Friday, January 17, 2020

The Testable, Falsifiable Science That Supports Human Causes of Warming

About Temperature Changes in the Ocean

Every time changes in ocean heat content make it into the news -- and it reached another high again in 2019, as it does almost every year -- woefully uninformed people like Willis Eschenbach complain that the temperature changes are oh so small, so what can it matter??

It's true that the ocean is vast and has a high mass -- 0.02% of the Earth's mass, in fact. It does not warm or cool easily. But:

a) that does not mean any change in its heat content is small, and

b) it certainly does not mean that the temperature changes by the same amount at all depths.

Exactly because the ocean is so massive, it takes a lot of heat to change its temperature -- in any region. Since 1955, the average temperature of the top 2000 meters of the ocean -- about 1/2 its average depth -- has increased by about 0.10°C. From the heat angle, that means the change in that region's heat content is about 300 ZJ (1 ZJ = 1021 J).

Exercise for the reader: compare this to the rate at which the Earth receives energy from the Sun, either at the top of the atmosphere or at the surface.

So who cares, right? Besides the question of the effect on marine life -- which I'm working on understanding, check back later, but let's point out that at equilibrium there will be little change at all -- what does this mean about the temperature change at various depths? It means it can still change by a lot by depth.

Using NOAA's data on ocean temperature anomalies and ocean heat content, we can calculate the temperature and heat changes in average regions. It's pretty simple; just recall that ΔQ = mc*ΔT (definition of specific heat). The data gives:

Put another way, here is the average temperature change as a function of ocean depth:

There's your thermocline. Calculating temperature change from changes in ocean heat content makes no sense unless you do it as a function of ocean depth.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

edX Course on Global Warming Science

This looks like a good course for anyone who wants to learn the basic science of global warming. It's a step beyond the course Michael Mann taught a few years ago; this one requires knowledge of calculus, mechanics and electromagnetism -- that is to say, college freshman physics. It's taught by Kerry Emanuel (et al) of MIT, and consists of video lectures. It's free to audit. If you haven't wanted to read a climate science textbook but want to go beyond the zeroth-order energy balance equation, this looks like a good opportunity.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Pct of Earth with Warmest and Coldest Decade

Here's an interesting result from climatologist Brian Brettschneider -- the percentage of Earth with the warmest and coldest decade since 1900:

BTW, GISS found 2019 was the 2nd warmest year for the globe in their records. Easily the warmest ENSO-neutral year. And it was the warmest year in the southern hemisphere. Northern hemisphere and land-only were the 2nd warmest year. This is the 5th year in a row that the land-only anomaly was > 1°C -- for 2019 it was 1.3°C (2.3°F). For Dec-19 it was a high 1.52°C (2.74°F) -- the 3rd warmest month ever (viz. third highest anomaly).

Friday, January 03, 2020

Greta Thunberg on Living Sustainability

This really hits the nail on the head, and very simply:
Greta Thunberg: "It is impossible to live sustainably today, and that needs to change."
I don't think I've ever said this so simply. Or came close.

Record UAH Temperatures

Here we are, in a non El Nino year, and UAH calculates that the lower troposphere was at a record high temperature for December in their records (starting in 1978).

It was also a record high meteorological autumn (Sept-Nov).

The year ranked 3rd highest in their records, making it a record high ENSO-neutral year.

Who ordered that?

PS: One genius at Spencer's blog, Bob Weber, thinks we're in a "mini-ice age."

The 2020s are going to be a contest to see which denier can make the laughable statement possible. Starting out, I nominate this.

US Exporting More Oil Than It Imports

This past week the US had net negative imports of oil -- that is to say, more exports than imports. It's the least net exports since at least 1990:

Click to Enlarge
Of course I don't know what's going on behind the scenes, but I wonder if US oil companies, abetted by the Trump administration, aren't engaged in a last gasp of oil drilling before climate considerations put an end to it. Making us an "energy superpower," in the words of former DOE chief Rick Perry. The gasp might last 10 years or even twenty, but they've gotta see it on the horizon, something coal saw too late.

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Australian PM Gets a Firehose of Criticism

The prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, visited New South Wales yesterday, which has seen some of the devastating, scary wildfires. In this jaw-dropping clip, the people there gave him a good piece of their mind:

Notice the fireman near the clip's end who refuses to shame Morrison's hand. Notice Morrison feebly trying to address climate change. It was so bad Morrison scambered home.

The fires are expected to get worse.