Sunday, September 29, 2013

Suing for Failure to Predict The Pause

enzo boschiThis week's Science magazine has a letter by Enzo Boschi, one of the Italien seismologists sentenced to imprisonment for failing to give adequate warning to the population of L’Aquila, Italy, about the risk of the April 6, 2009 earthquake (309 people died).

Boshi got 6 years. His letter is a cry for help, and it's hard not to feel sorry for the guy (and also, outraged in general at what Italy has done here). His letter ends:
The public prosecutor’s superficial interpretation of scientific results to bolster his argument sets a grave precedent for not only seismology but many other disciplines as well. Science is constantly evolving; research proceeds by trial and—as knowledge grows—error. When I wrote the “indicted” work, I was addressing my worldwide peers and awaiting their verification, as must be the way of all modern scientific research.

In publishing an official map, seismologists have doneall they currently can to protect society from earthquakes. I can hardly be blamed for the poor quality of buildings or forpeople’s failure to conform toanti-seismic laws—these are the responsibilities of other authorities. The local CPA is responsible for accurate communication of risk and effective management of emergency situations. I did not disseminate false or imprudent information. My question is: What could I do to avoid conviction? I suppose Ishould have foreseen the earthquake!
The LA Times covers it here.... Let's hope it doesn't set a precedent, but if it does and this is how the game is going to be played, what would stop a company or industry who has been subjected to greenhouse gas regulations from suing the IPCC or GISS or James Hansen or someone/anyone for failing to, say, predict The Pause, claiming their bottom line suffered for a problem that isn't happening as predicted?

Crazy enough to happen, particularly in today's America?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Boehner: Let Them Eat Coal

Nice: with the U.S. government on the verge of a shutdown, John Boehner decided to spend his time last night having dinner with...coal executives. Politico:
SPOTTED, last night at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.: Speaker Boehner, speaking at The Rodeo, a dinner with coal producers, hosted by CSX, that is a 92-year-old tradition. After a Playbooker SPOTTED the Speaker, his office told us: “To honor a previous commitment, the Speaker flew up, gave remarks, and immediately came back to Washington.”
Priorities.... Sarte wrote, "Only actions determine intentions."

Friday, September 27, 2013

"We don't insist that fire trucks cost less than a chevy"

A great comment in the NY Times by Hugh01890:
It continues to baffle me why we so often insist that the solution to climate change must be less expensive than burning carbon. If sustainable energy costs more, then so be it. Work on reducing the costs, but please don't wait for the magic bullet of a technology that is sustainable AND cheaper than our current destructive practices. We don't insist that fire trucks cost less than a chevy.
By the same token, we don't say "I'm not going to eat fruits and vegetables until they're cheaper than a Big Mac."

This Just In....

From the Tulsa World:
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said Friday that he is unmoved by a scientific report that experts in the field are increasingly certain of global warming and increasingly convinced it is the result of human activity....

In anticipation of the report, Inhofe filed legislation Thursday that would bar the United States from participating in international climate negotiations unless the panel's report is amended to say it's findings are "unproven scientific theory."
James Inhofe fingers Al Gore
In further remarks, Senator Inhofe said he will also file legislation requiring that U.S. police departments may arrest someone only when it is admitted that fingerprints are no basis for unique identification, that doctors may only operate on injured patients after they admit that X-rays are not a reliable indicator of the human skeleton, and that personally he will not balance his checkbook until mathematicians admit that the laws of arithmetic have no proven basis in logic.

Perfect for This 5AR Day

Liberated Carbon, by Andrew Revkin.

The album is here, and a live version (with the lyrics) here.

The Most Important Paragraph in Today's 5AR SPM?

Perhaps the most important change in today's IPCC 5AR WG1 Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is a single paragraph on geoengineering:
Methods that aim to deliberately alter the climate system to counter climate change, termed geoengineering, have been proposed. Limited evidence precludes a comprehensive quantitative assessment of both Solar Radiation Management (SRM) and Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) and their impact on the climate system. CDR methods have biogeochemical and technological limitations to their potential on a global scale. There is insufficient knowledge to quantify how much CO2 emissions could be partially offset by CDR on a century timescale. Modelling indicates that SRM methods, if realizable, have the potential to substantially offset a global temperature rise, but they would also modify the global water cycle, and would not reduce ocean acidification. If SRM were terminated for any reason, there is high confidence that global surface temperatures would rise very rapidly to values consistent with the greenhouse gas forcing. CDR and SRM methods carry side effects and long-term consequences on a global scale. {6.5, 7.7} 
I believe this is the first time any mention of geoengineering has appeared in an IPCC report.... It seems mostly an accurate and not surprising summary of the state of knowledge of geoengineering, though Ken Caldiera has already pointed out on the geoengineering discussion list that the word "suddenly" was left out of the penultimate sentence, i.e "If SRM were suddenly terminated for any reason...."

That's significantly different from what New Scientist reported a few days ago:
Global warming is irreversible without massive geoengineering of the atmosphere's chemistry. This stark warning comes from the draft summary of the latest climate assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
so we'll see what the full WG1 says.

But just the fact that this paragraph is there in the SPM seems important -- almost like it's a placeholder for what's going to come in the 6AR (if there is such a thing) or future reports from the IPCC. Like it's setting the table.... The Guardian reported several days ago that
Russia is pushing for next week's landmark UN climate science report to include support for controversial technologies to geoengineer the planet's climate, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.
though they may have a conflict between this and the economic opportunities they see opening up from climate change (especially, of course, oil and gas drilling in the Arctic).

Ten years from now the only real argument left may be whether it's wise to finally begin geoengineering, since we seem unable to do anything else about climate change.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"In a Befogged Stupor, Doing Nothing"

Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post, comparing climate science and claims of lingering uncertainties about the JFK assassination:
The elusive nature of reality is seen in climate science as well. The eternal quest for “consensus” isn’t really how science works, because scientists tend to be wary of absolutes and consider most knowledge to be provisional. We can be certain that we’ll always have to cope with some level of uncertainty. But that’s no reason to sit around in a befogged stupor, doing nothing.
Also at WaPo, Brad Plumer has a preview of tomorrow's 5AR.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Google's Abuses Oregon -- Again

Last year Google had $10.7 billion in profits.

Yet Oregon officials just granted them another package of tax exemptions for a new data center.

What did Oregon get? Just 10 jobs:
The "enterprise zone" deal, first outlined last week, exempts the new building and the equipment inside from property taxes. That would save Google tens of millions of dollars, and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars, over the 15-year life of the deal.

In exchange, Google pledged to invest at least $200 million in the new data center and add at least 10 more jobs to a work force that already numbers around 150. The actual totals are likely to be somewhat higher, given the size and staffing needs of Google's current facilities. The company has spent at least $700 million in The Dalles since 2006.
But hey, if it's good for Google's bottom line, just shut up and bend over.

Billionaires get all the breaks.

National Geographic and Sea Level Rise

I am too busy, and too sick, to blog much recently. But I did want to mention the September issue of National Geographic, which has a very good article on sea level rise. (Miami is toast; even seawalls won't help, because the land sits on porous rock. Water already shoots out of their manholes at very high tides.)

One interesting number was that the total amount of water in all living organisms (on Earth) is 269 cubic miles. Cubic miles.

If I calculated correctly, that works out to 2.2 millimeters if spread across the entire surface of the planet. Just enough to keep the surface wet -- about like Oregon 8 months of the year

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What 95% certainty of warming means to scientists

The AP's Seth Borenstein:
Top scientists from a variety of fields say they are about as certain that global warming is a real, man-made threat as they are that cigarettes kill.

"They are as sure about climate change as they are about the age of the universe. They say they are more certain about climate change than they are that vitamins make you healthy or that dioxin in Superfund sites is dangerous."

Freeman Dyson explained.... a cartoon at Idiot Tracker, too direct honest iconoclastic impious heretical cheeky to be reproduced here.

Check it out.

Update: Speaking of Freeman Dyson, there is celebration of his 90th birthday this weekend in Princeton. Ashutosh Jogalekar writes at
Over the past few years Dyson has become much more well-known in the public eye for his skepticism regarding climate change, a view made popular in a lengthy 2009 New York Times magazine profile. This was always unfortunate. Both his views and the article were blown out of proportion. In reality, as can be readily judged when you talk to him, Dyson’s opinion of climate change is mildly proffered, moderate to a fault and in the best tradition of the same skepticism that has guided science since its inception. He disapproves of faith in computer models and of the zealous dogmatism exhibited by some climate change activists, and both these points are extremely well taken. Ultimately Dyson is saying something simple; that science progresses only when there is a critical mass of skeptics challenging the status quo. It’s not about whether the skeptics are right or wrong, it’s about whether their voices are drowned out by the consensus.
Of course, climate scientists have hardly a mutual admiration society where they just sit back and accept whatever another of them puts out -- they constantly challenge each other's ideas. And some "skeptics" are not making good faith efforts at challenging the status quo, and their voices deserve to be drowned out.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Dog Having Fun

Mustache vs. Science

David McKinley (R-W. Va.) needs to spend less time grooming his mustache and more time studying science:

But here’s the reality of temperature changes over the last 40 years… Actually we can say over 40 years there’s been almost no increase in temperature – very slight – in fact […] even with increased greenhouse CO2 level emissions, the Arctic ice has actually increased by 60 percent. Also that the Antarctica is also expanding… most experts believe by 2083, in 70 years, the benefits of climate change will still outweigh the harm.
So many falsehoods in so few sentences.

Wouldn't you just love to get 10 minutes alone in a quiet room with McKinley?

Norway Quits CCS Project

This could be a harbinger: Norway has decided to drop its Mongstad carbon capture demonstration plant, saying it was more difficult and costly than expected.

It had planned to capture up to 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year from an oil refinery and gas plant and store it underground. They spent $880 million on the project.

Last year the BBC wrote:
To meet the internationally agreed target of keeping the temperature rise since pre-industrial times below 2C (3.6F), the IEA calculates there should be about 1,500 full-scale CCS plants in operation by 2035.

Currently, there are just eight.
Norway seemed like the country most committed to making carbon capture and storage (CCS) work [perhaps because they felt so guilty about selling so much North Sea oil and getting rich off it]. They still have a CCS demonstration plant at the Sleipner gas field offshore, also using amine technology, with the CO2 there sent back into the gas reservoir.

Norway has the 3rd-largest per capita GDP in the world, but oil and gas revenues make up 20% of their GDP and they are staring down the wrong side of the Hubbert curve, which can't be a comfortable feeling:

File:Oil production Norwegian North Sea.PNG

Saturday, September 21, 2013


"Our war has just begin.
If you can fight, fight.
Be prepared for anything."

   -- closing lines from World War Z

(not nearly as bad a movie as I had heard.)  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Useful Paper on One Model's Results

There is an interesting and readable modeling preprint by Ron L. Miller of GISS and a large group of collaborators, titled CMIP5 historical simulations (1850-2012) with GISS ModelE2.

They lay out the state-of-the-art of their model in detail, and it gives a good introduction to how they handle various parts of the climate system -- atmosphere (interactive or noninteractive), ocean, GHGs, aerosols, solar irradiance, volcanoes, etc -- and how the different pieces compare.

They end up with 6 different versions of their GISS E2 model, which are all the pairings of 3 different atmospheric models (distinguished by their treatment of atmospheric composition and the aerosol indirect effect) with 2 ocean models.

There are a lot of interesting results that show their model's strengths and weaknesses. Here, for example, are the results for their six versions for the surface air temperature for a historical reconstruction of the 1850-2012 period:

Here "R" and "H" represent their two different ocean models (the differences are subtle; see Section 2.2 of their paper), and "NINT," "TCAD," and "TCADI" are their atmospheric models, each with a different approach to determing atmospheric constituents (in short, whether some gases are specified or allowed to vary chemically, and how they handle the aerosol indirect effects).

That's a pretty good result for most permutations of their model, especially that which uses the "H" model of the ocean, and shows that they are "running hot" mostly only in the last decade or so, and begins to give a sense of why (based on the assumptions of the two different ocean models).

There are other interesting results, like a demonstration (yet again) that this period's climate cannot be explained by natural forcings alone, but can by including anthropogenic factors:

They have all kinds of other interesting results, like this for ocean heat content:

and this for polar sea ice:

so, perhaps not surprisingly, the Antarctic is tricky to capture; and finally, this table for observed and modeled atmospheric temperature trends from 1979 to 2005:

In a next paper (Nazarenko et al.), they use their model to project into the future:

The RCPs are the Representative Concentration Pathways that the IPCC is using now; Figure 2 in Nazarenko et al. give the GHG mixing ratios out to the year 2500 -- if someone put a gun to my head and made me pick just one RCP as most likely (and these days in America you never know), I'd probably go with RCP6.0 (the "6.0" means a radiative forcing of 6.0 W/m2 in the year 2100); it has an atmospheric CO2e level of about 725 ppm at the end of the century.

To the extent that this group's E2 model seems to work best with the "R" model of the ocean, RCP6.0 would imply a surface temperature about 2.0 to 2.5°C above the 1951-1980 baseline (call it 2.25°C). That's the global average; if you use the observed regional ratios from, say, the 34 years of the UAH results for the lower troposphere, it would mean an increase of

global surface: 2.25°C  (4.1°F)
global land: 3.1°C  (5.5°F)
northern hemisphere land: 3.8°C  (6.9°F)
USA48: 4.0°C  (7.1°F)
North Pole: 7.4°C  (13.3°F)

Call it 1/3rd of an inverse ice age. In 150 years.

Anyway, these preprints, especially the first one, give a good little tutorial on what the models are trying to do, and how, and how well they can do it. There's lots to study there, and it answered some questions I've been carrying around.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Too good not to post:

arctic ice graph

From Skeptical Science, via Dot Earth.

Andrew Revkin writes:
"Without taking the long view you can end up in endless seesaw debates about what’s going on. (This goes for those who were tempted to overplay last year’s ice decline as indicating a catastrophic tipping point had been passed.)"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

"Scientists are a Skeptical Bunch"

John Abraham writes, in The Guardian, a quick but real truth:
"Scientists are a skeptical bunch. We never accept claims without evidence and we spend large parts of our careers trying to show that other scientist's claims are wrong. This self scrutiny is one of our best traits, and it is a major reason why science advances over time."
Anyone who has ever seriously studied science, and/or has seriously known a scientist, knows this is true.

Yet somehow many people, especially in America, believe the exact opposite.

No Results Not Confirmed By Theory

Worse Even Than the Heartland Billboards?

This is from The Daily Caller. A new low in the culture/climate debate?

The text is even worse:
A friend of Navy Yard shooting suspect Aaron Alexis said on CNN Tuesday that the alleged gunman was “more of a liberal type” who was happier with the Obama administration than with the Bush administration.

“Aaron wasn’t conservative like I am. He was more of a liberal type; he wasn’t happy with the former administration. He was more happy with this administration — as far as presidential administrations,” Alexis’ friend Michael Ritrovato said on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
That's right -- we now have the insinuation that those who are "liberal types," drive Priuses, and voted for Obama are somehow responsible for mass murder.

Sickening. Just sickening.

More on Lomborg's Faulty Understanding of the Basics

Here is an even better example of Lomborg's lack of an understanding (as I wrote about yesterday):

That is a pretty serious fail, not even of physics, but a basic understanding of the math and of what the anomaly numbers mean. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Does Bjorn Lomborg Understand Physics?

A telling sentence by Bjorn Lomborg makes me wonder if he really understands the science that he's pontificating about. On WUWT he wrote:
Over the past 30 years, they are at least predicting 71% too much heat. Maybe 159%. (see graph)
Without getting into the specific numbers, his use of the word "heat" is inappropriate at best, confusing at least, and and unscientific at worst.

Why? Because the Earth's surface is two-dimensional. As such, it can't hold any heat at all.

Even worse, "heat" isn't a property of a substance. You can't say "this ice cube holds X amount of heat." Heat is a change in energy -- it only makes sense when talking about an energy transfer. So you can say "this ice cube lost X amount of heat."

\frac{\partial u}{\partial t} - \alpha \nabla^2 u=0
heat equation
For this reason, "heat" is only a semi-useful concept and scientists (especially physicists) prefer to stay away from it when they can. Sure, everyone learns about Fourier's heat equation, and thermdynamics is rife with talk of heat, but you'll notice that when talking about, say, radiative transfer in the atmosphere, the ideas are formulated in terms of energy (photons) and not so much heat (energy changes). Heat is for engineers; physicists are about energy and energy changes.

For example, the ocean heat content data is only relative heat content, there is no absolute value of how much heat is in the ocean.

Back to the first point. Conceptionally, the surface is a 2-dimensional (and hence massless) field that (therefore) can't hold any heat at all. Here is what Roger Pielke Sr wrote in Physics Today in 2007:
" colleagues and I have shown that global average surface-temperature changes are not particularly useful for assessing the broad range of human influences on climate."
“Unlike temperature at some specific depth in the ocean or height in the atmosphere, where there is a time lag in the response to radiative forcing, no time lags are associated with heat changes, since the actual amount of heat present at any time is accounted for. Moreover, because the surface temperature is a massless two-dimensional global field while heat content involves mass, the use of surface temperature as a monitor of climate change is not accurate for evaluating heat storage changes. “
On his blog he wrote:
My recommendation is that the next IPCC assessment adopt these definitions for global warming and climate change.
and earlier this year he told me in an interview
“This means this heat is not being sampled by the global average surface temperature trend,” he says. “Since that metric is being used as the icon to report to policymakers on climate change, it illustrates a defect in using the two-dimensional field of surface temperature to diagnose global warming.”
Of course, the thermometer in your back yard is measuring something -- it's the temperature of the small parcel of air that surrounds your thermometer's bulb. More collectively, measurements of the surface temperature are of a very thin skin of air just above (within 2 meters or so) the planet's surface.

Here we have this big huge heat reservoir, the ocean, that is 3-dimensional (so it can hold heat) and relatively uniform (no cities that create urban heat islands), and instead of utilizing it for what it is we're trying to detect a global energy imbalance by measuring the heat in a teeny tiny sliver of gas, just because it's where we eat dinner.

Not very wise.

Of course, we live on the surface, not in the ocean, so we care about the heat content in that little sliver. But naturally it's going to be strongly influenced by whatever the big huge heat reservoir that surrounds us is doing (including its cycles), and it's warming very, very strongly.

There will come a time when the PDO is not it cool phase, and/or when an El Nino leads to a significant boost in surface temperatures, and you can be sure that deniers will be pointing this out as an excuse for temporarily higher temperatures. They will be, as the saying goes, hoist on their own petard.

I suspect then they will go back to claims that the surface record is unreliable, which worked for most of last decade. Suddenly, though, it seems reliable enough. (There will never be an end to denialism, ever, no matter how warm it gets.)

Lomborg's use of the word "heat" in this context is telling, and his (and other's) inability or unwillingness to look at the real metrics of global warming is seriously confusing the world.

If you're going to talk about "heat," then let's talk about all the heat, and not just a sliver of it.

Someone Forgot to Tell the Ocean About the Pause

From Scientific American: Virginia Mayors Plead for Help with Climate Change
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Weary of debating the causes of climate change, mayors and other elected officials of Virginia's battered coastal regions gathered here last week and agreed that local impacts have become serious enough to present a case for state action.

"We are here to ask for your assistance," said Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. "It's a threat we can no longer afford to ignore."

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Ocean Heat Data

NOAA just put up the global Ocean Heat Content data for the second quarter of 2013: 0-700 m region, 0-2000 m region.

The numbers are down slightly from the previous quarter (by 12.4 ZJ and 25.2 ZJ, respectively); on the other, the 1Q13 results were revised upward (by 8.4 ZJ and 10.9 ZJ respectively).

1 ZJ = 1 zettajoule = 1021 Joules = 15.9 million Hiros, where 1 Hiro = yield of Hiroshima bomb = 63 TJ = 63 terrajoules = 63 trillion Joules

These are cool units but a little ridiculous; for changes and trends it's easier to use terrawatts -- which is more prosaic since all of humanity's average energy consumption is about 15 TW (= 1 Civ) -- or Watts/square-meter, where you can divide by the total area of the ocean (361.8 Mkm2) or, since over 90% of the greenhouse-trapped heat goes into the ocean, by the total area of the Earth (510.1 Mkm2).

Then, the 12-month change in OHC is

0-700 m: 22.7 ZJ  <-->  718 TW = 48 Civ = 2.0 W/m2
0-2000 m: 24.4 ZJ  <-->  773 TW = 52 Civ = 2.1 W/m2

where I used the total ocean area. The 15-year trend for the 0-700 m region is 0.41 W/m2. There is only 8 years of quarterly data for the 0-2000 m region (roughly the top half of the ocean); it's trend over that time is 0.52 W/m2.

The 0-700 m region has warmed 37% more in the last 15 years than in the previous 15 years, which goes some way towards explaining The Pause.

Invariably someone will complain that these large heat changes represent a temperature change of only a small fraction of a degree Kelvin (via the definition of specific heat, ΔQ = mcΔT), to which the correct answer is, "yeah, so what, it's a big planet, we ought be measuring temperature in energy units anyway, as they are just related by a constant (Boltzmann's) that in a perfect world would have been set equal to one and done away with."

Here's a Proxy For You

WaPo: "Republicans worried about Cuccinelli’s prospects"

So Much for Accuracy

Oops, so much for accuracy...
Bjorn Lomborg's op-ed in the Washington Post writes "Gavin Smith"....

And, indeed, scientists don't attribute every extreme event to climate change -- see the recent report "Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective" in BAMS. And when/if they do, it's only in retrospect after some careful study....

But some people are always going to find it useful to (unjustifiably) allude otherwise....

Added: Even Climate Central goes there with the floods in Boulder:
It will take climate scientists many months to complete studies into whether manmade global warming made the Boulder flood more likely to occur, but the amount by which this event has exceeded past events suggests that manmade warming may have played some role by making the event worse than it would have otherwise been.
Is it really so tough to wait for the studies.... The BAMS report found no causative influence of climate change on last year's midwest drougth, except to the extent higher temperatures increased evaporation rates from reservoirs and soils:
"The implication is that human alteration of the atmospheric composition may have had little effect on the frequency of low-precipitation periods. This leads us to hypothesize that if there are consequential changes to the hydrological cycle driving extreme dryness at seasonal scales, they will not be to rates of input, but to rates of output, via evaporative demand with increased surface warming. However, a recent GCM-based study using improved land surface representation suggests the effects of warming on drought in the central United States will be modest (Hoerling et al. 2012a)."
These causations, or lack of them, are not obvious; it's not too much to ask that an outlet like Climate Centeral, purportedly devoted to accurate reporting of climate change, wait for the scientific studies to appear.

Friday, September 13, 2013

GISS: 5th-warmest August

GISS finds August was the 5th-warmest August in their records: +0.62°C, and the 57th-warmest overall (out of 1,604 months).

The Northern Hemisphere was 7th-warmest, and 120th-warmest overall.
The Southern Hemisphere was 5th-warmest, and 22nd-warmest overall.

The 30-year moving average for the globe is a record at 0.42°C.
The 30-year trend for the globe is 0.17 ± 0.02 °C/decade.
The 15-year trend for the globe is 0.09 ± 0.04 °C/decade.

This decade-to-date is +0.07 °C warmer than the last decade-to-date.
The 10-year change in the 10-year moving average for the globe is +0.14 °C.

Total warming since 1880:
globe: 0.88 °C
NH: 0.96 °C
SH: 0.79 °C

* all uncertainties are OLS-only, no autocorrelation.

Neil Young on Keystone XL

Neil Young, on the Keystone XL pipeline:
“Yeah it’s going to put a lot of people to work, I’ve heard that, and I’ve seen a lot of people that would dig a hole that’s so deep that they couldn’t get out of it, and that’s a job too, and I think that’s the jobs that we are talking about there with the Keystone pipeline."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Arctic sea ice: The Long View

Arctic sea ice extent will probably be the six-lowest in the modern records, the NSIDC's Mark Serreze told USA Today. "He adds that the seven summers with the lowest amount of ice have all been in the past seven years. 'The overall trend is downward, and it will continue to do so,' Serreze says.... 'The Arctic will be ice-free in the summer in a few decades,' Serreze says. 'All we'll have is winter ice.'"[*]

Here's the long-term view that shows how large this year's minimum is in comparision to the last 34 years. The daily anomaly is with respect to the entire record's daily average:

Data via JAXA.

* Cue up Serreze's earlier bad prognostication. Here responded to that here: “In hindsight, probably too much was read into 2007, and I would take some blame for that...There were so many of us that were astounded by what happened, and maybe we read too much into it.” But then, some people find it expedient to focus on a few bad predictions than the Arctic falling apart. Whether the ice vanishes for the next 220,000 years or the next 221,960 years doesn't matter much in the long view.

Bending over Backward to be Scientifically Conservative

Justin Gillis:
"Climate change skeptics often disparage these periodic reports from the United Nations, claiming that the panel writing them routinely stretches the boundaries of scientific evidence to make the problem look as dire as possible. So it is interesting to see that in these two important cases, the panel seems to be bending over backward to be scientifically conservative."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

UAH Has Set All Kinds of Records

UAH's temperature (anomaly) for the lower troposphere for August is +0.16°C. It is still the warmest 5-year period in their records.

And, just to demonstrate that any monkey can put up mindless and meaningless numerology, it is also the warmest 50-month period in their records, and the warmest 51-month period, and 52-months, 53, 56, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 143 months, 145, 146, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153, 154, 155, 156, and 157 months.

(After that I ran out of columns on my spreadsheet.)

That's right, this is the warmest 13.08-year period in UAH's history! (Don't ask about RSS's data -- they don't give the results I need in order to exert complete and utter control over the world's citizenry. So I am ignoring them.)

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Where the Warming Went

Detecting global warming by looking only at surface temperature is like checking a flu patient's fever by sticking a thermometer under his nose instead of in his mouth.

That's the message of this excellent Peter Sinclair video, via the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.

Josh Willis calls the ocean “our most accurate thermometer for measuring climate change.” [And bless him for saying, at another point, "the data is" rather than "the data are" -- a mistake I make all the time.]

Sometimes you see scoffers say something like "Where was all this talk about ocean heating before the pause?" And it's probably true that until this particular hiatus, everone was too dependent on the surface record. (In fact, I quoted Kevin Trenberth saying that in my own YFCCM article in May.)

But this is how science always works -- it explains what it can with what it has, and when new results come in that it cannot explain, it looks around and figures out why, and adds that knowledge to its arsenal (or works to develop a new theory that explains the new facts together with the old ones.) Here climate science is working exactly as science does -- it's found the new explanation, which is completely consistent with the existing explanation -- the enhanced greenhouse effect. Understanding grows.

By the way, remember all that scoffer talk from a few years ago about the quality of the surface record, that it couldn't be trusted and that the conclusion of warming based on it wasn't reliable? Funny how all that has gone away for now, isn't it? Now the data seems seem just fine to conclude there is a hiatus. Who know error bars could only point upward?

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Interesting Stuff

Coursea has two online courses about climate change this semester: Climate Change from the University of Melbourne and Climate Literacy: Navigating Climate Change Conversations from the University of British Columbia.

Last night's LADEE launch from an island off Virginia, as seen from Connecticut. Good PR, seeing a rocket go up like that -- NASA should do that more often.

1 baby in every 46 babies are born with a congenital anomaly, according to a British report. That's 2.2%, in England and Wales in 2011. Pretty good, considering the complexity of the product.

The world's shortest known abstract.

Friday, September 06, 2013


Pearl Jam with Neil Young - Rockin in the free world, Toronto 2011: