David Bidstrup: What are we worried about?

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.

This entry was posted in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to David Bidstrup: What are we worried about?

  1. Agree with all that.

    Now, can we get on with it and get rid of the RETs and all the other subsidies and taxes on energy?

  2. a) “Climate” is generally used interchangeably with “temperature” which is nonsense.
    b) There is no more a “global temperature” or a “global climate” than there is a “global currency” or a “global language”.
    c) There is undeniable evidence than the temperature records published by the MSM are tortured and manipulated data. See the “RealClimate” website of Tony Heller or the Joannenova website currently.
    d) Even the Australian BOM publishes the results of radiosondes that have been launched daily since the early ‘fifties that indicate the lower troposphere temperature has been stable or even slightly in decline since the ‘forties.
    e) Your conclusion regarding the fact that Adelaide’s climate (Koppen Geiger Cfb) has not changed in 130 years, and in fact a world map of Koppen climate classifications only oscillates over the six decade period shown so clearly in your analysis. The term “climate change” is no more a reality than is the love of Mickey Mouse for Pluto.

  3. Bruce of Newcastle

    I disagree about a global average temperature since statistically that is no problem. Error bars wold normally be included, that’s all.

    The issue is not whether there is a global average temperature it is whether that data has been reported accurately. The dataset the pollies and the climate tragics use isn’t accurate. It’s wrong.

    The one which is accurate is the UAH satellite dataset. I say it is accurate because unlike the others it is calibrated to a standard temperature on the satellite, it is cross checked against balloon borne measurements, and it fits with a proxy I like to link: snow cover.

    You can’t fake snow cover. Snow melts at 0 C. It is easy to measure from space. Looking at the UAH data and the snow cover data shows that they inversely correlate.

    And what the snow data shows is that snow extent has not been trending downwards since about 1993. Which means global temperature in the NH is not rising, and has not been rising for almost a quarter of a century despite CO2 increasing massively in that time.

    Therefore CO2 caused global warming is falsified and we should not be destroying our country in the way that Turnbull is doing.

  4. manalive

    What are they worried about, I’m worried about energy bills and generally the general regression to the pre-enlightenment in rational policy decisions; a reader-commenter at The Australian today suggested a ‘communicable metal illness’ was rampant in Canberra.

    Climate is a local phenomenon not a global one …

    That’s true, for instance there has been no net surface warming on the Antarctic continent in conflict with the theory that warming due to increasing CO2 is greatest at the poles.
    There is ample material proxy evidence that over extended periods, one-two-three thousand years, during this interglacial period alone the global average temperature was 2C – 3C warmer which suggests it was even warmer at shorter times during those periods but this sort of evidence like fossilised large tree stumps fossilised coral micro-atolls etc. takes a century or more to get established.
    Worrying about meaningless tenths of a degree C anomaly over the forty years of the atmospheric satellite record, the UAH record being the less tampered with and therefore the more reliable, is absurd.
    The surface temperature records have been so corrupted by fraud or confirmation bias as to be not fit for any purpose.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle #2702478, posted on May 4, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    Where would you insert the earth’s thermometer?
    You miss the point of a local thermometers, although I do agree (assert) that the error margin is generally larger than most of supposed “change”. Parallel measurements of new/old thermometers is another problem.

  6. C.L.

    The best written and most interesting post on ‘climate change’ ever posted here.
    I’m off to read those links …

  7. Bruce of Newcastle

    Where would you insert the earth’s thermometer?

    In space of course. 😀

    Seriously a satellite is an excellent way to remotely measure temperature. If you look up ‘non contact thermometer’ there’re oodles of shops that will sell you one.

    There’re significant issues with remote temperature measurement of the Earth, but it isn’t that hard, which is why we have so much contiguous satellite temperature data.

    See for yourself:

    April 2002
    April 2018

    Very similar. Compare those with April 2016 to see what warming really looks like. Of course April 2016 was during the recent el Nino, which has now completely dissipated.

  8. RobK

    A good analysis was done by the French Mathmatical Society. Conclusion:
    “Conclusions based on any kind of model should be disregarded. As the SCM specializes in building mathematical models, we should also be recognized as competent to criticize them. Models are useful when attempting to review our knowledge, but they should not be used as an aid to decision-making until they have been validated.”

     The English Translation of the Calculation Mathematical Society, SA web page.   SCM was established in 1987, by University professor, Dr. Bernard Beauzamy. Their “first specialty” is mathematical modeling.

    joannenova.com.au/2015/10/french-society-of-mathematicians-global-warming-crusade-is-aburd-and-pointless/

  9. Tel

    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.

    A coffee cup of water has the same density as a swimming pool of water (presuming all other factors are equal) but that does not prevent density from being subject to 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.

    What is the temperature of a single atom? There isn’t one because temperature is a statistical property of many atoms. How many? Well enough to get something approximating a Boltzmann distribution, and like many statistical properties the accuracy of the measurement depends very much on your sample size.

    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.

    Strictly speaking, temperature is only defined at thermal equilibrium, BECAUSE that’s when you get a proper Boltzmann distribution, but again, like all statistical metrics, you can approximate it you just have to be willing to put up with some error. If approximations bother you then please give up science because there’s never been a temperature measurement at perfect thermodynamic equilibrium. I might also point out that if you want to be strict about thermodynamic equilibrium then you cannot average a month to get the average month temperature, you cannot find the climate for any spot on Earth by averaging the decades either. The point of the exercise is to get a feel for what sort of accuracy you have available.

    You could, for example, find an equivalent temperature that radiates the same aggregate power as what the Earth radiates (for suitably chosen spectrum), and then you need to adjust for the 4th power characteristic of radiation. Having said this, I don’t believe the “global” temperature is accurately calculated to 0.1 degrees based on a fairly sparse set of thermometers plus a lot of filling in the gaps. I’d say it’s good to about 1 degree or there abouts. They don’t include the 4th power adjustment but the argument is that only makes a small difference.

  10. areff

    The issue is not whether there is a global average temperature it is whether that data has been reported accurately. The dataset the pollies and the climate tragics use isn’t accurate. It’s wrong.

    Surely a better word would be “meaningless”.

    What’s the average temperature of, say, Victoria? Come up with a figure that reflects the top of Mt Buller and the Little Desert. Sure you can do it, but the result will have no real-world pertinence.

    Take the entire world as a subject and whatever number emerges will be even more academic.

    End the subsidies and global temperatures will stabilise at about the same instant the last dollar of the grant has been spent.

  11. RobK

    Ive posted this before but it is one i find hard to beat.
    Physicist John Reid at his site Blackjay has a published paper temperature record analysis.
    My paper on the statistics of “global warming” has been accepted by Energy and Environment.

    The good bits are as follows:

    Introduction
    In recent decades energy policy, both nationally and internationally, has been primarily concerned with the reduction in carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels. This has arisen from a proliferation of theories of climate, encapsulated in complex numerical models, which purport to relate global surface air temperature to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. All this activity is based on a single empirical observation, viz.: that there has been a significant increase in global average temperature over the last century and a half. Here we show that this observation is false and is based on an overly-simplistic interpretation of the data.

    (Nine pages of technical stuff)

    Conclusion
    The process which gives rise to a red spectrum flattened below a cut-off frequency is widely found in engineering and in nature. In electronics it occurs when electronic noise is fed through an RC integrator as with the bass control of an audio amplifier. In the natural world it occurs when energy is randomly stored. It is a particular sort of Markov process termed a “centrally biased random walk” and known colloquially as “red noise”. Using the techniques described above other “oscillations” such as the Pacific Decade Oscillation can also be shown to be centrally biased random walks specified by a small number of ARMA parameters. This is not surprising since the PDO is derived from a large subset of the global average temperature data used here.

    The small increase in global average temperature observed over the last 166 years is the random variation of a centrally biased random walk. It is a red noise fluctuation. It is not significant, it is not a trend and it is not likely to continue.

    The full paper can be downloaded here.

    John Reid
    Editor

  12. RobK

    In summary of all the above: CO2 is innocent.

  13. Tel

    The small increase in global average temperature observed over the last 166 years is the random variation of a centrally biased random walk. It is a red noise fluctuation. It is not significant, it is not a trend and it is not likely to continue.

    I think there’s been systematic recovery on the century timescale from the Little Ice Age, and also you tend to get an optima every 1000 years (e.g. Roman warm period, Medieval warm period and y2k warm period). This could well be the result of natural semi-chaotic cycles which can have very long time periods.

    Back when Edward Lorenz had almost all his papers still online there was quite a bit of material about how chaos can produce ultra-low-frequency oscillation that is impossible to simply average out. When Lorentz died, all his online papers vanished and were replaced with some other memorial crap what wasn’t anywhere nearly as interesting. The papers probably still exist somewhere if you want to dig for them.

  14. OneWorldGovernment

    I couldn’t point you at the paper and I believe I read the information on WUWT and it is my understanding that measurement of CO2 also varies from location to location and time to time.

    I for one will not be satisfied until CO2 achieves 800ppm and believe that anyone that wants a return to 200ppm is pushing to kill off large swaths of humanity.

  15. C.L.

    The conclusion from the Arctic Circle paper is also worth posting:

    Based on the facts above only one conclusion can be made in reference to the putative
    melting of the Arctic: historical thermometer-based data tells us that between 1900 and 2014 arctic temperatures were for 75% of the time consistently long distance below 0.0°C; the ice cover in the winter months is still
    consistently more than 14,000,000km2 and, therefore, it is physically impossible for the Arctic to be already melting and, since nothing has changed since 1900 till present day. The only sensible forecast for the future would be to expect the same extreme events to continue until thermometer-based evidence tell us otherwise.

    Let me conclude this paper by answering the question asked in the first part of the title by a categorical No, the Arctic is not melting. As long as temperatures remain the same as they have been for the last 100 years the Arctic will remain frozen in the long winter months and partly melt during very short summer months. The answer to the second question is that the theory of global warming is completely disconnected from the observations since their definition of temperature is based on some theoretical number that has nothing to do with the temperature that is measured by calibrated thermometer and, most importantly, used as an international standard by the scientific community. Since the theory is clearly wrong about forecasting the temperature patterns in the Arctic, all other predictions made by the theory must be wrong too. And finally but very importantly, every number, table or graph presented in this paper can be reproduced and therefore validated since the source of the data used in the analysis is in the public domain and is freely available.

  16. OneWorldGovernment

    This was posted earlier on the OT.

    Read it and weep for Australia.

    Someone Send the Coal People the Memo
    By David Archibald May 3, 2018

    Some selected excerpts.

    Scott Pruitt has been attracting so much attention from the left-wing press recently.

    It’s not because of anything that he has done, but because of what he has so far failed to do, and that is to rescind the 2009 endangerment finding on carbon dioxide.

    Doing so would produce the first government-sanctioned report from anywhere in the world that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a problem.

    The era of “settled science” would be over.

    Conflicting scientific reports would rip the whole effort apart, and it wouldn’t be possible to resuscitate it.

    A billion people — the populations of the United States, Europe, Japan, and beyond – would be set free. And Chinese connivance in the European plan to hobble the U.S. would be thwarted.

    The left want Pruitt replaced because he might end the endangerment finding, if he bothers to get around to it.

    Conservatives have no idea what is at stake.

    …………

    So how do the coal people fit in?

    Well, the next Pittsburgh Coal Conference is not being held in Pittsburgh. It is being held in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China.

    This is just a little fragment of China’s attempt to gather unto itself all the world’s useful intellectual property.

    Instead of having to steal it, license it, or otherwise pay for it, in this case, the foreign experts will pay to travel to China and tell all they know and all that is possible.

    Someone tell the coal people that we are in a pre-war state with China, and it is time to stop having anything to do with the country.

    …………..

    The memo to the coal people could be illustrated with satellite photos of Anderson AFB on Guam, where a lot of hardened shelters are being installed, at last, in preparation for that war with China.

  17. egg_

    the Arctic will remain frozen in the long winter months and partly melt during very short summer months.

    Just like interglacials and sea levels – we’re currently enjoying a brief warm period.
    Why are nerds still arguing this fundamental Physics after decades – fvckwits trying to complicate matters?

  18. egg_

    you cannot find the climate for any spot on Earth by averaging the decades either.

    The difficulty of establishing a “baseline”.
    Relative humidity is also a major factor in the energy budget/human sensation.

  19. What are we worried about?

    We’re not worried.

    Politicians and quangos are wasting or stealing billions on an issue that’s never made it into the top half of the league ladder in any public survey.

  20. JC

    I don’t believe that we can’t estimate an average global temperature for the world. I do agree that we shouldn’t use this measurement for massive policy change, but we most certainly are able to estimate an average temp at ground level.

    Like a lot of things we do, we use markers in order to derive measurement. We do that to establish an estimate for GDP, for instance. We certainly would never be able to accurately calculate domestic or global production of goods and services, but we use markers to do so.

  21. JohnA

    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.

    The very idea that mankind is capable of killing the planet is choked so full of impossible hubris I wonder that it can breathe!

    I note that there is no insurance policy fine print anywhere which has dispensed with a definition of the legal theory known as an “act of God.”

    This should tell us that insurers (who have a lot at stake in the task of shifting blame away from themselves) do not believe humanity can outdo “Mother Nature.”

  22. egg_

    I don’t believe that we can’t estimate an average global temperature for the world. I do agree that we shouldn’t use this measurement for massive policy change, but we most certainly are able to estimate an average temp at ground level.

    For what purpose would one maintain such a calculation, for it is certainly not a metric?
    To aid the climate scam that is about to fall on its arse?
    The scam whose very title has justifiably become toxic in the Western world?
    IPCC AR1 was focussed on Northern Hemisphere* high latitudes, i.e the Arctic Circle, which they feared would warm the most.
    Surely the Equator, being the Geometric mean, should serve as the most relevant latitude – or clime – to measure, at various longitudes, if the Globe is indeed universally warming, non?

    *It has always been a Northern Hemisphere game, with mere pretenders participating in the Southern Hemisphere.

  23. Texas Jack

    They say that out in space they can’t hear you scream. That’s lucky, since out in space the temperature is -270c and you freeze your arse off in a nanosecond. Think about that the next time someone who thinks they know all about climate change ignores the fact that earth’s temperature range is so heavily skewed towards the freezing. The Russians have stopped virtue signalling over climate because the virtuous there recognise it as a good thing…

  24. We don’t need detailed published scientific papers to understand that averaging temperatures is meaningless.

    MONDAY: Clear skies, nice and sunny. It reaches 35DegC in the early afternoon. Continued clear skies causes the temperature to plummet overnight down to 5DegC. Average for the day = 20DegC

    WEDNESDAY: Totally overcast all day. Temperature barely reaches 24DegC. Stays overcast all night. Temperature slowly drops to 16DegC by morning. Average for the day = 20DegC.

    The above are common and we’ve all experienced those days. We don’t need scientific papers to tell us that averaging daytime and night time temperatures is meaningless AND USELESS unless you’re running a scam. Funny that.

    For anyone wanting to analyse the temperature trend of a place(s), let me save you a lot of time.
    AGW hypothesis states that a warming due to CO2 will manifest itself mainly in winter, mainly at high latitudes, high altitudes and mainly in day time lows.
    THEREFORE, you only need to analyse the daytime lows during winter months to see if a warming trend (due to CO2) can be detected.
    What you will find is just as many places will show a slight warming, as show a slight cooling (with a large error margin).

    AGW is a UN scam. CO2 is irrelevant to the temperature of a planet established 3.5 billion years ago. CO2 is plant food. WATER (in all its forms, including clouds) is the greenhouse component that regulates the extremes of this planets temperature.
    The more water at a given place (say, Darwin) the narrower the daily temperature range.
    The less water at a given place (say, Alice Springs, similar longitude to Darwin) the wider the daily temperature range.

  25. Norman Church

    The fundamental problem is that none of this excellent analysis matters a jot. The idea of CAGW is totally entrenched in the minds of a large percentage of the public. Whole generations have been conditioned to believe that there is single control knob for the climate and that is carbon dioxide. It’s a foundation belief system.

  26. Tel

    This is just a little fragment of China’s attempt to gather unto itself all the world’s useful intellectual property.

    Instead of having to steal it, license it, or otherwise pay for it, in this case, the foreign experts will pay to travel to China and tell all they know and all that is possible.

    Yup.

    They will solemnly explain to the Chinese that if you burn coal it gets hot. Johnny Foreigner will then steal this valuable intellectual property and, ummm, take over the world I suppose.

Comments are closed.