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Unforced Variations: Jan 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2019

This year’s first open thread on climate science topics. Usual rules apply – and let’s make a particular effort to stay substantive and not devolve into empty bickering (you still have Facebook for that).

Any expectations or predictions for climate science in 2019?

184 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2019”

  1. 51
    Russell says:

    23 Mr. Know It All complains of 22 – nigelj:

    “Sea level rise in New Zealand: “Historically, the gradual rise in sea level has accumulated to be around 20 cm over the 20th century through to present. This can be enough……”

    I have a hard time finding sympathy for anyone dumb enough to build such that an 8″ change in the ocean level makes a difference. ;)”

    Especially in a place where isostasy matters more than global sea level, because the land is rising up to a centimeter a year for tectonic reasons.

  2. 52
    Killian says:

    Two days over 411ppm according to Scripps Mauna Loa readings. Thought that first day would be a blip. Likely just noise, but a bit early for consistenet 411 readings if not.

  3. 53
    MA Rodger says:

    Killian @52,
    It is not so easy to compare last year’s full daily data with this year’s at Scripps, but using NOAA ESRL data, I could say “Actually, it’s a bit late,” but that would be silly.
    This year we see two consecutive January days
    7th Jan – 401.99ppm, 8th Jan – 410.73ppm (average 410.86ppm)
    Last year we saw two consecutive January days
    4th Jan – 408.54ppm, 5th Jan – 408.69ppm (average 408.615ppm perhaps suggesting an annual rise of 2.245ppm/yr.)

  4. 54
    mike says:

    to Killian at 52: yes, what Al said about daily numbers. If you watch them a lot, like more than a year, you get a sense of how noisy the daily numbers are. They are an upward-sticky number, so the rise is inevitable until something drastic or deadly serious happens with human behavior. co2.earth gives easy access to the daily number, you have to open the CO2 Now tab to get access to the weekly/monthly numbers. Those are less noisy, but even the annual numbers carry quite a bit of noise due to EN LN swings etc. It is interesting to watch these numbers and I recommend it, but to draw conclusions about AGW from these numbers starts to be reliable when you jump up to decadal averages. Watching the daily numbers during the ramp-up of a large EN event is really disconcerting.
    Cheers
    Mike

  5. 55
    S.B. Ripman says:

    A video giving some perspective to the discouraging 2018 carbon emissions numbers:
    https://youtu.be/PqvUw6OcE8M

  6. 56
    Carrie Kant says:

    There are Global numbers not only MLO
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/global.html

    Recent Global CO2 Trend
    January 08: 408.81 ppm
    January 07: 408.80 ppm
    January 06: 408.80 ppm
    January 05: 408.79 ppm
    January 04: 408.78 ppm
    Last Updated: January 9, 2019

    Recent Global CO2
    September 2018: 405.02 ppm
    September 2017: 402.44 ppm
    Last updated: December 6, 2018

    That’s + 2.76 ppmv on last year.

    How “wobbly” are these numbers?

    Recent Global CO2
    May 2018: 408.97 ppm +2.60 ppm
    May 2017: 406.37 ppm

    June 2018: 407.80 ppm +2.19 ppm
    June 2017: 405.61 ppm

    July 2018: 406.39 ppm +2.50 ppm
    July 2017: 403.89 ppm

    August 2018: 405.04 ppm +2.68 ppm
    August 2017: 402.36 ppm

    September 2018: 405.02 ppm +2.76 ppm
    September 2017: 402.44 ppm

    During 2018? Not that “wobbly” – and with no El Nino in sight either.

    The avg Growth rate from May thru Sept has been + 2.546 ppmv YoY

    Wait until the next El Nino hits and see how high it goes then. +4.00 ppm is not out of the question. 2018 8is already streets ahead of the last El Nino years 2015/2016 .. and I mean WAY UP.

    So I will ask this very simple question… “WHAT CO2 EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS?”

    There aren’t any doh!

  7. 57
    Carrie Kant says:

    Recent Global Growth Rates

    2010 2.43
    2011 1.70
    2012 2.39
    2013 2.41
    2014 2.04
    2015 2.93 El Nino
    2016 2.86 El Nino
    2017 2.11

    2018 ~2.50 New Growth Rate Record for a Non-El Nino Year

    It’s not difficult to comprehend this issue. There’s no need to make it unbearably complicated. Nothing is to be gained by distractions away from the basic factual data either into irrelevancies or minutia or SPIN~!

    The DATA speaks for itself. Please allow it to do just that~!!!!

  8. 58
    MA Rodger says:

    Thomas the ‘tin/Carrie the Can’t @56/57,
    You say “The DATA speaks for itself. Please allow it to do just that~!!!!” Quite so!!!!!

    It has been for some months that your “skyrocketeering” has been absent fron the RC UV threads. Back then I did caution you over your use of ESRL global CO2 data as a source of atmospheric CO2 growth rates. This data is heavily smoothed and thus using it to provide CO2 growth rates gives numbers that are rate-wise smoothed to death.

    Now you’re back with your “skyrocketeering,” I’m not sure where you are getting some of your numbers from and even so, your conclusions are simple “skyrocketeering” and not based on any data that I can see.

    @57, your numbers 2010-17 are taken gtom the ESRL Growth Rates. What is not clear is where you get your 2018 value from. I would expect a value similar to yours, perhaps a tad lower, but the caution on the smooting of theis data applies.
    @56 your September 2018/17 data is taken from the ESRL Monthly data but I am not sure where you get your values for May, June, July & August. They do not match the ESRL Global Monthly data here. (Using that ESRL data, the Jan18-Sept18 average is 2.37ppm/yr somewhat lower than your 2.55ppm/yr.)

    Also @56, your daily data from ESRL is certainly not something to take a simple annual growth rate from, although since the last rash of “skyrocketeering” there have been some interesting developments. The daily ‘trend’ data is so strongly smoothed that a plot of the annual CO2 growth rate appears as a smooth sine-type curve climbing every upward, or it did until early last year. A plot of this curve can be seen here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’). The RED curve is the 365-day increase of the ESRL daily ‘trend’. The BLACK curve is the acceleration of that RED curve. (For completeness, the ESRL monthly data (global & MLO) are also plotted.[And to be hyper-complete, the final MLO plot uses a Dec18 value not published by ESRL at time or writing.])
    The point of interest in the daily trace is the inflection that occurred at the end of April 2018. The rate of acceleration within this smoothed daily ‘trend’ data is now decreasing suggesting we are in the smallest acceleration wobble since this daily ‘trend’ data began (in 2009) and that the net wobble-to-wobble acceleration is no longer positive. This then provides another set of evidence supporting a ‘pause’ in the CO2 growth rate.

    Golly!! The data is speaking!!!

  9. 59
    Killian says:

    Re #54 mike said If you watch them a lot, like more than a year, you get a sense of how noisy the daily numbers are.

    Yes. You might recall me remarking I used to do what you do, but less consistently. With you doing it, there is no use in me doing so. I’m quite familiar.

    weekly/monthly numbers. Those are less noisy, but even the annual numbers carry quite a bit of noise due to EN LN swings etc.

    Yes, You may recall my Aug. 2015 post on EN and ASI and related conversations on CO2 estimates and a likely 3 – 4 ppm rise in 2016…

    It is interesting to watch these numbers and I recommend it

    I do, just less often. I believe the averages are easily enough seen and tell us nothing we do not already know WRT the overall story. Useful for assessin our actions, but beyond that we know the one thing we need to know: Going up.

    but to draw conclusions about AGW from these numbers starts to be reliable when you jump up to decadal averages.

    Depends. I have come to the conclusion the extremes are the most important numbers, but science not only says it’s the averages, it actively removes extremes! I used to think all the gaps in ML numbers were human/mechanical error, but now realize they’re also often removing extreme numbers. This is a mistake, imo. Extremes tell you something wacky just happened, and while that is often simple randomness, sometimes there’s a more dangerous reason. Removing those numbers removes that info, e.g. those two days over 411 rather earlier than past patterns would suggest.

    Was it something? Don’t know. Could it be? For one day, very likely just random swirling or something. Two days is more curious. What raises CO2 for two days on an island in what I assume is a rather active air movement environment?

    Watching the daily numbers during the ramp-up of a large EN event is really disconcerting.

    Nah. Expected, per my 2015 post. 411 for extended days in early January is disconcerting. Mildly.

    Cheers

  10. 60
    nigelj says:

    True Mike is right the atmospheric CO2 trend look like they are going upwards looking at the tables, but tables of numbers only go so far, and eye balling is deceptive and only tells you so much. Analyse the numbers and the rate of acceleration has gone down slightly according to MAR. If you dont believe him kindly demonstrate technically where he is wrong, line by line or provide an alternative mathematical analysis and post it. Otherwise it is pure BS to claim nothing has changed!

    If the rate has indeed gone down a little, it strongly suggests emissions did flatten since 2014 – 2017, so that data is at last reasonably reliable. Useful to know.

  11. 61
    mike says:

    Tamino has a post on the recent surge in CO2 accumulation:
    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/climate-change-more-gas-from-trump-and-the-usa/#more-10316

    from that: “Not only has CO2 been on the rise, its rate of increasing is has been getting faster.”

    graphs, then:

    “As you can see, not only did CO2 keep rising, not only did it continue to rise at least as fast as that still-accelerating trend, it managed to get a bit higher lately.”

    “I’ve been blogging about this for over ten years. In that time America has failed even to meet the challenge, let alone conquer it. America has fallen. My America can get back up again.”

    I think it would be good to remind Tamino to stay upbeat and optimistic about things. He has the “my America can get back up again” line, but generally, he seems to be focusing on the negative.

    I encourage those of you who are good at crafting the positive message to comment over there and help Tamino keep it more upbeat. I am still working on crafting the positive messages on CO2 and CO2e. I think some of you are better at that than I am. All I have right now is:
    “Yes, CO2 is a problem and it is has been getting faster, but we know what we need to do and all we need to do is talk about the problem in the right way and we can get on top of this thing.”

    If any of you think you have detected any change in the trend on CO2 accumulation, like a slowing of accumulation accompanying the slowing in rate of increase in emissions from 2014 forward period, please lay it out for Tamino. I am not sure if he spotted it, yet.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  12. 62
    mike says:

    to Nigel at 60: emission numbers are reliable, they are fine. I think they are accurate enough for their uses. I think emissions did fall in the time frame that they were reported to have fallen.

    I track accumulation numbers because the accumulation numbers are the ones that are driving global warming. I believe Tamino has reviewed the CO2 trends on numerous occasions and he has stated each time that he does not see that the rate of increase has stopped rising. Tamino just posted on these questions again and again, he does see that the rate of increase has stopped rising to date. Tamino is my go-to guy on these questions. If you or MAR wish to sign in over there and straighten Tamino out on the CO2 trends and the importance of the emission numbers, please do so.

    I will cut and paste your comments at 60 over to Tamino and ask if he has time to review your observations.

    Cheers,

    Mike

  13. 63
    mike says:

    for MAR: Hey, Al. Can you post your analysis (or link thereto) that shows slowing of the CO2 accumulation that relates to the 2014-2017 emission slowdown over at Tamino’s thread on CO2 buildup please?

    https://tamino.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/climate-change-more-gas-from-trump-and-the-usa/#more-10316

    Thanks

    Mike

  14. 64
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: I have come to the conclusion the extremes are the most important numbers,

    AB: Me too. I usually compare extremes to each other and adjust for various strengths and weaknesses. Averages are so mundane…

    Good post.

  15. 65
    Al Bundy says:

    OP: let’s make a particular effort to stay substantive and not devolve into empty bickering (you still have Facebook for that)

    AB: There’s been an ongoing discussion about how to handle blatant deniers, with one primary argument for not ignoring them is that the lurkers and passersby might assign their sewage great weight. The opposing primary argument is that mentioning a falsehood reinforces the falsehood and the comments section usually devolves into sewage when one quotes an “idiot” and then tears his (tis almost always male in real life, eh Carrie?[though not implying any lack of cranial capacity on your part]) argument to shreds.

    So, how’s this sound: if your fingers just have to respond then do NOT quote or paraphrase or identify. If JoeDenier says, “It’s all the solar wind and…..”, then do NOT even acknowledge that JoeDenier exists. Instead, simply state a positive statement such as, “JaneSolarScientist evaluated various solar effects, including TSI and solar wind, and found….”

    Note the result. JoeDenier has NOT been challenged and has nothing to say except ad hominems. The passersby note that JoeDenier is a piece of scum and you didn’t soil your soles by stomping on him. You rate high in their esteem. Whose evidence is assimilated by the passersby?

    This carries over to fraternal bickering. Passersby who have been told that RealClimate is THE Professional Site take a look and find so much bile that they must often conclude that there’s no difference between alarmists and deniers. They roll their eyes and get on with their lives, unconvinced.

    So, Nigel, I’m sorry I picked on you (I did it cuz you’ve got a great attitude and don’t take offense), as we all need to remember our school days when we went on field trips: we are representing RealClimate to the world. That is far more important than any information any commenter can add to the site.

    Frankly, the situation isn’t tolerable. I suggest that the regs get together and design a comments section complete with moderators. When stuff needs to be, it can be kicked up to the professionals, but day to day there isn’t a reason to detract them from their work.

  16. 66
    Al Bundy says:

    MAR: The daily ‘trend’ data is so strongly smoothed that a plot of the annual CO2 growth rate appears as a smooth sine-type curve climbing every upward, or it did until early last year.

    AB: Why does smoothing turn a plot of whatever shape it was (tracking ENSO more or less?) into a sine-type? Or are you simply saying that when you smooth things ENSO shows, along with whatever else? And what is ‘trend’, as opposed to trend?

    MAR: The RED curve is the 365-day increase of the ESRL daily ‘trend’. The BLACK curve is the acceleration of that RED curve.

    AB: I don’t see that the connection is complete. I’m thinking that a datum should be compared to the last time natural conditions most closely matched the conditions at the datum’s point in time and then adjusted to account for remaining differences. Thus, each datum would have its very own time-between-measurements. From there you can have lots of fun.

    But in any case, unless a graph shows ENSO I don’t see (yet) how it can be informative about the causes of short term changes in CO2 accumulation.

  17. 67
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @63,
    Concerning the analyses I’ve undertaken on recent CO2 increases: I would consider just dumping them onto the Open Mind thread you indicate (one which I am aware of) would be rather inconsiderate. Rather, it is the reconsiliation of the quadratic acceleration with my analyses that should be presented in that thread (or otherwise).
    The projected acceleration of a quadratic fit to MLO CO2 1958-2010 would suggest (with the numbers I have calculated) a rate of CO2 increase today of 2.27ppm/yr which is not greatly different to the MLO underlying rate I obtained with ENSO removed of 2.2ppm. (The Open Mind acceleration would have seen 2.2ppm/yr in January 2016 and 2.3ppm/yr arriving in April 2020.)
    So my thoughts are to consider how appropriate a quadratic fit is for the MLO data given the emissions history, data which suggests that far from acceleration, we should be seeing a deceleration towards a constant increase hiding behind the wobbles.

  18. 68
  19. 69
    mike says:

    to Al at 67: Please share your thoughts on the Tamino thread in whatever means you feel is considerate and fit within that discussion. Let’s see what develops with that and how your larger analyses fare in that venue. Your work is way beyond my math skills and I can’t make heads or tails of it, but I know that Tamino and some of his regular reader/commenters are not number-challenged.

    Thanks

    Mike

  20. 70
    nigelj says:

    Mike @62, I don’t see the point of posting my comment above on Taminos website as it was just a rhetorical post. Agree on the rest.

  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @65

    I don’t know that deliberately ignoring addressing a specific denier person is quite right, it comes across as snobby. However I don’t think there is a magic answer to this denialist issue. Sometimes they are best ignored and sometimes a fact based response seems more appropriate, and its a matter of personal good judgement how to handle it. In other words be smart about it.

    But you think about it all in a perceptive way.

    “This carries over to fraternal bickering. Passersby who have been told that RealClimate is THE Professional Site take a look and find so much bile that they must often conclude that there’s no difference between alarmists and deniers. They roll their eyes and get on with their lives, unconvinced.”

    Well exactly. I have said this myself several times, and I have asked for better moderation and we do seem to be getting some. If moderation policy isn’t enforced, people will treat it with contempt, just like what happens if children are punished in an inconsistent way.

    But the bile isn’t coming from me, in the main anyway. I keep my darker thoughts to myself because I dont like hurting people or cluttering up space with exchanges of depressing ego driven bile.

    I remember somebody saying scientists bicker and argue and throw a few insults around. Maybe thats how they do things, but I work in a field where this sort of thing would get people fired, and it could be off putting for the general public to read streams of abuse and ad hominems.

    Of course I don’t expect people to be painfully polite either or websites to be over moderated to death. Most of us know where the limits are but moderation policy is there because of a few dim wits, bullies and big egos.

  22. 72
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    “Any expectations or predictions for climate science in 2019?”

    1) The climate is the by far most important, not the science about it.

    2) The climate will continue its steadily worsening course towards an unlivable, scary and sad, ugly and boring hell on Earth.

    3) The climate science will try to describe this sad development, but under a steadily growing censorship from the commanding highs of global oligarchic capital and its corrupted politics and chaoticizing media nonsense. The conflict between science and ideology, realism and relentless lying will grow towards a new kind of totalitanism which I call liberal totalitarianism or free-market stalinism.

    My hope is that science will be able to and dare to present an unmistakably clear picture of where we are heading when according to the consensus among experts the atmospheric CO2 content is now on a level which the Earth has not seen for at least twenty-six million years. The main goal now must be to clarify the grotesque game of russian roulette being played by our rulers with the near future of homo sapiens. As can be learned from the geological past. This means giving up the illusion that it is possible to predict with any certainty anything precise but chaos about the climate in twenty to hundred or more years, when we are living through a rise in the atmospheric CO2 content which the Earth as far as we know have never experienced this fast in any part of the known geological past. The predictions of IPCC are spreading a completely false sense of certainty about how much CO2 we can still produce without risking chaos. This futile and antiscientific nonsense has to stop. The only reasonable conclusion seen from the scientific viewpoint is to reduce all emissions as fast as possible.

  23. 73
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigel,

    I don’t see it as snobby to answer with facts without re-stating the falsehood or targeting a person. And besides, the concern is NOT for the denier, but for the passersby. What works for them?

    Tis true that you don’t spew bile. You rattle Killian’s cage. He’s got his pet hypothesis and if you say anything… ANYTHING that isn’t gushing about his hypothesis being the bestest and most beautiful hypothesis ever then you KNOW that bile will flow. When an old lady is gushing about her granddaughter would you respond truthfully, “That is one seriously ugly child!”? You might as well go around poking grizzlies with sharp sticks.

    Killian has lots to add to the conversation, but with you (and me but hopefully only in the past) poking him with sticks everyone gets spewed and the value Killian brings is lost.

    And bypassers shake their heads and talk about how useless RealClimate is, more of the same old internet garbage. Not acceptable. So, guys, seriously. It would be easy to set up a system to clean things up. Ranking and sorting comments so that the topic at hand is discussed and dissected. when a denier says something silly, post the standardized answer along with a tag that links to all functionally identical Silly Squawks, including the current one, so the denier’s comment does not even appear directly in the comments. You have to click to read it. That takes it out of the main stream of consciousness.

    Or whatever. Lots of creativity here. Why not fix the problem? The moderators appear to not want to waste too much time on the issue and we’re here specifically to waste time. Sounds like the burden needs to be shifted.

  24. 74
    sidd says:

    I accidentalyy posted this comment in the Forced Responses thread. I repost and ask that the comment in Forced Responses be removed.

    Cheng et al. doi:10.1126/science.aav7619 informs that

    a) Three recent studies indicate that the rate of Ocean Heat Content increase above 2000m (OHC) quoted in AR5 from 1971-2010 be revised upward from the range 0.20 to 0.32 W/m^2 . Revised values from the three sources are 0.36 +/- 0.05, 0.37 +/- 0.04 and 0.39 +/- 0.09 $/m^2 over that period and depth range.

    b) the rate of ocean warming for the upper 2000 m has accelerated in the decades after 1991 to 0.55 to 0.68 W/m^2

    Is there any evidence that either radiative imbalance was larger than thought or that oceans have taken up a larger fraction of the imbalance than thought, or both ?

    sidd

  25. 75
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @73 , maybe you are right about how to respond to denialists.

    Yes Killian has his pet theory, and so won’t like any criticism (or stick poking), but I think if people cannot stand having their “pet theories” criticised maybe don’t post them on websites that are open for feedback. For goodness sake, criticism is a part of science.

    This situation is just not even remotely comparable to some old lady proud of the grand daughter. Of course I wouldn’t tell her its an ugly child. Time, person and place etc.

    It’s the moderators job to delete comments with bile in them. Obviously applies to me as well as anyone. It’s not my job to walk on my toes in case I upset someone. If things were moderated the issue would not exist.

    Having said this, you are a good guy, so I will take your advice and ignore Killian. I did ignore him for months, until the relgion issue somehow set things off:(

  26. 76
    Carries Over says:

    Fact is: Some people cannot be helped or even want any help to begin with.

  27. 77
    mike says:

    Nigel: You believe that things have changed with regard to CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere because of the slowing of emission rates from 2014 to 2017 and that the change can be detected in the MLO data. Is that a fair and accurate representation of your thoughts?

    I have asked Al to post something/anything about his work on the thread at Tamino’s website. I hope he will do it. It will be an occasion for some pretty high level review of the mathematics.

    You called BS at 60 and I think it’s a reasonable request on my part to ask you to put your ideas up in a venue where they are likely to receive critical analysis. Come on, walk the walk. Are your ideas about this slowing of accumulation entirely rhetorical.

    fwiw, I sincerely hope you are right. I just don’t think a flattening of accumulation to match the decreased emissions can be detected with confidence

    Noisy number, but:

    Daily CO2

    January 11, 2019: 409.30 ppm
    January 11, 2018: 408.72 ppm

    I would love to see increase numbers of under 1 ppm for a few months. That would be wonderful.

    Thanks

    Mike

  28. 78
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Sidd@75 wrote

    Is there any evidence that either radiative imbalance was larger than thought or that oceans have taken up a larger fraction of the imbalance than thought, or both ?

    My understanding is that the revision stems from better observations rather than from incorrect forcing.

  29. 79
    Stibnut says:

    I have a pretty basic question about carbon sinks and the relationship between CO2 emissions and concentrations. How much CO2 can we emit if we want to keep the atmospheric CO2 concentration at present levels over the next century? I’m choosing 100 years so that we don’t have to worry about the deep ocean finally equilibrating and ceasing to be as much of a sink.

    It seems that carbon sinks, especially the ocean, are quickly sequestering c. 50% of each new ton of CO2. My impression is that, if humans abruptly reduced their emissions by 50%, the ocean would still initially take up only about half of this lower emission level, and CO2 concentrations would continue to climb at a slower rate. Exchange between the shallow and deep ocean would pull some carbon (mostly as bicarbonate) out of the atmosphere-shallow ocean system while cycling in new deep water, so there is some nonzero level of fossil fuel emissions that leads to a stable CO2 concentration in the short to medium term, but this level is somewhere well below 50% of present.

    Is this correct? If so, what is the best estimate? Is it just the amount of carbon taken up by the deep ocean, plus soil, rock weathering, etc.?

    [Response: To maintain CO2 concentrations at a stable level, you could only emit what was effectively being balanced by long-term sinks. On the hundred-year scale, that is basically only the deep ocean, and the current sequestration there is about 2 GtC/yr. Given we are putting out ~10 GtC/yr, that means you’d have to cut emissions by 80% to stabilise CO2 (which is not the same as stabilising temperature – that would continue to rise, though more slowly). – gavin]

  30. 80
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/01/11/column-climate-change-not-entitled-its-own-facts-taylor/2553350002/

    Reno (NV) Gazette Journal
    Friday, January 11, 2019 3:49 p.m. PT

    Column on climate change not entitled to its own facts
    Kendrick Taylor

    While everyone is entitled to make their own opinion about what to do about climate change, no one is entitled to make up their own facts, which is what Carl Fishel did in his opinion piece on climate change (“Enough with bashing carbon dioxide, the good gas,” Jan. 5).

    The Antarctic ice sheet contains layers of ice that fell as snow; each layer contains dust, sea salt and other indicators of environmental conditions, all stacked up like a neat pile of ancient weather reports. By drilling into the ice sheet, collecting ice cores which are samples of the ancient snow and then making measurements on the ice, it is possible to determine what the climate was in the past and how and why it changed. The air bubbles in the ice contain samples of the ancient atmosphere that allow us to determine how past changes in the composition of the atmosphere influenced climate.

    I have been involved with this research since 1981 when I was a graduate student until recently as the chief scientist for the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project on which I led a team of 29 U.S. laboratories, mostly funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

    My project investigated the timing of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperature during previous natural climate changes. Previous studies, some of which are cited by Fishel, had large uncertainties and were viewed with skepticism by myself and other leading scientists. So as skeptical scientists do, we tested the previous studies.

    Unlike previous studies, the drill site for the WAIS Divide ice core was selected to be at the best place on the planet to obtain a record of atmospheric carbon dioxide for last 60,000-plus years, and had glaciological characteristics that greatly increased the accuracy of the carbon dioxide records compared to those cited by Fishel. Our research (“Centennial-scale changes in the global carbon cycle during the last deglaciation,” Marcott et.al., 2014) showed that at the end of the last ice age the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide increased several centuries years before global temperatures started to warm. Other work (“Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation,” Shakun et.al., 2012) also reached this conclusion and pointed out the flaws in the outdated works cited by Fishel.

    It doesn’t matter if carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere naturally from the outgassing of deep carbon rich ocean water or from a smoke stack; the effect is the same: Climate gets warmer, precipitation patterns change and sea level rises. Nature already did the experiment of slightly increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the outcome is recorded in the Antarctic ice I personally collected. Humans are now repeating that experiment by burning fossil fuels and the outcome will be the same.

    The science community is confident that greenhouse gases released by burning fossil fuels already are altering climate, and if we continue to burn fossil fuels, it will result in an unfavorable climate never before experienced by any human. The changes will profoundly affect every living thing, including you. This finding is backed up by many thousands of studies.

    Climate change is a complex subject that is often misrepresented. Don’t get your information from politicians or talk-show hosts that are more concerned about their ratings than the truth you seek. Also be wary of individual scientific papers that have not withstood challenges by the scientific community. The reports from the National Climate Assessment and the International Panel on Climate Change are an excellent and regularly updated synthesis of the facts, which you can use to develop your own informed opinion of what to do about human-caused climate change.

    Kendrick Taylor, Ph.D. is research professor emeritus for the Desert Research Institute and the former chief scientist for the WAIS Divide Ice Core Project.

  31. 81
    nigelj says:

    Mike @77, my comments weren’t rhetorical. I have already explained I did some rough 5 minute calculation that showed a slight decrease in rate of atmospheric CO2 growth, and posted the results here somewhere about a year ago. I didn’t keep the calculations, and I’m not a statistics expert.

    There is no point my posting something so rough at Taminos website, given MAR has done something so much more sophisticated, but essentially doing similar things. I was really just backing up MAR, which should have been clear in my comments. Cheers, nigel.

  32. 82
    Killian says:

    Re #53 MA Rodger said Killian @52,
    It is not so easy to compare last year’s full daily data with this year’s at Scripps, but using NOAA ESRL data, I could say “Actually, it’s a bit late,” but that would be silly.

    Yes, as a 3-day difference in something this variable *is* noise.

    This year we see two consecutive January days
    7th Jan – 401.99ppm, 8th Jan – 410.73ppm (average 410.86ppm)
    Last year we saw two consecutive January days
    4th Jan – 408.54ppm, 5th Jan – 408.69ppm (average 408.615ppm perhaps suggesting an annual rise of 2.245ppm/yr.)

    Turns out, there were three days over or at 411 and a fourth day at around 410.5 or so. However, doing a really rough check of the Scripps on-line graph, the high last January was a bit over 409, so maybe nothing unusual at all. The four days seems a bit long, though. I don’t see the same for last January.

    All a nothingburger, I suppose.

  33. 83
    sidd says:

    Re: the revision stems from better observations

    Agreed. I was asking for evidence elsewhere than the Cheng paper. Since the rate of OHC increase is larger than was understood for the 0-2000 m depth, then one or both of the two possibilities i mentioned must be true, that either the radiative imbalance was larger or that the heat takeup in that depth range was larger for some reason.

    The radiative imbalance calculated a priori has large error bars on it, so thats certainly a candidate. But also, the ocean below 2000m is poorly sampled and calculated heat exchange into the oceans has large error bars as well.

    sidd

  34. 84
    Mr. Know It All says:

    80 – Hank
    How do they measure the CO2 in the ice-core air bubbles? Do they isolate the old air bubbles and measure the CO2? Physically how do they do it? What instruments do they use to measure the CO2? Have they drilled through 2 miles of ice to get the 800,000 year old samples? Can they get ice cores near the surface and measure CO2 in the air bubbles for say the past 50 years ice accumulation and show a close correlation with measurements made in ambient air over that same time period?

  35. 85
    MA Rodger says:

    Al Bundy @66,
    A global average CO2 level has two features which would fuzz-out the ENSO signal seen in the MLO data. Firstly, the Southern Hemisphere is being fed CO2 from the NH and runs perhaps a year or more behind the NH. This time-lag will smooth out any NH wobble. Secondly, an average globally will have to cope with the very large annual Arctic wobble. The slightest distortion in that Arctic wobble will be transmitted to a global average without heavy smoothing. (The method of smoothing is described by ESRL here although they do also describe a 4-station global average.)
    By rounding off the edges, a heavy smooting exercise will tend to give a sine-like result.

    The term ‘trend’ is taken direct from the ESRL use of the term. Myself, I would describe it as being the data with the annual cycle removed.

    Concerning RED & BLACK curves on the graphic here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’), adjusting for ENSO would be a bit of a challenge but I feel a quantitative analysis is unnecessary. The current wobble of the RED sine-like signal provides a value for roughly ENSO-neutral conditions which are thus comparable with the average of the middle wobble which occurred with similar ENSO conditions (in particular, the final half of it – the dip preceeding it results from a deep La Nina). So does the average dCO2 of this current wobble show any significant increase on the dCO2 through that middle wobble? If it doesn’t, would this not then infer there has been no signficant increase in the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase?

  36. 86
    MA Rodger says:

    Stibnut @79,
    As well as CO2 levels after a century, you also ask by implication about CO2 levels over shorter intervals. As it is not well set out in literature etc, here is my inferred understanding of the situation.

    The usual quantity mentioned is the Airborne Fraction, the annual CO2 increase as a proportion of the annual emissions. This is averages roughly 45% although it has dropped a little over the years. Yet the Airborne Fraction has little to do with annual CO2 emissions. The amount of CO2 drawn down directly resulting from the year’s emissions is less than 5%. Thus a year with only 50% of previous years’ emissions would today see a small reduction in CO2 levels. But as the CO2 level stagnates, the quantity of drawdown diminishes so CO2 will begin to rise again unless emissions are reduced to match the reduced draw-down.

    One of our hosts is lead-author of Archer et al (2009) ‘Atmospheric Lifetime of Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide’ which shows what happens when 1,000Gt(C) is released instantly into the atmosphere. So far we have emitted 650Gt(C) (perhaps 650 is becoming out-of-date) and we have taken some decades to do it. The difference between a big instant emmission of say 650Gt(C) and the multi-decadal one we are creating is that the climate would see CO2 dropping from 585ppm with an instant emission. But in a dozen years following an instant emission the rapidly diminishing CO2-forcing would still manage to push AGW three-times higher than our multi-decadal version would have achieved and that three-times-higher temperature would last for a century or so before temperatures began to drop down, resulting eventually in the same temperature increase (presumably) as the multi-decadal one, this after a roughly a millenium. These differences in temperature will mean the CO2 uptake will be very different for the two scenarios over many decades as ocean temperature affects ocean drawdown. So the sort of figures shown by Archer et al (2009) cannot be used to allocate drawdown to our emissions of past years. If you could, the drawdown would be something like 20% by 12 years, 40% by 90 years, 60% by 300 years, 80% by 1,000 years and the remainder ” will persist for tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of years into the future.”

  37. 87
    mike says:

    for those of you who like to track the outliers (AB and K?):

    Daily Records (by year)
    Highest-ever daily average CO2 | Maua Loa Observatory

    2019 (as of January 12, 2019)

    413.45 ppm on January 12, 2019 (NOAA-ESRL)

    2018

    412.60 ppm on May 14, 2018 (Scripps)
    412.45 ppm on May 14, 2018 (NOAA-ESRL)
    412.37 ppm on April 23, 2018 (NOAA-ESRL)

    2017

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

    2016

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

    2015

    404.84 ppm on April 13, 2015 (Scripps)

    co2.earth is the secondary source.

    Hitting a big number, like 413 plus, the largest accumulation number our species has recorded, three months before we would expect to see our largest number for 2019 is remarkable. Maybe Jan 12 is a really flukey day. I would expect the highest daily average day for 2019 to hit the scales at 415 ppm, give or take 0.2 ppm.

    Wait and see.

    Cheers

    Mike

  38. 88

    Mr. KIA–

    How do they measure the CO2 in the ice-core air bubbles?

    (See below.)

    Do they isolate the old air bubbles and measure the CO2?

    Yes.

    Physically how do they do it? What instruments do they use to measure the CO2?

    (See below.)

    Have they drilled through 2 miles of ice to get the 800,000 year old samples?

    Yep:

    https://www.livescience.com/40962-oldest-ice-core-in-antarctica.html

    And this is literally and figurative cool:

    https://newatlas.com/oldest-ice-core-ever-antarctica/50973/

    Can they get ice cores near the surface and measure CO2 in the air bubbles for say the past 50 years ice accumulation and show a close correlation with measurements made in ambient air over that same time period?

    Yes, pretty sure they’ve done just that. That’s how the paleo record was calibrated.

    All those specific technique questions are great, but answering them all would take some time to bird-dog. If you are up to doing some of it yourself, here’s a starter. The link below is for a 1997 article reviewing many aspects of ice core studies. Note that it’s not focused on CO2, but on mineral species and some organics. They’ve studied a *lot* of constituents included in the glacial ice cores.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1029/96RG03527

    One way to find some of the answers you seek would be to follow the ‘chain of scholarship’ backwards through the citations. For example, the article says that one of the earliest ice core studies was Murozami et al (1969). (It looked at lead deposit in Greenlandic ice.) So you go to the bibliography and find the citation.

    If you do, you find:

    “Chemical concentrations of pollutant lead aerosols, terrestrial dusts and seasalts, Greenland and Antarctic snow strata, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 33, 1247-1294, 1969.”

    You plug that into Google Scholar and you find the exact article:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0016703769900453?via%3Dihub

    Unfortunately, you also find that it is paywalled and you can’t access anything but the abstract, which doesn’t talk about what you know. But you may be able to find PDFs of the full text, or request them from an author (if they are still alive.) Or you just try the next promising-sounding citation.

    Some other technical questions are answered on good old Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_core#Core_processing

    (I’ve linked to ‘processing’ specifically, but you may want to read more of the article as that is not the only ‘good stuff’ to be found.)

    In fact, looking through the references and sources led me to find this nice science history review article from 2013.

    https://www.clim-past.net/9/2525/2013/cp-9-2525-2013.pdf

    It is focused on climate-relevant parameters (such as CO2 in air bubbles) and identifies a lot of relevant milestones. If you go back to the original papers, you should be able to find out a lot of the techniques they used.

  39. 89
    Hank Roberts says:

    Gavin wrote:

    … long-term sinks. On the hundred-year scale, that is basically only the deep ocean, and the current sequestration there is about 2 GtC/yr …

    What happens to the rate of the long-term sink with an ice-free Arctic and loss of Antarctic sea ice?
    Is there concern it will stop sinking?

  40. 90
    mike says:

    I think this warrants repeating, in its entirety:

    “To maintain CO2 concentrations at a stable level, you could only emit what was effectively being balanced by long-term sinks. On the hundred-year scale, that is basically only the deep ocean, and the current sequestration there is about 2 GtC/yr. Given we are putting out ~10 GtC/yr, that means you’d have to cut emissions by 80% to stabilise CO2 (which is not the same as stabilising temperature – that would continue to rise, though more slowly). – gavin]”

    CO2.earth has the following:

    2018 No data posted for
    2017 2015-2018
    2016
    2015
    2014 9.795 GtC FF & Cement only
    2013 9.735 GtC FF & Cement only
    2012 9.575 GtC FF & Cement only
    2011 9.449 GtC FF & Cement only
    2010 9.995 Gtc
    2009 9.567 Gtc
    2008 9.666 Gtc
    2007 9.472 Gtc
    2006 9.355 Gtc

    Does anyone have a link to find the data that needs updating or is missing from the co2.earth website?

    Thanks

    Mike

  41. 91
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @90,
    I think the mystery is probably to ask where the CO2.earth data originated. The data they currently present is certainly taken from page 110 of K. Pritwani (2016) ‘Sustainability of Business in the Context of Environmental Management’ The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), 328 pages. But where did Pritwani get it? It doesn’t appear to be Global Carbon Project 2015 data.
    As for an update, there is always Global Carbon Project 2018.

  42. 92
    Carrie says:

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
    Week beginning on January 6, 2019: 410.67 ppm +2.85 ppmv
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 407.85 ppm
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html

    January 12: 413.45 ppm

  43. 93
    Al Bundy says:

    So, MAR showed a 50% reduction “works” the first year (though only to stop increasing the already unacceptable CO2 level) and Gavin says 80% is the limit on timescales of a few human lifetimes.

    As an impossible hypothetical, how quickly would the 50% have to ramp up to 80% to keep CO2 levels relatively stable?

  44. 94

    KIA 84: Can they get ice cores near the surface and measure CO2 in the air bubbles for say the past 50 years ice accumulation and show a close correlation with measurements made in ambient air over that same time period?

    BPL: First done in the 1920s by Clair Patterson when he was studying airborne lead.

  45. 95
    Jim Baird says:

    The paper How fast are the oceans warming? estimates the oceans are heating up about 40 percent faster than previously estimated by the IPCC.

    To reverse this process it is necessary to use the thermal stratification of the oceans to convert the heat of warming in heat engines that produce an energy carrier that can service the energy needs of the 9 billion expected to be living on the planet by mid-century and to relocate the balance of the heat to a depth of 1000 meters. The unconverted heat will return to the surface at which point it too can be converted again into an energy carrier that can remove additional heat from the ocean until all of the heat of the warming is removed from the oceans and the waste of heat of this energy consumption on land is radiated back into space.

    If the energy carrier is hydrogen produced by an electrochemical process that weathers crushed rock to sequester CO2 and neutralizes ocean acidity you have a climate triple threat that also reduces sea level rise and the intensity of storms.

    An atomic bomb explosion per second – nightmare or opportunity?

    Realclimate needs to be supporting real climate solutions or at least engaging in the debate.

  46. 96
    Hank Roberts says:

    Mr. Know It All says:
    13 Jan 2019 at 5:49 AM

    80 – Hank

    Thank you Kevin for ansering Mr. KIA’s questions with more patience than I have.

    KIA — did you read the answers above?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2019/01/unforced-variations-jan-2019/comment-page-2/#comment-716893

    Kevin answered your questions. Did you read and follow the links?

  47. 97
    mike says:

    To AB at 93: Gavin said 100 years, not a few lifetimes. I am inclined to rephrase Gavin’s statement and state that 100 years is a blink of the eye in planetary timeframe, but I think that would be a mistake. I think it helps the conversation stay specific and productive to use clear metrics and to respect and repeat the clear metrics presented. I think we would be wise to stay rooted in what Gavin said here, and the time frame he used was 100 years.

    to MAR at 91: thanks for the leads to updated gigatonnage, but I still didn’t find what I was looking for from the links you provided. I will keep looking when I have time.

    The scientists tells us we have to cut emissions by 80%. Traditional economists tell us there is no way we can afford to cut emissions without doing big damage to the global societies. This seems like the situation where the minds that created the problem are incapable of imagining a solution. So we might want to consider new economic models. This is happening and I think the emerging field is called ecological economics. I prefer to think of it as Garden Variety Economics, but that might be misleading. Here is a link to that sort of thing for those of you interested in economics.

    https://www.journals.elsevier.com/ecological-economics

    How are we doing on CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere?

    December CO2
    December 2018: 409.23 ppm
    December 2017: 406.75 ppm
    December 2008: 385.56 ppm

    2.48 ppm increase in yoy number
    23.67 ppm increase from Dec 2008

    Warm regards

    Mike

  48. 98
    MA Rodger says:

    Al Bundy @93,
    The tables within AR5 WG1 AII provide the following numbers for atmospheric CO2 levels & anthropogenic emissions within RCP2.6. I’ve added a back-of-fag-packet annual net sequestration from atmosphere to biosphere/oceans for the preceding decade. It appears to show the 80% reduction in our CO2 emissions as a stabalisation level (ie sequestration dropped down to 2Gt(C)) follows quickly behind the 50% cut with very little fall from the peak atmospheric CO2 levels:-

    Year …..CO2(atmos) .. net Emissions … Sequestration
    2020 …. 412ppm … … … +10Gt(C)
    2030 …. 431ppm … … … +8.0Gt(C) … … +5.0Gt(C)
    2040 …. 440ppm … … … +5.3Gt(C) … … +4.7Gt(C)
    2050 …. 442ppm … … … +3.5Gt(C) … … +4.0Gt(C)
    2060 …. 441ppm … … … +2.1Gt(C) … … +3.0Gt(C)
    2070 …. 437ppm … … … +0.8Gt(C) … … +2.3Gt(C)
    2080 …. 431ppm … … … +0.2Gt(C) … … +1.8Gt(C)
    2090 …. 426ppm … … … -0.2Gt(C) … … +1.1Gt(C)
    2100 …. 421ppm … … … -0.4Gt(C) … … +0.8Gt(C)

  49. 99
    Carrie says:

    The following is MLO not Global. Picking this time period today for context only.

    2016 wk Jan 3rd 402.15 ppm in the middle of a big El Nino
    2015 wk Jan 4th 399.85 ppm

    YoY increase? 2.30 ppm

    2016 wk Jan 10th 402.48 ppm in the middle of a big El Nino
    2015 wk Jan 11th 400.16 ppm

    YoY increase? 2.32 ppm

    Week beginning on January 6, 2019: 410.67 ppm with no El Nino influence
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 407.85 ppm

    YoY increase? 2.85 ppmv

    refs
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html
    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_weekly_mlo.txt

    Rhetoric cannot change the Data nor Reality.

  50. 100
    sidd says:

    Rignot and some of the usual suspects have a paper on antarctic ice sheet (AIS) over the last four decades. Has detailed breakup of AIS, and some disturbing numbers, particularly for West AIS (WAIS)

    in the decade 1999-2009 WAIS was losing 56 GT/yr. That jumped to 159 GT/yr in the years 2009-2017. Thats a doubling time of 6 yr or so.

    Open access. Read all bout it: doi:10.1073/pnas.1812883116

    There is another paper out by Levy and some more of the usual suspects about AIS on a slitely longer timescale, 34My-5My BP. They find evidence that obiquity is a driver.

    doi: 10.1038/s41561-018-0284-4

    Not open access, so sad. Email to the corresponding author for a copy has almost always worked for me.

    sidd

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