13TH MAY 2004
My Emails have been buzzing with the news of the article in the M6 edition of Nature, that the satellite-based MSU record of global temperature has been corrected so that it agrees with the surface record. The title and abstract are as follows:

Fu, Qiang, Celeste M. Johanson, Stephen G. Warren and Dian J. Seidel, 2004. Contribution of stratospheric cooling to satellite-inferred tropospheric temperature trends. Nature Vol. 429, No 6987, pp. 55-58, May 6, 2004

From 1979 to 2001, temperatures observed globally by the mid-tropospheric channel of the satellite-borne Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU channel 2), as well as the inferred temperatures in the lower troposphere, show only small warming trends of less than 0.1 K per decade (refs 1–3). Surface temperatures based on in situ observations however, exhibit a larger warming of 0.17 K per decade (refs 4, 5), and global climate models forced by combined anthropogenic and natural factors project an increase in tropospheric temperatures that is somewhat larger than the surface temperature increase. Here we show that trends in MSU channel 2 temperatures are weak because the instrument partly records stratospheric temperatures whose large cooling trend offsets the contributions of tropospheric warming. We quantify the stratospheric contribution to MSU channel 2 temperatures using MSU channel 4, which records only stratospheric temperatures. The resulting trend of reconstructed tropospheric temperatures from satellite data is physically consistent with the observed surface temperature trend. For the tropics, the tropospheric warming is 1.6 times the surface warming, as expected for a moist adiabatic lapse rate.

NATURE Highlights

Global warming: Model answers

A paradox that has cast doubt on the validity of climate models, and on the wisdom of taking policy decisions based on their predictions, has finally been resolved. There is now near-universal agreement, even among climate-change 'skeptics', that temperatures have been rising at the Earth's surface. This warming can be explained largely by the increase of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. But according to climate models, if the surface is warming, the lower atmosphere (troposphere) must be warming too, and 20 years of satellite measurements show no evidence of tropospheric warming. An explanation for this discrepancy is now at hand. A significant fraction of the microwave signals received by the satellites' detectors comes from the stratosphere, which has been cooling in recent decades as a result of the insulating effect of greenhouse gases. Remove the stratospheric contribution from the equation and the troposphere is found to be warming at a rate consistent with the surface warming.

In publishing this article Nature  abandoned all principles of scientific coutesy and the practice of "peer review" by failing to submit the paper to the originators of the MSU data for comment. They have been forced to reply by publishing on the web, and it is still unclear whether Nature will give them a chance to support their data.


Here is the reply of Roy Spencer, as published in (

You will note that he refutes the claims of Fu et al. and claims that his team have already made necessary corrections.The record is confirmed, anyway, by its close agreement with radiosonde measurements

That is not all, however.There is an unfortunate assumption that the recent (1979-2004) MSU temperature record can be regarded as showing a steady linear increase. As I show, this is very far from true.


NASA global satellite temps

It will be seen that from 1979 to 1997 there were several ups and downs, but with an overall downwards trend. At this time the greenhouse enthusiasts complained that the record was not long enough to be regarded as significant. Their opinions suddenly changed after the large upwards blip in 1998 which enabled them to argue that there was now an overall positive trend since 1979, so this supported greenhouse. However, the 1998 blip in the MSU was greater than a similar blip in the surface record. If the arguments of Fu et al are correct it should be contaminated by stratosphere cooling, and so be less that the surface record. Also, most people seem to agree that the blip is due to El Niño and not to greenhouse gas increases from 1979 to 1998 which the greenhouse models want us to believe.

After some negative territory from 1999 to 2002 we now have an upwards period from 2002 to 2004, I have not yet heard whether this is yet anothet El Niño. If it is, there is no reason to suppose any overall upwards temperatures from the MSU not attributable to "natural" causes. If this short period of only two years is to be attributed to greenhouse gases, then why have carbon dioxide emissions been static over the period?

Then, as pointed out in Newsletter 44, the overall MSU trend is the same as the surface trend anyway for those regions where the surface measurements are least likely to suffer from upwards bias; the large industrial countries. You have just got to develop some doubts for African and ocean measurements, plus an acceptance of urban warming, to reconcile the whole system.


Maybe it is not so bad after all.

Report: Global warming not so bad
Wednesday, May 12, 2004 Posted: 1:25 AM EDT (0525 GMT)
SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) -- Australian scientists have found the Earth may be more resilient to global warming than first thought, and they say a warmer world means a wetter planet, encouraging more plants to grow and soak up greenhouse gases.

"The global water cycle has changed in response to greenhouse emissions," almost 100 Australian greenhouse scientists said in an annual statement on their research received on Wednesday.

"As the world warms it is, on average, getting wetter," said the scientists, who met recently under the banner of Australia's Cooperative Research Center for Greenhouse Accounting.

A wetter and cloudier world would see more plants and more photosynthesis to counter greenhouse gases and also mean less evaporation as less solar radiation reaches the Earth.

"Contrary to widespread expectations, potential evaporation from the soil and land-based water bodies like lakes is decreasing in most places," the scientists said.

An increase in trees and shrubs in the world's grasslands in recent decades was a major counter to greenhouse gases, they said.

"Forests, farms and grasslands across the world absorb significant volumes of greenhouse gases. They have the potential to absorb more, ameliorating climate change.

"Properly managed, they could buy time for the world's people to make the major reductions in greenhouse emissions from power generation, industry and transport that will be required to reduce the damage from climate change."

If you still worry why not buy a plot in Northern Canada or Siberia. When the world warms they should be worth a fortune.

Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax (064) 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that ain't so"
Josh Billings