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Unforced variations: Nov 2011

Filed under: — group @ 31 October 2011

Once more unto the open thread…


341 Responses to “Unforced variations: Nov 2011”

  1. 101
    flxible says:

    David – Surely there are Cambodians older than 11 years. ;)

  2. 102
    David B. Benson says:

    flxible @101 — Thanks.

  3. 103
    CM says:

    Flxible #101, yeah, but only two thirds of Cambodians are above 14. It’s sort of a population pagoda, rather than a pyramid. Which may be part of the reason why Cambodia, incidentally, ranks 12th on a recently published (commercial) index of countries at risk from climate change.

  4. 104

    Not really, but the Guardian says “Like other countries in the region, Cambodia has been hit by heavy monsoon rains that have overwhelmed swollen rivers, dams and canals, causing the worst flooding in decades.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/nov/01/cambodia-floods-disease-toll

  5. 105

    NB–Just to avoid a total non sequitur, the “not really” in my previous comment referred to DBB’s “does anybody have” request for precise information, found on the previous page.

  6. 106
    Dan H. says:

    David,

    There is little documentation about the extent of flooding in this area. However, I was able to uncover this report from Thailand. Drought and floodign in Thailand is highly tied to ENSO events (Droughts during EL Ninos and flooding during La Ninas), and experienced an increase in droughts and decrease in floods after the PDO shift in 1976.

    http://www.tshe.org/ea/pdf/vol4%20no1%20p12-20.pdf

  7. 107
    cRR Kampen says:

    Second highest november temperatures in Holland for at least a century. It proves to be cooling since 2005 (the record will hold out – just).

    Guess we’ll have to become accustomed to the new monsoon climate btw. Floods incredible just ten years ago have already become the normal thing.

  8. 108
    Paul S says:

    The recent kerfuffle about AMO somehow got me thinking about the small difference in trends between surface and TLT records. Since it appears to be a mainstream position that some of the recent warming may have been driven by multidecadal ocean circulation changes it occurred to me that there may be a spatial difference in response between the near-surface and lower troposphere.

    To make it a more succint question: Has there been anything published on spatial atmospheric temperature responses to ocean circulation changes, such as the thermohaline circulation? I’m thinking something along the lines of Figure 9.1 in AR4.

  9. 109
    Dan H. says:

    Wili,

    You may want to this article regarding the null hypothesis

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/wcc.145/pdf

  10. 110
    Chris R says:

    #99 Ray Ladbury,

    I’m confused as to what you think the alternatives are! If you can’t persuade people to change their behaviour, with perhaps some help from increasing fuel prices (demand destruction), what else is there? I see no public appetite for a ‘war footing’ response, virtually everyone I know drives and flies, their response to rising fuel prices is anger – not a feeling that it’s for the best.

    FWIW I think that if we crack AGW it will be because of new technology, in particular, success at implementation of fusion.

  11. 111
    adelady says:

    Chris R “if we crack AGW it will be because of new technology…”

    …… or maybe extensive deployment will make current technology really, seriously cheap.

    Where I live, roof renovation companies are offering solar PV as giveaway incentives for clients replacing/ repairing roofs. (Not so long ago, they were offering big plasma screens. A vast improvement.)

  12. 112
    David B. Benson says:

    How much more will it rain? A starter is to see mhow much more water vapor might be in the air. In the spirit of Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate” wherein subsection 6.3.2 is an appropriate place to begin, let us first consider the
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clausius%E2%80%93Clapeyron_relation
    to use the August-Roche-Magnus approximation for the saturation pressure, sat(T), which is of the form

    sat(T) = c.exp[-k(1/T - 1/T0)]

    for constants c and k and where T0 is a convenient reference temperature. Think of T0 being about (273+15) kelvin. The temperature T is only slightly different from T0,

    T = T0 + dT

    for some increment in temperature on the order of 1–3 K. Then the exponent is

    -k(-dT/[(T0+dT)T0]) ~ (k/T0^2)dT

    demonstrating an (approximate) exponential increase with a dT increase in temperature; the various resulting constants are given explicitly by the August-Roche-Magnus approximation on the Wikipedia page for T0 = 273 K.

    There certainly has been a great quantity of rain in the past couple of years; enough so that the sea level has detectably dropped. I read today with sadness about the flash flooding in Genova, Italy, of which I have fond memories from the previous century.

  13. 113
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris R., you seem to think technology just “happens”. I can assure you from personal experience that this is not true. Humans have to make it happen. It takes investment and it takes time. Reduced consumption is not “the answer”. It is essential, but only because it buys time–time, I would note, that must be bought now because we did nothing for 20 years, despite the near certainty that such a new energy infrastructure would be essential for the continuance of human civilization.

  14. 114
    Chris Colose says:

    David Benson,

    Keep in mind that Clausius-Clapeyron gives only a constraint on the amount of water vapor that can build up in the atmosphere for a given temperature, before it begins to condense. It is a poor indicator of the way evaporation (and thus precipitation) changes in a warming climate, which depends primarily on constraints imposed by the energy balance at the surface (it can also be thought of in terms of the tropospheric energy budget, which is between latent heat release and net radiative cooling– there are some various camps of thought on this). Global precipitation actually goes up much slower than Clausius-Clapeyron, and is actually a rather useless variable due to the large spatial heterogeneity in where places get wetter/drier.

  15. 115
    David B. Benson says:

    Chris Colose @114 — Thanks and I suppose I should have written more qualifications. Professor Pierrehumbert’s section 6.4 does well in explaining the total energy balance but its good to know there are ‘various camps’ on this. Later in “Principles of Planetary Climate” there is mention that GCMs don’t give water vapor increasing as fast as CC implies but Professor Pierrehumbert still uses a percentage increase, i.e., still exponential with temperature.

    Now, of course, one has to go an actually measure the precipitation in each locality. Various studies have been performed, the satellite data being especially useful. The studies I located certainly indicate increased precipitation at mid and high latitudes over the periods of those studies; obviously total precipitation has gone way up in the last two years. What remains a puzzle for me is that the same satellite data, globally averaged up to about 2008 shows no statistically significant trend. Puttin these studies together ipso facto rain in the tropics, globally averaged, has declined.

    Despite the imperfections of attempting to derive trendfs precipitation from first principles (and so leaving lots out), I still think it fair to state that in localities which are not in the process of drying up, precipitation will increase approximately exponentially with increasing temperature.

    This has an important implication for the use of rain intensity statistics in forecasting extreme events in each separate catchment. If you have a suggestion which you think superior to an exponential growth in rain intensity please do make and defend it. To be as clear as possible, I am only interested in the shape of the function for temperature dependence with the thought of using the statistics for each rain gauge or catchment to determine the constants for that locality.

  16. 116
    Chris R says:

    #113 Ray Ladbury,

    I note you haven’t answered my question about your proposed solutions…

    I work in electronics – I am all too aware that technology doesn’t just happen, as a metrology technician I support the people who make it happen. You may notice that in the Keystone XL thread I have linked to a paper by Armour & Roe about committed warming(which I have previously read) and some interesting slides by Roe (which I came across before posting) – I am all too aware of the time issue, but don’t see any easy answers to this.

    Adelady,

    Without long-distance transmission (e.g. from North Africa / Mediterranean) PV isn’t as attractive here in the UK and in the rest of Northern Europe. Local solutons are part of the answer, but I think if fusion can be cracked there is the prospect of undermining the cost benefits of fossil fuels.

    David B. Benson,

    I too watched the news footage of a square in Genoa (BBC) crammed with smashed vehicles. When I see such news I can’t help but wonder about AGW and if I’m seeing an AGW related disaster. But the sceptic in me demands more than suspicion before drawing a link I’ll argue for.

  17. 117
    wili says:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4195561

    “A new study in the journal Nature finds that global warming probably contributed to Europe’s killer heat wave of 2003″

    http://www.grist.org/article/2010-08-12-climate-experts-agree-global-warming-caused-russian-heat-wave

    “Climate experts agree: Global warming caused Russian heat wave”

  18. 118

    Assuming I can get past the evil ReCaptcha this time…

    I could use help with a radiative-convective model. I keep getting a too-hot stratosphere. I’m using conventional composition for the stratosphere, plus the ozone profile from the 1976 US Standard Atmosphere. I’m taking O3 absorption coefficients from Chou et al. and O2 from Ditchburn 1962 and Inn & Tanaka 1953. I don’t understand what I’m missing.

    Figures for 20 levels of atmosphere and the ground follow. Top is layer 1, bottom (ground) is 21.

    L# Model USSA
    1 325.1 259.3
    2 254.6 224.5
    3 227.6 218.1
    4 220.9 216.7
    5 219.8 216.7
    6 220.2 216.7
    7 225.4 221.0
    8 233.4 231.5
    9 242.5 240.7
    10 250.5 248.8
    11 257.5 256.0
    12 263.7 262.4
    13 269.2 268.0
    14 274.0 272.9
    15 278.1 277.1
    16 281.5 280.7
    17 284.3 283.6
    18 286.5 285.8
    19 287.9 287.3
    20 288.7 288.1
    21 288.9 288.2

    r^2 = 74%

  19. 119
    David B. Benson says:

    Chris R @116 — What is the recurrence time for such rainfall events in Ligure? Just in Genova? Has that recurrence time become less in the past 50 years? If the answer is yes, then one can fairly attribute the shorter recurrence time to global warming; no individual rain events can be so attributed, of course.

    The amount of damage to lives and property is disproportionately large as people, almost everywhere, fail to give proper respect for rare extreme events and build in the flood plain. I beleive that is/was the case in Genova.

  20. 120
    Hank Roberts says:

    But, wili, that’s a headline. Headline writers, well, tsk. You know. I didn’t follow up that 2010 article to see if it got clarified; did you?

    The article itself:

    “… Dr. Rob Carver’s analysis of the statistical likelihood of the Moscow heatwave:

    Now, let’s take a look at July 29, when it cracked 100 F at Moscow Shermetyevo. By our records, the reported high was 37.78 deg C and the normal high for that day is 20.0 deg C. According to GDAS, the maximum temperature for Moscow on July 29 was 35.85 deg C and the normal temperature according to CFSR is 20.6. Using the techniques of Hart and Grumm (2001), the climatological anomaly for maximum temperature is 3.9 deg C.

    So, using the GDAS and CFSR data, the normalized anomaly of maximum temperature was +3.1. That’s near a recurrence interval of once per thousand years which matches the quotes I’ve heard from Russian met agencies. Now, if we assume the climatological anomaly derived from CFSR data is the same of the observations, the normalized anomaly jumps to +4.5, which translates into “less than once every 15,788″.

    That however, is a tricky assumption to make. We know that the climatic properties of CFSR and GDAS data have to have some correspondence with what’s actually happens in the atmosphere, otherwise weather models wouldn’t work. What becomes difficult to quantify (in the time constraints of writing for the public) is how the statistics of the climate properties line up between observations and reanalysis. And at these extremes, it doesn’t take much change in the average and standard deviation of a property to dramatically change how unusual an event is. Another possible source of error is the assumption that the climatology of CFSR is the climatology of the operational GDAS. Which is not a slam-dunk since NCEP shifted to a higher-resolution model on July 28. Now, I don’t have any information to say the post July 28 GDAS data has different climatological characteristics, but it’s a possibility. Another big assumption I make is that daily maximum temperatures follow a Gaussian (normal) distribution and that from 30 years of CFSR data, I can adequately characterize such a distribution….”

    end quote

    More reasonable, eh? Because you can get more out of the text than the headline writer can put into the headline.

  21. 121
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris R., There are no solutions at present. None. Merely reducing consumption, as I said, is not a solution, but merely an exercise in buying time. It is by no means certain that we can even find solutions in time to avert severe consequences. The fact that the problem is difficult makes it all the more criminal that fossil fuel interests have successfully prevented society from even acknowledging the problem, let alone working toward solutions.

  22. 122
    David B. Benson says:

    Stuart Coles, Luis Raul Pericchi and Scott Sisson
    A Fully Probabilistic Approach to Extreme Rainfall Modeling
    appears to provide the best account of rare rainfall events that I have found so far.

  23. 123
    Chris R says:

    David B Benson,

    It is precisely factors such as building on flood plains and reporting issues that leave me with doubt about many such events.

    There is other research for the UK (sorry but as my time is limited I tend to read locally on these issues). I read a paper from the Met Office (UK) last year on increasing contribution of heavy precipitation – which I can’t find at present. However there is another paper:

    Evidence for trends in heavy rainfall events over the UK.
    Osborn & Hulme. 2002.
    PDF

    The sign of the change is consistent with the simulated
    climate-change signal due to increasing greenhouse gas
    concentrations, though the magnitude of the observed
    change is greater than that expected from the model
    simulations…

    …We conclude, therefore, that there is some evidence
    that the recent winter changes have some component of
    a climate-change signal within them, but the evidence
    is not sufficiently strong on its own to suggest that
    the observed trends will continue with the same
    magnitude into the future.

    Ray Ladbury,

    There may be no solutions at present, but we can still do the right thing: reducing our personal emissions, arguing in favour of what the science really shows. I can only think of one hopeful precedent: Slavery was once a major de-facto energy source, it was abolished in the British Empire in 1833, despite the cost implications to business. That was done because it became widely recognised that slavery was wrong.

  24. 124
    David B. Benson says:

    Chris R @123 — Yes, finding statistical evidence for an increase in actual extreme rainfall events, as opposed to flood damage change, is quite difficult. However, the satellite evidence demonstrates increased (average) precipitation at mid and high latitudes; if the proportion which are extreme events does not change one suspects an increase in the occurance of rainfall events beyond design basis.

  25. 125
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Chris R., There are interesting parallels to your arguments regarding abolition. Slavery was as wrong in the mid 18th century as it was in the 19th, and there was no shortage of decent people arguing against it either. One of the things that made it possible to abolish slavery was the fact that technology advanced to the point where it was not economical. It was mainly in the American South, where wealth was concentrated in slaves where abolition was seen as economic suicide.

    I suspect that were we to develop a new infrastructure capable of perpetuating human civilization without fossil fuels that suddenly you’d find a lot more people who would identify minimizing climate change as a moral issue. It is an unfortunate characteristic of human beings that economics often subverts our moral sense.

  26. 126
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    A recent paper for you:

    Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes
    Seung-Ki Min, Xuebin Zhang, Francis W. Zwiers & Gabriele C. Hegerl 2011

    Abstract
    Extremes of weather and climate can have devastating effects on human society and the environment1,2. Understanding past changes in the characteristics of such events, including recent increases in the intensity of heavy precipitation events over a large part of the Northern Hemisphere land area3–5, is critical for reliable projections of future changes. Given that atmospheric water-holding capacity is expected to increase roughly exponentially with temperature—and that atmospheric water content is increasing in accord with this theoretical expectation6–11—it has been suggested that human influenced global warming may be partly responsible for increases in heavy precipitation3,5,7. Because of the limited availability of daily observations, however, most previous studies have examined only the potential detectability of changes in extreme precipitation through model–model comparisons12–15. Here we show that
    human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have contributed to
    the observed intensification of heavy precipitation events found
    over approximately two-thirds of data-covered parts of Northern
    Hemisphere land areas. These results are based on a comparison of
    observed and multi-model simulated changes in extreme precipitation over the latter half of the twentieth century analysed with an optimal fingerprinting technique. Changes in extreme precipitation projected by models, and thus the impacts of future changes in extreme precipitation, may be underestimated because models seem to underestimate the observed increase in heavy precipitation with warming 16.

  27. 127
    wili says:

    Hank, few can match your web search skills. I was just attempting to answer ChrisR at #97 “Can you cite research that shows the 2003 or 2010 European Heatwaves were outside of the envelope of natural variability?”

    I’m not sure “envelope of natural variability” is really well defined enough to warrant an answer, but are you saying these events were well within the range of what would be expected without climate change?

  28. 128
    David B. Benson says:

    wili @127 — I better understand (although not well) the Eastern Europe/Central Asia heat wave of 2010. That event, barring any climate change, appears to have a return time (period, recurrance interval) in excess of 1000 years; a purely statistical concept. So it might have happened anyway, just quite rare on statistical grounds. But with global warming? Well, Stfan has provided not one but two recent threads here on Real Climate to aid us in understanding that, yes, with climate change it is/was more likely (although still quite rare).

  29. 129
    John Eggert says:

    Cross posted to WUWT tips, 12:36 am EST Nov 7, 2011.

    I need some help here. In particular, I’m looking for people who have at least an undergraduate level of training in thermodynamics generally and energy flow specifically, or self taught equivalent. (I have studied energy transfer in a number of university courses, but that was many years ago now. My work often involves heat transfer calculations. That is I get paid to get this stuff right (and sued if I get it wrong). I’m pretty confident in my ability to perform an energy balance, but I’m stumped by this one).

    Here, in a nutshell, is my conundrum:

    Why is the ocean so cold?

    Our friends at BEST, CRU, GISS, etc. going all the way back to Fourier, all agree that the “surface temperature” of the earth is more than 10 celcius or 283 kelvin. Further, it is hypothesized that the “surface temperature” of the earth has always been at least 10 celcius and often more.

    So how is it that the temperature of the ocean, which is in direct contact with this “surface” is at least 6 degrees colder than the “surface temperature”? Not only is the ocean in direct contact with this “surface”, but the earth itself is constantly shedding thermal energy into the ocean from the crust.

    If someone can show me a complete energy balance that allows the ocean to be at a steady state temperature that is lower than the “surface temperature”, I would be grateful. If there isn’t such a balance, one of two things must be true. The “surface temperature” is colder than estimated or the laws of thermodynamics don’t apply to the oceans.

    Just to be clear, it is an absolute certainty that the laws of thermodynamics apply to the oceans.

    No hand waving allowed. I’ve seen a number of debating point style arguments. I would like to see some math on this. I’m working on my math on this. My first run approximation has the oceans boiling away a few billion years ago, so something is not right. If you are not sure how the oceans should have boiled away billions of years ago, add 0.1 W/m² of energy to a 4 km column of water for 1 billion years and determine what the temperature of the water should be. The 0.1 is lower than the approximation of the rate of energy transfer from the crust to the bottom of the ocean.

    TIA

    JE

    [Response: The answer can be found in any basic text book in oceanography and has been known since the days of Challenger expedition - the ocean is stratified by density. Colder water at a fixed salinity is more dense than warmer water. Therefore cooling of the surface (during winter, in high latitudes) is far more effective at producing denser water than warming the surface (at least at surface salinities experienced today). - gavin]

  30. 130
    David B. Benson says:

    Pete Dunkelberg @126 — Most useful. Thank you for noticing that paper from Nature.

  31. 131
    John Eggert says:

    Gavin:

    Your response amounts to hand waving. Can you provide a reference to one of these texts on oceanography that shows the energy balance with completed math?

    [Response: The only to have 'complete math' is to use a full ocean model with high resolution inputs of atmospheric forcing fields and time and space resolution to calculate the seasonality, ocean surface mixing, advection etc. Your best bet would be something like the ECCO project results. If you want something less than the 'completed math', you need to be more specific about the level of approximation required. Perhaps if you could specify what you find unsatisfying in the basic explanation, that would help. - gavin]

  32. 132
    CM says:

    ChrisR, wili, re: “envelope of natural variability”

    Until the end of the 20th century (20C), maximum seasonal temperatures across Europe mostly ranged 2 to 3 SDs of their 1970–1999 climatology, with regional extreme summers clustering in a few decades of the last five centuries. During the 2001–2010 decade, 500-year-long records were likely broken over ~65% of Europe, including eastern Europe (2010), southwestern-central Europe (2003), the Balkans (2007), and Turkey (2001). These summers have considerably contributed to the upper tail of the European distribution of summer maxima (…). Thus, the percentage of European regions with seasonal maxima above 3 SDs (>99th percentile of the 1970–1999 distribution) has doubled within one decade.
    (Barriopedro et al., 2011)

    Better get a big envelope…

  33. 133
    Chris R says:

    CM,

    Excellent, thanks. The paper makes a good case that taken together the 2003/10 heatwaves in Europe were highly anomalous and outside the envelope of natural variability. Figure 3 is staggering.

    I’ve given up on weather disaster stats as the best source seems to be EMDAT and that’s too subject to reporting bias to be highly persuasive, although it remains intriguing.

    One minor issue – your link dead-ends anyone without a Nature subscription. The paper is Barriopedro 2011, “The Hot Summer of 2010: Redrawing the Temperature Record Map of Europe.” And a paywall free copy is available here.

  34. 134
    Gerg says:

    Against organised and strident opposition, the Australian parliament enacted a basic carbon emission pricing mechanism today: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-11-08/carbon-tax-passes-senate/3652438 The political debate has spanned five years and three prime ministers, each of whom at some stage claimed to be a strong supporter of emissions pricing.

  35. 135
    Marcus says:

    Re John Eggert:

    I suspect it is nearly impossible to have a simple, not computer aided model for a temperature stratified water volume cooled by atmosphere so that the stratification is broken.

    But it is easy to imagine that this mechanism is more efficient than atmospheric heating, which does not destroy but strengthen stratification. With no violation of the 2nd law whatsoever.

  36. 136
    J Bowers says:

    World headed for irreversible climate change in five years, IEA warns

    The world is likely to build so many new fossil-fuelled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be “lost for ever”, according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.

    Anything built from now on that produces carbon will continue to do so for decades to come, and this “lock-in” effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world’s foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this infrastructure is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.

    “The door is closing,” Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, told the Guardian. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever.”

  37. 137
  38. 138

    CM, Chris, thanks–that sounds like a very interesting paper.

    On another topic, a milestone: my precis of Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” is just hitting its 1000th page view (thanks to a sudden surge of interest of unknown origin.) Thanks to RC readers for past support. . .

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Climate-Wars-A-Review

  39. 139
    Snorbert Zangox says:

    What about this? Nicola Scafetta 2011: A shared frequency set between the historical mid-latitude aurora records and the global surface temperature. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics In Press doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2011.10.013 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611002872

    [Response: More nonsense. Mis-application of spectral calculations, post-hoc justifications for ridiculous physical mechanisms, huge overstatements of their importance: JASTP takes another step towards astrology. - gavin]

  40. 140
    SteveF says:

    More nonsense. Mis-application of spectral calculations, post-hoc justifications for ridiculous physical mechanisms, huge overstatements of their importance: JASTP takes another step towards astrology.

    But but but, Roger Sr thinks that it’s great:

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/08/new-paper-a-shared-frequency-set-between-the-historical-mid-latitude-aurora-records-and-the-global-surface-temperature-by-n-scafetta-2011/

    I’m wondering if Roger actually reads the stuff that he cites these days, or just sees stuff that “enlarges the debate” (i.e. differs from the mainstream, no matter how crazy) and instantly posts it to his blog. His fawning over a crappy blog post by Bob Tisdale is further evidence of his descent into irrelevancy:

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/highly-recommended-weblog-post-by-bob-tisdale-titled-an-initial-look-at-the-hindcasts-of-the-ncar-ccsm4-coupled-climate-model/

    It’s a shame as he used to post some though provoking stuff, even if I didn’t necessarily agree with it.

  41. 141

    Here’s a “short” I just published online–a fictional response to the big issue that I suspect some here may enjoy:

    http://doc-snow.hubpages.com/hub/Responsibility-or-Driver-Boy-and-Girl

  42. 142
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Snorbert,
    Scafetta might as well be doing astrology.

  43. 143
    Ray Ladbury says:

    John Eggert,
    Think about the basic methods of heat transfer–conduction, convection and radiation. Convection is the most efficient, but requires actual physical mixing–and that ain’t happening. Conduction requires contact. Again, contrary to your assertion, there is no contact betweenthe deep oceans and the “surface”. Rather, there is a temperature gradient and limited heat diffusion–just as across an insulator. And there is no radiation between the deep oceans and the surface.

    Radiation is also one of the reasons why the surface is warmer–just as a thermometer in the sun registers warmer than one in the shade nearby. I wouldn’t give up on thermo just yet.

  44. 144
    Hank Roberts says:

    from “The King of Human Error | Business | Vanity Fair”
    —-excerpt follows—-

    The human mind is so wedded to stereotypes and so distracted by vivid descriptions that it will seize upon them, even when they defy logic, rather than upon truly relevant facts. Kahneman and Tversky called this logical error the “conjunction fallacy.”

    Their work intersected with economics in the early 1970s when Tversky handed Kahneman a paper on the psychological assumptions of economic theory. As Kahneman recalled:

    > I can still recite its first sentence: “The agent of economic theory
    > is rational, selfish, and his tastes do not change.”
    >
    > I was astonished. My economic colleagues worked in the building
    > next door, but I had not appreciated the profound difference between
    > our intellectual worlds. To a psychologist, it is self-evident that
    > people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that
    > their tastes are anything but stable.

    The paper that resulted five years later, the abovementioned “Prospect Theory,” not only proved that one of the central premises of economics was seriously flawed—-the so-called utility theory, “based on elementary rules (axioms) of rationality”—-but also spawned a sub-field of economics known as behavioral economics.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2011/12/michael-lewis-201112?currentPage=all

  45. 145
    vukcevic says:

    Mis-application of spectral calculations……another step towards astrology. – gavin

    I am too doubtful about Scafetta’s results. I have reconstructed natural oscillations superimposed on the 350 year long CET trend of 0.25C/century. http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CET-NV.htm
    There is no 60 year periodicity.

  46. 146
    Brian Dodge says:

    “If you are not sure how the oceans should have boiled away billions of years ago, add 0.1 W/m² of energy to a 4 km column of water for 1 billion years and determine what the temperature of the water should be.” John Eggert — 7 Nov 2011 @ 12:36 AM

    You didn’t include the W/m^2 radiated away in the polar regions, and the global THC that moves heat from the tropics(where the energy balance between insolation and infrared radiation is positive) to the poles(where the outbound IR carries away more energy than the incoming solar energy)

  47. 147
    Radge Havers says:

    Hank @ 144

    “The human mind is so wedded to stereotypes and so distracted by vivid descriptions that it will seize upon them, even when they defy logic, rather than upon truly relevant facts. Kahneman and Tversky called this logical error the “conjunction fallacy.”

    A flaw taken advantage of by the fields of advertising, propaganda, infotainment, and some religion; facilitated no doubt by repetition and availability heuristics. So the human mind, social and physical, is apparently prone to entropy and intractable messes, another reminder of how critical it is to communicate effectively, continuously, and energetically.

  48. 148
    Susan Anderson says:

    Excellent programs:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/11/online-hacker-group-crowdsources-radiation-data-for-japanese-public.html
    Some suggestions for other kinds of measurements and problem solving at end.

    Ocean acidification and consequences, hour, current and information rich, but especially recommend last bit, first policy suggestion that looked doable to me:
    KUOW Seattle:
    http://www.kuow.org/mp3high/m3u/WeekdayB/WeekdayB20111108.m3u

    apologies if this is a duplicate, earlier entry fail?

  49. 149
    Hank Roberts says:

    A little recreational typing:

    An engineer might believe a decade enough, for that data set?

    “I think you need 20-30 years of global mean temperature data to be talking about climate rather than weather” http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/03/misleading-yourself-with-graphs.html

  50. 150
    sidd says:

    I understand there is a mercury signature from coal burning in every lake in North America. I expect this will

    Will an enhanced concentration of mercury be visible in varves, o, say over the next 10 kiloyear ?

    sidd


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