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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. 351
    john byatt says:

    whoops, ABC catalyst program, Antarctica sea ice, not all as it seems

  2. 352
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    313 Kevin. To be fair Kevin, I know we were not initially supposed to discuss mitigation but as the thread wears old the topic of threads should get more diverse(human nature). Mitigation is a most important topic and need discussing at every available opportunity. The average intelligence of contributors at RC is far greater than virtually any other forum so it would be a travesty to muzzle them if they have new and salient information to present to the forum, on mitigation issues or otherwise.

  3. 353

    Interesting; an IMF proposal for global carbon taxing, nation by nation, with specific numbers and cost-benefit analysis. Here’s a Canada-centric story on it.

  4. 354
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    323: DIOGENES. Tundra Craters: The main question is, are we witnessing beginning of the tip of the methane iceberg in the permafrost regions. Are the explosions hot or cold?, at least if they are hot then most of the CH4 would be oxidised, however if they are just an explosive release of pressure with no ignition then I would say that is reason to be concerned. Assuming a cold release, how many tonnes of CH4 would be released from each crater taking into account, depth/width/density of the permafrost etc?. What is your ballpark figure?

  5. 355
    DIOGENES says:

    Kevin McKinney #321,

    “I hope the EPA will do the rational and responsible thing, and limit the carbon emissions each state is allowed to make, as the proposed regulations set forth.”

    What the right hand giveth, the left hand taketh away!!!!!

  6. 356
    Sophie says:

    Can I just say that when I try to read these comment threads on a mobile or tablet the background color is black and the text barely any lighter, making it unreadable. Would have a word with your web dev to see if there’s a style somewhere screwing things up

  7. 357
    MARodger says:

    April this year was of course the first month with MLO CO2 measurements above 400ppm. But April was also, according to NOAA-ESRL provisional CH4 measurements from MLO, the first month with methane above 1850ppb. Looking at a plot of the MLO methane record (usually 2 clicks to ‘download yuor attachment’), it took all of 11 years from busting through 1800ppb to bust through 1850ppb although the first 4 years were part of a hiatus when no rise was evident.

  8. 358
    Chris Dudley says:

    I think I must despair of ever finding a published set of monthly offsets for the gistemp anomalies.

    This paper pretty much says nothing but anomalies will be available.

    At least the basic idea can be explored using the HadCRUT paper.

  9. 359
    Hank Roberts says:

    Catching up on reading material recommended by Gavin on Twitter.

    quoted for those who may have missed it:

    “At some point, scientists will have to declare that it’s game over for the 2°C target,” says Oliver Geden, a climate policy analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “But they haven’t yet. Because nobody knows what will happen if they call this thing off.” The 2°C target was one of the few things that everyone at global climate talks could agree on. If the goal turns out to be impossible, people might just stop trying altogether.

    Recently, then, some scientists and policymakers have been taking a fresh look at whether the 2°C limit is still the best way to think about climate change. Is this simple goal actually making it harder to prepare for the warming that lies ahead? Is it time to consider other approaches to climate policy? And if 2°C really is so dangerous, what do we do when it’s out of reach?

  10. 360
    Chris Dudley says:

    Massachusetts legislature approved in the house, but not the senate, a bill to study divestment from fossil fuels using a commission.

  11. 361
    Chris Dudley says:

    A link to the Massachusetts story:

  12. 362
    Chris Dudley says:

    Harvard President Drew Faust seems to be having a hard time fitting in with Harvard traditions. Her opposition to divestment from fossil fuels runs counter to Harvard’s divestment from South Africa and more recently from tobacco stocks.

  13. 363
    David Miller says:

    Latest iceberg breaking off Pine Island Glacier. 8 times the size of Manhattan Island, story here.

  14. 364
  15. 365
    Hank Roberts says:

    an appropriate response to a far too soft NYT piece titled
    Shattering Myths to Help the Climate

    Greenpa MN 10 hours ago
    I realize it’s a little early to allow this to be said out loud in the NYT – but, just between us; Myths??

    No. These were always “Lies.” Created, and professionally distributed, by corporations which preferred not to change- to create the pretense that there was serious disagreement about any of this. In the scientific community – not ever. The Myth – is that anyone ever believed any of these – until the lies had been hammered into their heads repeatedly. And it was made clear that these were required Articles of Faith – if you wanted to continue to call yourself a – well, pick one. foxrushgoppseudocon –

    Paid disinformation; very professionally done. And at enough expense we could probably have used the money to put scrubbers on every smokestack in the world.

  16. 366
    jimmeh says:

    (apologies if this is a double post. eventually I’ll get the knack of recaptcha)

    A couple questions, for those in the know or who have educated opinions on the subject.

    – With respect to the Siberian craters, is there a consensus that if there was a methane release that it was an ‘explosive’ one that cause the original earth covering the area to be ejected or would it be possible/probably that the release was gradual and the volcanic appearance is juse a result of how the material expanded (foaming liquefaction?) and then settled. (just a curiosity related question. I assume it’s explosiveness would not have an effect one way or the other on its influence on global warming.)

    – Is there a general accounting of how much land bound clathrate (assuming that was indeed the cause of the crater) exists in the arctic perma-frost generally?

    – Does paucity of scientific information related to pockets of perma-frost sequestered clathrate (at least apparent paucity to an amateur researcher like myself) indicate that this was an unexpected phenomenon. If so why? It seems like an obvious area of research? That is: is it possible that large quantities of ancient marine clathrate are now shallowly buried in the arctic permafrost.

    – The seems to be an emphatic consensus that the recent rise in global methane levels is unrelated arctic methane release. But there is no consensus whether it is the result of industrial/agricultural activity or changes in the tropical ecosystem, especially rainforests. What’s the basis for the certainty that it is not related to clathrate or other arctic warming based releases?


  17. 367
    Radge Havers says:


    Clocks. There’s an app for that:

  18. 368
    Radge Havers says:


    Reminds me of the wingnut radio talk show host who, whenever he got into trouble with a knowledgeable caller, would demand that they recite The Pledge of Allegiance. Then he’d hang up with a bang when they said, “Huh?”

    Reasoning by analogy is fallacious. If you’re going to use an analogy to illustrate a point, then you at least have to take some care to make it relevant. Getting all huffy over acceleration from zero, isn’t helpful when you’re trying to determine a cruising speed limit — doubly so, in this case, if there are all sorts of factors which complicate reaching agreement among stakeholders.

    1. Science .NE. Politics
    2. Get it?
    3. If no goto 1. and QUIETLY contemplate your infinite loop
    4. Else end BoneHead

  19. 369
    Chris Dudley says:

    Looks like cellulosic ethanol is beginning to come on line.

  20. 370
    prokaryotes says:

    Cyanobacteria blooms (harmful algae blooms) and climate change

    The attribution of fertilzer runoff, increased recently through record precipitation (Spring 2011). Thus, promoted additionally to cyanobacteria blooms (blue-green algae).

  21. 371
    Susan Anderson says:

    Kevin McKinney currently @321 (1:52 PM)

    Thank you for that. If it’s not to late, I’ll have a go soon.

    It is annoying that an arrogant opinionator has taken over here lately. Wholesale negativity does not advance the conversation, and in fact people like me are losing interest in coming here partly because of it.

    I thought this was a science site for scientific discussion. SA has the gist:

    “Posting repetitive comments on a blog is not an “essential use” of electricity.

    “Put down the mouse, step away from the computer, and turn it off NOW.”

    The correct place to insist one’s preeminence is on one’s own blog. Using RealClimate as a platform to promote one’s invincible conviction that one is superior to one’s fellows is just wrong.

  22. 372
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    This could be a question for Gavin. This would be at least indirectly concerned with climate change and quite possibly..directly. It’s about the current and devastating outbreak of Ebola Zaire EBOZ. The latest information we have is that the reservoir is still unknown but insects, bats are the more likely origin. EBOZ has been around since 1976. That woke me up…invertebrates have been declining rapidly during that time frame as well by 45% with 40% of all species now considered endangered. What if the sudden decline of a certain insect, or snail etc was the key species to controlling ebola in the natural ecosystem. Say the natural reservoir of the virus was a bat but because primary killer of that bat was a (pathogenic to bats) disease carrying mosquito, and that mosquito is now at critically low levels, it allows more bats to flourish that more bat-animal-human contact. I did mention this has climate change relevance. Many scientists in the field agree that climate change and other factors has caused the sudden decline in invertebrate numbers.
    I just thought of that connection, and the more I thought about it the more sense it made to me. I would be appreciative of any feedback. Thanks.

  23. 373
    Chris Dudley says:

    The sea ice volume anomaly seems to be out of the seasonal pattern of the last few years.