Global Warming Basics: Signal and Noise — and Trend

Even when climate is constant, unchanging, the weather is not.

Temperature is one aspect of weather (and therefore of climate), so it’s in constant flux, whether we’re looking at a single location or an average over the whole globe. The changes we observe, whether of ever-changing temperature or any other weather variable, can be divided into two broad categories: signal and noise.

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Question for the computer-savvy

It’s easy to get an “rss feed” for this (or just about any) blog. But I recently had a question, and I don’t know the answer. Is there a way to get an rss feed for *only* the posts here about basics?

I have so far (and will continue) titled all such posts beginning with “Global Warming Basics.” If you know of a way to limit an rss feed to those posts, please let us all know.


How to Destroy a Megalopolis

Many years ago (more than I care to admit), I went to spend a month at my mother’s house in Florida. She had a nice big back yard but didn’t tend to it very much, so nature had taken over. Part of that included a species common in Florida: fire ants.

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el Niño and Satellite Data

Having compensated surface temperature data for el Niño, volcanic aerosols, and solar fluctuations, it’s appropriate I should do the same for satellite temperature data. After all, upper atmosphere temperature (what the satellites estimate) responds to these factors much more strongly than the surface temperature, so it can be argued that it’s more important to compensate satellite data than surface data. Not doing so can cause some very misleading conclusions about temperature trends.

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Correcting for more than just el Niño

I recently showed a version of “el Niño-Corrected” temperature from Gavin Schmidt at NASA. My own calculation suggested that el Niño caused about the same contribution to 2015’s heat as Gavin’s estimate. However, there are some pronounced differences between our calculations.

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Global Warming Basics: Carbon

Most atoms love to get together with other atoms. They don’t just want to get next to each other, they yearn to bond with other atoms. Not all of them do; there’s a class of elements called noble gases which are nature’s loners, their desire is to remain aloof. But there are only six of those [seven if you include Ununoctium, which doesn’t occur naturally but we’ve synthesized with nuclear reactions]; most elements really want to bond with others.

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el Niño and the 2015 Record-Breaking Heat

Now that 2015 has blown away previous record-hot years, the global warming deniers are scrambling to blame it on anything but global warming. Their favorite candidate is something that does in fact make Earth’s surface get hotter, something that really did contribute to 2015’s record heat: el Niño.

But how much? A post at Carbon Brief addresses just that question. Their conclusion is that el Niño contributed only about 10% of the record.

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