and socked in everything for days.

    I find that Great Lakes snowfall seems to be greater earlier when winters are colder, simply because the very cold air converts a lot of moisture into snow both from the Great Lakes and any warmer air from the south. This year, cold weather began in mid-November and has been unrelenting.

    Expect more big snowfalls in the GL area.

  24. Bill in AZ
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    From #2 NOAA quote: “continuation of drier-than-average conditions across much of the Southwest…”

    7 to 9 inches of rain/snow over the last 2 weeks over much of central AZ. That’s almost 1/2 of average annual precip. I hope the “drier-than-average” continues like this – we need it.

  25. Bernie
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Tips for tree ring research, yes. Tips for scientific conferences, yes. Tips for snow shovelling, hell no. (A) It gives SM a chance for more in-depth, hands on climate research and(B) It is a great and cheap way to stay in shape and think concretely about the difference between climate and weather. . If Al Gore did more snow shovelling, he would have a more grounded approach to his policy making.

    Besides, my back is aching after 10″ North of Boston.

    What is the current betting on how warm 2007 will be?

  26. Michael Babbitt
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    I too live in the Seattle area. It was the summer of no summer. Old timers told me it was the worst summer they could remember. I headed over to Eastern Washington at times just to get some heat but even there it was way cooler and cloudier than normal.

  27. Richard Hanson
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 3:26 PM | Permalink

    #20. The differences might depend on the base period that an organization uses. GISS uses 1951-1980 and CRU uses 1961-1990. Therefore the anomaly for a GISS derived temperature would appear warmer than one for CRU because the GISS base period is quite a bit cooler than the CRU period. Personally, I prefer the years 1961-1990 because they spanned both cool and warm periods. I wish they would all agree on a base period and stick with it. I don’t understand the need by some to upgrade every ten years.

  28. Homer
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    November 2007 coldest month since January 2000

  29. tom s
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    Another ‘biggie’ is heading for the plains this weekend. This time round the western High Plains to the Upper Mississippi River Valley will get the brunt of it if all goes as planned….this meteorologist needs another couple of models cycles with agreement before I am amply persuaded, ’cause this one’s potentially headed for my neighborhood (Twin Cities) and I don’t want to get too excited when it’s still 5 days out…been burned before…models…hmm hmm hmmph!

  30. tom s
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    re #27 #20

    Open question to all…why not use the entire period for comparison rather than 30yr averages? I mean, if we’re looking at a 120yr period of data, compare it to said data, not a slice of it? This never makes much sense to me except to allow you to see anomolies with respect to the most recent past rather than weighted with the entire past.

  31. Demesure
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    #19, Marseilles, Nice, Cannes, Monte Carlo are tough places to go for tree coring. Hot like hell (compared to snowy Toronto) and pines over there are in highly guarded mansions of Russian milliardaires.
    Not sure anyone of the Team would accept the mission. Maybe JEG who speaks French ?

  32. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    30 tom s says:

    December 17th, 2007 at 4:39 pm
    re #27 #20

    Open question to all…why not use the entire period for comparison rather than 30yr averages? I mean, if we’re looking at a 120yr period of data, compare it to said data, not a slice of it? This never makes much sense to me except to allow you to see anomolies with respect to the most recent past rather than weighted with the entire past.

    NOAA has produced such a chart: National (Contiguous U.S.) Temperature 1895-2007. Interestingly, some of the “yearly values” in the chart for the decade of the 1930s exceeds the peaks in the most recent thirty years, but NOAA’s “filtered values” obtained from their adjustments then reduce the ranks of the earlier high temperatures and promotes the highs from the later temperatures. This chart was found on USA Today as a NOAA product, but the NOAA Websiteappears to have a rather different style of chart and a different emphasis on the data points.

    In “2007 Annual Climate Review, U.S. Summary,” National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina, December 13, 2007, there are a variety of charts for 2007 which depict Western Washington as having above normal temperatures during some periods of the year and not others. The period of June to August 2007 is depicted as being above normal in temperatures for Western Washington. Makes you wonder how that was possible?

  33. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Not that I’ve ever lived in North Dakota, but I pulled up the averages from for Fargo, dontcha know.

    Coldest months are Jan, Dec, and Feb in that order, then a tie between Mar and Nov. Average highs are 35 for Mar and Nov, so there’s probably some overlap with above freezing days and below freezing days.

    Highest precip among those months are March, Nov, Jan, Dec, then Feb.

    It’s tough to fully judge March and Nov from their data because they may get some rainy days while above freezing that bump up the precip.

    In any case, when you’re looking at the three coldest months on average, the highest to lowest precip on average goes in order from coldest to warmest (Jan, Dec, then Feb). That doesn’t say anything about storms, but nevertheless, I found it interesting.

  34. Chris Wright
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Re 18

    > My question remains: is some additional warmth really a bad thing?

    that’s a good question. Back in October I was very pleased to have a letter printed by the Daily Telegraph (a major UK national newspaper). I’ll quote the last paragraph:

    “Some amount of warming is due to human CO2 emissions, but much is natural. The historical record shows that global climate is always changing. Mankind usually prospers during warm periods, the Medieval Warm Period being a perfect example. Why is a modestly warmer world automatically bad and a colder world automatically good?”

    As it happens I have just watched a fascinating program on the History Channel (UK). It is the first of a series entitled Ancient Apocalypse. It told the story of an Egyptologist (I believe) who had tried to discover what caused the collapse of the Egyptian Old Kingdom four thousand years ago. He believed that the Nile failed catastrophically, leading to a draught that lasted two decades and caused widespread and catastrophic starvation. He finally discovered that there had been a major global cooling at this time, and this was probably the cause of the catastrophe.

    I pulled out a plot of the GISP2 ice core. Sure enough, it shows a major cooling period precisely centred on 2000 BC.
    If this theory is true then it simply confirms what we already suspect, that cold periods are times of death and starvation, while warm periods are times of riches and prosperity. A historion noted that, when the earth grew colder at the end of the MWP, the average lifespan fell by ten years.

    The ice core shows major warm periods in the 20th century, the Medieval Warm period, and the Roman Period (about 100BC). Despite some terrible wars, I would say the 20th century was a time of unparallelled richness. And, despite the hysteria, there’s little evidence that we are suffering worse storms, draughts and floods than in any other historical period.

    I actually believe we’re lucky to have lived during a warming period. Overall, I would say the weather in England is far better (i.e. pleasently warmer) than when I was a child. The doom offered by the climate scientists 30 years ago ( a new ice age) was far, far worse.

    For anyone in the Uk, if you didn’t see the program it’s well worth catching it when it’s repeated. One other good thing about it: although the program was largely about climate change, not once did it mention how doomed we are by all that naughty carbon dioxide!


  35. Scott-in-WA
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Stephen McIntyre of Climate Audit was unable to comment because he was shoveling his driveway. From poolside in Bali, the Canadian delegation said that McIntyre could shovel out their driveways when he was finished.

    I suggest that the purchase of a plutonium powered snowblower be given serious consideration.

  36. Philip_B
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    Interesting study by Zhang showing cooling results in more wars and famine, warming results in fewer wars and more people.

    Also, note the sheer desperation of the spin in the report.

  37. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 9:59 PM | Permalink


    While shovelling snow in Toronto, here is a reminder image from Nusa Dua, where the talkfest was held in Bali. There are a number of resorts like this, side by side, with private beaches where the natives are not allowed to go. Imagine slipping out of your bedroom into the surrounding pool and ordering an exotic highball cocktail to come floating by on a cushion. Then remember that this lovely blue fresh water will soon be salty because of the unprecedented rise in sea level soon to plague us.

    BTW, Nusa Dua is bloody boring and very expensive. The tropical sun beats down on your bum and melts you highballs to butter, as the quaint old British limerick more or less said. The best recreation is to watch TV in the cooled rooms.

  38. Steve Moore
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    RE; #20 & #21

    I grew up in SW Washington, on the Columbia. At that time, “Summer” was the first 2 weeks in August.
    This last year was similar.

    Where is the warming?
    I got on a plane in Portland, OR this morning and it was 43 F.
    I get off a plane in Monroe, LA, and it’s 43 F.
    This is taking “teleconnection” too far!

  39. harry
    Posted Dec 17, 2007 at 11:55 PM | Permalink

    I suggest that the purchase of a plutonium powered snowblower be given serious consideration.

    Mine is coal powered.

  40. VG
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:58 AM | Permalink

    problems at cryosphere today

    does anyone know what has happened?
    This is in light of a previous problem some time ago
    I also noticed that the time scales for the individual ice sheets in NH were different to the main one (there all gone now). Its probably a genuine glitch but maybe worthwhile auditing?

  41. Chris Wright
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    Re 36

    > Interesting study by Zhang showing cooling results in more wars and famine, warming results in fewer wars and more people.

    > Also, note the sheer desperation of the spin in the report.

    Philip_B, thanks for that link, it’s fascinating. I also noted the spin. I’ve seen it in other papers, too. Earlier this year a study indicated that the global temperature strongly correlated with the solar 11 year cycle, with a cyclic variation of almost 0.2 degrees C, far greater than previously assumed. Obviously realising this was a gift to the solar theory, they then made some truly ridiculous claims that this supported the AGW orthodoxy. I suspect these authors feel they have to do this to protect their careers and funding. It’s very sad.

    I searched for more details on this study, but no joy. Does anyone have a link to more details, such as data or graphs? Many thanks.


  42. Tom_NO
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Re 36, 40 and 41,

    Another interesting piece of research:

  43. PHE
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    Back at 12, Phil asks if a reducing Earth’s magnetic field (10% since 19th Century), could be affecting climate.

    It seems your brain isn’t yet atuned to AGW logic. In fact, its quite likely that it is global warming that is causing the change in the magnetic field. The warming surface means the temperature gradient between the surface and core is modified, leading to a change in convection currents of molten iron at the core. This in turn results in a reduced magnetic field. My model predicts that birds will lose their ability to navigate during migration, and humans will suffer a redcution in their inherent sense of direction (which partly uses the natural magnetic field). Statistically, more people will fail to find their way back home, or back to their car, and become diorientated and lost, with potentially tragic consequences. Also, it could result in more snow in Canada. I haven’t seen a better explanation.

    If anyone asks, its already been “discussed” here.

  44. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    What are the justifications for claiming everything will get worse by warming? More droughts and more flooding. Geological and historical evidence suggest the contrary. I saw a history channel documentary about the little ice age and one historian claimed, entire villages where destroyed by storms.

    I wonder if the entire “more storms, more droughts” mantra are an urban myth. Even if agw was true. I don’t think that the “Sahara desert may be green by the end of this century” has the same ring to it, as the North Pole ice may be gone by blah blah blah.

    Is global warming only supposedly good for malaria mosquito?

  45. L Nettles
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    Phil says:
    December 17th, 2007 at 4:27 am

    Random observation which doesn’t really belong here but I can’t think of a better place to ask.

    I read at the weekend that the Earth’s magnetic field strength has dropped “10% since the 19th century”. This may be a very obvious question, but would this be expected to have had any affect on global climate? And if so, is it factored into the current models?

    This shows a complete misunderstanding of Climate Science. In Climate Science we see a change such as this and ask: How did Global Warming cause this not did this cause Global Warming.

  46. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Re#33, I see my link must be rain only. I hadn’t paid attention to the low amounts listed for winter months.

    Better snow and ice info here . Jan and Dec get the most, followed by March, then Feb and Nov barely separated.

    In any case, the two coldest months (Jan and Dec) get the most snow on avg in Fargo, with Jan the clear leader in both.

    I would assume that somebody out there has studied the relationships between snow events and global warming, but maybe that’s a stupid assumption. Maybe the best we have is models or falt-out scaremongering saying “worse snow events” for areas hit hard by snow and “less snow and more melting” for ski economies.

  47. jeez
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Lake Ontario from Downtown Highrise on Monday afternoon.

  48. bender
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    This shows a complete misunderstanding of Climate Science. In Climate Science we see a change such as this and ask: How did Global Warming cause this not did this cause Global Warming.

    Serious question. What climatic phenomena are NOT part of the AGW fingerprint? It seems the hypothesis has become so all-inclusive as to be immune to refutation. For example, now we are told by Gavin Schmidt that tropospheric cooling could be consistent with the AGW extended family of GCM realizations. Let me reiterate: tropospheric cooling is not inconsistent with global warming, even though the rate of tropospheric warming is generally predicted to be higher than the rate of surface warming under GHG/AGW. In other words, the GCMS are so blunt a tool as to be useless for causal attribution. Have I got this right?

  49. Larry
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    48, that’s called “heads I win, tails you lose”. Yes, you got that right. And you can’t prove that it’s not true!


  50. kim
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Fascinating, #’s 36, 41, 42. Looks like a field fertilized by political disputation and ripe for harvesting.

  51. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    RE#47, you can almost see the link between the pollution from those smokestacks and the heavy snow. Or maybe the link between the pollution and the declining snowpack instead.

  52. Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink


    My question about warmth was wholly rhetorical:

  53. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    For those of you asking about 2007 and temps etc my posts on unthreaded may be helpful.




  54. Jeff Norman
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    There was about 30 cm of snow on the ground in downtown Toronto. Since then it has been pushed around and driven over, salted, sanded and splashed upon. Still, there remains a lot of snow on the ground. A lot.

    Regardless, yesterday Environment Canada declared that downtown Toronto will have a green Christmas. The basis for this are +3 to 5°C temperatures on Saturday and part of Sunday accompanied by rain and… drum roll please… the urban heat island.

    I’m not quite downtown but I find it hard to believe the snow in my yard is going to disappear in a two day “warm” wave.

    But then I guess it depends upon how you define “downtown”, “green”, “Christmas”, “Toronto”, etc.

  55. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 1:12 AM | Permalink

    Re # 19 Steve McI

    About 1800 Napoleon ordered the planting of a huge grove of oak trees west of Paris for masts of future naval ships. Some are auctioned each year to make wine casks. If you were ever looking for a stand of near-identical trees 200 years old that were worth a trip for a dendro variation study ….. Then some wine casks would have neat holes in them, a fate derving of a country whose wines do not compete with ours for quality. We store ours in plastic and cardboard casks and drink them before they come to the boil.

  56. Robert Pangilinan
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    Re: 48

    That is one major reason I am an AGW denier. It seems there is no way to
    falsify Anthropogenic Global Warming because everything is explainable by it.

    For example I have heard the following arguments one way or another
    in the past.

    A. The oceans are cooling. Global warming melted huge swaths of the
    ice-sheets which caused the oceans to cool somewhat.

    B. The oceans are warming. Global warming definitely the culprit.

    C. Record snow in Toronto. Just because it is cold in one place does
    not mean that the average global temperature is rising. There is a
    difference between climate and weather.

    D. Glaciers in Greenland melting. Obviously caused by Global Warming.

    E. Troposphere is cooling. Because heat is trapped by the greenhouse
    gases below the troposphere, less heat makes its way into the
    trophosphere hence lowering the temperature there.

    F. Troposphere is heating up. Global warming, what else?

    You get the drift. In fact, if the ice ages came back next year
    someone will mention that study about the Atlantic Ocean
    oscillation or something and prove that the shutting down of
    the gulf stream is caused by global warming!

    Is there a way we can falsify the Anthropogenic Global Warming
    Hypothesis? I went over to the Tamino website and WindandSea got
    the mob treatment there when he ventured to ask the same question.
    Someone even mentioned that Karl Popper’s philosophy of falsifiability
    is inapplicable and mentioned the ideas of some philosopher
    I do not know about to prove that there is no need to falsify

  57. Phil
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 6:03 AM | Permalink

    Re:48 I love the two quotes juxtaposed on

    “Since the late 1960s, much of the North Atlantic Ocean has become less salty, in part due to increases in fresh water runoff induced by global warming, scientists say.” -Michael Schirber, LiveScience, June 29 2005

    “The surface waters of the North Atlantic are getting saltier, suggests a new study of records spanning over 50 years. They found that during this time, the layer of water that makes up the top 400 metres has gradually become saltier. The seawater is probably becoming saltier due to global warming, Boyer says.”
    -Catherine Brahic, New Scientist, Aug 23 2007

  58. kim
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    RP, the effect of CO2 as a climate modulator will be falsified, more accurately, corrected, to its minimal contribution if global temperature drops from solar influences as CO2 continues to rise. The anthropogenic component of CO2 rise will be similarly falsified or corrected if temperature drops and CO2 levels drop while fossil carbon oxidizing continues apace. As usual, time will tell.

    Now, gentlemen, start your engines, or place your bets. The contrarian play against the warmers is as big as any ever known.

  59. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

    Is there a link anywhere to the part of Al Gore’s speech where he made the statements about the snowfalls in Canada?

    Steve: this post was a satire. The Canadian delegation did not actually ask me to shovel out their driveways either.

  60. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    RE 56. That was Timothy Chase. If you go back in the RC threads you will
    find the place where I introduced him to Duhem and Quine and confirmational holism.

    We don’t need to turn this into a philosophy of science thread. Popper is not
    the last word, although he has a good beat and you can dance to it

  61. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    RE: #42 – A grim, midwinter look.

  62. Tom Gray
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    re 60 and Quine

    It has been a very very very long time but isn’t Lakatos’ idea of progressive and degenerate research programs what the poster at 56 is looking for. Lakatos presented this as a reinterpretation of Popper by a student.

    All research must deal with adverse results but if the way chosen to deal with them is to resort to ad hoc hypotheses then the research program will not advance. The examples given are meant to show that AGW is protected from adverse results by resorting to ad hoc explanations. AGW can be sued to explain everything. I heard a observational astronomer describe astronomical theory in this way once. He valued observations and not theory because with any observation or lack of observation because there was always a theory available that predicted it. The research program of AGW cannot advance if this is the case.

  63. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Re #59 – Thanks Steve. I knew the shovelling was satire. But I have heard similar lines to the snowfall warnings (as with droughts or heavy rains), so wanted to check (in case it was upside down).

  64. Bill F
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    #58, why do you think they are in such a tizzy down in Bali. They have to get a new program in place before the temperature drops anymore, so that they can credit the Bali Treaty with lowering the global temperature instead of a mild sunspot count.

    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink

    #14 Actually Tnx to Bob Tisdale on slimmed unthreaded 28
    NWC HydroloGIC etc: The percentage of US COVERED BY SNOW
    Sunday morning 12/16/2007 was…58.1!! That IS UNPRECEDENTED
    on that date since 2003!! Only W Europe in NH is now to have its
    fair share…YWAS…(I think Alaska is not counted, only
    contigious 48…)TO BE CONTINUED…

  66. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    re 61.. Looks like a Norcal storm may have trapped some folks up around Anthony. ( between Chico
    and Paradise)

    Hope they find them.

  67. Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Some record snow pictures from Sardinia, Italy.

  68. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    RE 62. I don’t think we should turn this into a philo science thread. Popper was wrong.
    that is, if you observe how science IS done, if you are scientific about sciencing, then you will
    observe that theories are not “falsified”. Theories that have no explanatory power fade away.
    they are ignored. Theory is always in conflict with data. This conflict can be handled in 3 ways.

    1. Accept the theory, reject the data.
    2. Accept the data, reject the theory.
    3. Create an epicycle.

    deciding between 1,2 & 3 is a non canonical process.

    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    in the center of Sardinia 886 m ASL according to
    WIKIPEDIA, seems probable…

  70. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    RE 67.. that is not SNOW, that is white carbon soot!

  71. Larry
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    White carbon? From clean coal?

  72. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    68 Steve M
    Ah wish tha’ woulna use them long words lahk “epicycle”. The huntin’ hound done ate up the pages around D-F when he ware a lil pup, and ah caint unnerstand what the hail you mean….

  73. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    🙂 Pat, that’s really cracking me up 🙂

  74. george h.
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Year of Global Cooling.

  75. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    73 Gunnar
    Ah thank ye kindly, Gunnar, Sir. When ah git me a new condenser (the C’s is OK) fer my still, ah’ll probly be able to buy me a new one o’ them dickshionaries (the D’s is gone, as ah told afore). The huntin’ hound don’t chew much stuff up now she growed up some…

  76. Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    (This comment doesn’t pass the spam filter. I re-write the link to more photos, if the problem resides there)
    Staffan, maybe you have some doubts (I don’t understand why), but that snowfall doesn’t seem probable, it’s true!
    Enjoy looking at these more photos from Fonni, Sardinia here:

    There, you find also a video by some guys having fun with winter sports along the town streets.

    Central and Southern Italy were hit by a very strong and wet winter storm.

  77. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #74 – At the end it says **In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming.**
    So now we know why we have snow in Toronto.

  78. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 6:55 PM | Permalink

    STAFFAN.. good to see you

  79. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    #74 But all those things are consistent with “the fingerprint” of AGW. It *must* be true because it can’t be refuted. Right?

    mosh, you say Popper is dead. Well, he is rolling in his grave.

  80. Robert Pangilinan
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Re: 58

    Kim, the problem with waiting for solar influences to
    drop the temperature of the planet is that it may or may not
    come. It is like confirming string theory by waiting for
    extra-terrestrial aliens with advanced technology to
    tell us about it.

  81. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    RE 79.. No popper is not dead, The principal of falsifiability is a good start toward
    sorting out science from non science. That is, if a statement is not “in principal” subject
    to falsification, then that statement is either a tautology or not science.

    The notion ( descriptive) that scientists ACTUALLY PRACTICE falsification, is readily falsifiable.
    Simply, if we describe what scientists DO, rather than what they should do or could do, we see that
    they don’t give up theories wen presented with disconfirming evidence. They wiggle, they squirm, they
    caveat.. etc..

    So, when I say Popper is wrong. I mean this. A scientific description of how science is practiced
    would show that falsifiaction is not practiced.

    Subtle pin headed point. I specialize in them.

  82. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    The notion that scientists ACTUALLY PRACTICE falsification, is readily falsifiable.

    Agreed (to some extent), but Popper was interested in explaining the growth of scientific knowledge, not of scientific enterprise. Don’t ask his theory to explain something it was not designed to explain. That scientists choose to practice science at all is quite amazing.

  83. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    82 bender

    That scientists choose to practice science at all is quite amazing.

    Where else can you get paid to solve complex crossword puzzles all day? And who falsifies their crossword puzzle solutions (a peek at the solution doesn’t count)? Of course, if you displayed your solution for public scrutiny and critique, you might be tempted…..

  84. Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:19 PM | Permalink

    82: “That scientists choose to practice science at all is quite amazing.”

    Can you expand on this? And the distinction between knowledge and enterprise as it relates to the subject of AGW?

  85. bender
    Posted Dec 19, 2007 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    The enterprise produces knowledge. i.e. You take capital and labor and convert it into conjectures and refutations. These speak to each other in a continuous loop of negotiation, governed by statistical analysis, to generate scientific laws. But the conversion is not 100% efficient. Like any thermodynamic entropic system, there are parasitic losses. Mosh is interested in the efficiency with which investments are turned into knowledge. Every second the scientist spends avoiding falsification of a testable hypothesis is an opportunity lost. Some of those seconds are spent defending the enterprise, as opposed to the production process. This slows down the rate of scientific progress. Bailing out sinking rafts, for example, in order to prevent a cut in funding. Popper was interested in *how* knowledge grows, but not how *fast* it grows.

  86. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 12:57 AM | Permalink

    #85: Thank you, bender. When the seconds grow into months and years, then the lost opportunities multiply. It’s a sad situation.

    A prediction: ten years from now, if the predicted AG warming is proved to be exaggerated or inconsequential, the argument will shift to blaming all extreme climate events on anthropogenic causes. Cold, storms, drought, wind, downpours, tornados, cyclones, monsoons, floods, etc– i.e. if the warming trends don’t prove culpability then maybe extreme weather spikes will. That seems to be the fall-back position currently being market-tested by the true believers.

    Is human industrial dynamism powerful enough to influence global climate patterns in a sustained and meaningful way?

    I remain skeptical. But if it is, who is to say that the effects will prove to be detrimental in the future?

  87. Chris Wright
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    There was another program last night in the Climate Catastrophe series (History Channel in the UK). This was about the fall of the Mayan civilisation in the ninth century AD. The conclusion: it was caused by a big draught triggered by an extreme cold period in the northern hemisphere. Once again the GISP ice core shows a very cold period exactly centred on the beginning of the ninth century, and immediately before the Medieval Warm Period. According to the ice core, this cold period was almost exactly as cold as the Little Ice Age.

    In both programs a civilisation was destroyed by a significant cold period (the Egyptian Old Kingdom and the Mayans). It’ll be interesting to see if any programs in the series blame a historical catastrophe on a warm period – but I doubt it.

  88. kim
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

    RP, #80, oh, cooling will come, and it will be from solar influence, unless shaking this champagne bottle and popping the cork actually has precipitated a warming cascade(not likely). As you and others point out, the question will be whether the cooling is correctly attributed to the sun, or to carbon abatement efforts.

    I’m pretty sure a truth so certain will inevitably be accepted. If CO2 is not the cause of recent warming, that belief cannot stand. And yet, it cools.

  89. welikerocks
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    re: 88
    yep we are heading on down to cold I bet.
    Spot the hockey stick of “now”, and see a distinct pattern of “hot” and “cold” stages of glaciation in the story by looking at the past there (no matter what the CO2 concentrations were)

  90. JP
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    We are close to a record setting La Nina episode. This makes sense if one considers the very strong AMO in the Atlantic. Most of the recent NAmerican storms this autumn can be attributed to a very active polar jetstream over the North Pacific. If La Nina continues to stregnthen, who knows what the Winter will be like. I know most medium range forecasts call for a return to moderate to above average temps across most of NAmerica this Winter. However, could we be seeing the beginnings of a PDO flip. The Cold-Warm PDO flip in 1976 occured during an intense El Nino episode. Could something similar but in reverse be happening now?

  91. BobL
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

    What I would like to do is have the hockey team define concrete examples of what observations they expect to see as evidence of AGW in the next 10 years and what examples they will accept as examples of cooling (as I’ve said before, the winter freezing of the Tennessee and the Thames).

    In the reading I have been able to stomach at RC, they have their bases covered in that once the polar ice cap melts completely, the Gulf Steam will stop then a new ice age will start in North America and Europe. But the ice cap will never return….forcings…. w/m2….polar bears….tipping point…..”THE PLANET IS DYING….Exxonmobile….

    er, sorry, I’m back.

  92. George M
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

    theduke (#86)

    You forgot volcanos and earthquakes in your list of things caused by AGW. Proof of the teleconnection will be presented at the next AGU.

  93. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    re 85. Precisely. Imagine that we had 5 years of cooling. Some would see this as a “clear”
    “falsification” On, the otherside you would have people arguing:

    1. Statisical fluke ( see gavin use this excuse WRT Ross’ paper.
    2. The theory is true but needs adjustments
    3. Other lines of evidence still support AGW
    4. there is no replacement theory, so AGW is still the “best” explanation.
    5. Noise.
    6. 5 more years, gimme 5 more years

    And Mosh would say you can lead a horse to water.

    In some sense

  94. bender
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    To hear Gavin Schmidt’s argument at RC that tropospheric cooling is not inconsistent with AGW as embodied in the GCMs – this floored me. For the first time since I have been watching him he was willing to display the massive error bars on his ensemble model runs. Why did he do it? Because he needed to in order to refute the argument by Douglass, Pearson, Singer & Christy that observations are incompatible with the model predictions of warming. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Like a child who would rather be punished than ignored, the GCMs would rather be beaten for their imprecision than dismissed for their inaccuracy.

  95. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 8:18 AM | Permalink

    re:#93, Steven you forgot

    6. The data are bad.

  96. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    87 Chris

    According to the anthropologists (using
    mutation markers on the Y chromosome), we owe our existence to the last major ice age. The resulting drought forced our ancestors (bushmen in Africa) to move into the middle east and central asia, and spread from there. The rest is history.

  97. Michael Smith
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Re: 94

    To hear Gavin Schmidt’s argument at RC that tropospheric cooling is not inconsistent with AGW as embodied in the GCMs – this floored me.

    I’m glad you commented on this, Bender, because I wanted to make sure I understood the graph in that article at RC on Douglas et. al. I refer to the graph with the revised +/-2sigma limits that shows model outputs with essentially no warming and actual cooling above 200mb. With the publication of that article, we now have the models being simultaneously cited as proof of catastrophic AGW yet defended as not being inconsistent with a lack of tropospheric warming.


  98. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    RE: #91 – When, in fact, there may be a greater risk of “the planet dying” if the carbon market goes into runaway, then we over-sequester carbon, leading to a die off of green plants and phytoplankton either directly or in concert with a big volcano explosion, solar activity valley, or bolide strike. In other words, Gaia infatuation driven AGW hysteria plus greed may kill Gaia. Gaia may end up being loved to death.

  99. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    RE: #96 – AKA – The Sahara Pump. Interestingly, the Sahara Pump (which based on both geological and genetic evidence, is becoming increasingly difficult to refute) is in direct conflict with the notion of “AGW leads to drying Sahel” – a keystone in the current AGW hysteria edifice.

  100. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    Gaia may end up being loved to death.

    Yes, there is a long history of misguided humans ruining and killing many creatures with their misplaced affectionate ministrations……

  101. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Good introduction to Popper

  102. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 3:27 PM | Permalink

    101 theduke

    Thanks for the link. I had been exposed to Popper’s work on the philosophical basis of probability, but had not read before the piece you linked to.

  103. MichaelJ
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    The weather is about to take a gigantic u-turn and get much warmer in most of the contiguous US except for the Pacific Northwest. Look for near record temp levels in the SE and Mid-Atlantic states which will last into March as well as dry conditions. The La Nina is approaching record levels with the cooling waters in the Pacific Ocean expected to last well into Spring. Snow will likely be in short supply for much of the Eastern US for the balance of Winter. I am sure the AGW worshipers will attribute the extreme coolness of the Pacific as another sign of Global Warming and a portent of wilder weather to come. In fact this is another reason to be highly skeptical of AGW because it is exactly what the earth tends to do, namely balance things out, regardless of what mankind does or doesn’t do.

  104. bender
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    #101 theduke, thanks for that. Although I am a resolute Popperian, I had forgotten about his piece on “pseudoscience”. Would like to hear JEG’s take 🙂 I don’t think Popper would have been impressed by the teleconnectionists’ abuse of epistemology.

  105. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    RE: #103 – You are playing the “How ENSO Impacts Weather When PDO Is Positive” tape. Who really knows what to expect when PDO is negative? Those old enough to have been observing and forecasting during the 1940s – 1970s period were not really even aware of ENSO until the very end of the at period. Those who now observe and forecast informed by ENSO have little to no experience with the period 1940s – 1970s.

  106. bender
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

    #107 Yes, theduke, that is the pattern. It’s just not as obvious to the casual observer because computer models and statistics are being used as clothes for the emperor. And to the average person that material is opaque. It takes a Wegman or a Smith to see right through it. Combine those types with a Pielke or a Wunsch and you’re going to start getting to the bottom of things. Lonnie Thompson, bless his monopolistic soul, is not going to be any help.

  107. JP
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 7:00 PM | Permalink

    I’m betting on the 1920-1935 weather analogs when the AMO was in strong positive mode and the PDO tranisitioned to negative. Unfortunatly, this translates into drought conditions through much of Middle America and portions of the Southeast, but gradual cooling and moderate precip for the Far West. What is ironic is that much of the East Coast intelligenstia in the early 1920s was worried about the effects of the rapid melting of much of the Artic. The Washington Post carried a story on this. On a personal level, my German great grand parents on my mother’s side emigrated from Iowa in the early 1920s due to excessive drought conditions there.

    Do you have any weather info concerning the Far West from the mid 20s through the late 30s? This was supposedly the Golden Age of immigation into California, when starving Dust Bowl Okies emigrated in large numbers to Cali. This was the time that RM Nixon’s father emigrated to California from Fort Wayne Indiana. Perhaps Bender can fgure out how Ft Wayne Indiana teleconnected to Whittier Califronia during this period?

  108. bender
    Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    #111 theduke, I hate to be elitist. I really do. It’s what drives me nuts about RC: the arrogance, the condescension. But I can tolerate any arrogant p**ck – if he’s willing to engage and he proves to be right every time. I like JEG, for example. It’s when you’re wrong dang near EVERY time that you become intolerable – a real liability. I normally do not engage with those types. And I will revert back to that policy, now that I’ve had my say.

  109. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    112, re reverting back: Good idea. I’ll join you.

  110. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    The outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) anomaly map for the last 90 days is here . Generally speaking blue colors are anomalously clear skies while the warm colors are anomalously cloudy skies.

    What strikes me is the relative lack of cloud cover in the Northern Hemisphere. My expectation is that relatively clear skies in the NH winter means lots of IR radiated into space with little makeup from the sun, which equals Northern Hemispheric cooling. We’ll see.

  111. Posted Dec 20, 2007 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    And speaking of PDO/climate shifts, here is a time series that Erl Happ and I are puzzling about offline.

    The time series is the net south-to-north wind above the tropical Pacific (basically the ENSO region) at the 100mb level (more or less the tropopause or top of troposphere). What it shows is a noticeable increase in air flow towards the NH in the mid-70s, around the time of the PDO shift/El Nino increase. Then about 2005 there’s another noticeable shift back towards pre-1980 conditions, perhaps to manifest itself as a PDO/La Nina shift.

    My conjecture is that the change represents some kind of rebalancing of Hadley-Walker cell airflow. Exactly what is being rebalanced, dunno. Why the rebalance, dunno.

    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:04 AM | Permalink

    #76 Paolo M Sorry “SNOWMAN” wasn’t irony, neither was
    “probable” The fact that I looked at the pics, used
    WIKIPEDIA to get info about location and altitude, maybe
    you missed my “miniseries” about African “Snowcountries”
    that is countries that may receive snow at least some
    times during a 100-year period…It showed up to be a
    majority, most people hardly know there are heavy snowfalls
    in South Africa every winter and that it did even snow there on millennium day
    January 1st 2000!! Did you read posts #13,14 in this thread
    about Bari snowcover filmed by several “You Tubers” Use
    “Tubesucker” to download …I noted in post 13 about Bari
    last saturday that Tmax was +1.7C and Tmin -0.3C!!
    Should be some 3-4C colder in Desulo after the air has passed
    the twice as broad watermass between the Italian mainland and
    Sardinia…When it comes to snow I’m mostly deadly serious
    even if I write “SNOWMAN…” in versals…While writing this
    I do some “YouTubing”(Mosh there is some nice snow on that
    site not only Tom Waits…Just kidding Moshie! OR rather
    there are but TW…NEVER MIND you get my point?!) I found
    a “historic” video(more than 9 mins!!) from infamous January 1985 On the 9th
    that month it snowed downtown Cagliari AND settled The lowest
    average temp day was +0.8C Of course up in Nice one day Tmax
    was -1.5C Unprecedented in modern times …or..?? Ou sont
    nos amis francais?? BTW anybody who saved the “David King-Ferrari-thread

  113. kim
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    ‘Ou se trouve notre ami Francais?’

    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    #112 Addendum, it snowed at about 1100 m ASL in Sardinia
    already Oct 20-21 2007…There are still many weathers
    to come but more frequent snowfalls in mid October at
    1000 m ASL in Sardinia …You judge…

  115. Larry
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    101, In basic concept, that’s almost identical to Feynmann’s “cargo cult” thesis. GMTA.

  116. Bill
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Gavin Schmidt’s argument at RC that tropospheric cooling is not inconsistent with AGW as embodied in the GCMs

    Somebody else commented on the watering down of concepts, language, even truth: the doubling back on old verities to find the newest, necessary qualification. It’s either funny, like Richard Gere’s temporizing with a tap dance, in Chicago, or just plain scary, as in Nineteen Eighty-Four:

    “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen…”

  117. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t read Gavin’s argument about the models, but this IPCC graph of model projections for the atmosphere and oceans is pretty clear.

    On the upper graphs the y axis is height (hPa pressure) in the troposphere while the x-axis is latitude. The graphs stretch from north pole to south pole and from the earth’s surface to the top of the troposphere. The same principle applies to the lower graphs, which cover the oceans. The blue region at the top of the atmospheric graph is actually the troposphere.

    The progressive warming is evident and the importance of the tropical atmosphere to global warming is clear.

  118. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    RE: #117 – That seems to have the notions of Issac Held incorporated in it, US tax dollars at work.

  119. MarkW
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Much as Global Warming is powerfull enough to explain everything. So it seems that no matter what happens, the output of the models is varied enough, that one of the models predicted it. Which in turn is taken as proof that all of the models are accurate.

  120. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Re #117 The ominous red spot above the tropics in the IPCC graphic is the basis for Ross McKitrick’s T3 tax proposal. If the spot forms and grows then carbon users get punishingly taxed so as to reduce CO2 growth: if the red spot fails to materialize then the tax does not occur.

    My #117 should have stated that the blue region is the stratosphere, not troposphere. (My better half was rushing me to lunch (at a nice Thai restaurant) and Christmas shopping so error-check was not done.) Regarding the stratosphere depiction, note that the tropopause (where the troposphere and stratosphere meet) is not a flat surface but rather takes on a folded appearance in the subtropics.

    Failure to find the expected warming in the tropical upper troposphere by now has to be of concern to the modelers, despite gavin’s words to the contrary.

  121. Bill
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 5:06 PM | Permalink


    This is a new type of graph for me. I’ll try to find out more. Meanwhile, a question: I’m puzzled why you’re only showing dates to 1999? Can you claim there is “ongoing” warming in the troposphere from these?

    Would you comment on Ross McKitrick’s policy challenge with regard to the tropical tropospheric temperatures? Specifically:

    1. Do you think these TTT’s are a good overall index for policy purposes?
    2. Would you argue there’s some agreement among scientists (won’t use the word consensus)with regard to how to read and interpret such data?
    3. What do they show for 2000 – 2007?


  122. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:22 PM | Permalink

    Hello Bill. I think the “1999” to which you refer is the end of the base period (1980-1999) used for comparison with the model outputs. That base period is probably as good as any and won’t make much difference to the message of the graphs. The message of the graphs is that the computer models project large warming, especially in the upper tropical troposphere.

    The charts are silent about any actual temperature changes – they deal solely with computer projections.

    Personally I think that McKitrick’s T3 tax proposal is ingenious. AGW is expected to be most evident in the tropical upper troposphere and should appear clearly in the T3 data channel. If it does then the tax kicks in and CO2 generation is throttled. If T3 data does not show the projected warming then the tax is little or nothing, sparing the world a lot of pain.

    McKitrick’s proposal is here .

    One nice thing about the T3 idea is that the expected temperature change is so large that much of the measurement controversy should be avoided.

    I’ll look for recent data and post it.

  123. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    Off-topic, but since I mentioned tropopause folds above, here’s a nice Powerpoint on the topic.

    It’s mostly of interest to stormheads but it does illustrate some of the complexity of the atmosphere. Worth a 10-minute scan of the illustrations.

  124. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    RE: #123 – One time I was heading due sotuh over the Pacific, a bit south of the equator, somewhere out between northern Chile and New Guinea. Went through one of those folds. Sort of rough.

  125. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    Re #122 Bill I haven’t found recent time series for T3 but did note the T3 (TTS) trend map at RSS (see Figure 5 at this link ). The trend along the tropics looks to be about 0.1C/decade while the expectation is something around 0.3C/decade.

    You asked about satellite data acceptance. Something I need to mention is that there is considerable overlap among the satellite channels so that T3 picks up portions of the lower troposphere as well as the stratosphere, which can complicate things if one is looking for small trends.

    Perhaps the best data is the Douglass et al time series, the one currently being discussed and which I’ve extracted here . It shows the expected decadal temperature change at various tropical altitudes (generally about 0.3C/decade) versus the actual change as found by radiosonde and satellite (generally about 0.1C).

    I looked at the tropical T2 channel (middle troposphere) temperature anomaly and it has shown no upward trend in the last 5 years.

  126. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 10:26 PM | Permalink

    122 Dave
    Qui custodes custodies?

    As Stalin used to say, “I don’t care who votes, I care about who counts the votes.”

    Who is the keeper of the measurements? Hansen and NASA?

  127. Posted Dec 21, 2007 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #126 Pat, my guess is that the 1980-1999 baseline is based on NOAA or GISS data.

    A final plot related to the tropical troposphere ( link ). This shows the difference between the middle tropical troposphere lower tropical troposphere temperature anomalies. Per the models, the difference between the two should be increasing as the middle troposphere warms faster than the lower troposphere. Per the satellite data, no such trend is evident.

    Now the expected trend is small and the data is imperfect, so the chart to-date is not true evidence of anything. But, it’s something to watch in the coming years.

  128. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 22, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    The concern I was trying to express in 126 is that, if huge sums of money and many scientific reputations ride on this future data, what is to prevent Mannian tricks being played on the data before it is published?
    If I understand it correctly, the satellite data processing is complex, and is already ‘calibrated’ by surface data which is suspect.

  129. Posted Dec 22, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #128 Pat, I think the things that help the integrity of the satellite-derived data are:

    1. The data is handled by two analytical camps (UAH and RSS) who often have opposing views on how to process the raw data. They compete with each other, which is great. One of the two, UAH, has no qualms about taking ideologically-unpopular stands about AGW in the scientific community.

    2. The raw data is public (though obscure) and archived.

    3. The goal is to look at trends which, so long as processing is consistent, should be relatively straightforward (though issues like changing satellites and satellite drift arise).

    4. The trends being sought are large and should be easier to spot, and less subject to measurement error, than today’s small trends.

    Of course, if Al Gore and allies take over and silence the UAHs of the world then all bets are off. Personally I think that the chances of that happening are quite low.

  130. Bill
    Posted Dec 22, 2007 at 12:20 PM | Permalink


    Thanks for the links. Ross McKitrick’s proposal has been carried in a few journals, and the Christian Science Monitor , version posted earlier (the one I read) was pretty well condensed to its bare bones rhetorical detail, leaving out the supporting science.

    I also considered the idea bold and ingenious, maybe even a bit too bold if temps trend upward due to solar forcings. Speaking of which…

    We’re packing for a week’s vacation in Phoenix. Thanks again for your earlier reply.


  131. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Dec 24, 2007 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    According to CNN, a large mass of glacier has broken away from Greenland. Unidentified individuals (scientific team?) have reported that there may have been a sled and some animals (8?)on the floe which is drifting away from the mainland. Polar bears on shore have shown no indication of swimming out to the ice. Rescue efforts are under way. By morning we will know if the efforts succeeded.
    Have a good holiday!!

  132. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 25, 2007 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

    Re # 101 theduke and Karl Popper

    Popper is not greatly liked by about half of the senior students of the philosophy of science with whom I’ve been privileged to help solve the known problems of the Universe and beyond. There are some deeper thinkers.
    The problem is not understanding Popper and falsification, but getting scientists to run a ruler over their final drafts to ensure they do not violate Popper’s guidelines.

    For example, I have an unrelated namesake Sir Charles Scott Sherrington who was much more into the philosophy of science. I do not seek fame on his coat tails through similar name, but I recommend that those interested in the philosophy of science should study (not just skim) his fairly voluminous works, perhaps starting with the autobiography then his biographies. It’s hard going, but though provoking and it has shaped a lot of my attitude (for what that is worth). It makes is easier to understand the importance of matters such as the audit of science, the isolation of confounding factors, the benefits of simple experiments on main themes, the value of tight deduction, the value of one (or more) observation(s)that challenges a theory, and the humility and redetermination that has to go with being shown wrong.

    Sorry for being OT with snow in Toronto. What is below the snow on my cranium bothers me. I have seen a progressive degradation of the standards of science from a diversity of privileged viewpoints and I dislike the degradation.

  133. bender
    Posted Dec 25, 2007 at 6:53 AM | Permalink

    Geoff Sherrington, it is often said that science tends to be self-correcting. But there are times when this tendency needs encouragement – when the business of scientific enterprise gets in the way of Popper’s science.

    This thought does not fit in the current thread either, except for the fact that the climate models are starting to diverge somewhat from reality, and it has never been clear to me that the modelers are on a path of vigorous self-correction. Maybe model behavior is coupled to modeler’s behavior?

  134. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

    Re # 133 bender

    You expressed that neatly. “The path of vigorous self-correction” rolls off the tongue. (No, Steve, not your snowed-in path).

    I will make a claim, for fear that others misinterpret what you wrote, that my years in business did not show that science was corrupted for the convenience of corporate business. I rebel at the “Exxon motive” or similar, so often used to argue implicit bias. When you phrase it as “the business of scientific enterprise” I fully agree with you, noting that among the worst offenders are those whose future does not depend on productivity or accountability as is so often the case in the corporate business world.

    Altruism has been stolen by peer-reviewed rogues.

  135. Posted Feb 17, 2008 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I’ve been reading about snow a bit, which is always a fascinating topic to those of us who live in snowless regions. I’ve encountered some questions which I’ll list at the end. Any help in answering these is appreciated.

    I start with the IPCC Summary for Policymakers which has nice Figure 1c labeled “Northern Hemisphere snow cover” ( closeup ) . But, in reading the Figure 1 note, I notice that the graph covers just the two months of March and April rather than, say, the entire NH winter (November-May or something like that which would be more representative of snow cover). Odd.

    Anyway, I took a look at the NOAA graph for NH Spring (March-May), and it is similar in pattern. Good enough, but it does raise a question, given below.

    While I was visiting the NOAA site I noted the March- May temperature anomaly for NH and the NH winter snow cover anomaly . These raised two additional questions.

    Here are my questions:

    1. The Spring snow cover extent took what might be a step change downwards in the mid 1980s. In the mid 1980s were there changes in measurement tools (satellites) and/or algorithms that could have affected snow cover estimations in the late-winter months? If so, how were prior year estimations grafted onto the newer estimations?

    2. If the Spring snow cover drop was natural and driven by GHG, why wasn’t there a similar drop in snow cover when the NH spring temperature rose circa 2000?

    3. What natural reason would make the snow cover change in the NH winter so much smaller than the change in the NH spring?

    I’m new to snow, so maybe the answers are well-known and clearly given somewhere in the literature. Or perhaps I am misunderstanding the graphics.

    Again, any help is appreciated.

  136. Rusty
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    It was 26 INCHES in 1944 not cm. Big diff.

    Steve: Please report your issues to Environment Canada, not to me; I’m quite confident that their metric conversion is accurate as this has been done for a long time in Canada.

  137. Greg F
    Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    1. The Spring snow cover extent took what might be a step change downwards in the mid 1980s. In the mid 1980s were there changes in measurement tools (satellites) and/or algorithms that could have affected snow cover estimations in the late-winter months?

    Purely anecdotal. I remember a series of years in the 80’s and 90’s where we didn’t have a white Christmas. I live north of 44 degrees and a lack of snow at the end of December was unusual. My gut tells me the step is real.

    I noticed the graphs only went to 2007 and am very curious as what the snow cover was in 2008.

    Steve: I did a post on this in December 2008. 2008 was the most snow in Toronto since the 1880s.

%d bloggers like this: