Thursday, February 11, 2016

Those Russian steampipes are back at WUWT

Sou | 4:15 AM Go to the first of 30 comments. Add a comment
Remember when Anthony Watts blamed global warming on Russian steampipes? Well, he's back with it all over again (archived here). Anthony posted a chart of global temperature anomalies from October 2008 and wrote:
From the “we told you so years ago” department comes this interesting study that might explain the 8 °C red spot in the Russian Arctic that NASA GISS always seems to have: [replaced link with archived version]

The study was about how some cities in Murmansk Oblast were warmer than their surrounds, which was attributed to the Urban Heat Island effect. That's mildly interesting but not unexpected. Thing is, Anthony referred back to his article about Russian steam pipes, and the map he showed above had the hottest areas in quite a different area.

Here is a map showing two of the cities mentioned in the press release, Murmansk and Apatity, which are up near Finland. Click on the map to enlarge it:

The interesting thing is that the larger city, Murmansk (pop. 300,000) showed less UHI effect than the smaller city, Apatity (pop. 59,000).

But the weird thing is how Anthony wants to blame all Arctic warming on UHI effect of a couple of cities.

As I showed last time, the Arctic is warming a lot, and in very sparsely populated areas. Here's a chart from GISS NASA showing the anomalies for last year (Jan to Dec):

And here's one showing just December:

And for anyone as geographically challenged as Anthony Watts, below is the population map that I showed in the Russian steampipes article, together with the map showing temperature trends at the time (November 2013):

I'm afraid I'm computer-challenged this evening. I'm out of town and only have a dinky tablet, which is slow and has limited capacity. Otherwise I'd give you a more up-to-date picture.

The point, in case anyone drops in from WUWT, is that the people who put together the global mean surface temperature data sets do already allow for UHI effect. Not only that, but some of the areas in the maps above are very sparsely populated. Anthony Watts is grasping at straws, or burning his mitts grasping Russian steampipes.

From the WUWT comments

There were a lot of "thoughts" about Adelaide for some reason. Other than that, nothing worth the effort I'd have to make to copy and paste. You can read the comments if you want to.

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. Anthony Watts: "From the “we told you so years ago” department comes this interesting study that might explain the 8 °C red spot in the Russian Arctic that NASA GISS always seems to have:"

    No, that is a "red spot" (warm area) that this region sometimes has. The temperature in continental Arctic varies strongly from year to year.

  2. It's also an anomaly map, which probably means instead of -30C, his so-called 'hot spot' is averaging -25C, or similar.

    1. And for only a few kilometers downwind of the city. Not exactly the whole arctic.

  3. Another aspect of this lovely theory is that if there is UHI in winter because of heating from buildings or heat pipes that effect will be strongest when COLD. Colder temperatures necessitate more heating of buildings. In his chosen month this effect will be smaller than if he had shown a month with cold anomalies. When temperature in winter is increasing UHI of this type will introduce a cold bias to the temperature trend. The temperature increase should be higher if this UHI effect is important.

    He even manages to throw in another classic. Warming at the airport on Svalbard is because the sun warms the airport asphalt. Trouble is: the winters have warmed most in Svalbard. That is: when there is no sun in Svalbard.

    SFS (so f--- stupid)

    1. @ ehak, I meant to thank you for some of the great post I read of yours on Spencer's blog

      the fact that winter temps have warmed faster than summer and nighttime temps faster than daytime is surely one of the most damning lines of evidence against the tired old "it's the sun" argument

    2. The memo's gone out. The observed warning must come from somewhere below otherwise our whole argument is stuffed

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. That's Moncker's thesis (buried in his latest screed). Someone called Jeff Patterson with whom I'm not familiar has a Sundiddit article up:

      When the TSI time series is exponentially smoothed and lagged by 37 years, a near-perfect fit is exhibited (Figure 3).

      I've tortured TSI in the past (e.g., 66 year trailing means, etc.) and gotten some pretty nice fits, but dropping CO2 with zero filtering and no lag into the regression still trumps it.

      Nick Stokes and Lief Svalgaard drop by to make some sane and informative comments. WUWT is so much better to read when those two are afoot.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I've been noticing those hot spots for many years now. And I can tell: it is far worse then WUWT is saying.
    Those spots are real, and they are moving around also. Not only in Russia, but over the whole northern hemisphere.

    So the big question is: who has the power to do that? James Hansen, Michael Mann, the WMO, the Vatican, the UN?
    This has to be investigated by some real scientists or senators.

    1. Oh, come ON. Clearly it's because the steam pipes are those of steam-powered trains and paddleboats. Don't universities teach any real science anymore?

    2. Did I forgot the sarcasm tag?

  6. This post is begging for a link to the tail end of Boney M's Rasputin...


  7. It's all good fun to go over Mr. Watts's foolishness, but there may be a cost.

    The following is a direct quote from current CSIRO head Larry Marshall attempting to justify his planned slashing of climate science:

    "I guess I had the realisation that the climate lobby is perhaps more powerful than the energy lobby was back in the '70s - and the politics of climate I think there's a lot of emotion in this debate. In fact it almost sounds more like religion than science to me."

    CSIRO boss defends shake-up, says politics of climate 'more like religion than science'

    I would be very interested in a look through Marshall's email and browsing history to see just which sort of sources he has been getting his information from and considers credible. (Recall that Marshall expressed a favorable opinion of water divining soon after he was selected to lead CSIRO by the Abbott government.)

    1. I hear you, and have struggled with it as well. I think there's a time and a place to call shit for what it is. My best groove seems to be snark backed by theory and data, and appeals to logic not Polar Bears. Whether it's effective or not, I cannot say, and assume not ... I only know that I feel best expressing myself that way.

    2. On the other hand, given the US Supreme Court's issuance of a stay on Obama's regulations on CO2 yesterday, maybe we ought to start studying adaptation... Ugh, that shit is going to end up costing far more than cleaning up energy generation.

    3. Adaptation ironically places even more reliance on wonky models than we'd require if we'd simply lift off the accelerator and at least cover the brake. May as well be Swahili to the "climate is always changing" crowd, who apparently only know how to stuff their own arguments in English into the mouths of sub-Saharan Africans.

      Re: SCOTUS staying Obama's power plant regs -- and apropos Magma's comment above -- "Thank God for answering our prayers" is not a bad paraphrase of comments seen in the WUWT thread announcing same.

    4. "...maybe we ought to start studying adaptation..."

      As you no doubt know Rattus, without effective mitigation there simply is no adaptation.


      The mess is going to be great indeed, and the cost will be incalculable.

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    6. As an American, I apologize to the world for our short-sighted and insane Supreme Court, and for the idiot former president(s) who appointed mentally challenged partisan jerks to sit on that Court.

      Not that the apology will do any good, or that anyone will care when the world goes to hell (pretty much literally).

      America used to almost be a sane country. Gleefully celebrating a blatantly political decision that may destroy human civilization doesn't strike me as a sign of sanity. But maybe that's just me.

    7. Its not short sightedness. Some of the Supreme Court Justices have been bought.

      It's not even very subtle: eg. when some offices redecorating they just had to be done by the wife of one Supreme Court Justice for the princely sum of $450,000.

    8. In a rather incredible bit of two-facedness--if not irony--Roberts complained only days ago that people who see recent Supreme Court rulings as political are wrong.


      Sure thing, judge.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Larry Marshall claims that the "cliamte lobby" is more "like a religion than science".

    Larry Marshall is at best a scientifically-ignorant idiot who disgraces his position as CEO of CSIRO. At worst he is an agent of a radically conservative government who is desperately trying to silence the voice of the science that irrefutably indicates that humans are devastating the planet's biosphere by combusting fossil fuels.

    Many thousands of the world's best climatologists are protesting at this profound sabotage of science. They are not speaking from a political or religious perspective - theirs is simply plain informed, rational objectivity. Continued climatological and hydrological modelling are integral to being able to mitigate and adapt to the problem. There are other disciplines of science, such as agricultural/agronometric research, ecology, and epidemiology to name just a few, that will have a cavernous gap in their abilities to inform policy makers and the public of ongoing damage to the planet and its biological functions without the suffcient fundamental research of climatologists and their measurements and modelling of the Southern Hemisphere's climate changes.

    Frankly, from where I stand I can only conclude that Marshall is either sociopathically insane or profoundly incompetent or ideologically deluded or wilfully vengeful in his determination to turn what is a premier, mandated fundamental research organisation into what will be effectively a cash cow for seeding the businesses and hard yards of tech entrepeneurs. Not only that, CSIRO already has the capacity to investigate within its charter and remit the best science/technology with which to respond to global warming - there's no need to devastate the fundamental research branches in order to do so. And if Marshall is saying that the issue is so important that it requires all hands to the response pumps, he's simultaneously and inescapably implying (as much as he might not like the fact) that the problem is so great that it requires a truly significant response (which it does) - in which case the basic research is therefore also essential, and therefore it shouldn't be gutted.

    Heck, we have chemotherapy and radiotherapy and surgery that can be used to treat cancer now, so why are we still funding medical research? The mining industry and the fossil fuel industry have established much infrastructure, so why are we still subsidising so much of their activity?

    There's only one inescapable conclusion. Marshall simply does not want the results of cliamte science to continue to come in. He wants to shoot the messenger and ignore the message when, with a staggeringly massive army of climatological harm coming over the horizon, he should in fact be sending out as many more scouts as he can possibly muster. Instead he says "give the messenger's horse to my friend the merchant so that he might better deliver to me my wines and spices."

    Who do you trust? A venture capitalist who believes in water dowsing as a CSIRO business opportunity, or many thousands of the world's best scientific professionals who understand the physics of climate to many orders of magnitude better than does said venture capitalist?

    1. Apparently he has apologised for his comment - particularly for comparing it to religion - although it sounds more like an apology to religious people rather than climate scientists!

      Has Larry Marshall considered the enormous pressure that climate scientists have been under for the past 25 years or so? For example, deniers trawling through their emails, being accused of fraud, libel cases and being compared to the Unabomber? Perhaps that pressure has something to do with their attitude?

    2. Very ïnteresting "performance" by Larry at today's Senate Economics Legislation Committee estimates. It was streamed live by ParlTV. Not sure how to get a replay but the original streaming site site is http://www.aph.gov.au/News_and_Events/Watch_Parliament Kim Carr absolutely skewered him and it was quite funny to see how Janet Rice was being informed by inside sources. Her partner is Penny Whetton who used to be a very highly ranked atmospheric scientist at Aspendale before leaving a couple of years ago. Wonder where her info came from...

      R the anon

    3. Thanks for the heads up Anonymous, I found the ParlTV video here:


      Watch from 14.32 for Larry Marshall.

  10. Sigh. Now I'm envisioning Mr. Watts performing a Russian Steampipe dance--a sort of hornpipe from Hell.

    Sou, thanks for all your work with this blog. [Non-scientist, me, returning to lurking now.]

  11. h. Now I'm envisioning Mr. Watts performing a Russian Steampipe dance--a sort of hornpipe from Hell.


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