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Unforced variations: Mar 2019

Filed under: — group @ 3 March 2019

This month’s open thread on climate science topics.

221 Responses to “Unforced variations: Mar 2019”

  1. 51
  2. 52

    sidd, #37–

    On SLR during 1940-80, it is true that the trends are quite different for the Northern and Southern hemispheres from 1940-80:

    Very much a ‘tale of two hemispheres’ here, with the NH cooling even as the SH continued to warm (slightly). Perhaps aerosol forcing was responsible?

  3. 53
    nigelj says:

    MAR @51, this might be of related interest:

    “Evidence of Strong Contributions from Mixed‐Phase Clouds to Arctic Climate Change. Ivy Tan Trude Storelvmo. First published: 25 February 2019”

  4. 54
    Dan DaSilva says:

    #22 BPL,
    Alarmists love to use ultra silly straw man arguments against climate skeptics. No one with the intellect necessary to be a rational skeptic has ever mistaken a one-time compression event for the reason higher pressure on a planet causes higher temperatures. The reasons a dense (high pressure) atmosphere results in higher temperature are within the grasp of most alarmists probably even yourself.
    Also only in the fevered mind of the radical alarmist do skeptics deny the greenhouse effect. You may find your straw men attractive targets but their defeat is no real victory.

  5. 55
    Hank Roberts says:

    … Instead of starting at the present and following the trend data into the future— a methodology that, given the available indicators, is pretty much guaranteed to serve up Hell On Earth— you instead start with the future you desire, and back-cast to the present. We want a society that’s entirely carbon-neutral by 2050? Okay, what would the world have to look like in 2049 to make that attainable? 2045? 2040? At the same time you also take the more conventional approach of moving forward from the present in similar increments, but with your desirable endpoint in mind: what kind of changes can one reasonably project over the next year, the next five, that would head us in the right direction?

    I feel a mild shock of recognition; in principle, backcasting is identical to a kind of back-to-front ecological modeling I learned about back in grad school. I’m a little embarrassed that in my focus on crafting plausible futures, I’d forgotten such an obvious method for trying to map out better ones.

    The tricky part, of course, is what happens when fore- and back-casting run into each other in the middle. The tricky part is in stitching them together….

  6. 56
    Hank Roberts says:

    And a bit more from

    I am starting to see a pattern; of the eighteen people gathered here, I think I’m the only one with a degree in science. All these other polymaths— curators, activists, artists and architects— their careers center around people. The challenges they face are largely, essentially political; the solutions are political too. Their whole lives come down to negotiations, to meetings in middles. Such insights would have been invaluable back before things got this bad, back when What Has To Be Done could still fit into the set of What’s Politically Doable. But now the cascades and feedback loops have kicked in; now we’ve got to deal with Physics, and Physics does not play politics.

    When your life has been spent putting people front and center, putting human welfare and happiness above all, is it any wonder that you might want to look away from a scenario in which Humans get what they deserve? Everyone in this room is looking for a desirable future. I may be the only one who defines that as a future without us….

  7. 57

    DDS 54: No one with the intellect necessary to be a rational skeptic has ever mistaken a one-time compression event for the reason higher pressure on a planet causes higher temperatures.

    BPL: Higher pressure on a planet does not cause higher temperature. You, and Lubos Motl, and the rest of the deniers who don’t understand simply physics, are wrong on this point, always were wrong, always will be wrong.

    DDS: only in the fevered mind of the radical alarmist do skeptics deny the greenhouse effect.

    BPL: Gerlich and Tseuchner, to name two. And many others. So quit trying to portray your pseudoscience buddies as being as pure as the driven snow. There is no idea, however idiotic, that some denier has not embraced at some point, from there being no greenhouse effect at all to carbon dioxide snowing in the Antarctic. Pseudoscientists are idiots, and deniers are pseudoscientists. Deal with it.

  8. 58
    Martin Smith says:

    When the temperature anomaly values are computed for a particular weather station, do they use a reference value computed for that particular weather station, or do they use the global reference value? I don’t think I’ve read anything about that, but it seems like the reference value should be computed for each weather station.

  9. 59
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Dan DaSilva@54,
    I’d like you to meet the No-True-Scotsman fallacy. Talk amongst yourselves. You have a lot in common.

    Barton is correct. We commonly encounter this sort of idiocy when confronting denialists just like you. The fact that you have fallen for other claptrap rather than that particular claptrap does not make what you believe any less claptrap.

  10. 60
    Corey Todnem says:

    Perhaps Dan could lend Karl Zeller a hand or two @ – he’s flailing under pressure.

  11. 61
    Carrie says:

    Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

    Week beginning on March 3, 2019: 412.14 ppm +2.36
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 409.78 ppm
    Weekly value from 10 years ago: 388.97 ppm
    Last updated: March 10, 2019

    No need to panic. Last year this week spiked +1.00 to the weeks either side of it. Things will be back to normal next week. Indicative of the March 09: 413.55 ppm reading. Things are surely ticking along in 2019 without an El Nino thus far.

  12. 62
    Dredd says:

    DrMOS @34,

    It is more complicated than a bathtub with water in it (Countries With Sea Level Change – 2).

  13. 63
    Mr. Know It All says:

    If you have a good website with a detailed explanation for how CO2 causes warming, please post it. No discussion of the effects (melting, SLR, famine, etc), just the science behind CO2 warming. No discussions of feedbacks (H2O vapor, CH4 releases, etc.), stick ONLY to the chemistry, physics, and math of CO2 warming. What’s the best available on the net today?

    You will love today’s Dilbert comic strip – comments are good too:

  14. 64
    James says:

    #54 “Also only in the fevered mind of the radical alarmist do skeptic deny the greenhouse effect “.

    Hmm. You might want to google Heinz Thieme, Alan Siddons, Joseph E Postma, Gerhard Gerlich, Nasif Nahle and Alberto Miatello,

    Then check out these articles:

    I don’t understand why people insist on making easily disproven statements in the age of the internet. Never mind. I know why.

  15. 65
  16. 66
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @64, this description of how CO2 causes warming is pretty good. Someone posted in over at SS. It’s mathy, but not too hideously complicated. Not sure you would ever find much better. I found it helpful.

  17. 67
    MA Rodger says:

    Dan DeSliva @54,
    You are challenged in-thread for your statement @54. But I am intrigued.
    You said

    “The reasons a dense (high pressure) atmosphere results in higher temperature are within the grasp of most alarmists probably even yourself (ie Barton Paul Levenson)”

    That is a useful statement to make. Pray then, set out the reasoning behind this pressure-warming phenomenon. It is surely beholden on you to show us all the error of our ways.
    And I always enjoy a good laugh.

  18. 68
    zebra says:

    #58 Martin Smith,

    If you are talking about the anomaly for a single station, of course you can only calculate it with respect to the reference value for that particular station– that’s by definition.

    Maybe if you could tell us where you read something to the contrary, it would be possible to clear up whatever confusion you have.

  19. 69
    Killian says:

    Re #55 Hank said …backcasting…

    Yeah, Hank, been there, done that. From 2014:

    4John McCormick says: How does civilization adapt to a moving target. Build a sea wall as the sea level rises??

    It doesn’t. There are three different factors here: Where will we end up? Where do we want to end up? How do we do that?

    The first involves figuring out the worst case scenario with all-out mitigation efforts. Key elements of this are backcasting from a given, relatively discernible point in the future, probably 2100 or so, giving us 2 or three generations for the transition, but **hopefully** prior to unstoppable tipping points. This tells us what to design to for worst case scenario wrt adaptive actions.

    I tell y’all how I do what I do. It’s no secret.

    C’mon, try it, you’ll like it. There’s really no other way to do it. I’ve given you all the list of things I do and consider more than once.

  20. 70

    KIA 63: If you have a good website with a detailed explanation for how CO2 causes warming, please post it.


  21. 71
    Snape says:

    In a recent article, you gave five examples of extreme summertime weather events (Northern hemisphere – 2003, 2010, 2011, 2016, and 2018) and noted they all had something in common: an unusually wobbly, stalled jet stream pattern. I get the idea of how that could relate to Arctic warming, makes a lot of sense, but Arctic temps were in fact average to slightly below average during those time periods.

    [Response: Not me. Link? – gavin]

  22. 72
    Mal Adapted says:

    Dan DaSilva:

    Also only in the fevered mind of the radical alarmist do skeptics deny the greenhouse effect. You may find your straw men attractive targets but their defeat is no real victory.

    Genuine skeptics, of course, accept the expert consensus for increasingly costly climate change due to anthropogenic enhancement of the “greenhouse” effect, albeit tentatively and provisionally, as the experts themselves do. Deniers of the greenhouse effect are merely pseudo-skeptics. Corey Todnem, BPL and James named some of them. You, OTOH, mentioned “the” radical alarmist. Are you going to give us the name of that person, or are you merely erecting a straw man?

    Really, Dan, we’ve no need for denialist straw men with you here 8^|. If you ever stop denying AGW, you’d have no reason to comment on RC. IMHO that would be a real victory!

  23. 73
    James says:

    Map Adapted, #72. Perhaps it was a ploy to get us to do his homework for him and find that list of greenhouse skeptics…

  24. 74
    James says:

    #72. Or maybe it’s just simple trolling.

  25. 75
    Phil Scadden says:

    Love the Crank Shaft. Do you accept nominations? There have been some good ones on SkepSci recently.

  26. 76
    sidd says:


    What is the ranking here ? is the crankshaft for those luminously insane posts that merit some further recognition than mere boreholery ?

    I note that the crankshaft is unpostable to, as is the borehole. I have suggested b4 that the latter be postable to, so that some of our more … enthusiastic … participants can frolic.

    I suppose i agree that there ought to be some accolade given to a higher level of crazy post than common or garden denialism. But i do not envy our hosts the labor of the classification.


  27. 77
    John Mashey says:

    I applaud the addition (or excavation) of the Crank Shaft.

  28. 78
    Snape says:

    Sorry Gavin, I misremembered. Mixed you up with Michael Mann….lol. Anyway, here’s the article I was referring to:

    Maybe you could add your thoughts? The “Arctic warming/lazy jet stream” hypothesis seems plausible during most of the year, but come summer temperatures in the Arctic have been very close to normal. How does “normal” create the extreme events Dr. Mann spoke of?

  29. 79
    Martin Smith says:

    #68 zebra

    My confusion is about the algorithm for computing the anomalies in, for example, this map:

    There is a single global average reference value for the 0 on the Y axis, so I assume the color of each grid is computed from that global reference value. But if each station has its own reference value, then shouldn’t the color of each grid be computed from the reference values of the stations in that grid?

  30. 80
    MA Rodger says:

    The pedants who require the ONI to be at or above +0.5 for five consecutive months for an El Niño to be called may be interested to learn that the next ONI reading will be JFM based on the January value +0.5, February +0.5 and March which has averaged +1.05 over its first two weeks. So unless the NINO3.4 temperature anomaly suddenly plummets into negative territory, the ONI reading for JFM will be above +0.5 and ONI values back to October will become coloured red to indicate an El Niño had been occurring since October.
    Of course, MEI (still stalled with the Dec 2018 reading since the Trump shut-down) was showing values very close to El Niño conditions four months before that again.

  31. 81
    dhogaza says:


    “You will love today’s Dilbert comic strip – comments are good too”

    (in which Scott Adams guffaws at the notion that we can estimate ocean temperatures by sampling it at various points)

    I’ll remember Scott Adams’s brilliance the next time I’m sick and stick a thermometer in my mouth …

  32. 82
    zebra says:

    #71 Snape,

    Your link doesn’t work, so it isn’t clear what your idea is. But looking at Arctic temperatures contemporaneously with sub-polar heat waves wouldn’t tell you much, if that is what you are suggesting.

    As far as I know, the question about what specific mechanism would primarily cause excursions or disruptions of the jet stream is not resolved among the experts. But in a general sense, if the energy in the climate system is increasing, why would you expect patterns like the jet stream to remain constant? Pretty much everything else is changing…

  33. 83
    jgnfld says:

    “I’ll remember Scott Adams’s brilliance the next time I’m sick and stick a thermometer in my mouth …”

    I might suggest that KIA try sampling elsewhere in a spot better situated to provide a core temp reading.

  34. 84
    zebra says:

    #79 Martin Smith,

    I don’t see what you are saying– “a single global average reference value on the Y axis”. The color scale, which I assume you are calling the Y axis, has a zero anomaly color (the white).

    At the bottom it says “NCEP operational climatology data 1985-1996.” That’s the only thing I can think of that you are interpreting as a “global average temperature value”, but I don’t know why you would think that. I just assume it refers to the local climatology numbers.

  35. 85
    Ray Ladbury says:

    General notes:

    I. The crankshaft appears to have been inspired to receive the writings of one “bob,” who 1)appears to be off his meds, and 2) has theories worthy of time cube. All in all, an inspired addition.

    II. Remember when Scott Adams was actually funny, rather than a bitter, ignorant, misogynist jerk?

  36. 86
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    It doesn’t seem possible to post to the new thread “The Crank Shaft”, but then who would be so foolish as to post their ideas there?

    However, there is a paper (Lightfoot & Mamer, 2019) published this month in ‘Science of The Total Environment’ tilted “Current assumptions about CO2 and atmospheric temperature are incorrect” which I suspect would qualify. I have as yet only seen the abstract: so has anyone else comments on it?

  37. 87
    Nelson Smith says:

    Trying to understand why in Trenberth diagram IR surface up flux works out via Stefan Boltzman to something like 17C Should it not be the S-B value for the earth average temp, i.e 14C or so? Or is Trenberth post CO2 doubling?

  38. 88
    dhogaza says:

    The Crank Shaft is brilliant, converting an apparent perpetual posting machine into an entertainment center for our enjoyment. If Trump were to discover it, can you imagine the stream of tweets that would follow?

  39. 89
    prokaryotes says:

    Demonstration of the Login, the Character selection and creation screen

    The Earth’s rotation, the Sun in relation to the Earth, are entirely randomly driven, same as the sounds, the music and player animations. Player data is stored on a server.

    The gameplay will feature research and combat related missions, ie. the player has to obtain ice core proxies, repair glacier monitoring equipment, use an scanning electron microscope, or can decide to secure a site devastated by climate disrupting impacts.

    There will be a timeline, so the game starts relative to today, then progresses onwards.It is not clear yet how player decisions will affect the game world.

  40. 90
    Snape says:

    The link works for me. It came from Tamino’s recent post, “Jet Stream wobbles”

    You: “if the energy in the climate system is increasing, why would you expect patterns like the jet stream to remain constant?”
    Me: I wouldn’t. But I also wouldn’t try to link specific extreme events to a deceased temperature difference between the Arctic and Subtropics, when in fact the difference was observed to be normal to slightly greater than normal.

  41. 91
    David B. Benson says:

    Geologic evidence supports theory that major cosmic impact event occurred approximately 12,800 years ago
    Sonia Fernandez
    2019 Mar 13

    Evidence from South America at around 40° S. Similar to the evidence from North America for the Younger Dryas impact event.

  42. 92
    Jef says:

    Bobs your uncle…and mine too.

  43. 93
    Alexandra says:

    Source (Japanese government data):

    Cherry Blossoms in Japan bloom earlier in recent years
    (Median Yearly Flowering Date of Cherry Blossoms in Japan: 1953 to 2018)

    The script could be modified to process data on other flower blossoming patterns provided by the Japanese government:

  44. 94
    Carrie says:

    As expected this current weeks readings are back to +3.38 ppm on last year.

    March 13: 412.04 ppm
    March 12: 412.14 ppm
    March 11: 411.91 ppm
    March 10: 412.79 ppm

    Now if the usual average pattern for the CO2 annual cycle follows the norm it suggest that the Peak Weekly CO2 readings at MLO in 2019 could be in the order of 415.25 ppm or around +3.40 on last year.

    This is based on the existing data that doesn’t assume there is a major impact on CO2 readings from any 2019 El Nino event in the run up to May.

    Of course we’ll need to wait and see what transpires from here. For many drivers impact whatever the CO2 reading levels end up being.

  45. 95
    MA Rodger says:

    Nelson Smith @87,

    The S-B equation is:-

    j*= εσT^4

    This means firstly, the average global temperature will yield a lower radiative flux as to sustain a square km of noon-day tropical temperatures requires (T to the power 4) propotionately much more radiation than a square km of midnight polar temperatures. So the radiation will be higher than temperature when calculated using global average surface temperatures. Up in the hgh troposphere, that is much less of a problem.
    And secondly, working the other way is emissivity ε. Emissivity means that shinier objects emit (and absorb) less radiation than would be expected given their surface temperature. The Earth’s surface will certainly not have an average ε=1. But mind, measuring the value of an average global ε is not a trivial task so be aware that you will find folk balancing the radiation equation using emissivity simply as a means of achieving that balance.

  46. 96

    ABM 86: has anyone else comments on it?

    BPL: Hard to believe that’s a peer-reviewed publication. Maybe it isn’t? From looking at the abstract, the guy is a full-on crackpot. The GAS LAWS prove CO2 doesn’t heat the surface? Can’t tell without the article, but I suspect he’s one of the “pressure causes heat” crowd.

  47. 97
    zebra says:

    #90 Snape,

    I read the Mann article; what doesn’t work is the dmi link. I will assume from your language that it is temperature data.

    The Mann article doesn’t suggest anywhere that you can attribute any of those events to the corresponding arctic summer temperatures for that season, so I don’t know where you get that idea.

    As I said originally, you wouldn’t expect to see a correlation; in fact summer arctic surface temperatures don’t vary much at all from year to year. You can check that yourself on the DMI site. It’s just basic physics; unless you have incursions of air/water from the south, the ice melts and maintains the temp near zero.

    There has been a steady decline in ice cover, however.

    Happy to discuss this further but you have to articulate whatever you are thinking in more detail.

  48. 98
    CCHolley says:

    RE: Sea Level Rise, DrMOS @34

    One point I forgot to mention is that the sea level reconstruct done by Hay et al, 2015, actually shows a slow down in sea level rise in the period of 1940-1980. So part of the answer to the question lies within the uncertainty of what actual sea level rises were and the amount of heat absorbed by the oceans in that time frame.

    Carling C. Hay, et al, Probabilistic reanalysis of twentieth-century sea-level rise, Nature volume 517, pages 481–484 (22 January 2015)

  49. 99
    MA Rodger says:

    The latest IRI ENSO forecast (early March) has increased the likelihood of the weak El Niño-level SSTs continuing on through spring and summer. The early Feb forecast had the probability of continuing El Niño conditions dipping below 50% from MayJunJul but the early March forecast has this dip pushed ahead by 5 months or so to OctNovDec.

  50. 100
    Carrie says:

    MLO CO2 steady at above average growth yoy
    March 14: 412.19 ppm

    No wild swings recently. Just consistently higher than normal readings for March following on from similar high growth during January and February.

    For March 2019 readings to be impacted by ENSO there would have needed to be a declared El Nino sometime during June 2018 to December 2018. There was no such El Nino present. Part of that time was a weak La Nina declared iirc, the rest of the time it was Neutral.

    Which begs the question: Why are the recent 3+ months of MLO CO2 average readings running around +1.00 above the medium term average of +2.50 ppmv despite no El Nino status/present that might increase the numbers that much if it had existed in 2018 onward?