Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oregon snowpack looking good this year

Oregon Climate (@ORClimateSvc)
We're going to cross the April 1 snowpack 'finish line' in good shape this year.

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Arctic SIE back to 1953

Gavin Schmidt (@ClimateOfGavin)
February 2016 Arctic sea ice minimum record in longer context (back to 1953 & showing other months too).

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

This Year's Arctic Sea Ice Maximum

So this year's Arctic sea ice extent was a record low of 14.58 Mkm2, just 0.1% below the previous record, which was last year at 14.60 Mkm2. (NSIDC data: long-termrecent.)

Obviously 0.1% doesn't matter per se. But what does matter is the long-term trend, and both this year and last year were below it. And there's no rational reason to think that melthing has stopped here, as this kind of antiscientific idiocy would have you believe.

Just as early 2016 surface temperatures blew away those of 1997-98, so too will Arctic SIE someday blow away the summer minimum of 2012. No one who knows the science wouldn't take that bet.

I had kinda thought that deniers would have been so embarrassed by this month's extreme surface temperatures, after years of writing about the "pause" -- which showed their acceptance of NOAA, GISS and HadCRUT data, but only after several prior years in the early 2000s of denying those data could be right -- that these kind of shenanigans would have been abandoned.

But apparently dishonestly has no limits at all. Soon, I expect, deniers will be blaming us for not communicating clearly to them just how serious climate change could be.

(I'm not joking.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

One That Hansen Definitely Got Right

An article on a year ago gave the remarks of some hedge fund manager, Cliff Asness, about climate change.

He thought
The paper focuses on a chart of the Earth’s surface temperatures going back to 1880. Asness, who wrote the paper along with his co-worker Aaron Brown, does not deny that global temperatures are rising. But he says temperatures are rising at much slower rate than many suggest. What’s more, Asness and Brown say, based on the current pace of global warming, it will take another 500 years before the changes become a real problem.

Asness writes that he is not trying to deny the science of climate change, but that he is just looking at the data and what it says on its own. He offers other observations about climate change, including that the decline in Arctic sea ice or rising sea levels could just be the result of a mild increase in temperatures and not a sign that the world is about to get dramatically warmer.
But hey, Cliff Asness runs one of the world's largest hedge funds, so he must be an expert on everything, right, including all of science? Else how did he get rich?

Asness in fact provided his clients with very faulty science. The reporter of the piece asked James Hansen for his opinion on Asness's claims, and Hansen, a year ago, was spot on:
“I’m not sure about the idea of beating people about the head and shoulders, but within less than a year, you will look like complete fools (if you buy this crap)
Hansen is, of course, right.

Asness is wrong. Do you think he will recheck and rethink his views on global warming?

Did "Dr" Norman Page?

(Snort.) Now you know where not to invest your billions. Just more free advice offered by Quark Soup.

The Students of the Student's t-test

I guess I thought the Student's t-test got its name because it was basic and useful to students. But it's nothing like that at all:

This comes from a letter to the editor in the March 25th issue of Science, written by Michael C. Wendl of the McDonnell Genome Institute and Departments of Mathematics and Genetics atWashington University. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

NSIDC: "The Arctic sets yet another record low maximum winter extent"

The Arctic sets yet another record low maximum winter extent

The National Snow and Ice Data Center is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. NSIDC scientists provide Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis content, with partial support from NASA.

BOULDER, Colo., March 28, 2016—Arctic sea ice was at a record low maximum extent for the second straight year, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

"I've never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic," said NSIDC director Mark Serreze. "The heat was relentless." Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean for the months of December, January and February were 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average in nearly every region.

Sea ice extent over the Arctic Ocean averaged 14.52 million square kilometers (5.607 million square miles) on March 24, beating last year's record low of 14.54 million square kilometers (5.612 million square miles) on February 25. Unlike last year, the peak was later than average in the 37-year satellite record, setting up a shorter than average ice melt season for the coming spring and summer.

According to NSIDC, sea ice extent was below average throughout the Arctic, except in the Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, and Hudson Bay. It was especially low in the Barents Sea. As noted by Ingrid Onarheim at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen, Norway: "A decrease in Barents Sea ice extent for this winter was predicted from the influence of warm Atlantic waters from the Norwegian Sea."

Scientists are watching extent in this area because it will help them understand how a slower Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) may affect Arctic sea ice. "Some studies suggest that decreased heat flux of warm Atlantic waters could lead to a recovery of all Arctic sea ice in the near future," said NSIDC senior research scientist Julienne Stroeve. "I think it will have more of a winter impact and could lead to a temporary recovery of winter ice extent in the Barents and Kara seas."

This year's maximum extent is 1.12 million square kilometers (431,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred last year.

This late winter, ice extent growth in the Arctic has been sluggish. "Other than a brief spurt in late February, extent growth has been slow for the past six weeks," said Walt Meier, a research scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Meier is an affiliate scientist at NSIDC and is part of NSIDC's Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis team.

Ice extent increases through autumn and winter, and the maximum typically occurs in mid March. Sea ice then retreats through spring and summer and shrinks to its smallest or minimum extent typically by mid September.

The September Arctic minimum began drawing attention in 2005 when it first shrank to a record low extent over the period of satellite observations. It broke the record again in 2007, and then again in 2012. The March Arctic maximum has typically received less attention. That changed last year when the maximum extent was the lowest in the satellite record.

"The Arctic is in crisis. Year by year, it's slipping into a new state, and it's hard to see how that won't have an effect on weather throughout the Northern Hemisphere," said Ted Scambos, NSIDC lead scientist.

NSIDC will release a full analysis of the winter season in early April, once monthly data are available for March.

For relevant high-resolution images, please visit the web version of this press release.
To read the current analysis from NSIDC scientists, see NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis web page.
For more about Arctic sea ice, see NSIDC's Arctic Sea Ice 101.
See the NASA release here.

View the NASA animation here.
Media contact
Natasha Vizcarra
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado Boulder

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Them That Can't Learn: Doctor Norman Page, PhD

Climate deniers have no shame.

At least, Dr. Norman Page has none. After a 2012 prediction that was disastrously wrong, the Doctor is back with yet another prediction of cooling. It's always just around the corner, you know.

He has apparently learned nothing.

Rule #1 of PhD's: Be wary -- very wary -- of people who include "Dr." in front of their name. Page's doctorate is in geology, but using "Dr" is just a cheap attempt to grasp a smidgen of legitimacy before he has earned it. So you got a doctorate Norman. Big deal.

Page's 2012 prediction was that "the earth is entering a cooling phase which is likely to last about 30 years and possibly longer." That was about as wrong as could possibly be:

Did the doctor learn anything at all from his disastrous prediction? Clearly not, because now he's back making essentially the same prediction again:

What is the basis for the doctor's new prediction? First there is this interlude:
The modelling approach is inherently of no value for predicting future temperature with any calculable certainty because of the difficulty of specifying the initial conditions of a sufficiently fine grained spatio-temporal grid of a large number of variables with sufficient precision prior to multiple iterations.
That's actually correct! Climate models, which solve partial differential equations that describe the physics of climate, aren't initialized to an exact, existing set of initial conditions -- because no one knows the inital conditions, which would require detailed information on atmospheric and deep ocean currents, which we do not have (especially the latter).

This is exactly why modelers say their models make projections (not predictions) for the equilibrium state, after all forcing and feedbacks have played out -- which takes centuries, at least. Trying to interpret their results after 10 or 20 years is meaningless, because these models were never built to make such predictions.

So Page has that part right, though naturally it goes right over the heads of WUWT readers. But this hardly means that we expect cooling by 2020, or 2050 pr 2100, or pick whatever future point you want. More atmospheric CO2 warms the planet, whether you know the initial conditions or not.

Page wants to rely on supposed long-term climate cycles of 60 years and 1000 years. But he doesn't realize that anthropogenic forcings have changed everything. 

60 years? OK, we have the PDO and AMO cycles, with something like this period for a full cycle. But these cycles don't create long-term warming -- just look at how much warming has happened since 60 years ago.

A thousand-year cycle? Based on what? Page doesn't say. Instead he is stuck in the past, not realizing that manmade forcings have changed everything.

But the climate forcings we're creating are far faster than any 1000-yr cycles, any Milankovitch cycles, or fuzzy millenium solar cycles.

This shouldn't be hard to understand, especially for a "Dr." But Page misses this completely. Perhaps he is angling for the vacant Bob Carter climate denial chair -- Carter was also a geologist. 

If so, he might fit right in -- and be just as wrong as Carter was. And just as wrong as he was last time.
There will never be an end to climate denial. Ever. There will always be contrarian kooks who think the moon landing was faked and Sandy Hook was a false flag and manmade global warming is a hoax. Even if we do serious mitigation and avoid the worst of it, these kooks will be whining that we wasted all that money on a phenomenon that didn't exist and couldn't based on their kooky interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics.

Norman Page didn't even fool us once. And already he's back trying to fool us again? Doctor, have a little pride, would you?

What Is Left for the Devil?

“In the end, when you see what can be done in the name of God, it makes you wonder what is left for the devil.”

-- a handwritten note on the makeshift memorial for this week's bombings in Brussels, as reported by the New York Times.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Two Deaths

I am getting old enough that I (perhaps a little prematurely) pay attention to who dies and am surprised at some of them.

Today brought two: Ken Howard and Joe Garagiola. 

I have to admit I was very surprised to hear about both. 

I mean, just a month ago I was listening to Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek call Saturday afternoon baseball games on our black-and-white television in the living room of the house I grew up in, the house with a coal furnace and well water and a little bathroom my dad carved out underneath the stairs.

It was an older wooden house that my grandparents owned and my mom and dad were -- and I'm not even sure about this -- paying rent on. I incessently threw a rubber ball against the side of that house. I don't know how my mother put up with it for all those years, the thump thump thump until  evening, but she did and I only broke the kitchen window twice before they bought me a pitchback.

I knew of Kubek because he took a ground ball to the throat in the famous 7th game of the 1960 World Series, the Pirates versus the Yankees, the game that Bill Mazeroski won and that somehow my grandfather and father got tickets to. That was the kind of thing my grandfather did.

I kept score on a little pad I kept near the clothesline post in the middle of the yard, some other team always against the Pirates. Willie Stargell played for the Pirates then, still in the outfield, and Al Oliver, and Matty Alou and little Freddie Patek. And of course Roberto Clemente played out in right field -- Clemente, can you imagine him in your boyhood, throwing out runners at third base with arrows from right field, shockingly dying in a plane crash on a rescue mission to Nicaragua just a couple of months after he was granted his 3000th hit in his last regular season game. 3000 hits and then taken away. Observe that and try to tell me are no Gods who watch over our fates.

Clemente was buried at sea.

Even with Roberto Clemente in right field, my hero was Manny Sanguillen, the Pirates catcher. Sanguillen had this very cool way of catching while sitting on his haunches, like at the right, when there were no runners on base. Lord knows how he could sit like that. He was #35. I picked that when I started playing football. My dad bought me a catcher's mitt, but I never did play catcher, except in the yard bouncing a ball off the house.

Ken Howard wasn't an athlete, but if you grew up then you watched The White Shadow. There weren't a million channels on TV like there are now, and it one of the only things on when you got home from school. I remember him as far, far too young to have died yesterday, at only 71. He was big and could have been a galoot, but was always a little too smart for that, and a bit too big to fit comfortably into whereever the high school tried to shove him. But his character cared for all his players, through thick and thin, including Salami (who is now a big-time movie director, but if you listen to him talk still has some Salami in him), and Coolidge and the trouble-maker Vitaglia, and they still seem like the kids you were in school with two periods ago.

It's not possible either Joe Garagiola or Ken Howard died yesterday, so I don't know why I'm writing this. There will be time to write about them later, and even if they're not directly on television these days, and even if I don't even own a television anymore, I'm sure they'll still be there when I find the dial again and turn it to their channels. I mean, I can hear their voices clear as day. So don't tell me they've gone anywhere. I'm not fooled that easily.

Hyping Hansen's Paper

Eric Holthaus at Slate wrote:

I'm sorry, but this is complete bullshit.

No single paper, by Hansen or anyone else, becomes part of the "canon" a day after it is published. (Nor does it based on the version published in July of last year.)

I haven't even read the new version of Hansen et al in detail yet. But it is certainly not part of the canon, for the same reason that a play of Shakespeare's wasn't part of the literary canon less than a year after it was first published -- only time can tell. It takes a good bit of time for scientific papers to be anointed, and this paper's conclusions are certainly far from the mainsteam.

There are some extreme and improbable scenarios in Hansen et al. Sure, maybe we could pass a tipping point by 2050 -- but I think it's more than likely we will not.

Hansen anymore seems interested in promoting alarmism at all costs. There's been a whiff of this throughout his entire career, but this latest paper is just too much to take seriously.
Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield sea level rise of several meters in 50, 100 or 200 years.
But there's no evidence of a doubling time of 10, 20 or 40 years. The latest Aviso sea level data now shows, over the satellite era, an acceleration of 0.026 mm/yr2 over a sea level rise of 3.36 mm/yr -- that's an acceleration/SLR of 0.72% per year, or a doubling time of 97 years.

Relative to sea level today, that works out to a rise of...16 inches.

(CU's data is even slower, showing an acceleration/SLR of 0.45%/yr.)

And the reactions Holthaus gets from other scientists, who weren't co-authors on the paper, aren't very convincing:
In an email to Slate, Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist who was skeptical of the initial draft, calls the final study “considerably improved.” Mottram, who specializes in studying the Greenland ice sheet, said “the scenario they sketch out is implausible, though perhaps not impossible … it’s frankly terrifying.”
"Perhaps not impossible" isn't exactly a ringing endorsement that says the paper deserves to be part of any "canon."
Richard Alley, a key figure in the polar research community, also gave the Hansen study cautious praise. “It usefully reminds us that large and rapid changes are possible,” Alley said in an email, and that “uncertainties are clearly loaded on the “bad” side.” Alley stressed, though, that the Hansen result was only a single study, and wasn’t detailed enough to be used as a firm prediction.
Kim Cobb, a climate scientist specializing in ancient climate change, agrees that the Hansen study is useful mostly because it explores the worst-case scenario. “My bet is on non-linearities kicking in that we cannot yet measure adequately,” Cobb said in an email. “In that way I think it’s important to explore the upper limits.”
Instead of the support Holthaus apparently thinks these give to the canonization for Hansen's paper, these are actually quite tepid remarks that duly show respect for the paper's authors without going anywhere close to endorsing their conclusions.

I don't see any reason to take this paper seriously. Sure, there could be tipping points in the future. That's easy to claim, and you can be wrong without consequence. But are they likely? I don't see any evidence presented there that they are likely by 2050, let alone 2100.

I'm afraid science writers are giving this paper coverage only because (1) they prefer alarmism, which is way to easy at the top of a big El Nino, and (2) they feel they need to give fealty to any work of Hansen's.

Maybe I'm wrong, and maybe I'll change my mind after I get into the details of the new version of the paper. But I don't expect so.

(I also feel that this paper was rushed out last summer before it was ready in order to influence the Paris talks. But then I also think the same about UAH's data version 6 "beta.")

PS: Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic more or less agrees with me:

Except I wouldn't call this paper "nobel." It's just another paper, and one that goes out on a limb that the science can't necessarily support.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Guess Who Said This

Guess, then scroll down:
"If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well­being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources."

Ronald Reagan

The Day After Loretta Lynch's RICO Case Concludes

I've been doing better things and traveling home, but here's a thought: suppose Loretta Lynch (or her successor) sues the fossil fuel companies, wins, and they pay several hundred billion dollars in a settlement that feeds into the bottomless pit. Because, you know, their investors would have had no clue whatsoever, none at all, about the consequences of CO2 unless they read about it in the glossy annual report from the fossil fuel company there were invested in.

Say that happens in, oh, 2020.

And then what? Then the very next day all of us, including Loretta Lynch and Sheldon Whitehouse, will set our thermostats for the day and fill up our tanks again and drive to work or the grocery store or our doctor's appointment, because there isn't much of any alternative right now and we just have to -- have to -- use that horrendous coal and oil that are so easily available and so destructive to the environment and shareholder values that we just sued the coal companies -- if there are any left then -- and the oil companies about. But it's not our fault, you know.

That will be quite the day, won't it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

TCR of 2.0 C (from observations)

This paper, based on observations, not a model, finds a relatively high value of 2.0 C for the transient climate response -- the warming at the time of CO2 doubling.

When Old Men Plant Trees

Today's Issue of Stuff Worth Reading

LA Times: Arch Coal abandons plans for controversial mine in Montana

earlier (2013): In Montana, ranchers line up against coal

CNN: The largest U.S. coal company may go out of business. Peabody Energy has 7,600 employees. Its share price has dropped 98% in the last two years. (IMO Obama needs to announce a jobs retraining program for such workers instead of simply leaving them out to dry. Hillary already has, $30B for coal.)

From the Department of We Will Pay For Climate Change One Way or the Other: Inside Climate News:  Native American Tribe Gets Federal Funds to Flee Rising Seas ($48M)
Since the 1950s, the tribe has lost 98 percent of its land to rising sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding. The island, about 50 miles south of New Orleans, once covered 15,000 acres, but the land has eroded to a tiny strip measuring a quarter-mile wide by a half-mile long, according to a report by Northern Arizona University....

The threat to the tribe has come not only from climate change but from other human activities such as oil and gas development that has caused a decline in sediment deposits from the Mississippi River.
Also from Inside Climate News: Flood Damage Costs Will Rise Faster Than Sea Levels, Study Says; Research begins to show that damage will increase exponentially and aims to give coastal cities a way to prepare for them. (We need a term, akin to the "Singularity," for the moment people realize climate change is at their doorstep and it's too late to fix it.)

WMUR: It's been the warmest winter in Concord, New Hampshire since at least 1870.

Yale Climate Connections: In North Carolina, 'Seeing the fish move north' -- An eastern North Carolina seafood marketer points to the challenges to local fishers as they see prized fish moving north 'right under our noses.'

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Loretta Lynch, Again

So I got shellacked by most commenters on yesterday's post and on Twitter.

But I still think Loretta Lynch is wrong and very misguided.

I'm at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society. There was a very interesting session today titled Science and the Perception of Climate Change. The first speaker was Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan. He's the Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, "a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources & Environment.  Andy also serves as Education Director of the Graham Sustainability Institute." He once worked for EPA, and the Amoco Corporation.

I asked him what he thought of Lynch's idea. Here are some of his reactions, paraphrased:
"Who is the aggrieved party [from climate change]...? What are the monetary damages...? Lynch's suit would be unlike the tobacco settlement because there states were paying out large amounts of money for the health care of smokers.... [They had clear standing as an aggrieved party who suffered financially from the tobacco company's lies.]
And he said
"demonizing people" would be a mistake.
In a panel discussion in the last half-hour of the session I asked the panel for their reactions to Lynch's testimony. Hoffman was on the panel and called it a "horrible idea," "a similar tactic to what was done to Michael Mann," and that people are surely already coming up with "metaphors to Copernicus."

ExxonMobile now admits the reality of climate change, and is in favor of a carbon tax. From December of last year:
As I have mentioned on a number of occasions in this space, we believe the risks of climate change are real and those risks warrant constructive action by both policymakers and the business community.
though who knows what ExxonMobile is saying (and doing) out of the other side of their mouth. A couple of decades ago, perhaps they thought the science was too uncertain to mention (and, despite what any of their internal scientists were saying, it was according to IPCC assessments I and II). Or they thought that any damage was small, or would be small, and offset by agricultural gains and other benefits. They might say that their oil used for personal and public transportation was and is a huge benefit to society? Or, in the time before electric cars, are people suffering an attack of appendicitis supposed to ride their bike to the ER? They could argue on all these points and more that their product gave more benefit than harm.

Attributing climate change harm to ExxonMobile, or any other big fossil fuel company, is nearly impossible -- just what is the damage from burning oil, per barrel? Richard Tol's ever-changing graph? It shows a benefit up to about 2 C. And don't its consumers share part of the blame? We all use fossil fuels, every day, even though we know the risks and potential consequences. I flew to San Diego and will fly back home. According to this calculator, my share of the emissions comes to 0.58 metric tons of CO2. Whose fault is that?

The drought in California -- whose fault is that? Where is the proof it is caused by AGW? Very warm temperatures certainly augment the drought by increasing evaporation rates. How much and where? Were these warm temperatures in California the result, in part or in whole, of AGW? What have been the monetary damages and to whom? Ten thousand farmers? How much each? Do we put ExxonMobile on trial, or its customers, or BP or Royal Dutch Shell or all of them? Chinese fossil fuel companies? Do we put the government on trial, for leasing land and sea for drilling and mining?

Why shouldn't we first hold the oil companies liable for the ground-level ozone created from car exhaust, or the health damages from burning coal, which causes 7,500 deaths each year attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants?

Finally, Lynch's suit would be exactly what climate contarians have been warning about for years -- the heavy hand of government putting a boot on their neck. That's the real issue surrounding climate change -- many people's set of values include suspicions of governments, of environmentalists, of scientists, of elites. Are they not allowed to have those values? (Of course they are.) Suing the likes of ExxonMobile or The Heartland Institute would make their case and exponentially increase the attention they get, the support they get, and the donations they get. I might even donate myself.

Loretta Lynch's idea is a big loser all around. She should drop it immediatly.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Loretta Lynch's Horrible Idea

Loretta Lynch, official portrait.jpg
Loretta Lynch
This is McCarthyesque: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that she's been looking into legal action against climate deniers. (Video here.)

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was quite happy to encourage her.

What an awful, ridiculous, unAmerican, outrageous thing to even suggest. Such prosecution would surely be illegal under the First Amendment, would amount to a witch hunt at least as bad as anything Joseph McCarthy ever did, and wouldn't solve a damn thing.

It's hard to believe that no one in the Department of Justice or FBI told her, in no uncertain terms, that this idea is both illegal and crazy. Especially crazy.

Unlike what Whitehouse said in the video clip, climate science isn't "settled." We all know of dozens of open questions about the details of how climage change works.

But climate science is, as Raymond Pierrehumbert wrote, settled enough. Warming so far is in line with expectations, and there is a clear risk of it becoming quite serious if we do not stop the carbon track we're on. At this point it's about managing risk.

Don't get me wrong. I think climate deniers (quote-unquote) are wrong, unscientific, often dishonest, unethical, and can even be dangerous. It's a matter of degrees -- some not so bad, some worse than most. I don't think the science of climate change is anywhere near as "settled" as was the medical science about tobacco when the tobacco companies were prosecuted in the 1990s. Probably it never will be -- the climate system is far too complicated. But it's settled enough now for the US (especially) to take serious action to curtail its carbon emissions.

Disappointing. Chilling. Stupid. Atrocious. Pick a synonymn. Villanious sounds about right to me.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Holy Celsius, Batman! GISTEMP Smashes Previous Record

GISTEMP for February was by far the warmest month in their records: +1.35°C. (Note added: that means the highest anomaly; February itself wasn't the warmest absolute temperature of all 12 months in the record.)

It feels weird just to write that. This smashes the old record, set the previous month, of +1.14°C.

The northern hemisphere anomaly is downright scary: +1.90°C. That's the 10th-straight month the NH has set a record.

The southern hemisphere was +0.81°C, the warmest February but only the 5th-warmest SH month ever. Only.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Peter Sinclair video: "Satellite or Surface Temps: Which is More Accurate?"

via Yale Climate Connections. Here's the second of two parts (part one).

Recommended Reading

Heidi Cullen, NY Times: What Weather Is the Fault of Climate Change?

National Academy of Sciences: Attribution of Extreme Weather Events in the Context of Climate Change
"The ability to understand and explain extreme events in the context of climate change has developed very rapidly over the past decade. In the past, a typical climate scientist’s response to questions about climate change’s role in any given extreme weather event was “we cannot attribute any single event to climate change.” The science has advanced to the point that this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement. In many cases, it is now often possible to make and defend quantitative statements about the extent to which human-induced climate change (or another causal factor, such as a specific mode of natural variability) has influenced either the magnitude or the probability of occurrence of specific types of events or event classes."
EOS: Scientists Find the Point of No Return for Antarctic Ice Cap -- about 600 ppmv

Scientific American: Widely Used Herbicide Linked to Cancer:
The World Health Organization's research arm declares glyphosate a probable carcinogen. What's the evidence?

Pacific Standard: Why Political Compromise Is So Hard: When issues get moralized, making concessions becomes nearly unthinkable

ThinkProgress: 60% of Americans are represented by a climate denier. (59 percent of the Republican House caucus and 70 percent of Republicans in the Senate. No Democrats.) Bribes from coal, oil and gas industry total $73,294,380.

Sondre B├ątstrand, Policy and Politics: the US Republican party is the only conservative party in the world which denies the reality of climate change.

Miami Herald: Genetically modified mosquitoes clear key hurdle for Key West test. GMOs are coming. Here's a better way.

An Excellent Graphic, from Bloomberg Business: What's really warming the world? 

Perhaps more later.... 

Sunday, March 06, 2016

A Couple of Interesting Videos

What would Earth look like if all the ice melted, and what if the Earth really was flat (link only; not embeddable).

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Scary Drumpf

Jacob Weisberg in Slate summarizes succinctly something I've been feeling too:
An America in which Trump can represent one of the major parties feels like a very different country from the one many of us thought we lived in. Like a lot of people, I was much too complacent. It can happen here, and it might.
Here is picture from today's Trump rally, in Florida, covered by Slate, where he (Drumpf) asked people to raise their hand to pledge to vote for him.

How can these people be so blind, so ignorant of history, so absolutely heedless?


"Paging Dr. Nyer -- Dr. D Nyer"

Media preview

Source: Twitter

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Oregonian Not Covering Oregon's Historic Energy Vote

Update: 1:56 pm, and still nothing.

As of 10:18 a.m., the Oregonian -- Oregon's largest newspaper -- still hasn't covered yesterdays's ground-breaking, historic vote in the state Senate on the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, except for this piece which was more about the politics and machinations at the state's capital than the bill itself.

Yet, the NY Times has, as has NPR, Oregon television stations, the Portland Tribune, the Seattle Times, the Associated Press, and many other news organizations.

Is it possible (let alone ethical) for an entire newspaper to throw a snit because its Editorial Board is opposed to a bill that passed? Seems so.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Oregon Makes Historic Move Away From Coal

Today the Oregon Senate passed a bill, the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan, which the Governor will surely sign (she was integral to its drafting) that makes us the first state to mandate a transition away from coal power. The Onymous Guy says thanks. Me too.

Oregon gets most of its power from hydro, but coal is the second largest source at about 33%. The Boardman Coal Plant is the only one in the state, and is slated to close in 2020, but that didn't mean we wouldn't import coal-generated power from out of state.

The NRDC writes (in an email):
The Oregon Legislature just voted today to eliminate coal generation [and ban its import, after 2030] from the state's future and committed its largest utilities to supply at least half of their electricity from renewable resources by 2040. Combined with Oregon's existing hydroelectric base, that means the state will be on track for an electricity system that's 70 to 90 percent carbon-free by that date. The legislation will make Oregon's energy among the cleanest in the country, and puts the state in the growing top tier of renewable energy standards, along with California, New York and Hawaii. 
More at the NRDC's blog.

The bill, The Clean Energy and Coal Transition Act, was somewhat controversial, because it passed in a short, 35-day legislative session and because it was written by the governor's office, the state's two largest utilities, and a collection of environmental groups and renewable energy advocates. The Oregonian's Editorial Board (OEB) -- which has become surprisingly conservative in recent years -- was vehementally against this bill from the outset, for one reason or another -- they said it was too complex to be adequately vetted in the short legislative session, was written by select groups with (they said) little transparency, that rates for consumers would rise, and because the governor declined to include the state's Public Utility Commission (PUC) in the negotiations (the OEB claims she told them to keep silent on the issue). Etc. For some reason they seem to like having coal around, and they often dismiss any action on climate change because, they say, nothing Oregon could contribute to solving the problem.

They especially hammered about the PUC after emails from a FOIA showed the PUC board not very happy about being shut out of the discussion. My view is that while the PUC certainly has energy expertise, (1) it's up to the governor, an elected official, to decide whom she wants creating a long-term energy plan she wants and supports, and (2) the PUC's job is to regulate existing tariffs with the utilities, not to determine long-term energy policy. Because that policy involves more than just keeping rates as low as possible -- it requires eliminating negative externalities, and coal has a truckload of them. Those externalities don't show up on consumer's monthly bills, but they cost money in health costs and premature deaths and environmental damage. (Here's a nice summary sheet from the EPA on the projected savings from Obama's Clean Action Plan -- "public health and climate benefits estimated at $55 billion to $93 billion per year in 2030, far outweighing the costs of $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion" -- and see this post I wrote the other day.

The Oregon's Editorial Board only saw costs, and not savings, and I think their opposition leaked into how their journalists covered this issue.

I would have liked more transparency from the negotiating groups, but passing significant legislation is never pretty, hence the analogy to making sausage. (Irrelveant side note: I once made sausage as kid, after my dad and a few other guys killed a pig behind someone's garage. They didn't let me see the killing, but I did spend the rest of the evening cranking a sausage grinding machine. Crafting legislation is probably less memorable.) Someone always complains they are left out, especially the people who don't like the principles and vision behind the bill is trying to promote. Has any significant bill not been muscled through the political process while the other side whines about it? Doubtful.

Orange Apparently Not the New Black (or the old one)

Pause Also Vanishes With Latest RSS Lower Troposphere Data

Warning: Numerology Ahead

Note Added 8:50 pm: This February data is for RSS TLT version 3.3, not the new version v4.0 (see below). The middle troposphere (TMT) and lower stratosphere (TLS) have both been updated to the new version 4.0, but the lower troposphere data (TLT) won't be updated for about six months, I was told.

The "pause" in lower troposphere data -- the one Ted Cruz was so passionate about -- also disappears with the latest RSS data for the lower troposphere.

They also found February 2016 to be the warmest month (compared to baseline) in their 37+ year record. Translated to a common baseline -- UAH's, Jan 1981 - Dec 2010 -- RSS's LT February anomaly is +0.88°C -- UAH's was 0.83°C.

Reminder: UAH and RSS don't quite measure the same thing, since RSS misses area around the poles -- 0.9% in the northern hemisphere, and 6.0% in the southern hemisphere. But this may change with their new version 4 (see below).

Andrew Dessler has a thought about this.

Even WUWT can't deny it, though it tries, of course.

By the way, Carl Mears and Frank Wentz of RSS have a new paper in J Climate, introducing their new dataset, version 4. (They properly published a paper when introducing their new version, unlike ______.) They write:
The new dataset shows substantially increased global-scale warming relative to the previous version of the dataset, particularly after 1998. The new dataset shows more warming than most other middle tropospheric data records constructed from the same set of satellites. We also show that the new dataset is consistent with long-term changes in total column water vapor over the tropical oceans, lending support to its long-term accuracy.
I'll try to get a copy of the paper and post some graphs from it. Tamino has the relevant graph.

For today's update, here is RSS's graph.:

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Ding Dong! The Pause is Dead (UAH edition)

UAH's calculation of the average temperature anomaly of the lower troposphere for February is the largest ever seen in their records, +0.83°C.

That kills the "pause," which was always a cheery-picked construction anyway -- the interval was chosen for the result it gave, not because that interval had some scientific or climatological signifiance.

Here's the warming from any point in the past to the present; error bars are the 95% confidence limits, no autocorrelation:

Finally, here's the length of the pause, in years, defined as the time between the last data point and the earliest starting point which gave a negative trend. Data points before Jan 2012 were calculated only annually.

What's a denier to do? They could note that a quadratic fit to the UAH LT record is slightly better than a linear fit, and it's concave down. 'Course, such a fit, if projected into the future, implies that at some point temperatures will be below absolute zero, but why start getting all scientific at this point?