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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2020

By: Ken Gregory, P.Eng.

 

CliSci # 332          2020-09-27

 

Elevated CO2 Boosts Growth of Salinity-Stressed Tomato Plants

Soil and water salinity hampers plant growth so crop yields in salt-stressed regions are fall below that in regions without salty soils, but higher CO2 levels are increasing the crop yields. A team of scientists in Brazil conducted tests in chambers inside a greenhouse where tomato plants subject to normal and salty conditions under ambient CO2 of 400 ppm or elevated CO2 of 750 ppm.  The results confirmed that salty conditions reduced the tomato growth and elevated CO2 levels enhanced it. The elevated CO2 conditions increased the dry weight of the tomatoes grown in normal soils by 29%, and a much larger 73% increase in salty soils. Crop yields in marginal salt-stressed locations will rise in the future thanks to increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2, which help to mitigate the growth-retarding effects of salty soils.

 

Low Mortality of Southwestern Atlantic Coral Reefs During Bleaching Event

Marginal coral reefs in the subtropical Southwestern Atlantic were subject to an unprecedented heatwave and associated coral bleaching in 2019. Approximately 80% of coastal coral experienced bleaching. However, the mortality rate of less than 2% was far lower than for bleaching events of similar magnitude in other regions. The reefs of the Southwestern Atlantic displayed remarkable tolerance and low mortality when exposed to an intense bleaching event. In contrast, significantly less bleaching occurred at a deeper Alcatrazes reefs, where only 20% of colonies were affected bleached. CO2 Science wrote in a review “both bleaching prevalence and severity declined with depth such that no bleaching, disease or mortality was detected in colonies at a depth of 12 meters.” NOAA data show that the average temperature of the top 700 m of the world’s oceans have been increasing at 0.062°C/decade over 1980 to 2019.

 

A Surface Urban Heat Island Database for the United States

The urban heat island (UHI) effect is strongly modulated by urban-scale changes to the aerodynamic, thermal, and radiative properties of the Earth’s land surfaces. A new study presents clear-sky surface UHI (SUHI) intensities for 497 urbanized areas in the United States by combining remotely-sensed data products with multiple US census-defined administrative urban areas. The SUHI intensity is the difference in surface temperature between the built-up and non-built up pixels of an urbanized area. The study reported that the daytime summer SUHI was 1.91 °C and the daytime winter SUHI was 0.87 °C. The study also reports that the SUHI intensity is lower in census tracts with higher median income and higher proportion of white people. Unfortunately, the study didn’t report on how the UHI effect changes with time.

 

Green Energy is Not Green

An article written by Viv Forbes explains that solar and wind power is not green but is environmentally harmful. He wrote “Solar energy is very dilute, so solar collectors usually cover huge areas of flat arable land, stealing farmland, starving wild herbs and grasses of sunlight and creating ‘Solar Deserts’. Wind turbines steal energy from winds which often bring moisture from the ocean. These walls of turbines then create rain shadows, producing more rain near the turbines and more droughts down-wind. Turbines work best along ridge lines where eagles also seek thermals, so birds and bats get chopped up by these whirling scythes. They also annoy neighbours with noise and increase bushfire risk. They even spread their wall of wind towers offshore, so that less wind and rain even reaches the shore. Not green at all.” He also discusses the biofuels scandals, hydrogen fuels, and renewable energy wastes. In contrast, fossil fuels are concentrated solar energy that is dramatically greening the Earth and increasing crop yields. h/t Case Smit

 

National Wildfire Area Burned to Date is 8% of 10-Year Average

The Nation Wildland Fire Situation Report produced by Natural Resources Canada shows that as of September 9, 2020 the area burned by wild fires is 8% of the 10-year average. In contrast, the September 2019 report shows the area burned was 66% of the 10-year average. The report says “2020 has been one of Canada’s quietist since the 1990s. The national wildfire preparedness level remained at Level 1 most of the summer, indicating fire management agencies had adequate resources to respond to fire events without assistance from other jurisdictions.” Apparently increasing CO2 doesn’t affect forest fires in Canada. Canada’s precipitation trend from 1910 to 2019 is 0.13 mm/day per century. A warmer Canada is a slightly wetter Canada.

 

No Climate Effect on California’s Wildfires

Jim Steele wrote “Scientific evidence reveals there has been no climate effect regards California’s wildfires! None! The data below proves it beyond all doubt.” He says that 70% of California’s 2020 burnt area was in dry grasslands. The grasses only require a few hours of warm dry conditions to become highly flammable, so they “are totally insensitive to any added warmth from climate change.” The century trends in local temperatures where California’s biggest fires have occurred reveal no connection to climate change. In most cases the local maximum temperatures have been cooler now than during the 1930s. Steele presents temperature records from 1900 to 2020 at the sites of the largest fires in California this year as evidence. The state should address fuel management and creating defensible spaces in fire prone California. Fire ecologist Thomas Swetnam wrote “The paradox of fire management in conifer forests is that, if in the short term we are effective at reducing fire occurrence below a certain level, then sooner or later catastrophically destructive wildfires will occur.”

Using satellite technology, NASA determined that between 2003 and 2019, global area burned by wildfires have dropped by roughly 25 percent. This makes the “climate change is worsening wildfires” argument completely moot.

 

Total Precipitable Water and the Greenhouse Effect

Total precipitable water is an important climate parameter as it is a measure of the total amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, which is the most important greenhouse gas. Water vapour increases with global warming and in the climate models it amplifies the direct small warming caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The greenhouse effect is much more sensitive to water vapour in the upper atmosphere than near the surface. This article shows that declining humidity in the upper atmosphere fully offsets the greenhouse effect of increasing humidity in the lower atmosphere. Eliminating the water vapour feedbacks from climate models would reduce the multi-model mean equilibrium climate sensitivity from 3.2 °C to 1.7°C and would reduce the social cost of carbon dioxide calculated by the FUND economic model, with two updates, from 2018US$‑1.79/tCO2 to US$-7.14/tCO2at 3% discount rate. The negative signs indicate that climate change is beneficial.

 

NASA Satellite Study Shows Rapid Greening Across Arctic Tundra

Researchers using Landsat satellite data report the Arctic region has become greener as warmer air, higher soil moisture and CO2 fertilization lead to increase plant growth. The news release about the study says “When the tundra vegetation changes, it impacts not only the wildlife that depend on certain plants, but also the people who live in the region and depend on local ecosystems for food. While active plants will absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, the warming temperatures are also thawing permafrost, releasing greenhouse gasses. … Between 1985 and 2016, about 38 percent of the tundra sites across Alaska, Canada and western Eurasia showed greening. Only 3 percent showed the opposite browning effect, which would mean fewer actively growing plants.”

 

CliSci # 331          2020-09-11

 

Has the Ocean Carbon Dioxide Uptake Been Underestimated?

A study let by the University of Exeter and reported by EurekAlert  suggests that the ocean uptake may be larger than previously estimated from ocean models by about 10% of global fossil fuel CO2 emissions. The study claims that previous estimates of the CO2 flux into the oceans “have not accounted for temperature differences at the water's surface and a few metres below.” The paper’s lead author said “Those differences are important because carbon dioxide solubility depends very strongly on temperature. We used satellite data to correct for these temperature differences.”

 

Tree-ring Temperature Reconstruction Since 1766 in Central Asia

A new paper presents a temperature and precipitation reconstruction from 1766 based on tree-ring widths of spruce trees which accounts for 53% of the temperature variations during the calibration period 1967-2017. The period has had six warm periods. The paper notes a strong positive correlation between the tree-ring temperature reconstruction and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). The NAO is an atmospheric pressure oscillation which is linked to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). Images of the temperature and precipitation reconstructions are presented in a post by Kenneth Richard. The temperatures 2000-2017 are the same as those of 1775-1790, despite the 135 ppm increase in CO2 concentrations. The reconstruction clearly shows 2 °C cooling from 1930 to 1975 then warming to 1995.

 

Climate from the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, 1986–2017

The McMurdo Dry Valleys are the largest ice‐free region of the Antarctica. A new paper reports that the valley’s 14 weather stations recorded mean temperatures between -15 and -30 °C. The abstract says “Surface air temperature decreased by 0.7 °C per decade from 1986 to 2006 at Lake Hoare station (longest continuous record), after which the record is highly variable with no trend. All stations with sufficiently long records showed similar trend shifts in 2005 ±1 year.”  See NoTrickZone. Meanwhile, the Amundsen-Scot weather station at the south pole show an annual mean 1980 to 2019 declining trend of -0.074 °C/decade and an average temperature of -48 °C.

 

The President, not the New York Times, Is Right on the Social Cost of Carbon Dioxide

The CO2 Coalition published an article by Bruce Everett refuting a claim by a New York Times article that the Trump administration has undervalued the cost of climate change. An Interagency Working Group (IWG) in 2010 estimated that the social cost of CO2 (SCC) was US$50/tCO2 for emissions in 2020. The Trump administration’s estimate is $1 to 7/tCO2. Everett wrote “Despite the hard work of the IWG, the methodology that it uses is effectively meaningless.” The models the IWG used assumes too high climate sensitivity to CO2, too high damages, ignores the benefits of warming and CO2 fertilization, a too long time horizon to 2300 and a too low discount rate. The Trump administration limits SCC to US rather than global impacts and used interest rates specified by the Office of Management and Budget. Everett wrote “Actual data over the last several decades demonstrate that, rather than causing damage, CO2 is providing a net benefit to mankind through increased crop yields and drought resistance and the generalized benefits of the small amounts of warming we have experienced.”

 

Growth, Yield and Quality of Maize Under Elevated Ozone and Carbon Dioxide

Maize, known as corn in USA and Canada, is now the third most important cereal crop in the world.  A new study reported results of a field experiment of growing two maize cultivars under elevated levels of CO2 and ozone (O3) in New Delhi, India. The maize was exposed to ambient (410 ppm) and 559 ppm of CO2, along with ambient and elevated O3 of 72 ppb.  Elevated CO2 increased leaf area by 11-23% and the photosynthetic rate by 12-17%. The elevated CO2 increased grain yield by 9-25%. Elevated O3 decreased the yield by about 9.5%. The abstract concludes “After two years of study we could conclude that elevated CO2 (559 ppm) was able to offset the negative effect of elevated O3 (71 ppb) on grain yield by 11.2% in PMH-1 and by 18.8% in HQPM-1 without significantly affecting the grain quality in both the maize cultivars.”

 

Hurricane Trend Detection

This new paper published last month evaluates the historical record of Atlantic basin and US landfalling hurricanes, as well as US continental accumulated cyclone energy to evaluate issues related to trend detection. The abstract reports “Hurricane and major hurricane landfall counts exhibited no significant overall trend over 167 years of available data, nor did accumulated cyclone energy over the continental USA over 119 years of available data, although shorter-term trends were evident in all three datasets.” The authors examined that relationship between the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and hurricane frequency in light of frequency persistence at timescales below 10 years. The hurricane count was only weakly related to the AMO phase. The trend of storm energy 1900-2018 over land was zero, with spurious trends over short time intervals. Atlantic basin all storms and major storms (1950–2018) did not exhibit any trend over the whole period or after 1990. Major storms 1950–1989 exhibited a significant downward trend. The data contradicts the assumption of increasing hurricanes in economic models used to formulate climate policies.

 

Modeling of the Economic, Health, and Environmental Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative

Caleb Rossiter, Ph.D., Executive Director of the CO2 Coalition, gave this testimony before the Pennsylvania House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, delivered August 24, 2020. He stated that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is committing public policy malpractice. The DEP uses “models that can’t distinguish between correlation and causation, and simply generate projections of impact based on assumptions, without controlling statistically for how different variables interact with each other, and sum up benefits without considering costs to arrive at a net figure.” He concludes “My conclusion is that if you properly included reasonable assumptions, followed the normal statistical techniques that control for other variables so that you can distinguish simple correlation from true causation, and summed up both costs and benefits, you would find that the [Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative] RGGI is an act of economic, health, and environmental suicide. It will raise electricity prices, increase health problems and mortality, and damage the environment. Ironically, even if it were expanded to the entire nation and the entire world,a RGGI regime would be very likely to have minimal effect on climate variables or even on the level of warming gases in the atmosphere.” h/t Case Smit


 

CliSci # 330          2020-08-27

 

New Confirmation that Climate Models Overstate Atmospheric Warming

The climate models are getting worse! That is the conclusion of two new papers reviewed by Dr. Ross McKitrick. Michelle et al 2020 compared the air temperatures over the tropics to that simulated by the new set of 48 climate models of CMIP6 being used for the next IPCC report. They report the modeled troposphere trends 1979 to 2014 are biases warm throughout toe troposphere, especially around 200 hPa (9 km) which are 3.4 times too high. From 1998 to 2014 the models warm 4 to 5 times faster than the observations, and one model warms 10 times too fast. The Canadian model wins the ‘worst model’ prize, as it simulates the greatest troposphere warming of 7 times the observed trends.

The McKitrick & Christy 2020 paper examined the first 38 models of CMIP6 over 1979 - 2014. The paper reports that every model overshoots the observed trend in both the lower and mid troposphere, globally and in the tropics, see chart here. The models as a group warm too much throughout the global atmosphere. “The models with low ECS values tend to have lower tropospheric trends, thus closer to observed values, and therefore are more likely to be realistic.” The observed trends in the lower and mid troposphere are 0.148 °C/decade and 0.091 °C/decade, respectively. The paper’s conclusions state “An ensemble of models with warming rates consistent with observations would likely have to have ECS values at or below the bottom of the CMIP6 range.” The models average global warming trends of the lower and mid troposphere are 1.86 and 2.40 times the observations. The models tropical trends of the lower and mid troposphere are 2.40 and 3.24 times the observations, respectively.

 

Emergent Constraints on TCR and ECS from Historical Warming in CMIP5 and CMIP6 Models

Ni Lewis wrote a critique of a paper that used the “emergent constraints” method to estimate climate sensitivity. The method compares the surface temperature history from 1975 to 2019 to the climate models forecasts. The authors derive from the new CMIP6 models a Transient Climate Response (TCR) best estimate of 1.68 °C (likely range 2.3 – 2.1 °C). TCR is the global warming at the time of a doubling of CO2 in the air. Lewis notes a fatal problem with the regression method used to relate TCR to warming. A model with TCR = 0 should show no historical warming. But the regression fit uses a y-intercept as well as a slope coefficient parameter. The estimate implies that climate models with a TCR of 0.7 °C would have zero post-1975 warming! Lewis calculates a TCR best estimate of 1.42 °C with the regression fit to match zero TRC with zero warming. Lewis wrote “An estimated relationship that implies zero warming with a positive TCR, and significant cooling with a zero TCR, is unphysical.” So the paper “should be discounted”. I posted a comment that pointed out that warming from 1975 includes the warming due to the positive phase of the AMO, millennium warming and urban warming, so the real TCR is probably about 0.83 °C.

 

Is the Global Hydrological Cycle Intensifying?

A new paper by Demetris Koutsoyiannis reviews several hydrological databases to test the hypothesis that the hydrological cycle is intensifying due to climate change. The abstract says “By processing the information from gridded ground observations, satellite data and reanalyses, it turns out that the established hypotheses are not confirmed. Instead of monotonic trends, there appear fluctuations from intensification to deintensification, and vice versa, with deintensification prevailing in the 21st century. The water balance on land and in the sea appears to be lower than the standard figures of literature, but with greater variability on climatic timescales.” The specific humidity data given in figure 5 and table 4 shows at the 850 hPa pressure level (about 1.4 km altitude) no global monotonic trend but a negative trend over land. At 300 hPa level (about 9.1 km) two dataset differ in the sign of the trend. Precipitation data given in figure 10 shows no monotonic trend. There is also no trend in the annual snowfall despite increasing temperatures. The main reasons that the popular hypothesis of hydrological cycle intensification has failed are the unsupported and falsified conjecture used in climate models that relative humidity should stay constant with increasing temperatures, tropospheric aerosols enabling the formation of cloud droplets and water vapour buoyancy feedback which stablilized the tropical climate.

 

Western Hudson Bay Polar Bears Are Offshore Despite Low Ice Levels

Contrary to all expert expectations, five female polar bears (45%) out of eleven that had tracking collars were still out on the sea ice along the western shore of Hudson Bay as of 7 August. Dr. Susan Crockford wrote “This pattern of bears staying out on the ice long after the so-called ‘critical threshold’ of 50% concentration has passed has been going on since at least 2015 and many bears on tracking maps in July and August appear to be on ice that doesn’t exist. There are two explanations for this pattern and both are likely true: 1) much more ice actually exists on Hudson Bay than satellites can detect and 2) polar bear experts are wrong that Western Hudson Bay polar bears head to land soon after sea ice concentration drops below 50%. … For at least the last five years now Western Hudson Bay polar bears have stayed out on melting summer ice when it was well below 50% concentration”.

 

Hurricane Trend Detection

This paper analyzed the historical record of Atlantic basin and US landfalling hurricanes. The abstract says “Hurricane and major hurricane landfall counts exhibited no significant overall trend over 167 years of available data, nor did accumulated cyclone energy over the continental USA over 119 years of available data, although shorter-term trends were evident in all three datasets. … Over a period of 167 years, we found that an upward trend of roughly 0.7/century is sufficient to be detectable with 80% confidence over the range from 1 to 21 storms/year. Storm energy data 1900–2018 over land were also analyzed. The trend was again zero. … Because short data series are inherently likely to yield spurious trends, care is needed when interpreting hurricane trend data.” The data does not support the hypothesis that strong hurricanes will become more frequent or stronger with global warming.

 

Cold Weather Kills 16 Times More People than Hot Weather

A new paper published in the journal Environmental Research analyzed temperature related inpatient admission and deaths in Illinois hospitals from 2011 to 2018. The annual inpatient admission rate was 4.3 times higher for cold injuries compared to heat injuries (10.2 vs 2.4 per 100,000).  The abstract says “Although hypothermia [too low body temperature] made up 27.0% of all temperature related injuries, it comprised 94.0% of all deaths.” Deaths due to cold weather caused 15.7 times more deaths than hot weather. David Middleton mocks the authors’ conclusions that blame cold weather deaths on global warming. The conclusions state “While climate change is increasing the number of extreme heat days, it may also impact cold adaptation resulting in more serious adverse health outcomes when severe cold weather events do occur.” The paper gives no evidence of that.


 

CliSci # 329          2020-08-07

 

Wind Power Falls 500 MW on Average Every 3 Days

An article by Anton Lang reviewed 800 days of wind power data in Australia and found that there were 265 occasions where the power loss due to wind variability exceeded 500 MW, which is equivalent to the output of an average coal-fired power plant or about 250 wind turbines. The article explains “The largest and longest outages are when wind farms are becalmed. But there are many more short sharp and very sudden failures in high wind conditions where wind farms cut out. The sharpest power cuts are happening in between the high pressure cells. As the wind picks up, production maximizes, only to crash as turbines hit their safety cut off points and drop out of production suddenly. About 50 times a year generation across the entire Australian wind farm grid falls by 500 MW or more within one hour or less.” High pressure weather systems becalmed large regions of Australia for about a week. There were 64 periods of sustained power loss of 9 hours or greater of 1500 MW to 3700 MW. Lang wrote “The longer and large losses are due to large high pressure cells sitting over the Eastern states. … This data I have collected here shows that the intermittency problem is getting worse, as there are more occurrences of power losses, and those losses in power generation are becoming larger.”  

 

Appeal Letter of OPSB Approval of Icebreaker Wind Farm in Lake Erie

A letter published by the North American Platform Against Windpower appeals the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) approval of the Icebreaker wind farm proposed to be built in Lake Erie consisting of six 500-foot wind turbines located offshore Cleveland. The appeal includes a 170 page petition with 6,729 signatures. The letter sets out 9 reasons for the appeal and rejection of the OPSB approval. Some of these are: the citizens in and around Cleveland will be subject to paying 5 times the going rate of electrical energy;  the wind turbines will disturb the lake bottom sediments, a dead zone of toxic sludge, just 4 miles from the Cleveland fresh water intake; the industrial wind towers will create a 20-mile killing field for all species of birds, bats and butterflies that normally use this route for migration; Ohio does not need the wind power as there are two operating nuclear power plants nearby and gas-powered electricity is inexpensive; the petition calls for an Environmental Impact Study to be done with regards to the detrimental effects of these industrial wind turbines; the project supporters are foreign crony capitalists funded by tax dollars via the DOE grant; 500-feet tall industrial wind turbines will blight the skyline of Cleveland and the lake shore.

 

A 25-Year Study Finds Trees Are Storing More Carbon

A new study using data from the Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Research site in New England shows that the rate carbon dioxide is captured has nearly doubled between 1992 and 2015. The Eurekalert news release about the study says “The scientists attribute much of the increase in storage capacity to the growth of 100-year-old oak trees, still vigorously rebounding from colonial-era land clearing, intensive timber harvest, and the 1938 Hurricane - and bolstered more recently by increasing temperatures and a longer growing season due to climate change. Trees have also been growing faster due to regional increases in precipitation and atmospheric carbon dioxide, while decreases in atmospheric pollutants such as ozone, sulfur, and nitrogen have reduced forest stress. … The trees show no signs of slowing their growth”. The faster growth of trees and other plants show how silly it is to label CO2 as a pollutant.

 

Satellite Survey Shows California's Sinking Coastal Hotspots

A new study measured the vertical coastal land movements of California’s coast using the satellite-based interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR). This instrument can detect the land surface vertical movement to millimeter accuracy. The study found that the cities of San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and San Francisco are subject to substantial subsidence which increases future risk of flooding. The San Francisco Bay area is subsiding at rates up to 5.9 mm/year. Santa Cruz is rapidly sinking at up to 8.7 mm/year. The Los Angeles area shows subsidence along small coastal zones, but most to the subsidence is occurring inland. The coastal land north of San Francisco is experiencing uplift of 3 to 5 mm/year. Land subsidence can occur due to a combination of natural and human-caused processes. Natural tectonics and glacial isostatic adjustment processes cause uplift while sediment loading and soil compaction cause subsidence. Groundwater extraction and oil and gas production cause land subsidence.  Sea level rise of 2.5 to 3 mm/year plus land subsidence gives the sea level rise relative to the coast.

 

Persistent Warm Mediterranean Surface Waters During the Roman Period

A new paper published in Nature presents a new sea surface temperature (SST) reconstruction form the Sicily Channel in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea based on Mg/Ca ratios of shallow-water plankton. The results were compared to other SST reconstructions. The new reconstruction shows a warming trend to 23 °C to 330 CE, the middle of the Roman Warm Period. From the Roman period the SST cooled by 3.5 °C at 700 CE, and then warmed by 1.5 °C to 21 °C at 1300 in the Medieval Warm Period, and then cooled to 18.5 °C to 1700 in the Little Ice Age (LIA). There was a short warming trend from 1700 to 2014. The new reconstruction shows that the 2014 SST may have been 2 °C cooler than the Roman Warm Period (RWP). All reconstructions show a well-developed SST maximum recorded during the RWP. However, there are significant differences between the proxies before the RWP at different regions of the Mediterranean Sea. During the early Bronze Age 4000 years ago the Aegean Sea was considerably warmer than the Sicily Channel. The RWP is “characterized by prosperity and expansion of the empire.”  The LIA is well shown is the proxy records across the Mediterranean. The reconstructions show that natural variability has dominated the Mediterranean climate. “For the first time, we can state the Roman period was the warmest period of time of the last 2,000 years, and these conditions lasted for 500 years,’ said Professor Isabel Cacho at the Department of Earth and Ocean Dynamics, University of Barcelona.”

 

Post-1980s Greening Cools the Earth and Offsets 29% of Human Emissions

A paper reviewed in our March 2020 quarterly newsletter shows that gross primary production (GPP) has increased by 35% since 1900, which is primarily caused by increasing CO2 concentrations. That paper says that the cumulative biophysical carbon sink is equivalent to 17 years of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. A new study published in Nature Reviews shows that since 1980, 29% of human-caused CO2 emissions were offset by CO2-induced greening of the Earth. The paper says “Modelling indicates that greening could mitigate global warming by increasing the carbon sink on land and altering biogeophysical processes, mainly evaporative cooling.” The cooling effect of evaporative cooling is nine times greater than the albedo warming effect of global greening. Warming is the major cause of greening in boreal and Arctic regions. “Regions with the greatest greening trend include northern Alaska and Canada, the low-Arctic parts of eastern Canada and Siberia, and regions of Scandinavia.” Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations enhance photosynthesis and enhance vegetation greenness by partially closing leaf stomata, leading to enhanced water-use efficiency. The trend in the land carbon sink has further accelerated since the late 1990s. The rate of CO2 uptake during 1998–2012 was three times that of 1980–1988.


 

CliSci # 328          2020-07-24

 

Weather Extremes: Are They Caused by Global Warming?

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) published a new report about weather extremes, by Ralph Alexander. This report discusses the lack of scientific evidence for the popular but mistaken belief that global warming causes weather extremes – a notion hyped by the mainstream. Our most extreme weather, be it heat wave, drought, flood, hurricane or tornado, occurred many years ago. The  recent  atmospheric  heat  waves  in  western  Europe pale in comparison with the soaring temperatures of the 1930s, a period when three of the seven continents  and  32  of  the  50  US  states  set  all-time  high  temperature  records,  which  still  stand  today. There is no evidence that draughts or floods are becoming worse or more common. Hurricanes actually show a decreasing trend around the globe. The average number of strong tornadoes annually from 1986 to 2017 was 40% less than from 1954 to 1985.

 

Economic “Normalization” of Disaster Losses 1998-2020

A new paper by Roger Pielke Jr. is accepted for publication. The paper reviews 54 normalization studies published 1998 to 2020 and finds little evidence to support claims that any part of the overall increase in global economic losses documented on climate time scales can be attributed to human-caused changes in climate. “Normalization” seeks to adjust historical economic damages from extreme weather to remove the influences of societal change from economic loss to estimate what losses past extreme events would cause under present-day societal conditions. Adjustment factors include inflation, population, gross domestic product, construction standards and others. An unbiased economic normalization will exhibit trends consistent with corresponding extreme event trends. There are no upward trends in the frequency or intensity of US hurricane landfall since 1900, so we should expect than an unbiased normalization would show no trends. Seven normalization studies of US hurricanes find no trends but 3 find increasing trends. The lack of trend of US hurricane data indicates biased results from the normalization methods used by the 3 studies that reported increasing normalized damages.

 

Quantifying the Role of Internal Variability of Temperature in the Coming Decades

A new paper published in Environmental Research Letters demonstrates the role of internal variability in driving the observed climate. Internal variability was evaluated using six coupled climate models and Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) to visualise the role of internal variability. The study confirms that in the short-term of 15 years, surface temperature trend projections are dominated by internal variability. In all models a lack of warming, or even a cooling trend could be observed at all individual points on the globe, even under the largest greenhouse gas emissions (RCP8.5). In the mid-term of 30 years the study finds that many locations could experience cooling or a lack of warming due to internal variability. The study provides maps to visualise the importance of internal variability on both short and mid-term time-scales.

 

Influence of Solar Variability and Galactic Cosmic Rays on Climate

This new paper analyzed 35 years of solar, galactic cosmic ray and climate data to determine the percentage contribution of the solar and cosmic ray changes to cloud cover and temperature changes. The scientists used several statistical tests to confirm their results. They found that the total solar irradiance (TSI) and cosmic ray intensity changes have contributed 1.68 ± 0.03% and 4.89 ± 0.08% to the fluctuations in the variance of the cloud cover, respectively. In case of the global surface temperature anomaly, TSI and cloud covers have contributed 5.07 ± 0.47% and 14.42 ± 2.13% fluctuations respectively. The contributions of the internal oscillations of ENSO and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) in cloud cover variation were 7.48 ± 1.02% and 5.51 ± 0.16%, respectively. The article explains that variations in cloud cover strongly change the fluxes of incoming (shortwave solar radiation) and outgoing (long wave) radiations of the Earth’s atmosphere, thereby changing global temperatures. The direct heating impact of changes in TSI is small, but solar ultraviolet radiation changes substantially over the solar cycle and long-term solar cycles. Ultraviolet radiation changes affect the amount of ozone and heating in the stratosphere. Galactic cosmic rays affect cloud processes and thunderstorm electrification. Previous studies have shown from ice cores that cosmic ray intensity have decline by about 15% during the 20th century on account of an increase in the solar open magnetic flux by more than a factor of 2. The authors observe that the TSI and the cloud cover have played important role in the variation of the global surface temperature, being about 5.1% and 14.4%, respectively.

 

Solar-Wind Energy Influences the Northern-Hemispheric Climate

A recent paper published in National Science Review examine the influence of total energy input from the solar wind into Earth's magnetosphere (Ein) on the inter-annual variability of climate. The energy input Ein is estimated by a 3D magneto-hydrodynamics simulation. The paper demonstrates that the mean solar wind energy “Ein can explain up to 25% total inter-annual variance of the northern-hemispheric temperature in the subsequent boreal winter.” The concurrent atmospheric circulations resemble the phases of Arctic Oscillation/North Atlantic Oscillation. The abstract says “The warm anomalies in the tropic stratopause and tropopause induced by increased solar-wind–magnetosphere energy persist into the subsequent winter. Due to the dominant change in the polar vortex and mid-latitude westerly in boreal winter, a ‘top-down’ propagation of the stationary planetary wave emerges in the Northern Hemisphere and further influences the atmospheric circulation and climate.” The paper concludes “The high variance (up to 25%) of winter SAT [surface air temperature] over the Northern Hemisphere explained by the preceding year's solar-wind–magnetosphere energy sheds a promising improvement on climate predictions. It suggests that not only the quasi-decadal variability, but also the interannual variability of solar activity should be taken into account in climate prediction.

 

Analyzing Observed vs CMIP5 Model Simulations of Global Temperature

A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters compared observed and climate modeled simulation temperatures to a set of model forcing variables. The paper was reviewed by CO2Science.org. The authors found that the volcanic aerosol cooling in the model simulations are consistently significantly larger than the observations by 40% to 49%. They hypothesize that the models' parameterization of aerosol‐cloud interactionsis a likely source of this discrepancy. They also find that the models significantly underestimate the effect of solar variability on temperature. The paper reports that “in CMIP5 models there is effectively no influence of solar variability on temperature, while the analysis of the observed temperature suggests quite a significant effect. The models significantly diverge from observation of the global mean surface temperatures around the start of the 21st century, with the models being too warm. They recommend the models should be improved by adjusting parameters to match the observations. The large discrepancies between the model results and the observations demonstrate that the projection can’t be trusted for the formation of climate policies.


 

CliSci # 327          2020-07-06

 

Hot Summer Epic Fail: New Climate Models Exaggerate Midwest Warming by 6X

The 13 CMIP6 climate model summer (JJA) temperature trend of the U.S. Midwest corn belt were compared to the CMIP5 models and the temperature observation from NOAA. The CMIP6 models will be used for the upcoming IPCC 6th assessment report. The 50-year trends from 1970 to 2019 were 0.495 °C/decade for CMIP6, 0.343 °C/decade for CMIP5, but only 0.086 °C/decade for the NOAA observation. The CMIP6 models produce even more warming than the CMIP5 models which were already running much too hot. The new CMIP6 average model trend is 5.7 times as large as the observations. The previous CMIP5 average model trend is 4.0 times the trend of the observations. The U.S. Midwest climate is immensely important for U.S. food production. Corn yields and other crops continue to increase despite unfounded predictions of a negative effect from climate change.  Dr. Spencer wrote “What I find particularly troubling is that the climate modelers are increasingly deaf to what observations tell us.” Note: The 13 models include two versions of the Canadian model, CanESM. There is only a minor difference between the versions, so they should be treated as the same model.

 

Canadian Climate Model Surface Temperature Trend 2.2 Times too High

The Canadian climate model near-surface air temperature trend from 1970 to 2019 is 2.2 times the measured air temperature trend over latitudes 60° south to 60° north, which is where the vast majority of people live.  This is a huge error of climate modelling. The graph HERE plots the CanESM5p2 model surface air temperature along with the HadCRUT4.6 temperature series from the U.K., HadCRUT4.6 corrected to account for the urban heat island effect (UHIE), and the lower troposphere temperatures from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH6.0). The UHIE correction is -0.040 °C/decade. The trend lines of each dataset are set to zero at 1970 to facilitate trend comparisons. Note that the HadCRUT4.6 trend corrected for the UHIE (labeled HC4.6 cor) almost overlays the trend of UAH6.0. The average of the HC4.6 cor and UAH6.0 is 0.130 °C/decade, while the climate model trend is 0.288 °C/decade. The huge discrepancy between the model results and the observations of 220% indicates that the model is unscientific and it should not have been submitted to the CMIP6 and it should not be used by the IPCC or any government for climate policy purposes. We need to defund the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis which is responsible for the model!

 

Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All

Michael Shellenberger is a life-long environmental activist. He has become concerned about the disinformation and fear-mongering by climate alarmists. He calls his book “my formal apology for our fear-mongering." The book is available at Amazon. Shellenberger says climate change is “[not] even our most serious environmental problem.” His book lists many facts to counter alarmism. An article by Shellenberger about his book say:  Humans are not causing a mass extinction. Climate change is not making weather disasters worse. Fires have declined 25% around the world since 2003. Carbon emissions are declining in most rich nations. Wood fuel is far worse for people and wildlife than fossil fuels. 100% renewables would require increasing the land used for energy from today’s 0.5% to 50%. Power plants should have higher, not lower, power densities. High-energy civilization is better for people and nature.

 

Finland Temperature Reconstruction Shows No Net Warming Since the 1930s.

A new study of northern Finland temperatures using tree density analysis shows that the warmest time period since 1876 was in the 1930s. Kenneth Richards summarized the study here. Tree maximum latewood density (MXD) analysis is preferred over tree ring width “due to a more prominent association with temperature.” Twenty-nine mature living Scots pine trees were sampled in North-eastern Finland at the cool and moist boreal forest zone, close to the tree line. Several parameters of the wood were compared to each other and to temperatures measurements. Temperature sensitive parameters show that the warmest period since 1876 were the 1930s. The data show warming from 1970 but current temperatures are well below those of the 1930s.

 

Corals Thrive in Volcanically CO2 Enriched Caribbean Reef

A new study characterized an ocean area at St. Vincent and the Grenadines which has high levels of dissolved CO2 due to volcanic gas venting.  The study of corals in naturally high CO2 locations can reveal how coral reef ecosystems may respond to future ocean neutralization, commonly call ocean acidification. Increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are forcing CO2 into the oceans, thereby reducing the pH towards the neutral pH of 7. The coral reefs in the region of the study have “high hard and soft coral cover as well as extensive carbonate frameworks.” CO2 concentrations fluctuate twice daily with the tides. The pH levels range from a low of 6.8 (slightly acidic) to 8.1 (alkaline) according to figure 2. The paper says “At Mayreau, as with the sites in New Caledonia, corals were observed to persist within acidified waters, potentially indicating mechanisms of resilience to extreme acidification stress.”

 

No Significant Trends in Droughts in Western Europe (1851-2018)

The news media often claims that climate change leads to drought. But data tells a different story. A new study published by the Royal Meteorological Society analyzed long-term variability and trends in droughts across Western Europe. Precipitation data from 199 stations were used to derive standardized precipitation index series. The abstract say “Results reveal a general absence of statistically significant long‐term trends in the study domain, with the exception of significant trends at some stations, generally covering short periods.” Drought episodes of the last few decades are similar to previous periods of the last 170 years. The paper says “The temporal variability of drought in Western Europe is more dominant than long‐term trends.” The records do not show that drought is related to climate change. Frank Bosse provides further comments. “With great meticulousness, the authors prove that these claims are not scientifically substantiated. Up to now, readers could plead ignorance when reading and hearing about “drought caused by climate change” in the media and elsewhere. But from now on, one can assume the media are fibbing.”


 

CliSci # 326          2020-06-17

 

Climate Sensitivity by Energy Balance with Urban and Natural Warming

The paper Lewis and Curry 2018 presents estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response (TCR) with uncertainty analysis. Unfortunately, the analysis was deficient in that the natural climate change from the base to final periods were not considered and no correction was applied to remove the urban heat island effect (UHIE) from the temperature record. This study by me presents corrected estimates of ECS and TCR with uncertainty estimates by including the UHIE and natural warming. The median (best estimate) and likely 17-85% probability ranges [shown in brackets] of ECS and TCR are 1.04 °C [0.76 – 1.39 °C] and 0.83 °C [0.62 – 1.07 °C], respectively. The probability distributions of ECS and TCR from LC2018 were well replicated. The UHIE and natural climate change with uncertainties were estimated from previously published papers. These effects were removed from the temperature change used to estimate the climate sensitivity parameters so that only the temperature change due to greenhouse gases are used to estimate the ECS and TCR parameters. Global average temperatures are forecast to increase by 0.63 °C [0.51 – 0.78 °C] from 2019 to 2100, assuming the GHG concentrations in the atmosphere increase exponentially and no natural climate change. The FUND economic model, using updated energy impacts and CO2 fertilization effects and assuming an ECS of 1.0 °C, calculates that a 2 °C GMST rise from 2000 would increase global wealth by 1.45% by 2147, equivalent to 2019US$1.26 trillion.

 

Last Phase of the Little Ice Age Forced by Volcanic Eruptions

Large volcanic eruption in the 1810’s, 1820’s and 1830’s has a significant cooling effect in the latter part of the Little Ice Age. A new paper published in Nature Geoscience says “All the eruptions were followed by substantial drops of summer temperature over the Northern Hemisphere land areas. In addition to the direct radiative effect, which lasts 2–3 years, the simulated ocean–atmosphere heat exchange sustained cooling for several years after these eruptions, which affected the slow components of the climate system.” The authors analyzed the effect of the eruptions in observations and a global climate field reconstruction. The abstract concludes “The low temperatures and increased precipitation in Europe triggered the last phase of the advance of Alpine glaciers. Only after the 1850s did the transition into the period of anthropogenic warming start. We conclude that the end of the Little Ice Age was marked by the recovery from a sequence of volcanic eruptions, which makes it difficult to define a single pre-industrial baseline.” Much of the warming attributed in climate models to greenhouse gas warming was likely due to the natural recovery from low temperatures due to low solar activity and volcanic eruptions.

 

Global Warming with Business-As-Usual Climate Policies

A reasonable estimate of “Business-As-Usual” (BAU) greenhouse gas emissions is necessary for policy makers to assess the merits of climate mitigation policies. However, the IPCC does not provide any emissions scenario defined as BAU that can be used to compare against global climate model projections with mitigation emissions scenarios. This paper published in the journal Energies presents estimates of the total future human-caused emissions and global warming from the three main greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4 and N20) up to 2100 for BAU conditions. The paper finds that for equilibrium climate sensitivity less the 2.0 °C, the Paris Agreement target of keeping human-caused global warming below 2.0 °C would not be broken under BAU until the 22nd century or later.

 

Many Climate Models Are Falsified by Testing Against Fossil Evidence

Climate researchers have tested a climate model against geological evidence from a previous warming period called the Early Eocene, a time when rainforests thrived in the tropics of the New World, according to fossil evidence. The CESM2 model (USA) projected Early Eocene land temperatures exceeding 55 °C (131 °F) in the tropics, which is much higher than the temperature tolerance of plant photosynthesis — conflicting with the fossil evidence. This projected temperature would have created lifeless tropical deserts during the Early Eocene, a period of high atmospheric CO2 and abundant tropical life. This chart compares the equilibrium climate sensitivities (ECS) of the latest climate models, showing the Canadian model with the highest ECS of 5.6 °C, the CESM2 model at 5.2 °C and the Russian model at 1.8 °C. ScienceDaily reports about the study “On average across the globe, the model projected surface temperatures at least 6 °C (11 °F) warmer than estimates based on geological evidence.” The study falsifies models with ECS above 4.2 °C, which are 18 of the 40 CMIP6 models that are being used in the upcoming IPCC’s sixth assessment report. The study shows that these 18 climate models are too sensitive to greenhouse gases and that their predictions of future warming are much too high. Eric Worral wrote “Let us hope this novel protocol of testing climate models against available evidence catches on.”

 

Global Warming: Facebook Thinks Its Opinion Is Better Than Yours

Dr. Patrick  Michaels wrote an article expressing his opinion that FaceBook’s opinion that the opinion of its “hyperpartisan activist group called Climate Feedback”, which “fact checks” opinion articles about climate for Facebook is better than the opinion of qualified climate scientists or the opinions of readers. Facebook placed Climate Feedback’s “False” label on Dr. Michaels’  op-ed  published last year in the Washington  Examiner on  the  poor  performance  of  the  computer  models. Facebook doesn’t like a YouTube video of a TV interview of Dr. Pat Michaels which has 2.9 million views, so if the video is posted on Facebook, the video is labeled as “False”, which is just Climate Feedback’s opinion. Michaels wrote “I  have  purposefully  sprinkled  this Science  & Policy Brief  with  a  word:  opinion,  which  is  an individual  (or  group)  judgment  based  upon  a collection  of  facts  that  are—to  the  opiner—more internally consistent than other syntheses. And it indeed is the opinion of those who “fact-check” for Facebook that my opinion is wrong. Free flow of opinions is what Facebook used to be all about.”

 

Models and Rainfall – Four Climate Models Compared

The website ‘scienceofdoom’ has a series of articles with coloured global maps comparing actual rainfall to models’ historical simulations, and their late 21st century rainfall predictions. This article compares global rainfall among the Japanese, German, Canadian and Australian climate models. The first set of four maps compares each model’s rainfall prediction for the moderate emissions scenario RCP4.5 for 2081-2100 as a percentage of that model’s historical 1979-2005 simulations. The second set of maps shows similar comparisons but for the extreme emissions of RCP8.5. The modeled change of precipitation between the two periods varies substantially between models. Each model shows some areas getting wetter and other areas getting drier. The changes in RCP8.5 are just more extreme than RCP4.5. But the models disagree about which regions get wetter or drier. For example, the German model shows North Africa in 2081-2100 receiving only 40% of the rainfall of 1979-2005, whereas the Canadian and Japanese models predict North Africa will get up to 160% of the 1979-2005 rainfall. The third set of maps compare historical runs over 1979-2005 to observations (GPCC). The Canadian model overestimated rainfall in North Africa by 80% and underestimated rainfall in Northern South America by about 60%.


 

CliSci # 325          2020-05-30

 

The Global Economic Impact of Climate Change on Energy Expenditures

A paper, Lang and Gregory 2019, showed that a 3 °C increase in the global mean surface temperature would reduce USA energy expenditures and increase economic wealth by +0.07% of gross domestic product (GDP), whereas the FUND economic model projects an wealth impact of -0.80% of GDP. This article extends the analysis to global impacts and finds a 3 °C increase would reduce global energy costs and increase wealth by +0.05% of gross world product (GWP) using empirical data, while FUND projects a wealth impact of -1.59% of GWP. The article explains why the FUND energy impact projections are wrong. The total economic impact of all impact sectors of a 3 °C increase of global mean temperatures would increase wealth by +0.20% while FUND project -0.68% loss of wealth, assuming an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 3.0 °C for double CO2. At a realistic ECS of 1.0 °C, the impact of a 2 °C temperature increase (in 2147) using empirical energy data would be +1.07% of GWP. This positive impact of global wealth increased to 1.45% of GWP when including an updated estimate of CO2 fertilization. This study shows that CO2 emissions have a large social benefit, so policies to restrict CO2 emissions are harmful and misguided.

 

The Lightness of Water Vapor Helps to Stabilize Tropical Climate

This paper claims that the water vapour buoyancy effect has been overlooked in climate models. Water vapour is less dense than dry air, so tropical regions with moist air will rise, and regions with dryer air will be warmer than moist air regions. The paper says this effect helps to stabilize tropical climate by increasing the outgoing longwave radiation (OLR). It says “This radiative effect increases with warming, leading to a negative climate feedback. At a near present-day surface temperature, vapor buoyancy is responsible for a radiative effect of 1 W/m2 and a negative climate feedback of about 0.15 W/m2 per kelvin.”

 

Atomic bomb tests during Cold War ‘changed rainfall patterns in Scotland’

A team of from the United Kingdom reviewed rainfall records and found clouds were “visibly thicker” and there was “24 per cent more rain on average” on the days when there was more radioactivity in the Shetland Isles due to nuclear testing during the 1950s and 1960s. The lead author of the study said “By studying the radioactivity released from Cold War weapons tests, scientists at the time learnt about atmospheric circulation patterns. We have now reused this data to examine the effect on rainfall.” Radioactivity leads to an increase in air conductivity by ionization, releasing electric charges. Electric charge affects the way tiny water droplets combine in clouds to form rain drops. The paper titled ‘Precipitation Modification by Ionization’ says “This supports expectations of electrically induced microphysical changes in liquid water clouds from additional ionization.” Given that nuclear testing ceased, this could be a possible partial explanation for late 20th century sunshine duration increase and warming. See graph. This affect likely was falsely attributed in climate models to greenhouse gas warming. h/t Paul Hainey

 

Systemic Misuse of Scenarios in Climate Research and Assessment

A new paper reviews the misuse of emissions scenarios in climate science research and assessment reports. The treatment of the unrealistic, extreme emissions scenario RCP8.5 as a likely future in the absence of climate policy has misguided policy makers and resulted in a huge waste of resources to prevent a future that has a near zero chance of being realized even in the absence of any climate policies. The misuse of these scenarios includes the illogical comparison of climate projections across inconsistent global development trajectories. The paper discusses the many reasons why this misuse arose. The IPCC extended its mandate from literature assessment to literature coordination. The result has been the widespread production of misleading perspectives on climate policy. The authors, Roger Pielke Jr. and Justin Ritchie, wrote “Here we argue that scenario misuse in climate science offers one of the most significant and underappreciated examples of the current crisis in scientific integrity.” A scenario is built from assumption of social-economic development, policy choices and radiative forcings. Policy assumptions are often inconsistent. Almost 4,500 articles in the climate literature refer to the implausible RCP8.5 scenario as “business as usual”. That scenario assumes far too high future coal consumption, extreme population growth and little technological advancement.

 

Reforestation and Surface Cooling in Temperate Zones

A new paper published in Global Change Biology shows that the surface of forests is 1 to 2 °C cooler than grasslands on an annual time scale. The paper says “the forest cooling effect is most pronounced when land surface temperature is higher, often exceeding −5°C.” Instruments on six paired towers in forests and grasslands in the temperate eastern United States were used to obtain data on convective and evaporation heat fluxes, and meteorological conditions. The convective and evaporation effects of forests have an average cooling effect of -2.5 °C. The emissivity of forest’s surfaces also has a cooling effect of -0.8 °C.  Partly offsetting these cooling effects is an albedo warming effect of 1.3 to 2.3 °C due to the colour of forests being darker than grasslands. The result of an annual 1 to 2 °C cooling provides “evidence that reforestation in the temperate zone offers opportunities for local climate mitigation and adaptation.”

 

Iceland Must Have Been 3°C Warmer During The Early Holocene

A new study of glaciation in Iceland reveals that Iceland was 3 °C warmer than the late 20th century despite low concentrations of CO2. Most Northern Hemisphere temperature reconstructions show warmer than present conditions during the Holocene thermal optimum 11 to 6 thousand years ago. The Holocene temperature variability is linked to solar variability and ocean cycles such as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Sediments from Icelandic lakes indicate they were ice free until 7.9 thousand years ago. Glacier modeling experiments show that the demise of two major glaciers during the early Holocene required summer temperatures to rise about 3 °C above the late 20th century average temperature. There was significant summer cooling 5 thousand years ago at high-elevation interior sites. Abrupt cooling events 4.5 and 3 thousand years ago coincided with large explosive volcanism in Iceland which initiated major glacial expansions. h/t Kenneth Richard & Case Smit.


 

CliSci # 324          2020-05-09

 

The Scientific Case for Vacating the EPA's Carbon Dioxide Endangerment Finding

Dr. Pat Michaels and Kevin Dayaratna published a report for the Competitive Enterprise Institute which shows that the EPA’s carbon dioxide endangerment finding is seriously flawed and should be over-turned. The authors said “We document that using the climate models for the first Assessment, from 2000, provided less quantitative guidance than tables of random numbers—and that the chief scientist for that work knew of this problem.” The endangerment finding relied on computer models that made systematic and dramatic errors over the climatically critical tropics. The models predict a hot spot over the tropics at 7-14 km altitude of enhanced warming rate. The article says “The observed data indicate that the models are predicting around three times the warming rate that is being observed.” See graph. Economic models are driven by faulty climate models that predict much more warming than what has recently occurred. Adjusting the models to match recent observations of warming and CO2 fertilization yield negative social costs of carbon dioxide, meaning the CO2 emissions are net beneficial.

 

Half of 20th-century Arctic Warming Was Caused by Ozone-depleting Chemicals

A paper published in Nature in January 2020 used specially designed climate models that were runs over the period 1955 – 2005 when concentration of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) increased rapidly. The paper shows that when the ODS are allowed to increase the forced Arctic surface warming and sea-ice loss are twice as large as when the ODS are kept fixed in the models. The impact of ODS on the Arctic temperatures occurs primarily by direct radiative warming, not by the ozone depletion. There has been no increase of ODS since 1995. The abstract concludes “Our findings reveal a substantial contribution of ODS to recent Arctic warming, and highlight the importance of the Montreal Protocol as a major climate change-mitigation treaty.”

 

Recent Hemispheric Asymmetry in Global Ocean Warming

A new paper reviews the global ocean warming as measured primarily by the ARGO array of float during 2005 – 2015 by layer 0-700 m and 700-2000 m, and compares the trends to a group of climate models. More than 90% of the Earth’s heat energy increase has been taken up by the ocean. The ocean heat content (OHC) anomaly shows the asymmetric character of the upper ocean (0 - 700 m) with the northern hemisphere cooling and the southern hemisphere warming during 2005–2015. The trends with 95% confidence intervals of the OHC in the 0-700 m ocean layer and the climate multi-model means are shown for the global oceans and the two hemispheres:

0 – 700 m (1022 J/decade)

Observation

Multi-model

Global Ocean

4.38 ± 0.42

6.44 ± 1.07

Southern Hemisphere

5.12 ± 0.45

3.60 ± 0.67

Northern Hemisphere

-0.74 ± 0.29

2.90 ± 0.83

The multi-models simulated global ocean heat content trend is 147% of the observations. The northern hemisphere ocean heat content multi-model trend is opposite in sign of the observations and difference is 390%.

 

The Lancet on Climate Change: The Need for Context

Dr. Indur Goklany authored a damning critique of the 2019 report of the Lancet Countdown, a partnership of 35 academic institutions and UN agencies. That report tracks the progress of health impacts of climate change and suggests that the health effects of climate change are worsening. Goklany says that between 1990 and 2017, the death rate from climate sensitive diseases dropped from 8.1% to 5.5%, while the burden of disease measured in life years lost declined from 12% to 8%. The burden of death and disease from climate sensitive diseases are small and getting smaller. Furthermore, the rate of death and disease from climate sensitive diseases are declining faster that the all-cause rates. Goklany blasts the report for not mentioning the declining death rates from climate sensitive diseases in the executive summary. He says “The  Countdown  also  fails to provide adequate context for the reader to  judge  the  burdens  of  mortality  or  disease  posed  by  CSDEs [climate sensitive diseases],  individually  or  cumulatively,  relative to other public-health threats.” The Countdown focuses on the few diseases that have recently become more prevalent, such as dengue, despite that malaria causes 15 times as many deaths. “Without proper context, a molehill may well be mistaken for a mountain.” All death rates are age standardized.

 

Global Scale Greening by Vegetation Type Over the Last 17 Years

This paper, Munier et al 2018, used satellite leaf area index (LAI) data and advanced analytical techniques to quantify changes in the vegetation dynamics over nine main vegetation types, including broadleaf, coniferous and evergreen forests as well as summer and winter crops, and grasslands that may co-exist in a grid pixel of satellite data.  Previous studies reported only the dominant vegetation type within a grid pixel (about 1 km2). A trend analysis is performed for each vegetation type over the 1999-2015 period. The results are validated against ground observations at 83 sites. The largest global trend is for coniferous forests at 4.2%/yr followed by summer crops at 3.9%/yr. The global trend for winter crops and grasslands are 2.6%/yr and 2.8%/yr, respectively. Coniferous and broadleaf forests experience a marked greening in the North-East of Europe. Colour coded global maps are presented showing the LAI trends of the six main vegetation types. In North America, the largest trends are for coniferous forests at 3.9%/yr. The summer and winter crop trends are 3.0%/yr and 2.6%/yr, respectively. A previous study, Zhu et al. 2016, reported higher greening trends than the Muneir study, but it considered only growing season trends. Zhu found that the greening trends were cause by CO2 fertilization 70% and climate change 8%.

Scientists Investigate a 60,000-year-old Forest Underwater

NOAA reported that a 60,000 year-old cypress forest buried off the coast of Alabama in the Gulf of Mexico was uncovered by storms. The massive trees grew and died, becoming entombed in a protective covering of sediments. This NOAA article saysAs sea level rose and the coastline receded, these ancient forest remains were buried beneath the sea surface off the coast of Alabama, where they remained undisturbed for millennia. Intensifying storms along the coast, however, have scoured the seafloor, beginning to expose this ancient submarine forest.A team of scientists collected log samples in December 2019 at the site which now lays 18 m underwater. The scientists are investigating the wood for new compounds for medicine and biotechnology. More than 300 animals were removed from the wood. This article by CNN saysDespite the wood being 60,000 years old, it was extremely well-preserved because it had been buried under layers of sediment that prevented oxygen from decomposing it.The world was in the middle of the last ice age 60,000 years age when sea levels were low.


 

CliSci # 323          2020-04-22

 

Modeling Quiet Solar Luminosity Variability

A new paper, Scafetta et al 2019, reviews the controversy regarding how the total solar irradiance (TSI) has evolved since 1978.  One group of scientists believes the TSI slightly decreased from 1980 to 2000 while another group believes the TSI increased. A set of seven satellites monitored TSI over various periods from 1978 to date with different precision. Three ACRIM satellites recorded high quality data in the period 1980-2013, but there was a gap between the ACRIM 1 and ACRIM 2 satellite caused by the delay of launching ACRIM 2 due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The satellites give precise data of TSI changes but the absolute value of the TSI is very uncertain. The abstract says “The main question is whether TSI increased or decreased during the so-called ACRIM-gap period from 1989 to 1992.” Two other satellites recorded data over the ACRIM-gap, but their measurements were far less precise with one indicating increasing TSI and one, which was called ERBE, indicating decreasing TSI over the gap.

The study reviews three recent proxy models of TSI that show no change over the ACRIM-gap. These models agree with the TSI data only from 1996 to 2016, but they significantly diverge from the data from 1981 to 1996. By adjusting the TSI proxy models to agree with the data patterns the models the authors found the models miss a slowly varying TSI component. The abstract says “The adjusted models suggest that the quiet solar luminosity increased from the 1986 to the 1996 TSI minimum by about 0.45 W/m2 reaching a peak near 2000 and decreased by about 0.15 W/m2 from the 1996 to the 2008 TSI cycle minimum. This pattern is found to be compatible with the ACRIM TSI composite and confirms the ACRIM TSI increasing trend from 1980 to 2000, followed by a long-term decreasing trend since.” The downward ERBE trend over the ACRIM-gap “was caused by well-documented degradation of its sensors that were experiencing their first exposure to the high UV radiation levels characteristic of solar activity maxima.”

The Kitt Peak National Solar Observatory solar magnetic field strength (SMFS) trends upward during the ACRIM-gap which corresponds to an upward TSI trend. “The rising solar activity revealed in the ACRIM TSI composite would be the primary driver for the global warming observed during the last decades of the 20th century.” The results suggest “that 2000–2002 could have been a grand solar maximum.” The paper says that the multi-decadal solar activity oscillations could be interpreted and reconstructed by using the astronomical resonance of the solar system. The 2000–2002 TSI peak might have been caused by the maximum of the gravitational pull of Jupiter and Saturn on the sun that reached its 60-year cycle maximum around 2000.

 

IPCC Politics and Solar Variability

An article by Andy May discusses the Scaffetta et al 2019 paper and the political problems at the IPCC and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Judith Lean was the lead author of the “Natural Forcings” section of IPCC AR4 report, chapter 2.7. She wrote “The fact that some people could use [the ACRIM group’s] results as an excuse to do nothing about greenhouse gas emissions is one reason we felt we needed to look at the data ourselves.” May says “It seems that Judith Lean had some political motivation to challenge the ACRIM composite.” The IPCC’s first assessment report (FAR) said “The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.” This conclusion undermined the UNFCCC as its reason for existence was human-caused climate change. This put political pressure on the IPCC to claim in subsequent reports that humans were a major cause of climate change. Judith Lean led the development of the PMOD TSI composite that shows very little solar variability. However, several valid, peer-reviewed solar activity reconstructions were published that could explain much of the 20th century warming. The IPCC and the climate modelers chose to use the PMOD composites and ignore the high TSI variability ACIM composite so as to attribute almost all of the warming to human-caused greenhouse gases.

 

Tornado (F3+) Update For 2019

We are constantly bombarded with claims from the media that severe weather is getting worse. For example as reported in our Dec. 2019 newsletter, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his COP25 opening speech “Climate related disasters are becoming more frequent, more deadly, more destructive with growing human and financial cost.” These false claims contradict the evidence. Paul Homewood reports that there were 28 strong tornadoes in the USA, categories F-3 to F-5, in 2019, in line with most recent years but slightly up on the extremely low figures for the previous two years. Data are from the US Storm Prediction Center. There were no F-5 tornadoes last year. The last one was in May 2013. Homewood says “The only longer period without an F-5 was between 3rd May 1999 and 4th May 2007. By contrast there were 14 in the 1970s, including 7 in 1974.” The best fit linear trend from 1955 to 2019 shows an amazing 58% decline as shown on my graph here.

 

Impact of Cloud Physics on the Greenland Ice Sheet

Clouds regulate the Earth’s climate and control the Greenland ice sheet (GrIS) surface melting. A new paper, Lenaerts et al 2020, uses ground and satellite remote sensing observations to evaluate the cloud characteristics in several versions of an atmospheric climate model over the period 2007 to 2012. The paper reports that cloud cover, cloud characteristics and their radiative effects over the GrIS vary widely across the atmosphere models. “There is an order‐of‐magnitude spread of cloud liquid (LWP) and ice water path (IWP) in the Community Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) model ensemble over Greenland.” LWP quantifies the amount of liquid water in clouds. The paper says the most recent version of the Community Atmosphere Model (CAM6) is an improvement over the previous version (CAM5), but CAM6 shows excessive rainfall over the ice sheet. The CAM6 model average cloud cover is 81%, which is much higher than the observations at 67%. The CAM5 model shows only a marginal amount of LWP in summer of less than 5 g/m2 whereas the observations show about 40 g/m2. CAM6 shows 60 g/m2 of LWP in the summer, or 150% of the observations.

CAM6 shows 7 g/m2 of the cloud ice amount, which is only 20% of the 33 g/m2 of the observations over Greenland. CAM6 simulates an excessive amount of rain over the ice sheet. CAM5 simulates virtually zero LWP over the Greenland summit while the observations show 25 g/m2.

Overall, CAM6 is an improvement over the previous version, but this and all climate atmosphere models still have to improve substantially before they can be used to advise policy makers about future climate change.


 

CliSci # 322          2020-03-25

 

High Temperatures Reduce the Transmission of COVID-19

This paper investigates how air temperature and humidity influence the transmission of COVID-19 in 100 cities in China with more than 40 cases. The study found that both high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19, even after controlling for population density and GDP per capita of cities. The abstract says “This result is consistent with the fact that the high temperature and high humidity significantly reduce the transmission of influenza. It indicates that the arrival of summer and rainy season in the northern hemisphere can effectively reduce the transmission of the COVID-19.” The data used was before January 24 when China’s large-scale intervention in the spread of COVID-10 was announced so to study the influence of factors under natural condition. High temperatures and humidity reduce the transmission of influenza because Influenza viruses are more stable in cold temperatures and respiratory droplets that contain viruses remain airborne longer in dry air. Cold and dry weather can also weaken the hosts’ immunity. These factors also apply to the COVID-10 transmission. The paper presents an equation that gives the “severity of infectiousness”, R. One degree Celsius increase in temperature and one percent increase in relative humidity lowers R by 0.0383and 0.0224, respectively. Using Calgary’s climate data, the R value in July is 79% of that in March. In Tokyo, the R value with the normal summer climate (during the cancelled Olympic Games) is 52% of that in March.

So, why don’t climate change economic models include a reduction of respiratory illnesses like influenza as a benefit of global warming?

 

Climate Alarmist Claim Rebuttals

A website called Alarmist Claim Research (ACReseach) presents a series of rebuttals of the 12 most common climate alarmists’ claims such as those made in the recently released [USA] Fourth National Climate Assessment Report. The authors of these rebuttals are all recognized experts in the relevant fields. For each alarmist claim, a summary of the relevant rebuttal is provided below along with a link to the full text of the rebuttal, which includes the names and the credentials of the authors of each rebuttal. The rebuttals show that: Heat Waves – have been decreasing since the 1930s in the U.S. and globally; Hurricanes – this decade just ended as the second quietest for landfalling hurricanes and landfalling major hurricanes in the U.S since the 1850s; Tornadoes – the number of strong tornadoes has declined over the last half century; Droughts and Floods – There have been no statistically significant trends; and 8 other rebuttals.

 

Climate Models: Russia Good, Canada Bad

The Russian climate model INM-CM4 is the only climate model that closely replicates the Hadcrut4 surface temperature record, as well as the satellite datasets. Dr. John Christy commented “The CMIP6 models … are also warming faster than the real world. They actually have a higher sensitivity than the CMIP5 models; in other words, they’re apparently getting worse! This is a big problem.” The CMIP6 models will be used for the next IPCC assessment report. The average equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of all the CMIP6 models is 3.86 °C, up from 3.2 °C (per double CO2) in CMIP5. The Russian model INM-CM4’s ECS has declined from 2.1 in CMIP5 to 1.8 in CMIP6. Meanwhile, the Canadian climate model Can ESM2’s ECS has increased from 3.7 °C in CMIP5 to 5.6 °C, which is the highest of all 27 climate models. The largest difference between the two models in CMIP6 is the cloud feedback, which in the Russian model at -0.13 W/m2/°C and is +0.80 W/m2/°C in the Canadian model. Ron Clutz wrote “Once again the Good Model INM-CM4-8 is bucking the model builders’ consensus. The new revised INM model has a reduced ECS and it flipped its cloud feedback from positive to negative.”

 

Relative Sea-level Rise and Land Subsidence in Oceania from Tide Gauge and Satellite GPS

A paper published last month analysis the relative and absolute sea-level patterns in Oceania using 5 long-term tide gauges and the global positioning system (GPS) time series. Long-term tide gauge data is required to account for periodic oscillations. The tide gauges with more than 90 years of data are located in Australia, New Zealand and Honolulu, USA. The average relative rate of rise is +1.306 mm/yr., the average acceleration is +0.0049 mm/yr2, and the average absolute rate of rise is +0.125 mm/yr. The acceleration term implies that the sea level rise in 80 years, or by 2100, would be 0.39 mm/yr higher than now. The average relative sea level rise (SLR) includes 1.181 mm/yr of subsidence which is 90% of the relative SLR. The study also analysed tide gauge and GPS data for two locations without long-term tide gauges, and report that the absolute SLR of Tuvalu from 1977 to present is 0.16 mm/yr and the absolute SLR of Adelaide is 0.2 mm/yr.  The SLR pattern is consistent with the other long-term tide stations of the Pacific. The global SLR “is explained as a gentle recovery from the low temperatures of the Little Ice Age that was caused by the record low solar activity of the Maunder and Spörer Minima as well as volcanic activity and internal oscillations in the climate system. … This result is consistent with the land increase, rather than shrinking, of the Pacific atolls’ islands recently highlighted by other researchers”.

 

New Model Helps Explain Seasonal Variations in Urban Heat Islands

Scientists from Duke University have created a simple new model that how urban heat island effects vary across seasons. A news release describing the model says ”Their results could help cities in different climatic regions design heat mitigation strategies.” The model provides general insights into how seasonal changes in rainfall, solar radiation, and vegetation conditions of an urban environment affect the intensity and timing of surface urban heat islands at a city-wide scale. The urban to rural surface temperature differences are controlled by time lags between solar radiation, temperatures, and rainfall. Urban area, where impervious and heat-absorbing surfaces can limit the effect of evaporative cooling, often grows much warmer than the surrounding areas. In cities where rainfall is scarce during summer, the opposite effect can occur, with rural areas heating up and cities may experience one to two degrees cooler temperatures than their surroundings.

 

Global Crop Yields

One reader asked me about global crop yields. I plotted the crop yields of six major grains using data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. See my graph here. Based on the best fit straight line through each series, the average yields of the six grains have increased by a factor of 2.4.  Crop yields have increased due to many factors, including increasing temperatures, CO2 fertilization, increasing precipitation and technological change. So what does Wikipedia say about crop yields in the future? It says “Global warming could lead to an increase in pest insect populations, harming yields of staple crops like wheat, soybeans, and corn.” Pest insects do cause losses, but other positive factors, especially CO2 fertilization and technological change have greatly exceeded the losses as crop yields continue to increase.


 

CliSci # 321          2020-03-07

 

Friends of Science 17th Annual Event

Please join us for this special event on April 6, 2020 for “Freedom of Speech! NO Climate Emergency!” featuring Donna Laframboise - Investigative Journalist and Dr. Roy W. Spencer - Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Doors open at 5:45 pm. The event includes a buffet dinner. Donna will speak on "Climate Activists Want Your Freedom" and Roy will explain “10 Reasons Why there is No Climate Emergency". Deadline to order tickets here is March 27, 2020.

UPDATE: This event is cancelled and will be rescheduled.

 

Coral Reefs in Turks and Caicos Islands Resist Bleaching Event

A study of the corals on Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean from 2012 to 2018 found that 35 key coral species remained resilient during a 2017 global coral-bleaching event. The study found that corals that experienced bleaching quickly recovered. A EurekAlert news release said "Boulder-type corals on the Turks and Caicos Islands demonstrated no significant bleaching as a result of the peak thermal stress in late 2015," said Abby Knipp.  … Plate-type corals did suffer bleaching, but they quickly rebounded. Their pigmentation levels were back to normal within months of the anomalously high thermal stress." Pigmentation of the boulder corals was darker in 2017 than in 2014, suggesting these corals were even healthier after rebounding from the heat stress, Knipp said. "We were surprised that apparent healing and darkening could happen so fast," she said.

 

February Global Sea Ice Area

The best fit trend of the February global sea ice area over the satellite era, 1979 to 2020 is -0.32%/decade. See graph here. This is a tiny, insignificant decline. The February global sea ice area was 14.7 million km2, which is the highest since 2015. The Arctic trend was -0.093 million km2/decade while the Antarctic trend was +0.045 km2/decade.

 

Rapid 18th Century Sea Level Rise of North America’s Atlantic Coast

A study led by the University of York shows that there was a period of rapid pre-industrial sea-level rise of 2 to 3 mm/yr along the Atlantic coast of North America. The sea-level rise was entirely natural and related to the North Atlantic Oscillation, a natural atmospheric oscillation. The researcher produced a sea level reconstruction derived from microscopic fossils found in salt-marsh sediments. Scientists say salt-marshes are good "archives" of sea levels as they contain several metres of sediment which contains data going back hundreds of years. This 18th century sea-level rise was during the Little Ice Age and it wasn’t known before.  The study was described in a news release by EurekAlert. Lead author Gehrels said "To find out what global warming is doing to sea levels today we need that base level from historical times.” The study suggests that current sea level rise along the Atlantic coast of North America might be partially due to natural processes in the climate system.

 

A 5680-Year South America Tree-ring Temperature Record

A paper published in Quaternary Science Reviews presents a 5680-year tree-ring temperature record and demonstrates that solar forcing persistently influences temperatures at multi-centennial timescales. The study found that recent warming is not exceptional in the context of the last five millennia in southern South America. The reconstruction over 3700 BC to 2009 AD is the longest record for the Southern Hemisphere. The record shows two major warm periods of 3140 to 2800 BC and 70 BC to 150 AD, which coincide with no glacier advances. These periods also coincide with positive anomalies of solar irradiance. Spectral analysis show “show remarkable coincidences between the long-term cycles in our temperature record and the TSI reconstructions”. Reconstructed temperature changes at inter-decadal time scales is mainly related to internal climate variability of the Pacific Ocean, including El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and longer oscillations. The temperature reconstruction was adjusted to remove the CO2 fertilization effect on tree-growth for the 1800 to 2009 period.

 

Radiation Records Show that Declining Cloud Cover was the Main Driver of Warming

A paper published in January 2020 shows that most of the warming since 1980 was due to changes in cloud cover and that cloud cover changes affected temperatures much more than temperatures affected cloud cover. The energy balance of the Earth is the difference between the incoming shortwave (SW) radiation from the Sun net of reflected radiation, and the longwave (LW) radiation from the Earth emitted to space. Changes to SW radiation caused mainly by cloud changes had a much larger effect on the energy balance than changes in LW radiation. The authors used radiation data from the MERRA-2 reanalysis product from NASA and cloud data from the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project. A statistical analysis of the data shows “that shortwave radiation is the main driver in the dynamics and plays a major role in the energy balance by affecting the longwave radiation field, while the information flux from longwave to shortwave radiation is marginal.” The analysis relies on the fact that changes in cloud cover changes the SW radiation almost instantly while the LW radiation changes are slower. The paper did not mention cloud feedbacks, but the analysis suggests that decreasing cloud cover was due to natural processes, rather than due to increasing temperature caused by greenhouse gases.

 

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Grow More Slowly Than Models Predict

Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. published an article in Forbes, which compares the emissions scenarios of the fifth (AR5) and sixth (AR6) assessment report of the IPCC to the actual data. He wrote “Specifically, real-world observations of carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 to 2017 grew at a slower rate than 83% of AR5 (Working Group 3 baseline) scenarios and 73% of AR6 (SSP baseline) scenarios. … The divergence between the real-world observations of carbon dioxide emissions and the baseline scenarios of the IPCC is expected to widen over the next several decades. According to projections of major energy outlooks, by 2040 carbon dioxide emissions (from FF) may fall below the entire range of IPCC AR5 and AR6 baseline scenarios, even assuming that no new major climate policy efforts are undertaken between now and then.”


 

CliSci # 320          2020-02-22

 

Causes of Higher Climate Sensitivity in CMIP6 Models

A paper published last month finds that the temperature response to an abrupt quadrupling of atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased substantially in the latest generation of global climate models. This is primarily because low cloud water content and coverage decrease more strongly with global warming, causing enhanced planetary absorption of sunlight—an amplifying feedback that ultimately results in more warming. Differences in the physical representation of clouds in models drive this enhanced sensitivity relative to the previous generation of models. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of the 27 global climate models range from 1.8 to 5.6 °C and exceeds 4.5 °C in 10 of them. The multi-model mean ECS has increase from 3.3 °C in CMIP5 to 3.9 °C in CMIP6. The non-cloud feedbacks are essentially unchanged between the two sets of models. The increase in the cloud feedbacks is due primarily to the short-wave or albedo component. Clouds decrease in area more in CMIP6 than in CMIP5 in response to a temperature increase, reducing albedo and allowing more sunlight in to warm the surface. Cloud cover area has indeed declined from 1986 to 2001, but this may be partly or primarily due to solar effects, rather than due to increasing temperatures.

 

A Climate Modeller Spills the Beans

Climate scientist Dr. Mototaka Nakamura published a book in Japanese on “the sorry state of climate science” titled “Confessions of a climate scientist: the global warming hypothesis is an unproven hypothesis” as reported in the Quadrant Online. From 1990 to 2014 he worked on cloud dynamics and forces mixing atmospheric and ocean flows on medium to planetary scales. Nkamura wrote “These models completely lack some critically important  climate processes and feedbacks, and represent some other critically important climate processes and feedbacks in grossly distorted manners to the extent that makes these models totally useless for any meaningful climate prediction.” On clouds he wrote “Accurate simulation of cloud is simply impossible in climate models since it requires calculations of processes at scales smaller than 1mm.” Instead, the modellers put in their own cloud parameters.”

 

Climate Science and Economics Presentation at Medicine Hat Branch of APEGA

I gave an hour presentation to the Medicine Hat branch of APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta) on February 18, 2020. The presentation was well received. I show evidence that the climate sensitivity to CO2 increases is low and that the social cost (benefit) of CO2 is net negative, meaning the CO2 emissions are net beneficial so fossil fuel usage should not be taxed. A PDF file of the slides is here.

 

Responses of Hail and Storm Days to Climate Change in the Tibetan Plateau

The Tibetan Plateau experiences the greatest hail frequency and also has one of the most frequent occurrences of severe storms in China. This study investigated the connection between climate change and severe storms and found that stormy days have decreased by 6.2%/decade since 1960 and days with hail decreased by 18.3%/decade in the region. The authors found that the decline of stormy days is strongly related to a dryer mid-troposphere since 1960. The reduction of hail is related to an elevation of the melting level and a weaker wind shear in a warming climate. The results “imply that there would be much less severe storm(s) if warming continues in the near future in the Tibetan Plateau.”

 

Plausible Scenarios for Climate Change: 2020-2050

Judith Curry wrote a post about scenarios for climate change that includes natural modes of climate variability, including volcanoes, solar and internal variability.  The climate model simulations used in the last IPCC report used greenhouse gas emissions scenarios that did not include natural climate change. “Internal variability” is primarily ocean circulation changes. Curry used the SSP2-4.5 emissions scenario issued for the forthcoming IPCC AR6 report, as it well matches the current emissions path. Curry gives two observationally constrained climate sensitivity estimates by Lewis (2018) and Grillett (2013) which give greenhouse gas (GHG) induced temperature increases of 0.35 °C and 0.47 °C, respectively, from 2020 to 2050. The forthcoming AR6 report estimates a potential solar induced cooling of 0.1 to 0.25 °C to 2050. Paleoclimate estimates of volcanic eruption of the last millennia suggest that the mean cooling by volcanoes is 0.12 °C by 2050. The Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) is a major factor of interval variability and it is expected to shift to a cool phase within 15 years with a 50% chance of the shift occurring in the next 6 years. A moderate scenario predicts a 0.20 °C cooling by 2050 due to internal variability. Using the average of the GHG warming estimates of 0.41 °C, the combined median estimate of global temperature change 2020-2050 is +0.41 - 0.11- 0.10 - 0.20 °C  = 0.00 °C. Curry wrote “In summary, decade(s) during the period 2020-2050 with zero warming or even cooling should not be particularly surprising.”

 

Are Ocean Currents Speeding Up?

Dr. David Whitehouse reports on a new study that suggests that for almost 25 years, ocean currents have been speeding up, partly due to global warming. One headline said “Global warming is speeding up Earth’s massive ocean currents”. Whitehouse wrote “It contradicts previous studies that suggested that global warming will weaken ocean circulation, especially in tropical waters. This new study suggests the acceleration in ocean currents will be especially strong in tropical waters!” The authors claim that from 1990 to 2013, the energy of the world’s currents increased by some 15% per decade due to strengthening winds driving ocean currents. The velocity data used is from the ARGO diving buoys which have been operating since 2005.

 

A decade of variability on Jakobshavn Isbræ: Greenland’s Largest Glacier

A paper published last month shows that Greenland’s largest glacier has slowed and thickened substantially since 2016 in response to cooling sea temperatures. Atleast from autumn 2016 through spring 2019, winter thickening outpaced summer thinning, leading to net thickeningand elevations approaching those observed in 2010. “The elevation data show that although Jakobshavn Isbræ likely has the highest un-buttressed ice cliffs on Earth, at this point they do not appear to be subject to sustained catastrophic brittle failure. … there is substantial multi-decadal scale variability of ocean temperatures in Disko Bay [where the glacier terminates] that correlates well with the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation (AMO) index. … whether Jakobshavn Isbræ can stabilize, at least temporarily, likely depends on whether a cycle similar to that of the last century produces an extended period (several more years to decades) of cooler waters in Disko Bay.”


 

CliSci # 319          2020-02-01

 

Climate Sensitivity, Agricultural Productivity and the Social Cost of Carbon in FUND

A paper by Dayaratna, McKitrick & Michaels evaluates the implications of recent empirical findings about CO2 fertilization and climate sensitivity on the social cost of carbon (SCC) in the FUND economic model. New satellite and experimental evidence suggests that the agricultural productivity gains due to CO2 fertilization are at least 30% greater than what is parameterized in the FUND model. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) probability distributions used are from the Lewis & Curry 2018 (L&C) and Christy & McNider 2017 (C&M) empirical studies, which gives ECS best estimates of 1.5 °C and 1.4 °C, respectively. Using a 5% discount rate, the 30% increase of CO2 fertilization and L&C ECS parameters, the FUND model calculates a best estimate SCC in 2020 of 2018US$-4.08/tCO2 and  there is a 0.78 probability that SCC is negative. Assuming that no CO2 mitigation policies are implemented, the SCC increases to 2018US$-3.43/tCO2 by 2050. Using a 3% discount rate and the C&M ECS, the best estimate SCC in 2020 is 2018US$‑6.85/tCO2. Using empirically estimated climate sensitivity, the FUND model indicates that CO2 is for all practical purposes not a negative global externality through mid-century. This means that carbon taxes and other policies that increase the costs of fossil fuels are harmful and counterproductive. The negative SCC implies that CO2 emissions should be encouraged, not taxed, because the social benefits of emissions exceeds the costs.

The ECS estimates used here assume that all of the warming was caused by human activity (greenhouse gases and aerosols), but a substantial portion of the measured warming was caused by natural causes and urban warming. Correcting the ECS for these effects would make the calculated SCC even more negative. As reported in CliSci # 317, an empirical study shows that the energy impact function in FUND is miscalibrated, and correcting this would substantially reduce the calculated SSC, making it even more negative.

 

Will Humanity Ever Reach 2XCO2? Possibly Not

Dr. Roy Spencer shows that a simple carbon cycle model that matches measured CO2 concentrations predicts the CO2 concentrations stabilizes at under a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels when emissions remain constant after 2050. He wrote “The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects a growth in energy-based CO2 emissions of +0.6%/yr through 2050. But translating future emissions into atmospheric CO2 concentration requires a global carbon budget model, and we frequently accept the United Nations reliance on such models to tell us how much CO2 will be in the atmosphere for any given CO2 emissions scenario. Using a simple time-dependent CO2 budget model forced with yearly estimates of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and optimized to match Mauna Loa observations, I show that the EIA emissions projections translate into surprisingly low CO2 concentrations by 2050. In fact, assuming constant CO2 emissions after 2050, the atmospheric CO2 content eventually stabilizes at just under 2XCO2.”

 

Friends of Science 17th Annual Event

Please join us for this special event on April 6, 2018 for “Freedom of Speech! NO Climate Emergency!” featuring Donna Laframboise - Investigative Journalist and Dr. Roy W. Spencer - Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Doors open at 5:45 pm. The event includes a buffet dinner. Donna will speak on "Climate Activists Want Your Freedom" and Roy will explain “10 Reasons Why there is No Climate Emergency".

Deadline to order tickets here is March 27, 2020. Early bird tickets are on sale until February 29, 2020. As climate dogma increases, your freedoms are lost, your kids are scared. Debunk it! Join us April 6th.

 

Contributions to Global Warming

I prepared two pie charts which show the contributions to global warming over two time periods, 1910 to 1980 and 1980 to 2018.  The contributions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are based on forcing estimate from NOAA and an estimated transient climate response of 0.85 °C, which corresponds to an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.0 °C for a doubling of CO2. This estimate is based on the energy balance calculations of Lewis&Curry 2015 and 2018, but adjusted to account for urban warming from McKitrick and Michaels 2007 (M&M) and the natural warming from the Little Ice Age. Aerosol forcing is estimated to have a net cooling effect, so this effect was added to the total measured warming to get the warming without aerosols, which was allocated to the factors that cause warming in the pie charts. The four components are CO2, non-CO2 GHG, urban warming, and solar effects. The urban warming was forecast to increase linearly from zero in 1920 such that the warming matched the M&M results. The solar component includes ocean oscillations such as the AMO, ENSO and the millennium cycle as the sun is the only energy source available that can drive these cycles. The GHG and urban warming was explicitly calculated and the solar component was estimated by difference. From 1910 to 1980, solar contributed 58% and CO2 contributed 26% of the global warming. From 1980 to 2018, solar and CO2 contributed 17% and 41%, respectively. Solar activity peaks in 1992 and has generally been declining since resulting in a lower contribution to warming.

 

50 Years of Global Hurricane Landfall Data

Dr. Roger Peilke published an article in Forbes which reported on a new historical time series of tropical cyclones that made landfall around the world. The article features a graph of 50 years of landfall hurricanes of strength 1&2, and 3 to 5 of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Tropical storms with wind speed of at least 119 km/h are hurricanes and those with wind speeds of at least 178 km/h are classified as major hurricanes of category 3 or greater. Peilke writes “There are a lot of ups and downs in the data, but no obvious trends. Last year saw 17 total storms, with 7 making landfall as major hurricanes.” From 1970 to 2019 there were 15.4 landfall hurricanes on average each year, including 10.4 categories 1&2 and 5.0 categories 3+.

 

Ocean Acidification Does Not Impair Coral Reef Fishes

As CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increases, more CO2 is absorbed by the oceans causing the alkaline oceans to become more neutral. Contrary to some reports, this study comprehensively shows that ocean pH levels predicted by the end of the century have negligible effects on important behaviours of coral reef fishes. The abstract concludes “Together, our findings indicate that the reported effects of ocean acidification on the behaviour of coral reef fishes are not reproducible, suggesting that behavioural perturbations will not be a major consequence for coral reef fishes in high CO2 oceans.”

 

Attenborough’s Arctic Betrayal: New video

Dr. Susan Crockford, former adjunct professor and zoologist at the University of Victoria, released a new 13-minute video that shows “the strong polar bear component to the terrorization of the world’s children about climate change, which began for many youngsters in 2006 with the BBC and Sir David Attenborough’s commentaries about the dire future of polar bears – and continues to this day.” Children and young adults get climate change information from watching emotionally-charged and deceptive information about the Arctic through Attenborough’s productions. A press release issued by the Global Warming Policy Forum states: “It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to reassure these worried youngsters that polar bears and walrus are not suffering because of sea ice loss blamed on climate change.” In the BBC Frozen Planet series called ‘On Thin Ice’, Sir David Attenborough falsely claimed that polar bear numbers had been falling “in many regions”. The 2019 BBC’s ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet: Asia’ shows several ‘hungry’ polar bears driving walrus over the cliff, all falsely blamed on climate change. Attenborough is fed false information from activist NGOs and biologists. Crockford wrote “Sir David Attenborough never questioned his sources and neither has Greta. Both are out of touch with reality on what is happening in the Arctic and it has tarnished their outlook on life”.


 

CliSci # 318          2020-01-18

 

Early Holocene Temperature Oscillations Exceed Amplitude of Observed and Projected Warming in Arctic Svalbard Lakes

A paper published last month presents centennially resolved summer temperature reconstructions from sediments of three Svalbard lakes in the Arctic. The paper shows that early Holocene temperatures fluctuated between the coldest and warmest extremes of the past 12 thousand years, exceeding the range of instrumental observations and future projections. Peak warmth occurred about 10,000 years ago, with temperatures 7 °C warmer than today as more solar radiation and warm water reached the Arctic. The growing season temperatures increased by about 7 °C between 10.5 and 9.5 thousand years ago and peaked at values that were up to 7 °C warmer than at present. Comparison with model output shows that the amplitude of warming was on par with 21st century emission scenarios, but that temperatures rose much slower than today. The first major Early Holocene cooling episode is centered on 11,000 years ago and marked by a ~3.5 °C growing season temperature decline. Between 9.5 and 8 thousand years ago, temperatures dropped in response to freshwater fluxes into the North Atlantic from melting ice. The reconstructions indicate multiple times in the Holocene, for hundreds of years at a time, summer temperatures in the Arctic were at times warmer than now, only to fall later to temperatures colder than those experienced in recent centuries. The presented records span the entire Holocene, placing variability in a 12,000 year context.

 

The Hotter-Drier “Climate Change” Myth

The news media, politician and celebrities are all saying, especially in Australia, that greenhouse gas induced climate change are causing a hotter, dryer world which leads to the wild fires in Australia. This is false. Blogger Joanne Nova wrote that a central canon of the theory of man-made global warming is that climate change leads to a hotter, wetter world. In fact, the multi-model 60°S to 60°N near global precipitation trend from 2005 to 2030 is an increase from 3.245 mm/day to 3.266 mm/day, an increase of 0.65% in 25 years. Nova presents six charts of precipitation at six cities and none of them show any drying trend. In Australia, the average precipitation of the 21st century was 1.4 mm/day according to the CRU TS4 dataset, and the trend from 1900 to 2019 is upward at 0.013 mm/day/decade. This proves that the often heard narrative that “climate change will make dry areas drier” is false. Nova asks “When will Australia’s climate scientists correct the politicians and celebrities who benefit from making false claims?”

Larger fires are more frequent when soils are dry. NASA's Land Data Assimilation Systems produces a high quality dataset of soil moisture to 10 cm depth by integrating satellite and ground-based observational data products, using advanced land surface modeling and data assimilation techniques. The measured soil moisture content is a key indicator of the forest fire potential that is related to climate. The soil moisture content in Australia has been increasing at 0.164%/decade since 1985. This suggests that climate change may be inhibiting forest fires in Australia.

 

Fuel and Poor Forest Management is the Main Factor in Australian Wildfires

Friends of Science published an open letter on its blog January 13 to the Poynter Institute and Facebook that states “Your International Fact Check Network project is misreporting the facts” regarding the issue of the Australian wildfires. The document attached to the letter includes comments from a forest fire expert who states that “Heat is proportional to the fourth power of weight of fuel. Doubling even a sparse fuel loading has a huge consequence for fire intensity.” He says in Australia, there is lots of coarse debris on the ground. Surface fuels that were previously herbaceous and cured grass, now replaced by accumulating leaf and bark nested in woody perennial shrubs. It is worse than just the biomass increase. Fuel bed bulk density is very low, and the resinous vegetation and debris makes for extreme combustibility. The worst stand structure is most likely closest to and in communities. Fire suppression methods and community structure and building codes that were adequate for the previous fire regime completely fail with these stand replacing fires. Properly applied to forestry wildfire risk management would save lives and property in any forested region of the world.

 

New 80-Year Deep-Ocean Temperature Dataset Compared to a 1D Climate Model

A new paper Cheng et al 2020 presents a dataset of 0-2000 m ocean heat content (OHC) from 1940 to 2019 that uses “optimum interpolation” to extend the geographic coverage of limited data. The ARGO network of floats has dramatically improved the global coverage as it was deployed 2001-2005. Dr. Roy Spencer updated his 1D model of ocean temperature with this dataset to match its warming trend over the 80-year period. The model includes El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability to capture year-to-year temperature changes. If it is assumed that all of the ocean warming was human-caused, the best fit to the data gives an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 1.85 °C. Spencer says this is only about 50% of the ECS from climate models. Temperature changes in the oceans below a few hundred metres are very small and difficult to measure. The average ocean temperatures (0-2000 m) have warmed over the last 10 years by 0.036°C. Spencer wrote “the global energy imbalance (less than 1 W/m2) corresponding to such small rates of warming is much smaller than the accuracy with which we know the natural energy flows (1 part in 300 or so), which means Mother Nature could be responsible for the warming and we wouldn’t even know it.”

 

40% of Warming Since 1979 Is Due to Early Volcanic Cooling

Spencer used the same 1D ocean model to show that 41% of the ocean warming in the model was simply due to the two major volcanoes early in the record. The model is forced with RCP6 radiative forcings scenario which includes greenhouse gases, aerosols and volcanoes. The model also includes the observed history ENSO. The model was run with and without the volcanic aerosols that block sunlight. The trend of average sea surface temperatures changes from 0.090 °C/decade with volcanoes to 0.053 °C/decade without volcanoes.

 

Divergent Consensuses on Arctic Amplification Influence on Midlatitude Severe Winter Weather

Arctic amplification refers to the phenomenon that the Arctic warms more, or is more variable, than the global average. This paper says “Recently, there have been considerable advances in understanding the physical contributions to ‘Arctic amplification’, and progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms that link it to midlatitude weather variability.” Observational studies show that Arctic amplification is contributing to winter continental cooling. However, most modelling results show little connection between Arctic amplification and severe midlatitude weather. Divergent conclusions between model and observational studies continue to obfuscate a clear understanding of how Arctic amplification is influencing midlatitude weather.


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