The Missing Fingerprints of Greenhouse Warming: Part 2

What the climate scientists tell us:

In my previous post I checked two of Dr Karl Braganza’s “fingerprints” of climate change he listed in an article in The Conversation on 14/06/2011(my bold):

These fingerprints show the entire climate system has changed in ways that are consistent with increasing greenhouse gases and an enhanced greenhouse effect. They also show that recent, long term changes are inconsistent with a range of natural causes…..

Patterns of temperature change that are uniquely associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect, and which have been observed in the real world include:

  • greater warming in polar regions than tropical regions
  • greater warming over the continents than the oceans
  • greater warming of night time temperatures than daytime temperatures
  • greater warming in winter compared with summer
  • a pattern of cooling in the high atmosphere (stratosphere) with simultaneous warming in the lower atmosphere (tropopause).

 Time for another reality check.  I will look at the 1st point above, that is greater polar than tropical warming.  I am particularly interested in the Southern Hemisphere.  This time I am using publicly available data from the University of Alabama (Huntsville) satellite record (UAH).

What the satellite record tells us:

Someone forgot to tell the observations.

The satellite record from UAH has data for many different regions of the globe.  As well as global data, there are data for polar regions (60 degrees North and South to 85 degrees North and South); Tropical regions (20 S to 20 N); extra-tropical regions (20 S to 85 S and 20 N to 85 N); and separate data for land and ocean areas of these regions (as well as data for Australia and USA).  It looks daunting until you plot it on a graph.  Then you find some very surprising things.

From December 1978 to March 2013, it is plainly obvious and widely known that averaged global atmospheric temperatures have warmed about +0.3 degrees Celsius.  However I like to dig and delve into the data.

The Northern Hemisphere is warming much more rapidly than the Southern Hemisphere:sh v nh

The Tropics have warmed at a little over +0.2C:tropics

The Northern Extra-Tropics (20 N to 85 N) are warming much more rapidly than the Southern Extra-Tropics:extra-tropics

The Northern Polar Region (60 N to 85 N) is also warming rapidly:N Polar

And this is obviously the “proof” of Dr Braganza’s contention that polar regions are warming more than tropical regions, and this is uniquely associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect”.

But let’s look at the Southern Polar Region:S Polar

Not warming at all, in fact cooling!

I’ve used a 12 month running mean to smooth the Polar and Tropical data.

Here’s the North Polar- Tropical comparison:NP v Tropics

Very scarey, hey.

South Polar- Tropical comparison:SP v Tropics

Oops!  Not only not warming more than the tropics, going in the opposite direction.

And here are the two extremes of global temperatures:NP v SP

There’s no comparison.  It appears there’s a very good reason for the increasing Antarctic sea ice.  Moreover, the Antarctic ice mass is unlikely to melt anytime soon.

As warming is supposed to be greater towards the poles, one might expect that we would see evidence of this (naturally to a smaller degree) in a comparison of the surface temperatures of northern and southern regions of a large area such as Australia.  Let’s see:north aust

south aust

Nope- the BOM says Northern Australia is warming (slightly) faster than Southern Australia.


Dr Karl Braganza has failed to reveal that the climate record is much more complex than most people realise.  Yes, the Northern polar regions are warming.  However, despite recent claims of rapid Antarctic warming (actually from the Antarctic peninsula), the satellite record shows that the Southern Hemisphere polar regions (from 60 S to 85 S) are cooling while the tropics are warming.  As well, northern parts of Australia are warming more than southern parts.

THREE of Dr Braganza’s five fingerprints are missing.


2 Responses to “The Missing Fingerprints of Greenhouse Warming: Part 2”

  1. phil Says:

    Have you come across any explanations as to why the NH & Arctic is warming while the Antarctic is cooling?

    • Ken Stewart Says:

      No, but I’m guessing ocean circulations have something to do with it. It appears the Antarctic Peninsula is warming- it sticks out into the Southern Ocean. But it seems odd that the proportional lack of higher latitude warming is evident across Australia (N-S) as well.

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