Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Arctic Sea Ice Extent, Compared

The Japanese group JAXA gives their daily Arctic sea ice extent (SIE) about 9:30 pm my time every night, so I can summarize their annual data for 2015:

This is How Denialism Ends, one Delingpole at a Time

The cracks appear now one-by-one, and there's no mistaking them.

They come faster than they used to -- one denier after another giving it up, acknowledging the warming that's taking place, and the role of humans in creating it.

Today's crack -- loud and sharp -- come from Breitbart, an extremely conservative site that I can't imagine any thinking person takes seriously as a source of news. (They banned me from commenting there long ago.) Today they have a story that reveals everything:

This is how denialism ends, friends. Exactly how.

They just admitted that global warming is happening. They just don't like what they assume is the solution.

Of course, no one likes to admit defeat. So they go out, naturally, in a fit of rage, spitting and sputtering, disparaging everyone, insulting all, hating even themselves -- because that's about all denialsim is anymore, rage, anger -- even though now they apparently accept the science. James Delingpole writes:
I’m proud to say that I come in at number 6 (though obviously I would have preferred higher) with my statement that alarmist climate scientists are “a bunch of talentless low lives who cannot be trusted.”

In retrospect I wish to apologise for that sentence.

What I really should have said is that these are a bunch of lying, cheating, scum-sucking, bottom-feeding, third-rate tosspots who don’t even deserve the name “scientists” because what they practise isn’t really science but data-fiddling, cherry-picking, grant-troughing, activism-driven propaganda. Posterity will grant them about as much respect as we now accord the 17th century quacks who bled their patients using leeches, or the early 20th century German scientists who helped Hitler compose his diatribe against the discredited Jewish science of Einstein, or the scientists who ganged up on Alfred Wegener for his novel – but correct – theories on continental drift. Really, if none of them ever published another paper in their lives and all their grant funding dried up at midnight tonight, the cause of climate science would not suffer one jot – and the world would become a much better (and richer) place.
A simple "I was wrong" is too humble for Delingpole, far too polite, far too decent.

Too introspective for a clown.

So let Delingpole whine. Let him bitch to his small heart's content. He's already ostracized himself to the stark edge. And we know about this clown. It's already been shown that Delingpole is a fool. He doesn't need to read scientific papers. Not that he could understand them anyway.

Not he's just fallen back to the question of solutions.

That's a huge setback for a denier like Delingpole to admit. Huge.

Hey, not all of us like the thought of global governance either.

Frankly, I'd prefer most of the decisions about me and my life be made right here in my own community, this block and a couple of nearby others in the neighborhood. Small is beautiful, and people want -- need -- to determine their lives on as local a scale as possible. We are dying for a lack of it, I think.

But small doens't meet the need of those how want to make an empire, who want power, who want to get rich from it, and it never will. This has been a problem for centuries, and will be so increasingly into the future, I think, with globalization. It will always be a fight. People work better, work more morally as individuals in small groups, where they know names and faces, not as nameless technocrats making decisions for hundreds of millions of people.

So then, Delingpole, let's see your solutions to global warming that accord with your ideology. If, as seems apparent, you now believe in global warming but don't like the solutions proferred on a global scale -- on the scale of Paris, even though the scale of this problem is certainly global -- then instead of denying the science, start proposing solutions to this problem that accord with your ideology and political desires.

Market based? Locally based? Describe them.

Because if you don't start soon, James -- very soon, like now -- you will get stuck with the solutions of others, those you disagree with, your ideological enemies, solutions forced on you by the majority that you twill have to live with.

That's the risk you've been taking now, Delingpole -- and you Watts, and Spencer, and Steyn -- and after Paris it's more clear than ever -- keep up your silliness, your blind, dumb denial, and get stuck with solutions you don't like.

It's about time Delingpole came to this position. Sure, it would take any extremist awhile to come here -- they're extremists, after all.

I still think Anthony Watts will apologize for his denialism before he dies. I do.

Mark Steyn will only if it gets him viewers or listeners or if it sells books. I don't think he has an honest, genuine bone in his body. And you can bet that, when/if he does admit to the science, he will find a way to blame the problem all on those godless liberals, because they didn't do something that would have led to a solution long ago. Watch for it.

Meanwhile, enjoy this quantum leap forward. But they do come. No one has been able to resist the power of science. Ever.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is Tanking....

So says the daily data from the NSIDC. Antarctic SIE is currently 16% below last year's value at this time -- a decline of 1.54 million square-kilometers. Likely a result of this big El Nino, I suspect.

Personally I find it more enlightening to look at the 365-day moving average, which is decreasing but still above its trendline


Friday, December 18, 2015

Even If Watts et al Claim is True, No Change in Global Trend

Even if the Watts et al unpublished claim is true -- that the trend for the continental USA is only 2/3rds of the current published value -- the chance on the global trend is miniscule.

I did a quick calculation. If the current USA48 trend is SUSA48, and the Watts et al claim is true that it is really (2/3)SUSA48, then the change in the global trend will be (weighting by areas)

where "ROW" = rest of world. So

where f is the ratio of the area of USA48 to the area of the globe (=1.6%). So

So the decrease in the global trend works out to be only -(f/3)*SoldUSA48 = -SoldUSA48/188.

NOAA's 30-yr trend ("old") for USA48 is +0.15 C/decade, so the change in global trend is in the fourth decimal place -- only -0.0008 C/decade -- and far below any error bars. Infinitesimal.

Greenland's Ice Mass Loss Rate Has Doubled in a Decade

From a Peter Sinclair video for Yale Climate Connections:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Warmest November Yet, 2nd-Warmest Month Ever

Both NASA GISS and NOAA have posted their November temperature anomalies in the last few days, and both are searing.

GISS found November to be +1.05°C above the 1951-1980 baseline period, and NOAA found it to be +0.97°C above their 1981-2010 baseline.

I should bring those to a common baseline. Maybe later.

Both are guaranteed to have 2015 as the warmest year in their records, unless a huge meteroid slams into Earth, like, tomorrow. (I  hope it's not before my flight home.) The GISS anomaly for December needs only to be greater than -0.38°C for 2015 to be a record, and NOAA needs it greater than -0.76°C. As my niece says, easy peasy.

Rapid warming reported in planet's lakes - Yale Climate Connections

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Why the Claim of "No Warming in 18 Years" is a Blatant Cherry Pick

So by now everyone is used to the Mocktons of the World announcing, after each new month of satellite data on lower tropospheric temperatures, that there is an "18-year pause," plus-or-minus a few months. Ted Cruz even said so in his recent faux Senatorial hearing.

Wonder why they only cite the 18 year and a few months trend? Here's why:

Here I plot the amount of warming in the lower troposphere as a function of how far back you start looking -- what I call the "reverse total change."

So, for example, the temperature change for the lower troposphere over the last 30 years is, according to UAH version 6beta4 (their latest version), +0.31°C, with error bars of 0.06°C for the 5-95% confidence level (no autocorrelation).

Now you can can wee why they cite "18 years" or so -- it's a massive cherry pick. Picking a number longer than this and the amount of warming quickly rises. Pick a number shorter than this and it does too, though the error bars get big enough that a solid conclusion is not possible. (For example, you could try to say the LT pause is "14 years," but I can't imagine anyone claiming that 14 years is representative of just AGW and not natural variability. Though some probably try.)

Lesson: Picking the 1997-98 El Nino to start your trend isn't copacetic. One needs to account for natural variations (here, especially ENSOs) to pick out the anthropogenic signal.

I'm sure Ted Cruz couldn't care less -- he'd say whatever he needed to say to futher his agenda -- but the rest of us should.

Science versus Art

I saw this quote in a session here at AGU today:
"Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else."

-- Donald Knuth
Knuth is a famously creative and eccentric computer scientist who wrote the classic 4-volume book The Art of Computer Programming, and developed the TeX word processing program that makes manuscripts and their equations look elegant and pretty.

Don Wuebbles: Dangerous Climate Change is Already Here

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Onymous Guy: Diamonds - and CO2 - are forever II (wonkish and long)

The Onymous Guy - a learned friend here in Oregon -- has some great posts lately that I should have been mentioning. Including his latest:

Diamonds - and CO2 - are forever II (wonkish and long)

More glum news on Arctic warming

Watts and Appell Intersect

I don't have a lot of time to blog this week, but this is worth reading:

Jim Hansen pans COP21 'baloney' - Yale Climate Connections

After the Paris pact, thoughts on the Ted Cruz climate change hearing - The Washington Post

Friday, December 11, 2015

El Nino Seems to Have Peaked

This year's El Nino peaked in the last few weeks, slightly higher than the 1997-98 monster (which was once considered a monster).

The latest NOAA weekly status shows similar peaks for the other Nino indices, and says " NiƱo
3.4 will remain strong into early 2016."

El Ninos usually bring rain to southern California and dry conditions to the Pacific Northwest, but this year it looks upside down: California is still weeks away from receiving rain, while Oregon and Washington have been getting pounded this week with several inches of rain -- over 6 inches where I live -- and strong, blustery winds. It's led to lots of flooding and landslides -- one landslide closed down the northbound lanes of I-5 in southern Washington -- and even a tornado that damaged a few dozen homes.

I don't mind the nasty weather -- it's really the only interesting weather we get around these parts -- but then I work from home and haven't been flooded out or in a tornado's path.

The Farce of the Cruz Hearing

Ted Cruz's "hearing" on climate science, "Data or Dogma," was, of course, nothing but a farce.

Each of the "witnesses" who "testified" there knew that going in, and each of them is now partly responsible for perpetuating that farce.

Judith Curry wrote:
Senator Cruz seems very much into the Data, and generally knowledgable about the scientific process.  One of his staffers is an avid reader of CE, WUWT and apparently Steve Goddard’s blog.  
Again, a farce. How can people with scientific training pretend they didn't know what Cruz was up to, let alone aid him in that hustle?

The biggest farce was, of course, Mark Steyn, the male-gendered Ann Coulter, who is an expert on nothing and had absolutely no business "testifying" before that committee. Michael Crichton was a saint compared to Steyn, though equally as wrong.

Steyn presented nothing but the idiocy of Rush Limbaugh, which clearly he aspires to be -- a man who is as responsible for the ongoing decline of America as anyone. Steyn seems happy to be a Limbaugh copycat, because it gets him attention with the American underbelly who buys his Islamophobic books.

Steyn's hatred of Muslims quickly dropped him into the darkest chasm available, when he inhumanely dismissed the fate of southern Pacific islands who will be swallowed by the rising seas of global warming. It wasn't dismissal based on his expert understanding of sea level rise, but -- not surprisingly -- just another vehicle for his marketed hatred:
“The entire population of the Maldives are Sunni Muslim, so they will fit in perfectly fine if they all move to this Brussels suburb that produced the shooters in Paris.”
That isn't your ordinary every-day prickiness -- this is a whole new level of how to be a prick.

But hey, it sells books and attracts (a few) listerers, even if they are nutters. What could be more important?

General Steyn --  hardened soldier and noted military expert -- also gave his learned opinion on the national security repercussions of climate change, just two months after 48 national security and foreign policy leaders, diplomats, and former members of Congress from both parties ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal calling for climate change action. Think Progress quoted Steyn from Tuesday:
“I can’t tell you how absurd it is to be talking about the security threat [of climate change],” Steyn said. He then went on to talk about how the growing population of West Africa was a greater threat to international stability. “All those people are just going to get on a boat and walk into Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, and the idea that climate change is [impacting] that is absolutely trivial to the remorselessness of those [population] numbers.”
Steyn shamelessly has the audacity to write
In this case, the Democrats asked no questions of anyone other than their guy - Rear Admiral Titley.
as if the other three "witnesses" weren't explicitedly chosen for their extreme right-wing views.

Did Steyn perhaps think he was invited on merit??


Edward Markey of Massachusetts said on Tuesday
“The only thing that requires a serious scientific investigation is why we are holding today’s hearing in the first place.”
which is about as good a summation as you'll find. Cruz's hearing only shows how far he'll go to distort and dismiss science, and how eagerly some scientists will enable his neo-fascism. Hey, if Cruz is elected, maybe Judith Curry can get an appointment from him high up in NSF or the Department of Energy, and then spite all those who have done her so terribly wrong. Perhaps she has a list of names already started.

Stoat gets the last word:
Data or Dogma? (full title “Data or Dogma? Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Earth’s Climate”) is the hearings promoted by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness.

Happily, this is one of those questions we can answer easily: when you’ve got so few scientists you’re willing to listen to that you’re obliged to invite Mark Steyn to speak, then you’re the one pushing Dogma.

There, that was easy, anything else?

Saturday, December 05, 2015

50th Anniversary of the Kecksburg UFO Incident

This Wednesday, December 9th, is the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous UFO incidents in history, call the Kecksburg UFO incident, and actually I remember this when it happened.

I grew up about 7 miles from Kecksburg, in a place called Acme. (Funny name, but Acme means "the best or highest point;" we were on top of a mountain ridge.) Kecksburg is a small village -- not even a town; I remember it for its Coke bottling plant, where a local high school star/ex-major league ball player from the area worked, and the Kecksburg Fire Department's summer fair. It's in southwestern Pennsylvania, and Acme, where my family and my grandparents and cousins lived, isn't even a village, just houses stretched out along rural roads.

But it was a great place to grow up, with a lot of freedom that seems sadly unavailable to many of the kids of today.

Anyway, there was a fireball in the sky, and something struck in a hillside behind Kecksburg. I was five when this happened, almost three months from turning six, and I have a very distinct memory of going out onto our front porch with my mom, and someone, my dad I think, and maybe others he was with, excitedly indicating or pointing to something that had happened over the local hill in front of us, in the direction of Kecksburg.

I remember it was cold on the porch, like I should have had a jacket on but didn't because we rushed out there, and I distinctly remember it was the dusk of an early winter day, for that time of year in Pennsylvania, still without any snow on the ground. That links up with the date of the Kecksburg Incident, December 9th, and the time of day it happened -- I remember it felt like the time of day when you should be coming inside to wind down and get ready for dinner, with rosy cheeks from the cold.

From a 1998 retrospective article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A 1991 article in The Pittsburgh Press described generally what happened, based on various witnesses accounts that are included in greater detail in Gordon's video.

Dec. 9, 1965, was a dreary day in Westmoreland County - that is, until what was described as a roundish fireball appeared. It reportedly seared the gray sky at low altitude with a jet trail, then made S-turns and what appeared to be a controlled landing through the treetops into Kecksburg's woods.
I didn't see any fireballs, but others in our driveway must have. My dad was a member of the Kecksburg Fire Department, but when he went to fires it was out of their rural station in Acme. I don't remember if he went to Kecksburg that evening. It would have been like him to do that, but I don't remember him, or anyone, talking about this afterward. But somehow I did acquire a vague feeling that something strange had landed in that direction, that officials rushed in, chased everyone out and removed some object on a truck.

The picture to the right is a replica of what some local people say they saw before officials -- local law enforcement? Military? Men in black? -- arrived and took over. Including the strange writing along its base.

So I was surprised to learn just a few years ago that the Kecksburg Incident is very well known in UFO lure and considered one of the most significant events outside of the famous Roswell, New Mexico incident.

There is a long string of investigations into this incident by journalists and UFO enthusiasts and the like, complete with all the required lure about coverups, lost files, the apparent silencing of a radio reporter who was killed a few years later under mysterious circumstances, FOIA lawsuits and the like. There are many videos on YouTube about it, including some full length documentaries by the likes of UFO TV. I watched a documentary a few years ago from, I think, the SciFi channel, and it was interesting, and, to me, especially for the southwestern Pennsylvania accent (which includes the regional word "younz," meaning the same as "you'all." which I didn't break myself of until graduate school), and because they interviewed an older man who was the spitting image and sound of my grandfather (but wasn't; just a man of exactly the same era and upbringing).

I'm not really the kind of person to dig into things like this too deeply. My loss, perhaps, but I figure the likeliest explanation was that some early satellite came down and panicked the stiff-collared government types in the midst of the Cold War. (The glyphs on the picture above do look a bit like letters from the Cyrillic alphabet that might be on the side of a Soviet satellite.) But it's been interesting connecting these almost dreamlike memories I have with something interesting that actually happened then.

Frankly, I hope it was some strange craft from elsewhere in the universe, and it's hidden away deep in some government bunker beneath the steep hills of Pennsylvania or West Virginia, still defying all the tests of science, still too risky to expose but ever closer to a Torchwood-like investigator's impatient leak. Wouldn't that be great?

Cartoonist Off By a Factor of 1400

This cartoon is from Dana Summers of the Tribune Content Agency.

Except burning a gallon of jet fuel emits 21.1 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to the EIA. So 20,000 pounds of jet fuel emits 211 (short) tons of CO2. Summers' number is too high by a factor of 1400.

It seems he only cited Obama's jet fuel consumption, and no one else's. The juxtaposition of the two numbers seems to indicate they're related, but they're not.

Wired says the Paris conference will emit 300,000 tons of CO2, which isn't that much really -- it's what just 18,000 Americans emit in a year -- or as Wired puts it,
"...22 seconds of global CO2 emissions. Add in two weeks of hotels, taxis, espressos, pastries, and wine toasts, and you can probably tack on another half second or so."
There is probably some double counting there, since the people are the conference aren't taking taxis at home, or eating pastries at home, or drinking wine at home. But the flying definitely counts extra.

Would it have been better off if everyone stayed home? No -- conferences are valuable, and Web coverage of them seems ever more available. The IPCC conference is more valuable than most, and worth some emissions. The solution to climate change isn't -- and will never be -- living in tents. It's generating the energy we need in ways that do not emit carbon.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Ted Cruz Stacks the Deck

Here are Cruz's four witnesses for an upcoming hearing of the Congressional Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, December 8th. Notice a pattern:

Not one scientist from the vast majority of scientists who know the evidence and proof for AGW.

Now imagine if this neo-fascist became president.

The hearing will be streamed live at

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tomorrow's Celebration of America's First Refugee Problem

“Every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they are the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans, or the Haitians. And those fears have been broadly unfounded. In fact, there was only one time in American history where the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true, and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday.”

-- John Oliver

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Effective National Populations, Carbon-wise

Here are the effective national populations of the 10 largest CO2 emitters, in terms of their 2012 carbon footprint (fossil fuel CO2 only):

CO2 is the last year for which there is good data. Data via WRI CAIT.

Monday, November 23, 2015

El Nino Surpasses 1997-98

This year's El Nino is still going strong, and, at least in terms of the temperature anomaly of the commonly cited Nino3.4 area in the equatorial Pacific ocean, has surpassed the 1997-98 El Nino:

The Australian Government Bureau of Meterology thinks sea surface temperatures are "approaching their peak, and will decrease in the first quarter of 2016."

They add that the impact on surface temperatures will continue for many months, "With such warm SSTs, models suggest the tropical Pacific is unlikely to return to neutral until at least autumn 2016, although impacts on Australian climate are likely to decline prior to this."

NOAA SSTs are already on a remarkable run where every month since February has been the warmest such month in their records. This year, together with late last year, has seen a surge of about 20 years-worth of the "normal" AGW SST-trend:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Just Because it is Beautiful

The "Blue Dragon," a sea slug:

Most Laughable Graph of the Week

From NoTricksZone, where Pierre Gosselin writes, "The above chart, from, shows that the Arctic sea ice was in fact quite stable from 1979 to 2002, trending downward only slightly. Then from 2002 to 2007, a period of only 5 years, the sea ice saw almost all of its melting. Over the past 10 years, however, the Arctic sea ice has been stable, even growing some over the past 6 years."
Arctic Sea Ice_2015
Reminds me of Skeptical Science's escalator graph.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

James Inhofe's Personal Legislation

From Gail Collins in the NY Times, something you might not know about James Inhofe:
It’s easy to understand why pilots want to stay aloft. I’ve enjoyed every non-campaign-related private flight I’ve ever taken, including in the two-seater owned by an environmentalist who once flew me over a lake full of pig feces that had been treated with chemicals that turned it the color of Pepto-Bismol.

However, I think I speak for most of America when I say that we ought to continue being a little picky about the people we let up there.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, is a very enthusiastic 81-year-old pilot who starred in an exciting airborne adventure about five years ago, when he landed his Cessna at an airport in Texas despite A) The large “X” on the runway, indicating it was closed, and B) The construction crew working on said runway, which ran for their lives when he dropped in.

As a result, the senator had to take part in a remedial training program. This irritated him so much that he successfully sponsored the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which makes it easier to appeal that kind of harsh, unforgiving judgment.

The Senate commerce committee is now considering Inhofe’s P.B.R. 2, which would eliminate the current medical exam requirement. Instead, pilots would just write a note in their log every four years saying they’d been to a physician who said everything’s fine. The bill has 69 sponsors.
If only James Inhofe were a hoax.

NOAA Should Submit Their Emails to Lamar Smith

I'm a little surprised I've come to this decision, but I think NOAA should give Lamar Smith the emails he is asking for.

I say that being fully aware that the usual scoundrels will pick over them like vultures, looking for any sentence or phrase they think they make hay with, regardless of its context. It happened in Climategate I and II -- and what I wrote here was certainly off-base and wrong -- and it will happen here. It's likely the primary goal of Smith and the think tank people who are surely urging him on.

There's no doubt that NASA is an agency of the executive branch, subject to Congressional oversight. That includes what's on their hard drives and in their emails, even though I'm sure such scrutiny as this will only drive people to stop using email, or use private email instead.

Congress, of course, won't dare allow anyone to look at its emails. (Gee, I wonder why?) So we can't see what is being suggested to Lamar Smith's staff. Shame.

If I worked for NOAA I would resist anyone reading my emails. I might even leave over it, if that was a possibility, and I might not go quietly. Scientists, like many others, need private correspondence to talk, hash out ideas, question ideas, question calculations, entertain hypotheses and question data. That's why science attains the amazing successes it does.

So what Lamar Smith is doing is killing the scientific process, killing the scientific enterprise that has benefited Americans and the world so much. That should be pointed out again and again.

Smith hasn't even given any indication that he or his staff have read the paper by Karl et al (and the one of revisions to ERSST v3 before them), and why that information and data doens't answer their questions. What about these papers do Smith et al find incomplete or not adequately explained?

This clearly shows, I think, that their focus is certainly not on the science.

Smith should be thanking these scientists for all their work on this huge problem of manmade climate change.

I doubt Lamar Smith can recognize that, and I doubt he cares anyway. I think Lamar Smith is craven and just wants to make his oil and gas friends happy, and the think tank people urging him on just want to make their own fossil fuel funders happy.

They don't care about science. It's all politics to them. To be blunt, I don't know how they live with themselves. I really don't.

But Lamar Smith, or Marc Morano or Chris Horner can't stop the greenhouse effect. They can't stop the warming that will only continue in the future. But they can harm a lot of people in the process -- both the scientists and the scientific process, and especially the people who are and will continue to suffer from climate change.

Of course, they couldn't care less about these people.

But, regardless of the consequences and repercussions, NOAA is subject to Congressional oversight. I am glad they are making a stink about it. But it seems to me the law is clear. And it's a law that needs to change, if scientists (and others) are to properly do their jobs. Everyone needs some privacy, some room to think and noodle and kvetch.

Like the AEI before him, Lamar Smith is driving science underground. And that means less of it, just at the time when even more is needed.

Profit and Power from Global Warming

Via The Guardian.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Chinese Workers Hauling Coal

I came across this striking photograph in "King Coal and the queen of subsidies," by Ottmar Edenhofer, Science vol 349 issue 6254, 9/18/15.

More Big Gains in Ocean Heat Content Just Posted

NOAA just released the 3Q15 numbers for ocean heat content*, and they are again huge.

In the last 12 months, the 0-700 m region of the ocean has gained 1.5 W/m2 of heat**, and the 0-2000 m region 1.7 W/m2.

That's a gain of 25 ZJ (zettajoules) for the 0-700 m region, and 28 ZJ for the 0-2000 m region. (By way of contrast, "...mankind generates 0.5 zetajoules of energy every year in its power stations.")

Or, if you prefer, 780 trillion Watts and 870 trillion Watts, respectively.

The graph above shows that the heat gain (a very good approximate to global warming) is obviously accelerationg; calculated from a 2nd-order polynomial fit to the top half of the ocean***, the acceleration remains at 0.10 W/m2/yr for the 0-2000 m region****.

An acceleration of 0.10 W/m2/yr sounds large to me -- what forcings are, in total, increasing at that rate? -- but that's what the data says.

* NOAA ocean heat content data: 0-700 m, 0-2000 m.

** The area used here is that of the entire Earth, since about 93% of the GHG-trapped heat goes into the ocean.

*** Yes, heat may be increasing, or decreasing, below 2000 meters. I'm aware of this paper, which finds a small increase of 0.05 W/m2 for the region below 3000 m for the 1990s and 2000s. If you know of additional studies on the deep ocean, I'd appreciate if you left them in a comment.

**** The basic statistical error bar here (two-sigma) is ±0.03 W/m2/yr. I don't know how to include autocorrelation in a 2nd-order polynomial fit. If you can help me out with that, let me know. Thanks.

Monday, November 16, 2015

GISS Posts First Ever Global Anomaly Above 1⁰C

NASA GISS just posted a record high monthly global temperture anomaly for October: 1.04°C.

That smashes the old record of 0.97°C from January 2007.

Both are relative to the baseline of 1951-1980.

Year-to-date, 2015 is 0.08°C warmer than the previous record last year. 2015 will definitely be the warmest year in the records, unless a significant asteroid or comet strikes Earth, or nuclear war breaks out -- it only needs an average anomaly of 0.35°C for November and December to break the old record.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

From the Stupid to the Revolting

What's becoming clear, I think, as time goes by, is that climate denialism has not just lost the science -- obviously -- but can't compete on the moral plane, either.

You might, if you were a thoughtful person in command of the science and the facts, be able to make a moral argument that the world's best future requires a smooth and slow transition from fossil fuels to a noncarbon economy. It would, of course, mean acknowledging the science of AGW, and the consequences, but arguing intelligently and compassionatley that the poor, particularly, deserve fossil fuels to reach a potential of something the West's, and that the world will need to adapt -- intelligently but at cost and at an unavoidable loss -- towards such a future.

Maybe that's wrong, maybe it's not. But a thinking and caring person could think hard about it.

But what seems ever more apparent is that none of the climate deniers are capable of thinking on that level. It's just not in their makeup.

And I think this has never been more apparent than with the ugliness that's appeared in the last 24 hours since the massacres in Paris.

Decent people have the courtesy to let the blood dry on the street before their political attacks. Decent people.

But climate denialists are proving, again, they simply are not decent people.

The first one I noticed was Joe Bastardi, who, as we've seen, is not the brightest bulb on the tree. Big Big Joe couldn't wait to exploit this horrendous tragedy -- remember, France's population is about 65 million, so the equivalent scale of 128 dead would be an unthinkable 630 deaths in the U.S. -- for his own particular purposes:
As if this wasn't bad enough. Bastardi kept going:
Of course, Marc Morano had to spray his scent around:

Frank Bruni at the New York Times found this offensive piece by Roger J. Simon:
Well, apparently President Obama’s justly profound concern about rising temperatures is proof of his inadequate attention to terrorism and an indictment of his ability to do triage overall.

Or so I gather from a column written by Roger L. Simon for PJ Media. Simon characterized Obama as “a ludicrous man who thinks the world’s greatest problem is climate change in the face of Islamic terror.”

Does battling the latter prohibit battling the former?
Besides the basic lack of respect for the dead and injured, and those grieving and afraid in Paris, all these people seemed to forget that the August 2003 heat wave in France left 15,000 dead there, and 70,000 in Europe, perhaps 80,000.

Those deaths didn't come with bangs, sirens, and blood on the streets, but they were deaths and suffering nonetheless, and they do not deserve to be overlooked and forgotten.

Of course, Anthony Watts couldn't help but show his true colors -- has he ever? -- as Sou wrote about here.

It's worth remembering Watts' post about Typhoon Haiyan -- "Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda – another overhyped storm that didn’t match early reports" -- that killed at least 6300 people. Ever classy, Watts is.

But these people are amateurs compared to Roy Spencer, the research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville who is perhaps the leading climate change denialist today. Spencer also likes to claim he is Christian -- but see if you can tell that from what he wrote on his Facebook page just 12 hours after the bloodshed in Paris:

"Fix the weather, and terrorism will go away." Revolting.

"Yes, all of the world’s politicians who have supported a COP21 agreement should still plan on attending. And they should reach out to ISIS to join them in building a better world…a world without droughts." What can you even say to a man who would write something like this -- such a disrespectful man, such a small man?


Deniers are fond of complaining that the word "denier" unfairly compares them to Holocaust deniers. I've never thought that -- the word "denier" was a perfectly good word in the English language before the Holocause, with a particular meaning, and that meaning still exists today.

But after seeing the depths to which some climate deniers have sunk here, and so quickly, I'm left wondering if perhaps their analogy to Holocaust deniers is not so far off after all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

large earthquake offshore of Chile

There's been a very large earthquake off the coast of Chile....

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: 2015-11-11 02:46:19 (M6.8) OFFSHORE COQUIMBO, CHILE -29.5 -72.2 (2b02a)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2015 03:05:52 +0000
From: USGS ENS <>

Globe with Earthquake Location


Preliminary Earthquake Report
Magnitude 6.8
  • 11 Nov 2015 02:46:19 UTC
  • 10 Nov 2015 21:46:19 near epicenter
  • 10 Nov 2015 18:46:19 standard time in your timezone
Location 29.485S 72.192W
Depth 10 km
  • 97 km (60 mi) WNW of Coquimbo, Chile
  • 102 km (63 mi) WNW of La Serena, Chile
  • 155 km (96 mi) WNW of Vicuna, Chile
  • 156 km (96 mi) NW of Ovalle, Chile
  • 464 km (287 mi) NNW of Santiago, Chile
Location Uncertainty Horizontal: 5.1 km; Vertical 1.8 km
Parameters Nph = 98; Dmin = 104.4 km; Rmss = 1.59 seconds; Gp = 69°
Version =
Event ID us 10003x9g

For updates, maps, and technical information, see: Event Page or USGS Earthquake Hazards Program


Saturday, November 07, 2015

Dumbest Headline in Awhile

From the Christian Science Monitor, November 1st:

Writers or editors who think global warming can end just like that don't understand the first thing about it.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Legal Action Over Climate Change Denial Is Here

In 2005 I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, and he said

Today in the New York Times:

Image result for exxonmobil global warmingNo, this doesn't mean climate deniers will be rounded up and jailed (though you can be sure they'll try to play the victim), just as no blogger today is being jailed for writing that nicotine isn't addictive or that smoking doesn't harm health. Bloggers and writers are small potatoes in the big picture.
But one of the world's largest and richest corporations? That's different. For one thing, corporations have responsibilities to their investors that deniers do not have to their readers. And ExxonMobil is selling a product whose harms they have not disclosed, even though they knew otherwise and used that knowledge in their internal business decisions. Bloggers and other deniers aren't selling such a product -- just words that only poison minds. 

Should be fun to see what the investigation reveals about the Heartland Institute, Willie Soon, and possibly others.

ExxonMobile's stock price dropped 1.4% today.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Coastal West Antarctic Gaining Snow Mass

Along side the recent paper by Zwally et al at NASA that finds the Antarctic continent is gaining ice (see here for some other opinions), a paper by Thomas et al just published in Geophysical Research Letters (here's the press release; the paper is open access) finds that snow accululation in the West Antarctic rose 30 percent during 20th century. And the same goes for the last 30 years -- an additional 5 meters, on average.
The last three decades saw more snow build up on the ice sheet than at any other time in the last 300 years.... Annual snow accumulation increased in the early 20th century, rising 30 percent between 1900 and 2010 and the researchers found that in the last 30 years of the study, the ice sheet gained nearly 5 meters (16 feet) more water than it did during the first 30 years of the studied time period.
From the paper:

So what's going on? Here's the paper's lead author, Liz Thomas at British Antarctic Survey:
Thomas attributes the higher annual snow accumulation over the last 30 years in part to an intensification of a regional low pressure system and more storms in the region. These storms could increase as a result of climate change, possibly leading to further increases in snow accumulation.

Thomas says: “In this region, the same storms that have driven increased snowfall inland have brought warmer ocean currents into contact with West Antarctic’s ice shelves, resulting in rapid thinning. Thus the increased snowfall we report here has not led to thickening of the ice sheet, but is in fact another symptom of the changes that are driving contemporary ice sheet loss.
The results come from two ice cores from Ellsworth Land, the strip of land that connects the Antarctic Peninsula to the rest of the continent.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

On the Hiatus in Satellite Temperatures

Carl Mears, of the RSS satellite group, Sept 2014:
"Does this slow-down in the warming mean that the idea of anthropogenic global warming is no longer valid?  The short answer is ‘no’.  The denialists like to assume that the cause for the model/observation discrepancy is some kind of problem with the fundamental model physics, and they pooh-pooh any other sort of explanation.  This leads them to conclude, very likely erroneously, that the long-term sensitivity of the climate is much less than is currently thought.

"The truth is that there are lots of causes besides errors in the fundamental model physics that could lead to the model/observation discrepancy.  I summarize a number of these possible causes below.  Without convincing evidence of model physics flaws (and I haven’t seen any), I would say that the possible causes described below need to be investigated and ruled out before we can pin the blame on fundamental modelling errors."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Charade of Credibility Is Gone

Seems Steyn thinks -- in his endless quest to raise more money for lawyers -- the latest outrage -- outrage I tell you! --  is that this is a problem, which I wrote three years ago:
I think their crimes will be obvious in about a decade.

When I profiled Michael Mann for Scientific American, he said he thought it would eventually be illegal to deny climate change. I had doubts about that, but maybe.
As it turns out, this all came to fore much faster than I expected, and perhaps for you, too, with the revelations that Exxon was fully cognizant of climate science for decades, but pretended otherwise for the sake of money money money.

Their crime will last for 100,000 years.

Steyn can rest easy though -- no one will be coming after him. Or the likes of Anthony Watts -- who I still think will apologize for his denial before he dies. (His heart just isn't in it anymore.) They don't matter to the debate -- personal slanders excepted -- and that debate, wide and global, is over. With temperatures this year far ahead of the 1998 El Nino, by 0.15-0.4°C, it's settled. It's overtaken them. It's proceeded in leaps and bounds, just since the last decade.

And now imagine the next decade from here.

And they know it, you know, and we know it, and we know they know it, even as they eke out the last book, the last check, the last post. At this point, denying AGW, just looks..absurdly silly. Read the comments on any WU-WHAT post -- the reasoning, if you can call it that, gets ever more desperate. This point has arrived faster than I ever the public begins to realize this, that the science was indeed right all along, that the scientists have been right for decades.

Sure, they might still get an interview from the likes of a Sean Hannity -- and tell me, what kind of alternate universe does someone live in where Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are respectible, intelligent people?? -- or a little more money from the Heartland Institute. But the charade of credibility is gone, forever now I think.

Physics always wins in the end. People have been saying this for years. People who knew what they were talking about.

I'm sure glad I'm not taking up the banner against physics. Six months in a row now, HadCRUT4 has been the warmest for its month, in 150 years of monthly records.

Offer out your hand to them. Show a little compassion. This can't be easy for anyone.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Does Senator Smith Know NOAA's Adjustments *Lower* the Trend?

I wonder if Senator Lamar Smith, who wants all the data, emails, and the birthdays of the children of the NOAA scientists who contributed to Karl et al, Science (2015), knows that the adustments made to the raw data lower the long-term warming trend?

That would be fun to watch in Congressional testimony..... And that the raw data is easily available, as Karl et al write in their supplementary material:
"The data sets are the publically available ERSST v4 data set of sea surface temperature anomalies (13), and the ISTI Databank v1.0.0 of land surface air temperature (14)" 

Question For Lamar

If Lamar Smith wants NOAA's emails, can we get Lamar Smith's emails?

And his staff's too.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Two Faces of Mark Lynas

Mark Lynas.jpgThe science writer Mark Lynas has an op-ed piece in the New York Times, "With G.M.O. Policies, Europe Turns Against Science."

In it he criticizes the Eurpoean Union for their rejection of crops that are genetically modified. They're "anti-science," he says.
CALL it the “Coalition of the Ignorant.” By the first week of October, 17 European countries — including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland — had used new European Union rules to announce bans on the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

These prohibitions expose the worrying reality of how far Europe has gone in setting itself against modern science.
Lynas tugs at our heartstrings, telling you about the terrible things he's seen:
I have spent time with malnourished children in Tanzania whose families were going hungry because cassava crops were wiped out by brown-streak disease. That was particularly painful because in neighboring Uganda I had recently visited trial plots of genetically modified cassava that demonstrated complete resistance to the virus. The faces of the hungry children come to mind every time I hear European politicians boast about their country’s G.M.O. ban and demand that the rest of the world follow suit — as Scotland’s minister did in August.
Those heartless Europeans, going against science and starving children. How could they?

And indeed they are anti-science, in this case. But what Lynas doesn't tell you is the outsized role he had in creating Europe's anti-scientific attitude towards GMOs.
He [Lynas] admitted "... in 2008, I was still penning screeds in the Guardian attacking the science of GM – even though I had done no academic research on the topic, and had a pretty limited personal understanding. I don’t think I’d ever read a peer-reviewed paper on ]asingly inconsistent with my pro-science environmentalism with regard to climate change." [Wikipedia]
Lynas doesn't write a thing about what role his wrting, activism and crimes played in creating the very atmosphere he now wants to excoriate as being anti-scientific.

Lynas is whitewashing his own history. How many children starved because of him?

By the way, GMOs have nothing at all to do with climate change. They're separate subjects with little overlap, and the science on both of them is clear. The science on GMOs has been known for well over a decade -- they aren't harmful, and there's no reason to expect they could be harmful.

But instead of reading and understanding the science, Mark Lynas wanted to be a vandal and a criminal. He wanted to be an activist -- an anti-science activist. I wonder if, in his conversion on GMOs, he offered to pay for the damage he created in the farming and research fields of Europe?

Who knows what Lynas will want to be next month? Whatever it is, it probably won't be determined by science. Maybe by just whatever position gets him in print.

PS: The New York Times has been rejecting a comment that points out Lynas's hypocrisy. Why would they be protecting Lynas?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Hellish Photo of Colima Volcano

This is from the Colima volcanic eruption in July of the year, not Hurricane Patricia (as I first thought.) Via Twitter:

Embedded image permalink

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Global Warming, Productivity Loss and Economic Costs

There is an important paper published in Nature today:

"Global non-linear effect of temperature on economic production,
 Marshall Burke, Solomon M. Hsiang & Edward Miguel,
Nature (10/21/2015) doi:10.1038/nature15725

Since it puts an economic model atop a climate model, I'm automatically somewhat dubious. The climate models have enough uncertainities. Economic models have so much uncertainty that modelers there don't even try to establish error bars or confidence intervals. Or at least it seems that way to me, with my quite limited knowledge of economics. 

For example, suppose you wanted to project U.S. GDP to the year 2100. Here are the historical data, from FRED:

Clearly the Great Recession of 2009-2010 took a big bite out of GDP -- a bite that, so far, looks to be permanent. 

If you were to project GDP in 2100 based on the historical values from before the Great Recession, 1950-2008, you'd clearly get a number that is much bigger than if you project from using the full 1950-2014 data. 

I should put up a nice little graph here showing this. Bad blogger. Instead I'll just use this:

U.S. Real GDP growth and trend

The point is, economic projections seem to have at least as difficult time anticipating nonlinear events, like the Great Recession, as do climate models based on the well-established laws of physics. 

With that said, here are some results from the paper. First, they use results from others that found
"...overall economic productivity is nonlinear in temperature for all countries, with productivity peaking at an annual average temperature of 13°C (55°F) and declining strongly at higher temperatures. The relationship is globally generalizable, unchanged since 1960, and apparent for agricultural and non-agricultural activity in both rich and poor countries. These results provide the first evidence that economic activity in all regions is coupled to the global climate and establish a new empirical foundation for modelling economic loss in response to climate change."
In graphical form:

55°F isn't very warm. Salem, Oregon's normal annual average (1981-2010) is 53.7°F, so we're talking about a latitude just a little south of here. (I'm two miles south of the 45th parallel.)
Using this knowledge and the results from global climate models, Burke et al make the following projections for national per capita GDPs, which divides the world up into winners (blue), slight losers (pink), and serious losers (red):

Europe wins big. So do Canada and Russia.

The US loses between 0% and 50% of per capita GDP. That's a big range, but big consequences if you're on the wrong side of it. (Consequences I find difficult to imagine near the 50% side. I'm spoiled by the times I've lived in.)

China loses more. This is why the Chinese will want (and are wanting) to stop global warming -- not from the goodness of their hearts, but because they know they are vulnerable to it.

And -- same old same old story -- the poor get slammed.

Perhaps you can consider these the best case scenarios? Are there nonlinear economic events that are positive, not, like the Great Depression or Great Recession, negative? I can't think of one...perhaps the aftermath of WWII, at least for the US, certainly not many countries. It seems economies hum along at an exponentially increasing rate until they stutter and miss a step, a step that is almost impossible to catch up on.

The authors conclude:
"If societies continue to function as they have in the recent past, climate change is expected to reshape the global economy by substantially reducing global economic output and possibly amplifying existing global economic inequalities, relative to a world without climate change. Adaptations such as unprecedented innovation or defensive investments might reduce these effects, but social conflict or disrupted trade—either from political restrictions or correlated losses around the world—could exacerbate them."
I don't know what to make of this paper -- it seems so easy to dismiss the economics as about as reliable as, say, CBO projections of GDP made in 2005 for 2015 -- who foresaw the crash? Yet crashes exist. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Australia High Temperature Records 12 Times Cold Records

A September paper in GRL by Sophie C. Lewis and Andrew D. King looks at hot and cold temperaure records in Australia for the last one and a half decades. Their conclusion:
"...during 2000–2014, new hot records outnumber new cold records by 12 to one on average." 
which is a pretty large ratio. They emphasize (which should be obvious if you think about it) 
"In a stationary climate, the probability of setting new temperature records should decrease rapidly from the beginning of the sequence of observations."
Here's the graphical version of their results:

Finally, here are the temperature time series going back to 1910:

The Problem of Slicing a Cake

I'm reading this little book by Timothy Gowers, Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction. I'm mostly reading it to see how he, as a major mathematician, thinks about mathematics, which sometimes can be pedantic (for the purposes of the book), but at other times he shows how careful thinking is needed, which isn't always how sciency people think about things. Here's a good example in his book that I'd never seen before.

Suppose you want to slice a cake, and you want to know how many pieces you get with 1 cut, or 2 cuts, or 3 cuts, etc. You don't have to start slicing from the middle, and each piece of cake need not be the same size, but you have to slice all the way through the cake.

So you get slices, and pieces of cake, like this:


The number below each circle is the number of pieces of cake. Each dot is where your knife enters or leaves the edge of the cake.

For n slices, how many pieces of cake will you get?

For a small number of slices, it's easy to count up the pieces:

At this point most people would notice a pattern, and guess/assume the number of pieces of cake is 2n-1.

But, surprisingly, that's wrong.

For n=6, the number of pieces is 31, not 32 as one would likely guess.

For n=7 the number of pieces is 57, not 26 = 64. And so on: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 31, 57, 99, 163, 256...

That's kind of wonderful -- it shows you shouldn't try to detect a pattern or rule based on a limited number of trials.

In mathematics this is called Moser's circle problem, and the slices are called "chords." The formula for the number of pieces is

where the objects in parantheses are called combinations -- the first is the combination of n objects taking 4 at a time, and not caring about their order, etc. Here are a couple ways of solving the problem.

This was proved in 1987, showing that not all simple but interesting math problems were solved, or even proposed, 300 years ago. (Moser formulated another seemingly simple problem, the worm problem, in 1966, and it's not solved yet.)

And it says to be careful in your thinking, more careful than most of us are.