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Unforced variations: Feb 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 February 2019

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions.

119 Responses to “Unforced variations: Feb 2019”

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Hank Roberts says:

    from the JPL study webpage:

    “We have suspected for years that Thwaites was not tightly attached to the bedrock beneath it,” said Eric Rignot of the University of California, Irvine, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Rignot is a co-author of the new study, which was published today in Science Advances. “Thanks to a new generation of satellites, we can finally see the detail,” he said.

    The cavity was revealed by ice-penetrating radar in NASA’s Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign beginning in 2010 that studies connections between the polar regions and the global climate. The researchers also used data from a constellation of Italian and German spaceborne synthetic aperture radars. These very high-resolution data can be processed by a technique called radar interferometry to reveal how the ground surface below has moved between images.

    “[The size of] a cavity under a glacier plays an important role in melting,” said the study’s lead author, Pietro Milillo of JPL. “As more heat and water get under the glacier, it melts faster.”

    Numerical models of ice sheets use a fixed shape to represent a cavity under the ice, rather than allowing the cavity to change and grow. The new discovery implies that this limitation most likely causes those models to underestimate how fast Thwaites is losing ice….

  3. 3
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-energy-202/2019/02/01/the-energy-202-epa-adds-researcher-who-calls-climate-science-murky-to-key-advisory-board/5c5315f61b326b29c3778d35/?utm_term=.1f2c41b64b92

    Washington Post
    Friday, February 1, 2019

    EPA adds researcher who calls climate science ‘murky’ to key advisory board

    By Dino Grandoni

    The Trump administration continued its reshaping of how science is evaluated at the Environmental Protection Agency with the appointment Thursday of a slew of new members to a key advisory panel.

    Among the eight additions to the agency’s Science Advisory Board are a number of members whose ideas run against mainstream scientific thinking on issues that include the health effects of radiation and the modeling of Earth’s climate.

    Andrew Wheeler, the acting EPA chief, added the eight new members while reinstalling eight others selected during the Obama administration. He cast the appointments as a reaffirmation of the Trump administration’s commitment to hearing scientific opinions from a diverse set of voices.

    “In a fair, open, and transparent fashion, EPA reviewed hundreds of qualified applicants nominated for this committee,” Wheeler said in a statement. “Members who will be appointed or reappointed include experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines who reflect the geographic diversity needed to represent all ten EPA regions.”

    But critics of the administration see this and other moves under Wheeler and former EPA chief Scott Pruitt as part of a larger push to make the agency’s decisions more friendly to industry.

    “The general makeup of the Science Advisory Board has changed significantly in the past two years,” said Genna Reed, a science and policy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “What we’re seeing is a decrease in the number of academics and a surge in the number of industry and consulting-firm members.”

    With the announcement Thursday, 26 of the board’s 45 members have been appointed by the Trump administration.

    The best-known new member of the panel, though, actually does work at a university. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, is perhaps the most prominent climate skeptic in all of academia….

  4. 4
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.al.com/news/2019/02/study-alabama-red-states-will-bear-brunt-of-climate-change.html

    Birmingham (AL) News
    Friday, February 1, 2019 11:26 AM

    Study: Alabama, red states will bear brunt of climate change
    By John Archibald | jarchibald@al.com

    This is an opinion column.

    Alabama’s climate change skeptic-in-chief – UAH’s John Christy – was just appointed to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board, a top body for advising the agency on policy.

    It’s a big win for those who favor a do-nothing approach to the changing planet.

    It’s a huge triumph to those who hold humankind guiltless and powerless to affect the climate.

    It’s a big political victory for those who believe all humanity need do in the face of global scientific consensus and pressure to reduce greenhouse gases is to do what it has always done. Just say eff it and drive on.

    It’s a smashing success for those who believe our best hope comes with our heads in the sands, listening to the 3 percent of climate scientists who say man is not to blame, instead of the 97 percent, as NASA points out, who agree that “Climate-warming trends of the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.”

    Yep. Most Alabamians will call it a big ol’ win, because worrying about preserving life on the ball costs money and keeps the super-rich from getting super richer.

    But alas. It looks like doing nothing also comes with a financial cost. Climate change will, according to a new report by the Brookings Institute, wreak the most havoc on the Southeastern states by the end of the century, and heap the most economic distress on states that, you know, don’t buy into that whole climate change thing….

  5. 5
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a26111552/fox-and-friends-polar-vortex-climate-change-global-warming/

    Esquire
    Friday, February 1, 2019

    Why Are These People So Proud to Be Dumb on Television?
    The genius crew at Fox & Friends echoes the president to say climate change isn’t real because it’s cold outside.
    By Jack Holmes

    We live in the dumbest time in history. Certainly, there were times when human beings had less knowledge. But now we have more information at our fingertips than our ancestors could possibly have imagined, and we have chosen instead to promote stupidity in general, and our society’s biggest dipshits specifically. Ignorance is a virtue, expertise is elitism, and the president’s favorite teevee show features professional morons tasked with making sure the elderly caucasians tuning in each morning are all jumped up on resentful liberal-bashing so they’ll stay tuned in for more resentment programming throughout the day. Anything is fair game if it Owns The Libs.

    Friday’s addition to the oeuvre was a real doozy.

    Bobby Lewis @revrrlewis
    Fox’s Ed Henry: “We know it’s cold outside. Now the left is actually using new terms for global warming, like ‘extreme weather.’ Why do they keep changing the language? Are they just pushing the same old agenda with new words?”….

  6. 6
    Mal Adapted says:

    Radge Havers, last month:

    provocative if occasionally OT musings.

    IOW, “unforced variations”.

    By my Ka and my Ba, dj ‘ankh mj R’ djet!

    Ancient Egyptianglish?

  7. 7
  8. 8
    Mr. Know It All says:

    4 – Hank
    Probably best plan is to ignore them. Aren’t the rest of the nations going ahead and reducing CO2 emissions? Also, many US states are doing so as well. And, many individuals are reducing emissions also. So, what they do in DC isn’t that important.

    To Kevin, on the International Energy Agency emissions report in last month’s thread: Thank you for the detailed response.

  9. 9
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH have posted its January TLT anomaly at +0.37ºC, a bit up on December’s +0.25ºC and higher than any anomaly from last year (which sit in the range from +0.32C down to +0.15ºC). The rise probably results from the weak El Nino conditions (MEI=0.698 for Oct/Nov, tha latest value dating from before Trump’s tantrum).
    It is the 6th warmest January in UAH TLT behind previous Januarys 1st 2016 (+0.56ºC), 2010, 1998, 2013, 2007 and ahead of 7th placed 2003, 8th 2017, 9th 2015 & 10th 2005.

  10. 10
    Radge Havers says:

    Mal,
    Yes and yes.

    —–

    Hank @ ~ 5,
    Re: “Proud to Be Dumb on Television”

    “…humanity’s greatest existential threat: Stupidity.”
    https://qz.com/967554/the-five-universal-laws-of-human-stupidity/

  11. 11
    radge havers says:

    …”given life like Ra forever.” Religious/magical formula.

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://phys.org/news/2019-02-hypothesis-underground-future-greenland-ice.html

    … most of Greenland’s ice can be saved from melting if warming is controlled, says a team of Penn State researchers.

    “There is geologic data that suggests the ice sheet was more sensitive to warming and temperature variations in the past million years, and not so much in the more recent past,” said David Pollard, research professor in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State.

    Too much warming will cause Greenland to lose most or all of its ice over the coming centuries, but most research indicates that the threshold warmth for complete ice loss has not been reached yet….

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2019-02-hypothesis-underground-future-greenland-ice.html

  13. 13
    Adam Lea says:

    5: “Why Are These People So Proud to Be Dumb on Television?”

    Because no matter how much humans believe they are so intelligent, they are not, because their thought processes are still dominated by primitive instincts and cognitive biases, which aided survival in the dangerous primitive way of living ten thousand years ago, but are completely useless for dealing with modern societies and associated complex problems like climate change.

    (Gut) Feeling, emotion and instinct trumps logic, facts and evidence, when the latter go against what people want to be true. This is why we, as a species, have made eff all progress on an international scale over the last 50 years, despite having all the necessary knowledge to take action over that time period.

  14. 14
    mike says:

    to mar at 9: weak en condition may also be pushing CO2 levels a bit. Next powerful EN event is likely to blow temp records away again. Then we get coral bleaching, sea ice melt, etc. But we should stay cheery and keep up the good work on cutting our emissions. Don’t get pessimistic or spread doom. Yes, glaciers are melting. Australia is really hot. Polar vortex is really cold. Thwaite is losing a little mass. But emissions flattened for a few years, so we need to wait and see how that plays out.

    Noisy weekly CO2 number is looking good. I think if you look really hard you can detect the trend in falling emissions within these numbers. I don’t have the vision for it, but those with better vision may be able to see it clearly.

    January 20 – 26, 2019 411.99 ppm
    January 20 – 26, 2018 408.31 ppm

    I think that’s 3.66 ppm, a tad high maybe, not skyrockety at all. Anything over 5 ppm in a weekly or monthly number – that might be skyrockety, but I don’t think we will ever see that, so everyone chill and enjoy the weekend.

    Is anyone tracking emission numbers? How are we doing on that important number? I think I read that China had underestimated methane release by a bit, but that’s corrcted now and methane numbers could be worse.

    Chin up, everyone.

    Mike

  15. 15
    Carrie says:

    CO2 MLO monthly data shapes up to look like a growth rate of +2.85 ppm over January 2018 – official number not out yet. Quite close to the Dec 18 monthly avg growth increase of +2.85 ppm

    One day left for the next weekly numbers currently circling @ +3.06 ppm – down a little on the previous weeks +3.68 ppm

    February 01: 410.52 ppm
    January 31: 410.73 ppm
    January 30: 411.42 ppm
    January 29: 411.24 ppm
    January 28: 411.60 ppm
    Last Updated: February 2, 2019
    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html

    Meanwhile NOAA’s numbers for 2018 Avg. came in at 408.52 ppm. That’s a +1.97 ppm growth rate over 2017. Though averages do not always tell the whole story. And only 1 year of course.

    Thanks to the super Niño, 2016’s growth over 2015 was 3.4 ppm…. versus recent weeks at 3.68/3.06 with no super el nino, or everyday el nino even.

    This years numbers are far above those of that super el nino period. So even a 2ppm increase is set atop pre-existing very high numbers. Year to year comparisons they too do not tell the whole story.

    2019 will also be the first yearly average above 410 ppm @MLO.

    We’re setting a cranking pace. We should all be proud of such record breaking achievements. Man is indeed a powerful beast and a technological genius species.

  16. 16
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @14,
    The temperature and CO2 wobble is about 8 months behind the ENSO (MEI) wobbles for big El Ninos/La Ninas and occasionally for some wobbles the lag shrinks to a couple of months.
    That said, the MEI value from 8-months-back (presumably impacting today’s climate) is about +0.5. The impact on CO2 of such MEI values would be to boost the annual increase by 0.3ppm, although that calculation strictly should be on a full year’s CO2 rise. That said, these high weekly/monthly average 12-month CO2 increases do not appear to be down to ENSO. The man-made emissions are unlikely to have risen so quickly so it is presumably plain old climate noise. The 9-week rolling average of the 12-month MLO CO2 increase is plotted out here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attatchment’) but we also have that daily global number that I have been plotting out of late (2 clicks). This ESRL “daily trend” (as they call it) does give a not-unreasonable prediction of the smoothed CO2 increases (globally & MLO) so it sort-of provides a useful gauge of where the increase is going, although the end does ‘breath’ up and down by the day. So while the deceleration is always there, it has been showing less of a drop since I started looking at it properly (which is over he last fortnight), seemingly trying hard not to get below zero where CO2 increases are actually trending lower.

  17. 17
    Sunspot says:

    5: “Why Are These People So Proud to Be Dumb on Television?”

    Because they get paid a lot of money to say what they are told to say.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://www.pasadenanow.com/main/pasadena-scientists-find-report-disturbing-find/

    Thwaites Glacier ….

    The JPL team said the huge cavity is under the main trunk of the glacier on its western side – the side farther from the West Antarctic Peninsula. In this region, as the tide rises and falls, the grounding line – the place near the edge of the continent where it lifts off its bed and starts to float on seawater – retreats and advances across a zone of about two to three miles.

    The glacier has been coming unstuck from a ridge in the bedrock at a steady rate of about 0.4 to 0.5 miles a year since 1992. Despite this stable rate of grounding-line retreat, the melt rate on this side of the glacier is extremely high.

    “On the eastern side of the glacier, the grounding-line retreat proceeds through small channels, maybe a kilometer wide, like fingers reaching beneath the glacier to melt it from below,” Milillo said.

    In that eastern region, the rate of grounding-line retreat doubled from about 0.4 miles a year from 1992 to 2011 to 0.8 miles a year from 2011 to 2017. Even with this accelerating retreat, however, the ice melts slower on this side than on the western side.

    In the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2019 through 2020, the U.S. National Science Foundation and British National Environmental Research Council are mounting a five-year field project to answer the most critical questions about Thwaites and its processes and features.

    With this International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration, the glacier, currently one of the hardest places to reach on Earth, is about to become better known than ever before.

    Milillo hopes the new results will be useful for the project’s researchers as they prepare for their fieldwork.

    “Such data is essential for field parties to focus on areas where the action is, because the grounding line is retreating rapidly with complex spatial patterns,” he said.

    “Understanding the details of how the ocean melts away this glacier is essential to project its impact on sea level rise in the coming decades,” Rignot added.

    The paper by Milillo and his co-authors in Science Advances is titled “Heterogeneous retreat and ice melt of Thwaites Glacier, West Antarctica.”

    Uh, oh. Repeating a bit for emphasis:

    as the tide rises and falls, the grounding line … retreats and advances across a zone of about two to three miles.

    This sounds like a tidal pump — that would be exchanging fresh cold meltwater for warmer sea water twice a day, every time the tide rises and falls.

    That would melt the ice much faster than simple contact, wouldn’t it?

  20. 20
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Adam Lea: “Because no matter how much humans believe they are so intelligent, they are not, because their thought processes are still dominated by primitive instincts and cognitive biases, which aided survival in the dangerous primitive way of living ten thousand years ago, but are completely useless for dealing with modern societies and associated complex problems like climate change.”

    The most amazing thing about human intelligence is not that it is ill adapted for conditions very different from those in which it evolved, but rather that despite those limitations, it has created a methodology for overcoming those limitations: the scientific method. Now if only we could create a consciousness of the need to take advantage of what we’ve created.

  21. 21
    Carrie says:

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
    Week beginning on January 27, 2019: 411.02 ppm +3.07 ppm
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 407.95 ppm

    An avg daily reading of 411.20 this week will keep the growth above 3.0ppm

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2
    February 02: 410.66 ppm
    February 01: 410.52 ppm
    January 31: 410.73 ppm
    January 30: 411.42 ppm

    https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/monthly.html

  22. 22

    Hank, #19–

    This sounds like a tidal pump — that would be exchanging fresh cold meltwater for warmer sea water twice a day, every time the tide rises and falls.

    That would melt the ice much faster than simple contact, wouldn’t it?

    Yeah, that’s the way it sounds to me, too, FWIW. No wonder that’s where the glacier is melting the fastest.

  23. 23
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @20, I think you are right in general terms. Science allows us to understand risks, formulate plans, and understand and compensate for our own inherent psychological deficits and biases. But science comes up against an intractable problem with the climate issue. Humans are wired up to respond best to immediate and near term threats, not more distant unfolding threats like climate change as below:

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5530483

    Relatively immediate threats cause a release of adrenaline that motivates action while long term threats don’t do this so much. Its the same mechanism that allows people to procrastinate about longer term problems. So we might not see real action on climate change until the threats are immediate and very substantial. Perhaps we are near that point anyway.

  24. 24
    Hank Roberts says:

    > tidal pump

    Presumably that could affect any glacier that’s only barely pressing down on its grounding line.

    How much does a grounded glacier move up and down with the tide? Same as the surrounding ocean?

    What are tides like around Antarctica?

    Another damn fiddly thing to add to the models!

  25. 25
    Mr. Know It All says:

    On the Thwaites glacier – the collapse has been known for several years. Udub researchers predicted it will take 200 to 1000 years for it to melt completely:

    “The University of Washington study used satellite measurements and computer models to determine that the Thwaites could melt in as little as 200 years, or the melting could take as long as 1,000 years. Ian Joughin, a university glaciologist and the lead author of that study, said the most likely scenario is at the lower end of that range.”

    Source from May 12, 2014:
    http://www.latimes.com/science/environment/la-sci-0513-antarctic-ice-sheet-20140513-story.html

    I now propose the solution to the global heating: Grab some of the ice bergs and push them north to the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water will melt, stay on top, and freeze quicker than salt water, and the melt should cool the surrounding water, right? Also, push some ice bergs into the path of the gulf stream to shut it down so it stops pumping heat to the north. And, push some up along the west coasts of the US and Europe to help cool the air and water in the summer. The ice is already floating, so no effect on sea level. You’re welcome for this free mitigation solution to AGW; if you insist, I will accept the Nobel Prize. :)

    Some glaciers advance quickly, then retreat, then advance, etc:

    https://www2.usgs.gov/climate_landuse/clu_rd/glacierstudies/brapids.asp

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Rapids_Roadhouse#Black_Rapids_Glacier

  26. 26
    Hank Roberts says:

    Thwaites glacier – …. The University of Washington study ….
    Source from May 12, 2014

    Yeah, what they didn’t know at that time led to that optimistic melt time estimate. You can always find something reassuring if you ignore what we’ve learned since.

  27. 27
    Hank Roberts says:

    Ah, I recall this being mentioned previously:

    … Storm-driven ocean swells have triggered the catastrophic disintegration of Antarctic ice shelves in recent decades, according to new research published in Nature today. … “Over time, this flexing enlarges pre-existing fractures until long thin ‘sliver’ icebergs break away or ‘calve’ from the shelf front.”
    Jun 14, 2018
    Ocean waves following sea ice loss trigger Antarctic ice shelf collapse …
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180614095245.htm

  28. 28
    Carrie says:

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/2192369-so-far-2019-has-set-35-records-for-heat-and-2-for-cold/

    North America is in the grip of a polar vortex, bringing freezing weather from North Dakota to Ohio. The cold snap has drawn predictably frosty comments from climate change deniers. But the global picture tells a different story.

    Until 31 January, no weather stations had recorded all-time cold records in 2019 – which is unprecedented at this stage of the year, according to weather records compiler Maximiliano Herrera. On Thursday morning, two all-time record lows were finally broken, at Rockford and Moline in Illinois, where temperatures reached -36.1°C.

    In contrast, 35 stations in the southern hemisphere have recorded all-time highs. Among them were Noona in New South Wales, where the temperature at night remained above 35.9°C on 17 January – the hottest night in Australia’s history. Reunion and Christmas Island also experienced all-time hottest temperatures.

    The mean temperature for January in Australia exceeded 30°C – the first time this has happened for any month in the country’s history.

    Could that be because of the steady growth in atmospheric GHGs or is it just more of that “get out of jail free card” scenario – the old “natural variations” going on? Nah it’s only the weather. :-)

    MLO February 03 CO2 reading: 410.60 ppm

    I wonder did human driven global GHG emissions fall or rise in 2018?

  29. 29
    Erik Lindeberg says:

    What is going on with GRACE-FO? I understand they had to turn off the main unit June 19. 2018, but were back on a backup unit October 19. There have not been any information on their web-site since November 1. Is it the partial government shutdown that has caused the delay? Can we expect a long gap in the data when they arrive? How long gap? Anyone?

  30. 30
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Nigelj: “Humans are wired up to respond best to immediate and near term threats, not more distant unfolding threats like climate change as below…”

    And that is the true existential threat to longterm human survival. If humans do not learn how to overcome this bias and do actual risk analysis, eventually we’ll run up against a threat that takes us out. Maybe that will be climate change. Maybe it will be a killer asteroid. Maybe environmental collapse in general. Maybe it will be electing incomparably stupid populists and giving them the nuclear codes.

  31. 31
    MA Rodger says:

    The ironically-named Mr Know It All @25,
    Your grand “solution to the global heating” would only provide a temporary relief from global warming and at the same time bring with it multi-metre sea level rise. Read Hansen et al (2016) ‘Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2ºC global warming could be dangerous’ and note in Figs 7, 11 or 15 that the cooling reverses the AGW temperature rise by only a decade or so.

  32. 32
    Carrie says:

    Sorry what was that?

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2
    February 04: 412.55 ppm

  33. 33
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA: “I now propose the solution to the global heating: Grab some of the ice bergs and push them north to the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water will melt, stay on top, and freeze quicker than salt water, and the melt should cool the surrounding water, right?”

    Because, what could go wrong? Right? So, how about the fact that it would take a massive amount of ice to make a difference–after all, we already have near a continent’s worth on Greenland and it makes only a local difference. And how about the fact that if you were successful, you’d shut down the thermohaline conveyor and therefore the Gulf Stream, sending Europe into a deep freeze.

    Face palm!

  34. 34
    Mike says:

    Glaciers may get more stable once they shed the weak ice. Also, human emissions may have already hit their peak as shown during the 2014-2016 period. If you look hard at the CO2 accumulation during that same period, I am told you can see that the accumulation of CO2 in atmosphere also slowed. I can’t see it, but I am old and my vision is failing.

    spikey day on CO2:

    Daily CO2

    February 4, 2019: 412.55 ppm
    February 4, 2018: 407.32 ppm

    dailies are very noisy and essentially mean nothing. 5.22 ppm increase in yoy number looks startling, but, really not a big deal. It’s not a 7 ppm increase.

    Everybody stay positive and cheerfully dedicated to emission reduction please. I think we might be doing great!

    Cheers,

    Mike

  35. 35
    Al Bundy says:

    Mr KillingInaction: Source from May 12, 2014

    AB: Dude, you’re quoting five-year-old thoughts just after you were told that last year’s thoughts are drastically obsolete. Basically, it WAS thought to be 200-1000 years but as of now we know that estimate is seriously obsolete.

    Mr KillingInaction: Grab some of the ice bergs and push them north to the Arctic Ocean.

    AB: Though you’re surely attempting humor, note that iceberg mass is measured in millions of tons. Getting them even to the equator so as to supply way expensive drinking water to Arabia has been too far a push. How about running a cable across the Nares Strait? Oooo, run one from Greenland to Iceland, too! It’s ever so easy to come up with solutions as long as one doesn’t care about orders of magnitude. I mean, seriously, how hard could it be to corral a billion ton iceberg anyway?

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    Towing icebergs. I remembered this article from last year. Looks like it might just be feasable to tow a small one to Africa for fresh water, emphasis on word “might” and at considerable expense.

    Towing enough icebergs half way around the world, and to be useful for the climate change? ha ha ha, no.

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180918-the-outrageous-plan-to-haul-icebergs-to-africa

  37. 37
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS have posted its January TLT anomaly at +0.67ºC, a bit up on December’s +0.51ºC and higher than any anomaly from last year (which sit in the range from +0.63C down to +0.42ºC). This was as per UAH TLT.
    It is the 4th warmest January in RSS TLT (6th in UAH) behind previous Januarys 1st 2016 (+0.87ºC), 2010 (+0.72ºC), 2007 (+0.68ºC) and ahead of 5th-placed 1998 (+0.62ºC). Note these other warm Januarys were all proper El Nino years, unlike this year. January 2019 is the 23rd warmest month on the all-month RSS record.

    The RSS Browser Tool shows, relative to last month, cooling in the Arctic, warming in both mid-latitudes & Antarctica with the tropics unchanged.

  38. 38
    John Kelly says:

    Having recently looked at Hansen’s Ice Melt paper, I wondered if it might be referenced in response to the iceberg question. My recollection is that, in addition to the global cooling that would result from an aggressive SLR assumption of 5m, including massive cooling in the UK area (>10C), the planetary energy imbalance actually spikes during the cool period. I didn’t fully understand that, but it may have been due to the cool meltwater lens over the Southern Ocean preventing the escape of ocean heat to space. Does that sound right?

  39. 39
    Carrie says:

    Global Temperature in 2018 and Beyond 06 February 2019
    James Hansena, Makiko Satoa, Reto Ruedyb,c Gavin A. Schmidtc, Ken Lob,c

    Abstract. Global surface temperature in 2018 was the 4th highest in the period of instrumental measurements in the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) analysis. The 2018 global temperature was + 1.1°C (~2°F) warmer than in the 1880-1920 base period; we take that base period as an estimate of ‘pre-industrial’ temperature. The four warmest years in the GISS record all occur in the past four years, and the 10 warmest years are all in the 21st century. We also discuss the prospects for near-term global temperature change.
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2019/20190206_Temperature2018.pdf

    Is it only a coincidence that GHGs levels especially CO2 have also been the highest in the last four years too? And that 2018 GHGs dipped a little in it’s growth so did the global temps.

    Could it be that atmospheric CO2 is actually an “instant Proxy” for increasing global temps? A yard stick that is measurable, constant, immediate and reliable indicator of the looming trend.

    “The four warmest years in the GISS record are the past four years, 2015-2018.”

    “The strong 2015-16 El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean is more prominent in the annual 2015 map than in 2016, yet the impact of the El Niño on global temperature is greater in 2016. This is a result of the lag of 3-4 months between El Niños and their effect on global temperature.”

    But why is that so? It’s regional warmth and moisture shifts that produces the El Nino effect. Then there’s a lag from that to increases in global temps . But what produces that temperature effect? Perhaps it’s the massive spikes in GHG emissions, namely CO2 that is “forced” out of the biosphere by that there El Nino.

    eg https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-pinpoints-cause-of-earth-s-recent-record-carbon-dioxide-spike/

    “A new NASA study provides space-based evidence that Earth’s tropical regions were the cause of the largest annual increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration seen in at least 2,000 years.

    Scientists suspected the 2015-16 El Nino — one of the largest on record — was responsible …..” and guess what – it was!

    The CO2 spiked and then roughly “3-4 months later” so did the global temperatures in 2016. Could it be that CO2 spike = temperature spike?

    Could it be that the January/Feb CO2 spikes to the 413 ppmv (quite out of the ordinary pattern) is going to be a part of a longer term push in a temperature spike in the Nth hemisphere spring to summer?

    another quote from the Hansen paper:

    “Global land area has warmed about twice as much as global ocean, as shown in Figure 3. Linear fit to the period 1975-present yields a warming about 1.6°C over land and 08°C over ocean. Thus average warming of land is about 3°F and ocean surface warming is about 1.5°F. The warming is reaching levels at which it becomes easier for the public to appreciate that the warming is significant.”

    GHGs and CO2 have also reached levels that are significant and appreciable and almost immediately available as a Yardstick.
    Australia and Chile and Reunion have all made multiple new High Temperature records this January all up about 35 see the list here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2192369-so-far-2019-has-set-35-records-for-heat-and-2-for-cold/

    Guess what high temperatures, especially record temps does to CO2 in soil and vegetation sinks? It pushes it out into the atmosphere causing a CO2 spike … ref see NASA report above.

    More CO2 = more higher temps … it’s called a feedback loop in normal discourse. Freezing could snap in the USA Canada and Europe from the Polar Vortex “feedback mechanism” forces what? Massive increases in burning fossil fuels for heating and electricity = another regional CO2 spike = more atmospheric CO2 = increase in temperatures lagged by +/- 3 to 4 months.

    It all depends on the cumulative effect from multiple regions on the planet. So why did the MLO CO2 spike to the 413 and +3.68 ppm growth all of a sudden? From where did that come from? How much CO2 has Australia emitted from the soil/vegtation during these high 40s C record temps and all that extra coal fired electicity being used to power the air conditioners that everyone needs today to survive “the excessive summer heat”?

    Feedback mechanism hey? Almost immediate CO2 responses within the atmosphere, getting mixed over time and 3-4-6 months later different regions of the world then experience an exceptional Temperature anomaly.

    All things being equal of course … but those variations are known about and can be quantified and put into context. The big hint in all of this is of course the 2015/2016 Super El Nino and what happened during and then after.

    The other issue of course is the higher regularity and increase in potency of said El Ninos versus history when global temps were lower and CO2 was far less and record high temps and fires and droughts were not off the scale like they are in recent times and ongoing.

  40. 40
    Killian says:

    Re #34 Mike said Glaciers may get more stable once they shed the weak ice.

    As it slides down to the sea, it all becomes weak ice, does it not? As that “weak” ice slides into the ocean sea level rises pushing further inland where that “weak” ice gets… weakened, no? I’m pretty sure the science says loss accelerates over time unless the conditions creating the loss are amerliorated, so don’t see the “weak ice” aregument as very convincing. Do you have a cite for it?

    Also, human emissions may have already hit their peak as shown during the 2014-2016 period.

    Umm… this is “pause” logic. You’re saying a strong EN year that added up to 2ppm to emissions should be used as a sign of peak emissions… like ’98 was supposed to be a peak in temperatures.

    Daily CO2

    February 4, 2019: 412.55 ppm
    February 4, 2018: 407.32 ppm

    dailies are very noisy and essentially mean nothing. 5.22 ppm increase in yoy number looks startling, but, really not a big deal.

    Really? So it’s pretty common? Got a long-ish list of ’em, I guess? I’m thinking you don’t except in EN times, which this is not.

    It’s not a 7 ppm increase.

    Mike, that’s a fallacy.

    Everybody stay positive and cheerfully dedicated to emission reduction please. I think we might be doing great!

    If emissions reduction was the solution to it all, that would be great, but it isn’t. Moreso, the current rapid rise that is not at all normal for Jan/Feb is not one daily rise. We are well into a pattern of elevated CO2 readings, and people should be wondering why, not minimizing it.

    If your post were about hourly numbers, I wouldn’t have responded, but the daily and weekly numbers are accelerated so far as I can tell.

    I’d sincerely appreciate an analysis of just how unusual it is to match the previous high daily and weekly numbers in January/Feb vs. March/April.

  41. 41
  42. 42
    MA Rodger says:

    John Kelly @38,
    It is not a cooler ocean specifically that causes the global energy imbalance to spike. It is the cooler planet generally. Melting ice is an energy-intensive process which is why the large global ice caps will not quickly melt away unless there is a mechanism that can bring the energy to the ice or the ice to the energy (as is the case with icebergs floating away from the polar oceans. Hansen et al (2016) set out a hypothesis describing such a mechanism.
    Diverting such massive amounts of energy into melting ice cools the whole planet. A cooler planet will be receiving the same level of warming but being cooler it will radiate less into space, this creating the imbalance spike. (And, of course, this on top of the reduced cooling due to increasing levels of GHGs.)

  43. 43
    Mr. Know It All says:

    19 – Hank
    “This sounds like a tidal pump — that would be exchanging fresh cold meltwater for warmer sea water twice a day, every time the tide rises and falls.”

    Are we sure? The temperature of fresh melt-water is ~ 32 F. What is the temperature of the sea water? Depends on time of year? It can be colder than 32 F. Down to what, 29 F for salt water?

    24 – Hank
    “How much does a grounded glacier move up and down with the tide? Same as the surrounding ocean?”

    Depends on how much of the ice is sticking above the water. My wild guess is that much of the ice, if grounded, does not rise/fall at all with the tide because if it does it isn’t grounded – it’s floating.

    26 – Hank
    “Yeah, what they didn’t know at that time led to that optimistic melt time estimate. You can always find something reassuring if you ignore what we’ve learned since.”

    OK, what have we learned since? I did not see an estimate for the time to melt the Thwaites in your article. Did I miss it? Let’s do the math for the JPL scientists – this is tough, advanced arithmetic: Manhattan has an area of 33.58 sq. mi. The Thwaites is approximately the size of Florida (65,755 sq mi). I cannot find the average thickness, but let’s assume it’s 1,000 feet for easy math. If someone has data on average thickness please adjust these calcs based on that info. So, it took ~ 3 years to melt out a Manhattan sized cavity 1,000 feet high. At that rate, assuming 1,000 feet average thickness, it would take 65,755 sq. mi./ 33.58 sq. mi./year = 1,958 years to melt the Thwaites. If the thickness is 2,000 ft, then we’re talkin’ ~4,000 years. At 3,000 ft. we’re talkin’ ~6,000 years. OK, maybe it will speed up due to the physical processes described – I don’t know. Corrections to these calcs are welcome and desired.
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau3433.full
    While we’re beating the dead horse of how long to melt the Thwaites, please allow me to state that when you write a science paper, do not use units of area such as “2/3 the size of Manhattan” – use proper units, and please list the average thickness of the Thwaites, and please give your best estimate of the newly discovered time to melt it. ;)

    36 – nigelj
    Good article on ice berg towing. They may try to haul a small one to Cape Town this year.

    OK, so it’s harder to haul bergs than I thought, but to know the effects on sea level, European winters, you’d have to model it. And the temps in the Arctic are not as cold as they used to be (for the places I can find on the internet) so the cooling may not be catastrophic for them.

    Speaking of Arctic temps, is there a place where latest measured temps in the Arctic can be seen? Like on a daily basis? Ditto Antarctica?

    Earth crust under the Thwaites may be thin, increasing heat flow to the ice:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X14005780

  44. 44
    Ignorant Guy says:

    Re #40 by Killian

    Irony is dangerous because people may think you are serious.
    Mike at #34 is ironic. (At least I hope so.)

  45. 45
    Ric Merritt says:

    Towing icebergs to South Africa?! Clearly ridiculous! Much more practical, send all the thirsty poor people on some of those nice cruises to Antarctica, where the tour boat issues them yellow slickers and takes them around in rubber dinghies. They could drink all they want, and take home jugs with tasteful souvenir logos. The jugs would surely end up in the gray market, greatly easing the problem. Compared to the towing debacle, this seems quite doable.

  46. 46
    mike says:

    Hi Killian.

    Yes, I know and agree with you. I am channeling a little nigel with my positive spin. A few folks here, nigel and hank come to mind, like to nip at heels if any of us discuss things in ways they feel is too gloomy, so I accommodate them from time to time. I suppose I should just ignore them, but it’s a little fun to move to the optimistic tone and then watch Hank gush about the changes in Thwaite or watch Nigel get pessimistic about the possibility/probability that we haven’t got anything like a decent grip on the emissions problem.

    Our emotional positions and responses are all about the context that we each carry about changes in the climate. I am sanguine about the changes that we have brought about at this point. I think the changes we have introduced to the world are driving a major extinction event, but this planet is amazing and is quite likely to recover from the impact of homo sapies in 10 million years or less.

    Wait and see, buddy

    Mike

  47. 47
    Mark El says:

    Richard Alley has an article in SciAm Feb 2019 in which he writes “If Thwaites, far larger, unzips the way Jakobshavn did, it and adjacent ice could crumble, perhaps in as little as a few decades, raising sea levels 11 feet.”

    That’ some scary ambiguity in that phrase,… “in as little as a few decades”. I’m glad the US and UK are doing the 5year mission to Thwaites to try to pin this down.

  48. 48
    carrie says:

    Some are reporting this “news” but most are not.

    2018 Was Earth’s Fourth-Hottest Year On Record, Scientists Say
    February 6, 2019

    Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA, says the message is clear: “The planet is warming. The long-term trends are extremely robust. There’s no question.” And the cause is clear too, he adds: “It’s because of the increases in the greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere over the last 100 years.”

    The climate report is an annual summary of research compiled by scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The data are derived from both land-based and satellite monitoring, which Schmidt says is more accurate than ever.

    https://www.npr.org/2019/02/06/692060375/2018-was-earths-fourth-hottest-year-on-record-scientists-say

  49. 49
    Hank Roberts says:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-08471-z

    Published: 07 February 2019
    Recent increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates

    Kieran T. Bhatia, Gabriel A. Vecchi, Thomas R. Knutson, Hiroyuki Murakami, James Kossin, Keith W. Dixon & Carolyn E. Whitlock

    Nature Communicationsvolume 10, Article number: 635 (2019)

    … it is crucial to understand if, and why, there are observed upward trends in tropical cyclone intensification rates. Here, we utilize two observational datasets to calculate 24-hour wind speed changes over the period 1982–2009. We compare the observed trends to natural variability in bias-corrected, high-resolution, global coupled model experiments that accurately simulate the climatological distribution of tropical cyclone intensification. Both observed datasets show significant increases in tropical cyclone intensification rates in the Atlantic basin that are highly unusual compared to model-based estimates of internal climate variations. Our results suggest a detectable increase of Atlantic intensification rates with a positive contribution from anthropogenic forcing and reveal a need for more reliable data before detecting a robust trend at the global scale….

  50. 50

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