Skip to content

Lamb On UHI In The Arctic

March 11, 2015
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood  


I came across this snippet in Hubert Lamb’s “Climate History and The Modern World:




Apart from his assertion that it is a nonsense pretending you can measure global temperatures to hundredths of degrees, I was struck by his observation about polar sites.

Not just the heat island of polar camps and bases, but also the exaggerated effect on them caused by temperature inversions and light winds.

It should be a reminder to take the temperature data that we are presented with for Arctic and Antarctic stations with a heavy pinch of salt.

  1. Terbreugghen permalink
    March 11, 2015 12:28 pm


    It occurs to me that the same logic that holds temperatures in the arctic to be extra sensitive would suggest that human habitation in those zones would have a disparate impact. Imagine what the introduction of fossil fuel energy into those areas has done. Since the end of the 19th century, we’ve imported massive amounts of heat and CO2 to indigenous arctic populations that never had them before. Has this question been addressed? Why does arctic climate sensitivity only refer to sub-arctic populations?

  2. TonyM permalink
    March 11, 2015 12:39 pm

    Whether the temperature can be measured to one-hundredth of a degree or not is almost irrelevant when you consider that some physicists and mathematicians have questioned whether an average global temperature actually exists in a chaotic and complex thermodynamic system that is not in equilibrium; or even if it did exist, no one knows how it could possibly be calculated. See for example, Gerlich and Tsecheuschner, “Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 Greenhouse Effects Within the Framework of Physics”, available here:

    This is a long and complex paper but you can skip to the conclusions at the end around page 92 of the PDF file to get a good summary of what these physicists have concluded about the whole global warming issue and its associated climate models.

    • March 11, 2015 6:44 pm

      Hi Tony
      The problems of change from observation station to observation station can be overcome by looking at the rates of change in degrees C or K / annum at each station and then averaging those rates of changes [for various periods] in a globally representative sample.
      Setting those results in K/annum out against time gives the acceleration / deceleration in K/annum2

      Do this exercise for these results obtained for minima for a global sample of 54 weather stations, balanced by latitude and 70/30 @sea /in-land

      last 40 yr last 34 yr last 24 yr last 14 yr
      MINIMA change °C/yr 0.004 0.007 0.004 -0.009

      or these from 10 stations in southern Africa:
      last 40 yr last 34 yr last 24 yr last 14 yr
      MINIMA change °C/yr -0.028 -0.019 -0.020 -0.043

      What correlation do you get for a quadratic function?

      1) R2=1
      2) R2= 0.9997

      Which simply proves that earth is cooling and CO2 has nothing to do with it…

      On its own the exact figures look meaninglessly small, yet together they make a picture….

      One can only hope that the quadratic is part of a sine wave and that it will pull up again….

  3. March 11, 2015 6:01 pm

    May be more interesting. In a paper 1982 Lamp provides a graphic account of the winter temperature deviation in the decade 1921-30 (minus winter 1911-20) and with the centre east of Spitsbergen (+6°C). Lamb indicates that this region, together with the Norwegian Sea, seems to be the most sensitive to climatic variations.
    __The images (re-done):
    __Source: Lamp, H.H. (1982 ); in: Louis Rey, The Arctic Ocean , „The Climate Environment of the Arctic Ocean“, Comite Arctique International, p. 148,

  4. Dave N permalink
    March 11, 2015 11:00 pm

    I expect surface temperature trends would be important in the Arctic, as long as there’s no significant change to “urbanisation”. Then again, it’d be far better just to use satellite measurements.

  5. Richard111 permalink
    March 12, 2015 1:19 pm

    This layman is baffled by so called Arctic warming. I find sea water radiates at least 30% more energy than the equivalent area of ice during the winter period. Surely this is a cooling effect?
    Anyway, found your Lamb snippet at the top of page 259.

    • March 12, 2015 1:49 pm

      Hi Richard

      Your “sea water” radiation is irrelevant or at least very small compared to what energy comes [is allowed] through the atmosphere. This varies>: first you have to try and understand that there are longer term solar/weather cycles that regulate the amount of energy coming through the atmosphere:

      there are only a few people who really figured out what controls the Gleissberg 87 year cycle and the 210 year DeVries cycle as evident from my results and those of others [before me].
      To quote from my final report:
      Chemists know that a lot of incoming radiation is deflected to space by the ozone and the peroxides and nitrous oxides lying at the TOA. These chemicals are manufactured from the UV coming from the sun. Luckily we do have measurements on ozone, from stations in both hemispheres. I looked at these results. Incredibly, I found that ozone started going down around 1951 and started going up again in 1995, both on the NH and the SH. Percentage wise the increase in ozone in the SH since 1995 is much more spectacular.
      I had now already found three exact confirmations for the dates of the turning points of my A-C wave for energy-in. The mechanism? We know that there is not much variation in the total solar irradiation (TSI) measured at the TOA. However, there is some variation within TSI, mainly to do with the more energetic particles coming from the sun. It appears (to me) that as the solar polar fields are weakening,

      more of these particles are able to escape from the sun to form more ozone, peroxides and nitrogenous oxides at the TOA. In turn, these substances deflect more sunlight to space when there is more of it. So, ironically, when the sun is brighter, earth will get cooler. This is a defense system that earth has in place to protect us from harmful UV (C).
      Most likely there is some gravitational- and/or electromagnetic force that gets switched every 44 year, affecting the sun’s output. How?

      That is another question but perhaps not relevant to your question/comment

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: