Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Obama's Proposal Equivalent to Only 6% Cut in Total CO2 Emissions

President Obama is going to propose CO2 cuts of up to 20 percent from coal-fired power plants. NY Times:
WASHINGTON — President Obama will use his executive authority to propose a global warming regulation that would cut carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent and pave the way for the creation of state cap-and-trade programs without having to go through a reluctant Congress, according to people familiar with the rule.
That sounds big, and getting rid of 20% of coal in the U.S. would be a significant first step, but the CO2 problem is so large the overall impact isn't that impressive.

In 2013 the U.S. emitted 5,393 megatonnes of CO2 from burning fossil fuels, according to the EIA. Of that, 1,722 Mt was from burning coal.

So a 20% maximum reduction in the latter is only 344 Mt, or 6.4% of the total, maximum.

And it's about 1% of global emissions.

6% is much better than nothing. Do it 16 times and you're almost down to zero. But it just shows how enormously difficult it is to make climatologically meaningful cuts in carbon emissions. It's most meaningful impact may be the message, to the country and the world (especially the Chinese).

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Colorado River Reaches the Sea

After the Minute 319 pulse flow out of the Morelos Dam in March, it was unclear if the Colorado River was going to reach the Sea of Cortez. But it did, on May 15th. Here's a nice satellite picture from NASA; another good one here.

pulse-flow-1_labels

It looks pretty sad, though.

A Burd Among Burdz

Bickmore's "Who are the alarmists here?"

Barry Bickmore has a great op-ed in the Deseret News, "Who are the alarmists here," in reply to a typical denier scoffer who gave all the typical denier scoffer myths, objections, mistakes, unthuths, misconceptions, etc. You should read it all, but this was especially good:


And this:

Read the full piece.

Monday, May 26, 2014

El Niño Having Trouble Getting it Up

Getting the Niño3.4 sea-surface temperature up, that is. This weeks' anomaly is just a tick above last week's, but nothing impressive:


Though it is above the Great El Niño Fake-Out of 2012:


Another indicator of its weakness is the Southern Oscillation Index, which is proportional to the normalized barometric pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin, Australia, and which correlates with ENSOs. The Queensland Government publishes it daily.


A closer look shows it just dawdling along, after its fake jaunt earlier this year:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Energy Needed to Melt All This Ice

It takes energy to melt ice.

So if the world is losing over a trillion tonnes of ice a year, how much energy does that require?

It takes 334 kilojoules to melt a kilogram of ice -- or about 7,500 joules to melt an ice cube (1.5" x 1" x 1").

If it took three minutes to melt this ice cube, it'd require an average power of 42 Watts, which seems believable (as a check).

So melting 1,070 gigatons of ice a year requires 3.6e17 kJ/yr, or an average of 11 terawatts.

By contrast, human civilization now runs on about 16 TW.

Over the surface of the Earth, the energy to melt all this ice comes out to 0.02 Watts per square-meter -- or just a few percent of the Earth's current energy imbalance.

But it's a few percent, which isn't nothing.

With an ice density of about 900 kg/m3, this 1,070 Gt/yr of ice loss represents a decrease of about 1.2e12 cubic meters of water a year -- or 2.3 mm/yr over the entire Earth's surface.

There's your sea-level rise from ice melting -- about 2/3rds of the 3.2 mm/yr that is observed. The other third is due to the thermal expansion of water.

I like it when my numbers work out.

Correction 6/1/14:
A pair of errors in the above needs to be corrected; they just about cancel each other out.

As someone pointed out on Twitter, I mistakenly included sea ice in my calculation of sea-level rise, and also divided by the surface area of the Earth instead of the surface area of the ocean.

Subtracting out the sea ice gives a volume change of about 8.7e11 m3/yr. Over the Earth's ocean, that comes to a sea-level rise of 2.4 mm/yr.

I know, of course, that floating ice that melts doesn't change sea-level. Just barfed on this one.

The Invisible Hand

BeFunky_null_12.jpg

Via.

And They Say Irony is Dead

Eliot Rodger calls himself a "sophisticated gentlemen," then goes out and shoots 13 19 people.

And they say irony is dead. And that's not all.

China's CO2 Savings From Their Gas Deal with Russia

China just completed a huge deal with Russia for natural gas. How will it affect their CO2 emissions?

Not as much as you might think.

The 30-year, $400 billion deal is for 38 billion cubic-meters of gas annually for 30 years, "or about 20 percent of its sales to Europe." That's a total of 1,140 Bm3; by contrast, the US consumed 26,034 Bcf last year, or 737 Bm3.

The Chinese total will generate about 45 trillion megajoules of energy (an average power of 48 gigawatts), which will emit about 2.5 gigatons of CO2.

Generating that amount of energy with coal would emit 4.4 Gt CO2.

So over 30 years it only saves 1.9 Gt CO2, which is just 20% of China's 2012 emissions of 9,900 Mt CO2. It's less than 1% of what they will emit over 30 years.

China emits a lot of CO2. Every reduction helps, and this should definitely help their pollution problems. But it won't do a lot for global warming.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hadley Centre: 2nd-warmest April; 10th-warmest Month

HadCRUT says April 2014 was the second-warmest April since 1850, +0.641°C above their baseline (1961-1990), and the 10th-warmest (above baseline) of any month.

Map of combined land-surface and sea-surface temperature anomalies from HadCRUT4


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chance of Strong El Nino Declining

That's what Tony Barnston of Columbia University's International Research Institute on Climate and Society says -- the El Nino is developing right now, but could be of more moderate strength. He finds a probability it could die (like in 2012) of 25%:

 
May 2014 Climate Briefing Highlights, with Tony Barnston from IRI on Vimeo.

Here is their map of sea-surface temperatures, and below is the Nino3.4 sea-surface temperature anomaly updated for this week, compared to two recent El Ninos; you can see it has been having its own little hiatus, and took a dip down this week:


Via Andrew Revkin on Twitter.

Newsweek Author Clarifies on 1975 Global Cooling Story

At Philly.com, Peter Gwynne writes:
Several atmospheric scientists did indeed believe in global cooling, as I reported in the April 28, 1975 issue of Newsweek. But that was then.

In the 39 years since, biotechnology has flowered from a promising academic topic to a major global industry, the first test-tube baby has been born and become a mother herself, cosmologists have learned that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate rather than slowing down, and particle physicists have detected the Higgs boson, an entity once regarded as only a theoretical concept. Seven presidents have served most of 11 terms. And Newsweek has become a shadow of its former self.

And on the climate front? The vast majority of climatologists now assure us that Earth's atmosphere is not cooling. Rather it's warming up. And the main responsibility for the phenomenon lies with human activity.
As my list here shows, there were plenty of scientific papers on CO2-warming by 1975, including major scientific reports. In fact, 1975 was when Manabe and Wetherald did their first calculation of climate sensitivity, obtaining a value of 2.9°C.

To his credit, Gwynne concludes:
Speaking personally, though, I accept that I didn't tell the full story back then. Indeed, the issue raises questions about the relationship between science writers and scientists as well as the attitudes toward science of individuals with political agendas.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Oregon Counties Vote to Ban GMOs

Two counties in southern Oregon voted yesterday to ban genetically modified crops.

 Jackson County's vote was 66-34; Josephine County's was 58-42.

I wonder what will happen when we get genetically modified people.

Meanwhile, Josephine County once again voted against funding their county jail, 52-48. As the Oregonian notes, it was "a bigger margin than the vote on a more costly measure a year ago." Some 911 calls have gone unanswered in the County
A woman was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend after she called 911 and tried to get an officer at her home.

Her call was transferred to the state police because the sheriff's department isn't staffed 24 hours a day or seven days a week, the station said. A dispatcher for the state police said, "Uh, I don't have anybody to send out there. You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away?"
and the state may impose a special income tax on the county, since its residents don't much seem to care about anything, as long as their taxes are low.

Earth Losing a Trillion Tons of Ice a Year

At Slate, Phil Plait notes a new paper that finds the Antartic is losing 159 gigatonnes of land ice a year.

How does that compare to the increase in Antarctic sea ice, a favorite talking point of [fake] skeptics?

A new paper in the Journal of Climate models Antarctic sea ice and finds it increasing by 30 km3/yr. (There may, though, be problems with the algorithm that calculates the daily sea ice number; more on that here.) Since sea ice has a density of about 870 kg/m3, that's a gain of about 26 Gt/yr.

Note: that's only 1/10th the amount of loss in Arctic sea ice.

I looked up numbers for the rest of the world's ice:


Over a teratonne a year.

So unless the frozen bus stop puddles of the world are gaining over a 1,000 gigatonnes of ice a year -- doubtful even in Canada -- the world is definitely losing a lot of ice. And Greenland's loss is accelerating.

Sources: McMillan et al, Holland et al, PIOMAS, Enderlin et al, Gardner et al.

Correction 5/28: PIOMAS number changed from -300 Gt/yr because, while the volume change is -300 km3/yr, I didn't multiply by the density of sea ice to convert it to mass.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

Federal Judge's Elegant Words on Striking Down Oregon's Definition of Marriage

Today U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled that Oregon's 2004 referendum that defined marriage as between one man and one woman is unconstutitional (essentially, a ban on same-sex marriage).

 His decision ends with a with these elegant and stirring words:


  Media preview

The marriages have already started.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The University of Queensland Letter

Regardless of the John Cook data, IP issues, what they imply about the consensus on anthropogenic climate change and where the truth is, the legalistic heavy-handedness demonstrated by the University of Queensland to Brandon Shollenberger is...unnecessary and troubling.

Despite their threats against merely reproducing the cease and desist letter, Shollenberger went ahead and published it, and good for him. The letter is clearly of public and journalistic interest, so I've put a copy up at my Climate Document Storehouse, which maybe someday will be renamed The Repository of Wayward and Forbidden Documents. IMO, the letter deserves other mirrors as well.

The Upward Trend in New York City Storm Tides

Just published: "Increasing storm tides in New York Harbor, 1844–2013," S. A. Talke, Geophysical Research Letters. The abstract and two graphs:
Abstract
Three of the nine highest recorded water levels in the New York Harbor region have occurred since 2010 (March 2010, August 2011, and October 2012), and eight of the largest twenty have occurred since 1990. To investigate whether this cluster of high waters is a random occurrence or indicative of intensified storm tides, we recover archival tide gauge data back to 1844 and evaluate the trajectory of the annual maximum storm tide. Approximately half of long-term variance is anticorrelated with decadal-scale variations in the North Atlantic Oscillation, while long-term trends explain the remainder. The 10 year storm tide has increased by 0.28 m. Combined with a 0.44 m increase in local sea level since 1856, the 10 year flood level has increased by approximately 0.72 ± 0.25 m, and magnified the annual probability of overtopping the typical Manhattan seawall from less than 1% to about 20–25%.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Texas Panhandle: Driest 5 Years on Record

I can't prove it, but it strikes me that drought just might be the weather phenomenon that causes the most suffering of any. And Texas is having a dousy.

This graph is via Victor Murphy, an NWS Climate Service Program Manager. 

He also forwards this National Geographic News story, which goes so far as to describe the drought in western Texas, western Oklahoma, western Kansas and eastern Colorado "A New Dust Bowl."
The National Weather Service, measuring rain over 42 months, reports that parts of all five states have had less rain than what fell during a similar period in the 1930s.
And now all of California is in "severe drought."

Unlike hurricanes and tropical storms, we don't name droughts -- maybe we should -- but if we did, this one should obviously be called "Drought Inhofe." Whatever proportion of this drought isn't caused by climate change -- and higher temperatures themselves make droughts worse by increasing evaportion from lakes and soils -- he surely deserves it. Because ultimately, denying climate change comes down to denying human suffering.

Bengtsson Statement: No "Cover Up" in Climate Science

Lennart Bengtsson put up a statement today on The Times article. He disagrees with it:
Professor Lennart Bengtsson, professorial research fellow at the University of Reading, said:

“I do not believe there is any systematic “cover up” of scientific evidence on climate change or that academics’ work is being “deliberately suppressed”, as The Times front page suggests."
He continues:
"I am worried by a wider trend that science is being gradually being influenced by political views. Policy decisions need to be based on solid fact."
which is a very strange (naive?) thing for a climate scientist who had just joined a political organization to say.

The rest is here.

It will be interesting to see if The Times issues a correction. (Don't hold your breath.)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The 1983 Warning About West Antarctic Melting

A letter in the NY Times notes that the possibility of an unavoidable melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet was included in a 1981 assessment report:
Compounding the tragedy of the collapsing West Antarctic ice sheet is the fact that the possibility was foreseen more than three decades ago. It was, for example, one of the warnings in the 1981 climate change assessment issued by the Council on Environmental Quality during the Carter administration.
(The letter is written by the chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality from 1979 to 1981, and recalls this 1981 NY Times story on the report.)

I wasn't able to find a online copy of that report, but there is this 1983 report by the National Academy of Sciences, Changing Climate: Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee, that includes this under the section "The Outlook: Sea Level, Antarctic, and Arctic" (click to enlarge):


Maybe it's time to actually start listening to the reports climate scientists are working so hard to produce.

Bengtsson and McCarthyism

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What Did Bengtsson and GWPF See In One Another?

It's a little difficult to see what either Lennart Bengtsson or GWPF saw in the other.

Bengtsson certainly is no skeptic. GWPF should have known that. Maybe they liked the big name and he liked being asked. As William Connolley writes, maybe Bengtsson didn't really know what he was getting into:
"...Lennart Bengtsson, sounding somewhere between very naive and emeritus, joins the GWPF, talking the usual nonsense (I believe most serious scientists are sceptics) indicating that either he really doesn’t know what’s going on, or is deliberately obfusticating. Now, it seems, his various respectable colleagues have pointed out his silliness to him. So he’s ditching the GWPF, because he doesn’t want to be an outcast. But he hasn’t got the grace to admit the foul-up is all his error."
If you at Bengtsson's list of publications, which goes all the way back to 1963, you find a great deal of very detailed, impressive work, in several directions. But little that would paint him as a "skeptic" -- except, as he told der Spiegel, in the way that most scientists are skeptics.

This 2011 paper found "that the models have a minor systematic warm bias in the upper troposphere."

In this 2013 paper, Bengtsson finds a lower bound for transient climate sensitivity of 1.5 ± 0.3°C, and for equilibrium climate sensitivity of 2.0 ± 0.5°C. Those are lower bounds, mind you. That puts him squarely in the AGW camp.

A 2002 paper on which Bengtsson was a co-author finds "...that anthropogenic forcing is a likely explanation for the observed global ocean warming over the past five decades."

This 2002 paper finds significantly fewer hurricanes in a greenhouse-warmed climate.

And so on. Nothing radical, clearly with great attention to the details.

He goes further from the middle in the der Spiegel interview. He says "Since the end of the 20th century, the warming of the Earth has been much weaker than what climate models show," which the reporter rightly points out the IPCC 5AR discussed in detail. He replies, "Yes, the scientific report does this but, at least in my view, not critically enough. It does not bring up the large difference between observational results and model simulations." (Large? Maybe Bengtsson doesn't know about Cowtan & Way.) But then
I have full respect for the scientific work behind the IPCC reports but I do not appreciate the need for consensus. 
OK. But while there is a consensus on almost all of the science since Galileo, except at the edges, the need for a "consensus" on climate change isn't driven by science, but by the environmental problem -- because climate is changing so fast, we don't have forever to sit around and get the science down to the sixth decimal place. We need to act, in the face of uncertainty, so knowing what the scientists by-and-large agree on is vital. And they -- and, Bengtsson, clearly, agree that our CO2 emissions are creating a lot of change, with serious consequences.

He then says it's very hard to see all the societal changes in the next 100 years (OK. So what?), and
Bengtsson: No. I think the best and perhaps only sensible policy for the future is to prepare society for change and be prepared to adjust. In 25 years, we'll have a world with some 9 to 10 billion people that will require twice as much primary energy as today. We must embrace new science and technology in a more positive way than we presently do in Europe. This includes, for example, nuclear energy and genetic food production to provide the world what it urgently needs.
which also seems sensible. Too sensible for GWPF, frankly. Or maybe the last sentence plays well in certain circles of Europe.

Who knows what his friends and colleagues told him since he joined GWPF. They have a right to express their displeasure, and even to withdraw co-authorships on papers if they want, because Bengtsson clearly stepped out of the scientific arena and that may have made some of them uncomfortable.

And perhaps Bengtsson is, being from a different era (he's 79), not fully aware of the way the Internet has changed the pace of the debate and increased its ferocity. It's probably safe to assume that Bengtsson received the usual deluge of email crap that climate scientists who speak publically get. That's unfortunate, but hardly new, and hardly -- unlike the usual hypocrites are pretending -- one-sided. Where have they been for the last 20 years?

This week Marco Rubio got hammered for his denialism. The WAIS melting was found to be unstoppable. Now Bengtsson gets roundly criticized for aiding the deniers. Perhaps people really are starting to take climate change seriously -- and, yes, getting a little angry about it.


Lennart Bengtsson resigns from GWPF

Lennart Bengtsson resigns from GWPF, just three weeks after joining, citing pressure from his community and colleagues.
Resigning from the GWPF

Dear Professor Henderson,

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc.

I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.

Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

With my best regards

Lennart Bengtsson

Webcast Tomorrow on "Re-thinking Climate Denialism"

Tomorrow from the Yale Climate Connections (the new name of the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media), a webcast
“Re-thinking Climate ‘Denialism’”
May 15, 2014, 2:30pm EDT, 11:30am PDT


featuring political scientist and climate change policy expert David G. Victor of the University of California at San Diego, hosted by Bruce Lieberman.

You can access the webcast by Google+ or YouTube, and offer questions by email to 30onClimate@yaleclimatemediaforum.org .

Here's a piece about Victor's views, from the Yale Forum in March. It begins:
“Bizarre and threatening” is the term U.C. San Diego political science professor David G. Victor uses to describe how many in the climate science community view what some call climate “denialism.”

But Victor thinks a big part of the problem involves just how scientists and their supporters approach the subject — beginning with the use of the term “denialism.”

“If you really want to understand what motivates these people and what motivates the captains of industry and voters who listen to them,” says Victor, “stop calling them denialists.”

Chart of the Day: U.S. Extreme Weather

From "Severe Weather in United States Under a Changing Climate," Donald J. Wuebbles et al, EOS (May 6, 2014).


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is Denying Climate Change a Threat to National Security?

Question for Republican presidential candidates who are also climate change deniers (Paul, Cruz, Jindal, Walker, Bush, Pence, Ryan, Santorum, Huckabee):

Why, if military researchers are saying climate change is already a theat to the security of the United States, are you igoring this threat and even denying climate change is taking place?

What are the security implications of your denial, now and in the future?

New York Times:
WASHINGTON — The accelerating rate of climate change poses a severe risk to national security and acts as a catalyst for global political conflict, a report published Tuesday by a leading government-funded military research organization concluded.

The Center for Naval Analyses Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.

In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world would create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases.
and
Pentagon officials said the report would affect military policy. “The department certainly agrees that climate change is having an impact on national security, whether by increasing global instability, by opening the Arctic or by increasing sea level and storm surge near our coastal installations,” John Conger, the Pentagon’s deputy under secretary of defense for installations and environment, said in a statement. “We are actively integrating climate considerations across the full spectrum of our activities to ensure a ready and resilient force.”
and
“In the past, the thinking was that climate change multiplied the significance of a situation,” said Gen. Charles F. Wald, who contributed to both reports and is retired from the Air Force. “Now we’re saying it’s going to be a direct cause of instability.”

Why 2014 Could Well Be the Warmest Year Yet

An El Nino this summer could easily make this year the warmest in the records.

Year-to-date, 2014 is the 5th-warmest January-April in GISS's records, after 2010, 2007, 2002, and 1998. Only 0.12°C separates 2014 from 2010.

The sea-surface temperatures in the central Pacific ocean are rising -- the weekly Nino3.4 anomaly is now up to 0.5°C -- and models put the probability of an El Nino at 65% or better. This model shows slightly higher projected sea-surface temperatures.

Here's a comparison of this anomaly for 1997-98 and 2014 (left-hand axis), plotted along with the GISS surface temperatures (right-hand axis):


This year is starting out much warmer than 1997 -- 0.26°C warmer, on average.

For the 1997 El Nino, surface temperatures peaked in February 1998, at +0.86°C. Add 0.26°C to that, and you easily get a new monthly record (which is +0.92°C in January 2007).

2010 -- the warmest year so far -- actually cooled after its April -- the yearly average ended up at +0.65°C.

If this coming El Nino comes anywhere close to 1997's, it's likely the 1997-98 temperatures are surpassed, and quite possible the 2010 temperature record is broken.

PS: Michelle L’Heureux wrote on RealClimate:
Could El Niño predictions fizzle? Yes, there is roughly a 2 in 10 chance at this point that this could happen. It happened in 2012 when an El Nino Watch was issued, chances became as high as 75% and El Niño never formed.

Monday, May 12, 2014

GISS: Last 5 Years are Warmest Ever

Today NASA GISS put up their temperatures for April: the globe was +0.73°C above their baseline (1951-1980), which is the 2nd-warmest April.

It's also the 12th-warmest of any month since 1880 (above its baselline value, of course).

The last 60 months are the warmest 5-year period in GISS's records. It also is for the lower troposphere, as measured by UAH.

The northern hemisphere saw the 3rd-warmest April. For the southern hemisphere it was the 4th-warmest.

1978 Antarctic Prediction Fulfilled

Picture
John H. Mercer
From the New York Times story on the collapse of part of the WAIS:
"The new finding appears to be the fulfillment of a prediction made in 1978 by an eminent glaciologist, John H. Mercer of the Ohio State University. He outlined the uniquely vulnerable nature of the West Antarctic ice sheet and warned that the rapid human release of greenhouse gases posed “a threat of disaster.” He was assailed at the time, but in recent years scientists have been watching with growing concern as events have unfolded in much the way Dr. Mercer predicted. (He died in 1987.)"

"...The basic problem is that much of the West Antarctic ice sheet sits below sea level in a kind of bowl-shaped depression the earth. As Dr. Mercer outlined in 1978, once the part of the ice sheet sitting on the rim of the bowl melts and the ice retreats into deeper water, it becomes unstable and highly vulnerable to further melting.
More about Mercer here.

Antarctic Ice Sheet Passes a Tipping Point

Map of Antarctica showing Amundsen SeaWe've been hearing theoretical talk about tipping points, and now it seems one has arrived.

There's no stopping the melting of part of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, says a new study in an AGU press release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new study finds a rapidly melting section of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be in an irreversible state of decline, with nothing to stop the glaciers in this area from melting into the sea.

...the glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector of West Antarctica “have passed the point of no return,” according to glaciologist and lead author Eric Rignot, of the University of California Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. The new study has been accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Click to Enlarge
These glaciers already contribute significantly to sea level rise, releasing almost as much ice into the ocean annually as the entire Greenland Ice Sheet. They contain enough ice to raise global sea level by 4 feet (1.2 meters) and are melting faster than most scientists had expected. Rignot said these findings will require an upward revision to current predictions of sea level rise.

“This sector will be a major contributor to sea level rise in the decades and centuries to come,” Rignot said. “A conservative estimate is it could take several centuries for all of the ice to flow into the sea.”
Perhaps the Koch brothers can buy us a new ice sheet.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Conrad Black Sees Michael Mann Winning

Mark Steyn is already making excuses for losing his self-labeled "Trial of the Century" (sounds like a book title, doesn't it, win or lose, maybe already sold), quoting this Conrad Black article in another "opinion journal":


Of course, Black's (and Steyn's) whole case rests on their claim that they can say anything -- anything at all -- about anyone, anywhere, anytime, without regard to its truth or veracity or impact or meaning -- because they somehow think the US Constitution gives them that right -- purposely and conveniently ignoring the time-honored and necessary restrictions on speech that have been ruled upon for good reason -- like, you can't call someone a pig-fucker if they're not actually fucking pigs.

A writer who thinks he can say anything he wants is a writer who has admitted his readers do not expect accuracy and truth from him, but something else entirely.

Unable to counter Mann's results in the realm of science, they are left scrapping around in other realms, with comparisons to (te he, aren't we clever!) pig fuckers and pedophiles.

10 Good Quotes from Richard Feynman


I especially the eighth. And also his mother's. Via The Perimeter Instutite.

It's in MY backyard!

Embedded image permalink

Via.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

El Niño Projections Are Growing

Here are NOAA's latest El Niño predictions, for the Niño3.4 sea surface temperature anomalies. (Recall, the 1997-98 El Niño saw these anomalies peak at 2.8°C, about twice these model projections.) They've increased a few tenths of a degree compared to those of a month ago.)

NOAA now puts the chance of an El Niño later this summer at "exceeding 65%."

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Latest Ocean Heat Content Numbers

The numbers for ocean heat content for the first quarter of 2014 are in; the annual changes are

0-700 m region: +0.45 W/m2
0-2000 m region: +0.36 W/m2

which are positive but considerably lower than recent quarters(*).



(*) numbers are change in OHC divided by the planet's entire surface area.

For the 0-2000 meter region, a quadratic fit to OHC is still better than a linear fit; the acceleration term has increased to +0.07 W/m2 per year.


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Where is the Reaction to Stanford's Coal Announcement?

This is weird -- I've checked four sources on the Stanford-University-divesting-from-coal story, and none of them contains a quote from a coal company, or an industry spokesperson -- or even a "no comment."

NYT - WashPo - LA Times - Reuters

This seems like major news to me -- I can't understand why no one asked for a reaction....

Added: Nor Stanford Daily, or the Financial Times, or Business Week.... but, aha! the San Francisco Chronicle has this:
Jason Hayes of the American Coal Council calls the move a "big PR stunt" since Stanford students still use products that are produced with coal, such as steel. Hayes says other investors will buy the coal stocks that Stanford sells.
...but I can't imagine ACC isn't concerned at least a bit.... After all, divestment worked in the case of South Africa and apartheid...to the extent that anything did.... In college I mostly kept my head down in my math and physics books, but I remember lots of protests about that, especially disinviting the South African rugby team from playing in the U.S.

Update: A faculty group at Oregon State University is also calling for divestment.

Mark Callahan, Oregon Candidate for Goofball

An update on the Republican candidate for Oregon Senate, Mark Callahan, who recently got kicked out of a Williamette Week query of the candidates.

Callahan, you'll recall, called climate change a "myth." And, let's note, he still hasn't clarified his stance on the Easter bunny.

It turns out that this guy has been all over the map. While he now says he's a "cut from the same cloth" as Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, he earlier ran for office as a Democrat and as a Pacific Green Party member.

That's a lot of positions for one lifetime. Here is his current platform, straight out of Alabama. Either he was lying earlier about his philosophy, or he's lying now, or he's one very mixed-up guy.

Oh yeah, he's also run for President. Because, of course he has.

Callahan got to go on Fox and whine about WW, accusing the paper of being "very controlling" and "basically trying to manhandle us Republicans."

"Manhandle." After he tried to manhandle a Pullitzer Prize-winning reporter by telling him what should and shouldn't be in his notes.
Mark Zusman, the editor of the paper, told TPM on Monday that he hasn't been shy in the past about throwing people out of endorsement interviews, including Democrats. Zusman said that Callahan wasn't a serious candidate, and that he had gotten upset after Zusman had pressed him early in the interview. Zusman admitted that his reporter's question about the Easter Bunny hadn't been respectful, but he said Callahan had gotten to the point where he was wasting the paper's time.

"He's absolutely correct that we weren't giving him equal time," Zusman said. "This race is one of the more intriguing in Oregon because you've got two very interesting and well-funded candidates in Monica Wehby and Jason Conger, who are seeking to run against [incumbent Sen.] Jeff Merkeley [D-OR]. ... So really our focus was trying to get at which of these two do we think ought to get our endorsement."

UAH Temperatures Continue to Soar

UAH's lower troposphere anomaly for last month is +0.19°C above the Jan 1981 - Dec 2010 average.

That means its 30-year trend is +0.17°C/decade, and its 15-year trend is +0.14°C/decade.

And that again it shows the last 5-years at a record high, though there's still a big difference between UAH and RSS (averaging 0.12°C in the last 12 months, with UAH higher):

Monday, May 05, 2014

Beautiful Graphic on Surface Temperature

This is such a beautiful graphic I can't resist posting it -- the increase in longitude-averaged surface air temperature as a function of latitude and time, averaged across longitude, from Ji et al in Nature Climate Change:

Friday, May 02, 2014

Oregon Senate Candidate, Climate Change, and the Easter Bunny

This is good. Williamette Week, the very respected alternative weekly newspaper in Portland, invited in all the Republican Senatorial candidates (to run against Jeff Merkley this fall) for a Q&A.

One of the candidates, Mark Callahan, scolded reporter Nigel Jaquiss (a Pullitzer Prize winnner) for writing "blah blah blah" in his notes when a different candidate was speaking, calling it "disrespectful."

Things advanced quickly from there. Asked if climate change is a myth or reality, Callahan answered "It's a myth." Jacquiss then asked him were he stood on the Easter Bunny.

Bing bang boom, and shortly after Williamette Week's Editor-in-Chief Mark Zusman ordered Callahan to leave.

Fireworks here:


Callahan doesn't have a prayer of winning anyway -- here are his positions on the issues, which might get you elected in Alabama but certainly not in Oregon -- and no one is going to beat Merkley anyway.

(I heard Merkley speak at a climate change conference in Portland last fall, and was very impressed with the depth of his understanding on all of it. In fact, I've never heard a politician or official speak with as much knowledge on the subject, anywhere.)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

CO2eq Has Jumped to 479 ppm

CDIAC -- which sounds like a disease, but is just NOAA's Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center -- just put up numbers for 2013 radiative forcings from all the greenhouse gases.

Total GHG radiative forcing -- absent water vapor, of course -- changed by 0.044 W/m2, the largest jump since 1998.

The "equivalent" level of CO2 -- that is, the level of CO2 that would give the raditive forcing of all the manmade GHGs up there -- is now 479 ppmv -- as opposed to its 2013 average of whatever value gives a radiative forcing of 1.884 W/m2 -- about 399 W/m2.

The CFC brothers, 11 and 12, continue to decrease, while methane and laughing gas continue apace.

Compared to 1990, raditive forcing is now 1.34 times larger.

Its annual increase was also the largest since 1998. Clearly that El Nino put a lot of extra CO2 into the air, as if someone left the ocean out like an open can of Coke to go flat. I suppose this year's will too.

"If we had observations of the future...."

Via Andrew Revkin, about Gavin Schmidt's TED talk in March:

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On the Depth of the Horse Shit

Eli Rabbet on the coming El Nino:
Patience is a virtue. The whole thing is weird. El Nino, melting of the Artic, etc, are not things to wish for, but the horse shit is so deep you almost want these things to happen to to shut the fools up and get people to pay attention. Sucks to be human. . . . Wait.

Trenberth on the Coming El Niño: How Big, Not If

From And Then There's Physics(*), Kevin Trenberth says he thinks the weather services are being conservative in their estimates of a coming El Niño, and that the question in his mind isn't whether there will be an El Niño later this year, but about how big it will be and if it will be as disruptive as the 1997-98 Monster.


The 1997-98 El Niño raised the global average surface temperature by 0.2°C above the long-term warming trend line.


This figure is from Hansen et al PNAS 2006, showing why the 1983 and 1998 El Niños were labeled, in turn, "El Niño of the century":


Last week's Nino3.4 temperature anomaly jumped up to +0.4°C, higher than it's been since November 2012. (An official El Niño happens when, I think, the 3-month running average of this region's anomalies is above +0.5°C.)

(*) Really, is there anything else?