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Unforced variations: Jan 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2020

The new open thread on climate science for a new year, and a new decade – perhaps the Soaring Twenties? What precisely will be soaring is yet to be decided though.

Two things will almost certainly go up – CO2 emissions and temperatures:

But maybe also ambition, determination, and changes that will lead to reduced emissions in future? Fingers crossed.

362 Responses to “Unforced variations: Jan 2020”

  1. 1
    Thomas says:

    Oceans play role in Australian bushfires drama, say experts
    Australia’s dry and hot weather, coupled with ocean heat waves, could last for months. Meteorologists’ forecasts don’t bode well for battling bushfires across Australia.

    Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in its latest forecast said “large parts” of the continent run a “high likelihood” of enduring days and nights that are warmer than average, with “below-average” rainfall, well into 2020.

    Downwind, across the Tasman Sea, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said the westerly Southern Ocean jet wind stream — between Antarctica and Australia — has changed “dramatically,” with resultant “calmer, drier conditions.”

    The IOD, an oscillation in sea surface temperature differences between the Indian Ocean’s western and eastern waters, had seen “cooler than average water pooling off Indonesia,” delaying rain-bearing summer monsoon weather, known in northern Australia as the “wet.”

    The impact, said the BoM in a December 19 special report, was “notably low humidity, which enhances potential evaporation and increases the fire danger.”
    https://www.dw.com/en/oceans-play-role-in-australian-bushfires-drama-say-experts/a-51841347

    Clearly more will be known about the dynamics as the year progresses and the scientific papers are published about all this.

  2. 2
    MA Rodger says:

    The new year is upon us allowing an assessment of the full 2019 calendar year for the various climatic measures as the data arrives.
    Averaged over the year, 2019’s Arctic Sea Ice (using JAXA’s VISHOP daily SIE data) was 9.77M sq km and came in predictably in second place behind (but not so far behind) 2016 that had averaged 9.72M sq km with its crazy early melt and late freeze. The annual placings from 3rd-to-10th run 2018 (9.93M), 2017 (9.97M), 2012 (9.97M), 2011 (10.06M), 2007 (10.09M), 2015 (10,12M), 2010 (10.31M), 2014 (10.33M) but what is more strongly appearing now is a linearity of both annual and seasonal reductions in Arctic SIE as the big summer melts of 2007 & 2012 fall further back on the record, although we should not dismiss a repeat of those spectacular summer melts in the future.
    With the linearity now more convincing in the period since 2003, rate may be of interest. The annual average JAXA SIE is dropping at 0.6M sqkm/decade with greater loss through the summer (Jul-Sept) 0.8M sqkm/decade and lesser loss through the icy seasons (Jan-Jun) 0.45M sqkm/decade. For completeness, Autumn (Oct-Dec) is dropping at 0.64M sqkm/decade.
    One spectacular thing 2019 did achieve was the largest negative SIE anomaly which occurred in October during the early part of the freeze-up. (See SIE anomaly graph here – usually 2 clicks to ‘download youyr anomaly’)

  3. 3
    Martin Bush says:

    I prefer to go back to the ‘roaring twenties’. Except this time that’s the sound of huge wildfires, massive storms, and rushing floodwater. It’s going to be a very noisy decade.

  4. 4
    Rob Bradley says:

    The strong policy trend is against mitigation. So what is realistic for adaptation?

  5. 5
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    we are now in the last year of the second decade, the new decade starts 2021. sorry, but this commonly accepted “mistake” bothers me to no end.

  6. 6
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    curses! thought again and it depends. okok. I take it back.

  7. 7
    Martin Smith says:

    Should it be: “Two things will almost certainly go up –“

  8. 8
    Slioch says:

    I hope that one of the things that will “go up” in the next decade is the effort put in by those individuals who normally frequent relatively erudite platforms such as Realclimate to counter the misinformation and deception churned out by, for example, Tony Heller (aka Steve Goddard) on YouTube, amongst many others.
    It seems every time such a suggestion is made, the reply is that there is no point, that minds are made up, and that it is tedious and dirty, even though your rebuttal of some nonsense may help numerous silent witnesses to the exchange to understand the truth.
    Meanwhile, little progress is made at COP because populations are electing leaders like Trump, Bolsanaro, Scott Morrison and Boris Johnston.
    Please consider spending a little time every month wading through the swamp and educating a few frogs.

  9. 9
    patrick says:

    The warming of the Tasmanian sea and consequences.  This is excellent–charts, photos.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/world/climate-environment/climate-change-tasmania/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

    “Nearly a tenth of the planet has already warmed 2 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century…”  A part of the Tasmanian coast is getting close.
    “…the kelp simmers into goo.”  “It’s a geographic climate trap…”  (And it’s climate Dunkirk for 4000 people on the beach, trapped by fire, in Mallacoota, Victoria.)

    “Two of the most severe marine heat waves ever recorded struck back to back in recent years. “In the first, starting in 2015, ocean temperatures peaked at nearly 3 degrees Celsius above normal in the waters between Tasmania and New Zealand. A blob of heat that reached 2 degrees Celsius was more than seven times the size of Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland. …

    “An estimated 23,000 giant fruit bats — about a third of that species’s population in Australia — dropped dead from heat stress…” The bats, called flying foxes, cannot survive temperatures above 42 degrees Celsius. Another 10,000 black flying foxes, a different species, also died. Bodies plopped into meadows, backyard gardens and swimming pools.”

    There are degrees of declining habitability–which varies by time and place.  As Schellnhuber has observed, death is preceded by organ failure.  That’s what this looks like–and also: the outlook.

  10. 10
    Mal Adapted says:

    Holy crap! Has the page synchronization problem been resolved? The comment I posted on the 10 years later thread about 1/2-hour ago, now appears on the refreshed page! It’s similar with the comments on this new UV thread so far.

  11. 11
    Thomas P says:

    This year the new regulations limiting sulphur emissions from shipping go active. Has anyone seen any guesstimate for how this may affect temperature in the coming years? Is the effect large enough to be expected to be noticable?

  12. 12

    Using the data for Earth, broken into 18 zones of latitude, from Sellers (1965, p. 5), I have found a crude relationship between cloud cover fraction and absolute temperature:

    cover = -6.78851 + 0.058168 T – 0.000113528 * T^2
    N = 18
    R^2 = 0.59
    p < 0.0012

    (Ignore the overprecise coefficients, this is modified from a Gretl printout).

    If so, it means cloud cover will decrease with temperature–and we can expect the world to get a little darker as it warms, which will of course warm it further. Between their greenhouse effect and their reflectivity, clouds have a net cooling effect, so this is one more positive feedback we have to worry about.

    (If it means anything. I know this is an extremely small dataset and there may be confounders.)

  13. 13
    patrick says:

    “Welcome to the 20s…”

    https://twitter.com/danbakes/status/1211850190132367360

    “This coming decade humanity will decide its future.”

    https://twitter.com/GretaThunberg/status/1212105430215860224

  14. 14
    Russell says:

    Exponential expectations have grown since warnings of several degrees C of 21st century warming began four decades ago, and only seven decades remain before the year 2100.

    Bayesians are beginning to wonder if the 2020’s will prove to be the 5th decade when, despitre universal lip service to rising rates of climate change, no one actually steps forth to bet on a decadal temperature rise of two tenths of one degree?

  15. 15
    Mal Adapted says:

    Kevin McKinney, last month:

    I’ve never seen a really rigorous accounting of climate-related deaths to date–and to be fair, I suspect that there’s no way to be absolutely rigorous due to the challenges of attribution–but my own rough-and-ready tally of some of the more obvious disasters since the turn of the millennium gets us into hundreds of thousands of premature deaths to date. It’s very possible that a fuller accounting would reveal that to be at least an order of magnitude too low.

    But be that as it may, “hundreds of thousands” is a pretty hard lower bound, IMO.

    Yeah, I sometimes hesitate over “thousands of deaths” due to AGW, suspecting it’s more like hundreds of thousands. Like you, I’ve never seen a rigorous accounting of AGW-related deaths. I usually chose to be conservative, for fear of being called an alarmist 8^}. Besides, although thousands of deaths doesn’t add up to as much tragedy as hundreds of thousands, mere thousands is bad enough!

  16. 16
    mike says:

    recent CO2 sat numbers are noisy and ugly:

    Daily CO2
    Dec. 31, 2019: 413.20 ppm
    Dec. 31, 2018: 409.45 ppm

    December 22 – 28, 2019 412.21 ppm
    December 22 – 28, 2018 409.24 ppm

    How much CO2 is Australia producing as it burns? I am inclined to think that even as bad as the fires may be, that they cannot really move the dial on daily sats in our atmosphere. Where is this CO2 coming from? It might be just everywhere producing a little more, sinking a little less on a warmed planet.

    Whatever, the numbers have spiked a bit over past few days. No worries! Wait and see. Should be fine. Nothing sky-rockety, just up, up and away, like a magic balloon!

    Yes, Mal, it is the season to be be gentle with each other. Keep your words sweet in case the occasion arises where you have to eat them.

    Warm regards

    Mike

  17. 17
    Killian says:

    Re #5 Mal Adapted said Kevin McKinney, last month:

    I’ve never seen a really rigorous accounting of climate-related deaths to date–and to be fair, I suspect that there’s no way to be absolutely rigorous due to the challenges of attribution–but my own rough-and-ready tally of some of the more obvious disasters since the turn of the millennium gets us into hundreds of thousands of premature deaths to date. It’s very possible that a fuller accounting would reveal that to be at least an order of magnitude too low.

    But be that as it may, “hundreds of thousands” is a pretty hard lower bound, IMO.

    Yeah, I sometimes hesitate over “thousands of deaths” due to AGW, suspecting it’s more like hundreds of thousands. Like you, I’ve never seen a rigorous accounting of AGW-related deaths. I usually chose to be conservative, for fear of being called an alarmist 8^}. Besides, although thousands of deaths doesn’t add up to as much tragedy as hundreds of thousands, mere thousands is bad enough!

    Perhaps you both missed that climate-related series from @theyearsproject, “Years of Living Dangerously” – I think they had a second season, too – that discussed climate and a bunch of almost all tech solutions. One segment included excess heat deaths in the L.A. area. That was pegged at 150k, maybe 250k, per year *just* for the L.A. area, iirc. Maybe that was for urban areas generally…. but I think just L.A. metro or So Cal.

    Extrapolate….

  18. 18
    Dan H. says:

    I hesitate over both thousands and hundreds of thousands. What needs to be put into perspective is the difference between suspected deaths attributed to AGE and suspected deaths prevented. The net difference is what is truly important. Personally, I do not feel that we can make a guess with any accuracy at the moment, nor can we say that AGW has caused or prevented more deaths.

  19. 19
    Guest (O.) says:

    I just found a link to this springer publication:

    Rex J. Fleming:
    The Rise and Fall of the Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climate Change

    Description of the book:
    “(…) The results of this review and examination reveal no role of CO2 in any change of the Earth’s climate.”

    https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-16880-3#about

    Comments from the experts welcome…

    [Response: It’s the same old un-peer-reviewed nonsense. – gavin]

  20. 20
    FrozenEarth says:

    Lying by telling the truth, I hope we’ll see the end of this, MA Rodger, by the end of this decade.

    Kids deserve the full truth.

    “One of the main reasons I designed this graph, was to detox victims of Big Oil propaganda lies like these:

    «The annual average JAXA SIE is dropping at 0.6M sqkm/decade with greater loss through the summer (Jul-Sept) 0.8M sqkm/decade and lesser loss through the icy seasons (Jan-Jun) 0.45M sqkm/decade. For completeness, Autumn (Oct-Dec) is dropping at 0.64M sqkm/decade.»

    MA Rodger, Jan 1, 2020
    These guys and their financial backers like to focus on the slightly dropping red graph below when they summarise a decade’s worth of sea ice loss. They’ll say “we lost less than 7% sea ice!” when in reality we lost 22%. They’re like the UN and the IPCC, lying through their teeth to kids all over the planet about their future life here on Earth. They ought to be ashamed of themselves, but their tactic is instead to make YOU feel shame for telling the naked truth.”

    From https://frozen.earth/?p=966

  21. 21
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    “Morrison has shown himself to be beholden to coal interests and his administration is considered to have conspired with a small number of petrostates to sabotage the recent UN climate conference in Madrid (“COP25”), seen as a last ditch effort to keep planetary warming below a level (1.5C) considered by many to constitute “dangerous” planetary warming.
    But Australians need only wake up in the morning, turn on the television, read the newspaper or look out the window to see what is increasingly obvious to many – for Australia, dangerous climate change is already here. It’s simply a matter of how much worse we’re willing to allow it to get.

    Australia is experiencing a climate emergency. It is literally burning. It needs leadership that is able to recognise that and act. And it needs voters to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box.

    Australians must vote out fossil-fuelled politicians who have chosen to be part of the problem and vote in climate champions who are willing to solve it.”

    Michael E Mann is distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University. His most recent book, with Tom Toles, is The Madhouse Effect: How Climate Change Denial Is Threatening Our Planet, Destroying Our Politics, and Driving Us Crazy (Columbia University Press, 2016).

    Nails it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/02/australia-your-country-is-burning-dangerous-climate-change-is-here-with-you-now

    Michael E. Mann for president. With James Hansen as vice.

    Interesting report and thoughts also here:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/01/australia-is-becoming-a-nation-of-dread-and-the-world-looks-on-with-pity-and-scorn

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/01/apocalyptic-new-zealand-shrouded-in-smoke-from-australian-bushfires

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/datablog/ng-interactive/2019/dec/07/how-big-are-the-fires-burning-on-the-east-coast-of-australia-interactive-map

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/02/las-vegas-climate-crisis-extreme-heat-hellish-future

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/07/one-climate-crisis-disaster-happening-every-week-un-warns

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/JCLI-D-19-0686.1

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48249287

    But, based on the overwhelming historical evidence, not least from the last decade (fx here: https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5d5cb8f0e4b05f62fbd7067d/amp https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/17/dark-money-review-nazi-oil-the-koch-brothers-and-a-rightwing-revolution ) we can unfortunately conclude that the leading lights of humanity and their enourmous ideological fancrowds of sleepwalkers will continue to do everything they possibly can to make sure that they can sleep on while homo sapiens goes to hell as fast as possible. First and foremost by burning exponentially increasing amounts of fossil fuels, and otherwise by making absolutely sure, if needed, by total war, that any imaginable forms of stupidity and crackpottery continues to expand until that very same goal is reached.

  22. 22
    Mr. Know It All says:

    172 – Kevin (from Dec 2019 UV)
    “Remember Haiyan? Back in 2013 it killed ~7,000 with a storm surge “unprecedented” for the region. This is a sobering post-mortem–although, encouragingly, the forecast modeling did a fair job of predicting the surge. Hope we don’t see one like that in 2020!”

    I hope the same! Wikipedia said some drowned because they were in underground shelters which flooded.

    FYI, for historical perspective, surges and floods have killed many times that number hundreds of years before AGW:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll#Ten_deadliest_floods

    Floods/storm surges have always occurred. Check out this list of the Netherlands alone. This is YUGE!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floods_in_the_Netherlands

    Last month we had people bickering about what constitutes “climate” – 10 years of data or 30 years of data, etc. The answer, based on the historical record, appears to be much, much longer. That’s YUGE!

    Even deadly heat waves occurred before AGW:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_heat_waves#Before_1901

    How about wildfires? Occurred throughout all of history, with several in Australia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll#Deadliest_wildfires_/_bushfires

  23. 23
    MA Rodger says:

    Another month complete allowing a provisional MLO CO2 rise for December to be added in to the table comparing actial MLO CO2-rise with my modelled projection from five months ago – the situation graphed out here (usualy 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’).
    And at last! A bit of noise appears. Or is this the modelled results coming off the rails as CO2 levels skyrocket up to new heights?

    If it is, do recall what this projection is about. It is projecting MLO CO2 rises by looking at year-old wobbles of MLO-CO2-minus-Global-CO2. The projection begins by assuming that Global CO2 has been rising at a constant 2.5ppm/yr since May. So it attempts to account for wobbles in the MLO record not any skyrocketing in Global CO2.

    Jan19 … … … 2.74 … … … … … … 2.87 … … … … 2.85
    Feb19 … … … 2.92 … … … … … … 3.43 … … … … 2.95
    Mar19 … … … 3.13 … … … … … … 2.56 … … … … 3.02
    Apr19 … … … 3.10 … … … … … … 3.08 … … … … 3.02
    May19 … … … 3.16 … … … … … … 3.42 … … … … 3.21
    Jun19 … … … 3.24 … … … … … … 3.13 … … … … 3.20
    Jul119 … … … 3.07 … … … … … … 3.06 … … … … 3.05
    Aug19 … … … 2.94 … … … … … … 2.96 … … … … 3.02
    Sep19 … … … 2.78 … … … … … … 3.03 … … … … 2.84
    Oct19 … … … 2.66 … … … … … … 2.53 … … … … 2.60
    Nov19 … … … 2.44 … … … … … … 2.25 … … … … 2.49
    Dec19 … … … 2.13 … … … … … … 2.68
    Jan20 … … … 2.07
    Feb20 … … … 2.06
    Mar20 … … … 1.87

    Perhaps when mike in last month’s UV thread wrote “let’s see how you do,” the meaning was perhaps less to do with wobbles in the MLO CO2 record and more to do with the rate of rising Global CO2.
    If that were so, the place to watch would be this graphic (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) which plots rates of rise and acceleration of the Global CO2 levels calculated by ESRL.
    So will the wobbly sky blue trace continue on an upward-rockety trend? Or will that black acceleration-trace drop below zero and thus the sky blue one peak and begin a new dip down? A dip, of course, would halt all that upward skyrocketing, at least for the while.
    (And also bear in mind that both the sky blue trace and particularly the black acceleration trace are subject to significant revision for the last few months of data.)

  24. 24
    Victor says:

    Gavin, your graph appears to indicate a steadily rising trend in global temperatures since 2000, topped off by the steeper rise produced, as is well known, by an unusually intense El Nino. Compare with this graph, courtesy of NOAA, which depicts no trend at all from 2000 through 2016, followed by the abrupt rise produced by that same El Nino: https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/SotC2017_01_GlobalSurfaceTemps_graph_800x450.png

    Sixteen years of flatline followed by an abrupt rise lasting 2 years does NOT constitute a trend, sorry.

    So. Which is it? You pays your money and you takes your choice, as my old clarinet teacher used to say.

    [Response: Doesn’t matter:
    Prediction with NOAA data. – gavin]

  25. 25
    JCH says:

    “FYI, for historical perspective, surges and floods have killed many times that number hundreds of years before AGW: …”

    So what?

  26. 26

    KIA, #22–

    Yes, OF COURSE weather disasters have always happened. We didn’t have to invent words for them in the late 20th century, after all. So you are simply pointing out the obvious.

    But the important question is, are we seeing more frequent or more severe disasters?

    –In terms of deaths, the answer over the 20th century is probably “no”. That’s because over that span, human capacity to avoid them has increased drastically. The Galveston hurricane of 1900, for example, killed 6,000-12,000 because there was little warning that it was coming. Partly that was poorly-developed science, and partly it was institutional politics and mismanagement:

    “The Galveston hurricane made people realize you can’t play politics with a weather bureau,” [Dr. Kerry] Emanuel says. “If you make it political, people will die.”

    (Hmm, I wonder what relevance that has for today?)

    Today, hurricanes are well-forecast and information about their probable tracks and severity is well-disseminated. And in many cases, there are well-developed protocols for evacuation: for instance, my state, South Carolina, has in recent years demonstrated the ability to move a significant proportion of the population away from the coast:

    [Governor Henry] McMaster evacuated the entire coast in September [20180 when Hurricane Florence struck South Carolina, ordering 760,000 people to leave. An estimated 441,000 people actually evacuated.

    Of course, we’ve had a lot of practice lately, with significant hurricane impacts in 2015 (Joaquin, which failed to landfall but fed the record flooding that year), 2016 (Bonnie, Matthew), 2017 (Irma), and–as mentioned–2018 (Florence). This year we pretty much dodged a bullet when Dorian’s impacts proved less severe here than expected. (Obviously, Abaco Island was much less fortunate in that regard.)

    Similarly with wildfire; while evacuations can still be a challenge, modern monitoring and communication enable people much more readily to Get The Hell Out Of Dodge while there is still time. It’s also worth mentioning that humans can have really large effects on wildfire frequency and even severity independently of climate change: we’ve been starting fires as long as we’ve been around, and more recently we’ve also developed powerful techniques and technologies for fire suppression. The ways in which we choose to deploy both have a dramatic effect on fire behavior (as, indeed, can our land use practices). Nevertheless, the extremely straightforward physics of temperature and drying create a robust expectation that climate change will increasingly drive increases in fire in most places.

    So, bottom line, although at least some of these disasters are clearly worsening in some respects or some places–Atlantic hurricanes, or western US fires, for example–our ability to see it coming and get out of the way has increased faster. Of course, “past performance is not a guarantee of future results.”

    –In terms of infrastructure impacts, the answer is certainly “yes”. There is simply no question that we’re losing more value to weather-related disasters all the time, even though there is no such trend for ‘geophysical’ disasters:

    As the rise in the number of natural catastrophes is predominantly attributable to weather-related events like storms and floods, with no relevant increase in geophysical events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, there is some justification in assuming that changes in the atmosphere, and global warming in particular, play a relevant role.

    Some–the Pielkes, for example–are of the opinion that this is entirely due to increased exposure: we’ve created more value, hence have more to lose. Others disagree, and have made a scientific case for their perspective:

    There is, however, an increasing number of studies, which show significant increases in losses in some regions and for some perils even after they have been normalized to the exposed values today.

    –So, to sum up, you can’t simply point to past events and say “this has happened before, somewhere and sometime”. You have to get granular: the Philippines have not, as far as we can tell, ever seen a typhoon like Haiyan, even though other places have. The current Australian wildfires, on the other hand, may just turn out to be as bad as anything any human has seen in historical times. It’ll take some time to assess, once it’s finally over:

    Australia typically has a fire season during the dry, hot summer — but this year’s weather conditions are more extreme, leading to more devastating blazes. The country is gripped by one of the worst droughts in decades, and a heatwave broke nationwide records in December.

    Typically, January and February are worse months for Australian wildfire than December is. Fingers crossed that’s not true this year.

    And you can’t just quote results such as fatalities and say, well, there’s nothing to see here with regard to climate because fewer people are dying over time. We’re going to try to keep people from dying in disasters, whatever happens: would it make any sense to work to improve our capacity to respond to, or avoid, disasters, while studiously ignoring our demonstrable influence on the conditions that set the stage for them?

  27. 27

    Mal, #15, & Killian, #17–

    I’ve seen estimates as high, more or less, as the (extrapolated) number Killian points to, though I don’t think it’s ever been quite clear to me what the error bars might be, or how robust the conclusion was.

    But I must admit that it feels a little icky to quibble about the magnitude of the death toll. It is true that if we want to be clear-eyed about what we could be facing, we have to consider what the worst case could be. (Ray has frequently pointed out that this is standard risk assessment practice.) On the other hand, even one unnecessary death is too many.

    In fact, humans quite often respond more to one death than to multitudes, as captured in the cynical aphorism–apparently often misattributed to Joseph Stalin–that “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths are a statistic.”

    Pragmatic utilitarianism is not always a comfortable fit with our empathic natures and impulses, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a poor method for assessing potential courses of action. Perhaps its moral justification is in proportion to the intention to, and especially the reality of, ‘acting accordingly.’

  28. 28
    Mal Adapted says:

    Dan H.:

    I hesitate over both thousands and hundreds of thousands. What needs to be put into perspective is the difference between suspected deaths attributed to AG[W?] and suspected deaths prevented. The net difference is what is truly important. Personally, I do not feel that we can make a guess with any accuracy at the moment, nor can we say that AGW has caused or prevented more deaths.

    Unless Dan H. has imaginary friends, this is personal overpluralization. Here come the links:

    Climate is statistical weather. We know climate is changing, because weather statistics are. The World Meteorological Organization, whom we trust to tell us about such things, estimates impacts from 88 extreme (incl. cold) weather events in the interval 2015-2019 (fig. 16) at 20,400 deaths and $572 billion in economic loss. The extra mortality and dollar cost specifically due to AGW aren’t shown in the WMO‘s report. However, increasing severity of extreme weather is a prediction of coupled GCMs under rising ‘greenhouse’ forcing, that is supported by statistical attribution. As far as I know, consequent mortality and economic cost can be similarly attributed, although there are more confounding factors, which a five-year window may limit somewhat. No, I haven’t done the work myself: all I know is what I read in peer-reviewed venues, filtered by scientific meta-literacy. That means you all (with a few evident exceptions) know at least as much as I do!

    OTOH, only Dan H. can say just how he would count deaths prevented by AGW. He appears to suggest they may exceed those caused by all of AGW’s lethal impacts combined. Surely that’s an extraordinary claim, the more so when presented with the WMO‘s figures for just the past five years. The rule of Ockham obliges whoever claims net reduced mortality to explain, for example, how a higher frequency of more intense tropical cyclones, and/or globally increased river flooding, might reduce casualties. Absent unsupported assumptions, parsimony suggests that an accurate enumeration of (total deaths caused) – (total deaths prevented) by AGW over the last 50 years, would show net mortality in at least the 100,000s. Indeed, mere 1000s seems ridiculously conservative to at least some of you, yet still enough in my opinion to justify a collective decarbonization policy. You all can decide for yourselves how many deaths are enough. Regardless, there’s Dan H., and there’s everybody else. As I‘ve said: insisting we need to wait for more accuracy before acting collectively, is vile. Enough with the italics.

    Tangentially, this article looks interesting in my opinion: Do Extreme Weather Events Generate Attention to Climate Change?

  29. 29
    Barry Finch says:

    Look forward to 413,000 gigawatts with 5.0% annual increase and 2.9% average annual reduction due to higher surface-air temperature, basically

  30. 30
    Dan says:

    re: 22 and what constitutes a period for climate trend analysis, read https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/news/defining-climate-normals-new-ways

    Specifically:
    ” What Are Climate Normals?
    Scientists traditionally define a Climate Normal as an average over a recent 30-year period. Our most recent installment covers the period from 1981 to 2010. Why 30 years? Close to a century ago, the International Meteorological Organization—now known as the World Metrological Organization—instructed member nations to calculate Climate Normals using 30-year periods, beginning with 1901–1930. Also, a general rule in statistics says that you need at least 30 numbers to get a reliable estimate of their mean or average. So, our scientists have traditionally defined Normals as averages over 30 years simply because that is the accepted convention—not because a 30-year average is the only logical or “right” way to define a Climate Normal.”

  31. 31
    Mr. Know It All says:

    8 – Sliloch
    “Please consider spending a little time every month wading through the swamp and educating a few frogs.”

    Please go ahead and educate away. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. And no dissing certain European people either. ;)

    9 – Patrick
    “A blob of heat that reached 2 degrees Celsius was more than seven times the size of Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland. …”

    That’s not that big – we have ranches bigger than that here in the Western USA.

    12 – BPL
    “Using the data for Earth, broken into 18 zones of latitude, from Sellers (1965, p. 5), I have found a crude relationship between cloud cover fraction and absolute temperature:

    cover = -6.78851 + 0.058168 T – 0.000113528 * T^2
    N = 18
    R^2 = 0.59
    p < 0.0012"

    How "crude" is the relationship? Is that absolute temperature scale the Kelvin scale? What are N, R, and p for those not familiar with statistics? Does the result vary with latitude, or what? Assuming T varies by latitude, could the result be written in terms of latitude instead of by temperature? Do you have a graph of the result?

    14 – Russell
    "…and only seven decades remain before the year 2100."

    Closer to 8 decades than 7, right? Like 7.99 =/-.

    15 – Mal Adapted
    "Besides, although thousands of deaths doesn’t add up to as much tragedy as hundreds of thousands, mere thousands is bad enough!"

    Are the deaths due to AGW, or to normal weather? See comment 22 above.

    17 – Killian
    "One segment included excess heat deaths in the L.A. area. That was pegged at 150k, maybe 250k, per year *just* for the L.A. area, iirc"

    HOLY COW! That would have made some BIG headlines. May have been that many deaths in LA due to heat in the past 100 or 200 years, but not in one year.

    Everybody check their calcs for reasonableness, please. In the age of computer printouts, many forget to do that, and just believe whatever the computer says. GIGO.

    10 – Dan H.
    "
    Personally, I do not feel that we can make a guess with any accuracy at the moment, nor can we say that AGW has caused or prevented more deaths."

    Exactly Dan. Based on history, nasty weather has always killed A LOT of people – see comment 22 above.

    21 – Karsten
    "Australia is experiencing a climate emergency."

    Yup, and it's been happening for decades – it's not new – probably a cycle of bad fires, followed by regrowth, followed by bad fires that occurs over several decades.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_disasters_by_death_toll#Deadliest_wildfires_/_bushfires

  32. 32
    Al Bundy says:

    MRKIA: Last month we had people bickering about what constitutes “climate” – 10 years of data or 30 years of data, etc. The answer, based on the historical record, appears to be much, much longer. That’s YUGE!

    AB: Not exactly. “Climate” is an instantaneous value. The climate changes as the underlying drivers (NOT cycles) change. Way back in 1880 to 1935 the instantaneous value of climate didn’t change terribly much and scientists had little clue about how the climate system works. They had basic formula and some anecdotal possibilities. Other stuff, I’m sure, but the best technique was to wait long enough for weather to average out but not so long that climate drifts. They guessed 30 years.

    Nowadays scientists know far more about how the climate system works and they have daily or better data tracking weather. Now, it is difficult to say what a chaotic system will do in the future but once one knows the system one can easily figure out what happened in the past.

    So there are two opposing goals: to capture enough years so as to minimize error bars but not so many years that climate has drifted excessively. For example, it is literal insanity to compare the 1990s to the 2020s climatewise…

    …unless you add a trend line and back in exactly what I spoke of above.

    The 30 year climate rule of thumb is a dinosaur. The reality is you gather as many years as possible so as to build a model and then look at the current reality while backing out the variables you learned about from said many years, as per Foster and Rahmstorf (2011).

  33. 33
    Dan H. says:

    Mal@28,
    Using WMO data over the past five years to support your claim has merit, but falls woefully short. Climate related deaths due to weather over the past century tell a different story.

    https://www.jpands.org/vol14no4/goklany.pdf

    While the leading causes of weather-related deaths have decreased significantly, there are additional factors involved, such that the change cannot be attributed solely to changes in the weather. Many other posters have presented some of these factors. Focusing on the leading increase in recent years (heat waves) would suggest a significant increase. These can be attributed to rising temperatures. However, the largest cause of deaths in past years has been droughts, which have decreased recently. This would be expected to continue in a warming world. I do not believe that the decrease in flood-related deaths is due to warming temperatures, but changes in water management. The decrease is even more pronounced on a per capita basis.

    BTW, the rule of Ockham did not apply in this case, as I was not the one making an extraordinary claim. Rather, I was claiming the opposite. The onus rests on those claiming hundreds of thousands of excess deaths.

  34. 34
    Killian says:

    17 – Killian
    “One segment included excess heat deaths in the L.A. area. That was pegged at 150k, maybe 250k, per year *just* for the L.A. area, iirc”

    HOLY COW! That would have made some BIG headlines. May have been that many deaths in LA due to heat in the past 100 or 200 years, but not in one year.

    Everybody check their calcs for reasonableness, please. In the age of computer printouts, many forget to do that, and just believe whatever the computer says. GIGO.

    That’s a grand total of 0.01125%, idiot. And the whole idea was these deaths weren’t yet being acknowledged due to nobody expecting such an effect to be occurring already, so not looking for it.

    Shut up, disgusting criminal.
    #EcoNuremberg

    Sincerely hope to see this happen, and see people like you as defendants.

  35. 35
    Killian says:

    Re #18 Dan H. said I hesitate over both thousands and hundreds of thousands. Personally, I do not feel that we can make a guess with any accuracy at the moment, nor can we say that AGW has caused or prevented more deaths.

    What the hell do you think statistics are for? Good lord… Dan, close your denialist-lite mouth, eh? It’s immoral and unethical. #EcoNuremberg for densialists.

    What needs to be put into perspective is the difference between suspected deaths attributed to AGE and suspected deaths prevented. The net difference is what is truly important.

    There is nothing that can be done in that regard at this time because the response is yet miniscule and in no way slowing the rise nor rate of negative changes.

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    FrozenEarth @20, you appear to be implying that MAR is minimising the arctic ice trends, and is an agent for big oil, because he highlights only the decline in the area of sea ice and not the decline in the volume. Im responding because vaguely similar ridiculous lukewarmer accusations have been made against me.

    I think you are wrong. There are probably three reasons MAR talks about sea ice extent. 1)There is much discussion about sea ice extent because its a very visible change from the public’s viewpoint and 2) The decline in sea ice extent is what opens up more dark ocean area to a positive feedback and this is the big concern 3) its easier to accurately measure sea ice extent than volume. Decline in volume is obviously a problem as well, it does mean the thin ice does break up more easily. More cracks in the ice allow in more atmospheric mercury to the oceans ecosystem. And the rapid decline in volume shows how sensitive the floating ice is to warming.

    In addition MAR spends a lot of time refuting denalist nonsense, and so its a bit hard to see why he would do that if he was in the pay of “big oil” or was some sort of denialist / lukewarmer, but you may not have known that.

    Of more concern in terms of volume is the accelerated decrease in the volume of Greenland’s ice sheet over the last 3 decades because it goes straight into sea level rise.

  37. 37
    nigelj says:

    Another thing to consider in equations of deaths caused by climate change weighed against deaths prevented, is the millions of deaths caused by the particulates and toxic gases from burning fossil fuels. Look at the big picture, because it adds to the case for mitigation. Interesting article on health effects of climate change:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/global-warming-and-health/

  38. 38
    nigelj says:

    Mr KIA @31, its not about whether there were forest fires in the past or not or how they are started. Climate change is already making forest fires worse. There are documented increases in area burned, small fires are taking hold more easily, and the fire season is lengthening, atmospheric changes are changing how lightening strikes work. These two studies are good especially the satellite data.

    https://www.dw.com/en/how-climate-change-is-increasing-forest-fires-around-the-world/a-19465490

    https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2912/satellite-data-record-shows-climate-changes-impact-on-fires/

    I don’t know how you can be so stupid as to ignore this. Imagine if Australias current awful conditions happen every couple of years, because that’s where we are heading.

  39. 39
    nigelj says:

    “Perhaps you both missed that climate-related series from @theyearsproject, “Years of Living Dangerously” ….One segment included excess heat deaths in the L.A. area. That was pegged at 150k, maybe 250k, per year *just* for the L.A. area”.

    I think these numbers would be a typo, maybe meant to be 1500 per year. In comparison the record heatwaves in France early this year caused about 1500 more deaths than normal for that time of year, and were attributed to climate change.

    However the point is we are heading to a world with far more intense heatwaves, and more heatwaves, and its a bit Mad Max and dystopian especially for people in tropical climates. Better hope the power doesn’t fail because if it does people will die, and not just a few.

  40. 40
    nigelj says:

    Victor, you are such a complete twit at times. Even if you remove the 2015 – 2016 el nino completely (which is absurd) there’s still a warming trend.

  41. 41
    nigelj says:

    Mike @16 say “How much CO2 is Australia producing as it burns?”

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/climate-news/118568474/australia-bushfires-spew-twothirds-of-national-carbon-emissions-in-one-season

    Australia’s bushfires are believed to have spewed as much as two-thirds of the nation’s annual carbon dioxide emissions in just the past three months, with experts warning forests may take more than 100 years to absorb what’s been released so far this season.

    Until recently, Australia’s forests were thought to reabsorb all the carbon released in bushfires, meaning they achieved net zero emissions, but scientists say climate change is making bushfires burn more intensely and frequently….

    Australia’s annual industrial emissions budget in 2018-19 was 532 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

    This season’s bushfires, which have burnt through more than 5 million hectares across the country, are estimated to have released two-thirds of this amount – or about 350 million tonnes – of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere so far.

    The 350 million tonne figure was extrapolated from data on Nasa’s Global Fire Emissions Database issued two weeks ago for NSW’s bushfires, which at that stage had burnt 2.7 million hectares and emitted 190 million tonnes of carbon dioxide

  42. 42

    DH 18: nor can we say that AGW has caused or prevented more deaths.

    BPL: “caused”

  43. 43

    KIA 31: How “crude” is the relationship? Is that absolute temperature scale the Kelvin scale? What are N, R, and p for those not familiar with statistics? Does the result vary with latitude, or what? Assuming T varies by latitude, could the result be written in terms of latitude instead of by temperature? Do you have a graph of the result?

    BPL: It’s crude because there may be other factors to be taken into account, other data sets may differ, and I haven’t examined the residuals.

    N is the number of points.

    R is the correlation coefficient. It’s a capital rather than a small r because for a regression, there may be more than one independent variable (here there’s only one) and then you need the multiple correlation coefficient rather than the standard Pearson’s r.

    p is the probability the result is due to random chance. Here that appears to be less than 1%, but that could be off if there are the kind of possible problems I noted above.

    I don’t think the relation could be put in terms of latitude. That just gave me a bunch of zones with different T and n values (n for cloud cover).

  44. 44

    KIA 31: nasty weather has always killed A LOT of people

    BPL: We knew that. Everybody knew that. The question is whether it’s going up or not.

  45. 45

    KIA 31: “Australia is experiencing a climate emergency.”
    Yup, and it’s been happening for decades – it’s not new

    BPL: Yes, it is new. This much of Australia has never been on fire at once in recorded history.

  46. 46

    AB 32: “Climate” is an instantaneous value.

    BPL: No, it is not. It is the statistical average of weather over a large region or the entire world for 30 years or more. The state of the world’s temperature, pressure, rainfall, wind direction and speed, etc. at a given instant is global weather, not global climate.

  47. 47

    AB 32: The 30 year climate rule of thumb is a dinosaur.

    BPL: Then submit a paper to that effect to a peer-reviewed journal and get it published.

  48. 48

    Since we’ve been talking about the standard 30-year climate norm, we have a very good segue to this paper by Reto Knutti et al:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200102143429.htm

    Climate is what we expect in the long term, whereas weather is what we get in the short term — and since local weather conditions are highly variable, it can be very cold in one location for a short time despite long-term global warming. In short, the variability of local weather masks long-term trends in global climate.

    Now, however, a group led by ETH professor Reto Knutti has conducted a new analysis of temperature measurements and models. The scientists concluded that the weather-is-not-climate paradigm is no longer applicable in that form. According to the researchers, the climate signal — that is, the long-term warming trend — can actually be discerned in daily weather data, such as surface air temperature and humidity, provided that global spatial patterns are taken into account…

    In order to detect the climate signal in daily weather records, [Knutti’s colleague Sebastian] Sippel and his [team] used statistical learning techniques to combine simulations with climate models and data from measuring stations. Statistical learning techniques can extract a “fingerprint” of climate change from the combination of temperatures of various regions and the ratio of expected warming and variability. By systematically evaluating the model simulations, they can identify the climate fingerprint in the global measurement data on any single day since spring 2012.

    Reference:

    Sebastian Sippel, Nicolai Meinshausen, Erich M. Fischer, Enikő Székely, Reto Knutti. Climate change now detectable from any single day of weather at global scale. Nature Climate Change, 2020; 10 (1): 35 DOI: 10.1038/s41558-019-0666-7

    Direct link:

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0666-7

  49. 49
    MA Rodger says:

    The graphic presented by Victor the Troll @24 is sourced here and is also here where it is used to demonstrate that:-

    “Global land temperatures are calculated from weather station observations, and global sea surface temperatures are calculated from observations by ships and buoys. Different research groups assemble these ingredients in slightly different ways, and different groups have different ways of handling places where observations are missing (especially across polar areas). But despite small differences in the data sets, all agree on the overall warming trend.” [By bold]

    What is not clear from these two source is what the graphed data comprises but recourse to the 330-page SOTC 2017 report (PDF here) shows the data sets are GISS, NOAA, JMA & HadCRUT. So we can billy-goat Victor’s trolling as none of these datasets show “sixteen years of flatline followed by an abrupt rise lasting 2 years.” They all show a continuing rising trend through these years.
    What does appear different about these data-sets is that HadCRUT (see graph here – usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) shows no sign of the acceleration during recent years (likely due to the incomplete global coverage). Perhaps it is worth adding that within NOAA, the acceleration seems to appear strongest in the northern hemisphere (stronger in NH ocean than in NH land) and also evident in southern hemisphere land temperatures.
    So is there an accelertion now appearing in AGW trends? Is the rate of warming soon to become +0.3ºC/decade? Methinks the 2020 temperature data is going to be interesting.

  50. 50
    Victor Grauer says:

    re #24: Thanks for your response Gavin. But I’m afraid the difference between your graph and the NOAA graph does in fact make a difference. The temp. rise during the 16 years from 1998 through 2014, as depicted by NOAA, is so minuscule as to be effectively flat. Compare with the leap that followed over the next 2 years, which may well be an outlier, only time will tell. Anyone can draw a line between two endpoints and call it a trend. And anyone can blow a graph up to enormous size to make minuscule differences look significant.

    [Response: Your inability to read a graph is remarkable. The difference between the NOAA and GISTEMP points are barely perceptible. But whatever, wear your coal-covered glasses as long as you like. – gavin]

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