BBC News: Switzerland landslide: Are the Alps melting?

Figure 1 – Bondo Village courtesy of the BBC & Reuters

Well are the Alps melting as Imogen Foulkes is proposing in her article? Well with the help of the trusty temperature statistics that lie* behind the CRUTEM4 global land temperature series that I’ve downloaded from the Met Office, I thought that I would investigate. Here are a couple of graphs from near the top of the Säntis mountain in northeast Switzerland at a height of 2,490 M (8,169 feet), where the mean annual temperature is -1.9°C, and there may well be some permafrost if you can find any soil to freeze.

Figure 3

As you can see from the trend of the annual mean temperature things have been on the warm up there since 1864 to the tune of 2°C in 153 years (fig 3). Things get even warmer if you look at the month of August which have warmed by 2.6°C in the same time, the linear trend since 1965 is currently as high as +0.66°C per decade (fig 4), so it’s no wonder that there have been increased occurrences of rock and landslides in recent years.

Figure 4

It would have liked to include the temperature series from the Sphinx Observatory on the Jungfraujoch (WMO #06730) in Switzerland at 3,571 m (11,716 ft), which must have a fine record of temperature data that probably started in 1931, but as far as I can see, and for some reason I can’t fathom, it’s not included in the list of CRUTEM4 sites. It’s certainly not because it’s too high, because there are climate records from mountains as high as 4,700 M in China. Perhaps the price that they charge for the data is just too high for even the Met Office to afford.

* That was a purely unintentional pun on my part, and a completely unforgivable play on words on my part!

High risk of unprecedented rainfall

Figure 1 – England Wales Precipitation (October – March) 1766 – 2016 – data courtesy of the Met Office

Dr Adam Scaife has been at it at the Met Office again, or more correctly I should say that Dr Vikki Thompson the lead author of the report ‘High risk of unprecedented rainfall in the UK in the current climate‘ has. News of her findings are in the latest Met Office blog, in which she says:-

“Our computer simulations provided one hundred times more data than is available from observed records. Our analysis showed that these events could happen at any time and it’s likely we will see record monthly rainfall in one of our UK regions in the next few years”

According to the article:-

“Analysing these simulated events showed there is a 7% risk of record monthly rainfall in south-east England in any given winter. When other regions of England and Wales are also considered this increases to a 34% chance”

I can’t totally agree with her when she says in the included video that:-

“…older records are now no longer so relevant to the current risk because climate has changed over the past century”

My question to her would be – “why do we know climate has changed?” – the answer to that is because we already have existing rainfall data back to 1910, wouldn’t it then be wise to digitise all the rainfall data that the Victorian’s collected from 1859, and just see how unprecedented (and believable) the rainfall events that their new supercomputer has generated?

Sometimes I think that the NWP programmers have taken over the asylum Met Office, rather than the climatologists taking the lead in these investigations, or perhaps they’ve fused together as one being that does both.

They maybe onto a winner with this one though, because a quick look at the “real” (or as close as we are going to get it) gridded England Wales Precipitation from 1766, and the simple linear trend is definitely upwards and wetter by 22.7% in those 250 years (fig 1). If the total rainfall across the October-March period has increased, then you would logically infer that the number of unprecedented months has also increased.

The article goes onto say:-

The authors have named this novel research method the UNSEEN method to emphasize that this analysis anticipates possible events that have just not yet been seen.

I can’t see a link to the report that they are talking about in the blog, so it maybe that they’ve applied the “unseen method” to that, and we are to rely on the infographic (fig 2) for people with really short attention spans like myself.

Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office

So if Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of severe flooding events as many people think, why has rainfall declined, and not increased in the other half of the year? I reckon that April to September precipitation is 13% lower than it was 250 years ago (fig 3). But of course older rainfall records are now no longer as relevant these days, because the climate has changed so much, and we should probably just disregard it.

Figure 4 – England Wales Precipitation (April – September) 1766 – 2016 – data courtesy of the Met Office

Summers in Central England since 1659

Figure 1

It’s quite a number of years since we have had a really warm Summer [JJA]. The last very warm one was the summer of 2006 which ranked #4 warmest in the series (fig 2), and before that summer 2003, which ranked joint third warmest, perhaps we’ve been spoiled in recent years, and are taking it for granted that every summer will end up being warm or very warm.

Figure 2

Summers have become slightly warmer during the last 358 years in Central England (fig 3), but not so much that you would notice. They have crept up by around +0.36°C in that time, which is almost exactly +0.01°C a decade, if global warming is having any effect on summers in Central England then it’s being very slow about it.

Figure 3

Catastrophic climate change

Courtesy of Energy Matters

Interesting blog from Roger Andrews in his Energy Matters blog that you may find of interest. There doesn’t seem away that I can reblog it, so you’ll just have to follow this link. Obviously he may have an axe to grind, but then again these days who doesn’t. I like how he’s listed the main findings of the IPCC, and also his summation.

Latest GISS global temperature data

There are two key graphs central to the debate about climate change, one of them is arguably the primary reason why global temperatures are rising, and that’s a graph of monthly CO2 (fig 1) as recorded at Mauna Loa (I hope they’ve made allowances for any CO2 being vented by the volcano itself). The other is a graph of monthly global temperature anomalies (fig 2), either from the GISS  data series produced by NASA, or maybe from the CRUTEM4 series produced by the Met Office and CRU. The latest GISS values are now in, and the anomaly for March is +1.12°C, which although slightly up on the February figure (+1.10°C), is down on the +1.28°C of March 2016. That drop might be expected, because last year in March the last El Niño event was just starting to wind down.

Figure 2

Depending on the range of the graph, and this one’s for the last 30 years (fig 2), you produce a different slope in the linear trend, but I think a period of 30 years is a fair length to sample, and I make the decadal rate from the GISS series is +0.181°C per decade. If you look at a linear trend for the last 10 years of global temperatures that decadal rise increases markedly to +0.383°C. I will admit now that in some screenshots in my earlier blogs I may have screwed this value up and I apologise, not that any of my readers seemed to notice it, or if they did they never commented, hopefully I’ve now got it right. Here’s a table of the recent monthly values of CRUTEM and GISS that I used to create the graph with (fig 3).

Figure 3

The latest data from Mauna Loa is ever upward it seems, and the first graph (fig 1) clearly shows the annual cyclical nature of CO2, and the obvious fact that CO2 has been rising inexorably by around 5% per decade since 1958, that’s a decadal increase of around 15.3 ppm if I’ve got that linear trend right, but I much prefer the following graph (fig 4) which shows the 12 month rate of change in CO2 levels. As you would expect the 12 month rate of change in CO2 has been increasing over the last almost 60 years and oscillates a fair bit – and yes I know the linear trend is probably not a good idea.

Figure 4

The relationship between volcanoes and Central England Temperature in recent years


Mount Pinatubo June 1991 Courtesy of Wikipedia

Now that I’ve discovered the VEI database from the NCEI, I can now overlay volcanic eruption events on top of the monthly CET anomalies and chart the results. In the above chart (fig 2) I’ve overlaid all the VEI 4 events or greater from 1980, and was surprised to find that there seemed little in the way of correlation between them. The Pinatubo eruption of the 15th of June 1991 for example was the first VEI 6 event since Tambora in 1815 (fig 1), and lifted more than 5 cubic kilometres of material 25 miles straight up into the stratosphere, coincidentally a typhoon that was passing close by to the Philippines at the same time scattered the ash from the volcano to the four winds. I thought the effects of this would have had a dramatic cooling effect on CET in 1992, but not that you would notice. Of course any cooling in a local temperature series may well be masked by other regional and global factors that influence CET that are going on at the same time, global climate is complicated.

Figure 2

Changes to flight paths could reduce aircraft effect on climate

Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

According to this article I’ve read in the Guardian, changing the flight path of aircraft could reduce their effect on climate change.

Global temperatures drop back

Figure 1

The 12 month moving average of Global temperatures has fallen back in the last few months, after climbing quite sharply for the last four years or so. I’ve included a plot of both the CRUTEM4 and GISS monthly series as you can see (fig 1). I like to use a 12 month moving average because it’s a simple way of removing any seasonality, I’ve added a linear trend for both even though it’s probably not correct or in any way scientific. The linear trends are not aligned because the Americans use the 1961-1990 long-term averages to calculate their anomalies, whilst the British in their wisdom still use the 1951-1980 averages. The rate of increase in global warming is higher in the GISS series during the last 50 years at +0.292°C per decade, as opposed to the slightly lower +0.273°C using the CRUTEM4 series. For a bit of fun (yes I am weird), I thought that I would overlay the El Niño events of recent years (reddish vertical bands). I did read somewhere, that there was a strong correlation between global temperatures and ENSO, so I thought that I’d see if there was. Well that does seem to be true in some events, but not all. The 1991-1992 El Niño for instance, although the cooling that did occur then may have been due to the dust released in the Mount Pinatubo eruption at around that time. Talking of volcanic events the next chart (fig 2) is for the last 30 years and shows all volcanic events during that time, although I’ve only include the ones that scored 4 or higher on the VEI scale. You’ll also notice that the linear trend for both series is much lower during the last 30 years than it was in the last 50 years in the first chart. I have written about this before with regard to linear trends and the CET series, it can be misleading and I’m not going to bother to go into it all over again.

Looking hard at the accumulated evidence of climate change – but what about the CCC report?

A new blog from the Met Office about climate change of all things. I just had to comment even though what I say may well be moderated out so here’s the article and the comment I’ve submitted just in case.

The Met Office seemed to have missed a golden opportunity to link this article (which look like it could have been published at anytime), to the much more important event that happened earlier this week: the release of the five yearly report by the Climate Change Committees into the impacts of Climate Change on the UK. Here’s a link to the 24 page report by the CCC so that you can read what they said, and see just why the Government seems so keen not to talk about any of its conclusions or recommendations. I’ve scanned through it, and the one organisation that seemed conspicuous by its absence in the report itself was the Met Office. A quick search revealed that the phrase ‘Met Office’ occurred only once in the 12,500 word document, perhaps that’s why they ignored it, just like the Government seems to have!

Here’s what the Independent predicted would happen just after Christmas 2016.

Figure 2 – Courtesy of the Independent (Sunday, 27 December 2016)

They predicted it would happen and it did happen. I’m not a big newspaper reader but the Independent have picked up on a story that to me is true, admittedly the Trident cover up of the last week is just as big a disgrace, but this one takes the biscuit, because the implications of what it means in the decades down the line are enormous for the people of the UK. Money of course is key, this Government would seem to be much happier spending £100 billion or more on a Trident replacement than spend it on the NHS or the infrastructure of the country. Here’s the follow-up article from the Independent that they published on Monday, the day that the CCC report was officially released and stifled by the Conservatives.

Figure 3 –  Courtesy of The Independent (Monday, 23 January 2016 )

‘What should be pristine white is littered with blue’ – Timo Lieber’s Arctic photography

Courtesy of The Guardian and Timo Lieber

I noticed this article in the Guardian this morning and thought you might like it.

‘What should be pristine white is littered with blue’ – Timo Lieber’s Arctic photography