Open Mind


February 21, 2009 · 71 Comments

A RealClimate reader recently posted this comment:

It is such a simple thing. Go to the NOAA website and download the last 50 years of temperature data from your small local airports. Here in Ellensburg, our winters traditionally hit 20 below zero (8 in 10 years). We barely hit zero this winter. And we have never been below -10 in the last 12 years. The data is there and NONE of you are looking at it! NOT A DAMN ONE OF YOU! Note also that here in Ellensburg at the Bowers Air Field, our data shows one in ten winters to 30 below zero. This since records began in the 30’s. It is so phucking blatant and none of you are looking at it. You people have your head stuck so far in your books you cannot see the real world around you. WE ALREADY HAVE A 20 PLUS DEGREE TEMPERATURE CHANGE IN ELLENSBURG, WASHINGTON. The sumnmer data is the same. For fourty years since the 30’s our highs were in the 80’s and rarely in the 90’s. Last summer, as in the previous ten summers, we have hit over 110! I do not know what else to tell you idiots. The data is right there in front of youand you so called ‘professionals’ have entirely lost all credability for not doing your SIMPLE homework. God forbid.

It elicited these responses from the moderators:

[Response: Please calm down. You’ll find dispassionate analysis far more persuasive here. - gavin]

[Response: 14. Try not to fall into the same trap as many denialists, thinking that things are “obvious” based on this or that set of limited observations. Attribution is very much more a sophisticated and comprehensive business.-Jim]

Indeed it is! And trends are not exactly trivial, either.

For decades, scientists have been studying temperature data from around the world. While it’s possible that none of them has examined Ellensburg, WA in detail, those data are included in the global and regional averages that paint part of the picture of how earth’s climate is changing. But if you know this blog, you know I can’t often resist the opportunity to look at some data. So, away we go.

If got monthly average temperature data for Ellensburg, WA from GISS, and the commenter is correct that there’s been warming there over the years:


It’s easier to see if we magnify the temperature axis and look at the smoothed curve:


However, although there’s been definite warming in Ellensburg, it’s nowhere near the “20 PLUS DEGREE TEMPERATURE CHANGE” which one might believe from the hot-blooded comment.

As for claims about extremes, I didn’t find daily data for Ellensburg. But I did find daily high and low temperature data for nearby Wenatchee, WA. It too shows a warming trend over the years, in its mean temperature and in its max and min temperatures:


However, if Wenatchee is similar to Ellensburg (and they’re only about 30 miles apart), then the claims about the lack of hot weather in the past are mistaken. Counting the number of days which reached 100F or higher shows a possible increase, but it’s not statistically significant:


We do, however, find a significant decrease in the coldest winter days, those which reach temperatures below zero:


So it would appear that winter is warming faster than summer in this region of Washington state. This is confirmed by estimating the semi-amplitude of the annual cycle, i.e., the average difference between summer and winter:


The upshot is that the commenter is correct that temperature has changed noticeably in Ellensburg (and nearby Wenatchee), but some of the extreme conclusions he draws are contradicted by the data. He’s also mistaken about scientists not examining the data: we do that a lot.

I think it’s also a good idea for some people to calm down. And for others to get more agitated. I’m in favor of drastic action. I oppose going ballistic.

On another topic entirely, I’m in an especially busy phase right now (which is why posting has slowed down), and this may persist for about another month. In fact I’ve been asked to review a paper for JGR, and I very much want to contribute that service but I’ll have to think seriously about whether or not I have the time right now. In any case, I’ll try to keep posts coming, including one I’m working on about AIC (a favorite subject of many readers, and one about which I’ve learned a good bit since the subject last came up) and another about the increase in fire damage in the U.S.

Categories: Global Warming

71 responses so far ↓

  • Marion Delgado // February 21, 2009 at 6:24 pm | Reply

    Just do little posts about whatever you’re ruminating on while you’re busy.

  • dhogaza // February 21, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Reply

    Precipitation in Ellensburg is almost identical to Wenatchee. It’s a bit higher and cooler (about 5 degrees lower maximum in July/August) but the winter/summer pattern (quite cold in winter, quite hot in summer, typical of the semi-arid areas of eastern Oregon/Washington) is pretty much the same ‘tween the two.

  • Tenney Naumer // February 21, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Reply

    Real nice one! Thanks!

  • Climate Criminal // February 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Reply

    Tamino, thanks for this informative post.

    I’m afraid this kind of fool who clearly is convinced that scientists are idiots, clearly is so lacking in knowledge, that he fails to recognise his own level of ignorance.

    Dunning-Kruger effect anyone?

  • Steve Bloom // February 21, 2009 at 9:00 pm | Reply

    Tamino, is the GISS data best to use for looking at individual stations given the regional smoothing method used?

    [Response: GISS provides access to both the unadjusted and the adjusted data. In this case, the unadjusted data showed a much larger temperature increase for Ellensburg, so I decided to be conservative and show the adjusted (less warming). In any case, the Wenatchee data aren't from GISS and have no regional smoothing applied.]

  • paulm // February 21, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Reply

    Its this kind of temp data that go me sitting up a few years back for the UK…

  • Tom G // February 21, 2009 at 11:30 pm | Reply

    I think our Ellensburg friend’s cup of frustration runneth over. I tend to believe this person has come to realize what our future will be if nothing is done about AGW, but attacking the people who are actually trying to do something about it is rather counterproductive I should think.
    I can think of some way better targets…George Will or that idiot Senator in Oklahoma for example.
    Exaggeration and abuse of the panic button doesn’t help either…

  • EliRabett // February 22, 2009 at 1:08 am | Reply

    If Eli looks at that chart with the number of days with temperatures below zero, the bunny is struck by two things

    1. Tamino appears to be using Fahrenheit. No ethical scientist uses Fahrenheit

    2. Notice the frequency with which there are winters without ANY days below zero. Think of a chart with the number of years with no super cold days for over the previous ten years. That is going to really show the effect.

  • Hank Roberts // February 22, 2009 at 2:37 am | Reply

    > Fahrenheit

    Likely the benighted weathermen in the hinterlands are still using that scale.

  • saltator // February 22, 2009 at 3:10 am | Reply

    Are not Washington and Oregon particularly sensitive to changes in the PDO?

  • mauri pelto // February 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm | Reply

    There is a PDO sensitivity, and an el nino sensitivity. The coop stations for regions of the United States have a nice set of graphs for temperature and precipititation monthly and seasonally for the area for the last century : the east slope of the cascades is cd-06. This will illustrate that winter warming has not been as pronounced the last couple of years due to a negative pdo and la nina. The summer warming is similar in magnitude to the winter warming even a bit more extensive. Your figure indicates that the number of warmest days as declined in Wenatchee, but not the average.
    and all of the 48 states if you take a step back

  • DrCarbon // February 22, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply


    Thanks for another nice post. If you ever have any interest, I’d love to see a post on either of these topics:

    1. The difference between a significant correlation (at some alpha) and a meaningful correlation. Is an r=~0.14 meaningful even if it is significant (a la the almost possible trend in graph with days > 100F above)

    2. Various ways of penalizing N for assessing the significance correlations with autocorrelated residuals vs approaches of explicitly modeling autocorrelation using methods like GLS (which seems to crop up over at CA quite a bit).

    (3. related to 2: your take on parametric vs estimable functions from a philosophical standpoint!)

    Your blog continues to delight!

  • Timothy Chase // February 23, 2009 at 3:37 am | Reply

    Saltator wrote:

    Are not Washington and Oregon particularly sensitive to changes in the PDO?

    Yes. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation and ENSO (the El Nino Southern Oscillation) are quite similar to one another, but whereas ENSO is strong primarily in the tropics and only secondarily (like an echo — with a smaller local maxima/minima temperature anomaly) in the North Pacific, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is strong primarily in the North Pacific and secondarily in the tropics.

    However, the strongest region during the “warm phase” of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is not warm but actually cold — out in the middle of the North Pacific — with a smaller region along the west coast (Washington and Oregon) which is a warm anomaly of greater local intensity compared to the warm anomaly in the tropics.

    You can see the two compared here:

    Climate Impact Group: Pacific Decadal Oscillation

    There is also the less well known “ENSO Modoki” (or “Mock ENSO,” Pseudo-ENSO) which is strongest in the Indo-Pacific.


    A quick point…

    A little while back Tamino wrote a number of essays on Principle Component Analysis. This mathematical tool is used to study climate modes (”oscillations”), but given its linear nature, necessarily analyzes climate modes into bipolar phenomena. Thus a given oscillation will have warm phases and cold phases, and moreoever, the warm and cold phases will be mirror images of one-another. However, more recently climatologists have been looking into the possibility that climate modes might better be studied by generalizations of PCA, such as Kernel PCA in which this symmetry could be broken.

  • Timothy Chase // February 23, 2009 at 5:36 am | Reply


    Misspelling in my above comment. “Principle” should have been “principal.” Spelling was never my forte’.

  • Eli Rabett // February 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Reply

    Mauri, I have a major problem with the PDO, where is the physical expression of it in terms of currents, upwellings etc. Most of the stuff I have read (and I have NOT read deeply) says, we observe precip/temp patterns which have varied over maybe 1.5 -2 cycles and call it the PDO. Can you help

  • bill // February 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Reply

    where does one get the data on the NOAA website?

  • David B. Benson // February 24, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Reply

    Eli Rabett // February 24, 2009 at 6:04 pm — For the fisheries, the PDO consists of deep ocean upwelling (bad for fisheries) alternating between the Pacfic Northwest and the west coast of Alaska. Fisheries reccords go back about a century now, so the phase shift period of about 20 years seemed to be fairly well established. However, recently the phase shift has been more like 8 years.

    There are tree ring studies suggesting that the PDO has indeed had a quasi-period of around 20 years for over 1400 years (some long lived trees used to grow in the PNW).

  • mauri pelto // February 24, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Reply

    Timothy has it right. The PDO is based on SST anomalies, with the warm phase having warm temps next to the Pac NW and cool temps further west in the central north Pacific. The cool phase having cool temps offshore of the Pac NW and warmer temps further west in the central north Pacific. The index was developed in Salmon studies from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. So that is where I look for advances in understandings its physical underpinnings, which are not well described, it is still symptom based. The following link highlights a key wind component and upwelling feature of the two phases. During the warm phase winter winds blow predominantly from sw off the central Pacific in the coastal region off California. During the cold phase a more northerly component of wind enhances upwelling causing cooler near coastal temperatures.
    also take a look at
    This is only a start to the physical factors of PDO circulation affects. I would caution that I find you need to know ENSO and PDO to forecast glacier mass balance. This was the topic of a paper on forecasting glacier balances published last year. .
    The two climate indices can act in concert on act out of phase, and that is key. You will notice in looking at SST anomalies that la nina and cool phase PDO have a reinforcing temperature signal as do the warm phase and el nino. So I have a question is the reason for the prolonged PDO a period of frequent El Nino’s from 1977-1997 or is the PDO helping to create favorable conditions for el nino’s to prosper. Similarly is the strong current PDO helping the la nina to endure? It is the interactions of the two that will be a key area of understanding to watch for improvement of.

  • mauri pelto // February 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm | Reply

    Sorry for messing up the last paragraph, by leaving out the PDO phases. The two climate indices can act in concert on act out of phase, and that is key. You will notice in looking at SST anomalies that la nina and cool phase PDO have a reinforcing temperature signal as do the warm phase and el nino. So I have a question is the reason for the prolonged warm phase PDO a period of frequent El Nino’s from 1977-1997 or is the warm phase PDO helping to create favorable conditions for el nino’s to prosper. Similarly is the strong current cool phase PDO helping the la nina to endure? It is the interactions of the two that will be a key area of understanding to watch for improvement of.

  • Hank Roberts // February 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    Eli, just speculating, the ocean acoustic tomography work seemed promising a few years ago, one example:

    I wonder how closely connected that work was with the Navy’s sonar submarine projects; coincidence or repurposing?

    “… The time series obtained using the California acoustic source showed a clear annual cycle whose amplitude was similar to that derived from climatology (World Ocean Atlas 94: Levitus et al. 1994; Levitus and Boyer 1994) and from XBTs of opportunity, yet smaller than the amplitude of the annual cycle derived from TOPEX/POSEIDON altimetry (The ATOC Consortium 1998). The time series obtained using the Kauai acoustic source is of similar quality in its ability to measure the thermal variability, but it shows greater variability at 100-day timescales (Figure 2, and Dushaw et al. 2000). Focus of the AT OC research has recently shifted from establishing the integrity of the acoustical measurements (Dushaw et al. 1999; Dushaw 1999; Worcester et al. 1999) to employing the data oceanographically.

    One original and continuing goal of the ATOC program is to use the line-integral data to study patterns of climate variability such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) (Latif and Barnett 1994). In accordance with marine mammal protocols, the acoustic source deployed on Pioneer Seamount ceased transmissions in late 1998 and has now been decommissioned. The second acoustic source located near Kauai, Hawaii stopped transmissions in Fall 1999, and permission is being sought to continue its operation. Provided that the outcome of the environmental review process is favorable, the Kauai acoustic source will transmit for the next 5 years to U.S. SOSUS hydrophone arrays, as well as to other potential receivers. The various time series already obtained at 10 SOSUS receivers during the past few years show that the acoustic data are an accurate measure of the low-frequency, long-wavelength thermal variability….”

    and there’s a way of pulling data out of the undersea cables in place:

  • Thor // February 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Reply

    Regarding the Wenatchee min/max anomaly graph why is Tmax Tmean about half of the time?

    I’m sure there is a simple explanation?

    [Response: These are anomalies, not raw temperatures.]

  • Thor // February 25, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Reply

    Regarding the Wenatchee min/max anomaly graph. Why is Tmax less than Tmin, and Tmin greater than Tmax about half of the time?

    I’m sure there is a simple explanation?

  • Bernie // February 26, 2009 at 2:05 am | Reply

    It is the deviation from the normal or base line, so the minimum nay be running hogher the the normal minimum.

  • paulm // February 26, 2009 at 7:22 am | Reply

    Its all hitting the fan now…

    So america thought that it was going to be able to take a 2C addition in GW in its stride. That it would survive better than less developed states. Its technology would save it. Not so….

    Droughts ‘may lay waste’ to parts of US science/ 2009/ feb/ 26/ drought-us-climate-change

    The world’s pre-eminent climate scientists produced a blunt assessment of the impact of global warming on the US yesterday, warning of droughts that could reduce the American south-west to a wasteland and heatwaves that could make life impossible even in northern cities.
    Sacramento in California, for example, could face heatwaves for up to 100 days a year. “We are close to a threshold in a very large number of American cities where uncomfortable heatwaves make cities uninhabitable,” Field told the Senate’s environment and public works committee.

  • Kipp Alpert // February 26, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Reply

    When the Govenator gets it, it’s time to act.
    This warming has already caused water stress in California.
    The mechanism behind the updated
    projection relates to a global atmospheric
    pattern known as Hadley Cell circulation
    and Melting of Snow Globally, rising hot air
    from the tropics eventually descends
    in the subtropics. *The high pressure of
    the descending air makes it difficult for
    clouds to form. *is helps explain the
    seemingly endless supply of sunny days
    found in subtropical regions like the
    northern Africa, southern Australia and,
    of course, the U.S. Southwest.
    *e area under the Hadley Cell’s descending
    air is projected to widen in
    years to come. As a result, the jet stream
    that transports rain and snow during
    winter and spring is expected to move
    poleward. In theory, the poleward pattern
    could mean El Niño events might
    often fail to bring hoped-for rain and
    snow to the Southwest.

  • Ken Boettger // March 1, 2009 at 5:05 pm | Reply

    So now I am a fool?

    I appreciate your effort here but… my point was the extreme lows and highs. Your analysis here avoids that more appropriate analysis. It is the extremes in temp that will cause us problems.

    The NOAA data at the airports is clear, we hit 30 below zero about once in ten years. Today, we no longer see 10 below. THAT IS A 20 DEGREE CHANGE. Certainly, you have averaged the temps out but you lost the critical data. The surface extremes are what will cause us the most problem for humanity. As I said before, our hights in summer rarely reached 100 degrees. the last several years we have hit over 110. Not 20 degree in extreme but still close to 15 degrees in summer high temps. If it continues as the data suggests it will, the question is when will the EXTREME one day highs hit above 130… in which case mitochondria die and the crop production (and likely habitability) of this region will come to an end.

    Finally, as I posted later on real climate. This is NOT limited to Ellensburg, The warming has occured throughout the western states as evident from the seed/USDA zone maps for seeds put out by the Arbor Day Foundation. It is not just Ellensburg. The maps show warming in Seattle, Portland, Spokane, and over 50 percent of the California, Oregon and Washington region.

    I have had my say. I will say no more. God forbid what is coming.

    [Response: Where are these data? The data for Wenatchee certainly don't show "30 below zero about once in ten years" -- they indicate that Wenatchee has never hit 30 below, or even 20 below, the lowest min temperature in the data set (from 1931 through 2005) is 19 below. As for "rarely reached 100 degrees," that ain't so either -- in 1970, Wenatchee had 17 days reaching 100 deg. or more, the most on record in a single year.

    And who appointed you the arbiter of "The surface extremes are what will cause us the most problem for humanity"? That's certainly part of the picture, but by no means the only part. And even when it comes to the surface extremes, the data I've seen, recorded only 30 miles from Ellensburg, call you a liar.

    So: either provide a link to actual data to support you claims, or at least be true to your own "threat" and shut the hell up.]

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm | Reply

    Hm, Ken made the same “say no more” post at RC.
    I’ve been looking. As I posted in the RC thread:

    Ellensburg, WA Weather Facts
    * The highest recorded temperature was 110°F in 1928.
    * The lowest recorded temperature was -31°F in 1919.

    That’s from

    Anyone got a link to the weather station record, to check that?

    I haven’t found the data he says he remembers seeing. Anyone?

  • Hank Roberts // March 1, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Reply

    Hm, maybe this is the problem?

    The changeover from liquid-in-glass thermometers is mentioned as one adjustment and they say “The adjustment factors are most appropriate for use when time series of states or larger areas are required. Specific details on the procedures used are given in, “Effects of Recent Thermometer Changes in the Cooperative Network” by Quayle, Easterling, et al. 1991, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 72:1718-1724. ”

    So we really need to know exactly what data set someone’s looking at to figure this out. Too bad.
    Maybe he’ll come back and give an actual link.

  • Ray Ladbury // March 2, 2009 at 12:57 am | Reply

    Ken Boettger, Fool? No. Perish the thought. A crank maybe. Monomaniac? Quite possibly. I would suggest that in questions of attribution, we have to look at whether the expected characteristics of the cause we propose are reflected in the evidence. Climate is inherently a long-term trend, so individual high and low temperatures are not particularly of interest.
    As to your assertion that it is the extremes of temperature that will cause us problems, do you have evidence to back that up, or is that just “common sense”?

  • Hank Roberts // March 2, 2009 at 6:59 am | Reply

    I think we know the extremes will cause problems.
    Although as Barry Brook points out there, extremes have occurred in the past (and that seems true of Ellensburg too as near as I’ve been able to find data). What matters more often is how frequently the extremes occur.

    “… This also included the hottest night ever recorded in South Australia, when around midnight on 29th Jan, it dropped to a minimum of 33.9C. For the last 5 days the temperature has not dropped below 25.9C at night. The run of 6 days above 40C equals the record from 101 years ago…. ”

    Insurance companies have talked about “hundred-year” event as though we knew the frequency of such from the past record — but from what I’ve learned from Tamino, here, figuring out how often something happens is as demanding on the statistician as figuring out a trend, and likely requires many years of data.

    I recall places that have had several “hundred-year” floods in my lifetime. Haven’t seen any papers on that question. Likely the insurance companies’ work is confidential for competitive advantage.

  • mauri pelto // March 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    The two sites where I get data for this region are specifically for Ellensburg
    Still need to select Ellensburg. The first site has average max and mins for each month. The second site has the extreme max or min for each month. Having worked in the watershed on glaciers above Ellensburg for the last 25 years, the most worrisome change is the forest blight striking the evergreens. the picture at the head of this article is in the Ellensburg watershed.

  • naught101 // March 3, 2009 at 2:35 am | Reply

    *naught101 grin wryly, and shakes head at tamino’s response to Ken Boettger.

    Ken, one thing you have to realise is that Fahrenheit sucks. For absolute temperature records in America, people will understand you, and so will we outsiders, after a bit of puzzlement (and I assume that’s why Tamino didn’t correct you). But when you’re talking about relative temperatures, and trends in global temperatures, EVERY scientist uses celcius. This is probably one reason you get shot down - 20DegF sounds wacky, when the IPCC says that temperatures are only likely to change by between 1 and 6DegC. Higher-end predictions for the end of the century sometimes predict +10DegC, which is approaching your 20DegF.

    Obviously none of those temps are relevant to observed trends over the last century or so…

  • caerbannog // March 5, 2009 at 1:46 am | Reply

    Off-topic, but might be of interest.

    Keep an eye out for a brewing kerfuffle regarding tropospheric water-vapor trends.

    A paper has just been published that purports to show that specific humidity in the mid/upper-troposphere has been declining (thereby minimizing positive water-vapor feedback). Climateaudit is all over it (mainly focusing a very unkind remark made by one reviewer).

    Details here:

    Looks like it could be right up Tamino’s alley (should he decide that he wants to burn up yet more of his spare time chasing climateaudit geese).

  • Tim L // March 5, 2009 at 7:42 am | Reply

    Tamino, will you be doing another graph on the snow freeze and thaw adding 08/09 season?
    Tx for your reply!

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm | Reply

    caerbannog, LOL! Yeah, that reviewer’s remark was totally out of line, as cynical as they get, and spot-on.

  • Deech56 // March 6, 2009 at 10:49 am | Reply

    RE caerbannog // March 5, 2009 at 1:46 am :

    Not wanting to read the comments, I wonder what the other reviewers wrote. I also wonder what the actual criticisms of the paper were.

    Having been through the process myself as well, I know an editor can instruct the authors to address only some of the comments by a given reviewer, and he or she has a fair amount of discretion regarding acceptance and editing.

  • Gavin's Pussycat // March 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Reply

    Deech56, there is one Ryan Maue who apparently knows what he’s talking about, who asserts that the NCEP Reanalysis product used by this paper “suffer[s] from horrible model bias and inhomogeneities related to the evolving observing system, mainly the inclusion of new satellite retrievals. Reanalysis datasets are not acceptable for this reason (among many others) to deduce long term trends in climate, especially upper-troposphere humidity prior to the satellite era.”

    I’ll take his word for it… remember that radiosondes are not proper weather stations. They are milk cartons dangling from a string in mid-air. Hi-tech milk cartons, but anyway…

  • Deech56 // March 6, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Reply

    GP - thank you for pointing out the criticism to me. It would be interesting to see if the reviewers picked up on this. I should probably head over there.

    Does anyone take photographs of these radiosondes as they rise through the sky? Who knows - they might get close to jet exhaust or flying toasters.

  • adder // March 6, 2009 at 7:54 pm | Reply

    A toaster attached to a radiosonde might be a good technological solution - their problem is icing. To be fair, I don’t know if that affects the records though, I would think it’s quite easy to screen out the bad data.

  • cce // March 6, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Reply

    Re: the CA radiosonde/humidity post.

    The name of that post is called “A peek behind the Curtain” and reports of “loaded dice in the climate game” where it is alleged that science that doesn’t support the AGW party line is being witheld.

    When Andrew Dessler refers to such talk as a “conspiracy,” McIntyre reponds thusly: “You invent an allegation of ‘conspiracy’ (where none was alleged) and then say that none existed.”

    Apparently, journal editors and reviewers are too busy secretly manipulating the science to take part in a conspiracy.

  • chriscolose // March 7, 2009 at 1:57 am | Reply

    For others,

    I have already made remarks as well about the humidity issue posted by Watts and McIntyre


  • Hank Roberts // March 9, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Reply

    So, did anyone ever find where the original guy got his numbers? I looked a while and gave up.

  • captdallas2 // March 10, 2009 at 1:19 am | Reply


    A while back I mentioned that using the Lean 2000 TSI proxy to prove anything was ludicrous. You said it was “Plausible” . Not with standing any other blogosphere happenings , why is plausible acceptable in some cases and dismissed in others? Incorrect is and will always be incorrect. I challenge you a Solar TSI evaluation. Are you up to it or do you want to wimp out?

    [Response: I'm not interested in a contest, I'm interested in reality. If you have evidence or argument that the Lean 2000 reconstruction is implausible, present it. Avoid voodoo science and ad hominem. As for "correct," I suspect we agree on this: nobody knows for sure what TSI was before the advent of direct measurements. In fact, nobody knows for sure even since direct measurements; PMOD and ACRIM reductions of satellite data are not in perfect agreement. I also reiterate the maxim: all models are wrong; some models are useful.]

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2009 at 2:59 am | Reply

    The challenge is to get _published_.

  • captdallas2 // March 10, 2009 at 10:45 am | Reply

    I agree completely, except for the contest which could be interesting. There are other TSI recons that are just as plausible and are in better agreement. L2000 is still the most cited and continues to be because it is well cited. The “well cited” mantra is a reasoning trap that limits growth in understanding when “nobody knows for sure.”

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 10, 2009 at 10:47 am | Reply

    captdallas writes:

    I challenge you a Solar TSI evaluation.

    Do you mean an analysis of the various reconstructions (Lean, Wang and Lean, Frohlich, Svalgaard, etc.), or an analysis of TSI effect on climate? If the latter, I’ve done it and there’s no significant effect, whichever reconstruction I use.

  • Hank Roberts // March 10, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Reply

    et al. and Lean, 2005, for example

  • captdallas2 // March 10, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Reply

    Barton Paul Levenson,

    “I’ve done it and there’s no significant effect, whichever reconstruction I use.” L 2000 shows a much more significant Mauder and Dalton TSI influence on climate. The others I agree, 0.2 degrees is probably the maximum solar influence. I would be interested in seeing how there is no significant difference between Svalgard and Lean 2000 in your results

  • captdallas2 // March 10, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Reply

    Hank Roberts,

    Exactly, I have no ax to grind with Dr. Judith Lean. She has done some remarkable work. However, when she fine tunes her own results, regardless of the lead author, those should be referenced.

  • Hank Roberts // March 11, 2009 at 12:17 am | Reply

    > when she fine tunes her own results, regardless
    > of the lead author, those should be referenced.

    I have no idea what you’re talking about, sorry.

    Citations always welcome if you have a journal article in mind.

  • captdallas2 // March 11, 2009 at 2:10 am | Reply

    You cited Wang, Lean et al 2005 and have no idea what I am talking about? Curious?

  • captdallas2 // March 11, 2009 at 2:49 am | Reply

    Hank here is a link I am sure you have visited.
    Look at line 770 TSI reconstructions. There is a significant difference between Lean 2000 and Wang 2005. Lean coauthored Wang 2005. Pardon my redundancy, but I am not particularly sure why you didn’t understand my comment on your citation. Did you submit the Wang 2005 link to prove I am some kind of idiot without understanding what you cited? Inquiring minds would like to know.

  • cce // March 11, 2009 at 3:41 am | Reply

    I believe that Lean has said that her 2000 reconstruction shows too much variation.

    FWIW, Lean & Rind 2008 calculate that solar influences are responsible for 0.007 degrees per decade of warming between 1889 and 2006. They find that the solar cycle is responsible for 0.1 degrees, or half of Camp & Tung.

  • pough // March 11, 2009 at 6:29 am | Reply

    Pardon my redundancy, but I am not particularly sure why you didn’t understand my comment on your citation.

    I’m not sure why Hank didn’t understand, but after a few minutes spent trying to parse it, I’ve given up. It seems vague and confused, to me. The start sounds like a bizarre accusation of having done something right, veers of into an aside that probably means something very different than what it’s saying - but I don’t know what, then starts up again with a pronoun-antecedent issue and ends with something to do with references, but references of what and where and why, I can’t tell from the sentence.

    In all honesty, it’s one of the strangest sentences I’ve ever seen. I’m tempted to reply to it with the famous, “I have no idea what you’re talking about… so here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head” picture. Hank’s got far more patience than I ever will.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 11, 2009 at 11:52 am | Reply


    I regressed NASA GISS global land-surface temperature anomalies for 1880-2007 on ln CO2, DVI, and TSI. Whether I used Lean 2000 or Svalgaard 2008 for TSI, the result was that the TSI term was statistically insignificant. (Svalgaard’s was a little better, at t ~ 1.4, but still below the useful threshold.) If I could somehow run the regression for 1600-2007 I’m sure I would find a larger solar influence, but for the 128 years in question there’s no significant effect.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 11, 2009 at 11:53 am | Reply


    Your blog is eating all my responses today. What gives?

    [Response: I don't know why it's sending you to the spam filter, but all your messages appeared there. They don't disappear, they just seem to.]

  • David B. Benson // March 11, 2009 at 8:50 pm | Reply

    Barton Paul Levenson // March 11, 2009 at 11:52 am — DVI?

    [Response: Dust Veil Index.]

  • captdallas2 // March 11, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Reply

    CCE, thanks for the link, that sounds about right to me I will check out the link.

    BPL, Why are you sure you will find a stronger solar influence? Climate is not that simple. It is nearly as chaotic as weather. Are you looking for something you want to find or something to be found?

  • captdallas2 // March 11, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Reply

    CCE, after a cursory read on the lean 2008 paper conclusions based on TSI variation, ENSO and AGW alone without considering other natural climate oscillations is overly simplistic and tends to over weight AGW. Decadal and multi-decadal oscillations should also be considered.

    I will give it a more detailed read after a few cocktails.

  • dhogaza // March 12, 2009 at 5:02 am | Reply

    I will give it a more detailed read after a few cocktails.

    You and TCO should start your own blog …

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 12, 2009 at 10:59 am | Reply

    captdallas — I wasn’t “hoping to find” anything. I assumed that the Solar influence might show up more greatly with a 400-year regression because it would include the Maunder and Dalton minima, and because it would be a greatly increased sample size. I could be wrong. What I don’t have is a temperature record that extends that far back, so I can’t do the regression in any case.

  • Ray Ladbury // March 12, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Reply

    captdallas2 says “I will give it a more detailed read after a few cocktails.”

    Ah! I think I see your problem.

  • Sekerob // March 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm | Reply

    Ray, it it tremens?

  • David B. Benson // March 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Reply

    Tamino — Somehow my computer just decided to submit the incomplete comment above. Kindly delete it. Here is the completed comment.

    Barton Paul Levenson // March 12, 2009 at 10:59 am — GISP2 extends that far back, but stops in 1857 CE. Having analyzed this record quite throughly, the temperature anomalies seem to correlate fairly well with other long North Atlantic historical records, Greenland weather stations and CET. So if the is any dectable TSI influence, you’ll find it in the GISP2 data (which does show the LIA).

    I’ll predict your regression method will show no significant corellation.

  • Hank Roberts // March 12, 2009 at 7:40 pm | Reply

    LISIRD: Where to go for Solar Irradiance Data
    2008 Fall Meeting Eos Trans. AGU,
    89(53), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract IN12A-08

  • captdallas2 // March 12, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    BPL, Good I hoped that was a slip. The Mauder and Dalton should not show anything unusual with respect to TSI. There are other factors couple with the slightly reduced TSI that are significant, but TSI alone is not looking that sexy. We are experiencing a unique to modern telemetry event that may shed more light on things. But, you have to put everything in context to divine the possible truth.

  • captdallas2 // March 12, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Reply

    Ray Ladbury,
    We all need our muse. Reading some papers sober is a strain. Right now I am attempting Lagodon rhomboiedes, can’t find the author’s name. Ah, the life and sexual times of common bait fish. Absolutely riveting! Almost as riveting as studies that have an error rate greater than 50%

  • captdallas2 // March 12, 2009 at 11:47 pm | Reply

    Back to the Lean 2008. I would love to hook her up with A.A. Tsonis. Tsonis does some neat stuff with chaotic situations. Anastasios’
    math freaks me out. He is impressive.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 13, 2009 at 9:02 am | Reply


    Where can I find the GISP2 table(s)?

    [Response: Do you mean this?]

  • David B. Benson // March 13, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply

    Barton Paul Levenson // March 13, 2009 at 9:02 am — Start from the NOAA Paleoclimatology web page and work down to the GISP2 temperature data done by Richard Alley. It’ll come up on your browser and then you can copy the part you want.

    Or anyway, I pulled up the entire Holocene into my own file that way.

  • Barton Paul Levenson // March 14, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Reply



Leave a Comment