New German/Russian Temperature Reconstruction Shows No Correlation With CO2

A new temperature reconstruction carried out by a team of German/Russian scientists has yielded interesting results. It finds no correlation over the last 400 years between atmospheric CO2 and the temperature in the Arctic regions studied.

Yuri Kononov of the Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow and Michael Friedrich of the Institute of Botany, University of Hohenheim collect tree samples of Scots pine in the Khibiny Low Mountains of the Kola Peninsula in Arctic Russia

Recall that CO2 concentrations have been rising steadily since the start of the Industrial Revolution, 1870, yet the press release starts with:

Parts of the Arctic have cooled clearly over the past [20th]century, but temperatures have been rising steeply there since 1990.

Rising since 1990? That’s more than 100 years after the start of the Industrial Revolution. The press release continues:

The reconstructed summer temperature on Kola in the months of July and August has varied between 10.4°C (1709) and [peaking at] 14.7°C (1957), with a mean of 12.2°C.  Afterwards, after a cooling phase, an ongoing warming can be observed from 1990 onwards.

The temperature fluctuated between 10.4°C  and a peak of 14.7°C in 1957 , and then cooled until 1990. The scientists say it correlated very well with solar activity until 1990. Then beginning in 1990, the temperatures started to rise rapidly again. Does anyone see a CO2 correlation there? I don’t.

The only time we have a correlation between CO2 concentrations and temperature is from 1990 until…? Unfortunately the press release does not even mention that.  Until today? 2005? 2000? It really is annoying that they didn’t specify the end of the time scale. If the reconstruction was only up to 2000, then we are only speaking about a 10-year period – a completely meaningless time period. Even 20 years would be highly dubious.

I called UFZ early this afternoon here in Germany to try to find out, but the secretary said that all scientists had already left for the weekend.


UPDATE! The German press release now has the following graphic. The dataset ended 2001! The press spokesman just told me on the phone. So there was warming from 1990 until 2001!  As you see, the graphic iteself is misleading. It almost looks as if the curve goes until 2010.

Press spokesman Tilo Arnhold informed by telephone that the dataset goes only up to 2001, yet the press release graphic clearly shows a curve beyond 2001. Graphic Source: Stephan Boehme/UFZ

Interestingly, also, the graphic shows warming since 1650.


The press release also states:

What stands out in the data from the Kola Peninsula is that the highest temperatures were found in the period around 1935 and 1955, and that by 1990 the curve had fallen to the 1870 level, which corresponds to the start of the Industrial Age.

The temperature fell to 1870-levels by 1990? Wait a minute – the CO2 theory say it’s supposed to go up, and not down.

The team compared their Kola region data to Swedish Lapland and the Yamal and Tamimyr Penninsula temperature reconstructions: Here’s what they found:

The reconstructed summer temperatures of the last four centuries from Lapland and the Kola and Taimyr Peninsulas are similar in that all three data series display a temperature peak in the middle of the twentieth century, followed by a cooling of one or two degrees.

Cooling from the middle of the twentieth century until 1990. Cooling!

Concerning Yamal, it is no surprise that it’s out of the ballpark because that dataset was not handled scientifically, see Yamal-gate
(Keith Briffa cherrypicks tree rings to get the temperature reconstruction he wants to see).

So if it’s not CO2, then what could be driving temperature?  The press release goes on:

What is conspicuous about the new data is that the reconstructed minimum temperatures coincide exactly with times of low solar activity. The researchers therefore assume that in the past, solar activity was a significant factor contributing to summer temperature fluctuations in the Arctic.

The only mystery left is why was there was a sudden increase in warming from 1990 until 2001? The scientists believe it has to do with local factors. Clearly it isn’t CO2.

23 responses to “New German/Russian Temperature Reconstruction Shows No Correlation With CO2”

  1. DirkH

    The scientists are living in a cult; they know CO2 and temperatures don’t correlate well but they can’t speak out.

    1. pgosselin

      Have you seen the headlines in the German papers? They are all hollering about “the rapid temp increase since 1990!”

      1. DirkH

        Usually the only german source i use is FTD for German financials. For all the rest i used to use the BBC but i don’t trust them anymore; their quality has deteriorated in the last 10 years, not only concerning AGW. So today i’m using blogs and google news.

        The german news market is so small and insular. And my prediction stands: 6 months from now Der Spiegel will announce that the radiative physics of CO2 have been misunderstood. Why in 6 months? Simply: All the blogosphere talks about it now; and Der Spiegel has a lag time of 6 months. The other magazines will follow after that.

        So set your alarm clock, January 2011.

  2. Ed Caryl

    I grew up in the forests of the NW USA. I don’t believe you can extract temperature from tree rings. Solar activity? Yes. Rainfall? Yes. Length of growing season? Probably. Trees respond to light and moisture. A tree growing in the shade of another grows slowly. The trees around another tree grow up, die, fall, and thus affect the tree’s growth. Trees on the north side of a hill grow more slowly than those on the south side. Many things can change the light and
    moisture a tree receives, and thus the growth
    rate. Temperature is the least of these.

    1. pgosselin

      You’re probably right, but this time I like the reonstruction so much that I think tree-rings are probably useful after all.

      1. DirkH

        Don’t dismiss dendrochronology because of Mann and Briffa. They used selected samples from the Schweingruber network AFAIK. Schweingruber is a real dendrochronologist.

        Schweingruber, F.H. (1990) Anatomie europäischer Hölzer – Anatomy of European woods.

        It looks to me like Schweingruber was interested in how trees grow, how forests develop etc, and that other people found his samples interesting for their hockey stick manufacturing.

  3. Pointman

    You couldn’t make it up but then again, the Alarmists are. Thank you quisling MSM.


  4. theinquisitor

    Trees cough out C02, freezing temperatures in russia is an aggregate of -30c,
    1. they don’t have frozen russian ships up there
    2. too bad russia does have summer
    3. they think its frozen queen ice palace or something
    4. too bad germany’s too far south, not near enough unlike the turkish navy, spying.
    5. have you heard of the results of russian public education?
    6. i heard if you live next to china, the end result is sulphur poisoning and global warming.
    7. and if you live next to turkey, its alot of warm-hot tempered people producing mass annihilation, mass-religiousity, bad mannered children, and fake turk community gangsterism.
    8. unfortunately, frozen russian ships can be found in a northern tip near finland. and the artic regions found in the southern hemisphere, can’t be reached sailing from north to beyond!

  5. DirkH

    And one more idea about why the data ends at 2001. I know nothing about dendrochronology but i know that after felling a tree and cutting it to pieces you let the pieces rest for several years if you can. Reason is to let the wood dry out. So the humidity of the living tree tissue probably distorts the tree ring width in the most recent rings.

    Just an idea.

  6. Bob Koss

    Certainly, something isn’t copacetic with the graph.

    I did a pixel level comparison and 2001 doesn’t even reach 13C. The center of the graphed line ends somewhere between 2005-2006. The line itself is about 3 years in width.
    Reply: Ideal for the press to use – however they’d like. -PG

  7. John Blake

    This is precisely the celebrated Michael Mann’s deceitful technique applied to “hide the decline.” As time goes on –say through 2015– cumulative discrepancies will expose the whole extraordinarily corrupt and fraudulent enterprise.

    Pseudo-science Cargo Cultists’ “climate studies” notoriously employ selective data, spurious analytical techniques, preconceived conclusions. But are they truly so foolish, so short-sighted, as to think they can play these games indefinitely? Nature takes her course… now as Earth enters on a probable 70-year “dead sun” Maunder Minimum similar to that of 1645 – 1715, the Green Gang’s Luddite sociopaths will find their prevarications overtaken by events.

  8. Derek

    Excellant piece and well made clear points.
    Following comments so far also excellant.

    I do like the picture of the researchers with the very heavy sampling equipment – Was there a Starbucks nearby…

    What no Little Ice Age…
    Weren’t the 1990s cool, and the 1950s hot…
    Ed Caryl wrote,
    ” I don’t believe you can extract temperature from tree rings. ”

  9. rc

    Could they have spliced on the temperature record for that location at the end?

    Might be easy to check if it’s similar or not.

  10. Doug in Seattle

    I suspect the reason the graph extends beyond 2001 is that the authors smoothed the data and forgot to truncate at the ends of the data.

  11. papertiger

    then there is Helliker, B.R. and S.L. Richter. 2008. Subtropical to boreal convergence of tree-leaf temperatures. Nature 454: 511-514.

    To keep their green factories at this ideal temperature, trees heat up their leaves in cold weather and cool them down in hot climes. Mammals and birds, the so-called “warm-blooded” animals, also manage to maintain a constant internal temperature regardless of the environment. But we do it by burning fuel to generate their own heat. Trees use a different strategy; they keep their leaves at a constant temperature solely through manipulating physical processes like the evaporation of water and the reflection of light.

    In hot conditions, leaves release water, which cools them as it evaporates from their surface; effectively, they sweat. Leaves can also hang at low angles where they catch less of the sun, or rebound some of the heat away with reflective hairs. In colder conditions, trees tend to bunch their leaves closer together, which reduces the rate at which individual leaves lose heat. It’s the same principle that makes mittens warmer than gloves and huddled penguins warmer than stray loners.

    These adaptations have enabled trees to colonise the planet, across its many different environments. But the idea that they could help trees to regulate the temperature of their leaves is a new one. Some other studies provide support the conclusion. One found that the leaves of conifers on a chilly American mountain were about 5-9C hotter than the surrounding air. Another team took thermal images of a Swiss forest and found the canopy to be 4-5C warmer than the cool alpine air.

    The new results fly in the face of an historical assumption that the conditions inside a tree’s leaves are coupled to those of the air around them, in both temperature and humidity. Many climate scientists use the oxygen ratios of tree rings to reconstruct the ambient temperatures of past climates. But this approach relies on a close match between the temperatures of leaves and air, a match that this new study calls into question.

    Excerpt from Not Exactly Rocket Science

    1. DirkH

      Looks like the blog you link to is virus-infested. Might be a false alarm or not… just wanted to warn people.

      -PG; Which blog?

      1. papertiger

        It’s kind of interesting. I wonder if it’s just the one blog or if all of science blogs are infected?

  12. DirkH

    The link behind the text “Not Exactly Rocket Science”
    – as i said, might be a false alarm from my virus watcher. Avira; says: TR/Script.474 – trojan.
    Avira is pretty paranoid. Sometimes too paranoid.

    1. papertiger

      Where the link comes from isn’t important.
      Here try this one.
      Surprise: Leaves Maintain Temperature, new findings may put dendroclimatology as metric of past temperature into question – Watts up with that?

      The important thing is trees maintain their own internal temperature, which explains why Mike Mann’s hockeystick handle is so flat. Along with Dirk’s revelation of unseasoned wood being fluffed up by water – which explains the upswing in the blade.

      It’s all hokus pokus. The shaft the blade every damn bit of it. Trees are not thermometers.

      1. KuhnKat

        What explains the flatness of Mike Mann’s hockeystick is averaging a ton of data that probably isn’t temperature proxies. Averaging a whole bunch of dissimilar numbers removes any details of what you started with Viola!! flat handle. The blade itself comes from selecting proxies that actually match, to some extent, the current temperature trend and heavily weighting the in the overall reconstruction because they alledgedly are BETTER proxies than the rest!!

  13. Lucy Skywalker

    Ed Caryl said “Solar activity? Yes. Rainfall? Yes. Length of growing season? Probably.”

    Alerted by this paper, I did an overlay of their temp recon on the Wikipedia solar cycles graph, and correlation with the Hale cycle was very apparent to me. So I posted this at CA (understandably deleted, OT to develop science on an audit blog) but also at Tallbloke’s talkshop
    – and he has elevated it to its own thread with a better graph that shows the Hale cycle. Thanks Pierre for the alert.

    1. pgosselin

      Glad to have been of help! Thanks.

    2. Ed Caryl

      It’s obvious to anyone that has looked at more than a few stumps. Ask any Tree Faller.

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