The Record Heatwave Of 2021

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13 Responses to The Record Heatwave Of 2021

  1. Michael Peinsipp says:

    Dr. Heller, Thank you for all of your Factual Science and hard work Sir.

  2. Eric Hatfield says:

    One thing becomes quite clear in looking at these charts. While this year has been generally cool (as far as high temps are concerned), when it does got hot, it can be very hot.

    Look at the first chart. 2021 is only half way through and yet only 6 years of the nearly 130 years represented here have more all time record highs set in the long existing sites. (The last year with clearly more records is 1954. 1961 and 2002 look comparable.) 2021 looks like it has about 10 records which I would guess are all in the Pacific Northwest from this most recent event.

    You’re showing how remarkable this event actually was.

    • tonyheller says:

      Are you expecting a lot of all-time heat records in December?

      • Eric Hatfield says:

        Why did you ask that question? I didn’t even mention December. OK I’ll bite. No I don’t expect any all time record highs in the US in December except those for the daily highs or for the month of December. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be an overall all time record high somewhere in the world like in Australia.

        The data you showed for 2021 could only be through the end of June. I presumed data for the other years were for the entire year unless you stated otherwise like you did for the line graphs. The total for 2021 will likely be pretty well locked in by mid-September. Even so the chart clearly shows 2021 already at or above the totals for each year since 1954 with 1961 and 2002 being comparable if there are no more such highs this year.

        • Kurt Goodwin says:

          Maybe. Remarkable might be a fair comment for this year compared to the last 50 years. That’s hardly a consistent trend, though, which has been the claim. Interesting that you didn’t comment on the rest of the charts where the data plotted was consistently Jan thru June

          • Eric Hatfield says:

            Actually I did comment about those charts in my first post. Those showed a rather cool year through the end of June making this heat wave more remarkable. We’ll have to see if that trend continues. I’m not liking what I’ve been seeing forecast over the western part of the country by the models for around the middle of July. Hopefully that will change. Various models were showing this heat wave nearly two weeks before the event.

            I didn’t claim this year’s increase in all time record highs (over the past 50-60 years) is a part of any trend either.

            I would be interested in a similar set of graphs showing average low temperatures and the chart of number of all time record lows by year for those same 650 sites. Maybe Tony will put that together. Robert Felix (RIP) mentioned on his website there had been about 50 all time record lows and 80 all time record low highs during the February cold wave.

            Cheers and Happy Fourth of July

    • Conrad Ziefle says:

      Maybe you can’t see the forest because the trees get in your way. Using the same chart and looking at the last 10 years, we have averaged lower than any other period except that from 1963-1993. Or, that the last 60 years have been much lower than the the previous sixty years, despite the increasing in CO2. Or, if you were NASA (Are you NASA?) then you would cut out all history before 2003 and screech, “2021 has more all time highs than any time in history!”
      I think any bright kid who can read a graph would agree with me.

  3. Henry Ruby, Certified Weather Observer, US Marine Corps 1977 - 81 says:

    Hello Tony! I want to share with you a reply I received from NOAA’s Howard Diamond regarding the data you use on your blog:

    Thanks for your message, and unfortunately the blog postings that you noted have really mis-characterized us. You are of course free to believe whatever you like, but NOAA does not spread misinformation or corrupt any data.

    We have made some very well-known adjustments, but have explained them all along. NOAA’s necessary corrections to biases in temperature data have come under a lot of poorly informed criticism, and so frankly, you bring up old arguments that continue to make the round of the blogs. Our new study as well as a great deal of prior research shows that adjustments to temperature stations are effective at removing biases introduced by station moves, instrument changes, and other factors. The fact that adjustments make the old historical network more similar to the newer U.S. Climate Reference Network strongly suggests, in a paper from Hausfather et al (2016) suggests that in reference to NOAA “that they are getting it right.” The key to what we do is that such adjustments are done in a systematic and well-vetted scientific manner. In short, NOAA’s adjustments are doing what we’re supposed to do – removing biases in the raw data to make it more accurately reflect the true temperature changes at each measurement station.

    There has been much discussion of temperature adjustment in both climate blogs and in the media, but not much background on what specific adjustments are being made, why they are being made, and what effects they have. Adjustments have a big effect on temperature trends, and a modest effect on global land trends. The large contribution of adjustments to century-scale temperature trends lends itself to an unfortunate narrative that “government bureaucrats are cooking the books”; and let me assure you that we are not. Having worked with many of the scientists in question, I can say with certainty that there is no grand conspiracy to artificially warm the earth; rather, scientists are doing their best to interpret large datasets with numerous biases such as station moves, instrument changes, time of observation changes, urban heat island biases, and other so-called inhomogenities that have occurred over the last 150 years. Our methods may not be perfect, and are certainly not immune from critical analysis, but that critical analysis should start out from a position of assuming good faith and with an understanding of what exactly has been done. In fact, one thing I would point your attention to is something known as the Berkeley Temperature Study (see http://berkeleyearth.org/). The founder of the Berkeley Study, Dr. Richard Muller (see http://berkeleyearth.org/team/richard-muller/) is a well-known physicist who approached the issue of global warming fulling believing that there was no such warming; however (and to his great credit) after some extensive work, he actually confirmed what places like NOAA, NASA, and the Hadley Centre in the UK had been (and still are) reporting that global warming was real and was indeed happening. So, this is an example of applying the scientific process confirms what is actually happening, anything other than that is unfortunately unsubstantiated statements and cherry picked data visualizations (as what you sent to us) that many people have been making.

    The adjustments work I have described here is also know as data homogenization. Data homogenization is not aimed at producing a predetermined outcome, but rather is an essential process in improving weather data by spotting where temperature records need to be corrected, in either direction (warm or cold). This is what some people sometimes accuse us of “fudging the data”, but rather it is a scientifically-vetted process intended to make sure that we are able to accommodate changes that occur in the record due to things like station moves as the one you described in the Grand Canyon. Far from being a fudge to make warming look more severe than it is, most of this work has in fact had the effect of reducing the apparent extreme temperature trends in various countries. Attached are two papers that show how data homogenization in the U.S. has worked on evaluating changes in our more long-term U.S. Historical Climatological Network (some stations dating back to the 1860s) with our more modern and climate-designed U.S. Climate Reference Network noted earlier. The following link at https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/ncdc-introduces-national-temperature-index-page helps explain how we have developed a National Temperature Index to help users compare the performance of these two different temperature datasets.

    First, climate change has always been what we have referred to what is going on, and it involves a number of effects on the planet, with global warming being chief among those. So, increased levels of CO2 and other greenhouse gases are leading towards increased global temperatures, but then these increased temperatures also lead to increased sea levels from melting land ice from the ice sheets of Greenland, Antarctica, and other land glaciers, coupled with warmer waters which also take up more volume involved in sea level rise. Increased temperatures lead to warmer air, and warmer air holds more water vapor (more on that in question #6 below) which leads to heavier precipitation events; warmer oceans also provide more fuel for the greater intensification of tropical cyclones. Increased CO2 also leads to more CO2 being deposited in the oceans, and this CO2 is converted to a weak acid known as carbonic acid; while not strong enough to do any damage to humans, the result decreases in pH levels of the world’s oceans have large effects on marine organisms dependent on using calcium to build their bodies (e.g., corals, mollusks, and crustaceans), as well as ocean ecosystems in general. Warmer air and ocean temperatures also lead to other ecosystem issues, the spread of tropical vectors for disease poleward (in both hemispheres). So climate change covers a plethora of environmental effects, of which global warming is the catalyst.

    My colleagues and I in NOAA,as well as in other scientific organizations at agencies like NASA are not lying about the cause of climate change; it is quite real and we do not manipulate any data to pursue some political result. While I realize that you have some very pointed views of who and what we do, in reality climate scientists are citizens and taxpayers as well and so, we are simply doing our jobs in studying the science of climate and reporting on its real-world impacts. Climate science has a long and well-respected body of peer reviewed research that is not politically motivated, and lying does not mix with science. As Government employees we operate under strict ethical guidelines, and so lying, altering data, and advocating for partisan issues are not tolerated and would result in job termination; our work moves along regardless of which political party is in charge. If you are interested, we have a number of questions related to climate change at https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/global-warming-frequently-asked-questions that might help you better understand what we do. Again, as Government scientists and civil servants we prohibited from engaging in or pursuing any political agenda.

    In conclusion, while you are of course free to believe what you like, there is a rather large and well-vetted array of scientific literature that points to what is going on with respect to climate change and CO2, and it is not just made up or political in nature. That said, it is not my intent to argue or debate you on the topic, but if you have any specific follow-up questions, I will do my best to answer those for you as there is only so much I can address in an e-mail. Frankly, the science on the topic is pretty clear, and I hope that I have given you some insights into that, but again, I do not plan to engage in any debates here unless you have some legitimate peer reviewed scientific literature to present that counters what I have presented. Whatever you believe, let me assure you that we are a science agency and are not involved in spreading any misinformation or corrupting any data, but then the author of the two blog posts frequently likes to attribute those things to us; however, if you dig a bit deeper into things you would see that this is not the case.

    Regards.

    Howard Diamond, PhD
    Climate Science Program Manager at NOAA’s Air Resources Laboratory

    • Conrad Ziefle says:

      I guess the fact that you are government warrants this long winded letter. You don’t suppose that he sends that to everyone? Based on my life experiences: Just because one has a PhD, doesn’t mean she is smart. Doctor Jill, for instance. It used to be that there were some things you could get a PhD in and I would automatically think that you were smart, but then I met a PhD in Economics that was dumb as a rock, and xxx taught at an university!!! I will say that if you have a PhD, you are dogged.
      Howard Diamond, PhD in Geography, may be smart, or not, but the issue I have is that he and those who agree with him have silenced all those who challenge them. Monopoly of point of view leads to Chernobyl, to K-19, to Hunan Virus escapes, to bad decisions because they are never challenged. He may be right to alter actual temperature measurements, even those as far back as 1900, but I would have to hear both sides argue their views before I would believe it. I’m also very suspicious of a linearly variable change to the data that is a function of time, i.e. change = a x date + b which results in a lowering of older readings and an increase in recent readings. It would take a real hard sell to convince me that that makes sense.
      You have to respect the scientists of old to have thought out the placement of their measurement devices and to have been diligent in their management of the data. It is shear arrogance to think the opposite. I offer three cases.
      Case 1: If there were errors then they were likely random and with a sufficient number of stations taking readings then the errors would average out over the sum of the stations. No need or reason to try to GUESS the appropriate way to correct them all.
      Case 2: The errors were intrinsic with the type of equipment and always err in the same direction. In which case, we can say that the absolute temperature at any time is wrong, but that the tread in temperature is right, and it is the trend with which we are concerned about with global warming theory. Since the trend is good even when the absolute temperature is bad there is no reason to try to correct it, but if you did you would always correct it the same direction, up or down, not up and down as a function of the date.
      Case 3: The condition of the stations change because of urban encroachment. Urban encroachment introduces higher temperatures due to the urban heat island effect. I.e. you never have any changes in the environment that will cause a false sense of cooling. So if you are going to adjust for the urban encroachment, then you will adjust recent readings down, not up.
      I’m sure my view is too simplistic, but let’s start from there and let the best scientists on both sides debate it on national TV for several hours each evening for a week straight , uninterrupted, and uncommented on by the diminutive intellects in the media. Thus far, Galileo got a fairer hearing than we have had.

    • Raehm says:

      Obviously, a prepared response. And not one mention of the raw data, to which I would really appreciate a link.

    • Gator says:

      “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

      He refutes nothing, in his long winded attempt at defending the indefensible. Talk about bringing up old arguments! LOL

      Ask Diamond Dave how they remove the UHI corruption. The answer is they do not, they incorporate the UHI signal into the corrupt number they produce, and falsely label it “data”.

  4. Jack Miller says:

    It would be interesting to see how this Oregonian interactive article on Portland Oregon temperatures 1938-2021 would compare to an unbiased analysis made by Tony as I would accept his analysis over any other when it comes to historical climate and weather.

    https://realclimatescience.com/2021/07/the-record-heatwave-of-2021/

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