Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Climate Change to Hit Australia Hard

I don't want to sound like I'm picking on Australia, it's just that there is a lot of climate news about the nation worth mentioning (Here's another.). The fact they have an anti-science prime minister makes it more noteworthy. A new study has illustrated the problem once again.

The national science agency CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have completed an in-depth study of the country's climate future and found Australia can expect to see temperature increases of about 5 degrees C by 2190, much worse than what is currently expected for the rest of the world. A news report states,
According to the report, this “business-as-usual” approach to burning fossil fuels is set to cook Australia more than the rest of the world, which will average a temperature increase of 2.6C to 4.8C by 2090.
So, while Prime Minister Abbott continues to reject science and tell the pollution making industries they don't have to clean up their mess, the people of Australia continue to bear the brunt of the damage. But, then again, they are the ones that elected him.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Air Pollution Provides Model of Success

"Urbanization and Air Pollution: Then and Now," by David D. Parrish and William R. Stockwell appeared in Eos, Earth and Space Science News, Vol 96, No 1, 15 Jan 2015, page 12. The article was about events concerning air pollution since the 1940s, but it provides an interesting analogy for how to deal with climate change. The situation with air pollution was very similar and many of the problems were the same.

The authors wrote of how bad air pollution was in the 1940s and 1950s, stating, "Episodes of high levels sulfurous smog killed or sickened thousands in Donora, Penn, in 1948, as well as in London in 1952." Continuing, they state, "These events were the result of very high emissions of sulfur dioxide, smoke, and other particles during stagnant, foggy weather conditions." Additionally,
At its height in the 1950s and 1960s, air pollution got so bad in Los Angeles that reportedly "parents kept their kids out of school; athletes trained indoors; citrus growers and sugar-beet producers watched in dismay as their crops withered; the elderly and young crowded into doctors' offices and hospital ERs with throbbing heads and shortness of breath"

The situation they describe was one where high levels of manmade emissions caused all sorts of environmental issues - similar to the situation with climate change.

They then state,
In North America and Europe, the coupling of industrialization and air pollution required the creation of air quality standards and regulations for emissions sources such as vehicles, electrical power generation, and industrial facilities. The success of these efforts has caused the most severe air pollution episodes to be distant memories in those regions.

If you didn't know the article was about air pollution it would be easy to think they are discussing actions to control climate change in this discussion. Even the sources of the emissions are the same.
In Los Angeles, scientific and engineering advances combined with political and societal commitment sustained over decades resulted in remarkable air quality improvement.

Of course, the issue is cost and they state, "Looking back, has the improved air quality in our cities been worth the large expense required?" Again, the parallels are interesting, in a grim, scholarly way. Today, we are faced with manmade emissions that are destroying the climate and causing all manner of deleterious effects on people. The only way to deal with the problem is to address the source, but the question is how much is it going to cost?

The EPA said the cost of air pollution control was an estimated $520 billion between 1970 and 1990 (constant 1990 dollars). At the same time there have been benefits and the EPA estimates monetized benefits to come to $22 trillion. That is about 44 times as much as the cost. The cost-to-benefit ratio is very good. With the success of air pollution control measures, you would think it would be easy to convince the populous and governments climate change legislation is a good thing. I mean, who wouldn't like an investment where you get $44 for ever $1 you invest? The problem is people have forgotten how bad it used to be.
Progress there and across the United States occurred over such a long period that many have forgotten how bad air pollution once was and have failed to notice the gains made. In fact, most people alive in the United States today never experienced the very poor air quality of Los Angeles that occurred in past decades. This fading societal memory poses another challenge: how to ensure that improved air quality is not compromised as communities focus on efforts to spur depressed economies and deal with other urgent societal problems.
People forget. They forget how bad it was; they forget how we fought the problem; they forget how we overcame the problem. But, the worst part is they forget there was even any problem to begin with.

Once again, the analogy is a good one. People don't believe how bad the climate change problem is; they don't believe we can overcome the problem; they don't believe it is to our benefit to overcome the problem; but, worst of all, they don't believe there is a problem.





Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guest Submission: Clean Air Act

From: Burl Henry
Date:01/24/2015 5:00 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: Chris Keating
Subject: The Role of SO2 in Climate Change

Back in 1977, the Nobel prize for peace was awarded to Albert Gore and the IPCC for their work in promoting the theory that global warming was caused by greenhouse gasses, and that, based upon computer simulations, increasing amounts of these gasses in the atmosphere would eventually cause runaway warming, with disastrous consequences for the planet.

At the time, this appeared to be a plausible explanation for the observed warming, since CO2 levels in the atmosphere were clearly rising.  However, for the past 16 years or so, there has been a "pause" (no statistically significant warming) in the warming trend, leaving climate scientists around the world scratching their heads for an explanation, since this was not predicted by any of their models.

After studying the problem, I find that it can be proved, from published data, that the observed warming was actually a "side effect" of the American Clean Air Acts (1970, 1990) and similar efforts abroad, and had nothing to do with greenhouse gasses.

Just as the global cooling caused by a large volcanic eruption ends after its emissions have settled out of the atmosphere, warming will naturally occur whenever other pollutants are removed.  As the Clean Air efforts were implemented, warming gradually occurred (the hockey stick)--as it HAD to--but the warming was wrongly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions rather than simply to the cleaner, more transparent air (fewer dimming aerosols to weaken the sun's rays)

(This climatic response can be considered to be a "Law of Nature", since some warming will naturally occur whenever a pollutant haze is removed from the atmosphere)

For example, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 injected 17-22 Megatons of SO2 (plus other fine particulate matter) into the stratosphere, resulting in 0.4-0.5 deg.C. of global cooling.  As the pollution settled out, temperatures rose to pre-eruption levels, due to decreased dimming, an increase of 0.4-0.5 deg. C. from the nadir.  Using the averages of 0.45 deg.C and 19.5  Megatons, this represents a temperature rise of approx. .023 deg. C. for each Megaton of SO2 removed.

Again, simply removing pollution from the air will cause surface temperatures to naturally rise,due to greater insolation (warming of the earth's surface).

The global atmospheric loading of dimming anthropogenic SO2 aerosols peaked around 1972 at approx 126 Megatons, and by year 2000, due to Clean Air efforts, SO2 emissions in the West  were reduced by about 56 Megatons, a reduction of  44%. However, in the same time period, SO2 emissions in the East rose by about 28 Megatons, for a net decrease of  28 Megatons.

(The changing  loading of SO2 in the atmosphere is nicely shown in the graph "Global Anthropogenic SO2 Emissions" in the paper "Anthropogenic Sulfur Dioxide Emissions:  1850-2005" by S.J. Smith, et al.  This graph was compiled by Robert A. Rhode from published data.  Most of the SO2 levels cited herein were carefully extracted from that graph. 

Applying the ".023 deg. C. per Megaton of SO2 removed" relationship to the 28 Megatons of SO2 removed, 1972-2000, gives an expected temperature rise of 0.64 deg. C.  This is essentially identical to the amount of anomalous warming that actually occurred, leaving NO room for, or any indication of,  warming due to greenhouse gasses.

The fact that an empirically-derived factor from the Mount Pinatubo eruption accurately predicts the amount of temperature rise resulting from the removal of 28 Megatons of dimming anthropogenic aerosols due to Clean Air efforts proves that the climatic effect of removing stratospheric and tropospheric aerosols and dust is identical.

It also proves that the IPCC "Graph of Radiative Forcings" is incorrect, since it fails to include any forcing due to the removal of dimming anthropogenic aerosols from the atmosphere

The ultimate test of any hypothesis lies in it ability to make accurate predictions. Here, it accurately predicted the amount of warming that would occur if a net 28 Megatons of anthropogenic SO2 aerosols were removed from the atmosphere.

Another example:  Between 2000 and 2005, there was an additional decrease of 4.2 Megatons of SO2 emissions in the West, and an increase of 5.0 Megatons elsewhere, for a net increase of 0.8 Megaton, representing  a rise of only .023 x  0.8 = .024 deg. C (illustrating the "pause"--which is simply areas with decreasing emissions offsetting those with increasing emissions as they diffuse through the atmosphere.

In contrast, the models incorporating CO2 shown in the IPCC fourth assessment report (Fig. SPM 5) projected an increase of 0.8-1.2 deg. C.--which did not happen.

A third example:  During the 1930's depression era, anthropogenic SO2 levels decreased by approx. 29 Megatons, largely due to decreased industrial activity.  Using the ".023" factor, a temp. rise of 0.68 deg. C would be expected--again, essentially identical to that which did occur.

The accuracy of the above three cited examples proves that the ".023 deg. C. temp. rise for each Megaton of SO2 removed" factor is basically correct (although some minor tweaking might be needed, as it is more closely examined).  Conversely, an increase in the amount of SO2 in the atmosphere will cause a decrease in global temperatures.

Another example of the cooling effect of SO2 aerosols:  In the period 1960-1972, the atmospheric loading of SO2 increased from 91 Megatons to 126 Megatons, an increase of 35 Megatons.  Using the ".023" factor, a temperature decrease of about 0.8 deg. C. would be expected--again basically correct (This was the era when there were worries about the dawn of a new Ice Age).

The correlations noted above should make it possible to predict ensuing temperature changes based upon changing levels of SO2 in the air (apart from any changes due to changes in solar irradiance)-  

Hundreds of billions of dollars and much human misery have been caused by efforts to reduce atmosphere CO2 levels  (which, as I have shown, have had no detectable warming effect), and SO2 levels to the point where excessive warming has occurred.  It is unfortunate, but continued efforts to clean the air will only cause more warming and misery, not less..  

As the climatologist Beate Liepert once remarked "We thought we live in a global warming world, but this is actually not right.  We live in a global warming plus a global dimming world and now we are taking out the global dimming.  So we end up with a global warming world, which will be much worse than we thought, much hotter".  
 
 
Response:
 
Let's give Mr. Henry the benefit of the doubt on his start. Al Gore and the IPCC received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, not 1997. Let's just say that was a typo on the part of Mr. Henry.  
 
The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Albert Arnold (Al) Gore Jr. "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change"
That description is considerably different than Mr. Henry's description of their award as:
for their work in promoting the theory that global warming was caused by greenhouse gasses, and that, based upon computer simulations, increasing amounts of these gasses in the atmosphere would eventually cause runaway warming, with disastrous consequences for the planet. 
 
I can't give him a pass on this one. It took me all of about 5 seconds (and I had to correct a typo on my search) to get the exact wording of the award. So, why didn't Mr Henry make the effort to be accurate? This is a political statement, not a scientific one.

Mr Henry's next paragraph is full of factually incorrect statements. There has been no "pause" and warming has continued unabated. Take a look at this graph and explain to me how warming has stopped:
Source: NOAA
We know that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. We know the 15 years since the turn of the century have all been in the top 20 hottest years ever recorded and the probability of that is about 1 in 1.5 quadrillion. The facts are there, there has been no pause in global warming. Mr. Henry was incorrect about that.
 
Ultimately, this claim of a "pause" is a false argument and very deceptive. It fails the test in two ways. First, the claim is based on the idea of doing a comparison between 1998 and today. Take a loot at the graph above. You can see 1998 was an abnormally hot year. Still, if you draw a line from 1998 to today you get positive warming. But, try this and see how it is a false argument. Instead of using 1998, use 1999.  Mr. Henry stated there has been no warming "for the past 16 years or so." If you can count starting in 1998, then 1999 certainly falls within that time frame and we can easily see there has been considerable warming between 1999 and today. Further, try this again using 1997 and you get the same result, considerable warming between then and now. This is know as cherry picking and it is one of the favorite false arguments of deniers. What is disturbing about their claim is they are telling us the exceptional year of 1998 is not the the routine year of today. We have reached the point where 1998 is 'the good old days.'

Look at it this way: The 1980s where the hottest decade ever recorded at the time. Every year of the 1990s was hotter than the average of the 1980s, making it the hottest decade ever recorded at the time. Every year of the 2000s was hotter than the average of the 1990s, making it the hottest decade ever recorded at the time. Every year of the 2010s has been hotter than the average of the 2000s, making this decade the hottest ever recorded. So far.
 
The second way it is false is because he has failed to include 93% of global warming - the warming of the oceans.

If you wish to say the rate of warming has slowed down, that is fine. But, when you say the warming has stopped, that is a completely false statement.

And, Mr. Henry continues to be in error with his statement of models. Take a look:

Source: Nature Geoscience (via The Guardian)
The model forecast from the 1990s is the dashed black line. The actual measurements are the yellow triangles and the red line is the 10-year running average. As you can easily see, repeated claims that models are not accurate are complete false. So, why do deniers keep repeating it? This is just one example. There are many more. Take a look here. Here's another. The argument about models is both false and a false argument. As we have seen, models are actually quite accurate. But, so what? We are talking about the real world, not some numerical representation. This is what is known as a strawman. The deniers are trying to take the attention off the real problem - global warming - and bring up a new topic - climate models. Stick to the topic, Mr. Henry.
 
Mr. Henry then goes into his claim that global warming is nothing more than a consequence of the Clean Air Act.  He has been pushing this claim on this website since last summer when I was running the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge. You can see his submission and my response here and his resubmission with my second response here. He has also continued to push his claim in many comments. Now, he is back for another try. Clearly, Mr. Henry is just not satisfied with any science that is counter to his claims.

For instance, he states,
As the Clean Air efforts were implemented, warming gradually occurred (the hockey stick)--as it HAD to--but the warming was wrongly attributed to greenhouse gas emissions rather than simply to the cleaner, more transparent air (fewer dimming aerosols to weaken the sun's rays)
Wait, a minute. The Clean Air Act was passed in the U.S. in 1963. Here is the hockey stick:
 

Yikes! Not a match. I don't know why he made a reference to the hockey stick, but it wasn't a good one. But, we aren't concerned with the historical record, just the record since 1963.Take a look:




When we examine this record, we can see the global temperature starts rising right around 1964, just after the Clean Air Act was passed. Does Mr. Henry have a point? From this data alone, you might think so. The problem is this - The Clean Air Act was an American law, not international one. We need to take a look at global SO2 emissions. After all, that is the gist of Mr. Henry's claim. If the temperature changes in tandem with changes in the the SO2 levels, he might have a point. Now, it doesn't have to change perfectly in synch with the SO2 levels changes, but we need to see temperature go up when SO2 goes down, and vice versa.

This plot shows worldwide SO2 emissions:
Source: PNNL
This plot shows there is a nearly continuous rise in SO2 levels between sometime in the 1940s until about 1980. It then drops from roughly 1980 until 1990 before rising again until the mid-1990s, then dropping again. What is not shown in this graph, but is reported elsewhere, is that the SO2 levels continued to rise after the turn of the century.

Now, compare that to the temperature record. The temperature record rose almost continuously for the entire period. There was one drop in the early 1990s and that is attributed to the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 1991. Based on Mr. Henry's hypothesis and the SO2 record, we would expect to see the temperature drop until 1980, rise from 1980 until 1990, then drop until the mid-1990s (with consideration for Mt Pinatubo), then rising again. And, based on the 21st century SO2 levels, we would expect to see the temperature drop again.

But, in fact, the temperature record does not show that. There is a very poor correlation between the actual temperature record and the expected temperature based on Mr. Henry's hypothesis.

We can conclude there is, at best, only a neglible effect on global temperature based on the Clean Air Act. Even worldwide emissions from all countries fails to account for the rise in the global temperature record.

It is fair to say Mr. Henry's hypothesis does not pass scientific scrutiny.

So, where did he go wrong?

There are two fatal flaws in his claim. The first claim is he equates U.S. SO2 emissions to worldwide emissions. The fact that the U.S. (and even Europe) decreased their emissions does not mean the world did and we can see, in fact, the worldwide emissions continued to climb long after the Clean Air Act was enacted.

The second fatal flaw is his belief that SO2 in the stratosphere is the same as SO2 in the troposphere and this is not true. The daily SO2 emissions from industry creates an SO2 density of about 1 part per billion. Mt Pinatubo created a density of about 15 parts per billion, about 15 times as great. For this reason, you cannot equate an amount of SO2 from Mt Pinatubo to an equal amount of SO2 from industry. One lingers and builds higher concentration levels than the other.
 
I am 100% convinced Mr. Henry is convinced of the validity of his claim, but it doesn't matter how many times he says it, the science just does not support his claim.
 
This claim has now been submitted three times and been shown to be scientifically invalid three times. 
Additionally, readers of this blog have been subjected to Mr. Henry's comments that simply reject the data and the science. I know he will not be satisfied, but that is what happens when you decide to reject science.

I will not accept anymore submissions on this topic. The horse is dead. Stop beating on it.
 









Friday, January 23, 2015

Greenland On The Mind

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) released their 2014 Greenland melt season review on January 22. The first line pretty much summarizes it all:
Melt extent in Greenland was well above average in 2014, tying for the 7th highest extent in the 35-year satellite record.
The figure below showss the surface melt day anomaly for the last four years, the number of melt days compared to the average number of melt days. You can see the pattern hasn't been good. The number of melt days is increasing for the low-altitudes regions.

Source: NSIDC
The NSIDC report stated,


Comparing the seasonal progression of the four most recent years, the recent tendency for greater-than-average melt extent is apparent, as are the rapid variations in melt extent mid-year.
We'll say 2012 was an abnormality and discount that one. Let's hope we don't see any more years like that one. That still leaves a clear pattern of an increased number of melt days these last few years compared to the long-term average number of melt days.

In case you are plan on objecting on the basis the interior is experiencing a normal melt routine, consider these facts:
  • As the ice melts the higher altitudes get lower every year, increasing the number of melt days;
  • As the coastal ice melts, the interior ice will push out and spread, again bringing the higher altitude ice down;
  • As the melt season increases it results in dark pools of water sitting on the surface for longer periods of time where they absorb more sunlight than the reflective ice, increasing the amount of melting.


In the paper, The pattern of anthropogenic signal emergence in Greenland Ice Sheet surface mass balance, published in Geophysical Research Letters last August, researchers concluded human-driven climate change is increasingly responsible for current trends in Greenland Ice Sheet melt and accumulation. They also concluded human activity will dominate further melt and accumulation  pattern throughout the 21st century. 


In case you still think the Greenland Ice Sheet is recovering, take a look at this graph:

Source: Polar Portal
This graph shows the mass of the Greenland Ice Sheet as measured using the GRACE satellite. The mass increases during the winter accumulation season and then drops during the summer melt season. The downward trend is pretty obvious. More ice is melting away in the summers than is being deposited by snow in the winters. In fact, we can see the mass of the ice sheet has decreased by more than 2800 billion tons since just 2004.

By the way, the NSIDC report also said the top eight melt extent years have all occurred since 2002.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

George Will Shows His Ignorance






An article by George Will was recently brought to my attention. The article, Climate change's instructive past, is a graphic demonstration of what happens when people write about complex topics they know nothing about - they get it wrong.

Boy, did George Will get it wrong, too. And, he didn't take long to do it. In just the second paragraph, he states,
And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously consequential episodes of climate change not produced by human activity?

Here is one of the biggest false arguments deniers make: There was naturally occurring climate change in the past, therefore all climate change is natural.

False argument. Tell us, Mr. Will, why is it not possible to have naturally occurring climate change AND manmade climate change? By the very nature of your statement, you refuse to consider that possibility. I have covered this topic many times, but it obviously needs to be covered some more.

This is the argument Mr. Will is making:
There was climate change in the past;
There is climate change today;
Climate change in the past was naturally occurring;
Therefore, climate change today is naturally occurring.

Let's put this same argument another way to show just have false it is.
Pneumonia kills people;
Gunshot wounds kill people;
Pneumonia is a naturally occurring virus;
Therefore, gunshot wounds are a naturally occurring virus.
The real problem I have with his statement is that I know George Will is an intelligent, well-educated person with considerable resources. I am very highly confident Mr. Will knows this is a false argument, but said it anyway. If he knows it is a false argument (and I can't believe otherwise), why did he go through with it? And, in the extremely unlikely event he didn't recognize how false it is, why didn't he? This is not some guy sitting in a bar babbling about things he doesn't know about over his beer. Like I said, George Will has considerable resources. So, why did he get this so wrong? You don't get things this wrong by accident, there has to be a reason. And, that makes me wonder, what was his motivation?

That should have been enough for him, but it wasn't. He then made one of the most frequently stated of all denier whoppers:
In the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), from the end of the ninth century to the beginning of the 14th, the Northern Hemisphere was warmer than at any time in the last 8,000 years

Both false and a false argument. Tell us Mr. Will, why does it matter what the temperature 1000 years ago was? You said it yourself, this was before the industrial revolution. Things have changed and you want to take something completely unrelated to today and try to make it relevant. That, sir, is a false argument and you know it. You never even attempted to show how it is in any way feasible to compare the two highly different situations and reach the conclusion you wanted. Again, I have to wonder, what is Mr. Will's motive here?

But, besides that, it simply isn't true. Take a look at the temperature profile below for the last 2000 years. The Roman Warm Period is the bump on the left at about A.D. 300. The Medieval Warm Period is the bump that occurs in the middle at about A.D. 1000. The big red spike on the right is today. (The two troughs are cold periods, including the Little Ice Age on the right.)


Source: Ljungqvist, 2010 (via Skeptical Science)

This is only one such reconstruction, there are many others that show the same thing - today's temperature is the highest in the last 2000 years. In fact, others show it is the highest in at least 8000 years. Why did Mr. Will make a statement that is so obviously false? Once again, what was his motivation?

He then finishes with an incredibly ignorant statement,
With the hands that today's climate Cassandras are not using to pat themselves on the back for their virtuous empiricism, they should pick up such books.
Mr. Will, tell us one thing, please. Who do you think discovered all of this information about past climate change? You? The deniers? No, Mr. Will, this information was discovered by climate scientists, the same climate scientists you dismiss in your article with your lies and deceptions. I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt when I call them lies and deceptions because the alternative is much worse:

You're just plain ignorant.




Monday, January 19, 2015

The Probability of Global Warming

Forbes magazine has become a real dreg of climate change denialism, bringing in paid shills to write up the standard nonsense put out by the fossil fuel industry. Which means I have to spend a lot of time reading it. The reward is they will, on occasion, bring in someone to write about the science. These articles are frequently written by noted climate scientists and can be excellent sources of information.

Today, I read one that really caught my attention - The End of the Partisan Divide Over Climate Change. The article was hopeful and that part was nice. The author, Tom Zeller Jr., wrote about how polls show even Republicans are starting to agree CO2 needs to be regulated as a pollutant. But, that wasn't the part I found most interesting. It was the last paragraph that really got my attention. Referring to the fact that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded, he said:
After all, a record-setting year every now and again is no big deal. Anomalies happen. But the fact is that all 15 years since the year 2000 have been among the top 20 warmest years ever recorded. The odds of this happening randomly, or as a part of natural variability? About 1.5 quadrillion to one.
This is a very different way to look at it and is very persuasive. If correct, these figures show there can be no doubt about the reality of global warming. That figure is devastating to any claim global warming is not real.

The calculations were performed by a team of university statisticians and I am confident in their accuracy.  But, let's look at the figures for ourselves and see if we get something close to the same number.

The way to imagine this is to suppose we have a bag filled with tokens numbered from 1 to 135. That is the number of years in the recorded temperature record. Number 1 would be for the hottest year on record, number 2 for the second hottest and so on. Now, we are going to reach into the bag and blindly draw out a token for the year 2014. The chances of that token being between 1 and 20 (inclusive) is 20/135 = .148148. That is a 14.81% chance, or one chance in 6.75 tries. Now, we do it again for 2013, but we took out a token already and we know the token was in the top 20 (that is the situation we are calculating the odds for), so there are only 134 tokens remaining and 19 of the top 20. The odds of 2013 being randomly one of those top 19 years is 19/134 = .141791. That is a 14.18% chance, or 1 chance in 7.05 tries. We can continue this process for all fifteen years since 2000 and the odds would be 18/133 for 2012; 17/132 for 2011, 16/131 for 2010, etc.

Those are the odds for each year individually. But, we want to know the odds for all of them at once. To get that figure we multiply the individual probabilities together. For the fifteen years in question, that would be (20/135) * (19/134) * (18/133) * (17/132) * ......

When I do that, I get 5.0409 x 10^(-16). That is percentage of .00000000000000504%, or one chance in 1,983,770,000,000,000.

Or 1 chance in about 2 quadrillion tries, very close to what the article quoted.

In other words, there is positively no way it could be a random occurrence. Global warming is most definitely real.

I never doubted the professors were right, I just wanted to make sure no one else did, either.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Warming Has Stopped?

Certainly one of the most incredibly false arguments deniers make is that global warming has stopped and there has been no warming for xxx number of years (fill in your value of choice). I have addressed this innumerable times in this blog and this was the very first submission to my global warming challenge. I think its time to hear it again. Take a look at this article that I've provided a link to. It's from the Weather Underground website and is so well written that I don't think I need to add anything to it. I would say 'enjoy,' but there really isn't anything to enjoy with what he says. It's pretty bleak.

2014: Hottest Year in Recorded Human History

It's Official - 2014 Hottest Year Ever Recorded

NASA and NOAA released the annual state of the climate report for 2014 this morning. They also held a live streaming video of a joint press conference. The report came out 30 minutes prior to the news conference and was on the National Climatic Data Center website. At least, that is what I was told. When I tried to get into both the NCDC site and the streaming conference they were so busy I was unable to. I missed the conference all together and it took a full hour to see the report. Apparently, people all over the world were eager to hear what they had to say. That is a good thing. It means this issue is getting a lot of attention. Hopefully, that will translate into some actions.

Now for the report highlights.

As expected, the report for December stated it was the hottest December ever recorded for the globe.
 
Also to no surprise, 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. The report stated
The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). This also marks the 38th consecutive year (since 1977) that the yearly global temperature was above average. Including 2014, 9 of the 10 warmest years in the 135-year period of record have occurred in the 21st century. 1998 currently ranks as the fourth warmest year on record.
I wonder how many people claiming global warming has stopped will read those last two statements. Nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since the year 2000. How is that possible, if warming has stopped?

What is disturbing about last year's heat is that it did not have an El Nino. For more than 30 years, each hottest year all had El Ninos, including the very extreme year of 1998 which deniers like to cherry pick as their starting point on heat records. This was the first time since 1990 that a year without an El Nino set the heat record. What that means is that a regular year is now hotter than an extreme year 16 years ago. At this rate, we will look back on 1998 with fondness and longing, in terms of temperature. (Ah, yes! 1998! The good old days.)

Tell me once again about how there has been no warming for 17 years.


An article in Scientific American listed five of the hottest places on Earth:
  • Australia set heat records for the second year in a row, including heat waves in the (southern) summer with temperatures over 120 degrees F; followed by heat waves in the fall and spring.
  • Eastern Pacific Ocean: An El Nino was expected to form this year, but failed to appear. This didn't stop the region from setting temperature records. NOAA reported the sea surface temperature for the global ocean was 1.13 F (.63 C) above the 20th century average for the September to November time period. The previous record was 0.11 F (.06 C). 
  • Siberia: The Arctic region has seen the greatest amount of warming in recent decades and Siberia saw temperatures 9 F (5 C) above the 1981 - 2010 average (where is that heat island effect in Siberia?). Ice on the Ob River broke up two weeks earlier than normal. 
  • California: Record drought, record heat. The first 10 months of 2014 were the warmest in state history since 1895.
  • Northern Europe: While the U.S. had a cold winter, that same weather pattern caused it to be warmer than usual in Europe. Many countries saw the warmest spring in as much as 100 years. January to October was the warmest 10-month period on record for Central England since 1659, and the warmest such period for the Netherlands since 1706.

The annual report gave this tally for the year:
Six months of 2014 (May, June, August, September, October, and December) were record warm, while April was second warmest, January, March, and July were fourth warmest for their respective months, and November was seventh warmest.

The tally I kept from the monthly reports was somewhat different (they are now saying April was the second warmest and the monthly report lists it as tied for warmest) and came out this way:


December was the hottest December ever recorded;


November was the 7th hottest November ever recorded;

October was the hottest October ever recorded;

September was the hottest September ever recorded;

August was the hottest August ever recorded;

July was the fourth hottest July ever recorded;

June 2014 was the hottest June ever recorded;

May was the hottest May ever recorded;

April tied 2010 as the hottest April ever recorded;

March was the fourth hottest March ever recorded;

We got a break in February. It was only the 21st hottest February ever recorded;

But, that break followed the hottest January since 2007 and the fourth hottest January on record.

So, let's see what the final score was for 2014: one 21st hottest month, one 7th hottest month, three 4th hottest months, and seven hottest months ever.

Additionally, we had the hottest overall year ever recorded.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2014 Global Climate Conditions Coming

NASA and NOAA will holding a joint conference Friday, January 16 at 11 EST to announce the data on 2014 temperature and climate conditions. The announcement will live streamed. Click on this link of the announcement, including a link to listen to the announcement live.

We already know 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. Tomorrow we'll hear just how bad it was.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Global Warming Problems In Australia

Australians decided to elect a prime minister that is a devoted climate change denier. Once elected, Tony Abbott went about dismantling any kind of climate change reform he could get his hands on. One of the things he did was to get the carbon tax repealed. So, instead of having the polluters pay for the pollution, he decided the taxpayers should.

Now, Australians are getting more of what they paid for. Last year (2014) has been found to be the third hottest year in Australia's history. They got off pretty easy. It has been found to be the hottest year ever recorded for the planet over all. This hot year is leading to the worst wildfire season they have had in the last 30 years. I'm sure Prime Minister Abbott will tell them he isn't a scientist but the science isn't settled. Isn't that what they say when they can't refute the science?

I'm sure the Australians losing their homes to the fires will be comforted by his ignorance.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Guest Submission: CO2 doesn't Cause Warming

NOTE: Per the submitters request, the word 'forcing' has been replaced with 'stimulating' in his submission.

I see a mismatch in the meaning of the word 'forcing'. Replace all of them in my post with the word 'stimulus'. Forcing as used by most, if not all, others is the time-integral of 'stimulus'.



Dan Pangburn • Jan 11, 2015

An analogy exists between average global temperature resulting from stimulus and the level of water in a bucket containing a hole in the bottom being filled with a hose. If the inflow or hole size is suddenly (or gradually) changed to a different value the level of water would slowly change until equilibrium between inflow and outflow was reestablished. The water level would change according to the time-integral of the difference between inflow and outflow. Likewise, average global temperature depends on the time-integral of the net effect of stimuli.

In 'The Inconvenient Truth', Al Gore asserts that the graph which shows that CO2 level and temperature go up and down together indicates that climate change is caused by CO2 change. Actually, with application of valid science, this graph PROVES that CO2 does not cause climate change.

Whatever the stimulus, it relates to the rate-of-change of temperature, not the temperature itself. If global warming was caused by CO2 (it isn’t), warming rate (rate-of-change of average global temperature) instead of (as usually presented) the temperature itself would vary with the CO2 level. To be valid, the comparison should be between the temperature and the time-integral of CO2 level and/or the time-integral of any other factor(s) (such as TSI) proportional to energy rate.

Thus any co-plot of CO2 level and temperature or any other implication that average global temperature depends directly on CO2 level is misleading and physically and mathematically wrong.

An analysis at http://agwunveiled.blogspot.co... derives a physics-based equation which, using the time-integral of stimuli, accurately calculates the uptrends and down trends of average global temperatures irrespective of whether CO2 change is included or not. The paper at this link discloses:

1. A reference which provides historical evidence that CO2 change does not cause climate change.

2. The two factors that do explain climate change. The correlation is 95% with measured average global temperatures since before 1900; including the current plateau. The analysis also predicts the ongoing down trend of average global temperature.

3. An explanation of why any credible CO2 change does not cause significant climate change.

The two factors are also identified in a peer reviewed paper published in Energy and Environment, vol. 25, No. 8, 1455-1471.
==
Nasty weather is natural. It is happening someplace all the time and always
has. Vivid graphics on TV make it look ominous and omnipresent. Some mistakenly blame humans for it.

Climate change is natural. The last change is that it stopped warming.

Thumbnail



Response:

This claim that CO2 doesn't cause warming was submitted in the Global Warming Skeptic Challenge and addressed here. The claim about the rate of change of temperature rise was also submitted and I dealt with it here. But, I will deal with both of them again.

This comment was full of so many false statements I decided to make a guest post out of it. Let’s start at the beginning and work our way through this one.

First, I have problems with your bucket analogy. As the water pressure increases, the flow through the hole will increase, but it is very simple to have a situation where the inflow far exceeds the outflow to the point equilibrium is never reached until the water is flowing over the top of the bucket. You are incorrect in your assumed statement that the climate will reach equilibrium between energy inflow from the Sun and energy outflow from a cooling Earth. There is nothing to show that any equilibrium needs to be reached. In fact, nonequilibrium is the normal state of nature. Nothing you state demonstrates any outcome at all, not to mention the outcome you desire.

By this point in time, the science of CO2 forcing is so overwhelming that I am truly amazed anytime a denier tries to pull this argument out. If you examine the data and the science, it is more than abundantly clear that CO2 causes global warming. Take a look at these articles at RealClimate.org for a detailed explanation.




Actually, application of valid science PROVES CO2 is causing global warming. Sorry. They only way you can otherwise is to reject the science. But, I also know there is absolutely no amount of science or evidence that will ever change your mind. I'm just hoping I can reach someone that hasn't chosen to reject science.

Then you discuss the rate of change of temperature. I don’t know where you got this argument that the rate of change is the important issue, but that is a 100% false argument. You are both wrong and irrelevant in this argument. No, the issue is change in temperature. Is the temperature going up, down or staying stable? That is the only relevant question and anything else is irrelevant. Do we care if it is warming really, really fast, or just really fast? In both cases, it is warming. By your argument, the only case you can make is that the damage due to climate change will take a little longer to occur. But, you never show any evidence that your claim is valid. Either way, you are wrong to suppose this is the major issue.

But, as it turns out, you are also wrong about that rate of change. The rate of global warming is actually increasing and has been for decades. What you want to do is examine the surface temperature of the last few years and ignore the 97% of the warming. Further, you want to ignore the forty years of warming and focus on just a few years. You want to examine 3% of the warming over 30% of the time period and try to make a scientific case out of that. Many people will buy into that argument, but it is not scientifically valid. Come back when you look at 100% of the warming over the entire 45 years we have been concerned with. Take a look:


Yikes! It sure looks like global warming is continue to me. Not only that, but the rate of change has been increasing, as well. If your claim was correct, the bars would be getting smaller and even go negative. Instead, they continue to be positive and to continuously get larger. To come to any other conclusion is to reject science.

And, to make the claim, as you do, that the temperature and CO2 level should have a 100% correlation, but then turn around and argue about natural cycles is a completely false argument. No climate scientist (at least, no credible one) will ever say natural cycles are not continuing. There is ENSO, PDO, AMO, solar cycle, solar variability, and many more natural cycles occurring. Also, there are feedbacks, both positive and negative, that will affect the temperature. Positive feedbacks include rising atmospheric moisture, clouds at night and rising levels of other green house gases, such as methane. Negative feedbacks include clouds during the day. What makes you think you can assume all of those factors have stopped and don’t show up in the temperature record? You have really failed the ‘do the homework’ standard and severely damaged your credibility with that statement. Just to use your bucket analogy (to show how bad all of your statements are) if we increased the flow into the bucket and it reached equilibrium, the rate of change of outflow would decrease until the rate of change reached zero (the definition of equilibrium). By your argument, there has been no change in the rate of inflow into the bucket – even though your argument started with a change in the inflow! Wow! Poor logic!

Yes, natural cycles and feedbacks occur and are continuing, even as manmade global warming continues. The presence of natural cycles in now prohibit the presence of manmade factors, and vice versa. These natural effects will affect the temperature record and result in less than a 100% correlation between the CO2 level and the temperature. As an example, CO2 levels have increased about 43% since the late-1950s, but the enhanced greenhouse effect has increased by roughly 1% (Thank goodness!). Sometimes the temperature will go up faster than the CO2 level. Sometimes, it will go up more slowly. So what? When we look at the long-term trend, what we see is the temperature goes up with the rising CO2 levels and this trend continues even when we average out the short-term variations in the climate. More CO2 = higher temperatures. That much has been positively proven. I am sorry if you can’t accept that, but that is the proven science and you have to reject science to come to any other conclusion.

That article you references is so ridiculous you should be embarrassed to cite it. Do you REALLY think our problem is a new ice age about to occur? If you are that desperate, just ask and I will review the paper as a submission, but really, this is a preposterous paper directed towards the gullible. But, if you really want to make me take up my time, I’ll be glad to debunk it.

Yes, weather is getting more severe. All sources agree about that. Or, take a look here. Or, here.

No, global warming has not stopped. If it has stopped, how do you account for the fact that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded? How do you account for the fact that 2014 set this heat record without having an El Nino or any other natural cycle that boosts global temperatures? How do you account for the fact that what use to be an extraordinary global temperature is now routine?

I’m sorry, your comments truly passed the ‘reject all science’ standard. Go back and do some more homework.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

State Leaders Hiding Climate Change Science

A number of state elected officials have come out as deniers. That is fine and is their right. But, what some of them are doing is to work on hiding any climate science that shows it is real. This is not only wrong, but I find it very interesting after reading statements from them, such as this one from Georgia congressman Rick Allen:
“Limiting debate to one side is not the same as being conclusive.”
If limiting debate to one side is wrong, then why are so many deniers doing just that? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the source of that quote) interviewed a dozen state leaders and reported the results in a front-page article. It was bad news. In particular were the politicians that used the "I'm not a scientist, but...," line. What they are really saying anytime someone uses that line is, "I'm not a scientist, but I'll go ahead and demonstrate what a jackass I am anyway." While it was nice the paper reported on this problem, they still contributed to it with the way they wrote the article, apparently giving credence to the claims of deniers in order to appear 'balanced.' Including ignorance and science denial is not being balanced. It only helps to energize elected officials that would rather see their constituents hurt than to take a look at the science.

In Nebraska, state Senator Beau McCoy amended an authorization for a state-funded study to determine the effects of climate change on the state. His amendment would only allow scientists to report on naturally occurring climate change and prohibited any reporting of manmade climate change. In response, scientists refused to use the money and found independent funds. Their report was released last fall and was pretty grim. They found manmade climate change would result in severe storms, floods, warmer nights, scorching summers and drought for the state. Not good news for a state that depends so strongly on agriculture. You would think the state leaders would want to know this kind of information so they could plan for the future.

All of this raises a question, why would Beau McCoy, and everyone that voted for his amendment, want to hide this information? Why would they be willing to sacrifice the best interests of their constituents by hiding climate science?

But, he isn't the only one. Take a look at what happened in South Carolina. That state funded a similar report and it was finished on 2011. It wasn't released until 2013 after it sat on the shelf for about a year and a half. It wasn't released until a newspaper requested to see a copy. The problem with the report is that, like the one in Nebraska, it showed the state would suffer from the effects of manmade climate change. Once again, why would state leaders sacrifice the well being of their constituents?

North Carolina leads the charge into ignorance, though. This is the home of the NC-20 political action group that claims it is representing the best interests of the 20 counties along the Atlantic coast. They are climate change deniers of the highest order and actually brag about getting a bill passed that prohibits the state from taking action on sea level rise using any data except historical data. In other words, these people have prevented the state from taking any action to prepare for any sea level rise that results from manmade climate change. They call this a 'huge win' and list it on their 'Successes' page. 

Think about that. They are bragging about how they guaranteed the coastal counties will be unprepared for sea level rise while claiming they are there to represent the best interests of those counties. Why would they do that? What would they have to lose by being aware of what climate scientists have to say?

One last question. If climate change is so good for us, as the deniers claim, why are so many state elected officials working so hard to hide it?







Friday, January 9, 2015

Doing the Homework


I received the two comments below in response to my comment (to a previous comment from her) that she did not do her homework. I promised a more detailed response and here it is.


Tahoe Steph 

I have done immense amounts of research and readings about the subject, and have a decent understanding of the IPCC. I am not a scientist and don't pretend to understand many of the theories. Maurice Strong who had much to do with the creation of the IPCC was caught and striped of many of his awards for corruption. The scientists don't control the research projects, the political leaders do. And since the first IPCC report that attributed climate change to natural events rather than cause by man, has now become the opposite. It seems the main goal of the IPCC is to end the debate, not prove the science...Climategate. How is that science? Emails that revealed a coordinated effort to keep many esteemed scientist who found that the data didn't add up out of the discussion, and had a preconceived agenda and outcome even before the data was gathered.

It's a shame you had to bring up big oil, I was hoping for once that argument wouldn't be made. So lets get back to the scientists that are supposed to be getting that big oil money, and forget for a minute about the politically motivated (carbon tax), lets support alternate energy IPCC. Big oil has HUGE investments tied up in "green" energy. Big Oil also has huge amounts of funding going to many environmental groups, including the likes of the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. So accusing genuine scientists taking big oil money is a classic tactic to avoid close examination of the BILLIONS of dollars funding the Global warming project. According to the Washington Post, British Petroleum has donated over $600 million to green groups. The fact that climate change activists have enjoyed such a powerful funding advantage, but yet insist that skeptical AGW scientist are being bought off is pretty ironic!

Where is your source from Tol's quote?


If you read my comment below in response to Christophers'... "The amount of science is absolutely massive..." I have stated, "I am not a scientist and don't pretend to understand many of the theories."... Shows that, in no way, I pretend to understand the math and physics that support the papers that many scientists (award winning, honored, and former IPCC members), challenge with support and theories, that CO2 is the main driving force of climate change. I have actually read the Gerlich and Tscheuschner paper, so you are incorrect in your criticism. Though I must confess I didn't understand the details but did get the general hypothesis of it. And that's why I, and other average citizens that don't specialize in climatology, physics or other scientific fields, have to rely on scientists expertise on the matter. Not only do I see a large number of scientist that don't support AGW, as a great indicator that the "science is settled", I also consider the growing number of scientist that are defecting from the IPCC as another indicator that the science is far from settled.

What bother's me most is the lag of CO2 behind rise or decline in temperature. It shows that CO2 is not the primary driver of climate. Milankovich cycles, Solar Activity and Cosmic radiation are the more likely candidates. However those elements would be extremely difficult to tax.

Trying to insult me, "Please cite papers you've actually read..." does not sway me to listen to your opinions with an open mind. It's really tiring that many AGW advocates bully and insult.


Response:

Maurice Strong is most certainly a crook. Here are some references that tell about how he fled to China after being caught accepting nearly a million dollars in bribes while with the U.N. Oil-For-Food Program:





The only sources I found that said he was stripped of any awards are denier websites and they do not provide any sources of that information. This does not mean it did not occur, it just means I cannot confirm it. In any event, we can conclude he is a crook.

How much did he have with the formation of IPCC? Again, that is something I cannot find any reference to. He is credited with putting together the first U.N. sponsored group of climate scientists, but he moved on to other things after that. He may, or may not, have been involved with the formation of the IPCC.

So what? The record of Maurice Strong has no effect on the science. It is completely irrelevant. This is what is known as a straw man argument. It is an attempt to divert attention from the subject of conversation. The subject is the validity of climate science.

So, let’s get a little bit close to the science. You mentioned the first IPCC assessment report and claimed “the first IPCC report that attributed climate change to natural events rather than cause by man” and the record shows that is a false claim. Take a look:



In fact, they stated, “We are certain of the following: there is a natural greenhouse effect...; emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases: CO2, methane, CFCs and nitrous oxide. These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface.” That is a far cry from what you claim.

Again, so what? It is irrelevant. Are you going to say we are not learning? Are you saying climate change is not real because we have increased our understanding of the climate? Are you saying increasing the amount of data we have showing climate change is real is somehow proof that it isn’t real? That first report came out in 1990. That was 24 years ago. Are you surprised we have increased our understanding since then?

Then, you go into Climategate. This is one of those instances were deniers have been proved so wrong so many ways and by so many people that it is a very telling sign whenever someone mentions it. It says you don’t care about the facts. The fact are this: the emails were reviewed by eight independent groups that found no wrong-doing on the part of the scientists; the emails were quoted out of context and even edited to make it sound as if something was going on wrong. If you are serious, do some homework on the matter instead of just condemning innocent people on the words of a bunch of denier websites.






Then, you try to defend big oil and same it is a “shame” I brought them up. Why, in the world, would anyone want to have a discussion about climate change and insist big oil be left out? You speak of funding, let’s take a look at where that funding is going.

The fossil fuel industry spent over $700 million dollars to get Republicans friendly to their interests elected to Congress in 2014.

Let’s not forget they are providing an average of $70 million per year to fund the denier industry.

This is just a mere sampling. It is not possible to discuss climate change without talking about the villains behind it (yes, I called them villains).

I got my Tol quote here:

It was included in my original article on Tol’s work:

Then, you make a most curious statement, “And that's why I, and other average citizens that don't specialize in climatology, physics or other scientific fields, have to rely on scientists expertise on the matter.”

The problem is you don’t rely on the scientists. The scientists are giving you a definite conclusion with a massive amount of evidence to support it, and you are rejecting it. Don’t say you rely on the scientist then reject them in favor of some denier blog written by someone that doesn’t have any science background. If you have real questions, go to the climate scientists most involved in the research – Real Climate.org. http://www.realclimate.org/ They have an excellent file of posting addressing question anyone might have, written by climate scientists for the general public.

You then discuss the CO2 lagging issue and natural cycles. I addressed natural cycles here:

RealClimate.org addressed the lagging CO2 here:

I hope this addressed your concerns.

Climate Refugees

A term that has been surfacing in recent years is 'climate refugees.' This term describes people that have been forced to move due to the effects of climatic actions and it can be the result of naturally occurring events or manmade ones. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can cause climate refugees. So does global warming. In fact, climate causes between 3 and 10 times as many refugees as war. The number of climate refugees in 2013 was 22 million. There were about 10 million climate refugees in the early 1970s. As the world population increases, the number of people that are vulnerable to extreme climate events also increases, and this number is aggravated by the increasing number of extreme events. Disruptions of food and water supplies also causes climate refugees.

The Pentagon considers this issue, and other issues related to climate change, to be a national security issue. Governments are being encouraged to plan for an increasing levels of climate refugees as the climate continues to change. There was an Indy film in 2012 on the subject, Climate Refugees.

This makes me wonder. If the deniers are right and climate change is good for us, why do we see so many climate refugees and why is it a threat to national security? If climate change is so good for us, as they claim, it stands to reason the world would actually be getting more stable with climate change, not more unstable.

If someone can explain that to me I would be interested in hearing it.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Pope Francis to Tell Catholics Climate Change is Real

I read an article saying Pope Francis will be issuing an encyclical this spring on climate change. He will be stating it is real and the Church and its followers must act on it on moral and scientific grounds. It will be delivered to 5000 bishops and 400,000 priests with instructions to deliver it to parishioners. At an October meeting he decried the religion of money and stated, "Climate change, the loss of biodiversity and deforestation are already showing their devastating effects in the great cataclysms we witness.”

Pretty definitive. Hopefully, this will help convince some of the religious right that there is no conflict between their religion and science, especially the science of climate change. Certainly, there will still be those that oppose it. There are those that feel science is anti-religion and nothing will change their minds. But, there are many who will see the Pope's edict and it will open their minds to the possibility that the scientists were right all along.

The Pope isn't the first person to try and change the minds of religious doubters. Notably, Katherine Hayhoe has been in the forefront on the issue. Why should any Christian fundamentalist care about what Hayhoe has to say on the subject? Well, she is a devout, evangelical Christian. She is also a climate scientist.

Oops! A devoutly religious person that also recognizes the validity of science and sees no conflict with her religious faith. How refreshing!

The fact is, caring for the environment and the people that will be suffering because of climate change is fundamental to all religions. Climate change is a right to life issue. If you are going to be opposed to something like abortions or the death sentence or animal rights, how can you not be opposed to climate change?

Apparently, the Pope thinks you can't.