Polar Vortexing around “Glow-Ball Vorming”

The recent Eastern U.S. outbreak of record-setting frigid air has added a new term to the popular lexicon: ‘Polar Vortex.’ Weather Channel meteorologists explained during a mid-freeze broadcast that, strictly speaking, the use of this term in conjunction with the recently passed cold snap is not technically correct. However, these same meteorologists continued by pointing out that the then simultaneous above-normal temps in Europe negated any anti-climate change indications associated with the non-relevant polar vortex blip.

Those living in Scandinavia prefer to use the term ‘glow-ball vorming’ rather than ‘climate change.’ This was pointed out a number of years ago by a fellow who called himself ‘The Diplomad.’ In a short post on his now-defunct blog describing the topics of conversation during a diplomatic dinner he rankled:

The topics of discussion were, of course, the USA, Bush, our obsession with warfare, and our avoidance of the Kyoto Treaty. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, you’ve read The Diplomad rants on this stuff before, so I won’t go into great detail about what was said. You know it all. I don’t have to tell you . . . well, maybe just a little bit. It’s kind of funny, or at least it seems that way to me as the clock sweeps past midnight.

A very nice elderly Scandinavian lady diplomat (we’ll call her Inger — not her real name) and The Diplomad (TD) had a short conversation that went something like this (Note to new FSOs: This style of conversation is not approved by the Foreign Service Institute and should only be attempted at home, and when you’re absolutely sure nobody will hear you):

Inger: Ve are very vorried about glow-ball vorming. Vhy aren’t you vorried about glow-ball vorming?

TD: Huh? You’re worried about worming? Your government is worried about worms? Like with a dog?

Inger: Not vorm, vorm! Glow-ball vorming! The vorld is getting hat!

TD: Oh, global warming. Hot, yeah. It’s bullshit and you know it . . .

There was, of course, more said about Kyoto (I’ll have more in a subsequent posting) but that sums up the level of discussion on “glow-ball vorming.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2004
The World and The Diplomad

Nine years on we are still arguing the point with most of the discussion centering on anecdotal evidence based upon such things as polar vortices and above average temperatures somewhere upon the surface of the planet. One would think the cold bits would climatologically balance out the hot bits but that’s not how climate science politics works. And, as oxymoronically indicated by Dennis Miller on the O’Reilly Factor when he said “this global warming is freezing me to death,” personal observation should be disregarded.

What should not be disregarded is the real science. Herewith is an extract of a scientific paper on the question of just how anthropomorphic are the presumed current “changes” in climate. The introduction and summary should suffice to give one a clear idea of the core contention between the Climate Change Faithful (CCF) and the Quantitative Science Radicals (QSR). What follows discusses the only quantifiable physical observations that can be conducted to test the validity of the computer models on the effect of increased levels of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

If you read this I can assure that you’ll will know more about the subject than Al Gore does. Or, at least, more than he’ll admit to. Will this qualify you for a “Peace Prize”?


P.S. Thanks goes to my sister Liz for the Dennis Miller quote.
P.P.S. Does anyone have Jon Stewart’s email address?

* * * * *

Int. J. Climatol. (2007)
Published online in Wiley InterScience
(www.interscience.wiley.com) DOI: 10.1002/joc.1651

A comparison of tropical temperature trends with model predictions SourceLink

By David H. Douglass, John R. Christy, Benjamin D. Pearson, and S. Fred Singer

ABSTRACT: We examine tropospheric temperature trends of 67 runs from 22 ‘Climate of the 20th Century’ model simulations and try to reconcile them with the best available updated observations (in the tropics during the satellite era). Model results and observed temperature trends are in disagreement in most of the tropical troposphere, being separated by more than twice the uncertainty of the model mean. In layers near 5 km, the modelled trend is 100 to 300% higher than observed, and, above 8 km, modelled and observed trends have opposite signs. These conclusions contrast strongly with those of recent publications based on essentially the same data.

Copyright 2007 Royal Meteorological Society
KEY WORDS climate trend; troposphere; observations
Received 31 May 2007; Accepted 11 October 2007

1. Introduction

A panel convened by the National Research Council (2000) found for the satellite era (since 1979) ‘[a]pparently conflicting surface and tropospheric temperature trends’ that could not be reconciled, with the Earth’s surface warming faster than the lower troposphere. The panel concluded, after considering possible systematic errors that ‘[a] substantial disparity remains.’ From a study of several independent observational datasets Douglass et al. (2004b) confirmed that the disparity was real and arose mostly in the tropical zone. Also, Douglass et al. (2004a) showed that three state-of-the-art General Circulation Models (GCMs) predicted a temperature trend that increased with altitude, reaching a maximum ratio to the surface trend (‘amplification’ factor R) as much as 1.5–2.0 at a pressure (altitude) about 200–400 hPa. This was in disagreement with observations, which showed flat or decreasing amplification factors with altitude.

In the Douglass et al. (2004a) study, only three observational datasets were considered, and the number of models was limited to the three most widely referenced. The present study includes all available datasets, and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)- sponsored model inter-comparison project using the ‘Climate of the 20th Century’ (20CEN) forcing includesmodels from almost all the major modelling groups [Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI, 2005)]. The number of observational datasets and models constitutes a significant increase over the Douglass et al. (2004a) study, and thus, it is appropriate that a new analysis be made.

Santer et al. (2005) recently investigated the altitude dependence of temperature trends during the satellite era, emphasizing the tropical zone, where the characteristics are well-suited for model evaluation. They compared available observations with 19 of the models and suggest that any disparity between models and observations is due to residual errors in the observational datasets. In this article, we consider the observational results in 22 of the models that were available. As did Santer et al. (2005), we confine our study to the tropical zone – but we reach a different conclusion.

In Section 2 we describe the data and the models. In Section 3 we show that the models and the observations disagree to a statistically significant extent. In Section 4 we discuss efforts that have been made to resolve the disparity, and we summarize in Section 5.

[big snip]

5. Summary

We have tested the proposition that greenhouse model simulations and trend observations can be reconciled. Our conclusion is that the present evidence, with the application of a robust statistical test, supports rejection of this proposition. (The use of tropical tropospheric temperature trends as a metric for this test is important, as this region represents the CEL and provides a clear signature of the trajectory of the climate system under enhanced greenhouse forcing.) On the whole, the evidence indicates that model trends in the troposphere are very likely inconsistent with observations that indicate that, since 1979, there is no significant long-term amplification factor relative to the surface. If these results continue to be supported, then future projections of temperature change, as depicted in the present suite of climate models, are likely too high.

In summary, the debate in this field revolves around the idea of discrepancy in surface and tropospheric trends in the tropics where vertical convection dominates heat transfer. Models are very consistent, as this article demonstrates, in showing a significant difference between surface and tropospheric trends, with tropospheric temperature trends warming faster than the surface. What is new in this article is the determination of a very robust estimate of the magnitude of the model trends at each atmospheric layer. These are compared with several equally robust updated estimates of trends from observations which disagree with trends from the models.

The last 25 years constitute a period of more complete and accurate observations and more realistic modelling efforts. Yet the models are seen to disagree with the observations. We suggest, therefore, that projections of future climate based on these models be viewed with much caution.

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