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Unforced Variations: Jan 2018

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2018

Happy new year, and a happy new open thread.

In response to some the comments we’ve been getting about previous open threads, we are going to try separating out OT comments on mitigation/saving the planet/theories of political action from ones related to the physical climate system. This thread remains a place for climate science issues, questions, & news, but we have started a new Forced Responses thread where people can more clearly discuss mitigation issues. We realise that sometimes it can be hard to cleanly separate these conversations, but hopefully folk can try that out as a new year’s resolution!

Note we will be updating the Model/Data comparisons over the next few weeks as the various observational data sets get updated for calendar year 2017. The main surface temperature datasets will be released around Jan 18.

223 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2018”

  1. 51
    Ray Ladbury says:

    It has been explained why Alastair is wrong many, many times, but Alastair refuses to listen.

    Alastair, do you really think that our understanding of absorption has not improved since 1901? Really?

    Alastair, here it is again:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    Please actually read it this time.

  2. 52
    Thomas says:

    fwiw, quoting from:
    “The odds that temperatures will increase more than 4 degrees by 2100 in this so-called “business as usual” scenario increased from 62 percent to 93 percent, according to the new analysis.
    The paper concluded that worldwide temperatures could rise nearly 5 °C by the end of the century, 15 percent higher than the previous central estimate under the “business as usual” emissions scenario….”
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609620/global-warmings-worst-case-projections-look-increasingly-likely/

    “Our results suggest that achieving any given global temperature stabilization target will require steeper greenhouse gas emissions reductions than previously calculated.”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24672

    “The melting Arctic

    In December, NOAA released an unsettling Arctic report card declaring that the North Pole had reached a “new normal,” with no sign of returning to a “reliably frozen region.” Rising temperatures have locked in a long-term trend of shrinking glaciers, receding sea ice, and warming permafrost.

    Between October 2016 and September 2017, the area above the 60th parallel north experienced the second-warmest air temperature anomaly since 1900. In March, satellites recorded the lowest sea-ice winter maximum on record.

    Melting glaciers and sea ice are particularly worrisome trends because they trigger critical secondary effects, notably including increasing rates of sea-level rise.

    This development also sets up dangerous climate feedback loops as reflective white snow and ice turn into heat-absorbing dark-blue water. It means the Arctic will send less heat back into space, which leads to more warming, more melting, and more sea-level rise still.”
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609642/the-year-climate-change-began-to-spin-out-of-control/

    2017 Hansen et al.;

    quoting from
    “Global temperature is a useful metric, because increasing
    temperature drives amplifying feedbacks. Global ocean temperature is a major factor affecting ice sheet size, as indicated by both model studies (Pollard et al., 2015) and paleoclimate analyses (Overpeck et al., 2006; Hansen et al., 2016).

    Eemian ocean warmth, probably not more than about +0.7◦C warmer than preindustrial conditions […], corresponding to global warmth about +1◦C relative to preindustrial, led to sea level 6–9 m higher than today.

    This implies that, in the long run, the El Niño-elevated 2016 temperature
    of +1.3◦C relative to pre-industrial temperature, and even the (+1.05◦C) underlying trend to date without the El Niño boost, is probably too high for maintaining our present coastlines.

    We conclude that the world has already overshot appropriate targets for GHG amount and global temperature, and we thus infer an urgent need for

    (1) rapid phase down of fossil fuel emissions,
    (2) actions that draw down atmospheric CO2, and
    (3) actions that, at minimum, eliminate net growth of non-CO2 climate forcings.

    These tasks are formidable and, […] they are not being pursued globally.”
    ref https://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/8/577/2017/esd-8-577-2017.pdf

  3. 53
    mike says:

    December CO2

    December 2017: 406.75 ppm
    December 2016: 404.55 ppm

    2.2 ppm in yoy comparison. The actual increase rate is higher, this number is damped a bit by the transition from EN-like conditions to LN-like conditions. I think the background rate is closer to 3.0 ppm and it has been an upward-sticky number since our ancestors figured out how to start using fire. I know it seemed like a good idea, we just overdid it.

    In less you believe CO2 does not cause global warming, if that is the case, please send me your investment funds so I can help you help me achieve true financial and climate security.

    Mike

  4. 54
    Omega Centauri says:

    Chris, @39, I’ll take a shot at it.
    Less sea ice does mean a lower pole to equator temp gradient, which does weaken the high altitude winds (often called jetstream). Somehow that leads to flow dynamics with a greater propensity for loopiness. Of course greater loopiness leads to (on average) allow more heat exchange between the arctic and lower latitudes, which leads to yet further weakening of the gradient. But the key mystery is in the fluid dynamics, which I have the impression isn’t well understood. I think that missing link in the science, is why you don’t get too many climate scientists jumping onto the warmer arctic leads to bigger arctic outbreaks bandwagon. It seems to be happening, but I don’t think the confidence that it will intensify in a warming world is there.

    It also matters how that heat exchange occurs. Is it more democratic, i.e. do the north south flows occur at different longitudes, or do they tend to come down in one region (like the US east). Also do those locations move around, or do the warm/cold outbreaks stay in the same place longer.

  5. 55
    t marvell says:

    #3 – “Anderson also claims that most climate scientists are not being forthright about the current predicament we are in.”

    I’ve been arguing that on Realclimate for some time. Glad to hear it said so well.

    Why have climate scientists been misleading us? Andersons suggests that they want to continue to be invited to the conferences on climate change. That is, they are afraid of being outcast because they are too extreme. Anderson says that climate scientists, off the record, will acknowledge that they are underestimating the extent of the danger. That is my experience also. Can any “insider” provide any further information on the climate scientists’ motives for downplaying the dangers?

    I suspect that a major reason is that the climate models are very uncertain when forecasting other than short-term impacts. Any faulty judgements concerning the parameters leads to more inaccuracies the more years have passed. In that environment, climate scientists perhaps think they will look better if it turns out that they have underestimated the impact, than if they have overstated it. They fear being shown to be wrong in the extreme direction – to have overly cried wolf.

  6. 56
    Mack says:

    @ 41
    It’s a magical “greenhouse effect” of the atmosphere, Matthew. The sun doesn’t melt ice, it’s the atmosphere which raises the temp of this planet from minus 18deg C to plus 15deg C .
    Mind you, there are people like myself who have a different wiew….
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/11/24/can-a-cold-object-warm-a-hot-object/#comment-2685034

  7. 57
    Killian says:

    #52 Thomas the (justifiably) Unmerciful :-) said/posted some stuff that basically equates to, “Oh, isht!!!! Holy roasted penguins, Batman!”

    Yeah, so, we have time only for…. you guessed it…. simplification.

    How to find the words that will lead the horses to water *and* make them drink…?

    I need to write that book…

  8. 58
    Alastair McDonald says:

    Barton,

    In your essay http://bartonlevenson.com/Saturation.html you write:

    “He [Knut Angstrom](and a lab assistant, J. Koch) measured the absorption of infrared light in a column of carbon dioxide equivalent to that in a column of real atmosphere.”

    J.Koch was not a lab assistant. He was Prof. Angstrom’s PhD student, and he conducted a series of experiments on his own which he published [McDonald, A. B. (2016) Translation of Koch, J., 1901. [Online]. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/310460429_Translation_of_Koch_J_1901 (Accessed 15 March 2017)], and was awarded his doctorate.

    You also wrote, “As a result [of the discovery of saturation], for many years, physicists and students of climate in the early 20th century did not believe that rising carbon dioxide could warm the planet.”

    Plass makes it clear that it was the belief that water vapour overlapped the CO2 lines which was the main reason for abandoning the idea that CO2 drove climate change. “The usual objection to the carbon dioxide theory, found in almost every textbook, is that water vapour absorbs in the same spectral region as the carbon dioxide “[Plass, G. N. (1956) ‘Effect of Carbon Dioxide Variations on Climate’, American Journal of Physics, vol. 24, pp. 376–387 [Online]. DOI: 10.1119/1.1934233.]

    That paper makes no reference to the overlapping of CO2 lines, which causes saturation.

    There are several other errors in your essay both factual and your references, but you made it clear that you did not want my help with your investigations.

    However, I cannot resist the temptation to point out that it is no wonder that your model of the Venus atmosphere does not work when you think that “saturation doesn’t f****g matter”.

  9. 59

    #56, Mack–[cited comment @ WUWT]

    Being in the mood for a laugh, I checked it out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t nearly as amusing as I hoped–though it was just as wrong as I expected.

    Top marks for arrogance, though.

  10. 60
    CCHolley says:

    Alastair McDonald @50

    It does matter but it is being ignored. There is a little matter of the conservation of energy to be taken into account. If the terrestrial radiation is being absorbed and warming the air, then it is not available to radiate upwards and downwards. The energy can either warm the air or be radiated away, not both. If the absorption of the radiation is saturated then there is no energy left to re-radiate.

    Plass’s idea that the lines are thinner high in the atmosphere is irrelevant since the radiation has already been absorbed below by the merged lines there.

    Complete and utter nonsense. Learn some science.

    No energy left to re-radiate is a nonsensical statement. All matter with temperature above absolute zero radiates heat. Some energy may be convected or conducted away, but some energy is ALWAYS radiated. If there is energy there is ALWAYS energy left to re-radiate. ALWAYS.

  11. 61
    Alastair McDonald says:

    CC Holley said:
    “Certainly, everyone has a right to an opinion, but that opinion is worthless without supporting evidence.”

    I did post what I thought was evidence but the link was incorrect. The correct link is here. It shows the transmittance in an atmosphere with CO2 AT 280 ppm. It is quite clear that between 625 and 725 rcm (reciprocal centimetres) the absorption is saturated.

    The counter-argument is here http://rabett.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/co2-atmospheric-absorption-is-not.html

  12. 62
    Matthew R Marler says:

    47, Alastair MacDonald: Only the surface layer which does not convect has its temperature raised by increased CO2.

    Let me try again. What are the mechanisms by which accumulating CO2 in the atmosphere melts surface snow and ice without warming the atmosphere within which it is accumulating?

  13. 63
    nigelj says:

    Alastair McDonald @48

    “If the terrestrial radiation is being absorbed and warming the air, then it is not available to radiate upwards and downwards. The energy can either warm the air or be radiated away, not both. If the absorption of the radiation is saturated then there is no energy left to re-radiate.”

    The process doesn’t work quite like this. Currently CO2 is absorbing all energy so is saturated in that sense, but only that sense. And the molecule then radiates that energy to other molecules and to space etc.

    But remember the atmosphere is not homogeneous, it gets colder as you get higher. We add more CO2, we shift the envelope of radiation to space higher, so increase the quantity of warming “in the system”.

    https://skepticalscience.com/saturated-co2-effect.htm

    The only limit to this process is the quantity of fossil fuels we have to burn. Given IPCC predict 6 degrees worst case by 2100, I would guess 12 degrees is upper limit. And this is a real scorcher.

    BPL has written a very comprehensive article on it. I don’t know the physics equations, but can follow the logic.

    Obviously you also have to consider temperatures on Venus which strongly suggest adding more and more CO2 pushes up temperatures until whole atmosphere is CO2.

  14. 64
    Thomas says:

    56 Mack … it’s the atmosphere which raises the temp of this planet.

    Correct. Must have been an accident!!! ROFL

    The Moons temperature? Same Sun as the earth’s Sun …. who knew? Not our Big Mack, that’s for sure!!!

    Temperatures on the moon are extreme, ranging from boiling hot to freezing cold depending on where the sun is shining. There is no significant atmosphere on the moon, so it cannot trap heat or insulate the surface.

    The Diviner instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter measured temperatures of minus 396 F (minus 238 C) in craters at the southern pole and minus 413 F (minus 247 C) in a crater at the northern pole.

    “These super-cold brightness temperatures are, to our knowledge, among the lowest that have been measured anywhere in the solar system, including the surface of Pluto,” David Paige, Diviner’s principal investigator and a UCLA professor of planetary science, said in a 2009 statement.

    Did you hear about the newly opened Al la carte Restaurant on the Moon?

    Great Food. No Atmosphere.

  15. 65
    Thomas says:

    The Arctic is experiencing another mild winter so far. As the NSIDC’s latest monthly summary has it:

    “December air temperatures at the 925 hPa level (about 2,500 feet above sea level) throughout the Arctic Ocean were 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.

    Prominent warm spots were found over north Central Asia and Central Alaska (more than 10 degrees Celsius, or 18 degrees Fahrenheit above average), as well as over Svalbard and Central Siberia (nearly 6 degrees Celsius or 11 degrees Fahrenheit above average).

    Temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (4 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit) below average in Eastern Siberia.”

    PIOMAS January 2018

    “Another winter where things aren’t looking so great for the Arctic, with records being broken all around. Still, we’re only halfway through the winter, so maybe there’s still some cold to come. And as we’ve seen the past two melting seasons a mild winter doesn’t necessarily make a record summer a done deal. Hope dies last.”
    @ http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2018/01/piomas-january-2018.html

    see:

    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

    https://sites.google.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas

    Arctic sea ice extent in December 2017 was below average in both the far northern Atlantic and the Bering Sea, and notably high temperatures prevailed over most of the Arctic, especially over Central Alaska. We look back at the year’s events, and examine Arctic sea ice trends since 1850 based on a new compilation of data from maps, ship reports, and other records.
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2018/01/baked-alaska-and-2017-in-review/

    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/cgi-bin/data/timeseries/timeseries1.pl

    https://climate.rutgers.edu/snowcover/

    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,119.msg137971.html#msg137971

    I always thought it strange/odd that graph makers would use the same band of colour as the adjacent / recent years results. This time it’s red.
    https://14adebb0-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/arctischepinguin/home/piomas/grf/piomas-trnd4.png?attachauth=ANoY7cpTBoKCTWKUF8Bz1ee7RofrFVaGlCgwF7BbuxWciJpZN58HXpRveTyL7-R_koEsRyrK-gpWP27YtqRGsH6kxhDgG9YI5suK-HLvbUVqWmXcLlUg6sGZq03qGj0xqC0BuHYcIHeX1b2hAryCQGBZXWnix5DHU9fto1dzwrb7c0UpVjE8XfMCcEQUUt2vc_m2vydcVeAsA1PI–sVUQ7a4JuYncQfdDHGAUMU45296fNv9xTUJdClHEGJLpDIYSWcnOPa02J2&attredirects=0

    Before that Purple, Yellow, Green and Blue alongside each other.

    This despite the fact that ‘we’ already know that Complementary colors are opposite to each other on the color wheel, so they create a strong contrast.
    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/color-theory-101-making-complementary-colors-work-for-you-179143

    Each to their own, I ‘assume/guess.’ :-)

    Hat tip to Neven et al

  16. 66
    Thomas says:

    IPCC/NSIDC trends [based on SIE sea ice extent] underestimate the real speed of ASI loss – true/false/maybe.

    October 2017 ASI volume was 65% below the maximum October ice volume in 1979 – true/false/maybe doesn’t matter.

    An animation showing the 1979 -2016 September ice thickness evolution can be found here. Note 2001-2017 images vs 1970s
    http://psc.apl.uw.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/piomas-monthly-thickness-map (slow it down via controls on btm right)

    Sea ice volume is an important climate indicator. It depends on both ice thickness and extent and therefore more directly tied to climate forcing than extent alone. However, Arctic sea ice volume cannot currently be observed continuously.

    Observations from satellites, Navy submarines, moorings, and field measurements are all limited in space and time.
    http://psc.apl.washington.edu/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/

    and in case you missed it above
    Arctic sea ice extent (ASIE) for December 2017 averaged 11.75 million square kilometers the second lowest in the 1979 to 2017 satellite record.

    This was 1.09 million sq.kms below the 1981 to 2010 average and only 280,000 sq.kms above the December 2016 record low extent!
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2018/01/baked-alaska-and-2017-in-review/

    The ASIE for December in the early 1980s was around 14 million sq.kms

    Pre-1900s (say 1850 to 1880 avg.) in December it was usually closer to ___ ? million sq.kms of Arctic Sea Ice Extent?

    some here may be up for this site: https://www.arcus.org/sipn

  17. 67
    Killian says:

    #7 Jan Galkowski said While Anderson and Peters (and Hansen) are technically correct about the negative emissions necessity, no one is speaking as if they’ve done the cost analysis of drawing down 200-300 ppm CO2 using direct capture or other means.

    Anderson makes this point, that the full range of economics are not considered.

    But, then, economics is voodoo, or as Anderson puts it, astrology, so it’s of limited use, anyway. More to the point, as Anderson also correctly says, you can’t get there via current economic models, so whatever numbers they may churn up are irrelevant.

    When I say “sheer cost”, with prices at even a tenth of present estimates, we are talking dozens of multiples of Gross World Product

    All the more reason to stop thinking in these terms at all: It’s all fairy dust. If we are to succeed, measures like $ and GDP simply will not be relevant.

  18. 68
    Chris Crawford says:

    Thanks so much, Zebra and Omega Centauri, for your explanations of the phenomenon. Am I safe in rejecting the hypothesis that reductions in Arctic Sea ice are responsible for these southward incursions of Arctic air? So here’s my new guess:

    1. Reductions in the temperature differential between tropics and polar regions reduces the momentum of the general circulation.

    2. Lessened general circulation weakens the jet stream because less air is moving downward at the intersection of the Hadley cells.

    3. A weaker jet stream is by some unknown mechanism is induced to wriggle more; that is, its north-south range increases. Perhaps this is the result of the Hadley cell lengthening or shortening.

    4. A southward loop in the jet stream creates a low-pressure area in the interior of the loop, which draws polar air southward.

    Am I getting closer?

  19. 69
    sidd says:

    Bereiter et al. have a nice paper with very pretty data for mean ocean temperature (MOT) based on noble gas isotope ratios in the WAIS divide core.

    doi:10.1038/nature25152

    I like the paper but i am not so sure about one of their suggestions:

    “So far we have looked into the ways that changes in AMOC could affect MOT. The causality, however, may be flipped: MOT may affect the AMOC … In other words, the bipolar seesaw and the teleconnection between Southern Ocean and AMOC together would make up a density oscillator which could—depending on the background ocean temperatures or stratification [Ref 34] — be self-sustaining and not necessarily triggered by a North Atlantic surface perturbation, often thought to be the cause behind the glacial AMOC fluctuations.”

    Would the experts here chime in ? I thought the winds do things too.

    sidd

  20. 70
    Thomas says:

    I am curious about any recent developments with “A database for depicting Arctic sea ice variations back to 1850”
    @ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1931-0846.2016.12195.x/full

    Are there any image based representations of that data in different time periods as yet? any tips for url refs/websites?

    here’s a very rough comparison of ASIE in (6) Barents Sea, (7) Greenland Sea – sea ice july 2016 v june 1882 (the Red Line)
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CL6GuFgl5jWaS-uUUIAy63E2ziKWznt2

    Compares Figure 5 here http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1931-0846.2016.12195.x/full
    with http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2016/07/N_daily_extent_hires-1.png

    My rough guesstimate seeing that example from 1882 could indicate that the Minimum SIE in the 1880s has shrunk by about Half (?) today.

    And that the 1880s Minimum may well have been as large as today’s Winter Maximum. (wild guess, would love to see what the data they compiled suggests it may have been.)

    imho it would be good to see a decadal scale “Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph” from 1850 to 2010.

    Would that help more “pennies to drop”? Because the satelite imagery from 1979 on doesn;t really tell tell the whole story up there.

  21. 71
    Thomas says:

    aha fig. 8 https://goo.gl/84V7AR shows Minimum extent was circa 9 mln sq.kms in mid-late 1800s, I’m only out by 5mln sq.kms LOL. But the minimum has dropped by about half. cheers

  22. 72
    zebra says:

    Chris Crawford #68,

    The thing is, the people with real expertise at this point have not reached a consensus on the details of the mechanisms involved, or even whether a causal relationship can be established with global warming.(note 1) (A fine example of how science works, BTW, contrary to what the Denialists claim: considerable real disagreement based on real physics.)

    I wouldn’t say that you are safe in completely rejecting the influence of sea ice cover; looking at the thermodynamics of SIE over a yearly cycle is a field of study in itself. Winter, summer, radiation both ways, humidity, wind…feedbacks…? Way above my pay grade.

    With respect to your #3, I would ask what you mean by “the” Hadley cell.

    note 1: I personally would argue, from first principles, that movement of air masses N-S has to be part of achieving whatever the new equilibrium state will be. Maybe Omega can conjecture a different way that the increased energy in the system could be redistributed, but I sure can’t.

  23. 73
    mike says:

    Killian at 57: How to find the words that will lead the horses to water *and* make them drink…?

    I need to write that book…

    Mike says: I have the title for you: Making Horses Thirsty

    Dec. 31 2017 – Jan. 6 2018 407.40 ppm
    Dec. 31 2016 – Jan. 6 2017 405.76 ppm

    I think the 2016 week was a little spikey. In any event, 407.4 is not where we want to be.

    Cheers

    Mike

  24. 74
    Nemesis says:

    WHAT a surprise: Germany, the climate world champion, gives up her climate goals (sorry, the article is written in german):

    https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/sondierungen-berlin-101.html

    Harr harr, eating the cake while trying to have it leads to suffocation 8) I never trusted politics ect, but I always trust in he laws of nature I swear 8)

  25. 75
    CCHolley says:

    Alastair MacDonald @61

    I did post what I thought was evidence but the link was incorrect. The correct link is here. It shows the transmittance in an atmosphere with CO2 AT 280 ppm. It is quite clear that between 625 and 725 rcm (reciprocal centimetres) the absorption is saturated.

    I will repeat what you seem not to grasp. Saturation per se does not matter. The energy absorbed must go somewhere and it is transferred to the rest of the atmosphere through conduction and radiation. Some of that heat is radiated downward and some is radiated upward. The heat is is reabsorbed and reradiated until reaching the height of the atmosphere where it is thin enough to pass unimpeded to space. Adding more CO2 raises the height in the atmosphere where that can occur.

    I can explain this to you, but I cannot understand to for you. You must make the effort to understand how the physics actually works., Saturation his not a limiting factor in any way.

  26. 76

    AM 58: However, I cannot resist the temptation to point out that it is no wonder that your model of the Venus atmosphere does not work when you think that “saturation doesn’t f****g matter”.

    BPL: You are only familiar with my Venus models of ten years ago. My recent Venus models routinely achieve 700 K at the surface.

  27. 77

    AM 61: It is quite clear that between 625 and 725 rcm (reciprocal centimetres) the absorption is saturated.

    BPL: And it is equally clear that it is not saturated higher up, and since all levels matter, saturation is f*****g irrelevant. More CO2 will still lead to higher surface temperatures, even when the 15-micron line is saturated. You are also ignoring all the other absorption lines of CO2, and for your information, it has tens of thousands of known absorption lines.

  28. 78

    K 67: economics is voodoo

    BPL: No matter how many times you say this, it still won’t be true.

  29. 79
    nigelj says:

    Chris Crawford @68

    You are right the jet streams are basically related to the hadley cells, and climate change is altering the hadley cells. More warm air in the arctic is causing the jet stream to weaken and wobble around into loops going further south.

    However the loops in the jet stream do not as you suggest form depressions drawing in colder air. Think of the jet stream loops as being like a boundary. Colder air moves south as the boundary moves.

    For brief description of the causes of jet stream and influence of climate change refer below

    https://www.livescience.com/27825-jet-stream.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jet_stream

  30. 80
    Alastair McDonald says:

    Re 62 where Matthew R Marler says:

    47, Alastair MacDonald: Only the surface layer which does not convect has its temperature raised by increased CO2.

    Let me try again. What are the mechanisms by which accumulating CO2 in the atmosphere melts surface snow and ice without warming the atmosphere within which it is accumulating?

    I have already explained that the surface layer of the atmosphere does warm, but the current idea of a lapse rate feedback where increased CO2 causes the whole atmosphere to warms is incorrect.

    I see that since your post there have been several other posts; 75, 76, 77 all denying that saturation is important. But that just supports my original point made in #15, that the scientists are not lying when they say we can restrict warming to 2C; they believe black is white!

  31. 81
    James McDonald says:

    Alistair @48: you seem to be confused.

    I’m just a layman here, but the following seems extremely straightforward:

    Take any moment in time and define top-of-atmosphere as those molecules where a photon has just been emitted and is about to make a final escape to space with no further encounters.

    Now keep that scenario, but modify it to increase the density of CO2.

    Some of the newly added CO2 molecules will create a new and higher top-of-atmosphere: they will be above the previous top-of-atmosphere, will intercept otherwise escaping photons, and will redirect some of that energy downward (via conduction or radiation). This will increase the net energy below that level, which ultimately translates to higher temperatures below it. (There are some minor effects in the other direction because some of the new molecules will accidentally manage to intercept and re-emit an outward bound photon by happenstance in a way that lowers the top-of-atmosphere for that photon, but those effects are much smaller in magnitude and are irrelevant to the point being made here.)

    And while we’re at it, it’s also easy to see that the added CO2 will have a kind of half-life in its ability to do the steps above: once you’ve added N CO2 molecules, another N would have fewer opportunities to trap the outgoing photons of the original scenario, because some of those were already intercepted by the first N molecules. So the net heat-trapping effect of added CO2 is logarithmic with respect to the number of added CO2 molecules.

    That’s it — the basic greenhouse gas argument. Everything else is just added detail. Saturation never appears in it, and would appear only as a complication in the exact timing and pathways of the additional trapped energy as it ultimately degrades to heat energy.

    As I said, I’m just a layman here, so someone please correct me if any of that is in any way wrong.

    (I’ll pre-emptively reply that even if I am wrong in the details, the basic principle of looking at the entire system as a black box and viewing just the boundary effects is the right approach to avoid getting bogged down in irrelevant mechanistic details. In principle it is no different than looking at the two ends of a pipe to see which way water will flow though it, while ignoring all the twists, turns and changes of cross section throughout the length of that pipe.)

  32. 82
    Nemesis says:

    @BPL, 78:

    The sense of economics is to make money, money, money. So let’s make more funny money, money, money on the way to the boneyard, I’ll love to see the sheeples with mountains of money while grilling in Hell :)

  33. 83
    Killian says:

    BPL, for a guy who writes books, you write incredibly pointless and vapid comments. Your responses are stupidly simplistic.

    Uh-uh! should have stopped seeming like a good response by the time you stopped wetting your pants.

    Quiet, peanut.

  34. 84
    MA Rodger says:

    sidd @69,

    I haven’t access to the full Buizert et al (2018) ‘Mean global ocean temperatures during the last glacial transition.’ but the [Ref 34] incorporated into your quote from that paper is Buizert et al (2015). This earlier paper does show a role for wind amongst the various factors strenghtening/stabalising the AMOC but the winds in question are Southern Hemisphere westerlies.

  35. 85
    Alastair McDonald says:

    Re #76

    AM 58: However, I cannot resist the temptation to point out that it is no wonder that your model of the Venus atmosphere does not work when you think that “saturation doesn’t f****g matter”.

    BPL: You are only familiar with my Venus models of ten years ago. My recent Venus models routinely achieve 700 K at the surface.

    I was referring to your appeal a few months ago for help with your Venus model, not ten years ago. Do you deny there are still problems with it?

    Re #77

    AM 61: It is quite clear that between 625 and 725 rcm (reciprocal centimetres) the absorption is saturated.

    BPL: And it is equally clear that it is not saturated higher up, and since all levels matter, saturation is f*****g irrelevant. More CO2 will still lead to higher surface temperatures, even when the 15-micron line is saturated. You are also ignoring all the other absorption lines of CO2, and for your information, it has tens of thousands of known absorption lines.

    If it is all absorbed at lower levels then what happens higher up “is f*****g irrelevant”.
    No need to reply because this is the last response you are going to get from me.

  36. 86
    Alastair McDonald says:

    Ray (at 51)

    I have taken your advice and re-read the blog post by Spencer Weart at http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

    It is clear from what he wrote that Weart is unaware that the full description of Koch’s experiments is in the paper Koch published, which was published here: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/32299447#page/489/mode/1up , and not in Angstrom’s paper.

    All that Angstrom wrote about those experiments was:

    In order to determine the dependence of the absorption of the layer thickness, direct experiments with heat sources of different temperatures are desirable, and Herr J. Koch is employed in the local physical institute with such experiments. The results of this study, which Herr Koch himself will report on, are only to be highlighted.

    From the results of this study, on which Herr Koch will report himself, it is to be emphasized that only 10% of the radiation from a black body at 100° is absorbed by a carbon dioxide layer of 30 cm in length at 780 mm pressure, and that if the pressure is reduced to 2/3, the absorption change is negligible — at most 0.4% of the total radiation. Thus, a layer of 30 cm in length has almost completely effected the absorption of the radiation of a heat source of 100°. It is clear from these studies and calculations: first, that at most approximately 16% of the Earth’s radiation is absorbed by atmospheric carbon dioxide, and second that the overall absorption is very little dependent on changes in the atmospheric carbon dioxide content, provided that it is not less than 0.2 of that which now exists.

    This is almost word for word of the description in Frank Very’s piece.

    Weart complains that Koch should have used a longer tube than 30 cm, but if he had read Koch’s paper, then he would have seen that Koch used tubes with various lengths, and pressures of CO2.

    Koch was not a mere lab assistant who conducted a couple of experiments at Prof. Angstrom’s request. He was a PhD student who conducted a series of experiments which showed that CO2 absorption was almost saturated. Modern science has not, and cannot, show that CO2 is not saturated.

    The question then arises, how is it that carbon dioxide concentration seems to drive the climate? I have an answer, which I have only outlined here. However, it is unlikely that an unknown person like me would get such revolutionary ideas published. I am now working on another simpler problem: where did the CO2 come from during glacial terminations? So forgive me if I don’t reply to you in the future. I will be too busy with this other project.

  37. 87
    Thomas says:

    climate science issues, questions, & news
    I am curious if there is a ‘science’ repository for (or a series/collection of published papers that addresses ) these kinds of climate change impacts already happening all over the world?

    Is this Irukandji jelly fish report another anecdotal example of the impacts of increasing temps and climate change?
    http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/southbound-irukandji-could-mean-trouble-for-south-east-queensland-tourism-20180110-p4yydr

    It seems very similar to the southbound expansion of cane toads the last several decades which is well known in aus. The bleaching of the GBR is another, and the sudden mangrove die off in the Gulf both recently.

    a few decades back Irukandji was only ever found north of Cairns. http://irukandjijellyfish.com about a decade ago it was showing up at the south end of the GBR near Bundaberg Qld.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/11/massive-mangrove-die-off-on-gulf-of-carpentaria-worst-in-the-world-says-expert

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/they-died-of-thirst-extreme-conditions-wipe-out-forest-over-1000-kilometres-20170313-gux252.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/oceans-suffocating-dead-zones-oxygen-starved

    Global Coral reef bleaching ‘the new normal’ and a fatal threat to ecosystems
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/04/coral-reef-bleaching-the-new-normal-and-a-fatal-threat-to-ecosystems

    these negative impacts are already occurring with temps only 1.1-1.3C above the 1880-1920 Base Period http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/Temperature/

    What might the on the ground reality be in various nations when temps avg +1.5-2.0C above the 1880-1920 Base Period?

    Surely every nation has prevailing climate norms that have already changed enough to impact ‘normal life’, ecosystems and general conditions (in some way that’s very noticeable) ???

    eg https://www.theguardian.com/world/gallery/2017/aug/15/wildfires-across-southern-european-amid-scorching-heatwave-in-pictures

  38. 88
    Thomas says:

    Research Letter
    Future Changes to El Niño–Southern Oscillation Temperature and Precipitation Teleconnections Sarah J. Perry1,2,3,*, Shayne McGregor2,3, Alex Sen Gupta1,3 and Matthew H. England First published: 21 October 2017
    https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL074509

    Climate change to expand impacts of El Nino/La Nina extremes
    https://www.climatescience.org.au/content/1201-climate-change-expand-impacts-el-ninola-nina-extremes

    I have previously suggested this seems quite ‘logical’ – nice to see a confirmation in print.

  39. 89
    Thomas says:

    This GFS reanalysis of december (based on 1979-2000 mean) via climate reanalyser shows the ugly story of anomalies at surface level
    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=2141.0;attach=81166;image

    I’d like to see that animation based on the 1880-1920 period.

  40. 90
    Killian says:

    #87 Thomas said Research Letter
    Future Changes to El Niño–Southern Oscillation Temperature and Precipitation Teleconnections
    Climate change to expand impacts of El Nino/La Nina extremes

    I have previously suggested this seems quite ‘logical’ – nice to see a confirmation in print.

    How could it not be the case? Temps rise, then spike on top: Exceptional death and destruction. Temps settle a bit, but keep rising over all, then another spike, more exceptional death and destruction.

    Wash, rinse, repeat.

    It’s the extremes, stupid. – Me to self, @ 2011.

    We have centuries, though! Or maybe not.

    Re: Jellyfish

    Moving territories? Gotta be a reason. Following the temp gradient and/or following the food supply following the temp gradient? Bingo.

  41. 91
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Alastair@85
    Horsecrap! Dude, I know Spencer Weart. He is a cautious, experienced and very accomplished historian of physics. The idea that he has an incomplete understanding of Herr Koch’s work is simply absurd.

    What is more, you leave out a very important fact: Koch was wrong. That has been shown again and again in the past 50 years. Not only that, we know WHY he was wrong. A lot has happened in the study of Earth’s climate in the past century. Catch up!

  42. 92

    N 81: The sense of economics is to make money, money, money. So let’s make more funny money, money, money on the way to the boneyard, I’ll love to see the sheeples with mountains of money while grilling in Hell :)

    BPL: No, the sense of economics is to study how societies produce and distribute goods and services. Crack a book, okay?

  43. 93

    K 82: BPL, for a guy who writes books, you write incredibly pointless and vapid comments. Your responses are stupidly simplistic.

    BPL: Who wants to bet he doesn’t see it?

    K: Uh-uh! should have stopped seeming like a good response by the time you stopped wetting your pants.

    BPL: I don’t think this is a sentence.

    K: Quiet, peanut.

    BPL: Or else what?

  44. 94

    AM 84: If it is all absorbed at lower levels then what happens higher up “is f*****g irrelevant”.

    BPL: No, it is not. If more is absorbed at higher levels, they will radiate more, and some of that will radiate down, which will be picked up by the lower levels, which will in turn radiate down, raising the surface temperature. Why you continue to deny this escapes me. I think perhaps you’re too invested in looking at the atmosphere as a single slab, like Angstrom and Koch did. It isn’t.

    AM: No need to reply because this is the last response you are going to get from me.

    BPL: Promises, promises.

  45. 95

    AM 85: it is unlikely that an unknown person like me would get such revolutionary ideas published.

    BPL: You are not unlike Galileo; brilliant, but persecuted.

  46. 96
    CCHolley says:

    Alastair McDonald @85

    However, it is unlikely that an unknown person like me would get such revolutionary ideas published.

    The lack of publishability would be due to a lack of an understanding of physics. Revolutionary ideas need extraordinary evidence and need to conform to the known laws of physics. Your ideas meet neither criteria; hence, would not be published.

    You continue to ignore the fact that although the lower atmosphere is optically thick with CO2 and although it absorbs most long wave radiation, that heat is distributed in the atmosphere and the atmosphere reradiates in all directions. That heat once again is reabsorbed, redistributed and reradiated both up and down the atmosphere. You also ignore that the absorption and emissivity profile is dependent on the temperature and pressure. You ignore that It is where in the atmosphere that the density is such that the CO2 in the atmosphere becomes optically thin so that reradiating heat can finally escape unencumbered to space. Adding CO2 raises this level. A level where it is colder and therefore less heat radiated thus causing thermal imbalance with the incoming solar radiation. The only way to restore the balance is for that layer to warm via a warmer surface.

    That the *effect* of CO2 is not *saturated* is confirmed by observations. Measurements of incoming long range radiation from the moon shows a decline in that radiation as the moon is lower in the horizon–the result of the radiation passing through more of the atmosphere and thus subject to more CO2 absorption. Measurements of outgoing long wave radiation at TOA by satellites shows the long wave radiation has diminished over time as expected due to increases in CO2 as has the radiative imbalance been observed. Also measurements of downwelling long wave radiation at the surface have shown increases over time as expected due to increase in CO2 levels.

    No, despite your claims, scientists do not ignore *saturation*.

    Although you are deluded to think otherwise, you are not gifted with a superior knowledge of the physics over the brilliant scientists who have wrestled with this problem for many decades.

  47. 97
    CCHolley says:

    Alastair McDonald @84

    If it is all absorbed at lower levels then what happens higher up “is f*****g irrelevant”.

    Wrong. What happens at higher elevations is everything.

    Your refusal to make an effort to understand the science is tiresome.

  48. 98
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    #9 -“two graphs from a paper in the BAMS special edition that everyone should see.”

    What makes you think that the core denialists (Tea baggers – Trumps core base), have the ability to understand those or any other graph?

    In my considerable experience, they don’t have the intellectual capacity to do so.

  49. 99
    nigelj says:

    Jet stream changes since 1960s linked to more extreme weather

    Date:January 12, 2018. Source:University of Arizona

    Summary:

    “Increased fluctuations in the path of the North Atlantic jet stream since the 1960s coincide with more extreme weather events in Europe such as heat waves, wildfires and flooding. The new research is the first reconstruction of historical changes in the North Atlantic jet stream prior to the 20th century. By using tree rings, the researchers developed a historical look at the position of the North Atlantic jet back to 1725.”

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180112091209.htm

  50. 100
    nigelj says:

    “How Australia’s extreme heat might be here to stay”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-42657234

    Of course we all know climate change increases probability of heatwaves etc, but this comment is particularly interesting: “While it is record-breaking that tends to make news, scientists say it is the unbroken run of hot days in the high 30s and 40s that causes the significant problems for human health, and other life.”It’s not being able to cool down at night, and in the days that follow, that causes problems,” he says.

    “I was camping in the Blue Mountains [west of Sydney] on Saturday night. It was about 30 degrees at midnight, and I could feel my heart racing. Now, that extra stress on my cardiovascular system didn’t kill me, but it might have if I was 20 years older.”