Humbug In Hobart

Hotter in Hobart? It all depends…

OK, under the thread we had a comment about the trend being toward colder in Tasmania, followed by dropping a whole bunch of stations. (see the comment by Keith Hill ) and that got me wondering…

So I whacked together a version of the dT/dt code that let me put in ‘latitude limits’ in addition to country codes, and sure enough, we had stations dropping from about 30 in 1971 to 3 in 2004 (and some of them were on other islands than Tasmania…)

What to do? There were loads of “splice” artifacts in the combined graphs. There were “issues” that looked like they would take a long time to sort out. So I focused in on “Hobart” (and found out there were 2 “Hobarts”… so more “splice” artifacts. OK, I chose to just look very closely at “Hobart Airport”. The record had an early start date and continued to the present. What could “go wrong”?

Hobart Airport Anomalies Graph

Wait a moment… Keith said things were dropping and this is a clearly rising trend at the “Survivor”.

Hobart Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

Hobart Monthly Anomalies and Running Total

But it looks “wrong”… It has a spectacular bullseye near the start, then in the late 1990s to 2000 the almost complete lack of “negative going monthly excursions”. Not a bit of “cold” from 1998 to 2001 (or so)? Just what is going one here?

Ah, a partial answer, that “bullseye” is where we jump from 1854 to 1958. There is a Century missing. Wonder where it went?

So I’ve made a graph putting a ‘break” at that point. 1958 the anomalies are ‘all zero” (the heart of the bullseye) and 1959 only starts in June, so I’ve put the break in the graph at the 1959 / 1960 transition where we get our first year of data.

Hobart Airport Anomaly Graph by Century Gap Segments

Hobart Airport Anomaly Graph by Century Gap Segments

Gee, we were dropping like a rock, and suddenly lost a Century of data. Wonder why?

Then we pick up again rising out of the cold 1960 – 1970 era, but even then with a fairly flat trend line. There were a couple of volcano events then, and we recovered. OK. But also of interest is that “Dip” in 1997 – 1999. Wasn’t that “The Hottest Year Ever”? Is this, perhaps, evidence of a “Polar Oscillator” with the North being very hot when the South is very cold? We saw some evidence for this in the southern ocean discussion under the Ascension Descending thread. But this is a just spectacular droop. Probably a very interesting “Dig Here!” for a general understanding of how our global weather works.

But even that Blue Segment looks “wrong”. It’s trucking along doing a -1 C to Zero oscillator thing… just happy as can be and steady right up to that “droop”, then it simply loses it’s bottom.

The tops stay at Zero Anomaly, but the bottoms just fade away. Is there NO volatility AT ALL in Tasmania today? Golly, must be the easiest job ever for a weather man…

But we’ve seen this before. In France. When they went to 92% airports… And this is an airport. Could the same tool that helped us there, help us here? Looking directly at the actual temperatures?

Hobart, The Real Deal

OK, no interpolations, fill-ins, anomalies, nothing. Just the monthly temperature data, plotted.

Hobart Temperatures by Month

Hobart Temperatures by Month

Now that is one very interesting graph.

Stare at it for a while. Notice anything?

Like the narrowing of the width in the present?

Like the rising winter temperatures, but the falling summer temperatures?

The “hot pink” line is the annual average and it has a slight tilt upwards, but only because the DROP in December and January (summer) is not as large as the rise in winter ( May, June, July, August).

We saw very early on that “Global Warming” was not active in summer, but here it is “negatively active” in summer… and “neutral” in the swing months like November and March.

Update: Launceston

Inland a ways from Hobart, but also an airport. Where Hobart is the largest city in Tasmania, Launceston is the second largest. What does it look like?

Laucenston Temperatures by Month

Laucenston Temperatures by Month

(You can click on the graph to get a much larger version)

Oddly, the winters are “dead flat” while the summers have a slight rise to them. But a look in the wiki article for Launceston says that it has loads of winter fog. Airports don’t run much in the fog. Nor do they solar heat then. From the article:

Winter, for Launceston, is also the season with the least amount of wind. Because of this and the topographical affect of the Tamar Valley, Launceston winters are renowned for foggy mornings, with Launceston Airport the most fog-bound commercial airport in Australia.

So when the airport doesn’t run much, nothing changes.

But wait, there’s more… At the top of the graph the Dec an Mar lines (blue and yellow) are almost on top of each other and also on top of the ‘guide line’ at 15 C. Toward the bottom, the Oct and Sept trend lines are both slightly dropping (orange and deep blue). The “swing months” are not warming and in some cases slightly cooling.

Now, lets go back to those “warming” summer months at the top (Jan / black, Feb / red). Notice that the “rise” looks to largely happen in the early years? From 1939 to 1960. The transition from grass strips to tarmac and pavement. The growth of the Jet Age. Since then, the “tops and bottoms” have run more or less about 19 C and 15 C. There might be a trivial rise to it (about like the Sept drop) but the bulk of the “rise” is long gone.

So we’re left with “nothing much happening” after the Commercial Expansion is over. And with a bit of solar heated runway and tarmac parking areas, and maybe some terminal growth UHI; but a place that does not get warmer when the planes are grounded and fog blocks the sun.

Many local site issues, not a scrap of “climate change”. IMHO, that’s the story across the globe. And “homogenizing” it all together will not turn local site issues into climate issues.


It looks to me like we have a falling trend in Hobart, but that at the airport the Airport Heat Island can overcome it, especially during winter. I would speculate that summers are not as sunny in Hobart as they are in the south of France, as we ware lacking the “lift’ of the summer months that we saw there. Or just as likely (perhaps more so as the Wiki says Hobart is very sunny in summer), the single Hobart station has not moved, where in France we were seeing a combined focus on more airport percentage AND a concentration more southward, to more sunny places. So Hobart Airport may well be warming a bit in the summer sun, but no more than it was in 1970 so nothing changes.

In any case: I see no possible way for CO2 to warm the winters AND cool the summers. I see an easy way for a mild cooling trend to be swamped in winter by all the energy used at an Airport. Especially if the thermometer is near any heated buildings. Worse, I’d like to know how “global warming” makes winters warmer in Hobart, but summers warmer in Launceston. Nice “trick” that.

Global warming in Hobart? Humbug!

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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25 Responses to Humbug In Hobart

  1. Pingback: TWAWKI » Heat content of oceans continues to dive

  2. Keith Hill says:

    E.M. You’ve done it again and said it all, so my thanks once more. I’ll try not come to the well too often but if I ever bug you too much, please tell me!!
    If there was to be only one “survivor” a comparison of the Launceston and Hobart airport graphs clearly show why Launceston missed out.
    Re the dip ’97 – ’99, something is going on because the GisTemp graphs for Hobart Airport show that 1972; ’80; ’81; ’88 and ’93 were all hotter than the El Nino Year 1998. Launceston Airport confirms this with 1939 being about equal but 1961; ’74; ’80; ’81 and ’88 all being hotter.
    Definitely worth a ‘dig here’ and confirming that the money wasted on trying to find a link to CO2 AGW would have been far better used for real climate research on natural variability.
    2010 will be interesting as we have had a lovely warm summer here and there is talk that it has been an El Nino event.

    On a previous thread:- is well worth another look for Eloi’s latest. Since the spotlight came on, BoM has suddenly dropped 3 stations ; Cunderdin replaced by Cunderdin Airfield with a loss of 46 years data; Burketown P.O replaced by Burketown Airport with a loss of approx 111 years data;
    Nhill replaced by Nhill Aerodrome with a loss of approx 106 years data.
    Eloi questions how valid it is to substitute newer stations with very limited data for ones with a history sretching back over a century. So much for the avowed BoM quality assurance !!

  3. JT says:

    Mr, Smith

    I love your approach with these graphs. Its one thing to cherry pick and find desired results, but when you can hit country after country and find similar results by examining the raw (or as raw as possible) data, I think it is safe to say that there is a systemic problem in the measurment of temperatures which is having a profound effect on temperature trends for the last 20 years.

    In your sleuthing, you have identified a pattern where the number of weatherstations for a given country increases rapidly, remains steady for a few years, then decreases rapidly.

    Your focus to has been on the removal of selective sites so that the resulting temperature is “enhanced”. I want to know what the reason was behind the rapid increase in weatherstations.

    So I pose these questions;

    1) Was there ever a government funded effort to increase the number of weather stations globally?

    2) Did countries recieve grants to install additional weather stations?

    3) Who would have funded such an effort?

    4) Was this grant eventually defunded and when?


    REPLY: [ As near as I can tell, for much of the world, the stations are still there and are reporting, but NOAA / NCDC chooses not to include the data. They have asserted this is due to it being a “historical creation” at a point in time with only those places issuing CLIMAT reports staying in with continued automatic updates, but this explanation is lacking. (Not only are Boliva CLIMATs available since 2007 at least, but Papua New Guinea also has CLIMATs and is not in the set. I’ve found several others too. It also does not explain fact that NCDC has stations in the USHCN that it has dropped from the GHCN, so they HAVE the data for those stations. Either it is a choice, or it’s incredible lack of thinking. They can choose which one they like…) There is an exception to this for Australia where, per comments on the Marble Bar thread, it looks like the Post Office recorded temperatures for a long time, then was privatized in some way and ceased recording temps. That resulted in a lot of stations ending.

    There seems to have been a “coincident” decision to make a “high quality system” that ended up with a boat load of Airports. (A “Jumbo Jet” of airports? to modernize the term ;-) Perhaps as they are always reporting. Perhaps as a monetary convenience. In any case, with the coincident increase in the percentage of thermometers near acres of tarmac, cars, terminals, and jet exhaust. In some cases the airports are small and relatively rural, with low flight numbers. But the tarmac never leaves… so there can easily be an Airport Heat Island based just on albedo change.

    (FWIW it is IMPORTANT for an airport thermometer to report the temps OVER THE RUNWAY. That is where the airplane wing is located. If the air is too hot, you can not take off and you crash, or you land “too fast” and risk an accident. This is called “density altitude” and is very important, especially on hot days. I WANT the airport to report the runway temps, as to all the pilots and, even if they don’t know it, the passengers too… It is NOT an error to report “over the runway” at airports. It is an error to use that data for “climate change”.)

    So, IMHO, it’s not a grand conspiracy to kill off stations. It’s just a great big FUBAR based on moving everything around without thinking at all about it. Profound Stupidity.

    “Intelligence is limited, but stupidity knows no bounds. -E.M.Smith”

    Perhaps coupled with a “boat load” of the sin of arrogance. To believe that they have invented the perfect technique in the various anomaly systems used, that can magically remove all the thermometer change and siting biases with perfection. Vanity and Arrogance. Deadly sins. -E.M.Smith ]

  4. Cement a friend says:

    Seems like there has been a bit of splicing going on by GHCN.
    On the BOM website station 94008 (Hobart Airport 15.7km from the city centre) was started in 1958. I recall courting my wife in 1965 a flying to Hobart in a Viscount Propjet a walking to the tin shed terminal. Bloody cold in winter. There is an earlier airport nearby Cambridge (now light planes) station 94007 14.2 Km from town. This started in 1944 and closed in 1958 when the other opened.
    There are two stations 94029 & 94030 in Hobart 1.2 & 1.8 km from the centre. The latter in the Botanical Gardens started in 1841 and had continuous data to 1854. That answers your gap in years. The former started in 1882 and is still going.
    There are two other stations 94087 Mt Wellington 7.1 Km (42 90S 147 24E 1260m elev) from Hobart started in 1961 and still open and 94066 Mt Wellington (The Springs) 8.3 Km. started 1908 and closed 1967.
    If one wanted to be cunning one could splice in the latter for Hobart (maybe an average of all stations) in the last 10 years. That should show a good decline from 1841.

  5. JT says:

    Thanks for the reply and the backgound. I also recall that airports are the favorite location since they are manned 7x24x365 which ensures that temps are being taken.

    I will have to use your quote sometime, its priceless.
    “Intelligence is limited, but stupidity knows no bounds. -E.M.Smith”


  6. E.M.Smith says:


    I’ve added an interesting update with Launceston Airport. ;-)

    @JT: Use it as you like!

    @CementAFriend: Interesting. One unfortunate side effect of these postings is that for each hour of work done and posting made, 2 hours of “interesting things to explore” get turned up ;-) I think I need a “Climate Science” grant for a few million dollars and a staff of a half dozen ;-)

  7. Ibrahim says:

    In Armagh the winters get milder too:

    Click to access 445.pdf

  8. Margaret says:

    There is some info on the weather station here:

    Unfortunately no photo .. though they do say the nearest sealed road is 40 m from the station.

    Ditto for Launceton

  9. Cement a friend says:

    I think your information on Hobart airport is way out of date. Hobart has now a significant terminal with shops and restaurant. It has received international flights from New Zealand and charter from elsewhere. It gets direct flights from the 2 Melbourne airports ($49 shopping trips), Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. Back in the 1960’s it was possible to pull up at the terminal 10 minutes before the flight time. Now you can not pull at the front of the terminal but must enter the extensive car park. There is baggage booking in, security, lounge boarding pass checking etc. While the time in the air to Melbourne has reduce from about 80mins to about 50 minutes, the total travel time residence to residence is about 50% longer. Hobart airport has now two industrial estates plus another at the Cambridge airport 2 minutes drive. The Highway into Hobart is mainly four lanes (2 in either direction), there are an increasing number of housing estates. The drive to the bridge over the Derwent and the centre of Hobart takes about 10 minutes from the Terminal car park. I mentioned Mt Wellington in the earlier post. This can have snow in the height of summer on Christmas day.
    I should add that the majority of Tasmania is elevated and in winter there is lots of snow feeding rivers to generate hydro-electricity. Hobart and Launceston would be considerably warmer than the average of Tasmania.
    Another point of interest Tasmania was the home of the Late John Daly (see and mentioned in the climategate emails and is the home of Garth Paltridge author of the book Climate Capers.

  10. oldtimer says:

    Picking up on your earlier reply about runways and heat, that is the reason (plus altitude) why in places like Nairobi jumbo jets only landed and took off at night, in my experience c2am to 3am on trips between UK and South Africa. It was the only time it was cool enough.

    In the meantime I have made a late entry submission of evidence to the independent email enquiry. Among other things I have included a link to this site, specifically europe-the-overview on 29 March where you provide a very clear description of your anomaly method.

    In my evidence I have concluded (inter alia)
    “4 In the absence of suitable parallel data (with the 1961-90 baseline) the GHCN Version 2 data set should be closely scrutinised and interrogated. The E M Smith tool set provides a documented method for achieving this and should be considered for this purpose.”

    In earlier remarks in my submission it is clear that I am referring to the unadjusted version of GHCN. I have also copied my submission to the relevant MPs. They cease to be MPs about the end of this week. I believe that the Committee chairman is not seeking re-election; however the other one (and the only one with a science degree sitting on the Committee) is I believe standing again – and in a safe seat.

    If my evidence is posted online (earlier evidence has been), I will post a link.

    REPLY: [ Great! I’ve posted 1/2 the code (the “create the anomaly file” part) under the “Germany Not Rising” thread IIRC. I’ve not posted the “turn monthly anomalies into running total” report writer code, though did post the method, for the simple reason that it’s not elegant… I had originally ‘hacked it together’ out of another chunk of code and some of it has “odd” variable names as a result. Also, I had designed it with the “hooks” in it for “missing data flags”, but discovered that I like the “bulllseye” you got from a year of missing data at the splice points as an indicator… so the code has a control structure in it for skipping values that is completely ignored when it runs (i.e. misleading and ‘bad form’). With that said: Would it be helpful to have a code listing? If so, I could “clean it up” enough to publish it in about 4 hours of work (and about 2 elapsed days ;-) Though I do think it is simple enough to be done in a spread sheet. Part of the idea is that “anyone can do it” methods are easy to share and easy to ‘re-implement’ in other languages to act as confirmation. – E.M.Smith ]

  11. Mike Jonas says:

    Last year, I downloaded monthly max temperature data from the BOM website for all 29 Australian stations that had been up for 100yrs+, .

    They showed a rising trend in the winter months and a falling trend in the summer months. (NB. I am away from the computer with the downloaded data, so can’t supply figures right now)

    REPLY: [ Way To Go Mike! I suspect that, given the large shift to airports and growth of the Jet Age in the record, we will find a similar pattern in most places in the world. I think that “seasonal divergence” is one of the most interesting lines of investigation turned up so far. As soon as I’ve got the Africa series of dT/dt graphs “up” I intend to do a series of “just temperatures, by month” for selected places on the planet. Those “rainbow graphs” we’ve seen fro France and Hobart. (But would be thrilled if folks ‘ran ahead of me’ and started doing them for their favorite places. I can’t get to everything fast enough and, well, that’s what a “barn raising” is all about ;-) But whenever you are back “At Keyboard” feel free to post a link or summary. Heck, if you’d like we could work out a ‘guest posting’. -E.M.Smith ]

  12. oldtimer says:

    It remains to be seen how they react to my submission. The time frame for submissions was from c11 February to c1 March – so mine was over one month later than the closing date. However I hope that it is considered. One reason for copying the MPs was to put a marker down with them. The MPs published their report on 31 March. The CRU evidence was posted 1 April.

    The MPs review was truncated by the imminent election. It did not go into depth, and more or less exonerated Prof Jones and his colleagues who were backed up by the UK science establishment.

    The UEA established its own “independent review” headed by Sir Muir Russell, again with an extremely small window for receiving evidence (see above) and getting out a report. That is the body my submission has gone to. The UEA then asked the Royal Society to set up a review to consider the science. This review is headed by Lord Oxburgh. I have seen no terms of reference for this RS review.

    If you are of a suspicious mind, you might conclude that there will be a rush to complete both reviews in the Spring – just when there is a general election campaign in full swing. Then would be a good time to “bury bad news”, to borrow a notorious phrase that was used by a government spin merchant at the time of 9/11 attack. The author of this remark was later found out and forced to resign.

    The possible outcomes include:
    1 they reject my submission as too late to be considered;
    2 they pass it on to the Lord Oxburgh/RS review of the science, who in turn either:
    3 ignore/dismiss it or
    4 follow my recommendation to use your tool set – in which case I imagine you will hear from them one way or another.

    As the precautionary principle is much in vogue, it probably would be wise to have all your code in one place for access as needed. In my evidence I said your programmes and results are posted on line as you complete them.

    In public the UK science establishment is firmly behind Prof Jones and the CRU. It will not be shifted without good cause. The basis of my case is as much a bean counters case as it is a science case – namely the failure to parallel run the post 1990 data set (c1200 stations)against the baseline dataset (c6000 stations) in order to validate the new process. In other words to be sure that the new process still calculates that 2+2=4, just like the old process. The failure to validate a new process in this way would be totally unacceptable in the business world. It is analogous to your example of not changing instruments in the course of an experiment.

    If you let me have an email address, I will send you a copy of my evidence.

    REPLY: [ Email address is encoded in the “About” tab up top in a way that ‘spam bots’ can’t figure out. It is PUB4all followed by the AT sign then AOL dot com. -E.M.Smith ]

  13. pete m says:

    Hobart has a large pollution problem in winter due to the wood fired heating solutions the residents use. The smoke can become smog like if the winds are not blowing. Hobart also suffers from the odd blow in from the South (Antartic wind), with 130km/hr+ winds a regular feature. Their building code requires a wind resistance standard equivalent to cyclone (hurricane) standard. .

    Hobart also suffers from a weak ozone layer and has a very high UV index which can cause sunburn in short order.

    I cannot even guess what the impact of these “weather” features would have on temperature records, but I’ve been there in the middle of summer and nearly froze from wind chill

    Nice work EM.

  14. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    I have long imagined that warmer winters AND cooler summers would result from a warming climate. I’m not alone here, am I? Please tell me where the thought train gets derailed.

    1) Warming increases clouds.
    2) More clouds = cooler days and warmer nights.
    3) Summer: longer cooler days + shorter warmer nights = net cooling.
    4) Winter: longer warmer nights + shorter cooler days = net warming

    What happened? Thanks.

    REPLY: [ I generally try to avoid the “where has a hypothetical world gone wrong” questions simply because “toy world” is always by definition leaving out lots of important bits and therefore wrong. For example: I’ve often thought that IF CO2 had an action it would be to warm the coldest times ONLY. Why? log decay of impact means much more impact early in history, less now AND heat radiates as an exponential (having just woke up I don’t remember if it was cube or ^4 but it’s a “higher power” ;-) So as things get hotter more heat leaves Darned Fast and that ought to put a lid on hot temperatures. (I’d even gone so far as to figure it as being about 25 C average or around 40 C as a max). Simple math problem really. Were does a log curve cross an exponential curve?

    But like most “toy world” problems it fails on the “what was left out” list.

    Water vapor, clouds, polar winters, heat of fusion and vaporization, etc.

    So your toy world has loads of clouds in it. But did it allow for the “power function” of IR? The LOG decay of effect from added CO2? The homeostatic nature of plant cover? Albedo change? The ocean heat buffer? the…

    So at the end of the day I would point at “what was left out” and I’d point at “assumptions”. You assume that more warmth means more clouds. It might. Or it might just mean more clouds rapidly convecting and dumping heat to space from the upper atmosphere, forming rain and leaving the system faster. Or it might just mean more clouds dumping snow on Canada and starting a new Ice Age Glacial. Or… because in Toy World all sorts of things are possible that might or might not happen in the real world; depending on that you left out or assumed in. In essence, do you get more clouds so more persistent cloud cover or do you get more clouds so more rapid cloud life cycle and net more sunshine at the surface from less persistent cloud cover?

    Or more “metaphorically”: Does all the added heat in the Sahara make it cloudy? -E.M.Smith ]

  15. Keith Hill says:

    I’m not sure when Pete M was last in Hobart or what suburb he was in, but I’ve lived here for the last 22 years and in that time I’ve never seen, nor heard anyone say, that we have a large pollution problem for any reason.

    As for wood heaters, there has been a concerted effort to phase them out throughout Tasmania and as our main source of power is hydro electric, heat pumps and other forms of electric heaters are favoured now. We are on the large Derwent estuary and the resultant land and sea breezes help keep us clear.
    (Launceston does, or did have that pollution problem because it is in a valley surrounded by hills on 3 sides. It used to be very bad when I lived there as a child through WW II.)

    Our Forestry Commission conducts a few regeneration and/or fuel reduction burns and the smoke always upsets some in the community, but actual smog would be a very rare occurrence. Apart from that there is a very occasional day or two when we get temperature inversion.

    There is a winter phenomen known as Bridgewater Jerry which is a fog that rolls down the Derwent River and sometimes cloaks the Northern Suburbs for a few hours till it’s dispersed by the sun.

    We certainly do get cold blows from the south (very bracing) but the few 100 plus winds we have are mostly from the west. I have no reason to doubt Pete M on building regulations but we don’t get either hurricanes or cyclones as such, although I have seen very occasional freak wind events where a swathe of considerable damage has cut though a narrow area.

    As we live right under Mt.Wellington which carries some snow at times and there are many more mountains to the west which are snow covered for months, there is a big chill factor some days especially when the westerlies blow.We have had ocasional snow in summer months and it sounds like Pete M struck one of those days.

    He is also right about the sunburn as many tourists on visits have found out. There was a hole in the ozone layer which was supposed to be going to fry us all and it was the latest “scare” flavour of the month several years ago. I believe it has now closed to some extent but UV can be high in summer.

    We Tasmanians are thankful we do not have the extremes of weather experienced in the rest of Australia, but it does seem to take a while for mainlanders to acclimatise.

  16. BlueIce2HotSea says:


    Thank you for your reply. Yet, I still don’t understand why it is impossible for CO2 to warm the winters AND cool the summers? If it is impossible, I need to understand why so I may discard the notion.

    Added heat elsewhere might cause increased cloudiness in the Sahara. Were a lush environment re-establish, then local heat might suffice, no?


    REPLY: [ I said that “Toy Worlds” do not lead to truth. They may help understanding, or just as easily confuse and mislead. So I like to stick to real data and demonstrable actual events, resorting to “toy worlds” only for very limited purposes of example (preferably of well established science).

    FWIW, the best ‘proof’ that it’s not CO2 and it’s not warming the winters and cooling the summers is the dramatic divergence between graphs. Some are rising. Some falling. (Notice we have two above, on rising the other falling in the same months, that are near each other). Some with a “knee” in the ’70s, some in the ’80s, some in the ’90s, a few in the early 2000’s. See the April 1 posting that was “tongue in cheek” but with valid data and observations:

    And we had France where the winters warmed over decades, but the summers warmed only when we dropped to a very large percentage of airports:

    THE big issue I see for “The CO2 Thesis” in any form is the very non-uniform behaviour of thermometers and temperature records. Often directly related to the particular country and / or the particular instrument. CO2 can’t do that. It doesn’t “Account for all the known facts”. A general warming, even one with seasonal divergence, does not managed to leave winters alone in Launceston, warm them (over about a century) in France and Hobart, cool summers in Hobart, warm summers in Launceston, and leave them dead flat in France until 1990 when they suddenly warm dramatically, but April and September are left dead flat…

    So you get to have this magical gas that warms and cools at the same time and has impact sometimes over a century, other times over decades or even small numbers of years, and impacts different places with a different schedule even when they are next door to each other…

    So the “toy world” of CO2 “just warming” or even of “warming winters but not summers” breaks on the fact that many countries are highly divergent. And when they are “the same” it tends to be a precise 1990-2 “hockey stick” that is inconsistent with the CO2 thesis and arrives right on top of a change of “process” applied to the data. So CO2 might have a divergent impact winters vs summers, but IFF it does, it is completely swamped by something else.

    You don’t need to prove CO2 can not have a differential effect, simply demonstrate that something else has a stronger effect and / or better explains the behaviours. Occam’s Razor is enough. -E.M.Smith ]

  17. Mike Jonas says:

    BlueIce2HotSea : “I have long imagined that warmer winters AND cooler summers would result from a warming climate. I’m not alone here, am I? Please tell me where the thought train gets derailed.
    1) Warming increases clouds.
    2) More clouds = cooler days and warmer nights.
    3) Summer: longer cooler days + shorter warmer nights = net cooling.
    4) Winter: longer warmer nights + shorter cooler days = net warming
    What happened? Thanks.

    The world’s cloud cover decreased from the 1980s to 2000.
    I think the Earthshine paper referred to in the article is this one:

    Click to access palle1376.pdf

    [In the New Scientist article, Kevin Trenberth says that Earthshine measurements started in 1998. That is not quite right, there were a whole lot of measurements 1993-5, and others were measuring from 1989. See

    Take a look at the IPCC report, and see what they say about the expected behaviour of clouds. To save you a bit of time, I’ll precis it for you : “We don’t know”.

  18. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    It’s great that the Earthshine work helped to fix problems with Ceres. Especially since Earthshine is a poor proxy for winter, polar cloud cover. Unfortunately, de-seasonalized mean anomalies from Ceres are no good for demolishing my toy summer/winter cloud world. Or did I miss something?

    Also, please note that my original question was CO2 agnostic. How can we smash toy world without the CO2 strawman?.

    BTW, I have been a skeptic of dramatic AGHG warming since 1974 (I don’t count the first 6 yrs. of the 90’s).

    Thanks. I appreciate it.

  19. Mike Jonas says:

    BlueIce2HotSea – sorry, I haven’t been following all the dialogue arising from your original question. I just responded to the picture you painted of increasing cloud cover.

    The Earthshine paper showed cloud cover rising again from around 2000. As I see it, rising cloud cover would initially slow the rate of warming, but after a few years would strengthen to the point where it would start a cooling. I think this cooling has now started, probably around 2003 (but affected by ENSO in some years). Applying the same logic, the Arctic ice would continue melting for a while after the cooling started (because temperatures are still at the warm end of the scale for a while), but in time the cooling would build up to the point where Arctic ice started to recover. This appears to have started around 2007.

    But this is all only a part of the full picture, of course.

    And are the clouds driven by the PDO, or by the sun, or both, or by …….?

  20. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    Your Launceston graphs are very interesting and would be great for refuting a toy town microclimate theory. However, toy world is a global climate theory. Sorry.

  21. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    Mike Jones:
    The increasing cloudiness in the cloudy toy world is driven by increasing heat accumulation due to unspecified cause(s)!

    Your attempt at refutation is appreciated. However, I don’t think the deseasonalized Ceres anomalies will work to falsify this seasonal theory.

    E.M Smith
    Don’t take this too seriously. While I am sincere in my request for help, my cloudy toy world was proposed in a fit of cynicism.

    I was annoyed that even though the impact of clouds on climate were poorly understood, catastrophic anthropogenic CO2 was the answer to every question. Hence, a contrary simplistic cloud model that predicts less extreme temperature at higher global temperatures.


    REPLY: [ Well, for better or worse, I never take ANY “toy world” arguments seriously. They are just too useless due to being full of rampant assumptions (what is assumed OUT as well as what is assumed in…) to enlighten the truth very much. Useful “for purposes of illustration only”, IMHO. So while I’ll sometimes comment on them, it’s mostly done only when bored, and I don’t expect insight to come from it. It falls too much under the rubric of “Given these conclusions what assumptions can I draw?”. So a toy “cloud world” is fine and dandy; but given that we don’t really have a clue how clouds form or why (notice that Svensmark is still being debated so we don’t know the cosmic ray impact) I just don’t see where postulating “does too cloud up” vs “does not” moves things forward in understanding. And especially the fact that it doesn’t fit the actual data profiles from the dT/dt series… it just ends up looking like playing “bridge” with your self and arguing over what signals you gave yourself… (“I said 2 no trump not 3 no trump…”) and I don’t like playing bridge…

    So we have some places with winter warming, some with winter cooling, some with summer warming, some with summer not warming, and a whole gaggle of places that do a hockey stick in 1990 ish EXACTLY when a change of data processing happens. Looks like data processing and site changes, not clouds, so I just don’t see much reason to go “daydreaming about clouds” when I’ve got process changes to dig into… But you are welcome to do so, as is anyone who wants to debate it with you. Clouds are interesting and have the potential for all sorts of leveraged impacts (even some divergent by region) but I just don’t see where to go with it.

    I will “feed the topic” one interesting example, though. San Francisco. It’s “negatively correlated” with Lodi / Stockton California. During summers, when the inland area heats up, hot air rises and it pulls the fog in over San Francisco. So “hot sunny and clear” in Stockton causes cloudy and cool in SFO. A very interesting “cloud effect”. In the winter, the Stockton / Lodi area is often covered in a thick “pea soup” fog. At those times the SFO fog tends to stay out to sea and San Francisco can have clear winter skys. So it’s quite possible for two places to have inverse winter / summer patterns.

    I just don’t expect that kind of oddity to be able to explain the bulk of the world where whole countries are moving in opposite directions…
    -E.M.Smith ]

  22. BlueIce2HotSea says:


    It falls too much under the rubric of “Given these conclusions what assumptions can I draw?”.

    This is a succint and humorous insight. It allows me to claim that cloudy toy world (er you) has in fact enlightened us.

    The interesting Lodi / Stockton example does show us where to start should we want cloudy toy world to model reality. We have to add geology, geophysics, etc. and I hope maybe even interacting biomes whether we need it or not . We need to program the relationships into a computer model so as to fiddle with the tunable parameters. Might as well get it right.

    Also, a discussion of Svensmark is not relevant. It is clear that cloudy toy world model is not valid for any scenario that might impact cloudiness other than unspecified warming (um, and geology and as yet undetermined anthropogenic pollutants) .

    Thanks again. I have noticed that you are incredibly busy.

    REPLY: [ You are most welcome. Yes, I’m a bit busy… I “don’t do idle well” and find more work to do than can be done. Always have. That’s part of why I do so much prioritizing… Please understand that though I don’t particularly like playing with “toy worlds” due to that prioritizing, many people do and I’m “fine with that”. So enjoy “cloud world” and feel free to use Lodi / Stockton vs. SFO as a model. Don’t know if other folks want to play in cloud world too, but that’s up to them. I guess my position comes down to a question of how many places are like SFO vs Stockton and how many are like Phoenix vs Dallas (i.e. not much teleconnection and orthogonal clouds…). I’m willing to simply assume most of the world is a Phoenix / Dallas and little is an SFO / Stockton. But it would be interesting to figure out how to show if that assumption has any merit. I just don’t have the time to put it high on my “priority list” so it will fall to others to explore.

    (Oddly, I don’t really care what things folks want to explore or discuss, that’s up to them. All I really require is that it be polite and that folks don’t throw rocks at each other { or me ;-) } which is why I sometimes have things like “quake / barycenter” threads. So, should you wish a “cloud world” thread, feel free to put together a “cloud world” description / premise and I’d make a posting out of it. Just don’t expect me to comment on it much ;-)
    -E.M.Smith ]

  23. BlueIce2HotSea says:

    Ok. It was fun playing here and will definately come back.


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