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Unforced variations: Feb 2019

Filed under: — group @ 1 February 2019

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions.

182 Responses to “Unforced variations: Feb 2019”

  1. 51

    KIA, #43–

    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?

    The best site for an overview that I know is the climatereanalyzer:

    It’s a nice graphical interface for viewing the “analysis model”–i.e., the numerical model which is the basis for forecasts. So it’s not the raw measured temps (and all the other relevant parameters); it’s the ‘assimilated data’. (I.e., it uses the observations to derive a more complete picture.)

  2. 52

    Further to my #51, hopefully it was clear that the ‘analysis model’ is directly based on observations, assimilated into a numerical weather model, which then generates a complete picture of global weather constrained by those observations. A really good book on this is “A Vast Machine.” It’s highly recommended.

    Also, for those interested in actual observations in the Arctic, the Canadian weather service is an obvious choice:

    You can click on the provinces or territories to bring up individual stations. A standout in the Arctic is of course Resolute, which is the most northerly permanent weather station in the world.

  3. 53
    Killian says:

    Re #47 Mark El said 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.

    They really can’t nail it down. This is more like drawing a huge circle around it, and still maybe wrong. Ah, non-linear systems and Chaos… had I been a numbers geek in HS, we might have had a very intimate relationship… Alas, I thought my love was music… such sad delusion… Ah, well.

    What I love about this is we have two of the people I think are the most clear-eyed climatologists on the planet, Hansen and Alley, both talking about potential 3 meter plus rises this century.

    I absolutely do enjoy saying to our Dear Regulars: Told you so… ten years ago.

    Because, yes, I do think 3 meters is the least we can expect at this point. (Bear in mind that lack of hysteresis I’ve talked about for years…) The caveat is if the world should blow my mind and actually decide to get back to 300 or less and stabilize the climate system – especially the poles. To wit:

    Now, Dear Readers, you ready to discuss Deep Simplicity and Regenerative Governance yet?

  4. 54
    Killian says:

    Re #’s 44 and 46:

    I must admit my /sarc meter was way off. Nice catch re: 44, and sorry I spoiled your fun re: 46.

  5. 55
    Al Bundy says:

    My FatalInaction: 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.

    AB: The definition of “grounding line” is the point where a marine glacier’s ice starts to float. Thus, by definition about 90% of the mass of the ice above the point where the ice lifts off the bottom is below the surface of the ocean. My guess is that it is reasonable to ignore the strength of the ice because its plasticity combined with the flexing action of tides surely “molds” the ice to the “proper” level.

    And the melting-in-place is not the problem. Have you ever defrosted a freezer? The ice warms up and comes off in chunks, right? Thus, the “goal” is not to melt the ice but to loosen its grip on the walls, be they in your freezer or cradling your glacier. You use a knife, nature uses tides. Same effect.

    You’d do better if you’d approach questions the other way around. When an expert says something that seems wrong to you you should FIRST ask, “What is it that she knows that I need to learn?” Yes, once in a billion years or so you’ll “beat the expert”, but I kinda doubt you’ll live for a billion years.

  6. 56
    Carrie says:

    Recent Daily Average Mauna Loa CO2 indicates the next Weekly Avg announcement will be above 3ppm for the third week in a row. No El Nino in sight. January monthly was very close to 3ppm also @ +2.87 ppm

    I am still patiently waiting for that data showing human GHG emissions have fallen in recent years and/or in 2018 specifically. Must be coming soon.

  7. 57
    Al Bundy says:


    Here’s how it’s done:
    “We went in with a hypothesis that we wouldn’t see warmth in this time period, in which case we might have had to explain how the Norse were hearty, robust folk who settled in Greenland during a cold snap,” Lasher said. “Instead, we found evidence for warmth. Later, as their settlements died out, apparently there was climatic instability. Maybe they weren’t as resilient to climate change as Greenland’s indigenous people, but climate is just one of many things that might have played a role.”

    The data told the scientists that they were wrong and the scientists followed the data. You see, searching for confirmation of your hypothesis is the very best way to get kicked out of science (not get tenure or prestige).

    Or, in your case, to be laughed at your entire life. My guess is that you are so used to it that it gives you comfort.

  8. 58
    Al Bundy says:

    Killian: Now, Dear Readers, you ready to discuss Deep Simplicity and Regenerative Governance yet?

    AB: Sure folks are, but they probably have issues with discussing it with you. Humans are strange that way.

    But me, I’m game. Let’s start small. What is the proper way to dig and glaze an earth-sheltered greenhouse with 100% permanent sustainability? Note that I pretty much wore out a shovel digging ONE 35′ x 3′ x 4′ hole for a walipini (thanks for letting me know what I built) in Atlanta (clay and rock makes for hard digging). Or is that too strict a goal?

  9. 59
    Carrie says:

    MLO CO2 February 09: 414.27 ppm

    Could be a new record.

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa
    Week beginning on February 3, 2019: 411.63 ppm +3.82 ppm
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 407.81 ppm
    Weekly value from 10 years ago: 386.99 ppm
    Last updated: February 10, 2019

    As Mike says, at least it’s not +7 ppm, but that might be a new weekly growth record.

    Three weeks in a row above +3 ppm – no El Nino in sight (yet).

    But one of the main researchers – Professor David Archer of Chicago University – warns that “the climatic impacts of releasing fossil fuel carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will last longer than Stonehenge, longer than time capsules, far longer than the age of human civilisation so far. Ultimate recovery takes place on timescales of hundreds of thousands of years, a geologic longevity typically associated in public perceptions with nuclear waste.”

    March 2009 Atmospheric Lifetime of Fossil Fuel Carbon Dioxide
    David Archer,1Michael Eby,2Victor Brovkin,3Andy Ridgwell,4Long Cao,5Uwe Mikolajewicz,3Ken Caldeira,5Katsumi Matsumoto,6Guy Munhoven,7Alvaro Montenegro,2and Kathy Tokos6

    Not ‘skyrockety’ and not ‘panicky’ just pointing out the bleeding obvious.

  10. 60
    Carrie says:

    In the web of life “everything is connected” back to the Climate System

    “If insect species losses cannot be halted, this will have catastrophic consequences for both the planet’s ecosystems and for the survival of mankind,” said Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, at the University of Sydney, Australia, who wrote the review with Kris Wyckhuys at the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing.

    The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”

    One of the biggest impacts of insect loss is on the many birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that eat insects. “If this food source is taken away, all these animals starve to death,” he said. Such cascading effects have already been seen in Puerto Rico, where a recent study revealed a 98% fall in ground insects over 35 years.


    … “When you consider 80% of biomass of insects has disappeared in 25-30 years, it is a big concern.”

    The new analysis selected the 73 best studies done to date to assess the insect decline.
    Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers

    If only insects main diet had been CO2 ;-)

  11. 61
    Carrie says:

    The Southern Hemisphere is Scorching (and Flooding with record braking rainfalls): Unprecedented Heat in Chile, Argentina and Australia

    Record breaking huh? Yes but let’s not get all ‘skyrockety’ about it or CO2 levels … it’s probably some ‘natural variation’ going on n’est pa? No biggy. Keep saving up for the Tesla 3 people.

  12. 62
    Killian says:

    Re #60 Carrie posted The 2.5% rate of annual loss over the last 25-30 years is “shocking”, Sánchez-Bayo told the Guardian: “It is very rapid. In 10 years you will have a quarter less, in 50 years only half left and in 100 years you will have none.”

    Except it likely will not play out that way any more than the decline over that time has actually been linear. If we’d measured better, I’m certain we’d have a curve looking much like ASI Extent.

    Trophic cascades are not linear.

    80% is already collapse, imo, or at least collapsing, and only going to get worse unless we change to regenerative ag globally very, very quickly. But, of course, “Can’t be done! People won’t! Skyrocketty! Apocalyptic thinking!”

    Or, just maybe, we can choose life, no matter how hard to do so.

  13. 63
    MA Rodger says:

    Spouting Thomas @59,
    You say “Three weeks in a row above +3 ppm – no El Nino in sight (yet).” If not in sight, where then are you looking for El Niño?

  14. 64

    #60, Carrie–

    Thanks for the link to the review study. That’s useful.

    An additional quote from the news story (I found it reprinted on

    “The evidence all points in the same direction,” said Prof Dave Goulson at the University of Sussex in the UK. “It should be of huge concern to all of us, for insects are at the heart of every food web, they pollinate the large majority of plant species, keep the soil healthy, recycle nutrients, control pests, and much more. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.”

    Insects are indeed “at the heart of every food web.” That’s why this issue is so fundamentally important. Without a prosperous insect cohort, massive losses of plants and vertebrate animals follow, just as surely as night follows day.

  15. 65
    nigelj says:

    Humanity has been using industrial pesticides for decades, and insect populations have declined. What a surprise (sarc).

  16. 66
    Hank Roberts says:

    The polar vortex is running wild—and it may not be because of climate change

    It bends, it twists, and scientists are split on what’s causing it.

    Shorter: scientists and models differ.

  17. 67
    Nemesis says:

    We will get +15°C this week in Germany- in WINTER. Yes, it’s still winter time in Germany and we will get beautiful +15°C this week, hahaha:

    Btw, do you believe in Hell?^^ I do, as Hell is my home from early childhood on. Just read the daily news and you will realize:

    We are living in real Hell. You still don’t believe in Hell? You will feel it and know it quickly. Hell is real, welcome to real Hell :))


  18. 68
    Carrie says:

    MLO CO2 readings

    February 11: 413.52 ppm
    February 10: 411.97 ppm

    February 09: 414.27 ppm
    February 08: 411.37 ppm

    Looking like it will be 4 weeks in a row +3 ppm (with no El Nino in sight)

    Highest-ever daily average CO2 | Maua Loa Observatory

    (as of February 10, 2019)

    414.27 ppm on February 9, 2019 (NOAA-ESRL)
    413.96 ppm on January 22, 2019 (Scripps)
    413.86 ppm on January 22, 2019 (NOAA-ESRL)
    413.83 ppm on January 21, 2019 (Scripps)
    413.69 ppm on February 9, 2019 (Scripps)
    413.45 ppm on January 12, 2019 (NOAA-ESRL)

  19. 69
    mike says:

    link to the Sanchez-Bayo paper. I am not surprised to read that insect numbers are in decline globally. I expect to read something similar regarding loss of living material/mass in the oceans. The sixth extinction event is taking out some apex creatures, but I think it is likely that devastating losses are occurring at the bottom of the food chain or in special slices of the planet’s catalog of living things. There is an active discussion on forced responses about human population. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but as we observe the degradation of the web of life, we might conclude that the degradation of the web of life is going to help us avoid an expansion to 11 billion or whatever big number is currently projected to be our destination at some future date. I think there are many issues that are likely to affect human population growth (the science approach) that are not that closely linked to a population plan we might develop (the forced response approach).

    Maybe Sanchez-Bayo is wrong about the insect apocalypse and its trajectory? Hope so, because I think we will miss the bugs when enough of them are gone.

    Cheers, stay positive and optimistic, it could be worse.


  20. 70
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #62

    ” Except it likely will not play out that way any more than the decline over that time has actually been linear. If we’d measured better, I’m certain we’d have a curve looking much like ASI Extent.

    Trophic cascades are not linear.”

    Man that insect decline started to get ugly just a few decades ago (roughly 30 years ago). In geological terms that’s not just exponential, but a straight 90° line upwards on the scale 8) I don’t think anyone will stop that, it’s a multifactorial problem:

    Monetary profit optimized agriculture, pesticides, degraded ecosystems, poisened lakes and rivers (insect breeding ground) ect. And climate heating too. Take away all other factors, but you can’t take away the climate factor anymore, we have +1°C already and there’s more to come. If just +1°C has this kind of devestating effect on global insect population (is that really a surprise taking into account the extreme short period of time the temperature has risen?), then I’d say:

    Goooood luck with that.


  21. 71
    Nemesis says:

    @mike, #69

    ” I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but as we observe the degradation of the web of life, we might conclude that the degradation of the web of life is going to help us avoid an expansion to 11 billion or whatever big number is currently projected to be our destination at some future date.”

    I will be happy when I leave Empire, one eater less, so more people can drive SUV and fly around and shit. Man I will be happy when I leave Empire forever.

  22. 72
    nigelj says:

    Regarding the insect decline, it looks very serious to me. This article has a graph of the decline of insects from 1970 – 2010. Lepidoptera follow a linear trend and all other invertebrates follow a linear trend but with a complex, broken pattern.

    However vertebrate species declines can follow various classic curves as below, and it seems to me insects might ultimately follow the same if you read the article. But only time will tell. Of course if we have any sense we wont let any of this continue. Big if though.

  23. 73
    MA Rodger says:

    Spouting Thomas @68.
    You are repeating (abet with a little ammendment) your statement @59 – “Three weeks in a row above +3 ppm – no El Nino in sight (yet).” Now you say “Looking like it will be 4 weeks in a row +3 ppm (with no El Nino in sight)” If there is “no El Niño in sight,” where is it you are looking? You fail to say!!
    That you parade this “4 weeks in a row +3ppm” and “Highest-ever daily average CO2 | Maua Loa Observatory”: this is ndeed a sign of panicky skyrocketry precisely because, as you say @59, it is “the bleeding obvious.” There is a lot of noise in the CO2 record. There were 13 weeks in a row less-than 2ppm and the wheels continue to rotate. Nothing has fallen off as a result. By what logic is a period of +3ppm any different? And within that noise there will be a “highest-ever” every year.
    Further, if you are minded to set out what it is you are spouting-off about (rather than continuing the spouting-off), it would help greatly to know why you insist that there is “no El Niño in sight.”

  24. 74
    mike says:

    CO2? Things are looking up!

    February 3 – 9, 2019 411.63 ppm
    February 3 – 9, 2018 407.81 ppm
    February 3 – 9, 2009 386.99 ppm

    so about 3.82 ppm increase yoy
    and about 24.64 ppm increase over a decade ago.
    Divide the decade by ten and I get a snapshot that suggests 2.46 ppm increase as the underlying baseline for the ten year period from 2009 to 2019. It’s not a fancy smoothed and adjusted trend number or anything like that, just a quick boe calculation based on numbers from

    I have it on good authority that if you know where to look in these numbers, you can spot the flattening of increase rate of CO2 accumulation to match the lower emission levels reported starting around 2014. I can’t see it, but I am old and my vision is not that great.

    Everybody stay cheery, bug numbers are falling and human being numbers continue to rise! I think we are clearly kicking the insects’ ass.

    I have a friend spending two weeks on the Big Island right now. Record cold weather, rain, wind hitting that little bit of paradise right now which is going to put a damper on the vacation, but he is avoiding the cold snap and snow that has jammed up Western Washington, so I guess it is a net positive for my jetsetting buddy.

    Cheers to all,


  25. 75
    Mr. Know It All says:

    51 and 52 Kevin
    Great links to the Climate Reanalyzer.


    43 – MKIA
    “…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.”

    I know it’s hard to believe, but I made at least 2 math errors that should be pointed out in that comment. The hole in the Thwaites was only 2/3 the size of Manhattan, and it took 3 years to melt, not one. The new time calculated for the Thwaites to melt, using these corrected rates is: 66,755/(33.58 x 0.67 x 0.33) = 8,991 years for a 1000 foot thick Thwaites, ~ 18K years for a 2,000 foot thick Thwaites, etc. BUT, that’s ONLY if the hole was the only thing part that melted, and I’m sure it’s not the only thing. Point being that the melt rate of the hole is insignificant in the overall scheme of things. I’m surprised that our expert Al did not catch all this in his post 55. Looks like he’s being spread too thin – too many posts needing corrections, etc. ;)

  26. 76
    Carrie says:

    So these days even Prof. Michael Mann is publicly calling for “averting catastrophic warming of the planet”

    His interview segment The Green New Deal w/ Michael Mann – MR Live – 2/13/19 begins here:

    Still on course for +3 ppm weekly yoy
    February 12: 411.80 ppm
    February 11: 413.52 ppm

    February 12, 2019: 411.80 ppm +3.20 ppm
    February 12, 2018: 408.60 ppm

  27. 77
    Carrie says:

    Another M E Mann quote:

    (those science reports) are the basis for various talking points lately including Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who made the statement that we only have 12 years left before basically we commit ourselves to disastrous climate change. And it’s true.

    So that’s a pretty alarming talking point right, it’s a pretty alarming statement. And even though it came out of the mouth of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and she was vilified by her conservative critics for it, it turns out that essentially is what the IPCC said – that we’ve got 12 years in order to bring our carbon emissions down rapidly enough to avoid crossing those dangerous thresholds of 2C (3.5F) warming of the planet where we see the worst impacts of Climate Change.”

    So I don’t think the scientists are holding back and if you read the National Assessment Climate report it really uses some pretty striking language in describing the devastating impacts – not that climate change will have in the future but climate change is having already.

    So I don’t think the scientists are holding back but there is still some inability to get our message out through the mainstream media.”

    Which, seriously, should come as no surprise to anyone given who owns and who controls the MSM output on every subject including about AOC, the Green New Deal as it’s the 1% (or even 0.1%) iow the MIC/Media/Financial Complex that runs the country, lock stock and barrel. There’s next to no chance the DNC or the Congressional leadership will back in AOC nor anyone else in the Justice Democrats faction.

    Which is precisely why you get to see or hear Michael E Mann sitting down with The Majority Report and Sam Seder (and many others like him in the alternative website news outlets) in the first place.

    This will not be seen on NBC Nightly News or covered by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC or on Fox News. They are pretty much all the same now. Any differences are marginal and of no consequence.

  28. 78
    Carrie says:

    74 mike says: Divide the decade by ten and I get a snapshot that suggests 2.46 ppm increase as the underlying baseline for the ten year period from 2009 to 2019.

    That’s close enough imo. Linear regression for the last 12 years is a growth rate to 2.5 ppm. We’re not at 3 ppm yoy over a decade yet but well on our way now. The running 12-month mean has only crossed 3ppm/year once in that 12 year period and that was due to the super 2015-2016 El Niño.

    Today’s numbers however still need to be taken in context with the proper perspective. The recent +3 ppm growth over almost 4 weeks now is not normal but exceptional. This past January was a growth rate of +2.87 ppm which comes on top of a +1.79 growth of January 2018 on top of January 2017.

    Which was +3.61 ppm on top of January 2016, which itself was +2.58 on top of January 2015. Now that 2015 January pre-El Nino declared month was +2.13 ppm above January 2014 which itself was +2.30 ppm above January 2013 and both of those months were not El Nino affected.

    The 1.79 and 3.61 kind of cancel each out at a very high +2.70 ppm growth average. Now none of that has “disappeared” or gone negative or been offset by any ENSO condition. That CO2 ‘booster’ is still there in the atmosphere today. El Ninos might come and go but CO2 basically lasts forever in this context, it all adds up and up and up, layer above layer above layer like a rainbow sponge cake.

    But it still makes that recent +2.87 ppm growth for January 2019 above 2018 more than exceptional, it’s remarkable – it’s worth remarking on. :-)

    Because there is no El Nino effect in these numbers like there was in 2016/2017/2018. Now with late January and the first half of February tracking weekly numbers all above +3 ppm it is even more remarkable. It’s beyond the norm.

    It’s unprecedented this time of year outside the last Super El Nino event 2015/2016 and in January 1999 of +2.92 ppm and February 1999 of +3.09 which were also effected by the 1998/99 Super El Nino event… when the average CO2 level was nearer 365 ppm.

    Continually breaking all time records for CO2 concentrations and breaking through previous Growth norms/patterns is not a recipe for success. It’s a sign of failure in dire need of stronger leadership. imo, the numbers speak for themselves clear enough.

  29. 79
    mike says:

    to Al at 73: you mention occasionally (thanks) that EN events have about an 8 month lag before they show up as elevated CO2 in atmosphere. I think this may be what Carrie is referring to wrt the current CO2 readings. The numbers that we are seeing at this particular time do not relate to any EN influence from 8 months ago. You follow? It’s fun to argue, and I do my share, but I think we look at the current atmospheric CO2 readings that have moved back up and it makes some sense to mention the increase. There is noise, but there is also signal in these numbers. Some of us watch the numbers regularly to see if we can spot signal. I think we may be climbing back up in the 3.0 ppm increase range (plus or minus 0.2 ppm) for 2019 based on comparison with 2018. I don’t want to say that 3.0 ppm is bad because I don’t want folks to get discouraged or pessimistic about our situation with global warming, but I don’t think I can say 3.0 ppm increase is good. You do that for ten years and you might even see a 30 ppm decadal increase. I think we would be better off if we never see a decade with a 30 ppm increase.



  30. 80
  31. 81
    Phil Scadden says:

    Perhaps time to look at the actual paper which reported the cavity? Melt losses can be small compared to losses from calving and Thwaites is grounded below sealevel so the risks are high. Rapid loss in PIG and Thwaites are not good for a whole lot of the WAIS.

  32. 82
    Killian says:

    Natural variations, not climate change itself, respinsible for DO events. What does this imply for us as sea ice diminishes ever more?

  33. 83
    MA Rodger says:

    With the Arctic still a couple of weeks short of the maximum Sea Ice Extent period, Jaxa yesterday reported SIE above the 2017 record of lowest max-SIE and NSIDC look set to do the same today. So no low-ice records to be set in the 2019 freeze season.

  34. 84
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @79,
    Indeed, I have identified an 8-month lag between annual dCO2 and MEI. (Mind there is at times a variant of El Niño that has a shorter 2-month lag.) So what was MEI doing 8 months ago. It was +0.465 for last Apr/May and +0.469 for last May/Jun and while not at full El Niño levels, it is very close. I think last Apr/May rates as being 8 months ago.
    Of course, you can use other measures of El Nino. The ONI is “the de-facto standard that NOAA uses for identifying El Niño (warm) and La Niña (cool) events in the tropical Pacific” and that sounds quite authoritative. ONI gives El Niño conditions when 5 months are at or above +0.5.
    So do we have an El Niño?
    Hank Roberts @ 80 links to an announcement of El Niño. Elsewhere it is ” borderline to weak El Niño” as it is by ONI. So far there have been three +0.5 ONI months and DJF will also be at or above +0.5 (unless Feb suddenly drops negative) making four months. With nino3.4 lower in recent weeks, the fifth month may not make +0.5 but it is so close (the month preceding this run was +0.4), to say an El Niño is not in sight is silly talk. As for the lag, with the 3-monthly averaged ONI, there is no reason to assume it is the same as the 8-month MEI lag. Besides, the call of El Nino conditions isn’t really helpful. The ENSO-dCO2 relationship is not an on-off effect. A high value boosts dCO2. A low value depresses dCO2. A not-so-high value boosts but not-so-high.
    But such a boost from a borderline/weak El Niño would not raise dCO2 to the levels we are seeing today. So has Donald Trump found trillions of coal to burn? Is the permafrost melting out in the middle of winter? Or is it something we should best treat as noise in the system? Golly!! What a conundrum. but “Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring!!”

  35. 85
    Nemesis says:

    @Hank Roberts, #80

    ” El Nino is on”

    I see Fire 8)

    Meanwhile students protests regarding climate heating take up urgency in Germany. And what do the policians say? They say, they will act tough and rough against any quote “truants”. My opinion:

    Climate heating, mass die-off (watch out for these insects) ect will torn society apart. Truely ugly political times ahead.

    Btw, the temperatures in Germany are still very spooky, roughly 20°C too high compared to the 30y mean temperature. Enough said.


  36. 86
    Carrie says:

    79 mike, interesting thoughts :-)

    There are all kinds of people in this world eg some like to share info and ideas while there others who prefer to argue while others lean more towards self-righteous, gas lighting or even harassing others for fun. Climate science deniers often enjoy the latter I have noticed but they are not alone there.

    There is a lot of academic research that shows El Nino years create a spike in natural CO2 emissions (e.g. 1998 and 2016/2017), as well as global temperature (due to the warm spot in the Pacific and the knock-on effects).

    The enso nino 3.4. number is the best measure of Nino/Nina. A fall in value from one year to the next should create a drag on CO2 readings, and a rise the opposite. The article below covers this phenomena.

    “El Ninos originating in the central tropical Pacific (CP El Nino) and El Ninos originating in the eastern tropical Pacific (EP El Nino). We find significant differences between the two types of El Nino events with respect to time delay of the CO2 rise rate that follows the increase in tropical near surface air temperatures caused by El Nino events. The average time lag of the CP El Nino is 4.0 ±1.7 months, while the mean time lag of EP El Nino is found to be 8.5±2.3 months. The average lag of all considered 1960–2016 El Ninos is 5.2±2.7 months.”

    You might conclude from this paper (up to you) that the assertion by Mr. Rodger about an “8 month lag” you speak of is inaccurate as it ignores the full picture of the ENSO dynamics that occur and how they may affect both temperature and CO2 readings globally and at MLO in the central Pacific.

    So with no significant different in the Nino 3.4 levels y-o-y at this time it is surprising that y-o-y CO2 levels are rising so much. The growth levels we are seeing are more like during the last El Nino event. This may be noise in the data, so we will have to see if it sticks. If it does, in the absence of an El Nino event coming into play, some other as yet ill-defined process/processes must be spiking CO2 emissions.

    Culprits could be significant increases in human GHG emissions last year, impacts from the high summer temps in the nth hemisphere coupled with extensive wild fires and the effects on natural emission sources (again as yet ill-defined), or any number of combination in sources, or the old back stop of “natural variation.” What ever the real drivers are the current numbers are undeniably high and I believe quite unexpected at this point in time.

    Especially given the notion that human GHG emissions had fallen for several years recently. This seems counter-intuitive to the present numbers however one never knows until the human emission data is presented. I have not seen any myself but this does not mean it does not exist. (smile)

    Interestingly in regard to ENSO we were at the tail end of a moderate/weak 2nd year La Niña (leaning period) in January 2018. We’re currently in a weak El Niño Watch (leaning period) the last several months beginning circa Sept/Oct/Nov 2018 in the SOI records which is now getting likely be a multi year El Niño. Unfortunately the skill in climate science and weather analysis is from looking in the rear vision mirror rather than looking at the present data or with eyes forward.

    So recalling the variation in the differences between an eastern or western pacific driven (?) El Nino event it really depends what period you are looking at. If looking at May-Aug 2018 vs 2017 there is little difference perhaps even a fall in the index. If looking at Sept-Dec 2018 vs 2017 there is quite a rise. The correct period to look at depends on the lag, whilst not ignoring all other possibilities of what may be driving this current spike in CO2 growth readings at MLO

    No reading was provided for Feb 14th. They may have had a RDO for Valentines. I hope that helps a little Mike. I suspect it doesn’t as the complexities and potential variations are not small. Which is why I much prefer to simply note any exceptional shifts in the current CO2 Data and leave it at that. I have made an exception to this rule today. (smile)

  37. 87
    Carrie says:

    ps mike, you may find this site data a useful arrow in your quiver should you wish to dig a little deeper or do some longer term comparisons.

  38. 88
    nigelj says:

    “But such a boost from a borderline/weak El Niño would not raise dCO2 to the levels we are seeing today. So has Donald Trump found trillions of coal to burn? Is the permafrost melting out in the middle of winter? Or is it something we should best treat as noise in the system? Golly!! What a conundrum. but “Don’t panic, Mr Mainwaring!!”

    Could be noise. And there have been a couple of forest fires in Australia last few weeks. Maybe elsewhere. Maybe Califronias fires finding its way through the atmosphere. Would that be enough to raise levels significantly for a month?

    Perhaps “we are all doomed” (Fraser).

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    Mr Kia @75, your calculations of how fast the glacier would melt are based on 1 degree c, when far more is highly likely later this century according to the IPCC, and you ignore the accelerated melt from the physical destabilisation of glaciers, that is already occuring in the Antarctic. You cannot minimise glacier melt by selecting a scenario that warming will stay at 1 degree.

  40. 90
    Carrie says:

    Mike, I found this ref for global carbon emissions (human) in 2017/2018 by Zeke Hausfather UC. Berkeley. He puts it at +3% growth in 2018, on top of a 2% growth in 2017 (near 2 mins) Unknown what his source is.

    Still trying to find data on the reduction of human emissions circa 2014-2016. Must be somewhere. I must be looking in all the wrong places.

  41. 91
    Carrie says:

    Mike I went hunting for CO2 emissions data. The IEA only had data up to 2016. And that only included data fro Fuel Combustion and so cement/nitrogen fertilisers are not included.

    In 2016, global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion were 32.31 GtCO2, broadly similar to levels in 2015. Looking back further, emissions have more than doubled since the early seventies and increased by around 40% since 2000. Most of these increases are linked to increased economic output. Despite emissions being relatively stable between 2013 and 2016, initial IEA analysis showed that in 2017 emissions increased by around 1.5%, led by China, India and the European Union.

    This source seems the best option:
    Global Carbon Budget shows rise in emissions
    Global CO2 emissions are expected to rise by more than 2% in 2018 because of renewed growth in coal use, and continued growth in oil and gas use, according to the latest data from the Global Carbon Budget.

    Emissions rose 1.6% in 2017 after a temporary slowdown from 2014 to 2016, according to the Global Carbon Project. This year’s publication included contributions from 76 scientists from 53 research institutions, including from the World Climate Research Programme community.

    This graph seems the most useful for your purposes

    CO2 emissions growth eased in 2013-2014. Then there was an actual but slight decrease in 2015. Growing again in 2016 and increasing higher in 2017 to +1.7%. In 2018 it has returned to much higher levels of +2.7% getting close to the 2000-2010 avg of 3% yoy.

    So the reduction of human emissions growth of (2014 then) 2015-16 occurred at the very same time CO2 atmospheric levels grew much higher +3ppm through the super el nino period. While all these competing drivers +/- are ‘noisy’ it would appear self-evident the higher emissions growth and headline numbers of a new record of 37.1 GtCO2 through 2018 would be having some kind of impact on current atmospheric levels by now. Exactly how much who knows? Maybe Mr Rodger has his finger on the pulse and has worked it all out already.

  42. 92
    MA Rodger says:

    GISTEMP have posted for January with an anomaly of +0.88ºC, a whisker down on December’s +0.89ºC. (Last year anomalies ranged from +0.99C down to +0.73ºC with the year averaging +0.82ºC).
    It is the 4th warmest January in GISTEMP behind previous Januarys 1st-placed 2016 (+1.15ºC), 2017 (+0.97ºC) and 2007 (+0.94ºC) and ahead of 5th-placed 2015 (+0.81ºC).
    It is =25th warmest month on the all-month record.

  43. 93
    mike says:

    MAR: nice breakdown on the various enso impacts on CO2. I understood some or most of it. It’s always helpful to speak only about the things that can be stated clearly because it allows for more understanding and less confusion. “No ENSO in sight” misses the mark for speaking clearly.

    My concern with the rising level of CO2 in atmosphere and ocean is largely about possible changes in the planet’s natural carbon cycle related to elevated global temperature. When we know with a lot of certainty that the planet’s natural carbon cycle has changed and made our collective situation less comfortable, we could find that our situation is less tenable and our responses to our global warmed situation may be more limited. I am on the fence about the whole “panic” question. It doesn’t appeal to me, but I think it is a natural biological response built into sentient beings that may sometimes be beneficial.



  44. 94
    Ron says:

    Oh boy.

    Trump science adviser calls for more collaboration between industry and government

    “Kelvin Droegemeier, newly minted science adviser to US President Donald Trump, wants industry to take a larger role in funding research, with the ultimate goal of ushering in a “second golden era” of US science….

    In his 35-minute speech, Droegemeier did not address climate change, environmental issues or other scientific topics that Trump has disparaged publicly. His comments on the president were limited to assurances that “science and technology are alive and well in the Trump administration”, and mentions of the White House’s AI and advanced manufacturing initiatives as examples of its commitment to science. Droegemeier said that the Trump administration is “laser-focused” on improving the ability to translate academic research into marketable products, which would require greater collaboration between the federal government, industry and non-profit foundations.”

    By “second golden era”, I assume he’s referring to the manufacturing boom that began after the Second World War and which led to so many conflicts of interests and resultant despoiling of the planet.

    More like a second Dark Age.

  45. 95
    Killian says:

    The thing about early spring, and now mid-winter elevated CO2 is that it has become a thing. That is, a pattern. An expanding pattern.

    I first noted it in April two years ago when we had a large “eruption” of CO2 in, iirc, mid-to-late April. That happened last year, too, iirc, but more pronounced.

    And now this winter which is well beyond the norm.

    Something is happening with CO2 in winter/spring, and we may want to figure out what it is rather than rationalize it away.

  46. 96
    Killian says:

    Re #91 Carrie said This source seems the best option:
    Global Carbon Budget shows rise in emissions
    Global CO2 emissions are expected to rise by more than 2% in 2018 because of renewed growth in coal use, and continued growth in oil and gas use, according to the latest data from the Global Carbon Budget.

    One of the benefits of all those years on the Oil Drum is knowing this simple little nugget: Efficiency never overcomes growth. E.g.: 1980 to mid-2010-ish, U.S. efficiency rose 30%, yet FF consumption kept rising.

    And this is one reason tech cannot, will not, save us.

  47. 97
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @93,
    The change in biospheric carbon fluxes is something considered by the science. But while beetles could chew ther way through the northern forests or the Amazon basin could turn to desert, the big daddy of biospheric carbon deposits is the permafrost. Leaving aside the potential for significant methane emissions from boggy melting permafrost, the various scenarios used to model future AGW do include some account of such emissions. But note GCMs do not model the CO2 emissions but accept then as input.
    With this recent period of high annual dCO2, some can be attributed to ENSO, perhaps +0.7ppm/yr, but this above the dCO2 of last year which were clocking down at about 1.5ppm/yr. More detailed analyses would certainly attribute a greater amount of the wobble to ENSO, although how much more, identifying if it is significantly more: that would have to negotiate large levels of uncertainty.

    Yet beyond ENSO, does the recent period of high annual dCO2 have the characterisitics of any biosphere flux of concern? Myself I don’t see it does.

    And as an aside but on the subject of biosperic CO2 fluxes, Kirschbaum et al (2019) ‘Towards a more complete quantification of the global carbon cycle’ considers the various destinations of much of our unwanted carbon and concludes that “together they can constitute important additional fluxes that would significantly reduce the size of the inferred ΔBphys [the biospheric CO2 uptake]” which “has important implications for the inferred magnitude of current-day biospheric net carbon uptake and the consequent potential of future biospheric feedbacks to amplify or negate net anthropogenic CO2 emissions.” And I would imagine that quantifying these “important additional fluxes” is on the whole good news.

  48. 98
    MA Rodger says:

    Spouting Thomas @86 and @87 and @90 and again @91,
    All this emissions malarkey – evidently you forget we have been here before. So maybe you require its repetition. All roads lead back to the GCP budgets. Note their 2018 interim report published last December and that this is the source used by Zeke Hausfather and that it concerns only FF+cement emissions. Adding in the LUC emissions yields the following (going back to include the seven-years-ago data):-
    …. …. .. FF+cement …. …. .. …. …. LUC …. … . Total
    2010 …. …. 9.02 …. …. …. .. …. …. 1.42 …. …. 10.44
    2011 …. …. 9.38 …. …. 4.0% …. …. 1.36 …. …. 10.78 …. …. 3.3%
    2012 …. …. 9.53 …. …. 1.6% …. …. 1.60 …. …. 11.15 …. …. 3.4%
    2013 …. …. 9.61 …. …. 0.8% …. …. 1.54 …. …. 11.16 …. …. 0.1%
    2014 …. …. 9.69 …. …. 0.8% …. …. 1.60 …. …. 11.30 …. …. 1.3%
    2015 …. …. 9.68 …. … -0.1% …. …. 1.62 …. …. 11.30 …. …. 0.0%
    2016 …. …. 9.74 …. …. 0.6% …. …. 1.30 …. …. 11.05 …. … -2.2%
    2017 …. …. 9.87 …. …. 1.3% …. …. 1.39 …. …. 11.27 …. …. 2.1%
    2018 …. .. 10.14 …. …. 2.7%

  49. 99
    Solar Jim says:

    RE: Hank at #7

    Thanks for another of your usually insightful references. However, please note that this Yale University sight is presenting the “methane is 25 times worse than CO2” statement in print and video, without comment.

    According to researchers at Cornell, methane is two orders of magnitude (something around 104 times) worse than carbonic acid gas (CO2) in radiative forcing. As you probably know, even the UN IPCC describes it as over 80 times worse over a twenty year period (thereby accounting for some of its oxidation in the atmosphere).

  50. 100
    Killian says:

    Stealth methane accumulating at an accelerating rate. But from where? Maybe be positive feedback of warming. 2C in jeopardy.