In Hansen’s GIStemp product, we regularly see a map with the entire Arctic colored Blood Red. With “heating anomalies” in the 4 to 10 C range.
It’s a remarkably consistent feature in their graphs. Only with carefuly selected maps can you make it go away. (Things like changing the baseline help; as does using a very small time window). But the basic image is one of Siberia and Alaska just melting away to become a new Tropical Paradise.
Yet there are clearly times when the reports of folks who live up there, and of the weathermen on TV, say it’s quite cold.
So “What’s the deal?”
Here is the latest map from GISS via GIStemp as an example:
What happens if we check in on a station in that hot band, like Barrow Alaska, on the very northern edge near the middle of Alaska, last stop before you are wading in the Arctic Ocean:
Well, that’s a bit of a surprise! Dropping by almost 1/10 F per year and taking only 10 years to drop a whole degree F. Golly! Except it looks to me more like it was a ‘step function’ down about 1975 (and with a potential step back up about 2010, though more muted). This looks more like a “Regime Change” profile with about a 30 year period and not so much like a smooth even “trend”. But, by “Climate Scientists Standards”, it’s a trend, so I’ve got to take it ;-)
Ok, so Barrow is cooling and the Arctic is On Fire Hot. Something doesn’t add up here…
Notice that The Arctic is shown as being Very Red. This is the default map you get right now at GISS. I’ve not “cherry picked” anything, just taken what the “Average Joe and Jane” will see if they say “Show Me A Map”. It is what is released by NASA each time they declare some month or other “The Hottest EVER!!!!”. Just “the latest month”.
Notice that per the legend all of The Arctic is about 4 to 9.9 C over heated. That’s like 7.2 to 18 F Hot Hot HOT!
Somehow if it was 15 to 20 F hotter up there, I think folks would notice…
Well, we can tell GIStemp to “only” smear data around by 250 km instead of by 1200 km and get a bit of an idea. On this ‘lesser smeared’ map we can see that there aren’t all that many temperature stations in The Arctic in GIStemp (or the GHCN it is based upon).
Here we see that the Big Red Blob extends most from Alaska into Siberia, with Honorable Mention to a stray station or two in Greenland and Canada (like the one in “The Garden Spot of the Arctic” we saw here in Eureka Canada)
So, what happens is we “dip a toe” into some temperature histories from around Alaska and Russia? Do we find that we have a nice steady 1/2 C / year rise? (To give us that 20 C of Hot Hot HOT!!! in about 40 years, as is implied to be happening in the GIStemp product, with that 1951-1980 baseline). Basically, if we “step off the reservation” of Their Method and Their Selected Stations and Their “time scope”; do we see the same thing? Is the effect in the DATA or is it in the METHODS and SELECTION BIAS?
Russian Pacific Coast
First up, Anodyr Russia. Why Anodyr? Well, it’s just across the ocean from Alaska. Heck, I bet Sara can even see it from Todd’s fishing boat if she tried real hard! ;-)
You can read up about it here:
Anadyr (Russian: Ана́дырь, Chukchi: Кагыргын, Kagyrgyn) is a port town and the administrative centre of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the extreme north-eastern region of Russia. It is at the mouth of the Anadyr River, on the tip of the southern promontory that sticks out into Anadyrskiy Liman. At 177°30′E, Anadyr is the easternmost town in Russia (more easterly locations, such as Provideniya and Uelen do not have town status by the Russian definition). It was founded on July 21, 1889 as Novo-Mariinsk, and renamed on August 5, 1923 following the Kamchatka Revkom. Town status was granted on January 12, 1965.
Now, GIStemp has one view of Anadyr, but Wolframalpha had another:
This is the “combined stations” data.
Not much happens until about 1990, then all the low going cold excursions “get clipped” and we add some more warm spikes. We’ve seen that before and it is coincident in time with when new “Quality Control” methods were started that force stations to be like those around them or they get replaced with an average of ASOS stations at airports. An average of stations, and especially those over black tarmac in the sun, will never be as cold as a single station. Averages always flatten the extremes. (To get that extreme event would require ALL the stations to have a valid low excursion extreme on the same day at the same time. A highly improbable event). So is this an actual uplift in temperatures at the end, or a result of a flawed QA “adjustment” process?
You will notice I’ve “tagged” this graph with the creation date. The structure of GIStemp is such that every month you will get different results. It rehomogenizes everything and any new temperatures change all the old temperatures, so you must know what “vintage” you have to know how it will look. But this is the view today. Who knows what it will look like next year, and it isn’t possible to know what it looked like on any given time in the past as “things change”…
And what happens after GIStemp “Cleans and homogenizes” it:
Not much difference as near as I can tell.
But what does Wolframalpha think it looks like?
Well, that looks rather flat and constant to me…
Wonder where all that Hot Hot HOT!!! is coming from, then, if it isn’t actually IN Anadyr?
Could it be across the water in Nome or up in the Barrow Alaska area above the Arctic Circle?
North, To Alaska!
This time we will start with the Wolframalpha data:
Wow! Quite a Rise! Yet it doesn’t look like a ‘trend’ so much as a ‘Regime Change’ in about 1975. The temperatures jump up in one step, then hold flat. Ten whole degrees in one go, then the “peaks” just keep hanging out about 30 F and no higher. Not “warming trend” so much as “regime change”. We can even see a hint of cyclicality in the past high points (in the part of history that gets ignored as it is before the GIStemp baseline…)
Now lets look again at that Barrow Alaska graph:
Well, here, too, we seem to have a bit of “Regime Change” but this time it’s a drop. Again in about 1975 we take a plunge of about 10 F and then hold there (though I notice that about 2010 it looks a little like a possible regime change back is in progress, just as Nome is ‘rolling down’ Barrow is ‘rolling up’ a tad. Guess it’s time for GIStemp to drop Nome and use Barrow to recreate a warming Nome with The Reference Station Method…)
What’s going on here? A big “Dig Here”, but I’d guess it is one of the normal weather cyclical patterns. AO, PDO, whatever. At this point I punt to the Weathermen of the world who know this stuff far better than I ever will. Maybe someone can get Anthony Watts to research what happened during that Regime Change in Alaska and the Arctic.
What is clear to me is pretty simple: There is not A Trend in the Arctic. There are distinct and individual trends by location. Any “trend” for the whole place is an artificial construction from too much “homogenation” and too much “adjustment”. Barrow Alaska alone says that, but Anodyr confirms it.
Some Detail on Nome
Here is a more detailed look at Nome, for completion, mostly. You can click on the graphs to get larger or more readable sizes.
So Nome has some volatility, but on average the temperature line is staying inside those temperature MIN and MAX averages. It’s just being “normal” in its range.
What does GIStemp do with the data as it moves through the digestive process?
First we have more than one station, so they get combined.
Notice that there is a tiny dashed “tail” hanging down about 1972 or so. Can’t have any low excursions, so that is removed in the “combining” process. (I’m sure there are more, but that one stands out):
OK, all nicely combined, now to “Homogenize and bake until done”:
Look at that 1920s area. Notice anything? Check the scale… Yup, it’s moved DOWN from about -5.8 F to about -6.8 F. Just about one whole degree more “warming trend” baked in the cake. Baked Alaska anyone?
A bit harder to pick up, in about 1980 there is a peak. It moves up by about 1/4 to 1/3 of a degree F. I had to lay a ruler on the screen to see it. But it’s there.
More Regime Change
We see a similar shift of Regime Change in Kotzebue Alaska a bit further north.
The Wolframalpha data are a bit short, but you can see the tail of the rise out of the cold interval, then the nearly flat time since then:
Peaks hanging consistently around that 25 degree line. No trend here, just Regime Change.
Back To Russia and a Lower Alaska
So what happens if we slide down the coast just a bit on each side of the Pacific? To a place in Kamchatka Russia? (While GISS and Wolframalpha use different spellings, the lat / long matched):
And the GISS View:
I find it fascinating that even GISS does not show a warming trend for this station, yet it is Blood Red On Fire in their map… Though I do note that the low going excursions have been ‘peak clipped’ after about 1980. Mostly it has simply been truncated so that it can be “filled in” from somewhere “nearby” up to 1200 km away. Perhaps somewhere with a more suitable warming trend…
FWIW, in Juneau Alaska we get a similar cut off of data, but they have a very nice “dip” in the baseline period…
In Wolframalpha, you can much more clearly see that this is just a Regime Change of some sort, and things have just not warmed up since then.
But boy, do you get to “lock in” a spectacular rate of “rise”. A 2.7 years / F run rate. Why, in 27 years that’s 10 whole degrees! In 50 years, it’s 20F of Hair On Fire Trend!!! To bad it isn’t actually a trend, just a data artifact.
I was looking at the upper middle of Siberia and ran into Dudinka. It is also interesting. GISS has a dip in the baseline, and a rise out of that, with some data truncation. The actual trend is far different:
Again we see that consitent pattern of a warmer time in the 1930-1940 era. A “dip” in the 1951-1980 baseline time (though a modest one). Then the shift back up at the regime change point in 1975 or so, and basically flat since then.
Tura Russia is a similar example:
Cold peak clipping after the late 1980’s – 1990 period. Bit of a cool dip in the baseline period, but prior to that warmer.
Other than a1960-70 cool dip, it is basically all a slow down trend.
In that Ruby Red Russia on the GISS map…
Looks like Russia has a Regime Change problem too ;-)
So now we can see what the net-net effect of GIStemp is, simply and clearly.
IMHO, the “Reference Station Method” clearly breaks down in places subject to weather Regime Changes on a 30 to 60 year cyclical basis. When combined with the peculiar kind of splicing called “homogenization” and especially after a “Quality Control” process that tosses out low temperatures, it creates an artificial (and locked in) spectacular “Hot Hot HOT!!!” reading where actual stations on the ground show one of two very different states. Either gentle cooling (or not much) or a Regime Change with a step function up in some places and down in others. Exactly the kind of thing where station drops would result in “exactly wrong” filled in data via the Reference Station Method.
The reason The Arctic is shown as Blood Red On Fire is due to processing and data handling errors masking the cyclical weather patterns and regime change in the area. IMHO, most likely an artifact of the AO Arctic Oscillation changing when the PDO flips and flops.
But at this point I must leave it as a “Dig Here!!” for the Weathermen of the world. They’ve spent a lifetime getting good at just that kind of thing and I have other places to explore ;-)
Update: Polar Projection
As it’s just a different dropdown choice at NASA GISS, here is the same map as a polar projection:
Here is the version with the HADcrut sea model included.
The startling thing is how empty the Southern Hemisphere is when you cut it back to 250 km “smearing”: