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Unforced Variations: June 2017

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2017

Absolutely nothing of consequence happening today in climate news. Can’t think of what people could discuss…

236 Responses to “Unforced Variations: June 2017”

  1. 151
    Jon Kirwan says:

    Mike #108: “Some will point out (correctly, I think) that a lot of sub-Arctic methane release may get broken down in the water column. But it is important to remember that breakdown of methane in water column will release carbon dioxide into the oceans and atmosphere.”

    The first place I recall reading about the breakdown of methane in water was from: Revelle, Roger (1983), “Methane hydrates in continental slope sediments and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide,” Changing Climates, Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee, pp. 252–261, National Academy Press, Washington, D. C. This was some years after the discovery of methane clathrates by a team of geologists operating on the research ship, Challenger, during their Deep Sea Drilling Project. (When they brought up their core liners and laid them out on the deck, mud would splatter out of the tubes like pellets fired from a pellet gun.)

    Roger calculated that about 80% or so of the methane that escaped from the sea mud in bubbles would rise rapidly to the sea surface before it could be oxidized (in the water column.)

    Temperature may have some bearing, since oxygen is more soluable in colder water and arctic waters are cold. But chemical reaction rates are also slowed down.

  2. 152
    Brian Dodge says: figure 4 shows that the CO2 concebtration is essentially constant to a height of ~80 km, which encompasses 99.9% of earths atmosphere. This paper also says “Here, we present direct evidence that CO2 concentrations in the upper atmosphere—probably the primary driver of long-term thermospheric trends—are increasing. We analyse eight years of CO2 and carbon monoxide mixing ratios derived from satellite-based solar occultation spectra. After correcting for seasonal–latitudinal and solar influences, we obtain an estimated global increase in COx (CO2 and CO, combined) concentrations of 23.5±6.3 ppm per decade at an altitude of 101 km, about 10 ppm per decade faster than predicted by an upper atmospheric model. We suggest that this discrepancy may explain why the thermospheric density decrease is stronger than expected.” N.B. the thermosphere is above the stratosphere.
    There are seasonal changes in the concentration profile due to the cycle of uptake and release of CO2 from the biosphere, discussed in
    They only amount to ~10ppmv differences in concentration. shows the amount of incoming radiation absorbed by the atmosphere. With more CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere. both the incoming 67 watts and 350 surface radiation absorbed will increase. that will raise the 324 watts back radiation, which will raise the surface temperature. This temperature increase will increase evapotranspiration, raising the amount of water vapor, a GHG, in the atmosphere, further raising the IR absorbed and reradiated by the atmosphere; this positive feedback has already been observed. The increased radiation, evapotranspiration, and convection from the warmer surface is warming the boundary layer of the atmosphere(where thermometers measure), the lower troposphere(where satellites measure). The increased energy of the warmed atmosphere stimulates more non-blackbody IR radiation from the GHGs; 1/2 will go back to the ground, 1/2 will go to higher levels in the atmosphere or directly to space. Eventually, the outgoing radiation will rebalance to equal the incoming radiation, with a warmer surface. All the energy stored in the atmosphere is sensible heat above the top of the troposphere, and increasing the CO2 content there increases the amount of radiation to space more than it increases the likelihood of absorption of IR from below, so the stratosphere cools – this has been observed. One important issue is how the energy gets redistributed from the warmest layers near the surface throughout the troposphere by radiative-convective processes, e.g.what is the shape of the environmental lapse rate curve. If the curve is more convex upward, there is a more pronounced tropospheric hot spot, a feature that appears more prominently in the models than in both balloon and satellite measures. Energy from warm GHG in the higher layers of the troposphere can escape more easily into space; if the upper troposphere warms more quickly than the surface as greenouse gases increase, this reduces the overall warming for a given increase in GHG, a negative feedback on climate sensitivity. Satellite observations show that the observed (negative) lapse rate feedback is less than predicted by the models, so low climate sensitivity is less likely.

  3. 153
    Chris O'Neill says:


    So many questions

    Proving, of course, that Mr. “Know It All” is a liar.

  4. 154

    Mr. KIA asks questions:

    Is CO2 distributed evenly throughout the atmosphere?

    Yes, pretty much. That is why it is considered a “well-mixed gas.”

    Is there an altitude above which global warming is not occuring (sic)?

    Yes, in the stratosphere, GHGs cause *cooling*, not warming. We observe that today, and it is one indication that contemporary warming is indeed driven by GHGs and not something else.

    If the atmosphere is warming, by what amount, if any, is radiation from the earth to space increasing?

    It is not, because the temperature that matters is the temp at the ‘effective radiating altitude.’ GHGs raise that altitude, thereby *lowering* the temperature where emission to space occurs (on the average).

    When scientists model radiation from the earth atmosphere to space, what temperature do they use for the temperature of space on the dark side of the planet? On the sunlit side?

    I’m going to defer to the more knowledgeable on this, as I don’t know anything specific about how that modeling is done. I will comment, though, that AFAIK, the concept of “the temperature of space” hasn’t had too much scientific currency since the days of Fourier, who explicitly tried to estimate this in his terrestrial heat budget. That was, of course, before the nature of heat as a phenomenon was really elucidated.

    About 49% of the radiation from the sun is infrared. If so, why doesn’t increasing CO2 reduce some of that radiation from getting thru the atmosphere – or maybe it does? If it does reduce incoming infrared radiation, by what amount does it reduce it? Do greenhouse gases reduce, even a little bit, the higher frequencies?

    Yes, but it is spread over a wide swathe of spectrum still considered IR, and most of it is not in the bands absorbed by CO2. Interestingly, H2O absorbs much more of that relatively near-IR, which makes me wonder whether increasing water vapor has a bit of an effect along the lines you suggest. I wouldn’t think it would be that large, but maybe someone with more knowledge than I have would be able to estimate it at least to ‘envelope level.’

    Here’s a graph of the solar spectrum, with some helpful labels so you can see what I mean:

  5. 155
    Omega Centauri says:

    DS @120
    The correct way to evaluate the role of ice grounded below sea level:
    Do the following thought experiment.
    (1) Remove the ice, replace it by water up to sea level.
    (2) Melt the ice, is its volume bigger that the water that replaced it.
    The difference will be the contribution to SLR.
    (I think its always positive, as long as the ground is providing some support.)

  6. 156
    Omega Centauri says:

    David @125.
    No. You don’t take away the ice from the top until you hit sea level. Thats too much. If you did that it would want to float (and leave a gap at the bottom where the sea would come in). You want to remove just enough ice that the mass of a column of ice is the same as the mass of a column of sea water up to sea level. That means the ice thickness would be roughly (1/.9)times the depth of the sea bottom.

  7. 157
    zebra says:

    Omega, and others talking about the “grounded” ice, a couple of points:

    -I can’t think of the reference, but a while ago I saw a fascinating article discussing the idea of rising sea levels exerting upward force on ice sheets and “un-grounding” the structure so water could infiltrate and accelerate melting.

    -Which brought me to realize point 2: It’s a structure! So what I try to visualize is the ice when you take away the water.

    I don’t know what the cross-section would be, exactly– how does the shelf thin out, if it does, as you move away from land? But I’m pretty sure that the mechanics are a bit complicated if you try to calculate with any precision the contribution of flotation relative to the strength of the ice itself.

    Just a thought…

  8. 158
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    120: Digby. my two cents worth. The portion of the shelf fastenened to the seabed within the average tidal height zone of the sea will not contribute to SRL being immersed in water anyway, however the portion above the average sea level height when melted will contribute to SLR.
    Being pedantic: since the iceshelf would be less dense fresh water when melting from underneath, the iceshelf will have a slightly negative mass relative to volume of seawater and the air bubbles within the ice will further shrink the iceshelf volume somewhat when melted.

  9. 159
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    Is Victor contributing anything of substance to this blog or our understanding of climate??0. If not… to the borehole or ignore. Life is too short….

  10. 160
    patrick says:

    “I know people, good people… None of them will face a problem that has no solution. I tried that for decades–climate change is one of those problems, they won’t face it. But when you have a solution–they’ll readily run toward those solutions.” –Gina McCarthy (24:30)

    This is a video (published June 7) with Honorary Degree recipients Gavin Schmidt and Gina McCarthy at the wind-up event in a year long series of speakers on climate change at Williams College.

    It’s helpful for a number of reasons. One is that it recognizes climate change, energy, and health as related issues in the public mind. But there are lots more.

  11. 161
    Hank Roberts says:

    | Americans Are “Under Siege” From Disinformation |
    | from the just-look-at-the-comments-below dept. |
    | posted by cmn32480 on Sunday June 11, @18:36 (Science) |
    | |

    An Anonymous Coward writes:

    [0]NASA chief scientist weighs in

    Americans are “under siege” from disinformation designed to confuse
    the public about the threat of climate change, Nasa’s former chief
    scientist has said.

    Speaking to the Guardian, Ellen Stofan, who left the US space agency
    in December, said that a constant barrage of half-truths had left
    many Americans oblivious to the potentially dire consequences of
    continued carbon emissions, despite the science being unequivocal.

    “We are under siege by fake information that’s being put forward by
    people who have a profit motive,” she said, citing oil and coal
    companies as culprits. “Fake news is so harmful because once people
    take on a concept it’s very hard to dislodge it.”

    During the past six months, the US science community has woken up to
    this threat, according to Stofan, and responded by ratcheting up
    efforts to communicate with the public at the grassroots level as
    well as in the mainstream press.

    “The harder part is this active disinformation campaign,” she said
    before her appearance at [1]Cheltenham Science Festival this week.
    “I’m always wondering if these people honestly believe the nonsense
    they put forward. When they say ‘It could be volcanoes’ or ‘the
    climate always changes’… to obfuscate and to confuse people, it
    frankly makes me angry.”

    Stofan added that while [2]”fake news” is frequently characterised as
    a problem in the right-leaning media, she saw evidence of an “erosion
    of people’s ability to scrutinise information” across the political
    spectrum. “All of us have a responsibility,” she said. “There’s this
    attitude of ‘I read it on the internet therefore it must be true’.”

    No editorial comment included.


    [3]Original Submission

    Discuss this story at:


  12. 162
    Digby Scorgie says:

    David @150

  13. 163
    David B. Benson says:

    Lawrence Coleman @158 — By definition, ice shelves float. Any ice grounded, above or below water level, is either part of a glacier or an ice sheet. Except in Arctic Canada where it might be an ice cap.

    Omega Centuri @156 — I purposefully simplified.

  14. 164
    Mal Adapted says:

    Hank Roberts:

    Hank’s link is to a transcript, “edited for length and clarity”, of an NBC News interview with NCAR’s Ben Sanderson, an expert (as RC regulars generally recognize the word) on AGW’s effects. IMHO it’s an excellent summary of the likely consequences of the USA’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement; and good work by NBC News in presenting climate science to a mass-meeja audience.

  15. 165
    zebra says:

    David B. Benson 163,

    “by definition, ice shelves float”

    Icebergs, by definition, float.

    As I said at 157, I don’t know what the cross-section of the ice is like as you move away from the shoreline, but it is a continuous material with inherent structural characteristics. Clearly, if you were to lower sea level slowly, some sections would break off and some would not.

    This may be a nitpick that doesn’t really affect our first-approximation ideas about the effects of melting on SLR, but people should understand that the break-ups (like Larsen C is experiencing) are not trivially simple mechanics.

    If anyone can reference some more detailed description of the cross-sections and normal forces at work it would be helpful.

  16. 166
    Victor says:

    Lawrence Coleman: “Is Victor contributing anything of substance to this blog or our understanding of climate??”

    If you doubt whether I have anything of substance to contribute, I invite you to read my book, with its many references to the peer-reviewed scientific literature. If you post your e-mail address here, I’ll be happy to send you a copy.

  17. 167
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Mr. KIA, a bit to add to Kevin’s excellent response to your homework help questions:
    As a fanboy, you’ll probably prefer the answer from Dr. Roy Spencer, which will appear probably on the first page of search results.

    It begins:

    Yes, Virginia, the “Vacuum” of Space Does have a “Temperature”
    February 21st, 2012 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    Usually, I refrain from addressing silly scientific claims. But since some people seem determined to go to any extent to ‘disprove’ greenhouse gas theory, in this instance I am going against my better judgment to answer a particularly crazy article entitled, “Roy Spencer’s Fatal Error: Believing the Vacuum of Space Has a Temperature”.

    I can’t tell whether John O’Sullivan really believes what he has written there. While I will assume he does, it still feels like I’m being challenged by a supermarket tabloid to offer proof that Elvis was not abducted by space aliens.

    But I digress. The basic issue is ….

  18. 168
    Russell says:

    Climate Debate Daily . long featured by The Chronicle of Higher Education, has ceased publication after nine years, as the editors can no longer find much genuine debate to report.

  19. 169
    Killian says:

    #160 patrick quoted “I know people, good people… None of them will face a problem that has no solution. I tried that for decades–climate change is one of those problems, they won’t face it. But when you have a solution–they’ll readily run toward those solutions.” –Gina McCarthy

    This is a fairly commonly known effect, and why I believe in being frank on climate problems; we know the answers. I have said this on these things on this site for some years now.

  20. 170
    Omega Centauri says:

    Kevin @154, “What temperature should space be modeled at?”
    The best answer would be the temperature of the cosmic microwave background (2.75K). But 0K would do just as well. Heat transfer is via thermal radiation, which scales as the fourth power of T. So this cosmic background thermal radiation is something like one part of a hundred million of the thermal radiation from the planet.

  21. 171
    Thomas says:

    Disenfranchised groups are pushing back as politicians fail to manage the speed, scale and complexity of global change. Recorded 16 May 2017 University of Melbourne.
    Ian Goldin Professor of Globalization and Development Oxford Martin School.

  22. 172
  23. 173
    MA Rodger says:

    GISTEMP has posted for May with an anomaly of +0.88ºC, unchanged from April. This is the second warmest May on record (after May 2016) and the =19th warmest anomaly of all months on record. The average of the first five months of the year sit at +0.97ºC. The start of the year thus remains the second hottest on record (after 2016 +1.16ºC and still well ahead of 3rd, 4th and 5th – 2015 (+0.82ºC), 2010 (+0.81ºC) and 2007 (+0.76ºC).
    While the potential remains for 2017 keeping warm enough to pip 2016 to warmest-calender-year on record (2016 averaged +0.99ºC), the model predictions for ENSO thro’ the rest of the year which last month were suggesting an increasing likelihood of an El Nino ahead, these have reversed somewhat with more neutral conditions being predicted. So if 2017 is to set a warmest-year-on-record, it may have to do it without the assistance of an El Nino thro’ the autumn.

  24. 174
  25. 175
    Scott Nudds says:

    Poll shows trust for NASA on climate, but some put Fox News in second

  26. 176
    mike says:

    MAR at 173: Global average temperature is an upward sticky number and the trend of atmospheric CO2 will keep it on the upward trend. Gonna be a hot time on the old planet this millenium. I know you know this.

    JK at 151: thanks for quant work indicating that 20% of methane release from warmed ocean floor will be changed in the water column. That’s a nice round number. My underlying point, of course, was/is that methane and CO2 will be showing up in the atmosphere as the oceans warm and the warmed oceans destabilize methane stored in ocean floors. Again, I am sure you know this, just connecting dots for myself and others who may be primarily narrative beasts rather than number crunchers.

    Brian Kahn at Climate Central uses the word streak in headline about the rise of global temps, but I think that is the wrong term and leads other narrative types to misunderstand the new normal global temps as a streak that will be broken because streaks do get broken. But new normal elevated global temps are not streaks, that is a global condition. We simply live now on a planet where the new normal global temps have risen into the record temperature range because we have changed the planet and our historical record is largely based on the state of the planet before the change.

    These record temps? They are not a streak. They are the new normal temps for a changed planet. and unfortunately, there is more where this came from, as they say. The global temps lag about 10 yrs behind the CO2 changes, so we are seeing the new normal temps based on CO2 level of about 390, maybe a little less. We have not yet experienced the new normal temp of a planet with CO2 levels of 405 and above. It would be really great to stop the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere for a decade and let the temps catch up, but there is no sign of that happening so far, instead we keep measuring increases in CO2 sats in the atmosphere.

    Last Week June 4 – 10, 2017 409.65 ppm
    June 4 – 10, 2016 406.77 ppm

    And the hits just keep coming.

    I am wondering if there is reason to feel a little optimistic about the news that solar and wind power jumped to the 10% level recently? Price per watt is definitely going the right direction for non-fossil fuel energy at this moment, even without aggressive spurring by global carbon taxes, so maybe cheap, abundant energy is going to be available in the future to operate direct air capture of CO2. Maybe we will eventually plug in enough CO2 scrubbers to stabilize atmospheric CO2. I hope that turns out to be the case because it would be good news for my kids and grandkids.

    Fingers crossed! That’s the way we do things in the USA. Trump as president? Fingers crossed! Wild increase in CO2 and CO2e in atmosphere? Fingers crossed!
    Guys with automatic weapons prowling the ballfields? Fingers crossed!

    Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, yeah, feeling a little bit lucky today.

    oh… don’t feed the trolls.

    Warm regards


  27. 177

    At the risk of being tiresome, this item was rather interesting in the context of the ReThinkX paper on Transportation as a Service:

    Some will say this is a sales talk, of course. I’m not selling, though.

  28. 178
    Russell says:

    “For any lurkers out there who are still confused, however, take it from Michael Bloomberg, in RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States”

    Mal has just embraced the srongest endorsement of the Precautionary Principle since Dick Cheney set forth his 1% possibility criterion for bombing nations he thought might harbor terrorists.

  29. 179
    Killian says:

    Re #177 Kevin McKinney said At the risk of being tiresome, this item was rather interesting in the context of the ReThinkX paper on Transportation as a Service:

    Some will say this is a sales talk, of course. I’m not selling, though.

    Fewer cars is good. No cars is the only long-term option. Delaying change is not a good idea, and that is what feel-good tech does, it delays real change.

  30. 180
    patrick says:

    June 14–Wind and solar account for 10% of U.S. grid for the first time (March 2017) after 7% in 2016.

    What the climate-denialist view and the energy-luddite view push hard is the idea that renewables are the most expensive part of the system. That’s what the denialist & luddite view is dedicated to make you think–when you see charts with the up-to-10% of the U.S. grid that is renewables. But it’s not true. Renewables lower the cost of energy at the meter when they come online–if the wholesale market is dynamic and connected.

    May 11–Texas: How the grid really works.

    There are three widgets. The first one illustrates how prices move with load (demand) changes throughout the day. The second one shows how coal moves in response to falling natural gas prices. The third one shows what happens when renewables come in.

    Bids in the bid stack price the marginal cost ($/MWh) of the underlying dispatchable power. The stack to the left of the vertical black line is priced in. The stack to the right is priced out.

    The load is held constant at 40 GW in the second and third widgets, for the sake of illustrating other factors, and their impact on price. The whole article is helpful.

  31. 181
    mike says:

    June 18: 408.67 ppm
    June 17: 408.74 ppm
    June 16: Unavailable
    June 15: Unavailable
    June 14: 409.44 ppm

    Turned the annual cycle corner on CO2 and starting back down now. Here are the peaks for the past three years for those of us who like to get a sense of the trends from these numbers:

    2017 (so far)

    412.63 ppm on Arpil 26, 2017 (NOAA-ESRL)
    411.27 ppm on May 15, 2017 (NOAA-ESRL)


    409.44 ppm on April 9, 2016 (Scripps)
    409.39 ppm on April 8, 2016 (Scripps)


    404.84 ppm on April 13, 2015 (Scripps)

    Dr. Mann said keep it under 405. I think that ship has sailed. But, hey, what does he know?

    Warm regards


  32. 182
    MA Rodger says:

    NOAA has posted also for May, as has BEST. Both show a small drop in May’s anomaly (NOAA at +0.83ºC, down on all 2017 months so far Jan +0.90ºC, Feb +0.96ºC, Mar +1.03ºC, Apr +0.89ºC) with NOAA setting the 3rd warmest May on record (after 2016 and 2015) while BEST puts 2017 as the second warmest May (as did GISS).
    The three temperature records are remarkably consistent in ranking the warmest year-start Jan-to-May with GISS & BEST giving an identical order of ranking of the top eight – 2016, 2017, 2010, 2015, 2002, 2014, 2005, 1998. NOAA list the same set of years but with the lower rankings a little out of order.
    While all the surface temperature records could still be record breakers this year, perhaps the temperature record most likely to set 2017 as the warmest year is HadCRUT which as even is the last to post. HadCRUT set a much cooler end to 2016 than the other temperature records (graphed here usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) so the record 2016 was not greatly warmer than 2015. And being used in the masthead of the GWPF website, it is always good to see a nice high HadCRUT annual temperature set for the year.

  33. 183
    MA Rodger says:

    Mike @181,
    The MLO CO2 data is indeed showing the 2017 annual cycle is on its way down, but I don’t see those outlier daily readings are a useful gauge of the peak CO2, certainly not when the data from different records are presented for the different years. The two records Scripps & NOAA will have different methodology for determining when an outlier is and is not a legitimate reading, so in that respect alone there are apples/oranges problems.

    I would suggest taking a multi-week average from the NOAA weekly data provides a useful interannual comparison of the peak CO2 values. With a 3-week rolling average, the peak values since 2007 run as follows:-
    2007 .. 386.6ppm
    2008 .. 388.8ppm
    2009 .. 390.3ppm
    2010 .. 393.2ppm
    2011 .. 394.6ppm
    2012 .. 397.0ppm
    2013 .. 399.9ppm
    2014 .. 402.0ppm
    2015 .. 404.0ppm
    2016 .. 408.0ppm
    2017 .. 409.9ppm
    The effect of the 2010 & 2017 El Ninos on the annual rises are quite evident.

    And I don’t believe your continued King Cnut-like repetition of the 405ppm limit set out by Mann is useful. The 405ppm limit for CO2 applied to a coal-free world which would see less CO2 emissions (as coal is more carbon-intense than alternative fossil fuels) but an end to most SO2 emissions which have a short-term cooling effect. The warning of a 405ppm limit was made in 2014 and paired with a 450ppm limit and a 350ppm limit. The message in no way dwells for very long on a 405ppm limit as the message was that it would be broken very soon.

    “To avoid breaching the 405-ppm threshold, fossil-fuel burning would essentially have to cease immediately. To avoid the 450-ppm threshold, global carbon emissions could rise only for a few more years and then would have to ramp down by several percent a year. That is a tall task. If the ECS is indeed 2.5 degrees C, it will make that goal a bit easier.

    “Even so, there is considerable reason for concern. The conclusion that limiting CO2 below 450 ppm will prevent warming beyond two degrees C is based on a conservative definition of climate sensitivity … Some climate scientists … say we must also consider slower feedbacks such as changes in the continental ice sheets. When these are taken into account, Hansen and others maintain, we need to get back down to the lower level of CO2 that existed during the mid-20th century—about 350 ppm. …

    “Furthermore, the notion that two degrees C of warming is a “safe” limit is subjective. …

    “Let us hope that a lower climate sensitivity of 2.5 degrees C turns out to be correct. If so, it offers cautious optimism. It provides encouragement that we can avert irreparable harm to our planet. That is, if—and only if—we accept the urgency of making a transition away from our reliance on fossil fuels for energy.(My bold)

  34. 184
    Erik Lindeberg says:

    #182 Ma Rodger “And being used in the masthead of the GWPF website, it is always good to see a nice high HadCRUT annual temperature set for the year”.

    Do you WANT the temperature to go wild high to convince the skeptics? Do you have no worries about climate change? I am hoping for a coldest possible 2017 to give us more time to change direction with respect to emission regulations so we could eventually stabilize climate before it is too late.

  35. 185
    Hank Roberts says:


    from Pete Key, Oak Island NC:
    On the foundering bird issue. Sea Biscuit replied:
    “We’ve received over 50 Greater Shearwaters on local beaches in the last few days. They are dying of starvation. If possible, pick it up and keep it in a safe place until it passes. They rarely live more than a few hours. Don’t leave it on the beach where dogs, gulls and kids will torment it. Bury any dead ones – many thanks!”

    I asked:
    “Wow. So sad. My message was about one found yesterday. It passed under human care on the beach. Thank you for everything you do. I know you’re busy but… what’s their missing food source?

    They replied:
    “Shearwaters migration ‘trigger’ is the number of daylight hours. The squid and other stuff they eat in the Gulf Stream also migrate but are ‘triggered’ by the water temps. The water is much warmer this year and the food source is about 2 weeks ahead of the birds.”
    My take: Warming waters in the Gulf earlier than usual. Could be more data to support climate change. Whether you believe it’s man made or not. It’s happening…

    — feeling frustrated.

  36. 186
    Louis Derry says:

    See the latest from our Secretary of Energy:

    His explanation about why CO2 isn’t the main driver of climate change is really nifty: “it’s most likely” ocean waters and the environment. The “environment?” Huh? Or maybe, the Great Pumpkin?

    Where do we get these people, and how on Earth do they become Secretary of Energy? I recall when people with Nobel prizes had that job. That seems so long ago …

  37. 187
    Hank Roberts says:
    et al., Caldeira, et al.


    A number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

    supporting information online at

  38. 188
    Russell says:

    Which Green advertisng firm or Climate Reality Project wishes ti step forward and claim responsibility for the high R value insulation that fed the flames in London ‘s apartment tower disaster, or the Ozone-Friendly but alas flammable Green refrigerant whose explosion started it?

  39. 189
    Hank Roberts says:

    > insulation that fed the flames in London ‘s apartment tower disaster
    “banned in the US” because of the fire hazard for taller buildings

    See the Guardian story someone pointed out; here’s an excerpt I posted over at Stoat’s.

  40. 190
  41. 191
    MA Rodger says:

    Erik Lindeberg @184,
    If we could as you suggest “convince the skeptics,” the world would certainly be better placed to face the challenge ahead.

    But do note, you and I are envisioning different things here. You are envisioning a “scorchio” 2017 and seeing in it as a sign of accelerating AGW.
    I am envisioning the relatively low annual figure for HadCRUT4 in 2016 (see here usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’ or alternatively visit the GWPF website and look at their masthead graphic) and thus I speculate about a potentially high annual figure for HadCRUT in 2017 and the passing thought that such an event could embarrass the Gentlemen Who Prefer Fantasy and their climate-change denying chums.
    Whether a particular year is or isn’t record-breakingly hot is for me far less important than the additional positive climate forcings mankind is year-on-year imposing on the planet. (See here for how we are doing – usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment.’)

    Of course, we cannot magically end our addition to fossil fuels overnight. And we will not convert a more-skeptical-than-it-should-be society into taking responsibility for its climate pollution overnight. But progress is being made. (I say this having been bashing on at the public and politicians about AGW for the last quarter fo a century.) While we are yet to see, say, crowds turning out for the launch of super-high MPG(eq) automobiles, such enthusiasm for the technology to sort AGW is not far away. Of course, it would have been nice if such concern within society was more advanced, but it is a devil of job to “convince the skeptics” about AGW, and that skepticism was remarkably well entrenched.

  42. 192
    Killian says:

    Re: #188 Russell said, “<I'm still working on logic, so bear with me. To wit:
    Which Green advertisng firm or Climate Reality Project wishes ti step forward and claim responsibility for the high R value insulation that fed the flames in London ‘s apartment tower disaster, or the Ozone-Friendly but alas flammable Green refrigerant whose explosion started it?"

    Last first: If it’s “green,” it’s not explosive. Refrigerant *can’t* be green, btw, because sustainable refrigeration of any industrial type sim[ply does not exist. Don’t conflate greenwashing with green.

    First last: See above, but also, the cladding/isulation used on the building was expressly forbidden for a building over 10 stories. Blame whomever paid for and did the renovation, not the product.

    Finally: Please bore hole poop like this.

  43. 193

    Do you WANT the temperature to go wild high to convince the skeptics? Do you have no worries about climate change?

    Speaking for myself, yes, and yes.

    I am hoping for a coldest possible 2017 to give us more time to change direction with respect to emission regulations so we could eventually stabilize climate before it is too late.

    YMMV, of course, but my calculation is that the short term problem is changing minds, whereas the the long term problem is the warming trend. It seems to me that variations during 2017 have much more effect on the former than the latter, so…

    Though it’s really all rather moot, given the effect that your hopes, my hopes, or MAR’s hopes have on the weather. ;-)

    Much better to organize politically for climate sanity.

  44. 194

    #180, Patrick–Thanks for that, Patrick. IMO, there is a lot of confusion on the economics of renewables, some of it quite deliberate. Not that I’m claiming deep expertise, mind you–but it’s very evident that some folks do their damnedest to confuse costs of *building new capacity* and *supplying energy*.

    Though admittedly, you sometimes see the same confusion on the other hand, I think, when talking about ‘green jobs’. That is, when celebrating the preponderance of wind and solar jobs over coal jobs, some folks forget that one reason for that is that in the US we are building new wind and solar capacity, but (thank God!) not, for the most part, new coal plants.

  45. 195
    mike says:

    For MAR: I think there is a “can’t see the forest for all the trees” problem with global warming. The trees are episodic things like the Grenfell tower fire or the Portugal forest fire. These are quite captivating, quite photogenic… but imho the real and important story is the steady climb of CO2 and CO2e in the atmosphere and our species’ inability to respond appropriately to this less photogenic and fundamental tragedy story. I am not a number cruncher, I am a narrative beast.

    My take on the discussion here (and largely everywhere) is similar to what Larry Edwards expressed at 142 on the Why Global Emissions… post where LE references a 2009 post at Real Climate that we have to “hit the brakes” on CO2. LE goes on at that comment to discuss how the direct language of that rather frank post is an outlier here. Read LE’s comments yourself and decide what he said, my take on what he said is processed through my narrative.

    I think it is clear to some folks that we will hit the brakes on CO2 or hit the wall on global temps. Or both. That is the context for my posting of an almost random sampe of CO2 numbers on a regular basis with the 2014 Mann 405 warning statement. Like the 2009 “hit the brakes” post, the Mann warning from 2014 is pretty clear and yet, these direct warnings produce little buzz or energetic action because we are constantly distracted by towering inferno stories. Stuff like: “is the Grenfell cladding legal?” or body count stories from Portugal or Grenfell. Humans love body count stories.

    Another example (not climate related) is the buzz that the Otto Wambier death story has in the mainstream media. One person dies through suspected NK malfeasance and it’s a headline, but how many people died on the same day because the US has such an exclusive health care system? Again, forest for the trees. If the tree is in full flame or if there is a sense that North Koreans or Bernie Bros started the fire, then it’s a headline. The really important stories are on page 6 or they do not make the paper at all.

    ooh… look… shiny thing! Girl in a bikini!

    oooh… look… June 19, 2017 CO2 at 407.73 ppm

    I am tired.

    Warm regards all,


  46. 196
    Lynn says:

    Could someone please explain this (and/or the Breitbart article on it) – the denialsphere is going wild with it:

    “Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rates,” Benjamin D. Santer, et al. 6/19/2017.

    ABSTRACT: In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble. Because observations and coupled model simulations do not have the same phasing of natural internal variability, such decadal differences in simulated and observed warming rates invariably occur. Here we analyse global-mean tropospheric temperatures from satellites and climate model simulations to examine whether warming rate differences over the satellite era can be explained by internal climate variability alone. We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability. The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty-first century results is low (between zero and about 9%). It is also unlikely that this asymmetry is due to the combined effects of internal variability and a model error in climate sensitivity. We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.
    Breitbart and some blogs I’m on are using this as proof GW is not happening, or there was a “pause.”

    See: “The ‘Pause’ in global warming is real and the computer models predicting dramatically increased temperatures have failed,” by Delingpole, 6/20/2017.

  47. 197
    Russell says:

    Killian, the original intent of the Montreal Protocol was to curtail the use of ozone depleting CFC’s ( Freons) as expendable propellents , and then their production , which was terminated in 1994, after the devlopment of non-flammable HCFC’s allowed their replacement.

    In response to a decade long PR campign, the Protocol was then amended to exclude the HCFC’s on grounds not of ozone preservation , but because while efficient and thus energy saving, they were powerful greenhouse gases contributing to AGW.

    This led to Europe’s Green Parties lobbying the EU to simultaneously implement higher standards of energy conservation in building codes, and promote by an advertising campaign “Green Appliences” employing not just chlorine free HFC’s , but toxic and flammable refrigerants like ammonia and propane that had been widely banned after the emergence of the inert Freons in the 1940’s.

    One of thnigs that made the Depression Era depressing was that coolant leakage from home refigerators , commerical cold storage warehouse and hospital ward air conditoners loaed with sulfur dioxide , ammonia and methylene chloride resulting in fatal Hinderberg scale warehouse explosions amd wholesale blinding of refrigerator owners whose ice box replacements leaked as they slept.

    So why don’t you man up to history and discover who demanded or commanded the instalation of the literally Green-labled fridges loaded with technologically retrograde “alternative” refigerants banned before Montreal brought them roaring back as fire hazards?

  48. 198
    Andrew says:

    Re: Mike #181 and MA Rodger #183

    Here is a link to the April 2014 article by Dr. Michael E. Mann in Scientific American
    “Earth Will Cross the Climate Danger Threshold by 2036”, in which Dr. Mann mentions the 405ppm (of atmospheric CO2 concentration) limit for having good chances of staying below 2C average global temperature rise relative to pre-industrial.

    But it is useful to remember the circumstances and the data (not yet) available at the time when Dr. Mann wrote that article.

    The circumstances were, of course, that we were heading to the Paris COP21 in search of a global agreement.

    And the data that was not yet available at the time was of course that 2014 was to become the hottest year on record, followed by 2015, and then the El Niño year 2016.

    If the 405ppm threshold was considered the “safe” limit by Dr. Mann in 2014, then as of June 2017, when we have clearly blown past that threshold and various climate scientists are publishing articles that show that even 2C global warming will have catastrophic consequences, I would guess Dr. Mann’s article is now on the “conservative” side, whereas in 2014 right after its publication it was widely deemed as “alarmist”.

  49. 199
    zebra says:

    Russel #197,

    What in the world are you talking about?

    Ammonia is commonly used in refrigeration. It is obviously dangerous if it leaks in an enclosed space, but so is lots of other stuff.

  50. 200
    Al Bundy says:

    Just stopped by on the way to my patent attorney’s office (via email). It looks like nothing has evolved.

    Some quick responses:

    BPL: Of course you are. Maybe you’d like us to withdraw from the 1949 Geneva Conventions as well?

    AB: Though it wasn’t official, w withdrew from that worthless document whose only purpose was to prevent the righteous slaughter of terrorists (or are they Freedom Fighters?)


    CH: Then think about where the hell the USA is going to be when virtually all of our currently arable land is dust-bowl dry in the typical year.

    AB: Well, I suspect you’ll use my new industrial agriculture system, which will work rather well under far worse conditions than the dust bowl. Belief in inevitable catastrophe is catastrophic. Besides, some of the most recent years have had less precipitation than the driest year of the dust bowl. The dust bowl was catastrophic because of poor farming techniques combined with the lack of hybrid seed.


    Oh, by the way, Thomas, you were right that I am not developing the 100 MPGe car. After everything fit together, it resulted in the 200 MPGe biofuel ultrasafe (major accidents which would result in near-certain death in any current vehicle will become minor mishaps) large supercar. (It will run rings around a Lamborghini while absorbing essentially all bumps and noise. Driving one will be kind of like a video game but with massive g-forces. With it, a freedom fighter will be able to penetrate nearly any Imperialist installation…) After we’ve filed everything, perhaps I’ll wander back here and show one of you guys the provisional patents.

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