Archive for April, 2015

Global temperature trends according to UAH

April 29, 2015

The researchers of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) (mainly John Christy and Roy Spencer) are one of the two crews that analyze the MSU (Microwave Sounding Unit) data delivered by about 16 successive or simultaneous satellites orbiting the earth since December 1978 (the other group is the RSS crew). The UAH people now have published version 6.0 of their dataset, which differs in many points from the previous version 5.6, as explained by Dr. Roy Spencer in this report.
The report contains an interesting figure which gives the decadal temperature trends (in °C/decade) for different global regions, and also making a distinction between land and ocean regions.

UAHNCDC_trends_v6-vs-v5.6-thru-Mar-2015 We see that the Antarctic has not warmed at all, and the global oceans (which might represent the best estimate for global warming) by about o.o8 °C/decade, which extrapolated would mean a warming of about 0.8°C at 2080; clearly nothing to be afraid of!

The Arctic oceans show the greatest trend (about 0.27 °C/decade), and it should be noted that the new reanalysis has cut the previous trend nearly in half!

Also interesting are the new data for the North and South hemisphere oceans (points Nhemis_O and Shemis_O): both trends are astonishingly close (approx. 0.9 and 0.75 °C/decade).

This figure does not inform on the global temperature hiatus seen since about 1998; we have to wait before the UAH people will publish the relevant data.

Floods and droughts

April 18, 2015

I continue the discussion on natural disasters using the handy graphing feature of the em-dat website of the UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain).

First the graph of floods (the left axis shows the yearly numbers):

em_dat_floods There clearly is a rise over the full time span; but also clear is that the period 2000-2014 has not seen a continuous increase, but more a slight rise and a return in 2014 below the 2000 situation.

If we look for the total number of deaths caused by these floods, there clearly is a case for optimism (left axis = deaths in thousands):


The post 2000 casualties are not higher than those of 1960, where the reported number of floods was much lower!

The droughts statistics show much more variability:


Here one can not see a spectacular rise, but a lot of inter-annual variability. The exceptional high peak corresponds to 1981, the last maximum from the right to the year 2000. Since that year, the global number of droughts is decreasing (which does not signify that several regions, as parts of California, do not suffer from an ongoing severe drought).

The number of deaths are astonishing small, and show no tendency:


What is the conclusion of this little exercise? It is not correct to state that natural catastrophes of floods and droughts are continuously increasing thanks to an ongoing global warming. This litany is dear to many environmentalists and politicians, whose agenda is impervious to real data.

EM-DAT, a database of disasters

April 17, 2015


Discussions on climate change always  come to the argument that natural disasters like flood, drought, heatwaves etc. are on the rise, due to (anthropogenic) climate change. It is often difficult to have correct numbers at hand, so the Belgian EM-DAT (the International Disaster Database, a work of the Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL)) is a tremendous help to deliver correct data. EM-DAT considers natural as well as technological disasters. The former are those that will be of interest here.

As the discussion on climate mostly considers the global impact, let us just look how floods, droughts, heat- and cold-waves have changed since 1960. The Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2013 begins its summary with: “In 2013, 330 natural triggered disasters were registered. This was both less than the average annual disaster frequency observed from 2013 to 2012 (388) and represented a decreased in associated human impacts of disasters which were, in 2013, at their lowest level since 16 years.”

I added to fig.1 of this report the trend line (in red) which shows an average decrease of 5.3 occurrences per year since 2000.


Climatological disasters (extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires) went down from a percentage of 15.5 per year (2003-2012) to 10% in 2013.

I will continue these comments in the next days, time permitting. Meanwhile, go to this excellent website ( and look for yourself at the trends under the “Disaster Trends” label.

Serge Galam for the dummies

April 3, 2015


In my previous blog “Climate modelling nonsense” I urged the hopefully existent visitor to read the excellent article of Serge Galam “Global Warming: the Sacrificial Temptation” which is available at arXiv and was published in 2007.

Firstly, Serge Galam is a physicist, with 2 PhD’s received in 1975 and 1981 at the universities Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and the university of Tel Aviv. After some time spent in New York and the French CNRS, he joined the CREA of the famous Ecole Polytechnique. CREA stands for “Centre de Recherche en Epistémiologie Appliquée”, which means that Serge Galam has moved over to more philosophical problems, and may now correctly be called a philosopher. He firmly opposes the scientists who becoming politicized have abandoned the scientific method (in his book “Les Scientifiques ont perdu le Nord”, Plon, 2008) and remains very skeptical about man-made global warming or climate change.

So for those of you who never have time to read an article from start to end, let me just give here seven of what I find the most remarkable sentences in the cited article.

1. The debate about global warming has taken emotional tones driven by passion and irrationality while it should be a scientific debate.

2. In the past of human history, the identification of a single responsible of all the difficulties and hardships of a society has always produced huge human destructions.

3. The unanimity exhibited everywhere is indeed obtained by the exclusion of any person who dares to cast a doubt about the man guilt truth.

4. … science has nothing to do with neither unanimity nor the number of voters.

5. It is not the duty of the sceptics to have to brig a proof of whatever it is about which they are sceptical… Rather, it is up to the scientists making the new assertion who must bring the corresponding proog, in this case of human guilt.

6. In case the current climate changes have natural causes, focusing our entire efforts on a drastic reduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, implying a suppression of advanced technologies, could leave us defenceless in the face of a newly hostile nature.

7. Most caution should be taken to prevent opportunistic politicians, more and more numerous, to subscribe to the proposed temptation of a sacrifice frame in order to reinforce their power by canalizing these archaic fears that are reemerging.

What a marvelous last sentence!  The German physicist Dr. Gert Weber from the Max Planck Institut gave in 1993 in his book “Der Treibhauseffekt” a similar conclusion: “Heute werden auf eine Weise Forschungsgelder verteilt und Berichte geschrieben, dass sich daraus eine positive Rückkopplungsschleife  bildet, die allen Beteiligten Gewinne abwirft. Die Wissenschaftler bekommen mehr Forschungsgelder, die Medien neue Empörungsgeschichten…, den Politikern erschliesst sich ihr Stimmenpotential.”

This said, I wish you happy, sunny and warm  Eastern holidays!