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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2021

By: Ken Gregory, P.Eng.


CliSci # 340          2021-02-14


Adaptation Much More Profitable than Mitigation

The world should focus much more on climate adaptation and much less on mitigation. This is the conclusion of the global Climate Intelligence Foundation (CLINTEL) following the international climate summit that took place in the Netherlands over the past two days. Adaptation has already amply proven its value, while mitigation turns out to be inefficient and expensive. A ‘green recovery’ (Build Back Better) from the corona crisis with a strong emphasis on mitigation – which was constantly advocated during the climate summit – is therefore a misleading message. Two recently published graphs in this CLINTEL press release show how much has already been achieved, mainly thanks to prosperity and adaptation. There is absolutely no evidence for an impending climate crisis, as CLINTEL stated in its World Climate Declaration. The mortality from extreme weather events are down 98% in last century. The mortality rate per capita is down 99%.The monetary losses trend from extreme weather events as a proportion of wealth has declined by 27% from 1900 to 2020. In a 2019 report, the Global Commission on Adaptation already stated that one dollar invested in adaptation yields about four dollars in benefits. Investment in mitigation yields minimal benefits and leads to poverty.


Disproving Kossin’s Increasing Hurricane Intensity Claims

This article by Greg Kent is an excellent rebuttal of Kossin et al 2020 which claimed to find a “shift toward greater intensity” hurricanes as “increased probabilities of exceeding major hurricane intensity.” Climate theory has long predicted an increase in the strongest hurricanes (tropical cyclones) but it is not apparent in the observational record. The main-stream media hyped the story. The Washington Post headline claimed that “The strongest, most dangerous hurricanes are now far more likely because of climate change.” This and similar claims simply weren’t true. The study calculated the proportion of times that hurricane wind speeds, determined every 6 hours, were above 100 knots indicating Category 3 or higher, over two time periods, 1979-1997 and 1998-2017. The proportion of times of Category 3 or above wind speeds increased from 27% to 31%. Unfortunately the wind-speeds counts are wrong and the author has confirmed they were wrong. The corrected proportion changed from 34% in the early period to 37% in the later period. When calculating the 95% confidence intervals of the proportions of each time period the correlation between wind speed of the 6-hour measurement must be taken into account which was not done in the original or revised version of the paper. When the confidence intervals are recalculated, the change from 34% to 37% becomes insignificant as the confidence interval overlap. That means an increase in wind speeds has not been identified as the apparent increase in the proportion may due to randomness.

Kent wrote “If fundamental errors can occur in a paper like this, then apparently no scientific paper is infallible.” The cut-off year between the two periods (1997/1998) occurs when the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) flips from a cool period to a warm period, and it is widely known that the AMO has a substantial impact on hurricane intensity. The increase in wind speed is probably nature and temporary. The Kossin et al dataset also shows that the increasing proportion of intense storms is only for category 3, not for the stronger category 4 and 5 hurricanes. The analysis fails to account for the falling number of hurricanes. The data show that intense hurricane wind speeds are declining, 17% on average, and the most intense wind speeds have declined the most. Category 3+ winds speeds declined 9%, Category 4+ declined 13%, and Category 5 have declined a whopping 29%. Kent wrote “The net affect has been a decrease in intense winds and a significant decrease in the most intense winds over the last 40 years.” This is the opposite of what the major newspapers reported about the study. Category 4 and 5 storms caused 48% of economic losses. The destructive potential of global intense hurricanes has fallen by 10%.


Detection of Non‐climatic Biases in Land Surface Temperature Records

The surface temperature record is contaminated by urban development warming effects which are not removed for government temperature datasets or climate models. Dr. Scafetta published an important paper in January which investigates the urban heat island effect and other biases in the land temperature records by comparing climate data to model simulations. The UHIE warms nighttime temperatures more that daytime temperatures, reducing the diurnal temperature range (DTR) between the minimum and maximum daily temperature. The DTR changes over time are compared to the climate simulated DTR. Vast regions of the world show DTR reductions up to 0.5–1.5 °C larger than the modeled simulations. The largest reduction in DTR occurs where fast urbanization has occurred. Also, from May to October, daily maximum temperatures globally warmed 40% less than the simulations. Regions with the lowest DTR reductions and with low urbanization warmed about 20–30% less than the models’ hindcast. Scafetta compared land and sea temperature data to their computer simulations and found that 25 to 45% of the land warming from 1950 to 2010 is due to the UHIE.


Urban Heat Island Effects on U.S. Temperature Trends

U.S. temperature trends of the government datasets from NOAA, GISS (NASA) and HadCRUT are seriously contaminated by the urban heat island effect (UHIE). These datasets use the temperature daily maximum and minimum reading of the 1,218-station U.S. Historical Climate Network (USHCN), which requires very uncertain time-of-observation adjustments. The Integrated Surface Database (ISD) records hourly temperature data from weather stations located mostly at airports and is mostly independent from the USHCH dataset.  Dr. Roy Spencer applied regression analysis to IDS hourly temperature data between the temperature trends and local population density, which is a UHIE proxy. The temperature trend extrapolation to zero population density is the temperature trends with the UHIE removed. The resulting U.S. trend (1973 to 2020) is +0.13 °C/decade, which is only 50% of the USHCN trend of +0.26 °C/decade. The variability among USHCN trends is 60% greater than that of the IDS trends, indicating that the IDS data is superior quality. Climate studies should always remove the spurious UHIE trends so as not to attribute warming due to urbanization and increasing energy use to greenhouse gas induced warming.


Case Study: Alberta’s Blackspring Ridge 1 Wind Project

This study of the Blackspring Ridge 1 wind project gives insight into the feasibility of wind power to provide reliable electricity to meet demand in a 2050 net-zero Alberta. The net power generation over a 2-month period averaged 144 Megawatts (MW) being 48% of the projects nameplate capacity of 299 MW. The 166 turbines are expected to kill 2570 bats and 1360 birds per year. To provide reliable power without fossil fuels would require 35,000 MW of energy storage at a cost of $16 Billion, assuming future storage cost decline by 50% to 2050.

The study shows that to replace all fossil fuels in Alberta will require the construction of 30,000 MW nameplate capacity of wind power, being 16,500 turbines at 1.8 MW each. To provide reliable power will require 4,200,000 MW of energy storage at a cost of $1,900 Billion. The study says “Reaching NetZero is neither technically, logistically nor economically feasible.”


 John Christy: Models for AR6 Fail to Reproduce Tropical Temperature Trends

Dr. John Christy gave an online presentation via a Zoom meeting for the Irish Climate Science Forum as reported in this article published by CLINTEL.  The article provides a link and password to the presentation. I highly recommend watching the presentation. The main job of a scientist is testing hypotheses, said Christy. The best way to test the climate models is to test the most pronounced feature which is a strong warming in the upper tropical troposphere, also called the tropical hot spot. This enhanced warming is located 9 to 12 km over the tropics. The average warming trend 1979 to 2019 of the new climate model simulations of CMIP6 (for the next IPCC report) is 0.40 °C/decade, while the observation by weather balloons is only 0.17 °C/decade. The models over-warm the atmosphere by a factor of 2.4 compared to the measurements. The Canadian climate model warming trend is 0.60 °C/decade which is a factor of 3.5 too high! The variability of each simulation is much greater than the observations. The model variance exceeds the observations on average by a factor of four. The article reports “Christy said this indicates the models underestimate negative feedbacks operating in the real climate system. Models, when they heat up, do not allow enough heat to escape to space. The real climate system has a more effective cooling mechanism than the models.” The large trend and variance differences to the real world measurement means the climate models fail the test. Christy also shows there in no increase in extreme weather and discusses other aspects of climate.


A Warmer Arctic Does NOT Cause Mid-Latitude Cold Snaps

Activist climate scientists of the Potsdam Climate Institute (PIK) and others have been claiming for years that a warming Arctic disturbs the jet stream, weakening the polar vortex which results in cold Arctic air dipping into the middle latitudes. Gullible media outlets have been repeating this false narrative to blame cold snaps on CO2 emissions. A new paper in Nature refutes the narrative. The paper says “But predictions of a more negative Arctic Oscillation, wavier jet stream, colder winters in mid-latitudes or, more specifically, in Eurasia, and more frequent and/or widespread cold extremes have not become reality.” The short term jet stream waviness that fuels the speculation of Arctic influences on mid-latitude cold snaps have not continued. The daily cold temperatures had been warming more than daily high temperatures which is beneficial to people and animals. The authors wrote “We argue that updated observational and reanalysis records [show] that the Arctic influence on mid-latitudes is small compared to other aspects of climate variability”.  Pierre Gosselin discusses the story and says “The claim a warm Arctic is behind the brutally cold winter conditions at the mid latitudes is shown by a Nature study to be scientifically baseless. … But don’t expect the media to concede they’ve been duped any time soon.”


CliSci # 339          2021-01-30


Earth is Losing Ice Much Slower than We Thought

A reader asked for a critique of this article from Informed American titled “Does It Seem Hot Outside? Earth’s Ice Melting Faster Than We Thought”. Faster than who thought? Not the UN’s IPCC. The article says "The melting of land ice – on Antarctica, Greenland and mountain glaciers – added enough water to the ocean during the three-decade time period to raise the average global sea level by 3.5 centimeters." This is 1.17 mm/yr of sea level rise. For context, the tidal range in the Bay of Fundy is about 16 metres. The last IPCC report in Figure 13.11 shows projections of components of sea level rise, a part of which is here. Ice loss from all sources is total less thermal less water storage. For 2020, that is 4.5 - 2.0 - 0.5 = 2.0 mm/yr. So the IPCC projected ice-melt sea level rise (SLR) for 2020 is 0.83 mm/y greater than the actual of about 1.17 mm/yr over the last 30 years. The article says "The melt rate is more than 50% faster than three decades ago." Using simple algebra, the 2020 melt rate SLR is 1.40 mm/yr. The ice melt is only 70% of what the IPCC thought it would be in 2020. It is not greater than "We Thought", so the article is wrong. The sea level rise rate at 2020 is 3.5 mm/yr according to altimetry data including the effects of glacial isostatic adjustment of -0.3 mm/yr. The FUND integrated assessment economic model, ECS = 1.0 °C, calculates the economic impact of a decade of sea level rise from all sources, 2010 to 2020 is US$1.9 billion, or 0.00021% of gross world product (US$87 trilllion) each year. That is utterly insignificant. Details here.


Could Recent U.S. Warming Trends be Largely Urban Heat Island Effect?

Dr. Roy Spencer used many surface temperature station pairs from low to high population densities to construct the cumulative Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) as a function of population density. The largest warming effect per change in population density occurs at the lowest population densities, with the most warming at the highest population densities, graph here. He also compared the temperature trends (1973 to 2011) of US temperature stations to their population densities. He used the Integrated Surface Database (ISD) hourly data. He put the individual stations into four population density subgroups and found the trend of temperature trends versus population density to power 0.2 is the same as the trend of individual stations, graph here. Extrapolating the data to zero population density gives 0.01 °C/decade.  The ISD raw data (without extrapolating to zero population density) gives a temperature trend of 0.15 °C/decade. The Climate Research Unit data from the UK gives 0.24 °C/decade and NOAA gives 0.26 °C/decade. This NOAA trend is about the same as Spencer gets using the highest population density group. This implies that NOAA has spuriously increased the warming trends compared to the raw data. The data strongly suggest that a large portion of the warming in official dataset is spurious UHIE and faulty adjustments.


Climate Model Fails Test Simulating the Last Glacial Maximum

Climate modelers have increased the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of their models for the IPCC next report. Eight models report ECS greater than 5 °C. In contrast, the ECS estimated by using the measured temperature record, when accounting for the natural and urban warming, indicates an ECS of about 1.0 °C. This study tests the Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to examine whether its high ECS is realistic. The simulated LGM global mean temperature decrease exceeds 11°C, greater than both the cooling estimated from proxies and simulated by an earlier model version. The large discrepancy between the LGM temperature in the model and proxies is attributed to strong shortwave cloud feedbacks in the model. The abstract says “We find that the amount of cooling [during the LGM] in the CESM2 simulation is much larger than supported by the observational evidence, indicating the model's ECS is too large.”


High CO2 Fertilization Inferred from Leaf to Global Observations

This new paper (Haverd et al 2020) says the global terrestrial gross primary production (GPP), the rate of CO2 fixation by photosynthesis, has risen by 31% since 1900. The paper reports a global CO2 fertilization effect of 30% since 1900, or 47% for a doubling of CO2 since the pre‐industrial level. This is much higher than previous estimates of global greening that do not use the full range of available constraints. The abstract says “These findings suggest a larger beneficial role of the land carbon sink in modulating future excess anthropogenic CO2”.


Biophysical Impacts of Earth Greening Controlled by Aerodynamic Resistance

Satellite observations show widespread increasing trends of leaf area, known as the Earth greening. Increasing CO2 promotes photosynthesis causing plant to grow faster and use water more efficiently. Earth greening causes a reduction in land surface temperatures in 93% of the vegetated area. The abstract says “The increase in [leaf area index] LAI produces a decrease in aerodynamic resistance, thereby favoring increased turbulent heat transfer between the land and the atmosphere.” Aerodynamic resistance mostly related to surface roughness. The study finds that the area of LAI-induced cooling (30%) is six times of that of LAI-induced warming (5%). Aerodynamic resistance plays a dominant role in regulating the biophysical impacts of Earth greening on land surface temperatures.


Effects of Irrigation on Global Climate

This study investigated the effect of observed irrigation changes over the 20th century. Using a dataset of irrigation volumes and a climate model, the effects of the irrigation changes were simulated. In the early 20th century, irrigation led to cooling in the summer in southern and eastern Asia. Irrigation rapidly expanded in North America, Europe and Asia over the century. Irrigation also led to winter warming over parts of North America and Asia in the latter part of the century. Precipitation increases occur primarily downwind of the major irrigation areas. Irrigation begins to significantly reduce temperature trends during the summer over the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes and tropics beginning around 1950. The simulations show that irrigation causes an increase in cloud cover for many regions, but the increases do not directly map to the most highly irrigated areas. Eastern India warmed from a weakened Indian monsoon, driven by a cooler Asian land surface and reduced land‐sea temperature contrast. The cooling due to irrigation in the northwestern portions of the Indian subcontinent is about 3 °C relative to the control runs without irrigation. The globally averaged change in temperature from irrigation is a cooling over land of about 0.1 °C.


Substantial Decline in Atmospheric Aridity due to Irrigation in India

This paper examined the role of irrigation on soil moisture and atmospheric aridity in India. India has the largest irrigated area in the world, increasing threefold between 1950 and 2013. The Indo-Gangetic Plain, which is one of the most intensively irrigated regions in the world, experienced significant cooling of about 0.8 °C and an increase in solar-induced chlorophyll fluorescence during the crop growing season. Atmospheric aridity has significantly declined while soil moisture and relative humidity have increased by 2.0% over the Indo-Gangetic Plain during 1979–2018. The cooling of land due to irrigation is caused by increased evapotranspiration.  A majority of global climate models do not explicitly represent irrigation for the future projections of climate. Climate models need to incorporate the influence of irrigation for reliable projections in the intensively irrigated regions.


CliSci # 338          2021-01-17


No Climate Emergency! Dr. Roy W. Spencer LIVE Online January 19, 2021 at 7 pm MST

The second part of the Friends of Science Society’s 17th annual climate science event will take place online on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 7 pm Mountain Standard Time (UTC - 7 hours). The event will feature a recorded presentation, “The Most Important Reasons Why There is No Climate Emergency”, by Dr. Roy W. Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. After the presentation Dr. Spencer will be available for a live online Q&A. For details on how to access this event, please see this link.


New York Can’t Buy its Way Out of Blackouts

New York City (NYC) will soon install a 400 MWh battery to help back up the growing reliance on intermittent wind and solar electricity. The battery is more than triple the size of 129 MWh battery in Australia which is currently the world’s largest. NRC peak demand is about 13 GW which occurs during heat wave caused by stagnant high pressure systems which often last for a week. Wind produces little electricity during those periods so 100% back up is required. The new battery will back up demand wind power for only 1 minute 50 seconds (400 MWh/13000 MW). Storage to back up a week of peak demand is 2,184,000 MWh, or 5,460 batteries of 400 MWh each. The battery is estimated to cost about $600 million. David Wojick’s article says it would cost $3 trillion to reliably back up wind power in NRC.


The Climate Change Flyers

David Legates (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) asked several expert climate scientists to write short, easily understandable brochures that supported the general view that there is no climate crisis or climate emergency, and pointing out the widespread misinformation being promoted by alarmists through the media. They were intended to be placed on the White House website but with the change of government in Washington DC, that didn't happen.  The article titles and authors are;

Introduction by Dr. David Legates
The Sun Climate Connection by Drs. Michael Connolly, Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon
Systematic Problems in the Four National Assessments of Climate Change Impacts on the US by Dr. Patrick Michaels
Record Temperatures in the United States by Dr. John Christy
Radiation Transfer by Dr. William Happer
Is There a Climate Emergency by Dr. Ross McKitrick
Hurricanes and Climate Change by Dr. Ryan MaueClimate, Climate Change, and the General Circulation by Dr. Anthony Lupo
Can Computer Models Predict Climate by Dr. Christopher Essex
The Faith-Based Nature of Human-Caused Global Warming by Dr. Roy Spencer

All the articles are here.


Study Confirms Antarctica Has Not Warmed in Last Seven Decades

A new paper published in Nature states “The Antarctic continent has not warmed in the last seven decades, despite a monotonic increase in the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases.” The authors used model to investigate the Antarctic temperature response under the current geography and with a flattened Antarctic ice sheet. The results show that the lack of warming despite a large increase in CO2 is due to the high elevation of the ice sheet. The thick ice sheet caused the polar meridional cell to form which prevents warm temperature advection toward the Antarctic continent. The high ice elevation also inhibits the amount of moisture to reach the pole. The scientists also observe that over the past several decades, “Antarctic sea ice area has modestly expanded.” Figure 1 of the paper shows that most of the continent has been cooling with only the Antarctic Peninsula warming.


New glacier evidence for ice-free summits during the life of the Tyrolean Iceman

A new paper by an Austrian-Swiss team of glaciologists presents ice-core evidence that most of the Alps were ice-free 6000 years ago.  The ice cores show that the 3500 m high Weißseespitze summit was ice free 5900 years ago. An article here presents a chart showing that is was some 2 °C warming at that time of low CO2 concentrations than today. After the last ice age ended, all glaciers below 4000 m elevation in the East Alps melted. Cooling started 6000 years ago and glaciers returned. In combination with other evidence the paper shows “that in the Alps only the highest elevation sites remained ice-covered throughout the Holocene. Just before the life of the Iceman, high Alpine summits were emerging from nearly ice-free conditions, during the start of a Mid-Holocene neoglaciation.”


Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom

Dr. Patrick Moore just published a book of the subject title. He says “most of the scare stories in the media today are based on things that are either invisible, like CO2 and radiation, or very remote, like polar bears and coral reefs. Thus, the average person cannot observe and verify the truth of these claims for themselves.”


Gauging Quaternary Sea Level Changes through Scientific Ocean Drilling

This  paper presents an overview of recent advances in paleo-sea level studies based on analysis of samples and data from deep-sea sediment cores and drowned coral reefs. Between 20,000 and 6,000 years before present, melting of these ice sheets raised global mean sea level (GMSL) by more than 100 m. The paper says “Analysis of uranium series nuclides from Tahitian corals that grew during TII [the second last glacial termination] suggests that ice volume reductions preceded atmospheric CO2 increase, but postdate increased insolation at Northern Hemisphere high latitudes— confirming the Milankovitch hypothesis, which says that glacial terminations were initiated by changes in high-latitude insolation.” Cooling events of 3 °C to 5 °C severely impacted the Great Barrier Reef, resulting in at least five near death events during the last 30,000 years”.


Episodic Reef Growth in the Northern South China Sea linked to Warm Climate During the Past 7,000 Years

High‐precision uranium‐thorium dating of dead branching corals from the South China Sea indicates that the reef framework grew episodically over the past 7,000 years. The authors of this paper identify abrupt coral reef growth and recovery in the South China Sea since the last century (especially post‐1960 CE), indicating that the Current Warm Period is an optimal episode for reef growth. Reef growth occurred during the warming of the mid-Holocene Climate Optimum and the Medieval Warm Period. Reef growth dramatically slowed or ceased during the cold periods of the Dark Age Cold Period and the Little Ice Age. Also see an article by Ken Richard on coral reefs.

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