There's a new paper in ERL by Steven C Sherwood and Nidhi Nishant, which reports an updated version of their radiosonde dataset. It is probably going to cause quite a ruckus in the deniosphere. From the paper (my formatting):
Temperature trends in the updated data show three noteworthy features.
- First, tropical warming is equally strong over both the 1959–2012 and 1979–2012 periods, increasing smoothly and almost moist-adiabatically from the surface (where it is roughly 0.14 K/decade) to 300 hPa (where it is about 0.25 K/decade over both periods), a pattern very close to that in climate model predictions. This contradicts suggestions that atmospheric warming has slowed in recent decades or that it has not kept up with that at the surface.
- Second, as shown in previous studies, tropospheric warming does not reach quite as high in the tropics and subtropics as predicted in typical models.
- Third, cooling has slackened in the stratosphere such that linear trends since 1979 are about half as strong as reported earlier for shorter periods.
Wind trends over the period 1979–2012 confirm a strengthening, lifting and poleward shift of both subtropical westerly jets; the Northern one shows more displacement and the southern more intensification, but these details appear sensitive to the time period analysed. There is also a trend toward more easterly winds in the middle and upper troposphere of the deep tropics.
Radiosondes are instruments that are sent aloft in balloons, to take measurements in the atmosphere. (You might have seen Roy Spencer and John Christy combine measures from radiosondes with satellite tropospheric temperatures in their various unscientific attempts to befuddle the US government and readers of blogs.)
On his website, Steve Sherwood wrote about the change in this version from previous versions:
The updated dataset is prepared using the same methodology as the original version, and on the same stations, but with three modifications:
- We now use straight wind vector data rather than wind shear. This permits us to produce a homogenised wind dataset which was not available previously.
- Two small bugs were fixed but were not observed to have a significant impact on results.
- Data are now available at all mandatory levels from 850 hPa to 30 hPa. However, we no longer provide "B" station data whose homogeneity cannot be obtained as confidently as for "A" stations.
- Structural basis used to represent natural variability within the IUK iterative fitting algorithm now includes a cubic polynomial, which aids in capturing decadal variations more accurately.
I don't have time to write an article about the paper itself right now, but I thought I'd let you know about one aspect of it, which is upsetting the anti-science brigade at WUWT and elsewhere. (I imagine that Jo Nova and David Evans will be particularly upset.)
Tropospheric Hot Spot Observed
The latest update shows up a hot spot in the tropics, the tropospheric hot spot. This is a feature that physics predicts will happen any time there is warming, whether from greenhouse gases, El Nino’s, or solar forcing. The troposphere is highest above the tropics, and with warming, warm air rises up, creating what is known as a "hot spot" (an overly simplistic explanation - see the video and the references below for more).
The warming has been difficult to observe for several reasons. Satellites are coarse, with the temperature being measured in deep vertical bands usually several km deep. Radiosonde instruments are probably the best bet for taking measurements that would show this feature, but until now it's not been conclusive.
In this paper, the scientists report:
A maximum can be seen in the tropical upper troposphere in every latitude band from about 30S–20N, centred near 300 hPa. Because the trend reliability varies significantly among stations (with very scattered results in particular for stations in India), we follow S08 in taking the median of stations in latitude bands, although results are not highly sensitive to this choice.
|Figure 1. Temperature trend 1960–2012 versus latitude and pressure. The value for each latitude and pressure is the medians of the trends at individual stations in that (10°) latitude bin. Units are °C per decade.|
About the Tropospheric Hot Spot
Thanks to MikeH in the comments, here is a short video about the hot spot:
Nine Denier 101 Techniques from the WUWT Disinformer's Manual
That's about all I have time for in regard to the paper itself. What's interesting is the lesson for Denier 101 that this paper has provided. At WUWT Anthony Watts has written an article full of denierisms (archived here).
- If it's science it's wrong: Anthony's headline has the usual "Claim:" right up front. This is mandatory for every scientific paper at WUWT, or almost every paper. It means that his readers are meant to reject science - any science but particularly climate science. That's expected at anti-science blogs all over, and WUWT is no exception.
- Halo-effect: In Anthony Watts's first sentence after the "Claim" headline, he links the lead author, Steve Sherwood, with another Professor from the University of New South Wales, and suggests that because on a recent trip to Antarctica, the vessel of that other Professor became stuck in ice, this means that the results of the updated radio-sonde data set reported by Steve Sherwood and Nidhi Nishant in ERL, are wrong. (Yes, really - go check!)
- Logic fail: In his next sentence, Anthony Watts claims that Roy Spencer, who reports satellite data, has been "looking for this for years in the satellite data". He provides no evidence. In any case, as indicated above, and in the ERL paper, it is much harder to interpret satellite data at the level needed. For one thing, the satellite data is easily smeared by the temperatures of the cold stratosphere (see the diagram above).
- The kitchen sink theory: Anthony knows the first three might not be sufficient for his readers, so he tosses in the kitchen sink, claiming that there aren't enough radiosondes. This is particularly odd, since he follows that up with a chart showing lots and lots of radiosondes all around the world. It's also odd because WUWT will often point to data from one single spot on the globe to argue that the entire world is cooling.
- After the kitchen sink: His next argument is because he's got nothing left. He's already used the kitchen sink. What he argues is that it can't be true because - and I quote "if they have really found it, where’s the picture or graph of it in the press release? " Ha ha ha. Seriously - go look and see.
- Stereo-typing: Anthony's next argument is that because Steve Sherwood is a climate scientist, his research must be wrong. (Anthony actually wrote: "Fifth, Steve Sherwood is a well known climate alarmist, and his confirmation bias seems quite strong to me.") In denier-speak, a "climate alarmist" is defined as anyone who accepts climate science. In denier-land, evidence can only be trusted when it has been cherry-picked for denier memes. Never, ever accept what the evidence shows.
- Made up nonsense - still not sure whether he will convince even his denier rabble of an audience, Anthony resorts to "making up stuff". That's always a good stand-by for deniers whether all else fails or not. He claimed that the scientists "threw out" data. (What he was probably referring to was the homogenisation process described in the paper, which is not the same thing.) This claim of Anthony's again is particularly odd, since Anthony Watts himself has been devoting much energy over several years to try to persuade scientists to "throw out" data of US weather stations as being "no good".
- Plea for help: Finally Anthony puts out a public plea to a known disinformer, writing: "Color me skeptical, I’m sure Dr. Roy Spencer will have something to say about it." He really, really wants Roy to come to his aid and deliver him some more denier arguments to prove that scientists (including Roy PhD) "don't know nuffin'".
- Can't find the data: Despite the authors pointing to the data, Anthony couldn't find it, and complained that the "The SI is pretty thin, containing a single figure with no explanation"
There you have it - denier 101 with nine examples, straight from the blog of Disinformer Class 1: Anthony Watts. Feel free to use them in your next critical thinking class :)
From the WUWT comments
Latitude is a hard-core denier, but he might not have been convinced that the science should be rejected, despite Anthony's best efforts. He noted that there were no climate models:
May 14, 2015 at 9:02 am
No climate models were used in the process …….they used statistics
Jack Savage wasn't persuaded by Anthony's best efforts either, and implied that he accepted the findings of the paper:
May 14, 2015 at 9:03 am
That will be the same hot spot that became unimportant all the time it did not appear as predicted. Expect it to become important again now it has been magicked into existence.
JimS weaves a convoluted conspiracy theory :)
May 14, 2015 at 9:15 am
Maybe this is all a ploy by “climate deniers” to encourage the IPCC to revive all its hotspot stuff it suppressed from its previous report. And then, when the IPCC does so revive all that hidden stuff, the climate deniers will come out and say, “Fooled ya!” Oh how devious of them there climate deniers, eh?
Salvatore Del Prete doesn't need Anthony Watts bending over backwards in denial to persuade him to reject science. It's his default position.
May 14, 2015 at 9:29 am
false as usual . can not be taken seriously.
Rob Ricket regards scientific journals as shameless rags "requented by activist-hacks":
May 14, 2015 at 9:30 am (excerpt)
Click on the link below and you will doubtlessly conclude that Environmental Research Letters is a shameless rag frequented by activist-hacks.
J. Philip Peterson is waiting to hear what Jo "Force X and the Notch" Nova has to say about all this:
May 14, 2015 at 3:52 pm
I’m waiting to see what Jo Nova has to say about this tropospheric hot spot found. She has always claimed that there isn’t any observed data presented to her about this hot spot. One of here major 4 points that the AGW people cannot provide the data to her, she maintains…
Someone said recently that deniers wouldn't like this paper, and they were right. I wonder how many protest articles it will generate at WUWT?
References and Further Reading
Steven C Sherwood, Nidhi Nishant. "Atmospheric changes through 2012 as shown by iteratively homogenized radiosonde temperature and wind data (IUKv2)." Environmental Research Letters, 2015; 10 (5): 054007 DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/5/054007 (open access)
Data for the above paper - from Steve Sherwood
Climate scientists find warming in higher atmosphere: Elusive tropospheric hot spot located - press release at ScienceDaily.com
Tropical tropospheric trends - older article at RealClimate.org
Tropical tropospheric trends again - older article at RealClimate.org
The Key to the Secrets of the Troposphere - older article at RealClimate.org