Archive for January, 2021

Canada is Warming at Only 1/2 the Rate of Climate Model Simulations

Thursday, January 21st, 2021

As part of my Jan. 19 presentation for Friends of Science about there being no climate emergency, I also examined surface temperature in Canada to see how much warming there has been compared to climate models.

Canada has huge year-to-year variability in temperatures due to its strong continental climate. So, to examine how observed surface temperature trends compare to climate model simulations, you need many of those simulations, each of which exhibits its own large variability.

I examined the most recent 30-year period (1991-2020), using a total of 108 CMIP5 simulations from approximately 20 different climate models, and computed land-surface trends over the latitude bounds of 51N to 70N, and longitude bounds 60W to 130W, which approximately covers Canada. For observations, I used the same lat/lon bounds and the CRUTem5 dataset, which is heavily relied upon by the UN IPCC and world governments. All data were downloaded from the KNMI Climate Explorer.

First let’s examine the annual average temperature departures from the 1981-2010 average, for the average of the 108 model simulations compared to the observations. We see that Canada has been warming at only 50% the rate of the average of the CMIP5 models; the linear trends are +0.23 C/decade and +0.49 C/decade, respectively. Note that in 7 of the last 8 years, the observations have been below the average of the models.

Fig. 1. Yearly temperature departures 1991-2020 from the 1981-2010 mean in Canada in observations (blue) versus the average of 108 CMIP5 climate model simulations (red). The +/-1 standard deviation bars indicate the variability among the 108 individual model simulations.

Next, I show the individual models’ trends compared to the observed trends, with a histogram of the ranked values from the least warming to the most warming, 1991-2020.

Fig. 2. Ranked Canada surface temperature trends (1991-2020) for the 108 model simulations and the observations.

Note that the 93.5% of the model simulations have warmer temperature trends than the observations exhibit.

These results from Canada are generally consistent with the results I have found in the Midwest U.S. in the summertime, where the CMIP5 models warm, on average, 4 times faster than the observations (since 1970), and 6 times faster in a limited number of the newer CMIP6 model simulations.


The Paris Climate Accords, among other national and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, assume warming estimates which are approximately the average of the various climate models. Thus, these results impact directly on those proposed energy policy decisions.

As you might be aware, proponents of those climate models often emphasize the general agreement between the models and observations over a long period of time, say since 1900.

But this is misleading.

We would expect little anthropogenic global warming signal to emerge from the noise of natural climate variability until (approximately) the 1980s. This is for 2 reasons: There was little CO2 emitted up through the 1970s, and even as the emissions rose after the 1940s the cooling effect of anthropogenic SO2 emissions was canceling out much of that warming. This is widely agreed to by climate modelers as well.

Thus, to really get a good signal of global warming — in both observations and models — we should be examining temperature trends since approximately the 1980s. That is, only in the decades since the 1980s should we be seeing a robust signal of anthropogenic warming against the background of natural variability, and without the confusion (and uncertainty) in large SO2 emissions in the mid-20th century.

And as each year passes now, the warming signal should grow slightly stronger.

I continue to contend that climate models are now producing at least twice as much warming as they should, probably due to an equilibrium climate sensitivity which is about 2X too high in the climate models. Given that the average CMIP6 climate sensitivity is even larger than in CMIP5 — approaching 4 deg. C — it will be interesting to see if the divergence between models and observations (which began around the turn of the century) will continue into the future.




This Tuesday, Jan. 19: My Friends of Science Society Livestream Talk: ‘Why There Is No Climate Emergency’

Friday, January 15th, 2021

On Tuesday evening, January 19, at 8 p.m. CST there will be a 30 minute livestream presentation where I cover the most important reasons why there is no climate emergency. I just reviewed the video and I am very satisfied with it.

In only 1/2 hour I cover what I consider to be the most important science issues, the disinformation campaign that spreads climate hysteria, some of the harm that will be caused by forcing expensive and unreliable renewable energy upon humanity, and the benefits of more CO2 in the atmosphere.

You can go to the FoS website for more information. The tickets are $15, and I will be doing a live Q&A after the event.

No, Roy Spencer is not a climate “denier”

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

Yesterday, the New York Times and other media outlets repeated the falsehood that I am a climate “denier”.

I usually ignore such potentially libelous statements, otherwise I’d be defending myself every week.

So, to set the record straight, here’s what I believe… I’ll let you decide whether I’m a climate “denier”.

  1. I believe the climate system has warmed (we produce one of the global datasets that shows just that, which is widely used in the climate community), and that CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning contributes to that warming. I’ve said this for many years.
  2. I believe future warming from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would be somewhere in the range of 1.5 to 2 deg. C, which is actually within the range of expected warming the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has advanced for 30 years now. (It could be less than this, but we simply don’t know).

As people who frequent this blog well know, I have held these views for many years. I routinely take other skeptics to task for believing such things as “there is no greenhouse effect”, or “it’s impossible for a cold atmosphere to make the Earth’s surface even warmer”.

So, Why Is Roy Spencer Called a Climate Denier?

In the case of global warming, alarmists apparently insist that you must believe that global warming is a “crisis” or an “emergency”, or else you will be thrown under the bus.

They claim we must embrace expensive (and ineffective) sources of alternative energy. But, like Bjorn Lomborg (who actually believes the alarmist predictions of future warming) and many others, I believe it will be much worse for humanity if we abandon fossil fuels before alternative technologies are abundant, affordable, and practical.

Human flourishing requires access to affordable energy, which is required for almost all human activities. It is immoral to deny fossil-fueled electricity to the world’s poor, and its replacement in even the richest countries still destroys prosperity, especially for the poor.

For believing these things, I am declared evil, apparently on par with a Holocaust denier (thus the rhetoric).

Here’s some of that rhetoric from the Daily Kos yesterday, which covered the firing of White House skeptical scientists Dr. David Legates and Dr. Ryan Maue (emphasis added):

“The bundle of boring and basic denial myths compiled to appease the deadly denial of the Trump administration was published first, it appears at least, by U-Alabama Huntsville’s Dr. Roy Spencer, who contributed a chapter. His post about the flyers was then bounced around the deniersphere, where the same audiences who gobble up unhinged conspiracies about voter fraud or satan-worshipping Democrats can eagerly read the climate denial versions of those violent fantasies.”

This is apparently what happens when you take frustrated creative writers and give them jobs as journalists.

Given recent political events it appears there is now a renewed efforts to have dissenting voices silenced through “cancel culture”, removal of websites, public ridicule, censorship, etc.

Unity in our country will, apparently, be achieved, because once dissenting voices are silenced, “unity” is all that is left.

At the White House, the Purge of Skeptics Has Started

Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Dr. David Legates has been Fired by White House OSTP Director and Trump Science Advisor, Kelvin Droegemeier

President Donald Trump has been sympathetic with the climate skeptics’ position, which is that there is no climate crisis, and that all currently proposed solutions to the “crisis” are economically harmful to the U.S. specifically, and to humanity in general.

Today I have learned that Dr. David Legates, who had been brought to the Office of Science and Technology Policy to represent the skeptical position in the Trump Administration, has been fired by OSTP Director and Trump Science Advisor, Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier.

The event that likely precipitated this is the invitation by Dr. Legates for about a dozen of us to write brochures that we all had hoped would become part of the official records of the Trump White House. We produced those brochures (no funding was involved), and they were formatted and published by OSTP, but not placed on the WH website. My understanding is that David Legates followed protocols during this process.

So What Happened?

What follows is my opinion. I believe that Droegemeier (like many in the administration with hopes of maintaining a bureaucratic career in the new Biden Administration) has turned against the President for political purposes and professional gain. If Kelvin Droegemeier wishes to dispute this, let him… and let’s see who the new Science Advisor/OSTP Director is in the new (Biden) Administration.

I would also like to know if President Trump approved of his decision to fire Legates.

In the meantime, we have been told to remove links to the brochures, which is the prerogative of the OSTP Director since they have the White House seal on them.

But their content will live on elsewhere, as will Dr. Droegemeier’s decision.

UAH Global Temperature Update for December 2020: +0.27 deg. C

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for December, 2020 was +0.27 deg. C, down substantially from the November, 2020 value of +0.53 deg. C.For comparison, the CDAS global surface temperature anomaly for the last 30 days at was +0.31 deg. C.

2020 ended as the 2nd warmest year in the 42-year satellite tropospheric temperature record at +0.49 deg. C, behind the 2016 value of +0.53 deg. C.

Cooling in December was largest over land, with 1-month drop of 0.60 deg. C, which is the 6th largest drop out of 504 months. This is likely the result of the La Nina now in progress.

The linear warming trend since January, 1979 remains at +0.14 C/decade (+0.12 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).

Various regional LT departures from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 24 months are:

2019 01 +0.38 +0.35 +0.41 +0.36 +0.53 -0.14 +1.14
2019 02 +0.37 +0.46 +0.28 +0.43 -0.03 +1.05 +0.05
2019 03 +0.34 +0.44 +0.25 +0.41 -0.55 +0.97 +0.58
2019 04 +0.44 +0.38 +0.51 +0.54 +0.49 +0.93 +0.91
2019 05 +0.32 +0.29 +0.35 +0.39 -0.61 +0.99 +0.38
2019 06 +0.47 +0.42 +0.52 +0.64 -0.64 +0.91 +0.35
2019 07 +0.38 +0.32 +0.44 +0.45 +0.10 +0.34 +0.87
2019 08 +0.38 +0.38 +0.39 +0.42 +0.17 +0.44 +0.23
2019 09 +0.61 +0.64 +0.59 +0.60 +1.13 +0.75 +0.57
2019 10 +0.46 +0.64 +0.27 +0.30 -0.04 +1.00 +0.49
2019 11 +0.55 +0.56 +0.54 +0.55 +0.21 +0.56 +0.37
2019 12 +0.56 +0.61 +0.50 +0.58 +0.92 +0.66 +0.94
2020 01 +0.56 +0.60 +0.53 +0.61 +0.73 +0.12 +0.65
2020 02 +0.75 +0.96 +0.55 +0.76 +0.38 +0.02 +0.30
2020 03 +0.47 +0.61 +0.34 +0.63 +1.08 -0.72 +0.16
2020 04 +0.38 +0.43 +0.34 +0.45 -0.59 +1.03 +0.97
2020 05 +0.54 +0.60 +0.49 +0.66 +0.17 +1.15 -0.15
2020 06 +0.43 +0.45 +0.41 +0.46 +0.37 +0.80 +1.20
2020 07 +0.44 +0.45 +0.42 +0.46 +0.55 +0.39 +0.66
2020 08 +0.43 +0.47 +0.38 +0.59 +0.41 +0.47 +0.49
2020 09 +0.57 +0.58 +0.56 +0.46 +0.96 +0.48 +0.92
2020 10 +0.54 +0.71 +0.37 +0.37 +1.09 +1.23 +0.24
2020 11 +0.53 +0.67 +0.39 +0.29 +1.56 +1.38 +1.41
2020 12 +0.27 +0.22 +0.32 +0.05 +0.56 +0.59 +0.23

The full UAH Global Temperature Report, along with the LT global gridpoint anomaly image for December, 2020 should be available within the next few days here.

The global and regional monthly anomalies for the various atmospheric layers we monitor should be available in the next few days at the following locations:

Lower Troposphere:
Lower Stratosphere: