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The Forum > Article Comments > Satellites should answer the central question of climate > Comments

Satellites should answer the central question of climate : Comments

By Alex Stuart, published 7/2/2011

We could soon have a resolution to the key question of whether water vapour amplifies or attenuates temperature rise from CO2

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Already in the first paragraph, mis-statements of fact.

1998 was the year of the strongest recorded el Nino. 2010 was not an el Nino year, in fact in the latter half of the year a strong la Nina developed, rated by some as the strongest ever.

So, 2010 was the equal-hottest on record, *despite* a strong, cooling la Nina in the second half, whereas

1998 was equal-hottest on record partly *because* of a strong, warming el Nino.
Posted by Geoff Davies, Monday, 7 February 2011 11:01:00 AM
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Actually Geoff 2010 was an el Nino year, but a la Nina also developed very quickly. One of the surprises was how it remained hotter for a while longer after the la Nina took over but then there was always been considerable variation in temperatures, month to month. Certainly there has been no warming trend of any note since 1998, as the author points out.

Also the author should be congratulated on being one of the few to realise that the whole argument has been about the feedback effect of water vapour in the upper atmosphere. This was an assumption built into the earlier models that never went away, but has never been proved or even seriously questioned - in part because the vast bulk of even the scientists who support global warming have no idea it exists.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Monday, 7 February 2011 1:05:17 PM
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For a researcher Geoff Davies' misleading comments on Alex Stuart's piece are disturbing. 2010 was an El Nino year with the change to La Nina occurring suddenly in April. Global sea surface temperatures commenced to decline thereafter, as expected. Atmospheric temperatures remained high for 5-7 months after the switch which which peer-reviewed research indicates would be the case. After this time lag global tropospheric temeratures started to decline in October, with a negative anomaly with respect to the 1981-2010 average, being reached in January.
Posted by malrob, Monday, 7 February 2011 1:08:43 PM
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I don't understand how you can claim that '2010 was an El Nino year' if there was a 'change to La Nina occurring suddenly in April'. How is an El Nino 'year' defined? On the face of it we seem to have had a less than 1/3 El Nino Year and a more than 2/3 La Nina Year.
Posted by Candide, Monday, 7 February 2011 3:48:15 PM
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Malrob - interested in your comment that atmos temps were expected to remain high for a time after the switch to la nina .. I wasn't aware of those forecasts so I expected them to fall sraight away .. I'm prepared to be instructed.. do you have a couple of references I can look at??.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Monday, 7 February 2011 4:02:12 PM
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Mark - the specific reference I was quoting was McLean, J. D., C. R. de Freitas, and R. M. Carter (2009), Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature, J. Geophys. Res., 114, D14104, doi:10.1029/2008JD011637.

Abstract - Time series for the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and global tropospheric temperature anomalies (GTTA) are compared for the 1958−2008 period. GTTA are represented by data from satellite microwave sensing units (MSU) for the period 19802008 and from radiosondes (RATPAC) for 19582008. After the removal from the data set of short periods of temperature perturbation that relate to near-equator volcanic eruption, we use derivatives to document the presence of a 5- to 7-month delayed close relationship between SOI and GTTA. Change in SOI accounts for 72% of the variance in GTTA for the 29-year-long MSU record and 68% of the variance in GTTA for the longer 50-year RATPAC record. Because El Nio−Southern Oscillation is known to exercise a particularly strong influence in the tropics, we also compared the SOI with tropical temperature anomalies between 20S and 20N. The results showed that SOI accounted for 81% of the variance in tropospheric temperature anomalies in the tropics. Overall the results suggest that the Southern Oscillation exercises a consistently dominant influence on mean global temperature, with a maximum effect in the tropics, except for periods when equatorial volcanism causes ad hoc cooling. That mean global tropospheric temperature has for the last 50 years fallen and risen in close accord with the SOI of 57 months earlier shows the potential of natural forcing mechanisms to account for most of the temperature variation.
Posted by malrob, Monday, 7 February 2011 9:22:41 PM
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