Saturday, March 31, 2012


date: Mon, 07 Jul 2008 15:00:47 -0500
from: Pete Lamb <plambatXYZxyzedu>
subject: Re: Small request
to: Phil Jones <>

Hi Phil:

Many thanks for your detailed response, which will be most helpful. I'll send you a copy
of the article if the Editor and I reach agreement on it.
I'm attaching a couple of other recent newspaper articles on the subject. The longer one
(first attachment) appeared as a full-page feature article in The Norman Transcript
(Oklahoma) last November 1, and the shorter version derived from it was in the Dominion
Post (Wellington, NZ) on the page opposite the Editorial page on March 28.
See, I'm going to bat for you Global Warming folk! Furthermore, I'm sure you also were
pleased to see the All Blacks thrash England recently at Rugby. However, if your Cricket
allegiance is with England, then we had an honorable split.
Thanks again and best wishes,

Peter J. Lamb

George Lynn Cross Research Professor

of Meteorology

Director, NOAA Cooperative Institute for

Mesoscale Meteorological Studies

The University of Oklahoma

120 David L. Boren BLVD.,Suite 2100

Norman, OK 73072-7304

Phone 1-405-325-3041

Fax 1-405-325-3098

Cell 1-405-823-7483

Phil Jones wrote:

Here's the series I would recommend. It comes from this paper
Brohan, P., Kennedy, J., Harris, I., Tett, S.F.B. and Jones, P.D., 2006: Uncertainty
estimates in regional and global observed temperature changes: a new dataset from 1850.
J. Geophys. Res. 111, D12106, doi:10.1029/2005JD006548.
and is the one used in the 2007 IPCC report - the chapter I co-ordinated with Kevin.
Trenberth, K.E., P.D. Jones, P. Ambenje, R. Bojariu, D. Easterling, A. Klein Tank, D.
Parker, F. Rahimzadeh, J. A. Renwick, M. Rusticucci, B. Soden and P. Zhai, 2007:
Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change. In: Climate Change 2007: The
Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group 1 to the Fourth Assessment Report
of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z.
Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M. Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)], pp235-336, Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
In the file, there are two lines for each year from 1850 to 2008. Ignore the second of
each pair of lines - this is the % coverage of the Earth's surface with data.
For the first line, the first 12 numbers after the year are Jan-Dec. I suspect you'll
want the annual, so take the 13th number. Ignore the 14th, as this is another
estimate of the annual.
The annual values are all wrt 1961-90. All you need to do is plot these against the
year and put a smoother through them. You should then get something like the
figure on the CRU home page. Your smoothing may be different, but the yearly
values should be exact.
2008 has data through May and it's annual value based on these 5 months.
2008 is relatively cool, but this is due to the La Nina, which makes the world
cooler as El Nino makes it warmer. The 1998 record should go when we have the
next reasonable El Nino.
My rule of thumb about the ENSO influence is that if you take our SOI, which
ranges from ~3 to ~-3, each unit of the SOI explains about 0.06 deg C of global T.
SOI also leads, so this reg weight comes from looking at high-freq variations
of annual global T values versus July (of year -1) to June of the current year. So
1998 was about 0.15 warmer because of the El Nino and 2008 about 0.10 cooler
due to the La Nina. 2008 should be cooler than 1998 due to ENSO by about 0.25.
Above just a bit of background as you'll likely have to explain why we're apparently
not warming. A lot of the skeptics make a big thing about 1998 and apparent cooling
since then. ENSO influence on the year-to-year temps is large compared to the
0.02 deg C per year due to global warming if you assume we are warming at 0.2 deg C
per decade. 2008 should be about 0.2 warmer than 1998 due to global warming.
The values for 1998 (+0.526) and 2008 (+0.247) don't add up - the ENSO difference
is about right but the GW part isn't, but as you know there are a lot of other
circulation and other influences in the climate system - which your article
will allude to!
Hope all is well!
At 21:12 02/07/2008, you wrote:

Hi Phil:
I'd be very grateful if somebody in CRU could e-mail me an updated version (through
2007) of your time series of globally averaged surfaced air temperature. I need the
diagram (or its numerical equivalent) to complete a article for my hometown newspaper in
New Zealand (Nelson Mail).
I hope you are doing well. Thanks in advance,
Peter J. Lamb
George Lynn Cross Research Professor
of Meteorology
Director, NOAA Cooperative Institute for
Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
The University of Oklahoma
120 David L. Boren BLVD.,Suite 2100
Norman, OK 73072-7304

Phone 1-405-325-3041
Fax 1-405-325-3098
Cell 1-405-823-7483

Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email [2]


Global warming -- certainty and uncertainty

The Norman Transcript

-- By Peter J. Lamb
For The Transcript
Now that the U.S. has taken a first if tiny step towards world leadership concerning global
climate change -- President Bush's one-day "mini-summit" in Washington two weeks ago -- it
is opportune to review the varying levels of scientific certainty and uncertainty that
characterize our understanding of this issue. A major responsibility of scientists is to
state the uncertainty of their results.
It is completely certain that the Earth is experiencing ongoing global warming. When
averaged over the entire planet for individual years, the temperature of surface air has
increased by about 1 degree Celsius (or 2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1910. Approximately
half of this warming occurred in each of the periods between 1910-40 and 1970-2000. During
the intervening 1940-70 period, that temperature either decreased (1940-50) or increased
slightly (1950-70). The same results have been obtained for all continents and the surface
temperature of the total global ocean.
This warming did not come as a surprise, since it was predicted by the understanding of
physics developed during the 1700s and 1800s, and was anticipated by scientists for most of
the 1900s. During its 4.7 billion year history, the Earth has not become forever
increasingly hot or cold. This is because the amount of heat the Earth receives from the
sun always has been closely (but not always exactly) balanced by the heat the Earth emits
back to Space. Increasing the atmosphere's greenhouse gases delays the return of the sun's
heat to space, and requires an increase in surface air temperature.
Consistent with this situation, recent computer model simulations have shown conclusively
that almost all of the observed 1970-2000 warming would not have occurred without the
strong simultaneous greenhouse gas increase. The reason for this warming now is as certain
as the fact of the warming. Furthermore, the environmental evidence of this greenhouse
gas-induced warming is widespread -- shrinking or disappearance of high altitude mountain
glaciers in tropical East Africa, New Guinea, and northern South America; decreasing
Northern Hemisphere snow cover; thinning and contraction of sea ice around the North Pole
during summer; rising sea levels globally; and ice losses from the edges of Greenland and
Antarctica. On the other hand, the same computer model simulations suggest that natural
variability accounted for most of the temperature trends accompanying the slower rate of
greenhouse gas increase during 1910-40 (warming) and 1940-70 (cooling then slight warming).
Much more important than the 1 degree Celsius increase in global surface air temperature
since 1910 will be the rate of further greenhouse gas-induced temperature increase during
this new century. The above computer model simulations were very successful in reproducing
the 20th century changes in the global surface air temperature. This is why the same
computer models then were used to estimate the temperature changes that could occur if
greenhouse gases continue to increase for the rest of the 21st century. However, this
computer modeling extension introduces two unavoidable uncertainties. The first uncertainty
involves the extended application of the models into the new century, for which convincing
model validation will not be possible for at least 20 years. The second uncertainty stems
from the need to make assumptions about future increases of greenhouse gas emissions, which
will be determined by social, economic and political considerations that operate within and
between nations.
However, even when accompanied by these uncertainties, the computer model predictions of
global surface air temperature for later this century are worrisome. Continued increases in
greenhouse gas emissions at medium rates are suggested to raise the global temperature by a
further 2 degrees Celsius to 2.5 degrees Celsius by the last decade of this century, with
that increase being as high as 3 degrees Celsius to 4 degrees Celsius if the emissions
increase proceeds at a high rate. These projected temperature increases are "best
estimates" extracted from many computer model simulations. They are just as likely to be
underestimates as overestimates, with the "likely range" of outcomes extending from 1.0
degree Celsius to 2.4 degrees Celsius on each side of the best estimate. About half of
these temperature changes are expected to occur by 2050. Such century-long temperature
change would be very significant in a historical context -- it would approach or exceed the
temperature levels characteristic of the Last Interglacial Maximum period of
125,000-150,000 years ago, and be about half or more of the size of the strong cooling that
characterized the maximum of the last Ice Age around 18,000 years ago (about 8 degrees
Celsius colder than today).
The word "global" appears in the term "global warming" because the fundamental nature of
the issue indeed is global. It is the Earth as a whole (as opposed to any particular
region) that closely balances the heat gained from the sun with the heat returned to space.
This is why we are monitoring the trend in the global, annually averaged surface air
temperature, which involves just one number per year for the entire Earth. In this purely
scientific sense, regional variability is not important.
From the societal standpoint, however, regional manifestations of the overall global
warming are of paramount importance, especially the associated precipitation changes. And
it is on this regional scale where the 21st century prediction uncertainty increases,
especially for precipitation. For surface air temperature, all parts of the Earth are
predicted to experience warming, with the warming maximizing first in high northern
latitudes and later also around and over Antarctica. The reasons for this high latitude
maximization are well understood -- less snow cover would reduce greatly the reflection of
sunlight directly back to space, and the resulting atmospheric warming would be confined to
a relatively thin vertical layer of air. For the central United States, including Oklahoma,
the "best estimate" warming is predicted to reach 1degree to 1.5 degrees Celsius (annual
average) by the 2020s and 2.5 degrees to 3.5 degrees Celsius by the 2090s. Not
surprisingly, the uncertainty of the predicted warming is considerably larger for the 2090s
than the 2020s.
A major reason for the higher uncertainty of regional precipitation predictions is the
relatively poor treatment of thunderstorm rainfall in the computer models developed so far.
Thunderstorm rainfall is of high intensity and is very important in the tropics and also in
mid-latitudes during the warm season. Unfortunately, model precipitation is overly biased
towards much lower (non-thunderstorm) rates, especially drizzle. The well publicized
predictions of greater precipitation variability for later this century are model-based,
and so include this uncertainty, which often has been glossed over.
For the last 20 years, earlier computer models with additional weaknesses suggested that
the central United States (including Oklahoma) would become drier as well as hotter during
summer by the middle of this century. However, the recent partially improved computer
simulations discussed above are less definite in that regard. While the areas poleward of
50 degrees latitude (including Canada) are predicted to become wetter in summer, and the
zones between 15 degrees-30 degrees latitude (including Mexico) are suggested to become
drier, the models are in much less agreement for the U.S. which lies between 30 degrees-50
degrees N. Accordingly, Oklahoma and most of the U.S. are placed in an indeterminate
category for summer rainfall change. However, winter drying is suggested more strongly by
those simulations for the southwestern U.S., including Oklahoma. Such change would not be
good for Oklahoma wheat production.
Recent news reports were quick to blame "global warming" and "climate change" for the
abundant 2007 summer monsoon rain in South Asia and West Africa. This conclusion is
premature at best. Both regions experienced similarly large monsoon rainfall at times
during the 1900s when greenhouse gases were lower. Also, research has related such monsoon
rainfall extremes to global sea surface temperature patterns including those given by El
Ni?os and La Ni?as. Such causes likely prevailed in 2007.
Interestingly, former Vice President Gore's book (pages 116-117) suggests a completely
opposite global warming causal argument for the West African monsoon -- that the drought
there in recent decades has been due to greenhouse gas increases and climate change. This
possibility was investigated thoroughly in a recent computer modeling study, where it was
not substantiated. Instead, the findings further endorsed the role of shorter-term sea
surface temperature variations.
In similar vein, Oklahoma's record breaking summer 2007 rainfall should not be blamed on
global warming, just like our recent sequence of not-too-hot summers does not disprove
global warming. Oklahoma is a very small part of the Earth.
On Aug. 10, The Norman Transcript editorialized negatively about the "Doubters among us"
concerning climate change. The results summarized above come from the creative endeavors of
600 scientists from around the world. The "doubters," in contrast, are very small in number
and have produced few or no relevant research results themselves. Instead, in the recent
words of a correspondent to my hometown newspaper (Nelson Mail, New Zealand, Sept. 13),
"anti-climate change groups ... in our society ... deny, set up a smokescreen of deliberate
misinformation, and drag in as many red herrings as possible." In a much larger article,
the Aug. 13 Newsweek cover story probed revealingly "inside the denial machine" of the
"well funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change." The
same negative approach was long used by the tobacco industry and continues to be employed
by anti-evolution creationists and advocates of so-called "Intelligent Design."
It is revealing to compare President Bush's recent one-day "mini-summit" with the great
American accomplishments of the 20th century that were based on superior science and
technology. Those accomplishments included the automobile, flight, the Manhattan project
and winning World War II, the Marshall Plan and reconstruction of Germany and Japan, the
Space Program, computers, winning the Cold War, and the Internet. The nation that achieved
all this because of the combination of its ingenuity and work ethic has a responsibility to
provide world leadership to address the difficult challenge of global warming. While a case
can be made for the U.S. non-ratification of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, much less excusable
is the subsequent near total inaction under Presidential Administrations and Congressional
Majorities of both major political parties. The second reason generally given for the poor
regard in which the U.S. currently is held by the rest of the World, after the Iraq War, is
its lack of leadership on environmental issues, especially global warming.
There are some other certainties. One is that constructive U.S. engagement will be needed
before China can be persuaded to address its ever growing and now world leading
contribution to the global warming problem. Another certainty is that the North
Pole-to-Antarctic ice and snow melting and global sea level rise that have accompanied the
1 degree Celsius global temperature increase will be followed by more dire environmental
and ecological changes if that temperature increase proceeds relentlessly to 2 degrees
Celsius, which is projected to occur by mid-century. Uncertainties about the details of
such environmental and ecological change no longer should be used as excuses for inaction.
That time certainly has passed, which is another certainty.
Peter J. Lamb is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor of Meteorology and Director of the
NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies at The University of
Oklahoma. This article is based on presentations he has been making in a variety of forums,
including to several Norman civic groups, the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, U.S.
National Weather Service forecasters from Kansas and Nebraska, and (last Wednesday) the
Global Fusion Oklahoma Centennial Business Conference and International Festival in
Oklahoma City.

Copyright � 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

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