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Unforced Variations: Jan 2014

Filed under: — group @ 2 January 2014

First open thread of the new year. A time for ‘best of’s of climate science last year and previews for the this year perhaps? We will have an assessment of the updates to annual indices and model/data comparisons later in the month.

662 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2014”

  1. 401
    SecularAnimist says:

    Steve Fish wrote: “… if the best answer is to outcompete carbon emitters with a good renewable energy business model. I would like to see how the Ayn Rand hugger stink tanks would dance in order to deal with successful business competition.”

    It is already happening. Electricity from wind and solar is already cheaper in many places than grid power — even without subsidies.

    Once again, I just wish that those who opine here so heartily and frequently about what renewable energy “can’t do”, would look at the real renewable energy industries in the real world, where they are ALREADY DOING IT.

    Reading some of these comments, I can only come to the conclusion that it is impossible for any of us to be using personal computers or smart phones or Wi-Fi or the Internet, since at one time there were no such technologies, therefore we must all still be using dumb-terminals, dial-up modems and copper phone lines to connect to time-share accounts on a mainframe.

    And of course, the reaction of the Koch-funded pseudo-libertarian “think tanks” to the free-market success of renewable energy is to fight tooth-and-nail against tax cuts, access to public land, and streamlined regulations for the wind and solar industries, while demanding an endless stream of massive corporate welfare for the fossil fuel industry.

  2. 402

    #396–The Financial Times seems to have an innovative paywall that just keeps trying to coax you to subscribe. But the whole story is available (for a while, anyway) via a Google search for ‘climate change.’ The first result, currently, is the story.

    Great anecdotal material, as well as the ‘crucial bit’ wili correctly highlights:

    The extreme heatwave gripping southern Australia forced the suspension of matches at the Australian Open tennis tournament on Thursday, as temperatures soared to 42C in Melbourne and officials warned of escalating risks of bush fires and power outages.

    Tournament organisers implemented an extreme heat policy and stopped matches played on outer courts, which do not have retractable roofs. Temperatures are forecast to reach 44C in Melbourne, putting pressure on electricity networks struggling to cope with surging demand. Government officials have warned of health risks caused by the extreme heat amid reports of an increase in cardiac arrests…

    “Today, 30 minutes after the match I could not walk,” said Ivan Dodig, a Croatian tennis player on Wednesday. “I was thinking I could maybe even die here.”

  3. 403
    Dan H. says:

    The Australian heat does not prove global warming any more than the U.S. cold disproves it. These are short-term weather events. Granted, the public perception of global warming waxes and wanes with each temperature change. The temperature records go back over a century now, with many short-term rises and falls superimposed over the longer-term rise.

  4. 404
    Hank Roberts says:

    > We need to define BAU. I define BAU …

    Citations are always helpful. Just sayin’ — if you want readers, give pointers to your sources.

  5. 405
    Hank Roberts says:

    > prokaryotes … wili … Australian Climate Council … paywalled

    The source for the story (found via Wikipedia)
    (which promises a new home page will be up soon)

    That page has a link saying

    Read our landmark report on bushfires and climate change

  6. 406
    Hank Roberts says:

    What happened to the whale populations?

    Fifty years ago 180,000 whales disappeared from the oceans without a trace, and researchers are still trying to make sense of why.

    When doing the arithmetic on geoengineering, for example calculating the climate change from iron fertilization of the upper ocean, take into account these missing populations which could, yet, be restored.

  7. 407
    Hank Roberts says:

    > BP study

    P links to his blog, which links to the Guardian, which … you know how the chain of linking goes.

    Source for the story can be found through

  8. 408
    Hank Roberts says:

    The difference seems to lie, in part, in how warming influences evaporation in areas of the Pacific, according to Trenberth. He says the models suggest that global warming has a greater impact on temperatures in the relatively cool east, because the increase in evaporation adds water vapour to the atmosphere there and enhances atmospheric warming; this effect is weaker in the warmer western Pacific, where the air is already saturated with moisture.

    Scientists may get to test their theories soon enough. At present, strong tropical trade winds are pushing ever more warm water westward towards Indonesia, fuelling storms such as November’s Typhoon Haiyan, and nudging up sea levels in the western Pacific; they are now roughly 20 centimetres higher than those in the eastern Pacific. Sooner or later, the trend will inevitably reverse. “You can’t keep piling up warm water in the western Pacific,” Trenberth says. “At some point, the water will get so high that it just sloshes back.” And when that happens, if scientists are on the right track, the missing heat will reappear and temperatures will spike once again.

    Nature 505, 276–278 (16 January 2014)

  9. 409
    john byatt says:

    #396 Full report from the climate council will be released mid Feb,

    will be posted at climate council facebook page

  10. 410
    Hank Roberts says:

    Finally, refuting an industry argument that clearcutting old growth was a good idea. Too bad it’s about all gone.

  11. 411
    wili says:

    This is something that took me by surprise. Perhaps SA can put it in some perspective for us? Perhaps a reconsideration of his claim at #375 that “extremely rapid scaling up of renewable energy…is already happening now” is now in order?

    “Global Clean Energy Investment Fell for the Second Year Running”

    “Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has released a report stating that, despite increasing interest in and awareness of clean energy technologies, for the second year in a row global investment in renewable energy has fallen.

    Last year it was down to $253 billion, and in Europe it fell by a staggering 41% compared to the year before.

    This news has come just as investors meet at a United Nations summit aimed to encourage investment in clean energy and build momentum towards the shift to a clean energy economy. It marks the second year of declining investment in the sector, down from the record high of $318 billion in 2011. It has been calculated that in order to make the transition global investment in renewable energy technologies must reach $1 trillion a year by 2030.”

  12. 412
    Michael Sweet says:

    Did you read the link you posted? In the second paragraph it states:

    “However Michael Liebrich, the founder of BNEF, stated that “the top?line figures don’t tell the whole story.” He explained that the fall in investment, especially in Europe, was partly due to the declining cost of photovoltaic solar panels, and that the number of solar installations around the world actually grew last year by 20%.”

    The site is called, I wonder how unbiased they are.

    They link another article: Utilities are hurting because of renewable power here. Utilities are concerned that rooftop solar will drain their most profitable afternoon pricing and it will start them on a death spiral. We can only hope that it starts soon!

    They actually had several other interesting nuclear, renewable and other articles. It is always hard to find unbiased articles about energy, everyone distorts the numbers.

  13. 413

    #409–No, I don’t think that SA’s claim needs reconsidering. The very next sentence in the story rather answers it, IMO:

    “However Michael Liebrich, the founder of BNEF, stated that “the top-line figures don’t tell the whole story.” He explained that the fall in investment, especially in Europe, was partly due to the declining cost of photovoltaic solar panels, and that the number of solar installations around the world actually grew last year by 20%.” Note that those price drops weren’t just marginal; we’re talking up to 30%.

    I have little doubt that large amounts of capacity were added in 2013, though there aren’t any comprehensive figures yet, as far as I know. But, for instance, the SEIA reported that Q3 US solar installations totaled 930 MW, and projected the yearly total would reach 4.3 GW, for an impressive 27% increase in cumulative capacity.

    US wind rebounded from a slow start due to regulatory uncertainty, and 7.5 GW worth of projects went ‘into the pipeline.’ (An inapropos metaphor, perhaps?)

    And in China, “Including nuclear power, the nation installed 36 gigawatts of clean energy capacity in the 10 months through Oct. 31, the National Energy Administration said today in a statement on its website. Wind power increased by 7.9 gigawatts, while solar rose 3.6 gigawatts and nuclear expanded 2.2 gigawatts. Hydro electric power accounted for the remainder.”

    The long-tern trend looks like this:

    No, I don’t see the drop as a reversal of momentum in the deployment of renewables; more a maturing of the technology and a rebalancing of incentives as renewable technologies outgrow the need for them.

  14. 414
    prokaryotes says:

    H, and i added content.

  15. 415
    prokaryotes says:

    Thanks wili, will update the link later – for me the FT link was working once.

  16. 416
    prokaryotes says:

    Hank Roberts, if you deem something missing – post it into the comments. Yes, it’s that simple!

  17. 417
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #412,

    Do you disagree with the following statement from the EIA Energy Outlook that I quoted in #377 and, in more detail, in #364?

    “Third, we have the EIA stating that “global energy-related CO2 emissions will rise from 31.2 billion metric tons in 2010 to 36.4 billion metric tons in 2020, and 45.5 billion metric tons in 2040 — an increase of 46 percent over 30 years.” ”

    Do you not believe that the EIA, which has enormous resources and access to the best minds in the world, is aware of renewables growth and incorporates it in their projections? They in fact show the substantial growth of renewables out to 2040, albeit starting from a low-modest number. Unfortunately, the growth of renewables does not cut into existing fossil fuel usage; it appears to replace some of the growth in fossil fuel use and emissions. While this renewables growth may sound impressive on a blog, it is doing almost nothing to alter fossil use from BAU, and therefore is not addressing the central problem. Also, do you not believe the statement of Anderson that we cannot extricate ourselves from the crucial near-term problem through the supply side, and it has to come from the demand side?

    Further, as I showed in #377, Anderson concludes that at least a 10% cut in CO2 emissions is required starting now if we hope to have any chance of staying within a 2 C (dangerous) ceiling, and the papers I cited showed that ~100% cut in CO2 emissions is required starting now if we hope to have any chance of staying within ~1.2 C, the upper limit of Hansen’s prior-Holocene-based safe limit. If you add the above three pieces of information together, it is rather clear that renewables without very strong cuts in demand won’t solve the problem that needs to be solved. Do you disagree in any way with that conclusion, and if so, what is the basis for your disagreement?

  18. 418
    Walter Crain says:

    hi guys. i pop in here every once in a while when i need info, because, you know, you guys are full of it…. anyway, do any of you know of a website that tries to catalog all the various known natural “climate forcings”? i.e., what is the current state of the PDO and ENSO, and solar radiation, and natural co2 emissions, and whatever forcings there are?

  19. 419
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #410,

    “This is something that took me by surprise. Perhaps SA can put it in some perspective for us? Perhaps a reconsideration of his claim at #375 that “extremely rapid scaling up of renewable energy…is already happening now” is now in order?”

    That ‘claim’ has to be taken with many grains of salt. It is equivalent to measuring a car’s acceleration on a smooth road and estimating what the speed will be five miles away, when there is a brick wall one mile away. If renewables ever get to the point to where they are causing significant challenges to BAU fossil fuel production, then the fossil fuel industry can start turning the many competition levers it controls. There’s plenty of slack in those multi-billion dollar quarterly profits that can be used to ward off serious competition. That’s why the precursors that I mentioned in #393 (reproduced below) are necessary; they won’t allow the ‘free-market’ to determine the fate of civilization on this planet. And that’s why their stark absence is so troubling!

    ” “Are there any new governments that have taken office as a result of a strong stand against BAU? Look no further than Australia, Canada, and, yes, the USA for the answer to that question. Are there strong steps being taken to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies; if so, show me one? Are there strong steps being taken to add taxes to fossil fuels to account for environmental damage clean-up; if so, show me one, especially in the major fossil exporting countries? Are there strong steps being taken to reduce the impact of fossil fuel money on politics; just the opposite!” “

  20. 420
    Dwight Mac Kerron says:

    Fortunately, the earth and homo sapiens are more resilient than generally given credit for by most of the posters (knowledgeable as they are) on this site. What will save us is that we respond to things when we HAVE to. We fought WWII when we HAD to, and not a minute sooner. I spend too much of my time sparring with folks of polar political persuasions on various sites; my sole insight that it is the mushy middle which makes things happen. Both sides throw their best, and most dramatic (and unbalanced) shots at trying to move the mushy, sodden middle. As for myself, well ensconced in said, sodden middle, I can see how warming will CHANGE things, but we we will adapt; it is what humans do. The real gloom and doomers seem to me more like Millerites than Arkwrights, (no surprise there.) My growing season in Massachusetts is about one month longer now than it was thirty years ago. Potatoes are now growing at greater rates in Greenland, and, yes, it is hotter than hell at the Australian Open. So it goes.

  21. 421
    DIOGENES says:

    “The number of Americans who believe global warming isn’t happening has risen to 23 percent, up 7 percentage points since April 2013.

    The latest survey, taken in November 2013, finds that the majority of Americans — 63 percent — do believe in climate change, and 53 percent are “somewhat” or “very” worried about the consequences.

    The proportion of people who do believe in climate change has been steady since April 2013, but the proportion of those who say they “don’t know” whether climate change is happening dropped 6 percentage points between April and November 2013, suggesting that many “don’t knows” moved into the “not happening” category.

    “People who prior said don’t know are increasingly saying they don’t believe it,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, which released the new results today (Jan. 16).”

  22. 422
    Phil L says:

    “While the finding applies to individual trees, it may not hold true for stands of trees, the authors cautioned. As they age, some trees in a stand will die, resulting in fewer individuals in a given area over time.”

  23. 423
    SecularAnimist says:

    For commenters interested in following the solar industry — as well as wind, storage, efficiency, electric vehicles, etc. — I again commend to your attention the site

    Another useful site for specifically tracking utility-scale solar power deployments is

    Another site I’d recommend is the Australia-based (CleanTechnica republishes many of their articles.)

    Australia is a particularly interesting case, where the booming solar and wind energy industries are strongly challenging a powerful and wealthy fossil fuel establishment — against the background of some of the most extreme climate change effects in the world.

  24. 424
    SecularAnimist says:

    Regarding the BNEF report on clean energy investment, see also:

    Deutsche Bank predicts second solar “gold-rush”
    By Giles Parkinson
    7 January 2014

    Leading investment house Deutsche Bank has dramatically lifted its demand forecasts for the global solar industry – predicting that 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV will be installed across the world in 2014, before jumping by another 25 per cent to 56GW in 2015.

    It notes that the world’s three biggest solar markets – co-incidentally located in the world’s three biggest economies, US, China and Japan – are currently booming and are likely to deliver what market analysts describe as more “upside demand surprises.”

    But it also points to other countries such as India, Australia, South Africa, Mexico, as well as regions in the Middle East, South America and South East Asia, to act as strong growth contributors.

    … Deutsche says solar is currently competitive without subsidies in at least 19 markets globally and it expects more markets to reach grid parity in 2014 as solar system prices decline further.

  25. 425
    Hank Roberts says:

    The further in you go, the bigger it gets:

    Upward nitrate transport by phytoplankton in oceanic waters: balancing nutrient budgets in oligotrophic seas
    TA Villareal, CH Pilskaln, JP Montoya, M Dennett – PeerJ PrePrints, 2014 –

    Ascending behavior in non-flagellated phytoplankton is not limited to giant cells in the ocean. Positive buoyancy is the result of lift (cell sap density) exceeding ballast (silicate frustule in diatoms, cell wall in others)(Woods & Villareal 2008) and theoretical considerations have suggested that there is a minimal cell size that can support positive buoyancy (Villareal 1988). However, there is persistent evidence of positive buoyancy in smaller (10s vs 100s μm diameter) spring bloom diatoms (Acuña et al. 2010; Jenkinson 1986; Lännergren 1979), Antarctic diatoms (Hardy 1935), deep chlorophyll maximum diatoms (Waite & Nodder 2001) and post-auxospore diatoms (Smayda & Boleyn 1966; Waite & Harrison 1992). Cells as small as 200 μm3 (equivalent spherical diameter= ~8 μm) could be capable of positive buoyancy (Waite et al. 1997). These observations are scattered, but consistent with laboratory data that in sinking rate experiments, some fraction of healthy cultures are generally positively buoyant (Bienfang 1981). Stoke’s velocities of this size range of phytoplankton are < 1-2 m d-1 (Smayda 1970); however, aggregation and chain formation could increase the effective size and the Stoke’s velocity. Clearly, there are numerous aspects of this phenomenon that are unresolved, but the core observation that ascending behavior occurs in a variety of non-flagellated phytoplankton cannot be ignored.

    The abundant but scattered data that document ascending behavior in a diversity of both small and large cells are contrary to standard concepts of passive phytoplankton settling in the ocean, but is consistent with evolutionary adaptation to a physical partitioning of light and nutrient resources (Ganf & Oliver 1982; Smetacek 1985). We have considered only the largest vertical migrators, but persistent reports of small, ascending phytoplankton coupled with the long-noted potential of flagellated forms to vertically migrate in the open sea (Nielsen 1939) opens entirely new linkages between events in the deep euphotic zone (Brown et al. 2008; McGillicuddy et al. 2007) and the response of surface communities. The ascent of some fraction of the biomass is a mechanism rarely considered in models of nutrient cycling in the open sea but should not be ignored. Quantifying these upward fluxes is a challenge for existing instrumentation and will likely require new approaches.

  26. 426
    Phil L says:

    “While the finding applies to individual trees, it may not hold true for stands of trees, the authors cautioned. As they age, some trees in a stand will die, resulting in fewer individuals in a given area over time.”

  27. 427
  28. 428
    wili says:

    Good points, MS and KM. But even in the face of lowering prices for solar, it seems to me that enlightened governments should not be backing away from support of these crucial alternatives.

  29. 429
    Hank Roberts says:

    —- excerpt follows —–

    … the editors selected the referees on a nepotistic basis, which we regard as malpractice in scientific publishing and not in accordance with our  publication ethics we expect to be followed by the editors.
    Therefore, we at Copernicus Publications wish to distance ourselves from the apparent misuse of the originally agreed aims & scope of the journal as well as the malpractice regarding the review process, and decided on 17 January 2014 to cease the publication of PRP. Of course, scientific dispute is controversial and should allow contradictory opinions which can then be discussed within the scientific community. However, the recent developments including the expressed implications (see above) have led us to this drastic decision.
    Interested scientists can reach the online library at:
    Martin Rasmussen
    January 2014
    Journal guest editor Roger Tattersall — known as Rog Tallbloke online — tweeted:

    Copernicus clearly didn’t like the climate science related nature of the special edition. I sought peer reviewers..

    But scholarly librarian Jeffrey Beall noticed some…patterns in the journal back in September:

    The journal’s editor-in-chief, Sid-Ali Ouadfeul, who works for the Algerian Petroleum Institute, started publishing his research in journal articles around 2010, but he’s only been cited a couple times, not counting his many self-citations.
    Co-editor-in-chief Nils-Axel Morner is a noted climate “skeptic” who believes in dowsing (water divining) and believes he has found the “Hong Kong of the [ancient] Greeks” in Sweden, among other things. These beliefs are documented in Wikipedia and The Guardian. Morner has over 125 publications, but pattern recognition does not appear to be among his specialties.
    Moreover, speaking of “pattern recognition,” my analysis revealed some self-plagiarism by editor Ouadfeul in the very first paper the journal published, an article he himself co-authored.

    We’ve contacted Ouadfeul for comment, and will update with anything we learn.
    Update, 10:45 a.m. Eastern: Here’s a new blog post from Tattersall including a letter sent from Copernicus to the journal’s editors, and another with background from BigCityLib.

  30. 430
    Hank Roberts says:

    > some trees in a stand will die

    Good thing, too. Most carbon in forest soil comes via dead trees

    (this doesn’t apply to tree farm agriculture)

  31. 431
    wili says:

    Governor Brown has just declared a drought emergency. This is a rapidly developing/deteriorating situation. Some towns are just weeks away from totally running out of water.

    The San Juan Water District near Sacrament is at “Stage 5” level of water restriction–50% reduction in _indoor_ water use, along with other severe restrictions. This district serves over a quarter millions people.

  32. 432
    Chuck Hughes says:

    To Gavin and all the other Climate scientists running this site…

    I want to thank you for everything you’re doing with this web site and for all your research and patience. I’ve learned a lot here. Thanks to all the bloggers as well. This is the absolute best web site I’ve found for Climate Science and information. I read it every single day. I also recommend it to everyone I know. The information is rational, level headed and spot on, even if I don’t understand some of it. Makes me wish I had paid attention in math class but I guess it’s better late than never. By far the biggest challenge has been reCAPTCHA. :)

  33. 433

    #419–Diogenes, why would you even think that I’d disagree with the statement you quote? I answered wili’s comment, which concerned the lower investment in renewables, and questioned whether this suggested a reversal of momentum in the deployment of renewables. Neither of us directly addressed emissions.

    Nowhere did I say or suggest that this ‘momentum’ means that all is well. In fact, I’ve previously pointed out in connection with my articles on Six Degrees that though the growth in renewables is very impressive, it still needs to accelerate considerably if we are to really address the carbon crisis: at the present rate of addition, it would still take about 4 decades to add one ‘stabilization wedge’ for solar and one for wind. And we need, what? Ten or twelve wedges? While I do find the present growth of renewables comforting and encouraging to a degree, it is certainly not yet grounds for complacency, nor anything even approaching complacency.

  34. 434
    Tom Bond says:

    I refer to the many comments above with regard to reducing carbon emissions. To illustrate just how massive this task is I refer to the International Energy Agency (IEA) PDF document 2013 Key World Energy Statistics. Document is available on line through Google.
    This document shows;

    In 1973 the world used 6,109 Mtoe (million tonnes of oil equivalent) of primary energy. Non fossil carbon energy contributed just 13% and fossil carbon energy the remaining 87%.
    In 2011 the world used 13,113 Mtoe of primary energy, double that in 1973. The non fossil carbon energy contribution increased to 18%, mainly due to nuclear increasing from 1% in 1973 to 5% in 2011.

    Realistically on this evidence, to meet the emission reductions required by the IPCC RCP2.6 scenario the world needs to implement every non carbon energy generation technology that is available otherwise our descendants will be looking at a bleak RCP8.5 scenario future in 2100.

  35. 435
    prokaryotes says:

    Walter Crain, for instance here

    Forcings in GISS Climate Model

    Climate forcing has to do with the amount of energy we receive from the sun, and the amount of energy we radiate back into space. Variances in climate forcing are determined by physical influences on the atmosphere such as orbital and axial changes as well as the amount of greenhouse gas in our atmosphere.

    Wikipedia refers climate forcing to radiative forcing

  36. 436
    Tony Weddle says:

    Ray Ladbury,

    There’s the rub. What if there isn’t anything economic that can be offered as an incentive for sacrifices? The only thing on offer is a habitable planet but very few people seem to be interested in that, despite its being the best incentive one could have.

    Growth through technology? Not likely. Of course, technology could, potentially, hypothetically, provide dramatic ongoing efficiencies in all resource use and minimise environmental damage. Maybe it would even be profitable. But, ultimately, economic growth (i.e. the growth in production of goods and services) isn’t going to happen without an increase in resource use and, consequently, an increase in environmental damage.

    You don’t get to have both a habitable planet and economic growth (which has to end, anyway, on a finite planet).

  37. 437
    prokaryotes says:

    ClimateState features now a forum Everybody is welcome to participate in the discussions.

  38. 438
    MARodger says:

    Walter Crain @418.
    For a “catalogue” of “forcings” (rather than specifically the changing levels of things that result in those “forcings”) the various figures within Chapter 8 of IPCC AR5 is probably not a bad place to look being presently up-to-date. It is summed up in Figure 8.18 that you can seen here.

    You do mention specifically PDO & ENSO. There is a bewildering range of such ***Os which do have climatic significance of some form but to call them “forcings” is wrong both in the meaning of the term and in the sense you use the term. ENSO does waggle global temperature (see here – usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) but beyond that, the likes of AMO or PDO are mickle wobble and little driver. (See for instance the AMO discussion at AR5 Chapter 10 p22 or see graphic here of PDO/ENSO.) ***Os do work very well at attracting foolishness – like a flame does moths.

  39. 439
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Tony Weddle: “Growth through technology? Not likely.”

    Tony, I can only hope that you are sufficiently astute to appreciate the delicious irony of using a high-speed computer and the Internet to say this. Good lord, man, none of this existed 25 years ago! And most of this has occurred after scaling–the physics on which the electronics revolution got it star–has failed. Moore’s law is now driven by economics and creativity.

    There is an even older exponential driver than Moore’s law. Rosenfeld’s law states:

    “From 1845 to the present, the amount of energy required to produce the same amount of gross national product has steadily decreased at the rate of about 1 percent per year. This is not quite as spectacular as Moore’s Law of integrated circuits, but it has been tested over a longer period of time. One percent per year yields a factor of 2.7 when compounded over 100 years. It took 56 BTUs (59,000 joules) of energy consumption to produce one (1992) dollar of GDP in 1845. By 1998, the same dollar required only 12.5 BTUs (13,200 joules).”

    We need to understand this so we can drive the same sort of development we’ve seen with semiconductors. You really don’t understand technology.

  40. 440
    Walter Crain says:

    thanks prokaryotes and MARodger. i’ll take a look at and try to absorb that info. i mention PDO because of this graph:

    there DOES appear to be a correlation between PDO phases and temps. when PDO is negative, temps are stable, when it’s positive temps go up – so rather than alternate between cooling and warming periods, we’ll alternate between slow-warming and fast-warming periods.

    basically, i’m trying to figure out if the recent slowing of warming is a product of natural forcings being mostly/all negative thus balancing GHG’s positive forcing.

  41. 441
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter Crain #440,

    “recent slowing of warming”

    With all due respect, that’s a misnomer. The key variable is Energy, and the key Law is Conservation of Energy. There is net energy being trapped by GHG; that energy has to go somewhere. Most of it goes into the oceans, shallow and deep; some of it remains in the atmosphere, contributing to your ‘warming’; some of it is absorbed by ground/vegetation; some of it goes into endothermic processes like melting ice. These four energy ‘sinks’ are not independent; atmospheric circulation helps determine what gets transferred to the oceans, and where. If one year, or many years, a little more energy goes into the oceans due to circulation patterns, this will make a huge difference in what happens in the other three sinks (small differences between large numbers can be significant). I would take no solace from perhaps a little less energy staying in the atmosphere (remember, the ‘hiatus’ never really existed); more going to the e.g. deep ocean and warming the clathrates, or going into melting ice, is no cause for comfort. If anything, that may even be more serious. Substantial energy input to any of the sinks alone is enough to cause ‘catastrophe’; in all four sinks, it is doubly catastrophic!

  42. 442
    Chuck Hughes says:

    “Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, experts found.”

    Another 15 years??? Do we have that much time?

  43. 443
    Geoff Wexler says:

    Councillor in United Kingdom Independence Party discovers

    new climate forcing agent.

    It is more likely however that the party’s leader * has been receiving his education in such matters from the UKIP’s party president (since Jan 2013) in Scotland i.e. Christopher Monckton.

    a different line.

    which demonstrates how populist opportunists can step in to


    public opinion when something goes wrong in a quite different area of world affairs.
    * Who is predicted to do well in the forthcoming EU elections.

  44. 444
    MARodger says:

    Walter Crain @440.
    That graphic you link to comes from an article in Nature by Jeff Tollefson who has a bit of a history of skepticalesque writing. This particular article sports such gems as “Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled.”
    It is worth making the distinction between the ‘hiatus’ of global surface temperature (which only began in 2007) and the indicators of what was afoot that can be now seen in the data half a dozen years earlier. Statements like ” the global-warming hiatus enters its sixteenth year” belongs in the Daily Mail not the journal Nature.
    However with Tollefson, don’t be surprised if his writing suggests the PDO is a “cycle” that can halt AGW in its tracks. Of course, this “cycle” is so powerful that it wasn’t even christened until 1997 and its full strength is probably best demonstrated by plotting global temperature (here a detrended BEST) against reconstructed PDO. I tend to the view that PDO, like a gentleman’s pocket watch, may or may not have been useful to plot the global climate’s past behaviour but the hammer blow that is AGW could make finding out if it was useful a bit of learning that’s now academic.

  45. 445
    wili says:

    Ray seems to want to solve the problems brought on by complexity by employing ever greater levels of complexity. Historians tell us that this has not proven to be a way that previous civilizations have managed to avoid collapse–quite the opposite.

    Just one specific and obvious problem with his factoid: “…the amount of energy required to produce the same amount of gross national product has steadily decreased…” But if you are increasing GNP by more than one percent per year, you are still using ever more energy.

  46. 446
    MARodger says:

    Dwight Mac Kerron @420.

    You say “We fought WWII when we HAD to, and not a minute sooner.” So I guess it isn’t Czechoslovakian history that you are familiar with. Or the German!

    Still I think you do hit one nail on the head. Perhaps the one big big worry with AGW is “We fought WWII … we HAD to.” That’s what human societies do – we readily fight each other. So keeping climate refugees and other undesirables of our various lawns and off any other desirable piece of real estate considered part of the national interest – that would so easily result in far far more than the 2% mortality that WWII inflicted humanity with.

  47. 447
    Walter Crain says:

    diogenes, marodgers,
    i appreciate your engagement on this question.

    we can play around with words (is it a “hiatus” or a “pause”?) or whatever, but the fact is the atmosphere isn’t warming like it was before, or as predicted. the atmospheric warming has slowed, at least for now – and apparently the “missing heat” is in the oceans.

    so, if lots of this warmth is going into the “deep oceans” why is that bad? while we’re figuring our how to reduce co2 emmisions, that seems like a pretty darned good place to put it, all things considered. there’s a lot of deep ocean, and it’s pretty darned cold down there.

    infact, i wonder if it would be possible to intentionally bring some of that cold water to the surface (in a carbon-neutral sort or way), maybe with wave-action driven pumps or some other clever method, and be used to cool the atmosphere.

    as for the PDO cycle stopping global warming “in it’s tracks”, well… it’s cyclical so it could only temporarily to that, then when the cycle flipped it would warm doubly fast. that’s sort of what i was after in terms of finding our the direction of all the forcings. i understand that global warming is continuing “underneath” any of the weather cycles.

  48. 448
    deconvoluter says:

    so, if lots of this warmth is going into the “deep oceans” why is that bad?

    Not obviously, except, perhaps for the effect mentioned here?

    depending on the number of decades

  49. 449
    DIOGENES says:

    Walter Crain #447,

    “so, if lots of this warmth is going into the “deep oceans” why is that bad?”

    It’s bad for three reasons. First, there is extra energy going into the ocean from wind circulation patterns, in addition to CO2 that is deposited in the ocean. The combination of energy and H2CO3 changes the chemistry and ecology of the ocean, resulting in destruction of many forms of oceanic life.

    Second, if enough energy goes to regions in the ocean where there are substantial shallow methane clathrates that are sensitive to temperature changes, there is the danger of strong methane release to the atmosphere. Clathrates have been found in shallow regions that are sensitive to water temperature increases; the remaining question is how extensive are these clathrates at sufficiently shallow depths.

    Third, at some point, the wind circulation patterns will change, and the energy that has been stored in the ocean will re-emerge. Then, you won’t have to worry about the semantics of ‘hiatus’ or ‘pause’; what you will worry about is 1998 redux!

  50. 450
    Hank Roberts says:

    > the “missing heat” is in the oceans.
    > so, if lots of this warmth is going into the “deep oceans”

    See what you did there?
    You added “deep” — changing the meaning, without citing a source, then saying you don’t see a problem. If wishes were horses ….

    Take a look at

    During La Niña events (with cold ocean surface) the ocean absorbs additional heat that it releases during El Niño events (when the ocean surface is warm). The next El Niño event (whenever it comes – that is a stochastic process) is likely to produce a new global mean temperature record …

    “Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” –C. Northcote Parkinson