Decline: Temperature decline 1940-78, the cold data-war

Posted by Frank Lansner (frank) on 18th March, 2010
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Next to the historic data war on the Medieval Warm Period, the data war on the 1940-78 perhaps stands as the most bitter and intense climate disagreement.

This is a follow up to the article: Temperature corrections of the northern hemisphere.

(Thanks to Bo Vinther – “neutral” in the climate debate - who was a great help digging up relevant data)


Changes of temperature data seems to occurs in several areas: Temperature station data, balloon temperature data, SST data, tree ring data, program fudging, cheery picking of data by scientiests, cherry picking of scientists by IPCC etc.etc.

Fig 1.

What happened to the great temperature decline 1940-78?

How did version A of 1940-78 temperatures change into version B ?

Fig 2.

This little quote is interesting because when IPCC defends cutting tree graphs from 1960 mostly, then the argument is :

“Fall in tree ring data matches real temperatures 1940-60, but after 1960 the fall in “real” temperatures cannot match tree ring data”.

But, in the quote in fig 2, 1964-74 is described as the sharpest temperature drop.
In general, the biggest differences between old pre-1980 temperature sets and new post-1980 temperature sets are located in the years 1958-78. For some reason, just when satellite data starts in 1979, the differences get smaller. No one really corrects temperature data far from satellite data, it seems… - and then we have the argument: “Land temperatures matches Satellite data”.

The present article is a follow up on THIS article where we presented the difference between temperature data from mid 1970´ies, Newsweek/NCAR/NOAA/NAS/National Geographic and then recent CRU temperature data, Northern Hemisphere:


To make some points below I need to mention the Raobcore temperature measurements. These are balloon based temperature measurements that begins in 1958. The Raobcore measurements thus covers around half of the decline period 1940-78. How about the quality of Raobcore surface temperature measurements? – The stunning match between Raobcore and satellite measurement is a tremendous proof of quality balloon data as well as satellite data:

Fig 4.

So it is truly defendable to regard the Raobcore measurements as a high quality product telling us about temperatures all the way back to 1958. The best illustration of Raobcore data before 1979 made easy available on the net is the Tropics 30S-30N – Steve McIntyre presented these data here:
(All temperature data sources shows more cooling in the NH than the SH for 1940-78, and therefore using tropic in stead of NH Raobcore temperature data is not increasing the cooling in data 1940-78).

Fig 5.

As usual in the climate ”science” we see that the most recent versions of adjusted data happens to show more warming trend. But still, Raobcore is dynamite. We know that all sources of temperature data confirms steady temperature decline 1940-58, but Raobcore confirms the ongoing significant fall of temperatures 1958-1978. We cannot see the whole decline 1940-1978 from Raobcore data, but for 1958-60 we see same level of temperature as in the 1990´ies.
- And just after 1958, the North pole in 1959-62 looked like this:

Fig 6.

Now lets go back to the National Geographic, “Mathews 1976” temperature set.

Fig 7.

The Mathews 1976 / national geographic temperature graph are Recorded changes of annual mean temperature of the northern hemisphere as given by Budyko (1969) (temperature data 1880-1960)

- and as updated after 1958 by H. Asakura of the Japan Meteorological Agency using 1958-75 temperature data by Angell and Korshover.

It appears that temperature data used by National geographic 1976  is based on peer reviwed data.

First lets take a look at the years 1958-75, Angel and Korshover. In fact the writing above lists temperature data sets from 4 different scientific writings. Notice the almost identical slope for all 4 Fig 8, and then the nice match with Raobcore Fig 9:

Fig 8 + Fig 9.

In all cases incl. Raobcore we see trends that confirm temperature decline 1958-75 around 0,3-0,4 K, roughly estimated.

The Korshover data is taken from 63 radiosonde stations around the globe:

Fig 10.
I dare say this work is indeed showing results from a larger absolutely serious and professional project. Impressive.

Budyko data up to 1960 is gathered monthly temperature anomalies carries out by the Main Geophysical Observatory.

Stitching Budyko and Korshover: It so happens, that the two datasets has a minor overlap period around 1958-60. Fortunately in both temperature sets around the overlap years 1958-59 appears are rather constant, and therefore the stitch appears pretty straight forward, not truly risky.

It seems that Korshover uses the same zero anomaly as Budyko, since the 2 data sets “melts” together when stitching for same zero anomaly (but I cant see what baseline years the zero anomaly is defined for).

The correctness of the stitch is further supported: We can have rather high confidence in the temperature trend of 0,3K 1958-75 as shown above from 5 data series. Therefore the resulting graf must have 1958-59 around 0,3K higher than 1975. The 1958 (and 1959) points of Koshover data is right on the trendline and therefore appears solid to use. Any significant error from the stitch should most likely come from using a wrong point at the Budyko graph.

The stitching is further supported, see fig 14. Hansen (1980) has approximately the same trend of data 1957-65 as National Geographic. Hansens trend changes significantly from NG mostly after 1965.


Fig 11.

Addition: There are 3 points where you could stitch Budyko and Korshover, 1958-59-60.

The1958 and 1959 korshover points are spot on the trend graph and thus represents the overall Korshover (and Raobcore etc.) far best. The 1960 point of Korsover is far longer from the trendline and thus represents korshover poorly. The Stitch wa carried out by the Japaneese Meteorological institute, and their apparent chocie o 1958 seems logic and correct.

UPDATE, Stitch confirmed by Yamamoto 1975 NH surface temperature:

No doubt, the stitch is where National Geographic 1976 data might be attacked by the critics, but as I´ve explained it looks like a rather reasonable stitch.

From Mitchel 1961 we find another temperature dataset that (with some minor deviations)appear to confirm the Budyko results:

Fig 12. (Global data, not NH - but SH has smaller temperature decline than NH 1940-78, so this does not explain this decline.)
Mitchel has temperature decline 1940-58 around 0,26 K.

So all in all with other data sources (Newsweek/NCAR/NOAA etc.) mentioned, ”Mathews 1976” appears to be a rather valid piece of science based mostly on peer reviewed work, in agreement with Raobcore data which eventually confirms the temperature decline roughly 0,4 K from 1940-78.

So why cut the tree graphs and thus hide the FULL 1940-78 decline?

Fig 13.

Finally. Lets checkout what Hansen did to his data set, GISS.

It appears that Hansen in the early 1980´ies did not use the above data, except for the Mitchel graph that ends in 1960.

Hansen had high quality Raobcore measurements for his disposal, The 4 series incl Korshovers 63 radiosonde stations, all data that yielded a common trend of approximately – 0,3 K 1958-75, but heres Hansens new data:

Fig 14.

For the years 1958-75 Hansen/GISS (1980) only finds a temperature decline of approximately 0,07 K (red) in stead of the 0,3 K decline (blue) from Raobcore, Korshover etc.
Hansen/GISS 1980:

Fig 15.

Hansen/GISS 2007:

Fig 16.

Fig 17. (NG 1976 is of course NH data whereas Hansen/GISS is global)

And we remember:



Here Steve McIntyres comparison of mostly GISS graphs. I added the 1980 GISS from fig 15:


See more:


Now from Appinsys:

 - not only did Hansen alter the trend 1940-75, he also made a HUGE adjustment around 1975-80, much more warming trend in 2007 compared to 1981.

Tip from Tonyb / Watts Up with that, CIA confirms cooling / 1974

Other Articles by Frank on WATTS UP WITH THAT/Jo Nova

Last changed: 20th March, 2010 at 20:39:05



Forcing By Unknown on 25th March, 2010 at 12:45:29
Thanks for the reply Nicolai. Indeed, the point I was making is that the forcing + water-vapour feedback has a loop-gain of > 1. Also, any moderately large heating could trigger runaway warming - it wouldn't have to be CO2. Those criticising the elimination of the MWP and LIA from temperature proxy graphs do so because these events show that present-day temperatures are not unprecedented, and that large warmings and coolings occurred in the past. However, it must be obvious than ANY warming period similar to that since the end of the LIA would trigger runaway warming.

The argument rages around Arctic ice, ocean "acidification" (it's alkaline of course!) and other "effects". All that's needed is to show that the "positive feedback" basis of the IPCC models is flawed, and I think that's been done, as the results from the ERBE satellite study shows. To suggest that the Earth's climate system can't cope with an increase of 0.7C and will reach a "tipping point" is ridiculous in my opinion.

That's quite apart from the tampering with historical temperature data, and the assumption that CO2 levels were much less than those of today during the 19th century. Chemical analysis data shows a range of 350-400 since that time. Why was THIS ignored? That's a rhetorical question of course, we here know why a lower figure was chosen.
I think you're right, Tony By Nicolai Skjoldby on 25th March, 2010 at 00:56:30
Positive co2 feedback theory has many problems, and I believe you pointed out one. If I understand you correctly, (and please correct me if I'm mistaking something), the problem here is:

If 1 unit co2 forcing creates a netto positiv feedback from water vapor, by warming up the oceans, and if the positive feedback is larger than the initial 1 unit, then the co2 is no longer needed to sustain the new temperature level (and in that case we have to remove more than 1 unit co2 forcing to get back to temperature before).

But what is even more puzzling to me is this:
If agw theory assumes that NETTO feedback continues to be positive after 1 unit forcing, for instance at 400 ppm or 600 ppm, then we are obviously in a classical runaway situation. I remember something called loop gain, and if the loop gain is over 1 we are having a wild runaway, which would be the case if netto feedback from 1 unit co2 forcing was >=1.
So lets be realistic. So far the oceans has never been boiling, even though we have had co2 levels over 9000 ppm. And I wonder if the climate system isn't dominated by negative feedback, as most natural systems are.

PS: I will probably move this post and yours as well to an article regarding feedback or co2 theory when I get back to my desk next week.
Best regards
Getting used to it.... By Unknown on 24th March, 2010 at 01:14:24
That last post was from me - I hadn't realised I hadn't logged in.

Tony Price
Am I Missing Something? By Unknown on 24th March, 2010 at 01:08:30
I have a question on GHG forcing - I hope someone can provide an answer. Assume CO2 provides 1 unit of forcing, which in turn triggers a water-vapour forcing of 5 units (I haven't got the IPCC report to hand for data). This of course results in 6 units of forcing. If there's a negative feedback of 1 unit, that results in 5 units. If however, it were possible to just remove all the CO2 forcing (I know that's not possible, this is hypothetical) wouldn't that also result in a net 5 units of forcing? That implies that there's no way of stopping the runaway effect. In which case why all the discussion about reducing emissions by 20% or 30% if cutting them to zero would have negligible or at least no measurable effect?

I would add that I've read widely on the whole theory of the "greenhouse effect" as promoted by the IPCC report and its contributors, and it seems to me that the whole thing is flawed. Satellite observations appear to show that it can't work in the way that all the diagrams show, that H2O and CO2 don't just absorb SOME of the relevant frequencies, and that the absorptive system is currently saturated.

Is my logic on forcing too simple? I can't see that any other conclusion can be arrived at.
No, mr "C", its not CRU global, its CRU NH .... By Unknown on 21st March, 2010 at 19:12:52
"c" you write:
"Even worse you compare Mathews 1976 *Northern Hemisphere* with global CRU. That's an invalid comparison."

Where do you get the idea from that its CRU global that we compare with Mathews NH???? Its CRU NH 2006 (Brohan)we compare with Mathews NH! It also states this in the text. Its a DIRECT 1 : 1 NH comparison.
K.R. Frank Lansner
This is the stuf that history is made of! By Unknown on 21st March, 2010 at 18:51:26
Excellent work! I was just reading a sycophantic blog about Hansen and his latest book (a MUST for those who want the TRUTH!) - I've recovered enough to see the screen and I'm just about able to type without breaking the keyboard or kicking the cat.

Keep it up.
but By Unknown on 21st March, 2010 at 06:17:59
Hansen 1981 looks like it is showing global temperture from met stations - no oceans. The later graphs on the otherhand (eg hansen 1987) do include ocean. So they are not comparable.

Second Hansen et al 1987 compare their temperature record with Angell and Korshover's (figure 16) and there is no obvious difference.

In any case Hansen and Phil Jones do not have any control over the data here, they are just showing what it shows. Even the raw station data shows 1940s-1970s cooling was slight, so it cannot have anything to do with necessary adjustments they make.


Why didn't you compare Mathews 1976 with GISTEMP *Northern Hemisphere*? Mathew 1976 is afterall Northern Hemisphere, so why don't you even show GISTEMP Northern Hemisphere?

Is it because GISTEMP Northern Hemisphere contains the decline you want to pretend Hansen has omitted?

Even worse you compare Mathews 1976 *Northern Hemisphere* with global CRU. That's an invalid comparison. Apples and oranges.

You do it again with the radiosonde data - the data only covers the tropics yet you compare it with global surface record.

And again with the submarine photos. The arctic is not the globe anymore than the tropics are.

FACTS & FICTION By Unknown on 20th March, 2010 at 11:10:35
Thank you, Frank, for this site and for helping us uncover the facts beneath the climate scandal.

Climategate has already revealed an international alliance of politicians, scientists, publishers and news media that promote science fiction as scientific facts. This includes government research agencies - NAS, NASA, DOE, EPA, etc. - our most prestigious science journals - Nature and Science - and news sources - BBC, PBS, CBS, NBC, NY Times, LA Times, etc.

For decades I thought the deception was limited to a few scoundrels in NAS and NASA who wanted to avoid evidence that the Standard Solar Model is obsolete:

Now I realize that this deception and misuse of NASA and DOE was necessary in order to claim that Earth's heat source is steady and not the cause of climate change.

Again, Frank, I appreciate your efforts.

With kind regard,
Oliver K. Manuel
Emeritus Professor
Nuclear & Space Studies
Former NASA PI for Apollo

By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 21:14:40
Excellant post keep up with the good work.
Encyclopaedia Brittanica 1974 By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 21:05:22
Yup I have one, never threw it out. The climate article is extensive, talks repeatedly about the "current cooling trend" and has a global temperature graph that ends in 1960. It is even broken up by latitude. Scanned it in, have a look. If there is anything else in the article that might be of use to you just let me know:
Hi tony! By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 18:57:30
Looks interesting, your link - i will check it out more, thankyou!!
K.R. Frank Lansner
Steve, What you wish.. By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 18:52:45
you will find in fig 3. Its actually NH CRU 2006 (Brohan) compared to Mathews 1976 (Budyko up to 1958-59).
K.R Frank Lansner
Yes I read budyko wrong By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 18:01:13
Yes, I mixed up the ref to the temperature with the ref to the solar data. The Budyko temperature data sounds like it is more widespread.

Since there is a relatively good fit between the HadCRUT land data for the globe and the Budyko data, and there is also separately a good fit for the 1958-onwards period and the other data for the world, this splicing of the two datasets is certainly key.

But it surely seems unlikely that it would be possible to "hide" a decline that spanned the two year period that just happened to be when these two datasets overlapped. Particularly as the volcanic eruption seems to have had a much different effect on the global and hemispheric temperatures.

It would still be interesting to see what the NH version of HadCRU land data looks like as compared with Budyko.
By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 16:38:26

That 1958 to 1975 period you have identified is interesting. In the UK the 1960's was the coldest decade since 1900 and none of the years 1960 to 1974 inclusive had a year above a mean average of 10 c (fifteen consecutive years)

1962/3 was the third coldest in the entire 1660 to present CET record. even 1974 and 1975 only struggled to a fraction over 10C, as did 1983. So we had a long run of cooler temperatures from 1960 to 1988 with only three years fractionally above 10C.

This was the period that Lamb also identified.

By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 16:25:23

If it helps with your calculations I carry many of the older temperature data sets in my web site here

The ups and downs of temperature cycles I have written about before-See the articles within the body of the web site.

Dr Hansen certainly seems to have been selective in the dates he chose to start Giss records, missing the peak in temperatures immediately prior to 1880 which would affect the overall trend.

I am checking through Steves references and your own reply to him so am fascinated as to where this leads.

No Steve, you have read wrong in Budyko: By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 15:54:43
Steve, you write: "The stitching between Budyko and Korshover is *not* valid, because Budyko is a selection of "Europe and American" stations whereas Korshover is more widespread."

But in Budyko the only place that i see he talks of specifically US and UK stations are for his solar curve that i do not use here.

And then som bonus info:
It is H. Asakura of the Japan Meteorological Agency who did the stitching - not me. I just try to analyse if it looks ok, and I think it does :-)

Here are Europe temps corrected for UHI (Balling 1997), see decline 1940-75:

Here are US temps corrected for UHI (Karl and Jones 89), see decline 1940-75:

In this graph you see a number of proxies and more verifying the decline 1940-75:

Above, see WANGS CHINA multiproxi also verifying the decline 1940-75.

GReenland temps - interesting since GReen is almost free of UHI - again decline 1940-75:

And then the CRU tree graphs showing the decline:

And finaly, if you question Budykos┬┤s part of the decline, please remember, that the decline 1940-58 is to a large extend accepted everywhere. Its not the 1940-58 that creates my headlines.

See also Mitchel 1961, (that Hansens uses to begin with) , it covers the Budyko years, and is rather similar:

No, Steve, the EPICENTRE of the missing decline in temperatures is what happends 1958-75. Why Raobcore rapid fall in temps is not matched by GISS etc. (But matches Korshover and all the above examples) . This is the "bomb".. :-)
K.R. Frank LAnsner
Inappropriate stitching By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 14:46:24
The stitching between Budyko and Korshover is *not* valid, because Budyko is a selection of "Europe and American" stations whereas Korshover is more widespread.

If you look at US temperatures over the same period, you see the Budyko's 1940's peak and 1970's cooling.

Central England Temperature also has a warm 40's-50's but a cool 1970's.

In short, Budyko does still seem to be in line with current Europe and American temperatures. Obviously, we don't yet know what stations Budyko used.

Since the CRU and GISStemp data includes the data in the US and England plots I've linked to, it suggests that the CRU and GISStemp data is still consistent with Budyko.

it suggest that the Europe and American warmth was not global, and therefore that it is wrong to assume that the Korshover data would have included a 1940's peak warming.

Obviously, I am not looking at the data with the anything like the same degree of detail, but I would expect that initially, other interpretations should be assumed before being confident of your analysis.

I suggest that you plot an objective choice of Europe and American surface stations, selecting from those which in the 1960's had the longest histories, as Budyko did. Then compare that with Budyko, and see what those stations did after 1970.

Steve Milesworthy
temperature decine By Unknown on 18th March, 2010 at 10:29:48
Another very nice article Frank. I do have a sense of Deja Vu, because as someone who primarily looks at this from a historic aspect I had believed (wrongly) that everyone was aware of the warming period in the 1920's/1930's and the subsequent decline you have highlighted here. No matter how often people like you or me make reference to it then the past becomes forgotten and new hysteria breaks out!

Having just finished re reading Hubert Lambs book 'Climate History and the Modern World' it is obvious that he took this cooling period as completely factual and made many references to it. He wrote that book in 1982 so it covers up to the same period you identify.

He revised the book in 1994 and obviously remained sceptical of mans impact (but was pleased at greater environmental awareness)

I think that you may have identified that the climate figures for that period may have been heavily 'adjusted' and climate history rewritten, as a substantial down turn in temperatures has been changed to nothing more than a slight 'blip'.

This 'adjustment' has other consequences of course. I have previously written of the cooler 1970's which led to a high level of arctic sea ice which coincided with the advent of satellite measurements in 1979. The subsequent ice decline is therefore from a peak and has reverted to a level seen in the 1930's and 1850's amongst many other periods. In other words it is not 'unprecedented.'


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