Friday, July 30, 2021

Email Notifications Going Away?

I received this notification from Blogger:

I honestly don't know much about this.... I guess some of your are getting a notification about new posts to this blog via email via this Feedburner? Now it's going away I guess.

I don't know how to fix that, I'm sorry.

But this blog must have an RSS feed (?), so hopefully you can get an email notification via that. I really don't understand RSS, so I'm sorry, I can't help you. But I hope you keep reading somehow....

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Steven Weinberg 1933-2021

Word is that the amazing physicist Steven Weinberg passed away yesterday at the age of 88. 

Peter Woit has more.

Weinberg was a giant in the field of theoretical physics, making fundamental contributions in unifying the weak and electromagnetic interactions. He also wrote a few textbooks, one, on general relativity and cosmology, which I once learned a lot from, and still look in occasionally to verify something. (It's rather dated now.) During graduate school I went into Manhattan with a couple of friends to see him speak, probably it was at Columbia University, but I don't remember what he talked about now. We just wanted to see Weinberg. 

Notably, Weinberg left Harvard in 1982 to go to the University of Texas at Austin. He must have gotten a very good deal, because it wasn't the kind of move you typically saw then, leaving such a prestigious university to go out west to a state school. 

Weinberg is well known for a quote from his very popular book The First Three Minutes about the Big Bang:

“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”


Friday, July 23, 2021

Summary Judgment for CEI In Michael Mann Defamation Suit

Haven't digested this yet and won't get to it until later, but I'll put this here now. Comments welcome. DC Court Grants Summary Judgment for CEI In Michael Mann Defamation Suit

Trailer for "Dune" Remake

Here's the trailer for the remake of Dune. Looks really good. I wasn't into sci-fi when the book came out, although I bought it and had it on my bookshelf for years -- it's either permanently in some box, now too smelly to read, or I donated it before some move or another. And I just could never get into the original movie by David Lynch, though I tried more than once. But this looks like it has potential. In theatres and on HBO Max in the US October 22nd.

There was an earlier trailer last September:


Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Fires in Siberia

One million hectares = 2.47 million acres = 3,861 sq miles = (62 miles)2.

By contrast Oregon has so far lost about 400,000 acres to fires this year. And yet it's already the 4th-worst year on record.

Cloud Feedback Amplifies Global Warming, and a Few More Things

Just a few things I noticed today: 
  • "Invitation to ETI" is a Web site inviting extraterrestrial intelligence to establish communication with a group of 100 scientists: . Nothing yet but many hoaxes.
  • This is important and once more reinforces that the cloud feedback to climate change is positive, that is to say, causes more warming:
"Global satellite data shows clouds will amplify global heating," 7/19/21 

The paper is:

"Observational evidence that cloud feedback amplifies global warming," Paulo Ceppi and Peer Nowack, PNAS July 27, 2021 118 (30) e2026290118; 

from the abstract: 
"We show that global cloud feedback is dominated by the sensitivity of clouds to surface temperature and tropospheric stability. Considering changes in just these two factors, we are able to constrain global cloud feedback to 0.43 ± 0.35 W⋅m−2K−1 (90% confidence), implying a robustly amplifying effect of clouds on global warming and only a 0.5% chance of ECS below 2 K."
  • Finally:

Monday, July 19, 2021

'Freedom Day' for the Virus or for People?

Here's how COVID looks on England's "Freedom Day." Looks more like freedom for the virus instead of for the people. It's exerting its rights in the US as well, which aren't even spelled out in the Constitution! Who says freedom isn't free?

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Chuck Wiese Explains It All

Well, of course he doesn't, but he does try to explain the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave without, of course, invoking manmade climate change, which he doesn't buy, but it's a hilarious case of numerology, so let's have a laugh.

In this case, over on Ed Berry's blog Chuck pulls numbers in from all over the solar system to figure that Portland's monster hot day in 2021 of 116°F wasn't really any worse than previous high temperatures in 1965 and 1981, writing,

On August 8th, the total surface radiation is 2.0920000 x 10^7 Jm-2 and likewise, over a 14-hour solar day gives an average surface solar insolation of 415 Wm-2. The difference between these two numbers is substantial at a whopping 46 Wm-2!

But this difference is mitigated some due to the elliptical orbit of the earth around the sun which between June 27th and August 8th adds an additional 8 Wm-2 of solar insolation to TOA or 6 Wm-2 to the surface at the perpendicular angle to the atmosphere. With the noon solar angle of the sun calculated at 60.49 degrees above azimuth on August 8th, that reduces those values further at Portland’s latitude to 5.2 Wm-2, with the final difference in solar radiation being 40.8 Wm-2 further reduced to 36.72 Wm-2 with a surface emissivity of .9. This is still quite substantial.

If we divide this difference into the rate of change of flux with respect to temperature of 6.45 Wm-2K-1 given above, we get a surplus temperature of 5.69 deg C or 10.2 deg F compared to the earlier heatwaves of record on July 30, 1965, and on August 8h and 10th of 1981. Add this to these old records of 107 deg F and you get 117.2 deg F. That comes within 1.2 degF of what the new all-time high-temperature record is that was just set for Portland at 116 deg F yesterday.
Even though some of these numbers are given to only one significant figure, like 8 Wm-2, Chuck somehow comes up with a temperature good to four significant figures, 117.2 F.

But let's overlook that for a moment. While Chuck is carefully (kinda, sometimes, sort of, maybe, well not really) keeping track of forcings to an accuracy of 0.01 Wm-2, let's look at all the Wm-2 he's not keeping track of:
  • differences in CO2 concentrations above Portland itself, which he assumes are just the annual difference in the global number ("What about atmospheric CO2? In 1981, the Mauna Loa CO2 level was given as 341 ppmv whereas today it is 416 ppmv."), but of course we know it's much more complicated than that, varying by time of year, day of year, hour of the day, etc. A difference far larger than his 0.01 Wm-2, and even much higher than this.
  • What about the other greenhouse gases too -- methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, all the dozen other or so? Chuck says they don't matter, even 40 years later.
  • Any difference in total solar irradiance, where the Sun is in its solar cycle? Not according to Chuck.
  • What about pollution over Portland's temperature sensors, aerosols that can lead to cooling? Completely ignored.
  • The urban heat island effect? Has it increased in the decades since the earlier records in Portland? Not according to Chuck. Or perhaps he didn't even think about it.
  • Anything I haven't though of? Probably.
In other words, Chuck came up with an answer that was close enough for his purposes, and then ignored all other factors that might get in the way of the conclusion he wanted to reach, which was that global warming had nothing to do with Portland's heat wave -- a conclusion experts (which Chuck is most assuredly not) from World Weather Attribution have concluded.

Actually, this phenomenon, where scientists stop working on a problem when they reach the conclusion they had in mind, is a real, existing problem, for both theoreticians and experimentalists. It probably has a name, which philosophers and such might know about but scientists, who actually work in the field and are actually guilty of the problem, don't (as is usually the way). 

Except Chuck Wiese isn't a scientist, and never has been.

But here he's guilty of the problem nonetheless. Very guilty. 

Punishment: Read and work-through all of Pierrehumbert's textbook, or Dessler's, from cover to cover, to learn about all the many forcings. By the new year. Write a book report no shorter than 5,000 words. Publish on Ed Berry's blog.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

An Obviously False Claim from Cliff Mass

In his blog post supposedly showing that the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave had no relation to global warming, Cliff Mass displayed this chart of "Average number of days with temperatures above 99F in" Washington or Oregon and claims it has "no trend":

Yeah, right. Do you think maybe the rest of his post might suffer from such sloppy thinking? You have to wonder.

Gavin Schmidt caught Cliff on this on a comment on the RealClimate blog here. Tamino also gives it to Cliff here. After that Cliff gives up. Clearly there was some pretty sloppy thinking in his blog post.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

The Destruction of Lytton, British Columbia

Here's a overhead photograph of the destruction from the wildfire that swept through Lytton, British Columbia, Canada on June 30th, the day after it reached 49.6°C (121.3°F), the hottest temperature recorded in the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave. Almost like there was some cosmic plan. Via The Guardian.

What a lovely little town. Was.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

"Virtually Impossible Without Human-Caused Climate Change"

Here's the press release from World Weather Attribution about their study just out showing that the recent Pacific Northwest heat wave "was virtually impossible without human-caused climate change." 

There's a link to the study on that page as well.

Here's the NY Times article about it. 

They estimate this was about a 1 in 1,000 year event, but say it was so rare it's difficult to say for sure. 

This is where it gets interesting:

There are two possible sources of this extreme jump in peak temperatures. The first is that this is a very low probability event, even in the current climate which already includes about 1.2°C of global warming — the statistical equivalent of really bad luck, albeit aggravated by climate change. The second option is that nonlinear interactions in the climate have substantially increased the probability of such extreme heat, much beyond the gradual increase in heat extremes that has been observed up to now. We need to investigate the second possibility further, although we note the climate models do not show it. All numbers below assume that the heatwave was a very low probability event that was not caused by new nonlinearities.

[First, I wish scientists would stop using the word "nonlinear" when communicating with the public or journalists, because I wonder if either of them understands what it means. But that's a subject for another time.] 

The second possibility -- which I take to mean that the climate system may have passed some tipping point -- is most intriguing. Because if so, it means we don't know for sure what might be ahead. More events like the recent heat wave? Deep cold events? I don't know, heavier precipitation events, does anybody know? I think that's what's so worrisome, that this Pac NW event blew the records away by such large jumps it simply looks too strange and suspicious. 


Also, this heatwave was about 2°C hotter than it would have been if it had occurred at the beginning of the industrial revolution (when global mean temperatures were 1.2°C cooler than today).

That's 3.6°F, meaning 117°F would have been 113.4°F. Still pretty bad and still a record.

Looking into the future, in a world with 2°C of global warming (0.8°C warmer than today which at current emission levels would be reached as early as the 2040s), this event would have been another degree hotter. An event like this – currently estimated to occur only once every 1000 years, would occur roughly every 5 to 10 years in that future world with 2°C of global warming.

So 117°F would be 118.8°F. In the Pac NW. Every 5 to 10 years. Does this include the possibility such a heat wave might happen in Arizona or Saudi Arabia or India? What would be the maximum temperature there. Because that sounds scarier.