Weather is Weird

For the entire 2009 spring and summer, central North America was cooler than normal. I certainly noticed it. I also noticed when September was suddenly extremely warm. It felt like July. I went swimming on Labour Day weekend, which is pretty much unprecedented in Prairie weather.

I noticed that September was warm, and expected this to show up on the latest NCDC report, but I didn’t expect it to look like this:

Yikes. That’s a lot of big red dots. I noticed the change in the trend from a cool summer to a hot September, but I didn’t expect that it would show up quite so dramatically. Weather is like this, I guess.

It was the second warmest September on record. Really, looking at these NCDC reports is just a way to tide myself over until the GISS data comes out. One month is impossible to make judgments from. But when month after month is close to the top of the charts, the evidence builds that this is not just a strange weather fluke – it’s a long-term trend.


12 thoughts on “Weather is Weird

  1. I find it interesting that in the Arctic and near the equator there are several latitudinal bands of dots that are red all the way across the map-around the globe.

  2. I find it interesting that in the Arctic and near the equator there are several latitudinal bands of dots that are red all the way across the map-around the globe.

    That’s probably just a consequence of the sheer number of red dots. (With the Arctic case perhaps aided by polar amplification.)

  3. Here in the New York City area, land of the small dot I have been hearing the question: what happened to global warming. Perhaps I should printout multiple copies of the NOAA graph to pass out as fliers.

  4. Why are you willing to trust NCDC and GISS reports. Are they published in peer-reviewed literature?
    [These organizations are just as peer-reviewed as journals, even if they aren’t published in journals. -Kate]

  5. Mike, the research methods used here are published in the literature (google GISS data for NASA’s references, for instance). Why would you say otherwise unless you hadn’t looked?

  6. Really, who is peer-reviewing them from outside their organization? Who plays the part of editor?
    Not meaning to pick an argument here, jsut wasn’t sure if quoting their results was in like with your policy.

    [I’m not sure if their review process works exactly the same as a journal, their review board might be internal instead of external, but their results are scrutinized so closely that mistakes get caught right away. Also see Brian D’s recent comment, he dug up some papers for you. -Kate]

  7. Now that I’m back at my main computer and not posting from a mobile browser…

    Hansen et al, 2001 is the last published record of the GISS method. I found that in two seconds of Googling for “GISS data” and following one link from the page I found (the page also discussed previous versions of the temperature analysis). It has since been updated as discussed in lay English here; note that there’s a link to publicly available source code if you want to see exactly how it’s implemented in a technical sense.


    Kate, I’d like to say here (since there isn’t a better place for it yet…) but Climate Shift is getting attention at the higher-ups. It impressed one of Alberta’s senators, for instance. (She’s one of the more interesting faces in Parliament, too, although as a senator her role is decidedly minor in our wacky political system. More informed on climate than I thought, too, although not outside the bounds of expectation.)

  8. MikeN, I just remembered: I wrote about this very subject a while back, dealing with JeffM making very similar (suspiciously so…) statements about Hansen’s publication of the GISS data/record set. I suggest you read that and consider it part of my rebuttal.

    Note that since this information is available publicly, the public can, in fact, help catch any errors that occur. Steve McIntyre is still crooning about his one contribution to climate science where he actually caught an error in processing, in part because this information *is* publicly available. (Sadly, that also spawned its own denier meme, where people seem to forget that the US is not the globe. Fortunately, it’s the only meme that references 1934, so if that number shows up you can be certain people are suffering from geographic myopia.)

    Total aside: Kate, whilst digging up that comedy link, I stumbled upon this. Great minds think alike?

  9. MikeN- You are confusing data reports with peer review. Peer review is the analysis of data and presentation of new types of data. Just typical monitoring data such as meterological variables recorded daily everywhere, are not peer reviewed in the same sense. The methods are scrutinized, and due to redundancy problems can be identified.

  10. Brian, rest assured I am not JeffM if that’s what you’re thinking. This post was about NCDC and not GISS. Perhaps they use the same methods I don’t know.
    My issue with them is some changes in their data collection rather than the GISTEMP adjustments.

    Mspelto, Kate has been very specific on this site about the types of things she accepts. This report above is also not just a data report, but the analysis of data. That’s how they calculate the anomaly and make the graph.
    Perhaps you think it is basic math not counting as peer review, but Kate has blocked things like this in the past, including a Tamino analysis of temperature records. That’s why I asked the question.
    In addition, some pretty basic stuff like this have been peer reviewed papers.
    For example:

  11. For those with an interest, NOAA also has a report on the climate of the United States for the month of September. The temperature data for the month is broken up by state and printed up as a map which is color coded to show anomalies. And some interpretive paragraphs are also provided. 1007_Septusstats.html

    If all works as well as can be expected the link should take you directly to the article.

    The statement, in the article, that was a surprise to me was that September was warmer than average dispite those regions of the U.S. which had below average temperature. To many big red dots.

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