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Unforced variations: May 2019

Filed under: — group @ 2 May 2019

This month’s open thread about climate science topics. For discussions about solutions and policy, please use the Forced Responses open thread.

161 Responses to “Unforced variations: May 2019”

  1. 51
    Barry Finch says:

    @48 Snape (or anybody at all) Yes I know. The question is above my pay grade. I’ve not looked for what might have happened. As I probably explained poorly it is based on what might be coincidences:
    – I plotted GISTEMP GMST 1966-2013 and found a reasonable fit for a straight line for non El Nino years. However, by eye balling, it seemed clear that 2 lines for El Nino years fit 1966-2013 noticeably better than 1 line. I noted that intersection date 1990 AD and forgot about it all. A single 2nd-order polynomial might fit better but I don’t have the software. Anyway, I have to do the El Ninos properly (not calendar years) to get anything more worthwhile.
    – I came across the wind stress paper a ~year later randomly and recalled the earlier thing. Unfortunately I didn’t take a note of that wind stress paper (I think it was a paper, it certainly wasn’t a video talk) and a weak attempt to find it later didn’t succeed. I don’t recall the author suggesting a reason, only that it was flat from when it started until 1990 AD and then fairly linear down until 1 m /s faster when the analysis ended and I recall for some reason the datum plotted was going down as speed went up.
    – I came across something else in a talk the last few months that had 2 distinct slopes that intersected at 1988-1990 (I might be getting confirmation bias though). I can’t remember what it was. Definitely not surface/air temperature nor ocean heat content. Possibly to do with Antarctic circumpolar currents or winds but I’ve forgotten.

    Here you go though, how about NOAA ORAP5 Ocean Heat Content 0-2000 m going up until 1978 then flat as a pancake 1978-1990 then going up like a rocket right at 1990 ? (in fairness, I note that Magdalena Balmaseda’s ORAS4 looks quite different though with a surge starting 1983 and a surge starting 2000). I just cannot find that wind stress plot I’m sure I saw 5-6 years ago with the definite start of wind increase at 1990 AD.
    However, how about this from Cheng et al 2017 “We found that changes in OHC are relatively small before about 1980; since then, OHC has increased fairly steadily and, since 1990, has increasingly involved deeper layers of the ocean”. I don’t have a clue what it’s all about but right there Cheng, Trenberth, Fasullo, Boyer, Abraham & Zhu state “since 1990” so whatever buried in there is their reason for “since 1990”, mmmmmm, I concur is my answer to your question.

    Hang on, I just now remembered. the answer involves abrupt climate change.

  2. 52
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    MA Rodgers @35

    from the article:

    Some climate model studies suggest this recent change in El Niño “flavours” could be due to climate change

    “some” and “could be”?!? thought this should be obvious, especially seeing this graph right next to it:

  3. 53
    mike says:

    nigel at 42 says: “Global warming is pushing heat energy into the oceans and evidence now suggests el ninos are becoming more intense. Who would have thought? El ninos cause additional CO2 emissions, so its all another positive feedback to add to the long and depressing list.”

    I say, hey, lighten up, N. You have been optimistic about how we are doing on the questions that arise occasionally. I think it’s really important to the general flow of the conversation that you remain consistently optimistic or announce that you have suddenly flipped into the camp of the alarmed. You aren’t alarmed or depressed by the list of positive feedbacks, are you?

    Check it out: daily CO2?
    Daily CO2

    May 11, 2019: 415.26 ppm
    May 11, 2018: 411.70 ppm

    under 4 ppm increase, we are cruising! I thought maybe Crowther had discovered something alarming about new sources of atmospheric CO2, but Al says it’s not a big deal. Al is not alarmed. I am reading through Crowther and hoping the scientists might weigh in with a post about Crowther’s estimate of current CO2 being in the range of 12 to 15%. Al says that paper does not support Crowther’s statement and estimate, but he also says he hasn’t read the paper, so I am a little confused by that.

    Chin up, Nigel. It’s going to be ok! Don’t get all worked up over the feedbacks, we are cutting emissions right now.



  4. 54
    Crunch Time says:


    May 11: 414.75 ppm
    May 10: 414.26 ppm
    May 09: 414.23 ppm
    May 08: 414.50 ppm
    May 07: 414.24 ppm
    May 06: 414.49 ppm
    May 05: 414.10 ppm

    Week beginning on May 5, 2019: 414.37 ppm +3.60 ppm
    Weekly value from 1 year ago: 410.77 ppm
    Weekly value from 10 years ago: 389.79 ppm
    Last updated: May 12, 2019

    MLO CO2 Growth for May Mth-to-Date is tracking +4.00 ppm

    NOAA ESRL Global Mean CO2 passed 410 ppmv in February 2019. This is not the Mauna Loa (MLO), but the entire GHG Network mean. We moved from 400 ppm through 410 ppm in 47 months – less than four years. There is no comparison in 800,000 of ice core data.

    For example, before 140 years ago (and back 17,000 years, at least), it always took over 100 years for the Earth’s average CO2 to increase 10 ppm. Now it happens in under 4 years.

  5. 55
    Ray Ladbury says:

    If you implement the quadratic as a model in a generalized linear model with normal errors about the quadratic, you can get not only best fit, but confidence intervals for your quadratic coefficients. This also gives you likelihood, so you can look at the Akaike or Bayesian Information Criteria to see of the quadratic fit is significantly better than the linear.

  6. 56
    S.B. Ripman says:

    Mike (nos. 26 and 44):
    This comment of yours is perfect: “we are making progress on this matter, so no worries”.
    At first the sarcasm seemed out of place in a scientific setting. But it’s clear now that anything goes when it comes to prodding the scientific community into action.
    Greta Thunberg has it right: the house is ablaze and the grown-ups are sleep-walking.
    Warm regards.

  7. 57
    Snape says:

    @Barry #51
    Interesting. You might very well be right, I’m no judge. Here’s something you might find interesting, if you haven’t already seen it:

    1) Go here:

    2) under the heading, “Heat Content”, click on the bottom option, “Basin time series”.

    3) under the heading, “3 month 1955 to present” again go to the bottom and click on “0 – 700 meters, all months”

    It gives you easy to read OHC anomalies in 3 month increments. Here’s a sample of the last few quarters:

    2016-9 13.078745
    2016-12 14.275308
    2017-3 16.024471
    2017-6 16.228298
    2017-9 14.849831
    2017-12 16.408493
    2018-3 17.503874
    2018-6 15.545946
    2018-9 16.040094
    2018-12 17.797443
    2019-3 17.501017

    Last year was the warmest ever for the global ocean going back to 1955

  8. 58
    sidd says:

    Re: Crowther, soil C loss with warming

    1) 49 sites over six biomes, experimental plots with imposed warming

    2) They only look at top 10cm of soil (4 inches)

    3) They assume soil C will decrease for ever, no acclimatization.

    4) Unsurprisingly they find the more soil C you got, the more is lost with warming

    5) 55 petagram extra C into the air by 2050 which is 12-17 % of total anthro C emission under RCP8.5 until 2050 ; with acclimatization that number drops to 30 petagram


  9. 59
    nigelj says:

    Mike @53, I have always been alarmed at the ominously large list of positive feedbacks. However what annoys me is when people get truly carried away and the current fashionable term for this appears to be ‘skyrockety’ if I have it right. I’m very much on the side of a bit of self discipline, and accurately identifying whats going on in the way MAR appears to be doing, so as not to either exaggerate or underestimate things so as to keep myself grounded. Please do not mistake this for anything other than what it is. Please note that the IPCC has both under and over estimated some trends.

    There is also psychological evidence that if people get too overwhelmed with bad news they loose the will to try to fix the problem, which is why I try to not be too openly doomy and gloomy feeding more of the same, whatever my private thoughts are. Some character David Wallace Wells has written a doomy book called the uninhabitable earth which is sitting on my bookshelf and looks quite good from my quick scan, and reasonably accurate ie not too exaggerated. But whether this will captitave people or cause them to give up all hope is an interesting question.

    One can also be alarmed at the implications of this positive feedback for mlo CO2 levels but still look within the data to see if we are making some small positive difference to the rate of growth of this ominous looking number.

  10. 60
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @53,
    It would be polite to address me direct. It would also be polite to respond to my questioning @50. Of course, I failed to respond to your question in the April UV thread @81 but truth be told, I failed to notice it lurking at the foot of an otherwise rambling comment. So let me answer now.
    You wrote “So, I guess I will ask you, in your terms, are you really not alarmed about the climate change that you observe sitting well within the science?”
    Am I not alarmed? I’ve been ‘alarmed’ for the last 15 years which was a time when when the continuing failure of the developed world to tackle their growing carbon emissions was joined by worrying news such as that China was building coal-fuelled power stations at a rate of one-a-week, also a time when the science began to show the need to revise down the likes of WRE450 which represented the original targets of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050.

    As for the Crowther, he appears in the UV threads @64 last month courtesy of what was cited as “a better article than most on rapid climate change” and which said:-

    Crowther estimates that carbon dioxide and methane emissions from thawing soils are “accelerating climate change about 12 to 15 percent at the moment,” and said past IPCC reports that left out the feedback “were way more optimistic than they should have been.”[My bold]

    This message contrasts with Crowther et al (2016)” that sets out in its Abstract regarding global soil stocks:-

    “An assumption of annual acclimation yields a conservative estimate that soil C stocks will fall by 55 (± 50) Pg C from the upper soil horizons by 2050, a value that is 12-17% of anthropogenic emissions over this period. [My bold]

    Further, a quick scan of Crowther et al (2016) shows this 55Gt(C) value is based on BAU. So the idea that this equates to “12 to 15 percent at the moment” is surely unsupported by this paper.
    We could look elsewhere. Your “couple of links” upthread @44 link to the same place, a press release supporting a comment piece in Nature, Turetsky et al (2019), who discuss the impact of sudden permafrost melting on carbon emissions from permafrost. They set out reason to increase the estimate for carbon emissions for such circumstance for the next 300 years under BAU from 200Gt(C) to potentially 300Gt(C). Even an average for those 300 years (which would massively overestimate today’s Arctic carbon emissions) does not support the still-unsupported Crowther assertion of “about 12 to 15 percent at the moment.”

  11. 61
    Nemesis says:

    @mike, 53

    The road to hell is plastered with optimism. But hey, it has been said a million times on RC that we are just monkeys. So what should I expect from monkeys when it comes to “saving the planet” and shit? Nothing but funny gestures and noise on the way to the boneyard.

    At the end of the road all gestures and noises will turn into acceptance and silence. How calm, how peaceful, how compelling.

    See you there, dear monkeys.

  12. 62
    Ray Ladbury says:

    S. B. Ripman: “But it’s clear now that anything goes when it comes to prodding the scientific community into action.”

    Uh, dude, just what more would you have them do? They are already the ones who have born the brunt of the struggle going on 40 years. I presume you are at least dimly aware that climate scientists run this blog in their spare time with no support from the ebil gummint or the general public.

    I’ve predicted it elsewhere: When the shit finally hits the fan, the public will find some way to blame the scientists. Looks like you’re getting a head start.

  13. 63
    Chuck says:

    Nemesis says:
    14 May 2019 at 6:22 AM
    @mike, 53

    The road to hell is plastered with optimism.

    We’re not going to make it are we? I’m getting that sense that it’s too late to do much. Having Trump in the White House pretty well sealed the deal I think. I’m not seeing any real movement in the right direction from governments concerning the Paris Agreement. A lot of talk with no real change. Emissions are going up but I don’t think the increase is due to human activity as much as the feedbacks are starting to make a real difference now. Russia is opening up the Arctic to more drilling so it’s BAU all the way to the boneyard as you said.

  14. 64
    mike says:

    Hey Ray. You ask about the scientific community at 62: “But it’s clear now that anything goes when it comes to prodding the scientific community into action.”

    Uh, dude, just what more would you have them do?

    I don’t know if it’s anything goes on prodding the scientific community into action, but the argument can certainly be made that much of the scientific community has been reluctant to speak out strongly in the manner of James Hansen. There is no question there may be a career price to be paid for speaking out ala Hansen. Take this one as an example of how to get it right:

    “David Obura, one of the main authors on the report and a global authority on corals, said: “We tried to document how far in trouble we are to focus people’s minds, but also to say it is not too late if we put a huge amount into transformational behavioural change. This is fundamental to humanity. We are not just talking about nice species out there; this is our life-support system.””

    Make sure to state clearly that we are in trouble wrt the climate and include the context that the individual scientific reports document that things like coral loss or ice shelf weakening, etc. is about bad things that are happening in the life support system of humanity.

    Here’s an example of scientists getting it wrong recently: is an interesting read. Here are a few quotes:

    “in at least eight of the next-generation models, produced by leading centers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and France, that “equilibrium climate sensitivity” has come in at 5°C or warmer.”


    ” “it’s a bit too early to get wound up,” says John Fyfe, a climate scientist at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis in Victoria, whose model is among those running much hotter than in the past. “But maybe we have to face a reality in the future that’s more pessimistic than it was in the past.” ”


    ” The results so far are “not sufficient to convince me,” says Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. In the effort to account for atmospheric components that are too small to directly simulate, like clouds, the new models could easily have strayed from reality, she says. “That’s always going to be a bumpy road.” ”

    Have your sound bites ready to turn back to the fact that we are in trouble as David Obura and others state clearly. If you are Marvel or Fyfe and you think a scientific issue has overstated the risks, be sure not to get quoted in a way where you forget to mention that our general situation on climate is dire and we need to make large changes, that this particular issue may be something that will be worked out and prove not to be as bad as it looks at first glance, but again, make no mistake, our climate situation is dire.

    You don’t need to go all Bill Nyey on the journalists, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to be clear that you are wound up about our climate situation, that you are convinced that we are in trouble on global warming.



  15. 65
    mike says:

    to Al: per Crowther, “Crowther estimates that carbon dioxide and methane emissions from thawing soils are “accelerating climate change about 12 to 15 percent at the moment,” and said past IPCC reports that left out the feedback “were way more optimistic than they should have been.”

    and you think he is wrong, that his estimate is not supported by his paper. Here is what you said at 73: ”

    “I find it very difficult to square that statement with the IPCC’s SR15 report. Indeed, the Yahoo News piece talks of an IPCC “new estimate about how much additional carbon dioxide was being added to the atmosphere as a result of the warming of Arctic permafrost.” IPCC SR15 CH2 only give a “how much” statement for a total by 2100. And that is 100Gt(CO2). Such emissions would increase with a warming world so a constant 80-year level of Arctic emissions would be an overestimate. Such a constant 80-year level would amount to 0.07ppm/year, a lot less than the “12 to 15 percent” of Crowther’s estimate. The overestimate comes out as 3% of the “at the moment” value.”

    Okay. Here is Crowther’s contact email:

    Are you willing to run your critique by Professor Crowther and see if/how he responds? I would do it, but I think he is probably correct and you think he is wrong, so let’s cut out the middle man and just let you tell him how he is getting this wrong.



  16. 66
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @62, we had a character just like that in our talk radio. He always attacks greenies, and casts doubt on environmentalism, but whenever there’s a real problem he cant deny, he complains the environmentalists didn’t warn him clearly or loudly enough, even when they most certainly have.

    I think scientists are “stuck between a rock and a hard place”. If they are even slightly conservative on the science they are accused of ignoring risks and not telling the public the “truth”. If they speak out too stridently they are accused of scaremongering.

    I think climate scientists do pretty well with their messaging, on the whole. The problem is some of the public have their minds closed to the message, no matter how its packaged.

    However some constructive suggestions. Individuals who dont like doing interviews, public speaking, or writing articles or who lack these skills, should get expert advice on communications. This helped me in my job because I hated public speaking.

  17. 67
    Killian says:

    So far, my numbers are correct, the scale off. We have a daily CO2 over 415 and hourly over 417. Still a little bit to go, potentially, before peak. I’ll be watching that weekly # for that 0.05+/-!!

    I eyeballed the two-year chart at Scripps and it seems the late Feb/Early March weekly avg rise to the peak is 3ppm. That would put us around 415. But if you look at daily avg, it could be 416 or 417. I’m comfortable with a weekly of 415+/- 0.5

    I think daily averages will peak closer to 417. Higher if we include the ones they don’t publish due to volatility, and probably in April. Hourly, good lord… 420?

    From here:

  18. 68
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @65,
    How often does it have to be said.
    The quote from Crowther in the press article linked @64 in April’s UV thread is not supported by (i) ICC SR15 Ch2 as described @73 in April’s UV thread, (ii) Crowther et al (2016) as described @50 & again @60 upthread, (iii) Turetsky et al (2019), the paper supporting the item you linked to @44 upthread & as described @60. Perhaps I should add (iv) Todd-Brown, Zheng & Crowther (2018) which finds the carbon flux by 2100 under RCP8.5 totals 83Gt(C), abet with large uncertainty. As the lion’s share of this flux will occur when AGW approaches +4ºC warming (above 2000 values) through the latter part of the century, today’s flux of “carbon dioxide and methane emissions from thawing soils” will not be “accelerating climate change about 12 to 15 percent at the moment” as such acceleration would suggest a CO2 flux of 1.5Gt(C)pa from the just Arctic (& Arctic methane forcing being too low to account for a significant part of the 12%-15%).
    If you disagree with all this, and it appears that you do, please do explain why. If you want Crowther to be asked for the meaning of the quote in the press article, you appear to have his e-mail and I’m sure you know how to send a message to it. If such suggestions are not useful to you, then I don’t see there is any need for futher comment here.

  19. 69

    #64, mike–

    FWIW, my take on the quotes by Fyfe and Marvel:

    1) We don’t know what they said in full; we only know what the journalist (and his/her editor) selected for the story. It’s very possible that the researchers may have included just the sorts of context you suggested they do in the actual interview, and those bits just got the snip.

    2) That said, Fyfe’s reported comment that “…maybe we have to face a reality in the future that’s more pessimistic than it was in the past” doesn’t strike me as particularly reassuring.

    3) That both scientists expressed caution about some alarming but preliminary results is, to me, helpful. I’ve often had occasion to cite such comments in response to the (IMO, totally unfounded) allegation that climate researchers in general are “doubling down on failed predictions” or simply “alarmists” who never consider or present anything but worst cases.

    If people value their integrity, they must call it as they see it. Over time, their credibility will tend to be enhanced and they will tend to be more effective as a communicator, not less.

    IMO, of course.

  20. 70
    Nemesis says:

    @Chuck, #63

    ” Russia is opening up the Arctic to more drilling so it’s BAU all the way to the boneyard as you said.”

    Uhm, you forgot to mention the US as well here resp ExxonMobil et al :) :

    ” U.S. Starts Process to Open Arctic to Offshore Drilling, Despite Federal Lawsuit”

    See also:

    Hey, they could focus on Methane as well, there are many gigatons of beautiful Methane in the arctic as well. They just need to harvest all these gigatons of methane lightningfast, hehe.

    All in all:

    Yeah, just BAU on the road to hell :)

  21. 71
    MA Rodger says:

    GISTEMP has posted the April 2019 anomaly at +0.99ºC, a drop down on the March anomaly (+1.11ºC) but above Jan (+0.87ºC) & Feb (+0.90ºC) . April 2019 is the 2nd warmest April in the GISTEMP record, sitting below April 2016 (+1.07ºC) and above April 2017(+0.92ºC), 2018 (+0.87ºC) & 2010 (+0.85ºC).
    April 2019 is 12th warmest month in the all-month GISTEMP record.
    As a start-of-the-year, Jan-to-April 2019 averages +0.97ºC, the 3rd warmest Jan-to-Apr on record behind 2016 (+1.22ºC) and 2017 (+1.04ºC) while ahead of 2018 (+0.85ºC) and 2015 (+0.83ºC). These compare with the warmest complete calendar year averages of 2016 (+0.99ºC), 2017 (+0.90ºC), 2015 (+0.86ºC), 2018 (+0.83ºC) and 2014 (+0.73ºC).

  22. 72
    Richard Creager says:

    Nemesis, 61. We’re apes, not monkeys. Hate to nitpick(grooming reference), but the monkeys are a bit thin-skinned.

  23. 73
    Arun says:

    The denialists are crowing over this:

    “Greenland’s largest glacier has not only slowed its retreat, but has also thickened in recent years, surprising scientists studying the impacts of global warming on ice in the northern hemisphere.

    The island is home to the second-largest ice sheet in the world after Antarctica and rapid warming in the northern hemisphere has major implications for continuing global sea-level rise.

    The Jakobshavn Isbrae glacier on Greenland’s west coast used to lose more ice from this than anywhere else in the country.
    Measurements of the glacier’s elevation changes on its narrow trunk show that instead of losing 20 metres in height a year as it had previously, the glacier is now thickening by 20 metres a year.

  24. 74
    Chuck says:

    “it’s a bit too early to get wound up,” says John Fyfe

    Would somebody let me know when we reach the “wind up” stage? I thought we were there already.

  25. 75
    Chuck says:

    Kevin McKinney says:
    16 May 2019 at 8:41 AM
    #64, mike–

    FWIW, my take on the quotes by Fyfe and Marvel:

    My take is the comments sound milquetoast and benign given our situation. However, I am certain anybody reading the article is NOT going to get “wound up”. If that was the purpose of the article I’d say they hit their mark.

    What you end up with in these situations is a mixed message that by all appearances is coming directly from the scientific community. It doesn’t matter that the crux of the interview was edited out. The reader doesn’t know that. They just take it at face value.

  26. 76
    climate cal says:

    Raypierre in 2012 said “The amount of carbon we pump out in the next 50 or 100 years is going to determine what climate humanity will have to live with for essentially most of the rest of the lifetime of our species.” (in AGU talk, – is this still an accurate simple summary of the problem (& need for response)?

  27. 77
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mike@64, What in particular did Fyfe and Marvell get wrong? They were not asked whether the situation was dire. They were asked whether the higher sensitivity seen in several recent models was a game changer. It is not. Climate sensitivity has proved quite difficult to nail down. What is more, climate sensitivity is not even one of the most important parameters when it comes to precisely how screwed we are. A sensitivity of 2 degrees per doubling is more than sufficient to cook our goose if we don’t get serious about decreasing emissions and developing a carbon-free economy.

    A scientist–in his role as a scientist–is bound by his integrity to tell you only what the data allow him to say with some confidence. If you are looking for a spin-meister or a cheerleader, you need to look for a different messenger. I look lousy in a skirt, and I don’t shake pom-poms.

  28. 78
    nigelj says:

    Nemesis @70

    “Yeah, just BAU on the road to hell :)”

    The song Road to Hell by Chris Rea:

    We’ll I’m standing by a river but the water doesn’t flow
    It boils with every poison you can think of.
    Then I’m underneath the streetlights
    But the light of joy I know
    Scared beyond belief way down in the shadows.
    And the perverted fear of violence chokes a smile on every face
    And common sense is ringing out the bells.
    This ain’t no technological breakdown
    Oh no, this is the road to hell.
    And all the roads jam up with credit
    And there’s nothing you can do
    It’s all…

  29. 79
    mike says:

    To KM at 69: yes, quite possible. No worries. It was always going to be a bumpy road. No reason to get wound up. If Kate Marvel is not convinced and John Fyfe is not getting wound up, I know a lot of folks will relax.

    ‘Extraordinary thinning’ of ice sheets revealed deep inside Antarctica

    A lot of melting going on, but we should all avoid getting wound up about it. It was always going to be a bumpy road. Everybody is doing the best they can on a bumpy road.

    Daily CO2 [RECORD]

    May 15, 2019: 415.64 ppm
    May 15, 2018: 411.96 ppm



  30. 80
    mike says:

    Are the moderators willing to invite Thomas Crowther to post an explanation of his analysis of permafrost thaw and it’s contribution to current atmospheric CO2 readings and take part in a discussion of same with the commenters here?

    Al – I will email Prof Crowther and ask if he stand by his quote given your concerns as best I can represent them to him.



  31. 81
    Al Bundy says:

    Ray Labury: Uh, dude, just what more would you have them do? They are already the ones who have born the brunt of the struggle going on 40 years.

    Al Bundy: No they haven’t. The “front lines” is where people get killed or arrested. Like the folks who get killed stopping loggers and poachers, the people who get themselves arrested with 1,000 items on their person that all have to be tagged and recorded.

    The “Ivory Tower” is NOT the front lines. Kudos to JH and others who climbed down.

    If you haven’t put yourself into a situation where you stood a good chance of being threatened with a firearm or arrested please stop pretending.

    Greta Thunberg gets it. I’m with her.

  32. 82

    #70–Personally, I don’t think Arctic oil drilling is ever going to amount to much.

    High production costs, even in a warmer world, falling oil demand in an electrifying one. Neither Putin nor Trump can changer those realities.

  33. 83
    zebra says:

    On “The 12 to 15 Percent Solution”,

    Mike: I think MAR makes a good point that relates to something I’ve said before, which is that if you make a claim, you should be prepared to explain your reasoning in your own words.

    MAR, Mike, et al: Apologies if I missed it somewhere, but one of the other things I often say is that before you can have a “debate” you have to agree on what you are disagreeing about.

    The only way I can interpret the phrase “accelerating climate change” is that there is a change in (delta T)/(delta t), where delta t is of meaningful duration. (Using GMST as the usual metric.)

    Is it some version of… “IPCC says we will get 4C increase in (say) 100 years, but Crowther says we will get 4C in 85 to 88 years?”

    Anybody? Is this the big debate?

  34. 84
    MA Rodger says:

    zebra @83,
    The quote in question comes from a Yahoo News article:-

    It is “feedback loops” like that one that make climate change unpredictable and represent a threat of global warming spiraling out of control.
    “It’s already begun,” Thomas Crowther, professor in the Department of Environmental Systems Science of ETH Zurich, told Yahoo News. “The feedback is in process.”
    Crowther estimates that carbon dioxide and methane emissions from thawing soils are “accelerating climate change about 12 to 15 percent at the moment,” and said past IPCC reports that left out the feedback “were way more optimistic than they should have been.”

    The IPCC RCPs don’t calculate such feedbacks and so likely do underestimate their importance.
    But it is the “at the moment” part I cannot accept. I would assume that the meaning of what is being asserted is that “12 to 15 percent” of today’s increase in GHG forcing results from net permafrost emissions. We can perhaps assume for at least CO2 that such net emissions were zero during pre-industrial.
    So, with AGW running at 0.04Wm^-2/yr (From NOAA’s AGGI 2011-17) we’d be looking for CO2+CH4 emissions that would result in enough extra GHGs in the atmosphere to increase climate forcing by +0.0043Wm^-2/yr to +0.0054Wm^-2/yr.
    Globally, atmospheric CH4 has been responsible for 0.0028Wm^-2/yr and the increase since since the levelling-off a decade ago has been attributed to non-Arctic sources.
    Atmospheric CO2 has been responsible for 0.033Wm^-2/yr, this by conventional wisdom resulting from 11Gt(C)/yr of anthropogenic emissions. So I would suggest the “12 to 15 percent” would imply annual net emissions of CO2 from the thawing permafrost of 1.5Gt(C)/yr. But this doesn’t square wuth the values given in the references cited @68 above; not by some margin.

  35. 85
    mike says:

    Hey Zebra,

    I think the big debate, if there is one, is that I think that the amount of atmospheric CO2 has been rising because our warmed planet has kickoffed some “natural” feedbacks that are contributing a significant amount of CO2 to the atmosphere and ocean. Crowther is quoted in the Yahoo news piece saying that he thinks 12-15% of current emissions arise from the feedback of warmed soil and permafrost. I think MAR does not believe this is true. Does that sound right, Al?

    I think eventually we will all recognize and accept the truth about the sources of CO2 increase if we live long enough. I think an alternative outcome is that we will see the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase actually level off and start dropping toward the zero rate of increase that we need to achieve eventually. That would be amazing and gratifying to see.

    I think Tamino has crunched the numbers and says we have to go no higher than 435 ppm to keep the global warming to 2 degrees. At our current rate of increase, we will hit the 435 ppm mark in less than ten years. Maybe we will be fine at 435 ppm?

    The endless bickering is a rehash of the “someone is wrong on the internet” conundrum and I am always surprised when I get drawn into that morass again.

    Fyfe and Marvel are fine. I have no complaints. Crowther is fine. I have no complaints. We must all review the data we have available to us and draw our own conclusions. YMMV



  36. 86
    Nemesis says:

    @nigelj, #78

    After decades of observing ignorance I found out the final exit of ignorance will be sheer madness, deliriousness and paranoia, the zombie apocalypse. The denier weirdos are getting ever more and more cynical, hateful and delirious, mostly right-wing fascists living in the past. Their are waiting for they chance, when despair and chaos sets in…

    Can you imagine *millions and billions* of children on the globe slowly realizing, like Greta Thunberg, what has been left for their future, the legacy of endless stupidity and ignorance? This is what I imagine as real Hell, a weeping choir of children echoing the final outcome of endless pass the parcel games on our way to damnation.

    Systems are failing, systems are failing, systems are failing…. it’s a short story in our world:

  37. 87
    Climate Cal says:

    Climate change visualization questions:

    1. Is there a recently-updated “changes to glacial mass balance” barchart thing, that shows which ones are gaining and which are losing mass? (re Arun #73)

    2. If you are doing public communication about weather, and you want to say something (about how it relates to climate) on a day that the temperature hits a record high or a record low, what is the clearest way to communicate the record temperature in historical (including the future) context?
    The charts I’ve seen that show the ratio of new record highs to new record lows should actually be comparing newrecordhighs to new record lows *for the highest temperature of that day*, right? (Is that the data they are displaying? what is the term for this “lowest 24hr high” measurement?) (Reason I’m asking if that’s what they’re using: since nighttime lows will be milder due to climate change, nighttime lows can’t be used to say anything meaningful about shifts in daytime temperatures, which is what most of us are concerned about – it’s apples vs oranges, if you are comparing absolute 24hr highs to same-date absolute 24hr lows.)
    I hope this is clearly enough expressed, but I’m not sure that it is.

  38. 88
    Nemesis says:

    @Al Bundy, #81

    ” The “Ivory Tower” is NOT the front lines.”

    Very true. Everyone will come down from the ivory tower when they will be affected personally, when pain sets in, when flesh and bones demand their right, when the struggle for food and water begins, then any ivory tower will be left for sure. It’s just not hot enough yet ;)

  39. 89
    Climate Cal says:

    I did not google first, as I should have. The world glacial mass balance chart is in here:

    I still would like to understand how to informatively (and easily) show the changes in how often we are encountering record high daily temperatures, compared to the past, as an indicator of climate change.

  40. 90
    Al Bundy says:

    RL: Uh, dude, just what more would you have them do?
    AB: Hmm, I’d like to see teams doing civil disobedience approaching or exceeding what it takes to get arrested (team decision). Using a university team as an example, the prof, grad students, and undergrads block the entrance to an oil facility and talk about what their team is doing and why each of them chose to do the work they do. Bottle washers and janitors who see, on the news, bottle washers and janitors doing something they believe in get convinced, especially when this sort of spontaneous event is grabbing lots of news cycles.

    Doesn’t have to be just scientists. A lobster boat’s crew would surely have a compelling tale. But scientists need to get out of their Ivory Towers. Ray speaks reverently about the problem, “Ivory Tower Syndrome”, as if it were the most glorious thing possible. I love ya, Ray, but you’re just plain wrong. The planet is more important than scientific norms.

  41. 91
    Mr. Know It All says:

    39 – scott

    We’ve learned from the past that polls are always correct, right?


  42. 92

    #79, Mike–

    Do you really think I’m suggesting that folks should “relax”, or that “there’s no reason to get wound up”, or that “everyone is doing the best they can?”

    Because if so, that’s wrong, bordering, IMO, on perversely wrong, given that I didn’t say anything remotely close to any of those things.

    So what do I think?

    –I think folks should be sad, angry, organized, and clear-headed about climate change. They should be in the streets, as I have repeatedly, they should be actively advocating for change, as I do nearly every day, they should be connected to others trying to make a difference, as I am and strive to be.

    –I think there is more than ample reason to be “wound up” about climate change. You know, what with millions of premature deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars of climate losses already chalked up, more to come, and signs of distress all over the biosphere?

    –I think that some folks could do a hell of a lot better than selling out their integrity, their fellow humans and, for that matter, the entire rest of the biosphere in service of stupid, short-term “profit” and “convenience” and “social position” which is ultimately driving the observed climate change. “Nuff said…

    –And yes, I think that climate scientists shouldn’t in general be subject to ‘tone policing’ when trying to communicate clearly about the technical aspects of a particular topic, *especially* when one doesn’t have access to the whole contest in which they spoke.

    You’ll note that there is some conceptual distance between points #1-#3 and point #4.

  43. 93

    I think it’s fun, every now and again, to check in on the Bore Hole and see what “not so sensible” comments have been made. I was shocked to find that the last comment showing was from April 4.

    Oh, for the salad days of early 2019, when Sheldon Walker was amusing us all with his witty parodies–intentional or otherwise!

  44. 94
    sidd says:

    Re: Crowther

    The paper, i thought was open access, so i imaging it might help some to read it. Crowther is quite clear: that between now and 2050 arctic soil feedback will contribute 12-15% excess over RCP8.5 trajectory over the same period. As i stated in point 5) of my comment earlier in this thread.

    The paper states nothing about current contributions from arctic soil.


  45. 95
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @93, if scientists go on protest marches they risk losing their jobs and grant money. Employers don’t like having to deal with this sort of thing and all the controversy it creates. These guys have families. It’s not as easy as you think. And no its not excuse making.

    However I agree scientists need to better highlight the risks of climate change. They could highlight the stuff that is either not in conservative leaning reports like the IPCC or which gets buried in the fine print. This is not going to cause them problems.

  46. 96

    Climate Cal, #87–

    (Reason I’m asking if that’s what they’re using: since nighttime lows will be milder due to climate change, nighttime lows can’t be used to say anything meaningful about shifts in daytime temperatures, which is what most of us are concerned about – it’s apples vs oranges, if you are comparing absolute 24hr highs to same-date absolute 24hr lows.)

    Yes, comparisons need to be apples-to-apples, but night-time lows are pretty meaningful as that’s when ‘thermal relief’ occurs most often during heatwaves. If it’s muted, as increasingly is the case, then humans without AC access suffer a lot more thermal stress–as, of course, do any other organisms susceptible to it who are not in some sense commensal with semi-wealthy humans. And night-time lows are often the parameter showing the strongest effect. So, bad juju for the poor, the homeless, and whatever may be left of ‘the natural environment’ in a given affected area.

  47. 97
    Killian says:

    Re #79 mike said No reason to get wound up. If Kate Marvel is not convinced

    Don’t worry about Kate, she’s the new Gavin. (You can search back a few years and find some back-and-forth twixt us on CH4.)

    ‘Extraordinary thinning’ of ice sheets revealed deep inside Antarctica

    SLR now avg. about 3.36mm yr from ’93 to ’19, but 4.3mm/yr the last ten years. I didn’t ask what the rate of increase is over those ten years, but I think the average was 0.1mm/yr. I believe the same paper finds up to 2.4 meters or so by 2100 possible. That’s official science, not what ifs. And, that doesn’t include the worst 5% of probabilities. They cut it off there: 5 – 95% probability.


    A lot of melting going on, but we should all avoid getting wound up about it.


    Daily CO2 [RECORD]

    May 15, 2019: 415.64 ppm
    May 15, 2018: 411.96 ppm

    Remember our Jan/Feb skyrockety talkety?

    I may be mistaken, but I *think* we just had seven straight days over 415 ppm, or close to it. Expecting a weekly avg. over 415. As predicted. But, hey, I am the Jon Snow of climate; according to the Regulars, I know nothing, except 415+/- 0.05 for a weekly average.



  48. 98
  49. 99
    Al Bundy says:

    Nemesis: Can you imagine *millions and billions* of children on the globe slowly realizing, like Greta Thunberg, what has been left for their future, the legacy of endless stupidity and ignorance?

    AB: Now imagine those kids coming to that realization while living in a petrostate that can’t sell its oil and has become essentially unlivable from a thermal perspective. Hmmm, where did those 9/11 guys come from…

    We need more and higher walls. Just ask Mr KillingInaction.

    Hey, what do you guys think of the Earthworm Apocalypse? It seems that earthworms are becoming viable in boreal forests and they’re doing what worms do: turning leaves and litter to soil and CO2. Oops.

  50. 100
    mike says:

    To KM at 92: No, I think I know where you stand. I don’t think you offer up the “relax, don’t get wound up” sound bite that Fyfe and Marvel gave. I agree with you that they may have been selectively quoted. If that is the case, I would expect them to express their dissatisfaction with the way they were quoted in the piece. Maybe they have done that? I am not aware that such is the case.

    The counter argument (which has merit) is that scientists can’t win when they are asked about this stuff. If they sound “sad, angry, organized, and clear-headed about climate change” they will be attacked for not staying in their lane. Ray at 77 makes the solid defense argument that Fyfe and Marvel answered clearly on the topic at hand. That they sounded a little too relaxed or milquetoast to some of us may be because we may at any particular moment feel a little too sad or angry about global warming. It’s all fine. Much ado about nothing as somebody wrote.

    CO2? How are we doing?

    May 12 – 18, 2019 415.39 ppm
    May 12 – 18, 2018 411.84 ppm

    3.55 ppm which seems like a bigger number than you would expect in a Non-EN year, but I see that April 2019 kicked us into ENSO warm status.

    So, maybe we are seeing an EN bump, though that is supposed to take 6 to 8 months to show up in atmospheric CO2 readings.

    Get wound up if you feel the need. If you are feeling sad or angry, take a deep breath. As Country Joe said “whoopee, we’re all gonna die.” It was true back when CJ sang it, it is true now. Vietnam? Global warming? Whatever. Live like you what you do matters anyway. Whoopee, we’re all gonna die.