Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tomorrow's Celebration of America's First Refugee Problem

“Every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they are the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans, or the Haitians. And those fears have been broadly unfounded. In fact, there was only one time in American history where the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true, and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday.”

-- John Oliver

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Effective National Populations, Carbon-wise

Here are the effective national populations of the 10 largest CO2 emitters, in terms of their 2012 carbon footprint (fossil fuel CO2 only):

CO2 is the last year for which there is good data. Data via WRI CAIT.

Monday, November 23, 2015

El Nino Surpasses 1997-98

This year's El Nino is still going strong, and, at least in terms of the temperature anomaly of the commonly cited Nino3.4 area in the equatorial Pacific ocean, has surpassed the 1997-98 El Nino:

The Australian Government Bureau of Meterology thinks sea surface temperatures are "approaching their peak, and will decrease in the first quarter of 2016."

They add that the impact on surface temperatures will continue for many months, "With such warm SSTs, models suggest the tropical Pacific is unlikely to return to neutral until at least autumn 2016, although impacts on Australian climate are likely to decline prior to this."

NOAA SSTs are already on a remarkable run where every month since February has been the warmest such month in their records. This year, together with late last year, has seen a surge of about 20 years-worth of the "normal" AGW SST-trend:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Just Because it is Beautiful

The "Blue Dragon," a sea slug:

Most Laughable Graph of the Week

From NoTricksZone, where Pierre Gosselin writes, "The above chart, from, shows that the Arctic sea ice was in fact quite stable from 1979 to 2002, trending downward only slightly. Then from 2002 to 2007, a period of only 5 years, the sea ice saw almost all of its melting. Over the past 10 years, however, the Arctic sea ice has been stable, even growing some over the past 6 years."
Arctic Sea Ice_2015
Reminds me of Skeptical Science's escalator graph.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

James Inhofe's Personal Legislation

From Gail Collins in the NY Times, something you might not know about James Inhofe:
It’s easy to understand why pilots want to stay aloft. I’ve enjoyed every non-campaign-related private flight I’ve ever taken, including in the two-seater owned by an environmentalist who once flew me over a lake full of pig feces that had been treated with chemicals that turned it the color of Pepto-Bismol.

However, I think I speak for most of America when I say that we ought to continue being a little picky about the people we let up there.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, is a very enthusiastic 81-year-old pilot who starred in an exciting airborne adventure about five years ago, when he landed his Cessna at an airport in Texas despite A) The large “X” on the runway, indicating it was closed, and B) The construction crew working on said runway, which ran for their lives when he dropped in.

As a result, the senator had to take part in a remedial training program. This irritated him so much that he successfully sponsored the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which makes it easier to appeal that kind of harsh, unforgiving judgment.

The Senate commerce committee is now considering Inhofe’s P.B.R. 2, which would eliminate the current medical exam requirement. Instead, pilots would just write a note in their log every four years saying they’d been to a physician who said everything’s fine. The bill has 69 sponsors.
If only James Inhofe were a hoax.

NOAA Should Submit Their Emails to Lamar Smith

I'm a little surprised I've come to this decision, but I think NOAA should give Lamar Smith the emails he is asking for.

I say that being fully aware that the usual scoundrels will pick over them like vultures, looking for any sentence or phrase they think they make hay with, regardless of its context. It happened in Climategate I and II -- and what I wrote here was certainly off-base and wrong -- and it will happen here. It's likely the primary goal of Smith and the think tank people who are surely urging him on.

There's no doubt that NASA is an agency of the executive branch, subject to Congressional oversight. That includes what's on their hard drives and in their emails, even though I'm sure such scrutiny as this will only drive people to stop using email, or use private email instead.

Congress, of course, won't dare allow anyone to look at its emails. (Gee, I wonder why?) So we can't see what is being suggested to Lamar Smith's staff. Shame.

If I worked for NOAA I would resist anyone reading my emails. I might even leave over it, if that was a possibility, and I might not go quietly. Scientists, like many others, need private correspondence to talk, hash out ideas, question ideas, question calculations, entertain hypotheses and question data. That's why science attains the amazing successes it does.

So what Lamar Smith is doing is killing the scientific process, killing the scientific enterprise that has benefited Americans and the world so much. That should be pointed out again and again.

Smith hasn't even given any indication that he or his staff have read the paper by Karl et al (and the one of revisions to ERSST v3 before them), and why that information and data doens't answer their questions. What about these papers do Smith et al find incomplete or not adequately explained?

This clearly shows, I think, that their focus is certainly not on the science.

Smith should be thanking these scientists for all their work on this huge problem of manmade climate change.

I doubt Lamar Smith can recognize that, and I doubt he cares anyway. I think Lamar Smith is craven and just wants to make his oil and gas friends happy, and the think tank people urging him on just want to make their own fossil fuel funders happy.

They don't care about science. It's all politics to them. To be blunt, I don't know how they live with themselves. I really don't.

But Lamar Smith, or Marc Morano or Chris Horner can't stop the greenhouse effect. They can't stop the warming that will only continue in the future. But they can harm a lot of people in the process -- both the scientists and the scientific process, and especially the people who are and will continue to suffer from climate change.

Of course, they couldn't care less about these people.

But, regardless of the consequences and repercussions, NOAA is subject to Congressional oversight. I am glad they are making a stink about it. But it seems to me the law is clear. And it's a law that needs to change, if scientists (and others) are to properly do their jobs. Everyone needs some privacy, some room to think and noodle and kvetch.

Like the AEI before him, Lamar Smith is driving science underground. And that means less of it, just at the time when even more is needed.

Profit and Power from Global Warming

Via The Guardian.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chinese Workers Hauling Coal

I came across this striking photograph in "King Coal and the queen of subsidies," by Ottmar Edenhofer, Science vol 349 issue 6254, 9/18/15.

More Big Gains in Ocean Heat Content Just Posted

NOAA just released the 3Q15 numbers for ocean heat content*, and they are again huge.

In the last 12 months, the 0-700 m region of the ocean has gained 1.5 W/m2 of heat**, and the 0-2000 m region 1.7 W/m2.

That's a gain of 25 ZJ (zettajoules) for the 0-700 m region, and 28 ZJ for the 0-2000 m region. (By way of contrast, "...mankind generates 0.5 zetajoules of energy every year in its power stations.")

Or, if you prefer, 780 trillion Watts and 870 trillion Watts, respectively.

The graph above shows that the heat gain (a very good approximate to global warming) is obviously accelerationg; calculated from a 2nd-order polynomial fit to the top half of the ocean***, the acceleration remains at 0.10 W/m2/yr for the 0-2000 m region****.

An acceleration of 0.10 W/m2/yr sounds large to me -- what forcings are, in total, increasing at that rate? -- but that's what the data says.

* NOAA ocean heat content data: 0-700 m, 0-2000 m.

** The area used here is that of the entire Earth, since about 93% of the GHG-trapped heat goes into the ocean.

*** Yes, heat may be increasing, or decreasing, below 2000 meters. I'm aware of this paper, which finds a small increase of 0.05 W/m2 for the region below 3000 m for the 1990s and 2000s. If you know of additional studies on the deep ocean, I'd appreciate if you left them in a comment.

**** The basic statistical error bar here (two-sigma) is ±0.03 W/m2/yr. I don't know how to include autocorrelation in a 2nd-order polynomial fit. If you can help me out with that, let me know. Thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

GISS Posts First Ever Global Anomaly Above 1⁰C

NASA GISS just posted a record high monthly global temperture anomaly for October: 1.04°C.

That smashes the old record of 0.97°C from January 2007.

Both are relative to the baseline of 1951-1980.

Year-to-date, 2015 is 0.08°C warmer than the previous record last year. 2015 will definitely be the warmest year in the records, unless a significant asteroid or comet strikes Earth, or nuclear war breaks out -- it only needs an average anomaly of 0.35°C for November and December to break the old record.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

From the Stupid to the Revolting

What's becoming clear, I think, as time goes by, is that climate denialism has not just lost the science -- obviously -- but can't compete on the moral plane, either.

You might, if you were a thoughtful person in command of the science and the facts, be able to make a moral argument that the world's best future requires a smooth and slow transition from fossil fuels to a noncarbon economy. It would, of course, mean acknowledging the science of AGW, and the consequences, but arguing intelligently and compassionatley that the poor, particularly, deserve fossil fuels to reach a potential of something the West's, and that the world will need to adapt -- intelligently but at cost and at an unavoidable loss -- towards such a future.

Maybe that's wrong, maybe it's not. But a thinking and caring person could think hard about it.

But what seems ever more apparent is that none of the climate deniers are capable of thinking on that level. It's just not in their makeup.

And I think this has never been more apparent than with the ugliness that's appeared in the last 24 hours since the massacres in Paris.

Decent people have the courtesy to let the blood dry on the street before their political attacks. Decent people.

But climate denialists are proving, again, they simply are not decent people.

The first one I noticed was Joe Bastardi, who, as we've seen, is not the brightest bulb on the tree. Big Big Joe couldn't wait to exploit this horrendous tragedy -- remember, France's population is about 65 million, so the equivalent scale of 128 dead would be an unthinkable 630 deaths in the U.S. -- for his own particular purposes:
As if this wasn't bad enough. Bastardi kept going:
Of course, Marc Morano had to spray his scent around:

Frank Bruni at the New York Times found this offensive piece by Roger J. Simon:
Well, apparently President Obama’s justly profound concern about rising temperatures is proof of his inadequate attention to terrorism and an indictment of his ability to do triage overall.

Or so I gather from a column written by Roger L. Simon for PJ Media. Simon characterized Obama as “a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror.”

Does battling the latter prohibit battling the former?
Besides the basic lack of respect for the dead and injured, and those grieving and afraid in Paris, all these people seemed to forget that the August 2003 heat wave in France left 15,000 dead there, and 70,000 in Europe, perhaps 80,000.

Those deaths didn't come with bangs, sirens, and blood on the streets, but they were deaths and suffering nonetheless, and they do not deserve to be overlooked and forgotten.

Of course, Anthony Watts couldn't help but show his true colors -- has he ever? -- as Sou wrote about here.

It's worth remembering Watts' post about Typhoon Haiyan -- "Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – another overhyped storm that didn’t match early reports" -- that killed at least 6300 people. Ever classy, Watts is.

But these people are amateurs compared to Roy Spencer, the research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville who is perhaps the leading climate change denialist today. Spencer also likes to claim he is Christian -- but see if you can tell that from what he wrote on his Facebook page just 12 hours after the bloodshed in Paris:

"Fix the weather, and terrorism will go away." Revolting.

"Yes, all of the world’s politicians who have supported a COP21 agreement should still plan on attending. And they should reach out to ISIS to join them in building a better world…a world without droughts." What can you even say to a man who would write something like this -- such a disrespectful man, such a small man?


Deniers are fond of complaining that the word "denier" unfairly compares them to Holocaust deniers. I've never thought that -- the word "denier" was a perfectly good word in the English language before the Holocause, with a particular meaning, and that meaning still exists today.

But after seeing the depths to which some climate deniers have sunk here, and so quickly, I'm left wondering if perhaps their analogy to Holocaust deniers is not so far off after all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

large earthquake offshore of Chile

There's been a very large earthquake off the coast of Chile....

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 2015-11-11 02:46:19 (M6.8) OFFSHORE COQUIMBO, CHILE -29.5 -72.2 (2b02a)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2015 03:05:52 +0000
From: USGS ENS <>

Globe with Earthquake Location


Preliminary Earthquake Report
Magnitude 6.8
  • 11 Nov 2015 02:46:19 UTC
  • 10 Nov 2015 21:46:19 near epicenter
  • 10 Nov 2015 18:46:19 standard time in your timezone
Location 29.485S 72.192W
Depth 10 km
  • 97 km (60 mi) WNW of Coquimbo, Chile
  • 102 km (63 mi) WNW of La Serena, Chile
  • 155 km (96 mi) WNW of Vicuna, Chile
  • 156 km (96 mi) NW of Ovalle, Chile
  • 464 km (287 mi) NNW of Santiago, Chile
Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 5.1 km; Vertical 1.8 km
Parameters Nph = 98; Dmin = 104.4 km; Rmss = 1.59 seconds; Gp = 69°
Version =
Event ID us 10003x9g

For updates, maps, and technical information, see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program


Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dumbest Headline in Awhile

From the Christian Science Monitor, November 1st:

Writers or editors who think global warming can end just like that don't understand the first thing about it.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Legal Action Over Climate Change Denial Is Here

In 2005 I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, and he said

Today in the New York Times:

Image result for exxonmobil global warmingNo, this doesn't mean climate deniers will be rounded up and jailed (though you can be sure they'll try to play the victim), just as no blogger today is being jailed for writing that nicotine isn't addictive or that smoking doesn't harm health. Bloggers and writers are small potatoes in the big picture.
But one of the world's largest and richest corporations? That's different. For one thing, corporations have responsibilities to their investors that deniers do not have to their readers. And ExxonMobil is selling a product whose harms they have not disclosed, even though they knew otherwise and used that knowledge in their internal business decisions. Bloggers and other deniers aren't selling such a product -- just words that only poison minds. 

Should be fun to see what the investigation reveals about the Heartland Institute, Willie Soon, and possibly others.

ExxonMobile's stock price dropped 1.4% today.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Coastal West Antarctic Gaining Snow Mass

Along side the recent paper by Zwally et al at NASA that finds the Antarctic continent is gaining ice (see here for some other opinions), a paper by Thomas et al just published in Geophysical Research Letters (here's the press release; the paper is open access) finds that snow accululation in the West Antarctic rose 30 percent during 20th century. And the same goes for the last 30 years -- an additional 5 meters, on average.
The last three decades saw more snow build up on the ice sheet than at any other time in the last 300 years.... Annual snow accumulation increased in the early 20th century, rising 30 percent between 1900 and 2010 and the researchers found that in the last 30 years of the study, the ice sheet gained nearly 5 meters (16 feet) more water than it did during the first 30 years of the studied time period.
From the paper:

So what's going on? Here's the paper's lead author, Liz Thomas at British Antarctic Survey:
Thomas attributes the higher annual snow accumulation over the last 30 years in part to an intensification of a regional low pressure system and more storms in the region. These storms could increase as a result of climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation.

Thomas says: “In this region, the same storms that have driven increased snowfall inland have brought warmer ocean currents into contact with West Antarctic’s ice shelves, resulting in rapid thinning. Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet, but is in fact another symptom of the changes that are driving contemporary ice sheet loss.
The results come from two ice cores from Ellsworth Land, the strip of land that connects the Antarctic Peninsula to the rest of the continent.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

On the Hiatus in Satellite Temperatures

Carl Mears, of the RSS satellite group, Sept 2014:
"Does this slow-down in the warming mean that the idea of anthropogenic global warming is no longer valid?  The short answer is ‘no’.  The denialists like to assume that the cause for the model/observation discrepancy is some kind of problem with the fundamental model physics, and they pooh-pooh any other sort of explanation.  This leads them to conclude, very likely erroneously, that the long-term sensitivity of the climate is much less than is currently thought.

"The truth is that there are lots of causes besides errors in the fundamental model physics that could lead to the model/observation discrepancy.  I summarize a number of these possible causes below.  Without convincing evidence of model physics flaws (and I haven’t seen any), I would say that the possible causes described below need to be investigated and ruled out before we can pin the blame on fundamental modelling errors."