IPCC – Full Speed Ahead

Thanks to some very hard working bloggers and readers who care at WUWT, the IPCC second order draft has been released.   Steig 09 appears to be much less prominently referenced in the second order draft than in the zero order which is still too often.  I take it as an indication that some people have actually figured out that S09 was not in any way accurate.  Still, in the Second order draft, the IPCC is reporting warming values so high that they are not supported by either the S09 paper or the O’Donnell correction.

From Chapter 5 – Information from Paleoclimate Archives:

Currently there is no compelling observational evidence for a robust CO2-induced polar amplification in
Antarctica. Whereas the Antarctic Peninsula is experiencing one of the strongest regional warming trends
(0.5°C decade–1 over the past 50 years), almost twice that of the global mean temperature, zonal mean
Antarctic surface warming has been modest at 0.1°C per decade over the same time period (O’Donnell et al.,
2010; Steig et al., 2009).
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide borehole measurements indicate warming
of 0.8°C per decade during the last two decades (Orsi et al., 2012), but it remains unclear if this trend
represents long term polar amplification, or is within the range of regional decadal variability (see also AR5
Chapter 2). Polar amplification in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica is virtually absent in the transient
CMIP5 RCP4.5 future simulations (see Chapter 12).

Below are the actual numbers from Steig (far right column) and O’Donnell’s two methods E-W and RLS in the center and left column.   At 0.1C/decade for the continent, the IPCC is reporting approximately 2X the actual Antarctic trend measured by the skeptic-leaning “thermometers”.   It is also right at the farthest edge of the 95% margin of error threshold for the continental Eigenweighted calculation (0.4+/- 0.06).   The peninsula was reported too low by S09 as we have long discussed, but in O10 some regions do reach 0.5C/decade (again according to the thermomters) but the peninsula regional average is only 0.35 +/- 0.11.  Therefore the IPCC reporting 0.5C/Decade for the peninsula is completely outside the margin of error for both papers.  Not surprisingly to those of us who spend time reading climate science and IPCC UN politics, the reported values fail in the alarmist direction.

Region RLS  C/Dec E-W  C/Dec S09   C/Dec
Continent 0.06 ± 0.08 0.04 ± 0.06 0.12 ± 0.09
East Antarctica 0.03 ± 0.09 0.02 ± 0.07 0.10 ± 0.10
West Antarctica 0.10 ± 0.09 0.06 ± 0.07 0.20 ± 0.09
Peninsula 0.35 ± 0.11 0.32 ± 0.09 0.13 ± 0.05

It is really unfortunate that they have chosen to report the Orsi borehole mathmagic as though it were a thermometer, but this is the paleoscience chapter so they need to put something in.  That paper claimed a 0.8C/decade warming in the last two decades.  Readers will recall that this was the paper which Steig famously claimed “proved” O’Donnell was wrong.  Besides the whole field of borehole thermometery being ridiculous, it seems to me that the 0.8C/decade value is completely outside the realm of any possibility.  I write that because it is 13 times the continental average and were the trend real, nearby thermometers would have obviously detected it.

I don’t know folks, it doesn’t look like the world of Climate ever changes.  Maybe they will get it right in a few more drafts.

34 thoughts on “IPCC – Full Speed Ahead

  1. When the ZODs were leaked a year ago I only downloaded one file before they vanished. It took me weeks to track down a subset of the files:

    This time I downloaded every last file and read the SPM (Summary for Policy Makers). The only thing that is easily predictable about climate is the Alarmist spin that the IPCC puts into SPMs!

    Once again there is no attempt to put the ice loss, sea level rise or average temperature into context.

  2. I agree that borehole thermometry is just spooky assumption/math that has really set-back the science for going on 25 years now.

    Almost all of the Greenland ice core temperature series that you have seen are still based on this.

    Tell me that this looks right for Greenland versus Antarctica going back 130,000 years. Was Greenland really +8.0C 123,000 years ago (which wasn’t even the peak of the Eemian interglacial – if the Greenland ice cores went back far enough, it would be +12.0C – there would have been little glacier left in the Eemian at those temperatures – they refuse to think about how wrong the borehole thermometry must be).

  3. Jeff, nothing unexpected from the IPCC here, if you see that organization operating as lawyers would for a client. They are pretty much only going to present information that favors their client/position and will even spin adverse information to support their side. I have not bothered to read the leaked/published review process to this point in time, so I ask: What did those making comments say about this information on Antarctica?

    1. I considered signing up as a reviewer, however I would expect any comment someone made under my name to be ignored before it was read. Therefore, it seems better to give my comments blog style and let others see the review. I’m certain that some of these blog posts reach the right ears anyway. It is interesting that Steig was reduced in another chapter from a half dozen references (including warming temperature in the Antarctic) to a single one about ozone. It seems that some are paying attention to the scientific opinion of “skeptics” on this. Even some of the leaked comments from SKS seemed to demonstrate at least a basic understanding that S09 is a mess. It certainly would have been interesting to see how in depth their TRUE understanding really is.

  4. Jeff,
    Ice borehole reconstructions for the recent past are fraught with issues like uncertainty in the the thermal conductivity of the firn layer. The Orsi et al result (1.6C temperature increase in the last 20 years, more than twice the measured peninsula rate) appears preposterous on it’s face. Are there not ground station data available which can show 1.6C is very unlikely to be correct?

    1. The Orsi point is pretty far from any station but that is a huge difference. The real problem with boreholes, besides the bad data, is that the matrix is near singular. There is a reason why every borehole produces the narrow up-down followed by a longer hump in history. I haven’t looked at any of the math in over a year (because it is a waste of my time) but it is ugly “science”.

  5. Jeff,
    I thought you might enjoy this: http://i50.tinypic.com/2usyazr.png , based on data taken from this source: ftp://sidads.colorado.edu/pub/DATASETS/AGDC/shuman_nsidc0097/
    Byrd sits in the middle of West Antarctica and shows less warming than Siple (no surprise, Siple is near the peninsular); both warming rates are modest. If the 1990 to 2010 Orsi et al rate of 0.8C per decade is correct, then something really strange happened after 1997…. the warming had to have reached ~1.4C per decade starting 1998. Odd too that a sudden shift upward in warming after 1997, preceded by a very modest warming rate before that, is completely missing from the bore hold analysis. The very modest warming rates (not shown in the graph), go back to 1979. That Orsi et al paper is worthy only of only one thing: the RealClimate bore hole.

    1. There you go again, looking at actual data. Keep it up and you’ll be labeled a denier.


      It is interesting how blindly these results are accepted. Steig seems reasonable at times but you have to take the ostrich approach in order to accept this nonsense as temperature.

  6. It would appear one can pick their poison (or propaganda) using borehole measurements. The claim is that bore holes would make the best temperature proxies in permanent ice and for more recent temperatures giving better resolution. The excerpt from Wikipedia below would tend to support a Roman warm period warmer than the Modern Warm period, but then my skepticism would include those findings too.

    As I recall people who invert these matrixes make all kinds of claims for what some might think is an arbitrary selection of an non unique solution. They make it sound all very natural and that their choice of solution is the only one that makes sense.


    “Borehole temperatures are used as temperature proxies. Since heat transfer through the ground is slow, temperature measurements at a series of different depths down the borehole, adjusted for the effect of rising heat from inside the Earth, can be “inverted” (a mathematical formula to solve matrix equations) to produce a non-unique series of surface temperature values. The solution is “non-unique” because there are multiple possible surface temperature reconstructions that can produce the same borehole temperature profile. In addition, due to physical limitations, the reconstructions are inevitably “smeared”, and become more smeared further back in time. When reconstructing temperatures around 1,500 AD, boreholes have a temporal resolution of a few centuries. At the start of the 20th Century, their resolution is a few decades; hence they do not provide a useful check on the instrumental temperature record.[11][12] However, they are broadly comparable.[4] These confirmations have given paleoclimatologists the confidence that they can measure the temperature of 500 years ago. This is concluded by a depth scale of about 492 feet (150 meters) to measure the temperatures from 100 years ago and 1,640 feet (500 meters) to measure the temperatures from 1,000 years ago.[13]

    Boreholes have a great advantage over many other proxies in that no calibration is required: they are actual temperatures. However, they record surface temperature not the near-surface temperature (1.5 meter) used for most “surface” weather observations. These can differ substantially under extreme conditions or when there is surface snow. In practice the effect on borehole temperature is believed to be generally small. A second source of error is contamination of the well by groundwater may affect the temperatures, since the water “carries” more modern temperatures with it. This effect is believed to be generally small, and more applicable at very humid sites.[11] It does not apply in ice cores where the site remains frozen all year.

    More than 600 boreholes, on all continents, have been used as proxies for reconstructing surface temperatures.[14] The highest concentration of boreholes exist in North America and Europe. Their depths of drilling typically range from 200 to greater than 1,000 meters into the crust of the Earth or ice sheet.[13]
    A small number of boreholes have been drilled in the ice sheets; the purity of the ice there permits longer reconstructions. Central Greenland borehole temperatures show “a warming over the last 150 years of approximately 1°C ± 0.2°C preceded by a few centuries of cool conditions. Preceding this was a warm period centered around A.D. 1000, which was warmer than the late 20th century by approximately 1°C.” A borehole in the Antarctica icecap shows that the “temperature at A.D. 1 [was] approximately 1°C warmer than the late 20th century”.[15]

    Borehole temperatures in Greenland were responsible for an important revision to the isotopic temperature reconstruction, revealing that the former assumption that “spatial slope equals temporal slope” was incorrect.”

    An aside:

    Jeff and SteveF, I have been lazy about determining for myself what was leaked from AR5 and was hoping to get a picture of it second hand. I take it that what was leaked does not include the comments. I am wondering if it is possible that someone could leak that information also. I did see someone post some statistics on the comments for what I thought was AR5.

    1. I only saw chapters but haven’t read every file. There is a single link download now that you can get all the data from.

      I accidentally ran across a Joe Romm article where he fumed that the IPCC was using “ultra conservative” language.

  7. Jeff,
    ” Steig seems reasonable at times”.
    Maybe. It would take a brutally honest researcher to admit his paper on the cover of Nature is rubbish, and Eric is for sure not that. His behavior is understandable, of course, but that only makes him less credible WRT all of climate science narrative; his removal of his own damaging comments in exchanges with you and others at RealClimate (Take my Mathcad course”) shows there is no level to which he will not stoop.

  8. Thanks, Jeff, for all that you have done to restore

    a.) Integrity to government science, and
    b.) Sanity to the world’d troubled society

    These are not independent variables. If climate scientists who promoted the fable of human-induced global climate warming (AGW) believed their own propaganda, why did “UN Climate Scientists Plead for Immunity from Criminal Prosecution?”


    Today the universe is unfolding exactly as it should, and once again, truth will be victorious!

    Merry Christmas !
    – Oliver K. Manuel

    PhD Nuclear Chemist
    Postdoc Space Physics
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  9. Jim2 => yep, one to read. Extract of Reasonable Eric’s commentary at RC:

    “If it sounds like I don’t think Bromwich et al.’s results are anything new, let me correct that impression. The contribution of this new paper is huge. Bromwich et al. rely almost entirely on local data to produce the best-possible record of temperature from one location — Byrd Station in central West Antarctica. In contrast, our work relied heavily on interpolation of data from weather stations some distance from West Antarctica. Why didn’t we use the same data Bromwich et al. did? Well, we did, but the problem is that the Byrd Station record is actually several different records, taken at different times using different instruments. We felt that we could not splice these records together into one continous record, because instrument inter-calibration issues could easiily create spurious trends.

    “One of the chief contributions of the Bromwich team is that they carefully checked the calibration on the various temperature sensors and dataloggers that are used in the Byrd automatic weather station. It turns out that there were significant calibration issues and that correcting for them makes the temperature higher in the 1990s but somewhat lower in the 2000s (though still higher than in the 1960 – 1980s). That is a compelling finding, because it puts the weather station data in better agreement with the climate forecast reanalysis data explaining the cause of the winter warming trends (as described e.g. in Ding et al., 2011; 2012).”

    First try shows the paper as paywalled at Nature:


    where the abstract includes this statement:

    “Here, we present a complete temperature record for Byrd Station, in which observations have been corrected, and gaps have been filled using global reanalysis data and spatial interpolation.”

    Hopefully before long someone will be able to give some informed comment on the recalibration work, which I trust Bromwich et al have fully detailed with all pre and post data sets inc. metadata.

    1. Found this:


      A year-round automated station was put in place in 1980, but even that has been subject to frequent power outages, particularly during the extended polar night, when its solar panels are unable to recharge.

      Monaghan and Bromwich previously reconstructed the Antarctic-wide temperature history over the last half-century using station records from around the continent, and published those results in 2008.

      Now, the two researchers, working with partners at OSU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have completed the data gaps through use of a computer model of the atmosphere and a numerical analysis method.

      “But even if you didn’t in-fill it with the simulations, you still get these strong trends,” Monaghan said. “It’s really the observations telling us this. It’s dangerous to overstate the simulated part of the record.”

          1. I am reading and plotting data.

            The different result of this paper represents a change in raw data, and is not due to a change in math. If the result is accurate and perfectly matches Steig trends, it still doesn’t make S09 correct because S09 botched the math using the old data.

            My early plots leave me with a bad feeling that the paper has problems.

  10. I’ve just replied to the post just up at climate etc that references real climate and the Antarctic study.

    It would be useful if people read the article. The temperature has been declining all this century, it reached a high point in the 90’s. It even says this in passing in the srticle.

    It seems to graphically illustrate what is happening elsewhere, that temperatures have been on the slide most places all this century

  11. Thanks Jim – I guess power outages in “the extended polar night” means winter? When it’s cold? 🙂

    Perhaps I’m being unreasonable but:

    “Now, the two researchers, working with partners at OSU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, have completed the data gaps through use of a computer model of the atmosphere and a numerical analysis method.”

    doesn’t sound like it is bigging up the role of instrumental calibration.

    Roll on Reasonable Reanalysis …

  12. I stumbled over this page on wikipedia:


    According to them Antactic cooling is an invention of Mivchael Chrichton, O’Donnell is quoted briefly, but not even included in the literature list, instead there is a highlighted quote from realclimate.

    There is also a satellite picutre showing some warming in 1981-2007. I can’t understand this picture, because didn’t intermediate results from yours and even Steig’s study show overall cooling since 1980 and the satellite data showed cooling as well ?


    1980 to 2006 trend (AWS era)

    Steig 3 PC -0.06 deg C./decade
    New 7 PC -0.20 deg C./decade
    New 7 PC weighted-0.20 deg C./decade
    New 7 PC wgtd imputed cells -0.21 deg C./decade

    Satellite data:

  13. From the WUWT thread:
    Billy Liar says:
    December 24, 2012 at 11:53 am

    You can download the Supplementary Information from the paper here:

    Click to access ngeo1671-s1.pdf

    The above link includes 11 figures and 2 tables.

    The significant (in the statistical sense) temperature increases occur in the months September – January, ie the austral summer when the station was likely manned (and the sun was up).

    What did the occupants do every week in the summer:

    Part of the house mouse duties — common housekeeping tasks shared by all at the station — included roof maintenance, he said. “[We spent] a day per week with an electric chain saw cutting snow blocks from over the buildings (standing on the roofs), and dropping them over the side into a snow melter. Hot water from the electric snow melter would then be drained into a hole in the bottom of the tunnel.”


    UHI anyone?

    1. It (UHI) would be particularly pronounced due to the isolation and cold temps there. UHI exhibits the greatest % increase early on in urbanization.

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