The Berkeley Earth Project; The Warming is Real

I rarely discuss Anthropogenic (Human-Caused) Global Warming on-air or even in this blog for two reasons:

1. The issue has become politicised so badly that you can’t have a scientific discussion about it before someone brings up Al Gore, Big Oil, Socialists, Far Right Wackos, or something similar that should have nothing to do with the discussion.

2. I have not been convinced over the years that it’s a “pressing” issue.  On the other hand, I’m do not believe there is a “scientific conspiracy” out there pushing it on us.  Plus, let’s be honest, China and India’s rising emissions of CO2 are going to totally dwarf any cutbacks we make to our CO2 output in the developed world anyway.  We’ve already made our CO2 “bed” for better or worse.  Let’s see how we can deal with the warming the next 100 years if that indeed is going to happen.

But I’m a bit more convinced our planet has been warming after a big ripple in the debate showed up this week.  A team of climate skeptics (physics professors and Ph.Ds)  from California took on the global land temperature datasets.  This time they used far more data and included far more stations that has been used in the past by other organizations. 

The summary is only two pages…pretty easy to read.  They have submitted now to the usual peer-review process.

Here are the basic findings:

– The warming is almost the same as reported by the much smaller studies used in the past (NOAA, NASA, HADLEY CENTER).

– The urban heating effect is large and real, but does not contribute signficantly to the rise in land temps because only 1% of the earth’s surface is urban.

– 1/3 of sites show cooling in the last 70 years, 2/3 show warming.

– There has been a great study by Anthony Watts showing extremely poor (check out the pictures!) weather station siting all across the USA.  But this study points out that Anthony’s “poor” stations warmed similarly to “OK” stations.  The stations might be too hot, but they warmed, or cooled, along with other stations nearby. 

– The data and methods is available for others to check as well; they want it all to be transparent with an open discussion of the study.

– They did not make an assessment of “how much of the observed warming is due to humans”.

The Berkeley Earth Temperature Project now plans to do something similar for oceans, which other data sources say have not warmed as much.

As a former co-worker once said “I guess we’ll know for sure in 100 years!”.

Go ahead and discuss below, but I’ll delete any political comments.  And yes, I’m fully aware that even this BEST study shows a decline in land temperatures the past 7 years.  It did that in the 1970s too.

By the way, a great site and easy to read is here:

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

69 Responses to The Berkeley Earth Project; The Warming is Real

  1. pdxgeologist says:

    Congratulations to our favorite local celebrity wind sock. 😉

  2. Jeff says:

    Wheres Bob… or am i too early.. I will try in mid november, hopefully we can get a snow event by then.

  3. SnowedIn - North Plains says:

    Got down to 34.4F here this morning. Had a little frost on the roofs around the neighborhood.

  4. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Freeze-Dried Toast update:

    If got to 41 this morning at PDX…I guess it is reasonable to not only break 40 but probably even below 36-38 one of the next two nights.  EUG got to 37…so likewise…looks like 30-32 to me…GFS MOS into upper 20s for EUG next two mornings….even in the urban heat island of Orchards probably low 30s.

    Not much change in thinking for the next week…looks nice the next 3-4 days…12Z mm5 looks a bit drier for this weekend with 72h precip totals around quarter inch or less….quite wet over Coastal BC.

    Next week…after Halloween looks as if we transition into progressive cool pattern with periods of snow in Cascades….ECMWF drier..colder..frostier or freezier than the GFS…either way looks like we could see some highs in the upper 40s early November. 

    Should be a fun week in Denver.
    Imagine how boring it would be if climate didn’t change…Bring it ON

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Always look forward to your French-toast updates. Heavy on the maple syrup please, and I’ll pass on the dried/wet toast.

    • W7ENK says:

      Looks like I need to figure out something to do with my Avocado this evening… she’s too tall to fit indoors now! Maybe nestle it up against the back of the house and cover it with a big tarp from the Orange Box Store?

      Got any jam, Paul? 😉

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Good outlook buddy.

      Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb! That’s all I’m sayin’

  5. thejory (Sandy) says:

    And now for something completely different…

    So who’s going this upcoming Saturday? 10AM right?

    For once it looks like I might be able to go. Let’s hope it’s worthwhile!

    • W7ENK says:

      I’m planning on being there. I may be manning a table sponsored by my employer at some point – or at least assisting, but I also hope to video record the whole thing as well (for the benefit of those that are unable to attend), just like last year.

    • boringlarry says:

      …as one who has to work that day, I appreciate the recording effort!!!…

    • Boydo3 N. Albany 500' says:

      Would love to go but alas, I must work on my costume and prepare for a brewfest that is happening in my locale. Someday I’ll get there.

  6. CHECK OUT THIS FORECAST FOR DENVER>>>70s today, teens by Wednesday night!


    Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid to upper 70s.

    Mostly clear in the evening then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 40s.

    Partly cloudy in the morning…then mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain in the afternoon. Highs in the lower to mid 50s.

    Tuesday Night
    Snow and rain likely in the evening…then snow likely after midnight. Snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches possible. Lows in the upper 20s.

    Snow likely. Colder. Highs in the lower 30s.

    Wednesday Night
    Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of snow. Lows 15 to 19.

    • W7ENK says:

      Were it for Portland, that would be awesome!

    • umpire says:

      My cousins live there – seems like they get those wild swings several times a year. When I was there last fall, it was sunny, dry and windy, but I think they had cold weather and a dusting of snow a week later.

  7. 38.5 for the low so far, but with the recent fog development the temp is up to 40.4.

  8. Jake - (Gresham) says:

    I don’t agree with naming Earth cycles as “global warming.” The cycles happen regardless of what we do or how we name them. We can only focus on making sure we don’t tip the scale. Are we contributing or are we extensively making things volatile? Unfortunately, our children will find out the truth firsthand, whether good or bad. Good? Palm beach front property in Alaska. Bad? Cat. 5 Hurricanes hitting Maine – much less Florida. One can only hypothesize at this point.

    • W7ENK says:

      Agreed, Jake. If one looks at the history of “Ice ages”, it becomes apparent that they occur cyclically, on the order of about every 100,000 years.

      They seem to always include both a sharp spike upward in temperatures, a very short peak, followed by an almost equally rapid drop in temperatures by about half, then the second half is all squiggly but drops slowly back down to roughly the same low point, before another sharp spike which repeats this whole process over again. It’s also apparent that the last sharp spike upward occurred sometime in the 10,000 to 20,000 years ago range. So per this graph, one could logically deduce that we’re heading towards, and possible even overdue for the next ice age. History does indeed repeat itself, and in this case it looks to be on the order of about every 75,000 to 150,000 years.

      Also notice that the rise and fall in CO2 levels almost directly coincides with temperature, and increases in dust concentration always immediately precede the spikes in temperature and CO2.

      What’s driving this? I have no clue, but I’m willing to bet it has something to do with the variable star Sol we orbit? Just a guess.

      Perhaps it occurs following a sudden and unexpected quiet period in Solar activity? Ya know, kinda like the one we’re (possibly) beginning to see develop now???

      It’s easy to deny an uncertain future, but it’s hard to deny history. That doesn’t mean some people won’t try…

  9. bgb41 says:

    Skies have cleared nicely late this evening with shallow fog developing and 43 degrees here at 12:15am. Looks like upper 30s by dawn out this way.

  10. bgb41 says:

    10/23/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:81 at Brookings Airpor( 459 ft)
    Low: 56 at KF7MWX Gold Beac(52 ft)

    High:45 at Timberline Lodge(6001 ft)
    Low: 21 at Beatty (4320 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 50 degrees
    CABIN LAKE (74/24 ) (4560 ft )
    Worden (72/22) (4080 ft)
    CHRISTMAS VALLEY (72/22) (4360 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.29″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    0.23″ at CEDAR(2220ft)
    0.21″ at HEBOWX Mt. Hebo(3160ft)

  11. Ilya Khleboyko says:

    Here in Klamath Falls Oregon, 4,500′ above sea level. Winter weather has started to come later (usually around thanksgiving) but it lasts a lot longer. The last snow was in June.

  12. There could be lingering clouds Monday night which would inhibit a cold night, and now the GFS shows high clouds flooding in early Wednesday, could make for a great sunrise, but a lesser chance of a solid frost.

  13. o.c.paul says:

    I read a NASA report three weeks ago that found far more C02 was escaping the earth’s atmosphere than previously thought. And that claims to be the source of ‘man-made’ global warming.

    Wait till next week, for yet another contrary report.

  14. john says:

    is it rare to have snow on/around thanksgiving time like it was last year and what are the chances of it happening again

  15. phil in Beaverton says:

    On average, haven’t we seen the first frost by this time of the month in October (or earlier)? We haven’t even gotten close to having a frost yet and it doesn’t look like there will be any at least in the next week.

  16. joe387 says:

    does anyone know any cool sites that predict artic outbrakes/snow

  17. Ecmwf and GFS from 12z both show progressive pattern for the upcoming week, not so boring… Both models bring some energy into the NE pacific 10/28-10/29 time frame, which most likely would bring deep low into Haida gwaii AKA queen charlottes, resulting in breezy wet fall like weather here. Long time ahead, but worth keeping an eye on. Although climatologically speaking we arent late enough into the fall season where one would anticipate bombing lows into s. Vancouver island.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Much better synopsis of what looks to be an active period coming up. PaulB’s outlooks make everything sound about as exciting as dried toast.

    • W7ENK says:

      I don’t find much exciting about wet toast… would actually find that rather annoying.

  18. Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL says:

    Wind shift to the North here. Has been SW all day until now. I think the front, such as it is, is passing now.

    Interestingly, Langley radar shows it much better than KRTX.

  19. WhiteEagle - Garden Home/SW Portland says:

    Should we start building the Cascadia border fence now, so we can keep all the climate refugees from California out? :p

  20. Garron says:

    There are countless arguments for and against GW. I think that “IF” we’re in the warming period, caused by mankind, we will see more rain here. The likely hood is that more warming will cause more cloud formation due to increased evaporation. That will likely mean decreased snowfall in the mountains due to higher snow levels some years. But, there will be many years to offset that trend, and in the end, earth will over compensate if need be to cool her self off. We may be praying for warming in 100 years….

    • Garron says:

      BTW, I’m not saying that we’re not spewing poison into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. I’m just saying that like gravity is the weakest natural force in the universe, we are the weakest link in the chain of events, and natural forces that have been at work for 4.5 billion years will weigh in and cancel the human race if that’s what it takes to balance things out again…Happened before, it WILL happen again.

  21. Michael says:

    The science underpinning global warming is and has been overwhelming. Consistently the more dire models have been correct, surprising scientists. If someone wants to remain skeptical based on their assessment of the scientific data, fine. But what’s happened in this country is that steps to mitigate dangerous CO2 levels run counter to the political and business priorities of many, and thus they claim there isn’t a problem.

    I read recently that 1 in 10 Americans don’t know that the vast majority of scientists believe the problem is real and caused by people. Astounding.

    The implications for life as we know it are severe. And we don’t really understand the breadth of potential effects on everything.

    My grandchildren will look back and wonder how we could have acted so slowly and so timidly.

  22. W7ENK says:

    I still say, the Earth (and particularly the Northern Hemisphere, which is where the majority of the Earth’s inhabitants reside, thus the largest number of observers of and potential contributors to said climate change) is still coming out of the most recent Ice Age so of course it would stand to reason that the Earth’s global temperatures would in fact be increasing!

    It is also based in fact that there have been many periods (the Jurassic being the most recent) where the Earth’s average global temperature was above 90°F, and both polar caps were completely devoid of ice – sea, land, all, and world-wide CO2 levels were around 3000ppm (~380ppm today). Obviously, this was long before the advent of Man’s “carbon footprint”, and the Earth has “recovered” to what we would consider “normal” levels in the time since.

    Most recently, it was reported by many a sea captain that the North ple was (again) completely sea ice free back in the 1840s.

    All this talk about melting sea ice and shrinking glaciers, etc… but it’s interesting to note that NONE of the articles on this subject ever talk about Antarctica outside of brief and vague mention, have you noticed?. Could that be perhaps because the Antarctic Ice Shelf has been steadily increasing since observations began in 1979?

    Here’s something (a couple years old now) from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC):

    …total Antarctic sea ice anomalies have been steadily increasing since 1978 (NSIDC (2006)). 2007 showed the largest positive anomaly of sea ice in the southern hemisphere since records have been kept starting in 1979, and 2008 is currently on pace to surpass last years record.”

    No one ever talks about how mean ice levels *WORLDWIDE* have been on the increase, albeit very small, but which still counters all that melting going on up in Greenland and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Realistically, why would anyone with an alarmist agenda want to provide the public with any data contrary to their argument?

    • joe387 says:

      agreed just look at mount st. helens lost all its glaciers and now larger thicker glaciers then from when it erupted

    • pdxgeologist says:

      Not sure about the rest of it, but any increase in volume of ice at Mt. St. Helens is likely related to the (some would say radical ;>)) change in the mountains topography. Instead of a nice conical peak, there is now a very high vertical crater wall that faces north, thus the portion of the volcano that almost never sees the full melting power of direct sunlight is substancially larger.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      W…glaciers have been retreating steadily, WHEN AVERAGED OVER THE WHOLE GLOBE, in fact more rapidly since the late 1970s. You can always find some somewhere that are growing. But the charts on this page tell the story well:

      And you are right about Antarctic ice. The SEA ice is increasing in coverage, but the LAND ice is decreasing. It’s interesting that the Southern Ocean is warming, but the sea ice continues to increase. Another reason to keep asking questions…

    • W7ENK says:

      Okay, this may be true Mark, but if you look at the change in *WORLD-WIDE* sea ice graphically, (since records began in 1979) it looks as though any the increase or decrease has been so insignificant, you might as well call it a draw, and any noticeable decrease looks as though it’s only occurred over the past few years (less than a decade). Before that time, it looks as though the level has been holding fairly steady.

      Hardly cause for alarm.

  23. PaulB/Eugene says:

    Update Sun AM

    Frost for Tues/Wed AM…looks likely for non urban areas…GFS MOS for EUG bottoms out at 29F Wed AM…I think ditto for Hillsboro…best guess temps don’t go quite that low…prob low to mid 30s….PDX possibly could break 40.

    Good leaf blowing weather this week…relatively cool but dry…rain returns end of week with 72 hour precip totals about 1/2 inch in Willamette Valley ending Oct 30.

    Long Range: Looks seasonably mild alternating with cool first week of Nov, with increasing precip. CFS for November looks decidedly wet. ECMWF 00Z to 360h shows arctic trough over MT/Dakotas with first real arctic blast of the season for them around or after Nov 5, 850mb temps below -15C…would be dry and crispy here in PacNW with -5 or below 850mb temps E of Cascades. GFS to 360 shows increasingly wet weather, getting cooler towards end of run.


    Some snow at highest elevations (Timberline Lodge, etc) this weekend but none at pass elevation in Oregon until later on…toward first weekend of November.


    Fairbanks has had highs in mid 20s, lows low teens…right around normal for them.

    Extreme weather event possibilities in NW:

    Chance of arctic blasts, windstorms in Willamette Valley: probably more likely to get M9.2 subduction quake in next two weeks than it is to get an arctic blast or windstorm…..about zero percent chance

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      PDX could “possibly” break 40?? 😆

      With clear skies and calm winds 30s are a lock in this airmass. It’s the end of October, 30s at PDX aren’t all that outlandish. Thicknesses in the mid 530s and 850mb temps at or just below 0c with a dry airmass should do it with ease.

      You are annoyingly conservative. Make the NWS look like wild mavericks.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      That’s better than being just plain “annoying” Jesse. Geez, you never learn.

    • W7ENK says:

      “Annoyingly conservative” is better than annoying and rude…

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      I have been pretty quiet the last couple months while others have had their “issues” on here without any egging from me. If you’re really gonna jump all over me for a fairly harmless post expressing my opinion have at it I suppose.

    • W7ENK says:

      No “issue” here… Just don’t pretend like these inflammatory posts of yours are innocuous, because they’re not.

    • Mark Nelsen says:

      The only “issue” right now is that you’re making rude comments towards others who don’t know nearly as much about meteorology as you do. Several today alone. You know this blog serves a wide variety of viewers, not just the knowledgeable and hardcore weather geeks like you and me.
      And you, Erik, and Rob clearly have issues with each other so I don’t know why you three insist on coming back on here and stirring things up by commmenting on each other’s posts.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      Point taken, Mark.

      Although to be fair I would wager PaulB is just as knowledgeable as I.

  24. bgb41 says:

    10/22/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:77 at AGNESS2( 247 ft) & RED MOUND(1753 ft) & DW5789 Eagle Poi(1463 ft)
    Low: 58 at RED MOUND(1753 ft) & Portland Interna(26 ft) & Meno(98 ft) & DW6006 Troutdale(262 ft) & DW8151 Gresham(256 ft) & WX7EM Tillamook(26 ft)

    High:39 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft)
    Low: 22 at Mazama (4590 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 47 degrees
    Beatty (70/23 ) (4320 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    1.08″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)
    0.85″ at Astoria Regional(10ft)
    0.78″ at N7HAE Knappa(105ft)
    0.78″ at CEDAR(2220ft)

  25. Brian says:

    Cycles ebb and flow. We did not even really know about plate tectonics till the 1950’s or 60’s. The CPU models still can’t forecast very reliably more than 5-7 days out, but their getting better. Imagine what we will know/prove in a few more decades. This warming may increase or go into cooling. What can we really do about it anyway? Your former co-worker says all that needs to be said!

  26. Punxsutawney aka HIOPHIL says:

    When I see arctic ice building for a decade or more, I will believe we have stabilized or cooling. I do believe the sun’s output has something to do with warming or cooling, but I do believe CO2 levels contribute.

    One belief is easy, it doesn’t require any thing but belief, the other requires change. better to believe the first. Hmmm…..choice….

  27. Karl Bonner says:

    (gasp) Omg…Mark said the word “socialist” on this blog!

    Anyway…the past few years have seen a short-term cyclical cool phase set in many places across the globe. I was warning skeptics all along that we could expect a few curve balls like this thrown in. Just because the trend over 50-100 years is steadily warmer doesn’t mean every year will be warmer than the previous one.

    A better discussion is this: imagine how cold our current cool phase would have been if CO2 levels were still where they were a hundred years ago! In spite of adding nearly 100ppm over the past century, we still got the coldest “Chinese summer” (May-July) ever recorded at PDX. That’s really impressive…

    And the level continues to go up at about 15ppm per decade. When we do return to a short-term warm cycle, I bet it hits with a vengeance. The unusually early spring phenology of years like 2005 and 2010 could begin happening once every three years or so. That will quickly take care of probably 4 out of 5 remaining climate skeptics in this world.

  28. boringlarry says:

    …Thanks Mark!…for me, all one has to do is look at pictures of the glaciers on Mt. Hood from the early 1900’s and compare them to now, the differences are startling, to say the least…same goes for Glacier NP….
    …The implications are huge…but that’s the way the world (always has and always will) goes round…

    • Karl Bonner says:

      The prospect of major climate change is simultaneously exciting, scary and tragic. Exciting because everything we take for granted will have to be revised: agricultural growing zones, garden climate zones, planting/harvest dates, wildlife, outdoor recreation, demand for winter heat energy and summer air conditioning, etc. Scary because of the tremendous implications it has both on the biosphere and on human living. And tragic because humanity could have seen this coming and done something to curtail global warming, but instead of acceptance we’ve chosen denial, anger and procrastination. Not very inspiring when you’re looking at the prospect of society being able to overcome future challenges.

      Check this out:

      This is partly why I’m so excited by the fact that a couple people are attempting palms in The Dalles.

    • Jesse-Orchards says:

      You’re excited about the prospect of global warming because you might get to grow palms in The Dalles?

      You’re sick, dude.

    • Boydo3 N. Albany 500' says:

      Too late! My next door neighbor’s already got one 😉

    • Karl Bonner says:

      Jesse, I’m scared to death of rampant forest fires, massive crop failure and several millions of climate refugees from California and the Southwest trying to cram into Cascadia. The palm tree experiment is simply a measuring stick for this kind of climate change.

  29. IceCold says:

    I will be glad once this non-sense gets put to rest.

  30. Speaking of warm…65.2 for my high and still sitting at a balmy 62.2.

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