the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Rewriting Arctic History

Posted by Jeff Id on September 8, 2009

Lucy Skywalker, asked to put up a link to the graph below Fig 2.  She sent me a short post in her own words which I think do a good job of catching one of the issues of the recent Arctic temperature reconstruction.  Her work was done in response to the recent paper by Kaufman et al. which alleges that temperatures steadily declined for 2000 years before suddenly spiking.  Lucy’s post compliled temperature records from John Daly’s work for the region all around the Arctic frim GISS and HadCRUT for visual comparison to the hockey stick curves presented by the Kaufman paper.

First and likely unsurprisingly for a proxy paper, I’m very skeptical of it. In fact it’s hard for the engineer in me to imagine the hubris of its conclusions considering it uses unverified proxies and thoroughly debunked mathematical methods but it will probably be difficult to disprove because it stands on the foundation of two dozen other papers filled with their own proxy mathemagic.  Remember, I was far less strong worded about Steig09 on first blush.  I’m waiting until I have time to get all the data from the original sources and have tried already to convert the jpg data in the article itself for verification.  So far it has been made a particularly difficult road by the authors methods of publication.  It would be better if people other than myself contacted the authors to request data and code because my Id has a reputation but I will be doing it in time.  Anyway, I have a great deal of comfort with the fact that this particular temp reconstruction is equally as related to temperature as it is to magnetic flux trends on Neptune and the coarseness of cecropia moth antennae.

Figure 1 is a plot of the reconstruction having the same results as the Mann08 (bottom graph).  Note the lack of MWP, no Little ice age and basically no variance other than the shock and recovery so easily created by bad data sorting mathematics.


Fig 1 - Kaufman 09 alleged temperature curves

Lucy did the right thing and went to find the actual measured temperature data creating a cool link to allow people to click on different temp curves and see the historic data of the actual stations. The actual data from uncorrected sources is critical for understanding whether the result is reasonable.

We know HadCRUT and GISS both provide substantial corrections to the ground temp datasets, in my opinion these are very likely overcorrected.  I could do a whole post on how critical exaggerated surface station temp trends are to the correlation coefficients in the paleo papers.  Advocates who hold themselves out to be scientists have reason to fear the corrections that surfacestations by Anthony Watts may reveal and we have seen some early mocking even from organizations such as the NOAA.  I don’t have inside information on this, but it would make a huge difference in climatology to see even a small reduction of trend simply due to the difficulty of achieving unprecedented results with moderate correlation values.

Getting back to the story Lucy wrote this:

John Daly (1943-2004) was a superb climatologist and skeptic of AGW. His website “Waiting For Greenhouse” is still excellent and is occasionally updated by supporters. In particular, I never forgot his friendly collection of temperature records. He used the best of the oldest records, particularly Arctic records, that often go back well into the 1800’s; he also avoided those with UHI where possible – except to compare neighbouring records to demonstrate the distortion of UHI. He was before the time of Anthony Watts and the Surface Stations project, but he made available the evidence early on in a highly iconic way.

So when Kaufman et al published yet another unspeakable hockey stick, this time purporting to show Arctic temperatures rising dramatically in the twentieth century, I thought, I don’t remember a single one of Daly’s Arctic temperature records showing anything like that. But like a good scientist I checked – and still saw nothing. I then thought that we need to see ALL those worthy Arctic temperature records together on one page, “circling the Arctic” so that there is no loophole for accusations of cherrypicking.

Again she has the right idea,  look at the data and what do you see.  Unfortunately in this paper, other than choosing HadCRUT the cherry picking has to do with the leaving out of some proxies and use of other known hockey stick proxy series ‘Yamal’ which require very little effort or knowledge on behalf of the authors.  They then simply use HadCRUT which has the highest known trend of any surface temp measurement for scaling through a CPS data masher.  The whole process is very simple to manipulate but as it is built on a foundation of two dozen other ‘preferred’ results, it is more difficult to disprove.

what stations say

Lucy then requested a further audit of these results.  I would also like to see an audit.  It is a soon to be run project which shouldn’t be time consuming to replicate if the data was easily available.  My strong impression is that this paper will come down to the data chosen rather than the math or methods of the final result.  How can we then make an argument against the paper, what do we say? – the scientists were biased in their source data choice?

Check out the link at Lucy’s site by clicking on the figure above.  She’s set it up so any of the individual temperature graphs can be viewed full size by clicking on it.

20 Responses to “Rewriting Arctic History”

  1. […] Lucy Skywalker’s site shows all the individual arctic temperature graphs full size. H/t Jeff Id […]

  2. Thanks, Jeff, great. Nice to see the pic is already travelling. Now I’ll go back to CA to see the latest…

  3. timetochooseagain said

    I notice at least two distinct “subclasses” of histories-which I will refer to as “Alaska type” and “Greenland type”. Alaskan type stations:

    Show sudden shifts around 1976 consistent with the PDO:

    Greenland type stations:

    All distinctly resemble:

  4. PDO and AMO, what one might expect? Also I note the difference between continental and marine records.

  5. I mean maritime, not marine!

  6. timetochooseagain said

    4-Well, El Nino’s have notable effects in Alaska, and the effect of the AMO on the Arctic was recently noted:

    Click to access 09Chlylek.pdf

    I imagine that both effects are very important as a whole.

    A very good place to correlate indices with surface temperatures is:

  7. Aslak said

    I notice that the map does not have all the data from this nice archive:
    NARP Climate Dataset

  8. Geoff Sherrington said

    It is still hard to find the source of the 1998 global temperature peak. It’s not evident in most of the individual Daly graphs above. It seems to be an insidious little beast that lurks along at just above average, so that in summation it gives a pronounced high. That is, it seldom seems to go low in many years. But then I look at the graph for Stykkisholmer & Teigerhorn, Iceland, (above) and it’s well down the post 1928 ramp, so there are exceptions. Anyone noticed a global region where 1998 really stands out?

  9. timetochooseagain said

    8. Look in the tropics. That’s where El Nino has the biggest effect, naturally.

    7. Daly had strict criteria for including the data he showed. I think it would be fair to say he was very selective. His rules where apparently:
    Non-Urban (mostly) and Non moved. Subsequently the status of many of the stations have changed. For instance, included in the list was Lampasas Texas:

    Something very interesting has happened since:

    Lampasas-No warming, until it gets moved and mis-adjusted. 🙄

  10. I think someone – Bob Tisdale? – showed with a Morlet wavelet picture, the 1998 spike apparently travelling to the Arctic over several years, and being the likely cause of the big melt in 2007.

    Thanks again Jeff for posting me here – I now see WUWT’s got it, hey, I didn’t expect that! Now I want to milk all the critical comments there as well, for what they are worth…

  11. William said

    Tamino on his blog has this to say about Watts and Peilke’s responses to this study:

    “The entire arctic has experience a decline in incoming solar energy, both on midsummer day and averaged throughout the year, since about 8,000 B.C. No wonder the arctic has been cooling!

    If not for the greenhouse gases we’ve pumped into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, the arctic would still be cooling. But it’s not — it is most definitely warming. Fast. The yahoos who claim otherwise have only embarrassed themselves.”


  12. timetochooseagain said

    10-I am investigating the propagation of ENSO out from the Equator. I don’t know if it has anything to do with Arctic Melt, since so far I haven’t found it getting very far from the Pacific Ocean, but I’m just starting on this one. I think I remember Bob’s post, it inspired my looking into ENSO propagation.

    11. Pielke Senior fires back:

    Tamino is also full of sh*t with regard to Milankovitch influence, on these timescales it’s negligible, and I have a hard time believing he’s really retarded enough to believe such crap.

    Sorry, but harsh words for such nonsense are the only things I have.

  13. Jeff Id said


    If Tammie is right, he should be begging for more CO2. You don’t have to be a climaologist to know, cold is real bad in comparison to hot.

  14. stumpy said

    I notice on the top graph that the ice reconstruction continues to trend down, how do the authors resolve that issue, given that the AGW camp is always proclaiming arctic is soon to disapear?

  15. Ian said

    What then is your take on the graphs Tamino has produced that seem to comprehensively refute Lucy Skywalker’s assertion that the arctic is not warming?

  16. Jeff Id said


    I think the Arctic has warmed and Tammie is an advocate with a personality disorder and I also think the paper has nothing to do with pre-calibration range temperature.

  17. Lucy Skywalker: You wrote, “I think someone – Bob Tisdale? – showed with a Morlet wavelet picture, the 1998 spike apparently travelling to the Arctic over several years, and being the likely cause of the big melt in 2007.”

    Nope. I attached time-series graphs of NINO3.4 SST anomalies and TLT anomalies for the mid-to-high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere to the global TLT Hovmollers available from RSS:

    Jeff Id: Which brings me back to the question I asked over at WUWT a few weeks ago about your being able to create Hovmollers. They’re one of the best ways of illustrating the heat transport between latitudes that results from ENSO events. Examples are the link above and the following:

    I’ve tried a few websites that allow you to create your own Hovmollers but I’ve had very little success. The NOAA ESRL PSD website is troublesome and doesn’t allow the user to change color scales. The AVISO website only works for short periods of time.

    The IPCC created a few for AR4:

    Unfortunately, the IPCC has smoothed them to the point that you can’t even find the El Nino events in the Pacific version. In other words, they’re trash.

    So if you’ve grown tired of Arctic and Antarctic ice animations and are looking for another project that would damage AGW, I’ll suggest Hovmollers with very limited smoothing.


  18. Orson said






  19. Orson said

    AHH! found a modified link that finds the right graphic


  20. Orson said

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