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Unforced Variations: Aug 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 August 2020

This month’s open thread for climate science issues. People might want to keep an eye on the Arctic sea ice

19 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Aug 2020”

  1. 1
    Geoff Beacon says:

    GWP* is a method of combining the effects of short lived climate pollutants (SLCPs e.g. methane) with long lived climate pollutants (LLCPs e.g. carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide).

    As I understand it, it uses rates of change in emissions of SLCPs but absolute values for LLCPs.

    I see in Climate metrics under ambitious mitigation (Figure c) that total CO2-e* emissions reach net zero, when CO2 emissions are not zero.

    If this measure is adopted for comparing greenhouse gases does it mean that carbon budgets (like the INDCs in the Paris Agreement?) will become more relaxed?

  2. 2
    Robert Ingersol says:

    Has anyone looked at this Marchitelli paper in Scientific Reports?

    I know it isn’t really climate-related, but the GSM cult is pretty excited about it. I am afraid this may be another embarrassment for this journal.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    Mr. Know It Al says:

    2 – Robert Ingersol

    Quote from the article’s “conclusion”:
    “This paper gives the first, strongly statistically significant, evidence for a high correlation between large worldwide earthquakes and the proton density near the magnetosphere, due to the solar wind. This result is extremely important for seismological research and for possible future implications on earthquake forecast……”

    Very interesting! I’m guessing that if the solar wind and particles have enough energy to move Earth’s tectonic plates; it should easily have enough energy to cause some warming trends in the atmosphere.

    They could use some warming trends down at the South Pole. Forecast to be -89 F in a few days:

  5. 5
    MA Rodger says:

    Geoff Beacon @1,
    A ‘heads-up’.
    You may recall your question to me in a comment thread at Carbonbrief As with the comment here @3, it was ‘provoked’ by that Kevin Anderson resulting in your question “How much can “official science” be trusted? … What’s your view?
    I did reply but its length meant it got stuck in the Disqus comment machine requiring moderation to be unstuck, moderation which I have just now ‘provoked’ into action.
    So please consider yourself now ‘replied to’.

  6. 6
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Greg Guy #3

    In that article Kevin Anderson discussess the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC). He says

    But since its inception, the academic Commissioners who, in many respects guide the framing of the secretariat’s work, have failed to support the CCC in pursuing genuinely independent analysis.

    As such the CCC have, in my view, misled parliament and the public – at least in terms of mitigation. Individually I respect the academic work of many of the commissioners, some of whom I know well and would call friends, but as soon as they don their CCC hat, academic rigour is weakened in favour of political expediency.

    1. What is the immediate source of the pressure that requires “political expediency”?

    Is it connected to the fact that the UK business department, The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is the sponsoring department for climate policy and climate research in the UK? BEIS also appoint the members of the CCC.

    (See Take climate policy from the UK business department.)

    2. Who are the “academic Commissioners” of the CCC? Is there a public list?

    3. The CCC have discussed GWP* in their literature, where its new concept of CO2-e* gives a net-zero measure thatallows significant CO2 emissions.

    Net-zero CO2e* seems a more lenient emissions target than net-zero CO2 (or net-zero CO2e).

    Is this new concept likely to mislead public and parliament further?

  7. 7
    Mr. Know It All says:

    I took your advice and checked out the Arctic Sea Ice link. Doesn’t look too bad right now, little bit below the 30 year trend. The trend for below normal amounts of ice appear to be heavily concentrated just off the Alaska and Russia coasts,and around the Kara Sea. The water depth off of Russia is very shallow, much of it 50-200 feet, according to Google Earth – wondering if that plays a role.

    It’s surprising that there is still a tiny bit of ice in Hudson’s Bay and James Bay, just 521 miles north of downtown Toronto. It even shows ice by Anchorage – someone must have lost a cooler full of ice and beer. ;)

    Also surprising are the very small areas where sea ice concentration is actually increasing over the decades as shown by the orange colors on the monthly Trends and Anomalies tabs.

    I looked at Antarctica, and the orange colors for monthly increasing ice concentration per decade look larger than areas of declining ice concentration. Not sure what it indicates, since decreasing concentration “could” mean less calving of ice bergs (various reasons could cause this), and increased concentration “could” mean more calving (various reasons could cause that also).

  8. 8
    MA Rodger says:

    Geoff Beacon @6,
    The membership of the UK CCC are listed with the introductions of this 277 page report – Committee on Climate Change (May 2019) ‘Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming’. (Also the Acknowledgements lists a whole pageful of other contributors.)
    I should also make plain that I have not actually read through this report.

    With strong accusations quoted upthread that the CCC has “misled parliament and the public, this CCC report is probably the ‘smoking gun’ in that it suggests the UK would be doing its bit if it achieved zero-CO2 by 2050 through a linear reduction in its emissions between now and 2050.
    While there is no sign that the UK government has taken the slightest bit of notice of this CCC report that states:-

    “Our advice is offered with the proviso that net-zero is only credible if policies are introduced to match. Existing ambitions must be delivered in full. … The science demands it; the evidence is before you; we must start at once; there is no time to lose.”[My bold]

    While there is still no sign that the UK government is taking this report seriously, there are two problem areas I see with the CCC report itself.

    Firstly it asserts that the linear reduction in emissions through to a target of zero-by-2050 represents the “highest possible ambition,” and this ‘height’ is arrived-at because “the Committee do not currently consider it credible to aim to reach net-zero emissions earlier than 2050.”

    Secondly, I don’t think it is correct to say “If replicated across the world, and coupled with ambitious near-term reductions in emissions,it would deliver a greater than 50% chance of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5°C.” That is for a ‘50% chance’, by 2019 we had a remaining global budget of 10-years-of-present-global-emissions. A linear redution to zero by 2050 would require 15-years-of-present-global-emissions (and a linear reduction does appear to be the plan in this June 2020 CCC Report summary).
    Of course, the UK has a head-start on emissions-reduction in that it has already reduced its territorial emissions to 60% of 1990 levels (although its carbon footprint is running at more like 90% 1990), so a linear reduction from this 60% could be declared a bit below an allowance from the remaining global budget of 10-years-of-present-global-emissions, but that is seriously not equitable on a number of grounds and would not stand up under scrutiny.

    [Finally, I’m very conscious that this comment runbs very close to discussing ‘mitigation method’ which is off-topic in these UV thread.]

  9. 9
  10. 10
    Geoff Beacon says:

    MARoger #5

    Thanks. Now seen your reply. Agree with much of it but I think you showed much confidence in climate modelling when you said

    So I would say that the scientific message has been set out correctly in the various IPCC Assessment Reports.

    Too many things happening now…

    – Cold spot in the North Atlantic
    – New worries about East Antarctica
    – 38C in London & that highest ever temperature in Siberia
    – Fires in California, Siberia etc.
    – Wavier jet stream making weather unpredictable
    – Greenland melt going faster

  11. 11
    Robert Ingersol says:

    Re. 4, KIA, If I wanted to know what uninformed amateurs were “guessing”, I would have posted the question on twitter. Any SCIENTISTS with comments on this paper? I know it contradicts some previous credible research that found no link between solar activity and earthquakes.

  12. 12
    John Pollack says:

    Mr. Know It All @4 “They could use some warming trends down at the South Pole. Forecast to be -89 F in a few days.”

    Could it be that they’ve already had a considerable warming trend? Record low at the South Pole is -117 F, set back in 1982.

  13. 13
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH has posted for July 2020 with a TLT anomaly of +0.44ºC, a squeak up on June’s anomaly and the third lowest anomaly for 2020-to-date (which recorded +0.56ºC, +0.76ºC, +0.48ºC, +0.38ºC, +0.54ºC & +0.43ºC January thro’ to June).
    July 2020 is the 2nd warmest July in the UAH TLT record, behind 1998 (+0.51ºC) and ahead of July 2016 (+0.39ºC), 2019 (+0.38ºC), 2010 (+0.33ºC), 2018 & 2017 (both +0.30ºC), 2002 (+0.23ºC), 2005 (+0.22ºC) followed by 2014 & 2009 (both +0.21ºC).
    July 2020 sits =35th in the trend-defying UAH TLT all-month anomaly record.

    After seven months, the ‘warmest year-so-far table’ in UAH TLT runs as follows (also showing the calender year averages & rankings):-
    …….. Jan-July Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.60ºC … … … +0.53ºC … … … 1st
    1998 .. +0.58ºC … … … +0.48ºC … … … 2nd
    2020 .. +0.51ºC
    2010 .. +0.41ºC … … … +0.33ºC … … … 5th
    2019 .. +0.39ºC … … … +0.44ºC … … … 3rd
    2017 .. +0.35ºC … … … +0.40ºC … … … 4th
    2002 .. +0.26ºC … … … +0.22ºC … … … 8th
    2018 .. +0.24ºC … … … +0.23ºC … … … 7th
    2015 .. +0.22ºC … … … +0.27ºC … … … 6th
    2005 .. +0.21ºC … … … +0.20ºC … … … 9th
    2007 .. +0.21ºC … … … +0.16ºC … … … 12th
    So the start of 2020 is sitting in an impressive 3rd place for TLT record in a non-El Niño-boosted year. While 2020 may not top 2016 by year’s-end (it would require to average Aug-Dec above +0.544ºC to achieve that), slotting into 2nd place ahead of 1998 (which would require to average Aug-Dec above +0.440ºC) appears quite likely. To drop below 2019 into 4th would require an Aug-Dec average below +0.340ºC

  14. 14
    Victor says:

    Yesterday, on another thread, I made the following claim: “There is, in fact, no reason whatsoever to accept the basic premise that CO2 emissions are leading to a dangerous rise in global temperatures. Over and over again the “scientists” have failed to produce meaningful evidence for any of their claims. So what passes for science is not viable theories based on facts, but imaginative hypotheses based on ingenious arguments for why the facts do not support the theory.” My claim was, of course, angrily rejected by the usual suspects on this blog, for the usual reasons. I have consequently decided to make a useful list of items for them to contemplate.

    OK, here goes.
    Item: As I’ve already demonstrated, there is no long-term correlation between CO2 levels and global temperatures. See, for example, the following blog post, in which I expose the misleading nature of one naïve attempt to establish such a correlation (other similarly misleading efforts were presented by contributors to this blog): In all these cases, scattergrams purporting to demonstrate a long-term correlation actually reflect only a relatively brief 20 year period when CO2 levels and global temperatures happened to rise in tandem. When ALL the evidence is considered (as, for example, in the following scattergram, produced by Danley Wolfe, which places this 20 year period in perspective: ), the lack of a true long-term correlation is evident. To account for their failure to establish a clear correlation based solely on the CO2 and temperature records, many climate scientists have offered speculative explanations based on a the influence of a variety of other climatic factors. An instructive example can be found in a Skeptical Science blog post (aptly) titled “Does CO2 always correlate with temperature (and if not, why not?)”:

    Item: Over a period of roughly 18 years, from 1998 through 2016 (just prior to an extreme El Nino event), we see what many investigators have characterized as a “hiatus” or “pause” in temperature rise. While temperatures did continue to rise during this period, the degree of rise was considerably less than that of the 20 year period from ca. 1979 through 1998, when temperatures rose rather dramatically. The meaning and validity of the so-called “hiatus” has been a bone of contention among climate scientists for some time, and a variety of explanations for its existence have appeared over the years. Regardless of what anyone might want to think about this temperature slowdown the fact remains: according to just about every dataset the rise in temperature during this period was considerably less than what might be expected based on the steep runup during the previous 20 year period. Moreover, according to yet another scattergram produced by Danley Wolfe, there was no correlation whatsoever between CO2 levels and temperatures between 1999 and 2014:

    (The following website lists no fewer than 66 “explanations” for the hiatus, as of 2014: — as for the notorious paper by Karl et al, often cited as a “pause-buster,” that’s just one more excuse to be added to that long long list. If you carefully examine the graphs he provides (, you’ll see that just about all the “corrections” he’s made apply to the first half of the 20th century, with everything after that more or less the same as before. His claim to have debunked the hiatus is not based on his corrections, but on his curious decision to compare the 50 years from 1950-1999 with the first 15 years of the 21st century, with no explanation as to why he selected the last half of the 20th century as the basis for his comparison.)

    Item: According to a surprising finding from a recent study, “current altimeter products show the rate of sea level rise to have decreased from the first to second decades of the altimeter era.” Fasulo et al. Thus, according to the evidence uncovered by these researchers, sea level rise did NOT accelerate as widely expected by so many climate scientists, but in fact declined, potentially a huge embarrassment. Never fear. Our authors did some digging and discovered a handy explanation: the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Sound far-fetched? Pretty much, yes. If sea levels failed to respond to the drastic decrease in global temperatures from 1940 through 1950, it’s hard to understand how the much less intense and prolonged cooling effects of a volcanic eruption could have made much of a difference. This rather unlikely notion is, of course, only a hypothesis, as they (indirectly) acknowledge, but since the publication of their study, which revises the evidence to take the Pinatubo eruption into account, it’s been widely reported, on the basis of this theory alone, that sea level rise is in fact accelerating, thus serving to enhance the desired level of alarm.

    All for now. More to come . . .

  15. 15
    Piotr says:

    ” the solar wind and particles have enough energy to move Earth’s tectonic plates”
    Mr Knows it All (4)

    _That’s_ what you understood the paper argued? ;-))))) Whau.
    One can never underestimate Mr Knows It All…

  16. 16
    Piotr says:

    Geoff Beacon (1) and (6): “the new concept of CO2-e* gives a net-zero measure that allows significant CO2 emissions”.

    That’s hardly anything new – _all_ existing carbon budgets assume the Earth absorbs some of the human emissions of CO2.

    To illustrate, let’s use the Schlesinger’s carbon budget from his 2013 “Biogeochemistry”, where you had human emissions of 10Gt C/yr, and out of it, in the atmosphere stayed 5Gt C/yr, while the other 5 GtC had to be absorbed by ocean and land.

    Which means that if you reduced human emissions from 10Gt/yr to 5 Gt/yr, you would get stabilization of atm. CO2 (=your “net-zero emissions”), while STILL having “significant CO2 emissions”, to the tune of 5Gt C/yr.

    Conversely, if somebody proposes reducing human emissions to ZERO – they are not going after _stabilizing_ the atmospheric CO2 conc. (i.e. your” “zero net emissions”), but they are after REDUCING it.

    Which would make sense in the context of the Paris accord goals of containing the Earth temp. growth below 1.5 or 2C – since _stabilizing_ CO2 at, say, 450 or 500 ppm would not do.

  17. 17
    mike says:

    “The RCP 8.5 CO2 emissions pathway, long considered a “worst case scenario” by the international science community, is the most appropriate for conducting assessments of climate change impacts by 2050, according to a new article published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The work was authored by Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) Risk Program Director Dr. Christopher Schwalm, Dr. Spencer Glendon, a Senior Fellow at WHRC and founder of Probable Futures, and by WHRC President Dr. Philip Duffy. Long dismissed as alarmist or misleading, the paper argues that is actually the closest approximation of both historical emissions and anticipated outcomes of current global climate policies, tracking within 1% of actual emissions.”

    CO2? How are we doing?

    Jul. 26 – Aug. 1, 2020 413.22 ppm
    Jul. 26 – Aug. 1, 2019 409.97 ppm
    Jul. 26 – Aug. 1, 2010 389.75 ppm

    so, we’re looking at 3.25 ppm increase yoy (noisy number) and 23.50 ppm increase over 10 years.

    It could be worse.



  18. 18
    Victor says:

    Continued from my previous post:

    Item: According to evidence gleaned from Antarctic ice cores, going back as far as 400,000 years ago, CO2 levels and global temperatures appear to have been closely correlated over a substantial stretch of time, during which both CO2 and temperature cycled from one extreme to the other. Upon close examination, however, it was determined that the rise in temperature consistently preceded the rise in CO2 levels, contrary to the assumption by Al Gore and many other climate change advocates who want to see this relationship as an early example of CO2 driven warming.

    As with the examples I’ve already presented, certain advocates, unwilling to accept evidence that fails to support their theory, have taken pains to explain it away. See, for example, the following, from the Skeptical Science blog:
    “In the case of warming, the lag between temperature and CO2 is explained as follows: as ocean temperatures rise, oceans release CO2 into the atmosphere. In turn, this release amplifies the warming trend, leading to yet more CO2 being released. In other words, increasing CO2 levels become both the cause and effect of further warming. This positive feedback is necessary to trigger the shifts between glacials and interglacials as the effect of orbital changes is too weak to cause such variation.” ( )

    Sorry, but the feedback hypothesis, widely disseminated by Richard Alley among others, won’t work. If the process began with oceanic warming, which then increased atmospheric CO2 levels, and the increase in CO2 then led, in turn, to even greater warming, which, in turn, raised CO2 levels even more, and so on, then that dynamic would be reflected in the ice-core data, where we’d soon see a reversal of roles, with warming following CO2. But that is NOT what we see. The CO2 levels consistently FOLLOW the warming, telling us the feedback explanation is not supported by the evidence.

    Item: According to just about every record, global temperatures from 1940 through roughly 1979 either fell or remained relatively steady. The fact that CO2 levels were rising considerably during this same forty year period thus posed a challenge to those claiming CO2 levels are a principal driver of climate change. Consequently, advocates have insisted the evidence is misleading – a CO2-driven rise in temperatures must have been masked by the cooling effect of industrial aerosols (i.e. pollutants) produced, ironically enough, by the same process that also emitted large amounts of CO2. However, as I demonstrated some time ago on this blog, when we consult evidence from various regions where industrial activities are either minimal or non-existent, the underlying warming trend fails to appear. Clearly there never was such a trend.

    Item: Over and over again we see, in both the media and the scientific literature, dire warnings of a future dominated by extreme events, such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, droughts, heavy rainstorms, etc. Invariably, “climate change” is assumed to be the culprit, with the tacit understanding that by “climate change” is meant steadily rising global temperatures fueled by steadily rising CO2 emissions, due to the burning of fossil fuels. While it is indeed possible to make an argument associating rising temperatures with certain extreme weather events, there is nothing in any of the evidence supporting such an association that says anything about CO2 emissions. That’s simply assumed as part of the “climate change” meme. Since, as I’ve demonstrated above, so much of the actual evidence points away from such an influence, it would seem irresponsible to continually blame CO2 for weather events most likely triggered by natural forces. And if in fact increasing levels of CO2 emission are not the cause of these extreme weather events, we have no reason to predict that they will get any worse, or even continue, in the future. As we know, the natural forces that have controlled the climate for millions of years, wax and wane over time for reasons we may never understand.

    In sum: As I insisted in my earlier post, we see a pattern: whenever the actual evidence fails to support the prevailing climate change theory its supporters strive mightily to explain the discrepancy away by any means possible. Or else, as in the case of extreme events, simply assume the evidence is there even when it is not.

  19. 19
    Russell says:

    The Great Apocalypse Debate has been rudely interrupted by a realone.

    It isn’t the first time, and likely won’t be the last:

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