Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sharp SST Spike Upward to an El Nino State

Here's an unusual change -- a sharp increase in the sea surface temperature anomaly of the Nino34 region in the central Pacific Ocean -- the region taken to be most indicative of the ENSO state. The anomaly is now in El Niño territory, as it's above 0.5°C. (It takes 5 months being above this value to make an official El Niño, in the eyes of NOAA.)

So no El Niño yet, but still a impressive spike.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Novel Graphic on Arctic Sea Ice Extent

From "Changing state of Arctic sea ice across all seasons," Julienne Stroeve and Dirk Notz, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 13, N 10, 24 Sept 2018 (open access).

(click to enlarge). The world is now emitting about 40 Gt CO2 per year (including land use changes), so we'll get to the first threshold, about 700 Gt CO2 (RCP 2.6) relative to today, in about 18 years.

(Since 1850 the world has emitted about 2,200 Gt CO2, about 70% from burning fossil fuels and 30% from land use changes.)

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This is Mind-Blowing

If you follow the tinyurl link you can see how the breakoff point is derived: it's exp(99).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

About Time

"The darkness returns to Werner’s eyes, and he feels faint. Soon his legs will give out. A cat sits in the road licking a paw and smoothing it over its ears and watching him. He thinks of the old broken miners he’d see in Zollverein, sitting in chairs or on crates, not moving for hours, waiting to die. To men like that, time was a surfeit, a barrel they watched slowly drain. When really, he thinks, it’s a glowing puddle you carry in your hands; you should spend all your energy protecting it. Fighting for it. Working so hard not to spill one single drop."

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

NOAA Race Track Graph

Here's where 2018's year-to-date GMST* stands compared to recent years, with some scenarios to the end of the year. Via NOAA. It's possible the four warmest years on record will be the last four years.
* global mean surface temperature

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Leap Year Days in 365-day Moving Average of a Time Series?

Suppose you have a data time series that is taken every day. Say, like Arctic sea ice extent from NSIDC.

Let's say you want to calculate it's moving annual average -- over 1-yr, 12-mths, 365.25 days.

How, exactly, do you account for leap year days in such a moving average?

PS: I was born on a leap year day, February 29th -- the only baby in the hospital to have been delivered on that day -- but don't worry about upsetting me no matter whatever you propose. I've heard all the jokes, and I like being only a decade and a half old, more or less. It makes me feel just a bit special.

PPS: I also defended my PhD thesis on a Feb 29th. After my hour-long 4:00 pm presentation they voted me up just one hour before the hour I was born, so I can say I got my Phd when I was 27.


"The riskiest vaccine? The one that is not given."

I like this: "The riskiest vaccine? The one that is not given," Science 4/27/17. "Two of every three alleged injuries related to vaccines have been dismissed over the past 30 years by the US's vaccine court."

Did you even know we had a vaccine court? The video explains more about it.
Bret Stephens, the conservative columnist the NY Times took on a while back from the WSJ, got plenty of grief when he first came on because of his (rather mild, it turned out) position on anthropogenic global warming. But I think the people who judged him prematurely got it wrong -- Stephens has written a lot of good columns in recent months & weeks, about Trump, and including this one about China's heavy-handed oppression of Uighur Muslims. I'm finding that I agree with him more often than I disagree, and that he makes his points quite elegantly.

Certainly better than that immature idiot, Ross Douthat, who can't wait to turn the US into a theological state.
Antarctic sea ice is currently the lowest of any Sept 14th in the satellite era, going back to 1979.

Friday, September 14, 2018

An El Nino Watch is in Effect

The odds of an El Nino this winter have gone up slightly -- the September outlook for ENSO now has an El Nino Watch, according to the CPC/IRI* outlook, which calls for "a 50-55% chance of El Niño development during fall, rising to 65-70% for winter 2018-19. An El Niño watch is in effect."

*Climate Prediction Center/International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University

These back-to-back (-to-back-to-(maybe) back) nonneutral years aren't as uncommon as I thought. In fact, 47 of 68 (69%) ENSO seasons since 1950-51 (July-June) have been classified as a nonneutral year, according to the ONI index. NOAA considers a season to be an El Nino if there are 5 or more consecutive months of a +0.5°C Nino3.4 Index (the temperature anomaly in the Nino3.4 region), and a La Nina if there are 5 or more consecutive months with an anomaly of -0.5°C or less.

This page explains more, including how they classify weak, moderate and strong seasons.

There's basically no trend in the annual average Nino3.4 Index since 1950-51: it's -0.02°C/decade.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Broad Institute gets CRISPR patent (A Big Deal)

The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass has won the patent for CRISPR. This is a really big deal.
"The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed to uphold a patent filed by the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University on Crispr Cas-9 gene-editing in organisms with complex cells. The court ruled that the patent didn’t infringe on another Crispr patent filed two years prior by researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, which sought the licensing rights of using Crispr Cas-9 to work with loose DNA in test tubes. Both patents are therefore upheld, allowing both the Broad group and the Berkeley group to exclusively license their technologies." 
"Crispr-Cas9 is a gene-editing technology enabling scientists to cut and paste snippets of genetic information in strands of DNA. This ruling comes down to splitting the licensing rights on what the technique is used for."
I don't know enough to say this patent is fair, but I know enough to know it's as very big deal. Genetic manipulation may well be the dominant issue of the 21st century -- sorry, people, but climate change will probably be way down the line, after genetic engineering, after synthetic biology, and after water shortages & fights....


Roy Spencer tries to prove a hurricane isn't enhanced by global warming before it even gets here!


"The American humorist Will Rogers liked to call the Rio Grande “the only river I know of that is in need of irrigating."

from The Rio Grande Is Dying. Does Anyone Care? Drained by farmers and divided by treaty, America’s second-longest river is running dry," Richard Parker, NY Times, 9/8/18.

My sister used to live in Albuquerque, down in the valley about 1/4th mile from the Rio Grande, and once when I was staying there for a few weeks I used to go walking down to the Rio Grande Nature Center and walk along the Rio Grande everyday. It's hard to imagine that such a river could cease to exist. But then, it's hard to imagine that any river could cease to exist.

People, the country, the world, are not good about deciding they should not exhaust a resource. Any resource.


New Hampshire keeps electing women to their governmental positions -- horrah! -- now, Democrat Molly Kelly for the general election in November. Best! It's a very difficult state to understand. Like Oregon, which has a clear divide between west -- west of the Cascade Mountains -- and the east, NH divides into, roughly, the south, where people have moved to escape Massachusetts, and the north -- roughly north of Lake Winnepesaukee -- where people are more conservative.

Do you ever miss somewhere you lived 12, 15, 20, 30 years ago? I do, I always do, and it is just not a useful/helpful thing to do. I wish I could help it.
"Nostalgia locates desire in the past, where is suffers no active conflict and can be yearned toward pleasantly."
-- Robert Haas

I reminisce too much here. Sorry.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Tangier Island and Sea Level Rise

There's a little island in the Chesapeake Bay across from (to the west of) Chincoteague Island in Virginia. It's near where the wild horses swim. I could tell you a couple of good stories about going there as a kid with my family, and two other families, with tent trailers and Coleman stoves and experiencing, on night one, an intense midnight soaking that require a laundromat at 2-4 a.m., but I won't. It was one of the few vacations we ever took. But I'll just say that the place saw nightly clouds of DDT pouring out the back of jeeps and directly into the lane where us kids played.
Tangier Island, Virginia

Tangier Island sits in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, and it's going underwater from sea level rise (mostly) and erosion. About 450 people live there, on 1.3 square miles, and it seems to be a pretty closed, insular group. None of them seem willing to accept global warming or its consequent sea level rise.

They think their problem, which involves about 15 feet of lost beach per year, is all due to erosion. Trump has encouraged this view by stupidly telling them not to worry about sea level rise. The Island's mayor said, “He [Trump] said that ‘your island has been there for hundreds of years, and I believe your island will be there for hundreds more.’” 87% of the islanders voted for Trump in 2016, because he was "the Christian candidate." Fools.

But they're not going to be just fine. They're going to get shoved off their island, and in just a few decades, by the ever rising sea. Doubtless they still won't accept global warming and its sea level rise even at that point, but will, sadly, invent a way to blame Democrats and gays and progressives and liberals and queers.

They'll be in the earliest band of US climate refugees.

There's a book out in the last few months, Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift. He lived on Tangier Island for a year, talking to "cantankerous" people who, I'm guessing, didn't really want to see his face every day, reminding them of their predicament and their denialism. But this is an easy call.

Now the federal government, via the Island's Virginia Congressman, is giving them a half million dollars ($495,000) to build a jetty, whose ultimate cost will be $2.4 million. 

This would make sense if their problem really was just erosion. But most of it is not. Like a placebo, a jetty might do something for a couple of years or ten, but it won't cure the disease. 

I don't know where the others $1.9 million will come from -- US taxpayers, probably. Add it to the list.

Only about 450 people live on Tangier Island, so we're talking about a hefty $5,300 per person. All for a fix that won't last because people won't accept the science and the reality of carbon dioxide and anthropogenic climate change.

I can almost sympathize with these residents. Almost. I do wish the people who live on Tangier Island could stay there forever, catching fish and crabs and watching Orioles games in the evenings. It does seem they have a deep, wonderful (though insular) community. But it won't be, and there will be many more dispossessed after them. This business is just getting started. Ad it's going to break an enormous number of hearts before it is through, if it ever is.

Some Perspective on Jobs Gained

Job gains under Trump are actually slowing down....

US job gains in Trump's first 19 months: 3.59 M

In Obama's last 19 months: 3.95 M


#economy #JobsReport

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Statue of Einstein

12 feet high, bronze. Memorial to Albert Einstein at the entrance to the headquarters of the National Academy of Sciences. Built 1979.

"The 12-foot bronze figure is depicted seated on a granite bench holding a paper with mathematical equations summarizing three of his most important scientific contributions: the photoelectric effect, the theory of general relativity, and the equivalence of energy and matter."

I'm surprised I didn't know of this until now.

Sea Level Rise is Already Starting to Look Expensive ($14.8 B)

Miami Beach, Florida
Over the past few weeks I've been keeping track of costs of sea level rise when I've come across a number. They're starting to look real -- I'm up to $14.8 billion so far.

In Miami Beach, where only 20% of sea level rise is due to land subsistence, they’re spending $400 billion to address sea level rise, for seawalls, pumps and raising roads. Some of the money comes from all Florida taxpayers, and some of it comes from a $7/month increase in monthly stormwater fees for residents.

New Jersey is spending (federal money) $300M for their Blue Acres buyout program. The state has bought 600 homes in danger of repeated flooding, using money from FEMA and US Dept of Housing and Urban Development.

The Louisiana Office of Community Development was awarded $48.3M to move 99 residents off Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana

$14.1 billion in lost home values: Axios: "According to a new report by the nonprofit First Street Foundation, housing values in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut dropped $6.7 billion from 2005 to 2017 due to flooding related to sea level rise. Combined with their prior analysis of 5 southeastern coastal states with $7.4 billion in lost home value, the total loss in 8 states since 2005 has been $14.1 billion.”

I'm not counting this cost yet, but it's the very definition of chutzpah: The oil industry is asking for $12 B for for 60 miles of seawalls, flood gates etc. on the Texas Gulf Coast, to protect refineries from the effects of climate change. (Added: See this also.)


Some other good articles lately:

"Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First," Christopher Flavel, Bloomberg, 8/29/18.

"Sea level rise is already costing property owners on the coast," Chris Mooney, Washington Post, 8/20/18.

"Surrendering to Rising Seas," Jen Schwartz, Scientific American, 8/1/18.