2011-03-12 07:06:43NOAA paper saying global warming didn't cause Russian heatwave
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.187.101.78

Heads up as this paper will be a darling of the skeptics:

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/csi/pubs/docs/RussianHeatWave_revisedGRLmerged_version.pdf

General comment - the models can't find a human signal in the heat wave. Instead it blames the heat wave on a blocking event, a stationery high pressure system. But what caused the blocking event (or contributed to it or made it more likely)? Models don't do blocking events well so it's premature to rule out human influence. Anyway, expect to see more of this.

2011-03-12 07:16:27blocking
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

Yes from my understanding, the question is whether anthropogenic effects (i.e. amplified Arctic warming) contributed to the blocking event.  Anyway, we've always said you can't pin specific weather events on AGW.

2011-03-12 07:19:52
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

TOP already has, here:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=305&p=4#43254

2011-03-12 10:50:55
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hmm,

Thanks for the heads up John, I wish that I had seen this before posting a response to TOP ;)  Something does not feel right about this paper, it will be interesting to see how it holds up after publication.  GRL has let through a few dodgy papers in recent years-- I for one do not wish to publish there, despite the quick turn around time.  So we will see what Stott et al. have to say.

The authors state that:

"The goal of this study is to identify the primary causes of the Russian heat wave and to assess to what it extent it might have been anticipated from prior knowledge of natural and human forcings and observed regional climate trends."

So it is not really an attribution study per se IIRC. And also interesting:

"The absence of long-term trends in regional mean temperatures and variability together with the model results indicate that it is very unlikely that warming attributable to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations contributed substantially to the magnitude of this heat wave. Nevertheless, there is evidence that such warming has contributed to observed heat waves in other regions, and is very likely to produce more frequent and extreme heat waves later this century [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007]. To assess this possibility for the region of western Russia, we have used the same IPCC model simulations to estimate the probability of exceeding various July temperature thresholds over the period 1880-2100 (Figure 4). The results suggest that we may be on the cusp of a period in which the probability of such events increases rapidly, due primarily to the influence of projected increases in greenhouse gas concentrations."

What strikes me is that "skeptics" will predictably pounce on this, with nary a worry about the limitations of the model that they are always whining about.  The models are hopeless, but not when it tells us what we want to hear, then no caveats are required.

I think the proper wayt o look at this is to use a mehtod similar to that of Stott et al. (2004) who undertook a proper attribution study.  

 

2011-03-12 13:43:45
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.241.192

Not my normal area of reading, and I can't be bothered doing the legwork, but I don't understand the graph titled " simulated frequency of July temperature extreme". Why do all the simulations start climbing sharply around 1990?. By 2010 the 3 & 4 degree value have risen a fair bit (although below one event per decade still).

2011-03-12 13:46:30
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.102

That was pretty much the sum of my response to TOP.

A 1% chance of occurrence in 2010 to 10% (or more) by 2100.

2011-03-15 09:24:01NCAR response
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Romm has a response from Trenberth which is very critical of the NOAA paper.

2011-03-15 10:21:42
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

I just saw that and hopped over here to post an update, but you beat me to it :)  Well, that makes me feel better, I was a little nervous that I had jumped the gun in critcizing the paper...

GRL....again.  Hopefully Grant and/or Stott conduct an appropriate attribution study soon.

2011-03-19 01:37:25This study says otherwise
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Breaking info:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110318091141.htm

Record-Breaking 2010 Eastern European/Russian Heatwave

ScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2011) — An international research team involving ETH Zurich has compared the hot summers of 2003 and 2010 in detail for the first time. Last year's heatwave across Eastern Europe and Russia was unprecedented in every respect: Europe has never experienced so large summer temperature anomalies in the last 500 years.

Graph

The summer of 2010 was extreme. Russia was especially hard hit by the extraordinary heat: in Moscow, daytime temperatures of 38.2°C were recorded and it didn't get much cooler at night. Devastating fires caused by the dry conditions covered an area of 1 million hectares, causing crop failures of around 25%; the total damage ran to about USD 15 billion. Even though passengers were also collapsing on trains in Germany in 2010 because the air-con units had failed in the heat, the general perception is still that the summer of 2003 was the most extreme -- among Western Europeans at least. An international research team involving ETH Zurich has now compared the two heatwaves and just published their findings in Science.

Area fifty times bigger than Switzerland

The 2010 heatwave shattered all the records both in terms of the deviation from the average temperatures and its spatial extent. The temperatures -- depending on the time period considered -- were between 6.7°C and 13.3°C above the average. The heatwave covered around 2 million km2 -- an area fifty times the size of Switzerland. On average, the summer of 2010 was 0.2°C warmer in the whole of Europe than in 2003. Although it might not sound like much, it's actually a lot when calculated over the vast area and the whole season. "The reason we felt 2003 was more extreme is that Western Europe was more affected by the 2003 heatwave and it stayed warm for a long period of time," explains Erich Fischer, a postdoc at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich.

The reason for the heatwaves in both 2003 and 2010 was a large, persistent high-pressure system associated by areas of low pressure in the east and west. In 2010 the heart of this high-pressure anomaly, often referred to as blocking, was above Russia. The low pressure system to the east was partly responsible for the floods in Pakistan. But the blocking was not the only reason for the extraordinary heat between July and mid-August; on top of that, there was little rainfall and an early snow melt, which dried out the soil and aggravated the situation. "Such prolonged blockings in the summertime are rare, but they may occur through natural variability. Therefore, it's interesting for us to put the two heatwaves in a wider temporal perspective," explains Fischer.

500-year-old temperature record broken

With this in mind, the researchers compared the latest heatwaves with data from previous centuries. Average daily temperatures are available back as far as 1871. For any earlier than that, the researchers used seasonal reconstructions derived from tree rings, ice cores and historical documents from archives. The summers of 2003 and 2010 broke 500-year-old records across half of Europe. Fischer stresses: "You can't attribute isolated events like the heatwaves of 2003 or 2010 to climate change. That said, it's remarkable that these two record summers and three more very hot ones all happened in the last decade. The clustering of record heatwaves within a single decade does make you stop and think."

More frequent and intense heatwaves

In order to find out whether such extreme weather conditions could become more common in future, the researchers analysed regional scenarios for the periods 2020-2049 and 2070-2099 based on eleven high-resolution climate models and came up with two projections: the 2010 heatwave was so extreme that analogues will remain unusual within the next few decades. At the end of the century, however, the models project a 2010-type heatwave every eight years on average. According to the researchers, by the end of the century heatwaves like 2003 will virtually have become the norm, meaning they could occur every two years. While the exact changes in frequency depend strongly on the model, all the simulations show that the heat waves will become more frequent, more intense and longer lasting in future.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by ETH Zürich.

Journal Reference:

  1. D. Barriopedro, E. M. Fischer, J. Luterbacher, R. M. Trigo, R. Garcia-Herrera. The Hot Summer of 2010: Redrawing the Temperature Record Map of Europe. Science, 2011; DOI: 10.1126/science.1201224
2011-03-19 06:39:40
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.196.121

A very telling graph there Yooper. Biennial by century's end?. So much for the prudent path eh?. 

2011-03-19 06:50:28
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

"That's it man.....game over man, game over!"

 

2011-03-19 08:37:09
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Daniel and John,

Did you want me to email you copies of the paper?  i should be able to access it online.

2011-03-19 10:33:47Very Much
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Yes, please, Albie. 

yooper49855@hotmail.com

 

Thanks!

2011-03-19 10:56:43
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Daniel,

Just fired off the email.

2011-03-19 11:38:44
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey
yooper49855@hotmail...
97.83.150.37

Got it; thanks, Albie!  Youdaman!