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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2016

 By: Ken Gregory

 

CliSci # 249      2016-12-30

 

Comparing Two Estimates of Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity

Empirical estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) can be obtained either by using measurements of short-term radiation changes at the top of the atmosphere during the satellite era or by using long-term changes in heat content and forcings from near the start of the instrument period (typically 1860), both in conjunction with a simple energy balance model. Most estimates utilized a global energy balance model where all quantities are global and annual averages.

Ray Bates estimates ECS using a two zone energy balance model, where the radiative responses in the tropics (30 N to 30 S) and extratropics are estimated separately, and the dynamic heat transport from the tropics to the extratropics are explicitly estimated. He used observations of the radiative response as reported by Lindzen and Choi [2011] and Mauritsen and Stevens [2015]. The radiative response is the change in the net upward longwave plus shortwave flux at the top of the atmosphere per change in the surface temperature. He chose likely ranges of the three parameters and finds that the calculated ECS is tightly constrained, with a likely range of 0.85 °C to 1.28 °C. The best estimate is 1.02 °C, which is the median of estimates calculated from the midpoints and ends of each range of the input parameters.

An alternative method to calculate ECS is to compare the long-term temperature change between two time periods to the difference between the change in the forcing and the rate of heat uptake. A study by Lewis [2015] used this method and found that the ECS best estimate is 1.45 °C. I criticized this estimate for not considering the urban warming effect on the temperature record and the natural warming from the Little Ice Age. Correcting for these effects reduces the ECS best estimate to 1.02 °C, with a likely range of 0.75 – 1.35 °C. The estimation method by Bates is not affected by the urban warming or the millennium warming cycle as it utilizes only short-term satellite-measured flux changes. The two methods give identical ECS best estimates and similar likely ranges, which gives high confidence in the results. Note that the likely upper estimates are below the lower bound of the IPCC likely ECS range of 1.5 to 4.5 °C, which means that the climate models are wrong. These estimates imply that continued CO2 emissions will cause a temperature increase of about 0.57 °C from now to 2100.  See the Bates paper here and my adjustment to the Lewis estimate is here.

 

Polar Bear Populations Fail to Decline With Sea Ice

Some major news media have recently been spreading the prophesy of polar bear doom. There have been various predictions by polar bear experts that polar bear populations will decline significantly due to declining sea ice. A US Geological Survey 2007 report said “Our modeling suggests that realization of the sea ice future which is currently projected, would mean loss of ≈ 2/3 of the world’s current polar bear population by mid-century.” Dr. Susan Crockford say that the summer sea ice extent since 2007 have been about that which was predicted to occur by mid-century, but polar bear populations have not declined as predicted. There are “lots of fat healthy bears everywhere across the Arctic, in what were considered by USGS biologists to be the most vulnerable regions…”. Dr. Crockford says “the experts were wrong. Polar bears have not been driven to the brink of extinction by climate change, they are thriving.”  Western Hudson Bay polar bear numbers have not declined since 2004. Most of the Southern Beaufort polar bears (>60) spend their summers out on the polar ice, and those that come ashore show no increased mortality and no change in reproduction rates. See here.

 

The ‘Ocean Acidification’ Narrative Collapses By New Scientific Evidence

A review of recent literature on ocean acidification by Ken Richard shows that “higher CO2 levels (and higher sea temperatures) have little to no effect on growth rates or survival for the species tested. In fact, it has been found in some cases that elevated CO2 benefits ocean-dwelling organisms, meaning that they thrive and prosper in these conditions.” A paper by Wei et al. 2015 shows that the pH level in the South China Sea varies from 7.77 to 8.40 since 1850. These values change by plus or minus 0.2 to 0.5 pH per decade. Modeling calculations show the average oceanic pH level may have decreased since 1800 by about 0.1 since 1800. The proxy studies show that the acidity in the Western Pacific has declined by 0.07 to 0.08 pH over the last 200 years, or about 0.0037 ph/decade, which is about one percent of the measured decadal pH change rates. A paper by Uthicke et al. 2016 reports that sea urchins near vent sites thrived under extreme CO2 condition five time normal. They grew twice as fast as those away from the vent site. Vicente et al, 2016 reports that siliceous sponges are not affected by higher CO2 level or higher temperatures. Moore, 2016 reports that a pH reduction of 0.3 pH causes a net beneficial impact on the calcification and growth of calcifying marine species. Richard says studies have shown “that corals are quite resilient, and can adapt quickly to large environmental changes well beyond the range of recent and projected climatic conditions.” See more here.


 

 

CliSci # 248      2016-12-18

 

Ocean cycles are responsible for the much of late 20th century warming and missing warming since 2000

This article by Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt highlights four new papers that show natural oceanic cycles have a major effect on global climate change. Meehl et al. 2016 finds the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) explains 75% of the difference between the median climate model trends and observed trends during the period 1971 to 1995. Chikamoto et al. 2016 demonstrated that the remote impact of Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies contributed to the eastern Pacific cooling from 1990 to 2013. Barcikowska et al. 2016 succeeded in integrating the ocean cycles in model simulations. The model’s derived component substantially shapes its global climate variability and is tightly linked to multidecadal variability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Dai et al. 2015 shows that the IPO explains most of the difference between observed and model-simulated 20th century rates of decadal temperature change. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is similar to the IPO except for the area of analysis. The PDO is north of 20° N and the IPO is 50°S to 50°N. See here.


Why Climate Models Disagree on Global Temperature Variability

A paper published this month in Geophysical Research Letters investigates why climate models display a very wide range of “unforced interdecadal temperature variability”. Unforced variability is just climate science jargon for natural climate change caused by ocean cycle forced by indirect solar forcings. Ocean cycles in the tropical Pacific including ENSO have a large influence on global temperatures, but this study shows that this is not the reason for the large disagreement in the climate models. The spread in the models is strongly linked to the spread of natural variability over high-latitude ocean convection and sea ice concentrations. The authors say efforts to improve climate model performance “would be best served by focusing on the simulation of air-sea interaction at high latitudes. See here.

 

A Paleo-perspective on Ocean Heat Content

A paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews, Rosenthal et al, reviewed proxy records of water temperatures from sediment cores and corals in the equatorial Pacific and northeastern Atlantic Oceans over that last 10,000 years. The records show that the oceans at 0 to 700 m depth were 1.5 to 2.0 °C warmer during the Holocene Thermal Maximum than in the last century. The oceans cooled by 0.9 °C from the Medieval Climate Anomaly to the Little Ice Age. These temperature changes are much larger than documented during the instrument period since 1950. The authors suggest that “dynamic processes provide an efficient mechanism to amplify small changes in insolation into relatively large changes in the ocean heat content.” An article by Kenneth Richard shows annotated graphs from the paper that indicate the insignificance of the post 1950 temperature changes compared to the large temperature changes prior to 1950, implying that natural climate change overwhelms the influence of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. See the open access paper here. See a review of the paper by Kenneth Richard here.


Temperature Fluctuations in Greenland and the Arctic

A paper by Don Easterbrook reports on the temperature fluctuations revealed by the Greenland ice cores. The temperatures measured using oxygen isotopes in the ice are dated from annual dust layers. The abstract says “In the past 500 years, Greenland temperatures have fluctuated back and forth between warming and cooling about 40 times, with changes every 25–30 years. Among the more prominent climate changes recorded in the ice cores are 8500 years of Holocene temperatures that were 2–5°F [1.1–2.8 °C] warmer than present”. The temperature record shows many periods of warm and cool climates. “At least three warming events were 20–24 times the magnitude of warming over the past century, and four were 6–9 times the magnitude of warming over the past century. The magnitude of the only modern warming that might possibly have been caused by CO2 (1978–2000) is insignificant compared to the earlier periods of warming.” See the abstract here.


Constant CO2 Emissions Lead to Constant CO2 concentrations

An article published by physicist Dr. Clive Best argues that if global CO2 emissions were held constant, the airborne fraction of emissions would decline to zero, and the CO2 concentration in air would stabilize.  This contradicts the wide-held belief that we must decarbonise the world’s economy to stabilized CO2 concentrations and stop climate change. Clive says “In other words if the world can hold emissions constant at say 30 GT CO2/y then sinks will increase to balance all annual emissions. Thereafter CO2 levels would remain at below 440ppm indefinitely, so long as emissions remain constant.”  The origin of the false belief is Figure 10 of the AR5 Summary for Policy Makers. The figure is wrong because contrary to the assumptions of the figure, carbon sinks are not saturating, the CO2 forcing is logarithmic, not  linear, and past emissions do not stay in the atmosphere forever. About half of our CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere, and this air-borne fraction hasn’t changed at all in 100 years, despite exponentially increasing emissions. Natural carbon sinks are increasing dynamically to offset our emissions, but they can’t catch up with the ever increasing rate of emissions.  When emissions are held constant, the sinks will be able to catch up to balance our CO2 emissions, and the airborne fraction will decline. See here.


Expensive Offshore Wind Farm Becomes Operational

The Block Island wind farm is a 30 MW capacity facility off the Rhode Island coast. It consists of five large offshore wind turbines and became operational on December 12. The wind farm cost US$300 million, or $10,000/kWh, which is 10 times than the cost of a new natural gas combined cycle unit. The wind farm will be selling its electricity at US$0.24/kWh, or about CND$0.32/kWh. For comparison, the Alberta average pool price for the month of November was CND$0.0163/kWh.  This article by the Institute for Energy Research concludes “Offshore wind is a very expensive proposition that finds a home only where electricity is expensive.” See here.


Western Hudson Bay had 1030 Polar Bears

Susan Crockford writes on her blog that western Hudson Bay (WHB) was the home for 1030 polar bears at last count in 2011, but a scientist has been telling reporters that the number is only 800. The 1030 number was from an aerial survey of the total area; the 800 for less than half of the area. In 2009, the WHB subpopulation was estimated at 935 individuals (range 791-1079), based on data collected in 2004. There has been no population decline since the previous count in 2004. “Reports this summer and fall that there have been lots of bears onshore in WHB (and that bears were in good condition when they came off the ice), suggest there has been no decline in numbers since 2011.” See here.


 

CliSci # 247      2016-12-06

 

Climate and the Solar System

Past Friends of Science director Albert Jacobs writes about the substantial solar influence on earth's climate. He writes, "the influence of the sun and the solar system has been proven to be far more complex" than just the total solar irradiance recognized by the IPCC. Solar research includes variations in the "solar wind", the behaviour of the solar dual dynamo, the effects of conjunction and opposition of the major planets orbiting the sun, and the influence of the variations in solar radiation on the Galactic Cosmic Ray flux, which affects worldwide cloud cover. The larger planets may influence the sun’s tachocline that controls the solar magnetic cycles and thus its various influences on earthly climate. See here.


Coldest decade in Europe: 1430s

A paper published in the journal Climate of the Past with the rather long title “The 1430s: a cold period of extraordinary internal climate variability during the early Spörer Minimum with social and economic impacts in north-western and central Europe” used tree rings, ice cores, lake sediments and historical documents to shows that 1430s had very cold winters and springs. Historic documents show that cold times bring death, starvation, disease. The paper investigated the climate over the period from 1300 to 1700. The Sporer Minumum is a period of extremely low solar activity that occurred from 1421 to 1550. Joanne Nova reviewed the paper here.  She write the authors “admits they don’t understand the mechanism of solar forcing which may include solar UV, or energetic particle flows.” Climate models run over the period cannot match the climate record because they do not include the indirect effects of solar changes. The authors wrote that the extreme cold led to “harvest failures in many places in northwestern and central Europe. These harvest failures led to rising food prices and consequently subsistence crisis and famine. Furthermore, epidemic diseases raged in many places. Famine and epidemics led to an increase of the mortality rate.” See DailyScience here.


The Sun-Climate Connection: 107 Scientific Paper so far in 2016

Kenneth Richard published a listing of 107 papers published in science journals that confirms the Sun’s influence on climate change, including the previous item. Here I highlight a few others. Luening and Vahrenholt, 2016 write, “Millennial-scale climate variability is a globally well-established Holocene phenomenon described for all oceans and continents. … The amplitude of the observed temperature fluctuations is often more than 1°C and thus has a similar or even greater range than the warming that has occurred since the Little Ice Age. … The amplitude of the observed temperature fluctuations is often more than 1°C and thus has a similar or even greater range than the warming that has occurred since the Little Ice Age.”  A paper “Earth climate identification vs. anthropic global warming attribution” by de Larminat, 2016 says “the natural contributions (solar activity and internal variability) could in fact be predominant in the recent warming. … the natural contribution (solar and volcanic activities, plus internal variability) becomes clearly much greater than the anthropogenic contribution in the recent warming.”  Harde, 2016, writes “Including solar and cloud effects as well as all relevant feedback processes our simulations give an equilibrium climate sensitivity of CS = 0.7 °C (temperature increase at doubled CO2) and a solar sensitivity of SS = 0.17 °C (at 0.1 % increase of the total solar irradiance). Then CO2 contributes 40 % and the Sun 60 % to global warming over the last century.”  A paper by Scafetta, 2016, says “The quasi-secular beat oscillations hindcast reasonably well the known prolonged periods of low solar activity during the last millennium … The millennial cycle hindcasts equivalent solar and climate cycles for 12,000 years. … this modulated trending agrees well with some solar proxy model, with the ACRIM TSI satellite composite and with the global surface temperature modulation since 1850. … [R]esults clearly indicate that both solar and climate oscillations are linked to planetary motion”.  See here.


Another South Australia blackout

Our CliSci of October 15 reported a state-wide blackout in Southern Australia caused by the shutdown of several windfarms. Another blackout affecting about 200,000 customers occurred at night on December 1st when the state was  cut off from the rest of the national grid for about 3 hours. Wind power in South Australia was delivering only 100 MW of its (almost) 1600 MW nameplate, around 6.25% of total capacity, so demand exceeded the supply. The power outage damaged equipment at many factories.  Joanne Nova writes “The SA Government’s message to investors is pretty clear: don’t expect SA to provide reliable electricity.”  See here.


Global Coastal Sea Level Rise Only About 7 mm/Decade

A paper by  Beenstock et al., 2015 titled “Tide gauge location and the measurement of global sea level rise” evaluated the location of tide gauges and found that “the tide gauges in PSMSL [Permanent Service on Mean Sea Levels] constituted a quasi random sample in 2000 because their locations were independent of SLR [sea level rise] so estimates of SLR obtained from them are unbiased. The authors estimate of recent global mean coastal sea level rise ranges between 0.39 – 1.03 mm/year. This is much less than the estimates adopted by IPCC in its Fifth Review of 2.2 mm/year due to the use of imputed data in the IPCC’s estimate which cause a positive bias. Imputed data is made-up virtual tide gauge data where no tide gauges exist or using satellite altimetry. A paper by Morner, 2016, used tide gauges to estimate actual coastal sea level rise of o.o to 1.0 mm/year. He writes, “This implies little or no threat for future sea-level problems.”  Another paper by Parker and Ollier, 2016, says “Tide gauges provide the most reliable measurements, and best data to assess the rate of change.” The authors report that recent sea level rise is 1.04 mm/year, and that “the sea levels are slowly rising but not accelerating.” See here.


Climate Change Makes Sea Levels Fall, Not Rise; New NASA Study

The lead author of this NASA study explains that “because of growing demand for water, the surface of the Earth has become more parched, with less groundwater underneath. As a result, water from melting glaciers earlier believed to be causing sea level rise is said to "being absorbed" by lakes, rivers and underground aquifers, similar to the way a sponge absorbs water. Over the past decade, changes in the global water cycle more than offset the losses that occurred from groundwater pumping, causing the land to act like a sponge”. This means that previous fears that certain islands will be inundated in coming years can already be allayed. Marc Morano, responding to the study said, “There is no evidence of an acceleration of sea level rise, and therefore no evidence of any man-made effect on sea levels. See here.


 

CliSci # 246      2016-11-22

 

Impacts on the Alberta Electricity Market of the Climate Leadership Plan

EDC Associates Ltd. published an multi-client study of the potential impact on Alberta’s electricity market of Alberta’s climate plan. The study was sponsored by a Steering Committee representing 10 generators, 10 large customers, 2 transmission facility owners and a government agency. The study evaluated many policy implementation strategies and their impacts on CO2 emissions, electricity costs, system reliability and the general investment climate. Emissions and costs were compared to a base case following the Federal regulations of coal power retirement and to a case were coal is replace by natural gas. The cumulative cost of electricity from now to 2030 is expected to increase by $3.3 to $5.9 billion by 2030 depending on policy choices. Replacing coal with natural gas results in 10 Mt/yr CO2 reduction. Replacing 2/3 of coal capacity with 4200 MW of wind capacity (with natural gas providing the remaining energy) results in a further 3.3 Mt/yr reduction, so 75% of the reduction is due to using natural gas. The renewable energy certificate (REC) and transmission costs of the 4200 MW wind capacity is $9.34 billion resulting in a $352/tCO2 cost of CO2 reduction. Increasing wind capacity from 4200 MW to 7200 MW would cost an additional $8.2 billion to $10.8 billion, would cause wind to receive up to 68% discount to the pool price and make the system less reliable. The 32-page summary report is here. The full report can be purchased from EDCA for $5000. The report does not address the cost of stranded coal asset compensation, the reduction of net margins for coal generators, the loss of government revenue from coal royalty payments, or the effects of financing new generating capacity.


Trump Should Shine Spotlight on Shrouded Climate ‘Science’

The tuning of climate models is shrouded in mystery. A paper recently published in Science give insight to how the large disparity between modeled and actual temperature trends arose. Models must be adjusted because of their inability to simulate the multi-decadal temperature oscillations of the last 100 years. The science article says, “By writing up tuning strategies and making them publicly available for the first time, groups hope to learn how to make their predictions more reliable – and more transparent.” The paper says modelers had kept their fudging or “adjusting” secret for fear that knowledge of the adjustments would make the public less likely to believe their forecasts. See the abstract here. Dr. Patrick Michaels write, “Trump can do a great deal to shine sunlight on it [the adjustments]. First, as a condition of continued public funding, how about complete transparency? Modellers need to reveal all the “adjustments” in their model code that aren’t derived from basic physics and present them to the larger scientific community.” See here.


Climate Models for Lawyers

Dr. Judith Curry was asked to write an Expert Report on climate models for a lawyer audience. See here. Her key summary points:
•    GCMs have not been subject to the rigorous verification and validation procedures that is the norm for engineering and regulatory science.
•    There are valid concerns about a fundamental lack of predictability in the complex nonlinear climate system.
•    There are numerous arguments supporting the conclusion that climate models are not fit for the purpose of identifying with high confidence the proportional amount of natural versus human causes to the 20th century warming.
•    There is growing evidence that climate models predict too much warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.
•    The climate model simulation results for the 21st century reported by the IPCC do not include key elements of climate variability, and hence are not useful as projections for how the 21st century climate will actually evolve.


Characterizing the Urban Temperature Trend in Hong Kong from 1970 to 2015

A paper published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences analyzed the urban heat island effect in Hong Kong over the period 1970 to 2015. The authors reported that “the urban heat island effect led to the urban site being on average 0.87 ◦C warmer than the rural site over the past two decades.” They found that the increase in air temperature was “significantly associated with the increase in population, gross domestic product, urban land use, and energy use, with the R2 values ranging from 0.37 to 0.43.”  See the abstract here, and WUWT here.


Corals Survived Caribbean Climate Change

A study by scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute show that some corals “will continue to adapt to future climate changes because of their high genetic diversity.” The large genetic variations among different species of reef-building corals allow them to adapt to big changes in their environment. The scientists collected fossils from ancient coral reefs and used high-resolution geologic dating methods and genome sequencing to estimate current and past numbers of several Orbicella coral species. During a large cooling event 2 to 1.5 million years ago many species went extinct making room for other species and new species to occupy the space the others held. Carlos Prada, lead author of the study, says “It is likely that surviving such difficult times made these coral populations more robust and able to persist under future climate change.” See here.


Warming and CO2 Fertilization are Making British Columbia’s Forest Grow Faster

A study of British Columbia’s forests using a “process-based model” show that mountain pine beetle (MPB) outbreak that started in 1999 resulted in the forests sequestering less carbon dioxide over the 1999-2020 period, but the effect of warming and CO2 fertilization over the same period enhanced CO2 uptake by about 1.0 GtC, or three times as much. See the open-access article here and a Daily Caller article here.


U.S. Tornadoes Lowest Since 1954


NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center indicates that the total count for 2016 of US tornadoes are the fewest in a calendar year since record-keeping began in 1954. See NOAA graph here.  As of November 21, 2016 there have been 830 tornadoes in the USA. The 50th percentile count for all years since 1954 as of that date was 1260 tornadoes. Climate change is expected to reduce the number and severity of severe storms and tornadoes as it reduces the polar to tropics temperature gradient. The facts haven’t stopped alarmists who falsely claim that global warming has resulted in more tornadoes.   See WUWT here.  A graph of annual F3+ tornadoes in the USA to 2014 is here.


CliSci # 245      2016-11-10

 

Alberta Wide Rally

Friends of Science participated in four of the Alberta Wide Rallies held in eleven cities in Alberta on November 5. See  our page here to see pictures and text of some of our speeches. The rallies were against the governments climate plan and the carbon tax that is set to start January 1, 2017 at $20/tCO2, increasing to $30/tCO2 in 2018. The rally served as a start of a petition for a referendum on the climate plan. Information on the petition is available here, see Petition Drive.

The Stern Review Ten Years Later

Peter Lilley wrote about the Stern Review published in 2006 by Sir Nicholas Stern to support the British Governments policies on climate. Lilley says the Stern Review was neither independent or a review of current environmental economics. Stern said the benefits of emission reduction would be 5 to 20 times the cost, which contradicted the UN’s IPCC said the cost and benefits are “broadly comparable in magnitude”. Stern used near 1% discounting of the benefits of mitigating emissions centuries into the future, but used high discounting of costs to achieve those benefits. The Stern Review compared the cost of preventing future emissions above 550 ppm to the damages of all past and future emissions, which “is inexcusable”. Lilley writes “Stern’s conclusions still require undue sacrifices from today’s poor to make wealthier future generations richer still.  See here.

Battery Power Unviable Alternative to Traditional Energy Sources

Science Journalist Matt Ridley wrote an article in The Australian The Times showing that batteries are extremely expensive for storing wind and solar energy for use when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. He says 3.3 billion Tesla Powerwalls, which are powered by lithium-ion batteries, to supply a week of electrical demand in Britain at a cost of 8 trillion pounds (C$13.3 trillion). He says that a solar farm  uses more energy to build and operate than the energy it generates over its lifetime. See here.

Svensmark: Cosmic Rays and Clouds

Scientist Henrik Svensmark respond to a news story based on a paper from the CLOUD collaboration at CERN that suggests cosmic rays “do not significantly affect climate”. Svensmark point out that the paper is not presenting experimental results but a result of numerical modeling. He says the Sun makes natural experiments called “coronal mass ejections” that causes the cosmic ray flux decreases suddenly. Three satellite datasets show a large reduction in clouds occurring 5 to 7 days after a 15% decrease in the cosmic ray flux. Svensmark concludes “observations and experiments go against the above mentioned numerical model result. As I see it, something is missing in the prevailing theory.” See here.

Wind Farms Killing 80,000 Bats a Year in Britain

A study report in The Telegraph finds that on-shore wind farms in the United Kingdom kill about 80,000 bats per year. The risk of bat death increases by 18% for each metre of blade length. Some turbines kill 5 bats a month. The UK produced 3.7% of the global wind power in 2012, source. If the UK bat deaths extrapolate to world bat deaths, this implies the global deaths might be about 2.2 million bat deaths per year. See here.

Recent Pause in the Growth Rate of Atmospheric CO2 Due to Enhanced Terrestrial Carbon Uptake

An article published in Nature Communications reports “a decline in the fraction of anthropogenic emissions that remain in the atmosphere, despite increasing anthropogenic emissions.” This fact is in contrast with climate models that forecast an increase in the fraction of emission that remain in the atmosphere. The authors attribute this change to the increasing CO2 fertilization effect on vegetation and the slowdown in the rate of warming on global respiration. The oceans and the terrestrial biosphere remove about 45% of the CO2 emitted by human activities each year. Increasing CO2 has caused increased photosynthesis and the greening of the earth. There was a large increase in the CO2 atmospheric growth rate from 0.6 ppm/yr in 1960 to 1.8 ppm/yr in 1998 (based on best fit line) and the growth rate has stabilized at 2.0 ppm from 2002 through 2014 despite a large increase in emissions. See here.

Polar Vortex Shifting Due to Climate Change, Extending Winter

A study reported in the Washington Post argues that global warming could be making winters in eastern North America even longer. The study’s abstract says, “The wintertime Arctic stratospheric polar vortex has weakened over the past three decades, and consequently cold surface air from high latitudes is now more likely to move into the middle latitudes.” The study finds that the polar vortex has also shifted towards the Eurasian continent. Cooler March temperatures due to a shifted polar vortex could offset some climate warming from rising greenhouse gases, so it acts as a negative feedback to climate change. The polar vortex weakening is due to sea ice loss in the Arctic. Less sea ice allow more evaporation and more snowfall in mid-latitudes. The shift tends to result in more of a dip in the jet stream over the East Coast during March, which leads to colder temperatures. See here.


 

CliSci # 244      2016-10-28

 

Biofuels Cause Four Times More Carbon Emissions Than Gasoline

A report for the European Commission shows that soybeans grown in America have an indirect carbon footprint four times that of conventional diesel or gasoline. Biofuels have previously been criticized for causing food shortages because land used for growing food for people have been displaced by crops for biofuels. Soybeans in America cause 240 kg of CO2 per gigajoule of energy, compared to just 85 kg for gasoline. European rapeseed used to make biodiesel releases 150 kg of CO2 per gigajoule, which is 76% more than from gasoline. See here.

Observed and Simulated Fingerprints of Multi-decadal Climate Variability

The Journal of Climate published a paper that investigated the ~65 year variability of sea surface temperatures and atmospheric circulation observations. This variability is mostly in the North Atlantic but also occurs in the Pacific and India oceans. The researchers used a coupled climate model to show the variability is due to a zonally oriented atmospheric overturning circulation between the tropical North Atlantic and eastern tropical Pacific, and is tightly linked to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The paper suggests that the climate is transitioning to a cold North Atlantic phase. See here.

Matt Ridley: Global Warming Versus Global Greening

British journalist Matt Ridley gave the 2016 annual Global Warming Policy Foundation lecture at the Royal Society in London England on October 17, 2016. A video of the presentation is here. Ridley says that global greening is one of the most momentous discoveries of recent years. He refers to a paper published in April 2016 that reports CO2 fertilization accounts for 70% of global greening, which has added the equivalent of a green continent twice the size of continental USA. He also says that climate sensitivity is relatively low and there is no consensus that climate change is going to be dangerous. See his speech and slides here.

Modelling Both Water and Ice Clouds

A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research used space-borne lidar observations (a surveying system similar to radar using a laser) to evaluate the representation of clouds in a widely used coupled climate model. The researchers found that the model (called CAM5) on a global basis has “insufficient liquid cloud and excessive ice cloud when compared to the lidar observations.” Over the Arctic Ocean the model has “insufficient liquid cloud in all seasons”, at mid-latitudes the model has "excessive ice cloud" and "insufficient liquid cloud” and other deficiencies. Apparently, the representation of clouds in models have a long way to go to match the observations. See the abstract here.

Surface Solar Radiation, Modified By Clouds, Explain The 1980s-Present Warming

Three new papers show that global solar – cloud forcing was the dominate forcing of the 1980 to present warming. Small natural changes in cloud cover can have a major effect on the earth’s radiation budget. Cloud cover can change by changes in ocean circulation. A paper titled “Trends in global and diffuse solar radiation in Spain based on surface observations (1981-2012)” reports “The linear trend in the mean annual series of global solar radiation shows a significant increase since the 1980s of around 10 W/m2 over the whole 32-year study period. … these results point towards a diminution of clouds and/or aerosols in Spain since the 1980s.” The abstract is here.

A paper titled “The solar dimming/brightening effect over the Mediterranean Basin in the period 1979 – 2012” reports “The spatially-averaged NSWR [surface absorbed solar radiation] over the whole Mediterranean Basin [1979 – 2012 ] was found to increase … by +0.36 W/m2 per decade … The increasing trends in NSWR are mostly associated with decreasing ones in cloud optical depth (COD)“. The abstract is here. The third paper titled “Building global and diffuse solar radiation series and assessing decadal trends in Girona (NE Iberian Peninsula)” reports “Analysis of the series reveals that annual mean global irradiance presents a statistically significant increase of 2.5 W/m2 (1.4 %) per decade (1988–2014 period) … of the Iberian Peninsula … in agreement with the global brightening phenomenon. Diffuse radiation has decreased at −1.3 W/m2 (−2 %) per decade (1994–2014 period), which is a further indication of the reduced cloudiness and/or aerosol load causing the changes.” The abstract is here. Kenneth Richard reported these papers here.

Ocean Temperatures Control Glaciers in the Antarctic Peninsula

A paper titled “Ocean forcing of glacier retreat in the western Antarctic Peninsula” published in Science by A.J. Cook et al  found that between 1945 and 2009 the ocean temperature controlled the advance and retreat of glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula. Where the waters warmed, glacier retreat was observed, while in regions where the ocean waters cooled, glaciers were in balance or advancing. The authors conclude the assumption that atmospheric and surface warming (presumably driven by greenhouse gases) drives glacial advance or retreat is not supported by the evidence. See ScienceDaily here or NoTrickZone here.

Friends of Science Advertise Alberta Climate Plan Presentation

The Friends of Science published advertisements in the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun for presentations by me [Ken Gregory] about the Alberta Climate Plan. The advertisement which runs eight days in the print versions from October 20 to November 16, inclusive, includes a graph of the Canadian climate model that overestimates the global surface warming by a factor of four and suggests that CO2 emissions are net beneficial. See the Calgary Herald version here. This led to a radio interview by Peter Watts on the program “Talk to the Experts” to be aired Sunday, October 30 at 4 pm on News Talk AM770. Hear the interview here.


 

CliSci # 243      2016-10-15

 

The Published Books Listed at Friends of Science

The  “Scientific References” section of the Friends of Science website have a “Published Books” page that lists books that are skeptical of the IPCC view of climate change. The most recent books are;

  • "Human Caused Global Warming: The Biggest Deception in History" by Tim Ball
  • "Hubris: The Troubling Science, Economics, and Politics of Climate Change" by Michael Hart
  • "Environmentalism Gone Mad" by Alan Carlin
  • "Climate Change: The Facts" by Alan Moran

These books are available for under $10 at Amazon in Kindle format. See our Published Books page here

Low CO2 and the Sun Caused the Termination of Ice Ages

Donald Rapp resented a review of a paper by Ellis and Palmer (2016) which proposed that low CO2 concentrations and solar cycles cause the termination of ice ages. The paper shows that CO2 concentrations slowly falls during ice ages, eventually causing plant life to die resulting in grasslands of the high altitude Gobi and Taklamakan plateau regions becoming sand deserts. Large dust storms from these regions deposited dust on the large ice sheets decreasing their albedo.  Then increasing solar intensity due to the  Milankovitch cycles can melt the glacial ice leading to the termination of the ice age.  Rapp also reviews several other papers that only hinted at this effect. See here

End of the Little Ice Age in the Alps Forced by Industrial Black Carbon

Glaciers in the European Alps began to retreat abruptly in the mid-19th century, but reconstructions of temperature and precipitation indicate that glaciers should have instead advanced into the 20th century. This study shows that industrial black carbon in snow began to increase markedly in the mid-19th century. The increases in absorbed sunlight by black carbon (BC) in snow and snowmelt were of sufficient magnitude to cause this scale of glacier retreat. The paper concludes “The potential implication of BC deposition in the end of the glacial LIA [Little Ice Age] in the European Alps and the growing understanding of the magnitude of radiative forcing by dust and BC suggests that studies of past, present, and future changes in glacier mass balance should consider these albedo-driven changes to ensure physical consistency.“ The IPCC’s fifth assessment report  concludes that more than half of warming since 1950 was due to anthropogenic causes. That is doubtful, but a large part of the warming was due to black carbon on snow. A carbon tax does not reduce black carbon, which now come mainly from burning biomass. See here.

How Gaia and Coral Reefs Regulate Ocean pH

Jim Steele of the San Francisco State University wrote that “there are several lines of evidence demonstrating marine ecosystems are far more sensitive to fluxes of carbon dioxide from ocean depths and the biosphere’s response than from invasions of atmospheric CO2. There is also ample evidence that lower pH does not inhibit photosynthesis or lower ocean productivity.” He argues that rising CO2 increases photosynthesis which increases calcification. The current average ocean pH is 8.07, which is alkaline and 7.0 is neutral. Sixty million years ago the pH was 7.4 and increased to 8.2 twenty million years ago. Organisms determines how much CO2 is sequestered in the ocean surface layers and sent to deeper waters. Steele says that the calcification process that builds coral reefs also increases surface CO2 concentrations and lower pH to levels lower than expected by equilibrium with atmospheric CO2. This biological control of earth’s chemistry is the essence of Gaia theory. Coral reefs experience a daily pH range between 8.4 and 7.7 that is “an optimal balance that supports both photosynthesis and calcification!” See here.

Blackout: South Australia’s Wind Power Disaster Continues

A second state-wide black-out occurred in South Australia (SA) on September 28, 2016 after the November 1, 2015 black-out. The recent black-out occurred during a blustery storm that causes several transmission towers to fail. The system is designed to survive these disruptions without causing a state-wide blackout. SA’s 18 wind farms have an installed capacity of 1580 MW. They were producing about 1150 MW when an automatic shutdown of the several wind farms caused a grid killing 260 MW collapse of power. The interconnector to the state of Victoria faced increasing load that exceeded its limits and automatically shut down. This cascaded into a state-wide grid shut down. See here.

The World's Water Reservoirs Produce More Greenhouse Gas Than All Of Canada

Water reservoirs for hydro-electric power stations creates “the perfect conditions for microbes to generate greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane.  Man-made reservoir produce more methane than natural reservoir largely because they contain a lot of organic material when they are first flooded.  A review study found that man-made reservoirs produced the equivalent of one gigatonne per year of CO2 every year, which is about 25% greater than previous estimates. See here.

30 Peer-Reviewed Studies Show No Connection Between Climate Change and Hurricanes

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and many others falsely claimed that hurricane Matthew was strengthened by global warming. Ken Richard published a list of 30 peer-reviewed studies that indicate that there has been no trend in hurricane intensity or frequency in recent decades. Some of the statements in the recent literature are:

  • “The impact of climate change is seen in slightly decreased intensities in landfalling cyclones.”
  • “The global frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has shown a small, insignificant downward trend [1990-2014].”
  • “All of the counts, lifespans, and accumulated cyclone energy of the late-season typhoons during the 1995–2011 epoch decreased significantly, compared with typhoons that occurred during the 1979–94 epoch.”
  • “Here we show that between 1979 and 2014, the number of strong cyclones in Northern Hemisphere in summer has decreased at a rate of 4% per decade, with even larger decrease found near northeastern North America.”

See here and here.


CliSci # 242      2016-10-02

 

Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Trends in New Zealand

A paper by Chris de Freitas et al 2015  published in Environmental Modeling & Assessment reports that the New Zealand temperature trend over the period 1909 to 2009 was 0.28 °C per century. The trend was calculated using a new measurement technique  and corrects for shelter-contaminated data. The New Zealand government reported trend using error-ridden methods report a trend of 0.91 °C per century. The ‘official’ contaminated trend is 325% of the corrected trend. The authors relied on a paper by Rhoades and Salinger that shows how to eliminate temperature changes that are of non-meteorological origin. The de Freitas paper concludes “that no ‘important’ change in mean temperature occurred over the period 1909–2009 once the known contamination is corrected.” See the abstract here and NoTricksZone here.

On the Existence of a “Tropical Hot Spot“

The US Environmental Protection Agency's CO2 Endangerment Finding was based  on IPCC climate models that unanimously predict that greenhouse gas warming would cause a distinctive hot spot of faster rising temperatures in the mid-troposphere over the tropics. The predicted hot spot is due to the decrease of the atmospheric lapse rate caused by increasing humidity in the mid-troposphere. A research paper by three scientists, Dr. J. Wallace, Dr. J. Christy and Dr. J. d'Aleo, has found that when 13 temperature datasets are adjusted to account for natural ENSO effects, the tropical hot spot definitely "does not exist in the real world", which invalidates the climate models and the endangerment finding. The lack of a hot spot in the data shows that humidity has not increased in the mid-troposphere, so the amplification, or positive feedback predicted by climate models is false. The analysis shows that the steadily rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations have had a statistically insignificant impact on 13 critically important temperature time series once the natural ENSO affects are removed. The temperature measurements were from weather balloons, satellites, buoys and land-based instruments. The cumulative Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) behavior since 1950, that is, the cumulative ENSO activity, has been quite similar to that of cumulative solar activity. The introduction and abstract of the report are here and the abridged 68 page report is here.

Warning: Section VIII contains misleading graphs in that the red lines on the three graphs are labeled “trends” whereas they are two horizontal line segments. The term “trend” implies it is a best fit regression line of the data including a slope, rather than a horizontal line through the average of the data. Figure VIII-3 is a graph of the tropical 200 mb balloon temperatures, with the title “MEI trend adjusted”. MEI means the Multivariate ENSO Index, which is an index of ENSO observables. However, this section doesn’t explain how the temperature data was adjusted by the MEI trends, or even show what the MEI trends were. The line labeled "MEI Trend Adj. AV3" was not adjusted by the MEI, but instead the temperature data was adjusted by adding a constant value of 0.507 ºC from 1959 to 1976, which is the difference between the average of 1959-1976 temperatures and the average of 1979-2015 temperatures. See the my letter to the authors here.

Solar Variability and the Earth’s Climate

The changes in total solar irradiance (TSI) is quite small, so most climate scientists say this direct solar effect is too small to account for much of the 20th century warming. Indirect solar effects can have a much larger effect on climate than TSI. Andy May wrote an excellent article on solar variability and climate. It is clear that solar cycles have a significant effect on climate, and that the longer the solar cycle, the larger the effect. Andy May refers to an article by Javier that discusses the 2400-year Bray cycle (also known as Hallstatt), and shows that it has a large climatic effect. Andy writes “The 1,000-year Eddy cycle is directly related to a solar cycle and shows up clearly in all records.”  The Little Ice Age occurred during the minimum of the Bray and Eddy cycles. Shorter-term ocean cycles are due to uneven solar heating. Andy May concludes his discussion with, “A key take-away is that solar variability and the Earth’s orbit can have a large effect on global climate. But, the conditions on the Earth at the time of the solar change coupled with the uneven distribution of oceans, ice and land on the surface cause the impact of any solar change to be distributed unevenly. This delays the global impact on temperature and causes what we observe as long term oceanic cycles. These long-term cycles are not properly accounted for in the climate models.”  See here.


CliSci # 241      2016-09-18

 

Hurricane Hermine and Global Warming

For over a two week period the news media hyped the potential threat of hurricane Hermine inflicting damage along Florida’s coast and west to New Orleans. Chip Knappengerger and Pat Michaels write “Hermine was probably the most hyped category 1 hurricane in history”. [ 1 out of 5, where 1 is the weakest] Hermine was the first hurricane in over ten years to make landfall in Florida. It hit Florida on September 2nd and caused some coastal flooding and power outages. No hurricane-force sustained winds were measured onshore away from the coast. Hurricane expert Ryan Maue says heavy rains, increased by global warming, cooled the Gulf of Mexico and reduced Hermine’s intensity at landfall. Increased wind shear, which is consistent with warming, also reduces the strength of hurricanes. The last major hurricane of category 3 or higher to strike the USA was “Wilma” on October 24, 2005, or 10 years 10 months 26 days ago. This streak without a major hurricane is nearly two years longer than any previous drought of hurricane strikes since records began 165 years ago in 1851. Sixty-seven hurricanes have tracked through the Atlantic since Florida’s last hurricane impact. See here.

Planetary Resonance Drives Cosmic Rays & Climate Change

A paper by Dr. Scafetta et al published in Earth Science Reviews finds an astronomical origin of the ~2100-2500 year Hallstatt cycle found in "cosmogenic radioisotopes  (14C and 10Be) and in paleoclimate records throughout the Holocene." The abstract says "this oscillation is coherent to a repeating pattern in the periodic revolution of the planets around the Sun: the major stable resonance involving the four Jovian planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune - which has a period of about p = 2318 years. ... the rhythmic contraction and expansion of the solar system driven by a major resonance involving the movements of the four Jovian planets appear to work as a gravitational/electromagnetic pump that increases and decreases the cosmic ray and dust densities inside the inner region of the solar system, which then modulate both the radionucleotide production and climate change by means of a cloud/albedo modulation. See here.

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 22% Greater Than in 2012

The minimum Arctic sea ice extent this year was 4.083 million sq. km on 7th September according to data from NOAA. Sea ice extent is the area that contains at least 15% sea ice. This is 22% greater than in 2012, despite two major storms in August that led to break up of ice. The sea ice extent increased by 274 thousand sq. km in 7 days since the minimum. See here.  Prof Peter Wadhams, who theGardian calls “One of the world's leading ice experts”, predicted four years ago that the Arctic would be completely ice free by September 2016. Ice experts don’t know what they are talking about. See here.

South Polar Cooling

The University of Alabama in Huntsville analysis of satellite data shows that the south polar region (south of 60 S.) has been cooling for the entire record of 36 years 10 month. The best fit straight line indicates a cooling trend of -0.022 °C/decade. See graph here. The Canadian climate model shows a warming trend from 1979 of 0.35 °C/decade in the south polar region (50S to 75S). See graph here. This is an epic failure of climate science.

Antarctic Snowfall May Help Offset Sea-level Rise

A paper published last month in Environmental Research Letters shows that the effect of rising temperatures on snowfall has so far been overshadowed by Antarctica's large natural climate variability, which comes from random, chaotic variations in the polar weather. Predicted warming around Antarctica is expected to cause an increase in evaporation and more snowfall on the continent. The paper says, “The increase in snowfall over Antarctica could help reduce the amount of global sea level rise by 51 to 79 millimeters by the year 2100.”  In contrast, the IPCC AR5 (table 13.5) says the Antarctic ice sheet will contribute 50 mm of sea level rise by 2100 in scenario RCP6.0. The IPCC estimates scenario RCP6.0 sea level rise from now to 2100 to be 400 mm. See here.

Computer Models Can’t Predict Extinctions From Global Warming

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows that models of species' response to global warming must include much more data about how shade is distributed in an animal’s habitat. Global warming’s impact on animals will be much less serious than computer models predicted. The researchers contrasted real world experiments with computer modeling and found real lizards adapt far better by using shade. See here.

A Practical Guide to the Economics of Carbon Pricing

Dr. Ross McKitrick published this document for the School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.  He says that carbon dioxide pricing is the most efficient way to ration emissions. “Painfully costly command-and-control reductions make little sense in Canada, given our marginal contribution to global emissions.” He writes “carbon pricing only works in the absence of any other emission regulations.” If carbon dioxide pricing is layered on other emission regulating programs such as emission caps, coal-fired plant shutdowns, feed-in-tariffs or wind and solar subsidies, it will "fail to have the desired effects" and will "cause disproportionate damage in the economy." Because a tax causes an economic loss, he says “in Canada, the optimal carbon tax should be about half of the estimated social cost of carbon, assuming there are no other climate actions. See here.  However, based on the best climate science and economics, the net social cost of carbon is -17 US$/tonne CO2, which is quite beneficial, see here.


 

CliSci # 240      2016-09-08

 

Was Early Onset Industrial-era Warming Anthropogenic?

A paper published in Nature, Abram et al 2016, claimed greenhouse gas driven warming commenced about 1830, contradicting the IPCC 5th assessment report. The paper used temperature reconstructions to determine when a warming trend started, but this says nothing about whether the cause was natural or anthropogenic. Nic Lewis writes on Climate Audit that the total forcing from pre-industrial time (1750) to 1840 was -0.01 W/m2. Total greenhouse gas forcing of 0.20 W/m2 was “almost entirely cancelled out by negative forcing, primarily from anthropogenic aerosols and partly from land use change increasing planetary albedo.” Total anthropogenic forcing reached 0.20 W/m2 by 1890. This would have caused a global temperature change of only 0.05 °C by 1890  (using a transient climate response of 0.85 °C from here), which is insignificant. This is another case of peer review failure at the journal Nature. See here.


Hot Year Means Record Wheat Crop, Opposite of Crop Models

The journal Nature published an article in January 2015 titled “Global Wheat Yield May Drop as Temperatures Rise”. The article says “… researchers are now letting farmers know that the world’s wheat yields are excepted decline in the near future, with the world standing to lose six percent of its wheat crop for every degree Celsius that the annual global temperature increases.”  However, reality says otherwise. Joanne Nova reports  that the US Department of Agriculture “current August forecast is for 743 million tons, up from 734 million last year (estimated).” Canada’s wheat production this year is estimated at 30.5 million tonnes, the second-largest wheat crop in 25 years and up from 27.6 million tonnes last year. See here.


Greenland Climate: More Volatile During Ice Age Than During Warm Periods

Research published in Scientific Reports by Rasmussen et al., 2016, shows that Greenland’s climate during the last ice age was much more variable than it is during the current Holocene period of warm climate. The paper says, “Extreme climate changes in the past ice core records show that Greenland went through 25 extreme and abrupt climate changes during the last ice age some 20,000 to 70,000 years ago. In less than 50 years the air temperatures over Greenland could increase by 10 to 15 °C. However the warm periods were short; within a few centuries the frigid temperatures of the ice age returned. That kind of climate change would have been catastrophic for us today.”  See here. h/t Kenneth Richard


Observed and Projected Decrease in Summer Storm Activity

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters studied the frequency and strength of  extra-tropical cyclones in the Northern Hemisphere and compared them to model projections.  An extra-tropical cyclone is a storm system that primarily gets its energy from the horizontal temperature gradient that exist in the atmosphere, mostly between the tropics and the polar regions, ie. not hurricanes. The paper reports, “With increasing greenhouse gases, enhanced high-latitude warming will lead to weaker cyclone activity. Here we show that between 1979 and 2014, the number of strong cyclones in Northern Hemisphere in summer has decreased at a rate of 4% per decade, with even larger decrease found near northeastern North America. Climate models project a decrease in summer cyclone activity, but the observed decreasing rate is near the fastest projected.”  See here.


Earth's Surface Water Change Over the Past 30 Years

A paper published last month in Nature Climate Change, Donchyts et al 2016, reports “Earth's surface gained 115,000 km2 of water and 173,000 km2 of land over the past 30 years, including 20,135 km2 of water and 33,700 km2 of land in coastal areas.” The data was obtained through the Deltares Aqua Monitor. The net land area change in coastal areas from 1985 to 2015 was +13,565 km2. The world’s sea coasts are growing, not shrinking due to sea level rise. “We expected that the coast would start to retreat due to sea level rise, but the most surprising thing is that the coasts are growing all over the world,” said Dr Baart, one of the authors.  “We’re were able to create more land than sea level rise was taking.” The non-coastal areas gained 95,000 km2 of water due to expanding lake area, and 139,000 km2 of land due to shrinking lake area. See WUWT here and NoTricksZone here.


UK Wind Constraint Payments

Revenue from the Alberta carbon tax will be used to pay large subsides to wind farms, which is expected to result in increasing power supply volatility and create a challenge to balance supply with demand. In the UK, consumers paid wind farms £90 million in 2015 to shut down when it is windy, which is called a constraint payment. In addition to the constraint payment, the wind farms continue to receive the wholesale electricity price of the wind power they would have otherwise produced when they are shut down. Alberta will likely be forced to implement a similar system to prevent the collapse of our electricity grid. Above 6% wind power penetration, some wind power is always constrained on a monthly basis. Euan Mearns write here, “Here we have acceptance of £90 million being spent in a single year to pay heavily subsidised companies to not do what they are established to do and that is to provide low carbon electricity to the British people.”


 

CliSci # 239      2016-08-27

 

Abnormal Climate Response of the DICE IAM

Nicholas Lewis examined the climate module of the DICE (Dynamic Integrated model of Climate and the Economy) integrated assessment model and found it contains a trillion dollar error related to the time profile of its temperature response to greenhouse gas forcing. The DICE model includes a simple climate model that is intended to represent the current suite of climate models. The DICE climate module uses a 2-layer representation of the oceans. The top ocean layer is the same temperature as the bottom atmospheric layer, and is 550 m deep; however, observations show the top well-mixed ocean layer is only 50 to 150 m deep. The deep ocean layer in the model is only 200 m deep, which is only a small fraction of the deep ocean in climate models and is too weakly coupled to the surface layer. This causes the DICE model to overestimate global temperature after the mid-21st century compared to climate models and overestimate the social cost of carbon (SCC). Lewis says that over the next hundred years the DICE estimated SCC (and optimum carbon tax) is 1/3 to ½ to high, compared to the model with temperature profiles similar to climate models. See here. Not discussed in the article is that the climate sensitivity used is at least 3 times too high. 

Great Barrier Reef in Near Pristine Condition 

Australia’s Cairns News reports “The healthy Great Barrier Reef deniers have been caught out lying about coral bleaching and the near-pristine condition of the world’s best coral icon.” Many environmental conservation groups have falsely claimed that the Great Barrier Reef has been greatly harmed by corral bleaching due to global warming.  Dive boat operators who take thousands of tourists on diving expeditions to the reef report that the reef is in excellent condition. Coral bleaching is a natural event that can temporarily affect small sections of the reef. Dive expedition operator Mike Ball said there has been almost no change in two decades, “Everywhere we have been we have found healthy reefs.”  See here

The Response of Clouds and Aerosols to Cosmic Ray Decreases 

A cloud of magnetized plasma from a coronal mass ejection towards the earth screens out galactic cosmic rays  reaching the atmosphere as measured by neutron monitors. The decrease in cosmic rays is known as a Forbush decrease (FD) that can last over a week. Fewer cosmic rays generate fewer ions which result in fewer cloud condensing aerosols. This process is thought to reduce the amount of lower cloud cover, and lower the cloud water content. A long-term decrease of cosmic rays due to changing solar activity could cause fewer low clouds and global warming. A new study accepted by Journal of Geophysical Research shows “that there is a real influence of FDs on clouds probably through ions.” The paper ranked the strongest 26 FD events since 1987 according to their impact on ionization. Statistical tests are performed on the response of cloud parameters from four datasets. A significant response is found in all studied aerosol and cloud data. The coronal mass ejections cause a reduction in cloud fraction of about 2 percent. The paper also shows why some studies failed to find the effect. See the abstract here. See a graph of the cloud liquid response here. See the full paper here.

Changes in the Magnitude and Frequency of Heavy Precipitation in the USA 

The usual suspect, including Al Gore and Bill Nye here, have blamed flooding in Louisiana on CO2 emissions. However, a paper published in Theoretical and Applied Climatology this month found that “over the last 65 years, the stronger storms are not getting stronger, but a larger number of heavy precipitation events have been observed.” The analysis was based on precipitation data from 1948 to 2012. The results indicate that “climate variability of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans can exert a large control on the precipitation frequency and magnitude over the contiguous USA.” See here. Another paper published this month in the Journal of Climate states for the contiguous USA “no evidence was found for changes in extreme precipitation attributable to climate change in the available observed record.” See here

Solar Activity Indeed Reached Maximum Value in Late 20th Century  

Dr. Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt write about a new solar activity reconstruction as illustrated by Matthes & Funke at a recent conference on “Solar Forcing for CMIP6”. The new solar parameters will be used in climate computer models for the next IPCC climate assessment report. Climate alarmists claimed that solar activity couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the warming of the late 20th century because sunspot numbers peaked about 1960 then decline while global temperatures rose over the 2nd half of the 20th century. The updated solar activity curve shows total solar irradiance peaked in 1990 with solar cycle 22. Solar activity isn’t just sunspot numbers. Lüning and Vahrenholt write “The sun not only reached its maximum at the end of the 20th century, but was apparently stronger than at any time over the past 10,000 years. Couldn’t the high solar activity have something to do with the 1980-2000 warming after all?”  See here

Study Finds Biofuels Worse for Climate than Gasoline

A new study from University of Michigan researchers challenges the widely held assumption that biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are inherently carbon neutral. This assumption is embedded in the lifecycle analysis modeling used to justify and administer biofuel policies. Contrary to popular belief, the carbon dioxide emitted when biofuels are burned is not fully balanced by the CO2 uptake that occurs as the plants grow, according to a study led by research professor John DeCicco.  During the period 2005–2013 when U.S. biofuel production rapidly ramped up, the increased carbon dioxide uptake by the crops was only enough to offset 37% of the CO2 emissions due to biofuel combustion. The paper’s abstract concludes “Once estimates from the literature for process emissions and displacement effects including land-use change are considered, the conclusion is that U.S. biofuel use to date is associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions.” See the abstract here. DeCicco said. “Whatever the magnitude of the emissions impact is, it is unambiguously worse than petroleum gasoline.  … What's new here is that hard data, straight from America's croplands, now confirm the worst fears about the harm that biofuels do to the planet.” See articles from Climate Central here and ScienceDaily here.


 

CliSci # 238      2016-08-15

 

Island Shoreline Dynamics at the Marshall Islands

A paper published in Geology used aerial photographs and satellite imagery to study the effects of sea level rise and a major hurricane on the Jaluit Atoll, Marshall Islands. The researchers examined historical changes in 87 islands within the atoll over the period 1945-2010. The study finds that the common alarmist narrative that tropical islands are being lost due to rapidly rising sea levels are bogus.  Typhoon Ophelia passed by the atoll in 1958 causing a 5.1% reduction in land area. Despite this, the island have persisted and grown. Between 1976 and 2006, 73 out of the 87 island increased in size, and by 2010, the total landmass of the islands had exceed the pre-typhoon area by 3 percent.  The authors wrote “the observations of reef island growth on Jaluit coincident with sea level rise are broadly consistent with observations of reef islands made elsewhere in the Marshall Islands and Pacific (McLean and Kench, 2015).” See the abstract here. See a report on the study by Craig Idso here.

Scientists Trace Heat Wave to Massive Star at Center of Solar System

Groundbreaking new findings suggest the record-setting heat wave plaguing much of the United States may be due to radiation emitted from an enormous star located in the center of the solar system. Scientists believe the star, which they have named G2V65, may in fact be the same bright yellow orb seen arcing over the sky day after day, and given its extreme heat and proximity to Earth, it is likely not only to have caused the heat wave, but to be responsible for every warm day in human history. "Apparently it's gigantic simply because it's closer to us than any other star," said Professor Mitch Kivens, an astronomer at the California Institute of Technology.  "Which would also account for why we feel this particular star's heat during the day but are not warmed by the tiny blinking stars we see at night." When asked if anything could be done to prevent or counteract the star's heat production, Kivens expressed skepticism. "No, for the foreseeable future, I think we're locked into orbit with this thing," he said. See here.

Solar Activity and Variations in SST and Atmospheric Circulation

A study published in Quaternary International  evaluated the regional and global relationships between solar activity and variations in sea surface temperature (SST) and atmospheric circulation during the instrumental record period. The study found significant correlations between sunspot numbers (SSN) and SST over a 111-year period from 1901 to 2011 for 11.7% of the global sea surface at the 95% significance level. The strongest correlations were in the Pacific off northern California, off eastern Japan and in the vicinity of Nauru. The study also “indicated that higher geopotential height anomalies tended to appear in the stratosphere and troposphere in the northern hemisphere, centering on around the Hawaiian Islands from November to December, in the second year of the solar maximum. …  Analyses of the relationships between solar activity and the Earth's climate system also revealed relationships between variations in solar activity and circulation in the troposphere.” The pattern in the Pacific corresponded with the positive phase of the Pacific Decadal oscillation (PDO). The strongest correlations were found between SSN and the PDO and SSN and the central-Pacific El Niño at a 29-month lag after solar maximum. The authors say that the effect of solar activity on SST seems to be related to the PDO. The paper concludes “it is likely that the solar activity had an influence on the troposphere not only from the stratosphere but also via the sea surface.” See the paper here.

South Asian Summer Monsoon Simulation in Climate Models

Monsoons are the rainy season of a seasonal reversing of wind and its association precipitation. The Asian monsoons turns large parts of India from semi-deserts into green grasslands. A good monsoon results in better agricultural yields. A paper published in Pure and Applied Geophysics evaluates the performance of 29 recent climate models over South Asia. The abstract says “Our results show that the coupled model simulations over South Asia exhibit large uncertainties from one model to the other. The analysis clearly brings out the presence of large systematic biases in coupled simulation of boreal summer precipitation, evaporation, and sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean, often exceeding 50 % of the climatological values. Prasanna concludes that for "reliable future climate change projections, the climate models need to be improved in the representation of the above salient features over the South Asian summer monsoon region." See the abstract here.

The levelized Cost of Electricity from Existing Generation Resources

The Institute of Energy Research published a report that compares the average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) from existing generation sources. Previous estimates of LCOE published by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) consider new generation sources only. However, current and proposed policies will force existing power plants to close before the end of their economic life. The analysis allows a comparison between existing facilities that are being closed early and the facilities that may replace them. The analysis included the costs that intermittent resources increases the costs for conventional resources by reducing their utilization rates. The study found  the LCOE for existing coal ($39.9), nuclear ($29.1), and hydroelectric resources ($35.4) are about one-third of the cost of new wind resources ($107.4) on average and one-fourth of the cost of new PV solar resources ($140.3).”  These costs for generation in the USA. The cost of new PV solar power in Canada is much greater. The study concludes “Most existing coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric generation resources could continue producing electricity for decades at a far lower cost than could any potential new generation resources. See here.


 

CliSci # 237      2016-08-05

 

A Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data

Dr. Roy Spencer has written a 22-page booklet, “A Guide to Understanding Global Temperature Data,” published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The booklet covers some of the scientific research that demolish a number of fashionable beliefs on global warming/climate change. First and foremost is the fad seized upon by some politicians that global warming skeptics are funded, or paid-off, by Exxon or other oil companies, etc. The booklet answers 13 questions, including “Can global temperatures go up naturally, even without rising CO levels?” and “How are temperature data adjusted?”  Spencer says “Natural fluctuations in the climate system can easily rival the human influence.” He says this can be due to indirect solar effects and chaotic changes in ocean circulation which have time scales of many centuries. The paper shows that the urban warming effect is largest at very low population densities. Spencer writes “…the rural stations have instead been adjusted to match the urban stations which then leads to a false global warming signal.” He writes about climate sensitivity to CO2, “A minority of climate scientists like me believe climate sensitivity could be 1 °C (1.8 °F) or less, due to negative feedbacks in the climate system.” Finally, “It should be clear that the science of global warming is far from settled.”  See here.

Solar Forcing for CMIP6

A paper by 28 authors (!) under review by Geoscientific Model Development and published last month describes the solar forcing dataset for CMIP6 and highlights in particular changes with respect to the CMIP5 recommendation. CMIP6 is the set of climate model runs for the upcoming IPCC sixth assessment report. The solar forcing datasets include total solar irradiance, solar spectral irradiance, F10.7 cm radio flux, particle forcing including geomagnetic indices and ionization rates to account for effects of solar protons, electrons and galactic cosmic rays. The abstract says “This is the first time that a recommendation for solar-driven particle forcing is provided for a CMIP exercise. … The consideration of particle forcing has been shown to significantly improve the representation of reactive nitrogen and ozone variability in the polar middle atmosphere, eventually resulting in further improvements of the representation of solar climate variability.”  See here.

Latest Studies Show Reality Check Is Needed on Renewables

The Australian published an article that shows intervening in energy markets by subsidizing renewables has caused electricity prices to dramatically increase. A recent report by the Manhattan Institute found that countries with the highest amounts of variable renewable energy capacity has the highest and fastest increasing electricity prices. In Germany, residential electricity prices increased from 2005 to 2014 by 78%, in Spain by 111% and in the UK by 133%. Over the same period, electricity rates in the US rose by only 32%. Between 2007 and 2014, Australian electricity prices increased by 42% and in Canada by only 21%.

The BP Statistical Review 2016 shows that the renewable share of primary energy globally in 2015 was just 2.8%. In China, new generation high-efficiency, low-emissions coal-fired plants are replacing old coal-fired plants that can reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. The article suggests that policymakers should not exclude any energy source capable of delivering reliable, affordable and lower-emission electricity, such as electricity from high-efficiency coal-fired plants and nuclear power plants. See here. See “Energy Policies and Electricity Prices: Cautionary Tales from the European Union” here.

GCMs Overestimate the Aerosol Cloud Lifetime Effect

Observation-based studies have shown that the aerosol cloud lifetime effect or the increase of cloud liquid water with increased aerosol loading may have been overestimated in climate models. An article published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that by simulating the same shallow warm clouds using a global climate model and a cloud resolving model which has more complete and detailed cloud physics, shows how a climate model can overestimate the aerosol cloud lifetime effect due to its simplified representation of cloud processes. This means that the climate model overestimates the cooling effects of aerosols on clouds, which implies the same models overestimate the warming effects of greenhouse gases. The cloud resolving model shows that the increase in liquid water content in clouds due to more aerosols is overestimated in climate models by this effect is more than offset by increased evaporation of water droplets at the cloud top resulting in an overall reduction in cloud liquid water. See here.

Tropical Tropopause Temperature and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation

An open access paper published in the journal Scientific Reports shows for the first time that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is related to the temperature of the tropical tropopause. The tropopause at about 15 km altitude in the tropics is the boundary between the troposphere, where active weather occurs, and the stratosphere. The temperature of the tropopause controls the amount of water vapour that enters the stratosphere, which affects surface temperatures. The PDO is a natural variation of the northern Pacific Ocean surface temperatures. The PDO alters the air transport between the lower and upper layers of the troposphere, ultimately regulating the tropopause temperatures. The authors find that the PDO explains up to 60% of tropopause temperature variance on the decadal timescale over the subtropical central Pacific. "It has long been thought that human influences already affected the tropopause. However, it seems that natural variability is still the dominating factor" says Dr. Wang, lead author of the study. The news release is here and the paper is here.


 

CliSci # 236      2016-07-23

 

Joelle Gergis, Data Torturer – the Saga Continues

The news media went wild in 2012 when Joelle Gergis published a temperature reconstruction of Australian temperature history that showed a hockey stick shape, indicating that Australia was having the “hottest years in the millennium”. The paper was criticized for using ex post screening of proxy data. If proxies are selected based on how well they match the 20th century warming, proxies will be selected with 20th century warming even if the data is random noise, so this biases the result. The 2012 paper reported that they selected proxies (mostly tree rings) by screening on detrended data to avoid the bias. But Jean S. found that that the proxies were screened on raw, undetrended data. He reported this on Climate Audit on June 5, 2012. Only a few proxies (6 out of 27) passed the correct screening with detrended data. The authors were made aware of these results and the paper was withdrawn.  Gergis claimed that her “team” discovered the errors “two days” before the errors were reported at Climate Audit.  These claims are untrue as proven by a series of emails obtained via FOI requests.  Gergis told the journal “we will extensively address proxy selection based on detrended and non detrended data and the influence on the resultant reconstructions.” After 4 years of reviews, the Journal of Climate accepted a new paper Gergis et al 2016. However, only a figure in the Supplementary Information discusses the issue where it is claimed that the ”temperature variability is not highly sensitive to the predictor screening methods.” The figure shows the detrended method show a large divergence from the undetrended method, with the data truncated prior to AD1600 when it is far outside the confidence interval. This is the same sort of truncation used by Phil Jones in the AR4 report to “hide the decline” made famous by climategate. Steve McIntyre writes that the authors “embarked on a remarkable program of data torture in order to salvage a network of approximately 27 proxies”. They compared the proxies to temperature not only in the same year, but also to temperatures of the preceding year and the following year. This implies that trees can predict the temperature a year in advance. They also compared the proxies not only to the grid cell location of the tree, but to all gridcells “within 500 km of the proxy’s location, which may be up to 6 gridcells. All proxies that passed any on these tests were retained and no allowance was made in the benchmark for the multiplicity of tests. McIntyre writes “It is impossible to contemplate a clearer example of “data torture” (even Mann et al 2008).” See Climate Audit here.

Arctic Sea Level Rise Estimated At Only 1.5 Millimeters Per Year

A  stable reconstruction of Arctic sea level for the 1950–2010 period was published in Geophysical Research: Oceans  based on the combination of tide gauge records and new 20-year reprocessed satellite altimetry data. The analysis use datum adjustment of the tide gauges in combination with satellite altimetry. The authors found that the Arctic mean sea level trend is 1.5 mm/yr +/- 0.3 mm/y for the period 1950 to 2010. This is somewhat less than the trend found by Church and White in 2004.

 See here. h/t Pierre Gosselin, here

Sea Level Rise, Acceleration and the Closure Problem

Rud Istvan wrote an excellent summary of the problems with sea level rise estimates. He shows that tide gauge estimates must be corrected for vertical land movements.  Sea level rise (SLR) over the past half century based on GPS corrected tide data are “for Western Europe (2.2mm/yr), the US (2.1mm/yr), Japan (2.3mm/yr), and Australia (2.2mm/yr)”, averaging 2.2 mm/yr. Satellite altimetry analysis from the University of Colorado shows 3.1 mm/yr  from 1993 excluding a glacial isostatic adjustment. The satellite altimetry estimate suffers from a closure problem.  Istvan write “SLR should roughly equal the sum of thermosteric rise and ice mass loss.” Thermosteric rise due to increasing ocean temperatures is estimated at 1.2 mm/year.  SLR from Greenland’s ice loss is estimated at 0.7 mm/yr, and that from Antarctica is estimated at 0.4 mm/yr. The effects from mountain glacier, groundwater extraction and dams are considered minor. The sum is 1.2+0.7+0.4 = 2.3mm/year. This is much less that the estimate from the altimetry data. Istvan concludes “The satellite altimetry SLR used to assert SLR acceleration is inconsistent with tide gauge estimates and has a large closure problem.” See Climate Etc. here.

Antarctic Peninsula Has Been Cooling For 18 Years

The British Antarctic Survey reports in Science Daily that the rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula, which occurred from the early-1950s to the late 1990s, has changed to cooling. They report “Stabilization of the ozone hole along with natural climate variability were significant in bringing about the change. The Antarctic Peninsula climate system shows large natural variations, which can overwhelm the signals of human-induced global warming.”  They believe that changing wind patterns led to increasing sea ice which “prevented ocean heat from entering the atmosphere.” The team studied ice core records which revealed periods of warming and cooling over the last several centuries that were comparable to those observed in the post-1950s instrumental record. There is evidence that the warming prior to the 1990s was due to changing wind patterns.  Changing wind patterns are now blamed for cooling the climate. There is no evidence that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have had any effect on the peninsula’s climate. A chart showing Antarctic Peninsula annual temperatures is here. See the Science Daily article here.

Global Soot Dimming May Have Killed Off the Dinosaurs

A research team from Tohoku University and the Japan Meteorological Agency has proposed that massive amounts of stratospheric soot ejected from rocks following the famous Chicxulub asteroid impact, caused global cooling that led to the mass extinction of dinosaurs and ammonites. The news release states “The asteroid, also known as the Chicxulub impactor, hit Earth some 66 million years ago, causing a crater more than 180 km wide. … Earlier theories had suggested that dust from the impact may have blocked the sun, or that sulphates may have contaminated the atmosphere. But researchers say it is unlikely that either phenomenon could have lasted long enough to have driven the extinction.” The researchers found that the impact layer of sediments at Haiti and Spain “have the same composition of combusted organic molecules showing high energy.” The team believes that soot from hydrocarbons blocked the sun’s rays  causing a prolonged period of darkness and lower temperatures. See the press release here.


 

CliSci # 235      2016-07-12

 

Already 240 Published Papers In 2016 Alone Show AGW “Consensus” Is A Fantasy!

Kenneth Richard has compiled a list of 770 papers published since January 1,  2014 that contradict the IPCC consensus statement, see here. This includes 240 paper published during the first half of 2016, as shown here. The list of papers includes 43 on solar influences, 27 on natural ocean oscillation, 2 on Rossby waves, 3 on ozone, 6 on the small effect of CO2, 11 on natural variability, 11 on clouds and aerosols, 3 on CO2 stratospheric cooling, 15 on past climates, 4 on settled science, 19 on Climate Model Unreliability, 2 on urban warming, 6 on volcanic forcing, 2 on warming oceans, 7 on miscellaneous topics, 2 on forest fires, 2 on cold vs heat deaths, 6 on climate policy, 7 on extreme weather, 20 on polar ice, 9 on sea level rise, 12 on ocean acidification, 2 on hurricanes, 4 on droughts, 3 on natural climate catastrophe, 7 on greening and crop yields and 1 on low climate sensitivity.

Healing of the Antarctic Ozone Layer

A study published in the journal Science in June 2016 shows that the Ozone Hole over Antarctica is starting to heal. The research attributes most of the ozone hole reduction to the 1987 Montreal Protocol which banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons.  The news release says, “The size of the hole varies year to year due in part to the effects of volcanic eruptions. … The ozone hole begins growing each year when the sun returns to the South Polar cap from August, and reaches its peak in October … The researchers found that the ozone hole has declined compared to its peak size in 2000. They further found that this decline matched the model’s predictions, and that more than half the shrinkage was due solely to the reduction in atmospheric chlorine and bromine”.  A previous study by the Finnish Meteorological Institute reports  “The amount of ozone at 70-80 km altitude was found to vary more than 30 percent during a solar cycle, a period of approximately 11 years. The ozone variation between the extremes of the Sun's activity is so great that it is likely to impact the temperature balance of the atmosphere. These temperature changes can in turn have an effect on atmospheric winds.”  The sun’s 11-year cyclic effect on the ozone hole is conspicuously missing from the new Science paper. See the abstract here and the news release here.

Next are three papers about the meridional overturning circulation, also known as the thermohaline circulation.

Ocean Circulation Drives Abrupt Climate Change During the Last Glaciation

A paper published is the journal Science last month used chemical tracers in North Atlantic sediment cores to show that meridional overturning circulation slowed during every one of the abrupt temperature declines that occur roughly every 1,500 years. The authors were able to document the relative speed of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation during each abrupt climate change during the last ice age. The ocean’s overturning circulation speed changes first and the sea temperature changes later. However, these abrupt climate shifts haven’t happened during the current interglacial period.  The instability appears to occur only in certain temperature ranges, and when there is a large amount of land ice that could contribute freshwater. The rate of Greenland glacier melting is too small to cause an abrupt climate change. A lead author said “what in turn caused those changes in circulation remains a mystery”.  Fred Singer and Dennis Avery's book "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 years" attributed the temperature changes to a solar-driven cycle. See a Science Daily report here.

Effect of Greenland Meltwater On Gulf Stream “Smaller Than Expected”

A paper published in Nature Geoscience shows that freshwater flux from the Greenland glaciers “has not yet had a significant impact on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.” The lead author says,  “The effects of the melting Greenland glaciers initially remain smaller than expected”.  The news release says, “The model calculations showed that more than half of the meltwater is transported southwards along the Canadian coast by the Labrador Current. Less than 20 percent remain in the area between Greenland and Labrador which is critical for the Gulf Stream system. The model suggests that the melting-induced impact on ocean salinity is, to date, only half as large as natural variations measured in the past decades.” See a news release here. The paper’s abstract is here.

Economic Impact of Slowing the Thermohaline Circulation

The Thermohaline Circulation (THC) is a vast system of ocean currents that  transports warm water from the tropics to Europe. Some researchers claim that AGW might cause the THC to shut down by adding fresh water to the North Atlantic. Some fear that this could cause severe cooling in Europe.  A bayesian study predicts the THC will slow by 17% by 2100. The authors of a new paper used three climate models to study the impact of adding fresh water near Greenland. A 24% to 27% THC slowdown would cause a cooling of less than 0.5 C for most countries, and about 0.3 C on average. Assuming this occurs when AGW (without a change in the THC) cause 3.2 C of warming, the THC cooling global economic impact is a positive 0.2 - 0.3% of income. Richard Tol says “Cooling is probably a good bit more harmful than warming, particularly in Europe.  Fortunately, our study finds no cooling at all. Instead, we find slower warming: a boon for Europeans.”  See the paper here. See the news release here.


 

CliSci # 234      2016-07-02

 

Modulation of Ice Ages via Precession and Dust-Albedo Feedbacks

A new paper by Ralph Ellis solves the problem; Why do ice ages end after the fourth or fifth precession cycle?  The slow wobble, or precession, of the axis of the Earth causes the "Great Year" because it gives warm and cool seasons over its approximate 23,000-year cycle. The advancing ice sheets during a "Great Winter" increases the Earth's albedo, reflecting sunlight and resisting the warming effect of the next "Great Summer". As the ice sheets grow and the seas cool, CO2 also reduces as it is absorbed by the oceans. Most plants suffer severe stress at 190 ppm CO2 and die at 150 ppm, because CO2 is a primary plant-food. The concentration finally reaches the critical 190 ppm level where world flora begins to die and the Gobi steppe-lands turn into a true sand desert. The ensuing dust storms dump thousands of tonnes of dust onto the northern ice sheets each year. The interglacial periods occur only every fourth or fifth Great Year. Ice core data shows that every interglacial warming period is preceded by about 10,000 years of intense dust storms. The dust on the ice absorbs solar radiation. When the next Great Summer comes along, the dusty polar ice sheets can warm and melt and the next interglacial is born. Low concentrations of CO2 near the end of an ice age causes a die-off of plants leading to dust storms, reducing the ice sheet albedo, resulting in warming and the interglacial periods. See a summary of the paper here. See the abstract and open access paper here.

The Asian Monsoon Over the Past 640,000 Years and Ice Age Terminations

This article confirms the importance of the precession cycle in causing ice ages. A new record of  speleothem data from a Chinese cave characterize changes in both the Asian monsoon and global climate over the past 640,000 years. The abstract says, “On the basis of our record’s timing, the terminations are separated by four or five precession cycles, supporting the idea that the 100,000-year ice age cycle is an average of discrete numbers of precession cycles.” See the abstract here.

Multi-millennial-scale Solar Activity and its Influences on Continental Tropical Climate

A paper recently accepted for publication in the journal Earth System Dynamics analyzed five solar activity proxies over 40 kyr based on isotopic information of 14C and 10Be and a climate proxy of the continental tropics over the last 25 kyr. The paper reviews the current state of solar activity research. The solar activity is likely caused by chaotic, non-linear forcing the solar dynamo or planetary gravitational forcing with long-term patterns. The analysis in the paper shows a 9390-year solar activity cycle as well as other shorter cycles. The author created a model of solar activity that explains 61% of the tropical temperature record over the last 2000 years. The model forecast a solar induced cooling for the 21st century of about 0.5 °C.  The paper is here. Judith Curry discusses the paper here.

Wind Turbines In China Aren’t Working And It’s Becoming A HUGE Problem

More than a third of all wind turbines are installed in China. The government stopped approving new wind power projects in the country’s windiest regions in March 2016. Government statistics show that about 15% of all Chinese wind power was wasted in 2015. The unreliable wind power was damaging the power grid and costing the government enormous amounts of money. Building the transmission lines capable of handling the wildly fluctuation wind power over the long distances from the wind farms to coastal provinces is enormously expensive and could cost many times the value of power generated. See the Daily Caller article here.

Coral Bleaching is the Legacy of a Marvelous Adaptation Mechanism

Dr. Jim Steele wrote an article on the Adaptive Bleaching Hypothesis of coral reefs. He writes, “The ability to rapidly adjust to changing environments by modifying their symbiotic partnerships has been the key to their success for millions of years.”  He quote  a coral expert, “flexibility in coral–algal symbiosis is likely to be a principal factor underlying the evolutionary success of these organisms”. Corals evolved when the ocean temperatures were much warmer than today. Past coral extinctions were most commonly due to cold events. Contrary to media hyping climate doom, coral bleaching has been an integral part of corals’ adjustment mechanisms to an ever-changing environment. Bleaching is often temporary and mild as coral shuffle and switch their symbiotic algae in order to adapt to either a warming or cooling event. See here.

Airplanes Make Existing Cirrus Clouds Brighter

A paper published Nature Communications shows that contrails increase the reflectivity of nearby clouds. Contrails are thin and have a very minor greenhouse warming effect. Thick cirrus clouds have a net cooling effect, as their albedo cooling effect is greater than their greenhouse warming effect. This paper studies the effect of contrail in or next to existing cirrus clouds. The study found  a “significant 22% increase in normalized cirrus optical thickness in mid-latitude air traffic flight tracks compared with adjacent areas outside the flight tracks.”  This makes the existing clouds thicker and more reflective, causing a cooling effect. Apparently the IPCC delegates flying to COP meetings who buy carbon offsets have been wasting their money. Airplane travel may have a net cooling effect on climate. See the open access paper here and a discussion here.


 

CliSci # 233      2016-06-22

 

From Urban to National Heat Island: The Effect of Anthropogenic Heat Output on Climate Change

A study published in the open access journal Earth’s Future investigates the urban heat island effect (UHIE) on a national scale. It compared the national energy consumption (which is converted to heat) to average national temperatures for the United Kingdom and Japan. Strong correlations are found between energy consumption and temperatures above or below global background levels. In the U.K. for example, temperatures correlate to energy consumption with r2 = 0.89, which is very much greater than the correlation to the CMIP5 climate models used in the last IPCC report of only r2 = 0.10. The abstract says “It is clear that the fluctuation in [temperature] are better explained by energy consumption than by present climate models.” See here.  

The IPCC rejects the fact that the major surface temperature indexes are contaminated by the UHIE by falsely stating “…  the locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes …”. (AR5, chapter 2 page 198 here )The IPCC wants us to believe that cities and densely populated nations were built where our ancestors somehow knew that natural  “atmospheric circulation changes” will warm those locations in the distant future. It is a nonsensical claim.

The Reef’s Self-Serving Saviours

The Australian media is filled with scare stories of the Great Barrier Reef dying due to bleaching and climate change. An article published in the Quadrant Online here says, “All the many and varied claims of threats are based on speculation and the flat-out fabrications of researchers, bureaucrats and activists seeking grants and donations.” However, the author says, “none of these ‘threats’ have ever proven to be anything other than hypothetical possibilities or  temporary fluctuations of nature.” The article reports that one study “concluded that no statistically significant change in coral cover had occurred over the previous 25 years.”  Divers, snorkelers and tour operators know from their experience that the Great Barrier Reef remains healthy and vibrant.

Coral Expert Prosecuted by Aussie University for Noticing that a Coral Reef Still Exists

In a related story, a coral expert Peter Ridd was threatened with being fired for investigating the accuracy of alarmist reports of dying coral reefs.  Lubos Motl describes the incident at his website ‘The Reference Frame’ here.

Climate Model Drift Prevents Decadal Climate Predictability

A paper published in the open-access journal Ocean Science describes the drift occurring in a climate model of the North Atlantic Ocean and relate it to the lack of decadal air temperature predictability. The abstract says “This drift is often larger than the decadal signal to be predicted.” The paper also finds that a subsurface temperature anomaly in the ocean can affect air temperature only by deep convection coupling, but these are random events. Both issues prevent decadal scale air temperature predictions. See here.

The Energy Absurdity Of The Paris Climate Agreement

A study by Greenpeace reveals what may be required in Germany if the Paris climate agreement is implemented. The amount of electricity requires would have to increase by a factor of five. The current policy goal is to cut electricity consumption by ten percent by 2020. The study says “the production of cars with gasoline and diesel engines has to end by 2025 and main roads will have to be fitted with overhead electrical lines for freight transportation” and “Because heating systems have a product cycles of up to 20 years, a ban on the fitting of new oil and gas heating and CHP plants will be necessary by 2020 to achieve decarbonisation by 2040”. The study does not estimate the cost of these changed. No surprise there. See here.

Climate Leadership Catastrophe Videos

If you missed our major event “Climate Leadership Catastrophe: Carbon Taxes, Job Loss, Freedoms Denied” with Ezra Levant and Dr. John Harper on May 10, 2016, see videos of their presentations on the event page here.


 

CliSci # 232      2016-06-13

 

Why Renewable Energy Cannot Replace Fossil Fuels by 2050

Energy Economics Robert Lyman does a reality check on the 100% Wind, Water and Sunlight (WWS) by 2050 vision advocated by some politicians and NGOs. He finds that the capital costs of renewable energy plants are almost 30 times as high as those of the natural gas plants. Taking into account operating costs, onshore wind plants are 4.6 times as expensive as gas plants and large-scale PV plants are 14.1 times as expensive as gas plants. The solar PV plants envisioned for the U.S. in the WWS vision would cover almost 20% of the lower 48 states. Canada would have to dedicate our entire national economic output for 6 to 10 years to building wind farms to meet the WWS vision. The cost to install solar PV plants in the USA would be $16 Trillion, not including electrical inverters. The cost of electrifying the passenger and freight rail systems in North America would almost certainly run into trillions of dollars. The WWS vision is not feasible in economic, technological or political terms. See here

Antarctic Ocean Cooling and Sea Ice Growth Mystery Explained By Deep, Old Water

A paper published by Nature Geoscience (abstract here ) explains that the lack of warming of the waters around Antarctica is due to wind-driven upwelling of deep, cold water associated with the Southern Ocean’s meridional overturning circulation. Surface water near Antarctica is transported north towards the equator and is replace by upwelling cold water from the ocean abyss.  This upwelling cold water will likely continue for hundreds or thousands of years, so it unlikely that Antarctica will contribute anything to sea level rise until that huge reservoir of cold water is depleted. Climate skeptics have pointed out the huge discrepancy between actual southern ocean temperatures and climate model projection for years, as shown in my graph here. Note that the climate multi-model mean temperatures trend is not only in the wrong direction, but the climate model temperature is a huge 1.5 °C higher than reality. See WUWT here, JoNOVA here, and a HNGN article here.

Geophysical Constraints on the Antarctic Sea Ice Cover

A study by a team of NASA, NOAA and university scientists studied the physical processes affecting Antarctic sea ice. Ice around Antarctica is pushed offshore by descending cold winds influenced by the continental topography.  As the sea ice cover expands and ice drifts away from the continent, areas of open water form behind it on the sea surface, creating "ice factories" conducive to rapid sea ice growth. The older ice forms a shield that protects younger, thinner ice behind it from being reduced by winds and waves.  NASA reported “Sea surface temperature data reveal that at the peak of ice growth season, the boundary of the ice shield remains behind a -1 degree Celsius temperature line surrounding Antarctica. This temperature line corresponds with the southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current front, a boundary that separates the circulation of cold and warm waters around Antarctica.” They also found that “pronounced seafloor features strongly guide the ocean current and correspond closely with observed regional Antarctic sea ice patterns.” See the abstract here and the NASA article here.

Lagged Response of Tropical Tropospheric Temperature to Solar Ultraviolet Variations

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters in April 2016 by L.L. Hood shows that the ultra-violet variations of solar radiation has a significant effect on tropospheric temperatures. The abstract says, “Correlative and regression analyses of daily ERA-Interim reanalysis data for three separate solar maximum periods confirm the existence of a temperature response to short-term (mainly ~27 day) solar ultraviolet variations at tropical latitudes in both the lower stratosphere and troposphere.” The ERA-Interim data set has 60 vertical levels from the surface up to 0.1 hPa (65km altitude).  Changing ultra-violet radiation affect the amount of ozone, which in turn affects at mean meridional (Brewer-Dobson) circulation that redistributes air from the tropics to the extratropics. See here.

Pacific Stalagmites Cast Doubt On Climate Models And Projections

David Whitehouse reports on a paper published in Nature Communications showing results of a 2,000-year, reconstruction of western Pacific hydro-climate from two speleothem (stalagmite) records from Indonesia.  He says the researchers “found periods of predominantly El Niño-like patterns for several hundred years that alternate with La Niña patterns, impacting on global climate over the last 2000 years. Climate models cannot reproduce this.” Lead author Dr.  Griffiths said, “Until we can model this lower-frequency behaviour in the tropical Pacific, one can only speculate on how the warming will play out over the next few decades.” The abstract concludes “Our findings, together with climate model simulations, highlight the likelihood that century-scale variations in tropical Pacific climate modes can significantly modulate radiatively forced shifts in global temperature.”  See Dr. Whitehouse’s article here and the abstract here.

No significant increase in long-term Methane emissions in Alaska

Despite a significant temperature increase in air temperature at the north slope of Alaska there has been no significant increase in methane concentrations. Climate alarmists predicted that a warming Arctic will cause the soils to release large amounts of methane, but it is not happening. The climate models and the IPCC has consistently overestimated methane in the atmosphere. Here is the IPCC graph of methane forecasts from the assessment reports. I added the AR5 methane RCP8.5 forecast as the thick black line. The 2015 methane concentration was 1840 ppb, well below the AR5 forecast. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letter this month finds the average change in methane concentration over the last 29 years at Borrows, Alaska was a statistically insignificant 1.1 ± 1.8 ppb/°C. The temperature increased by 3.5 °C and the methane increased by 3.8 ppb. [ppb= parts per billion.] The methane may increase in the Arctic by only 3.3 ppb if the temperature increases by another 3 °C. There is no Arctic methane time bomb. See WUWT article here, but ppm in the article should be ppb. The abstract is here.


 

CliSci # 231      2016-05-30

 

Periodicities in Solar Variability and Climate Change

Javier writes an interesting article about various solar cycle and climate change. He discusses the 87 year Gleissberg, the 208 year deVries, the 980 year Eddy (or millennium) and the 2300 year Hallstatt or Bray cycle. The solar cycles are defined by cosmogenic isotopes generated by GCR in the atmosphere, mainly 14C and 10Be. The Eddy cycle corresponds clearly with the Bond series of iceberg rafted debris deposited on the ocean floor. The author proposed a simple solar model that relates the cycles. The Bray cycle acts through changes in the de Vries cycle. The longer solar cycles are the most significant for climate. Javier estimates that the natural warming over the last 66 years (from 1950) in the northern hemisphere was about 0.15 °C. Javier believes the variations in the solar spectrum causes an atmospheric effect in the stratosphere that propagates downward to the troposphere. The model projects that solar activity of the 21st century should be similar to the solar activity during the second half of the 20th century. Solar variability must have a much bigger influence on climate than that recognized by the IPCC, therefore greenhouse gas warming is also less and not dangerous. See here.

The Energy Return of Solar PV

A study by Ferroni and Hopkirk published in Energy Policy found that the Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for photovoltaic (PV) solar systems at temperate latitudes is 0.83. This means that the energy produced by the PV solar panels over their 25 year lifetime is only 83% of the energy used to make the solar panels. ERoEI is the ratio of the energy produced by the system to the amount of energy used or invested to produce and install the solar system. This is why solar PV systems are so expensive and require high feed-in tariffs or high subsidies. As most solar panels are manufactured in China using electricity generated mostly by coal, making electricity from solar PV will create higher CO2 emissions than generating the electricity from coal-fired power plants. See the Energy Matters article here.

Cloud Studies Points to Low Climate Sensitivity to CO2

Two new experiments at CERN using the CLOUD chamber (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) near Geneva, Switzerland show that the pre-industrial earth was cloudier than previously assumed. Most climate scientists assumed the skies were sunnier before the use of coal and other fossil fuels because sulfur dioxide released by burning the fuels oxidizes to sulfuric acid which creates aerosol particles that seed cloud formation. One experiment shows that organic vapours emitted by trees produce abundant aerosol particle in the atmosphere in the absence of sulfuric acid. It was previously thought that sulfuric acid is the key player in cloud formation. Since clouds reflect sunlight back into space, any extra clouds could have offset a portion of greenhouse gas warming. A second CLOUD experiment showed that the small aerosol particle could rapidly grow to sizes big enough to seed cloud droplets.

Another group of researcher measured the concentrations of sulfuric acid and organic molecules in the Swiss Alps. They observed that aerosols formed from organic molecules without sulfuric acid. The experiments show that climate modelers can’t assume that the pre-industrial skies were much less cloudy because there was less sulfur dioxide.  Modelers currently assume that aerosols from fossil fuels causes more clouds and cooling, which offsets some of the CO2 induced warming in the models. This allows the models to be very sensitive to increasing CO2 but still roughly match 20th century warming. The new results show that modelers can’t offset as much CO2 forcing with aerosol cooling so they should reduce the climate sensitivity to CO2 emissions. The studies suggest that future temperature increase from greenhouse gas emissions will be much less than currently projected by climate models.

CLOUD also finds that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of the biogenic particles. The cosmic rays are modulated by changing solar activity, so they affect cloudiness and global temperatures. See Sciencemag here and WUWT here.

Warming will Increase Arctic Snowfall

A team of scientists from the University of Buffalo used lake sediment cores from western Greenland to reconstruct precipitation seasonality and summer temperatures during the past 8,000 years. The study showed that snowfall in western Greenland intensified during the period 6,000 to 4,000 years ago when the northern hemisphere was warmer than today. The scientists measured the relative abundance of a heavy isotope of hydrogen called deuterium in plant leaves in the sediment cores. Heavy snowfalls correspond to low levels of deuterium. The results, published in Geophysical Research Letters show that global warming could drive increasing Arctic snowfall which would slow the shrinkage of the Greenland Ice Sheet and reduce the rate of sea levels rise. See here.

Current Atmospheric Models Underestimate the Dirtiness of Arctic Air

Black carbon particles are released into the atmosphere by the incomplete burning of biomass, wastes and fossil fuels. They are deposited on Arctic snow and ice, reducing the albedo and leading to increased melting. Current climate models underestimate the amount of black carbon aerosols in the Arctic compared to actual measurements. This results in the models falsely attributing black carbon warming to greenhouse gas warming leading to a huge waste of resources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Conventional models simulate the aerosol transport using grid cell spacing of about 60 km. A team of scientist used a powerful computer to simulate aerosol transport using grid cell spacing of just 3.5 km.  Their study published in Scientific Reports shows that the 3.5 km fine grid simulation transported 4 times the amount of black carbon aerosols into the Arctic than with a 56 km grid spacing. The new simulation still underestimates the actual aerosol transport into the Arctic. See here.

Earth’s Albedo Variations 1998-2014 from Earthshine Observations

Updated results of Earthshine observations over the last 16 years were reported in Geophysical Research Letters. Telescopes measured the earthshine, which is the light reflected from the earth to the night-time face of the moon and back to two ground-based telescopes. This determines the Earth’s albedo, which is the fraction of the sunlight received by the earth that is reflected back to space. The albedo values agree with measurements taken from the CERES instruments on satellites. The abstract says in part “The Earth's albedo is a fundamental climate parameter for understanding the radiation budget of the atmosphere. We find two modest decadal scale cycles in the albedo, but with no significant net change over the 16 years of accumulated data. Within the evolution of the two cycles, we find periods of sustained annual increases, followed by comparable sustained decreases in albedo.”  The long-term albedo stability coincides with the stabilization in the earth’s global mean temperature. See here.


 

CliSci # 230      2016-05-17

 

Study Finds “No significant global precipitation change from 1850 to present”

A paper published in the Journal of Hydrology analyzed precipitation changes from 1000 stations with over 100 years of data in 114 countries. The abstract states, "The global changes in precipitation over the Earth’s land mass excluding Antarctica relative to 1961–90 were estimated to be: −1.2 ± 1.7, 2.6 ± 2.5 and −5.4 ± 8.1% per century for the periods 1850–2000, 1900–2000 and 1950–2000, respectively. A change of 1% per century corresponds to a precipitation change of 0.09 mm/year."  One of the conclusions is , "Stations experiencing low, moderate and heavy annual precipitation did not show very different precipitation trends. This indicates deserts/jungles are neither expanding nor shrinking due to changes in precipitation patterns." See Paul Homewood's blog article here.

Use the Daily Highs for Tracking Climate Change

John Christy and Richard McNider of the University of Alabama in Huntsville published a paper here that analyzed surface temperatures, satellite lower troposphere temperatures and climate model temperature projections in the state of Alabama. The paper determines the best method for determining break points in the data due to station moves or instrument changes. They also find that TMax (the maximum daily temperatures) is a better proxy for monitoring the lower troposphere temperatures, or the heat content of the atmosphere, than using daily average temperatures because of greater convective mixing in the afternoon. TMax is less influenced by microsite changes and human development than is TMin because Tmax represents a much thicker layer of the atmosphere.  The summer (JJA) daytime boundary layer is almost always well mixed, unlike the nocturnal boundary layer, which is often thin due to nighttime inversions. Summer temperature have much less noise associated with severe weather and ENSO than other seasons. Climate model runs "indicate no skill at replicating long-term temperature and precipitation changes since 1895."

Estimating Climate Sensitivity Using Two-zone Energy Balance Models

A paper published this month in Earth and Space Science uses a two-zone energy balance model to find that the climate sensitivity is about 1 °C for a doubling of CO2. The abstract says, "Recently, attempts have been made to refine the EfCS approach by using two-zone (tropical/extratropical) EBMs. When applied using satellite radiation data, these give low and tightly constrained EfCS values, in the neighborhood of 1°C." EfCS means effective climate sensitivity. The 2-zone models have an explicit parameter for dynamical heat transport from the tropics to the extra-tropics. The paper is here.

Empirically-Constrained Climate Sensitivity and the Social Cost of Carbon

A paper published last month in the Social Science Research Network used an observation-based estimate distribution of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS)  to determine the social cost of carbon (SCC) utilizing two integrated assessment models (IAM). The authors report that the SCC as calculated by the DICE model falls by 30 to 50% depending on the discount rate, and the SCC as calculated by the FUND model falls by over 80% compared to estimates using climate model ECS estimates. The mean estimate of SCC from the FUND model using a 3% discount rate is US$3.33/tCO2 with a 40% chance of being negative. A negative SCC means that greenhouse gas emissions are net beneficial. The paper is here.

The authors used the ECS distribution as reported in a paper Lewis and Curry 2015. That paper gave a mean estimate of ECS of 1.64 °C assuming aerosol forcings from the IPCC, no urban heat island effect, and no long-term natural climate change. However, incorporating newer estimate of aerosol forcing reduces ESC to 1.45 °C. One of the authors, Dr. Ross McKitrick, was a co-author of a series of papers that broke the 'hockey stick' used in the IPCC TAR. His work restored the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age to history which proves the existence of long-term natural climate cycles. He also was a co-author of papers demonstrating a significant UHIE in temperature indexes, so it is surprizing that this paper does not make adjustments for these real effects. Adjusting for these effects reduces ECS to about 1 °C, corresponding to a SCC from FUND of -US$18/tCO2 as shown here.

Economics of Solar Versus Combined Cycle Electricity Generation

A paper published in Energy and Environment evaluated the economics of a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant versus the economics of a combined cycle thermal plant for electricity generation in capital-constrained African countries. The abstract says "The results show that economic net present value is negative for solar photovoltaic plant, whereas it is a large positive value for the combined cycle plant. In addition, the combined cycle plant would be two times as effective in reducing greenhouse gases as the same value of investment in solar photovoltaic plant. Even with solar investment costs falling, it will take 9–18 years of continuous decline before solar generation technology will become cost-effective for most of Africa." See the full abstract here.


 

CliSci # 229      2016-05-05

 

High Resolution Coherence Analysis Between Planetary and Climate Oscillations

A new paper by Nicola Scafetta uses canonical coherence analysis  to show coherence between planetary and global surface temperature oscillations. He finds coherent frequencies at the 95% significance level  at frequencies of 6.6, 7.4, 14, 20 and 60 years. The abstract says "Thus, high resolution coherence analysis confirms that the climate system can be partially modulated by astronomical forces of gravitational, electromagnetic and solar origin." The abstract is here.  A free link to the paper until June 9, 2016 is here

Parched Earth Policy - Drought, Heatwave and Conflict

The Global Warming Policy Foundation published a report by Andrew Montford (author of The Hockey Stick Illusion) that examines the credibility of claims that global warming will increase risks of drought, heatwave related deaths and conflicts. Short droughts in the late 20th century in the UK were dwarfed by decades-long droughts in the previous century. Globally there has been declining drought trend since 1982. Despite little or no evidence, the media and some scientists linked climate change to drought. This led to Australia spending billions of dollars on desalination plants which were mostly mothballed. The IPCC predicted dry regions will get dryer based on climate models despite that observations show the opposite. The IPCC claims that "the health impact on health of more frequent heat extremes greatly outweigh benefits of fewer cold days", but many studies do not support or contradict that claim. See here.

Atlantic Ocean Showing Signs of a Significant Long-term Shift in Temperatures from Warm-to-Cold

Vencoreweather is reporting that the North Atlantic (NA) ocean has significantly cooled over the last few years as indicated by both the heat content down to 700 m and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO). The NA ocean heat content increased sharply from 1990 to 2005, and has declined equally sharply since early 2007.  The AMO is an index of sea surface temperature. The cycle length is 60 to 68 years. The long-range forecast for the 2016 - 2017 winter from a Japanese forecasting agency shows much colder than normal water temperatures in the NA ocean. This will likely result in increasing northern sea ice extent in the next few years and will significantly impact North American and European temperatures. See here.  

Rise in CO2 has Greened Planet Earth

A paper published in Nature Climate Change in April 2016 shows a widespread increase of growing season over 25% to 50% of the global vegetated area, with the CO2 fertilization effect explaining 70% of the observed greening trend. Climate change explains 8% of the greening trend, predominantly in the high latitudes and the Tibetan Plateau. The study used three satellite leaf area index records to determine the greening and used ecosystem models to allocate the greening trends during 1982 - 2009 among  four key drivers. Climatologist Nic Lewis comments says the increase in vegetation is considerably larger than suggested by previous studies. This suggests that projected atmospheric CO2 levels in IPCC scenarios are significantly too high, which implies that global temperature rises projected by IPCC models are also too high. The paper abstract is here.  Judith Curry presents a discussion of the paper here

Rising CO2 Causes Increasing Future Crop Yields in Germany

Dr. Craig Idso reports on a paper Degener (2015) that found increasing CO2 levels will lead to crop yield increases in Germany from the year 2000 to 2100 of between 25 to 60 percent depending on the crop type. The paper estimated the effect of increasing CO2 on ten different crops using the BIOSTAR crop model under a constant CO2 concentration of 390 ppm and a scenario with increasing CO2. The model predicted a less precipitation, which I think is highly dubious, but the CO2 fertilization effect reversed the negative climatic effect included in the model.  See here

Anthropogenic CO2 Warming Challenged by 60-year Cycle

A paper by French scientist François Gervais reviews the 60-year climate cycle and estimates of the transient climate response to CO2 emissions.  The rate of global sea level rise and global surface temperatures are strongly correlated to the 60-year cycle, which is in-phase and synchronous with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation.  This cycle has been found to be correlated to the velocity of the sun with respect to the solar system's centre of mass. Recent estimates of the transient climate response to CO2 which take into account of the 60-year cycle show values much lower than reported by the IPCC in AR5. The increase in annual CO2 concentration oscillation is 71% greater than the CO2 trend, indicating enhance photosynthesis which benefits crop yields. See the abstract here h/t Albert Jacobs.


 

 

CliSci # 228      2016-04-18

 

Earthshine Reflected Off the Moon Shows No Trend During the Pause

The earth's albedo can be estimated by satellites and by measuring the earthshine reflected off the dark side of the moon. Albedo is the fraction of solar light reflected from the earth. It can change when the type and amount of clouds change or by changes in snow and ice cover. Joanne Nova has highlighted a new paper by Palle et al 2016 that reports albedo earthshine measurements over the last 16 years. The data shows no trend in the albedo, consistent with the "pause" in global warming.  See here.

Bond Cycles and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Climate

Euan Mearns from "Energy Matters" writes about the strong correlation between Bond cycles of the North Atlantic and solar changes during the Holocene. Bond cycles are patterns of drift ice deposits measured from ocean sediment cores. Bond interpreted the changes drift ice deposits as from changes in the North Atlantic Current and polar winds. Bond cycles shows distinct climate changes as indicated by other temperature proxies, including the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.  Mearns compares the Bond index to the Greenland ice core Berylllium 10 isotope (10Be) formed by cosmic rays which are modulated by the solar magnetic field. He finds "quite strong coherency between 10Be and the Bond Cycles suggesting that changes to The Sun’s magnetic field is somehow implicated in shaping the patterns of atmospheric and ocean currents."  He also compares the ice core  Dansgaard–Oeschger events to 10Be from 40 to 15 k years ago. Mearns concludes that the Little Ice Age was one of 10 similar cold events of the Holocene caused by changes to the solar magnetic field and the solar spectrum. See here. The Bond et al paper is here.

Is Large-scale Energy Storage Dead?

Roger Andrews reviews the energy storage problem for intermittent renewable energy. He says, "the amount of energy storage capacity needed to support a 100% renewable world exceeds installed energy storage capacity by a factor of many thousands." One of the biggest energy storage projects today is related to the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station in Morocco (known as Noor) which will use molten salt to store 480 MWh of energy for 3 hours. For comparison, the amount of energy storage required to convert the German solar power into dispatchable energy is 8000 GWh, which is almost 17,000 times greater. See here.

Earth’s Internal Heat Drives Rapid Ice Flow and Subglacial Melting in Greenland

A paper published in Nature Geoscience, April 2016, says that melting at the base of the Greenland ice sheet is explained by the Iceland mantle hotspot history. Observations from radar and ice core drilling indicate a widespread melting beneath the ice sheet. Tectonic processes moved Greenland over an area of abnormally hot mantle material that still today is responsible for the volcanic activity of Iceland. This geothermal heat source created a region where subglacial meltwater is abundant, making glacial ice flow rapidly. The melting of Greenland glaciers at the coast was previously blamed on global warming. See here. The paper's abstract is here.

Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma - Adding Wind and Solar Drives CO2 Emissions Higher.

A presentation of the Ontario Association of Professional Engineers Energy Task Force shows:

  • Residential energy rates have risen 70% to 90% in the 7 years since 2008. 
  • The cost of solar power in Ontario is 47.3 ¢/kWh not include backup costs, compared to only 5.6 ¢/kWh for hydroelectric and 6.6 ¢/kWh for Nuclear power.
  • Adding wind and solar forces reduced nuclear generation and increased natural gas generation for renewable back-up.
  • Adding wind and solar drives CO2 emissions higher, and will double by 2032.

See here.

Sea Level Data

The website sealevel.info calls itself "your one-stop source for sea-level information." This website displays tables of tide gauge trends at various lengths of years for the globe and the USA. Unlike government sources, it shows the average and median of the trends. The list of 285 long-term tide gauges shows an average trend of 1.3 mm/yr, and a median trend of 1.4 mm/yr. See here. This is much less that the 3.3 mm/yr as determined by satellite altimeters, which are adjusted to match an undisclosed set of tide gauges.

Unfortunately, the website falsely says, "satellite altimeters ... measurements are distorted by "sea-level rise" caused by thermal expansion when the upper layer of the ocean warms. But that is a strictly local effect, that ... doesn't affect sea-level elsewhere (e.g., at the coasts)."   Sorry folks, but sea levels are horizontal (ie, parallel with the geoid) unless affected by winds and currents.  The water will flow to find a new horizontal sea level in response to thermal expansion and affects the sea level at the coasts. The reasons for the discrepancy between tide gauges and satellite altimetry is still unknown.

May 10th, 2016 Calgary: Red & White Club Evening Event

Please remember to order your tickets for our Friends of Science annual event with Dr. John Harper, former director of the Geological Survey of Canada, and our featured guest speaker Ezra Levant, broadcaster and bestselling author. For more information see here. Order tickets by clicking here.


 

CliSci # 227      2016-04-10

 

May 10th, 2016 Calgary: Red & White Club Evening Event

Please join us on May 10th for our Friends of Science annual event. We are pleased to announce a two-part event - Science and Policy.  For the Science - Dr. John Harper, former director of the Geological Survey of Canada will give a brief overview of 600 million years of climate versus the out-of-context current 166 year climate catastrophe obsession. Part Two for the Policy - we are very honoured to present our featured guest speaker Ezra Levant, broadcaster and bestselling author, who will address the catastrophic climate 'leadership' policies, their consequences and what you can do about it! For more information see here.

Order tickets by clicking here.

Climate Model Predictions of Rain and Drought Wrong

Many climate models predict that dry regions will be drier and wet regions will get wetter with global warming. But scientists at Stockholm University analysed proxy reconstructions of rainfall and found that over the last millennium "prominent seesaw patterns of alternating moisture regimes observed in instrumental data across the Mediterranean, western USA and China have operated consistently over the past 12 centuries." The paper says that the reconstruction "does not support the tendency in simulations of the 20th century for wet regions to get wetter and dry regions to get drier in a warmer climate”. See here.

A Plant Pathogen that Can’t Take the Heat

A team of Australian researchers conducted controlled experiments to determine how temperature affects a major plant pathogen that causes crown rot of wheat. The experiment was conducted in greenhouses with eleven wheat lines grown to maturity under four day/night temperature cycles with the daytime temperature set at 15 °C, 20 °C, 25 °C and 28 °C, and the nighttime temperature set at 15 °C.  The scientists reported that the disease severity declined dramatically with increasing temperature in all eleven lines of wheat tested. The length of the stem base browning due to the pathogen was over 6 cm at the lowest temperature and about 2 mm at the highest temperature. The warming also reduced the pathogen biomass in the stem base by 52%, and reduced the amount of toxin created by the pathogen that makes wheat unsafe for consumption. The paper, Sabburg et al, concludes that "warmer temperatures associated with climate change may reduce overall pathogenic fitness of F. pseudograminearum.” This result was described by Craig Idso here.

Solar Modulation of Flood Frequency in Central Europe on Interannual to Multi-centennial Timescales

A popular pastime of journalists is to blame every flood on human-caused climate change.  A paper by Czymzik et al published in the journal Climate of the Past on April 1, 2016 (no joke) analyzed the flood frequency in central Europe during spring and summer using discharge data of the River Ammer in southern Germany back to AD 1926, and 5500 years of flood layer sediment records. Flood records were significantly correlated to changes in total solar irradiance and 14C production rate, which is a solar proxy. The flood record lags the solar record by 2-3 years. The paper reports "On all timescales, flood frequency in higher when solar activity is reduced." The paper also found that the atmosphere circulation pattern associated with increased flood frequency resembles that during low solar activity. Apparently the sun drives flooding more than CO2 emissions.

Contribution of Antarctica to Past and Future Sea-level Rise

A paper published in the journal Nature here says that sea levels were 6 to 9 m higher during the Last Interglacial Period (LIP), 130 kyr - 115 kyr ago, when global mean temperatures were up to 2 °C warmer than today, implying that the Antarctic ice sheet is sensitive to higher temperatures. The authors use a regional climate model (RCM) to estimate that Antarctic ice sheet melt could contribute up to 1 m of sea level rise under the RCP8.5 emissions scenario by the year 2100. The IPCC AR5 estimated the Antarctic contribution to sea level rise by 2100 at only 0.04 m. But climate scientists Michaels and Knappenberger write here "20th century annual Antarctic near-surface air temperature trends in the GCMs are about 2.5-to-5 times larger-than-observed" and summer temperatures has have risen only 5 to 10% of what the RCM simulate should have happened. The model projected that the large increase in sea level at the start of the LIP occurred 2000 years before they were actually observed as shown in Fig. 3a of the paper. David Middleton wrote in a post here "RCP 8.5 should never be described as “business as usual,” “expected” or a “baseline case.”  Since its assumptions are mind mindbogglingly unrealistic". Extrapolating current trends of energy use, a realistic business-as-usual  projection of CO2 is 700 ppm by 2100, not 936 ppm of the RCP 8.5 scenario. The paper is flawed by using a hypersensitive model and unrealistic data. Don't expect Antarctica to significantly contribute to sea level rise for many hundreds of years.


 

CliSci # 226      2016-03-27

 

Project Investigates the Global Warming Hiatus

While temperature data providers make dubious adjustments to datasets to eliminate the hiatus of global surface warming, scientists from 10 research organizations will investigate the causes of the hiatus to better predict future climate variations, see here. They will investigate possible causes of the hiatus including changes in ocean circulations, clouds and aerosols, and solar effect. The Securing Multidisciplinary Understanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events (SMURPHS) project will use "the world leading ocean models" to investigate ocean processes that sequester surface heat. The ocean is an unimaginably huge heat sink which absorbs 93% of the net energy entering the climate system. The global oceans average temperature from surface to 2000 m depth have increased by less than 0.1 °C since 1960, graph here.
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Canadian Arctic Summers Were Significantly Warmer a Few Thousand Years Ago

Scientists from the University of Ottawa published results from a lake sediment core in the Boothia Peninsula in the Canadian Arctic showing July temperatures over the last 6,900 years. The highest temperatures were 7.5 °C about 6,700 years ago. The region cooled over the mid to late Holocene with coolest temperatures occurring between 460 and 360 years ago, coinciding with the Little Ice Age. The paper's conclusions states, "Modern inferred temperatures based on both pollen and chironomids are up to 3°C cooler than those inferred for the mid-Holocene." However, the nearby community of Taloyoak (previously Spencer Bay) recent July average temperature is given as 7 °C, here. The abstract is here. An article at WUWT with the paper's conclusions and figures is here.
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Solar Power Plant Kills Birds to Produce Expensive Electricity

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California is a concentrating solar power project with 347,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight to 3 towers with boilers that are used to generate electricity.  The US$ 2.2 billion project was financed by US$ 1.6 billion federal loans. The high temperature solar beams are killing 28,000 birds per year according to an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity, see here. The project is producing only about 2/3 of the power it was contracted to deliver. California electric utility regulators on March 17 approved a deal between Pacific Gas & Electric and the owners of Ivanpah solar plant that gives plant operators more time to increase electricity production. This article shows that the capital cost of the electrical power is US$ 6/W, which is 3 times the cost of power from recent nuclear power stations. The Daily Caller here says the plant electricity charges are US$ 200/MWhr, or nearly six times the cost of power from natural gas-fired plants. Ivanpah would have until the end of July to produce more power or face shut down.
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Understanding the Solar Cycle Signal on the Earth’s Surface

A paper published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry Physics by Kodera et al 2016 reports  "The mid-latitude warming during solar maxima in both hemispheres is associated with a downward penetration of zonal mean zonal wind anomalies from the upper stratosphere during late winter. During Northern Hemisphere winter this is manifested in a modulation of the polar-night jet whereas in the Southern Hemisphere the subtropical jet plays the major role." The open access paper is here. The authors used on atmosphere-ocean coupled climate model to investigate causes of the solar signal. They find that the solar signal in the Northern Hemisphere is transmitted from the stratosphere to the surface through a poleward–downward shift of anomalous zonal mean wind, which creates a Northern Annular Mode like structure in the troposphere. The ultra-violet (UV) solar forcing reproduces the downward propagation of solar signals. The UV forcing causes a weakening of the stratospheric polar vortex that induces more frequent cold surges, resulting in the global mean temperature decreasing by about 0.5 °C, although total solar irradiances are unchanged. Centennial-scale solar signals are explained by changes only in the UV part of the solar spectrum.
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Can Science Estimate Influence of Climate Change on Extreme Events?

The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine published a report "Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the context of Climate Change''. The new release dated March 11, 2016 is here, the report is here. The news release states, "It is now possible to estimate the influence of climate change on some types of extreme events, such as heat waves, drought, and heavy precipitation ...". The report uses observations together with climate models to estimate how much climate change has affected an extreme event's magnitude or probability of occurrence. 

The report  recognizes that multi-decadal natural climate variability such as the AMO and PDO "represents a major challenge in the attribution of extreme events to anthropogenic climate change." The report finds that frequency of heat wave increase and extreme cold decrease with warming, but extreme cold is decreasing faster. That is good as extreme cold is more dangerous. There is great uncertainly about the projected trend of droughts and attribution to climate change. There is low confidence in attributing climate change to changes in extra-tropical cyclones or severe convective storms. Model studies suggest that the frequency of tropical storms will decrease but their intensity will increase with warming. 

h/t Fran Manns 


 

CliSci # 225      2016-03-13

 

List of Paper shows that Nature Plays a Dominant Role in Climate Change

A list of scientific papers on climate change was compiled on the website "No Tricks Zone" that challenges the manufactured consensus on climate change and shows that nature plays a dominant role. The list includes 248 papers in 2014, 250 papers in 2015 and 48 papers during the first 2 months of 2016. Kenneth Richards compiles the list. Website owner Pierre Gosselin write here, " Readers are of course welcome to send these lists to elected officials so that they may become aware that climate science is not settled, that natural factors are in fact dominating, and that dire IPCC projections of warming and ice melt are profoundly exaggerated. It is your democratic right and duty to do so."

By year, the list are;

2014  248, including 147 on natural contributions to climate change

2015  150, including 64 on solar forcing of climate

2016 (2 months) 48, including 12 on solar forcing of climate

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RRS Adjust Mid-Troposphere Temperature Trends Upward

Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)made a large change to their mid-troposphere satellite temperature dataset on March 2, 2016, which increases the global temperature trend of January 1979 - February 2016 from 0.083 °C/decade in version 3.3 to 0.133 °C/decade in the new version 4.0.  RSS says on their website, "In the new method, the model-based diurnal cycle climatology used for these adjustments was optimized so that it more accurately removes inter-satellite differences due to drifting local measurement times." However, Dr. Roy Spencer says that the main reason for the difference between the new RSS ver. 4.0 and UAH ver.6.0 is that RSS doesn't compensate for the large calibration drift of the old NOAA-14 microwave sounding unit (MSU) instrument. The newer NOAA-15 AMSU shows 0.20 °C/decade less warming than the old NOAA-14 MSU instrument, which is a huge discrepancy. The "A" of AMSU means "advance", which has “Cadillac”-quality calibration. The RSS data runs much hotter than weather balloon data which is about the same as UAH data. Nevertheless, even the warmed-up RSS ver. 4 trend is still only 63% of the climate multi-model trend of 0.21 °C/decade, as shown by climate scientist Chip Knappenberger, see here.

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Global Warming Increases Rain in World's Driest Areas

It has often been claimed that global warming will make dry areas dryer. Rainfall is a critical requirement for crops and animals. But new research published in Nature Climate Change shows that warming caused more rainfall in both dry and wet regions. The researchers claim that extreme daily precipitation averaged over both dry and wet regimes shows robust increases in both observations and climate models over the past six decades. See here.

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Marvel et al 2015: GISS Corrects Some Errors by Fails to Correct the Conclusions

All recent estimates of climate sensitivity (CS) from observations of surface temperatures, heat accumulation and know forcing changes are lower than from the models.  A paper Marvel et al 2015 claimed that estimates of CS from observations, all of which ignores indirect solar effects, are biased low because some forcing agents cause a different amount of warming than the same forcing by CO2 in a GISS climate model. Climatologist Nic Lewis had identified several error in the Marvel 2015 paper. Perhaps the two most important are that the paper used inconsistent values for CO2 forcing, and the GISS -E2-R climate model runs omitted land use change forcings. The authors made corrections to the paper for both of these issues, which made the temperature effect of the historical forcing the same as the effect from the same forcing from CO2 alone in the climate model. But incredibly, the authors failed to change the conclusions of the paper, which continues to falsely claim, "GISS ModelE2 is more sensitive to CO2 alone than it is to the sum of the forcings that were important over the past century” and that CS estimates from observations are biased low.  CS estimated by observations are biased high by not considering natural long-term climate change during the 20th century. See here.

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New Extratropical Northern Hemisphere Temperature Reconstruction

A new temperature reconstruction of the northern hemisphere north of 30 °N over the past millennium using only tree rings and a "novel method" termed MDVM show a prominent Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age. The reconstruction, Figure 4 here, shows a temperature change of about 0.7 °C between the two periods. This is similar to a reconstruction by Ljungqvist 2010, graph here, that was used in our recent FoS report on the Alberta carbon tax here. The smoothed MDVM reconstruction exhibited a general agreement with the variation of the reconstructed total solar.

However, the UK's CRU temperature index diverges from the reconstruction after 1970 likely indicating a combination of an urban heat island effect contamination the CRU data and the tree rings under responding to the temperature rise. The paper is here.


 

CliSci # 224      2016-03-01

 

Earthquakes and Relative Sea Level Changes

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters [Melini et al] found "that great earthquakes have the overall tendency to produce a sea level rise, and that they affect the measurements taken at those tide-gauge sites that are commonly employed to obtain global estimates of sea level rise." The study found that earthquakes contribute "at least 0.1 mm/yr" to long-term sea level rise. Estimates of secular sea level changes from tide gauge observations indicate a uniform rise in the range 1.4–2.0 mm/yr. This estimate includes the vertical land movements due to glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), estimated at 0.3 mm/yr. Most of the earthquake-induced sea level rise of the 20th century was caused by the earthquakes in Chile, 1960, and Alaska, 1964. A paper by Douglas 1997 estimated global long-term sea level rise of 1.8 ± 0.1 mm/y. Melini says the Douglas estimate "should be corrected to 1.6 ± 0.1 mm/yr" to remove the effects of earthquakes. The paper is here.
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Sunspots and ENSO Relationship

A paper published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics [Hassen et al 2015] investigated the relationship between sunspot numbers and El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).  The study used a "Markov chain method" to find the relations between monthly sunspots and ENSO data of two epochs (1996–2009 and 1950–2014). The study shows "a significant relation between Sunspots and ENSO data exists." The Sun-ENSO relation shows that the Sun can affect local climate variability via the ENSO process. Since the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is characterized by varying ENSO activity, the Sun-ENSO relation may also affect global climate variability.  The paper is here.
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Global Warming ‘Hiatus’ was Real

There has been much debate about NOAA's recent adjustments to sea surface temperatures based on a paper published by Tom Karl of NOAA.  Bob Tisdale published several blog posts, see here criticizing the adjustments. This adjustment eliminated the slow down, or hiatus, in global warming during the 21st century by applying an upward adjustment of buoy data (not ARGO floats) to match inaccurate engine water intake data from ships. A new paper titled "Making Sense of the Early-2000's Warming Slowdown"  published in Nature Climate Change contradicts the claims that the hiatus was an artifact of bad data and shows that the hiatus was real, and that climate models failed to predict it. Lead author John Fyfe, a climate modeller at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, B. C., says, “There is this mismatch between what the climate models are producing and what the observations are showing. We can’t ignore it.” The paper is here and a Nature News article is here.
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Is the Government Tinkering with Global Warming Data?

Related to the previous item, Dr. Judith Curry wrote an article for Fox News concerning the Karl’s paper and the U.S. House Science Committee investigation of possible political interference.  Dr. Curry discusses "legitimate concerns" and raises several question that require investigation. See here.
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Andes Have Seen No Warming Over The Past 65 Years!

A paper by Vuille et al published in Journal for Geophysical Research, abstract here, analyzed temperature variability along the western side of the Andes and investigates its linkages to tropical Pacific modes of variability. The paper reports that "warming in tropical latitudes has come to a halt and that the subtropical regions continue to experience cooling." While coastal regions experience cooling, higher elevations continue to warm. The coastal cooling is consistent with the observed Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Dr.Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt discuss the paper here, and presents a figure from the paper. The figure shows that the exo-tropical temperatures have shown no warming over the last 65 years.
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Solar Forcing as an Important Trigger for West Greenland Sea-Ice Variability Over the Last Millennium

A paper by  Sha et al published in Quaternary Science Reviews in January 2016 shows a strong link between changes in sea-ice cover and solar variability off the western coast of Greenland during the last millennium. The authors used marine sediment cores collected from the West Greenland shelf to reconstruct changes in sea-ice cover. The sea ice results were compared to the 14C production rate from tree rings, which is a commonly used proxy for solar activity. Weaker solar forcing results in increasing sea ice cover. See the paper here. Figure 5 indicates a "a robust positive correlation" between the sea ice and the solar proxy.

 


 

By: Albert Jacobs

 

CliSci # 223      2016-02-14

 

Basic climate research from Japan

Some twelve selected and annotated papers published by Progress in Earth and Planetary Science of the last two years are available through this review paper by Iryu et al.
The sections are: 
Space and planetary sciences, 
Atmospheric and hydrospheric sciences, 
Human geosciences, 
Solid earth sciences, biogeosciences, 
Interdisciplinary research.
 
Another PEPS  paper (Tada et al) deals with Evolution and variability of the Asian monsoon and its potential linkage with uplift of the Himalaya and Tibetan Plateau. It should be of interest to earth scientists because of its data on the plate tectonics’ India/Asia collision.
 
"PEPS" is an open access e-journal published by the Japan Geoscience Union through Springer. These are academic research papers and most have a bearing on the wide area of climatology.
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Temperature variability reviewed

John Whitfield is a recently retired Scottish electronic engineer, whose experience as a long time pilot made him develop interests in meteorology and astronomy.  As many of us have done, he has carried these interests in retirement and has connected them to this great issue of our time. He has not engaged himself so much with the physics of climate change as well as with an analysis of available historic data and the trends they provide. He made some interesting observations in a 20 page essay you can read HERE.
 
Increased levels of sophistication on the subject may well be available elsewhere, but his conclusions about the influence of the sun and the oceans are not much different from our own. I would like to contribute a particular blow-up of an interval of the Vostok core data as the world moved from the last glacial period into the interglacial, between 22,000 and 10,000 BP.  It shows the 800 year time gap - between a rising temperature and the increase of captured atmospheric CO2 - clearer than any I know. It also shows the Younger Dryas and the interesting contrary methane behaviour of the preceding Bølling/Allerød sequence, which some have explained as a clathrate break-down during temperature rise.
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Dr David Evans' New Science - (3)

We have drawn your attention in previous issues (CliSci # 214 and # 218) to David's New Science project which started with the September publication of what appears to be a long running feuilleton on JoanneNova's blog. He says he has worked on it for the last three years.
This is all far from a text book. Instead it travels through old hypotheses (weighed and found wanting) into a number of measurable anomalies and synchronies. What he brings to the problem of the events within the sun that affect climate beyond TSI  is an expertise in Fourier transforms. It helps in analysing periodicities.
 
He has found a new path, of which his blogging wife Joanne writes:
"The light on the new path was finding a “notch” filter (it’s a common garden-thing for an electrical engineer, but probably unknown to climate scientists). That notch filter was published here 18 months ago."
 
Yesterday's New Science 22 brings you up to date on the "Notch Delay" discovery with its hyperlinks and the possible reasons why the IPCC's dismissal of the TSI influence was unwarranted. 
This is not easy stuff, but for most of us there are points of recognition that suddenly seem to fit;  like the mathematical "notch delay" with Willie Soon's approximate 10-year delay of the tropical SST in the Atlantic.
 
The notches in the Sunspot record peaks came up again in the illustrations # 9 and 11 of an essay by John Whitfield, (see the previous item).  Willis Eschenbach chased solar periodicities two years ago in a WUWT post and attracted 300 comments.
 
I have not seen any mention of the relationship of the "notches" to the 11 and 22 year switches in prominence between the "battling" toroidal and poloidal fields of the sun's dual dynamo. Various papers by Duhau, deJager, Zharkova and Shepherd have mentioned these events in recent years. They are happening, both in quantity and type of radiation, at these turning points of the solar cycle. 
 
I am no solar physicist, but I'm sure we will hear from David again in a few months.
And yes, this indepenent, productive couple does not live on tax-derived subsidies like their warmist colleagues.  
They would welcome your $$$ support!
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The Heat-Creep process

Climate Change Sceptics, those that agree on CO2 not being the sort of agent in our atmosphere that can cause alarming changes in temperature, are nevertheless a divided lot when it comes to the actual causes of climate change; even to the set of balances that produces a temporary status quo, like a "pause".
The Grand Master of the latter is physicist Douglas Cotton, whose brand of physics and internet-wide trolling has got him banned from posting on most of the climate sceptics blogs around.
HERE are some of his ideas, posted on his blog a couple of month ago, and HERE are some comments on WUWT from two years ago.
 
Better look at Davis Evans’ series on his wife’s blog for causes of Global Warming.
 

 

CliSci # 222      2016-01-31

 

Tree Rings revisited

Research by Dr Schofield, U.of Otaga, NZ and colleagues has examined the role of tree ring measurement. Tree rings are used these days as proxies for temperature, but the weaknesses  of this are getting to be well understood. The abstract is available at A Model-Based Approach to Climate Reconstruction Using Tree-Ring Data and HERE .
In short, the application of dendro-chronology may be accurate but dendro-thermology does not work, observes Richard Courtney. Too many variables from siting and precipitation to marking by animals affect the temperature application.
It is interesting that CRU's Keith Briffa, who supplied the measured data that Michael Mann used to build his hockey stick, is a co-author.  They give a message to the paleoclimate community on the uncertainty of that application. (See the write-up and discussion in WattsUp.)
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The divergence between Satellite and Surface Temperature

During the 1998 El Niño both types of temperature data sources rose together, with the satellites achieving a higher peak than the surface readings. During the present El Niño the roles are reversed and David Evans has been looking into it.  He wonders why " the thermometers near airports, carparks and cities are picking up the ocean warming better than the satellites."
 
Of course, in spite of numerous articles that have been written about the ENSO system and El Niño, there is still insufficient agreement as to its causes. It has been around since long before any global warming scare; it does not have a defined cycle such as we can relate to solar variations, but it occurs with varying periodicity.
While some older explanations points to  interplay between equatorial and neighbouring counter currents and the Easterly wind, others point to massive overturning of warmer bottom waters. Could there be so much warm water over an extended period? And where does it come from?
See next item.
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On Blobs, Niño/Niñas, Tectonics, PDO, the Sun and SSTs

I am usually weary of recommending entire blog postings to my readers, especially graph-laden dissertations by Bob Tisdale in WUWT, but I am making an exception for this one.  What starts out as a posting about the behaviour of the North Pacific "blob", with interesting time-series animations, develops into a free-for-all comment section about the nature, origin and variations of oceanic surface temperatures. It discloses some new insights and a première of one from an old mariner who calls himself "Notoobrite" (7:03 am) and a response by "Michael C" (10:18 am) who sees a Ph.D.project in it.
 
With respect to that response, it should be noted that - while the Eastern Pacific coast is predominantly a plate subduction zone - the Western side of that ocean harbours a complex system of both active spreading and subduction features, in the New Zealand/Solomon trend, as well as in the area around the Philippines Plate.
The former is the one the old mariner speaks of, the latter is the general area where El Niño starts. It seems, oceanographers may not have put enough attention to either sea floor tectonics, or to vertical water movements. 
Recent papers have hinted at volcanic/tectonic triggers from the ocean floor. Others go deeper yet and see forces originating in the boundaries of the earth’ outer core, (much like the function of the sun’s tachocline !).
 
Tim Ball might disagree.
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AMOC in the making

It seems some chance remarks and comments by Paul Vaughan have produced an interesting post by Bill Illis in Tallbloke's Talkshop.
Bill maintains:  Formation of the AMOC not linked to Greenland meltwater. I must say I never believed that either.
Influx of cold water from the "melting Greenland ice cap" has often been blamed  for rapid cold outbreaks in the Northern mid-Atlantic which cut short the Northward travel of the "Gulf Stream"
(Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation).
In a series of maps and profiles he shows how the Arctic Ocean floor configuration, the residence time of various water bodies and salinity are the more probable engines of the process.
AMOC has been blamed for rapid temperature reversals of the Younger Dryas at the beginning of our current interglacial, some 12,000 years ago. These events may be coincidental and related,  but not in a cause-and-effect manner. But that's a different subject.
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AMOC being destroyed

Sorry, I couldn't let the opportunity pass by to offset the above item with this 2014 piece of sheer catastrophe propaganda, built on the aftermath of the BP oil spill of some years ago.  It carries the title of Recent Loss of Atlantic Current Dooms Mankind and carries a provenance from  two Ph.D.s: a Dr Deagle and a Dr Zangari. It even drops names of innocent bystanders such as Drs. Mike Coffman and Tim Ball, who should probably be suing the writers.
In its pseudo-scientific language it confirms the dying of the entire Thermohaline Circulation System and the threat of a new Ice Age coming soon.
This piece of agit-prop came across my screen in connection with material used for the election of a candidate for the IPCC Chair last year.
(h/t IM)

 

CliSci # 221      2016-01-17

 

Is Potsdam getting confused?

With the possible intent to bolster the impact of CO2 on current climates, Ganopolski, Winkelmann and Schellnhuber now tackle the origin of the great glaciations. In a letter to Nature [$], they want you to believe that they can use "Critical insolation - CO2 relationship for diagnosing past and future glacial inception". While boreal summer solar insolation is at present at a minimum (they acknowledge that much), they appear to credit post-LIA industrial increase of CO2 for warding off the end of the interglacial in which we live, i.e. the start of a new glaciation. With a nod to Milankovitch’ orbital eccentricity they predict earth climate 100,000 years ahead.
What now? Is CO2 actually good for our climate? Does the Potsdam Klima Institute support these simulations? Read the abstract, if only for entertainment.
 
Comments from Tallbloke’s blog
Scathing review by David Middleton in WUWT
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El Niño and the ocean at depth

Prompted by Dick Lindzen, Roy Spencer addresses on his blog the question "What causes El Niño warmth?"  and concludes that: "during El Nino, there is an average decrease in the vertical overturning and mixing of cold, deep ocean waters with solar-heated warm surface waters. The result is that the surface waters become warmer than average, and deeper waters become colder than average."
 
The blog discussion goes much further into the functions of the oceans and their interrelatioship. Interestingly, the usual "wind" explanation of El Niño barely merits mention.
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No progress in closed minds

 
 "The Younger Dryas 'cold' oscillation (~12.7 - 11.6 Ka BP) is quite a contradiction. Sudden dramatic precipitation isotope swings and dramatic drop in snow accumulation suggest a cold and arid period, which seems to be confirmed by the methane records. However, this cold condition contradicts the fact that the summer insolation values were close to a maximum and the carbon dioxide levels in Antarctic ice cores were approaching the early Holocene high values." (Bijkerk, 2014).
 
In Nature Geoscience , eight European earth and atmospheric scientists (Renssen et al) again tackle the causes of the Younger Dryas’ relatively short, but sharply defined return to glacial conditions. (Multiple causes of the Younger Dryas Cold Period).
The substantial and non-anthropogenic causes of the sharp Bölling/Allerød - Younger Dryas swings are only discussed in terms of surrounding manifestations in currents, Atlantic overturning (AMOC), precipitation, atmospheric circulation and "moderate negative forcing".  The abstract concludes by stating that "none of the individual mechanisms alone provide a plausible explanation for the Younger Dryas cold period. We suggest that the triggers for abrupt climate changes such as the Younger Dryas are more complex than suggested so far, and that studies on the response of the climate system to perturbations should account for this complexity."
 
Yeah, but why ignore the work by people like "Niklas" Mörner in Pattern Recognition in Physics  2013 (as well as some of the other papers in that splendid Special Series) 
Says Mörner:  "This multi-body problem can now be addressed in a constructive way. Indeed, there are multiple criteria suggesting that the solar variability is driven by a planetary beat also affecting a number of terrestrial variables: 14C and 10Be production, Earth’s rotation, ocean circulation, paleoclimate, geomagnetism, etc." 
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More on rapid climate changes

Not unrelated to the above is an article titled "Was millennial scale climate change during the Last Glacial triggered by explosive volcanism?"
 
"Millennial scale climate change is one of the most characteristic and yet enigmatic features of recent glacial intervals. From 30 to 80 ka BP, glacial baseline conditions were interrupted by 21 abrupt climate change events, termed Dansgaard-Oeschger (DO) events, associated with warm interstadial conditions in Greenland but colder conditions in Antarctica. The apparent temperature shifts were locally dramatic; for example, DO Event 8 (DO-8) occurred 38.17 ka BP, and was characterised by 11.8 °C Greenland warming, which is comparable to warming across a full glacial-interglacial transition (italics mine - afj). Additionally, evidence from high resolution Greenland ice cores suggests that Greenland warming can occur extremely rapidly, potentially within 1 to 3 years."
 
The effects of very large volcanic outbursts on various climate factors has been investigated and published by Baldini et al in Nature Science Reports  (open access). The examples are of Tambora size and document a difference in effects between the NH and SH.
An example of the large Lake Toba (Sumatra) explosion is monitored trough a Borneo cave's stalagmites and shows climate influences of a millennium scale.
 
So, is now volcanism added to the possible causes for D-O events? Was the Younger Dryas one of them?
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The Music of the Spheres

Forget the political construct of the effect of four CO2 molecules in ten thousand of the atmosphere. But what does move climate over time? Above you have seen some of the connections that are being explored. In addition there are a dozen or so solar system variations, gravity (orbital interplanetary) and magnetic (quantitative and qualitative of the solar dual dynamo), with the first likely to influence the second.The linear variable system of the IPCC’s atmospheric computer simulations doesn’t even attempt to track these forces. Their programs do not work with cyclical variables. But the universe is full of cyclic events. Even life is cyclic.One of the best blogs in the business is Tallbloke’s Talkshop. Its owner, Roger Tattersall wrote a little piece four years ago, alerting the public to the influence of the Saturn/Jupiter orbit interplay on the sun’s radiative output. Look at this blog for up to date developments.Other approaches to the multi-cycle sources of natural climate change are being waged from a mathematical angle. Much research has been done since, some of it reported in the PRP Special Series, since closed under pressure, but with its dozen papers still available in open access.

 

CliSci # 220      2016-01-03

 

Thirty Year temperature trends and station siting

Anthony Watts and friends have completed another major effort on the quality of US weather station siting, with the purpose of determining to what extent poor data have contributed to questionable temperature trends.

Their findings:
Comprehensive and detailed evaluation of station metadata, on-site station photography, satellite and aerial imaging, street level Google Earth imagery, and curator interviews have yielded a well-distributed 410 station subset of the 1218 station USHCN network that is unperturbed by Time of Observation changes, station moves, or rating changes, and a complete or mostly complete 30-year dataset. It must be emphasized that the perturbed stations dropped from the USHCN set show significantly lower trends than those retained in the sample, both for well and poorly sited station sets.
Well sited stations show significantly less warming from 1979 – 2008. The 30-year Tmean temperature trend of unperturbed, well sited stations is significantly lower than the Tmean temperature trend of NOAA/NCDC official adjusted homogenized surface temperature record for all 1218 USHCN stations.
We believe the NOAA/NCDC homogenization adjustment causes well sited stations to be adjusted upwards to match the trends of poorly sited stations.
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The Sun as driver of Ozone and the Climate

Stephen Wilde has a theory, which he first put forward in 2010
"An active sun was the cause of the ozone hole scare", says Wilde.
It follows this chain of potential influence:

  The Sun —-> UV or charged particles —- > ozone —->  polar jet streams —–> clouds —–> surface temperatures.

 (Note that this would infer a cloud generating vehicle which is basically separate from - and in addition to - Svensmark's modulated Cosmic Ray stream)
 
Meanwhile, David Evans developed the Notch-Delay Solar Theory which is compatible with Wilde's hypothesis. Evans' theory deals with the 11 year delay in temperature effect with respect to a cycle's peak (e.g. a peak in 1997, but a temperature drop starting in 2008).  The "notch" theory is still a work-in-progress. I would not be surprised if it were related to the dual dynamo flip interaction.
 
The whole thing is discussed on JoNova's blog, along with some challenging concepts by Andersson [$], reviewed by the Hockey Schtick blog. These are no simple matters and will take a bit of digging in the references to understand.
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Volcanics, Ozone and Climate Change 22/10

Retired Geology Professo David Bennett Laing has an essay in WUWT  that starts with "Two different styles of volcanic eruption appear to have been the  principal determinants of climate change throughout geologic time."  Last month, he published - with colleague Peter Ward  ("Rare Earth") - a book on a new theory of global warming "that we feel accounts far better for temperature change over the past 100 years and throughout the Phanerozoic Eon than the currently favoured greenhouse warming theory."  His synopsis in WUWT did not result in an enthusiastic reception, eliciting chicken-and-egg comments.
 
M.A Vukcevic is a frequent and sensible commentator on WUWT postings. In a comment on the blog (on December 23, 2015 at 9:33 am) he writes:
"Explosive volcanic eruptions by their nature and the meaning of the word are usually short lived. As such they are unlikely to have any longer term effect. Most of volcanoes are to be found along tectonic faults and mostly in or at close proximity of two major oceans, Pacific and the far North Atlantic, both displaying distinct multi-decadal variability.
Volcanoes do not erupt by chance or at random, they are consequence of the Earth’s internal movements and changes, thus eruptions have to be seen as a kind of (often delayed) proxy for those movements. Earth’s internal activity is readily picked by thinner ocean floor crust, possibly affecting critical oceans’ currents ‘nodes’, the places where cold and warm currents are vertically stratified and interacting.
Two major locations are to be found along line stretching from Japan to Alaska (Kuroshio-Oyashio currents) and Denmark to Fram Straits (N. Atlantic-Arctic inflow/outflow) both volcanically very active. It is likely that both of these areas are sources of the natural variability, with the above mentioned currents responsible for the variability in the equatorial heat transfer pole-ward.
The greatest effect in the N. Hemisphere, has to be found in the polar and sub-polar regions (misnamed as ‘polar amplification’), while the equatorial belt is hardly affected, with the excess heat either going northwards to the pole or upwards to the space."
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IPCC and the cows

Regardless of the minimal effect that CH4 has as a greenhouse gas, there have always been such deeply concerned people that worry about the belching and farting ruminates.  In this they are happily assisted by some of the vegetarian forces on the planet.
  
Our FoS member agronomist Dr Albrecht Glatzle, who runs an agrarian supply and consulting business on the Chaco of Paraguay, has been in the forefront of the sceptics' fight and attended COP21 on behalf of his regional rural Association.

Rather belatedly, GlobalMeatNews is starting to pay attention to the senseless restrictions the warmist bureaucrats want to impose. Both Lord Moncton and Dr Glatzle comment on the recent article, as does a veganist, who opines that it is "absurd to continue Animal agriculture".

From hydro-carbon resources to ranching, il n'y a qu'un pas.
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Science, the Senate and the Courts

Dr Tim Ball considers that "The Recent Senate Climate Hearing Failed Because It Continues To Miss The Point" in a review of failed efforts to have science heard in the judicial environment. He also draws on his own experiences with "SLAPP" suits, started against him with he purpose of shutting him up and depleting his resources.
The Senate Hearing in question was held on December 8th and Dr Judith Curry, Dr Will Harper and Mark Steyn participated in it.

It’s a sad story, but useful with respect to the strategies that climate sceptics use to get their case across.



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