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Unforced variations: Jan 2011

Filed under: — group @ 6 January 2011

After perusing the comments and suggestions made last week, we are going to try a new approach to dealing with comment thread disruptions. We are going to try and ensure that there is always an open thread for off-topic questions and discussions. They will be called (as this one) “Unforced Variation: [current month]” and we will try and move all off-topic comments on other threads to these threads. So if your comment seems to disappear from one thread, look for it here.

Additionally, we will institute a thread for all the troll-like comments to be called “The Bore Hole” (apologies to any actual borehole specialists) that won’t allow discussion, but will serve to show how silly and repetitive some of the nonsense that we have been moderating out is. (Note that truly offensive posts will still get deleted). If you think you’ve ended up there by mistake, please let us know.

With no further ado, please talk about anything climate science related you like.


370 Responses to “Unforced variations: Jan 2011”

  1. 251
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “First, any significant substitution of nukes or renewables is unlikely to occur in the short term for the simple fact that the infrastructure doesn’t exist and will take decades to build.”

    Well, that of course depends on what you mean by “significant” and we could also quibble about what constitutes “substitution”, but renewables already account for the majority of new electric generation capacity being built in the USA and Europe. Meanwhile in the USA, no new coal-fired power plants are being built, planned coal plants are being canceled, and many existing coal plants are approaching end-of-life.

    On-shore wind power is already booming, and large-scale offshore wind is getting ready to explode. Concentrating solar thermal power plants with molten-salt thermal storage (to provide 24×7 baseload power) are only now getting started, but there are quite a few of them going to be built in the USA in the next few years.

    One of the crucial things about wind farms and concentrating solar thermal power plants is precisely that they DON’T take “decades” to build, more like a couple of years. It’s true that depending on their location, new power lines are required; but that’s hardly the show-stopper it is sometimes portrayed to be, and that work is happening now as well.

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “Second, there are large portions of the planet–many showing among the most rapid economic growth–that do not have the technology to undertake such high-tech energy projects.”

    The countries with the “insatiable” demand that you mention (China and India) absolutely DO have the technology. Wind turbines and concentrating solar thermal are no more “high tech” than coal-fired power plants. China has all the technology and resources needed to build a renewables-powered energy economy (and indeed has the technology and resources to become the world’s leader in developing, manufacturing and exporting such technology, including to the USA). Whether they CHOOSE to do so, is a matter of political will, just as it is in the USA and Europe.

    And in the desperately poor regions of the developing world, e.g. sub-Saharan Africa and rural India, where there is a desperate need for electricity but little or no possibility of building massive centralized power stations of any kind, let alone a grid to distribute the power, the answer is cheap, mass-produced, off-grid photovoltaics, which are in fact relatively “low-tech” when it comes to their day-to-day use. Such household or village-scale PV systems are already bringing about a revolution in rural electrification. Westerners accustomed to a fully electrified society often fail to appreciate the difference that small-scale PV can make in the lives of people who have never had access to ANY electricity. With even a single-panel PV system, they can have electric light, cell phone charging, radio, TV and Internet access, refrigeration for medicines, etc.

  2. 252
    Mel Tisdale says:

    When Climate Gate and Glacier Gate appeared on the scene, public support for action to combat Climate Change dropped significantly and has yet to recover. Surely a new initiative is required. Perhaps the climate scientists should take the fight to the ‘enemy’.
    Any denial industry missive, talk, rave or rant that disputes accepted science should be sued for deformation of character by the climate science community. After all, if someone spends their life investigating something that others deny is worthy of investigation, which is what most denial industry output implies, it surely queries their intellect, or implies that they are only doing it for the money, which could be seen as fraudulent. Surely a fund could be set up cover the legal costs. The resulting court case would, of necessity have to investigate the science. It would thus present an opportunity to expose the flimsy basis on which most, if not all, denial industry output is based.

  3. 253
    ccpo says:

    [Response: Wouldn’t you say that people are more interested in–and likely to take action on–what is likely to happen in the next 50 years, than the next 500? Also, the further out in time you go, the less predictable things are in a complex system.–Jim]

    Comment by ccpoaa — 17 Jan 2011 @ 2:14 PM

    Don’t see how that response relates? I’m not sure where I said I was trying to emphasize one or the other. It’s simple enough to talk about changes in context and how fast vs. slow feedbacks might be affecting any given time frame. That all comes down to context. Either way, my teacher spidey sense says ‘splain it in a way they can hear it. I find overall effects on climate are more useful than parsing the various inputs and their time frames. Most of the time.

    Is this what you were getting at?

    [Response: I was just saying that the longer term changes and feedbacks implied by ESS may not be as meaningful to a lot of people as shorter term changes are.–Jim]

  4. 254
    ccpo says:

    ccpo says: 15 Jan 2011 at 6:10 PM

    [edit – might I suggest not engaging so personally?]

    OK, but when the post disappears, it’s hard to know what offense was given ’cause I often don’t remember small posts. For the record, I don’t remember responding “so personally” so am a bit confused. If I did, my bad.

    [Response: No problem. This is advice to all commenters to focus on the substance of any critique rather than on the qualities of the critic. – gavin]

  5. 255
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mel Tisdale, I commend to you the words of Voltaire,

    “I was ruined but twice in my life–once when I lost a lawsuit and once when I won one.”

    In the end, science is going to have to depend on telling the truth. If the people are too stupid to recognize the truth, no legal remedy will save us.

  6. 256
    Septic Matthew says:

    251, Secular Animist:

    Well said.

  7. 257
    David B. Benson says:

    Dire Harvest: Climate Report Warns of Food Gap

    [Response: Unfortunately, the timeline for this report is all wrong. They have made a mistake in assessing net forcing and then assumed that the instantaneous response is the same as the equilibrium response. The ‘2.4 deg C by 2020′ is nonsense, I’m afraid. The authors were notified of this error a couple of days ago but have chosen not to change anything. Not a great way to earn credibility points. – gavin]

  8. 258
    Rod B says:

    Mel Tisdale, I know I should just let this go by, but you seemingly have no idea how the civil justice system works.
    [OT, drop it]

  9. 259
    JiminMpls says:

    #251 It’s true that depending on their location, new power lines are required

    One of the falsehoods frequently used in the coal/nuclear/renewables debate is that wind and solar power will require extensive upgrades the power transmission infrastructure while large scale coal and nuclear power plants will not. Large scale coal and nuclear power plants typically require $250-500 million in transmission infracture upgrades. Often, wind, solar and multiple smaller scale natural gas plants can be added to the network with minimal upgrades to the grid.

    For example, the proposed – and now cancelled – Big Stone II coal plant in SD would have required $450 million in transmission upgrades. A study in Minnesota found that 600MW of wind power could be added with minimal upgrades to the transmission grid.

    True, large scale renewable projects in remote areas (e.g., offshore) do require new transmission lines, but so do large scale coal and nuclear power plants, regardless of where they are built.

    Sorry, I don’t have time to cite references. I’m off to work. Look it up. (Note, the only proposed nuclear power plant in the USA for which cost estimates have NOT been declared proprietary by Toshiba and Areva is the Turkey Point project in Florida. Even for Turkey Point, though, the NRC keeps moving the data so it can be very difficult to find.)

  10. 260

    #257–

    Just for the record, an excessively alarmist claim debunked by RC!

    I hope some who like to claim this doesn’t happen will take notice this time. (But they probably won’t.)

  11. 261
    David Painter says:

    259 and others.
    The infrastructure itself can do great environmental harm, as it winds it’s way towards the consumer from the fuel source or power plant. The rapid growth in Russian gas fields in the Arctic circle proves the point. Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug covers approximately 540,000 sq Kms in western Siberia and is Russia’s number 1 producer of oil and gas, in 2006 it exported 2billion barrels of oil and gas condensate (liquefied natural gas) it exports most of the gas it extracts to western Europe.

    Natural gas is useless as a fuel unless it can be transported to the consumer; to do this it is compressed and water and oil and other condensates removed, this usually means burnt in the atmosphere. The major pipelines all start at Urengoy, this is the worlds 2nd Largest gas field complex and one of the more established (1966). Urengoy gas field produces 260 billion cubic meters of natural gas, more than 5,000 tons of condensate and 825,000 tons of oil per year. 1000’s of small gas wells feed into a maze of pipes here, most within the Arctic circle. Six 58 inch steel pipes start their trek west passing the various gas field’s along the way adding in their gas at a massive 220bar pressure, other pipelines criss-cross the former soviet states importing and exporting as required from the gas main network.

    One of the newest and largest gas fields is the Vankor field, it is estimated to have reserves of 520 million metric tons of oil and 95 billion cubic meters of natural gas. Production was launched in August 2009. The target for annual production at the field is 510 thousand barrels per day, or 25.5 mln tonnes of oil per year (about 5% of total Russian oil production). Oil from Vankor is one of the main inputs to the Eastern Siberia – Pacific Ocean pipeline.

    The satellite images for this region show many, many infra-red sources all generating heat and emitting by-products of the oil and gas burning within the artic circle, the infrastructure compressing stations all add to this process. All this extra energy (non solar) is radiated 365days a year within the arctic circle and increases the heat within the atmosphere here.

    Warm air produces high pressures and “Blocking highs” are implicated in Ice loss and the present weather disruptions worldwide, I note today that the Eastern part of the Greenland northeast iceshelf has fractured and is beginning to break up in January!

    This location appears to play a role in stopping Icebergs moving southwards on the east Greenland current.
    On the 14 June 2010 it was approx 50% bigger and intact, have posted images here.
    http://my.opera.com/erikthefish/albums/showpic.dml?album=4923892&picture=74403362
    Image today 19 January 2011
    http://my.opera.com/erikthefish/albums/showpic.dml?album=5878882&picture=90003552

    Pipeline map
    http://www.theodora.com/pipelines/russia_ukraine_belarus_baltic_republics_pipelines_map.jpg
    Vankor
    http://www.rosneft.com/Upstream/ProductionAndDevelopment/eastern_siberia/vankorneft/
    Urengoy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urengoy_gas_field

    The problem is what can be done if no-one can agree?, especially as when the lights go out or the heating goes off
    reason gets lost in noise.

  12. 262
    Maya says:

    I subscribe to Hansen’s email updates. This one arrived this morning, and I have not read it in its entirety, but I believe it relates to ccpo’s posts on climate sensitivity.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    From the Desk of
    Dr. James E. Hansen
    Draft Paper: Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

    A draft paper with title above has been submitted for publication in the Belgrade Milankovitch Symposium volume — the paper is now under review, so any criticisms are welcome. It was written in a bit of a rush when the editor told me there was a last chance to submit a paper before the book went to press (Springer).

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

  13. 263
    Septic Matthew says:

    more about blocking solar power in California:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE7042ZR20110105?pageNumber=1

    I expect the lawsuits to be resolved in favor of the projects, which have already been approved by state and federal regulatory agencies. But if I were an investor interested in solar power I’d invest in some place other than California for a few years at least.

  14. 264
    SecularAnimist says:

    Septic Matthew wrote: “… more about blocking solar power in California …”

    There is an excellent article over at ClimateProgress about improving policies and procedures for siting utility-scale solar projects in California and the Southwest:

    Improving the second round of big solar projects
    Interior department needs a more careful site selection process
    Tom Kenworthy, Senior Fellow
    Center for American Progress
    January 19, 2011

    Excerpt:

    We’re headed into what promises to be another busy year for solar development in the desert Southwest. Ramping up the nation’s supply of clean energy and cutting carbon pollution are profoundly important goals. But the Obama administration should not repeat the same mistakes made by its predecessor during its headlong and heedless rush to develop oil and gas resources on public lands. To do so would erode public support for the critically needed transformation of our energy generation and transmission systems. The administration needs to guide these projects to appropriate areas where their environmental disruption is minimized.

  15. 265

    #261–Thanks for linking the Hansen and Sato “Milankovitch paper,” Maya!

    The first parts reminded me of the review paper by Arrhenius’s buddy Nils Ekholm, which spent some time and effort on relating geology and atmospheric CO2, way back at the dawn of the 20th century:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Global-warming-science-press-and-storms

    The “Milankovitch paper” discussion of paleoclimate-based determination of climate sensitivity is very accessible and illuminating.

    Too bad the take-home conclusions are so disturbing–including possible curves for SLR, showing how “back-loaded” that could be, compared with a linear scenario. It looks like we could see little reason for great alarm as late as mid-century, just looking at SLR per se, and still get hammered for 5 meters by 210o.

    But it’s the idea that we have less margin for error than thought–only about 1C–that is probably worst of all.

  16. 266
    ccpo says:

    Hansen has a paper under review for publication. He’s requesting feedback (from scientists, I assume). It’s not good news, of course. Something about being warm enough that ice sheet melt doublings appear to be as short as ten years… multi-meter rise possible… the usual “we’re all gonna die!”

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

    The problem with Hansen? So far nobody has shown his work to be wrong.

  17. 267
    John W says:

    #260 Adding to my list of “RC What Global Warming is Not” collection:

    “There have certainly been incorrect assertions and headlines implying that 20 ft of sea level by 2100 was expected, but they are mostly based on a confusion of a transient rise with the eventual sea level rise which might take hundreds to thousands of years.”
    “How much will sea level rise?” group

    “Is there a risk that anthropogenic global warming could kick the Earth into a runaway greenhouse state? Almost certainly not. For an atmosphere saturated with water vapor, but with no CO2 in it, the threshold absorbed solar radiation for triggering a runaway greenhouse is about 350 Watts/m2 (see Kasting Icarus 74 (1988)). The addition of up to 8 times present CO2 might bring this threshold down to around 325 Watts/m2 , but the fact that the Earth’s atmosphere is substantially undersaturated with respect to water vapor probably brings the threshold back up to the neighborhood of 375 Watts/m2.”
    “Lessons from Venus”
    by Rasmus Benestad and Ray Pierrehumbert

    “but for what it’s worth, there aren’t any models that explode as catastrophically as this.”
    “James Lovelock’s Gloomy Vision” — david

    “The suggested ‘doubling’ of the rate of warming in the future compared to even the most extreme scenario developed by IPCC is thus highly exaggerated. Supposed consequences such as the drying up of the Amazon Basin, melting of Greenland, and a North African climate regime coming to the UK, are simply extrapolations built upon these exaggerations. Whether these conclusions are actually a fair summary of what the scientists quoted in the program wanted to say is unknown. However, while these extreme notions might make good television, they do a dis-service to the science.”
    “Global Dimming?” gavin

  18. 268
    Bibasir says:

    The key to Hansen’s analysis of sea level rise are the graphs in figure 8 on page 15 that fit ice mass loss to the time to double the loss rate. The fit is pretty good for both 5 and 7 years. Kevin in 265 worries that even with the potential for a 5 meter rise in sea level by 2100, there may not be much evidence by 2050. However, if the curves still fit, there may be more reason for concern. Of course, it may too late to do much.

  19. 269
    tonee says:

    With this being the warmest decade on record, how is it possible, if true, that there was a negative trend for the decade?

    [Response: Mathematically there is no problem with that: for instance, have T=14 for the years up to 2000, have T=16 for 2001, and then T=15 for 2002 onwards – you would get a clear long term trend that would be different from the decadal trend. The problem is assuming that linear trends on any timescale are necessarily predictive of future trends. However, for the real world, the amount of weather noise precludes any assessment of global warming from short term trends – they just aren’t significant and don’t have any predictive power. We have just had the warmest decade in the record (by a very significant amount), and the trends over that decade 2001-2010 are positive in all relevant timeseries except the HadCRUT data. – gavin]

  20. 270
    Dan H. says:

    Tonee,
    The CRU data shows a negative (albeit insignificant) temperature trend for the last decade. There is nothing unusual about the last decade being the warmest, but the trend being negative, it will always happen when data peaks.
    To put this in perspective, assume your are driving from the U.S. east coast to the west coast. Your altitude will increase until your path reaches the highest point in the rocky mountains (assume Colorado), and which time your altitude will start to decrease. Your average altitude will be the higheast shorthly after reaching the peak, but your trend has already begun to decrease. Your average altitude will not start to decline until well past the peak.
    Now, the decrease may be temporary, as your trip would be until you hit the Sierra Nevada range in California, or it could be the start of another downward trend. Time will tell.

  21. 271
    CM says:

    Dan H. said “there is nothing unusual about the last decade being the warmest.”

    It sure is getting to be a habit.

  22. 272
    tonee says:

    Thanks for the info Gavin and Dan.
    If the Hadcrut negative trend isn’t significant, when is it significant enough, relevant to the IPCC projection of 0.2 C/decade?

    [Response: Tamino and Ron Broberg have just had posts examining that very issue. Bottom line? not for a while given the year-to-year variation in the temperature statistics. – gavin]

  23. 273
    Didactylos says:

    “Time will tell.”

    Yes, let’s wait until it’s too late. That sounds like a really good plan.

  24. 274

    BP Energy Outlook 2030: emissions forecast to be well above IEA’s 450 (ppm) scenario: http://bit.ly/BPEnOu. That would lead to uncacceptable climate risks; even 450 ppm gives less than 50% chance to keep average global warming below 2 degrees C.

  25. 275
    John Mann says:

    Hi blokes

    Have I got this right? I’m looking at the GISTEMPS http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt and for 2010, it’s all high, high, high until a La Nina scuppered anomaly of 49 for December. But according to this record, 2010 was way above all other years. So why did it only tie for the warmest? Is there a combined record?

  26. 276
    tamino says:

    Re: #275 (John Mann)

    The data you’re looking at is for meteorological stations only. The more usual characterization of global temperature is the GISTEMP land+sea surface temperature data, at

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt

  27. 277
    CM says:

    Incidentally, remember how Phil Jones was manipulated in an interview early last year into “admitting” the warming since the carefully picked year 1995 was not statistically significant? This was always irrelevant, given that a very significant long-term warming trend continued through these years. Is it also out of date, now that 2010 is in?

    A linear fit of HadCRUT3vgl annual averages for the 16 years 1995-2010 (inclusive) gives a warming of 0.11 deg/decade just within the 95% confidence level (p=0.041). Did I get that right?* And is that likely to have been the kind of calculation Jones did for 1995-2009 that came up just shy of significant?

    (* – Not a rhetorical question. Please don’t trust my math, check it.)

    [Response: Linear regression on the HadCRUT3v annual means 1995-2010 gives 0.11+/-0.10 ºC/dec (95%, no correction for auto-correlation), so yes, it is now ‘significant’ – though I think this is more of a comment on standard notions of significance than it is a comment on global warming. – gavin]

  28. 278
    Snapple says:

    Re: the infamous BBC article

    Teachers usually begin teaching something new by connecting new material to something students already know.

    Dr. Jones might have explained statistical significance to the BBC reporter and the average Joe by comparing measuring global warming to weighing ourselves when dieting.

    Do you know if you have lost weight if you weigh yourself ten times in one day or once a week for ten weeks?

    Like this (very cute):

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2010/02/media-misquotes-climatologist-phil.html

    Also, be alert for reporters who set you up with LOADED QUESTIONS. Dr. Jones should not have answered this LOADED yes/no question:

    “BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?”

    Either this reporter was trying to stir up trouble or someone pretty slick fed the reporter that question. An average reporter would never have thought of something like that.

  29. 279
    Brian Dodge says:

    “It seems fairly obvious that the loss of the last bit of ice isn’t going to have the same effect on albedo as the loss of ice closer to the equator during emergence from a glacial period.” Didactylos — 14 Jan 2011 @ 9:10 AM

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110118123519.htm
    “A new analysis of the Northern Hemisphere’s “albedo feedback” over a 30-year period concludes that the region’s loss of reflectivity due to snow and sea ice decline is more than double what state-of-the-art climate models estimate.”

    One thing that makes a difference, and makes it harder to model, is seasonal changes in snow and ice cover as well as decreases in permanent snow/ice cover. I downloaded North American snow cover data from Rutgers Snow Lab, and normalized the area covered to the monthly averages over the first 10 years of data (unfortunately the computer with the data and references has died, and I havn’t recovered the data yet). Steven Goddard over at WTFUWTS was nattering on about how snow cover is increasing in the winter, and there is a small positive bump early in the winter; but there is a big negative anomaly spring-summer-fall, the snow cover is melting earlier in spring, reaching lower levels in summer(there is some snow a northern latitudes year round), and recovering later in the fall – see http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/sno_cover_anomaly-gZZqa.jpg and http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/09/what-noaa-isnt-saying-about-snow-and-ice/#comment-314812

  30. 280
    CM says:

    Gavin (@277), thanks!

    I’m sure you’re right that “this is more of a comment on standard notions of significance than it is a comment on global warming”. As was the original BBC exchange. I think it could be a pedagogical aid in explaining why this story never made sense, but I’ll be careful how I use it.

    I’m warming this canard over because “Jones says it hasn’t warmed” is a major theme of a denier book just published in my local language. (The same book goes on to spend a chapter trying to demolish Jones’s credibility with “Climategate” stuff. Go figure.)

  31. 281

    Tonee,

    In general you need 30 years of data to pick out a climate trend. It’s that noisy. But we’ve got good data for the last 161 years now.

  32. 282
    CM says:

    Snapple #278, I think the question’s been traced to source:
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/03/02/round-and-round-we-go-with-lindzen-motl-and-jones/

  33. 283

    #280–

    I’m warming this canard over because “Jones says it hasn’t warmed” is a major theme of a denier book just published in my local language. (The same book goes on to spend a chapter trying to demolish Jones’s credibility with “Climategate” stuff. Go figure.)

    “Denialism, thy name is inconsistency!” (Or should that be “inconstancy?”)

    Anyway, today’s post at Tamino’s site should be of interest in the context of this comment:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/phil-jones-was-wrong/

    Interesting question, also, at #269–

    With this being the warmest decade on record, how is it possible, if true, that there was a negative trend for the decade?

    The inline response is great, but for those who’d like a simpler response to digest, just reflect for a moment upon what would happen if you could freely reorder the years of the 00s.

    Simply by reordering the years by increasing or decreasing temperature anomaly, you could certainly create “warming” or “cooling” trends, respectively. (Though you wouldn’t necessarily be able to make them pass standard significance tests.)

    However, that set of operations could never affect the decadal mean temperature, which is independent of ordering–and therefore its rank relative to other decades would be unaffected as well.

    Conclusion: trend within a given period is completely independent of its relative warmth in a larger context. In other words, you can have ‘hot cooling periods’ or ‘cool warming periods’ with no logical inconsistency whatever.

  34. 284
    Dan H. says:

    Yes Barton,
    During the last 151 years, the temperatures have increased at a rate of 0.049C/decade. Interesting enough, if you bracket the temperature data with two parrallel lines with the same slope (0.049) at 0.3C above and below the trendline, the lower line matches the lows during the past century and a half, while the upper line closely matches the highs (except for 1878 and 1998 which are well above).

  35. 285
    som says:

    How about a post on the new Hansen-Sato paper predicting up to 5 meters sea-level rise by 2100? How does this square with Pfeffer et al?

  36. 286
    Didactylos says:

    Dan H: Why don’t you calculate the trend over the last million years, instead? That would be just as useful.

    The problem with sarcasm like this, of course, is that deniers have already tried doing just that. le sigh

  37. 287
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dan H, your talking point isn’t changing no matter what replies you get.

  38. 288

    Dr. Jason Box: Year 2010 temperatures around W and S Greenland (+2.5C over average) were unprecedented, dwarfing highs occurring in the 1920s and 1930s: http://bit.ly/GrlTmp

  39. 289
    CM says:

    Kevin, re: post-’95 significant warming,thanks for the heads-up on the Tamino thread.

    re: reCaptcha
    (#59, 62 at the “Getting things right” thread — but I think it belongs here):

    I used to be a warm reCaptcha supporter, but lately, it’s been feeding my neurotic fears of failing the Turing test.
    :-)

    (I bet the true trolls, being essentially psychopaths at least in their on-line personas, and the spambots, being non-sentient, never have this problem.)

  40. 290
    CM says:

    re: post-’95 significant warming again (my #277, 280),

    Then again, after having had the benefit of both Gavin’s and Tamino’s thoughts on this, on reflection I think I’ll let that rhetorical point drop. The numbers are too iffy and the argument too narrow, anyway. Oh well.

  41. 291
    Daniel J. Andrews says:

    Can some folks with more knowledge help me out with a paper? Galactic cosmic rays are back, this time in an article by U.R. Rao in Current Science.
    ias.ac.in/currsci/25jan2011/223.pdf

    The gist is that their data clearly shows that the primary cosmic ray intensity has decreased by 9% during the last 150 years, due to the continuing increase in solar activity.

    I thought solar activity was fairly low, and the NASA forecast for the next solar cycle (25) will be the weakest in centuries. And solar activity in the long run, while increasing/sun getting hotter, is on a time scale that is pretty much irrelevant to the next few centuries.

    Also, a number of Rao’s statements seem to contradict material I’ve been reading here and at Skepticalscience (e.g. cosmic ray and cloud formation correlations broke down, and not, as the paper claims, there is a well established excellent correlation between low level clouds and primary cosmic ray intensity).

    Can someone with a better grasp of the subject point me in the right direction, e.g. perhaps an overview of the subject (already read Skepticalscience overview on cosmic rays, RC on cosmic rays and CO2 and other drivers). Thank you.
    –dan

    [Response: The analysis in the Rao paper is pretty weak – there is a lot of uncertainty in how figure 1 is put together (note that the observed neutron monitor CR records only go back to the 1950s and show no long term trend; also, different 10Be records show different 20th C trends). Figure 2 is a slightly modified (and controversial) figure from Marsh and Svensmark, but it has been recently updated to show more data and the relationship falls apart. For an up to date review of this (including that figure (fig 15)), see Gray et al (2010). My first guess would be that this report reflects an internal Indian political issue, not a scientific one… (note too that the ministry discussion paper included a short rebuttal from Ramanathan.) – gavin]

  42. 292
    Dan H. says:

    Daniel,
    The solar activity increased up to just recently. The decrease in cosmic rays corresponds to the increase in temperatures (albeit not extremely well over the long term, although that may be due to the data from earlier years). The decrease in cosmic rays recently does correlated quite well with the decrease in cloud cover, and the resulting temperature increase.
    Forecasts for the current solar cylcle are for a rather low output. this would allow for further study for trends between solar, cosmic rays, clouds, and temperature. This could be a quite interesting decade for climate research.

  43. 293
    Dan H. says:

    Daniel,
    The solar activity increased up until just recently. The decrease in cosmic rays corresponds to the increase in temperatures (albeit not extremely well over the long term, although that may be due to the data from earlier years). The decrease in cosmic rays recently does correlated quite well with the decrease in cloud cover, and the resulting temperature increase.
    Forecasts for the current solar cylcle are for a rather low output. this would allow for further study for trends between solar, cosmic rays, clouds, and temperature. This could be a quite interesting decade for climate research.

  44. 294
    Hank Roberts says:

    > som
    > 5 meters
    And where did you get _that_ idea?

    Check your ruler, or your ostensibly reliable source.
    I think you’ve picked up the wrong one.

    Google your own phrase: http://www.google.com/search?q=Hansen-Sato+paper+predicting+up+to+5+meters+sea-level+rise+by+2100

    and you’ll see where the misleading information is coming from.

    See also direct quotes often repeated: “1.9 metres (6ft 3in) by 2100″ if we stay on BAU

  45. 295
    Hank Roberts says:

    PS for Sou, the phrase to search for is: “as an example”

  46. 296

    The Gray paper that Gavin cites in an in-line response (291) features an interesting list of authors, most from the mainstream scientific view but also noted Dutch skeptic van Geel. Good to have such collaborative efforts.

  47. 297
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Daniel J. Andrews,
    That’s a 9% change on a base of 6 particles per square cm per second in interplanetary space. Those the have enough momentum to penetrate the geomagnetic field and reach the atmosphere–cut that by quite a bit more. Kind of hard to see how you turn that feeble a flux into a global effect. Weak doesn’t begin to describe this effort.

  48. 298
    ccpo says:

    It’s not the average rise that’s gonna get us so much as how it all piles up as it non-linearly gets distributed…

    http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/23/canada-mildness-high-presure-record-ostro-global-warming/#more-40911

    * After New Year’s Day, the town went 11 days without getting down to its average daily high.
    * On the 6th of the month, the low temperature was –3.7 °C (25.3 °F). That’s a remarkable 30 °C (54 °F) above average.
    * On both the 5th and 6th, Coral Harbor inched above the freezing mark. Before this year, temperatures above 0 °C (32 °F) had never been recorded in the entire three months of January, February and March.

    The extremes have been just as impressive when you look high in the atmosphere above these areas. Typically the midpoint of the atmosphere’s mass—the 500-millibar (500 hPa) level—rests around 5 kilometers (3 miles) above sea level during the Arctic midwinter. In mid-December, a vast bubble of high pressure formed in the vicinity of Greenland. At the center of this high, the 500-mb surface rose to more than 5.8 kilometers, a sign of remarkably mild air below. Stu Ostro (The Weather Channel) found that this was the most extreme 500-mb anomaly anywhere on the planet in weather analyses dating back to 1948. Details are at the conclusion of Ostro’s year-end blog post.

    Farther west, a separate monster high developed over Alaska last week. According to Richard Thoman (National Weather Service, Fairbanks), the 500-mb height over both Nome and Kotzebue rose to 582 decameters (5.82 km). That’s not only a January record: those are the highest values ever observed at those points outside of June, July and August.

  49. 299
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.2221
    \In this paper we consider hypothetical particles (57Fe solar axions) as the main carriers of the solar-terrestrial connection ….\

  50. 300
    JCH says:

    som at 285 and Hank at 294.

    Under BAU forcing in the 21st century, the sea level rise surely will be dominated by a third term: (3) ice sheet disintegration. This third term was small until the past few years, but it is has at least doubled in the past decade and is now close to 1 mm/year, based on the gravity satellite measurements discussed above. As a quantitative example, let us say that the ice sheet contribution is 1 cm for the decade 2005–15 and that it doubles each decade until the West Antarctic ice sheet is largely depleted. That time constant yields a sea level rise of the order of 5 m this century. Of course I cannot prove that my choice of a ten-year doubling time for nonlinear response is accurate, but I am confident that it provides a far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component of sea level rise under BAU forcing – James Hansen

    Link to whole article:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen.pdf

    So som, what’s he saying?


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