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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. 101

    Thanks for the thoughtful responses to my question on hurricane season extension, or rather, the possibility thereof. I’m not surprised that no unequivocal ruling on the possibility emerged–but nor that some interesting considerations and information *did*.

    I’d list y’all, but you know who you are!

  2. 102

    And on the extended hurricane season, there’s this (featuring the very same Dr. Jeff Masters of YCC mentioned by Susan, BTW):

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/15/scientists-link-record-breaking-hurricane-season-to-climate-crisis

    Interestingly:

    The Atlantic hurricane season is expected to last until December this year, meaning that Iota might not be the last.

    “When a season like 2020 keeps on cranking these things out, it’s going to keep on doing that,” said Masters.

    That’s a bit unclear, but not encouraging.

    The story raised another issue as well:

    “In a 36-hour period [Eta] went from a depression to a very strong category 4,” said Bob Bunting, CEO of the non-profit Climate Adaptation Center. “That is just not normal. Probably it was the fastest spin up from a depression to a major hurricane in history.”

    If, as it seems, this is an aspect of a new hurricane reality, then it’s clearly problematic in that it shortens the necessary reaction time.

  3. 103
    Mal Adapted says:

    Dan DaSilva, cryptically:

    Release the Kraken

    Is DDS referring to someone’s inappropriate underwater erection (def. 5), perhaps his own; or a giant cephalopoid sea creature that’s “especially vulnerable to Brainworm Rot Type A”? Is he one of those luckless creatures thus afflicted? Is he being held here against his will? Regardless, I’m sure we’re all happy to release him from any obligation to comment on RC.

  4. 104
    John Pollack says:

    From the 10AM EST Nov. 16 National Hurricane Center, Iota Discussion #13
    “Iota is a very impressive hurricane, especially for this late in the
    year, with a distinct, warm eye on satellite images and a rather
    electrified eyewall from the GOES lightning detector.” …

    “A blend of all these data leads to an
    initial wind speed of 140 kt, making Iota a category 5 hurricane,
    the latest category 5 on record for the Atlantic basin.” …

    “This is a catastrophic situation unfolding for northeastern
    Nicaragua with an extreme storm surge of 15-20 ft forecast along
    with destructive winds and potentially 30 inches of rainfall, and
    it is exacerbated by the fact that it should make landfall in
    almost the exact same location that category 4 Hurricane Eta did
    about two weeks ago. ”

    My heart goes out for the people in the way of this storm!

  5. 105
    Susan Anderson says:

    small correction: I got Theta and Iota backwards (in case anybody noticed). Category 5 Iota is now bearing down on Nicaragua exactly where Eta made landfall, with predicted sustained winds of 165 mph and pressure below 920! This one, however, is predicted not to double back to the Gulf.

    And, (vanity vanity) quoting myself:

    Add global warming/climate change (increased heat/energy) to a perturbed system, and voila!

    But we must be armed for the fact that next year, or the one following it, will have a more “normal” tropical Atlantic system and fake skeptics will cite that as a reversal rather than a regular feature of a long-term increase.

  6. 106
  7. 107

    Arctic sea ice has closed quite a bit with ‘the pack’, but is still lowest extent on record:

    https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/#/extent/&time=2020-11-15%2000:00:00

  8. 108
    MA Rodger says:

    Adding to the up-thread discussion of AGW bringing an extension to the length of Atlantic hurricane seasons, the latest 2020 storms are providing a lively tag-end to the season.
    Hurricane Iota has joined the 1932 Cuba hurricane as the second Cat5 November hurricane and while Iota was not as intense as 1932Cuba, it is over a week later in November.
    And Iota pushes this year’s Hurricane Eta into 3rd place in the list of strongest November hurricanes, the strongest of the four November Cat4 hurricanes. (There have been 142 Wiki-listed Cat4 hurricanes, July 2, Aug 37, Sept 52, Oct 45, Nov 4.)

    And the 2020 season continues.
    The 2020 Accumulated Cyclone Energy was slow to ‘accumulate’ with many weak and short-lived storms. Having struggled to reach ACE=100 by the end of September, ACE now sits at ACE=173, so ACE=73 of that in the tag-end of the season post-September. This puts 2020’s post-september ACE into 2nd place for recent years, above 2016 season which saw more activity post-September than it did earlier.
    And while top-spot is still the 2005 season which managed ACE=79 post-September, this included ACE=19 resulting from very late storms, Hurricane Epsilon in December 2005 and TC Zeta which ran into the New Year.
    So the 2020 may yet bring some significant storms through the coming weeks.

  9. 109
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    There is a YouTube video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1ChxLmpbz4&t=603s which discusses the Guardian article rather than criticise it.
    Unfortunately you need to take it back to the start to see it all.

  10. 110
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re #97
    Alistair B McDonald: It is not total nonsense to cry “fire” when you see a little smoke emerging from beneath the seat in front of you in a cinema. In fact it is your duty!

    AB: I disagree. One’s “duty” is to do stuff that generally improves outcomes. If one sees a little smoke then one should invest two or three neurons on analysis before putting other patrons at risk of being trampled to death.

    There is less chance of people being trample to death if they escape before the inferno begins.

    Of course if you are denying that an inferno could happen then I hope you are willing to take responsibility for all those injuries and deaths that do occur.

  11. 111
    Solar Jim says:

    RE: MAR #37 –

    From the report you sited “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.”

    Since CH4 operates with roughly a factor of 100 times the radiative forcing of carbonic acid gas (CO2), that 555 billion ton per year figure for methane annual emissions would equate to some 55 trillion tons CO2. Either we’re cooked or the figure seems way out of bounds, unless I am mistaken.

  12. 112
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re #95

    Karsten I agree with you that ‘Now we have watched this sad comedy for far too long: every year the UN chief tells the world’s so called “leaders” that “the time to act is now” etc. They have repeated this every year for the last thirty years… and we wonder why no one is listening any more?’

    But the reason is that the scientists are not describing the dangers. When the Guardian says we might have reached a tipping point, they say that it can’t be proved (so don’t worry.) With conflicting noises like that coming from scientists is it any wonder the politicians are confused?

  13. 113
    Alastair B. McDonald says:

    Re Mike at #74 where you wrote “Did I miss the part where the Guardian or the scientists talked about imminent massive releases of CH4?”

    It is implicit in the idea that we have passed a tipping point. A tipping point is when positive feedbacks take over. As they increase the change becomes more abrupt and a runaway happens. That is what happened most recently at the start of the Holocene. See “The Two-Mile Time machine” at https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691160832/the-two-mile-time-machine

  14. 114
    Killian says:

    Healthy food, abundant food = CO2 sequestration.

    Regenerative systems *are* the climate solution.

  15. 115
  16. 116
    mike says:

    Coral ecosystem in Florida is not doing well and needs to assimilate, acclimate and reinvent itself while we pursue the realistic goal of creating a net zero energy system by 2050. Some folks think we should do more or faster, but it makes good sense to many of us to keep our focus and goals limited to what is realistic, given human nature, etc.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/18/coral-reefs-florida-dire-outlook

    “National solutions could be on the way as well. The Restoring Resilient Reefs Act, introduced by lawmakers last year, would establish a federal taskforce on coral protection and a set of national strategies for reef management and restoration. It has been co-sponsored by lawmakers from Hawaii and Florida, where reefs are a critical part of state ecology and economy.”

    Federal taskforce! It sounds like we are serious about studying this problem.

    Florida coral reefs are reported to be in much worse condition than the reefs elsewhere, so maybe it’s not a big deal? I don’t live in Florida and have no plans to visit, so it means nothing to me.

    Cheers

    Mike

  17. 117
    mike says:

    At ABM: Sorry, I just don’t equate a tipping point of warming with an imminent, massive release of CH4. I think tipping points and positive feedbacks might sometimes function and build over long time periods where the changes might be described as locked-in, but not necessarily imminent. Also, the two terms together “imminent and massive” are where I think Gavin overstepped. I simply don’t see anything in the article that looks like it could be read to mean that an “imminent, massive release of CH4” is now underway. The Guardian headline writers chose to refer to a “sleeping giant” but a sleeping giant that wakes up over the course of a couple of centuries or several thousand years does not pass master as imminent to me. It might be accurately described as tragic and largely irreversible if the facts suggest that, but imminent and massive implies something quite different.

    I think it might make sense to watch the atmospheric methane numbers closely to have a sense about increases in methane emissions from the warmed ocean waters of the Laptev Sea and elsewhere in the far north where large methane deposits have been frozen in place in earlier times.

    http://climatestate.com/2020/07/19/further-evidence-suggests-arctic-ocean-methane-storage-getting-more-unstable/

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/sea-ice-yet-to-form-off-siberia-worrying-scientists

    I think nothing here to get alarmed about, it’s just more of the usual, global warming happening faster than expected. Not imminent, not massive, just steady speeding up of processes that were expected imho.

    Cheers

    Mike

  18. 118
    MA Rodger says:

    Solar Jim @111,
    A good spot but the “555 Gt yr-1 CH4” quoted from Ruppel & Kessler (2017) is actually a mistake within the paper. It should read “555 Mt yr-1 CH4″, this evident as the paper quotes this value as “555 Tg yr-1 CH4” multiple times elsewhere in the text.
    Myself, I did manage not to spot the mistake when I cut-&-pasted it. I even remember reading it as ‘millions’ and not ‘billions’. I’m well aware of the basic level of annual CH4 emissions and remember seeing the “555” and thinking I would have used a slightly higher number (570Mt yr-1) and paused to think if the 555 could be Mt(C)CH4 and the 570MtCH4 perhaps now getting badly out-of-date.

  19. 119
    Piotr says:

    AB @ 97: “If one sees a little smoke then one should invest two or three neurons on analysis before putting other patrons at risk of being trampled to death. Choose tomorrow’s headline: “Some stoners enjoyed the show” vs. “twelve die in unnecessary stampede”.

    Alastair B. McDonald @97: Of course if you are denying that an inferno could happen then I hope you are willing to take responsibility for all those injuries and deaths that do occur.

    Al did not deny it – he merely pointed out to you are getting ahead of the data (see above). But I hope _you_ are prepare to do what you preach – you will be “willing to take responsibility for all those injuries and deaths that would occur” if after your 10 false alarms (when the seeing the weed smoke you shouted: “INFERNO!”), everybody ignored your 11th call, which was for the true fire. See also Aesop, Boy and Wolf, 580(?),BCE.

    Or my post at 91:
    Piotr: “If anything – it is the getting ahead of the data that gives the deniers a chance – they will latch on such _overstating_ of your case – and use it to attack the validity of the entire case, using the pretext you gave them – to throw the baby out with the bathwater. See, for instance, the denialists using the predictions (based on the ice volume trends) that the summer Arctic will become ice-free by 2013, were used to dismiss the reality Arctic ice-melting and trustworthiness of climate science in general.”

  20. 120
    Piotr says:

    @ 111 Solar Jim: Since CH4 operates with roughly a factor of 100 times the radiative forcing of carbonic acid gas (CO2), that 555 billion ton per year figure for methane annual emissions would equate to some 55 trillion tons CO2. Either we’re cooked or the figure seems way out of bounds, unless I am mistaken.

    No need for getting cooked – it’s simple typo – “Gt” instead of “Mt”. You might send the info on that to the AGU, perhaps they can fix it, at least in the online version. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/2016RG000534

    After this, their argument stands: 555 Mt/yr is much more than “4.73 Mt/yr CH4”:
    “For present-day Earth and marine hydrates, this approach makes sense given that the most complete model among the current generation predicts an upper bound of ~4.73 Mt yr^-1 CH4”

    And your “cooking recipe” ;-):
    SJ: CH4 operates with roughly a factor of 100 times the radiative forcing of carbonic acid gas (CO2)
    is not applicable for the subject at hand. If I a not mistaken – the 100:1 number is for the forcing of the gas alone – sya if you had an empty atmosphere, to which you added either 1 Mt of CH4 or 1 Mt of CO2. Then you might get the 100:1 difference. In the real world it won’t be anywhere close:

    1. there are overlaps in the absorption between various GHGs – adding CH4 does not increase GH much in those windows that already have their absorption partly or fully saturated by other GHGs – see Gavin calculations in http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/04/water-vapour-feedback-or-forcing/
    with numbers slightly updated in Schmidt et al. 2010 – the link on the above RC unfortunately does not open

    2. Point 1 applies also to the overlapping with … itself – at low CH4 the impact of adding CH4 was much stronger than adding the same amount later on – since some of their absorption windows will be already at least partly saturated by the already present CH4. The same applies to CO2, water vapour and other GHGs – increase of pCO2 from 200 to 280 ppm had a larger heating effect than going from 280 to 360 ppm

    3. Finally, when comparing GHGs you have to take into account the different residence times. So EVEN IF we ignored p.1 and p.2 – and assumed that presence
    of 1Mt of CH4 has radiative forcing of 100 Mt of CO2 – then after 10 years most of this 1Mt of CH4 would be gone, while most of the 100 Mt of Co2 would still be there.

    This leads to the discussed in RC some time ago argument that EMISSIONS of CH4 per se are misleading in the context of the increase of the GH effect – it really matters to what extent these emissions translate into an increase in CONCENTRATION of CH4 in the atmosphere and for how long this increase can be sustained.

    In the real world – the relative influence of CH4 would subject all 3 points discussed above. So my feeling is that 100x number obscures more than it illuminates.

    P.S. To make the confusion more complete – some may compare the effects of CH4 vs. CO2 per actual mass of CH4 vs CO2, while others per C contained in CH4 vs in CO2. With the different molecular weight, 16 vs. 44, methane is almost 3 times more impressive in comparison per kg of gas, then it is in the comparison per kg of C … ;-)

  21. 121
    mike says:

    “We packed our long underwear, and we never put it on,” Cooper said.
    Lee Cooper, left, and Jackie Grebmeier, right, with their daughter Ruth

    In years past, the pair could convince wary volunteers to accompany them by promising walrus sightings. But with no sea ice to perch on and fewer clams to eat, the tusked butterballs have moved to more comfortable accommodations on the beaches.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/13/arctic-melting-climate-change?utm_term=dcdb58704e1d16d8634eebb29bd0e61a&utm_campaign=GreenLight&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=greenlight_email

    So, a lot of the ice is now gone. The air is warmer in the Arctic. The far northern ocean waters are being “atlantified” and are warming, but…

    if you report that methane deposits frozen in the far north have been perturbed by the warming and polar amplification, the big dogs of climate modeling will jump down your through and accuse you of saying that an imminent, massive release of methane is coming. That might be true, but it really depends on your definition of imminent and massive.

    Come on, Gavin. You can do better than that. I think you owe ABM, Semiletov, Gustaffson et al an apology for your mischaracterization of what they had to say.

    Cheers

    Mike

  22. 122
    jef says:

    Lets just wait and see shall we?

  23. 123
    James McDonald says:

    I was asked a question on Quora that I couldn’t easily answer on a topic related to Mann’s paper “Perception of Climate Change”, so I’ll defer to the experts here…

    Specifically, is there a simple mechanistic explanation for the increase in the variability of temperature measurements over the past few decades? (As opposed to the roughly 1 SD increase in the mean.)

    Mann suggests part of the change could be due to measurement artifacts as resolution increased since 1950.

    But that can’t explain all of it. Intuitively, it seems to me that a more energetic system should have more variability. It also seems plausible that a weakened polar vortex (due to decreased tropic-to-polar temp difference) would cause climate patterns to stall and meander more, producing more sustained and potentially anomalous events.

    But that’s just me making wild guesses. Is this something that has specifically been described somewhere?

  24. 124
    zebra says:

    James McDonald #123,

    1. Could you please give a link to the paper you are talking about?

    2. Could you be more specific about what you mean by “variability of temperature measurements”? If you could reference a specific data set as an example that would be helpful.

  25. 125

    #123, James–

    I don’t have anyone bugging me on Quora about this, but I, too, would be interested to hear more about this question of variability.

    This notion seems compelling to me:

    It also seems plausible that a weakened polar vortex (due to decreased tropic-to-polar temp difference) would cause climate patterns to stall and meander more, producing more sustained and potentially anomalous events.

    Here in South Carolina, that “meandering” and “stalling” seems to have a pretty strong effect. For instance, January of 2017 memorably broke records for cold, whereas before and since, we’ve had quite a few record warm spells (including, IIRC, an all-time warm daily high for the date, just last week.) The evident cause of that prolonged cold snap, per weather mapping? Jet stream excursion, of course. But that’s just anecdote. Is there analysis to go with that?

    James, I looked for the paper you reference, but didn’t locate it. Do you have a link?

  26. 126
  27. 127
    nigelj says:

    Mike @121 fyi:

    “This (Guardian) article’s claim that methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean are starting to be released, awakening a “sleeping giant”, cannot be supported by the limited observational data. Besides, even if these newly found seeps are increasing, they are located too deep in the ocean to have a significant impact on the concentration of methane in the atmosphere.”

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

  28. 128

    Earth System Predictability is an initiative released during the remaining months of the Trump administration.

    https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Earth-System-Predictability-Research-and-Development-Strategic-Framwork-and-Roadmap.pdf

    Introduction
    From predictions of individual thunderstorms to projections of long-term global change, knowing the degree to which Earth system phenomena across a range of spatial and temporal scales are practicably predictable is vitally important to society. Past research in Earth System Predictability (ESP) led to profound insights that have benefited society by facilitating improved predictions and projections. However, as there is an increasing effort to accelerate progress (e.g., to improve prediction skill over a wider range of temporal and spatial scales and for a broader set of phenomena), it is increasingly important to understand and characterize predictability opportunities and limits. Improved predictions better inform societal resilience to extreme events (e.g., droughts and floods, heat waves wildfires and coastal inundation) resulting in greater safety and socioeconomic benefits. Such prediction needs are currently only partially met and are likely to grow in the future. Yet, given the complexity of the Earth system, in some cases we still do not have a clear understanding of whether or under which conditions underpinning processes and phenomena are predictable and why. A better understanding of ESP opportunities and limits is important to identify what Federal investments can be made and what policies are most effective to harness inherent Earth system predictability for improved predictions.

    They outline these primary goals:

    Goal 1: Advance foundational understanding and theory for an improved knowledge of Earth system predictability of practical utility.
    Goal 2: Reduce gaps in the observations-based characterization of conditions, processes, and phenomena crucial for understanding and using Earth system predictability.
    Goal 3: Accelerate the exploration and effective use of inherent Earth system predictability through advanced modeling.
    Cross-Cutting Goal 1: Leverage emerging new hardware and software technologies for Earth system predictability R&D.
    Cross-Cutting Goal 2: Optimize coordination of resources and collaboration among agencies and departments to accelerate progress.
    Cross-Cutting Goal 3: Expand partnerships across disciplines and with entities external to the Federal Government to accelerate progress.
    Cross-Cutting Goal 4: Include, inspire, and train the next generation of interdisciplinary scientists who can advance knowledge and use of Earth system predictability.

    A briefing with some Q&A allowed

    https://www.nationalacademies.org/event/09-22-2020/earth-system-predictability-r-d-continuing-the-conversation

    Interdisciplinary research is a take-home message the way I read it

  29. 129
    MA Rodger says:

    Piotr @120,
    You pick up on a second contentious point made by Solar Jim @111, the radiative forcing resulting from CH4 emissions. It is one that is commonly encountered. CH4 emissions do have a bigger impact than CO2 but use of the 100-time-more often quoted is surely wrong, even if this is provided as being “roughly” the factor.

    One simple approach to this issue is to look not forwards but backwards.
    The NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index provides a table of CO2 & CH4 forcing [1979-2019] which sidesteps the interesting CH4 forcing calculations. Using these data with their measured atmospheric concentrations yields a ratio of CH4 = 26 x CO2 by ppm(volume) and CH4 = 73 x CO2 by ppm(weight).(I assume there is no significant ‘mixing’ issue so measured surface contentrations are representative of atmospheric totals.)
    This would then suggest that the 100-times-more is too high although I suspect the impact of stratosperic H2O isn’t accounted by the AGGI which (according to IPCC AR4) adds 15% to CH4 forcing. And with CO2 GWP[1979] = 1.19 x CO2 GWP[2019] this is all a bit of a moveable feast. Thus the likes of Alvarez et al (2012) stating the instantaneous value is 102 or elsewhere 120 (see graph of GWP & GTP below) needs context.

    So things are a little complex but that ~100 doesn’t really survive investigation as meaningful in the context of AGW.
    As set out @120, the calculation of Global Warming Potential (with GWP(CO2)=1) does require that bit more consideration of the initial atmospheric composition being used (with the logarithmic forcing of rising CO2 as well as overlaps) and the various residency times of the GHG under consideration (relative to CO2) are also very significant.
    CH4 has a short residency time (this <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/ERPawC4U0AAr70x.jpg"CO2,CH4 residency graph courtesy of a Zeke Hausfather twittle) and one of the many concerns with using GWP for short-residence GHGs like CH4 is that the climate doesn’t react that quickly. This has given rise to Global Temperature change Potential (GTP) which happily shows a reduced effect of CH4 (as graphed here sourced from here) with GWP[20] = 87, GTP[20] = 71 & GWP[100] = 30, GTP[100] = 13.
    So in the context of AGW, quoting that ‘100-time-more’ does look to be badly misplaced.

  30. 130
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj’s link: Besides, even if these newly found seeps are increasing, they are located too deep in the ocean to have a significant impact on the concentration of methane in the atmosphere.”

    AB: Interesting. I would have thought that two measurements would be made: one at the seafloor and one at the surface. Drift and whatnot probably makes that non-trivial, though. That is one of the million dollar questions, eh? How much CH4 gets dissolved and eaten on its way through the water column and is the amount eaten relatively constant, or at least limited, so if a bunch of extra CH4 is emitted said extra will largely make it to the atmosphere?
    ______________

    MARodgers, CH4’s actual effect has to include bumps and tippings. That big burp of methane’s molecules might only last a decade (or whatever) on average, but the mischief they do in that ten years could spring a few more leaks in the system.
    ______

    Lots of the methane question on dry land comes down to “wet process vs dry process”. Warming is easily calculated as long as the process is dry. But melting reduces volume and increases density, so cracks and gravity can usher heat downwards at a difficult to predict rate. Then there’s gas pressure from bacterial metabolism. All those pingos(?) and craters in Siberia and the ESAS give an express route for heat to realms one would think to be decades deeper than this year’s expected melt.

    I don’t have the answer. And I’m leery of anyone who says they do. The factors involved have all the same flavors as what the scientific community has gotten incredibly wrong pretty much every time so far. When was the last time the scientific community stubbed out an unknown with a reasonable value? I’ll tell you, they NEVER do any reasonable stubbing. Instead they ALWAYS stub with precisely “0”.

    That is dereliction of duty. Scientists are the logical side. They are thus ethically bound to give answers that inform their audience: ignorant semiliterate policy “elites”, as opposed to just revealing notes about an unfinished analysis with lots of zeroes on them. “Oh, Antarctica and Greenland won’t contribute any sea level rise at all by 2100 and global warming is finished precisely on January 1, 2100. YAY!” go the fossil fuel fed policy “elites”.

    If you know some twit is going to murder millions giving him ammunition is immoral. Yes, it isn’t the job you signed up for, but then the job you signed up for was way way way less exciting and relevant than the job you ended up with. Be grateful for the boon and give the karmically appropriate extra effort in the realm of “doing that which I didn’t sign up for”. NEVER STUB ANYTHING THAT WILL BE SEEN BY NON-PEERS WITH A ZERO.

  31. 131
    Al Bundy says:

    Piotr: But I hope _you_ are prepare to do what you preach – you will be “willing to take responsibility

    AB: Your stuff is generally on point, informative, and amusing, but we need to admit that GOPpers are ADAMANT about NEVER taking responsibility for ANYTHING. The GOPper creed is to grub everything they can while screwing anyone and everyone who might reduce one’s haul.

    If you want to get a true take on GOPpers study Mitvch. (Isn’t it amazing how much more informative a sentence can be if one adds a typo?)

  32. 132
    Johnny says:

    There is currently no topic that is shaping the global media and the everyday lives of all people as much as the corona crisis. The virus is spreading around the world at a rapid pace, forcing politics, business and society to take action to save as many lives as possible. In addition to the corona pandemic, however, there is another crisis that also threatens human lives worldwide: climate change.

  33. 133
    James says:

    Forest fires rage from the lush, humid Amazon region to the once icy Arctic. There are heat waves and droughts, even in the so-called “temperate” regions. Animal and plant species migrate towards the poles.
    Those who remain unimpressed by the threats posed by polar bears or penguins may pause to speak of dwindling fish stocks, shortages of fruit, vegetables, cereals and the unsustainability of our intensive agriculture.

    We have hesitated for too long, justifying our inaction and finding excuses not to save money on driving or flying, not to change our consumption patterns, not to switch to renewable energy, and to salve our consciences in the face of our wastefulness.

    The alternatives are there. What more will it take to convince each and every one of us in the prosperous, industrialised world that the days of our extravagant lifestyle are numbered? And they must be numbered if climate change is to be halted and the long or even medium-term survival of our planet with its rapidly growing population secured.

    “Fridays for Future” – how easy it would be to leave everything to the younger generation. Sure, their future is at stake – but it is we who are setting them ablaze.

  34. 134
    Al Bundy says:

    Johnny: The virus is spreading around the world at a rapid pace, forcing politics, business and society to take action to save as many lives as possible

    AB: You must live on a different planet than I do. The virus is being treated like most every other bad or negative thing: as an opportunity to vacuum up the bits of wealth the non-1% have accumulated and put said wealth where it properly resides: in the pockets of billionaires, along with at least as much added to the non-1%ers’ ledger of debt to the 1% (through both personal debt and the federal deficit).

    Saving lives is a loser’s game. Few with any real power would do such a thing.

  35. 135
    mike says:

    AB says re methane release from laptev sea at 130: “I would have thought that two measurements would be made: one at the seafloor and one at the surface. Drift and whatnot probably makes that non-trivial, though. That is one of the million dollar questions, eh? How much CH4 gets dissolved and eaten on its way through the water column and is the amount eaten relatively constant, or at least limited, so if a bunch of extra CH4 is emitted said extra will largely make it to the atmosphere?”

    That’s right, Al. and the article said: “at a depth of about 300 metres they found methane concentrations of up to 1,600 nanomoles per litre, which is 400 times higher than would be expected if the sea and the atmosphere were in equilibrium.”

    and “most of the bubbles were currently dissolving in the water but methane levels at the surface were four to eight times what would normally be expected and this was venting into the atmosphere.”

    I sense a bit of smug complacency in the reliance on simple repetition of the climate feedback website criticism without additional references. I have provided additional references to the climate change in the arctic and polar amplification.

    Here’s a prediction on the methane: Methane releases from the far north will be recognized as a problem within ten years and the newspaper headlines will be about how this happened faster than expected. I actually think the problem might be identified within a year or two after then next El Nino year when new heat is added to the ocean waters of the far north.

    The point of bringing this kind of thing up and discussing it in a scientific manner is to raise awareness of the seriousness of our climate situation. Folks who don’t think it is serious enough to justify some disruption to the way of life of first world residents are demonstrating their privilege and compassion deficits.

    Cheers

    Mike

  36. 136
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy @130, surely scientists would have already measured how much CH4 gets to the surface of the oceans, or at least modelled it. Its all basic chemistry so possible to model. Chances of them not doing this or being wrong is minutely small. This is why I tend to agree with the scientists that think the Guardian article is verging on hype.

    But I agree it looks like its much harder to measure and model what CH4 is doing as permafrost and peatlands melt. This is where the precautionary principle should apply. This is why we should acknowledge the potential massive seriousness of the climate problem and be strongly mitigating the climate problem.

  37. 137
    MA Rodger says:

    Al Bundy @130,
    That you use my names suggests that your concerns about CH4 emissions melting out of the cryosphere finds basis within my comment @129. You actually carry the issue forward a couple of paces from #129 to consider specifically Arctic methane emissions.
    Do note that the concept of GTP for the likes of CH4 is exactly intended to pick up on the “bumps” and thus identify any of those resulting “tippings” you worry about.
    CH4 emissions create a short-term boost to climate forcing so need a sustained level of emissions to do real damage. I would suggest that the general view appearing in the literature (or at least my present understanding of it) is that any dangerous methane emissions from the Arctic will be post-2100 (with increasing methane emissions from wetlands elsewhere probably the major methane factor pre-2100) and that, generally from the Arctic, the CO2 emissions are more of a worry.

    But that said, you say you “don’t have the answer” and it would be a surprise if you did. The amount of permafrost that will melt for a given level of AGW, how quickly the melt would happen and how much methane that melt would emit onto the atmosphere: these questions are still being investigated. Yet I note you do not avail yourself of how far this ‘investigating’ has got but instead take a mighty leap in painting this as a failure of the science and then conflating this alleged failure with some lacklustre sea level rise projections used by the IPCC. As I say, a mighty leap. And without justification.
    Both Arctic methane and SLR are legitimate scientific subjects so if there is evidence of “stubbing … with a zero” do demstrate this, but please please do it scientifically.

  38. 138

    I will be debating Joseph Postma on AGW. I know he’s been debunked before, but I need to study up to make sure I turn in a good performance. Any help is appreciated.

  39. 139

    Al, #130–

    I would have thought that two measurements would be made: one at the seafloor and one at the surface. Drift and whatnot probably makes that non-trivial, though. That is one of the million dollar questions, eh? How much CH4 gets dissolved and eaten on its way through the water column and is the amount eaten relatively constant, or at least limited, so if a bunch of extra CH4 is emitted said extra will largely make it to the atmosphere?

    Yeah, but wouldn’t this be amenable to experimental investigation? Drop a long pipe into a suitable spot of seawater*, introduce CH4 at the bottom, measure attenuation rates under varying conditions and at different depths. Non-trivial, but I’d think doable. It should be able to put an upper bound on the CH4 reaching the surface.

    FWIW, I do have the impression that there is already some considerable knowledge about this sort of thing in the literature, though. F’rinstance:

    https://www.pnas.org/content/117/45/27869

    Or, more experimentally, an oldie:

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/je60068a029

    *Like, maybe, under a mothballed drilling rig?

  40. 140
    Mal Adapted says:

    Johnny:

    In addition to the corona pandemic, however, there is another crisis that also threatens human lives worldwide: climate change.

    Yeah, we know.

  41. 141
    mike says:

    Good area of science to study if you on academic path:

    https://phys.org/news/2020-11-arctic-tundra-emits-methane-autumn.html

    There is a lot we don’t know about permafrost, hydrates, etc. in the Arctic. One thing that seems certain is that certain characteristics of the frozen deposits are changing due to global warming.

    To be clear: I am not saying that there are imminent, massive releases of CH4 underway. I am saying that things are changing for the deposits and we don’t know what that will mean, but it is no likely to be good for us.

    Cheers

    Mike

  42. 142
    mike says:

    CO2? How are we doing? Fine, I think. No imminent, massive releases of CO2 in the works, but the trend is similar to the trend with methane. Every year there is more of it around us in the air.

    So, this article says that “scientists” say that we have to cut emissions in half by 2030 to hang on to the 1.5 degree global temp rise. I am not sure that is accurate or correct, but let’s give it the benefit of the doubt and talk about cutting emissions in half by 2030. One think I like about this target is that exists in a fairly short time frame: 10 years. Another thing I like is that the target is not slippery like a net reduction target can be. It should be pretty clear if we achieve or don’t achieve a target to cut emissions in half in ten years. But there would still be some fudge factors in reporting, I suppose. Less fudging the numbers than would occur if you only commit to a net 50% reduction where we have to sort out all the carbon offsets that are being bought/sold/claimed.

    I really think that the only measure of emissions that makes any sense is the one that has impact in the real world, and that is the accumulation of ghg in the atmosphere. You can’t spin that one, it is what it is.

    When people say they support net zero by 2050, I think they need to set targets for CO2 accumulation numbers in 5 or 10 year steps so that we can see that our efforts are actually producing real world change.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/nov/23/climate-crisis-co2-hits-new-record-despite-covid-19-lockdowns?utm_term=2c090edfa57e0d37067ed7dc0040ed7c&utm_campaign=GreenLight&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&CMP=greenlight_email

    “The WMO report said the monthly average CO2 for September at the benchmark station of Mauna Loa in Hawaii was 411.3ppm, up from 408.5ppm in September 2019. The same was seen at Cape Grim in Tasmania, Australia, with a rise to 410.8ppm from 408.6ppm in 2019.
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    It said there had been a “growth spurt” in the average CO2 level for the whole of 2019, rising by more than the average rate over the last decade. The data shows action to cut emissions is currently far from what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of the climate emergency.

    Scientists calculate that emissions must fall by half by 2030 to give a good chance of limiting global heating to 1.5C…”

    I would want to know what will the CO2 and methane measure be if/when we hit any of these targets. What would these numbers be on a 5 to 10 year basis as we work to hit the targets that are longer than 10 years.

    Discussion of how we might reduce the numbers belongs on the FR thread, I guess, but the actual accumulation of ghg in ocean and atmospheres seems like it fits here.

    Cheers

    Mike

  43. 143
    Ray Ladbury says:

    BPL: “I will be debating Joseph Postma on AGW.”

    One question: why?

    Postma is just flat wrong–not just wrong, but naively wrong. He published a piece critiquing a model whose primary purpose is pedagocical, and he didn’t even really get that right. It was published in a journal run by denialist hacks.

    Not only that, but if you read what he says, he sounds like an utter loon. What possible upside is there to debating a nutjob.

  44. 144
    Russell says:

    138
    Do ask him if he shares junk science junkie Steve Milloy’s views on our new Climate Tsar-designate

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/11/none-dare-call-it-reason.html

  45. 145
    Steven Emmerson says:

    BPL@138 Have you seen this: ?

  46. 146
  47. 147
    Al bundy says:

    Mal: if there is evidence of “stubbing … with a zero” do demstrate this, but

    AB: Yeah, but.

    Science, and programming and lots of other sciency endeavours require one to look at various parts while leaving harder (or just other) parts for later.

    No prob. But when one reports to non-scientists one needs to include the bits that are still unknown. The example I gave, the decade or longer when reported sea level rise was NOT reported as one to three meters by 2100 and 2 to 10 meters by 2200 (or whatever the error bars are including ice sheet melt)

    But instead they reported what the numbers were excluding ice sheet melt, along with a lame asterisk.

    Nobody cares about the asterisk. Include the numbers, ALL of them, including error bars.

    Otherwise, as everyone knows, an asterisk is equal to exactly zero in non-STEM speak. So by excluding ice sheet dynamics because the error bars were large…

    Damn. You look at it and it just sounds stupid or evil. Why? Seriously. WHY???

  48. 148
    Al Bundy says:

    MA Rodger: Do note that the concept of GTP for the likes of CH4 is exactly intended to pick up on the “bumps” and thus identify any of those resulting “tippings” you worry about.
    CH4 emissions create a short-term boost to climate forcing so need a sustained level of emissions to do real damage.

    AB: Yes, that is the mainstream position. The more fringe idea is to note that the center of the Earth is hot so regardless of what goes on at the surface there is a hot plate under all permafrost.

    The Eemian was rather warm, as interglacials go. And the last ice age wasn’t terribly impressive. And now we “ought” to be headed back down to the freezer, but are warming from the top instead.

    But that bottom heater has been chugging away. And what is going on microbially at the bottom of the permafrost? A huge “bubble” of methane could be down there somewhere, say in the shallows off Siberia extending up a river inland. A nice hot year pops the “cork” and Siberia burps out 20 years humanity equivalent carbon, but in the form of CH4 (plus whatever wimpy CO2 comes out) in a matter of months, with the water column and whatever else trying to consume the methane totally overwhelmed.

    Now temperatures spike. And the steady drumbeat of arctic carbon emissions continues, but louder. Greenland takes notice first.

    Go on, folks, finish the tale. Or tell me it is not worth considering. Maybe it isn’t. Scientists bounce stuff through the crust all the time. They listen to natural quakes, too. How dilute or masked would such a reservoir of CH4 have to be? Is this something oil companies would know? Surely they’d tell us….

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