Sunday, April 28, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

New Banksy

New Banksy graffiti found near the site of last week's climate change protests in London:

The words come from the Belgium writer Raoul Vaneigem in his 1967 book The Revolution of Everyday Life: "From this moment despair ends and tactics begin. Despair is the infantile disorder of the revolutionaries of everyday life."

Here's a wider view, from the BBC:

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Related to CO2, One Way or Another

A new paper found that during the Holocene, Arctic warming is associated with drying over the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. That's potentially bad news:
If the patterns observed during the Holocene hold for current anthropogenically forced warming, the weaker latitudinal temperature gradient will lead to considerable reductions in mid-latitude water resources.
From the press release: "We found that when the Arctic warms, resulting in smaller temperature differences between the Equator and the pole, the jet stream gets weaker and less precipitation falls in the mid-latitudes."

* * *

Alaska's average temperature for March was 14.3°F (7.9°C) warmer than the 1981-2010 average. That was a record March and the fourth warmest (most anomalous) of any month since records began in 1925. (Data from NOAA.)

* * *

Meanwhile the continental US was 2.4°F (1.3°C) below the 1981-2010 average. Winter (DJF) was middling -- ranked 40th highest of 124 years. (Data from NOAA.)

* * *

An interesting graphic (Sorry, I don't know where it originated):

* * *

From @OceansClimateCU. Details here (RCP8.5, 2081–2099 vs. 1981–1999). Temperature change in °C.

* * * 

Finally, from

Monday, April 22, 2019

"...All We Love and All We Are"

In his daily NYT email, David Leonhardt observes Earth Day with this final paragraph of a new book by Nathaniel Rich titled Losing Earth: A Recent History.
“Everything is changing about the natural world and everything must change about the way we conduct our lives. It is easy to complain that the problem is too vast, and each of us is too small. But there is one thing that each of us can do ourselves, in our homes, at our own pace — something easier than taking out the recycling or turning down the thermostat, and something more valuable. We can call the threats to our future what they are. We can call the villains villains, the heroes heroes, the victims victims and ourselves complicit. We can realize that all this talk about the fate of Earth has nothing to do with the planet’s tolerance for higher temperatures and everything to do with our species’ tolerance for self-delusion. And we can understand that when we speak about things like fuel-efficiency standards or gasoline taxes or methane flaring, we are speaking about nothing less than all we love and all we are.”
Last year the NY Times Magazine had this article by Rich, based on his book:  Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change. It's about there period 1979-1989. I'm a little dubious, but it's an article worth reading.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Abdussamatov's Prediction of a Solar Irradiance Decline is Failing

Back in 2012, Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of a space research lab at the Pulkovo observatory in Russia, predicted a sharp decline in total solar irradiance (TSI), and "new Little Ice Age" soon in the future. It got the deniers all tingley (not thinking that cooling for a decline in solar irradiance is natural and wouldn't say a thing about anthropogenic warming).

How well did Abdussamtov's prediction do? Poorly:

The figure is from his 2012 paper; I added the black line to represent the present.

Abdussamtov was right that we'd now be in a sunspot minimum -- but that's a pretty easy prediction, given what's know about the length of the solar cycle. But his prediction for TSI is badly wrong, by a sizzling 2 W/m2.

He says he used PMOD data, but I couldn't reproduce his graph using the PMOD data I found, in particular the baseline prior to 2010 of 1365.5 W/m2.  (The baseline for the PMOD data linked above is more like 1360.5 W/m2. The difference isn't relevant here.) Here's a plot of my PMOD; the latest data only goes up to May 2, 2018:

No change in the baseline. But Abdussamtov's TSI prediction for the present can be easily discerned from his graph: a change in the baseline TSI (zero sunspots) from 1365.5 W/m2 to 1363.5 W/m2 -- a drop of 2.0 W/m2.

But the baseline change is zero. Here are TSI data from LASP (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics) in Colorado, updated to April 2019:

So, again, a different baseline, but not a change in baseline.

(Like a lot of measurements, determining the absolute value of a parameter is much harder than determining changes in it.)

There's no sign, at least yet, of a new Little Ice Age, or another Maunder Minimum, or any of that. Yes, the peak of Solar Cycle 24 was about half that of earlier peaks. (So how can anyone claim the Sun is responsible for modern warming? TSI averaged over a solar cycle has been declining since the 1960s.)

By the way, Abdussamatov wrote another paper, in 2016, doubling down. (Clarification: it appeared in a (non-peer reviewed) book, not a journal). He claims the new Little Ice Age did start, in 2015. But he (of course he did) moved out the start of the grand decline by about 30 years:
The start of a solar grand minimum is anticipated in solar cycle 27 ± 1 in 2043 ± 11 and the beginning of phase of deep cooling in the new Little Ice Age in 2060 ± 11.
I wonder if he's taken into account his failed prediction of 2012....

PS: The question of the cooling consequences of a future Maunder Minimum has been studied. It was found that anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming easily swamps any cooling from a Maunder Minimum-like sun. Cooling by 2100 would only be, at most, 0.3 C below IPCC projections.

"On the effect of a new grand minimum of solar activity on the future climate on Earth," G. Fuelner and S. Rahmstorf,  Geo Res Lett vol. 37, L05707 2010.

"Increased greenhouse gases enhance regional climate response to a
Maunder Minimum," Song et al, Geo Res Lett vol. 37, L01703 (2010)

"What influence will future solar activity changes over the 21st century have on projected global near-surface temperature changes?" Gareth S. Jones, et al, JGR v 117, D05103 (2012) doi:10.1029/2011JD017013, 2012.

See also:

Friday, April 19, 2019

Your Creepy Video of the Day

Robotic dogs -- only 10 of them -- pull a large truck up a 1° slope. They're now coming off the production line. (Stick around until 0:48, when the machines rise.)

Maybe This is Why Republicans Fear AOC

She's different. From WaPo -- "Barr" is Rep. Garland “Andy” Barr (R-Ky.).

Worse yet, Barr was lying. " turns out there are no active coal mines in Barr’s district anyway, which underscores her point."

Thursday, April 18, 2019

NOAA March Anomaly: 1.30°C

NOAA's determination of March's global average surface temperature is +1.30°C relative to 1880-1909.

Because why not.

That's 2.34°F.

It's the 2nd warmest March in their records, and the 5th warmest month of any in their records

Several IPCC Models Showing 5°C Climate Sensitivity

This week's Science magazine is reporting that several (at least eight) climate models being used as input to the IPCC's 6th Assessment Report have an exceptionally high climate sensitivity of about 5°C.

(Climate sensitivity is how much the planet's surface will warm for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere, after incoming and outgoing energy are again in balance. It's currently thought to be in the 2 - 4.5°C range, and calculations have stayed in that range for almost three decades now.)

5°C (9°F) would, of course, be significant warming and a significant change from current scientific thinking.

The article, by Paul Voosen, says modelers are working to understand which of their recent refinements are responsible for the surge. Modelers note it's still too early to know for sure, and that it's out-of-line with sensitivity estimates taken from past periods of climate change.

For example, the latest model from the GFDL in Princeton...
...incorporated a host of improvements in their next-generation model. It mimics the ocean in fine enough detail to directly simulate eddies, honing its representation of heat-carrying currents like the Gulf Stream. Its rendering of the El Niño cycle, the periodic warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, looks “dead on,” says Michael Winton, a GFDL oceanographer who helped lead the model's development. But for some reason, the world warms up faster with these improvements. Why? “We're kind of mystified,” Winton says. Right now, he says, the model's equilibrium sensitivity looks to be 5°C.
Models from ETH Zurich, CCCM in Canada, GFDL and NCAR are all running hot. CMIP6, the Climate Model Intercomparison Model, where models all run the same scenarios and compare results, may sort out the issues, but it's running late, impacting deadlines for the first drafts of the 6AR.

And this is interesting:
In assessing how fast climate may change, the next IPCC report probably won't lean as heavily on models as past reports did, says Thorsten Mauritsen, a climate scientist at Stockholm University and an IPCC author. It will look to other evidence as well, in particular a large study in preparation that will use ancient climates and observations of recent climate change to constrain sensitivity. IPCC is also not likely to give projections from all the models equal weight, Fyfe adds, instead weighing results by each model's credibility.
The IPCC 6AR is scheduled to come out in 2021.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Relative Health Care Spending is Declining

Data from The Altarum Institute:

Since Trump has done zero on health care, you have to wonder if this is due to Obamacare.... I don't know.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

There are No Hard Deadlines in Future Climate Change

Image result for There are No Hard Deadlines in Future Climate ChangeIt's disappointing that an editor at Discover magazine would write this:
"If you’ve been following climate news, you’ve probably heard about an approaching “tipping point” toward climate change — the point of no return after enough small changes brought us to certain disaster."
The truth is, there is no such tipping point!

Climate change doesn't work that way. It's incremental -- some change in temperature for a change in emitted CO2 (about 2/3°F per trillion short tons of CO2 emitted, in fact).

(1 short ton = dumb English unit = 2,000 lbs = 907 kg (at Earth's surface.))

In smart units, that's 1.5°C/TtC (trillion tonnes carbon emitted). From Matthews+ Nature 2009.

This is a rather amazing equation, because it doesn't need to know how much CO2 goes into the ocean vs soil vs stays in the atmosphere. It doesn't explicitly need to know equilibrium climate sensitivity (the equilibrium temperature change after atmo CO2 doubles). These things cancel out (see the Matthews+ paper.) AFAIK, this is the relationship planners and policy makers use to determine how the world will stay below 1.5°C or 2.0°C or whatever.

Back to the quote. There may be tipping points in the future, but it is not nearly as clear cut as the author writes. No one knows. They are very uncertain. (No, that's not a good thing.) In fact, I've already heard (good) scientists say that Arctic sea ice has probably already passed a tipping point in its melting -- that it's not going to recover.

But there is no hard deadline by which we must solve climate change. It's not 12 years or 2030 or, now I'm seeing, 11.75 years. That's just not how climate change works. The sooner we cut emissions, the better. The later the worse. Partial cuts are better than none.

I (mostly) blame AOC.

Monday, April 15, 2019

It's Getting Warm Again

March 2019, NASA GISS
Perhaps it's the (not-quite-there-yet) El Nino, but global temperatures are heading back up.

GISS found March to be the 3rd warmest March in their records, and the 6th warmest of any month since their records began in 1880. The land-only anomaly of 1.39°C relative to 1951-1980 was the 2nd highest for March, and the 4th highest of all month.

Year-to-date 2019 is +0.12°C compared to last-year-to-date.

The land-only 30-year trend is 0.24°C/decade, meaning the warming over the last three decades is 0.73°C (1.32°F). That's over 0.4°F each decade.

The Japanese Meteorological Association also found the globe to be the 3rd warmest March (since 1890), and the 12th warmest of all months.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

"Religious Nones" Now Leading Religion Group in US

This is an amazing graph: those who say they follow no religion are now the leading "religious group" in the US.

My guesses for the reasons behind this trend:

  1. the freedom from social norms unleashed in the '60s.
  2. more education over the decades.
  3. Catholic sex abuse scandals.
  4. Overly political, hypocritical behavior of Christian evangelicals.
  5. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, etc.
  6. Longer working hours = less time for traditional social activities such as church, mass or synagogue.
  7. Internet offers a sense of community and connection to the atheists and agnostics.
Anything else?

Now, when will politicians start catering to the Religious Nones in the same way they cater to Christians?

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Another Perspective on That Black Hole

A zoomed out image of yesterday's black hole in galaxy Messier 87, 54 million light-years away. Via Reddit.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Some Perspective on That Black Hole

From XKCD:

"We're de-evolving the fish."

This documentary looks to be good. (Hopefully it will be widely available). From the press release:
Film finds hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars are wasted on an industry that causes more harm than good; an exposé on the high cost of fish hatcheries, fish farms, and human ignorance. 

Monday, April 08, 2019

Monday, April 01, 2019

An Airplane's Contrail

Looking down at an airplane producing its contrail. Looks like a scene from Firefly.