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Unforced Variations: Nov 2020

Filed under: — group @ 2 November 2020

This month’s open thread for climate science. As if there wasn’t enough going on, we have still more hurricanes in the Atlantic, temperature records tumbling despite La Niña, Arctic sea ice that doesn’t want to reform, bushfire season kicking off in the Southern Hemisphere while we are barely done with it in the North…

Welcome to the new normal, folks.

148 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Nov 2020”

  1. 1
    MA Rodger says:

    As the NSIDC maps show, the slow freeze-up of 2020 os now being overtaken by the arrival of winter with the Sea Ice Extent anomaly rapidly rising towards more normal levels, graphed here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’. But the massive negative anomalies seen this year post-minimum have now put the average ice level for the year-to-date at the lowest on record.
    Using JAXA daily data, the top-ten meltiest years-to-date currently (to 30th Oct 2020 in sq km) run:-
    2020, 9.63M
    2019, 9.67M
    2016, 9.73M
    2018, 9.82M
    2017, 9.90M
    2012, 9.91M
    2011, 9.95M
    2007, 9.98M
    2015, 10.02M
    2014, 10.23M

    Also using the JAXA data, 2020 has also racked enough lowest daily SIE records to earn =3rd year and not so far from taking 2nd although top spot will remain with 2016 even if 2020 takes every daily record to the end of the year. The league table of ‘most daily minimums’ presently runs:-
    2016 122 days
    2012 65 days
    2018 57 days
    2020 57 days
    2019 28 days
    2017 25 days
    2015 8 days
    2010 4 days

  2. 2
    MA Rodger says:

    I see two months back William Happer managed to sit in front of a camera for more than ten minutes without falling asleep or losing track of what he was doing there and thus managed to set out his incredible grasp of AGW. As in doing this, he is entirely happy to accuse climatology of ”deceit and dishonesty,” his words perhaps require to be transcribed into writing. In this way we can all fully appreciate the message he sets out.
    It does run to 1,600 words but such length is not unprecedented here and this is a once-celebrated physicist calling all climatologists a pack of liars. (Mind I have in the past reviewed Happer’s grasp of the operation of GHGs, or lack of it, but he didn’t then resort to accusations of deceit.) [The 13-minute video transcribed here is one of four featured in a posting on the rogue planetoid Wattsupia.]

    ♣ Interviewing Idiot – Okay. So we did discuss the benefits of CO2 to plants and generally speaking to the human race and the globe in general. There’s no real negatives for having double CO2. However humanity has taken upon itself to raise CO2 as a net negative, declaring CO2 as a dangerous GHG. And so what we should explore at this point, segue into the climate change theory, one of the basic elements of the theory, foundation elements, is that CO2 is a GHG when we don’t have a greenhouse per se and we have a trace gas of CO2. So let’s discuss that.

    ♣ William Happer – Okay. CO2 really is a GHG. So let me explain what a GHG is. A GHG is a gas you can see the sun with complete transparency but which will keep you from getting warm from your fireplace. So it will absorb thermal radiation but it will not absorb visible radiation. CO2 is like that. Water vapour is like that. N2O, CH4, many molecular gases are like that. But lots are not. For example the atmosphere is mostly N2. That is not a GHG because it doesn’t absorb sunlight and it also doesn’t absorb radiation. You can put all the N2 you like between yourself and your fireplace and it won’t stop you getting toasty warm from radiant heat from the fire.
    . GHGs were first discovered by Tyndell in the 1850s and he was a very good experimenter and one of the things that was secret to his success was that he had excellent detectors of thermal radiation. They had first learnt how to build thermal piles, a bunch of thermocouples in series, so you can add up the temperature sensitivity to as many as you like. He had dozens of them together. So he was able to see the tiny heating, small changes of the infrared in his instrument. And he noticed if you take a long pipe and fill it with CO2. And one end of the pipe you put a hot kettle, like you make tea from, you can feel the heat with this instrument just fine if the pipe is filled with ordinary air. But if you put in CO2, the heat stops. That’s the basic way the experiment worked, sensing the transmission of heat. He didn’t measure any warming of the gas. You can’t measure the warming of the gas. It’s too small to measure. People tell me about … (?). It’s complete nonsense. It’s physically impossible to measure any warming that way. You know. The numbers don’t add up.
    . But he did it right. Sure enough CO2 is opaque to thermal radiation. Water vapour’s even more opaque. Methane. Ethylene was a champion gas that he worked on but there’s not much ethylene about to worry about.
    . So it’s true that CO2 does hinder transmission of thermal radiation. So other things being equal, put some CO2 over the hot surface of the ground and the ground normally cools by radiating to space and the CO2 will intercept some of that radiation so it will be a little harder for the ground to radiate out to space because some of the energy absorbed by the CO2 by radiation is radiated back to the ground. So it has to be a little hotter to get rid of the solar heating.
    . So that’s the way it works and …
    [Jump in video]
    . All right so CO2 & other GHGs do hinder the cooling of the Earth. Not very much but even more importantly they …(?)… the hindering that they can actually do now so it doesn’t matter if you almost double CO2 or halve CO2 because if you look at its effect, the effect goes this way and the CO2 goes this way (indicating a graphical representation), it’s something where the amount is grown and saturated (indicating a levelling-off of ‘effect’ with further increasing CO2). So you’re in a region where you double or triple, it hardily makes and difference to the warming effect. So it’s in the saturated region, very much in the saturated region, result, you know, following from the cause.
    . CO2, if you double it, hinders the escape of – if you don’t do anything else – you keep the atmosphere the same temperature, you don’t change convection or anything else, it just makes one or two percent difference in the amount of heat reaching outer space. So there’s no way you can get more than about a degree of centigrade from that effect directly.
    . Yet you have this alarmist establishment saying if you double CO2 it’s going to be at least two-and-a-half degrees is the latest number. For a year or two they were embarrassed enough to lower it to one-and-a-half. They knew it was too big. Now they’ve gone back to lying. Maybe it’s ten degrees. It’s completely absurd. How can you turn one degree-at-most into ten degrees. You can’t do it. You can do it by lying about it. That’s how you do it.
    . Scientists are in many ways most to blame because at least physicists, electrical engineers should know enough about radiative transfer feedback to be able to learn enough about it to realise this doesn’t make any quantitative sense. But yet qualitatively because CO2 is a GHG and GHGs cause warming, somehow they have been able to convince themselves that this trivial and probably beneficial warming will become some horrible run-away warming which will not happen. There’s no way it can happen based on the laws of physics.
    . And then you know they talk to unsophisticated audiences. I remember a distinguished member of the academy saying ‘I don’t want the Earth to turn into Venus’ as though Venus were hot because of all the CO2. It’s true. Venus’s atmosphere is nearly 100% CO2. But it’s also a lot closer to the sun than we are. So it gets twice a much sunlight. And the atmospheric pressure is a hundred times what it is on Earth and that also makes a difference because much of the temperature difference between the surface of the Earth and the tropopause where there’s convection of air is due to the pressure. When you decompress something it cools or if you compress it it heats. So everything about Venus makes perfect sense but has nothing to do with more CO2 per se. It’s because of the high pressure and because of being closer to the sun.
    . And yet scientists stand up knowing that nobody in the public will realise that they are lying to them and they simply lie and the public say ‘That sound’s pretty good. I don’t want to turn into Venus either. Let’s stop using FFs’

    ♣ II – So anyway CO2 has, let’s summarise with the time we have. So CO2, net benefit, not so much a net negative. So you’re summary.

    ♣ WH – I think everything about more CO2 is strongly positive for humanity. There’s the indirect effect that it is clearly positive for plants which you know it has to be true because otherwise greenhouse operators wouldn’t use it. That has no political agenda at all. They just want to get results. The motive of greed is one of the purest in the world. You can understand it completely. There’s never any hidden agenda there. So I’ve always taken that very seriously.
    . But the other point is that just the direct warming, it probably will cause a little warming. Nobody knows how much. I’d be surprised if it’s more than a degree, probably less but everything about warming is good. You look at the Covid death rate and it’s dropped to practically zero now because it’s warm. But it’s high in Melbourne Australia because it’s winter there. So if you look at death rates all over the world they always increase when it’s cold and better when it gets warm so why am I worried about warming. These warmings’ by the way, are huge. We’re talking about many tens of degrees, not one degree or two degrees. I have these people tell me the end of the world is coming because you might get a degree or two of warming and yet every twenty or thirty degrees of warming between winter and summer reduces the death rate. What am I missing here? I’m not missing anything. They are lying.

    ♣ II – So we could say then in summary that the GHG effect of CO2 is really a measure of the greed that’s in place not the CO2.

    ♣ WH – I think the alarmism is driven by many motives. greed being one of them for sure. That’s the one I understand best but it’s not just greed for money. It’s greed for academic fame and grants, for political power. It’s gone well beyond filthy lucre and it’s quite dangerous because you’re greedy and you make money as you produce a better product that people can afford better until they buy more and you make some money from it. That’s fine. It’s good for humanity. In it’s right place I think greed is good for humans but when it’s something that has to be bolstered by deceit and dishonesty, that’s very very dangerous and many examples of that in history. Let’s not let this one become another.

    ♣ II – Well I wish we had more time to get into the climate modelling which is the other so-called leg or tenet of the climate change alarmism. And then of course the very rich topic in these days is the politics of it all and how the scientists have operated without the scientific method in ways that we hate to see.
    . So Prof Happer, I want to thank you so much for the time we spent here today.

    Of course, the old fool is supposed to be the co-author of van Wijngaarden1 and Happer (2020) ‘Dependence of Earth’s Thermal Radiation on Five Most Abundant Greenhouse Gases so presumably he has forgotten (if he ever actually understood in the first place) that this work is part of what he is branding here a pack of lies.

  3. 3
    Russell says:

    To paraphrase the Good Doctor’s own de smog blog cartoon:

    “Never in the field of human cantankerousness has so much vitriol been expended on the distillation of so little hogwash from a three part interview with a man far past the age of sentient publication.”

    The polemic exploitation of old age remains something as sad to see, as it is ugly to read.

  4. 4
    Ray Ladbury says:

    MA Rodger@2
    Thanks, I think? We are all stupider for considering Will Happer’s uninformed, ill-conceived and incorrect ramblings. That reads like an unprepared undergraduate trying to take an oral exam.

  5. 5

    Every US citizen reading this: If you haven’t voted already, please vote today. And in God’s name, vote for the candidate who takes science seriously.

  6. 6
    Susan Anderson says:

    MA Rodger, thanks for that. It’s been interesting for me in that several of my family’s friends in Princeton are friendly with Happer, who, it turns out, when not on his hobbyhorse of going after deniers (and immigrants etc., where he can be quite nasty) seems to be a likeable chap. He started out as an ardent naturalist. He used to keep bees at the Princeton physics department He has been soured by a number of experiences with Yankee arrogance, and I kind of sympathize with that.

    However, this screed puts paid to the idea of tolerating his views on climate science, and particularly climate scientists. All that hate should have been diverted into more creative channels.

  7. 7
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH TLT has reported for October with an anomaly of +0.54ºC, down on September’s +0.57ºC. Relative to the year-so-far, October was the =4th warmest of the UAH TLT 2020 months-to-date which sit in the range +0.38ºC to +0.75ºC and averages +0.51ºC.

    October 2020 is the second warmest October on the UAH TLT record, behind 2017 which managed +0.63ºC.

    2020 has the third highest average for Jan-Oct, behind 2016 (+0.56ºC), 1998 (+0.54ºC) and ahead of 2019 (+0.42ºC), 2017 (+0.40ºC), 2010 (+0.37ºC) & 2015 (+0.25ºC)

    For the full 2020 calendar year, 2020 is likely to climb into 2nd place above the 1998 average temperature of +0.48ºC. Such a climb would only requite Nov & Dec to average more than a chilly +0.34ºC.
    To take top-spot from 2016 would require an average for the year above +0.53ºC which would require Nov & Dec to average above +0.60ºC and thus warmer that the warmest Nov/Dec on record which was 2019’s +0.56ºC.
    Even if 2020 ends below 2016, for a non-El Niño year to challenge an El Niño-boosted year in a TLT record (and both 2016 & 1998 were strongly boosted) suggests a suggests some strong underlying global warming.

  8. 8
    nigelj says:

    I notice that Happer argued “greed is good”. This is a well known libertarian belief and libertarians are largely very opposed to government environmental rules, so perhaps Happer concocts his crank science and makes crazy claims scientists are lying to minimise the justification for such rules. Its just hard for me to understand how a qualified guy can write such obvious drivel, without an ulterior ideological motive like this.

  9. 9
    Al Bundy says:

    BPL: And in God’s name, vote for the candidate who takes science seriously.

    AB: My guess is that you typed that with a straight face. Trust me, lots of people laughed out loud.

  10. 10
    jb says:

    Susan Anderson at 6, and the explanation for Happer’s attitude:

    I was born on the border of the North and the South and I’ve lived in the South since 1980. I frankly am sick of Southerners who want to burn the country down because some Yankee was mean to them.

  11. 11
    Mal Adapted says:

    nigelj:

    I notice that Happer argued “greed is good”. This is a well known libertarian belief and libertarians are largely very opposed to government environmental rules, so perhaps Happer concocts his crank science and makes crazy claims scientists are lying to minimise the justification for such rules. Its just hard for me to understand how a qualified guy can write such obvious drivel, without an ulterior ideological motive like this.

    Either ideological or pecuniary, or both. Jerry Taylor is my go-to ex-professional Libertarian propagandist. Here’s what he said in a 2017 interview with Sharon Lerner for The Intercept:

    SL: And the economic case [against collective decarbonization] eventually crumbled, too?

    JT: The first blow in that argument was offered by my friend Jonathan Adler, who was at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Jon wrote a very interesting paper in which he argued that even if the skeptic narratives are correct, the old narratives I was telling wasn’t an argument against climate action. Just because the costs and the benefits are more or less going to be a wash, he said, that doesn’t mean that the losers in climate change are just going to have to suck it up so Exxon and Koch Industries can make a good chunk of money.

    Right. Jerry’s problem is that for 25 years prior to his intellectual epiphany, he himself was making a good chunk of money peddling glib Libertarian drivel for outfits like ALEC and the Cato Institute. Now that he’s lost his ideology, he confesses shame for his years of lying for a living:

    SL: How do you feel about the work you did in those years?

    JT: I regret a lot of it. I wish I had taken more care and done more due diligence on the arguments I had been forwarding. I also introduced one of my brothers, James Taylor, to the folks at the Heartland Institute. Heartland’s rise to dominate market share in climate denialism largely occurred under my brother. Boy do I regret that.

    Whew! I’d have regrets too. It’s not in my power to absolve him, but I’m gratified he decided to work equally hard for the side of climate realism, now paying himself as President of his own policy think tank. I hope he manages to convert a few more pseudo-skeptical soi-disant libertarians. His brother, sadly, sounds like a lost cause.

  12. 12
    Russell says:

    Thanks are owed Paul Barton Levenson for his ringing endorsement of Jo Jorgensen’s Presidential candidacy.

    As of this writing Dr. Jorgensen has 1.6 million votes .

  13. 13
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @11, Happer definitely also has pecuniary interests according to this expose:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/08/greenpeace-exposes-sceptics-cast-doubt-climate-science

  14. 14
    Susan Anderson says:

    jb @10, I totally agree. It’s just been interesting to thread the needle with people who actually know him, and laypeople who don’t know the history. This is not about him, but in some ways it summarizes the problem, by (somewhat inappropriate) analogy: “Christians have been warning about the Antichrist for 2000 years. Then when he shows up, they vote for him” (random comment)

    Please do not start arguing about religion, but the point is that based even on their own internal beliefs, it’s just hypocrisy.

  15. 15

    AB 9: Trust me, lots of people laughed out loud.

    BPL: Only the stupid ones, by which I mean the tendentious atheists who think it endlessly funny when a nonbeliever says “God forbid,” or otherwise uses language.

  16. 16

    R 12: Thanks are owed Paul Barton Levenson for his ringing endorsement of Jo Jorgensen’s Presidential candidacy.

    BPL: 1. My name is Barton Paul Levenson. It’s right there in the post you misquoted.

    2. I do not endorse idiot girl. She should not have run. I endorse, and voted for, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the ones who believe in science. Libertarians often do NOT believe in science, especially where global warming is concerned.

  17. 17
    MA Rodger says:

    With a first ‘measure’ of October’s global surface temperature, Copernicus ERA5 re-analysis has posted for October with an anomaly of +0.62ºC, a tad down on the September anomaly (+0.63ºC) with the year-to-date anomalies sitting in the range +0.44ºC to +0.80ºC and averaging +0.63ºC.

    The Oct 2020 anomaly of +0.62ºC stands as 3rd warmest October on record below 2019 (+0.69ºC) & 2015 (+0.68ºC) and above 2017 (+0.60ºC), 2018 (+0.59ºC), 2016 (+0.58ºC) & 2012 (+0.46ºC).

    The Jan-Oct 2020 average sits 2nd-warmest on record, below the 2016 Jan-Oct average (+0.64ºC) and with 2019 third (+0.57ºC), this ahead of 2017 (+0.54ºC) and 2018 (+0.45ºC).

  18. 18
    jb says:

    BPL at 16: “Libertarians often do NOT believe in science, especially where global warming is concerned.”

    There are many shades of libertarian, but a large portion of them (whose belief system is heavily funded on the right) also do not believe in science where economics is concerned.

  19. 19
    nigelj says:

    New open access research that might be of interest: “Reviews and syntheses: The mechanisms underlying carbon storage in soil”

    https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/17/5223/2020/

  20. 20
    Russell says:

    JB/BPL & all betalphical and alphabetical permutations thereof

    This primary source affords a more reasonable view of the Libertarian electorate in the 2020 election :

    https://reason.com/2020/11/05/think-jo-jorgensen-is-a-spoiler-run-these-numbers-first/?utm_medium=email

  21. 21
    Ray Ladbury says:

    A libertarian is just a Republican who smokes dope.

  22. 22
    Mal Adapted says:

    jb:

    There are many shades of libertarian, but a large portion of them (whose belief system is heavily funded on the right) also do not believe in science where economics is concerned.

    The Wikipedia entry for Libertarianism (metaphysics) is interesting:

    Libertarianism is one of the main philosophical positions related to the problems of free will and determinism which are part of the larger domain of metaphysics.[1] In particular, libertarianism is an incompatibilist position[2][3] which argues that free will is logically incompatible with a deterministic universe. Libertarianism states that since agents have free will, determinism must be false.[4]

    IIUC, some libertarians are ontological, believing “There is a moral hierarchy built into the universe, and ‘Liberty’ (encompassing the free market and private property) is its highest value”. They are jealous of their presumed freedom, and resist knowledge of verifiable physical or social constraints because they are reflexively opposed to collective action limiting private liberty: “Better dead than red.”

    All other people are consequentialist libertarians, holding that “A free market and private property rights are desirable to the extent they’re compatible with other social desiderata such as global sustainablility.” They acknowledge that society may limit private liberty for the sake of over-arching collective goals, recognizing the survival of organized society itself as a precondition of optimum individual freedom: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

    IMHO, the ontological position represents a simple fallacy of the excluded middle, in misguided defense of “free will” as a universal moral imperative. The consequentialist position, OTOH, can be prudently skeptical of collective actions taken on slippery slopes, while recognizing that freedom is a relative quantity, and all choices are decisions on the margin: that is, limited to the never perfect but only more or less desirable choices available, within knowable physical and social constraints. Realistically IOW, our wills are freer than a hand puppet’s, but not by much.

    The upshot is that climate realists are consequentialist libertarians, while ontological Libertarians are in denial of their existential mediocrity.

  23. 23
    Western Hiker says:

    Here are some photos of the area around Sequim, Wa, located in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains:

    https://tinyurl.com/yxecyuzd
    https://tinyurl.com/yx9s2daq
    https://tinyurl.com/y5tp5u8z

    Lush and green, tall trees, etc. Amazingly, the area only receives 16” of annual precipitation, about the same as Los Angeles – where the natural landscape would be described as an arid, semi-desert.

    The only explanation I can come up with is temperature: an annual mean of 52 F (11.1 C) in Sequim, an annual mean of 65 F (18.3 C) in LA. A difference of only 7.2 C.

    Thoughts?

  24. 24
    Karsten V. Johansen says:

    “La Niña climate event is under way, heralding a colder and stormier winter than usual across the northern hemisphere, but 2020 remains likely to be one of the warmest years on record.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/29/2020-warmest-year-record-la-nina-climate-crisis

    Here everything in the first sentence is wrong: 1) stormier doesn’t imply colder, on the contrary, 2) no evidence points to this following La Nina and 3) no evidence points to La Nina influencing weather “across the northern hemisphere”.

    What is correct is the second sentence. La Nina happening together with a record high global average temperature shows a new level of global heating and is a step towards climate collapse.

  25. 25
    nigelj says:

    “Guardian article on Arctic methane emissions claiming “a new climate feedback loop may have been triggered” lacks important context.”

    https://climatefeedback.org/evaluation/guardian-article-on-arctic-methane-emissions-lacks-important-context-jonathan-watts/

    “Analysis of “‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find”, Published in The Guardian, by Jonathan Watts on 27 Oct. 2020. Four scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be ‘low’. A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Clickbait headline, Lack of context.”

    Sad for the Guardian to get this wrong. Usually their climate coverage has been very good. And unfortunately their exaggerated hype could have the reverse effect of taking peoples attention away from what is still a concerning situation because even if the risks of a problem look very low, we cannot be 100% certain they zero and theres a lot of methane down there.

  26. 26
    Al Bundy says:

    William Happer: The motive of greed is one of the purest in the world. You can understand it completely. There’s never any hidden agenda there.

    AB: LOfrigginL! Revenge is best served cold and greed is best served surreptitiously. Those Welfare for Billionaires laws have names like “empowering the working class act” for a reason. Trump loves that stuff. Iirc he got welfare for developing a yacht club in an impoverished area. Of course, he got the mapmakers to use his “hurricane tracking Sharpie” to define the empowerment zone.

  27. 27
    John Pollack says:

    Western Hiker @23 Sequim, WA is in a rain shadow, and has average annual precipitation nearly as low as Los Angeles. However, there is a lot less evaporation, and the rainfall is much more reliable. Los Angeles may have only a few days with rain in the winter, with a very long dry season. The dry season in Sequim is months shorter, and the temperature is typically cool with fairly high humidity even in the summer. That gives trees enough reserve to survive the dry season with far lower moisture stress than in Los Angeles.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    zebra says:

    Mal Adapted #22,

    “encompassing the free market and private property”

    Well, here you are falling into the trap of accepting a completely fallacious framing.

    Absent collective action, there is no such thing as property, nor is a true free market possible. Once again, the propaganda of the right-wing think tanks has worked, even with people who should know better.

  30. 30
    MPassey says:

    Mal Adapted @ 11. Thanks for putting me onto Jerry Taylor. His Open Letter to Green New Dealers is interesting.

    @22 “The upshot is that climate realists are consequentialist libertarians.” You seem to be saying that a libertarian stance can be evidence based. I think this is supported by the evolutionary perspective on human progress.

    The human mind has an evolved tendency to see intelligent design in the world we observe. This top-down thinking is obvious in its religious manifestation of creationism. But it persists in the various “-isms” that are just secular versions of the intelligent design mentality— socialism, communism, fascism, five-year plans, myriad examples of central planning by committees of smart people. When we consider all the mischief that various top-downisms have caused, it suggests the libertarian view that the presumption in regulating the various facets of society should be toward laissez-faire, because the unencumbered exchange of ideas and stuff is where human progress evolves.

    How do you reconcile this evolutionary libertarian view with the need for climate change mitigation? I often think of the Scientific Meta-Literacy article you frequently reference, “The requisite level of climate literacy is enormous” for one to opine on various climate science topics. I think there is a meta-application to that concept vis-à-vis mitigation— human cognition grossly under appreciates the path-dependent evolved nature of human society. The top-down thinking you see in discussions of mitigation, seems preposterously unaware of the complexity of the system. The chances of creating more suffering by mitigation attempts than is likely from climate change itself seems huge to me.

  31. 31
    Starman says:

    I don’t believe you! How do you know if someone believes what they say? If you believe that the ship is sinking you get into the lifeboat. You don’t complain that the life boat is not safe because it is so small. The ship is sinking! You worry about the smallness of the life boat later. You can tell that people who say that CO2 is going to cause a disaster soon don’t believe it because they refuse the obvious lifeboat. They claim it’s not safe. If you really believe we only have 5 or 10 years then advocate for the one energy source that can really make a difference in that time frame. If you don’t then you don’t really believe the ship is sinking.

  32. 32
    jef says:

    nigel@25 – Throughout the article they mention that these “observations” are real but preliminary and that they still need to go over all the data collected and THEN write their paper.

    There is nothing “wrong” about it. Please stop working so hard at muddling things out of your fear of reality.

  33. 33
    Omega Centauri says:

    Western Hiker at 23. I used to live in Albuquerque’s East mountain area (Sandia Park), which got roughly 18inches annually -double of what the city got, and it was mostly green and forested. Lower temps help. More cloudiness during the summer too, -from the clouds that form over the peaks then drift eastward helps to. The geology can help or hinder also. The Albuquerque side was all eroded granite, about as porous a surface as you can imagine, whilst the east side from sedimentary rocks with low permeability soil, so water could be retained near the surface.

  34. 34
    Mal Adapted says:

    Western Hiker:

    Lush and green, tall trees, etc. Amazingly, the area only receives 16” of annual precipitation, about the same as Los Angeles – where the natural landscape would be described as an arid, semi-desert.

    The only explanation I can come up with is temperature: an annual mean of 52 F (11.1 C) in Sequim, an annual mean of 65 F (18.3 C) in LA. A difference of only 7.2 C.

    Interesting observation, Wes – may I call you Wes 8^)? I’m pretty sure the difference in average annual temperature does matter. So does the seasonality of moisture, however. How does “Squim” look in mid-August? Where I live in western Oregon, it was dry and brown by the time it started raining in mid-September, and boy was it a horrific fire season, as you know. Now unburned areas are lush and green again, promising another spring wildflower show; while throughout the burned area, tree seeds buried beneath the soil surface, or falling in from surviving and standing dead adults, will soon sprout. That’s the climate of the PNW, and while the seasonal amplitude may increase, total annual precipitation isn’t expected to change much with moderate warming. What will change is the length of the summer fire season, as winter snows arrive later and melt earlier, and the soil and vegetation dry out sooner in the warmer springs. Wildfires will burn hotter on average too, as drier summers drive fuel moisture content lower. Some people will be burned out of the woods, but others will clear defensible space around their homes and hunker down. Tree species ranges are shifting, but the total forested area west of the Cascade crest won’t necessarily shrink, and may even expand as the upper treeline rises; bear in mind, on the west side that’s mostly determined by snow depth.

    Where I lived in New Mexico, the wet and dry seasons are reversed: fire season is late spring, then the North American monsoon relatively reliably puts out the fires and delivers half the annual rainfall during July and August, and the landscape lights up with wildflowers until hard frost. The rest of the annual precipitation arrives as chancy winter snows and spring showers, causing high variability in the yearly total, as well as in the spring bloom. As in the PNW, milder winters in the interior SW are already leading to earlier, longer wildfire seasons. Unlike the PNW, a long-term decline in precipitation in the SW is expected with continued warming, with the monsoon becoming less reliable. Augmented by higher overwintering adult survival, native and introduced insect pests will irrupt more frequently in drought-stressed forests. The lower ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir treeline is retreating upslope, as trees killed by drought, insects or fire are replaced by pinyon-juniper woodland or xerophytic shrubs. Demarked by low temperature, the alpine zone will suffer slow tree encroachment, but there’s not enough of it to balance the more rapid loss at lower elevation. The inhabitants, my friends among them, will watch their forests dwindle in the coming decades. Meanwhile the desert will still bloom in wet springs, but those will become less frequent, and the species will change. Some endemic species will disappear, but I trust my fire-wise friends will adapt. Some may do it by moving here: New Mexico’s loss, Oregon’s gain! IOW, pretty much a wash from my PoV.

  35. 35
    mike says:

    to western hiker at 23: I think you should look at humidity as well as temp for the answer to your question. Plus there is the difference in hours of sunlight and fluctuation throughout the year.

    Los Angeles – 52.4%
    California – 61% with average dew point of 44.2 degrees F
    Sequim – nearest weather station is Victoria, I think not the same as Sequim
    Washington State – 71.4% with average dew point of 39.7 degrees F

    Comparing Los Angeles and Sequim really seems like apples and oranges. Where are you headed with this question?

    Cheers

    Mike

  36. 36
  37. 37
    MA Rodger says:

    nigelj @25,
    A critique of that same Guardian article did also feature in the latter parts of October’s UV thread. And while the Guardian weren’t the first to uncritically relay a report of a doomsday potential for Arctic methane emissions under AGW (which has been par-for-the-course for years, eg The Independent in 2008), they surely won’t be the last. Perhaps we (and they) should also pay more attention to the literature in-the-round. Thus we (and they) can read the likes of Ruppel & Kessler (2017):-

    “For present‐day Earth and marine hydrates, … the most complete model among the current generation predicts an upper bound of ~4.73 Mt yr−1 CH4 (~3.75 Mt yr−1 C) emissions to the ocean from dissociating gas hydrate over a 100 year warming scenario with no sediment or water column sinks. Even if all of this methane were to reach the atmosphere, the impact would be negligible compared to the 555 Gt yr−1 CH4 of combined natural and anthropogenic emissions.”

    The “most complete” model mentioned is Kretscher et al (2015).

  38. 38
    Chris Korda says:

    I recently released a musical album titled “Apologize to the Future,” the lyrics of which concern climate change, intergenerational injustice, economic inequality, the singularity, antinatalism, and mass extinction. Though I haven’t posted here in a long time, RealClimate significantly influenced the album. I spent years researching climate change before I started writing the lyrics, and many of the books I read were recommended by RealClimate or by users of this forum. In addition I followed and sometimes participated in many discussions here which helped shape my research. The album took about a year to make, not counting the research that preceded it. My thanks to the RealClimate staff and community for helping me conceptualize this ambitious and arduous project.

    You can listen to the album here. Streaming is free. The lyrics are given with each track, and also compiled here. There are also two videos available: Overshoot, and Apologize to the Future.

  39. 39
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS TLT has been reported for October with an anomaly of +0.81ºC, down on September’s +0.87ºC. The monthly anomalies for the year-so-far sit in the range +0.74ºC to +1.02ºC and Jan-Oct averages +0.83ºC.

    At +0.81ºC, October 2020 is =2nd warmest October on the RSS TLT record, behind 2017 (+0.85ºC) and equalling 2015.

    At +0.83ºC, Jan-Oct 2020 averages 2nd highest (3rd in UAH), behind Jan-Oct 2016 (+0.86ºC) and ahead of 2019 (+0.74ºC), 2017 (+0.69ºC), 2010 (+0.67ºC), 1998 (+0.64ºC) & 2015 (+0.58ºC)

    For the full 2020 calendar year, the average RSS TLT anomaly for 2020 is likely to stick in 2nd place, requiring an average Nov-Dec above +1.11ºC to climb above the 12-month average of +0.86ºC of 2016 & below a chilly +0.34ºC to drop below the 12-month average of +0.74ºC of 2019.

  40. 40
    Russell says:

    “He got welfare for developing a yacht club in an impoverished area.”

    That’s no way to Make the America’s Cup Great Again.

    Guess who’s short listed to become his last Climate Czar ?

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/11/is-man-inside-bear-suit-new-lame-duck.html

  41. 41
    nigelj says:

    jef @32

    “Throughout the article they mention that these “observations” are real but preliminary and that they still need to go over all the data collected and THEN write their paper.”There is nothing “wrong” about it. Please stop working so hard at muddling things out of your fear of reality.”

    Jef, the fact that the guardian article said those things doesn’t logically make the article “right”. The Guardian article is wrong on the things that really count, and its not just me saying so. Let me remind you of what the reviewers said “Four scientists analyzed the article and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be ‘low’ . And I did praise the Guardian for usually being a good source.

    I did not say at any stage that the research paper was wrong. Im not in a position to say. My comment was clearly on the guardian article. It follows on from discussion on the previous UV thread you might not have read.

    As to my alleged “fear of reality” you do not say which reality you mean. If you mean the methane clathrate situation that could cause a catastrophe of some kind, I will remind you that this website wrote an article in 2019 stating “But some things can be examined and ruled out. Imminent massive methane releases that are large enough to seriously affect global climate are not going to happen (there isn’t that much methane around, the Arctic was warmer than present both in the early Holocene and last interglacial and nothing similar has occurred).”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2019/02/the-best-case-for-worst-case-scenarios/#more-20520

    If you dont like this, take it up with the writer. I do not know who you are, but what do you have to suggest this website has got it wrong? And please note that I said about the methane situation that its is still “a CONCERNING SITUATION because even if the risks of a problem look very low, we cannot be 100% certain they zero and theres a lot of methane down there.” So obviously I’m not minimising the situation.

    And if you meant my alleged “fear of reality” is fear of serious levels of climate change then your claim is nonsensical. Let me remind you I wrote “And unfortunately their exaggerated hype could have the reverse effect of taking peoples attention away from what is still a CONCERNING SITUATION because even if the risks of a problem look very low, we cannot be 100% certain they zero and theres a lot of methane down there.” In other words, I think climate change is a f*****g serious situation! And the astonishing thing is Ive said this elsewhere on pages you have read but it still doesnt seem to register with you.

    But I dont like media hype and exaggeration (or any sort of hype) because it is wrong, it feeds the denialists ammunition, and “muddles” the publics understanding, to use your choice of words. I can explain this to you, but I guess I can’t make you understand. I’ve tried about three times now.

    If you still dont get it read MAR @37.

  42. 42
    Al Bundy says:

    Western Hiker: Lush and green, tall trees, etc. Amazingly, the area only receives 16” of annual precipitation,

    AB: Eastern slopes are more shielded from afternoon heat. Mountains trap rain, but the water, once rained, has to get down off the mountain. Where’s the clay caps, the porous layers, the whatever… ?

    Steep topography makes for interesting subsurface water activity, such as desert springs. Maybe you can get some data on well depths in the area.

    Let us know what you figure out

  43. 43
    nigelj says:

    Starman @31

    “If you really believe we only have 5 or 10 years then advocate for the one energy source that can really make a difference in that time frame. If you don’t then you don’t really believe the ship is sinking.”

    I suspect he means nuclear power but he doesn’t even realise it takes 5 – 10 years just to design these things and get regulatory approval and financing!

  44. 44
    MA Rodger says:

    The latest storm in the Atlantic 2020 hurricane season, Storm Theta, is winding its way across the mid-Atlantic south of the Azores and brings the 2020 total to 29 storms, setting a new record (previously thd record was 2005’s 28 storms) with presently signs in the NOAA National Hurricane Center site that 2020 hasn’t finished yet.
    While the season’s total Accumulated Cyclone Energy of 2020’s numerous storms now tops ACE=150 making 2020 a well-above-average year, this ACE total is well short of 2005’s ACE=250 and 2017’s ACE=225. (2017 recorded 17 named storms.)

  45. 45
    zebra says:

    MPassey #30,

    This relates to my response to Mal just before yours.

    I happen to believe that true free markets (where there is competition and costs are internalized) do optimize the use of resources. But TFM are just as “top down” as any of the isms you mention; without control by the State, the mechanism cannot operate.

    What people call “libertarian” is just more political rhetoric aimed at influencing which group is making the top-down decisions, not whether there is indeed an evolutionary development of the social and economic structures to minimize suffering in the population.

    Apply “laissez-faire” to the electricity sector, as I have discussed here previously, and what do you get? Coal-burning monopolies. But create a TFM through government regulation, and you get an optimal mix of generating sources for each locale, along with the mitigation.

    So I don’t think you really make a case against a public-policy approach to mitigation here. “Libertarianism” is propaganda, not a philosophy, since it contradicts itself fundamentally.

    Note: This should really be on FR, please respond there.

  46. 46

    S 31: people who say that CO2 is going to cause a disaster soon don’t believe it because they refuse the obvious lifeboat.

    BPL: Or maybe they do believe it but think your “obvious lifeboat” is a load of crap.

  47. 47
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Starman,
    Thank you for your utterly stupid, ignorant and unsubstantiated opinion. I am sure that our usual denialist trash are relieved that you have taken the title of “Day’s Stupidest Comment,” hands down, relieving the pressure on them for a few hours.

    Nukes may indeed be part of the answer for climate change–we have squandered the luxury of being picky in what option we avail ourselves of. However, it is not a rapid, economical or complete solution. Nukes have never been competitive in a free market. They are now uncompetitive even with renewables. So, please feel free to take your stupidity over to a website with a less discerning and scientifically literate clientele.

  48. 48
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    Well, here you are falling into the trap of accepting a completely fallacious framing.

    z, why are you so eager to pick a fight? I typed:

    IIUC, some libertarians are ontological, believing “There is a moral hierarchy built into the universe, and ‘Liberty’ (encompassing the free market and private property) is its highest value”.

    to frame a position I’m criticizing. I’m accusing ontological Libertarians, represented by the US Libertarian Party, of “falling into the trap of accepting a completely fallacious framing”!
    And when you say:

    Absent collective action, there is no such thing as property, nor is a true free market possible. Once again, the propaganda of the right-wing think tanks has worked, even with people who should know better.

    I haven’t the slightest disagreement! Is that really not clear?

    Or have I entirely misunderstood your objection? Are you saying my framing of the ontological Libertarian position, and/or the LP policy platform, is fallacious? Help me out here, z!

  49. 49
    Mal Adapted says:

    zebra:

    Absent collective action, there is no such thing as property, nor is a true free market possible.

    Again, I agree vehemently, and I have lots more to say about it 8^)! I think we should discuss it on the FR thread, however. Having interjected wholly off-topic Libertarian metaphysics here, I’ll initiate the move. Disclaimer: I’m not looking for a slapfight!

  50. 50
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    nigelj @32

    The Guardian is a newspaper with a duty to report the facts. The facts are that scientists are warning that an increasing amount of methane is being released from the sea bed off the East Siberian Coast: here.

    Climate Feedback, who reviewed the article is obviously a climate denier website. Their reviewers are anonymous and attack the messenger not the message, which is true. Scientists measuring methane emitted from the Arctic sea bed have have found that it is increasing!

    [Response: This is total nonsense, and beneath you. The criticism of the claims about imminent massive releases of CH4 from hydrates on the continental shelf in the Arctic are valid – and we have been making them here for a decade (for instance and for instance). – gavin

    [Response:

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