Saturday, June 24, 2017

The 3 S's of Climate Change: Simple. Serious. Solvable.

I like this, from Scott Denning's Twitter profile (@airscottdenning):

"Tweeting about the 3 S's of Climate Change: Simple. Serious. Solvable."

Al Franken Made a Fool of Rick Perry

Admittedly, it wasn't very difficult. All Perry could do was just dumbly deny what the science says:


I think Franken might be thinking of running for President. He has a new book just out -- why now? -- and yesterday I heard him being interviewed on Oregon Public Radio. There he was sharp and smart and, just in the right amount, funny. But in the video above, he comes off as droll and a little bored. His points are smart -- far smarter than the hopelessly banal Rick Perry has, who can't explain any science to save his life -- so he'd need to work on that. But he could be just the right foil if Trump runs again in 2020 (which I doubt he will; I suspect he'll resign before them, maybe right before then). And Mike Pence would have no idea how to counter Franken's intelligence and humor.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Abdussamatov's Solar Irradiance Prediction is a Total Failure

Deniers like to believe there are reasons why a decline in the Sun's irradiance will lead to another ice age -- it's not true -- and one of their favorite papers is by H. Abdussamatovhttp://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/apr/article/view/14754/10140, which I don't think has even been published anywhere.

I've written about his claims before, and took a look again today. Abdussamatov is even more wrong than he was a year ago.


The vertical blue line on this graph is the present. According to Abdussamatov, the "new Little Ice Age epoch" should already have started.

Nonsense.

Abdussamatov says he used PMOD data for total solar irradiance (TSI).

Here is PMOD's latest data page.

Which link to use for the latest TSI? This, I guess. It's hard to know. Good luck trying to figure that out.

Their FTP site was written as if this was 20 years ago. I can understand how back then the WWW was new, as was expecting scientists to post their data.

But in 2017? No way. Wake up, PMOD, and make your data easily available to the people who are paying for it.

Anyway, here, as best as I can determine, is PMOD's latest TSI data:


This dataset aren't anything like the one above. Abdussamatov predicted that TSI would now be about 1.25 W/m2 below the PMOD 1980-2005 base value of 1365.5 W/m2.

This isn't at all true. Abdussamatov didn't link to his data, so I can't reproduce his actual base values. PMOD's base value is, by my data, 1360.0 W/m2. And it is now nowhere 1.25 W/m2 below that base value.

Conclusion: Abdussamatov's prediction is a total failure.

James Randi

Saturday, June 17, 2017

World Coal Production Decreases For Third Straight Year

From Bloomberg News:


However, US coal production is was on a bit of an upswing in recent months.


Temporary, surely. And I don't see that Trump had any role in this whatsoever -- it started almost a year before he took office.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Celilo Falls, Now Gone

Here's a great picture of tribal salmon fishing at Celilo Falls, on the Columbia River, once the fourth largest waterfall in the world by flow rate (over twice the flow over Niagara Falls). It was submerged when the Dalles Dam was built in 1957. From the Oregonian article, "7 wonders of Oregon that no longer exist." Most of the salmon are gone too.


Wikipedia has this picture in color.

And here's a video of this beautiful thing before it disappeared.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

When Christopher Monckton Warned about Manmade Greenhouse Gases

He wrote: "...too much carbon dioxide is dangerous."


From the Evening Standard on February 2, 1988.

Via Ed Hawkins on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Con Beausang, Rest in Peace

I received the sad news today that one of my officemates in graduate school, Con Beausang, passed away the other day.

Con was an experimental nuclear physicist and held the Robert E. and Lena F. Loving Chair at the University of Richmond. Unfortunately I hadn't kept in touch with him after graduate school, but I have warm and cherished memories of him from our time at Stony Brook. He was unique, that's for sure.

I never, ever saw Con in anything other than a very cheerful mood. He would come into the office each morning to drop off his coat, before going down to Stony Brook's accelerator to work for the day. He'd breeze in with something like "Top of the morning to you, gents! What a fine, lovely day it is," regardless of what the weather actually was. He'd say something about his car, which he named and talked about like another person in his life, but closer than most. Sometimes he'd say something about us theorists (Con was in a research group that worked on the detailed structure of nuclei, while the other three us in the office did theory, which, as he observed, mostly involved just sitting around). Being Irish, he pronounced the word "three" as "tree." He taught me about Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, and surprisingly, that phrase still rolls melodically right off my tongue. Once he and I were going somewhere and were on a sandy, dirt road and something in his engine caught fire; Con stopped and had me help him throw sand on it to put it out, then he got back in the car like nothing had happened. He always served a small scoop of ice cream the few times I went to his place for dinner. He was exceedingly easy to be around.

The administrative assistant at the University of Richmond's physics department told me they have been getting more and more graduate students in recent years, and she thought Con had a big part in that, "taking care of everyone."

I have more information about his death, but don't feel it's appropriate to share it in a public forum. Write me if you knew him and would like to know more. I also have his home address, if you want to send anything in memorial, to his wife Cindy.

I am very happy to have known Con; there was no one else like him. It almost seems like yesterday. How very sad that he is gone, and far, far too early.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

US's Progress Towards Meeting Its Paris Commitment (= On Target)

So, most of the US's recent reductions in CO2 emissions are due to fracking, which has produced enough natural gas at a low enough price to outperform coal, leading utility managers to shutter coal plants.

I don't see why this won't continue, Paris Agreement or not -- it's pure economics. I estimated here that 70% of recent US CO2 reductions are due to fracking -- that is, not down to a deliberate shift to renewable energy sources or increases in energy efficiency, but simply due to getting the same amount X of energy from natural gas instead of coal.

This shift can't go on forever. I estimated here that at best this can lead to a US per capita CO2 emissions about 15 metric tons (t) CO2/yr. That's still huge, relative to the world, whose per capita emissions are about 5 t CO2/yr.

Obama got lucky with fracking. It grew during the end of the GW Bush administration, and progressed strongly throughout Obama's two terms. The US committed to a 26-28% reduction in 2005 CO2 emissions by 2025. Fracking has actually put us on that trendline:


Trump can try to affect the 30% of US CO2 reductions that come from nonfracking sources -- better gas mileage, more electric cars, some utilities' shifts towards wind and solar, and what else? -- but I don't really see how he will delay the transition of utility power sources from coal to natural gas. That will remain as long as natural gas is the cheaper source.

And is Trump really going to expect car manufacturers to build cars that get less gas mileage? No -- they're not just designing and building for the US, but for Europe too, and Asia. And to consumers who can afford new cars, who are more smart and level-headed.

It seems to me that at best Trump can delay some CO2 reductions -- though only a fraction of what the US emits. The other reductions are happening because it's finally economical for them to happen.

And because major US states want them to happen, because they see and understand the future in a way that completely eludes Trump.

So I think Trump's decision on the Paris Agreement -- probably based more on his psychological weaknesses, of needing to always play the victim, to think that everyone, everywhere is against him, which he clearly projects onto America -- might not be as bad as is currently feared. But in no way because of him.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Some Good Cartoons

"Let These Cartoonists Illustrate The Horror Of Trump's Climate Change Stance"

PS: I don't buy into "horror."

Modern Cities: Stuff Goes In, Doesn't Come Out

An interesting through from The World in 2050: Four Forces shaping Civilization's Northern Future, by Laurence C. Smith (2009):


Who's Caused the Most Warming? The British!

At least, per capita, from 1850-2005.

This result is from a 2014 paper by Damon Matthews et al, "National contributions to observed global warming." The US is by far the biggest absolute contributor -- and even up through 2012, the US had emitted 2.4 times more than the Chinese and 9.6 times more than India.

(I used data from another source to estimate these numbers up to 2014, and got 2.1 times more than China and 8.6 times more than India.)

So it's rather ridiculous to complain about China and India when we've already contributed more than both combined.

But per capita, it's actually Great Britain that leads all other countries. All that coal burning in Dickensian London, I suppose. This is from the paper cited above (remember, it's only 1850-2005):


So Canada doesn't look so good, either, per capita. India practically vanishes.

Here's another graphic from that paper, again showing who leads in per capita emissions and who hasn't (yet) become affluent by emitting them:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Larsen C Iceberg Is on the Brink of Breaking Off | Climate Central

That Larsen C ice shelf is now said to be in its last days.... "The crack has spread 17 miles over the past six days."

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/larsen-c-iceberg-breaking-off-21498

And this even as it's late fall in Antarctica, approaching winter.

Here's the graphic from the UK-based Project Midas team:


This ice shelf is floating, so it won't directly affect sea level. But, as Climate Central writes,
Once it breaks off, scientists are concerned that the rest of ice shelf could collapse afterwards, a fate that befell Larsen A in 1995 and Larsen B in 2002. In Larsen B’s case, the ice shelf collapsed in the span of a month following an influx of mild air.

The Trumpian Irony of US CO2 Emissions

I noticed that US CO2 emissions for Feb 2017 were 8% below those of a year ago, Feb 2016.

Ignoring the notion that Trump, in his first full month in office, had anything whatsoever to do with this, I was wondering how it happened.

The most obvious factor is temperature. Indeed, for the continental US, Feb17 was 1.7°F warmer than Feb16, according to NOAA's data. Is that enough to account for an 8% drop?

I don't know. Here are US CO2 monthly emissions as a function of the average US continental temperature:


This graph makes general sense -- there is some baseline below which emissions don't drop, due to vehicle transportation and industrial use, and upward wings on both sides due to home air conditioning (on the right) and household heating (on the left). 

That's all I know so far. I suspect that US CO2 emissions are going to keep falling during Trump's administration, as coal keeps going out of style and utilities switch to cheaper natural gas, and state- and city-wide efforts like this one in Portland, Oregon.

These individual efforts won't be enough -- I don't see how they can be without supporting federal regulations -- but it may well be that US CO2 emissions drop during Trump's administration. 

Of course, he'll take full credit for it, even though he had nothing -- in fact, less than nothing -- to do with it.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Tiny Insignificant Speck


Hey, it's just a cartoon. And some of us aren't afraid to be specks -- I think, in a way, it makes the universe all that more glorious.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump Proposes to Destroy US Science

Here are FY 2018 funding levels for several key federal R&D agencies, according to the American Chemical Society:

  • $9.4 million for the Chemical Safety & Hazard Board, (Funds used to shut down agency) 
  • $4.5 billion for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, 17 percent below FY 2017 
  •  $5.7 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency, 29 percent below FY 2017 
  • $725 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 24 percent below FY 2017 
  • $27 billion for the National Institutes of Health, 21 percent below FY 2017
  • $6.6 billion for the National Science Foundation, 11 percent below FY 2017
What a stupid, unthinking fool Trump is. Just stupid.

#MAGA - Make America Gasp Again

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Nearly All Warming Has Occurred Since 1965

Today NOAA announced that April was the 2nd-warmest year in their records. The monthly calculations of JMO and GISS found the same.

I thought I'd put up this chart, which is a calculation of the percentage of global warming that has happened since any point in the past. As usual, for any year Y:

total_warming(Y-to-present) = total_trend(Y-to-present)*(present-Y)


The total global warming from NOAA's data is now +0.95°C. Their record starts in Jan 1880.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Excellent Blog, "The Science of Doom"

Have I ever mentioned here the blog "The Science of Doom?"

If not, I've been remiss. It's a mystery who writes it, but they obviously know their stuff. You could learn a lot about the basic of climate science, and more beyond that. While its postings can be irregular, it's worth following, and there is plenty of past content to keep you reading all about climate, the greenhouse effect, and what climate science is and implies.

Definitely check it out if you want to know more science.


Why Should I Pay?


Unfortunately, I don't know the exact source of this.

Lord (or Somebody Real), Please Help Us

This shows the damage deniers can do when people -- like Trump -- have no critical thinking skills. Trump reportedly got all worked up over a fake Time cover claiming that scientists once said an ice age was at hand. From Politico:


First, what kind of dummy is K.T. McFarland, deputy national security advisor, and -- well, we already know, don't we? -- what kind of a idiot is Trump?

Here's that fake Time cover:


I don't know who made it -- but they probably got a bonus this week for it.

By the way, as far as I'm concerned the definitive study on this claim is from Thomas Peterson, William Connolley and John Fleck:

"The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus," W. Peterson et al, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 89, 1325–1337, 2008

From this paper's abstract:
An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting “global cooling” and an “imminent” ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming. A review of the literature suggests that, on the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking as being one of the most important forces shaping Earth's climate on human time scales. More importantly than showing the falsehood of the myth, this review describes how scientists of the time built the foundation on which the cohesive enterprise of modern climate science now rests.
How dysfunctional is Trump? Reportedly he can't read more than one page of a national security briefing, and like a twisted narcissistic child, he has to see his name mentioned as often as possible. 
One unnamed source told Reuters that since Trump “keeps reading if he’s mentioned” in briefing materials, officials on the National Security Council have learned to insert the President’s name into “as many paragraphs as we can.”
I just hope we get rid of Trump before gets us all killed. (I really do.) 

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Sea Level and ENSO

I was looking around on Aviso's sea level FTP page, and came across this interesting graph, showing how sea level correlates with ENSOs.


MEI = Multivariate ENSO Index
MSL = Mean sea level. "Detrended" means the difference from the linear trend.

Added 5/7: Here's another one, right on the top page of the CU Sea Level page:


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Donald Trump blames constitution for chaos of his first 100 days | US news | The Guardian

Absolutely incredible: @realdonaldtrumo says the Constitution is a "really a bad thing for the country."

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/29/trump-blames-constitution-for-first-100-days-chaos-presidency?CMP=share_btn_tw

Significant Quarterly Jump in Ocean Heat Content

The ocean has recovered from its heat loss during last year's El Nino, and is again accumulating heat.

Here are the data: 0-700 m, 0-2000 m.

Over the last quarter, the 0-700 m region of the ocean gained 1.1 W/m2, and the 0-2000 m region gained 1.3 W/m2.

Over 12 months, these regions gained 0.3 W/m2 and 0.5 W/m2, respectively.

Though both these numbers are barely higher than they were 2 years ago, in 1Q2015.

Here are the latest big numbers: anyone who wants to explain global warming via natural factors has to come up with 0.18 W/m2 since 1Q1955 for the 0-700 m region, and 0.65 W/m2 since 1Q2005 for the 0-2000 m region.

That's 180 ZJ and 125 ZJ, respectively.

(1 ZJ = 1 zettajoule =  1021 Joules.)

The first value is how much sunlight (240 W/m2) reaches the surface in 17 days, and the second in 12 days.




This Ice Spike Grew in My Freezer in Less than 30 Minutes

Sometimes I wonder what the heck is going on in there.


Last Year, Green Electricity Cost Me an Extra Nickel a Day

Image result for green electricityAwhile back I subscribed to my electricity provider's -- Portland General Electric -- Green Source Program, where the electricity I receive is 100% renewable.

They just sent me my annual statement for 2016. Turns out that this clean power costs me only an extra nickel a day.

In 2016, I used a total of 2,378 kWh -- an average of 198 kWh per month. (The average residential use is 901 kWh/month.) Total cost = $408. To make it green, I paid an extra $19.01, which works out to $0.008/kWh -- an extra 4.9%. Or $0.052 per day.

A nickel a day. $1.59 per month. Which I can easily afford. Who couldn't?

PGE said my purchase of green electricity saved 3,755 lbs of CO2 emissions -- 1.71 metric tons, when the average US per capita emissions is now 16.9 tonnes.

And that this was equivalent to not driving 4,190 miles. (So they're assuming 0.41 kg of CO2 emitted per mile.)

I drove 6,743 miles in 2016 (I keep track for tax purposes, and also personal interest). Avg = 27 mpg. Much of it up to Portland for lacrosse games, volleyball games, soccer games and swim meets. Hey, I'm a great uncle.

I'm also now buying green offsets for my natural gas usage, but I don't have much data yet to report.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reagan on Scientific Research

"The remarkable thing is that although basic research does not begin with a particular practical goal, when you look at the results over the years, it ends up being one of the most practical things government does."

-- Ronald Reagan, Radio Address to the Nation, April 2, 1988

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New Study: Sea level Rise is Accelerating

Sea level rise is up 25% since the 1990s, according to a new paper in GRL, mostly due to melting in Greenland. From an AGU blog:

http://blogs.agu.org/geospace/2017/04/26/sea-level-rising-faster-now-1990s-new-study-shows

From the paper's abstract:
The new GMSL [Global Mean Sea Level] rate over January 1993 to December 2015 is now close to 3.0 mm/yr. An important increase of the GMSL rate, of 0.8 mm/yr, is found during the second half of the altimetry era (2004–2015) compared to the 1993–2004 time span, mostly due to Greenland mass loss increase and also to slight increase of all other components of the budget.
Here is their final result, after all bias corrections:


which clearly is increasing faster than linear. The paper doesn't actually give a value for the acceleration -- it obviously depends on the times chosen -- but I'll try to estimate it. 

They write, "The EM [Ensemble Mean] GMSL rate is significantly lower during the first period compared to the second one (2.7 ± 0.2 mm/yr versus 3.5 ± 0.15 mm/yr)...." 

The two observation periods are Jan1993-Dec2004 and Jan2004-Dec2015 (yes, there's a slight overlap; I don't yet know why). Their midpoints differ by 11 years, so the acceleration is about


where "SLR" is Sea Level Rise. This is about what I get from fitting the Aviso-only data to a quadratic, as I did here, which now comes to 0.06 mm/yr2.

--

Added 4:40 pm -- I went ahead and calculated the uncertainty for this acceleration, given the uncertainties in the paper (which are only 1-sigma). The 2-sigma error for the acceleration is quite high, 0.27 mm/yr2

It's high mostly because the error on the first interval's SLR is high, 13% -- and that's only 1-sigma. I have to read more to figure out why.

Remember, this paper is based only on the 23 years of satellite data.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Best #MarchforScience Posters and Signs

I'll keep this post pinned at the top for awhile as I find more and add them. Suggestions welcome.






















































Media preview



Media preview