Sunday, May 3, 2009

Greenland--the Holophobic fear is over

Holophobes, defined as those who fear the effects that humanity faced 5000 years ago when the seas were higher, the temperatures hotter, the glaciers melted and the ice sheets reduced, don't want to give up their irrational fear. They love their fear.

But data is ultimately more powerful than fear. Greenland has been one of the poster children for global warming due to CO2 increases. Greenland is melting everyone would claim, as if that hadn't already happened several times in geologic history. More below

I ran across an interesting discussion in Science a few months back.

"Things were looking bad around southeast Greenland a few years ago. There, the streams of ice flowing from the great ice sheet into the sea had begun speeding up in the late 1990s. Then, two of the biggest Greenland outlet glaciers really took off, and losses from the ice to the sea eventually doubled. Some climatologists speculated that global warming might have pushed Greenland past a tipping point into a scary new regime of wildly heightened ice loss and an ever-faster rise in sea level."
"So much for Greenland ice’s Armageddon. “It has come to an end,” glaciologist Tavi Murray of Swansea University in the United Kingdom said during a session at the meeting. “There seems to have been a synchronous switch-off ” of the speed-up, she said. Nearly everywhere around southeast Greenland, outlet glacier flows have returned to the levels of 2000. An increasingly warmer climate will no doubt eat away at the Greenland ice sheet for centuries, glaciologists say, but no one should be extrapolating the ice’s recent wild behavior into the future." Richard A. Kerr, "Galloping Glaciers of Greenland Have Reined Themselves In," Science, 323(2009), p. 458

So, the galloping glaciers are not galloping any more. Gee, Nature is cyclical after all!

So, I went to Global Climate at a Glance and made a spatial map showing the trends all over the world. Big red dots are large warming, small red dots are slightly warming, small blue dots are slightly cooling and big blue dots are strongly cooling. Below is the map

In passing I would like you to note that CO2 isn't working over the oceans, for they are cooling while the CO2 content of the atmosphere rises. Only the land, with thermometers next to airconditioners and on top of hot cement warm without respite.

I enlarged a small part of it, isolating Greenland so you can see that most of Greenland since 2001 has been cooling.

Now, at Climate at a Glance, if you click on one of the dots on the map, you will get a popup chart of the temperature data for that region. I did that for every dot on Greenland 11 blue cooling and 4 warming dots. The results come up as anomaly plots, meaning deviation from some standard curve. Below are the picts. Scan through them but note how few of them are warming. More below the pictures

But of course, none of these anomaly maps tell you the absolute temperature, which means you can't tell if warming is taking you from -50 to -48 deg C, which would not melt the ice at all, since ice doesn't melt below zero degrees.

To get that data went to this place to get data for Greenland. I downloaded 5 stations that were still collecting data in 2009. In each dataset there are missing months which make it hard to use a mean without rejecting lots of years with missing months. So, I plotted the maximum and minimum temperatures for each station. If global warming is heating the earth, one would expect that as time goes on the max and min temperatures should rise. But they don't at least not significantly like the Holophobes tell you is happening. See below.

I saved Godthab Nuuk for the last. It has the longest temperature record in Greenland, starting in 1866. One would expect that one should most clearly see the warming in that station. We don't. Here is the Max Min chart

I would point out that the regression line slope on the maximum temperature is .00002, effectively with all the CO2 added to the atmosphere since 1866, the maximum yearly temperature at Godthab Nuuk has not bothered to change in any systematic way--this is consistent with what we saw in an earlier blog on regression line voodoo. Longer sinusoidal data streams show less and less increase or decrease with time.

But what of the mean temperature at Godthab Nuuk. If I throw out all years that don't have a continuous monthly temperature, we see that nothing signficant is happening to the temperature at Godthab Nuuk.

Indeed, it was warmer there in the 1940s when the CO2 content of the atmosphere was about 300 ppm and it has cooled as the world has gone from 300 ppm to the present level of 385. It seems that CO2 doesn't work at Godthab Nuuk to warm the temperature! But the Holophobes will deny that Godthab Nuuk is anything to base a conclusion on.

So, one other way to look at the data. Let's again throw out all incomplete years and see if the number of months in which the monthly average temperature rises above zero has risen over the past 150 years. It hasn't. See the picture below.

Once again, nothing unusual is happening at Godthab Nuuk. We live in the Holocene which began 10,000 years ago. There has been a lot of climate experienced by modern humans during the Holocene. The the Holophobic climatologists live only in the last 30 years, acting as if the weather in the previous part of the Holocene is irrelevant to what they claim.

They tell you that Greenland is melting. It isn't. It is a distortion because Greenland can't melt if the temperature is mostly below freezing and the yearly means are below freezing. The warmest year in Godthab Nuuk was 1941 when the tempererature averaged 1 deg C for the year. Only 2 years since 1976 have had averages above zero. There were 5 years between 1926 and 1950. Greenland isn't warming.


  1. Sure is a wealth of data, Glenn. I hve asked my friends at RealClimate to comment on it.


  2. Let them come here. Remember, this is NOAA's data not mine. This is the data upon which they say we should be scared out of our wits about the future warming. I don't see the warming.