Open thread weekend

by Judith Curry

It’s your turn to introduce topics for discussion.

155 responses to “Open thread weekend

  1. If we want to decarbonise the global economy, we need to approach it in an economically rational way. Subsidising renewable energy and pricing GHG emissions are not rational. Renewable energy is an enormous waste of money and can achieve virtually nothing in GHG emissions reductions. And GHG emissions pricing will not achieve anything significant because it would have to be a global scheme to succeed and that wont happen.

    There is a better way. It is economically rational, therefore it can succeed.

    To understand what has to be achieved, start with the Kaya Identity. Professor Richard Tol, in his new book ‘Climate Economics’ says:

    >“the Kaya identity has that emissions equal the number of people times per capita income times energy intensity (energy use per unit of economic activity) times carbon intensity (emissions per unit of energy use).”

    and

    >“global carbon dioxide emissions between 1970 and 2008 CO2 emissions rose by 2.1% per year. Why? The Kaya identity allows us to interpret past trends. Population growth was 1.5% per year over the same period. Emissions per capita thus rose by 0.6% per year. Per capita income rose by 1.5% per year, again slightly slower than the emissions growth rate. Total income thus rose by 3.0% per year, much faster than emissions. This is primarily because the energy intensity of production fell by 0.9% per year. The carbon intensity of the energy system also fell, but only by 0.01% per year.”

    Holding all terms except ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ constant, ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ needs to increase from -0.01% pa to -4% pa to cut global GHG emissions to 55% by 2050 and 84% by 2100. So, without changing the other inputs to the Kaya Identity, -4% is the rate of change of ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ the world needs to achieve if we want to achieve the global emissions reduction targets being advocated. That is the rate required if we immediately change to that rate (impossible); the required rate is higher if it is implemented over a long period (which will have to be the case).

    Roger Pielke Jr. showed that the rate of ‘decarbonisation of the global economy’ has been slowing during the two decades we’ve been trying to increase it (by government interventions and UN climate conferences). The decarbonisation rate slowed from -2% pa in 1991 to -0.7% pa in 2009 (Figure 2 here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html)

    There is a better way, but it is not by more market interventions like renewable energy subsidies and carbon pricing. These types of policies, which depend on government intervention, have virtually no chance of succeeding – as Richard Tol explains here: http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed

    So, what is the better way? It is to remove the impediments that are blocking progress. Electricity and transport are the two largest users of fossil fuels.

    Using the projected cost and emissions information for 2020 from the Australian Government’s 2012 ‘Australian Energy Technology Assessment’ (AETA) report http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf, I calculate the cost of near zero emissions electricity generation would be half the cost of fossil fuel generated electricity when there are 200 GW of small nuclear power plants (like the ‘mPower’ http://www.efcog.org/library/council_meeting/12SAECMtg/presentations/GS_Meeting/Day-1/B&W%20mPower%20Overview%20-%20EFCOG%202012-Ferrara.pdf) in operation world wide.

    It would be interesting to estimate how fast the world would decarbonise its economy if technologies like this are available for all countries and as increasing competition continually improves the technologies and reduces the cost of electricity?

    Electricity is one important source of emissions that needs to be reduced. The second most important source is transport fuels. There are many possible options (biomass is probably not one of them). US Navy Research calculated the cost of producing jet fuel from seawater on board nuclear powered aircraft carriers. John Morgan extended that to calculate the cost if the processing plant is on land: “Zero emissions synfuel from seawater” http://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/. This would be even cheaper with cheap electricity and hydrogen supplied by high temperature reactors (e.g. China’s new HTR http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/#.UXB3naIcbSg) instead of by electrolysis. [There are many options. Progress will happen faster if we remove the impediments retarding it.]

    How fast could the world decarbonise its economy if technology like this was available for all countries?

    How can we make them available? The answer is to remove the impediments that are retarding progress.

    • Good starting post Peter L.

      So what would the impediments to a wide scale adoption of small scale nuclear power plants?

      Release of US restrictions on the export of this technology?

      Education of Governments and people of the benefits of adoption of nuclear power? Especially when current nuclear power plants have been wound back in Germany and other European nations due to recent Japanese problems from tsunami.

      Any other impediments?

      • Peter Davies,

        I suggest the first step is to revamp the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) so its role and practice is more akin to the regulators of civil aviation. The problem with the NRC is that it is a government body that has to be super cautious. It has no responsibility to be concerned about the cost of electricity. It takes 5 to 10 years and around $1 billion to get a design approved. That is an enormous discouragement and an enormous impediment to progress and to developing competition between manufacturers.

        The second impediment is that there is no sign that development of nuclear energy is strongly supported by the President or the democrats. Instead, they continually talk about subsidies for renewable energy and restrictions on other technologies that they are not keen on. The nuclear industry is left thinking “same old .. same old” where they will get burnt by regulators and politics no matter what they do. So that has to be addressed too.

        As you say, the people need to be led and educated. This could be initiated by a strong, well informed US President. It would take just one major environmental NGO to see the light and lead the way, and we’d be well on the way. One person can lead this – the US President (either this one or the next one).

  2. Test. I posted a comment and it dissappeared.

    • “As a boy, I remember seeing articles about the large global warming that had taken place between 1900 and 1945,” says William Gray, CSU’s famous hurricane hunter. “No one understood or knew if this warming would continue. Then the warming abated and I heard little about such warming through the late 1940s and into the 1970s.” What happened is a cooling spell began in the ’40s, by the ’70s Gray says, “there was speculation concerning an increase in this cooling. Some speculated that a new ice age may not be far off.” Then, there was a resumption of global warming in the ’80s and from that sprang the “current global warming bandwagon that US-European governments have been alarming us” about, as Gray says, and has been blamed on “the fossil-fuel-burning public.”

      • William Gray is an expert on hurricanes, not an expert on global warming. For more info on Gray go to Wiki.

      • Was Al Gore an expert on global warming?

      • heh.

        “But Al Gore!!11!1!11!!!!”

        A one-size fits all argument, and the standard measure of some “skeptics.”

      • How do we know the numerology of the AGW alarmists “experts” are is nothing more than a modern-day witching wand? Simple: To believe otherwise you must believe in a perpetuum mobile of the third kind. AGW True Believers will believe anything if they will believe in runaway global warming even though they have no proof whatsoever and despite all evidence to the contrary throughout the geophysical record of the Earth, moon, planets, the Sun and stars, the galaxy, universe and everything.

      • Gray thought global warming was a hoax and a conspiracy. I don’t know if got that idea before or after he couldn’t get funding for global warming research.

      • You do realize that everything Gray is saying above are simple, verifiable facts, right?

      • No, Waggy, it’s not all factual. Governments haven’t been alarming me about anything, so when Gray says ” current global warming bandwagon that US-European governments have been alarming us about ” he’s wrong.

        I’m not alarmed, nor have I heard any of my friends say they are alarmed. Why are you and Gray alarmed?

      • I am puzzled, Max -Okay as ter jest “WHOM” is an
        “EXPERT” on global warming, given the uncertainties
        expressed, even by the team in Climategate emails
        back and forth, travesties of missing heat, in – explicable
        …pauses, proxy problems, cherry picking problems,
        statistical methodological problems, modelling problems,
        spaghetti divergences, projection divergences, both from
        temperature forcasts failure ter correlate with either
        global temperature graphs or increases in CO2. And
        THEN there’s the issue of climate bein’ a compluh – comp
        -pluh -cated inter – relating …

        Btcg

      • Max_OK

        Sure, some European governments have tried frightening their populaces with global warming alarmism.

        The former Gordon Brown government in the UK had the “climate fairy tale” TV ad directed at children, for example.

        I’ve seen similar (admittedly not quite so idiotic) TV ads in German on the state TV there.

        In the USA it appears to me that the “dire warnings” come more from speeches or op-eds of members of the governing elite, rather than from government-sponsored ads.

        Max_CH

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Ya think?

      • ““As a boy, I remember seeing articles about the large global warming that had taken place between 1900 and 1945,” says William Gray”

        My BS Meter just went off.

      • Yeah Chief. .. a propoganda video…tsk!

        Selective film shots
        w/out context.
        Generalized apocalyptic statements
        w/out evidence… reminds me of …

        When I was walking in a field
        An apocalyptic prophet spoke to me.
        He fixed me with a glittering eye
        And told me of my human infamy.

        The sea will boil, the earth a sultry fireball
        Will become. We eat, we drink, and over populate
        The earth … pollute the atmosphere with CO2.
        He goes on , blah, blah, blah, unceasingly pontificates.

        So then I tell him that the clouds
        Heaped overhead an imminent catastrophe presage,
        He’d better make it out of here, post haste,
        And I am left alone on centre stage.

        I feel the quickening breeze and see
        It brush the waiting grass, and then
        A cricket chirps, the air grows cool …
        And so it rains …

        Btcg.

      • The New Normal that we are so often welcomed to by alarmists has one thing going for it: no two eras are exactly alike. Duh. When someone challenged me to nominate a year in the US like 2012, I could not, any more than I could find two identical snowflakes. However, if I had been asked the sensible question of when had heat, cold and hurricane alternated with similar or worse fury in the space of three seasons, the answer was there: North America1935-6.

        The hostile climate predicted for Eastern Australia, of seemingly permanent rain deficit interrupted by extremes, has already happened. That was Oz between the Federation drought and 1950. Then the climate changed! Heard of climate change? The super-storm worse than Yasi in 2011? We’ve already had it, in 1899. History’s greatest inferno? Victoria managed that in 1851. The inexplicable rises in sea level, greater in ten decades than any recent rises? Already happened…in the 19th century (and late 18th).

        Welcome to the Old Normal.

      • Denier/skeptics use the word “alarm” when they should be using the word “concerned.”

        I would be alarmed if my hot water heater exploded.

        I would be alarmed if a snake crawled up my pants leg.

        I would be alarmed if my car died on a busy freeway.

        I would be alarmed if I couldn’t get my breath.

        I am not alarmed about global warming. It’s not happening suddenly. But I am concerned about global warming, as any responsible person should be.

        Why do climate contrarians say “alarmed” instead of “concerned ?

        I would be alarmed if I

      • Bush say “No” to Kyoto. He knew that the UN-approved dowsers of global warming doomsday were full of bull. So did 15-year high school student Krysten Byrnes (Ponder the Maunder). Anyone should be alarmed at a dysfunctional government-education industry that is stabbing America in the back.

      • Teachers never stabbed me in the back, but they whacked me on the butt with a board on a few occasions. One teacher had a paddle drilled full of holes. Some kids said the holes were supposed to cause the paddle to pinch. Others said the holes reduced air resistance.

        Anyway, how long have you been crazy?

      • You just can’t get over the fact I saw through your charade from the time of your first post when I suspected a lack of intellectual honesty.

      • i lack it, and you have none at all. Want to borrow some?

    • The number of links made the post go to moderation

  3. Alternative to carbon pricing – Reduce existing market distortions

    It seems to me we should be considering three alternative policies: ‘No GHG Emissions Controls’, ‘International Treaty’ or ‘Reduce Existing Market Distortions’.

    1. ‘No Controls’ – adaptation but no policies to mitigate global GHG emissions. This is the baseline policy against which the other policies are compared. .

    2. ‘International Treaty’ – Legally binding international agreement(s) to global GHG emissions reductions (which may include targets and time tables, carbon pricing, regulations, penalties for breeches, transfer of money from rich to poor, taxation);

    3. ‘Reduce Existing Market Distortions’ – No legally binding international agreement. Each nation state acts in its own best interest. Global emissions reductions are achieved by removing the impediments that are preventing the world from having low-emissions energy cheaper than fossil fuel energy. Developed countries develop the technologies and sell them to developing countries in commercial transactions. The process would be facilitated by freer trade and removal of the restrictive regulations and licensing processes that are retarding the development of better technologies.

    It seems little or no analysis has been applied to the third option: “Reduce existing market distortions’. There may be significant advantages of that option, such as: avoid the need for bureaucracy, world government and the compliance cost of measuring, monitoring and reporting emissions (for all GHGs) and disputation.

    Consider one example. Nuclear power, if cheap enough and available to all economies, could potentially replace most fossil fuels for electricity generation world wide by around say 2060. Cheap electricity could also displace some gas for heat and some oil for land transport. Cheap, low-emissions electricity could, potentially, cut emissions from fossil fuels by 50% by around 2060.

    There are some forty small nuclear power plant designs in various stages of development from concept through to in-production described here: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/#.UWqx8KIcbSg . But progress in innovation and diffusion is being retarded because of impediments to licensing and to economic production and operation.

    The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is, in effect, the de facto world regulator of nuclear designs. NRC takes about 5 to 10 years to get a new design through its processes, it costs about $1 billion per design and they can manage about only three designs through their process at a time. This is a huge impediment to progress. No other technology or industry is constrained to such an extent in its development by government licensing of designs. In stark contrast, the passenger aircraft industry has about 1000 fatalities per year compared with near zero for nuclear, yet the regulation of aircraft designs is nowhere near as constraining as it is for nuclear power designs. These are examples of the sorts of impediments to low-cost, low-emissions electricity that we could remove if we are serious. I’d hope that the options of removing impediments to low-cost, low-emissions electricity is seriously analysed before we advocate pricing carbon.

    The US Department of Energy last year selected one small reactor as the first that will go through the licensing process. The scheduled date for this design to be ‘commercialised’ is 2022. The details of the plant and claimed benefits, schedule and costs are here: http://www.efcog.org/library/council_meeting/12SAECMtg/presentations/GS_Meeting/Day-1/B&W%20mPower%20Overview%20-%20EFCOG%202012-Ferrara.pdf

    Based on the projected costs in Australia (http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf ) and assuming a 10% cost reduction per doubling of capacity, the cost of electricity from small modular nuclear plants like the ‘mPower’ would be equivalent to that from new coal plants when 2.5 GW are in operation world wide; and half the cost of electricity from new coal plants in Australia when 200 GW are in operation world wide. There are many other alternatives designs wanting to compete, such as this from China nearing ready to be sold to small economies: http://www.uxc.com/smr/uxc_SMRDetail.aspx?key=HTR-PM

    With low emissions nuclear power producing electricity at even 10% below, let alone half the cost of, fossil fuels, it seems there would be no need for carbon pricing.

    To achieve this we need to remove the impediments to progress we’ve built up over the past half century or so.

    As an example of how much the costs of nuclear power have been increased thanks to intervention, regulatory ratcheting had increased the cost of nuclear power by a factor of four up to up to 1990 according to Professor Bernard Cohen (1990) http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter9.html. I expect regulatory ratcheting and the licensing process has probably doubled it again in the 23 years since 1990. So there is great potential to reduce the cost of electricity from nuclear power over the coming decades, and that is before we even start to consider the potentially up to 100 times more efficient breeder reactors. All we need to do to gain these benefits is: get rational.

    To head of the inevitable comments about safety of nuclear power, nuclear causes the least fatalities per TWh of electricity supplied of any electricity technology: http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/deaths-by-energy-source-in-forbes.html. It will only get better as development and competition ramp up.

    This is just one example illustrating why we must properly analyse the third alternative, ‘Reduce existing market distortions’ before advocating government’s intervene to impose a carbon price.

    • Allow shale gas and methane hydrate drilling.

      Switch off the German and Japanese coal plants now and restart the nukes.

      Jail all environmentalists who disagree.

  4. Ok, I am being lazy here since I haven’t looked. But with all the excitement of “global warming”, has anyone modeled in detail what the beginnings of an ice age look like? We have had quite a few major and minor ice advancements over North America over the last 2 million years or so, but how long does it take to really get going? I understand the long term earth orbit tilts, wobbles, precessions and other longer term periodicities, but how does it get so cool that glaciers form and move down the mountains of NY, NH, VT and who knows, even MI? Inquiring (if slightly lazy) minds, want to know….

    • Mother Earth has modeled the data and archived it for us to study and learn from. Look at the ice core data from Greenland and Antarctica.
      When the oceans are warm and wet, it snows more and ice advances and it gets colder.
      When the oceans are cold and frozen, it snows less and ice retreats and it gets warmer.
      It does not get cold and form glaciers. When it is cold it does not snow and there is no way to form glaciers. Glaciers are formed at the tops when oceans are warm. The ice advances and causes earth to cool. This is a common sense process that anyone can understand.

      • Not quite. Start in the middle of a glaciation. They are pretty stable, temperature and everything else wise. At some point the earth gets near the peak of a Milankovitch cycle. The sun goes through multiple solar cycles. Over the course of 100-1000 years eventually the M cycle at some point during the seasons triggers some melting and warming at solar insolation peaks. As the ocean warms it releases CO2 and water vapor, increasing energy transfer to the atmosphere. The process proceeds erratically, with numerous severe changes in temperature, both up and down, but gradually warming for 10-15K years.

        As the earth moves out of the peak of the M cycle the warm oceans(p’raps .1 degC higher than now in the upper 2000m) can trigger more snow, which will of course, primarily build up in the polar regions. Over the course of 100-1000’s of years at some point a combination of solar minumum cooling, snow build up, and glacier growth, along with the normal cycles we currently see in the climate result in the formation of permanent snowcover outside of the arctic. I believe there are several geological surveys that pinpoint Labrador and south central Canada as points where the last NA ice sheet started to form. Haven’t seen anything on Europe or Russia.

        Once the permanent snow cover gets far enough south I’m sure some of our great climate modelers can provide a rationale for why it continues until it reaches 40-45 deg. latitude, or sometimes even further south.

    • This illustrates the power of positive feedbacks. The orbital variations affect the summer Arctic sea-ice edge slightly leading to an albedo feedback which is positive and then the joint GHG feedbacks of H2O and CO2 amplify this. These slight orbital nudges are all it takes to set it off and to finally end it too.

    • I’ve seen, but have no opinion on, nor can presently locate, a claim that an ice age begins with CO2 levels dropping below 240 ppmv.

      Naturally, I suspect this claim will be taken with a grain of sand. Which I don’t think is usually the type of rock that removes CO2 from the atmosphere.

      • Bart R

        Don’t bother trying to find that report. The conclusion (that Ice Ages only begin when CO2 concentration is below 240 ppmv) is bogus.

        http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

        The Ordovician ice age (snowball Earth) started with CO2 concentration over 4000 ppmv.

        Max

      • BartR is talking about recent conditions, not conditions hundreds of millions of years ago.

        The Sun was about 4% fainter during the Ordovician, so the level of CO2 neessary to trigger an ice age would have been higher, about 3000ppm or so.

    • Jim D

      You describe “the power of positive feedbacks”.

      Great.

      Now let me tell you the weakness of positive feedbacks.

      They are largely imaginary, computer-generated hobgoblins.

      Max

    • Peter Bonk,

      If you want to see a fairly clear explanation of the orthodox view see: IPCC AR4, WG1 Chapter 6, Box 6.1 “Orbital Forcing” http://accessipcc.com/AR4-WG1-6.html#AR4-WG1-6-4

      It’s worth spending some time to understand Figure 6.1 with the help of the explanation in Box 6.1.

      As an aside, if you look very closely at the figure, you will be able to see that the peak of the current interglacial occurred at the end of the year 1999, at approximately midnight on December 31, GMT.

    • No GCM can get into and out of an iceage.

  5. In a 15 January 20013 Hansen’s “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.” Some poster have interpreted Hansen’s statement to mean temperature has been flat for 15 years. This interpretation conflicts with the first chart in the report, Global Land-Ocean Temperature, which shows the 5-year mean rising until 2002 or 2003 and then remaining flat for 10 years, not 15 years.

    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/719139main_2012_GISTEMP_summary.pdf

    • The first sentence in my previous report should read “In a 15 January 20013 report …”

      • No, Max_OK, it should read: In a 15 January 20013 report Hansen said “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

        Max_OK had two glasses of wine and a large meal, and is too sleepy to think.

      • Or maybe January 2013? But what’s 18,000 years when we’re talking Hansen.

        Got an extra glass?

      • Thanks, I should have known I would screw up again, but I believe the 10-years is correct unless I also eyeballed the chart wrong.

      • unless I also eyeballed the chart wrong.

        Would that be an estimate or a measurement?

      • Joshua | April 19, 2013 at 11:34 pm |

        You understand that all measurements and estimates, except of counts, are also models, right?

      • And all models are wrong. (oddly, enough, including those used by “skeptics.”)

      • An estimate. If we didn’t estimate, it would be hard to live a normal life.

        A measurement is just a really good estimate, precision you sometimes need. But usually, you don’t need precision to make a decision.

    • Max_OK

      Stop beating that busted drum. It’s not working.

      Repeating something ad nauseam does not make it true.

      There has been a pause in the warming of the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly”, as Hansen has conceded.

      The “lack of warming” started in late 1997, at the start of a major El Nino leading to 1998 being the warmest year on record (HadCRUT).

      So that’s 15 years with no warming.

      But, since you, personally, seem to object to starting with a record warm year, let’s start 3 years later – at the start of 2001 (and the official start of the 21st century).

      We then have 12 years with no warming.

      We can compare this with IPCC forecasts of 0.15 to 0.3C per decade warming (TAR) or 0.2C per decade warming (AR4).

      Anyway you look at it, the IPCC projections were way off, despite the fact that human GHG emissions continued unabated and CO2 concentrations reached record levels.

      Hansen’s models back in 1988 were just as bad: the actual warming was only half of the warming his models had projected, despite the fact that human GHG emissions were a bit higher than Hansen’s estimate.

      Question to you: If the GCMs fail so miserably in predicting temperature for one decade, why in hell should we believe their projections for several decades?

      Max_CH

      • “The “lack of warming” started in late 1997, at the start of a major El Nino leading to 1998 being the warmest year on record (HadCRUT).”

        Warmest year in HadCRUT is 2010. Followed by 2005. 1998 is third.

        “at the start of 2001 (and the official start of the 21st century). We then have 12 years with no warming.”

        Not according to the data. Your claim of no warming since 2001 is not statistically significant.

        “Hansen’s models back in 1988 were just as bad: the actual warming was only half of the warming his models had projected, despite the fact that human GHG emissions were a bit higher than Hansen’s estimate.”

        GHGs emissions have been far less than his scenario A estimate. That’s also a clue that you shouldn’t be testing temperatures against scenario A, because scenario A emissions didn’t happen.

      • Max_CH

        1. You missed the point of my post about Hansen.

        2. Of the four global temperature metrics, only HadCRUT supports your “15 years with no warming.” So the score in this game is

        Max_OK 3
        Max_CH 1

        HA HA , Max_OK wins again.

        But seriously, why do you prefer HadCRUT?

      • lolwot

        You are obviously confused.

        Hansen Scenario A emissions DID happen. In fact, CO2 emissions were slightly HIGHER than Hansen had forecast.

        Hansen’s 1988 study stipulated:

        Scenario A assumes that growth rates of trace gas emissions typical of the 1970s and 1980s will continue indefinitely; the assumed annual growth rate averages about 1.5% of current emissions, so that the net greenhouse forcing increases exponentially.

        Emission over the period 1980-1988 were (according to CDIAC data): 5.41 GtC/year

        Twenty years later they were: 7.73 GtC/year

        IOW, the actual CO2 emission growth rate increased from 1.5% in the 1970s and 1980s to 1.64% from 1988 to today, so the actual rate of increase was actually around 10% greater than that assumed by Hansen for Scenario A.

        http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp030/global.1751_2008.ems

        But warming was only half that forecast by Hansen.

        Reason?

        Real simple: Hansen’s model used a 2xCO2 ECS that was exaggerated by a factor of 2x.

        Get your facts straight before you make silly claims, lolwot.

        Max

      • Max_OK

        I’m not “keeping score”, Okie.

        But you are in denial of the current pause when you say 3 out of 4 records show warming.

        Of the five records reported in WoodforTrees, three show cooling and two show warming.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2001/trend/plot/rss/from:2001/trend/plot/gistemp/from:2001/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001/trend

        The mean trend of all five is -0.01C per decade.

        Check the data. (Read ‘em and weep.)

        Max_CH

      • Max-CH, when you learn to count to 15 we’ll talk.

        Tip: When you run out of fingers, use toes.

  6. 1. “We live in the outer atmosphere of our star,” said Lika Guhathakurta, SDO program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

    http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/12/14/huge-solar-explosions-rock-entire-sun/

    2. “The AD775 cosmic event revisited: the Sun is to blame,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 552, L3 (April 2013)

    http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/0004-6361/201321080&Itemid=129

  7. [second attempt to post my first comment]

    </b?How could the global economy decarbonise in an economically rational way?

    If we want to decarbonise the global economy, we need to approach it in an economically rational way. Subsidising renewable energy and pricing GHG emissions are not rational. Renewable energy is an enormous waste of money and can achieve virtually nothing in GHG emissions reductions. And GHG emissions pricing will not achieve anything significant because it would have to be a global scheme to succeed and that wont happen.

    There is a better way. It is economically rational, therefore it can succeed.

    To understand what has to be achieved, start with the Kaya Identity. Professor Richard Tol, in his new book ‘Climate Economicshttps://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz17rNCpfuDNRml2dVA4T0xvdkk/edit says:

    …the Kaya identity has that emissions equal the number of people times per capita income times energy intensity (energy use per unit of economic activity) times carbon intensity (emissions per unit of energy use).

    and

    … global carbon dioxide emissions between 1970 and 2008 CO2 emissions rose by 2.1% per year. Why? The Kaya identity allows us to interpret past trends. Population growth was 1.5% per year over the same period. Emissions per capita thus rose by 0.6% per year. Per capita income rose by 1.5% per year, again slightly slower than the emissions growth rate. Total income thus rose by 3.0% per year, much faster than emissions. This is primarily because the energy intensity of production fell by 0.9% per year. The carbon intensity of the energy system also fell, but only by 0.01% per year.

    Holding all terms except ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ constant, ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ needs to increase from -0.01% pa to -4% pa to cut global GHG emissions to 55% by 2050 and 84% by 2100. So, without changing the other inputs to the Kaya Identity, -4% is the rate of change of ‘carbon intensity of the energy system’ the world needs to achieve if we want to achieve the global emissions reduction targets being advocated. That is the rate required if we immediately change to that rate (impossible); the required rate is higher if it is implemented over a long period (which will have to be the case).

    Roger Pielke Jr. showed that the rate of ‘decarbonisation of the global economy’ has been slowing during the two decades we’ve been trying to increase it (by government interventions and UN climate conferences). The decarbonisation rate slowed from -2% pa in 1991 to -0.7% pa in 2009 (Figure 2 here: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html)

    There is a better way, but it is not by more market interventions like renewable energy subsidies and carbon pricing. These types of policies, which depend on government intervention, have virtually no chance of succeeding – as Richard Tol explains here: http://www.voxeu.org/article/global-climate-talks-if-17th-you-don-t-succeed

    So, what is the better way? It is to remove the impediments that are blocking progress. Electricity and transport are the two largest users of fossil fuels.

    Using the projected cost and emissions information for 2020 from the Australian Government’s 2012 ‘Australian Energy Technology Assessment’ (AETA) report http://www.bree.gov.au/documents/publications/aeta/Australian_Energy_Technology_Assessment.pdf, I calculate the cost of near zero emissions electricity generation would be half the cost of fossil fuel generated electricity when there are 200 GW of small nuclear power plants (like the ‘mPowerhttp://www.efcog.org/library/council_meeting/12SAECMtg/presentations/GS_Meeting/Day-1/B&W%20mPower%20Overview%20-%20EFCOG%202012-Ferrara.pdf) in operation world wide.

    It would be interesting to estimate how fast the world would decarbonise its economy if technologies like this are available for all countries and as increasing competition continually improves the technologies and reduces the cost of electricity?

    Electricity is one important source of emissions that needs to be reduced. The second most important source is transport fuels. There are many possible options (biomass is probably not one of them). US Navy Research calculated the cost of producing jet fuel from seawater on board nuclear powered aircraft carriers. John Morgan extended that to calculate the cost if the processing plant is on land: “Zero emissions synfuel from seawaterhttp://bravenewclimate.com/2013/01/16/zero-emission-synfuel-from-seawater/. This would be even cheaper with cheap electricity and hydrogen supplied by high temperature reactors (e.g. China’s new HTR http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear-Fuel-Cycle/Power-Reactors/Small-Nuclear-Power-Reactors/#.UXB3naIcbSg) instead of by electrolysis. [There are many options. Progress will happen faster if we remove the impediments retarding it.]

    How fast could the world decarbonise its economy if technology like this was available for all countries?

    How can we make them available? The answer is to remove the impediments that are retarding progress.

  8. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a little girl and three others murdered, with hundreds of others injured and maimed, by Islamist terrorists?

    If you guessed globalclimatewarmingchange, you could be the governor of New York.

    http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/04/19/Gov-Cuomo-Uses-Boston-Terror-Attack-To-Push-His-Favorite-Subject-Climate-Change

    Governor Andrew Cuomo “It’s a terrible situation in Boston. And, unfortunately … one gets the sense that this is more reflective of the ‘new normal,’ if you will,” he explained. “So much of society is changing so rapidly. We talk about a ‘new normal’ when it comes t0 climate change and adjusting to a change in the weather patterns. ‘New normal’ when it comes to public security in a post-9/11 world.

    • Cumo said ” And unfortunately dot dot dot ”

      What the hell does “dot dot dot” mean?

      GaryM, do you know what do those dots mean?

      • pregnant pause

      • Cuomo is a jerk for mentioning the Boston murders in the same breath as climate change.

        Barney Frank was an idiot for mentioning them in the same breath as “sequestration”.

        Other than that, they may (or may not) be nice guys.

    • Everything bad that happens is due to global warming. Surely we all know that by now.

      • Peter, are you saying “… ” is code for “Everything bad that happens is due to global warming.”

        If so that would mean Como is saying “It’s a terrible situation in Boston. And, unfortunately everything bad that happens is due to global warming.”

        Peter, are you trying to be silly?

      • Everything that happens is due to global warming . . .
        and nothing good ever happens.

    • Is mass murder and maiming the new norm? I certainly hope not, but we have seen many incidents I fear it may be.

    • Does seem much of the global warming narrative is pretty dotty. Gore sure is.

  9. pregnant pause

  10. Chief Hydrologist ( from the previous Open thread )
    Ocean heat content and radiative flux is measurable with increasing accuracy. Trends are well enough known to think about closing the energy budget over a period and to see where the changes are coming from.

    Are mere trends good enough though? Don’t we need absolute numbers, like how much net heat is going in/out ?

  11. We have sadly heard no more of Mr Myrh’s elegantly simple theory that rising co2 CAN’T be causing global warming – because, since rain dissolves the co2 out all the time, co2 levels CAN’T rise.
    The instruments that say otherwise are obviously wrong eh Mr Myrh ?

  12. “I was paying attention, you see, but none of it was clear. Instead, the more they talked the more confused I got.”

    “That’s how it always is. When people talk and spout opinions, the result is always confusion. I’m telling you, it doesn’t matter what sort of opinions a man has, but whether he is a decent fellow. The best thing is to have no opinions at all and just do your duty.”

    — Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It made me laugh to remember this. It made me wonder as well how many of my favourite books are about ordinary people in dysfunctional environments. The passage has a Catch 22 flavour to it. One flew over the cuckoos nest. Journey to the end of the night. There are many. The other side of the coin is madmen in ordinary circumstances. Thanks.

  13. Chief Hydrologist

    Erica,

    The change in planetary work and heat over a period = energy in – energy out.

    => d(W&H)/dt = power in – power out

    Remembering that 1 Joule (energy) is 1 Watt (power) for 1 second and that the 1st order differential global energy equation perfectly defines the energy budget of the Earth. At the top of atmosphere things are very simple.

    So let’s assume that ARGO is correct in the last decade.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/HOU2011-cloudandENSO.png.html?sort=3&o=25

    It is warming and the trend is 0.55 W/m^2. So d(W&H)/dt is positive and power in is greater than power out in the period. The radiant imbalance is towards warming. That gives us a baseline.

    The trend in power in was about -0.25 W/m^2 in the relevant period – as TSI declined in the 11 year solar cycle.

    Power out is another matter.

    http://s1114.photobucket.com/user/Chief_Hydrologist/media/CERES-BAMS-2008-with-trend-lines1.gif.html?sort=3&o=87

    The y values are in W/m^2. The different colours are different instruments. Note the net trend on the bottom of the graph. By convention an upward net trend is planetary warming – in this case about 0.8 W/m^2 in the period. So we can roughly close out the energy budget just by eyeballing it in and estimating the trends. What do you know – it adds up to 0.55W/m^2. This is the energy that Kevin (shirley it ain’t decadal) Trenberth said was missing and was eventually found in the deep ocean by Karina von Schuckmann.

    The trend down in reflected shortwave is less sunlight being reflected by cloud. The instrument drift over the ARGO period is something less than about 0.25 W/m^2 – so the trend is good but I am not as sure about my estimate.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

  14. Oops, * above, reference ter Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan.

  15. Chief Hydrologist

    Too big to not burn?

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2013/s3741424.htm

    Frankly if there were cheaper energy sources around – who cares.

    I caught this one today.

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/the-most-important-innovation-challenge-we-face/4639956

    http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/unlocking-energy-innovation

    Nothing new – essentially broad adoption of nuclear power when the new and very promising 4th gen designs are ready for rapid deployment in about 10 years time. e.g. http://www.ga.com/docs/em2/pdf/FactSheet-TechnicalFactSheetEM2.pdf

    With cheap energy – anything is possible. Including such things as hydrolysing water and combining hydrogen with carbon stripped from the atmosphere to make a liquid fuel.

    In the interim there are many ways forward to address population through such things as the Copenhagen Consensus priorities and the Millennium Development Goals. It includes energy efficiency and reductions in black carbon, tropospheric ozone, sulphate, methane, nitrous oxide. All of these things come with economic development and are substantial interim steps in mitigating anthropogenic carbon emissions.

    Absolutely critical to meeting food production needs this century – regardless of the carbon mitigation and environmental benefits – is the global adoption of conservation agriculture.

    http://www.science.org.au/events/publiclectures/ac/kirkegaard.html

  16. We now have the situation where both Steven Mosher and lolwot claim that climate sensitivity has been measured. However, neither of them have provided a number for the measured value of climate sensitivity, nor an accuracy, nor a reference that describes how this measurement was made.

    Insted we get a diatribe about how, for CAGW and only CAGW, estimates are the same as measurements. At least that is what I gather from the long and rambling discussions we have had on this subject. The logic of these arguments completely eludes me. I can understand that english dictionaries define a clear difference in meaning between “estimate” and “measurement”. My apprecation is that, because we have no control over the earth’s atmopshere, it is technically impossible to actually measure climate sensitivity.

    All of which does not prove that the hypothesis of CAGW is wrong. This hypothesis is completely reasonable and viable. What it does call into question are the IPCC claims in the SPMs to AR4 that there is a >90% and >95% probability that certain scientifics facts about CAGW are correct.

    Are there any warmist denizens of CAGW who are prepared to discuss the contents of
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-7.html ?

    • That should be “warmist denizens of CE”.

    • All of which does not prove that the hypothesis of CAGW is wrong. This hypothesis is completely reasonable and viable.

      A manmade fraction of a trace gas is driving global temperature .

      That is not reasonable. That is not viable. That would be funny if they were not planning do stupid stuff that will effect our energy supply and economy.

  17. An interesting article about Margaret Thatcher’s views on climate change

    http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=83817

    • Alexej Buergin

      I would have said: Changing views on climate change.

    • “She cited the 2.5 degree rise in temperatures during the Mediaeval Warm Period”

      haha what?? How do they say that with a straight face?

  18. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    In recent comments:

    Judith Curry  [comments on satellite temperature data]

    FOMD  [comments on satellite temperature data]

    David L. Hagen  [comments on satellite temperature data]

    Chief Hydrologist  [asks for serious and informed discussion of satellite temperature data]

    Judith Curry, David L. Hagen and Chief Hydrologist, your thirst for knowledge relating to satellite data is commendable. Yes it is true that scientific opinion evolves as time progresses!

    •  Dr. Roy Spencer: 1997 NASA Press Release, The State of Climate Measurement Science  “Get the latest on the Earth’s Temperature from Space by clicking on the diagram!! … Global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites reveal no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. … Recent claims to the contrary by Hurrell and Trenberth have been shown to be false.”

    •  Roy Spencer: 2013 Web Release, Latest Global Temperatures  [in effect] “Our too-hasty statistical evaluations of 1997 have proved to be wrong. Satellite measurements of atmospheric temperatures now clearly show an atmospheric warming trend. My colleagues and I apologize for our past intemperate and (as events have proved) unjustified criticisms of climate-change science, and we pledge in the future to place less faith in short-term records and imperfect satellite instruments, and place more faith in conservative global assessments of the earth’s overall energy balance, that appropriately incorporate thermodynamical constraints, observational data, and paleo-climate lessons!”

    Isn’t it terrific that Dr. Spencer’s own press releases, web-sites, and satellite data are helping Climate Etc readers to an appreciation of multiple, mutually supportive pillars of climate-change science?

    Thank you, Judith Curry, David L. Hagen, Chief Hydrologist, and (especially) Dr. Roy Spencer and Kevin Trenberth, for this illuminating lesson in climate-change history and science!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Of course, fan, ahemm .. there’s the little matter of
      models’ divergency tfrom the satellite data.Seen in
      this graph:

      http://www.drroyspencer.com/

      BC

      • Spenser says global warming has slowed down over the past 15 years, not paused for 17 years like some ill informed people are saying.

        As for the models, see how they understated global temperature in 1998. Sometimes the models will be off one way, sometimes the other way.

    • Well, it would certainly depend upon the base year one selects.
      (See http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_1979_thru_Mar_2013_v5.51.png )
      Further, it would have been good to link to the “Web Release” text quoted in your comment. I have not found it.
      Finally, Dr. Spencer does not seem to have retracted the opiniond expressed in his books:
      Spencer, Roy W. Climate Confusion: How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor. Reprint. Encounter Books, 2010
      ———. The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists. Encounter Books, 2010

      Perhaps you could enlighten us about your source(s)?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      • Atmospheric Temperature Satellite Data, Problem C: Satellites measure radiative flux, which is strongly modulated by cloud cover on all times scales from hourly to decadal (and longer).

      The temperature instruments use microwaves emitted from oxygen – which penetrate cloud easily. CGM are dynamic chaotical systems. Energy budgets that ignore CERES are patent nonsense. Paleo data shows that climate varies naturally and abruptly.

      The lack of any serious and informed discussion from this AGW space cadet – and repetitive denier silliness – is typical of the type. Irrelevant and a waste of time.

    • ‘Roy Spencer: 2013 Web Release, “Latest Global Temperatures“ [in effect]‘
      You’re way out of line here. You have no business putting words in someone else’s mouth like this. Especially when I see very little basis for those words in his actual post.
      You may or may not be right, but you do your cause no good with this kind of stuff.

  19. Morning Fan,
    Fun to fantasize. Though I can’t help wondering if your exercise in magical thinking is more revealing of the alarmist thought process than you realize?

    The world wonders, eh FOMD?

    :-)

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      pokerguy condemns “exercise[s] in magical thinking”

      Pokerguy, in regard to “magical thinking”, let us reflect upon the four pillars of climate-change science:

      • Pillar #1: transport theory and

      • Pillar #2: energy-budget analysis , and

      • Pillar #3: paleoclimate correlations , and

      • Pillar #4: dynamical and/or statistical analysis (uncountably many, see for example Roy Spencer’s 1997 The State of Climate Measurement Science).

      Isn’t it striking, pokerguy, that “magical skepticism” so often focuses its cognition largely or solely upon Pillar #4 … which is by far the weakest of the Four Pillars of Climate Science?

      Climate-change researchers — including Roy Spencer and even Judith Curry — are well-advised to broaden their scope of appreciation and analysis, thus to avoid the the much-studied (yet wholly unconscious!) cognitive mechanisms that are associated to “magical skepticism”, eh pokerguy?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • I confess to not knowing what you’re talking about sometimes Fan. It’s kind of a turn on though. (in an entirely academic way of course).

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Pokerguy, yah know how some gamblers convince themselves they can “beat the Vegas odds” at pure games-of-chance (roulette, dice, or slot machines?).

        To rationally sustain their illusion, these folks need only cherry-pick their evidence … and they are wholly unconscious of this cherry-picking.

        “Magical skepticism” of climate-change science works the same way … and its practitioners are similarly unconscious of their cherry-picking!

        “Magical skepticism” is not complicated, Pokerguy! In fact, it’s completely familiar to us, eh?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  20. BartR said, “You mistake the concept of Uncertainty with Variability.”

    Could there possibly be a better topic sentence for a open thread weekend?

    The difference between a “measurement” and an “estimate” is the degree of uncertainty which is directly related to the variability. One sigma uncertainty is plus or minus one standard which with in a normal distribution results in a 68.2% confidence interval. One sigma is the square root of the variance. The “concept” of uncertainty/ confidence is defined by the variability.

    From wikipedia, “Uncertainty in science, and science in general, is often interpreted much differently in the public sphere than in the scientific community.[5] This is due in part to the diversity of the public audience, and the tendency for scientists to misunderstand lay audiences and therefore not communicate ideas clearly and effectively”

    After looking at the Marcott et al. temperature reconstruction, the scientific community doesn’t communicate that well among themselves. By taking naturally smoothed “temperatures” averaged on periods of up to 500 years, then interpolating those “averages” to create 20 year bins, then using those bins to determine “confidence” intervals, Marcott et al defined “overconfidence”.

    Here is one example of how “novel” methods work.

    http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2013/04/more-proxy-stuff.html

    • David Wojick

      The confidence interval is just one of many forms of uncertainty, namely the uncertainty of sampling. It is based on probability theory so assumes (1) a random sample of (2) perfect measurements. Neither assumption is true for almost all climate data.

      • Every level of uncertainty/confidence is related to variance. The more complex the system or object, the greater the possibility there is irreducible imprecision.

        Take GISS or BEST. They use different methods to estimate the land and ocean surface temperature. The Giss method adds variance in the southern hemisphere, the BEST method reduces variance. Which one is more accurate? You don’t know. You have to determine why there is a difference, if the difference is significant and determine if GISS or BEST is an outlier. Until then the uncertainty will always have to be the larger of the two.

      • David Wojick

        I guess I do not know what you mean by variance. Not knowing the underlying cause of a phenomenon seems very different from the statistical varience in that phenomenon. Science seeks mechanisms.

      • David Wojick

        GISS and BEST use essentially the same method, as do all the surface statistical models. It is area averaging of nonrandom bad data. They merely differ in the amount of interpolation, which I regard as a minor difference. HadCRU uses the least while BEST uses the most. These differences do not save the models which I regard as no good to begin with.

      • David, just the spread of estimates or readings. If the spread is normally distributed, you can increase the number of estimates to have a higher confidence in the mean, but you can never eliminate the spread.

        That is the biggest problem with sensitivity. The spread is artificially inflated by starting with an average instead of starting by determining if one of the estimates was an outlier.

      • David, “GISS and BEST use essentially the same method, as do all the surface statistical models. It is area averaging of nonrandom bad data. They merely differ in the amount of interpolation, which I regard as a minor difference.”

        There is more than a minor difference. Starting circa 1955 with the inclusion of the Antarctic data, GISS variance in the southern hemisphere just about doubled while CRU reduced. The averages are about the same, but the confidence intervals dramatically changed. That is just in the land and ocean where the GISS interpolation is not very effective. The realistic uncertainty in the global mean is about twice the stated uncertainty.

        There is also an issue where digital instruments are biased warm at the lower end of their ranges. That is the largest difference between the land surface temperature and satellite estimates of the lower troposphere.

      • Can you simply explain the ‘biased warm’? I got the hula hoop out of Antarctica via W.
        ======

      • David Wojick

        You cannot actually calculate confidence intervals for area averaged data because the data points are averages, not samples. Still your point about the differing variances is important.

      • Kim, “Can you simply explain the ‘biased warm’? I got the hula hoop out of Antarctica via W.”

        Any instrument tends to be less accurate at the extreme ranges. The Antarctic winter at -60 plus C pushes the bottom limit of the instruments, so they tend to read warmer than the actual temperature. To avoid that you need instruments especially designed for the range to be measured or you have to allow for the non-linear response. It is not a huge problem, but it does impact the confidence intervals.

        The instruments when digital around 1990.

      • David, “You cannot actually calculate confidence intervals for area averaged data because the data points are averages, not samples.”

        Not as averages, but you can consider the variance of the actual data points. Anomaly is a big plus in that respect, but it gets complicated with latitudinal and altitude weighting. I am actually pretty impressed with the surface station results between 60N and 60S, but it tend to get ridiculous as you near the poles.

      • Shall I assume variation and deviation refer to the “Normal” Distribution? There are alternatives. Is it possible that published results are a composite of different distributions?

        http://www.itl.nist.gov/div898/handbook/eda/section3/eda366.htm

      • David Wojick

        I regard an area averaged convenience sample as statistically worthless. UAH says it did not warm 1978-97 and that is our data.

      • Pooh Dixie, “Shall I assume variation and deviation refer to the “Normal” Distribution? There are alternatives. Is it possible that published results are a composite of different distributions?”

        I would think a normal distribution as a first guess until the data starts to show reason to change that assumption.

      • David, “I regard an area averaged convenience sample as statistically worthless. UAH says it did not warm 1978-97 and that is our data.”

        The satellite data does tend to be the most useful, but I wouldn’t say the surface data is useless. Global mean is about useless, but the regional is the only way to extend anything back in time.

  21. Me To Shipboard Computer :”Computer: there was ice on my windshield this morning. Boston had a recent terror attack. Measure situation.”

    Computer (after short pause): “Global Warming.”

    Andrew

  22. Arctic versus Antarctic

    A semi scientific perspective.

    An article on sea ice area and extent and balancing has upset my apple cart enough to try to sort out some common sense debate on the issue of North and South sea ice.

    It states “Despite the fact that the southern ice pack is larger overall than the northern, its increases are much smaller than the decreases noted for the northern hemisphere, 1.96 million km^2 in extent and 1.92 million km^2 of area. This puts the lie to claims (oft repeated) that southern gain even “almost” balances northern loss — the northern extent loss is 3.4 times as great as the southern extent gain while northern area loss is 3.8 times as great as southern area gain. When one is nearly 4 times as big as another, they are certainly not “balanced” and anyone who claims so is either a fool or an outright liar.”

    As I am not a mathematician or a facts at the finger tips person I would appreciate any such comments or additions that make sense [or nonsense of] my statements to be added to this article.

    Statements

    At maximum extent I believe the volume of the southern ice pack is smaller [16 square million kilometers[ to than the northern ice pack [18 square million kilometers] via eyeballing a graph from climate4you.com

    The last 30 years have seen an imbalance in the total ice balance to the negative side but currently the balance is very positive with only a slight negative southern anomaly. This means that the southern area gain of 910,000 square kilometers is 3.4 times that of the northern hemisphere loss of 280,000 square K. When one is nearly 4 times as big as another it pays to check the current facts.

    The two areas of ice do not occupy the same relative areas to their poles so cannot be looked at as twins or mirrors of each other. The north is part of a circular semi spherical surface, The south is a larger circumference dough nut or torus shape though also on a semi spherical surface. Furthermore the heat that reaches them from the sun does so at different latitudes and hence heats and melts them at different rates for the corresponding times of the year.This explains in part why the pattern of the global sea ice area moves up and down and not in a sinusoidal pattern as would be expected .

    The two bodies of ice are totally different in the amount of heat that reaches them as most of the ice at the arctic is at a much higher latitude, ie over the north pole whereas the ice in the antarctic starts 400 [guess only?] or more kilometers from the south pole.

    Because the earth is curved the amount of heat received at the surface increases cubically [???] as one moves away from the polar area. So if the ice area is starting 400 kilometers away from the pole the heat the ice is receiving is very much higher per square kilometer average than the same area of ice centered around a pole.

    The sun is closer to the north pole in a northern summer than the south pole in summer hence the total heat delivered to the ice is greater in the North than the South. Hence the rate of melting at the south pole is always greater naturally , not as an effect of global warming. [Also the rate of refreeze as the sun is further away in northern winter at the north as to southern winter at the south pole]. The rate of refreeze should also be slower in the south due to the fact that the energy reaching the outer ice is higher at the higher southern latitudes than at the northern very high latitudes.

    All late winter ice is thin hence will melt quickly whether the ice extent for that year is high or low. The rapid melt at the start in 2012 was due to the larger extent of ice able to melt and was no more rapid at the start than that in years with a similar ice extent like the late 1990’s.

    Ice in the antarctic requires much colder temperatures to extend the same distance out as the arctic does .

    When some one states the melting in the arctic is 3.4 times that of the freezing in the antarctic [by someone who completely understands the maths of what I am talking about] , One can only conclude that he is being disingenuous.

    The existence of such a large anomaly of area of frozen water so far out, increasing over the last 30 years, must be a sign that the earth is currently not warming. If it was warming the Antarctic ice should be disappearing quicker than the arctic ice as it is further out [although in the colder hemisphere.]

    The fact that the Antarctic ice diminishes to almost nothing in Summer should not be compared to the ice in that same latitude at the North Pole in Summer .As a guess I would say that there is very little ice at the Arctic at the same latitudes except for where glaciers in Greenland etc enter the sea.

    disclaimers, always leave some area’s wrong for the critics.

    • David Springer

      Antartic sea ice hasn’t grown much so global sea ice loss is confined to the summer decline in Arctic sea ice. Since it’s only half the year when the extent is significantly down and it’s less than half global sea ice this greatly reduces the total percentage loss in mean annual sea ice. So we can say Arctic sea ice extent in the summer is down by as much as 33% (6 million square kilometers to 4) in the summer global mean average sea ice is down by less than 5% (from 24 million square kilometers to 23).

      So basically the severe decline in Arctic summer sea ice is a hardly noticeable decline for global sea ice.

      • R. Gates aka The Skeptical Warmist

        Of course David, your rather simplistic perspective on the “severe” decline in Arctic sea ice compared to the less severe decline in overall Global sea ice neglects to account for the role that Arctic sea ice plays in our NH weather. This is the important point and fortunately ever increasing numbers of scientists are waking up to this and studying these declining ice-weather dynamics.

    • angech | April 20, 2013 at 9:22 am |

      Where the observations one has may lead to ambiguous conclusions, seeking deeper understanding of mechanisms for the observations, and consilience from other observations to confirm, helps.

      Going deeper, while sea ice extent growth can happen either if there is more sea ice by volume or if the sea ice becomes thinner, we cannot rely on simple extent until we know also volume.

      The best observations of sea ice in the North is that winter and summer both are seeing dramatic declines, far greater than decline in extent. (The current winter Arctic sea ice volume is lower than the summer sea ice volume of four decades ago.) So we may conclude there is a real and significant effect in sea ice.

      The best observations of the sea ice in the South is that winter and summer volumes are only slightly below historical levels, while sea ice extent is on the whole slightly higher (and rapidly shifting in shape from former norms). However, we see lower Antarctic continental ice mass, and know the Antarctic sea ice is fed by the continent. We shouldn’t expect the Antarctic sea ice to shrink until the continent runs out of ice to push out onto the sea.. which is going to be quite a while.

      So “balance” of polar sea ice is, mechanically, a very invalid concept.

  23. robert barclay

    Since this is an open thread I’m going to have my two cents worth. I’m not a sceptic nor am I a denier, it is not possible to be a sceptic or a denier about something that doesn’t exist and global warming catastrophic or otherwise does not exist. The reason that it cannot exist is because of the elephant in the loungeroom, Surfsce tension. You can not heat water from above on this planet, it just doesn’t work that way, you can radiate it but you cannot “heat” it. How do I know because I’ve tried.
    The AGW theory holds that co2 in the atmosphere is heated by the sun’s rays and that heat finds its way to the surface of the ocean and causes increased evaporation and or is absorbed by the ocean and stored. Trenberth was undestandibly upset when he could not locate this heat and got me wondering if surface tension could be a player.
    Couldn’t find anything on the net, surface tension seemed to be something of a scientific cinderella. I got hold of a paint stripping heat gun and applied the heat 450degsC to the surface of the water in a bucket. after 5mins there were no signs of any change so I tested the water. The water was stone cold. With further experimenting I found that if you are serious about heating water from above the only way to do it is to float a metal vessel on the surface and apply the heat source to the vessel. The surface tension under the vessel is cancelled and the water will accept heat. All I had done was create an upside down pot, which will of course accept heat. You can get heat into water through the bottom of a pot but not through the top.
    Unless somebody can get physical heat into my bucket from above, I say that the proposition that heat from a wandering molecule of co2 can heat the ocean is farcical and that there is NO mechanism for storing heat on this planet. Because heat cannot be stored in the ocean the racheting effect on the temperature much loved by the warmists cannot take place therefore as is happening at the moment, when the sun goes quiet there is no backup heat stored in theocean and despite the continuing rise in co2, the planet cools. Sorry Kevin.
    Time to invoke Occam’s razor and destroy this left wing tripe.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      robert barclay claims  “You can not heat water from above on this planet, it just doesn’t work that way, … Time to invoke Occam’s razor and destroy this left wing tripe.”

      LOL … Robert Barclay, to observe for yourself high-efficiency solar heating of water, yah need only modify yer (admirable!) home experiments to include the thermodynamic elements of one of Freeman Dyson’s favorite technologies: solar ponds!

      Best wishes to you, that you enjoy further happy experiments, Robert Barclay!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • robert barclay

        The sun “heats” the ocean via radiation, no problem. My problem is water rejects physical heat.

      • robert barclay

        You are missing the point. The sun’s rays penetrate the ocean’s surface no problem but physical heat is rejected

      • “water rejects physical heat”

        what about mental heat? Can the sun’s psychic rays get through the surface tension?

      • robert barclay

        Water accepts radiated energy but rejects physical heat. Get yourself a paint stripper and try heating the surface.

    • David Springer

      Actually I’ve tried and succeeded in heating water from above. Take a hot air plastic welder

      http://www.harborfreight.com/welding/plastic-welders/plastic-welding-kit-with-air-motor-and-temperature-adjustment-96712.html

      and direct a narrow stream of air at 600F onto the surface of the water. I used a styrofoam cup full of water at room temperature with a thermocouple at the bottom. In less than a minute the water temperature was at 90F and rising which was enough to convince me you can heat water with hot air from above at least so long as you can produce some turbulence. This is why I’m careful to exclude breaking waves when I say the only effect of DWLIR on the ocean is to drive evaporation. In actuality non-contact IR measurements of breaking waves finds them even cooler than still water surface because the bubbles drastically increase the surface exposed for evaporation. The moral of the story is sunlight is the only practical means of heating the ocean and DWLIR actually cools it by driving surface evaporation rate higher.

      I figure the very slight increase in OHC is from warmer runoff from the continents. DWLIR greenhouse effect works as advertised when the amount of water available for evaporation is limited so runoff (both water and air) from the continents will be warmer especially during the winter in higher latitudes when the surface water is all frozen.

    • David Springer

      @Bob Barclay

      You got the AGW theory all wrong, by the way. CO2 isn’t warmed by sunlight. It’s quite transparent to sunlight. It’s warmed by upwelling thermal radiation from sunlit surfaces. The upwelling radiation is mid-infrared and CO2 is opaque in some significant mid-IR bands. The upwelling radiation is absorbed and re-emitted. The key is that about half of the re-emitted energy is emitted downward towards the source whereas absent the absorbtive gas it would all keep heading upwards towards the sink. In effect this places a restriction in the radiative cooling channel from surface to space. In practice this has little effect on wetted surfaces because evaporation and convection is the path of least resistance to begin with. It’s like a bucket with a big hole (representing evaporation and convection) and a little hole (representing LW radiation) in the bottom. If you plug little hole it won’t make much difference in how fast the water leaks out but if you plug the big hole it will make a large difference in the leak rate. The leak rate of heat out of the ocean works the same way.

      • robert barclay

        David, as an old airline pilot the idea of heat going down makes the hair on the back of my neck rise. As for the rest of the explanation I’m afraid it leaves me clutching wildly for Occam’s razor. Why can I get heat into covered water and not into uncovered water. rgds

      • robert barclay, have you noticed that lakes tend to freeze on clear nights, but not on cloudy nights? The explanation is in terms of NET IR radiation, more net loss versus less net loss which varies the cooling rate. Same happens with the ground temperature. The difference is provided by the downward IR being higher on cloudy nights, but the net remains upwards because the ground is usually warmer than those clouds.

      • robert barclay

        I don’t follow the terminology of downward radiation at night. In fact I get the impression that people are using the word radiation for a process that I would describe as heat loss by convection, which is always upwards. This planet does not radiate. You don’t get a suntan from heat leaving the planet.
        My proposition is that you can’t “heat” water from above because that has been my experience. To “heat” water from above, the heat has to be applied through a metal object floating on the surface and that means that surface tension is a serious player in the story and in fact AGW doesn’t exist because you cannot store extra “heat” in addition to radiated energy from the sun in the ocean.

  24. David Springer

    Is the pause over yet?

  25. R. Gates aka The Skeptical Warmist

    For those who might be interested in SSW’s, I’m in the final stages of completing a guest post on this subject for Neven’s blog at:

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/

    I plan to post it on Monday and am putting the final touches on it this weekend. It will be a long post as currently it is about 2800 words and has over 15 charts, graphs, and animations. If you’re interested in SSW’s, you might want to stop by Neven’s on Monday.

  26. I’ve been writing a post elsewhere on the infrared/visible light fake fisics of AGW’s Greenhouse Effect, some were confused by what they were being told.

    Anyway, Trenberth is looking into the depths of the ocean for the missing heat bypassing the whatever hundreds metres above which are not warming, because, why didn’t I think of it before, the KT97 is built on the fake fisics that “visible light from the Sun heats the water in the ocean and blue visible light heats deeper because it travels further before being absorbed”, perhaps, the Sun is radiating increasing blue light and its this which is travelling even further to heat the depths?

  27. Peter Lang wrote: “…. the third option: “reduce existing market distortions.” There may be significant advantages to that option, such as: avoid the need for bureaucracy, world government, and the compliance cost…..”

    As our software writing friends tell us: “It’s a feature, not a bug.”

  28. Our climate is evolving. Although global and regional temperatures generally have a long-term upwards trend, the presence of natural variability means that each year, or decade, is not necessarily warmer than the last. Communication of the impact of natural fluctuations is vital for decision makers and for a sceptical public. Progress in understanding and predicting the natural fluctuations in climate offers the potential to test and improve climate models, narrow the uncertainty in climate predictions and aid adaptation to our evolving climate. Meeting these substantial scientific challenges requires continued investment in global observations, more advanced climate models and better ways of testing climate models against observations.

    http://www.met.rdg.ac.uk/~ed/home/hawkins_weather_2011.pdf

    • Girma,

      Meeting these substantial scientific challenges requires continued investment in global observations, more advanced climate models and better ways of testing climate models against observations.

      I’d argue this is a case of self-interested researchers trying to justify more money be given to them so they can continue to waste it. We’ve spent >25 years and >$100 billion on climate research and policies to control the climate. But we’ve made little progress. For example:

      – We still have virtually no idea about climate sensitivity – our estimates are range from 0 to >20 C per doubling (T2xCO2). And the best guess and confidence limits are virtually unchanged in 25 years (see Goldilocks thread)

      – We have even less idea of the damages per degree of warming. Richard Tol’s new book says there are only 17 studies that are suitable for economic analyses. I expect these are biased towards the alarmist’s case.

      – And the alarmists who say they want the world to cut GHG emissions are the most stubbornly opposed to economically rational policies to do so.

  29. http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1797.html

    The death of MWP and LIA?

    “There were no globally synchronous multi-decadal warm or cold intervals that define a worldwide Medieval Warm Period or Little Ice Age..”

    The resurrection of the Hockey Stick?

    “Recent warming reversed the long-term cooling; during the period ad 1971–2000, the area-weighted average reconstructed temperature was higher than any other time in nearly 1,400 years.

  30. R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist

    For those interested, my post on SSW’s is now up at Neven’s:

    http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/04/sudden-stratospheric-warmings-causes-effects.html#more

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