A GHCN Analysis

Over at Open Mind, Tamino has an analysis of GHCN station data that looks quite interesting to this layperson’s eyes. I’m going to start a post on this to examine his analysis and most importantly, the next post which he promises will be a response to skeptics and their criticism of GHCN.

Here’s an excerpt from Prime Meridian:

I’ve decided to average the GHCN station data in gridboxes which are 10 deg. latitude tall, and approximately the same width. That makes them 600 nautical miles tall, which is a bit over 1100 km. Within that range, we can expect that all stations which inhabit the same grid box will show correlation with each other. The exception to the “10 deg. tall” rule will be stations north of 70N latitude — instead of defining separate grid boxes for stations north of 80N latitude, I’ll lump them together with the stations north of 70N latitude.

If I wanted to be as precise as possible, I’d use smaller grid boxes and I’d probably weight the average by the distance of a station from the gridbox center. But I’m not aiming for maximum precision; I just want a good solid answer that’s based on a straightforward analysis of the raw data.

Here’s one of his graphs, covering 70 – 90 deg north latitude

This covers the northern latitudes and you can see from Tamino’s graph that the anomaly is quite large for this region of the world — a full 2C.

When I see that graph, I think of Elizabeth Kolbert’s descriptions of thawing permafrost in the Arctic and the Inuit peoples having to abandon their village along the coast because the loss of sea ice allowed the storms to wash away their homes.
Here’s an image:

There’s also the ‘drunken forest’ showing how this thawing has affected the local ecosystem:

Then there’s Kivalina, Alaska — an Inupiat community on one of the barrier islands that is threatened due to global warming.

Here’s an excerpt from an American Chronicle article: Kivalina: Washing away history
Kivalina, Alaska which is better known as K-Vills by it´s residents sits on an 8 mile long barrier island located between the Chukchi Sea, a lagoon and the mouth of the Kivalina river. It lies eighty miles northwest of Kotebue, Alaska. Life has become difficult in the small village since the melting permafrost- the permanently frozen subsoil- that once protected the island began melting.

Kivalina is a federally-recognized, traditional Inupiat Eskimo village whose subsistence activities, including whaling, seal, walrus, whitefish and caribou provide, most food sources.
In 2006, the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers concluded that because of global warming and the melting ice that the buildings´ failures soon would render the community uninhabitable.

The city of Kivalina and a federally recognized tribe, the Alaska Native village of Kivalina, sued Exxon Mobil Corporation, eight other oil companies, 14 power companies and one coal company in a lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco.

Kivalina is a traditional Inupiat Eskimo village of about 390 people about 625 miles northwest of Anchorage. It’s built on an 8-mile barrier reef between the Chukchi Sea and Kivalina River.

Sea ice traditionally protected the community, whose economy is based in part on salmon fishing plus subsistence hunting of whale, seal, walrus, and caribou. But sea ice that forms later and melts sooner because of higher temperatures has left the community unprotected from fall and winter storm waves and surges that lash coastal communities.

“We are seeing accelerated erosion because of the loss of sea ice,” City Administrator Janet Mitchell said in a statement. “We normally have ice starting in October, but now we have open water even into December so our island is not protected from the storms.”

Relocation costs have been estimated at $400 million or more.

The human cost of global warming on a people who had nothing to do with CO2 emissions. Of course, skeptics claim that there is no global warming, or if there is, it won’t be anything to be concerned about, and if there is global warming, we can adapt anyway, besides there’s nothing we can do about it that won’t be too costly to our way of life, or it’s due to galactic cosmic rays or 1,500 year cycles or it’s just fudging of data by leftist pseudoscientists who want one world government…

About Policy Lass

Exploring skeptic tales.

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