Bob Tisdale has trotted over to Berkeley Earth to have a look at what is happening to surface temperature in China (archived here). It's odd that he's allowed to do that, because Anthony Watts disowned Berkeley Earth because it failed to show that we are heading for an ice age, or something like that. (Anthony has to pander to the bulk of his readers who deny that global warming is happening.)
Anyway, Anthony gave Bob Tisdale a free pass. He probably thinks that no-one ever reads Bob's articles anyway, and they fill the gaps in his daily quota of blog nonsense.
Bob Tisdale gets enthused about surface temperature in China
Bob set out to prove that China isn't warming any faster (or slower) than the land surface of earth as a whole. He reckons the media should have fact-checked something that the head of China's Meteorological Administration, Dr Zheng Guoguang, reportedly said to the Study Times, as reported by Reuters. That "the country's rate of warming was higher than the global average".
Bob's Excel spreadsheet told him that China is warming faster than the global land and sea average, but, as Bob points out, land surfaces warm faster than the sea surface in general. Or as Bob put it: "It is well known that land surface temperatures mimic and exaggerate the warming of the ocean surfaces, leading to higher warming rates on land surfaces than those of the oceans." Echoes of Bob's "it got hotter because it got hotter" claims.
In fact, land warms faster than the oceans because water has a very large heat capacity compared to the land surface. Large bodies of water absorb a huge amount of energy to raise the temperature only a small amount. Oceans are absorbing about 93% of the extra energy in the system, from greenhouse warming.
Too easy ... or not!
Anyway, what really got me was how Bob said that the temperature trends over China were easy to check. He wrote:
That claim is very easy to verify…or falsify....It only takes a few minutes to spot check claims about global and regional warming rates.
I took a few minutes myself, and did my own spot checking. Bob ought to tell the scientists just how "easy" it is to verify the surface temperature trends across China. Here's a link to a paper by Qiaohong et al (2014) looking at the different estimates of surface temperature over time, in China. Here's another result from my spot check, a paper by Wang et al (2014), which reported a new estimate of the China temperature anomaly series. These papers report the difficulties of constructing a surface temperature record for China. Not just the sparse records from the first half of last century, but the difficulties of homogenising data, given the different instruments and the varying terrain. It seems that the recent records are okay - in more densely populated areas at any rate, but the earlier ones are tricky.
Anyway, I'd argue that these scientists who, unlike Bob Tisdale, would know a lot about the data that is available, haven't found it "easy". Nor would it have taken them only "a few minutes to spot check".
(It also reminds me of when Anthony Watts claimed that in very sparsely populated regions of China, UHI was to blame for the observed rise in surface temperature there.)
The Denier 101 Distraction - The Red Herring
Bob's article is another one from the Denier 101 playbook. He's rolled out a red herring. Bob admitted it when he wrote:
Now, there’s no reason to cross check anything else. The credibility of the entire article is gone.
So the whole point of Bob's piece was to avoid the important content. What was the "anything else" that Bob didn't want WUWT-ers to read about? Well, it was probably one or all of the points that Dr Zheng Guoguang was making - as reported by the South China Morning Post, suggesting binding targets for CO2, and referring to major risks of climate change:
- ...well-off provinces in the east should set mandatory targets for carbon emissions as soon as possible, while western regions should avoid high emissions in pursuing growth
- The comments ...shed light on official thinking about how China will meet its pledge to ensure emissions peak in 2030, as part of a climate pact with the United States signed in November last year.
- It is also the first time China has said it might set binding targets for some parts of the country.
- global climate change was posing safety and stability risks to the mainland's mega projects, including Three Gorges Dam, the South-North Water Diversion Project and changes to the national power grid, especially as the rate of warming China was experiencing was higher than the global average.
The real irony - fact-checking!
Of course the real irony is not that Bob doesn't have the first clue about surface temperature records, or about China. It's that there he is, at WUWT, lecturing the media about fact checking! Cast your eye over some of the idiocy published at WUWT. Just in the last few hours, Anthony Watts posted an article claiming we're heading for an ice age! WUWT-ers wouldn't know fact from fiction, and prefer fiction.
References and further reading
Sun, Qiaohong, Chiyuan Miao, Qingyun Duan, Dongxian Kong, Aizhong Ye, Zhenhua Di, and Wei Gong. "Would the ‘real’observed dataset stand up? A critical examination of eight observed gridded climate datasets for China." Environmental Research Letters 9, no. 1 (2014): 015001. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/9/1/015001 (open access)
Wang, Jinfeng, Chengdong Xu, Maogui Hu, Qinxiang Li, Zhongwei Yan, Ping Zhao, and Phil Jones. "A new estimate of the China temperature anomaly series and uncertainty assessment in 1900–2006." Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 119, no. 1 (2014): 1-9. DOI: 10.1002/2013JD020542
Wen, H. Q., X. Zhang, Y. Xu, and B. Wang (2013), Detecting human influence on extreme temperatures in China, Geophys. Res. Letters, 40, doi:10.1002/grl.50285. (open access)
- Anthony Watts is Extremely Hot on China - April 2013