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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #3, 2021

Posted on 20 January 2021 by Doug Bostrom

Weather reporting turns into climate recording

Leading a quartet of researchers, Dr. Chunlüe Zhou produces a tour de force of improved and more productive data exploitation in the paper A New Approach to Homogenize Global Subdaily Radiosonde Temperature Data from 1958 to 2018.

Due to operational constraints, instrument characteristics and the limited objectives of the original collection process, our enormous trove of meteorological radiosonde information is notoriously difficult to deal with. This data tantalizes researchers because of high potential for investigating matters on a much longer time scale and for purposes other than the synoptic weather reports these instruments and their observational records originally supported. 

One such matter is that of tropospheric warming, a key expected signature of our warming our climate due to CO2 emissions. Although we have reasonable confidence that this warming is indeed happening, by teasing useful signal from noisy radiosonde data challenged by various "wild" variables Zhou et al appear to confirm this finding again, in a way that is significantly helpful and supported by a thoroughly circumspect treatment. Their conclusion on the tropospheric record emerging after the fog of accidental factors has been dissipated is quite confident:

"The homogenized data clearly show a warming maximum around 300 hPa over 30°S–30°N, consistent with model simulations, in contrast to the raw data." 

Later in the paper, the authors elaborate:

The homogenized data show enhanced warming trends in the middle-to-lower troposphere over central and East Asia and northern Africa, but do not show the spurious cooling around 300 hPa over northern China and Mongolia seen in the raw data and many reanalysis products. A tropospheric warming maximum around 300 hPa over 30°S–30°N is absent in the raw data, but is present in the homogenized data. Thus, the lack of such a tropospheric warming maximum in previous analyses of radiosonde data (Thorne et al. 2011bMitchell et al. 2013) is likely due to the impact of the inhomogeneities in these data. Our homogenized data confirm the existence of such a tropospheric warming maximum present in some homogenized datasets, reanalysis products, and climate models with increased GHGs (Santer et al. 2005Trenberth and Smith 2006Thorne et al. 2011bHaimberger et al. 2012Mitchell et al. 2013Santer et al. 2017). The homogenization generally reduces the variance and leads to more consistent latitudinal variations of the variance in daily temperatures, especially for Indian stations.

A solid step forward in cementing our understanding of tropospheric warming. As well, the team's innovative approach offers some general lessons and promising improvements in methods for handling other such cases of what seems like unpromising data quality. As with other papers we admire, in laying the groundwork for their own effort the authors present a mini-education on prior work in this area, making this publication even more rewarding. Open access, free to read. 

63 Articles

Physical science of climate change, effects

Variability of the surface energy balance in permafrost-underlain boreal forest
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-343-2021

Observations of climate change, effects

Constraining human contributions to observed warming since the pre-industrial period
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00965-9

Detectable Intensification of Hourly and Daily Scale Precipitation Extremes across Eastern China
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0462.1

Response of downstream lakes to Aru glacier collapses on the western Tibetan Plateau
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-15-199-2021

Debris cover and the thinning of Kennicott Glacier, Alaska: in situ measurements, automated ice cliff delineation and distributed melt estimates
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-15-265-2021

Winter Arctic Amplification at the synoptic timescale, 1979–2018, its regional variation and response to tropical and extratropical variability
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s00382-020-05485-y

Changes in the equatorial mode of the Tropical Atlantic in terms of the Bjerknes Feedback Index
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05627-w

Drivers of soil salinity and their correlation with climate change
DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2020.10.015

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

A New Approach to Homogenize Global Subdaily Radiosonde Temperature Data from 1958 to 2018

FYRE Climate: A high-resolution reanalysis of daily precipitation and temperature in France from 1871 to 2012
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/cp-2020-156 (preprint)

Fire and vegetation dynamics in northwest Siberia during the last 60 years based on high-resolution remote sensing
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-207-2021

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects MSWE

Elements of the Dynamical Response to Climate Change over the Mediterranean
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0429.1

Slow feedbacks resulting from strongly enhanced atmospheric methane mixing ratios in a chemistry–climate model with mixed-layer ocean
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-21-731-2021

Zonally contrasting shifts of the tropical rain belt in response to climate change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00963-x

Fast and slow responses of the Subantarctic Mode Water in the South Indian Ocean to global warming in CMIP5 extended RCP4.5 simulations
DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05635-w

Convective rain cell characteristics and scaling in climate projections for Germany
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1002/joc.7012

The emergence of anthropogenic signal in mean and extreme precipitation trend over China by using two large ensembles
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd26d

Advances in climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Method Uncertainty Is Essential for Reliable Confidence Statements of Precipitation Projections
DOI: 10.1175/jcli-d-20-0289.1

Towards an End-to-End Analysis and Prediction System for Weather, Climate, and Marine Applications in the Red Sea
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-19-0005.1

Scientific and Human Errors in a Snow Model Intercomparison
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-19-0329.1

Dust Induced Atmospheric Absorption Improves Tropical Precipitations In Climate Models
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2021-12 (preprint)

Processes controlling the vertical aerosol distribution in marine stratocumulus regions – a sensitivity study using the climate model NorESM1-M
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-21-577-2021

Evaluation of Some Distributional Downscaling Methods as Applied to Daily Precipitation with an Eye Towards Extremes
DOI: 10.1002/joc.7013

Cryosphere & climate change

On the 2011 record low Arctic sea ice thickness: a combination of dynamic and thermodynamic anomalies
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/tc-2020-359 (preprint)

Biology & climate change

Genomics helps to predict maladaptation to climate change
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00964-w

Maladaptation, migration and extirpation fuel climate change risk in a forest tree species
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00968-6

The rise of novelty in marine ecosystems: the baltic sea case
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15503

Iterative model predictions for wildlife populations impacted by rapid climate change
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15518

Discriminating climate, land?cover and random effects on species range dynamics
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15483

Climate and weather have differential effects in a high latitude passerine community
DOI: 10.1007/s00442-020-04847-x

Climate and land?use change severity alter trait?based responses to habitat conversion
DOI: 10.1111/geb.13237

GHG sources & sinks, flux

Measurement report: Changing characteristics of atmospheric CH4 in the Tibetan Plateau: records from 1994 to 2019 at the Mount Waliguan station

Variable particle size distributions reduce the sensitivity of global export flux to climate change
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-229-2021

Estimating immediate post-fire carbon fluxes using the eddy-covariance technique
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-285-2021

Background conditions for an urban greenhouse gas network in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan region
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1256 (preprint)

Machine learning estimates of eddy covariance carbon flux in a scrub in the Mexican highland
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/bg-18-367-2021

Ideas and perspectives: patterns of soil CO2, CH4, and N2O fluxes along an altitudinal gradient – a pilot study from an Ecuadorian neotropical montane forest

Carbon accumulation in peatlands along a boreal to subarctic transect in eastern Canada
DOI: 10.1177/0959683620988031

Major and persistent shifts in below?ground carbon dynamics and soil respiration following logging in tropical forests
DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15522

Assessing the long-term interactions of climate change and timber markets on forest land and carbon storage
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd589

Coarse woody debris are buffering mortality-induced carbon losses to the atmosphere in tropical forests
Open Access DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd58a

CO2 removal & mitigation science & engineering

Emergency deployment of direct air capture as a response to the climate crisis
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-20437-0

The effects of environmental innovations on CO2 emissions: Empirical evidence from Europe
DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2020.12.004

Minimizing greenhouse gas emissions from leachate treatment by using zeolite column
DOI: 10.1080/17583004.2021.1873693

Black carbon

Radiative properties of coated black carbon aggregates: numerical simulations and radiative forcing estimates
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-1290 (preprint)

Variability in the mass absorption cross section of black carbon (BC) aerosols is driven by BC internal mixing state at a central European background site (Melpitz, Germany) in winter
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-21-635-2021

Climate change communications & cognition

Heat exposure and the climate change beliefs in a Desert City: The case of Phoenix metropolitan area
DOI: 10.1016/j.uclim.2020.100769

Promoting sustainability education through hands-on approaches: a tree carbon sequestration exercise in a Singapore green space
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s11625-020-00897-5

Bots and online climate discourses: Twitter discourse on President Trump’s announcement of U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1870098

Agronomy & climate change

Agricultural GHG emission and calorie intake nexus among different socioeconomic households of rural eastern India
DOI: 10.1007/s10668-020-01126-w

Economics & finance of climate change & mitigation

Negotiating the future of the Adaptation Fund: on the politics of defining and defending justice in the post-Paris Agreement period
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2021.1871875

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Routes to credible climate commitment: the UK and Denmark compared
DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1868391

Systematic review of the outcomes and trade-offs of ten types of decarbonization policy instruments
DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-00971-x

Idealism, pragmatism, and the power of compromise in the negotiation of New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2020.1868393

Book review: Electrical systems and the mitigation of climate change

Climate change impacts on human health

Climate impacts associated with reduced diet diversity in children across nineteen countries
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/abd0ab

Health system resilience to extreme weather events in Asia-Pacific: a scoping review
DOI: 10.1080/17565529.2020.1870425

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Revising NCEI’s Climate Extremes Index and the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index to Analyze Climate Extremes Vulnerability across the United States
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1175/bams-d-19-0358.1

Adaptive measures for mountain Mediterranean forest ecosystem services under climate and land cover change in the Mont-Ventoux regional nature park, France
DOI: 10.1007/s10113-020-01732-4

Climate change impacts on human culture

Community-based climate action planning as an act of advocacy: a case study of liberal arts education in a rural community
DOI: 10.1007/s13412-020-00655-0

Impact of climate change on pastoralists’ resilience and sustainable mitigation in Punjab, Pakistan
DOI: 10.1007/s10668-020-01119-9


Detection of non?climatic biases in land surface temperature records by comparing climatic data and their model simulations
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.1007/s00382-021-05626-x

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Opinion: Cloud-phase climate feedback and the importance of ice-nucleating particles
Open Access pdf DOI: 10.5194/acp-2020-852


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How is New Research assembled?

Most articles appearing here are found via  RSS feeds from journal publishers, filtered by search terms to produce raw output for assessment of relevance. 

Relevant articles are then queried against the Unpaywall database, to identify open access articles and expose useful metadata for articles appearing in the database. 

The objective of New Research isn't to cast a tinge on scientific results, to color readers' impressions. Hence candidate articles are assessed via two metrics only:

  • Was an article deemed of sufficient merit by a team of journal editors and peer reviewers? The fact of journal RSS output assigns a "yes" to this automatically. 
  • Is an article relevant to the topic of anthropogenic climate change? Due to filter overlap with other publication topics of inquiry, of a typical week's 550 or so input articles about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.

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Journals covered

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Previous edition

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.

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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. Carbon brief referred to an article in Science Advances
    In the abstract they claim that they have developed a new method of assessing climate models and their results. They claim:

    “Our results suggest that using an unconstrained multimodel ensemble is no longer the best choice for global mean temperature projections and that the lower end of previous estimates of 21st century warming can now be excluded.”

    If this claim is correct that seems to eliminate the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5C. What do people here think about this article?  Does anyone have a link to comments from scientists on this topic?

    I also posted this note on the RealClimate unforced variations thread.  That thread has degenerated into mostly commentors insulting each other so I do not think I will get a reasoned reply there.  It makes me appreciate more and more the job the moderators at SkS do to keep the conversation under control.  Thank you to all the moderators who keep the conversation on topic.

    0 0
  2. Sorry, Michael, missed this until now. 

    Referring your question to better brains. :-)

    0 0
  3. Thank you for all the work you put in to orgnaize these reference lists.  I am hoping that Gavin at RealClimate will comment on this paper.

    0 0
  4. My guess is that your moderator will call the following comment political, but I think my opinion counts for something so I ask your honest comment on the following;  I do recall a time when Scientists did not band together to support a view of scientific facts.  Scientists were on their own, (this was true even in The old USSR. Yosenko was Stalins favorite scientist, other scientists kept their mouthes shout)  so when they came up with a theaory they  knew they had to have facts and present a reasoned analysis.  As a good example of how the system did work I suggest you google  Steven J. Gould  and you will see the old system at work.  

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [TD] Read the post The 97% Consensus on Global Warming. Actually read it. The whole thing, not just the title. Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced tabbed panes. Then if you still want to comment on that topic, do so there, not here.

    [TD] I changed your double spacing to single spacing. Do that yourself next time please.

  5. Jamesh,

    The "scientific consensus" argument was popular about 10-15 years ago.  That horse was flogged untill there was nothing left.  Read the articles the moderator has highighted.  There is a scientific consensus when a great majority of scientists agree that the problem has been solved.  Scientists agree that CO2 causes global warming.  The question is exactly how much it will warm and what the consequences of that warming will be.

    0 0

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