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« Suppressing the good news | Main | Splitters, deniers, and circular firing squads »

Holthaus thoroughly maued and knappenburgered

With all the stories of unprecedented weather in recent weeks it's important to observe that none of these claims ever seem to be accompanied by any historical context.

One of these stories has of course revolved around the warm weather at the North Pole. While much amusement was had at the hapless journalist from Time magazine who mistook the settlement of North Pole, Alaska for the actual North Pole, there is no doubt that the pole proper did experience a short burst of unseasonably warm temperatures, bringing the inevitable claims of impending apocalypse from the usual suspects. 

Kudos then to Ryan Maue of Weatherbell for making available his dataset of estimated temperatures for the Pole and to Chip Knappenburger of Cato, who has published the figures as the graph below.

Apocalypse cancelled.


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Reader Comments (26)

My New Year's prediction: Alarmists will continue to make sure that the facts never get in the way of a good scare story.

Happy New Year to all non-alarmists.

Jan 1, 2016 at 11:03 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

London Overground wish all their customers a Happy New Year and are pleased to announce that all services are running normally at the North Pole;-)

Jan 1, 2016 at 11:58 AM | Registered Commentersuffolkboy

A prof (missed who it was) gave a very nice explanation for spikes in arctic air temperatures on R4 Today a few days ago: storms are "the" way (probably should be one of the ways) that heat moves from the equator to the poles, the end result being short spikes in polar air temperature before the heat is dissipated.

Jan 1, 2016 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

Unprecedentedly warm Christmas Day here in southeastern U.S. Just like in 1966.

History began when these narcissists were born.

Jan 1, 2016 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterGamecock

Strange how data bursts these alarmist scares......

Jan 1, 2016 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

I also noticed that the BBC was touting a model prediction rather than an actual event. Does anyone know what actually happened?

Jan 1, 2016 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

** North Pole stayed way below zero according to the Telegraph's UPDATE on bottom of page

Update 31/12/15: After this story was published, James Morison, of the NPEO, responded to an enquiry from the Telegraph, to say the NPEO's own estimate puts peak temperatures in the North pole region at -8.5°C,
He said the buoy closest to the Pole, at 87.5°N, 12°W, shot up from -37°C on the 28th to a maximum of -8.52°C at 3am on the 30th.
He said: "In summary, the forecast warming was qualitatively pretty good even though temperatures at the Pole didn’t reach up to the freezing point. In fairness the forecast front was very sharp so if it didn’t get quite as far north, that would explain temperatures at the Pole being significantly cooler than forecast."..
North Pole Environmental Observatory seem to confirm in this article
** Anyone got other confirmation of not above zero ?

BTW I notice Lewandowsky has been sending tweets all over the place
cos many media printed a photo of the "thawing" "melting" "unfreezes" ice at the North Pole ..and Lew knows for sure it's 24hour darkness there now. (/sarc)

Jan 1, 2016 at 2:44 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@Mikky They spoke of modelling cos there is no thermometer at the North Pole, the nearest is on a buoy 175 miles I think they are saying the NPEO lab always models the temperature for there rather than directly measures

Jan 1, 2016 at 3:12 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Yes Sandy, exothermic phase change.
Not exactly news.

Jan 1, 2016 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Silver

'North Pole above zero in January, you stupid deniers !' seems a typical comment in the US newspaper comments and Twitter

5amefa91 11:01 PM GMT+0800
It is above freezing at the North Pole.
In January.
There are only two kinds of global warming deniers left.
Liars and fools.
Many of the liars are handsomely paid by Big Oil, and whack-job oil tycoons, so they will persist in their lies.
But the time is coming when nobody will believe them anymore.

Jan 1, 2016 at 3:18 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

My New Year's prediction: A week from now we (and the Arctic) will be shivering in our beds. (all down to CC of course)

The Guardian headline will be some shock jock nonsense about it being cold in Winter. The scribble will include something about a team of 'scientists' who predicted that CC would cause the Winter to become cold... Round and round it goes.

Jan 1, 2016 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

3x2, the Grauniad will admit it is cold, but the wrong sort of cold.

Jan 1, 2016 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Holthaus would not be a challenge for a 5 yr old primary school student. He is a complete nutjob

Jan 1, 2016 at 5:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

3x2, the Grauniad will admit it is cold, but the wrong sort of cold.

It just becomes so tedious. It's as though, collectively, we have lost the ability to marvel at our wonderful World. Everything, right down to the core of the Planetary food chain (CO2/water/radiation from The Sun), has to be some kind of guilt ridden apology for owning an iPad. Sad, sad and more sad.

Back to your comment... Winter is, generally, cold. It's what distinguishes it from what we here call 'Summer' where it is, generally, 'warm'. I need to get myself a well paid job at 'The Guardian', I'm much better than D'nuts they employ currently.

Jan 1, 2016 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered Commenter3x2

Happy New Year everyone

@3x2, Jan 1, 2016 at 6:47 PM

Back to your comment... Winter is, generally, cold. It's what distinguishes it from what we here call 'Summer' where it is, generally, 'warm'.

Back to your comment... In Scotchland Winter is, generally, cold. It's what distinguishes it from what we here call 'not winter' where it is, generally, 'a bit less cold'. Some years we also have a short season, typically 5 to 20 days we call "summer" which we celebrate by taking off our jumpers.


I see Cameron and the whips have blackmailed/bribed Rory Stewart to support "Green crap" and blame the floods on Global Warming. I thought Rory had more backbone.

I wonder what secret the whips threatened to reveal? With Hague's about turn on the EU the blackmail secret is already know and accepted, I assume there is worse still hidden.

Jan 1, 2016 at 7:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterPcar

“… none of these claims ever seem to be accompanied by any historical context …”.
Professor Humlum’s climate4you website has a page devoted to polar temperatures.
The monthly surface air temperature anomalies (HadCRUT4) graph for the Arctic (70-90oN) since January 1920 indicates (eyeballing) no overall trend: MonthlyAnomaly Since1920.gif

Jan 1, 2016 at 8:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterChristopher Hanley

@ stewgreen at 2:44 PM

Here's the actual data from that Airborne eXpendable Ice Buoy (AXIB ) ID 132472:

The min. temp measured at 03:00 - but not sure which time zone. 10 hours later the air temp had dropped by 17.57K to -26.09 degC.

Jan 1, 2016 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Little Miss-Understanding in action

The "Related" link at

Jan 1, 2016 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnother Ian

In th UK, two hot days don't make summer, they make an unprecedented heatwave.

Jan 1, 2016 at 8:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

In th UK, two hot days don't make summer, they make an unprecedented heatwave/

Like a January thaw 500 miles from the North Pole ?

Jan 2, 2016 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterrussell

So no one can show me an official source that confirms the North Pole temp jumped above zero

Seems the Washington Post is quoting some buoy as the one that went above zero, yet it stopped giving measurements shortly after.
Whereas another buoy close to the first (miles) says it got only to -8.52C and are on the record speaking that the North Pole didn't get above zero.

Why would anyone run with an anomalous measurement from just 1 source ?

Jan 2, 2016 at 5:25 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Chip - it's a big deal because we are dealing with hysterics.

And where's wwussell when most you need his expertise?

Jan 2, 2016 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Any one know the temperature at the North Pole for this date in 1800 ? ,
Actually no one know this becasue becasue there is no available measurements, indeed you can say that this remained the case until after the second world war , worth remember that it in this war the jet stream which is consider to have a significant impact on the weather was 'discovered' partly as a results of air flights over the polar area.

If you cannot measure it you cannot know it only guess it , and claims of 'worst ever' based on little data of often poor quality do not take a 'guess' and turn it into a 'fact'

'It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.'
Richard P. Feynman

It is frankly amazing how far climate 'science' is form an ability to meet the requirements of Science 101 .

Jan 2, 2016 at 10:39 AM | Unregistered Commenterknr

No, Jeremy,

It's a big deal because it's a really big anomaly

Jan 3, 2016 at 5:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterrussell

Russell, a "really big" anomaly is what you get when a really big storm dissipates its remaining heat at the North Pole.

Jan 3, 2016 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikky

It's a big deal because it's a really big anomaly


Jan 3, 2016 at 10:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterwert

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