Hole in the Fog: an extraordinary visualization of UHI

Says Wikipedia

An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak. UHI is most noticeable during the summer and winter.

Does UHI have a large role to play in global warming? Maybe. Maybe not. But it surely has a very visible impact in the Po Valley in Italy.

This is a Eumetsat picture from sometimes on Dec 8, 2013. Can you spot where the city of Milan is?

Po Valley, Italy, Dec 8 2013

Of course you can. It’s the hole in the fog. With just 8 million people and a GDP of $150 billion (not far from New Zealand’s) Milan wouldn’t affect its weather, would it? /sarc

As a rough guide to the areas involved, Milan covers 70 sq mi, and the fog on that day around half of the Po Valley‘s 17,760 sq mi (4 parts in 1000).

(H/T Meteogiornale where the original news appears)

A Summary of The B.E.S.T. UHI Pre-pre-pre-pre-paper

We know peer-review is a thing of the past and something somewhere forced Muller and friends to jump the gun for some reason. Anyway as a public service (given most people won’t ever look at the scientific details even when commenting them), here’s a summary of the UHI pre-pre-pre-pre-paper:

1. The UHI exists in named places (eg Tokyo)

2. Within the same paper, Tokyo’s UHI varies from 2C/century (introduction) to 3C/century (discussion)

3. By shooting in the dark (classifying in a rough fashion a large number of unnamed places), the UHI doesn’t exist any longer

4. We don’t have the time and/or the money to verify if the UHI remains disappeared when using named places, individually assessed and perhaps even (shock! horror!) assigned a degree of urbanization

5. A back of the envelope calculation suggests that if 27% of the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly (GHCN-M) stations are located in cities with a population greater than 50,000, then assuming a UHI of 3C/century the contribution BY UHI to the world MEASURED average is 3*27%=0.81C

6. Nevermind, there’s always space for pure speculation

If It Looks Like UHI, Heats Like UHI, And Graphs Like UHI, Then It Probably Is UHI

by Guido Guidi and Maurizio Morabito

Our friend Teo has just expressed his personal and perfectly reasonable opinions about new, old publishing venture called “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“.

In fact, we find it hard to disagree with him.

The subject of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) is topical, and it is somewhat ironic that such a self-evident effect is so happily dismissed away by AGW proponents. One suspects UHI is extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable to consider to those strictly supporting only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory.

Who them? By sheer coincidence, only the greenhouse-gas-emission side of AGW theory can be used to dictate deep societal changes. But that’s another story.

Let’s just add some considerations based on a Willis Eschenbach post on WUWT. It’s a simple but eloquent analysis of a dataset of temperatures, with measures coming from about seventy stations over Northern Europe. Interestingly, an analysis of the monthly data across the decades for the duration of the dataset, shows a warming trend to be occurring primarily in winter months.

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

NORDKLIM Decadal monthly temperatures, 1900-1999

And what kind of forcing is especially important in the coldest period of the year? No prize for guessing that one right. This is precisely what is expected from the UHI effect, and it is due to changes over time to the environment surrounding the measurement equipments. Roads, buildings, infrastructure are built, woods are fallen and so on. That’s “Anthropogenic” as well, of course, and it has all the potential for local and global consequences.

Data so heavily biased are simply not compatible with the currently fashionable “globalization of forcing“, the mistaken belief that temperatures overwhelmingly taken on land and in heavily urbanized areas, are representative of the thermal state of the entire Blue Planet.

Think of it for a minute. We are talking about temperature anomalies with a positive trend coming from winter months. We are talking of continental regions at high latitudes. We are talking about winters with little insolation, in areas with a high albedo (reflecting visible light!) due to large amounts of snow cover.

  • Temperature sensors, under those specific conditions, show a gradual Winter warming

In the summer, with a much lower visible-light albedo in the absence of snow, the incoming solar radiation is absorbed and then re-emitted as longer waves: exactly those “captured” by greenhouse gases.

  • Temperature sensors, despite the abundance of infrared radiation, show no Summer warming

How could the positive anomalies be ascribed to a greenhouse effect, that remains a mystery to us. It definitely looks like this is enough to ring more than a few alarm bells, no matter what has been said in the past and by whom.

And the problem of telling between the greenhouse gas contribution to warming, and all other anthropogenic and natural effects, does not just apply to urban setting. It remains to be seen about who’s going to care about it, bringing forward a better understanding of the climate, rather than continuing to run like headless chicken always after the next CO2 molecule, as if it were volcanic ash…

A Brief History Of Dashed UHI Hopes

by Teodoro Georgiadis - slightly romanced English version by Maurizio Morabito

And there I am, at the beginning of March 2010: me and the brand-new, Volume 1, Number 1 , January / February 2010 issue of “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)” . Editor in Chief: Mike Hulme.

Wow, a fresh journal on Global Climate Change!

Even better: according to itself, the journal is meant as

a unique platform for exploring current and emerging knowledge from the many disciplines that contribute to our understanding of this phenomenon – environmental history, the humanities, physical and life sciences, social sciences, engineering and economics

Wouldn’t that be a welcome novelty, in a world post-climategate, post-submerged Holland, post-quickly disappearing Himalayan glaciers, post-Amazongate…in short, in a world that has seen an intense and compact series of scientific downpours on concepts perhaps too quickly assumed as established truth.

Downstream of Copenhagen, a new journal following WIRCC’s statement of intent would surely sport a truly different outlook: new style, new peer-reviewers, new structure all with the goal of providing science with the required level of objectivity, sadly and mostly missing in contemporary climate discourse.

I proceed therefore with all enthusiasm to select an article of surefire interest to me:

David E. Parker, ”Urban heat island effects on estimates of observed climate change” p 123-133, Published Online: Dec 22 2009 12:42PM DOI: 10.1002/wcc.21

That’s it then! Finally we can leave the “gates du jour” behind and improve our knowledge of climate change.

Or maybe not.

First reference: IPCC. Second reference: Jones et al. (with Wang).

Wait a sec…what’s going on?

OK let’s move forward…alas, only to find something truly amazing:

the influence of urban heat islands on estimates of global warming is limited by the fact that about 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean and is absolutely unaffected by urban warming

Say what? Oh yes, the Blue Planet, ever the envy of nasty aliens such as those in HG Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. But hang on…most of the network of temperature measuring stations is literally on solid ground…if you place them on a map they’ll be a bunch of dots almost exactly superimposed to cities. As for the ocean temperatures, we know very well how they are derived.

This isn’t looking good.

Anything better?

Exclusion of urban sites, or selective use of rural sites, requires information (‘metadata’) about the site and its surroundings

Yes, yes…ah, that refers to a 2005 J Clim paper by Peterson and Owen…isn’t that the same Peterson unceremoniously criticized for example by McIntyre on Climate Audit, regarding the peculiar classifications of urban and rural stations? There is a truly remarkable definition of “Parking Lot Effect” on that site.

How strange though, of all the past and present discussions and questions on the topic, Parker manages to mention exactly nothing. Well, at least that might explain the article’s conclusions:

The urban heat island has had only a minor impact on estimates of global trends”… The impact is small because assiduous efforts have been made by the compilers of global surface air temperature records to avoid or compensate for urban warming

Assiduous effort“? Amen to that.

Current and EMERGING knowledge?” Not by a long shot.

My conclusions: “Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (WIRCC)“? New journal, same old story.

Barbecued Climate Stations: Reality Catches Up With Fiction

For a bit of Sunday fun, compare the picture of the official NOAA USHCN climate station of record in Fairbury, NE (from WUWT’s “How not to measure temperature, part 75″ of Nov 20, 2008) with the cartoon published on WUWT’s “Grilling the Data” of Sep 19, 2007

Official NOAA USHCN climate station of record in Fairbury, NE

Official NOAA USHCN climate station of record in Fairbury, NE

How do you want that data?

How do you want that data?

They have substituted a tree for the happy “I love UHI” chap and the sausages…perhaps the NOAA USHCN people are starting to get inspiration from WUWT jokes to locate their climate stations?