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Unforced variations: September 2014

Filed under: — group @ 2 September 2014

This month’s open thread. People could waste time rebunking predictable cherry-picked claims about the upcoming Arctic sea ice minimum, or perhaps discuss a selection of 10 climate change controversies from ICSU… Anything! (except mitigation).

189 Responses to “Unforced variations: September 2014”

  1. 151
    Ed Beroset says:

    The Los Angeles Times this morning has a headline “West Coast warming linked to naturally occurring changes” and refer to this study by Johnstone and Mantua titled “Atmospheric controls on northeast Pacific temperature variability and change, 1900-2012”. I’d be interested in reading informed comment on this paper.

  2. 152

    #150 (Ron R)–“Connection?”

    I’d guess that both sets of observations are acting as “tracers” of an unusual circulation pattern. Certainly worth looking at.

  3. 153
    gmb92 says:

    More backstory on Koonin, the WSJ editorial, and his role in the APS

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/09/a-dogs-dinner.html

    Seemed odd to me that someone who is chair-elect of the APS Panel on Public Affairs, which one would think entails some objectivity, reserve, and deference to expert views, would write a highly-rhetorical shallow impeccably-timed opinion piece for the WSJ, but the above speculates that he may have resigned.

    “It turns out that Koonin lobbied to be in charge of the process, got input from climate scientists and then refused to acknowledge what he had been given, simply walking away. Eli has it now from three sources (although they may overlap) that he has resigned from POPA. Given that he was/is still listed the chair elect, take this as it is, but the WSJ article is a sure sign that the statement he ramrodded through has met considerable opposition. The APS response will be indicative.

    Ben Santer, who was one of those talking with the sub-committee is unhappy about the outcome, the waste of time and the possibility that he was simply set up by someone with an agenda and no intent to learn. By permission Eli quotes him

    Another source of real frustration is that Dr. Koonin had a real opportunity to listen. To consult experts in many different aspects of climate science. To do a deep dive into the science. To seek understanding of complex scientific issues. He did not make use of this opportunity. His op-Ed is not a deep dive – it is a superficial toe-dip into a shallow puddle, rehashing the same tired memes (the “warming hiatus” points toward fundamental model errors, climate scientists suppress uncertainties, there’s a lack of transparency in the IPCC process, climate always varies naturally, etc.) “

  4. 154
    gmb92 says:

    Ed, the study results appears to extend from Northern CA and north, and is confined to the immediate coastlines (not inland) and sea surface temperatures, so “west coast” is fairly ambiguous and easily misconstrued and exaggerated.

    It also seems to be an odd result, given the major natural variation that would effect the northwest would be the PDO, which has exhibited a downward trend over the period of record (lower PDO values tend to be a cooling influence over the PNW), so any residual trend could not be explained by such variances. I wonder if they’re confusing long-term trends with variance.

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/plot/jisao-pdo/trend

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see a rebuttal. Studies that go against the grain tend to get a lot of media coverage, and that media coverage tends to exaggerate the implications.

  5. 155
    gmb92 says:

    There is also a study that concludes anthropogenic factors are the dominant cause of the observed trend in the PNW.

    “Abatzoglou co-authored research, published this year in the Journal of Climate, that reached a different conclusion. Abatzoglou and two Oregon State University scientists compared weather observations with climate data for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and western parts of Montana and Wyoming. They concluded that greenhouse gases were “the leading contributor to” regional warming since 1900.

    Abatzoglou cautioned that some of the older pressure data used in the new study might contain errors, particularly data that predated the 1940s. And he said it can be difficult to factor the effects of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) into any climate studies, given that “high quality data” exists for fewer than two of its complete oscillations.

    “Any discussion of climate change, anthropogenic versus natural, over the western U.S. can get messy when inviting the PDO to the party,” he said.”

    http://www.climatecentral.org/news/west-coast-warming-natural-variability-18067

    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-13-00218.1

  6. 156
    Rick Brown says:

    Dr. Unger’s Four Scientific Fouls
    By Michael Wolosin
    http://www.climateadvisers.com/ungerfouls/

    An OpEd in today’s New York Times by Yale professor of atmospheric chemistry Nadine Unger starts with the headline “To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees.” The article claims that – contrary to both conventional wisdom and the scientific consensus – planting trees and conserving forests is not an effective solution to climate change. While the headline is eye-catching, and attacking conventional wisdom can attract an editor’s attention, the article’s conclusions simply do not have the backing of science.

    There are at least four major scientific fouls that need to be called.

  7. 157
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/8q3nmm/burn-noticed?xrs=synd_facebook_092314_tds_60

    House of Representatives Science Committee segment starts around 03:20
    Yes, he’s discussing the science, and Dr. Whitehouse, charged with educating the Committee members.

  8. 158
    Hank Roberts says:

    Uh, oh. This is going to bother the House of Representatives Science Committee.
    The E-word has come into climate science:
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ocean-algae-can-evolve-fast-to-tackle-climate-change/

    Ocean Algae Can Evolve Fast to Tackle Climate Change
    Longer-lived creatures, from fish to shellfish, would not be able to evolve their way out of trouble
    Sep 14, 2014

    By Alistair Doyle

    OSLO (Reuters) – Tiny marine algae can evolve fast enough to cope with climate change in a sign that some ocean life may be more resilient than thought to rising temperatures and acidification, a study showed.

    Evolution is usually omitted in scientific projections of how global warming will affect the planet in coming decades because genetic changes happen too slowly to help larger creatures such as cod, tuna or whales.

    Sunday’s study found that a type of microscopic algae that can produce 500 generations a year – or more than one a day – can still thrive when exposed to warmer temperatures and levels of ocean acidification predicted for the mid-2100s.

    The Emiliania huxleyi phytoplankton studied are a main source of food for fish and other ocean life and also absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, as they grow. Their huge blooms can sometimes be seen from space.

    “Evolutionary processes need to be considered when predicting the effects of a warming and acidifying ocean on phytoplankton,” according to the German-led study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

    Yet another issue — in addition to antibiotic resistance — that can’t be understood by those denying evolution.

  9. 159
    PJKar says:

    Chuck Hughes @149,

    I participated in the march this past weekend and I have to say it was truly inspiring event, in fact I was kind of awe struck by it. It was largely a symbolic demonstration and it has been criticized for not having a list of formal demands, not marching to the UN and the like. Listening to people talk at the several workshops I attended throughout the city people understood their actions on Sunday would be symbolic but that it was important to send a message however symbolic it may be. This was OK because even on Saturday it was clear that this was going to be a historically momentous event in what might now be called the “climate change movement” where for the first time 400K people representing a large number of diverse groups assembled in a massive demonstration to say that a solution to the AGW problem and climate change is of critical importance to the survival of humanity.

    To me it is just the first step though not a game changer in itself. With a political system that is based on legalized bribery together with our judicial system corrupted at all levels, solutions are not going to be found in elections. The game changer will occur, IMO when 400K people are in the streets disrupting every day business with various forms of direct action.

    With regard to your comment on OWS and the Climate March. On Monday we got a glimpse of the type of direct action I was referring to. Although they were not directly connected to the March former members of OWS ( a lot of OWS has split up into smaller more focused groups) organized a demonstration (Flood Wall Street) starting at Battery Park then marching to Wall Street to shut down the NYSE to protest Wall Street’s connections with the FF industry. I believe there were about 1000 demonstrators at the protest. They didn’t make it to the Stock Exchange but they caused some disruption with something like 100 people arrested. It is these types of occurrences happening multiple times simultaneously that will IMO finally force the decision makers to listen although it is safe to assume that if and when they do occur it is not going to be pretty. As it was a number of people were pepper sprayed in this event on Monday.

    The next UN Climate Change Conference is in Paris in Dec 2015. The events of the past few days in NYC will hopefully carry significant momentum for the cause going into that one.

  10. 160
    Chris Dudley says:

    Here is the transcript of President Obama’s speech on climate at the UN: http://insideclimatenews.org/breaking-news/20140924/transcript-obamas-speech-climate-change-un

    I think this is the anchor paragraph:

    “So today, I call on all major economies to do the same [declare emissions targets and implementation policies]. For I believe, in the words of Dr. King, that there is such a thing as being too late. And for the sake of future generations, our generation must move toward a global compact to confront a changing climate while we still can.”

    Time for a binding climate agreement.

  11. 161

    #149–(Chuck)–See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/09/unforced-variations-september-2014/comment-page-3/#comment-598691

    “…this weekend’s Climate March in NYC and others that are taking place around the world… effect on the political landscape.

    “…pretty impressive…

    “Thoughts? Opinions? Outlooks? Is this a game changer or too little too late?”

    My two cents: I agree it was an impressive showing, although I thought coverage was less than merited by the magnitude of the event.

    I suspect that this is not a game-changer, but rather an incremental step in the right direction. It’ll take much more of the same, I think.

    And I sure hope it’s not too late, in a larger sense. It’s too late for some things (and people), of course, but the state of knowledge suggests that we can still avoid a lot of kimchee.

  12. 162
    Hank Roberts says:

    correction, that’s Science Advisor to the President John Holdren patiently responding to members of the House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee, as commented by John Stewart starting at 03:00. I hope the people who voted for those men see that.

  13. 163
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin (#161),

    This kind of thing is always a game changer. It you look at President Obama’s speech it mentions both Dr. King and people marching and focuses on China. Think, what does China fear most?

    The answer is mass movements. A cheerful demonstration there has to be met with tanks in the street and massacres. Sunday’s march gave President Obama leverage over China to get a deal.

    The people who participate are also changed and become more astute agents for change going forward. Mao felt he had to move among the people like a fish in water. True movements are like yeast in bread, they transform owing to their dispersed liveliness. The yeast got mixed in pretty well on Sunday.

  14. 164

    Here’s a CBC video highlighting Jason Box’s “Dark Snow Project”, and making the link with the “unprecedented” Arctic wildfire season (not to mention a cameo of Andrew Weaver calling out his colleagues in the BC Legislative Assembly):

    http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/ID/2529486281/

  15. 165

    And a link to the paper about increased Arctic wildfire:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/32/13055.abstract

  16. 166
    Peter Thorne says:

    For those who have long memories …

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/12/improving-the-tropical-cyclone-climate-record/ has continued accruing classifications. The first analysis paper is in the online queue at BAMS. There is a nice piece on it at the UK Guardian (caveat emptor – I would say that I’m quoted in it!).

    The Guardian article is at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/sep/25/citizen-scientists-classify-storms-for-the-cyclone-center (and links to the paper).

    Its far from too late to classify more imagery or urge your friends to. The one thing the paper really shows is that all the volunteers really are making a valuable contribution.

    Go forth and classify

  17. 167
    Chris Dudley says:

    The University of North Carolina is moving in towards divestment from fossil fuel interests: http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2014/09/25/unc-fossil-fuel-investments-clean-energy-college.html

    The United Church of Christ is adding fossil fuels to tobacco, gambling, alcohol, and conventional and nuclear weapons as investments to avoid. http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2014-09/ucc-investment-fund-will-be-free-fossil-fuels

  18. 168
    sidd says:

    Grant(2014) doi: 10.1038/ncomms6076 is an excellent correlated study of Red Sea level and monsoon records. They find a threshold at about twice the volume of present day ice sheets (~65 m SLR)

    “Our data suggest that, for both ‘event’ and ‘pulse’ scenarios, natural rise rates do not exceed ~2 m/cy and are mostly ~1 m/cy for ice volumes up to about twice as large as present-day values (Fig. 4a,b). For larger ice volumes, substantially higher rise rates may be attained.”

    Earlier they point out :

    “Our sea-level data therefore appear to corroborate and quantify previous hypotheses [37] and models [38] of increased ice-sheet instability at sufficiently large (‘excess’) ice volumes. Interestingly, increased ice-rafted detritus in deep-sea sediments at ~2.5 Myr (indicative of ice-sheet calving, hence, marine ice-sheet margins) has been linked to extension of the North American ice sheet to a point where it developed marine margins [39,40]. Global sea level stood at roughly ~ 40 to ~ 70 m at that time [41,42], which is consistent with our inferred ~ 65 m sea-level threshold. Possibly, therefore, the high potential rates of sea-level rise for ice volumes equivalent to 65 m sea-level fall (Fig. 4a) depend on the existence of marine margins.”

    I think that might be a stretch. WAIS always had a marine margin. Perhaps they restrict this to North American ice sheet, but that is not clear from the text. Anyhoo, such minor quibbling aside, this is a very nice paper, clears up some of the issues with earlier work, and provides a robust chronology. There are some nice comments on the dependence of the Asian monsoon

    (ASM and AWM are the Asian summer and winter monsoons)

    ” … a lagged response of the ASM to insolation forcing (on orbital timescales) can be explained by the effects of northern hemisphere ice-volume changes on sensible heating of the Asian plateau [7,17] … This appears to portray a millennial-scale ‘bipolar see-saw’ event, where meltwater-related reduction of North Atlantic overturning circulation caused abrupt Northern Hemisphere cooling and widespread Southern Hemisphere warming [44,45], with concomitant ASM weakening/failure [8] and AWM intensification [46].”

    This in contrast to other modelling studies suggesting “… that AWM variability is a direct response to obliquity forcing through its effect on low–high latitude insolation gradients [49].”
    Rather, this study appears to support the notion that AWM coupling to obliquity operates, at least partly, through changes in ice volume.

    sidd

  19. 169
    waxliberty says:

    I have an abstract layman question I’m wondering if someone in the community could help with (been coming up in discussions with others online). I’ve read that the concept of feedback(s) is defined/used a bit differently in electrical engineering vs. how it is used in climate science. Is anybody familiar with this difference and able to explain any nuance there? Any replies of course appreciated in advance.

  20. 170
    Chuck Hughes says:

    If the melting of the ice is happening at an exponential rate, how do scientists KNOW that the collapse of the WAIS will take centuries instead of decades? Is it not possible that there could be a more sudden collapse once things get cooking? Not that it would all melt but that it would break off in really large chunks or just come apart.

    Thanks

  21. 171

    #169–I’ll take a stab at it, since at one point I was an electronics tech (and still run sound boards sometimes).

    This is a pretty good basic description of feedback in electronics:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedback#Electronic_engineering

    It rather highlights the reason that it’s called ‘feedback’–(a portion of) the output signal is used to control the circuitry (normally an amplifier, more or less) which is producing that output. So it’s a recursive scheme. Most often, it’s ‘negative feedback’–feedback 180 degrees out of phase, which will interfere destructively with the primary input signal and therefore damp the amplifier’s output response. That increases circuit stability, as the article says.

    “Feedbacks” in climate science are analogous in that they are processes in the Earth system somewhere which increase climate sensitivity to a given GHG forcing (‘positive feedback’) or decrease it (‘negative feedback.’) Take, for example, the ‘albedo feedback’: as the atmosphere and oceans warm, snow and ice melt earlier and more widely. This exposes more ground or water to solar radiation, and since both are much better at absorbing radiation than the snow or ice, more energy comes into the Earth system than previously, when the snow or ice just reflected more of it directly back into space. Consequently, that energy warms the system a little more than before. So the albedo feedback would be a positive one.

    As you can see, though the overall picture is similar enough to justify the analogy, the specifics are quite a bit different from the electronic realm. The chain of causation runs through several different domains: thermal kinetic energy, insolation, reflection/absorption, melting. It’s quite a bit messier conceptually than electronics, where everything just stays an electromagnetic signal. And in reality, it generally gets a lot messier still, since there may very well be multiple feedbacks in operation at the same time (and often with varying spatial and temporal structures.)

    To build on the example above, in the real Arctic, some of the lost ice will be sea ice–the permanent floating ice capping the Arctic ocean. The albedo feedback will operate as described in relation to this ice, but there will also be a negative feedback that comes into play: when the autumnal equinox is passed (as happened last week) the high Arctic passes into its winter darkness, and temperatures begin to fall pretty quickly. Open water radiates heat pretty efficiently, so more heat is lost from the ocean than would have been the case when it remained covered by sea ice. All other things being equal (which they may or may not be), this should oppose the warming action, and would therefore constitute a negative feedback.

    Accordingly, the formalisms around notation, correct handling of the concepts, and so forth, are not identical between electronics and climate science–which has sometimes led ‘skeptical’ electronics types to complain that the climate science community is ‘doing it all wrong.’ It’s an unfounded criticism, as far as I can tell, since it is only to be expected that any discipline will adapt concepts or procedures to suit its particular needs and exigencies when ‘borrowing’.

    Hope that helps!

  22. 172
    Hank Roberts says:

    for Chuck Hughes: “ice cube catastrophe scenario”

    … and the ice caps !sproing! break up along whatever stresses existed, turning all of the ice all at once into piles of ice cubes, which then rush to the ocean.

    “Walk faster, the ocean’s rising all of a sudden….”
    I’ll save that for my big scary blog, if I ever start one. Or a novel ….”

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    P.S., that paper on rapid disintegration of ice sheets from a year ago has been cited eight times since. This is how science works, not by single papers but through extended discussion of those ideas that attract work:

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=9617458491780210529&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=en

    As with much else, the question: as we’re pushing the rate of CO2 rise 100x faster than past warming events in the paleo record, what outcome paths will differ? Lots of things might happen at high rates that would not happen with lower rates of change.

    Much written about, e.g. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_ylo=2014&q=rate+co2+rise+change&hl=en&as_sdt=0,5

    I’d think you can safely laugh at the Energy and Environment “no worries” paper by Loehle. Others are worth reading.

  24. 174
    Hank Roberts says:

    I don’t find this search tool mentioned at RC:

    One-stop Searching of WorldWideScience Sources

    WorldWideScience.org is a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals. WorldWideScience.org accelerates scientific discovery and progress by providing one-stop searching of databases from around the world …
    Multilingual WorldWideScience.org provides real-time searching and translation of globally-dispersed multilingual scientific literature.

    The WorldWideScience Alliance, a multilateral partnership, consists of participating member countries and provides the governance structure for WorldWideScience.org.

    On behalf of the WorldWideScience Alliance, WorldWideScience.org was developed and is maintained by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), an element of the Office of Science within the U.S. Department of Energy. Please contact webmaster@worldwidescience.org if you represent a national or international science database or portal and would like your source searched by WorldWideScience.org.

    Here, as an example, is the search result I stumbled into:

    http://worldwidescience.org/topicpages/s/simulated+deep+permafrost.html

    I hesitate to mention it as it’s apt to tempt cherrypickers — it’s a huge number of sources. But it might be useful to someone with enough expertise in an area.

  25. 175
  26. 176
    Hank Roberts says:

    and there’s more, e.g.
    http://bigice.apl.washington.edu/projects_greenlandlakes.html

    To investigate the process through which water hydro-fractures through kilometer-thick ice, we instrumented two supraglacial lakes on the west coast of Greenland, near Illulisat. We documented the rapid (< 2 hours) drainage of a large supraglacial lake down 980 meters through to the bed of the Greenland Ice Sheet initiated by water-driven fracture propagation evolving into moulin flow [Das et al., 2008]. Drainage coincided with increased seismicity, transient acceleration, ice-sheet uplift, and horizontal displacement. During peak drainage, the flow of water into the crack exceeded the flow over Niagara Falls. Subsidence and deceleration occurred over the subsequent 24 hours. The short-lived dynamic response suggests that an efficient drainage system dispersed the meltwater subglacially. These observations clearly confirm earlier theoretical predictions that hydro-fracturing can breach thick, cold ice to establish a surface meltwater connection to the bed.

  27. 177
    Steve Fish says:

    John Cleese will help. Apply as needed.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvVPdyYeaQU

    Steve

  28. 178
    Tony Weddle says:

    Any thoughts on Lewis and Curry (2014) concerning lower ECS and TCR figures? I see Robert Cowtan has weighed in on Climate Audit suggesting other data sets offer a better estimate.

  29. 179
    Tom Bond says:

    The IPCC estimates a sea level rise near 1 metre by 2100 for the RCP 8.5 emissions ‘business as usual’ scenario.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/unfccc/cop19/3_gregory13sbsta.pdf

    However the IPCC AR5 Summary for Policy Makers warns that Greenland and Antarctica ice volume loss increased from 60 cubic kilometres annually during the 1990s decade to 360 cubic kilometres annually during the first decade of this century.
    http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

    The European Space Agency CryoSat-2 satellite data shows that these ice sheet melts are continuing to accelerate with average volume losses of 500 cubic kilometres annually since 2011.
    http://static2.egu.eu/media/filer_public/ac/f2/acf2d697-4a67-433b-bfd4-2a1f569cdb86/tc-2014-18.pdf

    This melt rate data calculates as a doubling time of about 5 years, which, if continued will see a 1 metre sea level rise by mid century, 50 years ahead of current predictions.

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/…/20121226_GreenlandIceSheetUpdate.pdf‎

    Note that global sea level rises 1mm for every 360 cubic kilometres of land ice melt.

    Imagine the disruption and cost to the global community to defend or retreat from the coastal built environment if sea level rose earlier than currently planned.

    This would be a good reason to include land ice melt rates as a sea level rise predictive tool for all global coastal planning and development.

  30. 180

    by now I may not be the first to link to this, but here’s a big, juicy morsel on attribution–a whole special issue of ametsoc, released as a report:

    http://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/assets/File/publications/BAMS_EEE_2013_Full_Report.pdf

    Topic: wild weather of 2013, and its attribution to climate change.

    Most surprising finding (for me): the Colorado floods were actually *less* likely under climate change–but of course, happened anyway. But lots of other stuff was, er, more intuitive, apparently.

  31. 181
    patrick says:

    @169 waxliberty (September) > feedback and forcings and Kevin McKinney’s response @171.

    Figure 10.5 from the IPCC, shown in Gavin’s post on this site (“…response to Judith Curry” 27 Aug), is very helpful on positive and negative forcings. It’s on page 18 of this PDF (or IPCC page 884):

    http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter10_FINAL.pdf

    It’s here at Skeptical Science:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/97-v-3-how-much-global-warming-humans-causing.html

    I really appreciate this graphic. It’s a big picture thing.

    Steven Koonin and the Wall Street Journal certainly must have missed it:

    “The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/wsj-downplays-global-warming-risks-again.html

  32. 182
    patrick says:

    @169 waxliberty (September) > feedback and forcings and Kevin McKinney’s response @171.

    Figure 10.5 from the IPCC, shown in Gavin’s post on this site (“…response to Judith Curry” 27 Aug), is very helpful on positive and negative forcings. It’s on page 18 of this PDF (or IPCC page 884):

    http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter10_FINAL.pdf

    It’s here at Skeptical Science:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/97-v-3-how-much-global-warming-humans-causing.html

    I really appreciate this graphic. It’s a big picture thing.

    Steven Koonin and the Wall Street Journal certainly missed it:

    “The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/wsj-downplays-global-warming-risks-again.html

  33. 183
    Hank Roberts says:

    Recent Arctic Ocean sea ice loss triggers novel fall phytoplankton blooms
    Article first published online: 2 SEP 2014
    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061047

    ©2014. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

    Geophysical Research Letters
    Volume 41, Issue 17, pages 6207–6212, 16 September 2014

    Abstract

    Recent receding of the ice pack allows more sunlight to penetrate into the Arctic Ocean, enhancing productivity of a single annual phytoplankton bloom. Increasing river runoff may, however, enhance the yet pronounced upper ocean stratification and prevent any significant wind-driven vertical mixing and upward supply of nutrients, counteracting the additional light available to phytoplankton. Vertical mixing of the upper ocean is the key process that will determine the fate of marine Arctic ecosystems. Here we reveal an unexpected consequence of the Arctic ice loss: regions are now developing a second bloom in the fall, which coincides with delayed freezeup and increased exposure of the sea surface to wind stress. This implies that wind-driven vertical mixing during fall is indeed significant, at least enough to promote further primary production. The Arctic Ocean seems to be experiencing a fundamental shift from a polar to a temperate mode, which is likely to alter the marine ecosystem.

  34. 184
    Lennart van der Linde says:

    On the risks of SLR also see the recent paper by Kopp et al, particularly table 1:
    http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,874.msg37035.html#msg37035

    Or:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EF000239/abstract

    They estimate a 5% risk of 3.7m of SLR by 2200 under BAU/RCP8.5 and a 0.5% risk of 6.3m by 2200 in that sort of worst-case. For 2100 the 0,5% risk is of 1.76m under this scenario.

  35. 185
    Dave Peters says:

    Ron R (@150 ) Last December I made two comments to UV (#s 120 & 138) trying to do a bit of arithmetic, so as to interpret Fukushima plumes as ratios, that is, rationally. A ten Becquerel (two-thirds of a banana) cesium contamination per cubic meter is ~0.08% of the radioactive shine from sea potassium, or about the enhancement of hydrogen ions achieved by 60 days worth of combustion exhaust.

    On your first cite, I too am curious about the Gulf of Alaska. The “official” PDO status has flipped since the GOA anomaly arose, yet its discoverer claims things are so un-PDO like. I want to know if there is a link to the jet stream weirdness that is taking winter rain from California.

  36. 186
    Hank Roberts says:

    I know it’s October everywhere but here ….

    meanwhile, in today’s news:

    Oops:

    https://www.climatescience.org.au/content/785-changing-antarctic-waters-could-trigger-steep-rise-sea-levels

    The research published in Nature Communications found that in the past, when ocean temperatures around Antarctica became more layered – with a warm layer of water below a cold surface layer – ice sheets and glaciers melted much faster than when the cool and warm layers mixed more easily.

    This defined layering of temperatures is exactly what is happening now around the Antarctic.

    “The reason for the layering is that global warming in parts of Antarctica is causing land-based ice to melt, adding massive amounts of freshwater to the ocean surface,” said ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science researcher Prof Matthew England an author of the paper.

    “At the same time as the surface is cooling, the deeper ocean is warming, which has already accelerated the decline of glaciers on Pine Island and Totten. It appears global warming is replicating conditions that, in the past, triggered significant shifts in the stability of the Antarctic ice sheet.”

    The modelling shows the last time this occurred, 14,000 years ago, the Antarctic alone contributed 3-4 metres to global sea levels in just a few centuries.

    “Our model simulations provide a new mechanism that reconciles geological evidence of past global sea level rise,” said researcher UNSW ARC Future Fellow Dr Chris Fogwill.

    For historical comparison — what we knew and when we quit knowing it, about this — I recommend rereading
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/02/05/why-do-science-in-antarctica/

  37. 187
    patrick says:

    “Science is never settled, but it can be settled enough. Newtonian mechanics was not settled science—it was overturned by both relativity and quantum mechanics. Nonetheless, it was, and continues to be, settled enough to build bridges and design airplanes. It is in this spirit that the word settled is used sometimes in connection with climate science, and not in the cartoonish sense that Koonin fabricates in his straw-man argument. …

    “Climate science is settled enough to provide the policy guidance that matters most, namely that there is an urgent need for halting, and eventually reversing, the worldwide growth in carbon dioxide emissions. …Major policy decisions are routinely made in economic and national security areas in the face of far greater uncertainty than prevails in climate science.”

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/10/the_wall_street_journal_and_steve_koonin_the_new_face_of_climate_change.2.html

    Thanks, Raypierre! For every last word, number, analogy (smoking), and meme of it.

  38. 188
    AIC says:

    Since a picture can be worth a thousand words, can anybody point me toward agraphic showing night-time temperatures compared to daytime tamperatures? Or even data?

    Google Scholar did not seem to find much if anything, except the effect of night-time temperatures on various crops.

  39. 189
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://blogs.ucdavis.edu/egghead/2014/10/02/making-oxygen-before-life/

    Planetary atmospheres don’t need life to contain lots of oxygen.
    A 200 nanometer laser irradiating the upper atmosphere will break up CO2; according to this, “models of the evolution of planetary atmospheres will now have to be adjusted to take this into account.”