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Unforced variations: July 2014

Filed under: — group @ 2 July 2014

This month’s open thread. Topics of potential interest: The successful OCO-2 launch, continuing likelihood of an El Niño event this fall, predictions of the September Arctic sea ice minimum, Antarctic sea ice excursions, stochastic elements in climate models etc. Just for a change, no discussion of mitigation efforts please!

373 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2014”

  1. 101
    patrick says:

    What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate? (3 July at SkS)

    Includes Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf.

  2. 102
    MARodger says:

    bernie1815 @85.

    A point of detail.
    You ask how my comment @69 “squares with the 1979-2014 aggregate sea ice extent” but then link to graph at Cryosphere Today of Global Sea Ice Area. Please note that Sea Ice Extent and Sea Ice Area describe significantly different things

    I assume you are asking why the Global SIA anomaly can be so high (recently +1 million sq km) if the Arctic is in such a big decline relative to an alleged modest Antarctic SIA rise. Do bear in mind what you are pointing at with this Global Anomaly graph. It is the product of two sets of data, one with a downward trend, one with an upward trend, and both very waggly. So don’t expect to gain much learning by minutely analysing the global data. And this is why I am not at all clear what direction your question is coming from.

    Perhaps it would be useful is to point you at the two sets of data Arctic & Antractic. Do you have any reason to see more than wobbles on trends in one or both of theser graphs?

    Or perhaps here is a thought or two.
    Given the Antarctic is so incredibly cold, why is there so little sea ice down there? Salty sea water freezes at -2ºC yet the air temperature around Antarctica is well below that level, even in the southern summer. (For instance, see this Wikipedia graphic.) It is the warm seas that have kept the amounts of Antarctic sea ice low in the past. Now, with more cold fresh melt waters from the melting glaciers & stronger (cold) winds, the cooling factors have become a bigger influence in recent decades, bigger than the recent warming of the sea waters around Antarctica.
    And if the available data prior to 1979 is used to reconstruct Sea Ice levels, data from ship’s logs, from earlier satellites, you get HADISST which plotted out is graphed here. In that context, it is difficult to see that the recent increase in Antarctic Sea Ice has much significance at all.
    So the large excusion of Antarctic Sea Ice Area anomaly since 2011 is not entirely a surprise given the delecate balance between freeze and melt. Then add in a less melty period in the Arcitc and, viola, the global +1 million sq km anomaly becomes perfectly understandable.
    Interestingly, this year the measure of Sea Ice Area in the Arctic in 2014 is unusually close to the measure of Sea Ice Extent (thus Arctic SIA is unusually high). The reason for this closeness likely will be due to less melt ponds but why this is so is not yet resolved. A more smashed-up Arctic ice pack allowing melt waters to dran away? Lower temperatures in the high Arctic depressing the melt?

  3. 103
    MARodger says:

    Dave Peters @89.
    I’m not clear with your “…+ an instantaneous 1% anthro-sequestration.” Your reference to Mauna Loa and “retracing its past half century history” appear to suggest a scenario where future emissions are replaced by sequestartion from the atmosphere equal to past year’s emissions. Thus S2015=E2014, S2016=E2013 etc.
    In such a scenario, in 50 years time we would have sequestered something like 370GtC of our 550GtC total emissions. Only 250GtC of our emissions are presently in the atmosphere. So the question is – How much carbon will return to the atmosphere from the oceans & biosphere when we start reducing the atmospheric levels? The Biosphere will likely be quite cooperative but possibly half(?) the 170GtC in the oceans are now locked into the depths for 1,000 years or so. Thus with short-term delays in ocean & biosphere response and the locked-in deep ocean carbon, the CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa will drop quicker than they rose. And if we kept on beyond the 50 years we’d certainly be dropping significantly below pre-industrial levels.

  4. 104
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    77: DIOGENES. That is exactly the point I keep putting out there- to invariably hostile reaction from many at RC. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action!. When Hitler invaded Poland, did Churchill call for a referendum or committee to discuss whether we should or should not do something about the Nazis. Of course not! he enacted wartime priministerial power to act decisively and immediately. Democracy is fine and overall a pretty harmless political ideology for the status quo, but when drastic situations arise that need immediate and urgent action is has virtually no mechanisms to achieve that required degree of immediacy. Don’t get me wrong I would normally favour democracy as the umbrella for my son to grow and flourish under but unfortunately he also has a blackening ominous sky hovering over his head which might kill him or more likely his progeny if we don’t act immediately. Sounds dramatic..nope! my sister was almost killed in the UK when her car washed off a bridge under a swollen creek during the great flooding event that the south of England experienced not that long ago which the experts are now linking to CC.

  5. 105
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    88: Gorgon Zola. The time frame would probably be too long. The extinction of the dinosaurs did not cause CO2 to suddenly go off the roof, in-fact at the end of the cretatious period it was actually falling. The reason for that is that the great extinction took several 10s of thousands of years.

  6. 106
    Chris Dudley says:

    wili (#84),

    I’d guess that since this is a UN report, it would be on topic and might be worth its own Realclimate guest post. Asking Laurence Tubiana who will be a special representative for France at COP-21 might be a good choice.

    The report: “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization,” is headed up by Jeffrey Sachs aims for 1.6 tonne per capita emissions by 2050

    It looks in detail at 15 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the US in the current report with plans for details for Brazil, Germany, and India coming on line in the next few weeks.

    In the case of the US, it appears to be reinventing the wheel and perhaps forgetting to inflate it since the ground has already been covered by Amory Lovins in his book “Reinventing Fire” which finds a path with greater prosperity. But the list including Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and India adds some important heft to this effort.

    This is a 2 C limit effort. Since that turns out to be completely feasible, it is time to adopt a more compelling target for international diplomacy: deep decarbonization by 2040 with negative emissions by 2060.

  7. 107
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside for those operating sites that collect copies of posts from other sites, and then go and post links to their copies instead of to the originals:

    The message: Google will target and punish sites that produce dozens, hundreds, even thousands of articles to generate backlinks to their page. Google intends to obliterate insubstantial guest posts published purely to benefit SEO — and also penalize sites that accept such guest posting content.

    It may not pay off for you to keep copying other sites’ articles, then coming to RealClimate posting links to your copies of others’ work. They’re on to you. You know who you are. So do they.

  8. 108
    wili says:

    The comment section on the El Nino thread seems to be closed, so I’ll just point this out here, for people interested in recent analysis of the situation:

  9. 109
    prokaryotes says:

    Most people probably know Easter Island and the theory by Jared Diamond about the environmental destruction there, however the opposite example is called Anuta… and shows that a sustainable live with nature is possible – not just an utopian dream.

    Environment and Civilisation, Anuta vs Easter Island

  10. 110
    Russell says:

    Viscount Monckton’s Heartland Conference closing speech raises an interesting question.

  11. 111
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    250 congratulations.

    May there be many hundreds of thousands more.

  12. 112
    Hank Roberts says:

    Cite is now available for this paper, which I mentioned and quoted from above on 3 Jul 2014

    Joe Roman, James A Estes, Lyne Morissette, Craig Smith, Daniel Costa, James McCarthy, JB Nation, Stephen Nicol, Andrew Pershing, and Victor Smetacek
    Whales as marine ecosystem engineers.
    Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (e-View)

  13. 113

    PBL #80
    “stop fossil fuels and we all starve?”
    It’s letting global warming go on that will starve people

    Yikes Paul! I’m not suggesting we don’t cut emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture. The requirement to reduce emissions from all sources by 70% to give the climate some ability to balance out at a survivable temperature is our most critical mission.

    I was merely pointing out that a 70% reduction in fossil fuel use is not likely to be sustained with eight billion hungry mouths to be fed. That is an unwelcome but inevitable appreciation of the facts.

    We have, after all, contrived a most perfect storm: Discover and utilise a resource which leads to enormous growth in agricultural production of essential nutrients which results (unsurprisingly) in an explosion of the number of bugs in the jar. Utilisation of said resource causes the climate in the jar to warm (which is bad for the bugs) and thus/also the water level to rise (which destroys habitat for many of the bugs).

    Then affordable energy resource availability gets worse as the resource runs out, while at the same time more energy is needed by the bugs to cope with continued growth of bug population and with the changing climate in the jar (air con, increased demand on decreasing usable water etc) and to build ‘protection’ against rising sea levels (refer King Canute) or to rebuild essential habitat on higher ground while trying to sustain ‘Business as Usual’. All efforts to mitigate or avoid these adverse effects require more of the reducing energy supply (which is already under stress sustaining BaU), which increasingly diverts energy from nutrient production, which…

    The Death Spiral steepens. The jar is going to get very smelly indeed.

  14. 114
    Edward Greisch says:

    73 Killian: “Overshoot” by William Catton continued: The Age of Exuberance was an age when democracy was possible.

    Read “The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” by Naomi Wolf:
    “If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy, but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.”

    Since “The Age of Exuberance” is over, democracy is over.

    “The Age of Exuberance” is a time when there is so much empty free land that anyone who is oppressed can simply walk away. It is no use trying to be a dictator when the West is wide open. The West is closed. The Bright Sky Country no longer exists, and hasn’t since 1880.

    What does this mean for RC? Our uphill battle is on a steep hill. The population biologist, Catton, I think says that we are due for a population crash without GW and without aquifers running dry. So we have 3 reasons for having a population crash. Add some more reasons, like everybody is mad at everybody because there is no open frontier. Wars are breaking out all over. They over there, or we, “must have stolen wealth.” Politicians don’t understand ecology. The 1% are the dictators and they are consolidating their power.

    Cargo Cults: Catton identifies a lot of hopeful ideas as cargo cults. Catton is wrong on one, because it is commercially available and small. Catton is correct on several. Many of what are put forward as mitigation are cargo cults because of the environmental impact of the ones that require large land areas.

    We can hope that RC will have better luck after the population crash and subsequent evolutionary pressure has created a truly sapient creature, a few million years in the future.

  15. 115
    Edward Greisch says:

    Woops: The reason Catton calls things “Cargo cults” is because like the Melanesians, the people who advocate them do not understand them. The south sea islanders thought that cargo was created by magic or by the labor of the dead ancestors of Melanesians. That happens a lot in the US. Americans do a lot of magical thinking. You don’t have to understand a thing or where it came from to make money selling it. So the people who sell the stuff get rich and powerful. Then nobody listens to the scientists, who are not rich.

    Sound familiar?

  16. 116
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank (#91),

    Dave was asking about concentration, not temperature, and his scenario was dissimilar to the one described in the paper you linked. Most likely the temperature would decline from the present if we returned to a concentration of 280 ppm.

  17. 117
    MARodger says:

    Lawrence Coleman @104.
    What is it Thucydides famously ‘the father of scientific history’ wrote? “My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the needs of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. (In the past) the greatest conflict is with ignorant barbarians.” (HotPW-I:22-23)
    If you wish to use history to support your argument, do not mash the accepted historical facts with your ‘ignorant barbarism.’ (For my part, I will brush up on my Greek translation.)
    When Hitler invaded Poland, all Churchill did “decisively and immediately” was to suggest that a few younger faces were appointed to the war cabinet. He did this because he was not prime minister and so did not himself appoint cabinet members. He had no “priministerial power.”
    As for action, that consisted of bombing the begeezers out of Nazi Germany with hard-hitting leaflets and scowling at the Wehrmacht from the Maginot Line. It was only ‘Ruling the Waves’ which was put on a conventional shooting-war footing. Today, with the hindsight of history, this declaring a partial non-war may seems rather odd but the British Empire had to work with its allies who were reluctant war-mongers.
    One could say the situation is similar today with some countries very reluctant to act to cut carbon emissions. Yet unlike today, in 1939 the states of Europe had a good excuse to be reluctant – the painful experiences of the 1914-18 war.

  18. 118
    Chris Dudley says:

    Hank in #91 points to a paper that finds ending emissions results in rising temperatures. This was observed also by Matthews and Caldeira (2008) However, it was seen in only one case in the latter paper, a case corresponding to achieving about 1000 ppm carbon dioxide. At lower concentration, the temperature fell or help steady rather than rising for a couple centuries.

    As it turns out, in Hank’s link, the test case was also a quadrupling of concentration. It may well be that ceasing emissions now would lead to cooling with their approach just as it appears to do in Matthews and Caldeira.

  19. 119
    chris korda says:

    Edward Greisch: Glad to hear you’re reading the classics. “Overshoot” is brilliant work and more relevant than ever. Catton is still around and has a newer (2009) book, “Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse” which I intend to read after I get done with Thomas Piketty. Your comment about the 1% is heartening. My view is that the role of avarice in the climate change crisis is often overlooked. My favorite quote from Piketty so far: “The advantage of owning things is that one can continue to consume and accumulate without having to work, or at any rate continue to consume and accumulate more than one could produce on one’s own.” Sometimes it’s useful to state the obvious! In case you have any doubt about what that actually looks like, see here.

  20. 120
    Gorgon Zola says:

    #105 Lawrence Coleman

    But the premise is one of a sudden die off, hence my McPherson reference. I guess the question is: if we were all to spontaneously combust, if you will, along with most land- and sea dwelling animals, would our carbon be (eventually) released to the atmosphere and if it did, would that amount in any way be significant concerning the overall picture.

    I’m just curious about the figures and and the potential irony it carries, if any. How much carbon is ‘stored’ in animals and humans that are likely to die off were the Mcpherson proposition* to come true.

    *A rapid 10 to 20 year major extinction event.

    #99 Doug

    If the question is silly, surely you have the non-silly answer?

  21. 121
    Hank Roberts says:

    More over the past few decades on whales and large fish as top predators, and their removal from the ocean, and how this may have reduced primary productivity (photosynthesis, by which CO2 is removed from the surface waters). I’m still looking for older mention of this idea in the science journals — it was certainly unknown when I was last in college decades ago.

    Heck, when I was last in school, they thought the deep ocean was all just dead sediment.

    Biological cycling is one of those ideas that makes more sense, the more we learn more about ecology.

    Fishery Crisis

    Growth of sea creatures and algae has slowed, which implies declining ocean carbon uptake. This seems to be an unanticipated, indirect impact of fishing, which is an important new insight.

    Short videos are linked at the website:
    Where have the fish gone? Observations and theory overview, 2003 Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Starving Ocean – CBC show with Debbie MacKenzie and Farley Mowat. 2004
    Farley Mowat’s 1984 work, Sea of Slaughter, shows the immense strength of the fish-powered carbon sink, before it was damaged by fishing and whaling.

    Fish lift nutrients to the surface water, fertilizing algae and powering a natural carbon sink. But our massive removal of fish, sea birds and marine mammals over centuries has sabotaged this carbon sink, like deforesting the land. If sea animals made a comeback, the fish-powered carbon sink would mitigate atmospheric carbon dioxide. But this idea – that fish boost ocean carbon uptake, and that science has overlooked it – challenges accepted ideas and threatens the fishing industry.
    Zooplankton were unexpectedly and inexplicably lost along with Canadian fish stocks. If, as seems likely, this is part of the ecosystem impact of fishing, then this finding has global significance.

    Begun in 1999, this website chronicles my observations, the evolution of my ideas about what is happening to ocean life, and my attempts to draw attention to politically undesirable information about changes in the natural world.”

  22. 122
    SecularAnimist says:

    Nigel Williams wrote: “I was merely pointing out that a 70% reduction in fossil fuel use is not likely to be sustained with eight billion hungry mouths to be fed”

    That’s a non sequitur.

    Less than 30 percent of global GHG emissions are attributable to “feeding hungry mouths” and it is certainly possible to drastically reduce agricultural emissions while providing plenty of food for everyone, with sustainable, localized organic agriculture and a shift away from meat consumption to vegan diets.

    Reducing fossil fuel use is not the threat to agriculture — FAILING to reduce fossil fuel use is the threat to agriculture.

  23. 123
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    117: MA Roger. Did you after all that waffle get the gist of my message or not..?. Treat it as a colourful and maybe not 100% politically correct message if you like..but for Christ’s sake..get the message!

  24. 124
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    120 Gorgon Zola. Ok..I’ll entertain your hypothetical. 7 billion people, mean mass/person say 45kgs incl. infants and the elderly = 315bil kgs. Now got to work out the percentage of carbon compounds in each human. Bones 14% of tot weight- 6.3kgs. Bones calcium carbonate..say 1/2 is carbon. 3.15kgs. The rest is mainly hydrogen compounds. which is much carbon there. Say 10% of remaining tissue has carbon – 4.2kgs. Tot/human is 7.5kgs of Carbon. 7.5kgs x 7000000000 = 52.5Million tonnes of carbon. Now you work out the molecular weight of C and CO2 and you got it. Roughly of course but you have a sort of ball park figure to work with. Now..time to work out the rate of complete human decomposition to occur taking into account global temp variations and any other factor you can think of. Have fun!

  25. 125
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    120 Gorgon Zola. One little omission I made is that the skeletal system takes an exceedingly long time to decompose. So just work on the % of carbon in soft tissue, hair and blood alone. You probably will find it won’t make a jot of difference to either atmospheric Co2 or CH4. Btw. sure your nom de plume is cheesy enough..haha!

  26. 126
    Piotr says:

    124 Lawrence Coleman says: “Bones calcium carbonate..say 1/2 is carbon”.
    Hmm, Molec. mass of CaCO3=40+12+3*16=100, only 12 of which from C. So it is <1/8 instead of 1/2…

    More importantly if the extinction should be off "along with most land- and sea dwelling animals" – the human biomass contribution might not be that important – see
    Not mentioning that carbon in the form of CaCO3 has different decomposition vulnerability and different impact on the CO2 fluxes than
    organic Carbon.

    And all these changes in animal carbon biomass would likely be dwarfed by changes in plant biomass and in bacteria biomass – a decomposition of just 1% of bacteria biomass would release DOZENS times more CO2 than spontaneous combustion of 7 billion people.

  27. 127
    wili says:

    SkS is now covering the Deep Decarbonization Pathways study:
    Climate Central already had a post on it.
    Could we get some clarification from the mods whether this is an ok topic for discussion here, or if they are planning a main post on it?

  28. 128
    DIOGENES says:


    “I would say that the environmental movement has relegated itself to cheerleading and mindless chants and that it’s time for us to step away from the pom-poms. I encounter a boundless enthusiasm for creating positive change when holding dialogues with environmental groups. Unfortunately, the mainstream environmental movement is channeling that energy into an increasingly corporatist, and what I call a “productivist,” set of priorities…..

    The modern environmental movement has rolled over to become an outlet for loggers, energy firms and car companies to plug into. It is now primarily a social media platform for consumerism, growth and energy production – an institutionalized philanderer of green illusions. If you need evidence, just go to any climate rally and you’ll see a strip mall of stands for green products, green jobs and green energy. THESE WILL DO NOTHING TO SOLVE THE CRISIS WE FACE, WHICH IS NOT AN ENERGY CRISIS BUT RATHER A CRISIS OF CONSUMPTION.”

    Also see:

    And this:

    “Indeed, his core objection appears to be with technology fixes in general, or the conviction that any bit of technological derring-do — be it a high-efficiency photovoltaic cell or a low-emissions vehicle — will be sufficient to nudge the planet from unpleasant trajectories like global warming.”

  29. 129
    SecularAnimist says:


    Livestock digestion released more methane than oil and gas industry in 2004
    By Alexandra Branscombe
    AGU GeoSpace Blog
    July 8 2014

    Livestock were the single largest source of methane gas emissions in the United States in 2004, releasing 70 percent more of the powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than the oil and gas industry, according to a new study.

    The new findings based on satellite data from 2004 provide the clearest picture yet of methane emissions over the entire U.S. They show human activities released more of the gas into the atmosphere than previously thought and the sources of these emissions could be much different than government estimates.

    The contribution of livestock to methane emissions was 40 percent higher in 2004 than what the federal government had previously estimated for that year based on industry reports, while emissions from the oil and gas industry were lower than these government estimates, according to the new study published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

  30. 130
    DIOGENES says:


    Among other critical comments, dismisses geo-engineering.

    Part 1:

    Part 2:

    Part 3:


    Wadhams and Shakova, and their research groups, are the real hands-on experts on Arctic methane. Weight their comments accordingly. Additionally, the discussions under the Shakova video are well worth reading.

  31. 131
    Gorgon Zola says:

    #124 Lawrence Coleman

    Though I already smell where this is going, I’m going to work out the math with a little help from our friend xkcd..

  32. 132
    Michael Schnieders says:

    Small aside
    Cudos to Michael Mann on his $125 settlement from the nuisance suit.
    Sir, if you see this…
    What will you do with it?
    If they bother to pay, that is.

  33. 133
    Hank Roberts says:

    OK, here’s a possible feedback in the climate system that I don’t know about:

    “… deposition of soluble iron from combustion contributes 20–100% of the soluble iron deposition over many ocean regions. This implies that more work should be done refining the emissions and deposition of combustion sources of soluble iron globally.”
    Luo, C., N. Mahowald, T. Bond, P. Y. Chuang, P. Artaxo, R. Siefert, Y. Chen, and J. Schauer (2008), Combustion iron
    distribution and deposition,
    Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB1012, doi:10.1029/2007GB002964.

    I was looking at the little kink in the Law Dome CO2 record around World War II, thinking about the halt in fishing and whaling and the notion that a rebound in fish produces a rebound in plankton (trophic cascade, ecosystem maintained by top predators). At the same time we have the boom in combustion (sulfates).

    But from that paper, looks to me like coal smoke was also fertilizing the ocean with iron — and still is — so are the post-1970 numbers reflecting partially removing iron as well as sulfate from the smokestack emissions in the USA/Europe, then an increase again as dirty coal booms in Asia?

    handwaving here, I know (cough)

  34. 134
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Can anyone tell me the most reliable source for finding out the current health of the GIS? I’m wondering how close it may be to irreversible decline.

  35. 135
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    126 Piotr. Thanks for that. It’s just that Gorgon Zola wanted the carbon from humans alone. Agreed bacteria and plant matter is by far the macro source of any carbon. If humans only would produce 1/8 C then there would certainly be no atmospheric effects. Cheers!

  36. 136
  37. 137
    sidd says:

    Mr. Chuck Hughes writes om the 12th of July, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    ” … most reliable source for finding out the current health of the GIS?”

    darksnow project by Prof. Box

    accept the self signed certificate on that last link, this amounts to trusting neven. they watch it every day there.

    my opinion: South dome on GIS will be gone. WAIS will be gone. Now we just argue about timescale.

    my opinon on timescale: 200 yr is upper limit

    good news: most of us wont see the 1m per 2 decade rise rates, we will be dead.

    but please warn the children. and plant trees.


  38. 138
    DIOGENES says:

    Wili #127,

    I have critiqued the Deep Decarbonization study in #90. If their starting point is a flawed scientific target, how can their conclusions be anything but flawed? Even the Bible states that one can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

  39. 139
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    I believe people are being deluded by the reporting that the earth’s mean temp increase is just 0.8C from pre-industrial levels.
    The prime movers in the earth’s climatic regulatory system are the polar ice caps. The arctic mechanism revolves around a very narrow temp gap each side of 0.0C. However it is here that we are seeing by far the greatest temp increase and the fastest acceleration of temperature anywhere on the planet. The methane clathrates in the permafrost and under the artic coastal ocean and the massive deposits of potential CO2 and methane locked into the tundra regions is liberated at temps just above freezing. Again it is these very regions that are experiencing by far the greatest temp increase anywhere. Do politicians and world leaders understand this concept and actually know what is going on right now in the artic?. Or are they still fixed upon 0.8C..’Oh! that nothing, we’ll fix that in a jiffy’ mentality. I am quite certain that all tipping points will begin to cascade rapidly and unstoppably once the arctic begins to release enough of it’s deadly cargo. The rate of temp increase for the arctic and Antarctic as far as I can make out are clearly exponential. I am also quite sure that the rate of methane and CO2 release will likewise clearly be exponential within a few years. At this point humans have no hope and remaining chance to enact remedies. It’s the beginning of the anthrocene.

  40. 140
    Chris Dudley says:

    The World Council of Churches will divest from fossil fuels.

    “An umbrella group of churches, which represents over half a billion Christians worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out of fossil fuel companies.

    The move by the World Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches including the Church of England but not the Catholic church, was welcomed as a “major victory” by climate campaigners who have been calling on companies and institutions such as pension funds, universities and local governments to divest from coal, oil and gas.”

  41. 141
    Piotr says:

    To: Hank Roberts (133): whether reducing whaling and fishing during WWII increased plankton uptake of CO2 is far from straightforward – first, because letting the top predators live may increase or _decrease_ phytoplankton biomass, depending on which trophic level they are located; second, because the effect on CO2 flux depends not of plankton production per se, but on the export of the biomass out of the surface layer in the contact with the atmosphere, and finally, as it has been pointed out a few years ago – fish may be precipitating large amount of CaCO3 as a part of their osmotic balance which could also affect the ability of surface waters to absorb atm.CO2.

  42. 142
    DIOGENES says:

    Lawrence Coleman #139,

    “Do politicians and world leaders understand this concept and actually know what is going on right now in the artic?”

    Of course they know. They are in contact with their leading scientists, and they understand what’s going on. They could care less because their constituents could care less. What they say in their public pronouncements is another story. If any politician would describe the direness of the situation, and what the constituents would have to do to avoid disaster, he/she would be voted out of office in a flash, and replaced by a Tony Abbott. Look around you; do you see politicians taking an aggressive leadership stance on this issue, or do you see the Abbots, Harpers, Putins, and, yes, ‘all-of-the-above’ Obamas with their non-leadership on the most important issue facing our civilization? Lack of knowledge has nothing to do with their performance.

  43. 143
    Edward Greisch says:

    132 Michael Schnieders
: Michael Mann won a law suit? RC please tell us more of the story. I need to hear a longer version. Congratulations Michael Mann.

  44. 144
    Michael Schnieders says:

    From Ars technica by John Timmer

    “Climate scientist targeted by lawsuit gets $250 for the hassle
    Original suit officially declared a nuisance.

    Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, is famous for publishing the “hockey stick” graph, which shows that current temperatures rise well above any natural variability we’ve experienced during the last 1,500 years. He also achieved a bit of inadvertent fame when some of the e-mails he’d exchanged with other climate researchers were included in a cache of documents stolen from the University of East Anglia. Since then, various groups have been attempting to get at the full record of Mann’s e-mailing.

    Most of the action focused on Mann’s former employer, the University of Virginia. The former state attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, decided that Mann must be guilty of some form of research fraud, and he sued to get Mann’s records. That case was thrown out because there were no actual allegations of fraud. Separately, a private think tank called the American Tradition Institute (ATI) attempted to obtain the e-mails using a state Freedom of Information Act request, arguing that the University of Virginia is a state school. That attempt was also denied.

    Now Mann has achieved a small bit of satisfaction, as a ruling has declared the suit from the ATI a nuisance. The nuisance ruling had made its way to the Virginia Supreme Court, but the court declared that there were no legal errors that gave ATI grounds for an appeal. For their troubles, the University and Mann will get to split a fine of $250. Mann told Ars, “It is a small amount of money, but a clear statement—and slap in ATI’s face—by the judge.”

  45. 145
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Yes! Accolades for the World council of churches for it’s stance on fossil fuel investments..long overdue. Typical that the Catholic church is dragging their heels again. Anyway there is now enough decisive groundswell against fossil fuels from the majority of the Christian churches to force the Catholic church to join the party. I have waited years for this to happen..such a pity it took them so long.

  46. 146
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    140: Chris Dudley. Yes! Accolades for the World council of churches for it’s stance on fossil fuel investments..long overdue. Typical that the Catholic church is dragging their heels again. Anyway there is now enough decisive groundswell against fossil fuels from the majority of the Christian churches to force the Catholics to join the party. I have waited years for this to happen..such a pity it took them so long.

  47. 147
    Chris Dudley says:

    I should point out that a US Catholic University, University of Dayton, has begun divesting from fossil fuels. The article in the Guardian singles out the Catholic Church for specifically English reasons, I think.

  48. 148
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Further on my comment at 139. Has anyone seen NOAA’s latest ocean temp anomaly map especially between the band of 40-80N. It’s averaging 2.0C hotter than the norm. In fact the entire planet looks decidedly sun-burnt.

  49. 149
    Chris Dudley says:

    Bill McKibben has drawn a few threads together here:

    It is interesting to me that the subject of Coral Davenport’s poor journalistic practices seems to be a subject the NYT Public Editor won’t entertain, even in comments on a post discussing the changes in the NYT coverage of the environment. Both these contributions appear to have been censored.

    “”“Our environmental coverage is very good,” says Mr. Fisher, but evidence does not support that. A recent piece was a series of ad hominem attacks that did not even offer the target a chance to refute:

    For climate change to be addressed, we will need people who once were involved in fossil fuels to get involved in ending their use. That is not an occasion of hypocrisy as nearly every quote in that article urged. St. Paul did a 180 and it would be very foolish to call him a hypocrite.

    It was a mistake to decimate the NYT environmental coverage and it shows in the extremely low quality of journalism we see now.”


    “The NYT environmental reporting is not just decimated, it is off the rails. Now, an open process of the sort the editorial board should commend is being slimed as the same as the secret meetings of Dick Cheney.

    How shameful.”

  50. 150
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Piotr says: 13 Jul 2014 at 9:04 AM
    > To: Hank Roberts (133): whether reducing whaling and fishing during WWII
    > increased plankton uptake of CO2 is far from straightforward …

    Understood. I’m hoping for cites to papers on the subject, particularly curious whether anyone is incorporating this in climate models given the recent study on the whale pump and iron fertilization. Can you point to any or suggest names to search?


    > as it has been pointed out a few years ago –
    > fish may be precipitating large amount of CaCO3

    I haven’t found that, can you point to the research?
    Much appreciated (DOI if possible as those are guaranteed to be findable, while links go dead fairly fast)