I recently found a couple of papers that challenge the notion that a “global average temperature” can actually be measured and that any such proclaimed temperature is nonsense. I will give links so those interested can access them and have a read. I admit that the mathematics is beyond my knowledge but the reasoning and conclusions make sense.
The first is by Christopher Essex, Ross McKitrick and Bjarne Andresen titled “Does a global temperature exist?”
The argument revolves around the fact that temperature is not a quantity that is subject to mathematical operations like addition or averaging. It is an “intensive” variable that is a measure of molecular activity at one point at one time and is independent of the size of the object being measured. A coffee cup full of water at 100 degrees C has the same temperature as an Olympic swimming pool full of water at 100 degrees C. If one 100 degree C swimming pool is added to another 100 degree C pool the result is not twice the volume at 200 degrees whereas one tonne of lead added to another tonne equals two tonnes as mass/weight is an “extensive” variable.
It argues that the earth is not in thermal equilibrium, with a temperature range of -80 to +40 degrees C at any time, so the idea of representing the system by an “average” temperature is meaningless. At the end of a lot of mathematics the paper concludes:
“There is no global temperature. The reasons lie in the properties of the equations of state governing local thermodynamic equilibrium, and the implications cannot be avoided by substituting statistics for physics.
Since temperature is an intensive variable, the total temperature is meaningless in terms of the system being measured, and hence any one simple average has no necessary meaning. Neither does temperature have a constant proportional relationship with energy or other extensive thermodynamic properties.
Averages of the Earth’s temperature field are thus devoid of a physical context that would indicate how they are to be interpreted, or what meaning can be attached to changes in their levels, up or down…..
The purpose of this paper was to explain the fundamental meaninglessness of so-called global temperature data. The problem can be (and has been) happily ignored in the name of the empirical study of climate. But nature is not obliged to respect our statistical conventions and conceptual shortcuts.
Debates over the levels and trends in so-called global temperatures will continue interminably, as will disputes over the significance of these things for the human experience of climate, until some physical basis is established for the meaningful measurement of climate variables, if indeed that is even possible”
The second paper is written by Dr Darko Butina and analyses 161 years of temperature data from the Armagh observatory in Ireland. His website is here. (Look on the home page and select number 1 under publications to see the relevant paper).
His analysis shows that temperature variations day to day, month to month and year to year indicate a chaotic system that is not amenable to some rational statistical analysis. In the paper he finds that there is no gradual “warming” evident, in fact there are similar days and months scattered through the data, some many years apart:
“Detailed analysis of thermometer based daily readings for Armagh, UK, has shown that there is nothing unusual in annual temperature patterns for the 1990 to 2004 period, in either warming or cooling trends that would separate them from the oldest years. Moreover, the most similar annual temperature patterns to the 1990-2004 period are found in the pre-1880s.”
The paper is very interesting and worth the time taken to read it. He concludes:
The only way to unequivocally declare any year as either the hottest or the coldest would be if that year has every single day either hotter or colder than any other year on record, as measured by thermometer. However, it has been demonstrated that it is impossible to declare one year warmer or colder than another using thermometer based daily data due to the chaotic behaviour of the air-temperatures. The overall pattern is that on average, every year is on 50% occasions warmer and on 50% occasions colder than any other year.
The current practice in the climate community is to look for the trends of warming or cooling in a purely theoretical space of annual averages and global temperatures, where a single number obtained by averaging all daily temperatures from the coldest to the hottest places on the Earth is assigned the physical property of temperature and used to represent the Global Temperature for a given year. Since the global temperature cannot be measured by any thermometer-based device, this cannot be proven to be either correct or wrong, and therefore cannot be used as evidence of anything.
Global temperature as a single number has nothing to do with the physical reality space where the Earth can be seen as a very complex network of millions of local temperature patterns and where each local temperature pattern should be treated separately.
For those who are interested he has another paper dealing with the “warming of the Arctic/ ice melting” hysteria where it is demonstrated that it is physically impossible for the Arctic to melt completely. Find it here.
Climate is a local phenomenon not a global one. The climate in Antarctica is different to that of the Sahara and Alaska is different to Jamaica. Adelaide is different to Darwin. To pretend that some statistically manufactured and manipulated “average global temperature” means anything is ridiculous and lacks scientific veracity.
I decided to do an analysis of Adelaide’s temperature data from 1888 to the present and found some interesting things.
First I looked at the month of January for every 10th year from 1888, (it’s a long process so decades will have to do), and found the temperature range from the maximum temperature to the minimum.
The table of results and a graph appear below. My apologies if it looks strange, life is too short to try and work out how to change the colours on an Excel graph so we have red for minimums and blue for maximums until I work it out.
Each January has temperatures within a range from the maximum recorded to the minimum recorded. It is around a 28 to 30 degree range with the highest in 1948 (70 years ago) of 33.4.
The range is fairly constant over the 130 year span of the data, which was sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology. One caveat is that their data has holes in it so there might be some “outliers” and the second is that they changed observatories in 1978 so the purists might shout a bit. The temperatures are recorded in tenths of a degree even though the old mercury thermometers used up until the 60’s were accurate to +/- 0.5 degrees.
Just to be on the safe side I sorted maximum temperatures to get a handle on the number of “hot” days as a percentage of the total 45,600 or so daily records.
The “hottest” day was 1 December 1939 with a maximum of 46.1 degrees and the second, also in 1939, (on 1 October), was 45.9. The total number of days above 45 in the entire record, (47,605 days), was 2. Days above 40 degrees numbered 306 or 0.64%. For the period 2010 to now we have had 5 of them. From 1888 to 1898 there were 8 and from 1898 to 1908 there were 19.
Days over 38 degrees, (the old century) numbered 746 or 1.6% but days with a minimum temperature below 10 degrees numbered 17,354 or 36.5%.
There is a temptation to keep on analysing the data but I am resisting it for now. The first conclusion I get is that Adelaide’s climate has not “changed” in 130 years. We still have the same range of temperatures that we have always had. They bob around a bit because weather is a chaotic system, not because there is a bit more carbon dioxide. We are not getting any more “hot” days than we did in the past and the percentage of them is very small. Records show that there were hotter days 70 years ago. I suspect analysis of other areas in Australia would yield the same results.
The second conclusion I reach is that public policy has been and continues to be formulated on the basis of some very dodgy “science” and that we are wasting time and resources as a country by clinging to the fantasy that we can “influence the climate” by committing industrial suicide. I realise that politicians are just ordinary people, (some are very ordinary), but the longer they allow voodoo scientists and vested interests to give them advice, and the more they heed it, the more we will sink into oblivion.