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Unforced variations: May 2016

Filed under: — group @ 4 May 2016

This month’s open thread. Usual rules apply.

370 Responses to “Unforced variations: May 2016”

  1. 351
    Thomas says:

    Key GBR scientist Professor Terry Hughes also said today that ARC scientists did not expect such severe bleaching and kill-off of the GBR for another 25 years, which is why they are so shocked right now.

    Hughes has been very outspoken today on australian media, that AGW is the elephant in the room and that Govt policy to open new coal mines for export, sending coal ships through the reef, and all the money being spent on “water quality run-off issues” makes no sense …. he all but said the GBR is doomed and that nothing will stop it dying off if AGW is not stopped. They expect 5 or more similar major bleaching events in the next 2 decades.

    Hughes also said that by sheer luck of the weather, a cyclone that devastated Fiji early this year then became a rain depression over the southern section of the GBR and cooled the seas/ocean, otherwise all the reef would have been badly effected by bleaching as much as the northern section.

    I have never heard a working climate scientists speak so critically and openly of govt policy before and it’s direct implications. Suddenly agw/cc is again a forefront issue and in the middle of a national election campaign. the ABC tv is running a viewer poll asking if Coal Exports from Australia should be banned – simply asking a question like that is unprecedented.

    more info

    ref another recent paper

  2. 352
    AIC says:

    Any comments on “A 21st-century shift from fossil-fuel to biogenic methane emissions indicated by 13CH4” ? Science  01 Apr 2016: Vol. 352, Issue 6281, pp. 80-84 DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2705

    The implication is that the increase in CH4 concentration since 2006 is not due to methane leakage from natural gas or other petroleum wells.

  3. 353
  4. 354
  5. 355
    Thomas says:

    352 AIC, thanks for that. especially for CH4 data. One takeaway is the CO2 historical record at Mauna Loa

    April 1958 317.46 ppm CO2

    April 2016 407.57 ppm CO2

    That’s a linear increase of 1.55 per year or 28% over my lifetime and accelerating exponentially upward (by the look of it)

    With indications now sitting at 4 ppm per year we hit 500 ppm in the year 2039 – a 57% increase over 1958.

    But thankfully we have PhD college graduates like Victor and many others who know that CO2 has little to do with global warming and it’s all a beat up of ‘confirmation bias’ by idiot scientists. Hallelujah brother!

  6. 356
    Hank Roberts says:

    Extensive release of methane from Arctic seabed west of Svalbard during summer 2014 does not influence the atmosphere.

    Geophysical Research Letters, 2016; 43 (9): 4624
    DOI: 10.1002/2016GL068999

  7. 357
  8. 358

    K 309: Economics is voodoo.

    BPL: You mean your understanding of it is voodoo.

    K: Oh, my world crumbled! Shut it or say something. Peanut gallry will be hit, hard, and nothing else. You’ve been pulling this drive by stupidity for years. Grow the heck up, BPL.

    BPL: You dismissed an entire field of science as “voodoo.” Maybe you mean something by “economics” other than what everybody else means, but if so you ought not to use words that way. If you think the entire field of economics is “voodoo,” you have no understanding of it, and you obviously don’t care. You come off like a creationist talking about biology, or a denier talking about AGW. Complete ignorance condemning a field they know nothing about.

  9. 359
    Nemesis says:

    @Chuck Hughes, #341

    ” As much as I hate to see it I’ve forced myself to look at the Syrian refugee crisis and my gut feeling is that this will also trend upward and expand over the coming decades.”

    You hit the nail:

    ” 2.5.2016 – Climate-exodus expected in the Middle East and North Africa”

  10. 360
    MA Rodger says:

    Hank Roberts @343.
    The paper you detail appears to have been written in response to a paper by one of the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy, but strangely the work of said ‘gentleman’ has gone by unnoticed both by me and by his chums at the GWPF.
    The said ‘gentleman’, the famous William Happer, presented a lecture to a conference of the Institute for Advanced Study in 2013, the conference entitled “Dreams of Earth and Sky: A Celebration for Freeman Dyson”. Given this was to celebrate the 90th birthday of Freeman Dyson, Happer’s contribution is perhaps a little odd. As Happer points out, he addresses part of the conclusions reached by Dyson & colleagues (& including Happer) and published back in the 1980s. This specifically concerns climate sensitivity and Happer now argues those 1980s conclusions, along with climate models of today, are wrong. Indeed this would be very odd were it not that Dyson is himself like Happer, a very old physicist in full denial over climate change.

    Happer’s contribution to Dyson’s birthday conference is entitled “Why has global warming paused?” (viewable on a 53 minute video, the slides used on-line here) and was subsequently published in Int. J. Mod. Phys. A, 29. in 2014. What passes for the paper’s abstract (it actually has no abstract) is here – Happer (2014).)

    The argument set out by Happer (2014) is miles different from one grand work of Happer’s that was published as GWPF Briefing Paper No3 “The Truth About Greenhouse Gases.” That GWPF work would not have gone down well at the Dyson conference as it was demonstrably “a vacuous tirade on a subject the author apparently couldn’t even be bothered to try to understand,” while its understanding of hockey stick curves is evidently “entirely worthless.” So GWPF Briefing Paper No3 is not the sort of stuff suitable for a scientific audience.

    What is also quite odd is that Happer (2014) seems to have passed by other denialists without a mention. He sets out reasons for the accepted ECS assessment to have problems not because of the usual inexact assessment of climate feedbacks, but according to Happer, because the direct CO2 forcings are calculated incorrectly. Such work is surely red meat for all denizens of the denial-o-sphere. Yet it raised not a squeak!

    While Happer’s paper went without comment in the denial-o-sphere, it did not go unnoticed within the scientific community and resulted in the paper linked (but not successfully) @343. The full paper tells us:-

    “We assess the uncertainty in RF with a series of radiative transfer calculations in which key parameters involved in the computation of atmospheric transmittance are perturbed within their known uncertainties. Of particular interest is the spectral line shape function, which for CO2 is well known to deviate from the classical Voigt function due to line mixing. Happer [2014] suggests that climate models greatly overestimate RF by CO2 by the inappropriate use of the Voigt function, which does not account for the line mixing and the subsequent alteration of the line shapes, particularly in the far wings. We will show this suggestion to be false.

    So there is eventually a common feature between Happer published by his GWPF chums & Happer presented at that Dyson conference – Happer is wrong.

  11. 361
    mike says:

    Excellent Links at 356. Thanks

    Hank at 356: I have not noticed any particular uptick in CH4 to date. It seems to be in steady increase mode in the 1800 ppb range. It fluctuates quite a bit around the planet with CH4 hotspots, but I don’t think the “methane clathrate gun” has fired yet. Does not matter imho, we are doing excellent job of cooking the planet with CO2.

    Keeling has a post at the Scripps website that attempts to answer the question I have been asking for a few months: Why has a drop in global CO2 emissions not shown up in a slowing of atmospheric CO2 level rise?

    from the comments on that post, I find another person tracking the same CO2 data that I have been watching. look in the comments section there for Robert Del Rosso. Here is an excerpt from RDR:

    “I downloaded the NOAA CO2 Data for 1958 to 2016 into MS Excel. I show for the years ending April 13 and April 15, 2016, the CO2 PPM increase was 4.06 and 4.41 PPM, respectively, the FIRST TIME CO2 went up by 4 PPM or more in a year. On April 15, 2016, CO2 was 408.56 PPM. As noted above, on April 25, 2016, CO2 went up by over 5 PPM, compared to a year ago. That was the FIRST time THAT ever happened.

    And on May 22, and May 23, 2016, we saw the first back-to-back CO2 PPM increases of 5 (five) PPM a year, of 5.39 and 5.29 PPM, respectively, compared to a year earlier. On May 23, 2016, CO2 was 408.86 PPM.”

    As El Nino wanes, we may/should see a drop in the annual comparison, but the fact remains that increase of 3 ppm with a reading above 406 ppm was a headline in January. If there is a drop into the 2.8 to 3.2 ppm increase for 2016, that should allow us to all go back to sleep, but the fact is that we need to be watching for a rise of zero ppm asap. I don’t think I am going to see that in my lifetime. I would love to be wrong about that.

    Beautiful day in the NW. Might get hot today!

    Warm regards


  12. 362

    Suddenly agw/cc is again a forefront issue and in the middle of a national election campaign. the ABC tv is running a viewer poll asking if Coal Exports from Australia should be banned – simply asking a question like that is unprecedented.

    If only it were front and center in the US election, too.

  13. 363
    Nemesis says:


    ” If you think the entire field of economics is “voodoo”… ”

    Voodoo is cool and it’s for real, economics is not cool and it’s not for real.

  14. 364
    Alf says:

    @ BensonA proposal to be taken seriously

    From Ornstein et. al. (2009):

    6 What might we find in this terraforming Pandora’s box?
    We may anticipate other consequences that might follow from planting such enormous irrigated forests.
    [e.g. changes of salinity, cyclones, jet streams, drought, fires, plagues, ENSO (Australia), etc.]
    Most summer, Saharan sources of dust will definitely be eliminated. Can that consequence be tolerated?
    [see: ‘Sahara dust fertilizaton’ of the Atlantic, Amazon and Caribbean; p.413]
    [Some] might delay the date at which the forest reaches a break-even state, perhaps past a “tipping point,” a point beyond which some very high costs of runaway, positive feedback cannot be controlled immediately.
    The capital costs of the forests will exceed the revenues from any reasonable carbon tax and traded carbon credits. And in the Sahara, the necessary foreign capital-windfall would be spread across eight to nine underdeveloped nations. The political distribution will be difficult. Even for an Australian forest, the conflicts between concerned interests (indigenous residents, [etc.]) may be substantial.

    7 Conclusion

    Such multi-trillion-dollar projects provide lots of motivation for scientifically-creative entrepreneurs —as well as for swindlers. International mechanisms for monitoring and managing (without mangling or strangling) such projects will be essential. This may be the most difficult hurdle.
    Bias against consideration of afforestation, even as a possible solution, will be strong because of the common “scientific reticence” and “behavioral discounting” with respect to delayed bonuses. […] At the very least, such reticence must be repressed sufficiently to permit a balanced evaluation of the full spectrum of cures for the Earth’s, anthropogenically-induced and mounting fever.
    But the quicker a forest can be grown, the more time will be available to choose among, [to develop] and to implement [other] adjustments[…].
    Our observations have slightly simplified the problem. Afforestation of subtropical deserts can reduce increases in atmospheric CO 2, incrementally, and enormously. However, it can begin to show an operating-cost bonus [over CCS] of biogeophysically-induced rainfall, only after monumental capital investment in a major portion of the required desalination, power and irrigation infrastructure.
    These capital costs of mitigation will be borne mainly by the citizens of the developed world. They must be weighed, not only against those of CCS, but as a kind of preemptive disaster relief – or repair of the ‘commons’—to avoid the future, and as yet not easily estimated costs of [the expected consequences]. The integrated costs of coping with such changes could
    approach those of recovery following an asteroid impact or a nuclear war.

    These are ecumenical, ethical, altruistic issues. How we deal with them depends upon how much value ordinary people (not economists or politicians) place on the welfare of their descendants; self versus children, grand-children, etc. The results of economic and policy calculations are meaningless unless we agree upon the magnitude to assign to this value. Future generations ought not be ‘discounted’.
    p. 429-433; (snipped references, [cautiously edited] and emphasized; Alf)

    Consider this paper was written in 2007/2008, before:
    (1) the world financial crisis, (2) the so called “Arab Spring”, (3) the NATO bombing Libya, (4) the islamists founding a kalifat (ISIL) and spreading all over MENA and Sahel, (5) the once in 900 years drought in ME, (6) the Syrian war, (7) the Sauds bombing Yemen, (8) the Turks bombing the Kurds again, (9) the consecutive refugee crisis, … probably sth. is missing …

    But if it`s still realistically feasible under conditions becoming more dire in the future – even after someone sent these pesky islamists to meet their Elysian scorchers – we should give it a try; as with the massive OECD-wide QE seems to become clear:
    MONEY isn`t the problem.
    Not to mention the one-percenters who prosper(ed) overwhelmingly most from the fossil fuel fired industrial revolution, which – as feature of, someone told us before, – not only will successively devour all its children, but finally our planet`s whole biosphere for dinner.

    I suggest to start in Australia now, as for a civilized and politically stable developed country it`s a good opportunity to spend the profits from their expanding coal mining industry (10y doubling rate) to achieve some compensation for.

    This is an quite obvious example how mitigation meanders deep into intertwined philosophic, political, social issues and myriads of technical details.
    So, before derailing off topic, I`ll stop now.

    p.s.: @ Benson, #302: “Actually almost all of the Sahara is cultivatable[].”

    Almost I wondered if you`ve read and pondered the paper.

  15. 365
    Alf says:

    @ sidd, #333:

    I would like the “Heart of Gold” =) – at very least even a Vogon Carrier to hitchhike. =/

  16. 366
    Thomas says:

    358 BPL, while I do not agree with K’s extreme attitude I still hold that economics is not a science. It’s a belief system, a social system by agreement of politics iow it’s an ideology not a replicatable scientific theory of reality. Now yes it uses past data, logic (if this then that) and maths to make ‘forecasts’ but that does not make it rise to the level of a “science”. Political science too is a misnomer for comparison. Greenspan et al proved beyond doubt it’s not a science in the lead up to the GFC and everything connected to that insanity. He and his cronies were driven by delusions not ‘science’ nor ‘facts’. Economics is a system with serious flaws that is eternally manipulated and misused in the public sphere. It’s as unreal as the ‘imaginary’ hand of the market bs. But the link K provided is true and most rational economists incl Nobel Prize winners, economics does not consider all parts of “the system” in it’s analysis. A comparison would be climate science ignoring GHGs and the changes in solar output in their models and pretending they are not critical components nor seriously influence the climate “system”. The whole notion of the ‘stock market’ is built on human emotion & power and that is a core component of hundreds of years of ‘economic theory’ (sic). There’s an absence of factual data not available to the players – ie Asymmetric Information They call that a “theory in economics” but in reality all it is is basic reason and logic not a scientific theory hypothesis at all. The key drivers of economic policy however are typically based on human irrationality as it is not a predictive science, and never will be or can be.

    Robert J. Shiller, a 2013 Nobel laureate in economics, is Professor of Economics at Yale University and the co-creator of the Case-Shiller Index of US house prices. He is the author of Irrational Exuberance. What does he (as one example) say about economics being a “science” ?????–shilleron-whether-he-is-a-scientist

  17. 367
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @361,
    Steady now. Comparisons of level & 12-month increase can be confusing without pause for thought.

    The annual CO2 cycle in the NH is peaking now at the end of May, coincidental with this El Nino passing thro’ neutral to La Nina. The timing of this annual CO2 peak is not shifted significantly by El Nino.
    But the 12-month increase in CO2 (taking 1997/99 as our guide) continues to rise for a couple more months and remains at peak levels for a couple more months again. Thus the 12-month increase remains at its peak until mid-September when the annual cycle reaches its lowest point. From September 2016 the 12-month CO2 increase will begin to drop reaching non-El Nino values by mid-2017.
    Given all this, the runes seem to be saying quite emphatically that we have seen the last of sub-400ppm CO2 recorded at MLO, be that monthly, weekly or daily.

  18. 368

    N 363: Voodoo is cool and it’s for real, economics is not cool and it’s not for real.

    BPL: Neither are you. You’re a fictional character.

  19. 369

    T 366: economics is not a science. It’s a belief system, a social system by agreement of politics iow it’s an ideology not a replicatable [sic] scientific theory of reality.

    BPL: Sorry, you are wrong. There are empirical tests of hypotheses and rejection of inadequate ones in economics as in every other field. The fact that certain economists make mistakes or bad predictions does not invalidate an entire field.

    The move from the labor theory of value to marginal utility theory was a true advance, and enabled us to understand a wide range of events in mass human behavior. To this day, you can understand a huge number of political issues just using supply and demand charts.

    The problem is that, as with climate science, you have deniers out there putting out false science as if it were science. When righties say that the solution to a recession is austerity, they are citing a failed theory; failed because we have had many counterexamples. Much like the crackpots who attack Einstein in the name of Newton.

    Monetarism is another example of a failed theory–and one I used to subscribe to, because the monetarists seemed to have the numbers. But events came along which monetarism, at least in the style of Friedman and others, could not explain. So I had to stop being a monetarist. That’s what a good scientist does when the evidence contradicts his beliefs.

    I could go on all day. Economics is a science. Period. Those who deny it are like creationists denying evolutionary biology. Ignorance speaking to education.

  20. 370
    Killian says:

    #whatever: BPL hicupped You dismissed an entire field of science as “voodoo.”

    No, I analyzed an entire field of **philosophy** as voodoo (learn your history, Peanut Gallery), all while you can’t be bothered to look beyond ancient hoodoo silliness. Betting you looked into not one of the directions I suggested. But, really, beyond the fact economics has us where we are, and trickle down and capitalism are proven busts – and break the principles of sustainable systems, anyway, so whatever legitimacy they might have had is irrelevant now – and there are lots of people working from better angles on economics… well… since they actually make sense, I’ll go with them and leave you to your peanuts.

    Back on your three-wheeled scooter. Go toss peanuts at squirrels.

    If you think the entire field of economics is “voodoo,” you have no understanding of it

    Argumentation by assertion. Okie-dokie. It is voodoo. It grew out of philosophy, not the scientific method, and still generally fails to get there. Layering vodoo with math does not make it science.

    The handful who make some sense with economics do so for a very simple reason: They tie it to reality. Still, even they maintain some flawed elements that keep it voodoo, not science, like growth and profit (lookin’ at you, Steve Keen), neither of which can you keep as core tenets in a regenerative system.

    You come off like a creationist talking about biology, or a denier talking about AGW. Complete ignorance condemning a field they know nothing about.

    Funny…. I predicted the 2008 crash. Did you? Well, to be fair, I understood the analysis of those who did and warned those around me. Feel free to read my blog from that time period.

    Now, tell me, since you also think I don’t know climate science despite my analyses blowing the doors off yours…. or pretty much anyone else’s… your opinion is nothing but a repeated tantrum. I’m a far better analyst than you, and your little ego just can’t take it.

    BTW, I also said in 2008/9 we should do what Iceland eventually did.

    Yes. Right again.

    And your successes have been….. what…. exactly?

    From now on I respond to you merely with what is most germane about you: Peanut Gallery.