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Unforced variations: Dec 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 December 2011

Open thread for December…


406 Responses to “Unforced variations: Dec 2011”

  1. 1
    SecularAnimist says:

    Since a December open thread isn’t up yet, I’ll post this here:

    Abrupt permafrost thaw increases climate threat
    30 November 2011
    Institute of Arctic Biology
    Univerisity of Alaska

    Excerpt:

    As the Arctic warms, greenhouse gases will be released from thawing permafrost faster and at significantly higher levels than previous estimates, according to survey results from 41 international scientists published in the Nov. 30 issue of the journal Nature.

    Permafrost thaw will release approximately the same amount of carbon as deforestation, say the authors, but the effect on climate will be 2.5 times bigger because emissions include methane, which has a greater effect on warming than carbon dioxide.

    The survey, led by University of Florida researcher Edward Schuur and University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Benjamin Abbott, asked climate experts what percentage of the surface permafrost is likely to thaw, how much carbon will be released and how much of that carbon will be methane. The authors estimate that the amount of carbon released by 2100 will be 1.7 to 5.2 times larger than reported in recent modeling studies, which used a similar warming scenario.

  2. 2
    John Mashey says:

    Just in case there are any who still think de Freitas was a martyr for science (or whatever), see Pal Review. I actually did go through and check 700+ papers at Climate Research, including dates and editors, and those are important in finding the patterns.

    and it turned it was even worse than many people thought.

    The journal had no Editor-in-Chief, so authors sent manuscripts to an Associate Editor of their choice. Each selected reviewers, handled the whole process and accepted papers with no further oversight.

    From 1990 to 1996, CR published zero papers from any of the following, called pals hereafter: Sallie Baliunas, Robert Balling, John Christy, Robert Davis, (Chris de Freitas), David Douglass, Vincent Gray, Sherwood Idso, PJ Knappenberger, Ross McKitrick, Pat Michaels, Eric Posmentier, Arthur Robinson, Willie Soon, and Gerd-Rainer Weber. [that includes 2 coal guys, 2 astrophysicists, a radian/degree-challenged economist and a chemist who works in the woods and has 2 dead guys on his “faculty.”

    Chris de Freitas became an editor and then accepted 14 papers from the pals 1997-2003. I looked at them all, and in my opinion, not all were bad, but quite a few were *awful*. Even the OK ones managed to insert poorly-supported memes into Abstract, introduction or conclusion.

    With 7 of the 14 papers, Pat Michaels might be called “king of the pals.”

    After von Storch and other editors resigned in 2003, no more pals papers came through de Freitas, and only a few more, through Robert Davis. The party was over.

  3. 3
    Tony says:

    I just listened to a Science Podcast that was a study on aerosols by Natalie Mohowald(?) from Cornell and I have heard nothing of this from any site. The interesting thing was her contention that aerosols have a biogeochemical effect, by fertilizing the land or ocean ecosystems that increase carbon uptake for up to decades, as well as in the atmosphere changing the “amount” of CO2 in the atmosphere. It sounded very interesting, and an issue (in general, not this specific form) that I have considered being a possible source of some mitigation. Of course she explains that aerosol health effects are significant and are going to be removed, that this “masking effect” could make temp increase higher once they are removed. But removal would still leave a many year residual effect when precipitated.

  4. 4
    KeithWoollard says:

    OK, I will try on the open thread seeing my questions get censored elsewhere. In the post about extreme weather events, there is a graph that makes no sense. Can someone explain it to me please. Here is my initial comment:-28.I am sorry, but your second graph makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would having fewer but stronger TCs affect the wind distribution on normal (non-TC) days? Are you therefore saying that in areas that never experience TCs, the wind speed increases with average temperature? Have you any scientific basis for this assumption?

  5. 5
    Hank Roberts says:

    Keith, there’s nothing in the discussion or in Fig. 2 about “the wind distribution on normal (non-TC) days” nor anything about “areas that never experience TCs” — it’s a post about whether there’s enough data available to tell if trends can be detected in what is measured; that is a question that can be asked about any given data set. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html

  6. 6
    Ron R. says:

    Just wanted to mention again an unusual observation, that being that leaves on deciduous trees seem to be hanging on much longer than normal this year. We have an elm, a willow, a walnut and some mulberries that still have many or most of their leaves (because we haven’t gotten our usual killer frost yet).

    We are in California just inland from the coast.

    If this has already been observed and discussed and I’m in the dark then pardon.

  7. 7
    Mark C says:

    I’m not familiar with these scientists (nor the details of the science), but it seems like their assertion that the warming caused by GHG is much less than that caused by atmospheric density has been shown to be incorrect.
    http://www.climatethoughts.org/WCRP_Poster_Nikolov_Zeller.pdf

    [Response: That link doesn't work, but you can see it in the Google Cache. It is mostly nonsense, but the presenter at WCRP was very confident that in ten years time we would all know his name. We'll see. - gavin]

  8. 8
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Ron R., this may be a good place to start:
    http://www.usanpn.org/cpp/
    “… the California Phenology Project (CPP) was launched in 2010 as a 3-year pilot project to develop and test protocols and to create tools and infrastructure to support long-term phenological monitoring and public education activities in California. A primary focus of the effort is how to recruit and engage California residents and visitors in the collection and interpretation of phenological data….”

  9. 9
    Charlie Harnett says:

    Ron R., We’re seeing something similar here in Minnesota. Leaves hung on to maples far longer than what I recall as normal. They also appeared to cling longer to certain other species (but I don’t know what they are).

    [Response: The maples held on exceptionally long this year, dropping in many cases even well after the oaks, in my observations in northern Ohio.--Jim]

  10. 10
    caerbannog says:

    Anthony Watts’ latest attack directed at Dr. Mann might cost Mann his keyboard and monitor (if he’s not careful with the hot coffee, that is):

    So without further ado, here is Watts’ latest deliciously incompetent attempt to discredit the “hockey stick” (linky http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/01/hockey-stick-falsification-so-easy-a-caveman-kid-can-do-it/):

    With apologies to the Geico caveman, paleoclimatology isn’t just for grant enabled scientists anymore.

    Priceless Climategate email 682: Tom Wigley tells Michael Mann that his son did a tree ring science fair project (using trees behind NCAR) that invalidated the centerpiece of Mann’s work:

    ‘A few years back, my son Eirik did a tree ring science fair project using trees behind NCAR. He found that widths correlated with both temp and precip. However, temp and precip also correlate. There is much other evidence that it is precip that is the driver, and that the temp/width correlation arises via the temp/precip correlation’

    I’m sure that Watts has been told that tree-ring-based temperature reconstructions are generally derived from cores taken at trees near timberline. Well sorry, Anthony — wrong timberline!

  11. 11
    Ron R. says:

    Thanks Hank. At first I thought that read phrenology and I was thinking, why is he sending me there? :-)

    I’m wondering if it’s just a local phenomenon, a one off or if anyone else has noticed it.

    Anyway, will look the site over.

  12. 12
    Sou says:

    @ Ron R #6 – where I live in south eastern Australia, the leaves on deciduous trees stayed on the trees till mid June this year. That’s right in winter and most unusual for our part of the world, although maybe it will no longer be ‘unusual’ as time goes by.

    I like the sound of the California Phenology Project. I’m taking photos these days to record unusual blossoming, longer autumns etc. Just for my own record, because I don’t trust my memory :D

    In my garden I get flowers blooming unusually in mid-winter, a couple of years ago we had two ‘springs’ with two blossom periods – one of them in early winter etc etc. Also we get visits from different birds – and some have settled here in recent years – moving across from hotter, drier climate zones. I’m seeing more different insects, too. Not as many Bogong Moths as there used to be. I hope they are okay – they travel from a couple of thousand km away to breed on the hill above us.

    Lots of changes happening.

  13. 13
    MalcolmT says:

    @10, Ron R, Your example may be local but it’s the sort of thing that’s happening worldwide and a lot of people are looking at. You might like to explore from this site, too: http://www.climatewatch.org.au/news/2011/07/phenology-and-citizen-science-usa

  14. 14
    sidd says:

    Mr. Ron. R, Mr. Harnett:

    The maple leaves were hanging on late in ohio and pa as well

    sidd

  15. 15
    James says:

    I recently was looking at aircraft cabin air quality:
    * humans can live up to 30000 ppm CO2
    * short term exposure to 600ppm is unnoticed (shopping malls conference center etc)
    * long term exposure to 450 ppm and we start to die of acidosis
    * primates do not adapt. Young can be more tolerant, but old die.

    That puts the next 30 years into the Very Important category, but the issue seems to be not mentioned. Why?

    James

    [Response: These numbers are very different to OSHA guidance and a huge overestimate (see here for instance). This doesn't get mentioned, mainly because it's wrong. - gavin]

  16. 16
  17. 17
    vukcevic says:

    Number of commentators and even some scientists tend to dismiss the CET as irrelevant, a little local ‘difficulty’ irrelevant to global temperature data-set.
    I tested the claim and it shows existance of high correlation between the CET, the northern Hemisphere and the Global temperatures!
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CGNh.htm
    If that was the case for the last 130 years, than we can take the CET as the best proxy available going back to 1660

  18. 18
    berbmit says:

    Sitting at COP-17 … depressing and hot. Outcome looks gloomy and developed nations playing “hardball” with the less developed nations. Prompted the following guidelines for winning in negotiations … as learned from the current talks: http://www.csag.uct.ac.za/2011/12/02/negotiations-101-for-developed-nations-how-to-introduce-disruption/

  19. 19
    ccpo says:

    Ron, I am in Detroit and there are still leaves on my yellow apple – a lot – and one of the cherry trees. And they are young trees. We’ve just had our first frosts this week… snowing now.

    Can’t be normal. Next year’s sea ice should be quite interesting.

    I continue to believe things are moving far, far faster than virtually all believe. I made the point recently that the world has been denuded in ways that has never been the case during rapid changes before. And this is more rapid than ever before. The system is extremely fragile compare to any other time.

  20. 20
    Utahn says:

    It was WINDY here yesterday. We had 100 mph gusts, lots of damage. Outside of Hurricanes, isn’t wind speed supposed to go down? If so someone missed the memo. ;)

  21. 21
    dhogaza says:

    ccpo:

    Can’t be normal. Next year’s sea ice should be quite interesting.

    Actually, this year’s arctic sea ice extent is still interesting …

  22. 22
    Mike Roddy says:

    I second Secular Animist. RC needs to address the Nature paper: http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/12/01/379675/nature-climate-experts-thawing-permafrost-warming-of-deforestation/
    This is a great blog, but I and others were disappointed with your coverage of the Shakhova paper. This additional information may motivate RC authors to take a good look at methane and the Arctic.

  23. 23
    Paul Briscoe says:

    I’m wondering if someone here can help me.

    A very persistent blogger who is clearly a “disciple” of the Climateaudit blog has drawn my attention to the latest post there regarding the Mann et al (2003) EoS critique of Soon & Baliunas:

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/12/01/hide-the-decline-plus/

    Having compared Figure 1 in EoS03 with the original Briffa et al (2001) paper, it does appear that the “tail” (post 1940) has been left off the EoS plot, although McIntyre also appears to have exaggerated this by adding in data that was not included in the original plot!!

    I don’t buy into the predictable McIntyre conspiracy assertions and I don’t see how it affects the findings either. However, others are now using this to claim that the EoS rebuttal of S&B is flawed. Can anyone here comment on this in a way that can help me to counter such claims?

    Thanks

    [Response: I agree that there is nothing much here. The point of the rebuttal to Soon and Baliunas (as can be seen in the emails) (published version here) was to point out how illogical their conclusions were based on their analysis. Note that they claimed that they could state it was warmer in a period before the present based on whether a proxy suggested it was either warmer, drier, or wetter in a 50 years segment, compared to today. This was simply unfounded, and so their conclusions did not follow from their analysis. (Indeed, a much better attempt with a similar approach was published by Briffa and Osborn (2006)).

    The divergence issue as a recognised problem predates this paper by years (Briffa et al, 1998), and was discussed in the almost contemporaneous Jones and Mann (2004) paper. That paper was a little clearer about what was done and why (i.e. fig 5):

    The various other (smoothed) NH reconstructions shown in the enlargement to Figure 5a have been scaled by linear regression against the smoothed instrumental NH series over the common interval 1856–1980, with the exception of the ‘‘Briffa et al.’’ series, which has been scaled over the shorter 1856–1940 interval owing to a decline in temperature response in the underlying data discussed elsewhere [Briffa et al., 1998a].

    I note there a few typos in the Eos figure 1 though (signs of fast turnaround perhaps). It should say 1856–1940 in the key for Briffa et al. for instance (as it is in Jones and Mann, 2004). But overall the issues in the Eos paper just have nothing to do with the problems with the MXD series. It could have been left out of that (rather crowded) figure without any problem, which obviously they would have rather done if they 13 authors thought there was something problematic. It should be made clear that Briffa and colleagues are well aware that the MXD decline is a problem and that without a resolution (either related to processing, tree sensitivity, direct anthropogenic effects or all of the above), people will rightly have a question mark over that series. But the the bigger point is that this is just one series out of many, and showing that S&B had a completely wrong approach doesn’t depend on any of those issues. – gavin]

    [Further response: It's interesting to add that in Briffa et al, 1998, they state:

    "Over the hemisphere, the divergence between tree growth and mean summer temperatures began perhaps as early as the 1930s;".

    - gavin]

  24. 24
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Utahn
    > Outside of Hurricanes, isn’t wind speed supposed to go down?

    How often do you get hurricanes in Utah?
    Can’t tell you about Utah weather, but you might check locally.

    Where I live, California, this is the info; no certainty about what’ll happen:
    http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/12/01/santa-ana-wind-season-may-be-stretched-by-climate-change/

  25. 25
    mike says:

    Mid-November in dull grey England: harvested ripe tomatoes growing outside – not under glass; trees kept leaves till end of November. First frost was couple of days ago – this time last year we had thick snow.

  26. 26
    flxible says:

    re deciduous trees dropping leaves late

    While it may make an interesting anecdotal entry in your garden calender as a reference for your personal micro-climate, variation in last and first frost dates is “normal” everywhere.

    The observation of blooms in fall or winter may be more to the point wrt climate change – it’s an indication of the decreasing number of “chill hours” in winter, meaning that the variety didn’t have a long enough dormant period the preceding winter and some of the buds remained dormant until the current cooling fall weather made up the required chill hours. This has been observed here on central Vancouver Island fruit trees with increasing frequency the past decade or so, my flowering quince has now done it the last 3 years in a row.

  27. 27
    J Bowers says:

    The Spectator runs false sea-level claims on its cover

    Oh dear, Nils-Axel Morner. Quite comical, in a weird way.

  28. 28
    Icarus says:

    If I understand it correctly, roughly 50% of each year’s anthropogenic CO₂emissions remain in the atmosphere, with 25% absorbed by the oceans (as determined by the changing pH). The remaining 25% is assumed to be taken up by the land, but no-one really knows where. Is that correct? I know this is probably quite a small amount compared to the annual flux, but still, with all the deforestation going on, forest fires, drought, beetle infestations and so on, it seems surprising to me that the land is taking up more than it would otherwise do, rather than less. Any comments?

    [Response: The average atmospheric retention over the last 50 years is about 43-44%, but with a large inter-annual variability (1 s.d. ~= 15%). I'm not sure what your more/less are with reference to. There's uncertainty in exactly how the terrestrial flux is partitioned. Two big drivers are disturbance intensity and rate, and CO2 fertilization.--Jim]

  29. 29
    Louise Doughty says:

    We have leaves still on many trees in North Wales (UK) too and many are still fairly green. The normal autumn colours associated with October were just starting in the second half of November. Some of the ones that had turned recently have been blown off in recent strong winds. We also have some strawberries flowering! Over recent years april showers seem to have been replaced by drought and easterly winds (prevailing winds are westerly). Weather patterns appear to be changing and it makes growing food quite difficult. Of course British weather is fairly unpredictable, especially in the West so it’s difficult to tell if this is a result of climate change or not.

  30. 30
    Utahn says:

    Hank thanks, very interesting.

    “How often do you get hurricanes in Utah?”

    Once to my knowledge, and that was yesterday!

  31. 31
    Hank Roberts says:

    > J. Bowers
    > assumed to be taken up by the land, but
    > no-one really knows where. Is that correct?

    Why would you think that? Is there a source where you found the idea?

    I’d really like to know where you found those statements about assumptions (and why the sources seems trustworthy to you).

    It’s kind of a hobby, backtracking ideas and patterns of trust in ideas.

    Seems easy enough to check; try some of these (just my first guess at a search, someone who knows something can certainly do better):

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=fossil+co2+metabolism+plant+isotope

  32. 32
    Russ Gaulin says:

    I live in central Mass., and we usually lose leaves approx. mid October. First snow toward the end of Nov. or into Dec. But this year we had 2 feet of snow Oct. 30, and since so many leaves remained, there were severe power outages when the wet snow took down branches. Then November was the second warmest on record for here. Weird weather — it’s the new normal. I keep meaning to join the phenology project, but it is clear that something is afoot just from casual observation. I wonder what it could be?? ;-)

  33. 33
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oops, sorry, Icarus, not J. Bowers, is the comment I was replying to:

    > assumed to be taken up by the land, but
    > no-one really knows where. Is that correct?

  34. 34
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Louise Doughty, you have a network you can contribute to:
    http://www.naturescalendar.org.uk/

    Description:
    United Kingdom Phenology Network

    Phenology is the study of the times of recurring natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate. It includes recording when you heard the first cuckoo or first saw the blackthorn blossom. This can then be compared with past records. In autumn 2000 the Woodland Trust joined forces with CEH to promote phenology to a far wider and larger audience. Over 40,000 people across the UK are now registered to record with the UK Phenology Network, around half of current records being made online.”

    Found here: http://www.ceh.ac.uk/data/DataSetsandFacilities.html#PHEN

  35. 35

    Well here in Texas, we had some redbuds start blooming in November, instead of during the spring like the normally do. Opinions vary between the “dormancy” of the drought making the recent rains feel like spring to the trees, to this is the redbuds attempting one last gasp of flowering before mass die-offs.

    http://www.statesman.com/news/local/plants-trees-burst-into-bloom-after-being-fooled-1955857.html?cxtype=rss_ece_frontpage

    Here’s a shot of one of my redbuds blooming two weeks ago:
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2447533301381&set=a.1760765012603.2099101.1043378006&type=3&theater

    My red maple lost its outer 1/3 of its canopy over the summer, then when the rains started tried to grow new leaves. How much stress is that going to cause, spending energy and nutrients for brand new leaves that only last a month?

  36. 36

    “forest fires, drought, beetle infestations and so on. . .”

    Hmm. Well, there’s an explosion of new growth after deforestation; all sorts of opportunistic plants sprout up to take advantage of the increased sun. (In Ontario, fireweed is one prominent example of such a plant, for example.) This starts off the normal succession cycle once again.

    [Response: Not just Ontario, but all over; a classic fire indicator.--Jim]

    I’m sure that there is quite a lot of work available quantifying these things–though I’m not looking just now. . .

  37. 37
    John Mashey says:

    Phenology: this reminds me of one of the more ludicrous errors in the Wegman Report, a source of great amusement. See SSWR, p.117.

    They had copied and cited one of Ray Bradley’s tables, but introduced 3 errors, with the silliest being:

    phenology became *phonology*.

    Sadly, I was unable to locate any paleoclimate folks who had used audio recordings of plants.

    [Response: That's a job for forest ecologists--Jim]

  38. 38

    Here in the Austin, Texas area we had new records for temperature set in 90 or 91 days last summer. Previous record was 60 days a few years ago.

  39. 39
    Susan Anderson says:

    While I’m as hot as the next guy on the relationship of overall change in weather over time being a key indicator of climate change, particularly for lay people, beware of overweighting local changes over a short time. I first started paying attention to budding out in late fall and early winter a few decades ago and finally came to the conclusion that it happens quite frequently and doesn’t seem to change things in isolation. It takes about three years of bad stuff to kill trees, in general. Freeze/thaw is, of course, not great, but nature is pretty resilient.

    You need to stick to overall trends over the whole globe and significant periods of time.

    However, I do believe the one-two punch of Irene and the October storm has done damage to the northeast it will take a generation to heal, and of course in a generation we are going to have a raft of other troubles, plus the likely acceleration of these extreme events. Lately I’ve been thinking about out-of-season events, which do seem to be on the rise.

    The phrase “lurching from greed to fear” describes the coming socioeconomic reaction as people finally realize that we are approaching the endgame. Seesawing weather is clearly evidencing more extremes. Quibbling about individual categories of the most extreme events seems to have encouraged people to leave them out of the overall counts, which seems wrong to me. How do the most extreme events get pushed off the continuum. I know they have weird effects and different dynamics, but not counting them doesn’t work at all. Exactly how is a 10 or 12 inch rain not part of a continuum with an inch or two?

  40. 40
    Susan Anderson says:

    In addition, it seems the overall Arctic thaw is likely to send nasty cold weather to certain populated areas (northern Europe, middle-north US) in winter for a while, as it did in the last two years. It appears, with a lot of help from skilled industry PR, unlikely that the average Joe or Jane will “get it” that this too is part of the overall picture of climate change, and part of “warming”.

  41. 41
    Arjan says:

    Fall was very late here in the Netherlands too. We had very weird weather this year. A record warm and dry spring (in at least 100+ years), a cool and record wet summer and a very stable (high pressure), warm and dry fall lead to midday temperatures which were virtually unchanged between the end of March and the beginning of November! Now, it has finally become wet and windy, which is normal for the time of the year.

  42. 42
    John McManus says:

    Listening to CBC Charlettown PEI Canada this morning I heard a prediction about Christmas. The Metiorologist said that today the chance of a white christnas was 65% while in the 1940′s it was 99%.

    John McManus

  43. 43
    Utahn says:

    Hank, thanks! Having recaptcha probs but very interesting.

  44. 44
    Icarus62 says:

    Hank Roberts: Thanks for your answer. I think I partly got the impression about ocean vs. terrestrial absorption of anthropogenic CO2 from here:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports//tar/wg1/097.htm#tab31

    Towards the end it says:

    The land-atmosphere flux represents the balance of a positive term due to land-use change and a residual terrestrial sink. The two terms cannot be separated on the basis of current atmospheric measurements. Using independent analyses to estimate the land-use change component for the 1980s based on Houghton (1999), Houghton and Hackler (1999), Houghton et al. (2000), and the CCMLP (McGuire et al., 2001) the residual terrestrial sink can be inferred for the 1980s.

    From this and possibly something I read elsewhere, I got the impression that the anthropogenic CO2 taken up by the land through natural changes is something that has to be inferred rather than measured directly – i.e. you can figure out how much the oceans are absorbing, and how much is due to land use changes, so what’s left must be absorbed somewhere on land, but without being able to say where.

    Maybe I misunderstood – In fact it’s more than likely :-)

    [Response: The big challenge in terrestrial carbon cycle research is reconciling "top down" vs "bottom up" estimates of carbon fluxes. Bottom up estimates involve site specific estimates based on some combination of biometric measurements and/or local carbon flux tower data, to estimate the carbon gain or loss directly into/ out of the biosphere. Top down estimates involve inversion modeling (attempting to constrain the sources of atmospheric C based on larger scale atmospheric gas measurements and atmospheric transport measurement/modeling). The problem is mainly the very different scale and type of measurement made in the two approaches, exacerbated by very uncertain processes (soil flux, CO2 fertilization, biometrical uncertainties etc). We can say a lot about the "where", but not nearly enough. Therefore the carbon budget currently closes via subtraction of the terrestrial component from the other two.--Jim]

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Tad Boyd says:

    Post 39

    RealClimate Scientists,

    Is Susan Anderson’s assertion (pasted below) correct? That the last couple of cold winters were caused by the Arctic thaw (colder than normal winters here in Washington state too). As an ‘average Joe’, I do my best but can’t always tell when something stated is proven fact, or just one of the blog’s posters giving opinion. (No offence intended Susan, I am just not familiar with you so don’t know if you write from authority or not).

    “39.In addition, it seems the overall Arctic thaw is likely to send nasty cold weather to certain populated areas (northern Europe, middle-north US) in winter for a while, as it did in the last two years.”

    Thanks,

    Tad
    (Captcha issue I think – trying to post again)

    [Response: There have been a couple of papers linking these issues, but I would say that this is just rising to the level of interesting hypothesis, and is a long way short of well-accepted. If I were a betting man, I would not bet on a similarly cold winter this year. - gavin]

    [Response: Perhaps. But I'd still bet on cold (and wet) for Pacific Northwest this year given prevailing La Nina conditions. - mike]

  47. 47
    Michael Mott says:

    I live in mid Alberta next to a decent sized lake 14 miles long and varying widths 1/2 to a couple miles. I look after my own infrastructure heating and plumbing. I have 20 acres of birch trees.

    Last year the winter was brutal a lot of cloudy days and -30c temperatures I keep a log because I have a semi passive solar home, this year we had -16c -18c -27c in the mid part of November and now we have strong winds gusting to 60km and 0c
    The lake is now frozen over, but the quality of the ice is suspect.

    Michael

  48. 48
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Kevin McKinney @ 35: Hmm. Well, there’s an explosion of new growth after deforestation; all sorts of opportunistic plants sprout up to take advantage of the increased sun.

    Increased sun also leads to warmer soil temperatures, which increases decay of soil organic matter. In the boreal forests, there is usually more carbon in the soil than in the trees. This can mean that a boreal forest stand represents a net carbon source for a period after disturbance. Most detailed boreal forest study I know of is BOREAS.

    Tropical forests, due to high temperatures overall, usually have very little soil carbon. Temperate forest would probably fall in between, but I’m just guessing.

    [Response: Yes. The other points wrt to fire and carbon is that charcoal speeds the soil warming process, and that the fire itself typically, even in a high severity fire, leaves a large fraction of the above-ground carbon in place, but dead, so that carbon (in snags and logs) acts as a C source as it slowly decays over time. In a mid-severity fire the amount left is even higher.--Jim]

  49. 49
    Ron R. says:

    Very Interesting comments re: the late fall. Anecdotal but converging. Phenology too. Exactly right for the topic. Nice direct Hank.

    I, of course, agree with those who urge caution not to draw too much from this one year. But maybe we can our antenna up.

    The Old RC Almanac.

  50. 50
    Ron R. says:

    Thanks Malcolm T. Yes.


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