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Australian Climate Madness

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fairytale Facts: The Age on "record" sea temperatures

Any records for temperature in the upwards direction are inevitably caused by "global warming", whereas any records in the opposite direction are "just weather". So it's no surprise that The Age gleefully trumpets the high SSTs in July:
JULY was the hottest [not "warmest" of course, but "hottest", even though we are talking about fractions of a degree here - Ed] month for the world's oceans in almost 130 years of record keeping.

The average water temperature worldwide was 17 degrees Celsius, according to the National Climatic Data Centre, the branch of the US Government that keeps world weather records.

June was only slightly cooler, while August could set another record, scientists say.

The previous record was set in July 1998 during a powerful El Nino in the Pacific. The coolest recorded ocean temperature was 15 degrees in December 1909.

Meteorologists say there is a combination of forces at work: a natural El Nino weather pattern just getting started on top of worsening man-made global warming [which is a given at The Age, of course - Ed], and a dash of random weather variations.

I love that: "a dash of random weather variations" - I wonder if the records broken for cold in the US this summer are just a "dash" of random weather variations too? No, they're 100% random weather variations, obscuring the underlying warming, you denier you. Borenstein, the author of the piece, is a well known alarmist. Whilst July 2009 was warmer than usual, it was certainly not the warmest, and Anthony Watts picks the whole thing apart nicely:
The Borenstein article also claims that Arctic SST anomalies are as high as 10 deg F (5.5 deg C) above average. Wow!! Really?? I used the SST map-making feature of the NOAA NOMADS system to create the map of high latitude Northern Hemisphere SST anomalies for July 2009. The Contour Interval was set at 1 deg C to help find the claimed excessively high SST anomalies. Alas, Borenstein was right, BUT, as you will note, the ONLY area that reaches the 5 to 6 deg C range is the White Sea off the Barents Sea.

And to put that in perspective, Figure 6 is the global map. Based on the Kartesh White Sea Biological Station website the surface area of the White Sea is approximately 90,000 sq km. If the surface area of the Arctic Ocean is 14 million sq km, the White Sea represents less than 0.6% of it. And for those who want to compare it to the surface area of the global oceans, its surface area is 361 million sq km. Too many zeroes after the decimal point to worry about.

And the SST anomalies of one miniscule area do not represent the SST anomalies for the Arctic Ocean, as is obvious in Figure 7. Arctic SST anomalies have declined over the past few years.

To sum up the Borenstein article, it’s factually incorrect in places, and in others, it raises alarmism to ridiculous levels by dwelling on a meaningless statistic, the July SST anomaly of the White Sea.

Read Anthony's article here.

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