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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. 151
    Mr. Know It All says:

    136 – Snape

    “Which of these socialist institutions do you want to eliminate?

    – infrastructure
    – public schools
    – military
    – law enforcement
    – judicial system
    – fire stations
    – postal service
    – city, state, national parks

    Hundreds, if not thousands more.”

    Mike in 144 is correct – it was me he was ribbing. :)

    The “hundreds, if not thousands more” that you mention are a problem – once a social program begins it never dies. They’re bankrupting us. Some social programs are OK – Social Security (since most folks don’t have pensions from their job), military, but those need serious reforms to make them more efficient.

    Of those on your list, we should eliminate: public schools because they have created at least 2 generations of emotional, soft, immature SJWs that are incapable of dealing with reality (schools could theoretically be reformed but that will not occur due to unions, PC, etc), public fire stations and postal service (private can do it better for less in pensions). The others need serious reforms, elimination of unions and bloated pensions, etc. All citizens should be required to serve 2 years in the military in some capacity to gain discipline and experience tougher life experiences. Public schools are destroying the nation and are behind MANY of our serious national problems.

  2. 152
    JCH says:

    with early numbers being reported between 2.8C (pdf) and 5.8C.

    I think one of the more important papers of recent years is Zhou 2016


    Specifically, the decadal cloud feedback between the 1980s and 2000s is substantially more negative than the long-term cloud feedback. This is a result of cooling in tropical regions where air descends, relative to warming in tropical ascent regions, which strengthens low-level atmospheric stability. Under these conditions, low-level cloud cover and its reflection of solar radiation increase, despite an increase in global mean surface temperature. These results suggest that SST pattern-induced low cloud anomalies could have contributed to the period of reduced warming between 1998 and 2013, and offer a physical explanation of why climate sensitivities estimated from recently observed trends are probably biased low.

    I’m guessing the above well describes the phenomena that has caused the sensitivity range shift. When conditions in the eastern Pacific stop reflecting solar, things heat up very quickly. And, it looks like the PDO. Looks.

  3. 153
    Mal Adapted says:


    Even if that turns out to be true, it will still be correct to say, hey, it’s not all global warming. yep, it’s not all global warming. repeat after me… it’s not all global warming. Some of it may be random weather.

    Taking snark into account, you’re both right and wrong.

    You’re wrong in that RC denizens, at least, understand the phrase “global warming” pertains to an exceedingly complex natural system. Individual weather events have multiple layers of causation, from ultimate to proximate. As in GCMs, sets of weather simulation variables are drawn “randomly” from characteristic PDFs.

    You’re right that all weather is now occurring in a changing climate. The simplest definition of “climate” is “statistical weather”, and we know climate is changing because new weather records are being set at short time intervals. From a theoretical perspective OTOH, consensus projections for increasing frequency and limits of extreme weather events are confirmed by observation.

    I’ve been stressing those points in comments on the NYTimes, in reply to pseudo-skeptics who claim straw-man ‘alarmists’ are blaming the midwest floods solely on AGW. My counter-claim is that AGW is not the sole cause but a contributing factor to the cost of the current floods in money and tragedy, over and above the historic costs of spring floods in the Missouri River watershed. One NYT article cites a report by the US Bureau of Reclamation:

    A 2012 report on climate change in the Missouri River Basin, commissioned by the Bureau of Reclamation (the Corps’ western equivalent) predicted by the middle of this century a roughly 6 percent average annual increase in upper-basin runoff and a bit more than a 10 percent increase in the lower river.

    Those percentages represent lost homes, livelihoods and lives that wouldn’t be lost if not for AGW. They do not imply, however, that there would be no losses from recurrent spring floods if not for AGW.

  4. 154
    Hank Roberts says:

    Earth’s Future
    Cautious Optimism and Incremental Goals Toward Stabilizing Atmospheric CO2
    A. P. Ballantyne, P. Ciais, J. B. Miller
    First published: 23 October 2018


    Fossil fuel emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere appear to have leveled off in recent years; however, atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to rise. Our simple analysis shows that peaks in the growth rates of human population and fossil fuel emissions have been observed, but the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 has reached record levels and shows no indication of peaking. Before atmospheric CO2 concentrations can be stabilized at safe levels, a peak in the CO2 growth rate must be achieved.
    Plain Language Summary

    Stabilizing the concentration of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere is one of the most daunting challenges to humanity. Despite recent evidence indicating that fossil fuel emissions of CO2 have stabilized at approximately 35 billion tons a year, atmospheric growth rates of CO2 have reached record levels of nearly 3 parts per million per year. Before we can ultimately stabilize the concentration of atmospheric CO2, we must first stabilize its growth rate.

  5. 155
    Orca says:


    No Kevin, that’s not my suggestion at all. Far from it in fact.
    My point is that the technology to model the real world is only just beginning to capture the facts on the ground.
    Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. 156
    scott says:

    Re #4 Mr knowitall: “(FOX NEWS)”


  7. 157
    scott nudds says:

    Re:145 – “There may be a world in which that makes some kind of sense, but it’s not one that I’m familiar with.”

    The aide (Republican Carl Rove) said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ […] ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’ – Ron Suskind

  8. 158
    scott nudds says:

    Re: 140

    It is my PERSONAL experience that winters are generally becoming warmer while in the last 1 or 2 decades, cold waves have become stronger, bringing colder air from the north.

  9. 159
    scott nudds says:

    Re 133 – “Reality must take precedence.”

    Last time I looked 98% of Republicans strongly supported president 3 inch (41 percent) of Americans.

    Reality clearly isn’t something they are interested in.

    What do you intend to do about that?

  10. 160
    scott nudds says:

    112: “Problem is that bad weather has always occurred in the USA – tornados, floods, hurricanes, snowmageddons, drought, heat waves, cold waves, etc. Based on the extremely hot past 2 or 3 summers in the PNW, and the lack of winter cold in Alaska/Canada”

    America is no longer relevant on the world stage.

  11. 161
    Mr. Know It All says:

    Article says the green new deal is already happening in the private sector. Good discussion in comments if they are sorted by “best”.

  12. 162
    scott nudds says:

    Re- 136:
    “Which of these socialist institutions do you want to eliminate?

    – infrastructure
    – public schools
    – military
    – law enforcement
    – judicial system
    – fire stations
    – postal service
    – city, state, national parks”

    Ask any Libertarian Republican and the answer is all of the above.

  13. 163
    Orca says:


    No Kevin, that’s not my suggestion at all. Far from it in fact.
    My point is that the technology to model the real world is only just beginning to capture the facts on the ground.
    Nothing more, nothing less.
    I would go on to say that the real measure of effect should be ESS and not ECS or TCR.

  14. 164
    patrick says:

    Here’s Katherine Hayhoe on historic weather and floods in the U.S., plus historic Cyclone Idai and floods in and around Mozambique. Thank you Katherine Hayhoe for putting so much so well so briefly.

  15. 165
    TPaine says:

    I debate a very intelligent denier and he has sent me a video by Tony Heller showing how NASA tampers with the global temperature data. I have prepared a response for most of it but there is one area I can’t find any information. It’s a graph shown how in 1974 the NASA 2018 temperature data was about 0.4C higher than NCAR 1974 global temperature. The graph is all over the internet. I realize almost all these cases are cherry picking the data but I would like to make a valid response. I’m not familiar with NCAR except for what I’ve recently read. Can someone help me with this?

    [Response: I can’t find a peer-reviewed source for the graph, but it appeared in at least one newspaper in July 1974. Along with other estimates made at the time, it would have used the same sources of data as were used by Mitchell in the 1960s (and Hansen later on) – and thus would be based on a few hundred weather stations, dominated by the Northern hemisphere land record (no SST). No corrections would have been made for inhomogeneities, station moves, urban heating etc. That the answers have changed with the addition of thousands more stations, ocean data and better understanding of the problems doesn’t surprise me at all, but without a half-way decent description of exactly what was done, it’s tricky to definitively see what is different. Try comparing the Met station index for the NH from GISTEMP to get the closest analog. – gavin]

  16. 166
    jb says:

    Re: Knucklehead in America #

    “emotional, soft, immature SJWs that are incapable of dealing with reality”

    This is from the snowflake who is afraid to wear his MAGA hat in public because he can’t handle being called out for his inability to deal with reality.

    Fortunately, those same softies that he decries are now finding their voice and confronting the weaponized stupid that KIA represents.

  17. 167
    mike says:

    to mal at 153: quite right. I can be a little snarky somedays. The correct discussion is definitely that of contribution of global warming to extreme weather events and changed/changing global weather patterns. This is a moving target and harder to absorb for folks like John who would prefer to say, well, we always have bad weather, record flooding etc.

    I read that flood season hasn’t really arrived yet in that region. More to come? If I lived in the midwest and had been impacted by flooding in the past ten years, I would be thinking about how to cut my losses and figure out where to relocate. But as long as the insurance/FEMA etc. will cough up bucks to repair/replace infrastructure that may very well be sited in the wrong place now, I think we will see a lot of folks choosing that and hoping for the best. It does not help those folks make informed decisions if the news and weather media don’t mention global warming as a contributing factor to increase in severity and frequency of extreme weather events.

    Oh, well. Happy Monday all


  18. 168
    Aaron Dunckel says:

    How do comments like #136 and especially #151 pass moderation?

  19. 169
    Snape says:

    I’ve noticed the ENSO projections for roughly 8 months out…….can themselves be accurately predicted. Just look at the 7-day forecast for trade wind anomalies:

    This is a mixed bag, reflecting ENSO neutral conditions. The ~ 8 projections will continue to trend in that general direction (towards neutral) during the coming week.

    When we see an abrupt change in the 7 day forecast, an abrupt change in the 8 month projection is sure to follow. Don’t believe me? Keep watching:

  20. 170
    Snape says:

    To clarify: I’m NOT suggesting the models are super accurate – they’re not. So, just because we can accurately predict the model projections, doesn’t mean the model projections can accurately predict ENSO. It’s just something interesting to observe.

  21. 171
    Mr. Know It All says:

    160 – scott dudds

    “America is no longer relevant on the world stage.”

    Excellent, please let AOC know that she can go change the world somewhere else. Thanks!

    159 – scott dudds

    “Reality clearly isn’t something they are interested in.”

    Since you brought it up, how’d you like that Mueller report? :) :) :)

    Speaking of reality, it seems weird that the record extent of Antarctic sea ice ever recorded would occur in 2014 with high CO2 levels, but that is the reality. Wonder if it could be a south polar vortex making it colder than normal farther from the south pole?

    Of course, Arctic sea ice is generally diminishing.

  22. 172
    Steven Sullivan says:

    #54 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.”

    You’re funny. And it might be that RC thinks so too, since two days after your post, they intrcduced the Crank Shaft, featuring the ravings of a skeptic *who does just what you said no skeptic does*.

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    Published: 25 March 2019
    Interruption of two decades of Jakobshavn Isbrae acceleration and thinning as regional ocean cools

    Ala Khazendar, Ian G. Fenty, Dustin Carroll, Alex Gardner, Craig M. Lee, Ichiro Fukumori, Ou Wang, Hong Zhang, Hélène Seroussi, Delwyn Moller, Brice P. Y. Noël, Michiel R. van den Broeke, Steven Dinardo & Josh Willis

    Nature Geoscience (2019)

  24. 174
    Snape says:


    The ~ 8 month projections, not “the ~ 8 projections”.

  25. 175
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    @KIA: “Since you brought it up, how’d you like that Mueller report? :) :) :)”

    you mean that report that no one outside the inner circle has yet seen?

    please. this is embarrassing.

  26. 176
    nigelj says:

    Please let there be less political stuff. While some political stuff has a bearing on the climate issue, fire stations, schools and the Mueller report obviously do not. And KIA needs to stop blaming schools for the failings of parents who overprotect kids too much.

  27. 177
    Carrie says:

    Dr Galton-Fenzi said “a substantial amount of water” was contained in the subglacial lakes, which could impact the rate at which ice flows into the ocean.

    “In the context of climate change, we need to understand the characteristics of the bed, because they exert a very powerful control over the flow of the glacier,” he said.

    and somewhat related but at another location

    Researchers expected to find some gaps between ice and bedrock at Thwaites’ bottom where ocean water could flow in and melt the glacier from below. The size and explosive growth rate of the newfound hole, however, surprised them. It’s big enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, and most of that ice melted over the last three years.

    “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.
    Read more at:

    How’s those climate models working out with forecasting “reality”?


  28. 178
    Carrie says:

    The new article has inspired me, “Alpine glaciers: Another decade of loss”.

    I would like to see all climate scientists act in the vein of militant Unionists and the others who brought significant change to societies. There’s this thing called “work to rule”. Then there is Strike action.

    First thing I would like to see is that every single scientist of the hundreds now currently volunteering to prepare the IPCC v6 report to down tools. Just stop all their work and unanimously quit the project. And then for no one to take their place.

    I would like to see every govt employed climate related scientist to hit a “work to rule” mode. No more free over time. No more collating of Data. No more climate models. No more reports. No more publishing of GHG levels or temperature or ice loss recording. Just stop doing it.

    I would like to see every climate scientist to stop submitting their Papers for peer Review at Journals. No papers, no Income. The effect will be immediate if everyone stopped in unison.

    No more trips away from home to remote regions to collect data. No more funding submissions for new studies. A global Strike on teaching “climate related” University College courses for paying students to attend. The effect will be immediate.

    I would like to see instead climate scientists manning Protest points instead. Creating “do not cross strike lines” where ever they can be placed. Imploring that all other scientists and academics (at Universities Colleges and Govt Agencies) join their Strike Action.

    For “weather bureaus” to work to rule by only providing current weather reports, and that’s it. No work to be done on analysing climate change impacts etc. No data compilations being sent to NASA-GISS etc from all over the world. No updating their websites. No more ESRL analysis being passed on to other climate related agencies nationally or globally.

    By all means, keep yourselves up-to-date. Share your info Privately and Securely across the globe with your fellows but stop giving it to the world, to the UNFCCC, to the IPCC, to NASA-Giss, to the Media nor to Governments anywhere.

    Just stop. Go on Strike. Then go on national news everywhere and tell them in interviews why you have gone on strike. Talk about the Climate Crisis and how you have had enough of world Governments and the people ignoring you for 30 years!

  29. 179
    Marco says:

    “I debate a very intelligent denier and he has sent me a video by Tony Heller”

    Does anyone else see a major contradiction here?

    TPaine, I’m afraid you are running head first into a wall when you try to rebut anything your “very intelligent denier” friend states, considering the mere fact that he seems to consider anything from Tony Heller credible enough to reference.

    You could test that “very intelligent denier” by pointing him to Potholer’s attempts to get some facts into Tony Heller’s brain, and finding it as sticky as Teflon (potholer’s repeated “not my theory, mate” is hilarious and sad at the same time). If he then still considers Tony Heller credible, you are truly wasting your time – unless you use the rebuttal primarily as a way for yourself to learn something new, rather than as a tool to convince someone else.

  30. 180
    MA Rodger says:

    TPaine @165,
    A better (easily readable) reference for that newspaper story is featured in the deniosphere here. The newspaper is eight months later and the graphic has been re-drawn for this newspaper. It no longer says it is “global”. As in this newspaper article (which does not refer to the graphic itself), I note the Heller tirade entirely lacks proper references. So all we have is Heller repeating the words on the graphic, that the “source” is NCAR.
    I also note in his tirade the graphic from “National Academy of Sciences 1975”. This graphic is Fig A.6 from NCAR (1975) ‘Understanding CLimate Change – A program of action’ and there it is referenced to Budyko (1969) and post-1959 to unpublished sources. Mind, if you smoothed out the NAoS graph to the level of detail shown in the alleged NCAR graph, you would get something not greatly different from the the alleged NCAR graph. But the NAoS graphic evidently is Northern Hemisphere and if you visit GISTEMP today, their premier-featured graph shows the difference between NH & SH temperature records. So has the NH record actually changed msignificantly? Or is Heller off on another of his purile misdirections?

  31. 181
    MA Rodger says:

    TPaine @165,
    A link to the newspaper article from The Lincoln Star 14/7/74 in readable form. It isn’t the same as the April 1975 version I found & linked above. But the source of the graph remains unreferenced within the text of the article.

  32. 182
    zebra says:

    #138 Kevin McKinney, #150 Snape,

    Snape, if you want to show that you are serious, you have to make an effort to be clear in what you are asking/asserting. This problem is not specific to you, but the internet provides an incentive to produce lots of “product” (blogs, comments, words, column inches) and this results in less clarity.

    (It’s interesting– I often find that when I use fewer words, people get upset because, I think perhaps, a simple question requires a simple answer, not lots of factoids and rambling exposition.)

    So the example would be, in this case, when Mass says “little evidence for the lazy jet stream theory in observations”, I have no idea what he really means. But I also don’t know what Kevin means when he says there is more.

    Kevin, here’s where the reference from Hank Roberts I referred to took me:

    Well worth reading.

    The “evidence” that I see from all parties– Francis, Mann, Mass– at this point is consistent with the two things I said:

    -“If the temperature difference decreases, the winds slow down.”
    -“If you increase the energy in the system, then patterns of energy movement by atmosphere and oceans must change.”

    Snape, science isn’t like what you do in school– finding the answers to “problems”. The hard part is getting the questions right.

  33. 183
    Mr. Know It All says:

    US Senate votes on Green New Deal. NOT ONE Senator voted for it:

    Make the best of the next 12 years.

  34. 184
    TPaine says:

    Thanks Gavin. That sounds reasonable so I will use you explanation.

  35. 185
    TPaine says:

    Marco @ 179

    I understand what you are trying to say about a major contradiction but I live in a very conservative area and work with numerous intelligent people that let their conservative world view outweigh the scientific evidence on this subject.

    You are absolutely correct when you say the rebuttals are a way to learn something new. It forces me to do the research in order to debunk all the denier information he sends. I have even told him exactly that. He will never concede. But I will continue to learn.

  36. 186
    TPaine says:

    Rodger @ 180

    Great information. Thanks a lot.

  37. 187
    sidd says:

    As I have posted before, i was looking at south asian monsoon for various reasons, but i though i’d post a related note:

    Last fall’s Lorenz lecture by Krishnamurthy at the agu was rather good on intraseasonal prediction of south asian summer monsoon. It turns out that you can use empirical dynamical modelling (EDM) for prediction if you can identify robust “slow” (at least on the timescale of prediction) modes. You do have to look at the right things to find these, Krishnamurthy uses multichannel singular spectral analysis to obtain eigenmodes before he does EDM. He can handily outperform forecast models 60-80 days out.

    A 2017 paper is doi: 10.1002/2017GL074984

    The Lorenz lecture video is good too, but you have to register (free) at


  38. 188

    KIA on Antarctic sea ice–Yeah, its behavior has been scientifically challenging to predict and even explain; although one or two modeling studies actually did predict the modest trend toward expansion that was observed over a couple of decades, I think most researchers were still surprised by that expansion when it did occur.

    However, it’s interesting that you bring up the 2014 record high maximum, in that it’s now 2019, and extents in the last few years have crashed right back down again:

    (Click on the blue “Antarctic images” box to view the relevant graphs.)

  39. 189
    MA Rodger says:

    HadCRUT has reportred for February with a lower anomaly than January (at +0.67ºC for Feb, down from Jan +0.74ºC), echoing NOAA which also recorded a drop in anomaly but unlike GISTEMP that recorded an increase. The difference is likely simply due to the lower global coverage of NOAA & HadCRUT.

    For HadCRUT it is the 6th warmest February on record (in GISTEMP 3rd & in NOAA 5th). In HadCRUT Feb 2019 sits below Feb 2016 (+1.11ºC, this the warmest month of all), 2nd-placed 2017 (+0.85ºC), 1998 (+0.76ºC), 2002 (+0.70ºC) & 2015 (+0.69ºC)
    February 2019 is 38th warmest month in the all-month HadCRUT record (GISS =14th & NOAA =44th).
    As a start-of-the-year, Jan & Feb in HadCRUT are the 3rd warmest (GISS 3rd, NOAA 4th) behind the starts of 2016 & 2017 and just ahead of the starts of 2015, 2007, & 2002. At +0.70ºC the first two months of 2019 anomaly sits warmer than all-bar-two full calendar years, those being 2016 (+0.80ºC) & 2015 (+0.76ºC).

  40. 190
    Killian says:

    Zebra, no offense intended here at all, just honest feedback. I have noticed your conversations get bogged down in pedantic (descriptive, not pejorative) details of small points and language. It is making your communications here difficult to engage due to repetition and picking at secondary and tertiary points/issues that don’t improve the communication.

    Just sayin’. No offense to me if this does not resonate with you, but the following is a good example:

    So the example would be, in this case, when Mass says “little evidence for the lazy jet stream theory in observations”, I have no idea what he really means. But I also don’t know what Kevin means when he says there is more.

    Sure, they could quantify this, but do you really not understand? The former says the evidence at hand is insufficient (opinion) while the latter says it is sufficient (opinion). Does that really need commentary or critique?

    The “evidence” that I see from all parties– Francis, Mann, Mass– at this point is consistent with the two things I said:

    Wait, now, what evidence? Everything all those have put out on the topic? Some of the points? Most? Some?

    See what I mean? You mean in aggregate, and so did they.

    Etc. A little reading between the lines is often necessary.


  41. 191
    Snape says:

    #182 Zebra
    I’ll try to be clear and brief / ask what I think are the two most obvious questions.

    Claim: “the northern polar jet stream is slowing down.”
    Question: Is there a time series (at least 30 years to weed out noise) with the trend showing its mean velocity has declined?

    Claim: “the northern polar jet stream is getting more wobbly”
    Question: Is there a time series (at least 30 years to weed out noise) with the trend showing its mean amplitude has increased?

    Regarding your link: A counter augment, made by some really smart people (like Tamino), is that it’s often a mistake to just eyeball data, or draw conclusions based on too short a time period. Easy to get fooled. Better to calculate the
    trend / determine mathematically if it’s significant.

  42. 192

    KIA on public schools–

    I wasn’t going to respond since it’s pretty far OT. However, I actually work in public school classrooms frequently, so I’m just going to state that in my opinion, the picture KIA paints bears no relation whatever to the reality. I can only guess that it’s the result of attending to ideologically-driven propaganda on the topic.

    That’s not to say that all is well with public education. But it is most definitely not ‘coddling’ our youth to the destruction of their capacity to deal with any adversity in life. Nor is it, by and large, failing to educate–despite the attacks of ideologues on the system and the funding thereof.

    (For example, here in Kershaw County, South Carolina, a fully-certified substitute teacher receives $70 a day–$10 an hour. Or, with ~145 instructional days in the schedule, according to my quick estimate, just over $10k a year. Just how attractive do you think that is for folks with a 4-year college degree? But that’s where our legislators have allowed things to deteriorate to.)

  43. 193
    William B Jackson says:

    KIA asks how we like the Mueller report? All I can say is we have not seen a Mueller report!

  44. 194
  45. 195
    Chris Korda says:

    Gavin @105: The UNEP report is not “wrong,” it merely assumes the continuation of RCP8.5 and not unreasonably. Wake me up when the Keeling curve reverses direction.

  46. 196
    t marvell says:

    #136. All these services except the military and judiciary were “private enterprise” a few hundred years ago. Even the military was largely private enterprise, financed by looting. And the judiciary was financed by extracting fees. That is, pure private enterprise was found wanting, and the government had to take over. The question now is where is “private enterprise” wanting and needs fixing by the government. Global warming would be first on this list.

  47. 197

    #190, KIA–

    The “AOC crowd?”


    As to the ‘carbon solidification’ process, that’s interesting, but let us know when there’s some information on the costs in terms of energy and finance both.

    Unless it scales really, really, fast it’s not going to be much help in addressing the current situation.

  48. 198
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Re # 154A. “P. Ballantyne, P. Ciais, J. B. Miller
    First published: 23 October 2018


    Fossil fuel emissions of CO2 to the atmosphere appear to have leveled off in recent years; however, atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to rise.” Since the atmospheric CO2 content continues to rise, and since it is reasonable to suspect that not every official account of emissions is honest, I think the answers to this conondrum is rather obvious. But of course that can not be writer in a scientific publication, if you want it to be published. I mean: that some big state actors and others are lying about their emissions to make it seem like they are fullfilling their obligations within the Paris “accord”.

  49. 199
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Re #174 about the Jakobshavns isbrae in Greenland. Climate ignorants are of course making at lot of noise about this, saying that it means that the whole Grenland ice cap is not diminishing. Since the data in the article referred are only from a few recent years, and Jakobshavns isbrae is only one outlet glacier from this huge ice cap and has been retreating for the last hundred years or so and especially fast for the last four decades, this is of course the usual nonsense from the usual suspects. As a whole the Greenland ice cap has had a negative mass balance for at least the last four decades, and the trend is negative. Of course a few years of thickening of one outlet glacier, which the article says probably is happening because the fiord waters underneath the floating parts of the glacier tongue has cooled a little, cannot document a reversal in the overall trend for several decades in the mass budget for the whole ice cap. But to try to get these antiscientific fossil fuel fanatics to understand that is naturally impossible, they made up their minds long ago. They are just cherrypicking as usual. Serious discussion with such people is impossible because they are using demagogic tactics.

  50. 200
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    Re II to # 173 (I wrongly said 174 above). See also: “Recent studies have highlighted the dynamic behavior of marine-terminating outlet glaciers over decadal time scales, linked to both atmospheric and oceanic warming. This helps explain episodes of nearly synchronous flow acceleration, thinning, and retreat, but nonclimatic factors such as changes in fjord width and depth, can also induce rapid recession. There is support for these topographic controls on glacier retreat, but there are few long-term records to assess their significance across a population of glaciers over millennial time scales.”

    Therefore it seems to me that the new study of Jakobshavns isbrae in case is a little oversimplistic in it’s explanations as they appear in the abstract. It has for long been well-known that many factors, and not the least topographic (fx longitudinal depth-profile of the fiord basin and heights of the sorrounding landscape), control the behaviour of outlet glaciers. 

    “Rapid retreat of Greenland’s marine-terminating glaciers coincides with regional warming trends, which have broadly been used to explain these rapid changes. However, outlet glaciers within similar climate regimes experience widely contrasting retreat patterns, suggesting that the local fjord geometry could be an important additional factor. To assess the relative role of climate and fjord geometry, we use the retreat history of Jakobshavn Isbræ, West Greenland, since the Little Ice Age (LIA) maximum in 1850 as a baseline for the parameterization of a depth- and width-integrated ice flow model. The impact of fjord geometry is isolated by using a linearly increasing climate forcing since the LIA and testing a range of simplified geometries.

    We find that the total length of retreat is determined by external factors – such as hydrofracturing, submarine melt and buttressing by sea ice – whereas the retreat pattern is governed by the fjord geometry.” 

    Conclusions regarding the mass-balance of a whole ice cap, especially one as huge as the Greenland ice-sheet, of course cannot be drawn from the behaviour of just one outlet glacier, even if it is the biggest one as in the case of Jakobshavns isbrae. Other greenlandic icestreams fx to the northeast, which are retreating and thinning very fast, are also very big, even if they are not moving as fast as this one (it has in the last decade sped up because of warm waters underneath it’s tongue, and was a few years ago moving as fast as 50 m a day). For those interested in the history of Jakobshavns isbrae, Anker Weidich is the main researcher with a lot of publications over the years.

    The overall ice-loss from the Greenland ice-sheet stems from two main factors each contributing around 50 pct.: 1) surface melt and 2) calving combined with melting of outlet glaciers from underneath by seawater. The surface mass-balance over the last around 15 years and probably since around 1990 has been more and more negative.

    Cfr. this fig.: