Sunday, September 26, 2021

A Small Incident About Cars

The other day I was a local place here, Nancy Jo's Burger's and Fries, ordering a chicken salad to go. A guy came up to me and said my car was parked too close to his car's door, which was in the adjacent parking spot, and I would have to move my car. Like a good guy I immediately went out and moved my car so he'd have room to open his door and get into his car. But then I came back in and noticed he was sitting in a booth waiting for his food with his family, planning to eat in the restaurant, while I was getting takeout and would be gone in a couple of minutes. This kind of annoyed me, and as our orders were announced at same time I took the opportunity to say to him that my car had been between the lines, and I got a little aggressive and said next time he'd have to crawl in the passenger side to get into his car. He said something and I said something over him, I don't remember what. I noticed he had a Christian cross hanging from his rear view mirror. He didn't even say thank to me for moving my car. This has stuck with me ever since, even though it's been about five days now and I told myself I was going to forget it. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

5 Trillion Tons of Ice Lost from Greenland

Greenland ice sheet mass balance from Mankoff et al 2021.

Equivalent sea level rise is on the scale to the right; cumulative mass loss is on the scale to the left.


Sunday, September 05, 2021

Another Bad Chuck Wiese Error

Earlier I pointed out the multiple errors of thinking in Oregon's Chuck Wiese's claim that the horrendous heat wave we had here in the Pacific NW at the end of June -- an unbelievable 117°F in Salem, Oregon, a maximum reading that was a full 39°F above the normal for that day (normal period = 1981-2010) -- was, he claimed, nothing special at all, just a regular heat wave with the sun in its sunlike position.

I found another huge error.

Needless to say, actual scientists concluded that anthropogenic climate change had a very significant role in such a huge heat wave anomaly. 

Chuck Wiese argued that it was just another heat wave but caused by orbital and solar parameters and a nominal increase in atmospheric CO2, calculated naively -- a claim easily shown to be B.S. by all the factors he chose to ignore.

But shortly after, as I was looking more closely at his claims, I saw a deeper error, which I haven't been able to write about since I was busy on an article. He considers atmospheric CO2 to be a blackbody, when it is anything but.

Recall, a "blackbody" is one that absorbs all radiation incident upon it. The Sun is a perfect example. The surface of the Earth is a pretty good example, in the infrared. But atmospheric CO2 does not meet that definition at all.

Let's get into the technical details of Wiese's error.

In his post on Ed Berry's site -- a place Wiese considers "publication," LOLz -- he presents this little argument:
What about atmospheric CO2? In 1981, the Mauna Loa CO2 level was given as 341 ppmv whereas today it is 416 ppmv. Calculating the change in radiative forcing from CO2 as a stand-alone constituent, the difference from 1981 to now is only 1.07 Wm-2. ( Watts per square meter ).

Next, I took the mean temperature of the daily temperature delta or deviation, which was about 90 deg F and plugged that into the derivative of the Stefan Boltzmann equation, dF/dT which gives 6.45 Wm-2K-1 or 6.45 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin.

Using this relationship, if CO2 acts alone as permitted in this special case, we get 0.963 Wm-2 with a ground emissivity of 0.9 divided by the rate of change of flux with respect to temperature or the 6.45 Wm-2K-1 number which gives 0.15 deg C or a possible contribution of +0.27 deg F. to the heating total.
This is just comical as physics, and let me show you why -- again, Wiese thinks atmospheric CO2 is a blackbody, which it is certainly is not. Bear with me through a few elementary equations.

CO2's radiative forcing is, from the "Arrhenius equation"

where alpha is a constant = 5.35 W/m2. From this we can indeed verify that the change in forcing going from CO2=341 ppmv to CO2=416 ppmv is, from the above equation, 1.06 W/m2, just a slight rounding difference from CW's result. OK. 


where P is the power radiated by the blackbody per unit area per unit solid angle, epsilon its emissivity, sigma the Stefan-Boltzmann constant and T the blackbody's temperature, and differentiates this to get

He takes "the mean temperature of the daily temperature delta or deviation" [???], which he says was about 90 deg F (305 K), and using this third equation to get ΔP/ΔT = 6.46 W/m2. Let's call this "A."

Then here's where Wiese makes his big mistake. He wants to use this result to determine the change in temperature from atmospheric CO2. But atmospheric CO2 isn't a blackbody. A blackbody is defined as one which absorbs all electromagnetic radiation incident upon it. Again, the Sun is a perfect example. Atmospheric CO2 isn't. 

Here's an absorption chart from NASA. In regions that matter, CO2 strongly absorbs around 4.3 microns, 9.4 microns, 10.4 microns and 15 microns (not shown). It doesn't absorb much anywhere else.


[In truth the spectrum is a lot more complicated, with hundreds of thousands of absorption lines, but still CO2 does not absorb all outgoing radiation, not by a long shot.]

So atmospheric CO2 isn't a blackbody. Everything Wiese does after this point is junk science. He just proceeds blindly along, mashes a couple of different things together and uses this equation:


Oh boy. Besides the CO2-blackbody problem, here there's a ground emissivity when there should be an atmospheric emissivity, a rather mysterious (to me at least, as defined) 90 F entered into the problem per above, a radiative forcing (forcings are defined at the troposphere) used as the radiance of the CO2-blackbody, not to mention all the other problems I originally laid out about the value of CO2 on that particular day, the other GHGs, the urban heat island effect, dimming pollutants, and.... What a mess!

Of course experts did conclude that this monstrous heat wave did have an anthropogenic component to it. I'm not going to go over that again. It killed about a thousand people. That Chuck Wiese and Lars Larson are trying to downplay and confuse the issue is really shameful, but not really surprising given what we've seen of them in the past. 

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Wheat and Corn

If food looks expensive in the grocery store, maybe this is part of the reason: the price of wheat is up 82% in the last five years. Up 32% just in the last 12 months. 

Corn is up 46% in the last 12 months. I've read that here in Oregon the wheat crop this year has been ruined by the late June heat wave. I don't know about elsewhere. In May the Wall Street Journal wrote

"Corn has been one of the sharpest risers in the broad rally in raw materials that is prompting companies to boost prices for goods and fueling concern among investors that inflation could hobble the post-pandemic economic recovery." 

But it's paywalled. This May 31st article in a midwestern publication wrote (but also paywalled)

"The good news for farmers: Corn prices are on the rise, up nearly 70 cents in the past three weeks to their highest level in nearly three years. The bad news: That spike is largely because of heavy rain and flooding this spring that have hampered planting across the corn belt and stoked fears about a drop in production."

So it's only good news if you weren't flooded out.... Climate change's extreme weather? Of course, heavy spring rains and flooding have happened before -- it's the risk of farming. But these days you have to wonder.

Here's the chart for wheat:

Market price of wheat

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Boycotting Texas

I wonder how many other scientists, speakers, organizations, etc. will be taking this position:
Kudos for Mann.

When I was younger a woman I was heavily involved with and I decided to have an abortion. We were educated and well off and used birth control. But a doctor failed to tell her a medication she temporarily needed counteracted the pill, and she got pregnant. 

It wasn't easy, but I don't regret what we did. I am outraged at what Texas has done and what other state legislatures will no doubt do, and the lies Supreme Court justices have told in order to pass nomination hearings, and the senators (like Susan Collins) who believed them in spite of evidence that they should not have. Those who favor a woman's right to choose are in the majority in this country and we have to take back this issue and allow women full autonomy over their bodies and their lives -- you know, like the anti-vaxxers insist on. I want young women and future young women to have the same options my girlfriend and I had -- the option to struggle with an ambiguous issue and, with or without a partner, decide for themselves.

It's not just the ban -- it's the draconian, mediaeval way in which Texas has instituted the ban, making everyone a bounty hunter against pregnant women in Texas seeking an abortion. You can be sued and convicted merely for aiding and abetting someone seeking an abortion. This threadroll by a lawyer and legal writer lays it out and is astonishing:


And it's not just abortion in Texas, though effectively banning it is bad enough. It's guns, restrictions on voting, the lack of affordable health care, banning the discussion of certain ideas (like "critical race theory," at least as the legislature defines it), a safety net, and more. Dana Milbank put it pretty well in the Washington Post yesterday: 
Texas shows us what post-democracy America would look like. Thanks to a series of actions by the Texas legislature and governor, we now see exactly what the Trumpified Republican Party wants: to take us to an America where women cannot get abortions, even in cases of rape and incest; an America where almost everybody can openly carry a gun in public, without license, without permit, without safety training and without fingerprinting; and an America where law-abiding Black and Latino citizens are disproportionately denied the right to vote.

This is where Texas and other red states are going, or have already gone. It is where the rest of America will go, unless those targeted by these new laws — women, people of color and all small “d” democrats — rise up.
It still isn't clear that Trump, abetted by Mitch McConnell's theft of Supreme Court seats, won't yet destroy democracy in America, which effectively destroys America. The fascists smell blood. They are moral cowards who want more. They're determined to get it.