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Unforced Variations: July 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2013

This month’s open thread…

We have just updated the blog software, and are taking a little time to assess how up-to-date some the content is (including the theme, mobile theme, blogroll, about pages and the RC wiki etc.). So this might be a good time to chime in with your suggestions as well as discussing the latest climate science issues.


350 Responses to “Unforced Variations: July 2013”

  1. 201
  2. 202
    Edward Greisch says:

    186 doug & Gavin: Illinois between Moline and Chicago has had way too much rain this year. Fields went unplanted & unplowed into June because of standing water.

    Recall that last year there was drought in spring and summer, then at harvest time the fields were too wet to drive a combine on. Farmers waited until the ground was frozen before harvesting. The corn, what there was, was damaged by having been frozen.

    GW should be called the Rain-Move because that is what it does. The last few years have been bad because of the wrong rain at the wrong place at the wrong time.

  3. 203
    Edward Greisch says:

    Checking calendar: Woops! I can only say I saw fields unplowed and very wet on 25 May. Sorry.

  4. 204
    Radge Havers says:

    Saying it with graphics.

    Has Global Warming Stopped?
    At Greg Laden’s Blog

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2013/07/16/has-global-warming-stopped-2/

    The second poster is especially pointed.

  5. 205
    JCH says:

    204
    Radge Havers says:

    The problem is that *skeptics can claim ENSO reconstructions demonstrate the current phenomena of wind-driven downwelling of heat and upwelling of cold can last 20 to 40 years, and no society is going to have much stomach for imposing limits on energy consumption if the GMT remains flat, or even cools, for that long.

    There needs to be discussion on how long this situation can last.

    * CH

  6. 206
  7. 207

    #201–Chuckle.

    Used that metaphor in a song–got to get it released one of these days, before I get run over by a train.

    Metaphorical or otherwise.

  8. 208
    Hank Roberts says:

    Brin points to:
    http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/20/planId/1303629?
    Proposal for Geoengineering by William.H.Calvin

    Emergency 20-year Drawdown of Excess CO2 via Push-Pull Ocean Pumps
    “Summary
    A drawdown of atmospheric CO2 would address all three big issues–global overheating, ocean acidification, and methane burps–but it would need to be big, quick, and sure-fire.

    How big? Aim at removing all 350 GtC emitted since 1750. That would cool things off and slow methane production.

    How quickly? We must back out of the danger zone before being weakened by resource wars and economic collapse. During a 20 yr project period, another 250 GtC are likely be emitted from business-as-usual, so make that goal 600 GtC. That’s 30 GtC/yr.

    Once the drawdown is complete, half of the sequestration capacity might still be needed to continuously counter out-of-control emissions; the rest goes on standby for future emergencies such as a methane burp….”
    ——————–

    Looks to me, as an amateur, like the best idea I’ve seen yet.
    Only problem is no way to Make Money Fast to secure private finance.
    Or is there? I speculate in comments there.

  9. 209
    Radge Havers says:

    @ 205

    Putting a ‘0’ in front of year numbers:
    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Future-depends-on-long-term-planning-3944817.php#page-1

    Point taken though. Septics will gibber on no matter what. OTOH, any disinterested party who suddenly decides to follow closely enough to wonder about ENSO and GMT, should be given pause by those graphics. Those who hear all talk of climate change as background noise, however, and who think there’s only naturally caused weather and God, will tend to remain oblivious.

    And please bear with me here…
    * CH: What means this?

  10. 210
    patrick says:

    @204 Excellent: a reverse gish-gallop without the gish. It puts eight things on the table at once, and it’s all one picture anyway. A nice antidote. Thanks.

  11. 211
    Radge Havers says:

    Re: The graphics at Laden’s

    As the saying goes you have to “stand back and look at the big picture.” It’s how we’re wired. That’s different from stringing together poorly articulated elements and barfing them en masse — or crawling ant-like, myopically fumbling from one disjoint obstacle to another with no sense of perspective, and only disengaged fantasies for a feeling of continuity.

    Not that that second poster is perfectly designed, but it does lay it all out in a simple and orderly fashion that’s pretty easy to grasp at one take and to analyze in short order.

  12. 212
    Mal Adapted says:

    David Brin, @Hank’s link:

    The Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives — continuing its almost blemish-free record of jibbering inanity, with members from the majority party almost universally unqualified and propelled by fanatical dogmas.

    Delicious. Wish I could write like that, but that’s why Brin’s able to make a living as a writer while I’m just a computer nerd.

  13. 213
    Meow says:

    On radiation budgets, is there more we might do using earthshine (earth-moon-earth SW reflection) to measure global albedo (e.g., Qiu et al)? Would this technique be at all useful for measuring OLW?

  14. 214
    Student says:

    Coursera will be offering a course on climate change, from faculty from various fields at the University of Melbourne.

    https://www.coursera.org/course/climatechange

    “You will learn that the issue of Climate Change is incredibly complex, however it can also be very accessible if you can see it from different perspectives and approach it with an open mind and a willingness to engage in discussion and action along with others.”

  15. 215
    Martin Vermeer says:

    #213 Meow:

    > Would this technique be at all useful for measuring OLW?

    How? Using it for visible radiation works because you can look at the dark side, which does not emit any such radiation, or reflect any from the Sun. With thermal infrared, you would have to separate out a minute, reflected quantity of Earth infrared from the Moon’s own emissions (which BTW Langley and Arrhenius used back in their days to sense greenhouse gases in our own atmosphere). And do it through an Earth atmosphere the relevant absorption properties of which are changing rapidly over time. I don’t see how it could be done.

  16. 216
    Meow says:

    @215: It does seem like a very difficult problem. It’s easy enough to determine how long each currently-dark sliver of the moon has been shaded, but we need to know what LW it would emit absent LW incoming from the earth. That would seem a difficult quantity to obtain, plus our atmosphere would further muddy observations of the LW reflected/re-emitted by the moon.

    But I disagree with the idea that earth’s LW at the moon is “minute”. It should be about twice the magnitude of earth’s SW at the moon (~235 W/m^2 OLW / 107 W/m^2 OSW), no?

  17. 217
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I’m back in Arkansas now and we have a swarm of caterpillars “munching on the leaves” of our hardwood trees. It’s really bad. In addition to that I was watching “The Evening News with Brian Williams” and one of the feature stories from the Weather Channel is that a heat wave has developed on the East Coast and is moving “backward” from East to West.

    Talking to the local folk here nobody remembers caterpillars decimating the hardwoods within the last 50 years. I’ve never seen it myself. I’m just making some anecdotal observations but I would love to hear from anyone else about this. As the link to the article points out, “added to the last two years of severe drought, we stand to lose a lot of trees due to the caterpillars eating all the leaves.”

    Here’s a link to a local news station reporting on the caterpillar infestation:

    http://arkansasmatters.com/fulltext?nxd_id=677332

    I’m going to add this question….. is this due to a warmer climate and can this infestation in any way be linked to Climate Change? Thanks.

    [Response: Possible, but very hard to demonstrate with the available data. If there is any group of organisms defined by boom and bust cycles, including those that are completely unrelated to climatic variables, it is herbivorous insects.–Jim]

  18. 218
    Patrick 027 says:

    re 216 Meow – OLR (OLW) is greater than OSW, but for the fractions aimed at the moon, both quantities are minute. That’s okay for finding SW because Earth shine is the vast majority of what the dark side of the moon (anyone listening to Pink Floyd right now?) receives in SW and of course the moon isn’t, so far as I know, phosphorescent or volcanic (right now)… etc.

  19. 219
    sidd says:

    Mr. Aaron Lewis used to talk about this:

    http://cires.colorado.edu/news/press/2013/greenland-inland-ice.html

    latent heat transport is quite effective

    sidd

  20. 220
    patrick says:

    @214 Excellent. Be sure to enlighten us.

    “…one of the wicked problems….never before faced a problem of such complexity.” (quoting the video)

    “[Course leaders] do not shy away from discussing the most challenging questions: How do we understand prediction and uncertainty? …”

  21. 221
    patrick says:

    @204 & 211 Radge Havers: That graphic on Greg Laden’s blog quickly puts multiple information tracks on the optic nerve in an attractive way.
    The two large pieces are from Skeptical Science and the six smaller ones are courtesy of Climate Nexus, which he links. I’m looking at their resources page:

    http://climatenexus.org/resources/read/

    An unusual concept from Munich Re is charted on pg. 5 of “Climate Signals”(resources):

    http://climatenexus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/signals.pdf

    It’s “Natural catastrophes worldwide, 1980-2010: Number of events by peril with trend.” The concept is interesting because “Geophysical events”–i.e.,”Earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption”–function as a statistical control for uptrending meteorological and hydrological events.

    They should know. I’m sure they know how to count, and how to weigh.

    The same section has charts on shifting probabilities from both the IPCC and NASA/Hansen, and something less-seen on “Texas Summers” from the Texas State Climatologist.

    Then there’s “Denial in the Classroom” at the bottom of the resources page.

  22. 222
    patrick says:

    Make that: The concept is interesting because it shows a slight uptrend in “Geophysical events–i.e., “Earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption–with a strong uptrend in meteorological and hydrological events.”

  23. 223
    patrick says:

    @222 I mean: The concept is interesting because it shows a slight uptrend in “Geophysical events”–i.e., “Earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption”–with a strong uptrend in meteorological and hydrological events.

  24. 224
    Martin Vermeer says:

    #218 Patrick 027: precisely, you got it.

  25. 225
    Mal Adapted says:

    Chuck Hughes:

    I’m going to add this question….. is this due to a warmer climate and can this [caterpillar] infestation in any way be linked to Climate Change? Thanks.

    [Response: Possible, but very hard to demonstrate with the available data. If there is any group of organisms defined by boom and bust cycles, including those that are completely unrelated to climatic variables, it is herbivorous insects.–Jim]

    I agree with Jim in general, but (as he is no doubt aware) AGW-related climate change is convincingly linked to bark beetle irruptions in western conifer forests. AGW is implicated in a couple of different ways:

    Elevated temperatures associated with climate change, particularly when there are consecutive warm years, can speed up [bark beetle] reproductive cycles and reduce cold-induced mortality. Shifts in precipitation patterns and associated drought can also influence bark beetle outbreak dynamics by weakening trees and making them more susceptible to bark beetle attacks.

  26. 226
    Hank Roberts says:

    >earthshine
    Review article (‘oogle Scholar: earthshine infrared )

    http://www.sea-astronomia.es/drupal/sites/default/files/archivos/proceedings10/plenarias/pallee.pdf
    Highlights of Spanish Astrophysics VII, Proceedings of the X Scientific Meeting of the Spanish Astronomical Society
    held on July 9-13, 2012

    The Earthshine observations: from climate change to Astrobiology

  27. 227
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside — when an old paper starts showing up in innocent questions from new userids across a variety of climate blogs, do check where it’s been recently reblogged. The spinoff from the respinning of the old papers is usually quite predictable — it’s usually restarted at WTF, in my experience.

    Ware the invitation to recreational typing, tempting one to rewrite answers given years ago — instead consider pointing to the old discussions.

    Taking the old stuff seriously as fresh and new encourages the rebunking.

    They’re not trying to understand.
    They’re trying to refresh the uncertainty.

  28. 228
    Edward Greisch says:

    “DC Court Bluntly Affirms Michael Mann’s Right To Proceed In Defamation Lawsuit Against National Review And CEI”
    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/07/20/2332511/dc-court-bluntly-affirms-michael-manns-right-to-proceed-in-defamation-lawsuit-against-national-review-and-cei/

    This is worth a celebration as Mike Mann makes General. So call him Sir from now on. ClimateScienceDefenseFund is not involved in the defamation case. We just might win this war.

  29. 229
    Chuck Hughes says:

    # 225 – Elevated temperatures associated with climate change, particularly when there are consecutive warm years, can speed up [bark beetle] reproductive cycles and reduce cold-induced mortality. Shifts in precipitation patterns and associated drought can also influence bark beetle outbreak dynamics by weakening trees and making them more susceptible to bark beetle attacks.
    Comment by Mal Adapted — 20 Jul 2013 @ 5:47 PM

    Mal Adapted – thank you for clarifying my point. I totally agree with moderator “Jim” that there is no way to directly link the caterpillar infestation to Climate Change and what Jim said in regards to this makes perfect sense. However…. if you were to place this infestation in a much larger context as in the pine bark beetles decimating Lodge Pole Pines in the Rocky Mountain region due to warmer Winters etc. I wonder if it might add one more piece to the Climate puzzle? Ultimately what it boils down to is the rapid loss of even more hardwood trees in the Southeast and South Central regions of the United States.

    By my unprofessional estimation, if you were to take one square acre of forest in Arkansas one out of every 10 trees would be either dead or in the process of dying and I believe that would be a conservative estimate on my part. I personally own five acres of forest and I’ve lost about 1/4 of my trees in the last 8 years. Of course you would have to talk to the forest service to get an exact count but it’s high and I’m sure the number would vary from one location to the next but the situation seems to be accelerating. We’ve also had a couple of severe ice storms within the last 8 years that destroyed thousands of hardwoods. Some of these trees were over 100 years old and they just fell over taking several other trees with them on their way to the ground.

    Another weird thing I’ve noticed is around the base of several trees on my property, the bark starts to crumble and buckle and there appears to be sawdust on the ground. I can’t find any bugs or beetles even if I peel the bark off but the tree dies within a year. It’s happening to both young and older trees and it always happens around the base of the trunk and eventually works it’s way completely around the tree. It might be some sort of fungus instead of a beetle, I don’t know.

    That’s my very unqualified take on the situation. I’m not a scientist therefore I don’t have the credentials to make a professional assessment but I can tell you things are changing rapidly down here and many of the local folk are noticing it so I know it’s not just me. Most of the damage I’m referring to has happened since 2005 or it seems to have gotten progressively worse since then.

    Again I want to emphasize that these are my own personal, anecdotal observations but it’s happening in many areas and it has me concerned. I would love to find out if there are any official statistics available concerning the condition of hardwood forests in the South Central United States. Having said all this, I realize probably none of these events are due to a warmer climate. It may all be purely coincidental and part of a natural process. Thanks.

  30. 230
    Michael Sweet says:

    Re:228
    Michael Mann proves that he is a leader again! (In a new field!) Keep up the good work. Hopefully he will win a big settlement and that will allow him to go after the other liars.

  31. 231

    #228, 230–Good news indeed!

    There’s rather a delicious irony in the Court’s reasoning that, since CEI had instigated many of the allegations leading to inquiries on Dr. Mann’s work, it was extremely unlikely that they did not know the results of the inquiries they themselves had done so much to provoke, and hence, there was at least a strong ground to presume that at some point CEI must have known they were making allegations which were false, or at least unsupported.

  32. 232
    patrick says:

    @225 & 229 Observation is the first step. I notice that comments on the extinctions-now-happening are right in line with myths about climate change such as “It’s happened before” and “It’s not us.”

    On the etiology of invasive species it’s similar. A lot of things are moving up the mountain, so to speak, because anthropogenic sway compels it, and because of what is riding up with people and their rides.

    Apparently the Irish potato famine was not just a matter of anomalous weather conditions–but of invasive microbes riding on ships with guano. That didn’t take long to firmly establish, did it?

    So science has a big task, and a subtle one. On attribution, probability reigns. But “It’s happened before”-and-“It’s not us” is as unlikely on invasive species generally as on AGW and the extinctions.

  33. 233
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @ 230 I would say this is great news:

    “Indeed, every single reconstruction of temperatures over the past 2,000 years created since Mann’s paper was first published 15 years ago shows the same general hockey stick shape – relatively flat temperatures (the shaft) followed by a steep rise (the blade) over the past century. This was most recently confirmed by the Past Global Changes (PAGES) 2k network, which published a paper in the prestigious journal Nature involving 78 researchers contributing as co-authors from 60 separate scientific institutions around the world. Each researcher involved in the study was an expert in local temperature reconstructions in his or her region. When they put all of their data together, their result matched Mann’s hockey stick nearly perfectly.”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/jul/19/climate-change-contrarian-wretched-week

  34. 234
    Hank Roberts says:

    Washington (State) checks in:
    “… Washington now has a list of programs worldwide from which to steal, or borrow, as a legislative panel tackles climate change in this state.

    The panel’s consultant —- Science Application International Corp. of Virginia —- has done some initial sifting through worldwide climate change fix-it ventures to study, and SAIC presented that list to a panel of two Republican and two Democratic legislators led by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

    “We like those free lessons from other places,” Inslee said…”
    http://crosscut.com/2013/07/18/environment/115604/state-has-menu-climate-change-options/

    SAIC
    SAIC

    Somebody’s gotten certain enough about climate change to be selling free ideas to the state government. Good to know there’s profit to be made ….

  35. 235
    Killian says:

    208 Brin points to: http://climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/20/planId/1303629?
    Proposal for Geoengineering by William.H.Calvin

    Emergency 20-year Drawdown of Excess CO2 via Push-Pull Ocean Pumps
    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2013 @ 5:16 PM

    Ignorance of and hand waving dismissal of legitimate, natural carbon sequestration in favor of geo-foolishness is going to end us all.

    Why build these machines when all you have to do is farm intelligently, grow forests, grow new forests, grow food forests and reduce consumption – which you must do anyway due to resource constraints?

    Buh-bye, growth. Mainstream economist finally getting it: End of growth paradigm

    OK, NOW can we simplify and reduce the climate threat?

  36. 236
    Edward Greisch says:

    234 Hank Roberts: I remember SAI from when I worked at the EME [EMP] lab.

    From http://crosscut.com/2013/07/18/environment/115604/state-has-menu-climate-change-options/
    I would say that the menu of climate change options is nonsense.

  37. 237
    David B. Benson says:

    Sea Level Rise: New Iceberg Theory Points to Areas at Risk of Rapid Disintegration
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130722141422.htm

    So SLR by centuries end may well end up around the higher of the current estimates.

  38. 238
    David B. Benson says:

    Ancient Ice Melt Unearthed in Antarctic Mud: 20-Meter Sea Level Rise, Five Million Years Ago
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130721161502.htm

    Therefore that much or more is now in the pipeline.

  39. 239
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Calvin … Why…?
    As he says there

    “We dare not wait until we are weakened before undertaking emergency climate repairs. Our ability to avoid a human populat­ion crash will be compromised if economies become fragile or if international cooperation is lost via conflicts. A serious jolt—say, a major rearrangement of the winds—could cause catastrophic crop failures and food riots within several years, creating global waves of climate refugees with the attendant famine, pestilence, war, and genocide.

    Acquiescing in a slower approach to climate is, in effect, playing Russian ro ulette with the climate gun. The climate crisis needs wartime priorities now.”

    He’s talking about building upwellings that would favor plankton reproduction, same as you’d get in geological time by uplift, coral growth, or volcanos creating seamounts to bring up deep water.

    It’s the sanest suggestion for aquatic ‘farming’ I’ve seen — comparable to ‘farming’ topsoil — unselfish, not profitable, and done because of the benefits of having more biologically productive area on the planet.

    And done by repurposing oil rigs in areas otherwise subject to oxygen dearth.

    Read through to the end. Think about it.

  40. 240
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I happened to see this post by “prokaryotes” on Climate Progress and thought I would share it here. Does anyone have any input on this situation? I looked at the information but I don’t know how valid or significant it is:

    Meanwhile in Siberia
    The temperatures on parts of Kara Sea and surrounding coast has hit +40C, or over +100F. Temperature legend map by Foreca. A large rise in methane has been measured in the region.

    https://www.facebook.com/ClimateState/posts/466599550102966

    Legitimate or bogus?

  41. 241
    Garry S-J says:

    Hi, here’s a question for the smart people here (and please forgive me if it’s already been asked):

    In this story in The Economist..

    http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21581979-peek-inside-next-ipcc-assessment-sensitive-information

    ..there is a table showing projected ranges for the global temperature anomaly in 2100 given various “CO2 emissions (I presume they mean concentrations)” scenarios.

    The text, in referring to earlier IPCC-compiled projections, says:

    “The two findings are not strictly comparable. The 2007 report talks about equilibrium temperatures in the very long term (over centuries); the forthcoming one talks about them in 2100. But the practical distinction would not be great so long as concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse-gas emissions were stable or falling by 2100.”

    That implies little or no temperature rise after 2100, irrespective of how much GHG concentrations had risen by then. The idea that temperature rise will stop as soon as GHG concentratons stabilise seems heroically optimistic, as does the apparent presumption that as soon as anthropogenic emissions stop, so too will natural feedbacks adding CO2 and methane to the atmosphere. (The ice cores would beg to differ.)

    So it seems to be wrong. My question is, just how wrong is it?

    Subsidiary question: In anticipation of the inevitable downplaying of the problem by juxtaposing these 2100 projections with earlier long-run equilibrium projections, will the upcoming IPCC reports include projections for the long run on a similar basis to the 2007 publications?

    Thanks guys, and keep up the good work.

  42. 242
    tokodave says:

    241 Garry S-J: Skeptical Science has a detailed look at this:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/economist-screws-up-draft-ipcc-ar5-sensitivity.html

    I find the Economist in general to be a good source of current info. Unfortunately on more than one occasion when reading an article on subjects about which I have more comprehensive knowledge I realize they really don’t know what they’re talking about. This makes me wonder if they know what they’re talking about on issues I’m less familiar with?

  43. 243
    Mal Adapted says:

    Chuck Hughes:

    Another weird thing I’ve noticed is around the base of several trees on my property, the bark starts to crumble and buckle and there appears to be sawdust on the ground. I can’t find any bugs or beetles even if I peel the bark off but the tree dies within a year. It’s happening to both young and older trees and it always happens around the base of the trunk and eventually works it’s way completely around the tree. It might be some sort of fungus instead of a beetle, I don’t know.

    Have you talked to your county extension agent?

  44. 244
    Hank Roberts says:

    > the Economist
    They’re, well, economists. Their message seems to be that — don’t look past 2100 — the economy seems like a viable business plan. They could probably cite Ponzi, Madoff, et al. for the method — keeping customers’ time horizon shortsighted.

    In other news, I find ‘oogling turns up businesses that claim to be farming topsoil and selling it. Has anyone looked at this as an approach to carbon sequestration? It might work out on river flood plains — turn the muck deposited into topsoil as quickly as possible and haul it away as a salable product.

  45. 245
    Martin Vermeer says:

    tokodave, yes. I sometimes called that the ‘peephole test’ and it’s a powerful way to discount fake expertise.

    I’ve pretty much given up on the mainstream media. Life’s too short to waste on known-dubious sources.

  46. 246
    Hank Roberts says:

    ah, here’s one that’s not terribly overoptimistic:
    http://www.marincarbonproject.org/soil-carbon-sequestration.php
    seems to me consistent with recent science that I turn up with a few minutes’ searching. Lots of variables, small but findable benefits, doable, maybe not profitable.

  47. 247
    Garry S-J says:

    tokodave #242 Thanks for the link.

    Hank Roberts #244 Steady on old chap, not all economists (eg me) are dunderheads.

    The hypothesis that economists generally downplay/deny AGW is unsupported by any data AFAIK. The Garnaut and Stern reports weren’t written by plumbers.

  48. 248
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Garry S-J
    Point taken. Can you find out who contributed to that _Economist_ story?

  49. 249
    Garry S-J says:

    No Hank – your guess is as good as mine.

  50. 250
    Hank Roberts says:

    Chuckle. My guess is no economists were involved in the making of that article.

    Sigh. Have you followed the comments there and noted which comments the Economist’s readers recommend most highly?

    Much repetition — they’re clearly teaching the controversy.


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