Monday, July 3, 2017

A frosty look at David Archibald's latest speculation about global cooling

Sou | 2:12 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment
It was so cold this morning that I had to hop into the fridge to warm up. It's winter, of course, but it got quite cold even for winter in this part of the world - measuring about minus 6.4 Celsius this morning at our place.

Okay, I know for some of you that would be a mild winter's morning. Here it's worth lots of tweets. We're no longer used to having the sort of frosty mornings that were common when I was a child. What used to be the norm has now become a novelty with the world warming up so much.

Figure 1 | Frosty nights in Australia via BoM

Deniers can get all of a twitter when there's a frost. They are scared that it means an ice age is coming. Take David Archibald. He's been predicting an ice age for something like twelve years, ever since (he says) he "started out in climate science". He says his first paper was written just a few months later, but the only place he could publish it was in the denier journal Energy and Environment.

In that paper, he predicted the temperature would drop 2.2 C in solar cycle 24, which is coming to an end right now. Let's see whether his prediction has stood the test of time. Okay, you know it hasn't, but let's see how badly he missed.

Figure 2 | Global mean surface temperature from 1880 to 2016. Anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean. The chart also shows what would have happened if David Archibald's 2006 prediction came to be. Data source: GISS NASA

Given that this year's anomaly is likely to be a bit lower than last year's (0.98 C), let's say it's around 0.93 C. That would mean that David is out by around 2.44 C. I'll be generous and make it 2.4 C. That would mean the temperature dropped lower and more quickly than it ever has since civilisation began.

This is what I'm talking about:

Figure 3 | Global average surface temperature for the past 22,000 years. Anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean, including the 2016 average and David Archibald's prediction. Data sources: Shakun12, Marcott13, GISS NASA

The chart above shows a composite of temperature anomalies from Shakun12, Marcott13 and NASA (GISTemp). It's highly smoothed, but still, it's not that likely that we've seen temperatures like we have now in well more than 22,000 years. Despite that, back in 2006, David Archibald made the wild prediction that by now the temperature would have been colder than it's been in 15,000 years.

He hasn't learnt anything about climate in 12 years, I'd say. He's still making wild predictions but seems to be learning not to put numbers on them. The last time I saw him make a hard prediction was when he was promoting the nutty Force X and the Notch, which Jo Nova and David Evans dined off for a few years. (Nothing's been heard about this since the papers they promised for October last year failed to surface.)

David Archibald thinks his ice age has started, because of a frost somewhere

I'll get to the punch line, which is related to the chilly weather we've had here for the past couple of days. David wrote about a couple of places in the world that had unseasonal late frosts and implied it was yet another start to global cooling. His headline was: "Thus It Begins".

He's had so many false starts, you'd have thought he'd give up. But like deniers the world over, they live in hope and if there's a chilly night somewhere in the world they grab hold and hang on to it like grim death.

These days late frosts have the potential to cause a lot more damage to crops than they did in the past. That's because with global warming, plants start growing and developing earlier than they used to. When there's a late frost, the plants are further developed than in the past so the damage can be greater.

David wrote how spring wheat futures have risen. This is because of an expected poor harvest of high protein quality wheat in the USA combined with the weaker US dollar, according to a Reuters article in the Times of India. It looks as if dry conditions rather than frost is the main culprit. An article at Bloomberg pointed to the long dry spell affecting the crop this year, and added:
Farmers in Canada have also faced adverse conditions for their spring wheat crops. Soil conditions remain dry in many areas of Manitoba, the province’s agriculture ministry said Monday. Some Alberta farmers are shifting acres to barley due to delayed planting for spring wheat and other crops, and Saskatchewan’s topsoil moisture is deteriorating amid strong wind and lack of rains, according to reports from last week.
David primed his readers by starting off talking about frost. First a heavy frost back in April that hurt some wine grape growers in Europe, then a few pictures of some frost-damaged wheat crops in Canada and the USA. He clearly wanted everyone to think that frost means global cooling is about to begin - with his "Thus it begins" headline. How stupid does he think WUWT readers are?  (How stupid to you think they are?)

Further down he did mention the dry conditions, writing about it not in the context of plants needing water to grow, but in the context of cold:
Warmer is wetter and colder is drier. In a cooling climate there will be a concommitant [sic]reduction in moisture available.
He finished off effectively claiming "it's the sun", and it's about to get very cold. He seems to think it takes a very, very long time for heat to radiate to space. He doesn't say why he thinks that, but he wrote (my emphasis):
Where to from here? Relative to the climate of the last century, an F10.7 flux above 100 causes warming and below that level causes cooling. As of today, the F10.7 flux is 71, not far above the activity floor of 64. Solar minimum is three years away and then we are likely to have at least two years of activity below 100 as activity rises into Solar Cycle 25. Thus some of the heat that built up in the second half of the 20th century due to the highest solar activity in 8,000 years will have a chance to radiate into space. Late spring frosts will become more frequent.
Oh dear.

In the comments, Leif Svalgaard posted a link showing the change in sunspots over the decades:

I've drawn an arrow from the highest spot recently, to now - the peak was in the 1950/60s.
Figure 4 | Yearly mean sunspot number (black) up to 1749 and monthly 13-month smoothed sunspot number (blue) from 1749 up to the present. Source SILSO graphics

Does David think fewer sunspots means a hotter world, or doesn't he know the world is heating up very quickly. The chart below shows what has happened to global surface temperature since the 1960s. It's been getting very hot indeed. 

Figure 5 | Annual average global mean surface temperature, anomaly from the 1951-1980 mean. Data source: GISS NASA

I'll just leave the above here, in case there's someone taken in by David Archibald's nonsense.

From the WUWT comments

It is a source of amazement how little WUWTers have learnt about weather and climate, particularly the regulars who've been protesting against science for years. You'd have thought they'd have picked up the basics by now. But no. However, there was quite a lot of talk about how moist nights aren't as cold as dry nights, and some about clouds. Not much about frost, though there was the usual gaggle of ice age comethers.

Greg thinks a cooler week will be ten times more likely because of global warming. He really doesn't like the fact that scientists research climate change. Since Greg didn't bother, I'll provide a link to the study he refers to - about the recent deadly heat in Europe.
July 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm
Refershingly cool week in southern France after a very hot previous week.
KNMI’s Geert Jan Von Oldenburg has just published a “study” claiming that the hot early June was made “ten time more likely” by global warming.
SO I assume that this last unusually cold week was also ten times more likely to be cold due to global warming,
He does a good job running the KNMI climate explorer web site but has just lost all credibility as an objective scientist with this ridiculous CAGW crap.

Donald L. Klipstein ventures his opinion, which is not based on any research as far as I can tell. He just pulled a random thought from the air and decided it was good enough, and far more suitable to WUWT than any rigorous analysis.
 July 1, 2017 at 8:53 pm
I think that hot June was made about twice as likely by global warming, maybe as little as 1.5 times as likely, not 10 times. The globe has been warming less than predicted by the CMIP5 climate models. Recently got close to CMIP5 mean briefly during an El Nino spike according to a Karlized version of NASA GISS. 

cedarhill is quite worried that glaciation is about to arrive, and that we'll "eliminate plant food" by modernisation.
July 1, 2017 at 7:54 pm
Regardless of all the banter about the Sun and spots and such the fact remains that the start of the growing seasons have gotten progressively worse the last few years. We can live with warmer weather quite well; cold snaps and reducing CO3 simply kills your food. It’s crazy to want to cool the planet and eliminate plant food (CO2) when we’re at the end phase of the current inter-glacial. The glaciers will come regardless of how much we learn or think we know about the Sun. My hope for the next 30 years is the alarmist continue to lose and those that believe glaciations can fire up in the space of a couple of decades are wrong. After that, let your grand children debate cold versus warmth. 

ralfellis, despite making a silly remark, is more in tune with reality than David Archibald. At least he knows that the oceans generally have a larger influence on surface temperature than do the relatively small variations in the output from the sun. (Sometimes the oceans absorb more heat from global warming and the surface doesn't heat up as quickly as other times.)
July 2, 2017 at 3:33 am
And don’t forget that the PDO has to enter its cold mode shortly. It runs a regular 60 or 70 year cycle, and was about to go into cold-mode until that last El Nino came along. But the odds are that it will now drop into cold mode, for the next couple of decades.
His remark is silly because there is no standard length of a phase in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, and because in any case we're only two or three years into the current warm phase (which I think by now would be recognised as a warm phase). The chart below is the PDO index from the Japan Meteorological Agency. The phases are indicated by whether the blue line is above (warm phase) or below (cool phase) the zero line. The world tends to warm more quickly when the PDO is in its warm phase, which suggests faster warming ahead for a while.

Figure 6 | Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index. The red line represents annual mean values for the PDO index, the blue line represents five-year running mean values, and the gray bars represent monthly values. Source: JMA


  1. Sentient photons really should have appeared somewhere in the WUWT comments.

  2. They have been there for a long time now ...

  3. I think the caption for the Figure 1 graph should be "Frost nights in Australia" not "Frost free nights in Australia".

  4. With our first frost that actually iced the windscreen occurring only in the last week or so, there were a few conservatives around saying "so much for global warming". They seem entirely oblivious that 30 years ago there's have been a dozen or so such frosts by now, and likely a few inches of snow.

    And in the same vein, the good burgers of Moree are really not sure that global warming is a Thing, especially if it's human-caused:


    I was a bit disturbed by the ABC's apparent promotion of scepticism at the beginning of the piece, but they finally brought in the balance at the end. The psychologist interviewed spoke about the residents' denial of potentially serious repercussions, which is fair enough as an ætiology, but the explanation could probably have benefitted from a consideration of the rural conservatives' reluctance to break from their traditionally-held views, and in the deep (and even not-so-deep) Outback it's not de rigueur to recant from the long-held view that climate change is a leftie NWO scam. Many of these people will deny the human cause for as long as they can, and when the human-caused extremes eventuate that lay waste to their rural economies they'll be screaming from the roof-tops that there should have been action decades ago.

    As will their compatriots in the suburbs and the harbour-side mansions...

    1. To celebrate the 4th of July, why don't you adduce the anti-on-the beach theory that global warming is due to giant fresnel lenses secretly placed in orbit by the New Zealand Fruit Board to put South Island pinot noir on a par with Burgundy , only to see the world saved from thermal runaway by Yankee fireworks aerosols?

    2. I looked at the credits for the podcast and saw this: "Dr Susie Burke, Australian Psychological Society".

      So people have given up trying to explain the data for global warming, and now just concentrate on the psychological reasons for the denial?

  5. Apropos your fridge, when I was working in Saudi Arabia I had a colleague from Somalia whose brother was working in Ottawa. In the winter, his brother's letters were filled with complaints about the cold.

    My colleague would ask me, "Is it as cold as when I go into the freezer to get ice?" It was difficult to explain that on a really cold day the freezer was warmer.

  6. It's funny to read someone saying "moist nights aren't as cold as dry nights."

    The saying on the Canadian prairies is "It's a dry cold" which means a cold temperature is more bearable when the air is dry than the same temperature when the air is moist.

    1. I had someone, just the other day, telling me that he could step outside in regular clothes for a quick cigarette at Alert since it was a dry cold!

      For non-Canadians, Alert, Nunavut, Canada, is the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world at latitude 82°30'05" north, 817 kilometres (508 mi) from the North Pole.

    2. 's true.

      I stood outside in a thin jacket on May 1 when it was -12C. I was warm. Similarly this morning I was fine in shorts & t-shirt by +10C.

      The wind can change that tolerability in an instant.

  7. Cartoonist XKCD covered this POV pretty adeptly.


  8. As if on cue wuwt has cut and pasted an article from an Aussie site on the cold snap.According to this a town in S.E. Aus has recorded its lowest temperature in 110 years. Another nail in the coffin,etc.

  9. Off topic, but worth a heads up as it may well be causing heartache for the fossil fuel industry shills over at WUWT. Volvo said that by 2019 it will make a range of cars, none of which will be powered purely by a combustion engine

    Still includes hybrids but its a good big step along the way.

    1. And its interesting to compare that with the pitifully inadequate (yet again) actions of our politicians.

      France to ban fossil fuel powered vehicles ... in 23 years time

  10. "Anthropogenic climate change is real and a serious problem. "

    Larry Kummer writing at WUWT.

    It was a long time coming.


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