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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2017

By: Ken Gregory


CliSci # 256      2017-04-09


Climate Dogma Exposed – FoS Annual Event May 9, 2017

The Friends of Science Society annual climate science and policy event “Climate Dogma Exposed” will be on May 9, 2017 at the Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium, Calgary. It features a buffet dinner starting at 6 pm and two guest speakers: Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant and author of numerous reports, speaking on “Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?”; and Steve Goreham, author of The Mad, Mad World of Climatism and Outside the Green Box, speaking on “Climate Science and the Myths of Renewable Energy”. Buy your tickets onllne HERE, and click here for more information.


Twelfth International Conference on Climate Change

The Heartland Institute held the 12th International conference on climate change in Washington, D.C. on March 23 & 24, 2017. See videos of the all of the presentations here.  Some notable presentations are; Steve Goreham, who will a guest speaker at the FoS event on May 9, gave a presentation on sustainable development here. Dr. Ross McKitrick gives a presentation titled “Uses and Abuses of the Social Cost of Carbon” here. Dr. Willy Soon discusses the history of Arctic sea ice here. Dr. Craig Idso shows the monetary benefit of increasing CO2 on food production here. Dr. Pat Micheals discusses “Vacating the Endangerment Finding” which is required to repeal the US regulations against CO2 emissions, here.


Climate Scientists Tell Congress to Create a Climate Red Team

Prominent climate scientists have told a US congressional committee on March 29, 2017, that climate science as reported by UN and official government reports is dysfunctional, beset by bias and groupthink, and is using a profoundly unscientific approach. Dr. John Christy said: “Congress needs a parallel, scientifically-based assessment of the state of climate science. Many important issues are left out of government-directed climate reports entirely; our policymakers need to see the entire range of findings regarding climate change”. He argued that Congress should “fund credible ‘red teams’ that look at issues such as natural variability, the failure of climate models”. See the written testimony of Dr. J. Curry, Dr. J. Christy, Dr. M. Mann and Dr. R. Pielke, Jr. here. A video of the hearing is here, starting at 16:20.


Freshening of the Labrador Sea as a Trigger for  the Little Ice Age

A paper published this month in Climate of the Past uses high resolution record of ice rafting in the Labrador Sea to show that Arctic freshwater discharges to the Labrador Sea from melting glaciers reduces the amount of heat transported to high latitudes. The warmth during the Medieval Warm Period caused Greenland glacial melting that freshened the Labrador Sea and reduced the sub-polar ocean circulation, thereby reducing the ocean heat transport to the northern Atlantic. This would make the North Atlantic climate more unstable such that reduced solar irradiance and volcanoes could easily drive periods of severe cold conditions in Europe and the North Atlantic like the [Little Ice Age] LIA. This process drives long term climate cycles that are not included in climate models. Natural warming from the LIA are incorrectly attributed by the IPCC to greenhouse gas warming. See here.


Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) for Photovoltaic Solar Systems in Regions of Moderate Insolation

A paper by Ferroni Hapkirk analysed critically the photovoltaic (PV) solar power sources in regions of moderate insolation by using the concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI). The analysis used data from Switzerland and Germany. The ERoEI is the total energy output from a system divided by the total energy invested over the system lifetime. The paper reports “PV technologies, consume per unit of electricity produced, 64 times more material resources, 7 times more human resources und 10 times more capital than nuclear technology.” The analysis shows that the ERoEI is the energy return of 2203 kWh/m2 divided by the energy invested of 2664 kWh/m2, giving a ratio of 0.82. Due to the time value of money, a ERoEI of less than 5 is non-sustainable. The paper concludes “today’s PV technologies cannot be termed an energy source, but rather a non-sustainable energy sink or a non-sustainable NET ENERGY LOSS.” See the paper here.


Recent Increase in Oceanic Carbon Uptake Driven by Weaker Upper-Ocean Overturning

Recent data show that oceanic CO2 uptake rates have been growing over the past decade reversing a trend of stagnant or declining carbon uptake during the 1990s. This article shows that ocean circulation variability is the primary driver of these changes in oceanic CO2 uptake over the past several decades. The weakening upper-ocean overturning circulation during the 2000s decreased the outgassing of natural CO2, strengthening the CO2 sink and trapping natural CO2 in the deep ocean. See here.


Sun's impact on Climate Change Quantified

A study funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation quantified the effects of solar variability on climate change. The researchers calculated solar radiative forcing taking into account particles and electromagnetic radiation. The solar variations were set to match the natural climate changes over the last few millennia. The researchers estimated the contribution that the sun is expected to make to temperature change in the next 100 years. They expect the Earth's temperature to fall by half a degree Celsius within the next 50 to 100 years when solar activity reaches its next minimum. This would offset most of the expected warming from greenhouse gas emission to the end of the century. See the news release here.


CliSci # 255      2017-03-23


Climate Dogma Exposed – FoS Annual Event May 9, 2017

The Friends of Science Society annual climate science and policy event “Climate Dogma Exposed” will be on May 9, 2017 at the Red and White Club, McMahon Stadium, Calgary. It features a buffet dinner starting at 6 pm and two guest speakers: Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant and author of numerous reports, speaking on “Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?”; and Steve Goreham, author of The Mad, Mad World of Climatism and Outside the Green Box, speaking on “Climate Science and the Myths of Renewable Energy”. Buy your tickets onllne HERE, and click here for more information.


Regional Climate Impacts of a Possible Future Grand Solar Minimum

This paper investigates the effects of a future grand solar minimum on global regional climates using a global climate model. The modeling only considers changes in the ultraviolet radiation component of the total solar irradiance (TSI). It does not consider the indirect effects of solar flux on clouds. The paper shows results for two scenarios. In experiment B, the ultraviolet component of solar irradiance declines by 1.76 W/m2 or 6.4%, while TSI declines by  0.129% with no change to the non-ultraviolet component. The global cooling with respect to a base case for the period 2050 to 2099 was only 0.12 °C.  The regional cooling of Northern Europe, Northern Asia and Eastern North America during winters for the period 2050 to 2099 were 0.75 °C, 0.53 °C and 0.43 °C, respectively. For comparison, the expected anthropogenic CO2 warming expected from 2010 to the 2075 (the mid-point of the time range) assuming a transient temperature response of 0.85 °C (determined here) is 0.44 °C. Therefore, if the sun has no effect on cloud cover, which is unlikely, Northern Europe winter temperatures would decline by 0.31 °C by 2075. The ultraviolet solar irradiance is linked to modulation of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations. The solar minimum reduces the solar ultraviolet heating of the tropical stratosphere, which changes the subtropical stratospheric winds and modifies the equator-to-pole temperature gradient. The signal is propagated poleward and down through the troposphere. See the open source paper here.  h/t Ken Allen.


Half of Arctic Ice Loss in Due to Natural Cycles

A major paper by Ding et al published in Nature Climate Change that studied natural and man-made Arctic warming said that “a decades-long natural warming of the Arctic climate might be tied to shifts as far away as the tropical Pacific Ocean.” The authors used several climate models and different reanalysis products. The models were adjusted to observed wind fields. The authors find that “summertime [air] circulation contributes to as much as a 60% of the sea ice loss since 1979” and that “about 50% of the circulation change and the associated warming over Greenland are attributable to internal variability originating from the tropical Pacific Ocean.”  They attribute 30-50% of sea ice loss to internal variability. The paper concludes “The potentially large contribution of internal variability to sea ice loss over the next 40 years reinforces the importance of natural contributions to sea ice trends over the past several decades. The similarity of high latitude circulation variability associated with sea ice loss to the teleconnections with the tropical Pacific suggests a contribution of sea ice losses from SST trends across the tropical Pacific Ocean. The paper ignored the effects of black carbon on ice and snow. See a UK DailyMail article here and the paper here.


Climate Response Time to Double Carbon Dioxide

The IPCC’s fifth assessment report claims that equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is likely in the range of 1.5 to 4.5 °C. The ECS is defined as the global average surface temperature change due a doubling of carbon dioxide after allowing the oceans to reach temperature equalization. But how long does it take for the oceans to reach equilibrium? This can only be estimated by climate models. One study gives this graph, which shows the time to temperature equalization for the northern and southern hemispheres. It shows that 95% of the equilibrium temperature response occurs in about 900 years in the northern hemisphere and 3300 years in the southern hemisphere. Global temperature will reach 95% of temperature equalization due to a doubling of CO2 in about 2200 years. See the paper “Time Scales of Climate Response” here. The value of money at a 4% real discount rate declines to 0.0000000000000002% in 1000 years. Events on these time scales are irrelevant to current policy decisions, so the IPCC’s emphasis on ECS is misleading. The transient climate response TCR is the temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling. The most realistic empirical estimate of TCR, which takes into account of the urban warming and the millennium warming cycle is 0.85 °C in 125 years.


Heartland 12th Conference on Climate Change

The Heartland Institute is holding the 12th International conference on climate change in Washington, DC today and tomorrow, March 23-24, 2017.  The Heartland newsletter says the conference presents scientists, economists and US elected officials who “will explain how and why the Trump administration should reset climate policy away from the fake science and alarmism of the Obama years and toward real science and data.” Watch live video streaming of the conference here.


Lifetime Performance of World’s First Offshore Wind Farm

The world’s first offshore windfarm is now being dismantled in Denmark. It operated for 25 years from 1991 to 2016 with a lifetime capacity factor of 22%.  Cost and operating statistics of its operation lead to the conclusion: “While turbines are getting larger, able to operate at lower wind speeds, and improving their capacity factors, the total lifecycle cost per unit of energy provided from offshore wind has not perceptibly decreased from 1991 to 2015. Higher costs of O&M for larger turbines farther offshore seems to consume savings from higher capacity factors.” See here.



CliSci # 254      2017-03-12


California Megaflood: Lessons from a Forgotten Catastrophe

Geologic evidence shows that truly massive floods, caused by rainfall alone, have occurred in California every 100 to 200 years….. during the winter of 1861-62. This disaster turned enormous regions of the state into inland seas for months, and took thousands of human lives. The costs were devastating: one quarter of California’s economy was destroyed, forcing the state into bankruptcy….. Such floods are likely caused by atmospheric rivers: narrow bands of water vapor about a mile above the ocean that extend for thousands of kilometers.
In 1861, farmers and ranchers were praying for rain after two exceptionally dry decades. In December their prayers were answered with a vengeance, as a series of monstrous Pacific storms slammed—one after another—into the West coast of North America, from Mexico to Canada. The storms produced the most violent flooding residents had ever seen, before or since…..” See here.


The Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction Was Caused by an Ice Age

Scientists had previously thought that the Permian-Triassic mass extinction that resulted in the extinction of 95% of marine species about 250 million years ago was caused by global warming. New research published by scientists from Switzerland show that the mass extinction was actually caused by an ice age induced by volcanic eruptions in Siberia. The volcanism reduced the amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. The ice age preceded the global warming by 500,000 years. The researchers discovered that the mass extinction occurred when sea levels fell during the glaciations of an ice age. The ice age which lasted 80,000 years was sufficient to cause the extinction. The researcher used the radioactive decay of uranium to accurately date sediments in China. See ScienceDaily here.


New Satellite Temperature Dataset Paper from UAH Published

The technical paper explaining the methodology and results of the new version 6 of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) satellite temperature dataset was published online March 7, 2017. The UAH ver. 6 reduced the global lower troposphere (LT) temperature trend from 1979 to 2016 by 0.031 °C/decade to 0.123 °C/decade compared to the previous UAH ver. 5.6. The global 21st century LT temperature trend from 2001 to 2016 was reduced by 0.076 °C/decade to 0.088 °C/decade. The UAH ver. 6 has higher spatial resolution, a new method for grid-point averaging, a new multi-channel method of computing the LT temperatures and a new method to correct for diurnal drift. The submitted paper is here.


Arctic Ocean Sea Ice Variability Over the Last Ten Thousand Years

A paper by Stein et al published in February 2017 in the Journal of Quaternary Science shows that Arctic sea ice variability during the last 10,000 years, during the Holocene, is modulated by variations in solar activity. The study presented sea ice records from two sediment cores recovered from the Arctic ocean. The record shows a significant increased sea ice extent during the last 4,500 years. The sea ice millennial variability was caused by changes in ocean currents from the Pacific ocean into the Arctic ocean and the long-term decrease in solar insolation. The short-term centennial variability is related to solar forcing. The 20th century sea ice extent was greater than most of the Holocene period except for the Little Ice Age. See an article by Kenneth Richard here and the abstract here.


Examining the Social Cost and Benefit of Carbon Dioxide

Climate scientist Patrick Michaels provided testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology on February 28, 2017 about the calculation of the Social Cost and Benefit of Carbon Dioxide (SCC). His testimony shows that the US Interagency Working Group (IWG) used too high and outdated estimates of climate sensitivity despite at least 16 new studies that show much lower values. Using more current values from empirical studies, the SCC in the DICE model falls by 30-50% and in the FUND model it falls by over 80%. The climate models over-warm the bulk atmosphere by a factor of 2.5. Climate models are tuned by adjusting parameters to roughly match the late 20th century warming from 1975, thereby misallocating natural warming to greenhouse gas warming. A 300 ppm increase in CO2 causes a 30% increase in the growth of most crops. Two of the models used by the IWG do not contain the any significant benefits of CO2 fertilization and the effect in the FUND model may be up to a factor of four too small. Sea level rise in the DICE model are far higher than mainstream projections. The SCC would likely be negative if the models used parameters from the current scientific literature. The IWG estimate of SCC is  “unsupported by the robust scientific literature”. See the written testimony here.


Aerosol-driven Increase in Arctic Sea Ice 1950 - 1975

A paper published by Gagné et al in February 2017 shows that the Arctic sea ice extent grew substantially between 1950 and 1975, contrary to earlier observational datasets that show weak inter-annual variations. The scientists used two new blended datasets mostly based on in-situ observation from the eastern Arctic. The sea ice increase is consistent with the observed Arctic cooling from 1940 to 1970. The authors used climate model simulations from the Canadian climate model CanEMS2 to suggest that the cooling was primarily due to increasing aerosols and with a smaller contribution from natural forcings. The new observational datasets indicate that Arctic sea ice concentration were as low in the early 1950s as during recent decades. See a discussion here and the paper here.


CliSci # 253      2017-02-23


Baffin Bay + Kane Basin Polar Bear Population Estimate Increased 42% from 1997

A new report of polar bear population shows a 42% increase in the estimated subpopulations of Baffin Bay plus Kane Basin, located between NW Greenland, and Baffin and Ellsemere Islands. Environment Canada assessed these area in 2014 as “data deficient” for Kane Basin and “likely declining” for Baffin Bay. A re-calculation of the 1995-97 data for Kane Basin increased the 1997 estimate from 164 to 224 polar bears, and the current estimate is 357. The Baffin Bay estimate increased from 2074 in 1997 to 2826 in 2013, however the report cautions that the estimates “are not directly comparable” due to data limitations. Dr. Susan J. Crockford writes that she expects “a revised 2015 global estimate of something like 23,000-33,000 depending on how all the results are interpreted.” The 1980 global estimate was about 22,000. See here.


China ENSO-related Cyclic Storms Are Driven by Solar Activity

A paper by Zhu et al 2017 shows that storms in central China are closely correlated with ENSO activity and “occur on a significant 500-y cycle related to periodic solar activity.” The authors used magnetic minerals preserved in a stalagmite to create a record of storm activity over the last 8,600 years. Strong storms correlate with low solar activity and weaker storms correlate with high solar activity. The paper finds that the cyclic storms are “controlled by the coupled atmosphere−oceanic circulation driven by solar activity.” See the abstract here.


Solar and Tropical Ocean Forcing of Climate Change in East Asia

A study by Park, 2017 compared a high-resolution sediment record from South Korea to total solar irradiance (TSI) and sea surface temperatures. The sediment record shows “important late Holocene cold events associated with low sunspot periods such as Oort, Wolf, Spörer, and Maunder Minimum.” The comparison between the temperature reconstruction and TSI suggests that solar activity drove Holocene variations in both East Asian Monsoons and ENSO. See the abstract here.


Homogenisation Increases Warming Trends in Australia and Colorado

Much of the warming reported by government temperature indexes are strongly affected by artificial warming known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Rural stations trends are often increased to match urban warming trends. In Australia, the warming trend from 1885 at lighthouses was measured at 0.43 °C/century, while the trend at cities are 0.82 °C/century. The lighthouse trends were increased through the homogenization process to be similar to the trend of the cities according to a study by Marohasy and Abbot. 

A study by Monte Naylor of the temperature record for Colorado shows that NOAA had adjusted rural station trends upward to match UHI contaminated temperature history of the Fort Collins station. The actual warming trend as estimated by Naylor is 0.82 °C/century. The NOAA homogenized trend is 1.93 °C/century, or 235% of Naylor’s estimate. See here.


Hurricane Activity Declining over Last 26 Decades – Linked to Solar Activity

A study published in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics by Rojo-Garibaldi et al shows an analysis of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and sunspots occurring from 1749 to 2010. The authors compiled a database of hurricanes by combining the results of several studies. The abstract says “the total number of hurricanes is declining. This decline is related to an increase in sunspot activity. Spectral analysis shows a relationship between hurricane oscillation periods and sunspot activity.”  Hurricane activity was decreasing while sunspot numbers were increasing. It is quite likely that the number of hurricanes in the beginning portion of the record were under-reported when data acquisition was poorer than at the end of the record. If some hurricanes were missed at the beginning of the record, the decline would be greater. Climate alarmist including Al Gore have repeatedly claimed that warming will cause more hurricanes, but there is no evidence to support the claim. See a review of the paper and a graph of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea hurricane count here and the paper here. A graph of global hurricane frequency from 1970 is here.


Britain lost £450 Million by Paying Biomass Subsidies in 2015

The Times of the UK reported that “Britain is wasting hundreds of millions of pounds subsidising power stations to burn American wood pellets that do more harm to the climate than the coal they replaced, a study has found.” Britain imported 7.5 million tonnes of wood pellets last year, mostly from the US and Canada. The Drax power station received more than £450 million in subsidies in 2015 for burning the wood pellets. Biomass is considered carbon neutral by the EU because the trees that are cut down are replanted. A report by Duncan Brack says this process could take centuries. This is too late to prevent climate change over the coming decades. The report shows that facilities burning wood for energy, other than saw-mill residues or waste, will be increasing carbon dioxide emission for decades or centuries. Burning wood releases 18% more CO2 than burning bituminous coal. See here.


CliSci # 252      2017-02-11


Climate Scientists Versus Climate Data

Dr. John Bates retired November 2016 from his job as a principle scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). He wrote NOAA’s procedure for quality checking, documenting and archiving climate data. Dr. Bates wrote a blog post that sharply criticized Tom Karl, director of NCIE, for not archiving or documenting a critical climate dataset that was introduced in a paper Karl et al 2015 (K15) published in the journal Science. The study had the effect of slightly reducing the sea surface temperature (SST) trend from 1980 to 1996, graph here, but increasing the SST trend from 1997 to 2014, graph here, where the trend during the hiatus period increased from 0.014 °C/decade to 0.065 °C/decade. The SST trend from 1980 to 2016 increased by only 0.006 °C/decade. Bates wrote “I was dumbstruck that Tom Karl, the NCEI Director in charge of NOAA’s climate data archive, would not follow the policy of his own Agency nor the guidelines in Science magazine for dataset archival and documentation.” The Karl data never went through any “operational readiness review” so Bates says “it is virtually impossible to replicate the result in K15.” Bates writes “we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximize warming and minimize documentation.” See here.

David Rose wrote an article in the UK Mail titled “Exposed: How world leaders were duped into investing billions over manipulated global warming data”. The K15 paper was dubbed the ‘Pausebuster’ paper and was very influential at the Paris climate conference. The paper adjusted floating buoy temperature data to better match data from ship engine room water intakes. The K15 paper also made smaller changes to the land temperature record. Bates say “the software used to process the figures was bug-ridden and unstable. The article says another version of the sea surface data, ERSSTv5, is being prepared that will fix errors in the ERSSTv4 based on K15 by changing the buoy adjustments and including some satellite data and Argo buoy network data. This will result in a reduction in the recent global warming trend. See here. Note, the graph comparing NOAA and Met Office temperature data in the Rose article is misleading as the temperature separation is due to the two indexes using different base periods.


One Thousand Years of Summer Temperatures in Northeastern Canada

CO2 Science reviewed at paper Naulier et al 2015 that presented a summer temperature reconstruction for eastern Canada based on oxygen isotopic series from tree rings. The oxygen isotope is considered a more reliable proxy than tree ring width. The temperature graph is here. The millennial record revealed a cooling trend to 1900, warming to 1950, 1970s cooling and warming to 2000. The warmest period was during the Medieval Warm Period at about year 1000, “and a cold period extending from the early 15th century through the end of the 19th century, representing the Little Ice Age”. There is nothing unusual, or unprecedented about the current level of warmth in northeastern Canada. The paper reports that their data suggest that "solar radiation was the most influential forcing on Tmax changes in the studied region," further noting that "low temperature periods were always associated to low solar radiation periods (p < 0.05)." See the review here.


U.S. Wind Energy Policy

The total cost of the US wind production tax credit subsidy for wind power in the years 2016-2020 is estimated at US$23.7 billion. Public opposition to wind turbines standing over 500 feet (150 m) near homes has significantly intensified. The Obama administration lost three court cases involving wind power for failing to comply with laws governing wildlife protection. The Department of Energy has issued reports that contradicted experts who have testified that wind turbines adversely affect health. Wind turbines adversely affects military radar, but the administration prohibited the Secretary of Defense from objecting to any wind energy project unless it produced an unacceptable risk to national security. The blog Master Resources reviews this and will make specific recommendation to the new Trump administration to fix these issues. See here.


Siberian Arctic Black Carbon Sources

Black carbon (BC) deposits on ice and snow are a major driver of climate warming in the Arctic, which is greatly underestimated in climate models. A study published in the Proceedings of the National academy of Sciences used a transport model and observations to find that the major sources of BC in the Russian Arctic are domestic heating sources (35%) and transportation (38%), with gas flaring (6%), power plants (9%) and open fires (12) being minor sources. Understanding the BC source attribution is required to develop reliable mitigation strategies to reduce BC impact in the Arctic. Black carbon, or soot, contributes to ice loss by increasing the absorption of sunlight. High-latitude sources are especially important. China releases more BC than Siberia, but reductions in China would have much less impact than reductions in the Arctic. See the abstract here and a news release here.


Solar Activity Drives Sea Levels, Tropical Storms and River Discharge

Dr. Lüning and Dr. Vahrenholt discuss three new papers related to solar forcing.  One paper “Decadal variability of European sea level extremes in relation to the solar activity” shows the autumn and/or winter sea level extremes vary with the 11 year solar cycle in Venice, Trieste, Marseille, Ceuta, Brest, and Newlyn. Another paper, “Solar forcing over the last 1500 years and Australian tropical cyclone activity” uses a 1500-year tropical cyclone activity index to show that “solar forcing largely drives decadal, interdecadal, and centennial cycles within the tropical cyclone record.” A third paper “Evidence of a decadal solar signal in the Amazon River: 1903 to 2013” compared a 1903-2013 record of the Amazon River discharge to solar activity. The paper reports the decadal flow cycle is anti-correlated with solar sunspot cycle. The authors write “This relationship persists through time and appears to result from a solar influence on the tropical Atlantic Ocean.” See here.


CliSci # 251      2017-01-29


Carbon Circular Logic

The BERN model is an “earth system model” used to convert estimates of carbon dioxide emissions to carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere by estimated the absorption by carbon sinks. This model is used to generate CO2 concentration forecasts from the emission scenarios used in climate models. As a minimum, the BERN model should be able to reproduce past CO2 concentrations from CO2 emissions data, but it badly fails this test. Dr. Clive Best calculated the CO2 levels implied by the BERN model from the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use, cement production and land use changes resulting in this graph. The BERN model gives goods agreement with the Dome C ice core data of CO2 levels up to 1940, then it give much higher CO2 levels than measured at Mauna Loa. A paper by Millar et al shows very similar results. Dr. Best explains that the discrepancy is likely due to the BERN model’s failure at account for the CO2 fertilization effect that is greening the earth and resulting in a growth plant CO2 sink. Dr. Best writes “This makes it clear that any fertilisation effect was also ignored by ESMs. This likely means that IPCC projections of future CO2 levels based on the Bern model are too high.” See his post here.

‘Warming’ and ‘The Pause’ Explained By Wind, Upwelling And Mixing

The amount of cool ocean water upwelling has a dramatic effect on sea surface temperatures. Wim Röst presents maps showing that during the warming ‘pause’ (2001-2015) ocean areas that cooled the most relative to the previous warming period (1986-2000) are those area that were windiest. Strong winds cause strong ocean upwelling, as well as more evaporation, both of which cause sea surface cooling. There was increased wind speed in the eastern Pacific during the ‘pause’ corresponding to cooler temperatures while the opposite occurred in the north Atlantic. Global wind speed were higher during the ‘pause’ than during the previous warming period. Wim Röst suggest that this is an overlooked negative feedback, where more warmth leads to more wind, more upwelling causing cooling that offsets some of the initial warming. See here.

Trump’s NOAA Administrator Must Address the Temperature Record Controversy

Dr. Spencer writes “NOAA has been actively ‘adjusting’ the thermometer record of global temperatures over the years by making the present warmer, and the past colder, leading to an ever increasing upward temperature trend.”   Numerous technical articles show that the temperature record is contaminated by the effects of urbanization and by inappropriate temperature adjustments.  A study resulting from the surface station project headed by Anthony Watts here shows that the NOAA adjusted USA temperature record trend from 1979 to 2008 is 59% greater than that determined by the stations compliant with NOAA’s standards.  Spencer says that President Trump must select a new NOAA administrator who “will reexamine these procedures. … The new NOAA Administrator needs to address this issue head on, and not whitewash it.” See here.

800 Years of Summer Temperatures in Scotland From Tree Rings

A study published is Climate Dynamics this month used living and fossilized pine tree rings to reconstruct 800 years of summer temperatures in Scotland. The abstract reports “ that the recent summer-time warming in Scotland is likely not unique when compared to multi-decadal warm periods observed in the 1300s, 1500s, and 1730s … Prominent cold periods were identified from the sixteenth century until the early 1800s—agreeing with the so-called Little Ice Age … extreme cold (and warm) years observed in NCAIRN appear more related to internal forcing of the summer North Atlantic Oscillation.”  See here.

Climatic Variability in Northern China over the Last 2200 Years

A paper by Li et al 2017 presented pollen-based temperature and precipitation reconstructions of northern China over the last 2200 years. The reconstruction shows “that solar activity may play a key role in driving the climatic fluctuations in NC [northern China] during the last 22 centuries, with its quasi ∼100, 50, 23, or 22-year periodicity”.  The reconstructions were compared to social-economic, and geo-political historical records. The authors find “that precipitation (67.4%) may have been more important than temperature (32.5%) in causing the overall agro-ecological and macro-geopolitical shifts in imperial China”. See here.

Petrified Tree Rings Show Solar Cycles 300 Million Years Ago

A paper published this month in the journal Geology used petrified tree ring from the Permian period in Germany to show an 11-year cyclic period. This is the earliest direct evidence of the 11-year solar cycle. The abstract says “… sunspot activity caused fluctuations of cosmic radiation input to the atmosphere, affecting cloud formation and annual rates of precipitation, which are reflected in the tree-ring archive.” This demonstrates the long-term stability of the solar cycle for at least the last 300 million years. See Science News here, the abstract here.


CliSci # 250      2017-01-16


The Atmospheric Temperature Pause

The December 2016 global temperature anomaly from the average of two analysis is 0.20 °C above the average of 1981 – 2010. The large El Niño event is over and we wait to see if it will be followed by a La Niña event. The satellite measured temperature of the lower troposphere to the end of 2016 from the average of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Remote Sensing Systems analysis is here. The temperature trend from December 1997 to December 2016 is 0.045 ± 0.043 °C/decade at the 95% confidence interval. The slope could be as low as 0.002 °C/decade. According to the satellite data, 2016 was a statistically insignificant 0.02 °C warmer than 1998, which was another strong El Niño year.

Climate Models Overestimate the Aerosol Effect on Clouds

A paper published this month in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that climate models overestimate the effects of aerosols on cloud liquid volume. The authors simulated warm clouds at the  southern Great Plains (SGP) measurement site using a cloud resolving model (CRM) tuned to the measurements from the site, and compared the results to a single column version of a climate model (CAM).  The liquid water volume (or liquid water path, LWP) increase substantially with aerosol loading in the climate model while that in the cloud resolving model did not increase. The abstract says “The increase of LWP in CAM is caused by a large decrease of the autoconversion rate when cloud droplet number increases. In the CRM, the autoconversion rate is also reduced, but this is offset or even outweighed by the increased evaporation of cloud droplets near the cloud top, resulting in an overall decrease in LWP. Our results suggest that climate models need to include the dependence of cloud top growth and the evaporation/condensation process on cloud droplet number concentrations.” Climate modelers use aerosols as a huge fudge factor to match history. These results shows that aerosols no not affect cloud cover as much as previously assumed. This implies the decrease in global temperatures from 1940 to 1975 was not caused by human-caused aerosols but by natural causes. See the abstract here.

Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Mass Balance Is 120 Billion Tonnes Above the 1990-2013 Average

Danish Meteorological Institute publishes a real time chart of the Greenland ice sheet surface mass balance, which records the balance between ice gain from snowfall and ice loss from melting and sublimation.  See the chart here. The surface mass balance has increased due to an increase in snowfall, likely due to increased ocean evaporation resulting from lower sea ice extent in the Arctic. The total mass balance of the ice sheet would not change if the surface mass balance grows by the same amount as the calving from glaciers into the ocean as icebergs. Over the last decade, the calving from glaciers has exceeded the surface mass balance by about 200 Gt/yr, so the ice sheet was losing mass. That might change if the surface mass balance continues to grow at its current rate.

Coral Fossils Show Evidence of Immunity to Predicted Ocean Acidification and Warming

A paper published in Scientific Reports in January 2017 by Stolarski et al shows a comparison of skeletal structures of living Acropora corals with fossilized corals over many periods of the last 40 million years. Over this very long period of time the corals have experienced major changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and ocean temperatures. The oceans also had a dramatically changing Mg/Ca ratio. The analysis shows that the reef building corals were not harmed by the fluctuation CO2 levels, but has maintained its distinct skeletal bio-mineralization pattern for at least 40 million years. The authors write, “Such remarkable evolutionary stability … exists despite major global geochemical fluctuations”.  The skeletal formation process of corals is “strongly biologically controlled” and is uninhibited by changes in temperature or seawater pH –ocean acidification. See a review at CO2 Science here.

Satellite Reveals End of “Unending” N. California Drought

The New York Times reported in May 2016 the governor of California imposed permanent water conservation measures. The governor claimed that the drought may never end due to climate change. The idea that drought is caused by global warming is not supported by scientific evidence, as warming will cause slightly greater evaporation and precipitation rates. USA Today reported on January 12, 2017 that 20 inches (51 cm) of rain and 12 feet (3.66 m) of snow has ended the 5-year drought in northern California, see here.  Dr. Roy Spencer published satellite images of California that show the dramatic changes which have occurred since the same date three years ago. The images show the brown land in 2014 are now green and there is widespread snowpack, see here.

Climate and Solar Activity

There have been 132 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2016 that show a significant solar influence on climate and at least 7 paper published in this year show similar results.  A recent paper Zawiska et al 2017 presents a temperature reconstruction for the last millennium from lake sediments in Eastern Norway.  The results show that “summer temperatures were 1 to 2 °C  warmer than the mean millennial temperatures during the 11th, 13th, 15th and 20th centuries and 1 to 2 °C cooler during the 12th, 14th, 17-18 centuries.” The authors write “The three minor cooling periods were reconstructed in the first half of the millennium: 1050–1150, 1270–1370, 1440–1470 CE, that coincide with solar activity minima: Oort, Wolf, and Spörer respectively. Furthermore, a two peaked cooling period in the second half of the millennium was identified that coincided with the [Little Ice Age] LIA. These changes co-occurred with the prevailing negative [North Atlantic Oscillation] NAO index. … Maunder solar minimum caused a very deep negative NAO index phase during the LIA.” Climate warming began in 1800 following the Little Ice Age. “Temperatures increased very fast, from 8.5 to 12.8 °C during the first 75 years, but in the 20th century the increase became less pronounced.” The warming “correlates with the positive North Atlantic Oscillation index and increased solar activity.” The Zawiska paper is here. See a summary of this and other recent papers by Kenneth Richard here.

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