Back Online

Back in Toronto after two weeks in Thailand. One of my sons got married and my wife and I spent time traveling with my son and new daughter-in-law and my daughter. I left New York on Monday Mar 9 back to Toronto and left the next morning for Thailand, pretty groggy when I arrived on late Wednesday evening Bangkok time. The wedding was on Saturday.

After the wedding, we debated between going to the beach or going up north and, in deference to my tendency to sunburn, we went up “north” – Chiang Mai being nearly (!) 19N, not far from the Arctic Circle, and then into the hills to Pai, a lofty 486 m. Pai turned out to be sort of a hippie/backpacker enclave, a far cry from busy Bangkok. When we left, Bangkok was 36C; I hardly watched any TV, but I saw one CNN international weather survey and Bangkok was the hottest place that I noticed on their survey that day (tho I didn’t notice anything from the Persian Gulf which might well have been hotter.) We spent a few days in each locale. My wife and daughter stayed on after I left and have just returned from the beach.

We’ve spent some time recently discussing speleothems in tropical caves. Interestingly, one of the tourist things in Pai are caves – we visited the very large Spirit (Lod) Cave about 38 km NE of Pai, only about 10 km as the raven flies from the Myanmar border, but I don’t think that there any roads into Myanmar closer than than Mae Hong San, which is about 100 km away. There’s another cave on the tourist maps at Chiang Dao, also in this area. This part of Thailand has a pretty strange modern history as parts of it were settled by Kuomintang remnants, who controlled the opium trade for many years. I’ll do a separate post on this cave, drawing it to the attention to Jud Partin or any other interested speleo, if for some reason, it’s not on his radar screen. (I have no knowledge of whether it is or isn’t; it may well be. )

We’ve talked about UHI from time to time and, in that context, the temperature difference between Bangkok and Pai was pretty noticeable, especially at night. Bangkok was hot all the time, but Pai was actually fairly cool in the morning and evenings. Chiang Mai was intermediate. Yes, there’s a difference in altitude, but the difference in temperature was more than the 3 deg C lapse rate. Pai also seemed drier than Bangkok and perhaps that contributed as well. Arriving in Bangkok, I watched the temperatures as the plane descended in the late evening and as I recall the lapse rate at 11 pm was only about 3 deg C in the lowest 2000 m or so.

I thought a bit about about water “cycle” feedback, a topic from the Heartland conference that interested me the most. I was particularly interested in the presentations by Richard Lindzen and William Kininmonth, both of whom I met for the first time. I’ll write some notes on this topic. I mulled over the pros and cons of making the all-in water “cycle” feedback a major new theme for the blog. In terms of dealing with “big questions”, arguably it would be the most useful allocation of effort, but it would require me to make a major investment of time and energy in a large new topic, at a time when I have much unfinished business on the proxy front. Please wait until I make a more detailed post before commenting on this issue.

I took some drafts of a long overdue reply to Wahl and Ammann. Ross has been bugging me to deal with this for a long time and wrote a draft; I have my own draft. I really, really dislike having to respond to this article, as I find it virtually impossible to write a reply that isn’t very sharply worded. Given that they pretty much replicated every one of our results (and that their code virtually matches ours, as noted in May 2005), it is frustrating that they claim the exact opposite – they purport to refute our findings, a false claim that IPCC and the climate community readily relied on. Combined with the fact that they dragged out providing their SI until over 3 years after their original press release and 2 1/2 years after the IPCC deadline for publication. Having said that, the ball is in our court now and has been since summer 2008, so I guess we’ll have to respond. This will definitely disturb any potential serenity at the blog.

Internet service was actually readily available even in hippie Pai, but I was glad of the break. I appreciated the posts by Roman, Ryan and UC in my absence. The two Jeffs seem to have made some interesting progress on AVHRR, but it looks like investigations are stalemated a bit by the continuing inability/refusal of Steig and coauthors to provide the monthly AVHRR data as used in their study. With much improved understanding of RegEM from the Steig analyses, I’m looking forward to re-visiting the Mann et al “EIV” recon, which we didn’t touch in our prior look at this topic.

I was much appreciative of Anthony’s efforts on the server front. I asked Anthony in New York why we shouldn’t just transfer CA onto wordpress where everything was provided for free. WUWT has greater traffic than CA (tho CA traffic is also very large, having run over 6 million hits/year for the last couple of years) and WUWT functions perfectly on a wordpress format. A couple of CA functions aren’t available on wordpress – Latex and bulletin board. However, we could easily manage without latex (tho it’s nice on occasion). As to the bulletin board, I would be quite content to cut it loose – actually I’d like to do so as I don’t support or monitor it.

However, Anthony said that there was quite a bit of hidden traffic to CA in the form of links to graphics as well as posts and that a change of address would cut off an important resource. He felt that it was very important that there be continuity of the resource and URL. Readers at both sites supported this view with some extra contributions. (I again express my appreciation for ongoing contributions since, as I’ve mentioned on occasion, this is important to my being able to continue devoting time to the site.)

I was glad of the break, but back to the grindstone. Lots of things to write about.


  1. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Welcome back!

    I’m very in favor of a deeper look at water cycle feedback, and look forward to the day you have time to get to it.

    Speaking of the Heartland Converence, I was taken by Grey’s lecture (HTML). I’m interested in seeing it debated, either here or on the message board.

    Your presentation was good, of course, but all of us regulars here already know essentially everything in it.

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

    I didn’t see Gray’s presentation, but I met him and he was very cordial to me. I’ll take a look at it.

    As you say, my presentation is mostly familiar territory for regular readers. The only new graphic was at the end, showing one way that IPCC might have handled the issue in a way that would have been more favorable for their case. Of course, taking this line would have required them to spend their time articulating the assumptions behind their models – which is what they should be doing – rather than trying to support questionable Mannian (and others’) use of tree rings.

  3. Paul Penrose
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    Good to have you back Steve. I’m glad you enjoyed your break; we all need one once in a while.

  4. DJ
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back Steve! We missed you. I’m sure it felt good to have a change of pace, different environment. I wonder how many others here need the same medicine, so to speak. Looking forward to you next post! Oh, how’s your granddaughter doing??

  5. Andrew
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of UHI in Asia, there is some buzz going around about a certain paper by Jones et al. which proports to show evidence of urbanization warming in China. A little off location, but similar.
    Good to hear you made it back okay! We were worried that the sudden change of climate would get you!

  6. Pat Frank
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back, Steve, and one hopes sans any parasitic passengers! And congratulations for the fine extension to your family. The love-and-marriage of your children with good people must be a high happiness.

    While in Thailand, did you notice the widespread curse of tropical malaria? And of course it was packing up and heading north, on the AGW high-road.

    If I can add a vote, I’d like to see you publish fully on the proxy so-called studies. The resistance of the practitioners to correcting the errors you have thoroughly demonstrated in published work has to be one of the greatest scandals of the whole sorry AGW mess. I’d never have believed such a thing was possible — among physicists, no less! — had it not occurred right before our eyes.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: Pat Frank (#6),

      didn’t notice any malaria – I hope there wasn’t any where we were because we didn’t take any antimalarials and there were mosquitoes and my wife, in particular, got a lot of bites.

      I was in a malarial district in Guyana in the 1990s in the jungle out near the Venezuela. People had to take fairly strong antimalarials as the nastier strain was prevalent – falcifarum? I have a funny story about walking out overland to be in camp by nightfall which I should write up sometime.

      To readers: no discussion of the malaria dispute please. I will not allow ANY discussion of DDT here or any further discussion of malaria. Please don’t waste my time making me delete posts.

  7. TonyS
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    19N? I think you mean Tropic of Cancer, don’t you?

  8. TonyS
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    My bad, English is not my native language. As I read this post here, I tried to find out the names of the five major circles of latitude in English and thought maybe there was a mixup. I guess the joke was too subtle – or not subtle enough 🙂

  9. jae
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

    Glad you’re back and am looking forward to posts about my favorite topic. You were visiting one of those places that has the highest possible concentrations of greenhouse gases all year long, and yet the temperature never gets much higher than you witnessed. Wonder why?

  10. Ron Cram
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back, Steve! Even with all of the great guest posts, which I enjoyed very much, you were still missed!

  11. John Bennett
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back, Steve. Looking forward to… everything.

  12. Reid
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back Steve.

    I would encourage you in the strongest terms to get involved in the water vapor feedback controversy. It is the heart of AGW even though most don’t realize this. Bristlecone pines and paleo-reconstructions very are interesting but they are a sideshow.

    I hope Climate Audit starts auditing water vapor feedback. My intuition tells me that Lindzen is correct and the feedback is negative and therefore the whole global warming alarm is false.

    • Curt Covey
      Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 6:40 PM | Permalink

      Re: Reid (#14), coming in with the opposite opinion (i.e. agreeing with the IPCC that water vapor feedback is very likely positive) I too hope CA will increase its attention to this issue. Why not start with Lindzen’s presentation and whatever it references? As noted in other posts, I do not think a full-blown audit in the style of the US Internal Revenue Service is useful for the vast majority of scientific publications, but checking and critical discussion of the ones that get noticed (including Lindzen’s as well as Mann’s) are essential is science is to progress.

      • Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

        Re: Curt Covey (#15),

        I am a doubter about positive feedback simply because of the fact that I don’t believe climate is unstable. After that comment it’s important to say I understand positive feedback for a single parameter (even a dominant one) doesn’t guarantee climate instability, it just improves the odds for instability. It does seem to me that feedback from water vapor is the most likely candidate for the stabilization of climate though, due to it’s powerful effects. Unfortunately, I don’t know much more than that about it beyond the basic descriptions of the physics and a few papers so if Steve goes in that direction I would find it interesting.

  13. VG
    Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    Andrew: I think this was discussed at length either here or at WUWT. Basically Evans (from Hadley, believe it or not)) has debunked (himself)… the AGW warming by saying that in China UHI accounted for 0.1C per DECADE which is enormous (more than the IPCC AGW)!

    • Andrew
      Posted Mar 24, 2009 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

      Re: VG (#17), Er, well, not quite. Remember, China is land, which has a higher rate of warming than SST. Based on the abstract, I estimate a per decade starting warming rate of .26 degrees per decade, which after the .1 per decade correction should come out to .16 degrees per decade. That’s about the global land and sea trend, except its entirely over land and under the brown cloud no less! So, yes, that’s a huge effect, but, no, the warming doesn’t disappear entirely. Some parts of the abstract (and paper) are schizophrenic, though. But enough of this! Let’s get back to congratulating Steve on a good trip!

  14. VG
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 12:39 AM | Permalink

    Should have been Jones (Hadley), “Evans” as I mentioned in #17 who has been pushing the AGW for some time. Is .16C of significance?, recent trends do not follow (refer Lucia’s Climate blog “Falsification of IPCC trends ect” Cheers LOL

  15. theoldhogger
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    Welcome back Steve…..We put our son through Grade 5 in the Phillipines a few years ago, and typically Canadian, I brought a thermometer and mounted it on our verandah. I checked the temperature faithfully every day at 6am and 1pm, and I can verify that 3 degrees Celsius difference. At sea level, near Gumaca, Quezon Province,(try Google Map)the high was usually 35-36C and the low was 32-33C. The hottest day I experienced was 38C, much lower than our own, dry Okanagan. The humidity was very high, but 3 showers a day(no hot water necessary) really helped. When all the drugstores ran out of antimalarials, we went to our local Doctor (who got her degree in a university near Sarnia, Ontario, btw)she laughed and said there was no malaria around our area, at all. We didn’t get Malaria, so I guess she was correct. Anyway, good times! Now, back to lurking.

    • rephelan
      Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

      Re: theoldhogger (#20),


      Just before the Revolution I had dinner with the Bishop of Gumaca in Alabat. May decide to take my social security and retire there…. fresh fish, San Miguel (ito ang beer!), calamansi, and macapuno ice cream.

  16. Billy Ruff'n
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    I’m wondering whether it’s just a coincidence, but I noticed that Real Climate was without new posts for the period Steve was away in SE Asia. Funny that? When the cat’s away they have nothing to say.

  17. rephelan
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 10:08 PM | Permalink


    glad you’re back and you could wrest control of the website away from those guys who were having way too much fun with it. Lotta people go to the Far East and decide not to come back. Malaria? I spent 14 years in South China without anti-malarials… my problem was recurring dysentery… but enough of the local beer first will take care of that. I’m actually trying, even as we speak, to put together a malaria paper, but that is probably a better topic for Anthony or Jeff Id since my statistics will probably be nothing more sophisticated than percents, ratios, and pearson’s r.

    What you do, you do VERY well and I’m looking forward to learning more.

  18. Anthony Watts
    Posted Mar 26, 2009 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I should mention that I didn’t make my goal of swapping the CA server by Steve’s return. Events in my business conspired to prevent me from dedicating the time needed.

    However, it will be forthcoming.


  19. theoldhogger
    Posted Mar 27, 2009 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    rephelan…..Thankyou for replying. My son was christened in your friend’s cathedral. I showed my wife your comment and she says we’ll go to Alabat next time, but we have to take a boat from Atimonan. Last time we took the boat from Gumaca to Quezon, Quezon, just for a day trip. Abot retirement, I think that if you live “in the province” (translation-out in the country, away from Manila)you can have everything you need except peace and quiet. Warning…the sound of roosters crowing 24/7 can get on your nerves. Anyway, the Philippines is the most English Language friendly foreign country I’ve ever experienced. Good luck!
    Sorry, Steve, about OT.

  20. Posted Mar 9, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Permalink

    Welcome back Steve…Thank you for information

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