Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Arctic Sea Ice Extent, Compared

The Japanese group JAXA gives their daily Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) about 9:30 pm my time every night, so I can summarize their annual data for 2015:

This is How Denialism Ends, one Delingpole at a Time

The cracks appear now one-by-one, and there's no mistaking them.

They come faster than they used to -- one denier after another giving it up, acknowledging the warming that's taking place, and the role of humans in creating it.

Today's crack -- loud and sharp -- come from Breitbart, an extremely conservative site that I can't imagine any thinking person takes seriously as a source of news. (They banned me from commenting there long ago.) Today they have a story that reveals everything:

This is how denialism ends, friends. Exactly how.

They just admitted that global warming is happening. They just don't like what they assume is the solution.

Of course, no one likes to admit defeat. So they go out, naturally, in a fit of rage, spitting and sputtering, disparaging everyone, insulting all, hating even themselves -- because that's about all denialsim is anymore, rage, anger -- even though now they apparently accept the science. James Delingpole writes:
I’m proud to say that I come in at number 6 (though obviously I would have preferred higher) with my statement that alarmist climate scientists are “a bunch of talentless low lives who cannot be trusted.”

In retrospect I wish to apologise for that sentence.

What I really should have said is that these are a bunch of lying, cheating, scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, third-rate tosspots who don’t even deserve the name “scientists” because what they practise isn’t really science but data-fiddling, cherry-picking, grant-troughing, activism-driven propaganda. Posterity will grant them about as much respect as we now accord the 17th century quacks who bled their patients using leeches, or the early 20th century German scientists who helped Hitler compose his diatribe against the discredited Jewish science of Einstein, or the scientists who ganged up on Alfred Wegener for his novel – but correct – theories on continental drift. Really, if none of them ever published another paper in their lives and all their grant funding dried up at midnight tonight, the cause of climate science would not suffer one jot – and the world would become a much better (and richer) place.
A simple "I was wrong" is too humble for Delingpole, far too polite, far too decent.

Too introspective for a clown.

So let Delingpole whine. Let him bitch to his small heart's content. He's already ostracized himself to the stark edge. And we know about this clown. It's already been shown that Delingpole is a fool. He doesn't need to read scientific papers. Not that he could understand them anyway.

Not he's just fallen back to the question of solutions.

That's a huge setback for a denier like Delingpole to admit. Huge.

Hey, not all of us like the thought of global governance either.

Frankly, I'd prefer most of the decisions about me and my life be made right here in my own community, this block and a couple of nearby others in the neighborhood. Small is beautiful, and people want -- need -- to determine their lives on as local a scale as possible. We are dying for a lack of it, I think.

But small doens't meet the need of those how want to make an empire, who want power, who want to get rich from it, and it never will. This has been a problem for centuries, and will be so increasingly into the future, I think, with globalization. It will always be a fight. People work better, work more morally as individuals in small groups, where they know names and faces, not as nameless technocrats making decisions for hundreds of millions of people.

So then, Delingpole, let's see your solutions to global warming that accord with your ideology. If, as seems apparent, you now believe in global warming but don't like the solutions proferred on a global scale -- on the scale of Paris, even though the scale of this problem is certainly global -- then instead of denying the science, start proposing solutions to this problem that accord with your ideology and political desires.

Market based? Locally based? Describe them.

Because if you don't start soon, James -- very soon, like now -- you will get stuck with the solutions of others, those you disagree with, your ideological enemies, solutions forced on you by the majority that you twill have to live with.

That's the risk you've been taking now, Delingpole -- and you Watts, and Spencer, and Steyn -- and after Paris it's more clear than ever -- keep up your silliness, your blind, dumb denial, and get stuck with solutions you don't like.

It's about time Delingpole came to this position. Sure, it would take any extremist awhile to come here -- they're extremists, after all.

I still think Anthony Watts will apologize for his denialism before he dies. I do.

Mark Steyn will only if it gets him viewers or listeners or if it sells books. I don't think he has an honest, genuine bone in his body. And you can bet that, when/if he does admit to the science, he will find a way to blame the problem all on those godless liberals, because they didn't do something that would have led to a solution long ago. Watch for it.

Meanwhile, enjoy this quantum leap forward. But they do come. No one has been able to resist the power of science. Ever.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is Tanking....

So says the daily data from the NSIDC. Antarctic SIE is currently 16% below last year's value at this time -- a decline of 1.54 million square-kilometers. Likely a result of this big El Nino, I suspect.

Personally I find it more enlightening to look at the 365-day moving average, which is decreasing but still above its trendline


Friday, December 18, 2015

Even If Watts et al Claim is True, No Change in Global Trend

Even if the Watts et al unpublished claim is true -- that the trend for the continental USA is only 2/3rds of the current published value -- the chance on the global trend is miniscule.

I did a quick calculation. If the current USA48 trend is SUSA48, and the Watts et al claim is true that it is really (2/3)SUSA48, then the change in the global trend will be (weighting by areas)

where "ROW" = rest of world. So

where f is the ratio of the area of USA48 to the area of the globe (=1.6%). So

So the decrease in the global trend works out to be only -(f/3)*SoldUSA48 = -SoldUSA48/188.

NOAA's 30-yr trend ("old") for USA48 is +0.15 C/decade, so the change in global trend is in the fourth decimal place -- only -0.0008 C/decade -- and far below any error bars. Infinitesimal.

Greenland's Ice Mass Loss Rate Has Doubled in a Decade

From a Peter Sinclair video for Yale Climate Connections:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Warmest November Yet, 2nd-Warmest Month Ever

Both NASA GISS and NOAA have posted their November temperature anomalies in the last few days, and both are searing.

GISS found November to be +1.05°C above the 1951-1980 baseline period, and NOAA found it to be +0.97°C above their 1981-2010 baseline.

I should bring those to a common baseline. Maybe later.

Both are guaranteed to have 2015 as the warmest year in their records, unless a huge meteroid slams into Earth, like, tomorrow. (I  hope it's not before my flight home.) The GISS anomaly for December needs only to be greater than -0.38°C for 2015 to be a record, and NOAA needs it greater than -0.76°C. As my niece says, easy peasy.

Rapid warming reported in planet's lakes - Yale Climate Connections

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why the Claim of "No Warming in 18 Years" is a Blatant Cherry Pick

So by now everyone is used to the Mocktons of the World announcing, after each new month of satellite data on lower tropospheric temperatures, that there is an "18-year pause," plus-or-minus a few months. Ted Cruz even said so in his recent faux Senatorial hearing.

Wonder why they only cite the 18 year and a few months trend? Here's why:

Here I plot the amount of warming in the lower troposphere as a function of how far back you start looking -- what I call the "reverse total change."

So, for example, the temperature change for the lower troposphere over the last 30 years is, according to UAH version 6beta4 (their latest version), +0.31°C, with error bars of 0.06°C for the 5-95% confidence level (no autocorrelation).

Now you can can wee why they cite "18 years" or so -- it's a massive cherry pick. Picking a number longer than this and the amount of warming quickly rises. Pick a number shorter than this and it does too, though the error bars get big enough that a solid conclusion is not possible. (For example, you could try to say the LT pause is "14 years," but I can't imagine anyone claiming that 14 years is representative of just AGW and not natural variability. Though some probably try.)

Lesson: Picking the 1997-98 El Nino to start your trend isn't copacetic. One needs to account for natural variations (here, especially ENSOs) to pick out the anthropogenic signal.

I'm sure Ted Cruz couldn't care less -- he'd say whatever he needed to say to futher his agenda -- but the rest of us should.

Science versus Art

I saw this quote in a session here at AGU today:
"Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else."

-- Donald Knuth
Knuth is a famously creative and eccentric computer scientist who wrote the classic 4-volume book The Art of Computer Programming, and developed the TeX word processing program that makes manuscripts and their equations look elegant and pretty.

Don Wuebbles: Dangerous Climate Change is Already Here

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Onymous Guy: Diamonds - and CO2 - are forever II (wonkish and long)

The Onymous Guy - a learned friend here in Oregon -- has some great posts lately that I should have been mentioning. Including his latest:

Diamonds - and CO2 - are forever II (wonkish and long)

More glum news on Arctic warming

Watts and Appell Intersect

I don't have a lot of time to blog this week, but this is worth reading:

Jim Hansen pans COP21 'baloney' - Yale Climate Connections

After the Paris pact, thoughts on the Ted Cruz climate change hearing - The Washington Post

Friday, December 11, 2015

El Nino Seems to Have Peaked

This year's El Nino peaked in the last few weeks, slightly higher than the 1997-98 monster (which was once considered a monster).

The latest NOAA weekly status shows similar peaks for the other Nino indices, and says " NiƱo
3.4 will remain strong into early 2016."

El Ninos usually bring rain to southern California and dry conditions to the Pacific Northwest, but this year it looks upside down: California is still weeks away from receiving rain, while Oregon and Washington have been getting pounded this week with several inches of rain -- over 6 inches where I live -- and strong, blustery winds. It's led to lots of flooding and landslides -- one landslide closed down the northbound lanes of I-5 in southern Washington -- and even a tornado that damaged a few dozen homes.

I don't mind the nasty weather -- it's really the only interesting weather we get around these parts -- but then I work from home and haven't been flooded out or in a tornado's path.

The Farce of the Cruz Hearing

Ted Cruz's "hearing" on climate science, "Data or Dogma," was, of course, nothing but a farce.

Each of the "witnesses" who "testified" there knew that going in, and each of them is now partly responsible for perpetuating that farce.

Judith Curry wrote:
Senator Cruz seems very much into the Data, and generally knowledgable about the scientific process.  One of his staffers is an avid reader of CE, WUWT and apparently Steve Goddard’s blog.  
Again, a farce. How can people with scientific training pretend they didn't know what Cruz was up to, let alone aid him in that hustle?

The biggest farce was, of course, Mark Steyn, the male-gendered Ann Coulter, who is an expert on nothing and had absolutely no business "testifying" before that committee. Michael Crichton was a saint compared to Steyn, though equally as wrong.

Steyn presented nothing but the idiocy of Rush Limbaugh, which clearly he aspires to be -- a man who is as responsible for the ongoing decline of America as anyone. Steyn seems happy to be a Limbaugh copycat, because it gets him attention with the American underbelly who buys his Islamophobic books.

Steyn's hatred of Muslims quickly dropped him into the darkest chasm available, when he inhumanely dismissed the fate of southern Pacific islands who will be swallowed by the rising seas of global warming. It wasn't dismissal based on his expert understanding of sea level rise, but -- not surprisingly -- just another vehicle for his marketed hatred:
“The entire population of the Maldives are Sunni Muslim, so they will fit in perfectly fine if they all move to this Brussels suburb that produced the shooters in Paris.”
That isn't your ordinary every-day prickiness -- this is a whole new level of how to be a prick.

But hey, it sells books and attracts (a few) listerers, even if they are nutters. What could be more important?

General Steyn --  hardened soldier and noted military expert -- also gave his learned opinion on the national security repercussions of climate change, just two months after 48 national security and foreign policy leaders, diplomats, and former members of Congress from both parties ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal calling for climate change action. Think Progress quoted Steyn from Tuesday:
“I can’t tell you how absurd it is to be talking about the security threat [of climate change],” Steyn said. He then went on to talk about how the growing population of West Africa was a greater threat to international stability. “All those people are just going to get on a boat and walk into Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the idea that climate change is [impacting] that is absolutely trivial to the remorselessness of those [population] numbers.”
Steyn shamelessly has the audacity to write
In this case, the Democrats asked no questions of anyone other than their guy - Rear Admiral Titley.
as if the other three "witnesses" weren't explicitedly chosen for their extreme right-wing views.

Did Steyn perhaps think he was invited on merit??


Edward Markey of Massachusetts said on Tuesday
“The only thing that requires a serious scientific investigation is why we are holding today’s hearing in the first place.”
which is about as good a summation as you'll find. Cruz's hearing only shows how far he'll go to distort and dismiss science, and how eagerly some scientists will enable his neo-fascism. Hey, if Cruz is elected, maybe Judith Curry can get an appointment from him high up in NSF or the Department of Energy, and then spite all those who have done her so terribly wrong. Perhaps she has a list of names already started.

Stoat gets the last word:
Data or Dogma? (full title “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate”) is the hearings promoted by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness.

Happily, this is one of those questions we can answer easily: when you’ve got so few scientists you’re willing to listen to that you’re obliged to invite Mark Steyn to speak, then you’re the one pushing Dogma.

There, that was easy, anything else?

Saturday, December 05, 2015

50th Anniversary of the Kecksburg UFO Incident

This Wednesday, December 9th, is the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous UFO incidents in history, call the Kecksburg UFO incident, and actually I remember this when it happened.

I grew up about 7 miles from Kecksburg, in a place called Acme. (Funny name, but Acme means "the best or highest point;" we were on top of a mountain ridge.) Kecksburg is a small village -- not even a town; I remember it for its Coke bottling plant, where a local high school star/ex-major league ball player from the area worked, and the Kecksburg Fire Department's summer fair. It's in southwestern Pennsylvania, and Acme, where my family and my grandparents and cousins lived, isn't even a village, just houses stretched out along rural roads.

But it was a great place to grow up, with a lot of freedom that seems sadly unavailable to many of the kids of today.

Anyway, there was a fireball in the sky, and something struck in a hillside behind Kecksburg. I was five when this happened, almost three months from turning six, and I have a very distinct memory of going out onto our front porch with my mom, and someone, my dad I think, and maybe others he was with, excitedly indicating or pointing to something that had happened over the local hill in front of us, in the direction of Kecksburg.

I remember it was cold on the porch, like I should have had a jacket on but didn't because we rushed out there, and I distinctly remember it was the dusk of an early winter day, for that time of year in Pennsylvania, still without any snow on the ground. That links up with the date of the Kecksburg Incident, December 9th, and the time of day it happened -- I remember it felt like the time of day when you should be coming inside to wind down and get ready for dinner, with rosy cheeks from the cold.

From a 1998 retrospective article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A 1991 article in The Pittsburgh Press described generally what happened, based on various witnesses accounts that are included in greater detail in Gordon's video.

Dec. 9, 1965, was a dreary day in Westmoreland County - that is, until what was described as a roundish fireball appeared. It reportedly seared the gray sky at low altitude with a jet trail, then made S-turns and what appeared to be a controlled landing through the treetops into Kecksburg's woods.
I didn't see any fireballs, but others in our driveway must have. My dad was a member of the Kecksburg Fire Department, but when he went to fires it was out of their rural station in Acme. I don't remember if he went to Kecksburg that evening. It would have been like him to do that, but I don't remember him, or anyone, talking about this afterward. But somehow I did acquire a vague feeling that something strange had landed in that direction, that officials rushed in, chased everyone out and removed some object on a truck.

The picture to the right is a replica of what some local people say they saw before officials -- local law enforcement? Military? Men in black? -- arrived and took over. Including the strange writing along its base.

So I was surprised to learn just a few years ago that the Kecksburg Incident is very well known in UFO lure and considered one of the most significant events outside of the famous Roswell, New Mexico incident.

There is a long string of investigations into this incident by journalists and UFO enthusiasts and the like, complete with all the required lure about coverups, lost files, the apparent silencing of a radio reporter who was killed a few years later under mysterious circumstances, FOIA lawsuits and the like. There are many videos on YouTube about it, including some full length documentaries by the likes of UFO TV. I watched a documentary a few years ago from, I think, the SciFi channel, and it was interesting, and, to me, especially for the southwestern Pennsylvania accent (which includes the regional word "younz," meaning the same as "you'all." which I didn't break myself of until graduate school), and because they interviewed an older man who was the spitting image and sound of my grandfather (but wasn't; just a man of exactly the same era and upbringing).

I'm not really the kind of person to dig into things like this too deeply. My loss, perhaps, but I figure the likeliest explanation was that some early satellite came down and panicked the stiff-collared government types in the midst of the Cold War. (The glyphs on the picture above do look a bit like letters from the Cyrillic alphabet that might be on the side of a Soviet satellite.) But it's been interesting connecting these almost dreamlike memories I have with something interesting that actually happened then.

Frankly, I hope it was some strange craft from elsewhere in the universe, and it's hidden away deep in some government bunker beneath the steep hills of Pennsylvania or West Virginia, still defying all the tests of science, still too risky to expose but ever closer to a Torchwood-like investigator's impatient leak. Wouldn't that be great?

Cartoonist Off By a Factor of 1400

This cartoon is from Dana Summers of the Tribune Content Agency.

Except burning a gallon of jet fuel emits 21.1 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the EIA. So 20,000 pounds of jet fuel emits 211 (short) tons of CO2. Summers' number is too high by a factor of 1400.

It seems he only cited Obama's jet fuel consumption, and no one else's. The juxtaposition of the two numbers seems to indicate they're related, but they're not.

Wired says the Paris conference will emit 300,000 tons of CO2, which isn't that much really -- it's what just 18,000 Americans emit in a year -- or as Wired puts it,
"...22 seconds of global CO2 emissions. Add in two weeks of hotels, taxis, espressos, pastries, and wine toasts, and you can probably tack on another half second or so."
There is probably some double counting there, since the people are the conference aren't taking taxis at home, or eating pastries at home, or drinking wine at home. But the flying definitely counts extra.

Would it have been better off if everyone stayed home? No -- conferences are valuable, and Web coverage of them seems ever more available. The IPCC conference is more valuable than most, and worth some emissions. The solution to climate change isn't -- and will never be -- living in tents. It's generating the energy we need in ways that do not emit carbon.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Ted Cruz Stacks the Deck

Here are Cruz's four witnesses for an upcoming hearing of the Congressional Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, December 8th. Notice a pattern:

Not one scientist from the vast majority of scientists who know the evidence and proof for AGW.

Now imagine if this neo-fascist became president.

The hearing will be streamed live at