Revised UAH Global Temperature Update for June 2015: +0.33 deg. C.

July 6th, 2015

We discovered there were several days during June when communication problems prevented the transfer of some of the raw satellite data to our computer. This is an update of the June 2015 numbers with the missing satellite data included.

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2015 is +0.33 deg. C, up somewhat from the May, 2015 value of +0.27 deg. C (click for full size version):

UAH_LT_1979_thru_June_2015_v6

The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 6 months are:

YR MO GLOBE NH SH TROPICS
2015 1 +0.26 +0.38 +0.14 +0.12
2015 2 +0.16 +0.26 +0.05 -0.07
2015 3 +0.14 +0.23 +0.05 +0.02
2015 4 +0.06 +0.15 -0.02 +0.07
2015 5 +0.27 +0.33 +0.21 +0.27
2015 6 +0.33 +0.40 +0.26 +0.46

Notice the strong warming in the tropics over the last 2 months, consistent with the strengthening El Nino in the Pacific.

The global image for June, 2015 should be available in the next several days here.

The new Version 6 files, which should be updated soon, are located here:

Lower Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tlt
Mid-Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tmt
Tropopause: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/ttp
Lower Stratosphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tls

The Greek Tragedy: Will We Heed the Warning?

July 3rd, 2015

Caution: For those who think I should stick to science, turn your eyes away now.

When my daughter studied in Greece several year ago, one of the first things she told me when she got there (and easily the most memorable) was “Dad, these people don’t know how to make money”.

Greeks, along with so many others in the world, have been fooled by the notion that prosperity can be achieved with a minimum of work. By “work” I mean as many people as possible, doing useful things for each other, as efficiently as possible.
2010-05-21-digest-cartoon-2
No monetary policy or economic stimulus can supplant this basic truth. It is a necessary, but possibly not sufficient, requirement for prosperity. The role of government in this fundamentally private sector-driven process is to make sure people play fair, and then get out of the way.

When government bureaucrats become the ones who decide which goods and services are the most important, or what those should cost, or just how much of that wealth they will siphon off to give to those who don’t work, prosperity for a nation as a whole suffers.

I’ve long wondered how people can be fooled into believing work can be avoided, and the most central misconception I keep coming back to is this: If a person believes the same amount of stuff is going to be made anyway, then the only argument left is who gets how much, and the goal of an equitable distribution of wealth becomes central.

But one only need look around the world to see that wealth generation varies widely. It’s not even related to how many natural resources a country has, otherwise Japan would never have prospered and Russia should be one of the most prosperous countries on Earth. Haiti would be just as prosperous as Hong Kong.

The “constant pie” mindset was revealed by President Obama in his speech yesterday at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, when he said, “Being an American is not about taking as much as you can from your neighbor before they take as much as they can from you.”

Obama has mastered the art of presenting platitudes that sound on the surface like he’s a free market guy, but his policies end up not encouraging the generation of wealth, but instead redistributing wealth from the dwindling few who still generate it.

Since we do not teach basic economics to our children, this kind of message becomes seductive to the masses. It is an old message, historically, and it always ends badly.

There is no easy way to prosperity, just as there is no free lunch.

A second point often missing from the discussion is this: prosperity depends upon efficiency (e.g. mass production), which generally requires large investments. So, unless those with the means to invest have some hope of being able to keep their profits (since most will fail, and lose their investment), the system will not work.

Those few who have gotten immensely wealthy, generally speaking, have kept only a tiny fraction of the extra wealth they have generated for the country as a whole. They did not unfairly take from the rest of society; society freely gave it to them in exchange for something we wanted (e.g. iPhones).

When we threaten to take away their reward for a (risky) job well done, the system collapses. Politicians who then play the class envy card may gain some short term political points, but it will be at the expense of the country’s economic health.

In the 2015 Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation ranks Greece 130th out of 178 countries (Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea rank last). Yet, this Forbes article with opinions from 3 Harvard Business School professors asked to comment on the Greek crisis fails to even bring up this systemic problem, and instead offers only vague platitudes.

So, again, any government economic policy must (in my admittedly simple minded opinion) always be judged against the single overriding goal for a country hoping to achieve prosperity: “As many people as possible, doing useful things for each other, as efficiently as possible.”

If a government’s policies cannot support that basic goal, there will be nothing of value to govern, and the original poor among us (whose numbers will increase dramatically) will be even worse off than they were before.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

UAH V6.0 Global Temperature Update for June, 2015: +0.31 deg. C

July 1st, 2015

NOTE: This is the third monthly update with our new Version 6.0 dataset. Differences versus the old Version 5.6 dataset are discussed here.

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2015 is +0.31 deg. C, up a little from the May, 2015 value of +0.27 deg. C (click for full size version):

UAH_LT_1979_thru_June_2015_v6

The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 6 months are:

YR MO GLOBE NH SH TROPICS
2015 1 +0.26 +0.38 +0.14 +0.12
2015 2 +0.16 +0.26 +0.05 -0.07
2015 3 +0.14 +0.23 +0.05 +0.02
2015 4 +0.06 +0.15 -0.02 +0.07
2015 5 +0.27 +0.33 +0.21 +0.27
2015 6 +0.31 +0.36 +0.26 +0.46

Notice the strong warming in the tropics over the last 2 months, consistent with the strengthening El Nino in the Pacific.

The global image for June, 2015 should be available in the next several days here.

The new Version 6 files, which should be updated soon, are located here:

Lower Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tlt
Mid-Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tmt
Tropopause: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/ttp
Lower Stratosphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0beta/tls

Can Infrared Radiation Warm a Water Body? Part II

June 30th, 2015

(This is a follow-up to my post from a little over a year ago, but with some exprimental results).

I sometimes see the claim (usually in comments on a blog post) that infrared radiation cannot warm a water body, because IR only affects the skin surface of the water, and any extra heating would be lost through evaporation.

I have tried to point out that evaporation, too, only occurs at the skin of a water surface, yet it is a major source of heat loss for water bodies. It may be that sunlight is more efficient, Joule for Joule, than infrared due to the depth of penetration effect (many meters rather than microns). But I would say it pretty clear that any heat source (or heat sink) like evaporation which only affects the skin is going to affect the entire water body as well, especially one that is continually being mixed by the wind.

Partially water-filled Styrofoam cooler with a temperature sensor in the bottom.

Partially water-filled Styrofoam cooler with a temperature sensor in the bottom.

Last night I tried a little experiment with my Extech SD200 digital temperature recorder and two Styrofoam coolers (doubled up) partially filled to the same depth with salty swimming pool water, with the temperature sensors placed in the bottom, as seen in the first photo.

As seen in the second photo, over one of the coolers I put a piece of aluminum flashing painted white with high IR emissivity paint to block IR emission from the “coldest” part of the sky (directly overhead), but small enough to not restrict air flow around it as evaporation (and sensible heat transfer while the water was warmer than the air) cooled the water in both containers:

Two partially water-filled styrofoam coolers, with one partially shielded with aluminum flashing painted with high-emissivity white paint.

Two partially water-filled styrofoam coolers, with one partially shielded with aluminum flashing painted with high-emissivity white paint.

My FLIR i7 IR imager said that the sky “effective temperature” directly overhead was about 7 deg F, and the temperature of the aluminum sheet (viewed from below) was close to 80 deg. F, indicating that the presence of the sheet should reduce the radiative energy loss from the water, thus keeping the water warmer than if the sheet was not there (which is what the greenhouse effect does to the Earth’s surface).

Of course, these IR imagers do not provide a good estimate of the broadband IR effective emitting temperature of the sky because they are tuned to the 7.5 to 14 micron wavelength range, which avoids some of the greenhouse gas emission/absorption from the sky. So the true broadband-IR emission from the sky would be at a higher effective temperature.

For example, the most recent ground-based radiometer data from Goodwin Creek, MS the day before my experiment (June 28) showed early nighttime downwelling IR fluxes of about 360 W/m2, which corresponds to an effective emitting temperature of about 48 deg. F, considerably warmer than the 7 deg. F atmospheric window measurement I made with my imager.
Also, my backyard has numerous trees (and my house) blocking the lower sky elevations, with only about 30-40% of the sky visible above.

Nevertheless, the metal sheet in the above photo will still block a portion of the colder sky from view by the warmer water, and it should cause the water in the cooler on the right to be a little warmer than the unshielded water on the left.

So, let’s see what happened to the temperatures:

Overnight temperature data (taken every 5 mins) for water in the coolers, and air temperature between the coolers.  A 1-hour trailing average is also shown in the second graph.

Overnight temperature data (taken every 5 mins) for water in the coolers, and air temperature between the coolers. A 1-hour trailing average is also shown in the second graph.

As can be seen in the 5 minute temperature data overnight, the cooler with the IR shield stayed a little warmer. The relative faster cooling of the unshielded cooler was slowed when high-level clouds moved in around 1:30 a.m. (as deduced from GOES satellite imagery).

I used this simple energy balance model to deduce that the shielded cooler had about 6 W/m2 less cooling than the unshielded one, to account for the relative weaker temperature drop of 0.4 deg F over about 8 hours.

I’d like to try this again when the air mass is not so humid (surface dewpoints were in the mid to upper 60s F). Also, putting Saran wrap over the water surfaces would eliminate the primary source of heat loss – evaporation.

Note that the temperature effect is small in such an experiment because the atmosphere is already mostly opaque in the infrared, so adding a shield whose emitting temperature is a little higher than what the sky is already producing won’t cause as dramatic of an effect. But under the right conditions (warm water covered with Saran wrap, a very dry atmosphere, and unobstructed view of the sky) much larger differential impacts on water temperature should be possible.

Smoke Pouring into U.S from Canadian Wildfires

June 29th, 2015

Portions of up to ten plains states are covered by smoke this morning from hundreds of wildfires now raging in western Canada.

Unusually dry weather combined with thousands of dry lightning strikes has caused most of the fires, with some evacuations being reported. The firefighting conditions are reported to be particularly dangerous, with shifting winds and dry timber.

Yesterday’s color satellite imagery from NASA’s MODIS imager shows the pale blue smoke, with some darker brown smoke colors nearer the fire sources in Alberta and Saskatchewan:

Smoke from Canadian wildfires entering the U.S. on 28 June 2015 (NASA MODIS image remapped into Google Earth).

Smoke from Canadian wildfires entering the U.S. on 28 June 2015 (NASA MODIS image remapped into Google Earth).

A close-up view by MODIS reveals just how dirty the smoke is from a couple of the bigger fires in central Saskatchewan (red dots are satellite infrared-diagnosed hotspots):

MODIS close-up view of fires in Canada, June 28, 2015.

MODIS close-up view of fires in Canada, June 28, 2015.

GOES imagery from this morning shows the smoke now extending into Oklahoma, and the area impacted will expand and drift over the eastern U.S. in the coming days.

Alaska On Fire: Satellite Views 260+ Wildfires

June 24th, 2015

An unusually warm and dry spring has led to widespread wildfire activity in Alaska, with over 260 wildfires now reported and evacuations (some by boat) in progress. Fire crews are currently working only about 15% (three dozen) of those fires.

The NASA MODIS satellite imagery from yesterday shows the infrared satellite-indicated locations of fires, with pale blue smoke covering nearly half the state (click image for full size):

NASA MODIS satellite imagery of Alaska from 23 June 2015 showing infrared-sensed fire hotspots (red) dots from 260+ wildfires.

NASA MODIS satellite imagery of Alaska from 23 June 2015 showing infrared-sensed fire hotspots (red) dots from 260+ wildfires.

The warm dry weather is due to atmospheric high pressure anchored over the state, likely influenced by the strengthening El Nino and the persistent “warm blob” of water in the eastern North Pacific.

Auroras Seen as Far South as Georgia and Arkansas

June 23rd, 2015

The severe geomagnetic storm late yesterday produced rare auroras seen as far south as Georgia and Arkansas last night.

This photo was taken by Tyler Penland, an astronomer and weather observer in N. Georgia:

Rare aurora over N. Georgia on 23 June 2015 (Tyler Penland).

Rare aurora over N. Georgia on 23 June 2015 (Tyler Penland).

The display was more spectacular farther north, of course. Here’s a photo from Billings, MT:

Aurora in Billings, MT, 23 June 2015 (Ben Chorn).

Aurora in Billings, MT, 23 June 2015 (Ben Chorn).

And in Denoir Valley, WY, the colors were amazing, with no FM radio station reception during the peak in the display around midnight:

Denoir Valley, WY aurora on 23 June 2015 (Mike Kenny)

Denoir Valley, WY aurora on 23 June 2015 (Mike Kenny)

In Marquette, MI, Shawn Malone (LakeSuperiorPhoto.com) captured this view looking right up through the ribbons of light:

Marquette, MI view of the 23 June 2015 aurora display (Shawn Malone, LakeSuperiorPhoto.com).

Marquette, MI view of the 23 June 2015 aurora display (Shawn Malone).

The same solar storm brought rare auroras to Australia as well:

Aurora Australis captured in Victoria, Australia on 22 June 2015 (Caitlin Gordon).

Aurora Australis captured in Victoria, Australia on 22 June 2015 (Caitlin Gordon).

More aurora photos from the current event can be seen at the SpaceWeather.com realtime image gallery.

2015 Will Be Record Warm in Surface Temperatures…But Still Below Model Forecasts

June 22nd, 2015

With 5/12 (41.7%) of the votes counted, John Christy and I are now prepared to call 2015 as the winner of the Warmest Year in the Thermometer Record election. The latest exit polling of El Nino forecasts suggests an unusually hot turnout from the East Pacific region this year, which is why we are calling the election early.

Of course, our UAH satellite data analysis (as well as the RSS analysis) for the lower troposphere continue to show nothing spectacular, although the current forecast for a strong El Nino this year will make 2015 one of the warmest years since 1979.

But today’s post will just deal with the latest global warming pause-busting dataset out of NCDC (now NCEI), which purports to remove evidence for a global warming “hiatus” seen in other datasets. Since the KNMI Climate Explorer website has only the ERSST (ocean) data available for new Karlized version 4 dataset, and since the oceans pretty much drive annual averages anyway, we will stick to the oceans between 60N and 60S latitudes.

The following plot shows anomalies from the 1981-2010 (30-year) monthly averages, but repositioned vertically on the graph as departures from the 1979-1983 period mean. In the first plot I have removed the average effect of El Nino and La Nina events, which ends up being 0.069 C per MEI index value one month before the temperature measurement (based upon detrended data). The second plot shows the original data.

CMIP5-global-oceans-vs-ERSST-v4

As can be seen, even with the El Nino effect removed (first plot, above) it appears that 2015 is likely to be a record warm year anyway, at least in this official dataset. But even with the highly controversial Karlization procedure applied to the data, the observed warming trend is still only about 60% of the average warming trend in the CMIP5 climate models for the global oceans (+0.18 C/decade for the models, +0.11 C/decade for the observations). This is true whether you compute trends for the entire period, or only since 1996, which is where the two temperature time series diverge more noticeably.

Which brings up a point I have mentioned before: We could have a record warm year, every year, but what really matters is just how much that warming is.

If there was no natural variability, and we had perfect measurements, each successive year could be 0.01 C warmer than the prior year and thus be a new, record warm year…but would we really care?

It’s the long-term difference between (1) the climate models used to promote energy policy changes and (2) the observations, which should drive the global warming debate, not qualitative “record warmest year” statements.

And on that score, even using Tom Karl’s new pause-busting surface temperature dataset, the models continue to come up short.

So, as we approach the United Nations COP-21 (21st Conclave Of the Party-goers) in Paris this December, we’d all better get used to the inevitable “warmest year on record” rhetoric.

Even the Pope is on board this time.

Stossel’s “Science Wars”, Tomorrow 8 p.m. EDT on Fox Business

June 18th, 2015

WMON_STOSSEL_science_wars2

I’ll be on tommorow’s Stossel Show (Fox Business Channel, 8 p.m. EDT Friday), where John gets my reactions to global warming climate change Climate Crisis™ statements made by Al Gore, Bill Nye, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

It will be interesing to see if I get bleeped. ;-)

NASA Satellite Reveals Guadalupe Island Glory

June 17th, 2015

Anyone who has traveled on airplanes a lot has probably seen the glory (or halo) phenomenon when looking at the shadow of the airplane on the cloud deck below. A rainbow-colored circle can sometimes been seen.

But the same kind of phenomenon can sometimes be seen in color satellite imagery….but it requires the right conditions. The following image was taken yesterday, south of California (click image for full size).

Optical glory phenomenon seen by the NASA MODIS imager on 16 June 2015.

Optical glory phenomenon seen by the NASA MODIS imager on 16 June 2015.

When the sun reaches it’s northernmost extent in late June, it is almost directly over the marine stratocumulus cloud deck that often exists southwest of California. As the NASA color imagers on the Aqua and Terra satellites pass over, they are looking straight down. In the imaginary “satellite shadow” region below, under the right conditions, the glory phenomenon can be seen, but only a few time each year.

Due to the latitude of Mexico’s Guadalupe Island, and the persistent marine stratocumulus layer there, I’ve found this to be the best place to see the event. The reason the glory is elongated is that the satellite imager doesn’t actually take a 2-D photo, but scans directly under the satellite path below, basically building up an image with a bunch of narrow scans. Repeated image slices through the circular glory builds up an elongated glory.

Pretty cool.