Did That Canary Just Flutter Its Wings?

2013 -- the year it happened?The year you’re living in, 2013, may be the year that it happened.

What is it? It is the onset of global cooling. How dare I make such a mental leap? How dare I not would be an equally good question.

According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, 2013 is the first year since 1976 when Arctic temperature readings north of 80 degrees latitude sat below the zero-anomaly line, what some would call “normal,” for more than 50 days straight. Getting close to 60, in fact, according to my highly scientific eyeball reading of DMI’s graph that you can click on yourself. Go ahead, click through the last few decades. Are you seeing what I’m seeing?

But wait, some are protesting (already), if you take the year as a whole it’s not even below average. And that’s true. On the other hand, getting temps so far north to stay below the zero anomaly line for such a long stretch is no mean feat. Otherwise, you’d see it happening routinely.

The news here, though, is that after climate alarmists have told us literally thousands of times that the Arctic was the canary in the coalmine when it came to climate, the canary is, possibly (not definitely, mind you), coming back to life, as it were.

Alaska was supposedly another canary in the coalmine. Permafrost was melting like ice cream on a 100-degree day, and methane was going to supercharge global warming like a muscle car on nitrous, dude. Like, watch out.

This was all, of course, before Alaska’s temperatures plummeted during the last decade and a half and global warming became an inside joke among the locals (not just Sarah Palin, in case you’re going to go there).

As readers of my book and blog are well aware, I have a stake in the debate: the first book about predicted global cooling (by Russian space scientists, among others) written by an American journalist happens to be my own. The book got good enough reviews from the likes of Freeman Dyson, but let’s just say global cooling hasn’t exactly become a household phrase.

Not yet.

A few more winters like Russia, China, Europe, and the UK have had and that could change. Heck, a few more winters like we had in the American heartland this year, and that could raise an eyebrow or two as well.

Are the Arctic temperatures a blip? For instance, will there ever again be another period of 50-plus days in my lifetime when the temperatures up there are below average? And how long will the current streak run? Sixty days? Seventy? Only time will tell. In the meantime, don’t sell your coat, and keep watching the North. This could get interesting.

About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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13 Responses to Did That Canary Just Flutter Its Wings?

  1. Joseph Bastardi says:

    Whats as significant is at the warmest time of the year, its colder. Its not hard to have it above normal when normals are very cold, as temperature being a measure of energy moves much more up and down the colder it is ( smaller changes in energy lead to greater variation in temps) but not being able to move up in the warmest time of the year is a bigger deal)

    Its why the arctic warming is such a red herring. In terms of the earth’s energy budget, a 1 degree drop in tropical source regions is a much bigger deal. We are not seeing global “warming” merely a distortion in the global temperatures brought about by oceanic/solar cycles which are starting to reverse, hence the cold PDO. It’s akin to two people weighing 200 but looking different. The both still weigh 200.

    In any case it’s an interesting, if not pretty big deal, but not likely to show up in a world which finds a president practicing Alinsky tactics of isolating, (97% against us) demonizing (flat earths) and destroying via his cohorts words ( Howard Dean, we will run you over) or his epa shutting down via regulation vital links to our nation’s economic lifeline.

    Very little of this is about actual reality

  2. Pingback: CO2 Sucking Machine | cosmoscon

  3. Anthony Watts says:

    “According to the Danish Meteorological Institute, 2013 is the first year since 1976 when Arctic temperature readings north of 80 degrees latitude sat below the zero-anomaly line, what some would call “normal,” for more than 50 days straight. ”

    That’s not anomaly, but absolute temperature. 273.15° Kelvin, or 0°C

    • Harold Ambler says:

      The line I’m referring to is the curved green line, not the blue freezing line.

  4. Russ Steele says:

    Reblogged this on The Next Grand Minimum and commented:
    I would like to hear readers views? Has the Canary had it’s way?

  5. p gosselin says:

    In general why compare mean monthly or annual temperatures to an arbitrary 30 year reference period, like 1961-1990? In the future I say we’ve got to start comparing them to the model projections. If we do that, then we see that it is far cooler then what the modelers expected. All the panic after all, is about what is expected.

    • Harold Ambler says:

      That makes sense, particularly given that most members of the public simply don’t know that it is the models that have driven policy rather than absolute temps. Thus, falsifying the models is indeed a priority.
      That said, people can and will argue over what it takes to falsify a model projection, and have been arguing about this as you know rather strenuously during the past few years especially as the models look increasingly shaky. What I find important about the DMI record here is that it is unarguable. You can dispute my interpretation that it could be significant. But you can’t really dispute the unusual nature of this long crawl below the green line on the graph. It is also the kind of (simple and reassuring) fact that warmists hate.

    • dennisambler says:

      As you say, what we are presented with is not a temperature record, but anomalies of temperatures compared to a chosen 30-year base period, which they then call “normal”. In the case of GISS, it is the period 1951-80 and in the case of CRU, it is 1961 to 1990. Both of these periods were cooler than their preceding 30-year periods, but are used as baseline “normals”.

      The GISS record starts in 1880 and CRU in 1850, temperatures before then are described as “pre-industrialisation” implying that there was no industrial CO2 production prior to their selected dates, which is patently untrue.

      In an e-mail to Phil Jones and others in January 2005, David Parker of the Met Office Hadley Centre explained the preference for the period 1961-90.

      “RE: Fwd: Monthly CLIMATbulletins”

      “There is a preference in the atmospheric observations chapter of IPCC AR4 to stay with the 1961-1990 normals. This is partly because a change of normals confuses users, e.g. anomalies will seem less positive than before if we change to newer normals, so the impression of global warming will be muted.”

      Phil Jones had this to say in the same exchange:
      “The issue of confusing users/media with new anomalies from a different base period is the key one in my mind. Arguments about the 1990s being better observed than the 1960s don’t hold too much water with me.

      There is some discussion of going to 1981-2000 to help the modelling chapters. If we do this it will be a bit of a bodge as it will be hard to do things properly for the surface temp and precip as we’d lose loads of stations with long records that would then have incomplete normals.

      If we do we will likely achieve it by rezeroing series and maps in an ad hoc way. There won’t be any move by IPCC to go for 1971-2000, as it won’t help with satellite series or the models. 1981-2000 helps with MSU series and the much better Reanalyses and also globally-complete SST.

      20 years (1981-2000) isn’t 30 years, but the rationale for 30 years isn’t that compelling. The original argument was for 35 years around 1900 because Bruckner found 35 cycles in some west Russian lakes (hence periods like 1881-1915). This went to 30 as it was easier to compute.

      Personally I don’t want to change the base period till after I retire!”

      I love it when the science is settled……

  6. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    Don’t sell your coat.

  7. Bob Tisdale says:

    Hi Harold. I foresee a Scandinavian land surface air temperature model-data comparison coming on. It’s looking really bad for the models.

    Thanks for the idea.


  8. tim says:

    Hey Harold, did you not get the memo about global warming causing more climate variability? If the earth starts cooling I’m expecting predictions of massive climate swings caused by CO2, I just hope there’s some science going on behind all the lobbying.

  9. Wily Wayne says:

    What are the geoengineered alternatives without limiting the CO2? I just don’t see anyone
    mentioning anything along those lines these days. Seems like at least some project should work.
    I don’t mean paint all the mountaintops white type of project. Something more on the line of solar dimming from a space filter array. This seems a better bang for the buck than going to Mars.

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