Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

 Missing heat and hiatus

Where’s the missing heat from #globalwarming hiatus? Try the Indian Ocean [link]

Nature: Hiatus in the stratosphere [link]   …

Latest from @RoyWSpencer: New Satellite Upper Troposphere Product: Still No Tropical’Hotspot’ [link]

The ‘warm blob’ of the Pacific explained by the scientist who coined the term [link]  …

Nature: Decadal modulation of global surface temperature by internal climate variability [link]


Larsen B: Massive Antarctic Ice Shelf Will Be Gone Within Years, NASA Says [link]

IPCC author: Antarctica’s abrupt glacial melting ‘greatly overestimated’ [link]  …

Polar vortex

“We are in the pre-consensus stage of a theory” linking the rapid warming of the Arctic and severe weather events [link]

Nature:  Stratospheric influence on tropospheric jet streams, storm tracks and surface weather [link]


Lancet: Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multi country observational study. Study reveals that cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather. [link]  Summary from Science Daily [link]

“NASA Research Suggests US Hurricane Drought Is Luck” [link]  …

NatureClimateChange study on heat waves, climate and population change reported by @dotearth: [link]

‘Resiliency to climate disasters closely linked to farms with increased levels of biodiversity’ [link] …

Lukewarmers, climate wars, etc.

This post by Ben Pile pretty much summarizes the news in this category for the past week: Lukewarmers, polarisation, consensus, memes and seepage


168 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. Paul Homewood notes how NASA adjusts temperature data:


    and E. M. Smith reports on the impact of historical climate changes on civilizations:


    Together they show how serious the consequences may be of deceiving the public about solar and nuclear energy.

    • “How NASA Lie”
      Typically, Homewood is happy to call the scientist a liar but too lazy or incompetent to do a calculation. Just a graph and eyeballing.

      In fact, the NASA scientist’s statement was, referring to the period since 1979:
      “The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.”

      And indeed, the NSIDC trend for Antarctic 1979 t0 present is 21,441 Sq km/year, and for Arctic is -52,385 sq km/year. Ratio about 0.41. Maybe “about a third” is a little rough, but it doesn’t make her a liar.

  2. Brian G Valentine

    I’d like to know how it is possible to warm the lower atmosphere without increasing the heat transfer rate by any mode to the upper atmosphere or to space.

    If the temperature difference increases, the heat RATE has to increase, and until I can reconcile that, the “atmospheric greenhouse” effect remains impossible to contemplate.

    • It’s not possible. That might explain why the world has refused to warm, even though there has always been CO2 in the atmosphere.

      Oh well. Good thing that the people who believe in the impossible haven’t been listened to, eh?

      • Brian G Valentine

        I guess the only recourse now is the business man’s bravado approach:

        “It’s IMPOSSIBLE! So that’s why we MUST do it! We’ll throw all our resources to MAKE it happen!”

    • “I’d like to know how it is possible to warm the lower atmosphere without increasing the heat transfer rate by any mode to the upper atmosphere or to space.”

      How is it possible to warm your bed without increasing the rate of heat loss to air? You put another blanket on.

      • Brian G Valentine

        CO2 in the air isn’t “insulation.” CO2 blocks some wavelengths maybe, but the absolute heat rate to space has to increase.

      • Nick Stokes,

        It doesn’t matter how many blankets you throw on a corpse, it warms it not at all. As a matter of fact, the more blankets you throw on a cold corpse before you put it in the Sun, the more slowly it warms.

        Just like the Earth and Moon. No atmosphere, higher surface temperature in sunlight.

  3. I looked at the IUK sonde data ( basis of the Sherwood paper ).
    Evidently, IUK uses ‘Kriging’ which depends on a homogenous field.
    Is the raob data homogenous enough for Kriging? IDK.

    But in any event, here’s a comparison of various data sets ( I used the means, not medians of IUK and ‘binned’ them into 30 degree bands ):

    Much of the Hot Spot discussion seems to center on either – ‘see it’s not happening’, or ‘physically it has to happen because convection couples the surface and upper tropospheric temeprature trends.’ But SteveF pointed out that both can be correct. The Hot Spot is not occurring because the temperature trends over the tropics, for the satellite era anyway, lower than modeled and even cooling for much of the Pacific:

    That cooling screams out PDO, so is the lack of a Hot Spot more accurately a model shortcoming with the PDO more than problems with convection?

  4. Pingback: Week in review – science edition | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  5. PDO downhill from 1980 to 2012-2013

    It’s had reducing effect upon anthropogenic warming. Now it is enhancing it.

    • JCH:
      Any thoughts on a positive PDO occurring with a continued wavy jet stream a la Francis?

      • I think everything is on the table, including this being a one-time event and the return to the cool phase of the PDO, but my chips are on the PDO causing an aggressive warming over the next 5 to 7 years, and then there will be a complete rethinking of climate sensitivity.

        This is very different that the 1910-to-1940 warming. That occurred in phase with a persistently positive trend in the PDO. The 1976-to-2006 warming was in phase until 1980, and out of phase sense then. The GMST and the direction of the PDO trend diverged for the first time in the 20th century, and that was the trick that has fooled everybody.

        The divergence happened because of ACO2. The stuff is kick-butt nasty. Lol.

      • One of these pet theories that keep resurfacing.

        The PDO from the guys who invented it.

        And the MEI form the ENSO expert.

        Just 2 chaotic oscillators on the ‘grand climate system’,

        NAO and NPO are the leading modes of surface pressure variability in northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, respectively, the PDO is the leading mode of SST variability in the northern Pacific and ENSO is a major signal in the tropics. Together these four modes capture the essence of climate variability in the northern hemisphere. Each of these modes involves different mechanisms over different geographical regions. Thus, we treat them as nonlinear sub-systems of the grand climate system exhibiting complex dynamics. Indeed, some of their dynamics have been adequately explored and explained by simplified models, which represent subsets of the complete climate system and which are governed by their own dynamics [Elsner and Tsonis, 1993; Schneider et al., 2002; Marshall et al., 2001; Suarez and Schopf, 1998]. For example, ENSO has been modeled by a simplified delayed oscillator in which the slower adjustment time-scales of the ocean supply the system with the memory essential to oscillation. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/full

        In which we can see that the nodes synchronise at certain times and coupling increases. Diagnostic of synchronous chaos – in fact the first time it is shown in a system the size of planet Earth.

        These regimes – blue dominant to 1976 – red to 1998 and blue again since tend to persist for 30 to 30 year. But as is quite obvious there is still red times in blue regimes and vice versa. The current blue regime is no different from the last. It is certainly too soon to in breathless anticipation declare that the fat lady…

        Just to be clear – the energy for the warm ocean surface layer almost exclusively derives from the Sun. What changes abruptly is the atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns – and consequent hydrology.

        What you say? The system has a memory? Patent nonsense Sir.

      • You’ve put up the argument that fully supports what I’m saying dozens ad dozens of times, and you are completely oblivious to it. Did you even read Tsonis?

      • That’s 20 to 30 years.

        ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        Nothing that Tsonis, Swanson or anyone ever said supports your odd placement of trend lines on the PDO at wood for dimwits. It is too early by far to suggest that the current cool PDO and La Nina dominant regime has ended.

        I’d ask you what you think supports the wildly eccentric theory that is unique to you – but I know I’d regret it.

      • I see. It is nothing to do with Tsonis or anyone else. Just your own independently arrived at notion obtained by putting trend lines – on things that don’t have trend lines anywhere else in the real world – at wood for dimwits that less warming from the north east Pacific will cool the atmosphere.

      • David Springer

        Chief Hydrologist | May 23, 2015 at 2:52 am |

        “Just your own independently arrived at notion obtained by putting trend lines – on things that don’t have trend lines anywhere else in the real world – at wood for dimwits that less warming from the north east Pacific will cool the atmosphere.”

        Dr. Curry this guy is constantly insulting others here. See emphasis. Please put a muzzle on him.

      • David Springer

        Chief Hydrologist | May 23, 2015 at 1:56 am |

        Nothing that Tsonis, Swanson or anyone ever said supports your odd placement of trend lines on the PDO at wood for dimwits. It is too early by far to suggest that the current cool PDO and La Nina dominant regime has ended.

        I’d ask you what you think supports the wildly eccentric theory that is unique to you – but I know I’d regret it.


        You’re not being clever, Chief. No one is laughing at the constant barrage of childish insults you pen.

        Dr. Curry some moderation please.

      • Wood for dimwits is a site that encourages users to torture data without putting manipulations into a coherent statistical or physical context – and to proceed from a conclusion backwards. Putting a trend line on the PDO for instance. The latter being exclusively a JCH product.

        Does any of this warrant moderation?

        Synchronisation and coupling refer to the behaviour of 4 ocean and atmospheric indices when modelled as nonlinear oscillators on a network.

        ‘First we construct a network from four major climate indices. The network approach to complex systems is a
        rapidly developing methodology, which has proven to be useful in analyzing such systems’ behavior [Albert and
        Barabasi, 2002; Strogatz, 2001]. In this approach, a complex system is presented as a set of connected nodes. The
        collective behavior of all the nodes and links (the topology of the network) describes the dynamics of the system and offers new ways to investigate its properties…

        Together these four modes capture the essence of climate variability in the northern hemisphere. Each of these modes involves different mechanisms over different geographical regions. Thus, we treat them as nonlinear sub-systems of the grand climate system exhibiting complex dynamics.’ https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/publications/tsonis_GRL07.pdf

        Synchronisation and coupling show abrupt shifts of ocean and atmospheric circulation at 20 to 30 year intervals. These are quite obvious in the data – including the PDO.

      • It has all sorts of things to do with Tsonis.

      • Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and – at least – not rising since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if history is any guide.

        The green bits are where the indices synchronise and coupling increases.

    • JCH,

      So the PDO can warm the world without any effect from CO2, can it?

      Or can’t the PDO exist without something to either reduce or enhance?

      If the PDO gets heat from somewhere, that place must cool down. Where is it, and how much does it cool?

      I hope you can provide some answers.

    • JCH:
      Here’s what a negative PDO looks like to me. Strong Peru, Equatorial and Kuroshio currents forming an S curve that moves cold to warm and warm to cold. These currents meld with the ENSO region for the most part and might occur with predominant La Nina conditions. From an equatorial life point of view the Earth is trying to spread some warmth around as it has enough. If the S curve flow is hindered warmth is being retained by the equatorial region. As to why this happens over millions of years I’d chalk that up to chance but the result so far has been life. My original question had to do with how the polar jet stream effects the sign of the PDO? A rigid West to East jet would seemingly segregate the temperatures as above with a wavy one mixing warm and cool air masses.

      “It’s had reducing effect upon anthropogenic warming. Now it is enhancing it.”
      This is where it gets confusing for me. A positive PDO may be better insulation. The warmth is stuck in the near to medium equatorial regions where the insulation is better compared to the poles. A negative PDO has more free flow of warmth, in effect less insulation. The GAT is a function of insulation. If I have a forced air furnace running continuously and pump a third of the air into a room with the windows open, most of that will be lost and have little effect on the average temperature of my house. If I close the vent to that room, my average temperature throughout the house will rise. So the PDO moves or not, warmth to the poorly insulated room. Back to the jet. If the jet snaps into a rigid West to East pattern, it closes the vent to that windows open room.

  6. I am increasingly convinced that the hotspot really has gone missing… I believe the missing hotspot is indirect evidence that upper tropospheric water vapor is not increasing, and so upper tropospheric water vapor (the most important layer for water vapor feedback) is not amplifying warming from increasing CO2. ~Dr. Roy Spencer

    The fact is that we can’t account for the missing hotspot at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.

  7. About 2000 years ago, there was a Roman Warm Period and then it got cold. About 1000 years ago there was a Medieval Warm Period and then it got cold. That was called the Little Ice Age. It is warm again now because it is supposed to be warm now and humans did not cause the past warm periods and we did not cause this modern warm period. It is a natural cycle. CO2 just makes green things grow better, while using less water.

  8. When you study 1900 to now, you are studying a warming phase of a thousand year cycle the does cycle warm, cold, warm, cold, and so on forever. if you measure data in the warming phase of that cycle and extrapolate it, you will get model output that goes up without bounds. If you look at the long term cycle and curve fit the data, you will have the natural bounds. Climate changes in natural cycles and the future cycles will be like he past cycles.

  9. “We are in the pre-consensus stage of a theory that there are links between the rapid warming of the Arctic and some severe weather events since 2007…”

    Ignoring all those severe weather events when the Arctic was iced up (I’m practising to be a climate expert by ignoring stuff), it’s a good bet that warmth and melt water will have their effects.

    What I’d really want worked out is what – bolide, fresh melt, jet stream shift, crazy amounts of vulcanism, combination? – caused the Younger Dryas. We’d pull through most things, but I dunno about a plunge like that one (combined with the earlier starting SH Cold Reversal). Since that sudden cooling event, and the substantial warming which came on its heels, occurred very recently, you’d think it would be front-and-centre in our speculations on things which could hurt us.

    Or can’t we be trusted to lock the coal cellar without being presented every day with a brand new climate bogey man, however flimsy?

    • Mosomoso

      It was the coldest of time, it was the warmest of times, it was the wettest of times, it was the driest of times. It was the windiest of times, it was the calmest of times…’

      With apologies to Charles Dickens.

      It is amazing what effect co2 has. To those who want to find any connection they can it is convenient to gloss over the inconvenient fact that weather has always existed


    • Mike Flynn


      You might note above that JCH states that the Sun and the wind create heating and cooling – no CO2 needed.

      All we need is a rotating, cooling Earth, following an elliptical orbit around the Sun, tectonic plate movements, and a couple of other bits and pieces.

      I think JCH has made a good start, don’t you?

  10. Correlation (even as high as 0.8) doesn’t mean causation.

    Is the one with 1940s hump and 2000s pause more likely than one without either ?

    Forget all of that nonsense and let’s get onto the things that matter: the UK strawberry season is 10 days later than the average, as predicted (of course) by the highly sophisticated MetOffice decadal forecast

    There is a lot of fun to be had in the ‘climate science’.

  11. Top post by Ben Pile. IK’ve responded:

    Excellent post, Ben. Re presupposing “the green view of nature in balance, and the perfect form of social organisation reflecting that balance:” we live in a universe of constant change, there is no ideal balance, nor perfect form of social organisation. Further, nothing is sustainable, we do not have and will never have such a degree of control that we can freeze anything to our desires, and anyone who tries fails to understand the very nature they claim to revere. The only thing we can change is ourselves, our entrenched patter of reaction, of carving and aversion, which prevents the harmony which Greens ostensible seek. But you need a degree of self-awareness before you can embark on that path of change.

    • Agree a good post. But disagree that there is no connection between a lukewarm POV on climate sensitivity and policy. It plainly argues for adaptation more than mitigation. And, for things like grid electricity, going slow until technologies mature, like some 4th generation nuclear.

    • You are wrong genhis! The ideal place exists – it is called Utopia (from no-place)!

      I hear the road to utopia is paved with good intentions…

  12. This quote from the editor of The Lancet caught my eye yesterday:

    “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

    Source: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2015/05/16/editor-in-chief-of-worlds-best-known-medical-journal-half-of-all-the-literature-is-false/

  13. Regarding my last post, here’s a link directly to the relevant Lancet editorial piece: http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2960696-1.pdf

    • Mike Flynn

      I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

      Are you seriously suggesting that scientists can be wrong? That they are
      human? Next you’ll be trying to tell they don’t have brains twice as big as ordinary people!

      Mind you, I’m sure that climatologists will have no trouble providing experimental support for their conclusions, to a significance of at least 5 sigma.

      I won’t hold my breath while I’m waiting, though.

  14. ulriclyons

    “Nature: Hiatus in the stratosphere”

    Surprise surprise. During the next cold AMO mode it may well warm up again.

  15. It’s easy to spot bias with warmists cheering on warm and visa versa. Disappointment when nasty events don’t occur like floods and hurricanes.
    Can’t wait till a big chunk of Antarctica falls off. Supposedly cooling is even worse. It’s like stock market doom and gloomers can’t wait for the next depression.

    • “We are in the pre-consensus stage of a theory”. So giddy they start using unscientific language. We ♡ arctic warming! We ♡ extreme weather! The nastier the better.

  16. The first of the two Antarctic glacier loss links appears not to have mentioned even the possibility of geothermal activity as a source of increased glacier loss. It is gratifying that the IPCC author in the second link at least suggests that activity as a possible source of the heat. Given there were 2 studies in 2014 that addressed the larger than known geothermal events, I am curious why no mention was made of volcanoes as a culprit even in a secondary fashion in the first link.

    • Interesting image. Source please?

    • Even in Antarctica, geothermal fluxes are three orders of magnitude less than solar fluxes, so you need a spectacular set of volcanoes to make any additional mark on its energy budget. This may be why no one mentions this.

      • Except that the IPCC author mentions it in the second link and bases his conclusions on it. Smart guy that IPCC author.

      • If you buy the basal sliding idea, the geothermal fluxes could possibly be more important than the solar fluxes.

      • Mike Flynn

        Jim D,

        You will notice that ice sheets are warmer at the bottom than the top. The bottom is obviously far closer to the mantle than the top. Ice is a reasonable insulator.

        The solar fluxes are incapable, in general, of raising the temperature of the surface ice to anything like the temperatures experienced under several kilometres of ice.

        There are papers at PNAS which will give far more detail on the processes, measurements and so on.

        The following quote will give some flavour, if you wish to follow it up –

        “For a thick ice sheet such as is the case at South Pole, the temperature distribution near the ice-bedrock interface depends mainly on the geothermal heat flux, which is a parameter of the model; temperature changes near the surface are strongly attenuated at the bottom (5, 6).

        Profiles of temperature vs. depth exist for two other locations that are both deep and sloped. Measured and calculated profiles of temperature vs. depth at Camp Century, Greenland, coincide to better than 0.1°C from a depth of 200 m down to bedrock (7). Measured and calculated profiles at Byrd Station, Antarctica, agree to within 0.2°C (5). In both cases the assumption of steady-state (θ/θt = 0, with θ = temperature in °C) was found to be applicable. Deviations from a linear dependence in the lowest parts of those glaciers are small despite relatively large slopes and horizontal surface velocities: 0.0037 radian and 5.5–10 m/yr for Camp Century (7) and ≈0.004 radian and 12.8 m/yr for Byrd Station (5).”

        If you disagree with this type of research, have you any links?

      • On the scale of the continent these volcanoes are pinpricks. More heat is gained from the sun. Anyway, yes, another “skeptical” meme subjected to little actual skepticism for some reason. Volcanoes have been going for millions of years, but now they suddenly become important just when GHGs provide the forcing. I see. Lots of coincidences there, like with the outgassing too. I’m skeptical.

      • Jim D, the ice shelf in question is also not much more than a pinprick on a continental scale.

  17. “NASA Research Suggests US Hurricane Drought Is Luck”

    Where is Mosher to tell us NASA is invoking unicorns?


    • Steven Mosher

      Unicorns are different from luck.
      However both point to gaps
      If I suggested that some unknown process in the sun explained the drought.. That would be a unicorn.

      • The oceanic influences on US drought.

        Related to the NAO.

        The latest Pacific Ocean climate shift – to a cool IPO – in 1998/2001 is linked to increased flow in the north (Di Lorenzo et al, 2008) and the south (Roemmich et al, 2007, Qiu, Bo et al 2006)Pacific Ocean gyres. Roemmich et al (2007) suggest that mid-latitude gyres in all of the oceans are influenced by decadal variability in the Southern and Northern Annular Modes (SAM and NAM respectively) as wind driven currents in baroclinic oceans (Sverdrup, 1947).

        The effect of the 11-year solar cycle modulation on the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) in the Southern Hemisphere is examined through analysis of observational data from 1968 to 2001. It is found that the year-to-year variability of the October-November mean SAM differs significantly according to the solar activity. In high solar activity years, the SAM signal extends to the upper stratosphere during October to December and activity in the troposphere lasts until autumn, whereas in low solar activity years, the SAM signal is confined almost inside the troposphere from October to December and it disappears by January. This situation is very similar to that observed for the modulation of the winter mean North Atlantic Oscillation in the Northern Hemisphere. A possible mechanism of solar cycle modulation of the SAM is also discussed.
        Solar cycle modulation of the Southern Annular Mode – ResearchGate. Available from: http://www.researchgate.net/publication/248814091_Solar_cycle_modulation_of_the_Southern_Annular_Mode [accessed May 24, 2015].

        Perhaps we just need more unicorns.

  18. From the post:
    Lancet: Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multi country observational study.
    Drill baby drill! And, oh, start diggin’ up that coal!!

  19. angech2014

    Antarctic Larsen B: Massive Antarctic Ice Shelf Will Be Gone Within Years, NASA Says [link] IPCC author: Antarctica’s abrupt glacial melting ‘greatly overestimated.
    Ice shelf breaks up after 10,000 years, this is called iceberg calving.
    I takes a lot of time to build up a shelf, or it would not be a shelf.
    At some stage after a long time it becomes unstable and bits, large or small break off.
    If a large amount breaks off the glaciers supplying the shelf will run faster as they have less restraint for 1,2, or 3,000 years then slow down again.
    Amazingly Larsen B did not disintegrate fully when we were told it had.
    Now the slow process of buildup over another 4 to 10,000 years begins.
    The two studies, 1 NASA, contradict each other with comments of differing flow rates.
    All in all what they describe is a perfectly natural reaction to an event of ice shelf loss, not climate change.
    what the heck did they think would happen naturally if not this?

  20. On the “blob” article. The author states the 2 C temp differential between Pacific and NA temps was “unprecedented.”

    1. Do we believe the ocean record is adequate to state that with certainty?
    2. Obviously, the polar vertex itself isn’t new, so I can’t help but wonder what the differential was then – the author doesn’t say. From the article:

    The polar vortex was first described as early as 1853.[4] The phenomenon’s sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) appears during the winter in the Northern Hemisphere and was discovered in 1952 with radiosonde observations at altitudes higher than 20 km.[5]

    • Was this a “real” polar vortex in 2014?
      From the article:

      So what separates polar vortex extremes from run-of-the-mill cold snaps? To find out, I called up NASA scientists Lawrence Coy and Steven Pawson, whose work focuses on predicting major disruptions of said vortex.

      Their work takes advantage of a new class of weather models suited to monitoring the stratosphere, where weather balloons and satellites are producing data that is helping advance knowledge of the polar vortex and its implications for winter weather.

      The roots of extreme, high-impact cases lie in the stratosphere, dozens of miles above the ground, where the polar vortex typically spins around the North Pole, a byproduct of the Earth’s rotation. Normally, a strong jet stream encases the hemisphere’s truly coldest air to the north. A few times a year, the vortex’s spin is perturbed from below by an especially exaggerated kink in the jet stream, and that hold weakens. This is what happened last winter, when a persistent ridge of high pressure off the West Coast of North America shunted the jet stream to the far northern reaches of the Arctic—and then back down again, taking square aim at the eastern half of the country.

      This past January, Pawson says, “there was a pretty strong relationship. The shape of the vortex was distorted all the way from the surface right into the stratosphere. Those very cold weather features were propagating around the edge of a very deep vortex that you could see very clearly in the stratosphere.”

      But sometimes, it’s precisely the opposite, said Pawson: “The weather is really pulling the vortex down. It’s not the stratosphere causing that to happen.” In these cases, dips in the stratospheric portion of the vortex will follow extreme cold air outbreaks at the surface, not precede them. Figuring out which disruptions in the stratospheric circulation will shift weather patterns on the ground is the forefront of polar vortex science.


    • The sea surface temperature anomalies – or differences from average temperatures – became greater than 2 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) by late winter. That may not seem very impressive, but for the region it’s actually without precedent in the historical record. …

      So he’s talking about the SST record in the Pacific NE.

      • http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2010/01/climate-modeling-ocean-oscillations.html

        JCH explain away this data which is the real reason and controlling factor for global surface temperature trends.

        CO2 being a non factor.

      • JCH here is the evidence. Why don’t you refute each point with data ,not theory to prove I am wrong. You will not do it because there is no supportive data. I would hardly call all these blunders SELECT EVIDENCE.

        AGW theory has predicted thus far every single basic atmospheric process wrong.

        In addition past historical climatic data shows the climate change that has taken place over the past 150 years is nothing special or unprecedented, and has been exceeded many times over in similar periods of time in the historical climatic record. I have yet to see data showing otherwise.

        Data has also shown CO2 has always been a lagging indicator not a leading indicator. It does not lead the temperature change. If it does I have yet to see data confirming this.






        LESSENING OF OLR EARTH VIA SPACE -WRONG? I have a study showing this to be so.




        STRATOSPHERIC COOLING- ?? because lack of major volcanic activity and less ozone due to low solar activity can account for this. In addition water vapor concentrations decreasing.

        WATER VAPOR IN ATMOSPHERE INCREASING- WRONG- all of the latest data shows water vapor to be on the decrease.

        AEROSOL IMPACT- WRONG- May be less then a cooling agent then expected, meaning CO2 is less then a warming agent then expected.

        OCEAN HEAT CONTENT TO RISE- WRONG – this has leveled off post 2005 or so. Levels now much below model projections.

        Those are the major ones but there are more. Yet AGW theory lives on.
        Maybe it is me , but I was taught when you can not back up a theory with data and through observation that it is time to move on and look into another theory. Apparently this does not resonate when it comes to AGW theory , and this theory keeps living on to see yet another day.

        Maybe once the global temperature trend shows a more definitive down trend which is right around the corner (according to my studies ) this nonsense will come to an end. Time will tell.

        Greenhouse score card showing more blunders


        Past historical data showing no correlation.


        Current data not agreeing with what AGW calls for.


      • PDO is still in a cold phase this is a spike which is the norm not the exception. These spikes can last up to 2 years or so.

      • Your second plot. ’97-’98 as high as now. But it’s just one buoy. If history repeats itself we will stay cool.

    • jim2

      Rgates was interested in SSW and wrote a good article on it at Neven’s blog. I subsequently supplied him with some observational material demonstrating records of it back to the 13th Century.

    • After ACO2 took over, grafting the AMO to the PDO would be no different than grafting the GMST to the PDO. You get the GMST. You already had that.

      • ACO2 has taken over nothing.

      • Conclusions:

        The observations of a global mean temperature “flat” with no linear trend since 1997 cannot be discarded.

        Those observations do contradict the conjecture of a “greenhouse effect” for which there is no physically admissible definition at hand: there is no “heat trapping” between surface and air as the net radiative heat flow between those bodies is about nil

        The main features of the atmosphere both on Earth and on Venus are easily deduced from the basic polytropic equations of the ideal gases.

        The observations show that in the last decades as in geological times the CO2 content of the air is a consequence of the temperatures and cannot be their cause.
        Truth n°2 57% of the cumulative anthropic emissions since the beginning of the Industrial revolution have been emitted since 1997, but the temperature has been stable. How to uphold that anthropic CO2 emissions (or anthropic cumulative emissions) cause an increase of the Global Mean Temperature?

        [Note 1: since 1880 the only one period where Global Mean Temperature and CO2 content of the air increased simultaneously has been 1978-1997. From 1910 to 1940, the Global Mean Temperature increased at about the same rate as over 1978-1997, while CO2 anthropic emissions were almost negligible. Over 1950-1978 while CO2 anthropic emissions increased rapidly the Global Mean Temperature dropped. From Vostok and other ice cores we know that it’s the increase of the temperature that drives the subsequent increase of the CO2 content of the air, thanks to ocean out-gassing, and not the opposite. The same process is still at work nowadays]

      • http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-last-refuge-of-anthropogenic-global.html

        JCH while you our at it refute this data presented by Joe D’Aleo from Weatherbell Inc.

        Don’t take it just from my perspective.

      • Don Monfort

        ACO2 is causing the pause that is killing the cause. Why? We don’t know. Maybe the control knob just likes to mess with us.

        Anyway, ACO2 is still hiding the hotspot and Roy has a fun chart in his post on it:

      • JCH you did not address any of the data which is just about 100% of it that runs counter to AGW theory.

  21. Brian G Valentine

    What could have been done with all the money, time, and resources wasted on this non issue?

    I hate to think

  22. We’re getting a good look at the face of Leftist logic and it’s a riot. What are the global warming alarmists agitating for if not a continuation of the hiatus?
    What they’ve dedicated years to denying they should herald; they should fall on their knees and praise it. What could define having achieved their stated objectives more than an eternal pause in the warming of the globe? As the hiatus in solar activity slouches on for the next several decades, about what time along the way to the mid-21st century do we predict people will start fearing global cooling and begin looking for someone to blame for it?

  23. Test comment .. having some trouble here.

  24. [Seems ok now.]

    There is the usual 180 degree difference between the Dot Earth “death by heat waves” column and the Lancet study released two days later.

  25. From the Ben Pile “lukewarmer” article:

    “underneath Brigitte’s post is a long, unproductive exchange between various contributors and astronomer Ken Rice, pka And Then There’s Physics, who runs the blog of the same name. Rice bans alternative opinion from his own blog, but is a prolific commenter — so much so it’s hard to wonder how he gets any astronomy done —”

    I have to wonder how many university professors are undertasked. Where do they find the time? The average working Jane and Joe, if Joe even has a job, spends all day working, commuting, and responding to emails and texts from the boss. Meanwhile, they are nickled and dimed by taxes and fees and expensive energy. The final transgenerational death blow – their kids can’t attend university without incurring decades worth of debt.

  26. “We are in the pre-consensus stage of a theory”

    Oh My Gawwwd.
    Did someone actually utter this?

    No doubt Arctic Sea Ice changes the amount of heat at the Arctic Surface,
    but jet streams are determined by gradients near 45 degrees, not the poles, and they don’t form at the surface.

    And consider this. If there weren’t variations in wave patterns, some places would receive constant rain while others would receive no rain.

    Some of us live in the desert expanses marked by persistent ridges and subsidence. But we do get some precipitation during the abnormal waves that orient ‘just right’ to give us convergence. We need weird waves!

  27. Whoever wrote the resilience/agrobiodiversity paper knows little or nothing about farming and agricultural productivity. Complete blather. It is true that you want locally adapted cultivars. CYMMIT has been working for decades on faster maturing drought resistant maise for Africa’s MAM rain season. Salt tolerant rice is important in the Sundarbas even if the yield is less. Nowhere is monoculture germplasm practiced; there are thousands of cultivars of the semidwarf rust resistent wheat Norman Borlaug developed. For example, there are 31 just in unsophisticated Afghanistan according to FAO. But the notion that extended versions of organic gardening increase climate resilience is disconnected from farming reality. In short, the bigger the tractor, the more productive the farm.

  28. This solar powered floating farm can produce 20 tons of vegetables every day

    Inspired by Chinese floating fish farms, these rectangular units measure 200×350 meters and can connect with other modules via walkways. The usage of waterways is a great compliment to the farming industry because it makes farming available in so many more locations. It reduces the need to import food by localizing growth and incorporates rivers and lakes as viable “farmland.”

    Do you suppose they’ll catch on. Fancy, High-tech, and so on.

    • Then, probably not in Burma:

      From a fascinating thesis: The gardener and the fisherman in globalization: The Inle Lake (Myanmar), a region under transition.

      The floating agriculture on Inle Lake[18], locally called ye-chan[19] (Ma Thi Dar Win, 1996), is an exceptional cultivation method, which is made possible by water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) proliferation. Probably introduced as an ornament in the first years of 20th century by British colonizers (Mollard and Walter, 2008), this invasive plant could seriously obstruct human traffic on the lake (Bruneau and Bernot, 1972). Winds and currents have it drift and accumulate in a few parts of the lake, especially in North and South-West swampy areas. Then, floating roots intermingle, forming a dense and coherent mass (figure 11), locally called kwyan myo[20] (Robinne, 2000), on which a soil can build up, while underwater roots trap silt. Approximately thirty years are needed to reach sufficient thickness and compactness to carry a standing man on the floating mass: it is then ready for farming, after a specific cultivation cycle (figure 12).

      Considering that kwyan myo are a common resource that belongs to the whole community (Bruneau and Bernot, 1972), the farmers who are willing to own a portion of it just have to delimit the area with bamboo poles for a few days. Then, they burn the abundant vegetation that covers those islands (in particular herbaceous plants such as Saccharum spontaeum, i.e Elephant grass, locally called kaing) and saw them in 1,5-meter wide stripes, with variable lengths: while Bruneau and Bernot (1972) report 10 to 15 meter-long islands, we could notice 40 to 100 meter-long ones. Then, the stripes are towed to the farmers’ villages and spaced by 2 meter-wide circulation channels. They are staked to the lakebed by bamboo poles[21] on which they can freely slide up and down with the water-level fluctuation (figure 15). Then, the floating islands are covered with mud scooped out from the lakebed, a layer of lake-weeds (figure 14) and one more silt layer (Ma Thi Dar Win, 1996). Raw material quantities are massive : according to Bruneau and Bernot (1972), a 10 meter-long, 1,5 meter-wide floating island requires no less than 8 mud boatloads and 8 lake-weeds boatloads on the first cultivation year, and 3 to 4 boatloads annually afterwards. This meticulous and labor-intensive preparation guarantees an optimal fertility to grow a demanding crop: tomatoes.


      It is interesting to follow a group of tourists on the lake, and to listen to their guides describing ye-chan as an ancestral agricultural practice, which has remained unchanged throughout time. Indeed, the cutting, the enriching by the means of mud and lake-weeds is carefully explained… but nothing is said about the current massive use of phytosanitary products. Such an omission allows to prolong the illusion of a place “where time stopped”, “out of the modern world”, which is the main touristic asset of the area. However, if one carefully focuses on ye-chan, one discovers a widely globalized sector.


      The use of chemical fertilizers is nothing new: a rich farmer from Nga Hpe Kyaung[33] told us that his family has used them for more than sixty years. Out of the 8 farmers who gave their opinions on this topic, three started using them 35 years ago, three others 15 to 20 years ago, and only one started four years ago (Ko Aung Thein, oral information). However, most farmers do not use chemical fertilizers only, because tomatoes would deteriorate too quickly: out of the 10 farmers interviewed on this topic, 6 combine chemical and “natural[34]” products in variable proportions: the well-off farmer from Nga Hpe Kyaung uses 10 bags of chemical fertilizer for 30 bags of natural one, while a Maing Thauk farmer resorts to 15 bags of chemical product for 5 natural, i.e. opposite proportions.

      Chemical products allow dramatic quantitative benefits. Four years ago, Ko Aung Thein switched from a low-input farming method to an intensive one. As a result, he was able to pick tomatoes 10 times in a row on each tomato plant, instead of three times[35] (Ko Aung Thein, oral information). As for U Soe Win, he can pick up 5600 kg of tomatoes36 each season with the help of chemical products. If he only used natural ones, he would estimate his crop at 4000 kg (U Soe Win, oral information).

      It goes on (138pp total), it’s linked above for anybody who, like me, finds the whole thing worth reading.

      One very interesting point I’ll make, though, is that this for of agriculture has the potential to spread almost as fast as the water hyacinth it’s based on: over the time since said water hyacinth was introduced to Myanmar, the practice has spread to the limits of what politics will allow in Inle Lake, and there are even some floating farms on Sankar Lake below.

    • The picture at the top was supposed to be this:

      • So, a solid roof covered in solar panels. Now I admit it’s been a few years since my time on the farm, but I seem to remember the crops being a might partial to rain and sunlight. Far be it for me to question these new fangled ways but to my way of thinking once you put a roof over your field you might as well be farming indoors, or even underground.

      • Actually, the solar panels cover about 50% of the space. AFAIK most crops are happy enough with some percentage of full sunlight. My guess is that they’ve “tuned” the coverage to match what crops expect, but I could be wrong.

    • It’s going to be loads of fun until the next typhoon.

  29. Judith Curry

    Bedford, New Hampshire (CNN) – Jeb Bush hit back against President Obama’s claim that climate change runs an immediate risk, saying Wednesday that while it shouldn’t be ignored, it’s still not “the highest priority.”

    JC reflection

    Returning to Jeb Bush’s statement, it clearly recognized that both natural and human causes contributed to climate change, these causes are convoluted with one another, and there is no agreement as to what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. While the IPCC says more than half is human caused (not very precise), but its not clear what this even means [link] in terms of Bush’s question as to what percentage is man-made versus natural.

    Common sense says, that, according to the hiatus during the about 18 last years, the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere has no distinguishable influence on global temperature.

    As, according to pragmatic logic, the anthropogenic share of the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere has been only 4 % at the most, and as even the recent total increase of CO2 in atmosphere has not caused any distiguishable global warming, there can not exist any potential, significantly missing, anthropogenic heat from the hiatus period mentioned above; look for instance at my comment https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 .

    • Brian G Valentine

      think Jeb is doing what his brother W did – sit on the fence and hope people from both sides might like you better. What usually happens is the opposite.

      Editorial comment: Jeb is right on course to nowhere at all.

    • Ferdinand Engelbeen | May 20, 2015 at 6:32 am |

      CO2 levels do lead temperature already since at least 1900, as the increase in CO2 is (far) beyond what Henry’s law shows for the temperature increase.

      What is you reply to this statement Dr. Curry or Lauri Heimonen?

      I tend to be with your take of things Lauri, but I can’t reconcile the statement from Ferdinand. Can you, thanks?

      • Judith Curry,

        I appreciate the question expressed by Salvatore del Prete:

        ”Ferdinand Engelbeen May 20, 2015 at 6:32 am:

        ‘CO2 levels do lead temperature already since at least 1900, as the increase in CO2 is (far) beyond what Henry’s law shows for the temperature increase.’

        What is you reply to this statement Dr. Curry or Lauri Heimonen?

        I tend to be with your take of things Lauri, but I can’t reconcile the statement from Ferdinand. Can you, thanks?”

        Henry’s law is a tool that one must learn to use in a way that is proper for a certain problem. I have found that there are some physicists who wrongly apply Henry’s law to the combination of oceans and atmosphere like sea water in bottle where partial pressure of CO2 between liquid phase and gas phase are in static balance.

        As I have stated, in reality the CO2 content in atmosphere is striving for a level that makes a dynamic balance be possible between all CO2 sources and all CO2 sinks. What is a certain share of manmade CO2 emissions in atmospheric change of CO2 content, is determined by the manmade share in total CO2 emissions. As I have stated in my comment https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 , the manmade share in the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere and in the total CO2 content in atmosphere is only about 4 % at the most.

        There is available no empiric evidence, according to which CO2 levels could do lead any trend of global temperature. Vice versa trends of CO2 content in atmosphere follow changes of temperature, as I have stated in my comment above.

  30. correction to above post- What is your reply

  31. Nature: Decadal modulation of global surface temperature by internal climate variability [link]

    More Chinese authors. Another hint at possible cultural differences.

    Does this contradict the Mannian redefinition of the multidecadal oscillations? Like other refinements of the models, it requires testing against out-of-sample data.

    • This looks like they manufactured a Pacific AMO. Not going to work.

      • ‘This study uses proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GL025052/abstract

        Multi-decadal variability in the Pacific is defined as the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (e.g. Folland et al,2002, Meinke et al, 2005, Parker et al, 2007, Power et al, 1999) – a proliferation of oscillations it seems.

  32. “There is the question of the sensitivity of climate to CO2, and there is the question of society’s sensitivity to climate.” – Ben Pile

    Man adds CO2 >> Climate becomes unstable
    Climate is unstable >> Society is unstable and great harm follows
    Society is harmed >> Weakened mankind adds more CO2

    I suggest weakened mankind adds more CO2 as they are in survival mode. If one views climate and society as unstable, then both aspects dangerously feedback with a repeating cycle I have tried to describe. Societies stability and resilience may be the greater concern and the better approach to breaking a dangerous feedback cycle.

    • Ragnaar, in reading Ben Pile’s article I also liked the societies sensitivity to climate point. It really is an important metric which could depends upon our ingenuity as much as our emotional stability. The other new interesting point made is the Lewandowski and Oreskes charge of scientists being cowed by the growing lukewarmer and skeptic noise which, of course, invites the logic that scientist are susceptible to klimatariat pressures. And, that they would be blind to this speaks large about them.

      If man is indeed part of the biosphere then man’s increased CO2 output due to the instability over fretting about CO2 output could be calculated in the next paper as a dangerous new positive feedback.

    • It seems to have little effect. CO2 seems to have negligible effect on adverse weather and possible slight benefit (rain seems to generally increase, little change in high temps and higher low temps).

      The very nature of the greenhouse effect suggests that well mixed GHGs are stabilizing.

      A more fitting narrative may be that the little ice age drove industrialization and the resulting improvement in food productivity and slight more stable weather has moderated our fuel consumption somewhat.

  33. Brian G Valentine

    I don’t know about that, but there is a certain hypersensitivity to labeling junk science “junk science.”

    I have witnessed it produce a rather violent allergic reaction

  34. Mike Flynn

    The truth that must not be mentioned.

  35. Rivers (help) regulate atmospheric CO2, new paper in Nature. Only .02% of global annual flux, but check out this quote:

    “The atmosphere is a small reservoir of carbon compared to rocks, soils, the biosphere, and the ocean,” the scientists wrote. “As such, its size is sensitive to ***small imbalances*** in the exchange with and between these larger reservoirs.”

    From the actual abstract: “Over shorter timescales, variations in the rate of exchange between carbon reservoirs, such as soils and marine sediments, also modulate atmospheric carbon dioxide levels1. The respective fluxes of biospheric and petrogenic organic carbon are poorly constrained, however, and mechanisms controlling POC export have remained elusive, limiting our ability to predict POC fluxes quantitatively as a result of climatic or tectonic changes.”

  36. Biotic Interactions Mediate Soil Microbial Feedbacks to Climate Change. Claims microbial respiration amounts to 7.5-9x the human annual CO2.
    “Decomposition of organic material by soil microbes generates an annual global release of 50–75 Pg carbon to the atmosphere, ∼7.5–9 times that of anthropogenic emissions worldwide. This process is sensitive to global change factors, which can drive carbon cycle–climate feedbacks with the potential to enhance atmospheric warming. Although the effects of interacting global change factors on soil microbial activity have been a widespread ecological focus, the regulatory effects of interspecific interactions are rarely considered in climate feedback studies. We explore the potential of soil animals to mediate microbial responses to warming and nitrogen enrichment within a long-term, field-based global change study. The combination of global change factors alleviated the bottom-up limitations on fungal growth, stimulating enzyme production and decomposition rates in the absence of soil animals. However, increased fungal biomass also stimulated consumption rates by soil invertebrates, restoring microbial process rates to levels observed under ambient conditions. Our results support the contemporary theory that top-down control in soil food webs is apparent only in the absence of bottom-up limitation. As such, when global change factors alleviate the bottom-up limitations on microbial activity, top-down control becomes an increasingly important regulatory force with the capacity to dampen the strength of positive carbon cycle–climate feedbacks.”

    • +

      Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/essential-bacteria-isnt-coding

      A genus of bacteria that plays a crucial role in the functioning of the marine ecosystem has a genome loaded up with DNA that doesn’t make proteins. While this is a common feature of animals and plants, it has not been seen before among bacteria. The scientists who discovered this anomaly have no explanation yet, but expect that finding one may tell us a lot about an exceptionally important, but neglected, microbe.

      Trichodesmium brings life to vast stretches of the open ocean that would otherwise be barren. It has the capacity to “fix” nitrogen, converting the N2 molecules in the atmosphere to ammonium, which can then be used by other life forms. The six species of Trichodesmium are the prime fixers of nitrogen in warm but nutrient depleted waters across tropical and subtropical regions.

      The huge Trichodesmium blooms that sometimes occur, and are visible from space, have earned the bacterium the nickname “sea sawdust.” Darwin attributed the name the Red Sea to the presence of large Trichodesmium erythraeum blooms, although this etymology is disputed…

      For an animal, 63.8% would be an impressively high percentage. Only 1-2% of the human genome is coding DNA, while the puffer fish is unusually high by animal standards at 10-15%.

      By bacterial standards, however, 64% is extraordinarily low. In general, 85% is a more typical figure, and the proportion is higher among oligotrophs—species that survive where nutrient levels are low. This leaves a lot of room for non-coding DNA, which oligotrophs normally find takes too much energy to produce. But for the members of the Trichodesmium genus, the non-coding components are packed together into large sections that are highly conserved…

      Webb and Walworth speculate that the huge blooms that characterize Trichodesmium make the species more likely to experience genetic drift, which leaves a trace in additional non-coding DNA. They think this is only part of the explanation, however, with Webb saying, “Since there are many other bloom-forming cyanobacteria that do not have expanded non-coding space, blooming ecology is likely not the whole story. Right now we speculate that interactions with other undefined organisms might also be important.”

      • I suspect it contains “encrypted” material essential to the nitrogen fixing function, perhaps allowing it to co-exist with high oxygen levels.

        The “encrypted” material, along with the ribozymes that “decrypt” it, would constitute a module that would have to be acquired in its entirety (through lateral transfer) by potentially competing strains in order for them to use the functionality.

        Very interesting. I’m going to look into it further.


      • Trichodesmium – a widespread marine cyanobacterium with unusual nitrogen fixation properties by Birgitta Bergman, Gustaf Sandh, Senjie Lin, John Larsson, & Edward J. Carpenter FEMS Microbiol Rev 37 (2013) 286–302 Open Access

        The last several decades have witnessed dramatic advances in unfolding the diversity and commonality of oceanic diazotrophs and their N2-fixing potential. More recently, substantial progress in diazotrophic cell biology has provided a wealth of information on processes and mechanisms involved. The substantial contribution by the diazotrophic cyanobacterial genus Trichodesmium to the nitrogen influx of the global marine ecosystem is by now undisputable and of paramount ecological importance, while the underlying cellular and molecular regulatory physiology has only recently started to unfold. Here, we explore and summarize current knowledge, related to the optimization of its diazotrophic capacity, from genomics to ecophysiological processes, via, for example, cellular differentiation (diazocytes) and temporal regulations, and suggest cellular research avenues that now ought to be explored.

      • Regulatory RNAs in photosynthetic cyanobacteria by Matthias Kopf and Wolfgang R. Hess FEMS Microbiology Reviews Advance Access published April 30, 2015 Open Access

        Regulatory RNAs play versatile roles in bacteria in the coordination of gene expression during various physiological processes, especially during stress adaptation. Photosynthetic bacteria use sunlight as their major energy source. Therefore, they are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of excess light or UV irradiation. In addition, like all bacteria, photosynthetic bacteria must adapt to limiting nutrient concentrations and abiotic and biotic stress factors. Transcriptome analyses have identified hundreds of potential regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) in model cyanobacteria such as Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 or Anabaena sp. PCC 7120, and in environmentally relevant genera such as Trichodesmium, Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus. Some sRNAs have been shown to actually contain μORFs and encode short proteins. Examples include the 40-amino-acid product of the sml0013 gene, which encodes the NdhP subunit of the NDH1 complex. In contrast, the functional characterization of the non-coding sRNA PsrR1 revealed that the 131 nt long sRNA controls photosynthetic functions by targeting multiple mRNAs, providing a paradigm for sRNA functions in photosynthetic bacteria. We suggest that actuatons comprise a new class of genetic elements in which an sRNA gene is inserted upstream of a coding region to modify or enable transcription of that region.

      • Well, since I started looking into it here, I’ll summarize my impressions here in case anybody’s interested (without refs, but see links above). BTW, if you ran into a paywall trying to access the original PNAS article via the link in the IFLScience story, you might try going to the open access Kopf and Wolfgang page here then following its link in the references.

        Trichodesmium is a cyanobacterial genus whose “cells can grow either as trichomes (i.e., filaments) or aggregates and form three types of classically described colonies, including radial puffs, vertically aligned fusiform tufts, and bowties”. It’s a strong nitrogen fixer, using a process intermediate between the heterocyst-forming genera sych as Nostoc, and single-celled types such as Cyanothece which typically restrict their nitrogen fixation to night. All show signs of being derived from a common ancestor, although given wide scope for lateral gene transfer (LGT), some care should be used.

        Trichodesmium forms filaments, with some areas optionally performing N2 fixation, during the day as with heterocysts, but the cells are not obligatorily dedicated to this function, still being able to reproduce, and to switch off and on in response to changing times and nitrogen regimes. Their colonies can also move vertically, as much as 100 meters, allowing harvesting of phosphorus at depth then nitrogen/carbon at the sunlit surface.

        My guess is that the expanded genome is primarily there in support of a much more complex regulatory and communicative structure than the other forms of nitrogen fixers. The ancestral form may have had a somewhat complex flexible behavioral structure, supported by a suite of regulatory genes and sRNA coding sections. Two large branches became streamlined in different ways: one with somatic heterocysts, one for night-only single-celled life. Trichodesmium and Lyngbya appear to have specialized in flexibility, expanding their repertoire and control structure, while Arthrospira appears to have given up its nitrogen fixing capacity and adapted to alkaline environments. (Arthrospira may be a candidate for use in creating hydrogen from sunlight: Optimization of Metabolic Capacity and Flux through Environmental Cues To Maximize Hydrogen Production by the Cyanobacterium “Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima” by Gennady Ananyev, Damian Carrieri and G. Charles Dismukes Appl. Environ. Microbiol. October 2008 vol. 74 no. 19 6102-6113)

  37. Ya know, given the (expected) sensitivity around here to “dragon-king” events; very-low probability occurrences at the extreme tail of the PDF, as well as energy considerations, there might be some interest in a low-probability explanation for this:

    Nasty 1: Hubble Uncovers Surprising New Clues about Unique Wolf-Rayet Star

    Nasty 1 is also known as Wolf-Rayet 122 or WR 122. The star’s catalogue name, NaSt1, is derived from the first two letters of each of the two astronomers who discovered it in 1963, Jason Nassau and Charles Stephenson.

    The star lies at a distance of about 3,000 light-years and is thought to be a Wolf-Rayet star – a massive, rapidly evolving star weighing well over 10 times the mass of our Sun. It is losing its hydrogen-filled outer layers quickly, exposing its super-hot and extremely bright helium-burning core.

    But Nasty 1 doesn’t look like a typical Wolf-Rayet star. […]

    Instead, they revealed a pancake-shaped disk of gas encircling the star. The vast disk is nearly 2 trillion miles wide, and may have formed from an unseen companion star that snacked on the outer envelope of the newly formed Wolf-Rayet. [my bold]

    IOW, they don’t really know how or why this object formed. Actual article: Multiwavelength observations of NaSt1 (WR 122): equatorial mass loss and X-rays from an interacting Wolf–Rayet binary.

    NaSt1, aka WR 122, is an evolved massive star that has defied characterization. It was discovered by Nassau & Stephenson (1963), who proposed a WR classification based on the strong emission-line spectrum. It was later reclassified […] then later proposed to be […] Subsequently, more detailed multiwavelength investigation by Crowther & Smith (1999, hereafter CS99) showed that although NaSt1 is indeed a hot luminous object with […], its emission-line spectrum is mostly of nebular origin, not stellar. Moreover, ground-based narrow-band imaging through an [N ii] filter centred near wavelength λ6584 Å revealed the presence of a compact circumstellar nebula with a diameter of ≈7 arcsec, […]

    […] CS99 pointed out that the only other massive star known to be enshrouded in a nebula having a comparable level of nitrogen enrichment is the LBV+OB binary η Car and its Homunculus nebula ([ref’s]). However, CS99 note that the chemical abundance ratios in the NaSt1 nebula are characteristic of a WR, and probably inconsistent with a red supergiant or H-rich LBV. Moreover, the derived ionization potential requires that the central ionizing source be T ≫ 30 kK, which suggests a spectral subtype earlier than WN6–7. The absence of the characteristic broad emission lines from a WR wind, however, implies that the stellar system is deeply embedded in an opaque nebula. High-resolution spectroscopy by CS99 revealed that the nebular lines have a double-peaked morphology, which suggests complex geometry for the outflow. [my bold]

    In summary, the object is totally unique, with a few similarities to other known objects, but also clear differences. All the “explanations” offered for it are completely speculative, suitable only because nothing better is on the table. Here’s my thought:

    This object could well be a major power station, created by a life-form with human style intelligence and engineering ability. It’s encircled by a disk roughly 10 times the size of the Earth’s orbit, which is radiating a huge amount of energy into space. Although that disk is hot enough to be fully ionized, allowing all sorts of chaotic or engineered magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) turbulent structures, its temperature is very low compared to that of the stellar core, potentially allowing energy to be shipped from the core to the radiating disk with almost all of it extracted in useful form. (If the absolute temperature of the source is 10 times that of the radiating disk, the Carnot efficiency would be ~90%.)

    It’s certainly plausible that our current technology, at the rate it’s going, might be able to create such a stellar-sized power station (using, for instance, the double star Alpha Centauri) through MHD engineering, within a century or two. I’m not sure what “we” would use all that energy for, but I’m sure something would come up. Perhaps an interstellar civilization with a population in the 1,000,000,000,000,000’s.

    Given that, I don’t see how we can rule out deliberate engineering by a life-form with human-style intelligence as an explanation for something like NaSt1/WR 122.

  38. Mosher: “Unicorns are different from luck.”

    So this is where modern Climate Science is. Telling us that unicorns are different from luck. Let spend a few billion more.


  39. ‘Wavelet analysis shows a statistically significant enhancement of the century-to-millennial-scale ENSO variability for even a moderate irradiance forcing. In contrast, the 0.05% case displays no such enhancement. Orbitally driven insolation forcing is found to produce a long-term increase of ENSO variability from the early Holocene onward, in accordance with previous findings. When both forcings are combined, the superposition is approximately linear in the strong scaling case.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006PA001304/abstract

    The origin of ENSO is in the tropical upwelling zone in the eastern Pacific. Increasing off shore winds and increased flow in the Peruvian Current dilute the warm surface layer and upwelling increases. Increased upwelling sets up patterns of winds and currents that propagate across the Pacific in a La Nina pattern. It sets up higher water levels in the western Pacific. When the easterly winds falter – the water flows eastward in an El Nino. .


    The source of the changes in south-eastern Pacific winds and currents is primarily the Southern Annular Mode (SAM).

    The positive mode shown below – at the most positive in 600 years in the 20th century – involves lower sea level pressure over the polar region and consequently storm tracks that stay further south. The most obvious cause of this is atmospheric and stratospheric ozone warming in high solar activity. High solar activity produces conditions for more frequent El Nino – and low La Nina.

    Low solar activity over most of the last millennium explains La Nina dominance in the centuries before the El Nino peak last century.


    • Brian G Valentine

      You have no idea of the origin of the ENSO and neither do I.

      In fact they aren’t even coupled. You’ve got some post hoc, propter hoc historical observations with no physical basis to support it.

      Stop it

      • How are the CMIP5 models creating ENSO? They claim that it is an intrinsic property of the models. But at the same time they intentionally vary the start conditions to give varied realizations to create a model’s ensemble of runs. It would seem unnecessary to vary the start conditions to gain randomness if the ENSO were truly self-emergent.

      • The origins of ENSO are in upwelling in the eastern Pacific.

        It is related to wind an wave which in that part of the world are driven by SAM the climate dog.

        The paper I quoted suggests the same link of La Nina to low solar activity for hundreds of years leading up the the El Nino high point in the 20th century. They suggest that this is the solar amplification mechanism.

    • Some interesting infighting with Monckton at the end there. Both just have worthless numerology, so it is just two wrong ideas competing on which numbers to invent.

    • ‘This non-equilibrium behavior is due to a combination of nonlinear and random effects. We give here a unified treatment of such effects from the point of view of the theory of dynamical systems and of their bifurcations. Energy balance models are used to illustrate multiple equilibria, while multi-decadal oscillations in the thermohaline circulation illustrate the transition from steady states to periodic behavior. Random effects are introduced in the setting of random dynamical systems, which permit a unified treatment of both nonlinearity and stochasticity. The combined treatment of nonlinear and random effects is applied to a stochastically perturbed version of the classical Lorenz convection model.

      Climate sensitivity is then defined mathematically as the derivative of an appropriate functional or other function of the system’s state with respect to the bifurcation parameter.’ http://web.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/Ghil-A_Met_Soc_refs-rev%27d_vf-black_only.pdf

      This leads to quite a different model climate sensitivity.

      Ghil’s model shows that climate sensitivity (γ) is variable. It is the change in temperature (ΔT) divided by the change in the control variable (Δμ) – the tangent to the curve as shown above. Sensitivity increases moving down the upper curve to the left towards the bifurcation and becomes arbitrarily large at the instability. The problem in a chaotic climate then becomes not one of quantifying climate sensitivity in a . smoothly evolving climate but of predicting the onset of abrupt climate shifts and their implications for climate and society.

      The other problem with low sensitivity is that it leads nowhere useful. It is not an argument that can be decisive – and the assumption that winning the climate battle will win the culture war is clearly wrong. More important it would seem is to affirm the centrality of economic growth and making progress on social needs and environmental conservation.

      • You are making the ENSO /SOLAR relationship much to simple and their are many other theories.

      • Ghil doesn’t make a solar/ENSO connection. There is another study I quoted that did. The connection is fairly obvious. The pattern of wind and currents in the upwelling zones in the eastern Pacific.


        These are influenced by the see-sawing movement of atmospheric mass in the polar regions driven by solar variability – including UV.

      • Chief Hydrologist | May 24, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Reply

        The other problem with low sensitivity is that it leads nowhere useful. It is not an argument that can be decisive – and the assumption that winning the climate battle will win the culture war is clearly wrong. More important it would seem is to affirm the centrality of economic growth and making progress on social needs and environmental conservation.


        2/3rds of surface heat is dissipated through non-radiative means.

        So 1 W of down dwelling is going to be dissipated when the surface temperature increases enough to dissipate 2/3 W non-radiatively and 1/3 W through radiation.

        This would argue for less than the 5.35 ln (C/C0) IPCC formulation.

        The 2 W/22 PPM is about 2/3rd of the 5.35 ln (C/C0) IPCC formulation for direct CO2 effect.

        The effect of CO2 can be viewed from a queuing standpoint in that the mean distance between collisions (60km/mean number of hops to exit the atmosphere) is reduced which means more energy is stored in the atmosphere at any one time.

        So CO2 will have a measurable effect but not as large as the IPCC base formulation and certainly not as high as their 2x TCR or 3x ECS.

        It doesn’t matter if low sensitivety leads nowhere useful. It is what it is.

        It isn’t zero (0). It isn’t 2+°C. It is somewhere in the middle. If the result is unsatisfactory or doesn’t resolve the debate so what?

        Deal with it.

  40. “During the 1930’s depression era, global anthropogenic SO2 levels decreased, largely due to reduced industrial activity Between 1930 and 1938, for example, they fell by approx. 29 Megatonnes…”
    “The phenomenon of global brightening, as detected by satellites, also mirrors the reduction in SO2 levels in the atmosphere, as would be expected.”
    There was the climate / stock market post here which I can’t find. In the above depression era, CO2 emissions might have dropped. In 1942 we likely out produced Germany and Japan helping the Allies to win the war. Seems a plausible connection.

    • I’ve read that fossil fuel combustion went down during WW2. Japan essentially ran out. Their airplanes were powered by pine nuts.The blitzkrieg capabilities aside, the German army was heavily reliant on mule power, and they had oil supply problems throughout the war. What went up was the combustion of explosives and cities, but that is not an offset.

      • I replied to you by mistake below. People talk about risks. We might say we won WWII because of oil and some coal. Energy equals security. In the future it would be nice to know the U.S. and its allies can still out produce any adversary.

      • Jch

        Co2 emissions continued rising throughout the war, reaching a temporary peak in 1944 before falling back in 1945 ,presumably due to the war ending.


        Germany was supplied by Russia with oil when they were ‘allies’ in the first couple of years of the war. No less a person than callendar ironically use vast quantities of oil when he realised that burning it adjacent to runways in England lifted the fog that was hampering allied air forces


  41. Chief Hydrologist, look at my post at 2:30 pm

  42. Seems to be something with energy growth rates and temperature. WWII was a time of production and supply lines. Once we wound ours up the results were predictable.

  43. This is kind of interesting. Increase in extreme rainfall events in the US with an animation to show its growth over the century. It is very distinctive, and I don’t know why we haven’t seen this kind of study before.

    • Jim D,

      “Climate scientists predict that the recent trends toward more heavy downpours will continue throughout this century,” it concludes. “Climate models predict that if carbon emissions continue to increase as they have in recent decades, the types of downpours that used to happen once every 20 years could occur every 4 to 15 years by 2100.”

      Does this mean that California is suffering drought because of reduced carbon emissions? Logically, they need to emit more carbon, surely!

      Burn more coal! Use more diesels with defective injectors! Breathe more frequently! Thanks, Jim D. California’s drought problem solved.

      • California and some western states have not seen an increase in heavy precip events since 1950. Houston has had an increase of 167% if you go to their linked page, making it one of the largest increases in frequency.

    • This is kind of interesting.

      The sort of thing a surgeon says when he discovers your intestine has grown into fusion with one of your ribs.

      Notice that the Huffpo story references:

      a new analysis finds that heavy downpours have increased dramatically since 1950. And scientists project that precipitation patterns will become increasingly erratic as the climate changes.

      But following that link (passed through in the above blockquote), you find: not peer-reviewed research, but:

      Climate Central’s new analysis of 65 years of rainfall records at thousands of stations nationwide found that 40 of the lower 48 states have seen an overall increase in heavy downpours since 1950. The biggest increases are in the Northeast and Midwest, which in the past decade, have seen 31 and 16 percent more heavy downpours compared to the 1950s. [my bold]

      IOW, not some “peer-reviewed” study, not even “pal-reviewed”. Just “Climate Central’s new analysis”; propaganda from a biased web-site.

      • It’s just statistics with existing station rainfall data. Why shouldn’t they present it? Skeptics could even repeat it for themselves. It would barely qualify as a Masters thesis as an exercise, however, because it is a fairly routine analysis. Might be tough to publish something you could do in a day.

      • Perhaps. But it goes in the same class as “studies” from WUWT. Before I would believe it, I’d have to replicate it. Come to think of it, there are many “peer-reviewed studies” I’d say the same thing about. On both sides of the “consensus” divide. And, since I’m not prepared to do that replication, I remain highly skeptical.

    • Given there is a problem, we need better water retention and less run off.

      • Someone said climate change can’t be linked to trends in extreme events.

      • Maybe here. Lamar Smith of the House Science Committee who also don’t want to fund more climate research.

      • Jim D:
        Whether it can or not, water quality approaches can help. Another example, How do we get heavy downpour water into the aquifers? Holding it in a pond may help with that. It seems that average precipitation is flat. So they’ve found a pattern change. Higher amplitude with lower frequency. Warming caused regime change? Maybe.

      • It is as predicted, and we have only had a fraction of the eventual possible climate change.

      • maksimovich1

        Someone said climate change can’t be linked to trends in extreme events

        Extreme events are rare by definition,ie there is no law of small numbers.Hence the requirement for the longue durée ( long memory) and the underestimation of chance that is often reported (Feller 1951) and (hurst 1951) suggests

        Although in random events groups of high or low values do occur, their tendency to occur in natural events is greater. … There is no obvious periodicity, but there are long stretches when the floods are generally high, and others when they are generally low. These stretches occur without any regularity either in their time of occurrence or duration

      • Speaking of runoff, I don’t believe anybody has seriously questioned the existence of anthropogenic changes to soil retention/runoff characteristics. I guess match-ups like that would be enough to make the study “interesting”. Are we talking actual precipitation-by-time profiles? Or flooding, which depends on soil retention as well?

        Oh, and what about the effects of anthropogenic elimination of natural micro-drainage? Or, for that matter, how differences in soil retention and transpiration affect local convection intensities?

    • I lived in the hospital district in Houston, which is not far at all from the MacGregor Way bridge in that photograph. After Tropical Storm Allison, which did a huge amount of damage to the hospital district, they built some huge drainage tunnels. It probably helped in the hospital district itself, but Houston is mostly flat, and there simply is no place for the water to go.

      The really old homes in Houston are elevated. We were house hunting when Allison hit, and I decided first to never own a home in Houston, but if I did, it was going to one of the older elevated ones.