Climate and Data. Drinking From the Source (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla, PhD)
This days we have been “surprised” with the announcement of a publication from NOAA claiming that the “hiatus” in temp was not so quite as thought before…
Then I have seen a publication in Forbes magazine claiming that “Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.”
In a different front, a colleague recently shared an update on Europe’s weather which pointed out the relevant issue in today’s debate on climate about the concept of “new” compared to a climatological time scale.
And finally, I found a quote that has taken my attention: “Without data you are just another person with an opinion”. W. Edwards Deming
In previous posts I have openly discussed my concerns on making the right questions, and the implications behind doing it in the right way (questions shape answers), on the use of data as answers instead of just tools, and even my concerns towards the inertial impetuous need for modelling everything mathematically. But, considering recent publications (academic and not academic publications start to behave alike) one can only start to wonder also about the source from which we are taking our information.
It makes you feel that the best conclusions would arrive from those drinking directly from the source, avoiding as much as possible to feed from other’s conclusions. Even at risk of being pointed by not using references from previous works. Moreover, when new publications discard previous data, what does it happen with all the discussions published in peer reviewed articles finding answers to questions originated from “data” (big or small data), e.g. the hiatus in temp?
I believe that if I compare myself with others at doing all the same, I will not be the best in the room, but if you ask about doing something different… I am afraid I am not a specialist in modelling. If there is anything that can be applied to describe what I consider about myself as a strong asset from my training it would be my capacities to analyse situations as a “methodologist”. I don´t like to base my understanding of things on numerical models. Most of my experience has been generated from studying and evaluating the implications of incorporating inaccuracies in the interpretation of the results obtained in any study due to methodological weaknesses. And data only becomes valid when it matches the behaviour of the mechanisms which generates them. Not the other way around. If you don´t understand the mechanisms generating your data you will always find uncertainties from unknown sources, adding bias to your results, starting with your methodology. My experience, Diego Fdez-Sevilla.
NOAA. Data show no recent slowdown in global warming
Few months ago I wondered about the status of the Global Temperature in relation with the development of events in the atmosphere and the alleged hiatus. Since I was aware of the debate created between those taking sides discussing what was the meaning of the so called hiatus in temperature, I looked into the “GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP)” data published by NASA and I created my own chart.
The result made me doubt about how much could I be missing on statistics since I could not identify the so much claimed hiatus. Was I looking into the wrong data?
So here there are the graphs representing the data for Global Temp variations by the NASA GISS pointing the hiatus in 2014, my graph directly from NASA GISS (March 2014) and the new one published by NOAA.
Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded.
A publication in Forbes magazine claims that “the total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.”
The publication, in order to defend their allegations, points to a graph published by “The Cryosphere today“. A webspace devoted to the current state of our cryosphere.
Curiously enough, looking at how much data is available in the actual times, this type of publications makes you consider the state of the debate on climate and how and by whom it is being run (or trying to).
Looking at the disparity of opinions from those with fair and honest intentions, it seems to not be consensus on how to apply and interpret data. And then, there are also others.
The arctic-antarctic sea ice “dipole” is continuing. According to National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic sea ice appears to have reached its maximum extent for the year on February 25 at 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles). This year’s maximum ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record. Whereas, beginning in late April, Antarctic sea ice extent surpassed the previous satellite-era record set in 2014, and for the entire month of May it has set daily record high ice extents. This makes May 2015 the record high month for the 1979 to 2015 period.
If we look at the source for the graph pointed out in the article from Forbes for global average ice cover, we will also find other graphs showing the Northern Hemisphere loosing Ice in the last decades and the South Pole gaining in ice extend.
One of the explanations being under study for such bipolarity is the effect of melting water being incorporated into circulation from North Pole into the South.
Ultimately, we need to drink from the source to have our own criteria. It seems that intentionally “or not”, this publication failed to mention how the “total polar ice extent” is obtained.
What we should clarify is the concept of “new” compared to climatological time scale…
Giulio Betti, a colleague from climatic debates, shared an update on Europe’s forecast few days ago: It’s very likely that a brief but intense heatwave will hit Central Europe between Thursday 4th and Sunday 7th. The tongue of warm air will affect initially France, northern Italy, Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany, afterwards the rest of Germany and central eastern Countries. The eastward movement of the heatwave will be followed by a deep low pressure full of cool air that will produce very unsettled weather conditions starting from Saturday 6th.”
I have been discussing in previous posts my point of view over the mechanisms driving these contrasts on weather events. However, at risk of overstating my thoughts, I want to add my take on this situation. I believe that these “bubbles” or “drops” of weather is the new way for the transition between seasons, by their number, size, location, resilience to dissipate and proximity in time and space to coalesce. And for as long as the thermal contrast between Polar and subpolar masses of air decreases, warm masses of air will reach higher latitudes more frequently. That is my humble opinion.
Followed by Giulo’s answer: Hi Diego! Your thoughts are absolutely shareable considering the main circulations of the last 40 years! What we should clarify is the concept of “new” compared to climatological time scale…
Actually, that is a fair point which plays a big part in today’s debate and data interpretation. NOAA has recently “re-newed” the base line for any climatic analyses in a 30 years normalization, from: 1981- 2010. The measurements from 2014-15 are so close to this period that the anomalies are different from when comparing with data from 1980-2000, including enso, nao and other indexes.
From my own perspective, and looking at the state of the climate from data and biotic indicators, an increase in intrusions of warm masses of air into higher latitudes will change Ecotypes and Ecoclines affecting the state of Biotopes. If you are not familiarised with the terminology, look for “The Law of Relative Constancy of Habitat—Ecotypes and Ecoclines”.
And that is what I consider to be new. Why new?. Because when we look at the differences between monthly temp averages of Maximum and Minimum temperatures over Europe (also called Temperature Amplitude), these have been increasing over time in the periods of March-April-May and June-July-August from 1979-2014. (data NCEP)
“Without data you are just another person with an opinion”. W. Edwards Deming
When data does not explain something in our lives we always look for an expert with an opinion, and if even he/she does not have one, just an opinion might be better than nothing.
Something that it is becoming more clear every day is that if you want to know about climate you should drink from the source of the data and apply it to drive your own conclusions.
But that is just an opinion.
Follow-up on previous theoretical proposals on climatic developments
The recent change in attitude towards the interpretation of the variations in temperature does not alter any of the hypothesis proposed in previous posts about those mechanisms defining the potential for alterations/transformations in the atmospheric circulation. Accordingly, temperature is just considered as a form of expression of Energy. A decrease in temperature does not imply a disappearance of energy, but just the existence of mechanisms involved on its transference or/and transformation into other forms. All those processes playing a part in defining the differential gradients of Energy driving climatic events throughout the atmosphere.
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(This post is part of a more complex piece of independent research. I don´t have founding, political agenda or publishing revenues from visits. Any scientist working in disciplines related with the topics that I treat in my blog knows how to judge the contribution that my work could potentially add to the state of knowledge. Since I am in transition looking for a position in research, if you are one of those scientists, by just acknowledging any value you might see from my contribution, would not only make justice to my effort as independent researcher, but ultimately, it will help me to enhance my chances to find a position with resources to further develop my work.
I believe that the hypothesis that I have presented in previous posts in this blog (here,here and here) could help to understand present and possible future scenarios in atmospheric circulation. However, this is an assessment based on observation which needs to be validated throughout open discussion and data gathering. So please feel free to incorporate your thoughts and comments in a constructive manner.
If you feel like sharing this post I would appreciate to have a reference about the place or platform, by private or public message, in order for me to have the opportunity to join the debate and be aware of the repercussion which might generate d.fdezsevilla(at)gmail.com)
For anybody interested in the posts related with this discussion here I leave you those more relevant in chronological order (there are comments bellow some of them. Please check them out):
- New theory proposal to assess possible changes in Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on October 21, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-k3
- Why there is no need for the Polar Vortex to break in order to have a wobbling Jet Stream and polar weather? (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on November 14, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-mt
- Gathering data to make visible the invisible (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on December 22, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-pN
- State of the Polar Vortex. Broken? From 29 Nov 2014 to 5th Jan 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla). Posted on November 29, 2014. http://wp.me/p403AM-o7
- Probability in the atmospheric circulation dictating the Weather (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on January 15, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-rm
- Meteorological Outlook Feb 2015 (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla) Posted on February 7, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-sU
- Revisiting the theory of “Facing a decrease in the differential gradients of energy in atmospheric circulation” by Diego Fdez-Sevilla. Posted on February 10, 2015. http://wp.me/p403AM-to
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Drops of Weather. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 7, 2015
- Steering climate´s course (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)March 27, 2015
- Climate. Looking at the forest for the trees (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 9, 2015
- Matching Features Between Land Surface and Atmospheric Circulation (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)April 23, 2015
- Domesticating Nature. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)May 7, 2015