Thursday, September 29, 2016

Again About the Word Denier

Some who are called climate "deniers" resent that word (a few embrace it) because, they claim, they're being compared to Holocaust deniers. But it can't be that simple, because even the Holocaust denier David Irving resented being called a denier.

I was lead to the quote below from a New York Review of Books article about the recently released movie Denial, which is about the David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin books trial in the UK in 2000.

Lipstadt had published a book in 1993, Denying the Holocaust, in which she called the British amateur historian David Irving “one of the most dangerous spokesmen for Holocaust denial.” Irving actually confronted her in the middle of a class lecture at Emory University, and went on to sue her and her publisher. But instead of sueing them in the US where the book was published, he filed his suit in the UK, where those who make potentially libelous remarks must prove they are true. The trailer is a good introduction to the film, which came out about three weeks ago.

Lipstadt's lawyers attacked Irving hard, simply on the facts, and made Lipstadt stay quiet during the proceedings. She, being Jewish, was more emotional about all of it because she considered herself to be defending her people, but her lawyers opted, no doubt correctly, that the case would be won on the facts and not on emotions.

This is from Irving's opening statement:
"The book purports to be a scholarly investigation of the operations of an international network conspiracy of people whom the Second Defendant has dubbed "Holocaust deniers." It is not. The phrase itself, which the Second Defendant prides herself on having coined and crafted, appears repeatedly throughout the work, and it has subsequently become embedded in the vernacular of a certain kind of journalist who wishes to blacken the name of some person, where the more usual rhetoric of neo-Nazi, Nazi, racist, and other similar epithets is no longer deemed adequate. Indeed, the phrase appears over 300 times in just one of the Defendants' experts reports!

"It has become one of the most potent phrases in the arsenal of insult, replacing the N-word, the F-word, and a whole alphabet of other slurs. If an American politician, like Mr. Patrick Buchanan, is branded even briefly a "Holocaust denier," his career can well be said to be in ruins. If a writer, no matter how well reviewed and received until then, has that phrase stuck to him, then he too regard his career as rumbling off the edge of a precipice.

"As a phrase it is of itself quite meaningless. The word "Holocaust" is an artificial label commonly attached to one of the greatest and still most unexplained tragedies of this past century.

"The word "denier" is particularly evil: because no person in full command of his mental faculties, and with even the slightest understanding of what happened in World War II, can deny that the tragedy actually happened, however much we dissident historians may wish to quibble about the means, the scale, the dates and other minutiae.

"Yet meaningless though it is, the phrase has become a part of the English language. It is a poison to which there is virtually no antidote, less lethal than a hypodermic with nerve gas jabbed in the neck, but deadly all the same: for the chosen victim, it is like being called a wife beater or a pædophile. It is enough for the label to be attached, for the attachee to find himself designated as a pariah, an outcast from normal society. It is a verbal Yellow Star.

"In many countries now where it was considered that the mere verbal labelling was not enough, governments have been prevailed upon to pass the most questionable laws, including some which can only be considered a total infringement of the normal human rights of free speech, free opinion and freedom of assembly."
We Americans take free speech for granted, and it's easy for us to question German and French laws against denying the Holocaust. But I'm sure we have little idea of the paroxysms and spasms that shook German society, or Europe, after the war.

Irving's attack on the word "denier" appear pompous and bombastic (as he came across in person, too). I've never seen anyone hint that their use of it was akin to "being called a wife beater or a paedophile." I see it as a word, with a definition that predated the Holocaust, that has a certain meaning that conveniently and accurately describes the cruder blunt dismissals of anthropogenic climate change -- denying the greenhouse effect, the enhancing greenhouse effect, basic measurements, ridiculing and attacking scientists, always finding an excuse to dimiss the evidence one doesn't want to hear, etc. I suspect it comes more from a mindset than anything else -- some climate deniers seem to be conservatives who disagree with the general direction of the USA & World, a mindset that has infected the GOP in the age of the Internet, or just like being contrary.

Some people deny basic climate change; wilder ones deny the Sandy Hook shootings. A few crazies still deny the Holocaust. But if Irving was so upset about the word "denier," then clearly complaints about the word don't simply spring from a simaliarity to Holocaust denial but have an earlier origin, and those now using it aren't "global warming Nazi's," a rather ironic turn of phrase.

Irving, of course, played the victim, as you can read thoughout his opening statement. He lost the case, and, on appeal a year later, the case was dismissed.
After the trial, he was asked, "Will you stop denying the Holocaust on the basis of this judgment?" Irving replied, "Good Lord, no."

Monday, September 26, 2016

NASA: Hubble May Have Detected Water Plumes on Europa

NASA just held a press teleconference (images) where they announced the possiblity of the detection of water plumes spurting from the ice on Jupiter's moon Europa. (They did not announce the discovery of life, or anything close to it, as some media irresponsibly speculated after NASA's announcement of today's teleconference.)

It's not a definite discovery. They observed Europa transiting in front of Jupiter -- an idea from what's being done with exoplanets -- in the UV, and on 3 of 10 transits saw evidence of water vapor from water plumes off Europa's southwest limb:

It's the green flares at about five thirty to nine o'clock that represent the possible plumes. Seeing this evidence on three times out of ten means the plumes may be intermittent.

If true, this could be significant, because it means access to Europa's ocean -- which is global, saline and beneath miles of ice, and could potentially host life -- would be available near the surface, without having to drill through miles of ice (which, on a foreign moon, only looks easy in the movies).

Here's an artist's interpretation of one possible scenario:

I guess you could call these Europaean fistules. But plumes sounds better.

The surface tempeature of Europa is about -160 C (-260 F) at the equator and no higher than -220 C (-370 F) at the poles. So any water is going to instantly freeze. I guess the idea is to look for signs of life -- or at least organic compounds -- in the refrozen surface ice. Unless the plumes are huge and powerful, that's going to limit any detected life to microbes and not alien tuna.

Here's another scenario that was presented, expanding on one section above, which looks more amenable to finding tuna:

A paper is coming out soon in the Astrophysical Journal -- I'll try to remember to link to it.

The scientists said they were stretching Hubble's capabilities to the limit, so this isn't a definite discovery, and they "remain cautious."

Finally, here's another image that was presented, with a self-explanatory caption:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

In Oregon Gubernatorial Debate, Now, Republican Governor Admits Climate Change

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Latest on the Not-Happening La Niña

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center say there is unlikely to be a La Niña event in late 2016.
We may be stuck with this El Nino warmth after all -- NOAA just posted the warmest August in their records, which go back to 1880. Warmer (more anomalous) than May 2016, or June '16 or July '16.

In fact, every month since May 2015 is the warmest in the record. 16 straight months now.

At this point we really have to start asking, not if AGW is true, but is it accelerating, and if so, by how much?

Deep Ocean Warming: How Much?

Since this blog likes big summed-up global results, it needs to mention the new paper by Damien G. Desbruyères et al, including Greg Johnson of NOAA, for the heating rate of the deep ocean (< 2000 m) for the period 1991-2010:

0.065  ±  0.040 W m−2 applied over the Earth's surface area.

You can read the abstract here, but deep ocean heating is only about 1/10th of total ocean heating. I guess we'll know more when deep Argo comes out, which I suspect will reduce the error bars significantly. Not sure when that will be, though.

Remember, it's only been since 2005 that Argo has been measuring the temperature and salinity of the top half (< 2000 m) of the ocean. If deep Argo happens by, say, 2020, that will be an amazing achievement -- because ocean heat content is by far the best way to measure the global energy imbalance that causes global warming.

Can 375 Great Scientists Correct Donald Trump on Climate Change?

Of course not.

But still, yesterday 375 members of the National Academy of Science published a letter saying
Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. Fossil fuels powered the Industrial Revolution. But the burning of oil, coal, and gas also caused most of the historical increase in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. This increase in greenhouse gases is changing Earth’s climate.
...During the Presidential primary campaign, claims were made that the Earth is not warming, or that warming is due to purely natural causes outside of human control. Such claims are inconsistent with reality.
That's a good, strong phrase -- "inconsistent with reality."

The letter isn't addressed to anyone specific, but it's said to be directed at Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, Trump shows little interest in knowledge, and I doubt this is going to change his climate idiocy, even if he is elected.

I doubt Trump has the guts to do this, but a few of these scientists should get together and offer to go to Trump and, in one hour, present him the evidence behind manmade climate change. Like those brave scientists did for the governor of Florida. Publicize the hell out of the offer, and, if it happens, of the followup.

As it is, I wonder if a single debate moderator -- who think they are "journalists" -- is going to ask a single question of either presidential candidate about the most important topic of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, the moderators of the first debate have announced their topics, and it looks to be the usual network fluff that makes intelligent people want to vomit.

Anyway, so who do we know? Well, for me, a lot of scientists I know and/or have interviewed and/or recognize and respect a great deal. (I'm always surprised at how many great scientists I don't know, like when it comes to the Nobel Prize announcements or NAS inductions):

Benjamin D. Santer, Member, National Academy of Sciences^
Kerry A. Emanuel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology^
Phillip W. Anderson, Princeton University
Sir Michael Atiyah, University of Edinburgh
David Baltimore, California Institute of Technology
Wallace Broecker, Columbia University
Steven Chu, Stanford University
Ralph Cicerone, Professor Emeritus, University of California
Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Laboratoire Kastler Brossel
James Cronin, University of Chicago
Paul J. Crutzen, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry
Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University
Howard Georgi, Harvard University
Sheldon Glashow, Boston University
Roy Glauber, Harvard University
Peter H. Gleick, Pacific Institute
David Gross, University of California Santa Barbara
Jim Hansen, Columbia University
Stephen Hawking, Cambridge University
Donald Kennedy, Stanford University
Wolfgang Ketterle, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Margaret Kivelson, University of California Los Angeles
Daniel Kleppner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jane Lubchenco, Oregon State University
Mario Molina, University of California San Diego
Jim Peebles, Princeton University
Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden
Maureen E. Raymo, Columbia University
Martin Rees, Cambridge University
Adam Riess, Johns Hopkins University
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
James Simons, Chairman, Simons Foundation
Susan Solomon, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kip Thorne, Member, National Academy of Sciences
Rainer Weiss, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
Robert W. Wilson, Member, National Academy of Sciences

Personally I think Adam Riess ought to run for President. He's young, well spoken, and really smart. Just what the American people are looking for, right?


One Smart Cat

I could never trust my cats to do this -- I prefer not to think about what they do when they're out -- but as the driver says, "Spot on!"

Although actually my cats don't seem to go very far when they're out, somewhat to my surprise. They almost always come back in, in a minute or five, when I call them. Unless it's 11 pm and I want to go to bed.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Department of Oops - Another Steve Goddard Edition

Five years ago, William Connolley and Rob Dekker made a gutsy $10,000 bet about Arctic sea ice.
If both NSIDC and IARC-JAXA September 2016 monthly average sea ice extent report are above 4.80 million km^2, RD pays WMC US$ 10,000. If both are below 3.10 million km^2, WMC pays RD US$ 10,000. In all other cases the bet is null and void.
This year's September average isn't in yet, of course, but the month-to-date average for NSIDC SIE is 4.25 Mkm2, and the full month average will be about 4.3-4.4 Mkm2.

So their bet will be null and void. But here was what "Steve Goddard" (real name Tony Heller) wrote at the time:
"What a dumb bet. There is an excellent chance of 4.8, and zero chance of 3.1." 
Well, like most of what Steve Goddard writes, he was wrong.

It's worth pointing out when deniers are wildly wrong. With Steve Goddard it's pretty easy -- remember this turd, when he had to retract -- and The Register agreed, for some reason, to publish an article under a fake name -- unless Heller never told them it was false(?).

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Global Warming's Impact on Wheat Production

Another paper has been published showing that warming reduces wheat yields.

B. Liu et al, "Similar estimates of temperature impacts on global wheat yields by three independent methods," Nature Climate Change (2016).

Their conclusion, from several different angles:
With a 1°C global temperature increase, global wheat yield is projected to decline between 4.1% and 6.4%.
They write that "Global demand for food is expected to increase 60% by the middle of the twenty-first century."

Many skeptics say "but crop yields are going up!" Which is true. Here is the annual global wheat production for 1996-2014. And it's going up, though not on a per capita basis (see the graph to the right), in a world where 800 million people "do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life." (That one of of every nine people.)

Harvests can increase for several reasons:

* more acreage planted
* better fertilizers
* genetic modification
* better farming technology and techniques
* more CO2
* changes in government farming subsidies
* higher demand
* better weather
* more desirable temperatures
* more desirable precipitation
* etc.

Saying that yield has increased says nothing about why. Nor does it say anything about the influence of each factor, or whether yields are going to keep increasing. In particular, yields can (obviously) increase even while some of these factors are contributing to a decreasing sub-trend. And that's what scientists say is happening regarding climate change, like the paper above, and this 2007 paper by Lobell and Field, two recognized experts:
“For wheat, maize and barley, there is a clearly negative response of global yields to increased temperatures. Based on these sensitivities and observed climate trends, we estimate that warming since 1981 has resulted in annual combined losses of these three crops representing roughly 40 Mt or $5 billion per year, as of 2002.”
-- “Global scale climate–crop yield relationships and the impacts of recent warming," David B Lobell and Christopher B Field, Environ. Res. Lett. 2 014002 (2007).
And there's this paper:
"We also find that the overall effect of warming on yields is negative, even after accounting for the benefits of reduced exposure to freezing temperatures."
-- "Effect of warming temperatures on US wheat yields," Jesse Tack et al, PNAS 4/20/2015.
So interpreting yields is complicated. I guess we can hope that agricultural acreage and techniques keeps at least on its trend (and hopefully increasing per capita, in order to truly feed everyone), even in the face of lower yields as temperatures rise and planting zones moving towards the poles. Or we can just ignore climate change and hope it all works out.

Added: Wheat sells for about $4 per bushel, and there are e/100 bushels in a metric ton (very close!), so the value of the global wheat crop in 2014 was just over $100 billion. So a 1°C global temperature increase would cost about $40-60 million/year $5 billion/yr in lost production.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Has Nadired

Is "nadired" the opposite of "peaked?"

Anyway, that's what I'm going with. Arctic sea ice extent has bottomed out for the year.

JAXA:   4.02 Mkm2
NSIDC: 4.08 Mkm2

Hey, what's a difference of 60,000 km2 between friends? 

West Virginia!

(There's an old joke from where I grew up, that West Virginia would be the largest state in the Union if you flattened it out.)

For both datasets, 2016 is the 2nd-lowest extent minimum in the satellite record (1979-present), after only 2012. 

Recall this year has the lowest maximum extent (NSIDC: March 21st). But there isn't much variation in that number -- just -2.4% per decade (NSIDC data, which I'll focus on from here on out). 

Compared, the September minimum is decreasing at -12% per decade.

For the year-to-date average Arctic SIE -- through Sept. 12 -- 2016 has the lowest average extent of any recorded year, at 11.05 Mkm2

This YTD number is decreasing at -3.7% per decade.
(= overall_trend/overall_average)

Second YTD-lowest is last year, at 11.34 Mkm2. A good bit higher. 2012's value is 11.36 Mkm2.

So I would say, what we have is continued melting, though it hasn't yet reached the point where it will seriously threaten 2012's very low fluctuation due to a big summer storm in the Arctic that year.

But I remember when 2007 seemed like an unbelievable low. Though I can't find a link where I wrote about it.

The minimum extent's trend is -85,000 Mkm2/yr, which suggests it might be up to nine or so years before the 2012 minimum is...nadired. Likely, some future summer storm will send the September minimum more below the trendline by then, setting a new record low.

I guess I should put up a graph here, even though personally the numbers make more sense to me than the words or a picture (not a good quality for a science communicator):

Peter and the Farm

Even the dog is intense:

Music is Jumbo's by Protomartyr.

Variety's review.

The farm.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Clarifying a Past Discussion on the Greenhouse Effect

Guest post by Bryan Killett

Dumb Scientist wrote this article in response to a comment Lonny Eachus recently left at the end of this conversation about the greenhouse effect and a solution to Dr. Spencer's thought experiment which helps demonstrate how CO2 keeps Venus warmer than Mercury.

Briefly: mainstream science says that adding CO2 warms Earth's surface, just like wrapping a blanket around a constant heat source in vacuum without them touching warms the heat source. The temperature increase after enclosing the source is exactly the same whether the surfaces are all treated as black bodies (which don't reflect radiation) or all treated as gray bodies (which can reflect radiation).
... I will remind Bryan Killett, aka Dumb Scientist, what I've had to remind him of several times since in other media: my initial exchange with Appell was about a misunderstanding of whether Pierrehumbert meant NET flux or just SOME flux, in a passage from his book. However, Appell and Killett jumped on this, and decided to try to school me here on how thermodynamics works, based on an old argument I (as mentioned) had already changed my mind about. ... [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-16]
Nonsense. Lonny "decided to try to school" yet another physicist by flooding Appell with Sky Dragon Slayer arguments. If Lonny really had "already changed" his mind, why did Lonny write all this in response to a single tweet?
@davidappell David, this claim has ZERO bearing on the physics of a MT hotspot "warming the surface". The physics are well-known. He states "The greenhouse effect shifts the planet's surface temperature by reducing the rate at which the planet loses energy at a given surface temperature." Which SOUNDS reasonable, but there is no physics behind it. The radiative power output at a given temperature is Area x (sigma x epsilon) x T^4, as described before. Atmosphere has no power to slow down this basic physics equation. As long as the atmosphere is COLDER than the surface, the surface will continue to radiate AT THE SAME RATE, until it in turn cools off. HEAT TRANSFER to other objects might vary... but the radiative power output associated with a given temperature remains the same. Atmosphere has no power to alter it. AND... I repeat: CO2 is NOT any kind of "insulating blanket", either. CO2 is a very efficient convective cooler... not an insulator. So I don't care what your "authority" says; he has his physics wrong. If forcing exists, that's not how it works. Let me give you a concrete example. You can do the math. Take a very big vacuum chamber (to keep it all radiative). Put a 1m^2 plate inside heated to 300°K. A meter away is a 10m^2 plate at 200°K. The radiative output of the hot plate is 1m^2 x εσ(T4). (We're assuming no reflection, and same emissivity for all materials.) The time for the hot plate to cool to 280°K is measured. Now... same setup, but you put a 275° plate near the 300° plate. How long will it take for the 300° plate to cool to 280°? The answer is: THE SAME. Because the other plate doesn't have any power to magically "reach out" and alter the radiative output of the 300° plate! The temp. starts the same and the radiative output will follow the same curve as before. AS LONG AS the other plate is colder. Further, since the other plate is colder, 1st & 2nd laws of thermodynamics say they can give no NET energy to the warmer plate. So there is no mechanism by which the colder object can warm (or keep warmer) the hotter object, RADIATIVELY. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-07]
Lonny's incorrect Sky Dragon Slayer answer is "THE SAME" but mainstream physicists know that the 300K plate cools slower if the 280K plate is near it. (Presuming that Lonny's vacuum chamber walls are colder than 280K.) If Lonny actually had solved the problem I'd solved for him, he'd have realized that his "discussion" with Appell was about Lonny repeating all that Slayer nonsense.
As I've explained to YOU, the discussion with Appell was about whether Pierrhumbert meant NET flux in a passage from his book. Yet you don't mention that anywhere here. Which, yet again, shows the dishonest purpose of your attacks. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Dishonest? Again, you were actually just repeating Sky Dragon Slayer nonsense in your "discussion" with Appell. In fact, screaming the word "NET" in ALL CAPS while pretending(?) to be hopelessly confused about its definition is one of your Sky Dragon Slayer behavior patterns that I've repeatedly mentioned. So is this:
@davidappell ... I repeat: CO2 is NOT any kind of "insulating blanket", either. CO2 is a very efficient convective cooler... not an insulator. So I don't care what your "authority" says; he has his physics wrong. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-07]
Once again, CO2 is an insulator, not a "very efficient convective cooler". I've showed Lonny evidence that increasing CO2 warms the globe. If CO2 isn't an insulator but a "very efficient convective cooler" then why does increasing CO2 warm the globe?
Simplified: Earth emits IR. GHGs absorb upgoing IR, then reemit IR in random direction, some of it downward = warming. [David Appell]
A cooler gas does not radiatively warm an already warmer surface. Not by any physics I ever learned. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-08]
Nonsense, Lonny. I've repeatedly told you that the greenhouse effect disappears if the upper troposphere isn't colder than the surface. That's also what the US NAS says: "The strength of Earth's greenhouse effect depends on the fact that the temperature decreases with height in the troposphere, so that emission from water vapor and clouds in the colder upper troposphere is less than that from the surface."

The irony deepens because this fact implies there's a situation where increasing CO2 actually can cool (part of) the Earth's surface. This happens if the upper atmosphere is warmer than the surface. At 5:09 in Andrew Dessler's video he explains why this happens. There's also a real-world example in Schmithüsen et al. 2015:
How increasing CO2 leads to an increased negative greenhouse effect in Antarctica

CO2 is the strongest anthropogenic forcing agent for climate change since preindustrial times. Like other greenhouse gases, CO2 absorbs terrestrial surface radiation and causes emission from the atmosphere to space. As the surface is generally warmer than the atmosphere, the total long-wave emission to space is commonly less than the surface emission. However, this does not hold true for the high elevated areas of central Antarctica. For this region, the emission to space is higher than the surface emission; and the greenhouse effect of CO2 is around zero or even negative, which has not been discussed so far. We investigated this in detail and show that for central Antarctica an increase in CO2 concentration leads to an increased long-wave energy loss to space, which cools the Earth-atmosphere system. These findings for central Antarctica are in contrast to the general warming effect of increasing CO2.

... if the surface is colder than the atmosphere, the sign of the second term in equation (1) is negative. Consequently, the system loses more energy to space due to the presence of greenhouse gases. The GHE and the instantaneous radiative forcing turn negative. ... The TES results demonstrate that the yearly averages of GHETES being negative are unique to the Antarctic Plateau and nowhere else observed on the planet. This is due to the fact that Antarctica is the only region on Earth where the surface is frequently colder than the stratosphere. ...
So Lonny wasn't discussing "whether Pierrehumbert meant NET flux in a passage from his book" as much as he was getting the physics completely backwards by repeating Slayer talking points. CO2 isn't a "cooler" globally because increasing CO2 warms the globe. However, when the atmosphere is warmer than the surface, the greenhouse effect reverses and increasing CO2 cools that surface. It couldn't work any other way. Not by any physics I (or any other mainstream physicist) ever learned.

This is yet another reason why Lonny's comments about Antarctica are incredibly ironic.
Explain where the "slayer" comments are? I am not, never have been, one of them. So point out: where is the "slayer" comment on that page? [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Right here:
Comparing greenhouse theory to "thicker blanket" is ignorance of the physics of how it's supposed to work. ... [A blanket works by] preventing convection and conduction. That is NOT how greenhouse effect works. ... A "blanket" does NOT block "thermal radiation". You don't know anything about this, do you? ... NORMAL blankets do not "block thermal radiation". That's just false. ... You don't know squat about this. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-04-16]
No, Robert Ellis was right: blankets block conduction, convection, AND thermal radiation. Once again, Jane/Lonny Eachus is (unintentionally?) echoing Joseph Postma's Slayer nonsense:
Slayer Double Victory ... A blanket is about preventing convection, and has nothing to do with radiation. ... both versions of the greenhouse effect are debunked. The blanket analogy where radiation from a cooler object slows emission from the warmer object is false, because you cannot "slow emission" from the warmer object, and originally, the cooler object doesn't transfer heat to the warmer object. ... The Slayers won... the Slayers are the victors. [Joseph Postma, 2016-02-26]
Contrast Lonny's and Postma's and Latour's claims with mainstream science from NASA: "A blanket around the Earth... A layer of greenhouse gases - primarily water vapor, and including much smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - acts as a thermal blanket for the Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface..."

And once again, chapter 3 of this NAS video says: "... As concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, Earth's natural greenhouse effect is amplified, like having a thicker blanket, and surface temperatures slowly rise. ..."
Think of greenhouse gases like a blanket. The more we add to the atmosphere the thicker the blanket and the warmer it is under it. [Dr. Michael SanClements via @realscientists]
That's a very BAD analogy. Blankets prevent conduction and convection. They have nothing to do with radiative "warming". [Lonny Eachus, 2015-07-31]
No, blankets also have something to do with radiative warming. Imagine a constant heat source like a human body with a constant metabolism, or an electrical heater drawing constant electrical power, or a planet with a constant albedo in a circular orbit illuminated by constant sunlight. Now imagine this heat source is suspended in the vacuum of space so it can't lose heat via conduction or convection. Allow the heat source enough time to reach a steady temperature T1.

Now wrap a blanket around the heat source without them touching. Again, allow the heat source to reach a new steady temperature T2. Unless the "blanket" is somehow completely transparent to the (probably infrared) radiation emitted by the heat source, T2 will be hotter than T1. For instance, under these conditions T1 = 150°F and T2 = 234.1°F. The blanket can't insulate the heat source via conduction or convection here. The blanket warms the heat source by blocking thermal radiation and radiating part of it back at the heat source.
How does colder insulation make a house warmer? [David Appell]
It doesn't. Insulation PREVENTS COOLING by inhibiting conduction and convection. It has nothing to do with radiation. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-08]
No, Prof. Robert Brown already told Jane/Lonny: "... Some things he [Sky Dragon Slayer Joseph Olson] states are blatently [sic] silly -- the assertion that a "space blanket" (reflective mylar sheet) works by blocking convection instead of trapping radiation (it's both, but the human body loses heat primarily through radiation, a simple fact that can once again be directly photographed). ..."

The Sky Dragon Slayer CEO John O'Sullivan also rides the Slayer "blanket" hobby horse:
... the 'blanket' analogy of the GHE is nonsense. ... [Sky Dragon Slayer CEO John O'Sullivan, 2012-11-20]
... We even involved leading space scientists to refute Spencer's absurd notion that outer space was 'cold' and that our atmosphere keeps us 'warm' like a 'blanket.' Also, the notion that any gas can 'trap' heat is one of the most absurd 'explanation's offered by these pseudo scientists. ... [Sky Dragon Slayer CEO John O'Sullivan, 2013-03-15]
And hey: when someone says "heat-trapping", tell them they don't understand the physics. Because they don't. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-11-29]
Nonsense. Once again, Lonny Eachus and John O'Sullivan are wrong. NASA and the US NAS and the AIP and the AGU and UCAR and MIT (etc.) understand the physics when they say "heat-trapping".

Lonny continued to discuss "whether Pierrehumbert meant NET flux in a passage from his book" with David Appell by saying:
CO2 is NOT an "insulator". Mainstream climate scientists acknowledge that. Insulation is a failed analogy. [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-08]
No, Sky Dragon Slayers like Postma, Latour, O'Sullivan and Olson object to the insulating blanket analogy used by mainstream scientists at NASA and the US NAS, etc. Ironically, Appell had just told Lonny about yet another mainstream scientist who uses the insulation analogy:
... So after 6 pages of "science", he tells us WRONGLY that CO2 acts like a "blanket" or a reflector? Really? Here's the kicker: He writes: "Hot as Venus is, it would become still hotter if one added CO2 to its atmosphere." Venus' atmosphere is 96% CO2. So I have no choice but to presume this Pierrehumbert paper is a joke. I won't even bother to pick apart the rest. ... [Lonny Eachus, 2015-04-07]
Nonsense, Lonny. That Pierrehumbert paper isn't a joke. It's yet another example of a mainstream scientist debunking Slayer nonsense by CORRECTLY explaining that "carbon dioxide is just planetary insulation."

Lonny falsely claims Pierrehumbert's paper is a joke because Venus' atmosphere is 96% CO2. But even if it were 100% CO2, Venus would become still hotter if one added CO2 to its atmosphere. That's because the total mass of atmospheric CO2 would increase, raising the effective radiating level even higher, further insulating the surface. Ironically, this is yet another way to see that Lonny's "saturation" argument is wrong.

Slayers make a similar mistake when they claim that the Martian atmosphere's ~95% CO2 is making it "non-hot". However, the strength of a planet's greenhouse effect is set by its effective radiating level height, which is controlled by the total mass of atmospheric CO2, not its percentage. I've explained that since the Martian atmosphere is very thin, the total mass of Martian CO2 is much lower than the total mass of Venusian CO2. I've also shown Jane/Lonny this LASP link which explains how the small mass of Martian CO2 is responsible for its ~5°C greenhouse effect.
... Tc can never cause Th to be Th+anything. Ergo no GHG warming. [ASKirkpatrick]
We're in front of a fire - the sun; but our radiation doesn't make sun hotter. Heat flows H to C, no excep [ASKirkpatrick]
NET heat flows H to C. Radiation shields make thermocouples hotter: Daniels 1968 [DumbSci]
As usual, what he says here may have some truth but is highly misleading. On the second page of his lined paper, item 2, it says very clearly that the most important factor in radiation shielding of thermocouples is radiative transfer TO the thermocouple from outside sources. While surrounding a thermocouple with shielding MAY make it warmer, that effect is almost certiainly due to reflection. Or at least mostly. But core AGW theory has little to do with reflection. It's about absorption and re-emittance. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-16]
Nonsense. I repeatedly gave Lonny links to Daniels 1968 because thermocouple radiation shields can be analyzed using the same solution I'd already given Lonny. The temperature increase after enclosing the source/thermocouple is exactly the same whether the surfaces are all treated as black bodies (which don't reflect radiation) or all treated as gray bodies (which can reflect radiation). I've even specifically told Lonny that "my black and gray body calculations yielded identical enclosed steady-state temperatures".

So surrounding a thermocouple with shielding really DOES make it warmer, and under these conditions that temperature increase is completely independent of the presence or absence of reflections. Lonny's claim is incorrect.
[A rock at night radiating its daytime heat] cools slower if covered by a blanket because of conduction, convection AND radiation. [DumbSci]
Not unless it's a low-emissivity or reflective blanket. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Unless you're talking about a low-emissivity or reflective blanket, which is NOT what most people mean when they say "blanket". They mean a comforter. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Nonsense. The temperature increase after enclosing the source/thermocouple is exactly the same whether the surfaces are all treated as black bodies (which don't reflect radiation) or all treated as gray bodies (which can reflect radiation). Seriously: covering a hot rock with a black body comforter (without reflections) makes it cool slower because of conduction, convection and radiation.
Also, blankets block thermal radiation in addition to the conduction/convection effects. [DumbSci]
Out of context. Blankets don't "block" thermal radiation. They radiate it back out. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Nonsense. Blankets block thermal radiation by absorbing it, then radiating part of it back at the object or person surrounded by the blanket. That's the radiative part of how blankets insulate us, and how adding blankets WARMS us. Note that "block" isn't a synonym for "reflect".
... But core AGW theory has little to do with reflection. It's about absorption and re-emittance. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-16]
Just like blankets. That's why mainstream scientists use the blanket analogy even though Sky Dragon Slayers keep objecting to it.
Out of context again. The back radiation does not WARM. It prevents cooling. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Wrong, Lonny. Of course back radiation warms! Enclosing the 150°F source/thermocouple with a radiation shield/blanket WARMS it to 234.1°F. And once again, adding CO2 to the atmosphere WARMS the surface via back-radiation.
The simple fact is, Appell tried to claim a dynamic system, actively heated at one end and actively cooled at the other, was in "thermal equilibrium". As far as I was concerned, that was the end of "rational discussion", and I left. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Once again, I repeatedly told you that Appell and I were using the same definition of "equilibrium" (no change with time) used here by LASP to describe the Earth. So did Prof. Denning. In fact, Lonny himself has used the term "Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity" (ECS) many times. Even though the Earth is being actively heated at one end by the Sun and actively cooled at the poles and the nightside. Is that the end of "rational discussion" with LASP, Prof. Denning and Lonny Eachus?

I've also showed Lonny the same definition being used in Dr. Spencer's original thought experiment: "Eventually the second plate will also reach a state of equilibrium, where its average temperature (let's say 100 deg. F) stays constant with time."

And while solving a similar thought experiment that's actively heated and cooled at different ends, Prof. Steve Carson used "equilibrium" and "steady state" interchangeably: "What is the equation for the equilibrium surface temperature of the sphere, Ta? ... This is a "find the equilibrium" problem. ... Steady state means temperatures have stabilized and so energy in = energy out. ... its equilibrium temperature must be determined by P ..."
No, I'm telling you that your STATED objection to Appell also applies to many scientists [DumbSci]
... who would say steady-state is equivalent to equilibrium. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Yes, those terms are used interchangeably by many scientists. For instance, Lonny quoted a page written by Dr. Stephen O. Nelson where he explicitly states that "steady state = equilibrium". So Lonny's stated objection to Appell also applies to many other scientists, including the scientist Lonny quotes to "support" his argument!

Let's review again: conservation of energy says that power going in through some boundary minus the power going out equals the rate at which energy inside that boundary changes (dE/dt).

power in - power out = dE/dt      (Equation 1)

If nothing inside that boundary is changing with time, the rate at which energy inside the boundary changes (dE/dt) is zero.

power in - power out = 0            (Equation 2)

Physicists describe the situation in equation 2 as having no "net flow" of power through that boundary. Note that conservation of energy isn't specifically referring to heat flow because electricity flowing into the boundary still increases the energy inside the boundary even though electricity isn't heat.

Since all the temperatures calculated in this thought experiment aren't changing in time, they're all calculated using equation 2. Lonny's "confusion" regarding the label we use to describe "no change with time" simply isn't relevant because regardless of which label we choose, we still just use equation 2.

No, I'm telling you that your STATED objection to Appell also applies to many scientists [DumbSci]
But I also quoted one who disagrees. In thermal equilibrium, NO HEAT TRANSFER OCCURS. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Nonsense. Once again, you quoted Dr. Stephen O. Nelson saying that equilibrium is defined as "no net flow". He did not say "NO HEAT TRANSFER OCCURS". In fact, Dr. Nelson is simply repeating the explanation I've repeatedly given Lonny about the assumption behind equation 2: that there's no net flow of power through the boundary. There can be net heat transfer, as long as that outgoing net heat transfer equals the incoming electrical power. Which is true in this case.

Lonny: if you're right, why did Dr. Stephen O. Nelson explicitly state that "steady state = equilibrium" on the same page you quoted? Don't you see that he's just repeating the same physics principle I've been trying to explain to you?
... However, the discussion HERE never got past the stage of agreeing on initial conditions, because Appell would not even agree that a system that is being actively heated on one end, and actively cooled on the other, is not in thermal equilibrium. Why would I every try to discuss thermodynamics under such circumstances? With someone who won't even agree on something that simple, and even tries to label it a character flaw on my part for insisting on such a simple thing? It sure looked like a waste of time to me. ... [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-16]
A few days ago, Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé announced (at ~27:50 into the press conference) that the newly discovered exoplanet Proxima b has an "equilibrium temperature" of ~235 K and used the term "equilibrium temperature" in Anglada-Escudé et al. 2016 (PDF). They did this even though Proxima b is likely tidally-locked to Proxima Centauri so it's being actively heated on the permanently illuminated hemisphere and actively cooled on the permanently dark hemisphere. In that case, why would Lonny Eachus ever try to discuss thermodynamics with the scientists who discovered the nearest potentially habitable exoplanet? It seems like that would look like a waste of time to Lonny.
Further, when I tried to simply establish that we were all agreeing on the nature of system being discussed, Appell repeatedly berated me for being "unscientific". [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
That's funny, the word "unscientific" doesn't appear anywhere in that "discussion". And the "nature of the system being discussed" was that it wasn't changing with time. You were pedantically arguing about the label used to describe "no change with time". Worse, you were being incorrectly pedantic by incorrectly lecturing physicists about physics terminology.
I told Appell I was leaving when he wouldn't agree there was no thermal equilibrium. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-16]
Let's temporarily overlook the fact that even the scientist Lonny quoted explicitly states that "steady state = equilibrium", rendering Lonny's argument self-contradictory and incoherent.

Instead, let's focus on the fact that David Appell told Lonny to call it whatever he wants and I've repeatedly told Lonny that I'll call the system in "steady state" when its temperatures don't change with time, in the naive hope that we might actually be able to finally take the very first step in this calculation.

So Lonny isn't just still being incorrectly pedantic and self-contradictory. Lonny's still being incorrectly pedantic and self-contradictory about a topic where several physicists had already magnanimously decided to let Lonny decide which label to use, in the naive hope that we might actually be able to finally take the very first step in this calculation.

Why would Lonny do that if he's not just frantically trying to avoid showing the solution he keeps saying he has?
You've spent several hours now claiming I should argue with somebody about heat transfer, but he wouldn't even agree on conditions that make transfer possible. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
Nonsense, Lonny. I've spent several years now claiming that you're spreading Sky Dragon Slayer misinformation, and repeatedly explaining that you might be able to recognize that and finally stop if you'd just solve this thought experiment you've spent years wrongly lecturing physicists about. Instead, you keep frantically weaving a maze of words to avoid showing the solution you keep saying you have.
I have solved it on my own. Thanks very much. [Lonny Eachus, 2016-07-15]
That seems unlikely given the incorrect claims Lonny made above after claiming to have solved it on his own. Instead of just solving this thought experiment, Lonny has been frantically weaving a maze of words for years. Presumably to cover up the fact that Lonny can't correctly solve the simple thought experiment he's spent years wrongly lecturing physicists about. As part of his maze of words, Lonny has hurled other false accusations at me which I won't rebut in this article. Rebutting those accusations wouldn't be educational for anyone, and it wouldn't help Lonny finally find the courage to stop frantically weaving a maze of words and actually solve this simple physics problem.

Appalachian Trail, 20 Years Ago April

(Click for calf size.)

Thursday, September 08, 2016

La Nina Looking Even Less Likely

The monthly ENSO forecast for the next several months is out from the Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University.

Upshot: They think the chance of a La Nina this fall and winter has fallen below 50%.
The multi-model averages favor borderline Neutral-La Niña conditions (3-month average Niño-3.4 index less than or equal to -0.5°C) during the Northern Hemisphere fall, continuing into winter (Fig. 6). However, the more recently updated model runs from the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) more strongly favor ENSO-Neutral (Fig. 7). The forecaster consensus prefers this outcome, which is supported by the lack of significant anomalies in several indicators over the past month (winds, convection, subsurface temperatures). Overall, ENSO-Neutral conditions are slightly favored (between 55-60%) during the upcoming Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2016-17 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).
(emphasis mine.) Here the La Nina probability is in blue:

This is the third month in a row when the forecasted chance of a La Nina has fallen: from about a 75% forecasted chance in June, to 60% in July and in August, and now to about 40-45%.

Why does this matter? Well, it's inherently interesting, since La Ninas usually follow El Ninos. And, even though a natural fluctuation (up or down) says nothing about climate change, it would take away a talking point of those who think cooler temperatures are on the way. As Eli once said, somewhere, there is so much horseshit flying around that you almost want to see warming just to shove it in their faces. (That might not have been his exact wording; apologies if not.)