FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2022

By: Ken Gregory, P.Eng.

 

CliSci # 371                                       2022-06-25

 

Hurricane Risk is Real for Offshore USA Wind Turbines

A new paper published in Wind Energy Science evaluated the effects of hurricane wind gusts and wind veer (rapid change in wind direction with height) on wind turbine towers. The paper shows that these wind features in strong hurricanes can cause loads that are substantially in excess of the design loads. The paper says “Such wind fields have characteristics that may pose heretofore unforeseen structural challenges to offshore wind turbines” and “Simulations show that veer and direction change can dramatically increase loads on the blades and tower, in some cases by factors of 5 or more.” This paper references an earlier paper titled “Gusts and Shear Within Hurricane Eyewalls can Exceed Offshore Wind Turbine Design Standards” which reports that hurricane winds pose a substantial risk to wind turbines deployed in hurricane-prone regions. David Wojick writes at CFact about this paper “Simply put they found that hurricane wind gusts can hit an incredible 200 miles per hour, while wind towers are only designed to withstand 160 mph. If those extreme gusts hit an offshore wind farm, catastrophe is pretty much guaranteed.”  David wrote “Before we build tens or hundreds of billions of dollars worth of massive offshore wind facilities off the East Coast [of the USA] we need to be sure that they will withstand strong hurricanes. (It may well be that even Category 4 hurricanes will exceed today’s design standards.) Otherwise both the ratepayers and the grid will be at great risk.”

The White House on June 23 launched a formal partnership with 11 East Coast governors to boost the growing offshore wind industry, a key element of President Joe Biden’s plan for climate change. Biden has set a goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Apparently they haven’t read the research.

 

Net-Zero — Ross McKitrick: Junk Science Has Led to Junk Policies

Policy makers have made it effectively impossible for the private sector to keep up with consumer demands for fossil fuel products. The same policy makers are now blaming the private sector for the inevitable price hikes. Ross McKitrick’s article published in the Financial Post says that while there is rhetoric about climate change being an existential threat, “Most economists, by contrast, view the climate-change cost of fossil fuel use as a relatively small side effect that should not stand in the way of continued enjoyment of the global benefits of inexpensive and reliable energy.” Nobel Prize winner economist William Nordhaus showed that aggressive emission reductions were costlier than doing nothing and that the optimal course of action would be to reduce emissions to only slightly below the business-as-usual case. A survey of climate economists found from 445 responses that the social cost of carbon dioxide (SCC) was estimated to be US$40 per tonne of CO2 emissions in 2020. This translates to 11 cents per litre. McKitrick wrote “What is important here is not whether you think the estimates are correct, but what the survey reveals about the consensus view among economists who specialize in climate change.” This would cause the optimal consumer response. Since this would cause only a small reduction of consumption, “the optimal response to climate change is to keep using fossil fuels almost as much as if carbon dioxide wasn’t a greenhouse gas.”

 

Quest Carbon Capture and Storage

The Quest Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Project captures and stores underground one million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The capture unit is located at the Scotford Upgrader in Alberta, Canada, where hydrogen is produced to upgrade bitumen from oil sands into synthetic crude oil. The Quest CCS annual Report  2020, revised August 2021 says “Total capital costs required to reach commercial operation on October 1, 2015 were approximately $790 million. The Annual report 2020 shows that the average annual operating costs 2017-2020 calendar years were $29,700/yr. The project life is estimated at 25 years, which is the total project injection of 27 MtCO2 divided by 1.08 MtCO2/yr injection. Note that the project also emits CO2, so the net CO2 emissions avoided is 0.84 MtCO2/yr, averaged over 2016-2020. A Shell news release of July 9, 2020 says “Quest received $865 million from the governments of Canada and Alberta to build and operate the facility.” This was $120 million from Canada’s Clean Energy Fund and $745 from Prov. of Alberta. The report shows the cost per tonne of emissions avoided was $125/tCO2. The average cost over 2017-2020 was $108.4/tCO2. This is an outrageously high cost. For comparison, as given in Ross McKitrick’s article above, climate economist’s consensus estimate of the SCC is about US$40, or C$50 per tonne CO2. Considering more reasonable climate sensitivity estimates and the large beneficial effects of CO2 fertilization, it is likely that the SCC is net negative, that is the benefits likely exceeds the social costs.

 

Recent Trends in Heat-Related Mortality in the United States

This new paper examines the trends in heat-related mortality across the United States for the period 1975–2018 in 107 metropolitan areas. The abstract says “The decrease in heat vulnerability continues among those 65 and older across most of the country, which may be associated with improved messaging and increased awareness. These decreases are offset in many locations by an increase in mortality among men 45–64 (+1.3 deaths per year), particularly across parts of the southern and southwestern United States.” Previous decades indicate significant declines in heat vulnerability. However, in more recent years, this trend has stagnated or even reversed in some locations for among middle-aged males. In the United States, air-conditioning prevalence reached 87% with most newer homes having central air conditioning. Another study found that a 1.37% decrease in heat-related mortality is associated with a 50% increase in air conditioning prevalence.

 

U.S. Climate Reference Network

The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is a network of climate monitoring stations with sites across the contiguous U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. These stations use high-quality instruments to measure temperature, precipitation and other climate variables. The network includes 114 commissioned stations in the contiguous United States. NOAA publishes a temperature index for the contiguous US starting in January 2005. The sites were established in rural locations that are not expected to be influenced by urban influences. The contiguous U.S. temperature trends of the daily maximum and daily average temperatures from January 2005 to May 2022 are 0.36 °C/decade and 0.34 °C/decade, respectively. The trends of the maximum, minimum and average daily temperatures are almost the same whereas globally, the daily maximum trends are lower than the daily minimum trends. The lower troposphere temperature trend of the contiguous U.S. from January 2005 to May 2022 was negative at ‑0.18 °C/decade while the surface was warming at 0.34 °C/decade as shown on this graph. On a global basis over the same period, the lower troposphere trend was 90% of the surface temperature trend. This behaviour is contrary to the climate models that consistently project the lower troposphere warming faster than the land surfaces.

 

Thawing Permafrost In Sweden Releases Less Methane Than Feared

A study in northern Sweden found that melting permafrost released one tenth as much methane as expected, suggesting emissions from thawing Arctic tundra could be less than previously feared. Once Arctic permafrost melts, microbes are able to consume the once-frozen organic matter trapped in the soil. As a byproduct of this process, microbes produce large amounts of methane. As ice melts underground, water on the surface began to sink down into the soil. As the surface dried out, new plants emerged that helped keep methane emissions buried underground.  Soil bacteria have more time to break it down and convert it into CO2 which appears to stay in the ground, scientists observed. “The study has shown that there isn’t necessarily a large burst of methane as might have been expected in the wake of a thaw,” said Bo Elberling, a co-author of the study.

 

Severe Drought Impacting the Colorado River Basin in the Second Century

The Colorado River area is experiencing a severe drought in the context of the 116-year gage record. A paper as summarized in this news release presents a new tree-ring based ensemble streamflow reconstruction spanning the last two millennia for the Colorado River. The new reconstruction reveals a second-century drought unmatched in severity by any past droughts in the Upper Colorado River Basin. The lead author said “While there has been research showing extended dry periods in the southwest back to the eighth century, this reconstruction of the Colorado River extends nearly 800 years further into the past." The research finds that compared to the current 22-year drought in the Colorado River, with only 84% of the average water flow, the water flow during a 22-year period in the second century was much lower, just 68% of the average water flow. The results of this work can provide water managers with an increased understanding of the range of flow variability in the Colorado River.

 

CliSci # 370                                       2022-06-09

 

Biases in Climate Fingerprinting Methods

Dr. Ross McKitrick published an article showing that a statistical procedure called “optimal fingerprinting” used to estimate the effect of greenhouse gases in climate data is biased.  A method called Total Least Squares (TLS) in optimal fingerprinting regression was recommended in 2003. McKitrick says in most cases the TLS method has an upward bias when comparing a set of climate observations to a set of climate model generated analogues which selectively include or exclude greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing. This bias overstates the influences of GHG. McKitrick published a new paper in Climate Dynamics critiquing the use of TLS in fingerprinting applications. The bias results from random noise or errors in both the observational data and the outputs of climate models. McKitrick wrote “In every econometrics textbook of which I am aware, the recommended treatment for EIV [the noise error] is Instrumental Variables estimation, which can be shown to yield unbiased and consistent coefficient estimates.” TLS is never used in economics or science outside of climatology.

 

Antarctic Sea Ice Decline May Be Due To Natural Factors

Climate models cannot simulate the causative mechanisms for sea ice variability. Over recent decades Antarctic sea ice extent has increased, but Earth system climate modes generally simulate a decrease in sea ice. There were short term declines in sea ice extent from 2016 to 2020. This new study shows that natural processes are the dominate cause of sea ice variability in the Southern Hemisphere. In April, 2019, a cargo ship was perilously stuck in sea ice in the Southern Ocean’s Lazarev Sea. A causal mechanism analysis affirms that an anomalous series of “explosive polar cyclones” led to about a 10 °C sea surface temperature increase in the region, melting the ice surrounding the ship sufficiently enough to free it from the ice trap.

 

Clouds Haven’t Behaved the Way the IPCC or the Models Say

Michael Jonas has published a paper that shows the patterns of clouds and temperature indicate that the cloud cover decrease since 1987 could not have been caused by the increased surface temperature. He publishes a summary of his paper. The latest versions of most climate models show increased climate sensitivity to CO2 by assuming that the recent decrease of cloud cover was due to increasing temperatures which amplifies the direct CO2 warming effect. Cloud and temperature patterns over short time scales (a few months) indicate that warmer temperatures cause more cloud, not less. The paper shows that cloud area decreased, while cloud optical thickness increased. But cloud area decreased very similarly over sea and land, while cloud thickness increased much more over sea than over land. Jonas concludes “Evaluation of changes in both clouds and CO2 in the study period 1983-2017 indicate that cloud changes caused by this unspecified factor had a similar impact to that of the increase in CO2, with respect to the increase in radiation reaching the surface (radiative forcing), and possibly a much larger impact. The climate models, which have zero or negative cloud impact independently from CO2, need to take this into account in order to avoid over-estimating the influence of CO2.”

The “unspecified factor” is likely the dramatic reduction in the aerosols. Examples of such aerosols include dust, volcanic ash, and smoke. According to the TOMS aerosol index, the amount of aerosols was 1.16 in 1983. It declined to 0.74 in 1996, 0.49 in 1999 and to 0.15 in 2001. This decline of aerosols resulted is less cloud condensation aerosols and less cloud cover. The brightening of the sky contributed to increasing global temperatures.

 

Global Fire Burned Area Plummets

The European Space Agency funded a project to measure the global fire area burned from 1982.  Researcher Zoe Phin found global fire area burned data and produced a graph here. The global area burned has plummeted from 5.5 million km2 in 2002 to 4.2 million km2 in 2018. Zoe wrote “It’s obvious that carbon dioxide has zero effect on fires. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar, an imbecile, or just plain ignorant. The latter can be cured.”  The reduction of global area burned would result is less smoke, less cloud condensation aerosols and less cloud cover.

 

How Climatists Eclipsed the Sun

Dr. John Robson of the Climate Discussion Nexus (CDN) interviewed CERES co-team leader, Dr. Ronan Connolly, on the role of the Sun in recent climate change.  Robson published a 20 minute video featuring the interview. Ron Clutz wrote a blog post that provides a summary of the video and the interview. CDN have now published their 20 minute “explainer” video including extracts from this interview and discussion of some of CERES’ recent scientific research. The video explains the significance of the debates between the two main rival satellite estimates of solar activity trends since 1978, i.e., PMOD and ACRIM. There is a gap in the satellite record that was due to a delay in launching a new ACRIM satellite after the 1986 space shuttle challenger disaster. The delay caused a gap of two years in the ACRIM system that measures solar irradiance. The only data available to fill the gap was from a different monitor called the earth radiation budget (ERB) system which wasn’t designed to monitor the Sun.  It had little precision and only had a view of the sun during brief intervals of its orbit. The ACRIM record suggested an increase in solar irradiance from the early 1980s through to the end of the 1990s. A rival group called PMOD claimed that the ERB sensors experienced an increase in its sensitivity over the gap period, so they adjusted downward the second ACRIM satellite data to show a decline of solar intensity. Dr. Douglas Hoyt, the scientist who had been in charge of the ERB satellite mission, said “there is no known physical change in the electrically calibrated [system] that could have caused it to become more sensitive. And no one has ever come up with a physical theory for the instrument that could cause it to become more sensitive. The IPCC reports have downplayed the role of solar activity in recent climate change by using only the PMOD solar irradiance interpretation.

 

Hurricane Activity Close To Lowest On Record

Dr. Roger Peilke Jr. wrote “The past 12 months have seen close to the fewest tropical cyclones of major hurricane frequency in more than 40 years” based on hurricane frequency data compiles by Dr. Ryan Maue. The 12 month running sum of major hurricane frequency (> 96 knots) was 15 as of May 27, 2022. The last time it was this low was in 1987 when it was 14. The major hurricane frequency was 39 at December 2015. The 12 month sum of all hurricanes (> 64 knots) was also at the fewest in more than 40 years except for the year 2009.  The current all hurricane frequency is 36, down from 55 in 2016 and 65 in 1990. Contrary to the climate alarmists, there is no meaningful correlation between hurricane frequency and global temperature. A graph of 24 month running sum of global hurricane energy, which combines the intensity and frequency is also very low as of February 28, 2022.

 

CliSci # 369                                       2022-05-23

 

Time to Ditch Climate Models?

Steven Hayward wrote an article that criticized climate models for running far too hot. Just about every projected environmental catastrophe going back to the population bomb of the late 1960s has depended on computer models, all of which turned out to be wrong, sometimes by an order of magnitude. The confidence in computer models of climate has declined as it has become widely known that the models are running hot which implies their temperature projections are too high. A new paper published by Nature acknowledges that computer climate models have major problems and project warming greater than that supported by evidence. If climate models are improving one would expect their projections to converge, but the opposite has happened. There is more divergence among the models and the uncertainty is increasing. Most climate models can’t even predict the past. The direct warming effect of doubling greenhouse gases (GHG) in only 1.1 °C but many models predict more than 4.5 °C by including too strong positive feedbacks from water vapour and clouds. The IPCC technical report of AR6 candidly admits huge uncertainties in cloud feedbacks. Many important climate phenomena occur on scales smaller than the 100 square kilometer grid size, such as thunderstorms, so the upper atmosphere drying effect of them with warming is not simulated. GHG “emissions forecasts made 20 just years ago turned out to be much too high for today. Nearly all of the most alarming claims of the effects of future warming depend on these discredited forecasts, but the media has failed to keep up with the changing estimates. It’s a classic garbage-in, garbage out problem.”

 

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation Is Insensitive to Freshwater Forcing

Freshwater forcing due to melting Arctic ice is identified as the dominant mechanism causing reductions of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). This paper published in Nature shows a muted AMOC response to freshwater forcing in the early-to-middle Holocene 11,700 to 6,000 years ago. Including this muted AMOC response in a transient simulation of the Holocene with an ocean–atmosphere climate model improves the agreement between simulated and proxy temperatures of the past 21,000 years. This demonstrates that the AMOC may not be as sensitive to Arctic freshening as is currently projected for the end of the twenty-first century. The AMOC transports warm water from the tropics to Polar Regions were the warmth can more easily escape by radiation to space due to the lower concentrations of water vapour at high latitudes. Incorporating this result in climate models would increase the AMOC’s cooling effect and reduce temperature projections.

 

United Kingdom Weather Has Become, If Anything, Less Extreme

UK weather trends have changed very little in recent decades and have become, if anything, less extreme, according to a new paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. A review of official weather data by climate researcher Paul Homewood shows that while very cold winters are now very rare, heatwaves have not been increasing. Similarly, there have been fewer droughts in recent decades, but we are not seeing more wet years, wet months, or wet days. Paul Homewood says “The UK’s weather is becoming, if anything,  less extreme. We are still waiting for evidence of a ‘climate crisis’ that politicians and environmentalists claim is upon us. But observational data shows that in the UK there is no evidence for any worsening weather trends.” Homewood also notes that storms are not an increasing problem either, with extreme winds having been on the decline for 30 years. Although temperatures rose between the 1980s and early 2000s, average temperatures have remained stable since then. Heatwaves in 1975 and 1976 were much more intense than anything that has followed. Met Office data clearly shows that wind storms have declined in strength since the 1980s. Sea levels around the UK have risen at a rate of about 1.5 mm/yr, after allowing for vertical land movement.

 

The Role of Vegetation in Reducing Thermal Stress in Urban Areas

Scientists conducted an empirical study in Würzburg, Germany from 2018 to 2020 to assess the impact of trees on city temperatures. The study showed that vegetation cover of approximately 40% is needed to bring about lower summer temperatures. The abstract says “Mean air temperatures of inner city sites were higher by 1.3 °C during summer and 5 °C during winter compared to sub-urban sites. The magnitude followed the spatial land use patterns, in particular the amount of buildings. Consequently, out of 97 hot days (Temperature > 30 °C) in 3 years, 9 days above the extreme threshold of wet bulb globe temperature of 35 °C were recorded at a centre location compared to none at a sub-urban site. Extreme heat stress could be halved with 30–40% cover of greenspaces including grass lawns, green roofs, and green walls with little compromise in increasing winter cold stress.” This summary of the study says that trees cool their immediate vicinity by 1 to 8 °C and increase the relative humidity of the air. This occurs through the evaporation of water through the leaves during food production.

 

Climate Change is Not Worsening Drought

This article by Linnea Lueken criticized a recent Time magazine article that falsely claimed that climate change is increasing the severity and number of droughts around the world. In fact, drought tracking data show no meaningful trend in severity or frequency of drought globally. The Time article contradicts the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and is refuted by real-world data. Regarding water scarcity, the UN remarks that there is actually “high confidence” in a trend of increasing precipitation over at least the mid-latitudes of the Earth. According to the IPCC AR6 report, there is limited evidence climate change has increased the number, duration, or intensity of hydrological or meteorological droughts, and it has only medium confidence it has “contributed to changes in agricultural and ecological droughts and has led to an increase in the overall affected land area.” The only regions of the Amazon that currently suffer drought are those where deforestation has occurred. Lueken says “Time’s narrative may advance the UN’s money-hungry agenda, but does not advance the truth.”

 

Climate at a Glance: Livestock and Methane

Climate activists often claim that ranchers, livestock, and meat production are a leading cause of rising greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has compiled information on greenhouse gas emissions by source. According to EPA, beef production accounts for 2% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while livestock production accounts for less than 4% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This is the case even though the United States leads the world in beef production. Livestock primarily impact greenhouse gas emissions through methane released when livestock burp or pass gas. Although this is often presented as a serious problem, data show U.S. methane emissions have fallen over the past three decades. According to EPA, methane emissions dropped 16.7% from 1990 to 2020.

 

CliSci # 368                                       2022-05-07

 

Friends of Science 19th Annual Event with Dr. Ian Plimer and Joanne Nova

Net-Zero + Green Grid = The Great Regret. The first part of this free virtual live-stream event with Dr. Ian Plimer was held on May 2, 2022. The video and presentation slides can be viewed from the Event Page. The second part with Joanne Nova will be held on Monday, May 9, 2022 at 7 P.M. MDT. Our host Michelle Stirling will introduce the event, followed by a playback of the pre-recorded video of our speaker presentation, and then the viewing audience can join in the live question and answer session. The presentation is titled “How to destroy a perfectly good electricity grid in one million expensive steps”. See our Event Page for more information.

 

Osman et al. 2021: a Flawed Nature Paleoclimate Paper

Independent climatologist Nic Lewis published a rebuttal of a new paleoclimate paper (Osman 2021) concerning global temperatures since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) published by the journal Nature. Lewis says that Nature tends to publish papers that use novel and unverified statistical procedures, and their peer reviewers fail to spot problems with methods or calculations. The Osman 2021 paper claims that temperatures during the early Holocene about 9,000 years ago current are about 0.5 °C cooler than recent temperatures. This issue is important because the global temperature change between a faulty early Holocene temperature and either the LGM temperature or the preindustrial temperature would lead to faulty estimates of natural climate change and climate sensitivity.

Osman 2021 used a large selection of four types of sea surface temperature (SST) proxies. They estimated global temperatures by creating a proxy-only reconstruction and a data-assimilation reconstruction.  The proxy-only estimate was done by calculating a mean 60°S−60°N SST and scaling this to get a global air temperature. Lewis argues that the scaling factor used is incorrect as it is from old model simulations. Osman used a 1.90 scaling factor but newer data shows 1.64. The data-assimilation estimates use global climate models to convert the local temperatures from proxies to a global estimate. This is necessary because the proxies are not evenly distributed on the globe. The accuracy of the method “depends critically on the realism of the GCM simulations used”. Lewis concludes “I do not consider Osman 2021’s main LGMR, data-assimilation reconstruction, which estimates 6.8°C mean LGM cooling, to be reliable. It is highly dependent on the spatiotemporal accuracy of LGM simulations by a single GCM. The external validation tests, when analysed properly, show no significant skill by either the model simulation prior or the LGMR posterior in predicting observed LGM changes in independent cave speleothem records.”

 

Study Finds Significant Extreme Rainfall Bias

This new paper demonstrates that many studies of extreme rainfall are affected by large errors due to the failure to account for changing rainfall time resolutions of the records. The use of rainfall data with coarse time resolution can lead to significant underestimates of the maximum daily rainfall. A review by Heartland here says “The researchers examined data from 39 representative meteorological stations spanning central Italy over the past 100 years. Among the problems they found were that changes in recording systems and their location over time have resulted in an underestimation of historical rainfall amounts. If higher rainfall amounts occurred during extreme events in the past than was recorded, then any upward trend attributed to climate change in recent decades would be biased, inaccurately showing a steeper increase in rainfall amounts and trends during extreme events than occurred.”  Old rainfall records typically used coarse time resolution of one day while newer records use hourly or by minute resolution. The correction for the errors caused by changing time resolutions often changes the sign of the trend from positive to negative. Table 5 of the paper shows the average of 39 extreme rainfall trends are +0.029 mm/year before correction to ‑0.049 mm/yr after the correction. That is, the annual maximum 24 hr rainfall amounts in Italy are declining with warming, not increasing as is falsely claimed. “Therefore, before conducting any trend analysis from rainfall data characterized by coarse temporal resolution should always be corrected. Claims that extreme rainfall amounts are increasing at a dangerous or unusual rate due to climate change must be reconsidered.”

 

Burning Trees for Fuel Releases 39% More CO2 Emissions than Coal

A new paper, Bloomer et al 2022, is a call to stop burning trees in the name of climate mitigation. A summary of the paper says “Burning trees and other forest biomass for energy is contrary to climate mitigation, biodiversity protection, and environmental justice goals. Governments must stop promoting climate-damaging forest bioenergy”. The journal article “explains how forest bioenergy has a substantial greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint and will accelerate warming for decades. In fact, burning woody biomass releases more carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuels per unit of energy. It takes many decades for tree regrowth to offset those emissions. Plus relying on tree regrowth ignores the damage to natural forests from harvest – both to forests’ carbon sink capacity and biodiversity.” The paper criticizes the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive which assumes burning word causes zero net CO2 emissions. Bioenergy accounts for around 60% of “renewable” energy in the EU. The authors argue that countries should end subsidies for and move away from forest bioenergy. Carbon neutrality assumes that the combustion of wood is compensated by the capture of CO2 for tree growth. This is true only is static conditions which are not met in practice. The paper says “In 2015, the burning of forest biomass emitted 330–380 metric tons of CO2 , which researchers estimate is around 100 metric tons more than would have been emitted by the fossil fuels that bioenergy replaced.” That implies that wood burning releases 39% [355/255 = 1.39] more CO2 than fossil fuels.

 

Plant Growth Is Good, Not Climate Harm

U.S. News & World Report (USNWR) ran a story saying climate change is making life harder for allergy sufferers. Dr. H. Sterling Burnett wrote an article criticizing that story, saying that it lacks balance and context. Burnett wrote “The USNWR’s story ignores the more important point that the allergy season is longer because the planet is greening. Earlier springs and expanded areas of more verdant plant growth are good for the Earth’s human, animal, and insect populations.” A recent poll reported that about half of the allergy sufferers surveyed indicated they believed their allergies had become worse in recent years and half said their symptoms hadn’t changed. NASA satellite measurements show that the longer, warmer growing seasons with higher CO2 levels “are spurring a tremendous greening of the Earth. NASA reports these factors have produced a 10 percent increase in global plant life across the past 20 years.”  Slightly harder times for allergy sufferers are a small negative side effect of earlier springs and lusher plant growth, which is, on balance, is a huge positive.

 

CliSci # 367                                       2022-04-23

 

Friends of Science 19th Annual Event with Dr. Ian Plimer and Joanne Nova

Net-Zero + Green Grid = The Great Regret. This FREE virtual live-stream event will be presented in two parts. Each part consists of a live introduction by host, Michelle Stirling of Friends of Science Society, followed by a playback of the pre-recorded video of our speaker presentation, and then the viewing audience can join in the live question and answer session moderated by our host. See the Event Promo video. See our Event Page for more information.

Part 1;  Dr. Ian Plimer, May 2, 2022 at 6 P.M. MDT
Title: Climate change: The past is the key to the present
 
Part 2;  Joanne Nova, May 9, 2022 at 7 P.M. MDT
Title:  How to destroy a perfectly good electricity grid in one million expensive steps

 

State of the Climate 2021: No Evidence of ‘Climate Crisis’

A systematic review of climate trends and observational data by an eminent climate scientist has found no evidence to support the claim of a climate crisis. Ole Humlum, emeritus professor at the University of Oslo, examined detailed patterns in temperature changes in the atmosphere and oceans together with trends in climate impacts. Many of these show no significant trends and suggest that poorly understood natural cycles are involved. While the report, published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, finds gentle warming, there is no evidence of dramatic changes, with snow cover stable, sea ice levels recovering, and no change in storm activity. GWPF director, Dr Benny Peiser said “It’s extraordinary that anyone should think there is a climate crisis. Year after year our annual assessment of climate trends document just how little has been changing in the last 30 years. The habitual climate alarmism is mainly driven by scientists’ computer modelling rather than observational evidence.” Three average surface air temperature estimates show the year 2021 to be cooler than most years since 2016. Since 2004, the upper 1900 m of the oceans have experienced a globally averaged net warming of about 0.07 °C, or just 0.04 °C/decade. Data from tide gauges all over the world suggest a stable rise of 1–2 mm per year.

 

Wind & Solar Energy Is Causing Population Declines in 11 Bird Species

A new study published by the Royal Society found the wind and solar energy facilities is causing bird populations to decline in 48% of the 23 vulnerable bird species studies in California. These 11 bird species are already experiencing population-level effects on their growth rates due to wind turbine and solar panel killings. The abstract says “Effects of renewables extended far beyond the location of energy production to impact bird populations in distant regions across continental migration networks.” There are currently about 59,000 wind turbines in the U.S. Large numbers of birds and bats are found dead at wind and solar energy projects. This article estimates a bird population decline in North America of 3 billion birds from all causes since 1970.  Many species are probably experiencing greater than 1000 fatalities per year in North America due to renewable energy. Of the 23 species studies, 11 experienced greater than 20% decline in population growth rates. The paper says “This study, therefore, emphasizes the importance of assessing the origins of wildlife affected when interpreting consequences to wildlife populations of these, or any, types of anthropogenic activities. … In the case of renewable energy, decisions about facility siting, investment and development, as well as management and mitigation actions, will be most effective if they consider both local and non-local impacts to focal species, and if their demographic frame of reference extends to breeding, wintering or stopover habitat far from where the facility is located.”

 

Washed Away – A Short Film About Sea Level Fall

Dr. Jennifer Marohasy produced a short film about sea level fall at Noosa National Park on the East coast of Australia. The park features a wave-cut platform etched out of the sandstone towards the bottom of the cliff faces. The sandstone is very old, thought to date from the time of the dinosaurs, perhaps 180 million years ago, but the ledges – referred to as platforms when they are wide – are much younger, about 125,000 years old. The wave-cut indicates that the sea level were higher in a bygone age. Despite sea level rise since the last ice age, sea levels are still lower than during the period known as the Eemian. Australia wasn’t covered in an ice sheet during the last ice age so Australia’s coast is not affected by glacial rebound. Scotland is rising while south England is sinking by to 0.6 mm/yr for the last 1,000 years. In just 80 years sea levels at Juneau, Alaska have fallen by 120 cm at a steady rate of minus 15 mm per year. Global sea level rise at the end of the last ice age occurred at a rate 10 times faster than the modern rate of about 3mm per year – which is about how much Scotland is rising due to isostatic rebound.

 

Tropical Methane Emissions Explain 80% of Last Decade Methane Growth

This paper published in Nature used satellite observation of methane from 2010 to show that tropical terrestrial emissions explain more than 80% of the observed changes in the global atmospheric methane growth rate over this period. Strong seasonal correlations were found between changes in tropical sea surface temperatures and variations in methane emissions over tropical South America and tropical Africa. From 2010 to 2019, the global atmospheric methane concentration increased by 4% from 1798 to 1866 ppb. The satellite data indicates that tropical Africa plays the largest role in the methane changes followed by tropical South America. Emissions from mainland and island nations of Southeast Asia have reduced over the period. There was no trend in emissions from Indian early in the study period, instead the analysis shows large year-to-year variations that peak during the 2014–2016 El Niño and again during 2017 and 2019.

 

Germany's Energy Fiasco

This article by Hans-Werner Sinn, professor emeritus of Economics at the University of Munich, discusses Germany’s energy fiasco. Policymakers in Germany expected that the country would be able to secure its energy supply entirely from renewable sources, so they resolved to phase out coal and nuclear energy simultaneously. But, in light of the war in Ukraine, the world is instead witnessing how Germany’s approach has created a policy disaster. To provide backup to intermittent solar and wind power, Germany decided to build a large number of additional gas-fired power plants. Russia supplied more than half of Germany’s natural gas needs. Germany expected to increase its gas imports from Russia from the now-suspended Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The excessive dependence on Russian gas has now become a security risk for Germany and the entire Western world. It limits the West’s chances of imposing further energy-related sanctions on Russia. Despite the fact that turbines and photovoltaic panels now dot much of the landscape, in 2021 the share of wind and solar power in Germany’s total energy consumption was only 6.7%. Ending Russian gas imports in an effort to squeeze Putin would also stifle the German economy.

 

CliSci # 366                                       2022-04-10

 

Warm European Climates Led to Lower Food Prices

A new paper titled “The significance of climate variability on early modern European grain prices” looked at the extent to which climate variability affected grain prices for barley, oats, rye, and wheat across Europe from the years 1500–1800. Grain was the most important food source during the period in Europe, providing 70% to 80% of the caloric intake for a majority of the population. The authors used a large grain price data set and long temperature and rainfall data sets. They made extensive use of correlation and spectral analysis methods. The abstract say “A highly significant negative grain price–temperature relationship (i.e. colder = high prices and vice versa) is found across Europe.”  Temperatures explain 41% of the annual grain price variability and 63% on decadal time scales. The strongest temperature signals are obtained for the grain type means and the average of all 56 grain price series. Grain price variability only partly reflects harvest yield variations which also depend on non-climatic factors. Cold temperature reduces grain yields and increases grain prices, which frequently caused economic destitution, civil unrest, malnutrition, and even famines.  The paper also reports “Only weak and spatially inconsistent signals of hydroclimate (precipitation and drought), and no meaningful association with solar variations, are detected in the grain prices.”

 

Arctic Was Much Warmer 6000 Years Ago with Smaller Glaciers and Ice Caps Than Now

The northern extratropics was much warmer over much of the past 10,000 years than now. This paper published in the journal Climate of the Past, examined the Arctic glaciers and ice cap (GIC) over a large part of the Arctic from a synthesis of lake-based temperature reconstructions. This summary by P. Gosselin says “Using a comprehensive sampling of sediment cores extracted from 66 lakes and seas, the scientists reconstructed the melting and expansion of the Arctic ice over the past 12,000 years. What they found was that the Arctic was far warmer 6000 years ago than it is today.” The paper’s abstract says “the full Arctic compilation suggests that the majority (50 % or more) of studied GICs were smaller than present or absent by ∼10 ka. We find the highest percentage (>90 %) of Arctic GICs smaller than present or absent in the middle Holocene at ∼ 7–6 ka, probably reflecting more spatially ubiquitous and consistent summer warmth during this period than in the early Holocene. Following this interval of widespread warmth, our compilation shows that GICs across the Arctic began to regrow and summers began to cool by ∼6 ka. Together, the Arctic records also suggest two periods of enhanced GIC growth in the middle to late Holocene from ∼ 4.5–3 and after ∼2 ka.”

 

Wind Turbines Negatively Affects People, Birds and Bats

This article by Parker Gallant discusses several negative effects of industrial wind turbines. A wind energy company, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, was ordered to pay more than US$8 million in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed over the past decade at its wind farms in eight states. The Canadian subsidiary sued a lady for posting a video on YouTube showing NextEra workers chopping down a tree with an active eagle nest in the Haldimand, Ontario area. She changed the company’s logo to read “NextError” and “Next Terror”. Chatham-Kent residents have been raising concerns for years after several water wells in the North Kent Wind farm area began getting clogged with sediments during and after 34 industrial wind turbines were erected. The well water quality became poor with high levels of total dissolved and suspended solids and iron. The residents blamed the vibrations from erecting the turbines, which involved driving piles into the Kettle Point black shale aquifer that the wells draw water from. A Bloomberg article reports that the rotor and three blades fell into the sea from an offshore wind farm in Denmark. The turbine manufacturer asked the authorities to stop all marine traffic near all of its sites that use those machines.

 

Data Shows Climate Change Is Not Making Storms Worse

An article by H. Sterling Burnett says that, contrary to a recent story published by WQAD, data show storms are not getting worst with warming. The WQAD story is misleading as it is based on climate model predictions, not storm data. Models overstate warming and for more than 30 years have consistently predicted increases in extreme weather that have failed to materialize. Global warming could cause fewer, less intense storms across the U.S.  The IPCC’s recent assessment report (AR6) reported no increase in the frequency or intensity of tornadoes during the period of modest warming. While the number of reported tornadoes has increased due to better reporting over the past 50 years, data from NOAA indicates the number of strong tornadoes has declined by over 50% during the period of warming since 1970. AR6 also reports no evidence that thunderstorms are becoming more extreme and there is no evidence winter storms are becoming more intense, delivering more powerful wind or greater amounts of snowfall. The extent of average North American snowpack has been virtually unchanged in recent years compared to the late 1960s.

 

CO2 Airborne Fraction Has Decreased as CO2 Sinks Grow Faster Than Emissions

About half of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere and half are taken up by the land and ocean. The airborne fraction is the ratio between the atmospheric growth rate and anthropogenic emissions of CO2. Emission estimates due to land use changes contributes the most uncertainty to the airborne fraction. This paper published last month presents a land use change dataset using visibility data in deforestation zones. The authors’ results indicate that the CO2 airborne fraction has decreased by 0.014 ± 0.010 per decade since 1959. This suggests that the combined land–ocean sink has been able to grow at least as fast as anthropogenic emissions. This implies that CO2 concentrations in the air will increase slower for a given emissions scenario as more of those emissions will be sequestered by the land and oceans. This is contrary to climate models which all assume that the airborne fraction will increase over time.

 

Ancient El Niños Reveals Limits to Future Climate Projections

This article discusses a new study that shows the ENSO climate pattern varies over time to such a degree that it will be very difficult to detect if El Niño is getting stronger with global warming. The researchers analyzed 9,000 years of Earth’s climate history using ancient corals to determine how climate change may affect El Niño in the future. They found that although the occurrence of strong El Niño events slightly intensified over time, the change was small compared with El Niño's highly variable nature. The paper’s abstract says “Although the model diverges from the observed coral data regarding the exact magnitude of change, both indicate that modern ENSO variance eclipsed paleo-estimates over the Holocene, albeit against the backdrop of wide-ranging natural variability." A study co-author said “It's like trying to listen to soft music next to a jackhammer".

 

Wind Noise: A Continuing Issue (Night Amplification)

Sherri Lange wrote this article about a study by researchers of Flinders University, Australia, of the effects of wind farm noise on humans. The study found that the “swoosh” sound made by spinning turbine blades was likely to be more noticeable – and more annoying – to nearby residents during the night than during the day. The research combined long-term monitoring of wind farm noise with machine learning to quantify and characterize the noise produced by wind turbines. The noise can cause sleep deprivation. Dr. Christopher Hanning, a sleep disorders expert, says “In the short term … deprivation of sleep results in daytime fatigue and sleepiness, poor concentration and memory function. Accident risks increase. In the longer term, sleep deprivation is linked to depression, weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.” Lange wrote “It is well known and accepted worldwide that residents near wind turbines face special challenges, not the least being loss of restorative sleep.” Steven Cooper, an expert in “amplitude modulation” says that sensitive people can identify inaudible “noise” as a sensation. Cooper’s work includes studying the infrasound sound of wind turbines versus the pulsation of the wind turbine sound that is occurring at an infrasound rate. The Flinders study confirms the work of Cooper and shows that the proximity to wind turbines caused serious health effects.

 

CliSci # 365                                       2022-03-24

 

Solar and Anthropogenic Influences on Climate

This paper by Frank Stefani aims to quantify solar and anthropogenic influences on climate change, and to make some tentative predictions for the next hundred years.  The author evaluated linear combinations of the logarithm of the carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and the geomagnetic aa index as a proxy for solar activity. The combination of CO2 and solar forcing effects reproduces the sea surface temperature (HadSST) since 1850 with high correlation (adjusted R2 value of 87%) and transient climate sensitivity (TCS) in the range of 0.6 °C to 1.6 °C per doubling of CO2. When the last decade of available data is excluded, which includes the occurrence of a strong El Niño, the solutions of TCS are at the lower end of the range. The author makes a prediction of the solar activity based on the planetary synchronization of the solar dynamo. Greenhouse gas forcing was estimates by assuming a linear increase in CO2 concentrations to 2100 and two scenarios of slower CO2 growth. The abstract says “Even for the highest climate sensitivities, and an unabated linear CO2 increase, we predict only a mild additional temperature rise of around 1 K until the end of the century, while for the lower values an imminent temperature drop in the near future, followed by a rather flat temperature curve, is prognosticated.”

 

Ocean Acidification Has Negligible Effects on Fish Behavior

Ocean acidification—decreasing oceanic pH resulting from the uptake of excess atmospheric CO2—has the potential to affect marine life. Generally, effect size magnitudes in this field have decreased by an order of magnitude over the past decade, from mean effect size magnitudes >5 in 2009 to 2010 to effect size magnitudes <0.5 after 2015. The abstract of this study says “Indeed, the phenomenon of decreasing effect sizes over time is not uncommon and is typically referred to as the ‘decline effect.’ Here, we explore the consistency and robustness of scientific evidence over the past decade regarding direct effects of ocean acidification on fish behavior.” The study reviewed and analysed 91 previous studies of ocean acidification on fish behavior.  Studies reporting large effects are characterized by small sample sizes. The decline effect cannot be explained by 3 potential biological explanations. The studies are “characterized by a decline effect, where large effects in initial studies have all but disappeared in subsequent studies over a decade.” This study finds that faulty reporting of high effects of acidification on fish behaviour was due to a combination of methological and scientists’ biases, selective publication bias and citation bias. Scientists want to find alarming and dramatic results to promote their careers and funding. This study concludes “We contend that ocean acidification has a negligible direct impact on fish behavior.”

 

The Enigma of Expanding Antarctic Sea Ice

This article investigates why there is a large divergence between climate model forecasts and observations of Antarctic sea ice extent.  The extent of Antarctic sea ice varies greatly from year to year, but 40 years of satellite records show a long-term increasing trend. Most climate models indicate that Antarctic sea ice extent should have decreased over the past several decades. Three recent independent studies applied a “nudging” technique to the same climate model to study the influences of different processes on Antarctic sea ice extent. A comparison of three recent studies in which winds, ice drift, and sea surface temperatures were nudged toward an observed value individually or in combination yields valuable insights into the influence of these factors on Antarctic sea ice extent. Antarctic sea ice is strongly coupled to the overlying atmosphere through winds, air temperatures, and other factors. Significant trends have been observed in atmospheric circulation over Antarctica over the past 40 years. Climate models tend to underestimate coupling between winds and sea ice as well as these decades-long atmospheric circulation trends. When the model winds were constrained to follow the past observations for latitudes above 45° S, half of the discrepancy between the observed trend in total sea ice extent around Antarctica since 1979 and the projections of its extent from the model was eliminated. In another model experiment, the Southern Ocean sea surface temperature (SST) was nudged to match the observed SST. This caused the trend of sea ice from 1979 to 2013 to increase from -0.36 million km2/decade to near zero, compared to the observed trend of +0.23 million km2/decade. Thus, the SST nudging compensates for 60% of the model bias. In another experiment, the winds and SST were nudged to match observations from 1979 to 2018. This caused the nudged model to captured 80% of the discrepancy between the observed trend and that simulated by original model.

 

Infeasibility of a Fully Wind/Solar/Storage Electricity System

An article published by Francis Menton, The Manhattan Contrarian, discusses a study by two German authors about energy storage requirements in a fully renewable electricity system for Germany. Menton says “it is a further demonstration of the complete infeasibility — indeed the complete absurdity — of attempting in the short term to replace all fossil fuel electricity generation in a modern economy with only wind, solar and storage.” Without dispatchable backup (fossil fuel) wind and solar power require vast amounts of energy storage to cover the periods of intermittency. In January 2020, Menton wrote about my study which considers a wind-solar-battery generation system for the U.S.A. That study found the total capital cost of electrification would be about US$433 trillion, or 20 times the U.S.A. 2019 gross domestic product. The German study deals with only supplying its current level of electricity demand, rather than demand that may be tripled or more by economy-wide electrification. The study calculates that 24 days of storage is required but with massively over-building the wind-solar system to where its nameplate capacity is five times average electricity demand. The study says “On the supply side, almost 300 GW of variable renewable generators are installed: 92 GW solar PV, 94 GW onshore wind, and 98 GW offshore wind.” For comparison, Germany’s current peak demand is in the range of 100 GW, and average demand is in the range of 60 GW. The battery storage requirements would be 56 TWh, equivalent to about 24 days of average power at a cost of about USD 7.56 trillion.

 

AR6 and Sea Level, in 3 Parts

Andy May published a series of three blog posts about sea level rise and the IPCC’s AR6 report. In Part 1, the data and analysis as presented in AR6 was examined. The review concluded that the statistical evidence presented in AR6 for sea level rise (SLR) acceleration was crude and cherry-picked. May wrote “AR6 would have us believe that because a least squares linear fit to the rise in sea level is larger from 2006 to 2018 than from 1971 to 2018 it is accelerating. Yet from 2012 to 2020 the rate is nearly as low as from 1971 to 2018. … The problem is the rate of rise of sea level is so small today and so linear that their attempts to predict large rates of sea level rise are statistically inept and almost comical.”

Part 2 considers a paper, Frederikse, et al. 2020, about sea level rise considering both tide gauges and satellite data which is frequently cited in the AR6. This paper attempts to reconcile the observed SLR to the sum of its components. Figure 1 shows the match between the observed SLR and the component sum looks good in the 21st century. The match is not so good from 1930 to 1980 but is within the margins of error. Their best estimate of the observed sea-level rise trend from 1900 to 2018 is 1.56 ±0.33 mm/year, an error of ±20%. Figure 2 clearly shows that the rate of sea level rise oscillates on a multi-decadal scale and probably rose as fast as today in the 1940s, within the margin of error.

Part 3 discusses forecasting the global mean SRL in a statistically valid way correcting for autocorrelation, which means that each quarter’s mean sea level estimate is highly dependent upon the previous quarter’s value. Figure 7 shows the NOAA mean SRL and the forecast to 2100. It predicts that global SLR will be between 15 and 26 cm, and a best estimate of 20 cm by 2100 over the 1993-2008 average. Humans have successfully adapted to much higher rates of sea level rise in the past.

 

CliSci # 364                                      2022-03-06

 

Increasing Cold Extremes Worldwide: Is Global Cooling on the way?

Dr. Madhav Khandekar and Ray Garnett published an article about increasing cold extremes. Calgary, Alberta witnessed in 2018 one of the largest snowfalls in recorded history, and Edmonton witnessed 127 consecutive days with below freezing temperatures. Western Canada experiences bitterly cold weather around Christmas 2021.  We were in the throes of another dose of extreme cold weather during the first two months of 2022 from Vancouver to St. John’s, and even to the southeast USA to Greece and Turkey, to Japan, and northeast China. Over North America, brutal and dangerous snowstorms made two visits in the first week of week of February  producing dangerous winter conditions from Nova Scotia, Illinois, and Texas with power outages for over half a million residences. Environmentalists and climate scientist keep talking about the possibility of extreme heat but there is almost no mention of increases in cold extremes either in the climate science community or in the major news media. There has been a 2% increase in Northern Hemispheric snow cover from 1980 to 2021. There is no evidence of the disappearing snow cover and milder winters that the IPPC predicted. This has been Japan’s snowiest winter. Scores of people have died in New Delhi due to India’s cold wave which has brought its first snowfall since 1958.

 

Hydrological Feedback from Projected Earth Greening in the 21st Century

Satellite observations show continuous increasing vegetation growth during the last four decades. Earth System Models project continued greening of the Earth during the 21st century. This paper (Wu et al 2022) investigated the hydrological feedback from the projected greening by using an ESM forced with CO2 and increasing leaf area and greening. The paper reports that greening intensifies evapotranspiration and precipitation over land. Increasing leaf area significantly decreases soil moisture content over dry regions but increases soil moisture over the Amazon and Congo rainforest regions. However, rising CO2 reduces the density of stomatal pores in leaves and enhances water use efficiency. This effect would likely increase soil moisture content.  These two opposite effects cancel out each other at most regions.

 

Vegetation-based Climate Mitigation in a Warmer and Greener World

This paper (Alkama et al 2022) predicts temperature changes induced by future leaf area dynamics. The authors estimated the temperature sensitivities to changes in leaf area over the period 2003 to 2014 from satellite datasets. The paper says “our analysis shows that the mitigation potential of vegetation-based solutions (afforestation, reforestation, and forest restoration) increases in absolute term, thanks to the amplifying effect of concurrent climate change and increasing plant CO2 sequestration, but declines in relative magnitude, compared to the overall future warming, especially under the more extreme warming scenarios. Half of the biophysical mitigation effect is due to the forecasted increase in vegetation density. The other half is driven by changes in the background climate that amplifies the mitigation potentials of vegetation”. The abstract says “Results show that by 2100, under high-emission scenario, greening will likely mitigate land warming by 0.71 ± 0.40 °C, and 83% of such effect (0.59 ± 0.41 °C) is driven by the increase in plant carbon sequestration, while the remaining cooling (0.12 ± 0.05 °C) is due to biophysical land-atmosphere interactions.”

 

Carbon Capture and Storage

Howard Dewhirst wrote a post about the problems with using carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. He shows that the scale of the undertaking is monstrous. The average annual increase in atmospheric CO2 since 2000 is 2.2 ppm, or 17,160 million tonnes, or 8,680 billion m3 (at standard conditions) which is more than double the total world production of natural gas in 2020. However, roughly half of our emissions are already being sequestered by the Earth’s biosphere and oceans, so to prevent a rise in CO2 concentration would require capturing almost all of our emissions of about 35,500 million metric tonnes (MMt) CO2 per year. Dewhirst presents a table of seven CCS projects. The largest operating project is offshore West Australia which stores 3.9 MMtCO2 per year. Canada’s largest project at Fort Nelson, BC stores 2.2 MMtCO2 per year. We would need 16,000 Fort Nelson CCS projects to capture the world’s CO2 emissions.

 

Evaluation of the Homogenization Adjustments Applied to European Temperature Records

A new paper (O’Neill et al 2022) evaluated the homogenization adjustments of the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) monthly temperature dataset applied to European temperature records and found several disturbing inconsistencies. The GHCN is a widely used land surface temperature dataset. It is published in non-homogenized and homogenized versions. The homogenized version is updated by applying the “Pairwise Homogenization Algorithm” (PHA) to the non-homogenized datasets to correct for artificial biases including station moves, changes in instrumentation and time of observation changes. These changes may cause non-climatic jumps in the station record relative to neighboring stations. The algorithm removes these jumps or ‘breakpoints’. The authors analyzed 3689 different updates to the dataset over the 10-year period 2011-2021. Of the adjustments applied for GHCN Version 4, 64% were identified on less than 25% of runs, while only 16% of the adjustments were identified consistently for more than 75% of the runs. However, only 19% of the breakpoints were associated with a documented event, and 67% were not associated with any documented event. The adjustments do not correspond well to documented changes at the weather stations. Therefore, many of the PHA adjustments may have been spurious. A graphical summary is here.

 

Greenland’s Melting Ice Is No Cause for Panic – Steve Koonin

Steve Koonin, author of “Unsettled”, published an article in the Wall Street Journal and presented here that features a graph of the annual Greenland ice loss 1900 to 2021. The average annual ice loss was about 110 gigatons (billion metric tons). That causes the sea level to rise by only 0.01 inch per year. Koonin wrote “there are large swings in the annual ice loss and it is no larger today than it was in the 1930s, when human influences were much smaller. Moreover, the annual loss of ice has been decreasing in the past decade even as the globe continues to warm. … natural cycles in temperatures and currents in the North Atlantic that extend for decades have been a much more important influence since 1900. Those cycles, together with the recent slowdown, make it plausible that the next few decades will see a further, perhaps dramatic slowing of ice loss.”

 

Corals Thrive in Warm Climates and Growth Slows in Cooler Climates

A new study (Long et al 2022) found the corals thrived when the climate was warmer than today. The authors reconstructed the development of coral reefs located in the northern border of the tropics from drilling cores. The abstract says “The correlation between coral reef vertical accretion rate and its climate background suggests that the rapid development stage of coral reefs on the Weizhou Island could roughly correlated to the Late Megathermal Period, Roman Warm Period and Current Warm Period, and the slowing down stages of development of reefs roughly corresponded to the cold periods, namely the Late Dark Ages Cold Period, the Medieval Climate Anomaly and the early Little Ice Age. In general, the development of coral reefs at relatively high latitudes is dependent on climate changes. The warm periods are conducive to coral growth and otherwise, coral reefs growth would slow down as cold periods came.” As summarized here, sea levels were 2 m higher than they are today ~4,000 years ago, and still about 1 m higher than today 1,000 years ago, or during the Medieval Warm Period. The South China Sea surface temperatures were “3 to 6°C higher than today” from about 5,000 to 4,000 years ago; coral reefs developed rapidly in that warmth.

 

CliSci # 363                                      2022-02-18

 

A Critical Assessment of Extreme Events Trends

The abstract of this new paper starts “This article reviews recent bibliography on time series of some extreme weather events and related response indicators in order to understand whether an increase in intensity and/or frequency is detectable.” The paper shows that “global trends in heatwave intensity are not significant.” There is no trend of daily precipitation intensity and extreme precipitation frequency of weather stations’ data. The frequency of extreme winds (speed > 10 m/s) measured by surface land weather stations during 1973–2019 shows a slightly negative trend for all regions of the world. Observed trends in droughts are still uncertain except in some regions. The observed increase in tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic is substantially due to better reporting. In other regions tropical cyclones have a declining trend. There is no trend on a global basis. Global average mortality and economic loss rates have dropped by 6.5 and 5 times, respectively, from 1980–1989 to 2007–2016. The abstract concludes “In conclusion on the basis of observational data, the climate crisis that, according to many sources, we are experiencing today, is not evident yet.”

 

Recent upper Arctic Ocean Warming Expedited by Atmospheric Processes

A new study suggests natural internal atmospheric variability is the major cause of Arctic Ocean warming. The Arctic Ocean exhibits strong warming trends and year-to-year variability of the upper 50 m in the last four decades in summer and fall. The study demonstrates that a multiyear trend in the summertime large-scale atmospheric circulation, which the authors ascribe to internal variability, has played an important role in upper ocean warming in summer and fall over the past four decades. The atmospheric circulation was affected by the sea ice-albedo effect induced by atmospheric dynamics. Modeling experiments suggest that the internal variability contribution to recent upper Arctic Ocean warming accounts for up to one quarter of warming over the past four decades and up to 60% of warming from 2000 to 2018. The abstract says “This suggests that climate models need to replicate this important internal process in order to realistically simulate Arctic Ocean temperature variability and trends.”

 

Record-high Coral Cover of the Great Barrier Reef

Ten years ago a paper published in the scientific journal PNAS predicted that within ten years the coral of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) of Australia would decline to only 5-10% of its original cover. This didn’t happen. According to Peter Ridd, a marine geophysicist who has studied the GBR for over 35 years, the GBR is in absolutely fabulous condition at the moment. Some coral scientists claimed that climate change has caused catastrophic reef damage three times in the past five years. Ridd says “That damage could never have been as dramatic as they claimed: someone has been exaggerating a lot here, because dramatic damage and already such a spectacular recovery, that is simply not possible.”  A long-term monitoring of the reef, conducted by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, shows that the reef was in top condition in 2020-2021. Coral cover has increased in all regions, to 27% in the North, 26% in the Central and 39% in the Southern region. The coral cover is now three times higher than in 2012.

 

Why Global Warming Is Good For Us

Matt Ridley published this article in Spiked-online which explains why global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions is mostly beneficial. He says “The goal of Net Zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is controversial enough as a policy because of the pain it is causing. … The biggest benefit of emissions is global greening, the increase year after year of green vegetation on the land surface of the planet.” NASA data show that global greening has added 618,000 km2 of extra green leaves each year, equivalent to the area of three Great Britains.” The largest contributor to global greening is the extra carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. This study shows that CO2 fertilization explains 70% of the greening effect. In 40 years the CO2 concentration has increased from 0.034% to 0.041%. The leave’s pore size decreases with higher CO2 in the air so plants lose less water vapour though their pores. Plants become more efficient with their water use and are more resilient against drought. Dry areas, like the Sahel region of Africa, are seeing the biggest increases in greenery.

Cold weather kills about 17 times as many people as hot weather, so warming is preventing deaths. Warming is mostly in cold places, in cold seasons and at night, so winter nighttime temperatures in the north are rising much faster than daytime temperatures in the tropics. The decreasing temperature differential between the tropics and the Arctic may actually diminish the volatility of weather a little. The land area of the planet is actually increasing, not shrinking despite sea level rise, thanks to siltation and reclamation.

 

U.S. Corn-based Ethanol Worse for the Climate than Gasoline

Corn-based ethanol, which for years has been mixed into gasoline, is likely a much bigger contributor to global warming than straight gasoline, according to this new study. The research found that ethanol is likely at least 24% more carbon-intensive than gasoline due to emissions resulting from land use changes to grow corn, along with processing and combustion. As a result of a U.S. Government mandate, corn cultivation grew 8.7% and expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land between 2008 and 2016, the study found. The study also found that the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard increased corn prices by 30% and the prices of other crops by 20%.  See this story by Reuters.  Paul Homewood says “It never did make sense converting productive farmland to fuel for cars. Now it appears that it does not even cut emissions of carbon dioxide. With the EU continuing to mandate higher proportions of ethanol in the fuel mix, it is surely time to call a halt on this huge policy error, and start to cut back on ethanol use.”

 

La Nina Conditions Continue Across the Equatorial Pacific

Meteorologist Paul Dorian wrote a good article on the current La Nina conditions. Numerous computer models suggest that these colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific will last into at least the beginning part of the upcoming summer season. If so, La Nina may indeed have an impact on global tropical activity this summer as it did during the last tropical season in 2021. The warm waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean store a great amount of latent heat when compared to cooler waters and breed a great deal of convection which impacts downstream ridging and troughing in the atmosphere.  As such, its sea surface temperature (SST) pattern has a tremendous influence on all weather and climate around the world and the more anomalous the sea surface temperatures, the more the impact can be on the atmosphere around the world. La Nina is usually correlated with weaker wind shear over the storm breeding grounds of the tropical Atlantic Ocean. This typically leads to a more favorable environment in the tropical Atlantic for the development/intensification of tropical storm activity. La Nina tends to suppress tropical storm activity in the equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean. Overall tropical cyclone activity was below-normal in 2021 in terms of accumulated cyclone energy, a metric that combines storms intensity and longevity.

 

CliSci # 362                                      2022-02-01

 

Central England Temperature 30-yr Rate

The Central England Temperature (CET) record represents the longest series of monthly temperature observations in existence, beginning January 1659. This graph shows the 20-year and 30-year best-fit temperature trends calculated from the annual average temperatures. The horizontal axis year corresponds to the centre of each trend. The final point of the 20-year trend is plotted at 2011 and represents the best-fit linear trend from 2002 to 2021 of 0.00 °C/decade. The 30-year trend from 1992 to 2021 is 0.11 °C/decade. The highest 20-year trend recorded was centered at 1701 and was 1.00 °C/decade. The highest 30-year trend recorded was centered at 1705 at 0.502 °C/decade which was almost matched at 1992 at 0.501 °C/decade. A FOSS member said “It’s blindingly obvious that the pattern is cyclical.”

 

How Much Solar Panels and Battery Backup to Power Germany?

The authors of this paper have calculated that to match Germany’s current electricity demand solely from solar power would require 35,000 km2 of land in Spain covered with photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. Spain is the best country in Europe for solar power. The total installed capacity of 2000 GW of PV solar would be required to power Germany, which is almost three times the 2020 worldwide installed solar capacity of 715 GW. In addition, backup storage capacity totaling about 45 TWh would be required. The full output of 900 Tesla Gigafactories working at full capacity for one year would produce sufficient storage capacity. The PV panels would need to be replaced every 15 years equivalent to 10% of the current global production capacity. The 14-day battery storage requirement of the Spanish solar power for Germany would exceed the 2020 global battery production by a factor of 4 to 5.

 

Model Fails: Correlation between Albedo and Temperature

Thunderstorms in the tropics play a major role in regulating the Earth’s temperature. Thunderstorms start to form when a temperature threshold is met. First, random eddying is replaced by organized circulating cells in the atmosphere. These cells transport heat and water vapor upwards to where it cools enough to condense into clouds. The increase in cloud cover increases Earth’s albedo so more sunlight is reflected back to space. At a higher temperature threshold the cumulus clouds grow rapidly into towering thunderstorms which cause strong winds around the thunderstorm base, which increases evaporation.  Willis Eschenbach wrote in this blog post “A thunderstorm is capable of driving the surface temperature well below the initiation temperature that was needed to get the thunderstorm started.” Thunderstorms are not represented in any climate model because the grid cells are far larger than a thunderstorm.

Willis compared albedo and temperature data from the CERES satellite to that of a climate model. The CERES data, 2000 to 2020, shows that in much of the tropical ocean the albedo is positively correlated with the temperature. The Arctic and Antarctic regions are strongly anti-correlated. A climate model shows the Polar Regions have much higher correlation than in the real world. In the tropics the climate model has much lower correlation than in the CERES data. Figure 7 shows the stark differences between the CERES and climate models average correlation of albedo and surface temperature by degree latitude, indicating the models do a very poor job of simulating the cooling effects of clouds.

 

Ocean Surface Temperature Limit

Richard Willoughby published a paper that analyses the role of atmospheric water in regulating Earth’s thermal balance. The paper shows the actual temperature limiting process using hourly data observed at moored buoys in three tropical oceans. Open ocean surface temperature is observed to be limited to below 32 °C and annual average for the warmest open ocean water is 30 °C. The mechanism of deep convection results in the persistency of clouds over ocean warm pools preventing further heat uptake once the sea surface reaches 32 °C. The global ocean energy balance is examined and it is shown that atmospheric water is a net cooling agent. When the total atmospheric water in a column reaches the equivalent of 45 mm of liquid water, the atmospheric water becomes a net cooling agent with reduction in surface insolation due to cloud reflection being greater than the reduction in outgoing longwave radiation due to the low radiating temperature of high-altitude cloud. Current climate models falsely assume the oceans keep absorbing heat through the surface without end.

 

Ottawa's Climate Plans "a Blueprint for Disaster"

The International Climate Science Coalition - Canada issued a news release that warns the City of Ottawa's Climate Change Master Plan threatens to leave the city "polluted, fragile and bankrupt." The conclusions are included in "A Cautionary Tale for Governments around the World," a report released by ICSC-Canada.com about Ottawa’s Climate Change Master Plan. The forecast cost of achieving ”net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is $57.4-billion, almost $60,000 for every person in Ottawa. The City foresees annual community-wide spending on the plan of $1.6 billion per year between 2020 and 2030. If that came out of property taxes, it would raise them by 86% over the amounts collected in 2021. The plan includes no meaningful cost-benefit analysis. The plan included 36 square kilometers of roof-top solar panels, 710 industrial wind turbines each taller than the Peace Tower on the Parliament Buildings, and 122 large shipping containers of lithium batteries. The plan would reduce global emissions by only 0.014%. The report says the City of Ottawa’s plan will cause great financial pain to residents and the businesses of Ottawa for no environmental benefit. Indeed, enabling the plan would contribute to an ecological and humanitarian disaster.

 

Japan’s Data Show No Warming, NASA Changes to Warming

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) temperature data for Tokyo show that the megalopolis has been cooling since 1994. KiryeNet plotted the mean annual temperature of Tokyo from JMA data, the NASA unadjusted version 4 and the NASA homogenized (altered) version 4 on one chart. NASA’s Version 4 Unadjusted data plot is very similar to the JMA data, both showing no warming since 1994. Pierre Gosselin wrote “But then NASA altered the data, and now its so-called V4 “Adjusted Homogenized” plot suddenly shows a ruddy warming trend [of 0.22 °C/decade]. The JMA data, we suppose, isn’t good enough, and so NASA took it upon themselves to fix it up. Don’t believe the Japanese data!” Pierre presents another temperature plot of the island of Hachijo-jima, some 287 km in the Pacific. The island doesn’t have the urban sprawl that exists in Tokyo. The plot of temperatures from 1950 to 2021 shows no warming trend in either the JMA or NASA unadjusted data. Pierre wrote “NASA tampered with the data and now its V4 Adjusted Homogenized data plot shows a strong warming trend since 1950. This is in stark contrast to what the JMA data plot shows and what NASA’s V4 Unadjusted data depict.” NASA tampers with the data to get a warming trend of 0.18 °C/decade that they want.

 

Wind Turbines Enhance Nighttime Warming

Many studies show that the urban heat island effect causes about half of the measured warming since 1980 over land. The UHIE has several causes; one of which is by tall structures causing turbulence of the nighttime lower atmosphere which mixes the warmer air aloft to the surface. The ground cools faster at night than the air, creating an inversion. A new study (Qin et al 2022) quantifies the impacts of 319 wind farms on local climate and vegetation in the United States. The study reported “significant warming of 0.10 °C on annual mean nighttime land surface temperature averaged for all wind farms, and 0.36 °C for those 61% wind farm samples with warming”. The average warming in winter and autumn was 0.18 °C. The larger windfarms had a warming effect of 0.21 °C. The warming impact was detectable up to 10 km from the wind farms. The wind turbines warm the surface by mixing the warmer, nighttime air above the wind turbine to the surface, much like the effect of tall city buildings. Kenneth Richards wrote that the study “affirms the warming ‘saved’ by emissions mitigation is easily exceeded by the direct surface warming from turbine-atmosphere interactions.”

 

CliSci # 361                                      2022-01-14

 

Financial Overview of Shell Canada Quest CCS Project

Quest is the world’s first commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility applied to oil sands operations. CCS is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) before it enters the atmosphere, transporting it, and storing it for centuries or millennia. A Professional Engineer who used to work at Shell Canada and who supports Friends of Science wrote this financial overview of the Shell Canada Quest CCS project. The  Shell  Canada  Quest  project  is  the  second  largest  CCS  project  in  Canada and has 6 years of operational history, as of Q4, 2021.  Its large size provides economy of scale, reducing the unit cost of CO2 removal. This project is 80% subsidized by the Alberta and federal governments. The total of capital and operating costs for the project are Can$790 million and Can$29 million per year, respectively. Assuming a 2% interest rate on a 10 year loan, the Quest CCS cost is $122 / tonne of CO2, for 10 years. Assuming a 20 year loan, the CCS cost is reduced to $81/tonne CO2. Assuming a 3% interest rate with a 20 year loan, the CCS cost is $86/tonne CO2.

 

Why Are the Low-lying Islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans Expanding?

In CliSci # 353 of 2021-09-10, I reported that the total land area of 221 atoll islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans have increased in area by 6.1% between 2000 and 2017. A new study by Boretti December 2021 explains this “by analyzing the long-term tide gauge records, corrected for subsidence by Global Positioning System monitoring.” The paper reports that “the absolute sea levels are rising much slower than in climate model predictions. The relative rate of sea level rise is highly variable but on average is a modest +0.46 mm/year, subject to an almost trivial acceleration of + 0.0091 mm/year2.” This article by Ken Richard provides part of the paper. Over half of the net growth post 2000 occurred from 2013 to 2017. The coral islands are living things and new coral growth provides new material to the islands. Boretti wrote “the observed general trend is only compatible with a global sea level growing only slowly.”

 

NOAA Arctic Fraud

Tony Heller at RealClimateScience.com has produces an excellent video. He wrote “With the Arctic melting scam collapsing in real time, the Biden administration digs in their heels and ramps up the fraud.” In the video Heller said “Arctic sea ice extent for the date [January 8, 2022] was the highest of the past 18 years. The extent of the sea ice in the Arctic now is about the same as it was in 1991. … There has been no trend in the Arctic sea ice minimum over the past 15 years.” A report from NOAA published a graph of sea ice extent starting in 1979 which was likely the highest sea ice extent of the last 100 years. But NOAA has satellite data from the early 1970s.  A graph from the 1990 IPCC report shows the sea ice extent in 1972 to 1975 was significantly less than the average 1996-1990 average. “By hiding all of the lower data to the left of their start point, they can make it look like there is a downward trend. And if we go back even further to the 1985 DOE report we can see that see ice extent during the 1950s was much lower than it was even during the early 1970s.” 1979 was the coldest year on record since 1900 in Reykjavik, Iceland. NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said in 2007 that the Arctic could be nearly ice-free by 2012. James Hansen said in 2008 that the Arctic will be ice-free between 2013 and 2018. They were so wrong. Arctic may have been ice-free 6000-7000 years ago when temperatures were several °C higher than now and CO2 levels were low. Trees grew all the way to the Arctic Ocean in Canada. The tree line is now 80 to 100 km further south.

 

Scientific Paper List Indicating “Extremely Low CO2 Climate Sensitivity”

Kenneth Richards has published a list of 137 scientific papers indicating very low CO2 climate sensitivity and he gives a summary of four of the papers. The list of the 137 papers is here. Below is a short description of two new papers.

 

Rapid Increases in Shrubland and Forest Intrinsic Water-use Efficiency

Globally, intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) has risen dramatically over the past century in concert with increases in atmospheric CO2 concentration. This paper says that the iWUE could be further accelerated by long-term drought events such as the drought in the US southwest. The paper shows that the “iWUE is increasing in the Southwest at one of the fastest rates documented due to the recent drying trend. These increases were particularly large across three common shrub species”. The shift to more water-efficient vegetation would be, all else being equal, a net positive for plant health.

 

Atmospheric CO2 and Climate on Intrinsic Water-use Efficiency in South Asian Trees

This paper [Rahman et al 2020] describes the long-term and inter-annual variability in intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) of tropical trees in South Asia in response to variations of environmental conditions. The authors found significant increasing trends in iWUE in all the three species that were studied. Commonality analysis revealed that temperatures had a dominant influence on the inter-annual iWUE variability (64–77%) over precipitation (7–22%). However, the long-term variations in iWUE were explicitly determined by the atmospheric CO2 increase. The iWUE were determined by examining tree cores which produced an iWUE record spanning the three-decade period 1986-2015. The iWUE increased by 29% in two tree species and by 46% in the other over three decades. A review by CO2 Science says “And thus we find yet another real world example that rising atmospheric CO2 is benefitting vegetation across the globe by helping to improve plant iWUE. Amazingly, a mere 15% increase in CO2 was powerful enough to raise the intrinsic water use efficiencies of these tropical forest tree species by 29-46%. And if CO2 can do that in just three decades, imagine what it can do over a lifetime!”


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