Delve into Hadcrut at the poles

Posted: August 21, 2011 by tchannon in climate

Figure 1

A previous post was about UAH lower troposphere and polar temperatures, so it is logical to look at Hadcrut3 in the same way.

Oh dear.

To some degree this is not fair, the gridding is 5 instead of the 2.5 degree of satellite, it is also from ground stations, where spatial coverage is dreadful. That though is supposed to be fixed by fancy math… except it cannot be done. (I’ll explain why if anyone really wants boredom)

Never mind, we have what we have and that is the best the authors could do.

Quite what happened during WW1 in the far north is a question.

In a general sense the data has many obvious problems, so once again treat what is purported to be a long record with great caution.


Figure 2

Now lets ignore pre-satellite and see how Hadcrut3 compares with UAH.

I’ve rescaled the Y-axis what was shown previously to the same as the Hadcrut3 plot.

A few features are the same and broadly it is the same for the satellite period. I view this as “it had better jolly well match”.

I’ll now move on to something additional I did not show before.


Figure 3

These agree quite well apart from the obvious such as no data.

A point of interest is around 60S (-60) where the Antarctica circumpolar current and atmospheric equivalent are showing.

Miami EDU

Figure 4, from Miami EDU

A lot of good stuff around the net on CP.


Figure 5

Both datasets are even, meaning there is no zero latitude band, only one either side. Here I have correlated the mean of the two either side of zero, the equator, with each individual latitude.

This means that in an average sense the tropical region is homogenous but there is little commonality as you move towards the poles. Just a lot of noise, weather.

I first looked at this a some time ago, wondering whether heat flow from the equator to poles could be found this way. that work included time lagging the data. As they say, no dice. Might be there if better time resolution was available, but essentially weather noise dominates. It can be seen in the Hovmoller diagrams. (I have shown these elsewhere and RSS show some)

Like this, the sideway U or V shape from eg. El Nino events.

RSS Hovmoller

Figure 6, from SMSI

External image sources are linked, click on images. As usual I wish to thank the authors.

  1. Paul Vaughan says:

    “This means that in an average sense the tropical region is homogenous but there is little commonality as you move towards the poles. Just a lot of noise, weather.”

    This is a misinterpretation.
    (Sorry, I haven’t time to elaborate – working 7 days per week…)

  2. Brian Hall says:

    Who’s Halcrut? Hadcrut’s bashful sibling?

  3. tchannon says:

    Arghh! Chuckle. Thank you.

    (in case anyone else didn’t spot it, the very title of the article contained one huge typo)

  4. RACookPE1978 says:

    The rest of us were very polite, and ignored it … 8<)

    If only about 10% of the total inbound light energy at the poles is absorbed by the ice/snow/sea ice/open ocean, and the rest either passes through the atmosphere, is absorbed in the atmosphere, or is reflected by the clouds … Where does this energy "go" and who measures its "outbound" radiation?

    Assume that a light wave beam that does NOT get absorbed by the earth or water cannot be re-radiated by the earth as the mythological cooler "blackbody" everybody talks about. Since the reflected light wave is still in the "transmission" region of the atmosphere – because t has lost nor gained any energy – how does this affect the "heat balance" ? Can it affect the heat balance – even though the light wave did "hit" the half-disk used by climate science, nobody seems to be counting it. They do count an "average" 30% reflected for the whole disk, but the poles reflect 10 times that percent, and absorb 1/10 that average amount.

  5. Tenuc says:

    Thanks Tim, for another good reminder that all is not well regarding climate science as it is done today.

    The problem with using averaged data on complex dynamic systems like climate is that we lose the signal of how the system is operating and smear out the rapidly changing energy swings.

    The system is not linear, it is governed by spatio-temporal chaos. Global mean temperature is a man-made climate diagnostic which has no meaning regarding how the Earth system uses energy in and ejects energy out. All energy inputs must be considered, not just thermal. The amount of work being done by Earth’s climate system is also largely ignored.

    This leads to the wrong assumptions and misleading conclusions which pervade the ‘science’ of climate.

  6. Paul Vaughan says:


    1) Have you spent much time reading Bob Tisdale’s blog?

    2) Are you familiar with the writings of Tomas Milanovic at Judith Curry’s blog Climate Etc.?

    Glad to see Tenuc now putting an adjective (“spatiotemporal”) in front of “chaos”. That will prevent scuffles on fundamentals.

    Space alone isn’t enough.
    Time alone isn’t enough.

    “Spatial & temporal”
    is ABSOLUTELY NOT the same as

    Claiming that these are the same is as silly as suggesting marginal distributions are collectively the same thing as a joint distribution …and we saw Leif Svalgaard (erroneously) suggest this to a WUWT audience that appears to uncritically (even unthinkingly in some cases) lap up whatever he says even when he is dead wrong, which is at least 5% of the time …and far more often than that when it comes to stats, data exploration, diagnostics, & interpretation.


  7. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Paul Vaughan says:
    August 22, 2011 at 1:54 pm “Spatial & temporal”

    Paul; I know what spatial is as I am an engineer and builder. And I know what temporal is as my wife is a psychic. Just what the heck is a spatiotemporal? Is that where psychics and physics come together? 😎 pg

  8. Tenuc says:

    @PG – Good explanation on this post (and some excellent comments) here:-

    “…The best way to imagin a full spatio-temporal chaos theory is to imagine that there is a different chaotic oscillator like the Lorenz butterfly) at every point of space (so there is an infinity of them) and that they are all coupled strongly with each other in a non linear and time dependent way. I am not saying that there can’t be some simplifications but nobody knows today. The only thing I am reasonably sure of is that there will be no progress in understanding be it via chaos or not as long as people will insist on the crutches of functions/series that are only time dependent…”
    Tomas Milanovic

  9. tchannon says:


    As I have said elsewhere, no, I cannot follow Tisdale’s writing.

    I don’t do Curry either. 🙂

  10. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Tenuc says:
    August 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    So much for my weak attempt at levity.

    Ok, I read the Milanovic post and a few comments, (436 comments is beyond even my abilities)

    “spatiotemporal” appears to me to be another bit of “babble science” to go along with “post normal science” as an excuse for the replacement of real science with philosophy. pg

  11. Paul Vaughan says:

    P.G. Sharrow wrote (August 23, 2011 at 2:17 am)
    ““spatiotemporal” appears to me to be another bit of “babble science””

    Then the discussion cannot advance (…which is exactly what some want, so your perspective will be convenient to them).

    Can you at least acknowledge that a collection of marginal distributions is not equivalent to a joint distribution? If not, anyone with intermediate-level knowledge of stats should be able to help you – or you can just look at a basic math-stats textbook if you prefer independent learning. You will find that the amount of controversy in this area is absolute 0. These are black & white things like yes vs. no and 1+1=2. If we can’t agree here, we have no basis for discussion.

    Best Regards.

  12. vukcevic says:

    spatiotemporal chaos

  13. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Tomas Milanovic:…The best way to imagin a full spatio-temporal chaos theory is to imagine that there is a different chaotic oscillator like the Lorenz butterfly) at every point of space (so there is an infinity of them) and that they are all coupled strongly with each other in a non linear and time dependent way”

    “a different chaotic oscillator, at every point of space (so there is an infinity of them) and they are all coupled strongly with each other” To me this is a contradiction, strongly coupled oscillators can not be in chaos. Weakly coupled maybe.

    see thread below. and my comments,

    To me, spatio-temporal chaos theory, is half right and all wrong.
    Just the opinion of a dirt farmer outstanding in his field 😎 pg

  14. Tenuc says:

    P.G. Sharrow says:
    August 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm
    “see thread below. and my comments,

    …It is naturally in chaos; that is, each unit (quanta) maybe in 3 dimensional motion or spin. Any EMF pulse will change the motion to align with the pulse effecting it. Organization passing through chaos…”

    Great stuff PG, and sounds like a pretty good engineers definition of how spatio-temporal chaos operates at the level of the foundational charge field… 🙂

    Order out of chaos driven by a few simple rules, but seeming to demonstrate infinite complexity due to the possible combinations of process which can be realised in unbounded space and the self similarity present at all scales.

  15. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Some people like complex explanations and contradictory rules that require great mental gymnastics.

    ;-( As a simple minded person I believe GOD operates by simple rules. Just a personal hangup. pg

  16. P.G. Sharrow says:

    DNA works with just 4 letters 😎 pg

  17. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. Sharrow says:
    August 24, 2011 at 5:13 am
    Usually sages are simple minded persons. The others seek for complications where there is none, only for the sake of disguising themselves as sages.

  18. Paul Vaughan says:

    P.G., Nevermind the “theory” Milanovic references.

    The point is that in a turbulent system flows can go together, opposite, etc. It is simple.

    At the global scale the terrestrial system is bounded by solar & lunisolar factors since Earth’s shells wrap on themselves. The point of reading Milanovic is neither to promote nor embrace the abstract algebra he references, but rather to encourage people to think about how this and interannual terrestrial oscillations more generally are blinding people to the SIMPLE observation & implications of LeMouel, Blanter, Shnirman, & Courtillot (2010).

    Perhaps people are completely misunderstanding why I reference Milanovic (and actually getting it exactly backwards).

    Milanovic lucidly brings one absolutely essential point to the climate discussion about regional phase reversals at interannual timescales. I actually disagree with Milanovic that it’s all “chaos”, but people need stimulation on how CORRELATIONS REVERSE when size, shape, & position of flow features change.

    Even if Milanovic is over-the-top-abstract, he succeeds brilliantly in engaging people in thinking exercises that will help them get a handle on the correlation reversals – THAT’S why I reference him. People need to FIRST move in steps they can handle.

    Once people are past this interannual conceptualization bottleneck (i.e. turbulence reversing regional correlations at interannual timescales), they’ll be much closer to actually recognizing lunisolar & solar-terrestrial SIMPLICITY (which has already been pointed out).

    If people don’t get over this interannual (regional-correlation-reversing) bottleneck, they’ll NEVER understand.


  19. P.G. Sharrow says:

    @Paul Vaughan says:
    August 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    I read your comment 6 times, I must be dense! It dawned on me that you feel that the energy in earths systems of atmosphere and ocean may oscillate or reverse on a multi year basis.(i.e. turbulence reversing regional correlations at interannual timescales), ;-p pg

  20. Paul Vaughan says:

    P.G. Sharrow (August 26, 2011 at 6:38 am)
    “[…] energy in earths systems of atmosphere and ocean may oscillate or reverse on a multi year basis”

    I suppose that’s one way to put it.
    Most people just call it ENSO (El Nino / La Nina).

    …but if one looks very carefully (for example via the help of Bob Tisdale as a good starting guide), one finds all kinds of regional exceptions at certain times.

    …which means we’ll see something VERY different from this [ ] using spatiotemporal aliasing/summary schemes other than the specific one Tim has chosen for current highlight here.

    It’s possible to construct multivariate spatiotemporal coupling matrices based on multiscale complex correlation (WITHOUT EVER relying on chaos theory!)

    Thanks for causing me to review my inclination to reference the haystack (“writings of Tomas Milanovic at Dr. Judith Curry’s blog Climate Etc.”) when it’s actually just a few gem needles in that haystack to which I mean to draw attention. Didn’t mean to send people on a potentially seriously misleading “needle in a haystack” chase. (Easy to misunderstand that my interest’s in Milanovic’s blizzards of abstract algebra — quite the contrary!!) Apologies — here’s a cut to the chase …

    Selected Tomas Milanovic comments:

    1. “[…] these oscillators are in reality not causally independent but they are ALL just emergent local manifestations of GLOBAL dynamics of the system.”

    2. “If Tsonis is right in the sense that his observation holds, then ALL climate models without exception are completely wrong.”

    3. “I think that the sought clarification involves a […] very clear understanding of the difference between temporal (e.g Lorenzian) and spatio-temporal chaos. In the mind of most people, there is only “chaos” […] Nothing could be more incomplete than this view. […]”

    4. “Space averaging destroys the spatial correlations. Yet the climate science uses often space averaged variables, sometimes averaged even over the whole Earth. It is believed that there is still some meaningful signal in such space averaged variables despite strong and obvious spatial correlations (air&ocean is much more about waves propagating in space than about statical equilibriums and standing waves). What is the justification of this belief?”

    In summary:
    Climate science has itself tied in a knot by the spatiotemporal version of Simpson’s Paradox. With patience, freedom from the tangled bind is achievable.


  21. tallbloke says:

    “It’s possible to construct multivariate spatiotemporal coupling matrices based on multiscale complex correlation (WITHOUT EVER relying on chaos theory!)”

    Glad to hear it. 🙂

    And thanks for the Milanovic references, I have been impressed by the comments of his I’ve come across, but there is so much traffic at Judy’s blog that it’s easy to miss important stuff while getting drawn into fruitless counterpoint.

    Richard Holle is specializing in the lunar rhythms. I’m concentrating on the Sun, and the planetary rhythms behind its motion and activity. The chaos diminishes, but at the same time re-appears in the smaller eddies of the Earth’s myriad responses to the cosmos swirling around it in the bigger patterns we can make order from.

    The more time we can make to choose to go with the ebb and flow of the climate meanders, the less troubled we are by the vageries of the weather. There is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong choice of clothes. 8)

    I like the slower pace of the talkshop. It brings real learning and teaching opportunities out in a way which isn’t compromised by a hurry to a result.

    Stunning piece of video Vuk. I’ve seen it for real too, always a treat.

  22. Paul Vaughan says:

    Selected excerpts from:

    Spatio-temporal chaos
    by Tomas Milanovic
    Posted on February 10, 2011 by curryja

    “Chaos theory doesn’t apply at all to the problems that bring us here, and here is why. There is something much more complicated and qualitatively radically different from the temporal (Lorenzinan) chaos – the spatio-temporal chaos. There is no established spatio-temporal chaos theory. It is cutting edge and a few people have worked on this only for a few decades. Spatio-temporal chaos deals with the dynamics of SPATIAL PATTERNS.”

    “You can see spatio-temporal chaos if you look at a fast mountain river. There will be vortexes of different sizes at different places at different times. But if you observe patiently, you will notice that there are places where there almost always are vortexes and they almost always have similar sizes – these are the quasi standing waves of the spatio-temporal chaos governing the river. If you perturb the flow, many quasi standing waves may disappear. Or very few. It depends.”

    “Weather and climate are manifestations of spatio temporal chaos […] ENSO is an example of a quasi standing wave of the system. Of course I hope that the reader now knows that ENSO cannot be explained by something depending on time only (like indexes, time series and such) because if it could, we would have classical temporal chaos where space doesn’t matter. We would have solved the problem long times ago. But as ENSO is a pattern resulting of interaction of ALL fields in the system, it vitally depends on how these fields interact in space. That’s why all interpretations of ENSO (and other multidecadal quasi standing waves) are failing – people are using functions (series) that depend on time only which cannot clearly encode all the spatial interactions.”

    “There are a few exceptions like Tsonis. […] And probably only few would understand the importance of both the result and of the paradigm. Of course the climate is […] difficult […] because […] the coupling constants vary with time and the uncoupled dynamics of the individual oscillators are not known.”

    “[…] there will be no progress in understanding be it via chaos or not as long as people will insist on the crutches of functions/series that are only time dependent.”

    “Unfortunately people working on these problems are not interested by the climate science and those working in climate science are not even aware that such questions exist , let alone have adequate training and tools to deal with them. Concerning these paradigm issues, this belongs obviously to the unresolved questions and as far as I am aware, it is only on blogs […] that they are discussed.”

    “There is a fundamental difference both mathematically and physically between temporal chaos and spatio temporal chaos. Judith rightly notes that few of the climate scientists have knowledge about temporal chaos let alone spatio temporal chaos. Even Tsonis and Swanson are not really experts of chaos theory but their paradigm (coupled oscillators) is identical to the spatio temporal chaos paradigm. That is why their work is qualitatively different from the “orthodox” school.”

    ” While it is true that chaos =>unpredictability it is not true that unpredictability => chaos.”

    Milanovic emphasized an important distinction on an earlier Climate Etc. thread:

    “[…] Tsonis is NOT doing chaos theory, he is doing statistics.”

  23. Tenuc says:

    Good stuff, Paul. Until we can get to grips with a proper methodology to cope with complex non-linear systems like weather/climate, little progress will be made. Some good thoughts on this here…

    The Maximum Entropy Production Principle: Its Theoretical Foundations and Applications to the Earth System. – James Dyke & Axel Kleidon, Max-Planck-Institut fur Biogeochemie

    Abstract: “The Maximum Entropy Production (MEP) principle has been remarkably
    successful in producing accurate predictions for non-equilibrium states. We argue that this
    is because the MEP principle is an effective inference procedure that produces the best
    predictions from the available information. Since all Earth system processes are subject
    to the conservation of energy, mass and momentum, we argue that in practical terms
    the MEP principle should be applied to Earth system processes in terms of the already
    established framework of non-equilibrium thermodynamics, with the assumption of local
    thermodynamic equilibrium at the appropriate scales.”

  24. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tenuc: Are you talking about economics? 🙂

  25. P.G. Sharrow says:


    When former drips under pressure try to fix things that ain’t broke, with means based on knowlage that is incorrect, chaos results, pg 😉

  26. tchannon says:

    [msg for GWN from co-mod, wait on release decision from Tallbloke, item is on anon email, unlikely name, looks promotional and similar has appeared on other blogs]

  27. RACookPE1978 says:

    What apparently has not been noticed/commented on is the discrepancy between the above data and Hansen/NASA-GISS claims of a 4 – 5 degree rise in temperatures in the same regions of the Arctic.

    Above, temps have increased 2 degrees (from -1 C to +1 C) … a very significant difference. Higher up, above 70 north, the satellite record agrees with DMI records for 80 north temperatures since 1958: essentially 0.0 change, and with a summertime decrease in temperatures since 1958 from the DMI records. Makes sense, as Arctic sea ice extents decrease, the insulating ability of the ice is lost, heat loss increases, and regional temperatures would be expected to decline. (Above 80 north latitude, there is no difference in albedo between ice and open water for direct radiation. Diffuse radiation, about 1/3 the intensity of direct radiation but coming form above where open water albedo is markedly lower than for sea ice covered regions, is noticeably reduced when clouds are not present and direct radiation the highest; but – when clouds are present and direct radiation the lowest and reflections from clouds the highest, diffuse radiation is the only radiation present.

    Net result? If there are clouds, there is little direct radiation in the high Arctic above 80 north, little reflected energy from the sea ice but only a small amount of diffuse radiation to be absorbed. When there are few or no clouds, there is only direct radiation, little diffuse radiation, and essentially all of the energy actual present at sea level above any surface is reflected back into space.