JANUARY 13th 2006
Dear Folks
NZClimate and Enviro Truth No 90 posed the following puzzle. Since I may have the answer let me first repeat it.
Recent corrections to the global temperature measurements in the lower atmosphere carried out by  Microwave Sounder Units (MSU) on  NASA satellites  have led to much greater agreement between these measurements and those obtained by amalgamating surface temperature measurements from weather stations and ships. Attached are the world maps for the temperature anomalies for November 2005 as now published by the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia at
and the similar map for the MSU NASA satellite measurements, published at
It will be seen that there are considerable similarities between the two maps.
In both maps
The hottest regions were Central Siberia and North America, although the MSU gives greater emphasis to Siberia.
The coolest regions were Alaska, the Mediterranean, India, the East Pacific, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica.
The differences were
East Africa was warm for "surface" but cool for MSU
Southern Indian Ocean was slightly cooler for "surface" and slightly warmer for MSU
The Atlantic and mid-Pacific were slightly warmer for "surface" and unchanged for MSU.
But, on the whole, we can now have considerable confidence that between them, the various methods of measuring global temperature are giving considerable agreement..
However,it is still clear that they do not agree with computer climate models based on the belief that the temperature changes are caused by an increase in greenhouse  gases. The following are the discrepancies
The models all assume that the greenhouse effect is situated in th lower troposphere. Any warming due to greenhouse gases should be greater there, so  the MSU measurements should warm more than the surface. Observations show both are similar..
The models predict increased warming, equally, at both the North and South Poles. The measurements show that the two poles are completely different. The North Pole  is warming the South Pole is cooling
The models predict much greater warming than is observed, and the only way they can get out of it is to assume a large cooling influence of clouds and aerosols, Since these are concentrated in the Northern Hemisphere, there should be greater net  warming in the South than in the North. The observations show the opposite..   
Now we have the following new paper in "Nature"

Keppler, Frank, John T. G. Hamilton, Marc Braß and Thomas Röckmann, 2006. Methane emissions from terrestrial plants under aerobic conditions. Nature Vol. 439, No 7073, pp. 187-191, January 12, 2006

Nature Editor's Summary:

“The unexpectedly high levels of the green-house gas methane over tropical forests, and the recent decline in the atmospheric growth rate of methane concentrations, cannot be readily explained with the accepted global methane budget. Now a genuinely surprising discovery provides a possible explanation for these phenomena, and may have implications for modelling past and future climates. It was thought that methane formed naturally only in anaerobic conditions, in marshes for instance. In fact living plants, as well as plant litter, emit methane to the atmosphere under oxic conditions. This additional source of methane could account for 10–30% of the annual methane source strength and has been overlooked in previous studies.”

The answer to the fact that climate models cannot simulate actual global temperature change  may be due to a fact I have been emphasizing for many years. The models all assume that greenhouse gases are "well-mixed" so the calculations can use an avefage.Greenhouse gases are, however,  NOT   "well-mixed", so that temperatures cannot be adequately calculated by using AVERAGE greenhouse gas concentrations. You should use ACTUAL concentrations over the particular region.
This fact was evident in New Zealand from the early days of carbon dioxide monitoring, which was set up in a rural area (Makara) near Wellington. Readings were highly variable; attributed to "noise" and apparently different from "expected" values. The monitoring equipment was moved to Baring Head on the coast where consistent values could be obtained, provided that the samples were from the sea. Samples coming from the land were rejected because of "noise" (which may be defined as "unwelcome data").
World measurements are almost all from the ocean, often from remote sites. Coverage of major land masses and urban areas is sporadic, or largely ignored. Yet, surely, it is the concentration of carbon dioxide immediately above the region concerned that is affecting the temperature, not that over the ocean.
Now we have the same problem with methane. Again, most measurements are over the ocean, but it is beginning to be realised that actual local methane concentrations can be quite variable. Of course, we have very little data, but these local variations could explain my puzzle. Perhaps there are higher cxoncentrations of carbon dioxide and methane over the North Pole and the major  Northern Hemisphere land masses than the averages assumed in the models. It is already suspected that this kind of variability has existed always. Ice core measurements can be unrepresentative.
Of course, average methane concentrations in the atmosphere have apparently stabilised, so this present scare does not add any extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. It does cast into serious doubt current models supposedly relating emissions of methane to atmospheric concentrations, though.
This discovery will certainly change attitudes to "climate change", for it now appears that in order to reduce "global warming" you should not only cut carbon dioxide emissions, but you should also cut down forests, reduce agriculture,  drain wetlands. and cover the world with concrete.
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 aint so"
Josh Billings