Doug Proctor: The Trouble with Global warming is it’s Regional

Posted: January 27, 2014 by tallbloke in Analysis, climate, Clouds, data, general circulation, Natural Variation, Ocean dynamics

Guest Post By Doug Proctor.

What sparked my post is  Bob Tisdale’s graphs of global temperature anomalies AND a graph that split the anomalies into Northern and Southern Hemispheres. A clear example of a computational result that misleads: the Northern Hemisphere has been warming while the Southern Hemisphere has been cooling. Not global, regional.

Plot by Bob Tisdale

What does it tell us about, in this case, “global” warming when the temperatures of inland areas correlate well to cloud cover while the coast does not, with a mentioned “protection” from sea winds? It tells us the “global” (in this case the inland + coastal area) will have a temperature rise in its combined data while only the inland area did. And it also tells us that there is no “global” cause: it is the regional cloud cover and lack of cooling seawind that is responsible. Computational, yes, representational, no.

Between 1970 and about 1973 the CO2 stabilized, and between 1989 and about 1993 it moderated. I’ll bet these variations from the trend are correlated to oceanic temperatures in specific western Pacific-Indian Ocean areas. Along with determining the areas that are responsible for the annual variations, we might be able to determine how much CO2 is coming from what specific area of the planet. Every piece that is NOT A-CO2 is a reduction in CAGW computational unreality.

I find the regionalism very disturbing, but not as disturbing as the Computational-Representational problem. The Hockey Stick is a fundamental concept of financed climate change programs, but (as pointed out repeated in the skeptic blogs) the blade portion is a function of an outlier of one or two Yamal tree ring datasets and a biased computational program. The conclusion that representationally the Urals were NOT warming as per the combined tree chronologies show has been lost because the mathematics is correct.

I do not doubt that CO2 causes warmer surface temperatures. But the regionalism that is everywhere in the datasets corrupts the representational aspect of observational analysis and conclusion-making. Even the recent argument that the world is still warming if you add in the Arctic data that is not being collected: the implication that the Arctic, not the world, is warming somehow has failed to be noted.

We are seeing, IMHO, a large artifact in the pseudo-scientific, politicized description of climate change. The world is a huge heat redistribution machine that does not redistribute it perfectly globally either geographically or temporally. Trenberth looks for his “missing heat” because he cannot accept philosophically that the world is not a smoothly functioning object without occasional tremors, vibrations or glitches. The heat HAS to be hidden because otherwise he would see a planet with an energy imbalance (greater than he can philosophically, again) accept.

We, all of us, accept natural variations. Sometimes things go up, sometimes they go down, without us being able to predict the shifts because the interaction of myriad forces is greater than our data collection ability and interpretive techniques. But the variations we in the consensus public and scientific world are short-term. Even the claim that the post-1998 period of pause is a portion of natural variation is a stretch for the IPPC crowd: the world is supposed to be a smoothly functioning machine within a time period of five years, to gauge by the claims for the 1975-1998 period. The idea that the heat redistribution systems of the world fiddle about significantly on the 30-year period is only being posited currently as a way out of accepting flaws in the CAGW narrative.

The world is not, again in my estimation, a smoothly functioning machine. There are things that happen HERE and not all over the place. When the winds don’t blow and the skies are clear in central Australia temperatures rise to “record” levels: is this an Australian phenomenon or a global phenomenon? Only an idiot-ideologue would cling to the position that it is a global phenomenon, however, when those regional temperatures are added into the other records, there is a (possibly) blip in the global record. Thus “global” comes out and is affirmed by a regional situation (substitute “Arctic” for “central Australia” and you’ll hear claims you recognize).

I do not disagree that the sun also has a large part in the post 1850 warming, nor especially in the post 1975 warming. I agree that more CO2 has some effect. But when Antarctica ices over while the Arctic melts, I consider likely that unequal heat redistribution is also a phenomenon that has lead to the appearance of a “global” warming.

We are facing a serious error in procedure and belief with respect to the CAGW debacle. The smart minds have told us that the bigger the dataset the better the end result. I hold this to be a falsehood that comes from an ill-considered view of what drives data regionally and how outliers and subsets can be deferentially determined from the greater dataset. Computational reality is not necessarily, and, in the global warming situation, not actually the same as Representational reality. Just because your equations give you answer does not mean that the answer reflects what the situation is in the world

  1. Stephen Richards says:

    A clear example of a computational result that misleads: the Northern Hemisphere has been warming while the Southern Hemisphere has been cooling.

    Not by Bob’s graph shown here. They are both cooling (it appears to me since 2004) however the NH starts at a higher temp. Otherwise I’m sure you are right. The planet is not an homogenous lump.

  2. The Southern Hemisphere leads in terms of global temperature trend because of the dominance of the oceans.

    The regional distribution of changes within the global trend is then a result of latitudinally shifting climate zones and jet stream tracks.

    The sun shifts the zones and jets initially but with a modulating effect from the oceans.

    Since global cloudiness is then affected the background temperature trend follows the cloudiness trend.

    Less clouds = warmer because more solar energy enters the oceans.

    More clouds = cooler because less solar energy enters the oceans.

    Note, though, that less clouds also means more radiation out from the surface and more clouds means less radiation out from the surface so the latitudinal shifting is both a cause of the temperature change AND the negative system response.

    The precise positioning moves so as to adjust the balance between the warming effect and the cooling effect of the cloudiness change and thereby keeps overall radiative balance with space as long as top of atmosphere TSI does not change significantly.

  3. ren says:

    In North Dakota, now is the weather like in Antarctica, -30 degrees C, and hurricane winds.

  4. DS says:

    It is much more then just those regional splits.

    Case in point, take the US temps and calculate these two graphs
    1930-1998 Annual
    1999-Today Annual

    That starts in what is supposedly the year the world topped 300ppm (1930.) You will notice for the first 69 years of 300+ppm CO2 levels the US saw -0.01/Decade of “warming,” then has seen -0.21/Decade since. The absolute only real “warming” the US has seen came during the 1998 Super El Nino, temperatures that stuck around but are currently going away.

    And the UK is hardly that different, either. If you take a look at their temps, you see this

    They were relatively flat (going back and forth from baseline) from the same 1930 till roughly 1985, when they saw a spike upward. In the early 2000s though, all of a sudden the temps started drastically dropping back down. In the next year or two they will be right back to where they have been fluctuating back and forth from since at least 1780. “Warming” in their case is a few bumps (5 of which were roughly a full degree) but otherwise constantly ending up at the same exact baseline for the past 230+ years.

    In the two locations that have measured temperatures the best, there has hardly even been anything close to resembling “Global Warming” – and that really takes “regional” to pretty extreme levels if you ask me.

    Plus there is always Tisdales Challenge

    Never has been anything “Global” about this so-called catastrophic warming.

  5. A C Osborn says:

    One question that I have in Computing World Ocean Temperatures, as acn be seen from Bob’s work each sea/ocean has a different temperature.
    How do they get the “Global” sea temperature, do they just “Average” them.
    My concern is the Volume and Area of the seas/oceans in question, if a small sea has a high temperature it represents much less “Energy” than the largest Ocean with the same Temperature.
    So If a small sea has a Temp but the a large ocean has a lower temp how could you possibly “Average” them without taking in to consideration at least the Area, but maybe also the Volume of water involved?

  6. Doug Proctor says:

    If you throw in the combined NH-SH temp plots, you see the net effect is more of a warming than a cooling. Again, the combined effect does not lead to the same implication/conclusion as the split does.

    If we were to take the Northern Hemisphere land+sea temp profile, and then another removing the Arctic, I wonder if we would be further down the rabbit hole of regionalism. Of course I understand the models say the Arctic should heat at twice the rate of (an equivalent area?) elsewhere, but if we were to see that “global” warming was really a reflection of Arctic warming – like the Yamal tree situation – then it would be reasonable to ask if the models are just back-engineered curve-matching, without predictive ability. Which the post-1988 experience would seem to suggest.

  7. DS says:


    “If we were to take the Northern Hemisphere land+sea temp profile, and then another removing the Arctic, I wonder if we would be further down the rabbit hole of regionalism”

    That is what the Troposphere is showing

    Click trend and you will see it is the Arctic which is warming at extreme rates, while the rest of the Troposphere is largely neutral to only very slight warming

    Further, you can see that of Tropospheres warming in the Southern Hemisphere, ALL of it has come between the 0 and -45 Parallels, while similarly the vast majority (about 67%) of the Northern Hem warming happened above about the 40th Parallel, with most all of that even coming above roughly the 60th Parallel.

  8. Dan Pangburn says:

    Two primary drivers of average GLOBAL temperatures explain the reported up and down measurements since before 1900 with 90% accuracy and provide credible estimates back to 1610.

    CO2 change is NOT one of the drivers.

    The drivers are given at which includes eye opening graphs and a plethora of links and sub-links to credible data sources.

  9. tallbloke says:

    DS: Interesting to contrast the Dec and Jan anomalies in the Antarctic.

  10. tallbloke says:

    Hey Dan: Nicely laid out work you’ve linked. We found the same thing. integral of SSN departing from ocean equilibrium equivalent of around 40SSN plus the AMO/PDO.

  11. dscott says:

    Various graphs similar to Figure 2-3 have been pointed out by me over the years that AGW is merely a specious mathematical result by the use of averages. The SH has shown little if any warming at all over the last 100 years. The only reason why the GAT showed any warming from 1980 to present was sheerly one of NH temps being averaged in with the SH to come up with a faulty result. You can’t have AGW if only one hemisphere is warming. This would be like averaging in the data from a sine wave and another data set forming a straight horizontal line, then claiming the average of the two data sets is a sine wave. It would be a meaningless result because of the incompatibility of the data sets. This combining of apples and oranges also holds true for the (North) Western Hemisphere versus the (North) Eastern Hemisphere. It isn’t global warming, it’s North Eastern Hemispheric Warming. Most of that warming can be written off to land use changes.

    The fact that the SH is water (apples) dominated versus the NH, a land (oranges) dominated hemisphere has been used as an excuse by AGW people to discount their manipulation of the data output. IF CO2 were the driver of the climate and the Water Vapor in the air was sensitive to it as claimed then in fact one would expect the SH to have greatly enhanced warming not attenuated results.