Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hansen's 1988 predictions - 30 year anniversary.

It is thirty years ago since James Hansen's famous Senate testimony on global warming. This has been marked by posts in Real Climate and WUWT (also here), and also ATTP, Stoat, Tamino. As you might expect, I have been arguing at WUWT.

The more substantive discussion is on the accompanying 1988 prediction paper. This was a remarkable achievement, which used runs of an early GISS GCM to forecast temperatures for the next thirty years. These forecasts are now often checked against observations. I wrote about them here, here and here. Each post had an active plotter which allowed you to superimpose various observation data on Hansen's original model results. It's annual data, to match Hansen's prediction. Since sientists can't know how much carbon society will choose to burn, Hansen analysed three scenarios (A, B and C) which covered the range between no restraint and successful limiting. Arguments then ensue as to which scenario actually happened. At least, that is what people should argue about, although they have a tendency to drift off into "Hansen said..." or even orse "we were told...".

Anyway, I'll leave discussion of that for the moment, and show the interactive plotter. The diagram in the background is Hansen's original plot, which is of anomalies relative to base years 1951-80, and uses GISS Ts as the observed data set (this had recently been published (Hansen and Lebedeff)). I have used that base where possible, else I match the dataset to GISS Ts over 1981-2010 (satellite data). Data is annual to end 2017. Sources are linked here.

To operate, just choose datasets to plot using the radio buttons, and Clear All if you want to start again. You can't erase curves without restart.

In interpreting these, I think weight should be given to GISS Ts, since it is what Hansen had available and used. Later indices incorporating SST rise more slowly. And I have reluctantly included troposphere data, which is definitely not what Hansen was predicting. Properly interpreted, I think the predictions are excellent. But that comes back to deciding which scenario is appropriate. I discussed this extensively here. We have detailed versions of the sequences of gas concentrations that quantified the scenarios, and while CO2 followed scenario B, others were much lower. CH4 and CFCs were below scenario C, so overall a result between B and C is to be expected. And that is what is mostly observed, though GISS Ts is higher.

Update. I have a zipfile online here which has numerical data for both scenario gases and temperature prediction; details here. I used it to calculate trends, in °C/Century, for the 30 years 1988-2017:

Scenario AScenario BScenario C

In that analysis of scenarios, I showed some old plots. Gavin Schmidt, at Real Climate, has shown some updated values, and I'll show his plots. I mentioned that there are two sets of scenario data. One is IMO the original, as I discuss there, but Gavin uses a slightly different set, which I think was digitised from graphs. Anyway, here is the RC plot:

For the CFC plots; scenario C assumed that the Montreal agreements on curbing them, still being negotiated, would be approved and would work. A and B were more sceptical, but C was right. For methane, the concentration not only rose rather slowly, but was revised downward even before 1988.

Overall, in placing the outcome between scenarios B and C, Gavin gives this plot of combined forcings:

What the showing of combined temperature records shows is that Hansen's 1988 prediction is about as good as it could be, because it sits within the scatter of modern records. The difference between GISS Ts and GISS land/ocean is comparable to the difference between GISSlo and scenario B.

As a check on my active plot above, here is RealClimate's rendition of the case for GISS land/ocean with the same scenarios:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

GISS May global down 0.03°C from April.

The GISS land/ocean temperature anomaly fell 0.03°C last month. The May anomaly average was 0.82°C, down slightly from April 0.85°C. The GISS report notes that it is the fourth warmest May in the record. The decline is very like the 0.038°C fall, of TempLS Mesh, although the NCEP/NCAR index declined rather more.

The overall pattern was similar to that in TempLS. Warm in most of N America, and equally warm in Europe, especially around the Baltic. Warm in East Asia, especially Siberia. Antarctica mostly warm. Still a pattern of warm patches along about 40°S.

As usual here, I will compare the GISS and previous TempLS plots below the jump.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

May global surface TempLS down 0.038 °C from April.

The TempLS mesh anomaly (1961-90 base) fell a little, from 0.716°C in April to 0.678°C in May. This is less than the 0.09°C fall in the NCEP/NCAR index, while the satellite TLT indices fell by a similar amount (UAH 0.03°C).

It was very warm in much of N America, except NE Canada (cold), and very warm in Europe. Cold in E Siberia, but warm in East Asia generally. Again a pattern of warm blobs around 40-50 °S, though less marked than in recent months. Quite warm in Antarctica (relatively).

Here is the temperature map. As always, there is a more detailed active sphere map here.

Data from Canada delayed this report by a couple of days. Following my recent post on the timing of data arrival, I kept a note of how the TempLS estimates changed day by day as May data came in. The TempLS report is now first posted when the SST results are available, but I wait until all large countries are in before writing a post about it. Here is the table (Melbourne time):
DateNumber stations (incl SST)Temperature
June 0545160.676
June 0648290.723
June 0752940.709
June 0853720.708
June 0953810.709
June 1054740.678

Canada (late) did have a cooling effect.

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Sunday, June 3, 2018

May NCEP/NCAR global surface anomaly down by 0.09°C from April

In the Moyhu NCEP/NCAR index, the monthly reanalysis anomaly average fell from 0.377°C in April to 0.287°C in May, 2018. This cancels out the last two months of increase, and matches the February average.

It was for once warm in both in North America (except far N) and Europe especially Scandia. Russia was cold in the W, warm in the East. Nothing special at either pole. Probably the main contributor to the drop was a chill in the N Atlantic region, including Greenland. Active map here.

I had thought that the gradual warming might be associated with the decline of La NiƱa. But the changes are small, so shouldn't be over-interpreted. The BoM still says that ENSO is neutral, and likely to stay so for a few months.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

To see the month's GHCN coverage, patience is needed.

I often see on contrarian sites graphs, usually from NOAA, which are supposed to show how sparse is GHCN-M's coverage of land sites, as used by the major US temperature indices. The NOAA monthly reports usually show interpolated plots, but if you go to some legacy sites, you can get a plot like this:

It is a 5x5° grid, but it does look as if there are a lot of empty cells, particularly in Africa. But if you look at the fine print, it says that the map was made April 13. That is still fairly early in the month, but NOAA doesn't update. There is a lot of data still to come. Station coverage isn't ideal, but it isn't that bad.

I took issue with a similar graph from SPPI back in 2010. That was quite a high visibility usage (GISS this time). Fortunately GISS was providing updates, so I could show how using an early plot exaggerated the effect.

The issue of spread out arrival of data affects my posting of monthly TempLS results. I calculate a new monthly average temperature each night, for the current month. I post as soon as I can be reasonably confident, which generally means when the big countries have reported (China, Canada etc). I did comment around January that the temperatures were drifting by up to about 0.04°C after posting. I think that was a run of bad luck, but I have been a little more conservative, with stabler results. Anyway, I thought I should be more scientific about it, so I have been logging the arrival date of station data in GHCN-M.

So I'll show here an animation of the arrival of March 2018 data. The dates are when the station data first appears on the posted GHCN-M file. Click the bottom buttons to step through.

The colors go from red when new to a faded blue. The date is shown lower left.

The behaviour of the US is odd, and I'll look into it. About 500 stations post numbers in the last week of February. I presume these are interim numbers, but my logging didn't record changing values. Then another group of stations report mid April.

Otherwise much as expected. The big countries did mainly report by the 8th. A few medium ones, like South Africa, Mongolia, Iran and Sudan, were quite a lot later. But there is substantial improvement in overall coverage in the six weeks or so after April 1. Some of it is extra stations that arrive after a country's initial submission.

There certainly are parts of the world where more coverage would be useful, but it doesn't help to exaggerate the matter by showing incomplete sets. The good news from the TempLS experience is that, even with an early set, the average does not usually change much as the remaining data arrives. This supports the analysis here, for example, which suggests that far fewer stations, if reasonably distributed, can give a good estimate of the global integral.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Updating the blog index.

I wrote late last year about improving the blog topic index, which is top on the page list, to right. I've now tinkered a bit more. The main aim was to automate updates. This should now work, so the index should always be up to date.

The other, minor improvement was to add a topic called "Complete listing" This does indeed give a listing of all posts, with links, back to the beginning of the blog in 2009. It includes pages, too (at the bottom), so there are currently 751 in the list, organised by date.

Friday, May 25, 2018

New interactive updated temperature plotting.

As part of the Moyhu latest data page, I have maintained a daily updated interactive plotter. I explained briefly the idea of it here. There is a related and more elaborate annual plotter kept as a page here, although I haven't kept that updated.

I think interactive plotting is a powerful Javascript capability. You can move the curves around as you wish - expanding or contracting the scales. You can choose which of a large set of data offerings to show. You can smooth and form regression lines.

But the old version, shown with that old post, looks a bit raw. I found I was using it more for display graphs, so I have cleaned up the presentation, using PrintScreen on my PC, and pasting the result into Paint. I have also simplified the controls. I had been using draggable popup windows, which are elegant, but not so straightforward, and don't make it easy to expand facilities. So I have reverted to an old-fashioned control panel, in which I can now include options such as writing your own headings and y-axis label. There is now also the option of changing the anomaly base, and you can choose any smoothing interval. Here is how it looks, in a working version:

You can choose data by clicking checkboxes on the left. Dragging in the main plot area translates the plots; dragging the pointer under the x-axis changes the time scale, and dragging vertically left of the y-axis changes the y-scale. At bottom left (below the checkboxes), there is a legend, only partly visible. This reflects the colors and choice of data, and you can drag it anywhere. The idea is that you can place it on the plot when you want to capture the screen for later presentation.

The control panel has main rows for choosing the regression, smoothing and anomaly base. When you want to make a choice, first tick the relevant checkbox, and then enter data in the textboxes. Then yo make it work, click the top right run button. The change you make will apply either to all the curves, or just to one nominated on the top row, depending on the radio buttons top left. The nominated curve is by default the last one chosen, but you can vary this with the arrow buttons just left of the run button. However, the anomaly base can only be altered for all, and the color selection only for one.

Choosing regression over a period displays the line, and also the trend, in the legend box, in °C/century units. You can only have one trend line per dataset, but possibly with different periods. If you want to make a trend go away, just enter a date outside the data range (0 will do). You could also deselect and reselect the data.

Smoothing is just moving average, and you enter the period in months. Enter 1 for no smoothing (also the default).

There are two rows where you can enter your own text for the title and y-axis label. Click run to make it take effect. The title can include any HTML, eg bold, text-size etc. You can use heading tags, but that takes up room.

Color lets you choose from the colored squares. A choice takes effect immediately, for the nominated data only.

Generally keep the checkboxes in the control panel unchecked unless you are making a change.

For anomaly base, you can also enter an out of range year to get no anomaly modification at all. The plots are shown each with the suppliers base. I don't really recommend this, and it tends to get confused if you have already varied base choices.

There are two more buttons, on the right of the control panel. One is Trendback. This switches (toggles) to a style which was in the old version, and is described here, for example. It shows the trend from the time on the x-xis to present (last data) in °C/century. In that mode, it won't respond to the regression, smooth, or anomaly base properties. The other button is "Show data". This will make a new window with the numbers graphed on the screen. This can be quite handy for the trendback plots, for example. You can save the window to a file.

Here is how the plot might look if you drag the legend into place: