Europe – North Atlantic, Baltic, Nordic

A Fascinating Set

So here I was expecting “not much of interest” out of this group. Figuring that they would be more alike than different and that after the first one or two it would be more of the ‘same old same old’. A “lift” in 1980 and The Pivot in 1990 (as we’ve seen in many other countries) with the occasional “flat” or “truncated”. Well, the truth was much more complex.

The biggest surprise was a ln trend line fit to Sweden. Could it be, one wonders, that CO2 does have an effect? Just not as advertised? Could it be that in the tropical places water vapor dominates, so CO2 has no noticeable effect, but in the Nordic North it raises the lows? Tops being limited by that exponential IR radiation with temperature and lows having an inverse relationship with the ln effect of water vapor freezing out in the very low lows? I find it an intriguing optional thesis. If so, we’d have a CO2 effect, but only in the very frozen places and only when temperatures were headed well below the freezing point of water… Perhaps, so this speculation runs, CO2 is what’s holding off the incipient Ice Age Glacial. If true, this would mean that CO2 was a Godsend, an extreme blessing. It also raises the potential that Ice Age Glacial events would have a partial trigger of plants when they manage to suck the CO2 level down below about 250 ppm. Hmmm… Such a set of speculations to muse upon. All from one graph:


Sweden 1850 to date, ln trend line fit

Sweden 1850 to date, ln trend line fit

You really need to click on this graph and see a big version to see what I’m talking about. The “high peaks” keep running just about 0 C anomaly within a fractional degree, but the lows ramp up from about -3 C to about -1/2 C of anomaly, and with a great ln fit.

For comparison, the ‘by segments’ linear fits do not look nearly so nice:

Sweden 1850 Hair Graph by Segments

Sweden 1850 Hair Graph by Segments

And for completion, here is Sweden, the very early years:

Sweden Early Years Hair Graph

Sweden Early Years Hair Graph

And as a very large, unwieldy, but impressive “All Data” version:

Sweden All Data Hair Graph

Sweden All Data Hair Graph

So I’m thinking about all the “way cool” things this all might mean, and decide to go look at the next door neighbors and see if they have the same kind of pattern.


Prior to 1825 Finland has an 8 C “ramp” from -5 C to +3 C as individual thermometers are added. I’ve clipped that as it just screams “early thermometer changes”.

Finland 1825 Hair Graph

Finland 1825 Hair Graph

Then we have your basic “dead flat” with a tilt at the end from the 1990 “Trick”. Dang it. But at least it has a lot of wobble to it.


Where we have trendless (i.e. flat) segments by thermometer count group with step functions between them, and a nice “1990 Pivot” to a hockey stick blade at the end:

Norway Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total by Segments

Norway Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total by Segments

And we’re back at “Thermometer change did it”…

OK, the rest of the graphs:


Iceland is a rolling riser that ends with one heck of a hockey blade on the end at the combined dropping of thermometers and 1990 process change. Though the rises look like they correlate with thermometer change times.

Iceland Hair Graph by Segments

Iceland Hair Graph by Segments

Faroe Islands (Denmark)

Woo Hoo! Hockey in the Islands!

Faroe Islands Hair Graph of Anomalies and Running Total

Faroe Islands Hair Graph of Anomalies and Running Total


Steady drop… right up until that “Pivot” moment. Golly! That’s a real beauty!

Denmark Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Denmark Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total


What a nice hockey blade at The Pivot! Those low going peaks really take a hair cut.

Ireland Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Ireland Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

United Kingdom

How odd. In the UK the “Dip” runs 10 years later than elsewhere. Right on top of the CRU baseline… 1961 to 1990. But it’s net a zero from time to time in the past… but what a fine Hockey Blade is spliced onto the end!

United Kingdom 1850 Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

United Kingdom 1850 Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

The Baltic States

Which each have their own character, but have a ‘discontinuity’ with data drop out at the time of the break up of the Soviet Block.


A nice -2 C just before The Pivot of 1990 into a hot rising trend:

Estonia Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Estonia Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total


An odd “rolling motion” with both ends at zero, then a “Jump” after the gap to a strange end.

Latvia Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Latvia Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total


Dead Flat until it fades down to a -2 C just before the “Jump” to +1 C that then fades back to zero. Not a whole lot going on until that “oddity” at the end.

Lithuania Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Lithuania Hair Graph of Monthly Anomalies and Running Total


One of the most striking things about all these graphs is the way that volatility just dies toward the present end. There is clearly some change of processing that had onset, probably in two steps, with one in 1980 or so and another in 1990. There is also clearly a dramatic impact from instrument changes. All in all, it looks one heck of a lot like something artificial and not at all like a natural gradual process.

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to Europe – North Atlantic, Baltic, Nordic

  1. Keith Hill says:

    I find Faroe Islands graph very interesting, with stable instrument count but showing what looks like “normal” cooling and warming changes on an approximate 70-year cycle. What a pity we don’t have temps from say 1700. Can’t wait (literally, unfortunately) for the next 70 years!
    One thing is certain, CO2 evidently moves in very mysterious, selective and unpredictable ways!
    Your capacity for work and ability to pass on your enjoyment of new “finds” continues to astound me.

    On a personal note, watch that BP of yours because it’s very sneaky (as I found out) in causing kidney disease.
    Please do me and yourself a favour and have a blood test soon to check, if you haven’t done so already.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    Had the full blood panel (as the Dr. was stressing over my stressing over the Dr. visit…) and found “nothing”. So all I’ve got is a tendency to be annoyed at the “White Coats” not listening to the patient…

    And back on climate stuff:

    Yup! That’s the Number One takeaway I get from all these graphs: Stable instrumentation: Nothing happening. Play with the instruments: strange artifacts happen. The Number Two takeaway is that something changed in how the data are processed post 1990 that puts a volatility damper on the data AND clips the downs more than the ups.

    Basically, folks are playing with their hardware and need to stop it…. and they are massaging their data and need to put their hands back in their pockets too ;-)

  3. oldtimer says:

    Thank you for the UK chart which I have printed for appropriate use.

  4. mbabbitt says:

    I know some AGW proponents who have recently offered up the idea that C02 may be responsible for preventing an Ice Age. If that is true, then I say, give me more C02! Wouldn’t it be ironic if it was finally resolved that higher levels of C02, which comes from human civilization development, was actually very beneficial to life on the planet? Like Lovelock has said (and George Carlin joked about — his plastics skit) perhaps humans are part of Gaia’s plan for more life and improved living. Unfortunately, that is a proposition not likely to get much applause from the hate-anything-human crowd.

  5. Kari Lantto says:

    Here you have it! Temperature pretty much flat upto 1990 and rising thereafter. Almost without exception.

    To show that effectively you could combine your regressions into a single one, with dummy-variables for the countries. It would give that picture: Nordic temperature is flat upto 1990 and rising threafter. This simple and important point would be emphasized more that way.

    If you don’t like messing with regressions you could plot it, see my comment on North America. I hadn’t read this page when I wrote it.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Kari: I have a plot for each continent (all data) that goes in each continent study. I could make one for “all data all continents” but it would most likely just end up looking like a N.America or Europe graph (as they are the bulk of ‘all data’ in the data set). I think it works better to do it by continent, as an alternative to the grids thing… but if the whole world data were combined, one would need to do something to prevent the mass of data in N.America and Europe from dominating.

    I suppose I could do the “reports by country” then combine THEM into a global report, then graph that… Hmmm….. has potential… (but I’m holding myself to not start more projects until this mega-project of “all the worlds graphs” is done. Hard some times ;-)

  7. 3x2 says:

    Could it be that in the tropical places water vapor dominates, so CO2 has no noticeable effect, but in the Nordic North it raises the lows?

    Thought this was an interesting paper (extended extract) pointed out by Dave Wendt (02:05:10) on the WUWT sense and sensitivity thread

    The authors seemed to skirt the “summer” measurements (page 5) and quickly move on…. [winter to summer] The H2O flux has increased from about 100 W/m2 to 200 W/m2 . CO2 is reduced from 33 W/m2 to 11 W/m2

    Would be interesting to see what similar measurements might reveal for other regions (deserts, poles and tropics for example). I’m not so sure they prove exactly what the authors intended.

  8. sky says:

    It’s an empirical fact that in moderate and high-latitude climates the winter months are the most highly variable. Suppressing data from particularly cold months and infilling the “gap” with climatic means is the easiest way to get yearly averages to rise consistently–aside from passing off UHI and station changes as climate changes. The abrupt change in volatilty that you highlight in your conclusions points the finger directly at that strategem for “managing” the AGW “trend.” Good work!

  9. kwik says:


    What is it that actually happens in so may countries around 1980-1990, when we get this sudden increase, you think?

    I tried to plot some stations in Norway too, and see the same thing. Very interested if you have a theory on it. Golf Stream heating up, was my first , maybe stupid idea.

    Any idea?

    REPLY:[ I happens coincident with a significant change of “Duplicate Number” (as NCDC calls it) or “Modification History Flag” as the code calls it). This is the `12 digit of the “StationID”. The Station ID consists of 3 digits of “Country Code”, 5 digits of WMO number or “Major Station” (as i think of it) then 3 digits of “Substation” (that is supposed to be a minor variation on the major location – a place “very nearby”) and finally the “Duplicate Number’ that says “This record has been processed differently from the other Duplicate Numbers”. Unfortunately “how” is left out of the meta data. I presume you must go to NCDC or the various BOMs to find out exactly what each one stands for (they are incremental by location, so “3” can mean different things for different places…)

    OK, Speculation: I’d speculate it is one of 3 probable things:

    1) A change of “QA process” that tosses out “outliers” but has a differential impact on “low excursions” than on “high excursions”. Perhaps simply by tossing out each at an equal point and forgetting that low excursions can go lower than high excursions can go high. (Convection limits highs, not lows).

    2) A change of post collection processing. Such as a shift from calculating “Monthly Mean” from using Monthly High Day vs Monthly Low day to using Monthly MEAN of High DAYS vs Monthly MEAN of low DAYS. Perhaps interacting with #1. Just the kind of thing that a change of Duplicate Number would be used to track.

    3) TOBS changes. A “Correction” of some sort, most likely TOBS, that has been applied. But could only be applied to those data where the Time of Observation data were available. But inducing a bias when compared to the past non-adjusted series.

    I used to thing that perhaps the transition to electronic hardware was the cause (as the HO-93? ASOS was shown to have bias) but I’m less inclined to this now. AFAIK there was no global cutover to ASOS at airports substantially simultaneously world wide… Though it might well be a confounder.

    So that’s where I’d go “Dig Here!”. Ought to be modestly easy to figure out, but I’m just not able to put any time on it now. Pick some place near you that does the “hockey stick”. Go find out if they changed the equipment in 1990 (or whenever) to electronic (to eliminate or confirm the ASOS confounder). Ask the local BOM how they calculate “monthly MEAN” for the CLIMAT reports. Ask if it changed near 1990 or if something else changed then. (answers #2). Then compare their CLIMAT to what is in GHCN and ask if they do TOBS or if GHCN does it? (Answer #3). Then ask NOAA / NCDC or find it on their web site: “What is the QA process and was it applied differently to data prior to about `1990? (answers #1). If none of those turns it up, then just pick a station with a clearly correlated Duplicate Number change and ask NOAA / NCDC “What do the various “Duplicate Numbers” for this station mean? What processes are changed between them?” That last question would likely answer it right off the bat, but I’m not willing to bet it would be easy to get answered…
    -E.M.Smith ]

  10. kwik says:

    Well, for Norway, I fetch the data here;,39035,73_39049&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&6009_BATCHORDER_3197941

    As you can see you can click on the english flag, and get it in english.

    You can register to get a password.

    If a change in instrumentation was done, one would expect a sudden jump, and then a continuation.

  11. kwik says:

    Another reason could be UHI; In the 70’ties British Petroleum found oil out in the North Sea.

    Before that Norway was very poor. After that, roads, airports, towns, there has been an enourmous growth. So it wouldnt surprise me if this has had an effect.

    But…we do have a HUGE radiator right outside called the north sea. And there are “conveyor belts” there….

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