Archive for April, 2016

William Gray, Hurricane Researcher and Skeptic, Dead at 86

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

Myself, Bill Gray, and Marc Morano in Las Vegas, July, 2014.

Myself, Bill Gray, and Marc Morano in Las Vegas, July, 2014.

I just learned through Climate Depot and Tony Heller that Bill Gray has died.

Bill was a pioneering researcher and hurricane forecaster, as well as a skeptic of the seriousness of the manmade global warming threat.

Bill’s legacy goes well back before my time…and I’m getting to be an old guy (60). He was at most of the Heartland conferences, and he always made it a point to spend time with me. In fact, he was embarrassingly effusive with his praise. He was quite a character, and very sharp. We didn’t always agree on the science, but that’s ok.

My earliest memory of Bill was my very first scientific conference, an AMS Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology Conference in Oklahoma, maybe around 1982. The big thing then was the mesoscale modelers were all giving papers showing that their model would take a pre-existing tropical disturbance, say an African easterly wave, and turn it into a hurricane. This indeed was an achievement.

After sitting through all of these presentations, Bill Gray, who was sitting just in front of me, stood up and asked in his Jimmy Stewart-esque way, “All you modelers keep showing your models producing a hurricane out of a disturbance…but that usually doesn’t happen…where are the model results showing that a hurricane doesn’t develop?”

I will never forget the question…it was a good one.

Goodbye, Bill. You will be missed.

Why Gavin Schmidt’s Temperature Plot Baseline Issue is Irrelevant

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Ever since we started posting global temperature comparisons between models and observations there has been a recurring objection over the way the data are plotted. I really thought that the issue would go away because it’s so silly. But I’ve seen it crop up again in the last week in a series of messages between Judy Curry and Gavin Schmidt.

This issue can be summarized with the idealized temperature plots, below. The first plot shows how our critics apparently think two datasets should be plotted for comparison. The second plot is how we think the data should be plotted.


Note that no matter which one you choose, though, both plots show what is important… that the red temperature trace is warming twice as fast as the blue trace.

You might say, “but the disagreement in 2015 between the two traces is only half as big in the first plot as it is in the second plot“.

Yes, but that ignores the fact that there the other half of the disagreement has just been shifted to 1979…nothing has been gained.

It’s really the trends which are important (or, if you don’t like linear trends, pick some other metric of long-term temperature change…none of them is perfect).

We choose to plot the data relative to the same point early in the record. We usually do it relative to the average of the first 5 years of data, so that noise in both datasets has a minimum effect on aligning their starting points.

Or, to avoid that problem entirely, you can compute the trends from each dataset and simply plot all of the linear trend lines with the same starting point.

This is because you start a race at the beginning….not in the middle. How much warming we have seen over a certain period of time (say, since 1979) is relative to the start of that time period…not the middle of the period.

That this issue continues to be a point of contention, quite frankly, astonishes me. All I can think of is that the defenders of the climate models cannot allow any significant criticisms of the models to survive, even when the model shortcomings are staring everyone in the face.

UPDATE: It Did Not Snow in Guadeloupe

Monday, April 4th, 2016

"Residents film the falling flakes on Thursday."

“Residents film the falling flakes on Thursday.”

On April Fools day (April 1), there was a report of snow on the tropical island of Guadeloupe on the night of March 31, 2016. Guadeloupe is an island in the northern Lesser Antilles. The news report even mentions a light dusting on the ground.

I’m calling BS on this report.

It claimed to not be an April Fool’s joke.

Well, the movie Fargo was also supposed to be a “true story”.

If people there really saw something, it wasn’t “snow”.

The high temperature at Le Raizet Airport was 83 deg F, and the low was 72, on March 31.

The elevation of the town (St. Claude) where the snow was reported was, at most, 3000 ft. That elevation could have been 10 deg. F colder….maybe 15 deg. F under unusual circumstances. So, we’re talking maybe the upper 50s deg. F at the absolute coldest. Not cold enough for snow, unless under exceptionally low humidity (which would never occur at this location).

There wasn’t a deep, cold air layer sufficient to cause such an event. It would have to have been an amazingly cold air mass, which penetrated deeply into the tropics. To a latitude of 16 deg. N.

So, I’m calling BS on the Guadeloupe snow report.

Crops at Risk: Will This Week Equal the $2 Billion Freeze of 2007?

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Exactly 9 years ago this week, the eastern U.S. was plunged into below-freezing weather after an unusually warm March just got things growing. The result was about $2 billion in agricultural losses across 16 states.

Similar to that Easter 2007 event, the current forecast for late this week has temperatures into the lower 20s as far south as South Carolina; both Saturday and Sunday morning should see below-freezing temperatures into Alabama and Georgia (forecast graphics courtesy of

Morning low temperatures forecast from the GFS model for Saturday and Sunday (9-10 April 2016). Graphics courtesy of

Morning low temperatures forecast from the GFS model for Saturday and Sunday (9-10 April 2016). Graphics courtesy of

The state with the greatest losses in 2007 was Georgia, with about $400 million in damage to blueberries, peaches, pecans, and livestock grasses.

UAH V6 Global Temperature Update for March, 2016: +0.73 deg. C

Friday, April 1st, 2016

NOTE: This is the twelfth monthly update with our new Version 6.0 dataset. Differences versus the old Version 5.6 dataset are discussed here. Note we are now at “beta5” for Version 6, and the paper describing the methodology is in peer review.

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for March, 2016 is +0.73 deg. C, down a little from the February record-setting value of +0.83 deg. C (click for full size version). This makes March 2016 the warmest March in the satellite record (since 1979), and statistically tied with April 1998 for the second warmest month.


The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 15 months are:

2015 01 +0.30 +0.44 +0.15 +0.13
2015 02 +0.19 +0.34 +0.04 -0.07
2015 03 +0.18 +0.28 +0.07 +0.04
2015 04 +0.09 +0.19 -0.01 +0.08
2015 05 +0.27 +0.34 +0.20 +0.27
2015 06 +0.31 +0.38 +0.25 +0.46
2015 07 +0.16 +0.29 +0.03 +0.48
2015 08 +0.25 +0.20 +0.30 +0.53
2015 09 +0.23 +0.30 +0.16 +0.55
2015 10 +0.41 +0.63 +0.20 +0.53
2015 11 +0.33 +0.44 +0.22 +0.52
2015 12 +0.45 +0.53 +0.37 +0.61
2016 01 +0.54 +0.69 +0.39 +0.84
2016 02 +0.83 +1.17 +0.50 +0.99
2016 03 +0.73 +0.94 +0.52 +1.09

I suspect that February and March represent peak El Nino warmth in the lower troposphere, and the rest of the year will see cooling. Whether 2016 ends up being a record warm year will depend upon just how fast global temperatures fall as La Nina approaches, now forecast for late summer or early fall.

The “official” UAH global image for March, 2016 should be available in the next several days here.

The new Version 6 files (use the ones labeled “beta5”) should be updated soon, and are located here:

Lower Troposphere:
Lower Stratosphere: