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ClimateMovie Fact Check: Exaggerated warming in the Northern Hemisphere land record

08 May 2024 | Science Notes

Next up in our look at Martin Durkin’s Climate the Movie: The Cold Truth we get to the claim that not all the weather records are showing the same amount of warming. Ross McKitrick of the University of Guelph says: “You look at the weather balloon records, the satellite records, the rural records, the ocean records don’t warm nearly as much as land. All these indications show that the big warming pulse in the records is the northern hemisphere land record, and that’s also where most of the data contamination is happening.” We asked Professor McKitrick if he could show us the numbers, which he did. Fact check: true.

McKitrick writes:

“A good comparison of rural and urban warming is in Soon et al. 2023. This is their comparison of the combined rural and urban record for the Northern Hemisphere land surface (left) and the rural-only record (right). You can clearly see the faster trend in the combined series. Based on the different numbers of stations in each subsample we can estimate that the urban warming is about 1.7 times the rural warming.”

Now there really is only one explanation for that phenomenon and it’s not CO2.

McKitrick continues:

“The next comparison comes from looking at the land and ocean records from the UK Climate Research Unit. I snipped the Northern Hemisphere land, Southern Hemisphere land and global ocean warming rates and this is what they look like when put on the same scale”:

Thus, he observes:

“From 1980 onward the NH land record warms about 1.2 degrees compared to about half that in the SH land record and out over the ocean. Then the weather balloon record looks like this”:

In this chart:

“The blue line is the lower troposphere record averaged over 5 weather balloon records and the red line is what climate models predicted on average for the same period. From 1980 to 2020 again you have about 0.6 degrees warming compared to 1.2 degrees in the NH land record.”

Once again there seems to be something odd about the Northern Hemisphere land record compared to other sources, and treating it as a stand-in for overall global temperature is at best careless and at worst either ethnocentric or tendentious.

McKitrick then offers one more data series, the weather satellite record for the lower troposphere:

“The black line is the average model prediction, the thin gray lines are individual model predictions and the thick dark line is the satellite record showing about half a degree of warming. So overall the record that stands out is the Northern Hemisphere land record and it is dominated by urban warming.”

Which validates Durkin’s claim in the movie that:

“Evidence from multiple sources now agree that the official global temperature record, as used by world governments and reported in the world’s media, is showing far too much warming over the last hundred and twenty years, artificially inflated by urbanisation.”

Naturally the usual suspects are therefore calling the movie a “festival of misinformation” and a “propaganda video… promoted by x, far-right politicians, & journalists who ignore the fact checks” in an attempt to improve the tone of the debate and the quality of its content. But no amount of hot mud can change the cold truth: yet another of our fact checks confirms the accuracy of the movie.

2 comments on “ClimateMovie Fact Check: Exaggerated warming in the Northern Hemisphere land record”

  1. I watched that movie, real science as opposed to Al Gore's fairy tale. In the category of climate modeling and the art of motorcycle maintenance I can report that, as an avid rider, I knew that it is always warmer in the city and in the Northern hemisphere it is always cooler on the east side of a hill! Riding into work on summer mornings I learned to where plenty of cold weather gear for those east side freeze outs!

  2. The movie was awful and so is this article
    I call it science fiction
    Conservatives celebrating the science fiction in the movie was very disappointing to me, a libertarian opposing the leftist's CAGW scaremongering for the past 26 years.
    It was movie filled with myths, deceptions, character attacks and ignored contrary data.
    One main goal was to convince viewers that manmade CO2 emissions do nothing, which almost 100% of climate scientists have disagreed with since 1896
    There is no UHI affecting the oceans, which warm slower than land due to higher thermal inertia. Greenhouse gas increases have a negative greenhouse effect for Antarctica
    Both facts mean the SH will warm less than the NH, where the Arctic warms a lot compared with no warming of Antarctica since the 1970s, or earlier.
    The claims of less rural warming are contradicted by the rural USCRN weather station network set up by NOAA in 2005
    The warming rate for the USCRN since 2005 was +0.34 degrees C. per decade, higher than NOAA's nClimDiv US network that is mainly non-rural weather stations (+0.27 degrees C. per decade. The claims about rural stations are deliberately ignoring these contrary US data.
    It can also be noted that USCRN warming per decade of +0.34 degrees C. and the global average warming since 2007, of +0.3 degrees per decade, both meet the average CMIP climate model prediction for a +0.3 degree C. per decade warming rate, which the IPCC claims will be catastrophic. Meaning that people have been living with a catastrophic warming rate for almost 17 years globally, or almost 19 years in the US, and no one even noticed.
    That's a climate emergency?
    I loved the warmers winters here in SE Michigan.

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