Reassessing the RCPs

by Kevin Murphy

A response to: “Is RCP8.5 an impossible scenario?”. This post demonstrates that RCP8.5 is so highly improbable that it should be dismissed from consideration, and thereby draws into question the validity of RCP8.5-based assertions such as those made in the Fourth National Climate Assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Analyses of future climate change since the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (AR5) have been based on representative concentration pathways (RCPs) that detail how a range of future climate forcings might evolve.

Several years ago, a set of RCPs were requested by the climate modeling research community to span the range of net forcing from 2.6 W/m2 to 8.5 W/m2 (in year 2100 relative to 1750) so that physics within the models could be fully exercised. Four of them were developed and designated as RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5. They have been used in ongoing research and as the basis for impact analyses and future climate projections.

AR5 does not provide probability assignments for any of the RCPs, and yet many impact assessments utilize RCP8.5 to declare consequences of inaction. For example, while RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 are utilized for the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), the majority of its assertions are based in RCP8.5. The NCA4 states, “RCP8.5 implies a future with continued high emissions growth, whereas the other RCPs represent different pathways of mitigating emissions.” (Executive Summary, p.7). The reader is left with the impression that, although “high” is not defined, it is the present state of things and RCP8.5 delineates how it will grow higher. Further, the statement portrays the other RCPs as mitigation scenarios that are not being acted upon. Therefore, RCP8.5 has been portrayed as the “business as usual” scenario, and impact assessments continue to spread this falsehood.

This article employs some quantitative analysis and the original RCP documentation to demonstrate how the use of RCP8.5 is misleadingly wrong and a lower, narrower range of future CO2 atmospheric concentrations can be identified.

A Long-Range Forecast Based in the Evidence

The “C” in RCP is for concentration (and not emissions), to emphasize that greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations are the primary product of the RCPs and inputs to climate models. The Earth’s radiative balance responds to the net result of GHG sources, sinks, and sub-processes as expressed in atmospheric concentration levels. CO2 is by far the dominant GHG contributor and therefore the subject of this analysis.

Long, rigorous ongoing CO2 measurement data sets are available from the South Pole since 1957 and from Mauna Loa since 1958. The values are reported with very small measurement uncertainties, and they reveal a consistent positive trend over the past 60 years with a slightly concave-upward shape. While their annual CO2 values were similar in the late-1950s (at 315 ppm), Mauna Loa data have been increasing slightly more than South Pole data and both now exceed 400 ppm (Fig. 2). Other measurement stations subsequently added to global CO2 monitoring comprise a marine surface data set with values between the South Pole and Mauna Loa series. South Pole and Mauna Loa data are employed for this analysis since they are the longest time series and they bracket other data.

Figure 2. History and forecasts of CO2 concentration. RCP8.5 is defined by 936 ppm in 2100.

Increasing CO2 is a long-term substitution process as it transitions to a larger fractional share of atmospheric concentration. If well underway, such a process can be studied utilizing a logistic function as described by J.C. Fisher & R.H. Pry in their landmark forecasting paper, A Simple Substitution Model of Technological Change. The methodology provides a top-down appraisal of an ongoing transition assuming continuity in evolution of its contributing elements into the future. The method has been successfully employed in thousands of long-range forecasting applications across many fields of study. Its form is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Fisher-Pry formulation of a logistic substitution model.

If sufficient historical data is available, the differential equation in Figure 1 can be readily solved through minimization of a rigorously constructed Chi-Square function. A solution reveals the ceiling value, process mid-point and rate constant; and it thereby has predictive power. The early portion of the S-curve is approximately exponential, followed by a transition towards the inflection point at which growth rate peaks, thereafter declining as the cumulative curve approaches its long-term ceiling.

For the case of CO2, the cumulative S-curve rests upon the pre-industrial starting level of 270-280 ppm. The rate of change in CO2 concentration is presently still increasing (Fig. 3), so the inflection point has not been reached; and second-difference calculations show no acceleration, indicating we are beyond the early exponential phase. The current substitution level should therefore lie between 15% and 50%, and this is found to be the case for the solutions shown in Figures 2 & 3.

Figure 3. Rate of change in CO2 concentration. RCP8.5 abruptly deviates from the historical trend.

The logistic CO2 forecasts project South Pole reaching 587 ppm and Mauna Loa reaching 654 ppm in the year 2100 (Fig. 2). The 90% confidence limits are calculated from variance of observations relative to the logistic fit and as a function of substitution level reached (Mauna Loa 24%, South Pole 33%). The result is well-constrained limits, and the slight divergence between data series continues into the future. RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 are similar to the South Pole forecast until mid-century, when RCP4.5 plateaus under mitigation assumptions and RCP6.0 increases towards the Mauna Loa forecast. RCP6.0 eventually reaches a ceiling below the Mauna Loa logistic ceiling. Results are detailed in Table 1 along with the values defining the RCPs.

Table 1. Atmospheric CO2 concentration projections.

Figure 3 displays the rate of change in CO2 concentration for the historical record, the logistic forecasts, and what is required to attain the defined RCP concentrations. The 60 year histories have a consistent upward trend, although with year-to-year variability. The highest transients above the trend are attributable to strong El Niño years (most recently 1998, 2016), which impair global vegetative response forming the seasonal CO2 cycle so that the annual value is temporarily elevated. The logistic rates-of-change are projected to attain their maximums (50% substitution) around 2037-2051 for South Pole and 2060-2080 for Mauna Loa. RCP4.5 and RCP6.0 rates bracket the South Pole forecast until mid-century, with transitions thereafter.

But what is glaringly apparent is the excessive rate-of-change required to attain RCP8.5’s 936 ppm in the year 2100. The rate would have to immediately depart from the historical pattern towards more than double any other forecast or RCP. In fact, since the RCPs were developed several years ago, it should have already transitioned to a very high trend to support an RCP8.5 expectation. This has clearly not occurred, and ongoing measurements show it is not happening. Other mathematical formulations were attempted for 936 ppm, but no logically consistent one was found. Even if it were assumed we remain in the early exponential phase of a substitution process the numbers do not support such a high expectation. RCP8.5 is a mathematically flawed projection for the future and clearly not the “business as usual” case. Rather, something similar to RCP6.0 should be assigned that designation, although with some modifications as to how it will evolve.

Revisiting the Origins of RCP8.5

The RCPs were presented in detail in a set of papers published in Climatic Change in 2011, and are worth reviewing. Recall that there was a desire to perform climate modeling over a wide range of forcing values – to fully exercise them from 2.6 W/m2 to 8.5 W/m2. This is understandable from an exploratory research standpoint, but says nothing about the likelihood of specific future outcomes. But, the papers do shed some light upon that.

RCP8.5 is described by the van Vuuren et al.  The representative concentration pathways: an overview  as a very high emissions scenario required to attain the desired forcing level. “RCP8.5 is a highly energy-intensive scenario as a result of high population growth and a lower rate of technology development.” Figures published in the paper identify where each RCP’s assumptions lie within the literature available at the time they were developed. Those taken for RCP8.5 lie at limits of 90th or 98th percentile bands (1% to 5% probability). The population projection is at the high limit of United Nations scenarios. Its primary energy consumption projection lies at the 99th percentile through most of this century. Energy intensity of the economy (energy/GDP) aligns with the 99th percentile from the literature. Improvement in RCP8.5’s carbon factor (CO2/energy) is minimal and at the 95th percentile, reflecting heavy reliance on fossil fuels. Coal comprises nearly 50% of RCP8.5’s energy mix, something which has not been seen since early in the last century. RCP8.5 has consequently been called a “return to coal” scenario (Why do climate change scenarios return to coal?, ). This is inconsistent with natural long-term sequential evolutions of energy technologies that project a declining share of the energy mix for coal.

It should come as no surprise then that a concatenation of very low probability assumptions yields a highly unlikely CO2 concentration at end-century. This result is given by van Vuuren et al. and shown in Figure 4. The RCP8.5 curve exits the literature envelope. The logistic forecasting exercise above confirms the most likely CO2 level that van Vuuren reported several years ago in the vicinity of 600 ppm in 2100 (Fig. 4). Their graph also serves as guidance for what might constitute a “worst case” CO2 scenario, which could be assessed to be in the range of 700-750 ppm.

Figure 4. Graph from van Vuuren et al. 2011 (Fig.9, p.23), the RCP CO2 concentrations. Gray areas indicate 90th and 98th percentile bands (dark/light gray) of referenced literature. RCP4.5/6.0 is centered; RCP8.5 exceeds the upper limit.

So, since it was documented years ago that RCP8.5’s CO2 concentration has a vanishingly small probability of actually occurring, then why has it been promulgated for impact assessments and to inform climate policy? And why have researchers who realize that a true “business as usual” future lies closer to RCP6.0 found that when they go to the climate model library the RCP6.0 model runs do not exist? Have they been purposefully directed to RCP8.5, or is anything less than RCP8.5 unable to force a hypothesized impact?

Conclusions

The 60-year records of rigorous CO2 concentration measurements provide valuable forecasting information that is highly amenable to logistic growth modeling. It is clear that a substitution process is well underway that can be quantified to provide constraints upon expectations of future concentrations. The consistent concave-upward CO2 trend, rising rate-of-change, and well-bounded variance about the logistic solution provide confidence in the resulting forecasts and rejection of significantly inconsistent projections such as RCP8.5.

CO2 concentrations in 2100 will likely fall in the 565-680 ppm range and well short of 936 ppm indicated by RCP8.5. In preparation for the next IPCC assessment report, RCP8.5 has been redefined at even higher CO2 concentrations [link]. Modifications to inconsistent assumptions in minor-GHGs cause CO2 in the new RCP8.5 to exceed 1000 ppm in 2100 through even more coal consumption to retain 8.5 W/m2 forcing. RCP8.5 requires a CO2 rate of change inconsistent with the observed record that will be worsened by higher concentrations.

The RCP reference literature documents how RCP8.5 was based on low probabilities and questionable assumptions. It is not “business as usual” or even a worst case scenario. Consequently, the findings of any impact assessment based in RCP8.5 should be critically reviewed, as they reflect a highly unlikely, if not impossible, outcome.

The NCA4 (Executive Summary, p.22) states “The observed increase in global carbon emissions over the past 15-20 years has been consistent with higher scenarios (e.g., RCP8.5) (very high confidence).” This statement suggests either dismissal of observational evidence or that carbon budget model calculations from emissions to concentration are unable to replicate the historical CO2 measurement record. As evident in Figure 3, the recent record does not support an RCP8.5 pathway, and the statement is false.

Unfortunately the compulsion towards exaggeration can be stronger than duty to facts, and without them it will be impossible to make progress towards preparing for the future. The RCP6.0 pathway is the scenario coming closest to the forecast presented above and therefore a more realistic expectation of the future, and mitigation actions could evolve it towards RCP4.5.

Acknowledgements. The author thanks his colleague, Theodore Modis (growth-dynamics.com), for conducting the logistic forecast calculations. For those interested, the methodology is well-documented in his book Natural Laws in the Service of the Decision Maker (2013).

Moderation note:  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments civil and relevant.

178 responses to “Reassessing the RCPs

  1. RCP 8.5 is a “Mad Max” scenario in which population shoots, technological progress stagnates and we use coal for most of our energetic needs, perhaps even going back to coal trains.

    If scientists aren’t serious they won’t be taken seriously.

    The atmosphere won’t get past 650 ppm in the 21st century and might remain significantly lower.

    • It is worse that.

      A simple plot from 2015 of cumulative emissions (carbon) vs CO2 concentration in PPM.

      The CO2 level vs Emissions was linear between 3 GT/Y and 6 GT/y (carbon).

      Since then it is diverging rapidly.

      The peak CO2 level is going to be somewhere between 460 and 500 PPM if this continues.

      The data sources are listed on the chart.

      Below 3 GT/Y (1950).ocean hearing appears to drive the CO2 level.

      Perhaps someone can explain the reason for the divergence.

  2. Very interesting. How does this compare to the exponential decline in GHG effect of CO2, recognized by Arrhenius? That effect is at 50% in the first 20 ppm, and we are in the fifth half-life of that decline. So it seems the next doubling to 800 ppm will increase the GHG effect by about 1.4%, likely to be swamped by the other 8 major influences on climate.

    • jimmww

      This is a point not made often enough. The logarithmic effect seems to have been largely ignored in recent years, although it has profound implications.

      Was it found to be wrong, inconvenient, or forgotten?

      Has Nic Lewis ever posted an article on the subject here?

      tonyb

      • ossqss

        Many thanks for that link. I appreciate Roy was being brief and trying to explain a difficult concept in simple terms, but it all opened up more questions than it answered

        ‘What really matters is the model-predicted warming curve taking into account not just the logarithmic effect, but the fact that CO2 is increasing in a (mildly) exponential manner (partly cancelling out the logarithmic effect), combined with the delayed response of the climate system due to the huge heat capacity of the oceans. The net result is a roughly linear warming trend.’

        Take a ‘mildly exponential’ add in a ‘partly cancelling out ‘ throw in a ‘delayed response’ and finally toss in a ‘roughly linear’ into the mix and you have a rather imprecise recipe that seems to back away from the scientific notion of a carefully plotted logarithmic effect.

        It would be good to see this explained at greater length. Nic Lewis must have tackled it when he was calculating sensitivity in his various papers here.

        tonyb

  3. With a -20° in store for Chicago and what once was winter becoming a bombogenesis and this year, just a polar vortex again… worrying about ppm of CO2 decades out may be nothing more than an attempt to mask the fact that the Left’s predictions of disastrous global warming have become a year after year disruptive global cooling trend that may go on for decades.

    • There is more evaporation and snowfall in warm periods. That is what causes cold periods to follow, after a few hundred warm years with more snowfall. This warm period with more snowfall and cold winters will persist for a few hundred years just like the Roman and Medieval and warm periods before that. This warm period is normal, natural and necessary to repeat climate cycles of the most recent ten thousand years. Increased sequestered ice will advance and cause the next little ice age after a few hundred warm years.

    • Earth is still warming. No cooling trend.

      • That would depends on how long your trend line is… the Greenland ice core over the last 10,000 years, for example shows periods of warmer climate for most of the time than we have today… in any event, warmer periods in the past obviously have nothing to do with modernity’s CO2.

      • http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2000

        Sorry to bust your bubble, koontzie. No net warming in seventeen years…

      • Straight-up bonkers:

      • Earth is still warming. No cooling trend.

        Correct. But not warming enough to sustain the parasitic climatology/energy-transition infrastructure.

      • JCH: just another egghead fiddling with trend lines to make it seem like there has been warming where there is none…

      • You’re wrong:

      • JCH, wrong about what? (i’m assuming your talking to me here and not javier) If we’re talking about ocean warming and glacier melt, then, yes, there is definitely warming going on. i was just referring to surface temps (and assumed that koontz was, too). i would think that the massive amount of heat going into water is the reason surface temps have stagnated and oft wonder if we haven’t (or will soon) reached what i’d call peak surface warming. In the same way that you don’t have to keep turning the flame up on the stove to keep warming a kettle, surface temps need not go higher to keep warming the oceans and melting the glaciers. (and the higher temps go at the surface the faster the oceans warm, hence perhaps we’ll see peak surface warming)

        Luv yer graphs BTW. i may not be crazy about some of your linguistics (#%@∆*$… ☺️), but your comments are as presentable as any i’ve seen. (you got moxy)…

  4. Geoff Sherrington

    Mathematical projections can be unrealistic. This is shown in the graphs you have presented, where it is seen that CO2 concentration in the air is projected to be 587 ppm at the South Pole and 654 ppm at Mauna Loa in year 2100. These 2 stations have never been more than a few ppm different, so a projected difference of 67 ppm seems to violate physics, in the sense of asking what mechanism suddenly affects the mixing of the atmosphere to allow this difference.
    Geoff

    • For Sherrington – Looking closely at the data sets, the Mauna Loa to South Pole difference was 4ppm at present. You would have to consult atmospheric scientists for reasons why. The forecasts would be remiss to not include this growing difference, and you can see its implications going forward. The point though is that a lower and narrower range can be identified showing how wrong RCP8.5 is.

      • For some reason all my text did not post correctly, so here is another try –
        Looking closely at the data sets, the Mauna Loa to South Pole difference was 4 ppm at present. You would have to consult atmospheric scientists for reasons why. The forecasts would be remiss to not include this growing difference, and you can see its implications going forward. The point though is that a lower and narrower range can be identified showing how wrong RCP8.5 is.

      • Perhaps special characters do not post, so another attempt –
        Looking closely at the data sets, the Mauna Loa to South Pole difference was less than 0.4ppm in the late 1950s and the differential has progressively increased, to over 4ppm at present. You would have to consult atmospheric scientists for reasons why. The forecasts would be remiss to not include this growing difference, and you can see its implications going forward. The point though is that a lower and narrower range can be identified showing how wrong RCP8.5 is.

  5. Kevin Murphy,

    Thank you. This is the key point for policy:

    The RCP6.0 pathway is the scenario coming closest to the forecast presented above and therefore a more realistic expectation of the future

    Can someone tell me, what would be the projected GMST in 2100 with RCP6.0 and ECS = 1.5°C (or 1.66°C per CO2 doubling (Nic Lewis’s best estimate https://judithcurry.com/2018/04/24/impact-of-recent-forcing-and-ocean-heat-uptake-data-on-estimates-of-climate-sensitivity/)?

    • My take on RCP6.0 is that if your rate of forcing is farily constant, then your temperature rise will become fairly constant as well. This seems to be confirmed by observations. Over the last forty years the forcing due to GHG’s has risen at about 0.034 W/m^2/yr. Using Tamino’s GMST data adjusted for ENSO, TSI, and volcanoes, the temperature increase over the same period looks fairly constant as well. The adjusted rate for C&W is about 0.018C/yr. I’m assuming that all other non-GHG forcings have a linear slope as well.

      So assuming total forcings continue to rise at the same rate, I’d just take your favorite GMST index and extrapolate it out. In my case, I predict about a 1C increase over the next 50-60 yrs. I consider this my upper limit as I expect the forcing rate to decelerate over the next 30 yrs, in line with Kevin’s predictions of GHG concentrations.

    • Hi Peter,
      You can put put climate sensitivity (CS) = 1.5 °C into MAGICC and select the emissions scenario B2-ME for RCP6.0. Then run it. Don’t view the graphs as they will still use the default CS = 3.0 °C. View the reports user policy and find where “DELT(2XCO2) = 1.5 DEGC”. It shows under “TEMP”, for 2100, temperature is 1.469 °C relative to 1990.

  6. Concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a function mostly of temperature and soil moisture. It is not responsive to human emissions (https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/ ) because they are so small in relation to natural emissions (https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/what-is-really-behind-the-increase-in-atmospheric-co2/ ). The IPCC presumption that increased CO2 in the atmosphere is due to human emissions can not be defended using the erroneous IPCC models. ( https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/contradictions-to-ipccs-climate-change-theory/ ).
    Even if the RCPs were produced to cover a wide range of forcing they were promulgated by imagining future possible emission scenarios. Their use has been to promote control of human CO2. The most pressing need for climate science today is to falsify the works referenced here or accept it and move to some other problem we can do something about.

    • Actually, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is responsive to human emissions. The natural experiment was done in 1929-1931, when human global CO2 production declined 30% and atmospheric CO2 stabilized. Temperature kept rising to 1941. And then it declined during the WWII years, when a fair amount of CO2 was produced. This decline produced alarms about the oncoming Ice Age – see the covers of Newsweek and Time and Science News in the early 70s.
      So yes, we can at least stop the increase of CO2, at tremendous cost, but it will be ineffective at modifying temperature rise. This conforms to the calculation that doubling CO2 to 800 ppm will increase its GHG effect by about 1.4%, totally submerged in the other 8 influences on climate.

      • CO2 continued its usual rise in the 1930s of about 3ppm per decade. It only stabilized in the 1940s after WW2 was well underway. It’s hard to infer much from ice cores anyway, especially when we’re talking about such small changes in concentrations over time. (smoothing can become a factor if there are changes in the growthrate over time)…

      • I think the first reference I gave is a better analysis as it has almost 40 years of good data on emissions and atmospheric content from Mona Loa. The coincidence of leveling CO2 after the depression according to the ice core record is somewhat questionable in my mind as the aging of the CO2 has been estimated as about 80 years after the age of the ice. There were many chemical analyses of CO2 in the atmosphere in the 1940s that indicated over 400 PPM in stark contrast to the ice core record.

    • DMA (@DMA6375)
      “Concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a function mostly of temperature and soil moisture. It is not responsive to human emissions”
      But as you know, CO2 has been shown 1929-1931 to be responsive – slightly – to human emission changes. Temperature of course has not.
      The questions we should be addressing here, and elsewhere are:
      1. Is CO2 in control of climate? and
      2. Are we in control of CO2?
      If the answers are clearly no, and no, why are we debating CO2?

  7. The rate of change in CO2 concentration is presently still increasing (Fig. 3), so the inflection point has not been reached; and second-difference calculations show no acceleration, indicating we are beyond the early exponential phase.

    There must be a typo: if the rate of change is increasing, then there is acceleration.

  8. “RCP8.5 implies a future with continued high emissions growth, whereas the other RCPs represent different pathways of mitigating emissions.”
    We do have business as usual.
    C02 is going up 4ppm per year.
    100 years gives extra 400 ppm.
    Pretty close to forecast. I can see nothing wrong with RCP 8.5 predicting CO2 increase.
    What is going wrong is temp response is much lower than predicted.

  9. No model of future generation of greenhouse gases can predict what change world society can and will make.
    What climate models predicted::
    Sudden spurt in growth and living standard in China
    Fracking to give new and major sources of liquid fuels
    Concern over coal burning driving change to gas and renewables
    Evolution of viewpoints of public at large
    New decisions by changed political heads-of-state
    Possible break throughs in new energy sources or technology
    etc.etc.

    • CO2 has gone up from 280 to over 400 while temperature has stayed well below the upper bounds of the Medieval or Roman or warm periods before that. Climate, temperature, is changing inside the bounds of historic natural cycles. CO2 is increasing and that may be to our credit, it is only causing green stuff to grow better while making more efficient use of water.

      They try to scare us so they can tax and control us.

  10. Reblogged this on Quaerere Propter Vērum.

  11. .
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶① . . . The Upside-down Comb of Death . . .
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    .

    What, you may be wondering, is the “Upside-down Comb of Death”?

    In simple terms, it is like the “Right-side-up Comb of Death”, but upside-down.

    “Right-side-up Combs of Death” became an overnight success. Even bigger than Furbys. We have had people working around the clock, trying to keep up with demand.

    Many people have complained to me, that standing on their head, and looking at the “Right-side-up Comb of Death”, was giving them a headache. I don’t like to see people suffer needlessly. So I turned my computer screen upside down, and took a screenshot of the “Right-side-up Comb of Death”. When I turned my computer screen back up the right way, I had created an “Upside-down Comb of Death”. Nobody needs to get a headache any more.

    There is only one problem. The “Upside-down Comb of Death” makes global warming look so insignificant, that people are getting eye-strain, trying to see the global warming.

    The “Upside-down Comb of Death” displays temperature ranges, for more than 24,000 real locations on the Earth. And I am talking about REAL, ACTUAL, ABSOLUTE temperatures. Not those weak, pale, temperature anomaly things. But real, actual, absolute temperatures.

    https://agree-to-disagree.com/the-upside-down-comb-of-death

  12. “Unfortunately the compulsion towards exaggeration can be stronger than duty to facts…”

    Indeed regarding scenarios where uncertainty and perceived high social impacts dominate, this is often the case, in the climate domain driving the emergent narrative of imminent (decades) global catastrophe (absent dramatic action). Ironically, even some social psychologists who themselves propagate the catastrophe narrative are very familiar with this well-known effect, e.g. Lewandowsky et al (2012): “But we have also noted that the likelihood that people will pass on information is based strongly on the likelihood of its eliciting an emotional response in the recipient, rather than its truth value (e.g., K. Peters et al., 2009)” Mass propagation leads to mass emotive conviction and this can be driven by fear, or hope (e.g. from a touted social solution), or even more strongly by both together, or various other emotional cocktails. And such narratives as they emerge can also modify the original perceptions (in favour of narrative growth).

    The physical climate side is not my bag and I could be wrong here, but there seems to be a preponderance of 8.5 usage behind the impact projections that get most public attention, yet comparisons of models to observations for present and near future (where the obs still imply more constraint unless very sudden change), for the purpose of validation, seem to mostly use 4.5 or 6. I guess they’re all pretty similar anyhow until about 2022, but that’s pretty near future and this divergence will be more significant as time goes by.

  13. A very interesting post. While I like the logistical analysis, I am concerned that the ceiling concept was so breezily introduced. While I can rationalize that there should be one, I’d like to know what the author – and other commenters – thinks its basis is.

  14. “The physical climate side is not my bag and I could be wrong here, but there seems to be a preponderance of 8.5 usage…”

    And then some. The IPCC AR5 has Global SLR RCP 8.5 for 2100 at .74m and from Antarctica its contribution at .04m.

    But what do we get in the media? Feet. Many, many feet. Somehow writing articles about Antarctica and then putting in .04m doesn’t quite have the wow factor as 10 to 20 feet. Who ever bought a newspaper or magazine to read about.04m of anything? Of course, I would never suggest there is a symbiotic relationship between the media and the activists in the climate science establishment.

  15. Thanks for calling more formal attention to ridiculous RCP8.5. Bogus basis for much of the alarmist literature since AR5.

  16. “Atmospheric and oceanic computational simulation models often successfully depict chaotic space–time patterns, flow phenomena, dynamical balances, and equilibrium distributions that mimic nature. This success is accomplished through necessary but nonunique choices for discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupled contributing processes that introduce structural instability into the model.” James McWilliams – https://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709

    I ignore CMIP opportunistic ensembles as theoretically impossible due to uncertainty in – or complete absence of – equations of state for fundamental Earth system processes, the imprecision of input data, computational limits on the scale of processes modeled and on the depth of coupled processes and flow fields. Rather than a single deterministic solution where CMIP members reflect model structural differences – there are multiple chaotic divergent solutions possible for every model. The latter an expression of the property of ‘sensitive dependence and structural instability’.

    “Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable.” op. cit

    But we have a situations in which humans are adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere at a rate of knots. Despite crude and eccentric skeptic memes – or internal climate variability – this is likely adding to atmospheric concentrations and planetary warming. And while I discount data poor and narrative rich non-science of Lenton et al tipping cascades – I do take note of people like Igor Polyyakov.

    “Our analysis demonstrates that the 2000s were an exceptional decade with extraordinary upper Arctic Ocean freshening and intermediate Atlantic water warming. We note that the Arctic Ocean is characterized by large amplitude multi‐decadal variability in addition to a long‐term trend, making the link of observed changes to climate drivers problematic. However, the exceptional magnitude of recent high‐latitude changes (not only oceanic, but also ice and atmospheric) strongly suggests that these recent changes signify a potentially irreversible shift of the Arctic Ocean to a new climate state.” https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1890/11-0902.1

    The key seems to be AMOC – and the question of how close we are to a tipping point is unknown. But it has certainly happened in the past.

    “The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.” Wally Broecker

    And – despite Alex’s oft repeated folderol – the key to the resultant abrupt climate change is cooler temps and more ice persistence than ice loss in mid NH latitudes. Can we do anything much about it? Well yes – by building prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes. We could probably do something useful and profitable to reduce emissions at the same time.

    “EPA tracks total U.S. emissions by publishing the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. This annual report estimates the total national greenhouse gas emissions and removals associated with human activities across the United States.

    The primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are:

    Transportation (nearly 28.5 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation primarily come from burning fossil fuel for our cars, trucks, ships, trains, and planes. Over 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes gasoline and diesel.2

    Electricity production (28.4 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – Electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 68 percent of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas.3

    Industry (22 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from industry primarily come from burning fossil fuels for energy, as well as greenhouse gas emissions from certain chemical reactions necessary to produce goods from raw materials.”

    Commercial and Residential (11 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from businesses and homes arise primarily from fossil fuels burned for heat, the use of certain products that contain greenhouse gases, and the handling of waste.

    Agriculture (9 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture come from livestock such as cows, agricultural soils, and rice production.

    Land Use and Forestry (offset of 11 percent of 2016 greenhouse gas emissions) – Land areas can act as a sink (absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere) or a source of greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States, since 1990, managed forests and other lands have absorbed more CO2 from the atmosphere than they emit.
    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    One secret is in technological innovation – that drives productivity and economic growth. The simple secret of landscape management is to increase water retention through increased organic (carbon) content in soil, swales, sand dams, terracing, retaining crop cover and encouraging deep rooted perennials. This produces a drought tolerant system, more evapotranspiration and a cooler surface, more recharge to deep aquifers, more dry weather creek flows, less downstream flooding, less soil erosion, less nutrient export to waterways, greater biodiversity conservation and higher agricultural productivity.

    • RIE’s long post above should be a parallel thrust to any chaotic climate discussions. (A similar point was raised some time back in IMechE re food production for unforeseen high impact events but with ‘climate’ in mind).

      If Michel in below post, or anyone else needs evidence – Anthropocene or not – they should take a look at this link: https://melitamegalithic.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/searching-evidence-update/
      The Eddy curve (red) and correlations in the last two millennia are from a post by Javier some time back, and are well known. The surprising earlier correlations to earlier work of mine have clear geological and archaeological evidence that show what they represent. They are all abrupt events.

      The RWP and MWP (1345ce) happen to correlate to very particular sun + planetary alignments (to note, Ulric Lyons).

    • Short version of this- if you focus on incentivizing a reliable electric grid with low to no emissions that produces more electricity than we do today, you would be in a position to cut US emissions by as much as 75-80% by supplying electricity to residential, industrial and transportation uses.

      Someone will be along shortly to say you could do that with solar panels and batteries in Chicago today (temperature with wind-chill of negative 75 degrees F). And only right-wingers would object (out of ignorance, of course) to the notion that any power failures in Chicago during sub-zero freezes would just be one of those “lifestyle changes” we’ll all have to accept for our new renewable future.

    • A potentially irreversible shift of the Arctic Ocean to a new climate state?

  17. I am losing comments for no apparent reason?

  18. RCP8.5 aims at a forcing of. approx 8.5 Wm-2 at the turn of the century. To achieve this, more than 3 times the current proven fossil fuel reserves will need to be extracted. Those using this scenario as a scarecrow are well advised to invest heavily in oil&gas and not in ridiculously inefficient, intermittent, and short lived solar panels and windmills.

  19. Other aspect of this issue:
    RCP8.5 is absolutely essential as a motivation tool for climate alarmism. It is the required catastrophic reference. Without it, all prospective diagrams would look quite tame. This is why it is abundantly used by the media as THE scenario that will fatally result from inaction. This is a well known populistic selling trick: my proposal is so bad that I need a much worse alternative to compare with.
    Conclusion: if moving the goal post from 2 degC to 1.5 is not enough, then a RCPX.5 scenario, with X=10 to 15, will need to be invented.

      • No I didn’t get it. But I could have lived without.
        In a more proper language we say:
        “Avec des si et des mais on mettrait Paris en bouteille”.
        So many “could, may, can” with not much evidences: is this article about science or wild conjectures? Is the concept of anthropocene a solid reference or an ideology?
        Over its history, the planet has shown to be a rather stabilising, slow changing system. This article suggest the contrary. This is of the genre of apocalyptic recitals. Exactly what I was alluding to in my comment.

      • On the contrary – planetary history is one of abrupt shifts between more or less extreme and persistent states. While I hold pretty much the same opinion of Lenton et al as you – as I say in a comment just above – the evidence of abrupt climate change is unequivocal. But you miss both the scientific reality and the political irony. Perhaps from an inability to think in the language of science and poetry.

      • Curious George

        “Planetary history is one of abrupt shifts between more or less extreme and persistent states.” It depends on your definition of “abrupt”. Does it take a millisecond, or ten thousand years? How long does it take to transition between a glacial and an interglacial?

      • “What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/3#13

        I have quoted that a 1000 times. If you do not understand yet how and why…

      • Robert I Ellison: I have quoted that a 1000 times.

        Sure, but always without descriptions of evidence to adduce whether any particular change qualifies as “abrupt”.

      • The 1976/77 and 1998/2001 Pacific state changes are recognized as abrupt from different perspectives – including network math tests for synchronous chaos (Tsonis et al 2007, Swanson et al 2009). .

        e.g. https://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/

        Despite obdurate quibbles from Matthew – you may start with the source of the quote.

        https://www.nap.edu/catalog/10136/abrupt-climate-change-inevitable-surprises

        What to look for is shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation – and all the quasi standing wave, nonlinear oscillators in the Earth system are examples.

        https://stateoftheocean.osmc.noaa.gov/

        These determine ice extent and cloud cover and changes in biology, dust and hydrology. Internal response are climate change that may be modulated by small and slow changes in orbits, solar intensity or greenghouse gases.

        I have no doubt that Matthew will invent another truculent little quibble – but my patience is at an end.

      • Curious George

        For hundreds of years, people wondered: What came first, chicken or egg? Only Marxism was able to resolve the problem: From a chicken’s perspective, egg came first. From egg’s perspective, chicken came first.

      • But if it quacks like a duck…

      • Robert I Ellison: The 1976/77 and 1998/2001 Pacific state changes are recognized as abrupt from different perspectives – including network math tests for synchronous chaos (Tsonis et al 2007, Swanson et al 2009).

        Where was it shown that the changes were more rapid than the instigating causes? Are the instigating causes of the 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 Pacific state changes known?

        It would be handy to have comparison lists of some climate changes that were abrupt and some climate changes that were non-abrupt.

      • The temperature drop into the Younger Dryas and the rapid warming that ended it were not gradual, and they were not small.

        “The 1976/77 and 1998/2001 Pacific state changes” are small. On that graph, they would be tiny little kinks by comparison.

        It makes no sense to use the same word, “abrupt”, for changes that are that disparate .

      • Google the start of the positive phase of the PDO:

      • 1920 – sharp positive
        1943 – sharp negative
        1974 – sharp positive
        1983 – prolonged negative decline
        2014 – sharp positive

      • from Miller, Cayan, Barnett, Graham, and Oberhuber: “The 1976-1977 climate shift of the pacific ocean”; Oceanography, vo9l 7 pp 21 – 26

        A closing comment involves the semantic interpretation of what happened in the 1976-77 winter. Was it really a pronounced shift from one climate regime to another? Or was it simply part of a long-term climate variation, merely highlighted by a strongly anomalous winter? The huge horizontal advection anomalies, which occurred in the model hindcast, suggest that the 1976-77 winter was truly unique in that it apparently ended a multiyear warm regime in the model mid-Pacific Ocean’s upper-ocean heat content.

        Abrupt climate change, by the quoted definition, requires (1) climate change; (2) an instigating/initiating cause; (3) pushing across a threshold; (4) change more rapid than the instigating cause. In this case, the instigating “cause” is just a part of the climate system; the change lasted a year and ended a “multi-year” warm period. Is this “climate change” if “climate” refers to the distribution of weather over about 30 years? Any prespecified time period? What was the “threshold”? Was the change in the Pacific Ocean more rapid than the change in the instigator? The only “semantic” clarification provided by the authors was that the change was unique, though investigations of whether such changes had ever occurred before were not presented.

        As with other cases, the judgment of “abrupt” in this case was not justified by evidence that the 4 criteria had been met. As they sometimes say in American Football (and international “football” that Americans call “soccer”), in this instance the ref missed a blatant foul.

        I only quoted part of the paper. RTWT It’s interesting, but the judgment of “abrupt” is sort of “free-form” or ad hoc.

      • “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.” https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2005GL025052

        It is why generally I talk about the Pacific state rather than ENSO or PDO. It is driven by the winds and currents off the Peruvian and Californian that converge at the equator and flow westward reducing the depth of the thermocline allowing cold and nutrient rich abyssal water to upwell. Upwelling is stopped abruptly when warm surface water piled up against Australia and Indonesia surges to crash against the eastern margins. Winds and currents driven by the polar annular modes.

        Reduced thermocline depth can be seen evolving in the eastern Pacific currently. The next phase is the intensification of Walker cell circulation.

        The mystery is why we get a Pacific state that is predominantly cooler or warmer – upwelling in the east and central Pacific or warm water surging from the west – over periods of roughly 20 to 30 years. With dramatic changes in clouds and ocean and atmospheric circulation, in planetary energy content and in hydrology and biology.

        I am inclining to solar winds and the global electric current – modulated in the Hale cycle of solar magnetic reversal via the Mansurov effect. But they need to understand some basics before reasonable questions can be asked or serious comments made.

      • “Interdecadal variability of the Pacific sea surface temperatures (SSTs) has been documented in numerous studies (e.g., Mantua et al. 1997; Zhang et al. 1997; Power et al. 1999; Deser et al. 2004; Dai
        2013). Various indices (Deser et al. 2004) have been developed to quantitatively describe the ENSO-like multi-decadal climate variations, often referred to as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO; Mantua et al. 1997) or the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO;
        Zhang et al. 1997; Power et al. 1999; Liu 2012; Dai 2013). The PDO and IPO are essentially the same interdecadal variability (Deser et al. 2004), with the PDO traditionally defined within the North Pacific while the IPO covers the whole Pacific basin.”
        http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/adai/papers/DongDai-CD2015-IPO.pdf


        https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/timeseries/IPOTPI/

        Another dogmatic and obtuse assertion based on nothing much at all? Nothing is pure PDO. And really – if he is to copy a graphic it is polite to give the source.

  20. Kevin: While I completely agree that RCP8.5 is an unreasonably pessimistic scenario, I personally see no reason to believe logistical projections over the more traditional Kaya indentity. The latter projects emissions based on population, GDP/capita, energy/GDP and CO2/energy. IMO, the utility of RCP8.5 should be debated on these factors, not a generic logistical projection.

    • You forget the most important factor regarding the CO2 emissions and the concentration pathways – the airborne fraction (AR). Even though the emissions shot up in the past decade at about 3%/year, double the rate od the prior three decade, “remarkambly and importantly” the AR declined!


      Hansen’s suggestion “that the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks and thus limiting the growth od atmospheric CO2” is od course laughable.
      https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006/meta
      The reason is simply that the emissions surged and the temperature not so much. Since the growth in atmospheric CO2 follows the temperature, the AR declined.

      • AF od course, not AR!

      • Yes. Airborne fraction is a critical variable. Basic chemistry predicts that the further from equilibrium airborne CO2 is from that dissolved at the sea surface the faster the uptake. So if population growth and development were to offset by lower carbon per gigajoule of energy generated from here to the end of the century then the inflection point of “Keeling Curve,” atmospheric CO2 concentration, will have already been reached and the curve will begin to invert as the rate of sea uptake of CO2 increases. Technological improvements, (which must be counted on,) will further steepen the horizontal plateauing of the Keeling Curve until the final maximum is reached, the point at which new fossil fuel emissions equals ocean uptake.

        It seems to me that political debates will have a relatively minor impact on that curve as compared with economic realities and physics. Isn’t the RCP 2.6 pathway just as irrelevant as the RCP 8.5?

      • Edimbukvarevic wrote: “Since the growth in atmospheric CO2 follows the temperature, the airborne fraction declined.”

        How much does atmospheric CO2 change with surface temperature? Between the LGM and pre-industrial (PI), temperature rose about 6 degK and CO2 rose about 100 ppm. Let’s call it 16 ppm/K. On that basis, the most CO2 that might have outgassed from the ocean in response to 1 degK of warming since PI is 16 ppm, a small fraction of the current rise of 130 ppm.

        Furthermore, the oceans had many millennia to outgas CO2 after the last ice age ended. We have had roughly a century for outgassing to occur and most of the warming has been in the last half-century. It takes roughly a millennium for the deep ocean to turn over and CO2 to outgas in response to rising temperature. In that case, we might expect about 1 ppm of CO2 to have outgassed from the deep ocean in the last half century due to warming.

        Now the mixed layer of the ocean (roughly top 50 m) is being stirred quickly enough for seasonal warming and CO2 to equilibrate within a few months. The unusual warmth associated with the 97/8 El Nino and the unusual coldness associated with the La Nina that followed created about a 1 ppm perturbation in the usual annual change in CO2. That probably came from the mixed layer. Outgassing from the next 50 to 100 m might contribute some CO2 over a few decades. Perhaps 5-10 ppm?

        There was a slight fall in CO2 during the LIA, consistent with the idea that something like 5-10 ppm of CO2 can be taken up or outgas over a few centuries in response to a temperature change of about 1 degK.

        From a practical point of view, warming-induced outgassing of CO2 is negligible compared with human emissions of CO2.

      • I don’t find Hansen’s explanation based “on a large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks” so laughable. It is clear that emissions put the CO2 in the atmosphere. It is clear that the sinks remove it.

        The growth in atmospheric CO2 does not follow temperature. It follows emissions minus sinks, that create the long-term trend. What follows temperature is the seasonal movement of carbon between stores, that is much larger than our emissions, but it averages out interannually.

      • Javier, this is laughable:

        ”First, if our interpretation of the data is correct, the surge of fossil fuel emissions, especially from coal burning, along with the increasing atmospheric CO2 level is ‘fertilizing’ the biosphere, and thus limiting the growth of atmospheric CO2.”

        Hansen claims that the surge od CO2 emissions is limiting the growth od atmospheric CO2. Isn’t it ironic?

        The growth in atmospheric CO2 does follow/correlate with the temperature indices.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1960/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/mean:12/derivative/normalise

      • Hansen claims that the surge od CO2 emissions is limiting the growth od atmospheric CO2. Isn’t it ironic?

        Not really. It is called greening. Believers hate it when we mention it. But the greening is due to the increase in emissions, and at the same time it contributes to reduce the increase. That’s how feedbacks work.

        The growth in atmospheric CO2 does follow/correlate with the temperature indices.

        Yes. This is known since the mid 1970s. For example:
        Bacastow, R. B. (1976). Modulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the Southern Oscillation. Nature, 261(5556), 116.
        This is just movement of carbon between different stores, that is regulated by temperature. But the long term increase in CO2 is due to us and only to us. Consider that we have emitted way in excess of the observed increase. There is simply no way around that, so it is better if you accept it.

        If we removed the trend that we have caused, changes in CO2 would still oscillate around the mean, but the long-term increase in CO2 would be at best of 16 ppm/°C. That’s what the ocean can release as a function of increase in surface temperature.

        The correlation between CO2 and temperature in Antarctic ice cores has been used as an argument that CO2 changes control temperature changes. We have broken that correlation showing that it is not true. The effect of CO2 on temperature must be very small.

      • Javier, I know it’s called greening or CO2 fertilization.

        Regarding Hansen’s article, he suggests that the main cause for the airborne fraction decline since about 2000 is the surge in CO2 emissions (fertilization). On the other hand, the AF is simply the growth in atmospheric CO2 divided by emissions, so the AF declined because the emissions increased more than the growth in atmospheric CO2. He kinda makes it sound that the surge in emissions caused the slowdown in the atmospheric CO2 growth and that without the surge there would be more atmospheric CO2. That would be ironic, but I may be wrong (I would have to look more closely into that).

        ”The growth in atmospheric CO2 does follow/correlate with the temperature indices.

        Yes.”

        So now you agree. I am simply predicting more of the same (the safest) and that when the global temperature indices decline in the next few decades (which you also predict), the growth in atmospheric CO2 will follow and decline too, regardless of our emissions. So, I predict less than 2 ppm/year in the next decade, depending on how much the globe cools. It would be nice if human emissions increase significantly (the more the better) for this experiment.

      • edimbukvarevic,

        For the AF to decrease, the combined sinks must grow at a faster rate than our emissions. The effect is that the sinks take a bigger portion of our emissions out over time, and therefore must themselves become bigger as a result of the higher amount of CO2 they take (and the temperature increase). The only sink that fits this profile and can increase enough to account for the observed effect is the biological sink, both marine and land. I therefore see no problem with what Hansen says about this.

        So now you agree.

        I agree that the variability around the mean exists, but it is a seasonal effect. It doesn’t affect the CO2 trend that depends almost solely on our emissions.

        when the global temperature indices decline in the next few decades (which you also predict), the growth in atmospheric CO2 will follow and decline too, regardless of our emissions.

        I disagree with this. The growth in atmospheric CO2 depends solely on our emissions The rest of the stores are taking up carbon, not releasing it (except volcanoes). For the growth in atmospheric CO2 to decline (reduced growth in CO2) one of two things or both must happen:
        1. We reduce our rate of emissions
        2. The AF decreases faster that the rate of increase in our emissions.
        As the AF decreases slowly, our rate of emissions should increase very slowly.
        But if temperature declines and our rate of emissions keeps increase I would predict the opposite to you. The fall in temperature should affect sinks growth and the result would be a faster increase in atmospheric CO2.

        What I projected in my article about 21st century climate is that as our emissions increase more slowly over time (due to our policies and fossil fuel limitations), and eventually decrease, and temperature increases, the sinks will grow faster as they feed on atmospheric CO2, not on our emissions, resulting in a moderation of atmospheric CO2 growth reaching peak levels around 500 ppm before starting a slow secular decline.

      • I agree that the variability around the mean exists, but it is a seasonal effect. It doesn’t affect the CO2 trend that depends almost solely on our emissions.

        Javier, it can’t be both ways. Either the CO2 growthrate is tracking with temperature or it’s tracking with emissions. Dr Spencer’s graph here clearly demonstrates that it only appears to be tracking with emissions. The growthrate most closely tracks with the SSTs of the southern ocean. (this has been so since the inception of the mlo dataset save the pinatubo years) You can clearly see in the good doctor’s graph that the growthrate trend only changes coincident with the step rises in temperature in the late 70s and circa the year 2000. At all other times it trends flat along with the southern ocean surface temps. It cannot be said that the trend depends almost solely on our emissions.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/plot/esrl-co2/from:1958/mean:24/derivative/plot/hadsst3sh/from:1958/scale:0.25/offset:0.1

        It would be very nice were we to see a cooling trend in the near future. (except for the fact that cold kills… 😖) It will demostrate once and for all who is right, the emissions people or the temperatures people. If temps go one way and the growthrate goes the other, it will be a first for over a half of a century’s worth of data. (don’t bet the house on that happening)…

      • Javier, it can’t be both ways. Either the CO2 growthrate is tracking with temperature or it’s tracking with emissions.

        There might be a terminology problem here, so let’s first agree on that:
        Trend: long-term (decadal) change in the variable.
        Rate of change: Instantaneous (first derivative, monthly data) change in the variable.

        The trend in atmospheric CO2 and the trend in emissions is very similar.

        Emissions are in excess by an average of 55% (AF). Mass balance demands that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to the increase in emissions minus the increase in sinks.

        Neither emissions trend, nor atmospheric CO2 trend, follow temperature trend. Temperature shows periods of negative or near-zero trend known as hiatuses. CO2 doesn’t show them. Causality demands correlation.

        The yearly cycle in atmospheric CO2 (the red wiggles in the graph above) is highly variable. The CO2 rate of change (first derivative) correlates to temperature, as shown in the graph edimbukvarevic linked:
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1960/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/mean:12/derivative/normalise

        The change in atmospheric CO2 over one year (annual cycle) is much larger than the year-on-year change.

        Comparison of the rate of change of temperature and CO2 shows that CO2 follows temperature with a 9-11 month delay.

        The dependence of atmospheric CO2 yearly cycle on temperature has been attributed to the photosynthesis/respiration balance that on a given year moves a lot more CO2 than our emissions, but over time has a negative trend, as the biological sink is increasing (greening).

        The problem is only the failure to distinguish between trend and rate of change. The first depends on our emissions, the second on temperature. The increase in atmospheric CO2 over time is down to us, as is the greening.

      • The trend in atmospheric CO2 and the trend in emissions is very similar.

        Yes, they are, which is why i’m saying that it can’t be both ways. Take a good look at Spencer’s graph there. If those step rises (which are coincident with temp step rises) circa ’80 & 2000 were not there, then the trend in atmospheric CO2 would in no way be similar to the trend in emissions. Javier, how do you rationalize the fact that we have those step rises in growthrate that are coincidental with step rises in temperature? (engelbeen doesn’t, he just ignores it) There must be some rational explanation for that (massive) coincidence which no one has been able to provide…

        Mass balance demands that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to the increase in emissions minus the increase in sinks.

        No it doesn’t… When you factor in the increase in sinks the mass balances out no matter how you slice it. Even if the rise were entirely natural, nearly 100% of all naturally sourced CO2 would be sinking out. Given that more than half of ACO2 sinks out, there is no reason why the mass of ACO2 couldn’t also be sinking at a rate much closer to 100% with natural sources making up the difference. (and the mass balance would still be observed, it’s just that the balance would include the dynamics of sink activity) This doesn’t mean that the rise isn’t anthropogenic, only that the mass balance argument is not the reason that the rise should be deemed anthropogenic…

        Javier, more in a bit. (the fonz needs a respite… ☺️)

      • Neither emissions trend, nor atmospheric CO2 trend, follow temperature trend. Temperature shows periods of negative or near-zero trend known as hiatuses. CO2 doesn’t show them. Causuality demands correlation.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/13/is-murry-salby-right/

        Bartemis May 13, 2017 10:53am
        So stupid. The model is not that CO2 is proportional to temperature anomaly, but that it is proportional to the integral of temperate anomaly.

        Ferdinand Engelbeen May 14, 2017 12:36pm
        Rud is wrong on that point…

        Javier, the correlation is with the temperature anomaly and the derivative plot (of the rate of change of CO2). When temps are flat, the rate of change in CO2 is flat. When temps increase, the rate of change in CO2 increases. What we have yet to see over a sustained period of time is whether or not a decrease in temperature will produce a decrease in the rate of change of CO2. (this simply because we have yet to see a sustained decrease in temperature) If we don’t see a reduction in the rate of change with cooling, that would be a first (divergence) in the MLO era save those pinatubo years. i guess we’ll have to wait and see. (seeing how everybody’s minds are all made up on this one… ☺️) What we do see is that there is a very close relationship with rate of change of CO2 and temps. It is very close in detail as opposed to the relationship of the rate of change of CO2 and that of emissions (as demonstrated in Spencer’s graph)…

      • The problem is only the failure to distinguish between trend and rate of change. The first depends on our emissions, the second on temperature.

        Yes, but Javier, the trend depends on the rate of change (hence, by your own wording — if i’m not mistaken — the trend depends on temperature). In fact, i think we can say with all clarity that we know that the trend depends on temperature. What we don’t know is if the trend depends on emissions at all. We can deduce that based on ice cores and proxies, but that’s about it. i’m not one of those who tries to definitively state that the rise in CO2 is natural. Just one to say that there may be more to this than meets the eye. The 19th century saw a rise in CO2 of 20 ppm. But, emissions accounted for, at most, 5 ppm. If the relatively small populace could produce that big an increase in the 19th without emissions, then how much more so did we produce higher concentrations (again discounting emissions) in the twentieth century. Must have been some sort of land use changes combined with temperature change that has given us the bulk of our atmospheric increase. It’s all there in the data. It just takes one bright mind (of which mine is not… ☹️) to figure it all out.

      • Afonzarelli,

        I have said what I know about the issue. I don’t really understand what you say about step rises in emissions. I made my own emissions curve from official sources and it essentially follows economic growth. You can see the early 80s double recession and oil glut, and the 2008 GFC, among other economic downturns and rapid expansion.

        Do you mean there is a “(massive) coincidence” between our economy and temperature? I am not following you.

        I am also not following you on the mass balance argument.

        Even if the rise were entirely natural, nearly 100% of all naturally sourced CO2 would be sinking out.

        So what. We are still adding double of what it increases, so the increase is entirely due to us. There is no way around that simple fact. And both the ocean and the biosphere are net taking CO2 due to the atmospheric rapid increase. The idea that the increase in CO2 is natural is unsustainable.

        the correlation is with the temperature anomaly and the derivative plot (of the rate of change of CO2).

        The correlation between temperature and the CO2 derivative is instantaneous. It means that temperature changes drive the instantaneous flux of CO2 in and out of stores. But the integral of the CO2 derivative (the long-term trend) does not show correlation to temperature.

        Nearly all increase in CO2 took place post-1960

        If temperature and CO2 show such a fundamental disagreement, temperature change cannot be due to CO2 and CO2 change cannot be due to temperature. It works both ways.

        the trend depends on the rate of change

        Not in the way you think. Trend is the integral of the rate of change. The rate of change that depends on temperature (biosphere sink) is averaging to negative, while the very small rate of change that depends on emissions and that you can’t see in CO2 derivative graphs is accumulating to produce the long-term trend, because it changes in one direction only. It adds all the time.

        We can deduce that based on ice cores and proxies

        The situation changed when we started to burn fossil fuels, accessing a CO2 store that wasn’t previously available. Our CO2 production first added to the natural production due to warming out of the LIA, but when it became large enough, it raised atmospheric CO2 levels so fast that the ocean, that was releasing CO2 until then, became a sink when the partial pressure difference reverted the flux. From then on we are 100% responsible for atmospheric CO2 changes. Nature became a negative feedback.

      • https://judithcurry.com/2019/01/28/reassessing-the-rcps/#comment-888711

        Javier, continued at the bottom of this comment page…

    • This is Kevin Murphy responding (as drforecaster) –

      You should not feel you must choose one forecasting method or the other (the Kaya identity or a logistic). Actually, you should DEMAND BOTH. The reason is based in a fundamental forecasting best practice – that BOTH bottom-up and top-down methods should be employed, and differences between findings should be reconciled. You know something is unresolved when they cannot.

      The Kaya identity is a bottom-up approach, which begins with four fundamentals, each of which quickly blossom into dozens of other constituent assumptions. Complexity explodes and can be difficult to manage. Each assumption requires judgement from a probability distribution, and temptations to shade in a particular direction afflict those decisions. Some parts of the construct are known unknowns, and unknown unknowns lurk. Yet the approach is seductive because the analyst is infused with mastery of complexity (a delusion in many cases) and authoritative pronouncements therefrom. This is not to say a bottom-up shouldn’t be attempted; but that it is fraught with peril, and requires validation by other means. And that is when a top-down check is required.

      The logistic formulation of a substitution process is an objective, top-down approach; and very importantly, it is much more than a simple mathematical construct. It has theoretical underpinnings (see Theodore Modis’ papers and books). It is an expression of a natural process encompassing the complex, underlying constituent dynamics playing out in competition with each other. Sources are putting CO2 into the atmosphere while sinks are withdrawing it. Numerous sub-processes are at work adjusting CO2 up or down. Governments and businesses struggle with economic growth or contraction, calling for more or less energy. Cost-benefit decisions are constantly being made involving competing considerations over energy sources. The rising CO2 curve shows that, thus far, benefits of fossil fuel are prioritized over setting them aside. Etc, etc. The net of all those competitive dynamics is expressed in atmospheric CO2 concentration; and a top-down approach quantifies and projects what will naturally occur when the mix of those dynamics evolves into the future.

      In other applications I have encountered a number of bottom-up analyses which fail a top-down assessment or some other logic check. What then? Almost uniformly, something has been left out of or poorly represented in a bottom-up analysis. (Does this sound familiar? Think – climate models.)

      Documentation of the bottom-up approach leading to the RCPs is provided by van Vuuren et al., 2011 (they reference Kaya). I provided a top-down analysis with the logistic forecast. If they had come out significantly different I would have argued for primary consideration to the top-down for the reasons given above. But, to a first order, they did not!!! The top-down (logistic) and bottom-up (van Vuuren) align to concentrations defining RCP6.0. And, both demonstrate that RCP8.5 is a delusion. It is a strong affirmation when both approaches lead you to the same conclusion. The forecasting best practice has been fulfilled.

      • Steven Mosher

        ditto
        ‘You should not feel you must choose one forecasting method or the other (the Kaya identity or a logistic). Actually, you should DEMAND BOTH. The reason is based in a fundamental forecasting best practice – that BOTH bottom-up and top-down methods should be employed, and differences between findings should be reconciled. You know something is unresolved when they cannot.”

        I am glad to see you apply the logistic approach. thanks

      • Kevin: Thank you for the thoughtful reply. The logistical approach can only make projections based on what has already happened. Assuming that we know the correct factors (population, GDP, technological growth, a bottom up calculation can take advantage of what we believe we know is coming. In the case of population growth, we do have some decent information about what is likely to happen in the future. The logistical approach can’t take advantage of such knowledge, the bottom up approach can. However, the logistical approach removes the possibility of human bias in expectations about the future.

  21. …results from the NEEM ice core drilling project in northwest Greenland, led by the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen show that the climate in Greenland was around 8 degrees C warmer than today during the last interglacial period, the Eemian period, 130,000 to 115,000 thousand years ago. ~University of Copenhagen

    Additionally, Eemian seas were much higher than today, despite the fact there weren’t billions of people and no diesel trucks, central heating, air conditioners, airplanes, railroads, UHI effects…

    • “Variations in the poleward‐directed Atlantic heat transfer was investigated over the past 135 ka with special emphasis on the last and present interglacial climate development (Eemian and Holocene). Both interglacials exhibited very similar climatic oscillations during each preceding glacial terminations (deglacial TI and TII). Like TI, also TII has pronounced cold–warm–cold changes akin to events such as H1, Bølling/Allerød, and the Younger Dryas. But unlike TI, the cold events in TII were associated with intermittent southerly invasions of an Atlantic faunal component which underscores quite a different water mass evolution in the Nordic Seas. Within the Eemian interglaciation proper, peak warming intervals were antiphased between the Nordic Seas and North Atlantic. Moreover, inferred temperatures for the Nordic Seas were generally colder in the Eemian than in the Holocene, and vice versa for the North Atlantic. A reduced intensity of Atlantic Ocean heat transfer to the Arctic therefore characterized the Eemian, requiring a reassessment of the actual role of the ocean–atmosphere system behind interglacial, but also, glacial climate changes.”

      ” A comparison of paleorecords from sites in the polar Nordic Seas and the subpolar North Atlantic (since ∼135 ka), which includes the present and last interglacial climate cycle, suggests a warmer surface ocean in the North during the Holocene than in Eemian times. The reconstructed colder last interglacial Nordic Seas ‐ and a brief but much colder warming later during MIS5 (5a) ‐ contradicts modelling efforts on sea‐ice and other reconstructions that would opt for the Eemian as past analogue of an Atlantic‐influenced polar amplification of present‐day global warming in the Arctic. Instead, our proxies reveal some major discrepancies in the polar ocean during glacial terminations I and II. While there is a good agreement in alternating cold‐warm events, TII in particular experienced intrusions of Atlantic waters at the surbsurface which also left an imprint on the bottom waterδ18O in the Nordic Seas during times of massive deglacial meltwater discharges. Because deglacial processes during TII lasted well into the Eemian at the high latitudes, the influence of Atlantic ocean heat was effectively reduced at the surface due to enhanced freshening and seasonal sea ice. The recognition of a late warm peak in the Eemian rather than early as in the Holocene is thus expression of a profoundly different postglacial reorganization of the ocean–atmosphere system over the polar North Atlantic.”

      https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2012GL051800

  22. I think that the RCP 8.5 scenario is a good tool for looking at how climate models respond to forcing beyond even the 4XCO2 CMIP5 experiment. One might consider it a means to look at forcing without natural variations getting so much in the way. It can used to estimate whether and how the forcing and ocean heat content were used by modelers to get a better fit for the historical period with models that have relatively low feedback parameters (high sensitivities). It also presents a means of determining whether there are significant difference between the temperature response for the historical period and the future period. I have been using RCP 8.5 to determine how constant the feedback parameter is over long times and large forcings – and was surprised to find just how stable it was.

    Last but not least it presents a tempting tool for those climate scientists who are wont to color their research with their advocacy. If they present RCP 8.5 as something other than a way of looking at responses from very hypothetical and large forcings, I would read their publications very carefully and with great skepticism. In this way it becomes a great and obvious marker.

  23. An improbable scenario for an impossible purpose. We are making changes to the atmosphere and use chaotic tools to prognosticate on a chaotic system. Not making a leap in the dark would seem more prudent – and the governing emissions principle is an entirely different dynamic.

    Joseph Schumpeter defined creative destruction of capitalism as the “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

    I heard again yesterday the mantra of finite resources on a finite planet. But energy is the basis of all material transformations and energy is unlimited. In this century – endless innovation on information technology and cybernetics will accelerate and continue to push the limits of what it is to be human and to challenge the adaptability of social structures. New movements, fads, music, designer drugs, cat videos and dance moves will sweep the planet like Mexican waves in the zeitgeist. Materials will be stronger and lighter. Life will be cluttered with holographic TV’s, waterless washing machines, ultrasonic blenders, quantum computers, hover cars and artificially intelligent phones. Annoying phones that cry when you don’t charge them – taking on that role from cars that beep when you don’t put a seat belt on. Space capable flying cars will have seat belts that lock and tension without any intervention of your part. All this will use vastly more energy and materials as population grows and wealth increases.

    Additional energy – at least a doubling of demand mostly in emerging economies in the next 2 decades – from 1000’s of new HELE coal plants. Almost no emissions of mercury, sulfur, nitrous oxide or particulates and about 10% less carbon emissions than sub-critical plants. The World Coal Association has a 2 C – again an impossible precision – scenario that involves carbon capture starting around 2030.

    The rate of emissions growth – without technological change – parallels economic growth – which is of course exponential and in a rational world view as high as possible. Economically the world is locked into a growth cycle – despite any and all reservations and interventions.  A high growth planet brings resources to solve people and environment problems.  The clearest way to economic growth is markets – and the biggest risk is market mismanagement.

    Technological change occurs as capitalist creative destruction.

    I expect that the next decade will be when the modular nuclear curve takes off as demand for fossil fuels – and diminishing supply – drives costs higher than the nuclear alternative.

    https://watertechbyrie.com/2016/06/18/safe-cheap-and-abundant-energy-back-to-the-nuclear-energy-future-2/

  24. “CO2 concentrations in 2100 will likely fall in the 565-680 ppm range”

    yup.

  25. A couple of points.

    1. RCP 8.5 was a good tool. It lets you know a “worst” case.
    2. That tool has done its job.
    3. The key areas for research ( read valuable CPU time) should
    be focused on scarnarios with a 1.5C to 3C response

    8.5 did its job. ya we know that bad. for planning you want to spend your
    compute resources on the more likely meat of the problem.

    Note RCP 7 has been added.

    • Steven: 1. RCP 8.5 was a good tool. It lets you know a “worst” case.
      2. That tool has done its job…

      That job had many facets. The most influential one had nothing to do with science. Agreed?

      • Steven Mosher

        disagree.
        obviously depends on the audience and your definition of influence.

      • RCP8.5 was used by scientists to explore the worst of the worst scenario. Their papers based on RCP8.5 were then sold to the public as the best scientifically peer reviewed prediction. The information was misused on a colossal scale but the scientists remained silent as their funding got renewed. Agreed?

      • Steven Mosher

        disagree.
        sold as scenerios, not predictions.
        huge difference

      • SM. Ummm….No. How many in the general public makes the distinction?Let me help you. None. It’s a useful springboard to have the complicit media mobilize their leftist views and print the most apocalyptic articles they can manage. Obviously to sell newspapers or to get clicks.

        If the top scientists had any interest in having the public get the science correct, the top activists would be writing letters to the editors every week explaining what the science actually says. But they aren’t. This whole game is beyond self evident.

        Get with the program.

      • Steven Mosher: sold as scenerios, not predictions.

        It would be helpful if proponents would inform everyone of this early, loud, and often. What we hear and read instead is “This is what will surely happen unless … !”

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s in the definitions. Published.
        Read.

      • As I said – incredible narratives for an impossible purpose.

      • Steven Mosher: It’s in the definitions. Published.
        Read.

        I think you put the responsibility on the wrong shoulders. People who use the RCPs, in simulations and writing and speaking, need to remind their audiences that the RCPs are only scenarios. Early, loud, and often, as I wrote. Otherwise people less compulsive than ourselves will mistake them for predictions: Paul Krugman and other editorial writers, for example; people from AAAS who solicit money to lobby against CO2; CA Gov Gavin Newsome.

      • SM remains in academe. Graf, Matthew and I are firmly entrenched in reality. For the 99.999999% of the public who have not read any of the IPCC reports, much less the garbled tables, their only source of climate science is in the cataclysmic articles by the media. Regardless of the semantics involved with the nomenclature, the public only knows what is communicated to them on a weekly basis. And when serial disinformers like the faux economist Paul the K decide to exaggerate the science, who steps up to correct them and others in the posse of Do Gooders. Here’s a clue, No one. It’s a symbiotic match made in heaven. A bunch of activist climate scientists who believe they were chosen by God to save the world and a gaggle of scientific illiterate journalists who want to further their leftwing agenda using a ready made source of sciency sounding scenarios/predictions.

        When was the last time a top notch climate scientist wrote to the editor of a major newspaper after one of the paper’s garden variety Antarctica “20 feet of ocean coming to swallow your community” articles to explain that the last IPCC Report said the contribution from Antarctica was only .27mm/yr. And for the metric challenged, to further point out that .27mm is precisely 1/5 of a new American dime.

        You want credibility? Take on the exaggerated claims.

      • Mosh said

        ‘sold as scenarios not predictions huge difference.’

        of course there isn’t.

        https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/scenario

        the average person, msm (or policy maker come to that) will not make the very fine distinction if there is one.

        tonyb

    • “The key areas for research (read valuable CPU time)..” I am afraid it is not about research at all. It is about solar power (in Germany, of all places), wind power, blowing up Australian coal plants, opposing pipelines, opposing fracking.

  26. Clouds cover 2/3s of the Earth’s surface. Until such time as climate modelers are capable of predicting changes in the Earth’s albedo 10, 20… 50 years from now (especially springtime cloud cover because even small changes then will have a much greater effect on warming caused by the ever changing amount of incoming solar radiation which will be stronger then than in the winter), GCM forecasts based primarily on little more than increased ppm of CO2 will continue to biased at best and likely, irrelevant, explaining to why GCMs can never be validated.

  27. Previous predictions of ultimate fossil fuel production have been wildly low. In 1956, M. King Hubbert predicted that US oil and gas production would peak in the early 1970’s. Apply logistics analysis to production data through 1956 and you’ll reach a similar conclusion. They did peak around 1970; but they recovered and now almost 50 years after the predicted peak, both oil and gas production in the US are at all time highs.

    • Peak oil alarmism was a bigger driver of alternative energy source policy over the last 30 years than was climate change. If oil and gas were drying up in Europe, then Germany for one was staring down the barrel (no pun intended) of being dependent on Vladimir Putin if it wanted anything resembling an economy.
      Trouble is that tying it all the fun to climate and calling it a pollution issue allowed allies of the Greens to use Russian money to push activism into lunacy territory. Now it is very difficult for the adults to walk back the anti-nuke nonsense and the opposition to fracking on the continent.
      Here’s the New York Times on the topic back before it was fashionable to believe the silly claim that Putin is a Republican at heart:

  28. RCP 8.5 is really an RCP 12 scenario. Lets call it SF 8.5 from now on.

  29. The CO2-eq curve is very different to the CO2 emissions curve – and cannot be transformed into atmospheric concentrations with a simple ocean absorption calculation.

    Emission pathways are created using narratives of future global population growth, technological development, globalization, and social objectives. That narratives can be useful as a long term prognostication is a pervasive myth. There is a parallel myth that climate models can provide a single deterministic solution.

    We are in the dark over the centennial evolution of climate – natural or anthropogenic. What is apparent in the short term is the ongoing rapid increase in CO2-eq emissions. In this regard the Kaya identity is less useful than the wedges concept over multiple gases and multiple sectors.

    Then there is the myth of sulfate cooling when mixed with black carbon in fossil fuel emissions.

    “In PNAS, Peng et al. (11) offer compelling experimental evidence and explanation for the underestimation of BC absorption by models. The authors explore how changes in aerosol morphology and coatings affect the absorption of ambient BC and find that aged BC aerosols have an absorption that is enhanced by a factor of 2.4 relative to BC in fresh emissions.”


    https://www.pnas.org/content/113/16/4243

    • The CO2-eq curve is very different to the CO2 emissions curve – and cannot be transformed into atmospheric concentrations with a simple ocean absorption calculation.

      I beg to differ, using a bulk linear sink of 0.021 ppm per ppm, I can fit 60 years of CO2 emission, the non-co2 forcing can be modeled simply by using a multiplicator of 1.4.

      • You may differ on this relatively trivial aspect of my comment – but I am underwhelmed.

      • (ellison can insult you & have you loving every minute of it… ☺️)

      • Proven valid for the last 60 years: The CO2 sink is proportional to the atmospheric CO2 level, not to emissions, that’s essentialy Darcy’s law for fluid flow or Ohm’s law for electric currents.. Don’t let the huge variations in vegetation uptake fool you, that’s just short term El Nino response.

      • Solubility of CO2 is not the problem I very briefly alluded to.

      • Other gases in the CO equivalent stable have very different solubilities.

        https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/gases-solubility-water-d_1148.html

        But even with the simpler problem – you seem orders of magnitude wrong.

        The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013 estimated that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production – from 1750 to 2011 – was about 365 billion metric tonnes as carbon (GtC), with another 180 GtC from deforestation and agriculture. Of this 545 GtC, about 240 GtC (44%) had accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 GtC (28%) had been taken up in the oceans with slight consequent acidification, and 150 GtC (28%) had accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems. ­­

  30. Pingback: Reassessing the RCPs | Watts Up With That?

  31. Pingback: Reassessing the RCPs |

  32. .
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶① . . . People of Earth !!! . . .
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶① . . . Our bacterial overlords, have a message for you. . . .
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    .

    People of Earth !!!

    Our bacterial overlords, have a message for you.

    A normal human body is made up of cells. 90% of the cells that make up a normal human body, are of bacterial origin.

    That’s right. Only 10% of the cells that make up a normal human body, are of human origin.

    If life was a democracy, then bacteria would control what you watch on television (and we wouldn’t watch the latest Star Trek series. We would watch “Game of Thrones” (we can’t wait for the next season to begin)).

    We are concerned that humans have started using chemicals which kill 99.9% of bacteria. Don’t you realise that 99.9% of bacteria are harmless, or actually beneficial to humans?

    Bacteria of the world, are about to take an important vote. Should we start using body-wash, which kills 99.9% of humans (we don’t have hands to rub the chemicals into our “skin”, so we have to use body-wash).

    Humans are stupid. And don’t get me started on global warming. We bacteria like temperatures to be about 5 to 10 degrees Celsius warmer than current temperatures. Then we can reproduce at our optimum rate, splitting in 2, once every 20 minutes. Even the way that you humans reproduce, is disgusting. Why there are so many of you vermin, we don’t understand.

    Once we have mastered using TV controls, then the thermostat is our next goal.

    It is important to realise that our bacterial overlords are benevolent. They do have the occasional party, which leaves you feeling bad. But they don’t go around slamming car doors loudly, in the middle of the night. They mean us no harm.

    After all, the human body is where bacteria live. It is their home. And reasonable people don’t destroy their own home.

    Think about coral reefs.

    Most reef-building corals contain photosynthetic algae, called zooxanthellae, that live in their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic relationship.

    The coral provides the algae with a protected environment and compounds they need for photosynthesis.

    In return, the algae produce oxygen and help the coral to remove wastes.

    Most importantly, zooxanthellae supply the coral with glucose, glycerol, and amino acids, which are the products of photosynthesis.

    The coral uses these products to make proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and produce calcium carbonate.

    The relationship between the algae and coral polyp facilitates a tight recycling of nutrients in nutrient-poor tropical waters. In fact, as much as 90 percent of the organic material photosynthetically produced by the zooxanthellae is transferred to the host coral tissue.

    This is the driving force behind the growth and productivity of coral reefs.

    When coral gets too selfish, then the algae leave. That’s right, they are not “thrown out” by the coral. They leave of their own free will.

    And then what happens to the coral. It “bleaches”. And the coral dies.

    Imagine what would happen to humans, if the bacteria decided to leave. Many of you would revert to amoebas. And that is if you were one of the lucky ones. Most of you would die.

    Think about “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, when the Earth was about to be destroyed to build a new hyperspace bypass. All of the dolphins left Earth. They were polite, and as they left, they said “So long, and thanks for all the fish”.

    If bacteria decide to leave humans, we won’t be that polite. Trust me, you don’t want to know who your next tenants are going to be.

    It reminds me of that Joni Mitchell song, “Big Yellow Taxi”. [ yes, the ear bacteria tell us what you listen to ]

    Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got til its gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    Please be kind to us. We want to help you. It is best for both of us, if we get along with each other. But you seem to want to destroy all of us.

    We accept that there are some bad bacteria. But they are a small minority. Nobody is claiming that Cholera, Diphtheria, Typhoid, or Tuberculosis, are good. But they are only a small part of the bacterial universe.

    We bacteria haven’t wiped out humanity, just because some humans form “boy bands”. Please be tolerant of us. We could come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. You can make the decisions from Monday to Friday, and we will make the decisions at the weekend. We will take control on Saturday and Sunday, and you can have a rest. You can see how reasonable we are. We only want control 2/7 of the time.

    You shouldn’t forget, that we don’t have to be that generous. If you are unreasonable, then you will get nothing. [ 5/7 of something, is better than 7/7 of nothing ] You may have noticed, that bacteria are very good at mathematics. We don’t have fingers to count on, but we are very good at binary arithmetic.

    History proves, that humans and bacteria can be a winning combination. The mitochondria that are found in every human cell, were once free-living bacteria. They formed a symbiotic relationship with primitive human cells, and look at how successful that has been for humans. Now mitochondria do all of the work, and humans sit around on their fat backsides. That worked out very well for us.

    Remember, that humans and bacteria never signed a prenuptial agreement. In the case of a divorce, we get custody of the mitochondria.

    So make your choice carefully. Although most of us are pacifists, we can turn nasty. We have many friends in top-secret American, Russian, and Chinese research laboratories.

    Don’t make us teach you a lesson.

    We can all be winners, if we cooperate.

  33. A major problem with these projections of future climate is that they are based on population growth that is extremely unlikely to happen. Most large countries are already below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1: Germany and Japan, 1.48, China, 1.64, Brazil, 1.70, Russian Federation, 1.76, USA, 1.88, Turkey, 2.02, Bangladesh, 2.05. Mexico is at 2.12 and will be below replacement within 5 years. India (2.28) and Indonesia (2.31) will be below 2.1 within ten years. https://knoema.com/atlas/topics/Demographics/Fertility/Fertility-rate All of these countries will have lower populations in 2100 than they do today.

    China’s population collapse is a major problem. Ten years ago about 22 million/year were reaching age 21. Now it is ~16 million/year. The current government estimate is that China’s population will start to decline in 2029. https://news.yahoo.com/china-population-rises-15-23-million-2018-rate-044134157.html It will lose several hundred million by 2100 (estimates range from 300 to 800 million, depending on whether they recover to 2.1 fertility or remain below 1.7).

    Any future temperature projection using an estimate of CO2 emissions in the needs to be based on the significant decrease in population worldwide by 2100.

  34. .
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶① . . . SkepticalScience jumps off a cliff . . .
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    .

    SkepticalScience recently published a short article, by somebody called Evan. The article was called “SkS Analogy 18 – Cliff jumping and temperature changes.

    The article starts with some “good” advice.

    “Regardless of the height of a cliff, jumping from cliffs is deadly. Hang-gliding from cliffs thrills. Jumping from cliffs kills.”

    I don’t like to nit-pick, but Evan, the author, doesn’t tell us how high the cliffs are. He said, “Regardless of the height of a cliff, jumping from cliffs is deadly.”

    But what if the cliff was only 10 centimetres high. I think that most people could survive a fall of 10 centimetres.

    Remember, that Evan said, “REGARDLESS of the height of a cliff”. So he didn’t specify a minimum height.

    This is a typical Alarmist tactic. They try to “trick” you, by playing on your emotions.

    They want you to picture yourself, crippled at the bottom of a 10 centimetre cliff, wishing that you had listened to their message about global warming.

    https://agree-to-disagree.com/skepticalscience-jumps-off-a-cliff

  35. Forget RCP 8.5. The fossil fuel industry will remain a sustainable business provided it can maintain a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2%, which it has been able to do for more than a century now.

    Thanks to Le Chatelier’s Principle, roughly half of our CO2 emissions are drawn down, leaving the other half to accumulate in the atmosphere. This is borne out by the following plot of accumulating atmospheric CO2 against cumulative emissions since 1900
    .

    Half of anything growing at 2% also grows at 2%. CO2 during 1000-1800 CE remained remarkably steady at 280±5 ppm. Since 1800 the excess over 280 ppm, which I’ll call ACO2 for Anthropogenic CO2, has been growing at 2% a year, reaching 400 – 280 = 120 ppm in 2014. Here’s a graph of log2(ACO2) since 1970.

    The slope gives the CAGR. It is getting straighter than ever.

    If this keeps up, by 2100 ACO2 will have reached 120*1.02^86 = 660 ppm. That plus 280 is 940 ppm.

    Although I said to forget RCP 8.5, for 2100 it lists CO2 at 936 ppm, not significantly different from the 2% CAGR model for ACO2.

    So keep an eye on the log(ACO2) curve. As soon as it starts to bend down, short your fossil fuel stocks.

    Until then pay no attention to those numerical prestidigitators who pull logistic curves out of hats and indicate where their inflection points are.

    And forget any talk of peak oil. Reserves keep being proven, with no obvious end in sight.

    • Thanks Vaughan

      I replied direct just before midnight our time. It is now coming up to 9.45 AM over here and as yet no reply back

      regards

      tonyb

    • Peak Oil is a certainty. It will not be announced beforehand. Most people will not find out about it until long afterwards.

      Here you have another growth curve

      • “Peak Oil is a certainty.”

        Parallels with climate change. The statement is true and meaningless from a policy perspective- how much, when, how rapid, where?
        Death is a certainty, but I’m going to watch TV tonight.

      • The statement is true and meaningless from a policy perspective

        It is not meaningless because it should be something that shouldn’t caught us unprepared.

        If you consider that oil used to flow by its own pressure just by poking the ground and now we have to make thousands of wells and fracture the rocks using great amounts of water to get it to flow, it is clear that we are reaching the bottom of the global barrel and the end is nigh. It might become a serious problem for this generation.

      • Well put, Javier (kind of scary)…

      • “…we have to make thousands of wells and fracture the rocks using great amounts of water to get it to flow…”
        Which the peak oil enthusiasts were saying wasn’t possible to do in the year 2000 and oil is hovering around $55/barrel even with China expansion and Venezuelan fields offline for a socialism break.

        I have a relative – engineer, advanced degrees – who was constantly trying to get me to read the books and websites on peak oil in ’99 and 2000. I read several of them. He was stockpiling food for the collapse and wanted me to join in the purchase orders. I don’t know how the discussions ovrer the last 10 years went in that house over the expense, but I’m glad they got through it. I didn’t write any checks, thank God.
        France is having a rougher time with that. I paid $1.87 per gallon last night (49-cents a liter for those of you outside the U.S.) The French are out in the street asking why they pay three times as much.

        Humans are problem solvers.
        Oil will run out, people will buy electric vehicles, nuclear plants will charge them, power-down and renewables enthusiasts will be disappointed. IMO fracking simply gives the left another decade or two to be silly.

    • I don’t understand why a downward deflection of the ACO2 curve would suggest shorting oil shares. Is it because the curve is an indicator of the effect of oil-burning which of course would be an effect of oil sales?

    • This is so one dimensional that I regard it as a Pratt spoof. One we are of course not clever enough to catch onto.

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2013 estimated that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and cement production – from 1750 to 2011 – was about 365 billion metric tonnes as carbon (GtC), with another 180 GtC from deforestation and agriculture. Of this 545 GtC, about 240 GtC (44%) had accumulated in the atmosphere, 155 GtC (28%) had been taken up in the oceans with slight consequent acidification, and 150 GtC (28%) had accumulated in terrestrial ecosystems.

      Bugger Le Chatelier – some of these things are in the hands of people. Along with methane, nitrous oxides, CFC’s and aerosols.

      But the fundamental problem with fossil fuels is that global energy demand is growing at a compounded rate of 3.6%. It may be prudent socially and economically to avoid the mother of all supply and demand crunches with commercialization in short order of cost competitive alternatives. I’m a big fan of modular nuclear.

  36. “Several years ago, a set of RCPs were requested by the climate modeling research community to span the range of net forcing from 2.6 W/m2 to 8.5 W/m2 (in year 2100 relative to 1750) so that physics within the models could be fully exercised.”

    Modtran gives a peak +2.86W/m2 for most of the globe with a doubling of CO2. That is worth about 0.47°C warming at a surface of 14°C. Who exactly knows the physics of the feedbacks?

  37. I don’t really understand what you say about step rises in emissions… …Do you mean there is a “(massive) coincidence” between our economy and temperature? I am not following you.

    Javier, this is a continuation of our conversation upthread…
    i know my articulation skills are not very good, but i hadn’t realized they were quite that bad. (RIE i am not… ☺️) So let me give it another shot:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/plot/esrl-co2/from:1958/mean:24/derivative/plot/hadsst3sh/from:1958/scale:0.25/offset:0.1

    The step rises that i’m referring to are in the atmospheric carbon dioxide growthrate (not emissions). You can easily see them in Spencer’s graph there. From the inception of the MLO record until the late 1970s the growthrate trends flat at more or less 1 ppm per year. Then we get our first step rise in the growthrate coincident with our well known step rise in temperature in the late 70s. From then until our next step rise circa 2000, the growthrate trends flat at more or less 1.5 ppm per year. And, again, this step rise around the turn of the millenium is coincident with another well known step rise in temperature. From the year 2000 until present, the growthrate has been more or less 2 ppm per year. That is what i mean by step rises in the growthrate and temperature.
    To date i’ve never come across an explanation for this, which i would term as, yes, a massive coincidence. (as i said, engelbeen just ignores it or even lies about it) How do you, Javier, rationalize the fact that the growthrate is clearly tracking with temperature and not (as per Spencer’s graph) human emissions? i see Pratt has one of those cumulative emissions graphs a few comments above. Without those step rises those graphs would not work. It’s those rises that are keeping the growthrate at roughly half of human emissions. Had temps remained at at what they were in the 60s and 70s the growthrate will still presumably be at just 1 ppm per year. Without a change in temperature we don’t ever (save pinatubo) get a corresponding change in the growthrate…

    as a footnote~ temperature refers to that of the southern ocean SSTs, the best fit with that of the MLO dataset

    • Even if the rise were entirely natural, nearly 100% of all naturally sourced CO2 would be sinking out.

      So what. We are still adding double of what it increases, so the increase is entirely due to us. There is no way around that simple fact. And both the ocean and the biosphere are net taking CO2 due to the atmospheric rapid increase. The idea that the increase in CO2 is natural is unsustainable.

      Javier, just because we are adding more than the rise in atmospheric concentrations does not mean that the increase is entirely due to us. Over the last half century there has been warming to which a few parts per million have been added to the atmosphere (assuming the validity of ice cores). And if ice cores should happen to be erroneous, then an even larger share of the increase could be from warming than that. Attribution cannot not be based on the simple fact that we are emitting more than the observed rise. The reason for this is simple. The mere addition of the anthropogenic source induces sink activity. For all that we actually know, the sink rate for the mass of the ACO2 may be the same as that of natural CO2 (near 100%). We can deduce that the rise is anthropogenic from ice cores and proxies, sure, but even then you still have the problem of those few parts per million expected with warming. When you say the word entirely it must mean entirely or attribution cannot be given through the mass balance. (there is no way around that simple fact)

      footnote~
      And both the ocean and the biosphere are net taking CO2 due to the atmospheric rapid increase.

      this would still hold true even if the mass of the aco2 were sinking at a rate near 100%…

    • Afonzarelli,

      I went and downloaded CO2 monthly data to check what you say.

      To date i’ve never come across an explanation for this

      None is necessary.

      Data was treated exactly the same for CO2 rate of increase and temperature. Monthly CO2 rate of increase was calculated from monthly CO2 levels. Yearly rate of increase was calculated by adding the monthly rate for the previous 12 months. Data was plotted and a gaussian smoothing was applied to highlight long-term changes.

      For temperature monthly HadCRUT temperature anomaly was used. Yearly temperature anomaly was calculated by adding the anomaly for the previous 12 months. Data was plotted and the same gaussian smoothing was applied to compare long-term changes.

      Both are increasing. CO2 because of emissions, temperature for a variety of reasons. Both respond to ENSO. That is why peaks and throughs coincide. CO2 appears to respond more to La Niña, and to volcanic eruptions, particularly to the Pinatubo eruption.

      They appear to be unrelated. Temperature shows the well-known ~60 year oscillation, while CO2 rate of increase doesn’t show any obvious periodicity besides ENSO. If CO2 was responding to climate (temperature) it should show the ~60-yr oscillation.

      Two things that are increasing always have a correlation, and if they both respond strongly to ENSO, then the correlation becomes good. But correlation is not causation.

      just because we are adding more than the rise in atmospheric concentrations does not mean that the increase is entirely due to us.

      Yes it does. If tomorrow we stop emitting completely in a year atmospheric CO2 is going down.

      What matters to atmospheric levels is net change. Ocean and biosphere are net sinks almost every year. They can respond to temperature by taking more or less, but they don’t add except during very strong Niño years. And they take that back afterwards.

      • Javier, you used the wrong temperature data set. The atmospheric CO2 growthrate matches that of hadsst3sh (not that of global temps).

        post script~ sorry i’m back to you so late. yer (humble) fonz has been busy. i hope you get this, more on mass balance later if time permits…

      • p.p.s.~ oops, i forgot. ’tis the weekend. not likely to get back at all. (perhaps monday, but then again you never know)…

  38. .
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶① . . . Who are the real Deniers? . . .
    ❶①❶①
    ❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶①❶
    .

    Consider the contributions that the following 3 people have made, to our understanding of global warming.
    .

    1) Sou from HotWhopper
    ======================

    Sou does a lot of bitching and moaning.

    And she waves her arms around a lot.

    And she insults people like me, by calling me a Denier.
    .

    2) Tamino from Open(?) Mind
    ===========================

    Tamino considers himself an “expert”.

    Tamino does “biased” statistical analyses. If you only look for warming, then you are likely to find it.

    Tamino deletes any post that I make on his website. He never replies.

    Tamino tried to prove that a graph that I developed (called a “Global Warming Contour Map”), was “defective”.

    I have over 35 years of experience in the computer industry. And my job is to test computer systems, and computer programs. My job title is “software tester”.

    I can tell you, that Tamino botched the test of my graph. His work was incompetent.

    I was so annoyed at what he did, that I wrote an article about it.

    Tamino calls me a Denier.
    .

    3) Sheldon Walker from agree-to-disagree.com
    ============================================

    To read the rest of this article, click the following link:
    https://agree-to-disagree.com/who-are-the-real-deniers

  39. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #346 | Watts Up With That?

  40. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #346 |

  41. It might just be me, but is anyone else having trouble making 936 ppm
    come out to 8.5 Wm-2?
    I think it is 936 ppm above the current state.
    5.35 X ln(936/280)= 6.45 Wm-2
    while 5.35 X ln( (408 +936)/280)=8.35 Wm-2

  42. Just in case you missed earlier missives, allow me to summarize this science yet again.

    1) 288 K – 255 K = 33 C warmer with the atmosphere is rubbish. 288 K is a WAG pulled from WMO’s butt. NOAA/Trenberth use 289 K. The 255 K is a theoretical S-B temperature calculation for a 240 W/m^2 ToA (w/ atmosphere!!) ASR/OLR balance (1,368/4 *.7) based on a 30% albedo.

    By definition no atmosphere includes no clouds, no water vapor, no oceans, no vegetation, no ice, no snow an albedo perhaps much like the moon’s 0.15. 70% of the lit side would always be above freezing, 100 % for weeks due to the seasonal tilt, not that it matters since there would be no water to freeze.

    Without the atmosphere the earth will get 20% to 40% more kJ/h depending on its naked albedo. That means a solar wind 20 to 30 C hotter w/o an atmosphere not 33 C colder. The atmosphere is like that reflective panel behind a car’s windshield.
    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6473732020483743744

    2) The 396 W/m^2 upwelling ideal BB LWIR that powers the RGHE is, as demonstrated by experiment, not possible. If this upwelling energy does not work – none of RGHE works.
    https://principia-scientific.org/debunking-the-greenhouse-gas-theory-with-a-boiling-water-pot/

    3) The 333 W/m^2 up/down/”back” GHG energy loop is thermodynamic nonsense, i.e. it’s calculated energy appearing out of nowhere, a 100% efficient perpetual energy loop, energy from cold to hot without work. (396 – 333 = 63) “net” radiation is thermodynamic nonsense.
    https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6457980707988922368

    4) 1) + 2) + 3) = 0 RGHE & 0 GHG warming & 0 man caused climate change.

    I’ve got the science. If you have some anti-science, BRING IT!!

    Nick Schroeder, BSME CU ’78, CO PE 22774

    P.S. According to NOAA the current rate of sea level rise is 3 mm/y. That’s not even a foot per century.

    P.P.S According to JAXA and DMI the sea ice and ice cap volumes have not deviated significantly from decades of natural variability.

  43. Is anyone else bored with Sheldon’s perennial irrelevant and off topic peregrinations? Or Nick’s incessantly repeated and off topic crude and eccentric theory?

    A global temperature of 288K is about the measured global average. The 33K difference is a crude calculation for a planet receiving about the same amount of insolation but without greenhouse gases. But it is also about the difference between temperature at the surface and the upper troposphere.

    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/timeseries/IPOTPI/

    The difference is the result of interactions of molecules in the atmosphere with electromagnetic radiation. The atmosphere is largely transparent to visible light and it warms the surface that then emits infrared photons. Greenhouse gas molecules resonate with IR photons with changes in kinetic energy or in electron quantum orbital states. IR photons are absorbed and re-emitted in random directions. Downward emissions warms the surface which then emits more photons in this ‘impossible loop’.

    In this experiment ‘in the classical style’ – an increase in random vectors of IR photons with increases in greenhouse gas atmospheric concentrations can be seen on a planetary scale from radiation measurements taken through narrow apertures.


    https://www.nature.com/articles/35066553

    “Rule 1 We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances.

    Rule 2 Therefore to the same natural effects we must, as far as possible, assign the same causes.

    Rule 3 The qualities of bodies, which admit neither intensification nor remission of degrees, and which are found to belong to all bodies within the reach of our experiments, are to be esteemed the universal qualities of all bodies whatsoever.

    Rule 4 In experimental philosophy we are to look upon propositions inferred by general induction from phenomena as accurately or very nearly true, not withstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined, till such time as other phenomena occur, by which they may either be made more accurate, or liable to exceptions.” Isaac Newton – Principia Mathematica

    Rules 1 & 2 apply to early 20th century warming – 3 & 4 to greenhouse gas warming. Reconciling both is the goal,

    Greenhouse gases are an example of slow change in the system that drives Arctic freshening and Atlantic heat transport that can push the system past an AMOC threshold with runaway ice sheet feedbacks.

  44. The discussion with Afonzarelli over quite a few comments above has been very fruitful, as it has produced a most interesting offshoot.

    I also compared atmospheric CO2 rate of change (ppm/year) with temperature rate of change (°C/year). According to theory if CO2 is increasing rapidly, warming should also increase. If CO2 is the main factor responsible for over 100% of the observed warming, according to IPCC:

    …then under no circumstance a long-term reduction in the rate of warming could be observed while CO2 is increasing strongly.

    Yet observations contradict theory.

    According to the 2nd order polynomial least-squares fit, the rate of warming (°C/year) went from negative but increasing, to positive and increasing. Yet around 1994 it stopped increasing and has since been decreasing, becoming negative again at around 2017.

    The CO2 hypothesis is a load of crap. The rate of warming could not decrease for over 20 years while the rate of increase in CO2 rised from 1.8 to 2.4 ppm/year.

    Since 1994 we don’t have global warming acceleration, we have global warming deceleration, that has recently turned into global cooling. Expect the fun to continue. That looks like a ~90-yr oscillation.

    • A blow up of the temperature rate:

      Have fun with Excel and tell your friends.

      • Javier

        All very interesting.

      • Ancillary to your specific point but addressing a broader, related area. Nearly every week some new revelations or insights are offered by a variety of commenters and papers. It’s been fascinating to learn so many aspects of our climate and the dynamics that are or could be at play. I think of all that has been learned since the first IPCC Report and wonder, with all that they didn’t know, (and they knew they didn’t know), how could they have produced that document in good scientific conscience?
        The IPCC did a disservice to our natural inclination of having scientific curiosity for no other reason than being able to understand what is. Just like Edmund Hillary’s reason for climbing Mt Everest, “Because it’s there.”, people will still go on trying to know more than they presently know. For no other reason than it is who we are.

    • Unless you are considering refuting quantum mechanics then greenhouse gas theory is far from crap.

      “The role of natural variability paints a different picture than one of steadily rising global mean temperatures. Indeed, the combination of decadal variability plus a heating trend from increasing greenhouse gases makes the GMST record more like a rising staircase than a monotonic climb.” https://theconversation.com/is-the-global-warming-hiatus-over-45995


      “Seasonal global mean surface temperatures from NOAA, after 1920, relative to the mean of the 20th century. The seasons are defined as December-February, etc. A 20-term Gaussian filter is used to show the decadal variations (heavy black curve). (middle) The seasonal mean Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) anomalies, in units of standard deviation. The positive (pink) and negative (light blue) PDO regimes are indicated throughout the figure. (bottom) Decadal average anomalies (starting 1921-1930) of GMST (green) along with piecewise slopes of GMST for the phases of the PDO (yellow). Kevin Trenberth/Data from NOAA, Author provided”

      Trenberth is wrong about evidence showing that shifts in ocean and atmospheric circulation do not change TOA energy flux – in ways I have discussed far too often to want to repeat now. But he is far more correct than Javier.

      • Unless you are considering refuting quantum mechanics then greenhouse gas theory is far from crap.

        I did not say greenhouse gas theory is crap. I said the CO2 hypothesis is crap. They are two different things, although I see you do not distinguish them.

        Greenhouse theory: Theory describing how the surface temperature of a planet, with an atmosphere containing greenhouse gases, is determined by the balance between the absorbed solar radiation and the emitted infrared radiation. Due to the presence of greenhouse gases, infrared radiation emission to space takes place mostly from the atmosphere instead of the surface, and the temperature of the surface becomes warmer. Changes in the amount of greenhouse gases cause an imbalance between absorbed and emitted energy, due to a change in the height of infrared radiation emission. The balance is restored by a change in the surface and atmosphere temperature, causing a change in climate.

        CO2 hypothesis: Hypothesis proposing that the amount of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is the main factor governing the temperature of its surface, and that changes in CO2 levels caused most large climate changes in the past and are responsible for present global warming.

        The decrease in warming rate over the past 24 years while CO2 has been increasing rapidly demonstrates that the CO2 hypothesis is wrong. CO2 changes cannot be the main factor causing Modern Global Warming. Contributor yes, main driver not.

      • I got as far as the ‘CO2 hypothesis’ and ‘greenhouse gas theory’ being two different things.

      • I am not surprised.

      • Exactly. Yawn to everything you say. Too much ado about nothing.

      • You miss too much that is fundamental in internal Earth system dynamics for an illusions of cycles. A Fourier analysis of climate time series will give sine waves – but these are a mathematical artifact. Climate evolves moment by moment – from solar variability to internal responses – as persistence and ergodic regime change in a complex dynamical system. I don;t expect you to understand any of that.

        Your reaction to challenges is obdurate, inflexible and childish. You deny too much to be remotely credible in my opinion. Any invent things freely based on the flimsiest graphology. Yawn.

      • If there is no change in TOA energy flux then surface temperature variability is due to changes in partitioning of energy between oceans and atmosphere and Trenberth’s decadal increase in GMST is all anthropogenic. There are geophysics that graphology cannot reveal.

    • Javier, it would be interesting to see the same sort of graph with regards to ocean warming, too. i oft wonder if all the excess anthropogenic warming is ending up there instead of at the surface. (as do some of the big wigs, of course, in the agw debate) If the rate of warming is increasing in the oceans, then perhaps there may well be your smoking gun seeing how it’s not showing up at the surface. In the last analysis it may not exactly be crap, but for all practical purposes it would be. Politically we’re all so focused on the surface where we all live. i can’t imagine that cooling surface temps while the ocean continues to warm will stir the politicos into any meaningful action. Heck, even the perceived surface warming to date has yet to do much in the way of meaningful action. (unless one considers Paris to be meaningful)…

      • Ocean temperature data is not sufficiently reliable. The situation has improved with Argo, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. No wonder that the missing heat hides in the ocean. You can hide anything in that data.

        The atmosphere cannot warm the ocean. The main exchange of temperature goes from the sun –> ocean –> atmosphere. Atmospheric temperature limits the heat it takes from the ocean, and that is one of the main mechanisms by which the planet warms and cools. The other is the amount of heat that the sun puts in the ocean.

      • That gosh dern 2nd law does get in the way of everything (doesn’t it?). Well… At least higher atmospheric temperatures do leave SSTs higher than they otherwise would be. And if those higher SSTs keep the ocean further out of temperature equilibrium, then we would see greater ocean warming. (which would be nice to see in graph form just like you did with surface temps) i know it’s controversial, that the ocean is out of temperature equilibrium, though i don’t know why. Think of an aquarium, with little fish, and a heater placed at the top of the tank to warm them. i’m with our little jimmy d on this one. (complete with misnomered warming in the pipeline et al) And if that warming mainly stays in the ocean, agw is politically a dead fish…

  45. Hi.
    I’m not a climate scientist nor am I expert on this topic. But I cannot help but be astounded by following:
    -In 2000, RPC 8.5 estimate was made as “higher scenario”
    -In 2018, it was concluded that this is the scenario we are now tracking
    -So there was a prediction, that was doubted as too pesimistic, we are on track for it so far as I can see 18 years later, and it’s being argued that it should be dismissed because it’s too pesimistic? What am I missing here?
    Further, article takes graph showing all fossil fuel emissions, and then argues that emission from one particular fossil fuel(coal) may decrease, when it’s not at all visible in the graph (presumably attached for a reason of being somehow related to the topic) how much of that graph is coal supposed to represent (if this was even distinguished at all)?

    • Libor, you came to the right place if you are interested in getting to the root of the scientific debates. The answers to your good questions could be very long but I will try to give my short take.

      “…we are on track for it so far as I can see 18 years later, and it’s being argued that it should be dismissed because it’s too pessimistic?”

      It’s easier to be nearly on track for a 18 years out then 100 years out. I commented above that the RCP2.6 scenario was unrealistically optimistic option. The main problem with RCP8.5 is that is does not account for any reaction to fossil fuel scarcity or to global warming. But even if the warming of the last 100 years is less than 50% due to CO2 and the natural solar and orbital are going to offset any warming completely in the next 80 years we would still be advancing in non-fossil fuel energy technologies, which would lower the cost of alternative energy in comparison to the ever scarcer fossil fuel.

      “Further, article takes graph showing all fossil fuel emissions, and then argues that emission from one particular fossil fuel(coal) may decrease, when it’s not at all visible in the graph (presumably attached for a reason of being somehow related to the topic) how much of that graph is coal supposed to represent (if this was even distinguished at all)?”

      It is much easier to stop the use of one fossil fuel then all. Coal is a villain to all but the most unbelieving. It not only produces much less energy per carbon molecule then CO2 it also creates black carbon particulate, which may be largely responsible for melting NH glaciers by getting them dirty and less reflective. Even if CO2 is not the cause of most global warming we are still left with the danger of melting Greenland and sea level rise. I think that issue is a solvable problem in the future. One should not forget technology’s trend.

      • Thanks for reply.
        “It’s easier to be nearly on track for a 18 years out then 100 years out. I commented above that the RCP2.6 scenario was unrealistically optimistic option. The main problem with RCP8.5 is that is does not account for any reaction to fossil fuel scarcity or to global warming. But even if the warming of the last 100 years is less than 50% due to CO2 and the natural solar and orbital are going to offset any warming completely in the next 80 years we would still be advancing in non-fossil fuel energy technologies, which would lower the cost of alternative energy in comparison to the ever scarcer fossil fuel.”
        Certainly the deviations are expected to grow from the initial estimates as the time goes on. However so far they went the way that was considered too pesimistic. In that situation, there is estimate that was too optimistic(actually two of them), there is one that is so far right on track, so at this point I would argue that if estimates for policy making are desirable, then they should be
        1) revised (too) optimistic estimates(you know, everybody will suddenly start tree hugging, fusion will suddenly kick in, everybody will switch to hydrogen powered cars, take your pick or get the whole bag)
        2) Untouched 8.5 estimates, because after nearly 1/5th of the total timeframe it’s right on track
        3) New pesimistic scenario (worse then 8.5)
        I’ll give you a simple example – in my country, they have written off certain coal reserves, to guarantee certain villages wouldn’t be destroyed. They did this by law some 20 years ago. New laws were passed that already broken some of these limits. It’s also my understanding that new sites were found in some parts of the world, and probably there are still unaccounted for reserves. Also previously considered uneconomical locations can become more accessible with technology advancements.

        “It is much easier to stop the use of one fossil fuel then all…”
        But that was not the argument in the article, and it wasn’t what I challenged. I have challenged that when talking about reducing total fossil fuel emission estimates decrease, you cannot pick one fuel source and ignore other two (gas and oil). Presumably something will need to replace coal if it were to be dropped. Yes there is a progress being made, but so far as I could see, this was also part of the RCP models, and the progress so far has not been sufficient to follow lower estimate models, so there is no point in being opitimistic now. The whole argument is like “Well, we were saying this will work for 20 years, it hasn’t worked till now, so we should talk even more how this will work and dismiss anything that has the audacity to suggest it won’t kick in tomorrow.” I mean, why else would you even have this di

      • Libor, thanks for your reply. You make a good point that technology advancement will not only make alternative energy more viable but will expand recoverable fossil fuel reserves. This is true. However, Tesla, the electric car maker/solar panel installer, has seen its stock double in the last two years while offshore drillers have seen their stocks crumble. Investors want to put their money on alternative energy research now. This market trend will likely continue.

        Predicting that CO2 emission growth would continue for twenty years in no way validates the prediction that there will be no mitigation. There has been much action in alternative energy. Market domination does not happen overnight. And to say that we have followed the most pessimistic path from 2000 I think is unsupportable.

        As far as policy solutions I think Dr. Curry’s testimony today was excellent. https://judithcurry.com/2019/02/06/hearing-climate-change-the-impacts-and-the-need-to-act/
        “With regards to energy policy and its role in reducing emissions – there are currently two options in play:
        Option # 1: Do nothing, continue with the status quo
        Option #2: Rapidly deploy wind and solar power plants, with the goal of eliminating fossil fuels in 1-2 decades
        Apart from the gridlock engendered by considering only these two options, in my opinion, neither option gets us to where we want to go. A third option is to re-imagine the 21st century electric power systems, with new technologies that improve energy security, reliability and cost while at the same time minimizing environmental impacts. However, this strategy requires substantial research, development and experimentation. Acting urgently on emissions reduction by deploying 20th century technologies could turn out to be the enemy of a better long-term solution.

        Given that reducing emissions is not expected to change the climate in a meaningful way until late in the 21st century, adaptation strategies are receiving increasing attention.

        The extreme damages from recent hurricanes plus the billion dollar losses from floods, droughts and wildfires, emphasize the vulnerability of the U.S. to extreme events. It’s easy to forget that U.S. extreme weather events were actually worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s. Regions that find solutions to current impacts of extreme weather and climate events will be better prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change, and to address near-term social justice objectives.

        The industry leaders that I engage with seem hungry for a bipartisan, pragmatic approach to climate policy. I see a window of opportunity to change the framework for how we approach this.”

  46. https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/24/is-rcp8-5-an-impossible-scenario/

    “The recently published U.S. National Climate Assessment shows that we are currently on track for RCP8.5.”

    Economy/stock prices are one thing.
    Adjusting existing infrastructure another(lot of energy projects, existing and new, is not funded by market but by state donations – this includes in many forms also nuclear power), even if we ignore significant state funded contributions to R&D.
    Building and maintaining new infrastructure in poor countries yet another.
    I don’t say that things cannot change, just that they haven’t changed enough so far, and since it was previously being claimed they would change already much more significantly already, I have(I think) reasonable skepticism about claims this will happen tomorrow.
    “And to say that we have followed the most pessimistic path from 2000 I think is unsupportable. ”
    I am in no position to assess this, I was working under hypothesis that information in the blog are supposed to be accurate:
    https://judithcurry.com/2018/11/24/is-rcp8-5-an-impossible-scenario/
    second paragraph:
    “The recently published U.S. National Climate Assessment shows that we are currently on track for RCP8.5.”

    As for the hearing… well, it’s pretty generic statement. Problems with storage of energy from sources such as solar and wind, are well recognized and not so well addressed at this point (though there is lot of development that is arguably result of lot of attention these technologies have received in last couple decades). There are certainly things that will be needed (unless we nuke ourselves to stone age or completely), such as robust energy grids. So these are pretty safe things that can be invested to already. Some additional pumped-storage hydroelectricity could be worthwhile as well, even if it is very unlikely to go anywhere near solving storage problem on it’s own.
    “Regions that find solutions to current impacts of extreme weather and climate events will be better prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change, and to address near-term social justice objectives.”
    Well, except there isn’t all that much to solve – if there is going to be hurricane wiping certain areas year after year, the “finding solution” is simply abandoning those areas for any significant permanent settlements. That costs a lot.
    I absolutely agree that perhaps some projects need to be better thought out, however at the same time, I would argue that there should be enough funding for modest improvements as well as funding for the case where massive improvements are needed. I would say since we are pretty sure that fossils (including oil and gas) are eventually going to run out (and their extraction costs will be increasing more and more) it makes least sense to invest massively into(largest and most likely potential for waste).

    • Libor, your logic is sound except for just a few questionable assumptions.

      “…I was working under hypothesis that information in the blog are supposed to be accurate.”

      Sometimes information is quoted for the point of proving it inaccurate.

      “Well, except there isn’t all that much to solve – if there is going to be hurricane wiping certain areas year after year, the “finding solution” is simply abandoning those areas for any significant permanent settlements. That costs a lot.”

      Tropical cyclones follow chaotic paths. Also there is zero statistical evidence for increased storm frequency or intensity from the past 100 years. This point was made in Dr. Curry’s recent testimony. The false assumption you gained from media bias (and activist scientists).

      Also, your assumption that we are not doing anything, like changing building codes in vulnerable areas, is not correct, at least for the USA.

      • Hi Ron.
        First I would like to clarify why new thread – simply there is not option to reply to your previous reaction. I don’t know if that’s website bug or there is some logic behind it.
        “Sometimes information is quoted for the point of proving it inaccurate.”
        I haven’t noticed anything in the post that would be shredding a bit of doubt on the development so far, only arguments that there are reasons why it may not be accurate in future.
        For the later part, I just tried to point out that it seems to me that Dr. Curry was arguing that solutions that are too radical may be so costly that they will offset the potential benefits, and to me it seems important that if the warnings are accurate, then their results will be complete write offs of significant land areas that will be completely lost to the economy (except possibly as diving and fishing sites). It is not all that obvious which actions exactly that are being seriously pushed for by significant enough bodies could be so severe that would be worse than this.
        As for the cyclones and testimony, my impression is that the argument is that there are some reasonable explanation of certain weather behavior from past, and we are lacking parallel justification for activities today, and that this part is – for the admittedly very small scope of work of Dr. Curry I’m familiar with – being completely ignored on the grounds that climate models may not be accurate and we just don’t know enough. For me that’s not good enough – it seems all too much like “What you are saying doesn’t suit me so I’m going to ignore everything you say on the grounds that it may be inaccurate, without offering better or at least as good explanations.” I do realize that at a times it can objectively be the case that we don’t know enough, but where someone is proposing an explanations and what steps should be taken based on them, while working all the time on the problem, most other people that spend time working same problem draw similar conclusions, they do deserve some credibility and the arguments against them should be far better to be taken seriously.

        Building codes are probably not going to improve situation in areas such as New Orleans that already have flooding issues. And of course New Orleans problems are very diverse but the problem is there could be dozens new New Orleanses.

  47. This from leading forecaster and climate analyst Judah Cohen:

    I did want to use the blog to explain some of my ideas on how Arctic change can lead to extreme winter weather. I feel that there have been certain things said about my ideas that are simply not true and I want to correct the record. I do not claim that climate change will lead to colder absolute winters than fifty, sixty or how many years ago, though a clear cooling trend was observed from circa 1990 to mid 2010’s. Instead I claim that winters across the mid-latitude continents are colder than predicted or projected by the models. Observed winters have been consistently colder than the model ensemble-mean and is as cold as the coldest ensemble members or even colder than the coldest ensemble member.

Leave a Reply to Libor Zurek Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s