Is it 1°C higher or not? revisited

Figure 1 (click to enlarge)

In an addendum to yesterdays blog “Is it 1°C higher or not?“, I can now say yes, recent global temperature were 1°C higher than pre-industrial levels for the best part of two years or more, but in the latter part of 2017 monthly temperatures dropped below the magic +1°C, and that’s why the press releases seem to suggest things haven’t changed. In fact they have gone up and crashed back down again in that period.

Perhaps if they had used a more detailed and larger graph of changes in global temperatures in the latest news release that might have helped. And so to clarify what’s actually going on in more detail I decided to create my own graph based on the CRUTEM4 monthly data that you can freely download (fig 1).

I can now also understand why professor Stephen Belcher the Met Office chief scientist is saying that global surface temperature anomalies could reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in the next 5 years. Already monthly values in the last El Niño event in early 2016 got close to 1.5°C (fig 1). He is obviously banking on the current La Niña fizzling out and a return to the strong warming we saw in 2015.

There is a natural seasonality to the monthly values and that’s why I’ve added a 12 month moving average to the graph. That 12 month moving averaged peaked at +1.25°C in early 2016 and by December 2017 it’s fallen back to +1.05°C. The linear trend for the last five years does indicate that there’s been a decadal increase of 0.547°C, which would be enough to take temperatures above 1.5°C, possibly in the next ten years rather than the five suggested by Stephen Belcher.

The west wind doth blow and we shall have snow…

Figure 1

I see that it’s snowing again across parts of Scotland this morning. It was only 10 days or so ago that Tulloch Bridge had 15″ of snow lying, just to see it all washed away, but it’s back again now, and they have a fresh cover of 4 cm (fig 1). The source of the cold air is once again from the west, and in these days of climate change I wonder if it’s time to adjust the old children’s nursery rhyme to reflect which wind direction we are now more likely to get snow from?

Guardian: The BBC apologise for Lawson – but did he just get muddled up?

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the Guardian

There’s no doubt that global surface temperatures have been on the rise. There may have been a slight pause while it caught its breath in 2011 & 2012, but with the help of a record ENSO event in 2015, the linear trend for the last 10 years is almost +0.4°C per decade in the CRUTEM4 series (fig 2).

Figure 2

The American GISS data shows a slightly higher linear trend for the last 10 years of +0.429°C (fig 3).

Figure 3

So Nigel Lawson was wrong big time about global data for the last ten years, he thought the pause had been continuing, and refused to look at the latest temperature data. But was Nigel wrong about temperatures closer to home in the UK during the last 10 years?

Figure 4

Not a great deal of solace for Nigel from the 1910 UKMO gridded data series, the linear trend for the last 10 years is not that dissimilar to the CRUTEM4 of GISS showing warming at the rate of +0.34°C per decade (fig 4). What about the Central England Temperature series.

Figure 5

Even worst than ever with the CET I’m afraid Nigel, the decadal linear trend on the 12 monthly moving mean CET for the last 10 years is above 0.5°C per decade (fig 5). So the simple answer to the question I posed in the title of “did Nigel just get muddled up?” is no, he’s just an idiot, and how he ever got to be the Chancellor of the Exchequer beggars belief. To be fair to him, he should have picked a longer time period than 10 years, because even with long-term temperature series like these there are natural background fluctuations.

*There are a couple of things wrong in the titles of charts that I used for figures 2 & 3, I’ll award special bonus points to those that can spot where I ballsed up.

BBC News: Switzerland landslide: Are the Alps melting?

Figure 1 – Bondo Village courtesy of the BBC & Reuters
Figure 2 – Courtesy of BBC News

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.