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Unforced Variations: Dec 2015

Filed under: — group @ 13 December 2015

This is a belated open thread for this month, for anything non-COP21 and non-AGU related.

177 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Dec 2015”

  1. 151
    Hank Roberts says:

    > spike in sea level rise

    Noise, I suspect (that is, there’s variation in the result for many reasons that average out to zero over the longer term). How many years of annual sea level data do you need to detect the likelihood of a trend?

  2. 152
    t marvell says:

    #126 Hank Roberts. You disparage Humlum and Climate4you.
    I find that blog to be an informative and accurate source of information. I wish that would give a link to it.
    His thesis that the causal direction is from temperature to CO2 levels (that is higher temperatures cause more CO2 – through outgassing due to higher ocean temperatures) and that ocean temperatures cause land temperatures are correct – but they are correct only for the short term (a year or two). The CO2 to temperature causal link is long term (over decades). The latter is what counts for long term climate change, which is what the AGW issue is all about.

  3. 153
    Carbomontanus says:

    Ladies & Gentlemen

    I have red recent rumors about unexpected and extreeme green algae growth, = Phytoplancton in the arctic and sub- arctic seas and seen satelite photos of the same. Further careful speculations from a probably qualified scientist, saying that this is not well understood and may confuse a few tings.

    Personally, I think first of all in terms of the revelle- factor and the bicarbonate- buffer, and able to state that it may be an unexpected or unpredicted, new carbon sink.

    Can anyone tell us more about it because I think it is important.

  4. 154
  5. 155
    t marvell says:

    #148 – maybe el nino is causing sea level to rise more than normal. The last instance of an unusually large jump was during the 1997-8 el nino. Higher ocean temperature causes higher sea levels.

  6. 156
    Killian says:

    Of interest: Calculating the temp response to GHG forcing.

    “Research has identified, for the first time, how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted. A team of researchers has derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when human-made carbon emissions began.”

    From 2014, but I don’t remember seeing it. In case anyone else missed it…

  7. 157
    Killian says:

    Note on Newell: Gents and Ladies, I am quite certain Newell is well aware of research indicating the more a thing is repeated the more it is believed. This is why engaging such dishonesty is always a bad idea: You’re doing their work for them.

    Disengage, please.

  8. 158
    Zach Osterman says:

    Is it true that the Artic will jump to higher than 50 degrees? I saw the atlantic post something but Not any science websites. Whats ur take

  9. 159
    Christopher Yaun says:

    Hank, atmospheric O2 is a “waste” product of photosynthesis. Blue-green bacteria (Cyanobacteria) produce much of the O2. I suspect the original source of CO2 for photosynthesis was volcanoes.

    – cyanobacteria prefer colder water and will not do well in warming oceans, ie: less photosynthesis and less O2.
    – combustion of fossil fuels will tie up atmospheric O2 as CO2.
    – if CCS can be made viable, O2 will be removed from the atmosphere and stored as CO2? Yes?
    – This is not sustainable practice, suicide.
    I don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    The denial industry meme has shifted recently. It is a hoax, science is not settled has been replaced by, “Climate change is real. Industry will solve this problem.”

  10. 160
    Russell says:

    What bespeaks a very hot year more than a North Pole thaw on New Year’s Eve.

  11. 161
    Edward Greisch says:

    [edit – OT. You can’t make every thread about NP]

  12. 162
    Jgnfld says:

    Possibly I wasn’t clear enough. Here is what Keenan is doing to generate his sequences at least as I best understand it.

    1. Generate sequences, set A, using a linear trend plus error algorithm. Store.

    2. Generate sequences, set B, using a random walk algorithm subject to the follow in constraint.
    –For each individual sequence generated, if the sequence statistically resembles a sequence generated using a linear trend plus error algorithm, store. If not, discard.
    –Continue until set B is the same size as set A.

    3. “Dare” anyone to differentiate those sequences coming from process 1 versus process 2. Think yourself truly diabolical.

    Just another example of the cherrypicking beloved by deniers.

  13. 163
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by t marvell — 30 Dec 2015 @ 5:30 PM, ~#152

    Regarding your comment- “higher temperatures cause more CO2 – through outgassing due to higher ocean temperatures”- I would be very interested if you and Humlum could explain how the ocean is outgassing CO2 when the concentration in the water is rapidly increasing. You know, that old ocean acidification thing.


  14. 164
    JCH says:

    I agree with t. marvel that there is some useful information on climate4U. It’s graphed data.

    Hank there is a paper I read earlier in the year that is all about what an acceleration in SLR will look like, but I cannot find anything, articles or blogs, that discusses what appears to be an unexplained and pronounced spike. The 97-98 rise started out well below the trend line. This one appears to start at the trend line. The evolving EL Nino could send that spike even higher.

    Is it possible it is previously undetected steric SLR that was mounded in the Western Pacific and out of range of the ARGO floats or other monitoring devices?

  15. 165
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Christopher Yaun:

    Can you come up with a better cite, preferably to an actual science journal, for your worry about the Earth running out of oxygen? You can find anything on the Internet. E.g.:

    New NASA Data Shows World Will Run Out Of Oxygen in 2016
    By NewsWatch33 – Jun 22, 2015

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to prove correct.

    You wrote above:

    O2 will be removed from the atmosphere and stored as CO2? Yes?
    – This is not sustainable practice, suicide.
    I don’t need to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

    You need a climatologist to know _why_ the wind blows.

  16. 166
    zebra says:

    Edward Greisch 161,

    My point was: You guys sound exactly like the people denying ACC.
    Your refutation of that is: “Aaaaah we’re all going to freeze to death in the dark if those hippies get their way!”


    Look, sincere or not, you haven’t presented a plan. You pound the table, point to some industry-influenced sites, bring up the non-existent factory pumping out modular reactors… as if we hadn’t been hearing this for years.

    Here’s a plan: If you are the government of China, and this technology is sound, you say: We’re going to build these factories to produce nuclear reactors and replace all the coal plants so people can breathe again. Any objections?

    So far, I haven’t seen that. But anyway, you seem to be talking about the USA, where I live. How is this great change supposed to happen here? We elect a congress and president seriously committed to ending FF combustion, and…?

    Beyond setting a price or other such measures to reduce CO2 production, and transferring subsidies from FF to non-FF, which everyone here probably agrees on, what exactly would we be doing differently? The fact that nuclear proponents never get to that point leaves them indistinguishable from the denial-type trolls.

    My plan involves letting a free market (which we don’t have now) decide how to keep people warm and cool and well lit without FF. That’s something a government can do with regulation, and using existing technology. You have no plan at all.

  17. 167


    BPL: And everybody else is saying, “YOU’RE WRONG.” We’re perfectly clear on what you’re saying and nobody misunderstands it. We simply disagree. Yes, you can stop GW with nuclear, in theory. No, nuclear is NOT the ONLY way to stop it. That’s just wrong.

    EG: We know why people are afraid of nuclear. Ignorance.

    BPL: We know why nuke spokesmen make statements like that. Arrogance.

    EG: People are afraid of nuclear power because of fear of the unknown. School is open. I sincerely want all of those anti-nuclear people to go to school and get degrees in physics or nuclear engineering.

    BPL: I HAVE a degree in physics. I am opposed to nuclear power, not because I have a fear of the unknown or don’t know how a nuclear plant operates, but because using nuclear fission to generate electricity is costly, takes a long time to deploy, and involves all kinds of dangers. Period.

  18. 168

    #161–OK, here is what I’ve been talking about. Supporting the idea that we could have thousands of reactors in 3 years, we get a link to the world nuclear association. Fine.

    But when you read down, here’s what you find:

    In March 2012 the US DOE signed agreements with three companies interested in constructing demonstration small reactors at its Savannah River site in South Carolina. The three companies and reactors are: Hyperion with a 25 MWe fast reactor, Holtec with a 140 MWe PWR, and NuScale with 45 MWe PWR. DOE is discussing similar arrangements with four further small reactor developers, aiming to have in 10-15 years a suite of small reactors providing power for the DOE complex. DOE is committing land but not finance. (Over 1953-1991, Savannah River was where a number of production reactors for weapons plutonium and tritium were built and run.)
    In January 2014 Westinghouse announced that was suspending work on its small modular reactors in the light of inadequate prospects for multiple deployment. The company said that it could not justify the economics of its SMR without government subsidies, unless it could supply 30 to 50 of them. It was therefore delaying its plans, though small reactors remain on its agenda…

    So, a 10-15 year *development* horizon, currently on indefinite pause. Quite an ‘achievement gap.’

  19. 169
    Omega Centauri says:

    Back of the envelope for O2. O2 is 20% of the atmosphere (or 200,000 ppm), Co2 is 400 ppm. There is five hundred times more atmospheric Oxygen in the form of molecular Oxygen, than is tied up in atmospheric Co2. Sequestering Co2 from fossil fuel consumption would only use up a small fraction of a percent of the available Oxygen. Loss of O2 is NOT a reason to worry about fossil fuels, Atmospheric (and oceanic) Co2 is.

  20. 170
    Omega Centauri says:

    Jgnfld: Actually I suspect any good statistician could discriminate between them given enough data. There likely exist statistical measures which a naive data manipulator would be unaware of.

  21. 171
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    161: There can not be just one magic bullet. Due to the urgency that we find ourselves in, employment of all types of alternative energy sources is the logical path. China is trialing Thorium which at least on the surface promises great things. It’s relative abundance, the fact that it is extremely difficult to make anything weapons grade. Nuclear is great for base load power BUT due to the fact of rising oceans they cannot be located near the coast. 2nd – river derived water cooling is also in jeopardy because most rivers are glacial fed and the med/long term prognosis for reliable annual glacial feed is poor. The countries of the world will become more unstable and warlike due to rising pop., decreasing water, food,space and air quality. So uranium based power stations must carry a huge question mark over their deployment. The cost of residential solar in many countries now is reaching parity with that of fossil fuels. That trend will only continue to accelerate. Here is the best solution but I’m not sure how it would work in a rampantly market driven global economy – Residential Renewable with Battery Storage”! That could be solar/wind/ even gas to generate power and stored in affordable household battery banks. To save the planet we might have to take individual energy generation of the taxable list. Free information and technological exchange between the west with China, India and other developing countries to rapidly diminish their dependence in fossil fuels. We are probably going to reach 3-4C rise ‘provided’ no tipping are breached along the way. Thus massive global funding for both adaptation, mitigation and mitigation through geo-engineering is required. $100 billion/year as pledged by COP21 is but a very small step as long as we can keep aggressively increasing this quota on a regular basis. Think wholistic! That is how the planet works and that is how we ultimately have to behave as well.

  22. 172
    gallopingcamel says:

    Edward Greisch,
    You seem to have your ducks in a row. Regardless of the effect of atmospheric CO2 on the health of this planet, nuclear power has the potential to produce cheap electricity for hundreds of thousands of years after all our fossil fuels have been consumed.

    We need to “Build a Nuke Each Day”. My personal preference is for Molten Salt Reactors in general and the LFTR in particular, designed to be built in factories and delivered to site on a single truck.

  23. 173
    Chuck Hughes says:

    A team of researchers has derived the first theoretical equation to demonstrate that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since the late 1800s when human-made carbon emissions began.”

    From 2014, but I don’t remember seeing it. In case anyone else missed it…

    Comment by Killian — 30 Dec 2015

    Killian, do you think we’ve reached the point where other sources are driving our annual increase of CO2 noticeably higher? I believe you said earlier “something is cooking somewhere.” I took that to mean that there’s more to our annual increase in CO2 than human activity alone. Are the potential feedbacks having a discernible effect on the annual increase?

    This question is open to anyone else who may know. I was just looking at post #145 – Comment by mike and trying to figure it out. Thanks

  24. 174
    MA Rodger says:

    Jgnfld @162.
    Your description of the data used in Keenan’s little puzzle is not correct. He says of his data:-

    “The 1000 series were generated as follows. First, 1000 random series were obtained (for more details, see below). Then, some of those series were randomly selected and had a trend added to them. Each added trend was either 1°C/century or −1°C/century. For comparison, a trend of 1°C/century is greater than the trend that is claimed for global temperatures.

    (During the generation of the 1000 series, in the first step described above, the initial 1000 random series were obtained via a trendless statistical model, which was fit to a series of global temperatures. The trendless statistical model is preferable to the trending statistical model relied upon by the IPCC, when the models are compared via relative likelihood.)

    Thus his 1,000 series all begin as random walks and a sub-set has trends added. With perhaps one exeption, I see no reason to doubt Keenan’s account. His blather about its “fit to a series of global temperature” presumably concerns the paper he prompted from the Met Office via his chatting up of climate-skeptic Lord Donoughue. We are thus talking of a driftless ARIMA(3,1,0) model being used for his random walk. My amateur analysis suggested there was more than this restricting the divergence of Keenan’s 1,000 series, but I could well be wrong.
    Mind, whatever the detail of Keenan’s ridiculous puzzle, he is entirely wrong-headed on the issue which begat his puzzle. He delights in saying that his random walk is “preferable” to the linear trends used in IPCC analyses. Keenan fails to see that the Met Office paper was comparing the evolution of the temperature increase (which is far from linear) not the actual increase. So when he then goes on to ascribe the actual increase to be likely the outcome of a random walk, that it cannot be seen as “statistically significant”, he is there entirely off with the fairies.

    This matter does little but highlight that the IPCC regressions through inter-decadal wobbles is inappropriate. I’ve always been unhappy with such a method although it has no consequence other than allowing the likes of Keenan a bit of fun. I would myself be more inclined towards a method that, say, established decadal averages and from them calculated annual average increases over the various periods. This is surely what the regressions are attempting to capture.

  25. 175
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @145.
    The impact of ENSO & also major volcanoes on the CO2 record is quite evident within the CO2 records.
    The data you present @145 is from NOAA MLO data which is also used below to provide a Top 20 of 12-month CO2 rises. The rankings are not entirely robust: using NOAA Global data does shuffle them a bit.
    Note that the top five and indeed 40% of this Top 20 occur in the aftermath of the 1997/8 El Nino. This would suggest with the present El Nino that we should expect another rash of high 12-month rises from mid-2016 onwards.
    A quick consideration of how big these 2016 12-month rises may become could be achieved by simply considering that the annual CO2 increase has been growing at +0.025ppm/year/year, thus suggesting a 12-month value perhaps roughly +0.5ppm above the 1998/99 figures. However that assumes an equivalence between 1997 CO2 levels and 2015 CO2 levels. As the 12-month rise to 1997 was rather smaller than preceding years, the peak rises in 1998 would have been thus amplified. (Note that there are annual CO2 rise data (eg from ESRL-NOAA) that simply take the 1stJan to 31stDec rise for the year as the annual rise. This shows a stronger rise in 1997 as it is picking up the beginnings of the El Nino and omitting the depressed CO2 rises through the middle of 1997.)
    The Top 20 of 12-month CO2 rises from the MLO record (dated end of period).
    1st …. 1998.9 ….. +3.70ppm
    2nd …. 1998.10 …. +3.64ppm
    3rd …. 1998.8 ….. +3.59ppm
    4th …. 1998.7 ….. +3.40ppm
    5th …. 1998.6 ….. +3.36ppm
    6th …. 2013.2 ….. +3.20ppm
    7th …. 2005.7 ….. +3.17ppm
    =8th … 2010.4 ….. +3.08ppm
    =8th … 1998.11 …. +3.08ppm
    10th … 1999.2 ….. +3.00ppm
    =11th .. 1973.8 ….. +2.99ppm
    =11th .. 2014.4 ….. +2.99ppm
    =13th .. 2013.5 ….. +2.98ppm
    =13th .. 1973.6 ….. +2.98ppm
    15th … 1988.2 ….. +2.98ppm
    16th … 1999.1 ….. +2.94ppm
    17th … 2013.7 ….. +2.90ppm
    18th … 2015.11 …. +2.89ppm
    19th … 2006.1 ….. +2.88ppm
    20th … 2013.3 ….. +2.86ppm

  26. 176
    Steve Fish says:

    For a comprehensive and well sourced report on nuclear see-

    The economic sections are most interesting. Steve

  27. 177
    Theo van den Berg says:

    Sorry, Chuck, one more. How do you sell a further cap of half a degree to the common people, if that means serious economic hardship ? You all know and I know that this half a degree is important, but when common people like me see 33 yesterday, 25 today and maybe 45 tomorrow, what is the fuss about half a degree ? Some might even say that those islanders should not have been living at sea level in the first place. Like silly Japan and NZ living on a fault line. I think there needs to be a serious event clearly attributed to GW before we will get the vote of the people.