2011-02-02 07:27:53Monckton Myth #12: Monckton and the Arctic
Robert Way

Hey all,

Was wondering could I get some feedback on the following?



PS John,
Im having trouble with the italics at the bottom of the page. Everytime I delete them they come back.
2011-02-02 08:27:32Great post, Robert
John Cook

I particularly like that you included NCEP which should shut up the GISS naysayers to some degree (pity NCEP doesnt go further back).

A small thing - what do you think of making this a Monckton Myth?

One other thing and this is a broader issue that I welcome feedback on. Research indicates that to properly debunk disinformation, you need to provide an alternate narrative - not just opposing info but a clear story on how and/or why they mislead. Otherwise, in the reader's mind, it's they say vs what you say.

I think exactly what Monckton is doing could be spelled out more clearly. I'm guessing what he does is pick isolated stations. So the narrative would be that Monckton only gives part of the picture. The full picture, the entire Arctic, gives a clear result.

I also think this should be a theme that we try to reinforce in subsequent MMs. That he gives only part of the picture - at least with myths where he uses that technique. This is a good theme considering his 'shabby' line. Another possible theme is that Monckton rehashes old material which can be brought up now and then for his more popular arguments.

2011-02-02 08:38:55Hey John
Robert Way

Hey John,
Thanks for the kind words. I tried to make it shorter than the novels i've written the last few times :P

I have updated the post a little bit in tone to address a bit more of what you work talking about regarding Monckton. Let me know what you think of the changes.

Regarding making this into a Monckton Myth, what do you mean by doing so (i.e. how will I?) Do I avoid publishing then?

Robert Way

PS whats the deal with the italics?

2011-02-02 08:52:24ditto John
Dana Nuccitelli

I agree with making this a Monckton Myth.  You could call it #12 - John is working on #9 and I've got #10 and #11 in the queue.

I went in and got rid of your italics problem (you have to go into the HTML code and get rid of all the < em >s - it's some weird fluke that happens sometimes).  Hopefully I didn't mess up your update in the process.

I'd also define the NCEP acronym before using it.

When you say "early 21st century warming in the Arctic far exceeds the warming experienced during the 1930s and 1940s", it would be nice to quantify the amount of warming during each period.  Looks like about 1.9°C from 1980 to 2010 vs. ~1°C  from 1910 to 1940?

Otherwise, it looks good.  Nice job.

2011-02-02 09:02:41
Mark Richardson

What the fuck is a reanalysis? Most people will probably think that.:p


Afaik it's only used in environmental sciences, even other scientists might not know what one is!

2011-02-02 09:11:10
Julian Brimelow

Robert, excellent job!  Nice look to the graph and the ranking table was a good idea.  Pity about the NCEP reanalysis (that project of yours is proving useful), but it does show that your temperature data are in excellent agreement, so it is doubtful that the curves would diverge prior to 1948.  Wonder when the 20th century analysis will be widely available?  That would provide complete coverage going back to the mid 1800s.

I agree with Dana regarding the warming earlier-- also looks like the rate of warming between early 1900s and 2940 was less than recent warming.

Would it be possible to provide an indication of the station counts involved-- they obviously change with time, but some information might appease critics.

So it looks like Monckton has again failed to provide a complete picture as possible, and probably cherry-picked some sites which were briefly warmer around 1940 compared to recent temperatures. Well, at least he is consistent.

2011-02-02 09:26:32Comment
Robert Way

Regarding the edits suggested for Monckton Myth #12:

I have put in something quantifying the changes in temperatures as per dana's suggestion and have defined NCEP. I have also incorporated a definition of reanalysis.

Regarding Albatross' commentary, I could include the twentieth century reanalysis project but the data only extends to 2008 therefore I decided to only use the NCEP reanalysis data. I have also heard things about the twentieth century reanalysis project not producing the best results in some sparse locations. In terms of the station counts, I know there are ways to get the counts but it will require a little bit of picking at the code. I would get a station number per given month and then have to average it out per year. Personally my feeling is that I would rather not have to do so at this point but if it becomes a necessity I can.

And yes Monckton has been proven wrong again however this fallacy has been shown in the literature all too often. There have been in fact studies coming to similar conclusions as Monckton (Chylek et al 2009 for one) but those studies just chose individual stations and did not combine them. When you combine all available series you get a very clear picture. SST data is in there too remember.

Thank you for all your comments and I am open to any further revisions!

2011-02-02 10:17:25
Julian Brimelow


Someone is bound to bring up Chylek et al. (2009).  Although even their data do not support Monckton's claim, their Fig. 2a shows temperatures in 2008 on par or slightly higher than those around 1940.

Also they state:

"The rate of mean annual low Arctic [50-70 N] air temperature increase from 1910–1940 was 0.59 K/decade compared to
0.38 K/decade from 1970–2008."


"The high Arctic (70–90 N) warmed at the rate of 0.55K/decade from 1970–2008 and at 0.76K/decade from 1910–1940."

What do you data show for 1970-2010, and for 1910-1940? Eye-balling the slope, suggests that the recent rate of warming for your data is higher.

What I think is also perhaps important to point out, is that the warming circa 1940 was in all likelihood a transient response, and that is not what has been happening since the mid seventies. 


"...10-year period from 2001 to 2010 was 0.79°C warmer than any 10-year period during the early-to-mid 20th century"

 How about "...10-year period from 2001 to 2010 was 0.79°C warmer than the warmest 10-year period observed during the early -to-mid 20th century."


"Monckton's claim of that period being 1°C greater than the current warming is therefore proven to be incorrect. It should also be noted that the warming over the last 30 years (1981-2010) shows an extraordinarily fast rate of warming (6.3°C/century) using ccc-gistemp."

These sentences appear just before the Table and again at the end. Is that intentional?

2011-02-02 10:48:00Comment
Robert Way

Hey Albatross,
Don't know how it got there actually. Must of been a glitch. I put in your revisions.

Also the rate of warming is similar for both 1910-1940 is 0.58 or 0.59 and 1980-2010 is 0.63
2011-02-02 11:01:08
Julian Brimelow

No worries Robert. 

Interesting, So you get lower warming rates than did Chylek et al. (0.59 versus 0.76) for the early window and higher than they did for the recent window (0.63 versus 0.55) although we are not really comparing apples-with apples b/c the latitude bands are different, but it does raise questions regarding them using individual station data as you noted.

Good work.

2011-02-02 11:59:08Comment
Robert Way

Oh there are plenty of questions I have about some of chylek's statistical work. In his 2010 paper (chylek et al. 2010) he runs correlation coefficients on running means without compensating for autocorrelation. A big no-no but it still got through at GRL.
2011-02-05 15:09:05Two sentences
James Wight


"This post should be the definitive answer as to whether the warming of the early century was greater in the Arctic than currently, the answer is a resounding no."

This should be two sentences: "This post should be the definitive answer as to whether the warming of the early century was greater in the Arctic than currently. The answer is a resounding no."

2011-02-06 01:56:05thanks James
Robert Way

Thanks james!
2011-02-06 23:52:41


"This post should be the definitive answer ..."

 This sentence sounds rather arrogant. I don't think this is the attitude you want to project.

I suggest:

"This post should provide a definite answer .." 

2011-02-07 06:22:22
Ari Jokimäki


John: "pity NCEP doesnt go further back."

Meet the recently published 20th Century Reanalysis which goes back further:


2011-02-07 12:37:31Comment
Robert Way


Agree with you neal, will make the changes accordingly.

The 20th century reanalysis does not perform well for this arctic analysis I don't think. It shows too much warming... far too much to be honest. I tested it and i'll show you later tonight but it makes that early century warm period appear very cold compared to the current one which I don't think actual data supports. I've seen other examples where the 20th century reanalysis data did not perform well in northern locations.
2011-02-07 16:34:53Twentieth
Robert Way

Here is the comparison with the 20th century reanalysis for the arctic.

I trust GISS better cause it fits with NCEP well.


2011-02-07 16:46:48Dodgy reanalysis
John Cook


Hmm, that is dodgy. I've heard of mid-century cooling but that's ridiculous!

I can't help but be curious as to the source of the discrepancy.

2011-02-07 18:59:50Comment
Robert Way

I have some theories but none provable of course!
2011-02-09 12:38:27Arctic warming big in a new Idso paper
John Cook


This paper focuses on past Arctic warming quite a bit (pages 13, 14):


2011-02-10 10:00:11Comment
Robert Way

Somewhat horrifying how many errors are in this document...

Funny though how they say the Antarctic Continent as a whole is cooling, do they not even realize the skeptic paper even refutes that?

Their Arctic stuff is crap too... it amazes me that they can distort this much... Like we all have day jobs, how can we possibly react? haha

Robert Way
2011-02-10 16:21:03MM #12
Dana Nuccitelli
Just a quick update - I'm publishing MM #10 tomorrow morning.  I'll finish a few minor edits on MM #11 this weekend, and publish sometime mid-early next week.  So MM #12 will probably go live in a week or so.  Hope you don't mind the delay.
2011-02-10 16:43:50So to clarify
John Cook

This Arctic post will be MM12?
2011-02-10 17:07:12yes
Dana Nuccitelli
Correct.  Robert already has it labeled correctly, we'll just have to add the MM button.