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Unforced variations: Dec 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 December 2020

This month’s open thread. Topics might include the record breaking hurricane season, odds for the warmest year horse race (and it’s relevance or not), or indeed anything climate science related.

304 Responses to “Unforced variations: Dec 2020”

  1. 51
    Al Bundy says:

    BPL: BPL: It’s not for me to prove that stratification doesn’t affect ECS. It’s for Jan to prove that it does. That’s how science works.

    AB: Nope. If one makes a claim that relies on an unproven ‘fact’ then mentioning the absolute fact that the unproven fact is unproven erases the conclusion that relies on said unproven “fact”

    That’s how science works.

  2. 52
    Al Bundy says:

    Nigelj: But surely you only really need intermediate targets

    AB: nope. Targets are fake news. Plans with teeth are what’s needed. “We aspire to” means nothing. “Here’s how” is better. And “If you spew more we’ll helpfully remove you from ownership”, well that’s saying slightly more than nothing.

    Your species is stupid beyond belief. It’s a game to me, but I play it as if it matters. You guys (humanity) are constrained by reality but play it as if it were a game.

    Any idea how many years my memory extends to?

  3. 53
    Western Hiker says:

    @Kevin #29
    “The causality here is working both ways–warm weather inhibits freeze up, and open water (including a water vapor feedback process) moderates temperature.”

    Makes sense, but I’m not entirely sold. Let’s look at two scenarios:

    1) warmer air from mid-latitudes moves north, displacing a portion of Arctic air which moves south. The result is a wash WRT global temperature anomalies – colder and warmer air masses have simply traded places.

    2) Arctic warming is in large part a local phenomenon (summarized in the above quote). The result being an increase in global temperature anomalies during the months October – March, when Arctic warming is most pronounced.

    As far as I know, the result in #2 has not been observed. April – September anomalies are about the same as October – March.

  4. 54
    Øyvind says:

    Jan16 “Earth-system models do not include vertical heat transfer in the oceans – they use a fixed parameter.”

    I think this is an unsubstantiated claim possibly except in some of the early ESMs. There may be an ocean heat exchange for very small scale turbulence (cm-meters) and Brownian movements. On top of that there is a number of parameterisations for the turbulent mixing and these are certainly dependent on stability.

    Also most of the heat exchange in the ocean is as far as I know connected to exchange of water masses with different density. That is why I am surprised that you do not also mention salinity. E.g. the very warm Mediterranean waters still sinks quit a bit below the depth of the Gibraltar Strait even if it is warmer than the Atlantic water at the same depth. So even with an increase in temperature there may be areas of reduced stability from an increase in evaporation.

    Also despite the large size of the oceans, a significant part of the horizontal heat exchange happens within eddies that is smaller than the horizontal grid of the ocean model, so this process must partly be parameterised as well.

  5. 55
    MA Rodger says:

    mike @47,
    Do bear in mind that Wadhams predicted in 2012 that there would be a summer-time ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2016. The argument was based roughly (& the whole thing was roughly done by Wadhams) on the idea that across the Arctic the ice is becoming thinner and will go with a rush. This ‘rush’ has been shown to be incorrect.
    You can only exonerate ‘alarmism’ of this sort when it is being compared with the craziness of ‘denialism’ (as in this Guardian article from 2018) which begins demonstrating the ‘alarmism’ of Wadhams Sea Ice predictions but then continues:-

    “It’s worth noting that Wadhams gets most of the climate science right. There is absolutely a long-term decline in Arctic sea ice, which is in the midst of what many have described as a ‘death spiral.’ And Arctic sea ice is thinning rapidly. The Arctic will eventually be ice-free in the summer, but not within the next few years. According to Met Office Chief Scientist Julia Slingo, 2025–2030 would be the earliest date for an ice-free Arctic summer, and 2040–2060 is more likely.”

    So relative to pie-eyed denialists, Wadhams is correct. But relative to more main-stream climatology he has not so far been proved correct and, unless we see some dramatic new downward trend on the road to an ice-free Arctic, he will remain ‘not correct’.

  6. 56
    John Pollack says:

    Mike @40 Polar amplification refers to climate fluctuations in the polar latitudes (especially NH) being larger than the planetary average. In this context, airmass changes in high latitude areas are not exactly a feature of polar amplification, since the air mass percentage distribution may not be changing any faster than at mid latitudes. What IS changing faster is the temperature, because the temperature difference between different airmasses is larger in polar regions.

    In the particular case of the standout 10C record at Norman Wells, it came from an airmass that has simply not been observed at that location in December, so it is qualitatively different. There has been an observed increase in maritime polar airmass intrusions at polar NH locations that are in some proximity to the ocean, which is now open longer and relatively warm. This one differs because it is in an interior continental location which got into warm dry air that worked all the way down to the surface.

    It sounds like we share a similar sense of the grandeur of weather and climate processes, which is part of what got me interested in meteorology in the first place.

  7. 57
    Piotr says:

    in AB(33):
    Piotr (28) And since you neglect the top down heating in favour of bottom-up
    AB: Huh?

    I have referred to your initial statement, I quote:
    AB (Nov. 148): Yes, that is the mainstream position. The more fringe idea is to note that the center of the Earth is hot so regardless [sic!] of what goes on at the surface there is a hot plate under all permafrost.

    I.e. you stated that the mainstream idea is it the heating from the top
    dominates what happens to the permafrost and CH4 contained in it.
    To which you counter with your “more fringe idea”, that the it is the hot plate under that really matters, “regardless” of what happens at the top. “REGARDLESS”!
    Hence my characterization of your argument as: “neglecting the top-down heating in favour of bottom-up”.

    AB: Somebody (you, Mike, or Kevin?) said that even mentioning the bottom up component would confuse people.

    When you explain to people “C” by discussing “A” and “B”- then people will be “confused” into thinking that “A” and “B” are both important, not that in reality “B” by many orders of magnitude outweighs “A”.

    The example was, I think, about bottom water – if you tell people that its temperature is determined by temps at ocean surface half a world away (site of deep water formation) AND local heat flux from the “hotplate” below – they might be “confused” into thinking that BOTH factors are important in determining the temperature in the deep ocean …

  8. 58
    mike says:

    at mar at 55: I think correct is probably not the best term for evaluating Wadhams prediction. The correct term might be accurate. I think Wadhams actually ran out of time in 2019 based on a plus or minus three years buffer that he used. So, his prediction of an ice free Arctic missed, was inaccurate, was wrong, was incorrect, etc.

    But, if you look at the state of the Arctic in 2020 and review Wadhams’ statements about the collapse of the Arctic region as a cold and icy place, well, it’s hard not to conclude that Wadhams was very accurate and was essentially correct about what was developing in the Arctic.

    Arctic warming cascades through ocean and over land, U.S. report says

    “Taken as a whole, the story is unambiguous,” Alaska-based climate scientist Rick Thoman, one of the report’s editors, said in a statement. “The transformation of the Arctic to a warmer, less frozen and biologically changed region is well underway.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-arctic/arctic-warming-cascades-through-ocean-and-over-land-u-s-report-says-idUKKBN28I2BM?utm_campaign=Carbon%20Brief%20Daily%20Briefing&utm_content=20201209&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20Daily

    So, folks used to love to pound on Wadhams in much the same manner that they now enjoying pounding on Semiletov, Gustassson et al, but let’s go down the road 5 years and the folks like Gavin who took cheap shots at the methane hydrate scientists will no longer be denigrating them. You can take that to the bank.

    The next El Nino cycle is going to create a lot of news/click bait stories from the Arctic.

    Mike

  9. 59
    Piotr says:

    AB (33) I don’t see much daylight between our positions

    I do – because of the implications of “mainstream position” vs. your “fringe idea”
    have to the current discussion about the likelihood of the catastrophic release of methane, as painted in your opening statement (Nov. 148):

    AB (Nov. 148): “ Siberia burps out 20 years humanity equivalent carbon, but in the form of CH4 […] 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.

    We have tried … ;-) So let us sum it up: the “mainstream” position holds that CH4 is released by top down heating, and as such – is more or less gradual – you release CH4 as global warming melts the permafrost deeper and deeper. The rate may accelerate as you accelerate warming, but it is NOT likely to create a catastrophic BURST of CH4 from your vision.

    Your “fringe” idea is that “the hotplate” heat ACCUMULATES over many millenia (you used timescale of 10,000 yrs) and melts permafrost from underneath, creating the giant bubble of CH4 ready to burst and wreck havoc with global climate. So yours is quite a different end point than the end point of “our” position.

    And to your position I have argued that the heat does not seem to accumulate in the amount necessary to erode the permafrost at large enough scale – pointing to Antarctica – if the heat from below melted the permafrost over long times scales, then we would not have Antarctica permafrost by now: since we would have not the paltry 10,000 years, but 40,000,000 years for heat to accumulate and melt permafrost there.

    That said, there well might be LOCAL pockets of gas created by LOCAL heat anomalies, or in your analogy, instead of one giant soda bottle ready to pop – thousands tiny tiny soda bottles. BUT since they won’t pop at the same time – you don’t have this one dramatic pop that overwhelms the system. Further, since many of them have been popping in the past – their contribution is already incorporated in the CH4 concentrations measured in the past. And they popping may accelerate somewhat in the near future – but his would be BECAUSE of the heating from the top, not “REGARDLESS” of it, as you stated in your opening post.

  10. 60
    William B Jackson says:

    #49 Mr Know Nothing you managed to encapsulate a ton of nonsense in one post. Why are you not consigned to the borehole?

  11. 61
    Piotr says:

    Wester Hiker (53): Let’s look at two scenarios: 1) warmer air from mid-latitudes moves north, displacing a portion of Arctic air which moves south. The result is a wash WRT global temperature anomalies – colder and warmer air masses have simply traded places.

    not necessarily a wash. Thanks to the albedo effect – the warmer air in Arctic keeps the water from freezing, hence dramatically decreases albedo -> the absorption of solar radiation in Arctic increases. There is no corresponding effect increase in albedo in the mid latitudes since the air there is not colder enough to form ice on the ocean there. So the net effect you have increase absorption of IR in Arctic. And it will amplify in time since less snow/ice surviving to the next summer – the next year melting will come earlier, the summer heating will be stronger and so on. This has how small difference in the solar radiation in June in Arctic due to Milankovitch cycles triggers the end of the glaciation …

    So far your air mass swap increased the amount of heat absorbed. It will ALSO decrease the amount of IR emitted, when you combine less of temp gradient between Arctic and mid-latitudes and IR emission being proportional to the 4th power of T
    F= sigma T^4.

    To make it simple – lets say equal volumes of air masses were affected – the
    Arctic one gained 5C and the mid-latitude lost 5C. The _average_ IR emission from the two FALLS compared to the starting point: for as long as T_a<T_m:
    sigma(T_a+5)^4 + sigma(T_m-5)^4 < sigma(T_a)^4 + sigma(T_m)^4
    For T_a=0C and T_m=25C, there is a 0.7% decrease in average IR emitted out of these two water masses.

    To sum up: as a result of the air mass swap we increase in the absorption of solar radiation due to albedo feedback AND reduced amount of IR emitted toward space. Both of them increased the temp. of the Earth surface. How big is the overall effect on the global averages – one would have to run realistic model.

  12. 62
    Piotr says:

    Mike (47): It’s strange that there is so little consternation when scientists have to say over and over, well, that’s happening faster than expected, but a guy like Wadhams who is essentially very close to a bulls eye on Arctic sea ice gets treated like a terrorist for erring (slightly) on the other side of the speed of change spectrum.

    I think I may have answered this already, in my response to Alastair B. McDonald:
    Piotr (91, Nov.):
    “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.”
    I was talking there about another prediction – but it applies as easily to Wadhams predicting “a summer-time ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2016” (see: MA Rodger, 55)

    And the life verified this prediction: in 2016 even at the minimum, much less throughout summer, was more than 4mln km2 left! As for you seeing >4mln km2 of ice and concluding:
    As far as I am concerned, Peter Wadhams’ predictions regarding the loss of the Arctic as a cold and icy place have essentially been borne out.
    I don’t agree – Wadhams didn’t put himself in the limelight by announcing a … tautology that “the loss of the Arctic as a cold and icy place” will happen in the unspecified future, BUT BY SLAPPING a concrete DATE on it: “2016”. 4 mln km2 is not “essentially close” to 0 mln km2, particularly when the starting point was 6.5 mln km2 (the early 1980s minima).

    And the climate denial lobby made a full meal of it: discrediting ALL climate science with the easily demonstrated missed date predictions by the few. You could have argued all you wanted that Wadhams does not speak for everybody – the horse left the barn – nobody reads the fine print. (For the very same reasons the denialist are digging up the speculations of some deep in XX century that we might be on the way to the next ice age and are making them into representative of the entire field.)

    And that’s why most of scientists learned the lesson and prefer to be safe than sorry – rather err on lower side or at least avoid unequivocal predictions, than to provide an excuse to discredit them and all the science.

    I am perplexed why you are perplexed by this …

  13. 63

    Someone start the December Forced Responses thread.  Please and advTHANKSance.

  14. 64
    MA Rodger says:

    Al Bundy @50,
    The idea that an “increase in water vapor over an open ocean gives more insulting power than a layer of ice” sounds like an interesting argument in the context of the Arctic winter, mainly because it sounds so crazy. So if any can remember more of this paper from “a couple of years ago … (reported on RC)” so it can be identified, it could be worth a read.
    The usual thoughts of Arctic amplification turn to ice loss through the summer and the resulting reduced albedo and thus warming of SSTs. But come the winter (the point of consideration here) the usual analysis turns to air temperatures being amplified and this is most usually considered to be directly down to low ice allowing direct heating from the ocean (see Dai et al 2019) and not the extra humidity (& cloud) due to the open water allowing indirect heating. But even if an argument is made for this indirect heating (eg Gong et al 2017), that is still a step away from considerations of insulating mechanisms and measuring the relative impact of ice and increased water vapour on the TOA energy balance.

  15. 65
    nigelj says:

    KIA @ 49, neither myself or the lancet article claimed all those heatwave related deaths were due to climate change. Some are, and it will only get worse with more warming. The effect might be non linear because with increasing warming and increasing levels of absolute humidity you eventually reach a tipping point in some places where being outside or inside without air conditioning is lethal. Then you need backup power supplies in case of power cuts. The tropics could become uninhabitable for many people who cant afford all this. So you get more and more problems in a cascade effect.

  16. 66
    nigelj says:

    This new open access study essentially evaluates whether the IPCC are being too conservative and cautious in their climate change projections: “Risking the Earth Part 1: reassessing dangerous anthropogenic interference and climate risk in IPCC processes, Adam Lucas”

    https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S2212096320300474?token=E3503ECEB3AE723416456D040DCD08203DE1BDDD414151C2564C13E59805DEA8E02D14781D1BF0CC68B5CB3F7A6EF194

  17. 67
    nigelj says:

    This would be better on FR, but its closed for comments. I’m not advocating this as an ideal solution or anything, but its just interesting: “Glacier geoengineering to address sea-level rise: A geotechnical approach”

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674927820300940?dgcid=rss_sd_all

    “It is remarkable that the high-end sea level rise threat over the next few hundred years comes almost entirely from only a handful of ice streams and large glaciers. These occupy a few percent of ice sheets’ coastline. Accordingly, spatially limited interventions at source may provide globally-equitable mitigation from rising seas…..”

  18. 68

    “We know ECS…”

    K 45: Incorrect. We know PAST ECS.

    BPL: Which gets us into Hume’s proof that what happened in the past won’t necessarily happen in the future. Which is absolutely useless.

  19. 69

    Susan,

    Russell at 48 got that right and I got it wrong. A bigger hole in the ozone layer means more UV gets to the ground, so the ground should warm slightly. I got it backward.

  20. 70
    James McDonald says:

    zebra@44:

    My understanding is that after heat has been added, we still have a normal distribution with a upwardly shifted mean, but we also have greater variance.

    That’s not implausible, but one might alternatively expect the same variance, just centered around a higher mean.

    I’m trying to understand why we get the former and not the latter — why the spread between hot and cold events increases as heat is added.

    Improved resolution in our measurements apparently can account for about half of that, leaving the other half a bit unexplained. My guess (and it’s merely that) is that the extra energy in the system produces wilder swings as the polar vortex gets loopier and storms stall in place more, etc., but I have nothing but intuition there to guide me.

  21. 71
    zebra says:

    James McDonald #70,

    I assumed that you were referring to the Standard Normal Distribution, which is shown in the relevant plots as a black line.

    You should probably go back and read the paper more carefully; in particular look at fig. 9. The 2001-2011 curve, to my eyeball, seems obviously not a normal distribution at all. And in the summertime, which is what Hansen is talking about, and the plot describes, it is unlikely that the polar vortex would increase the incidence of higher temperatures as shown.

    But if you are comfortable with your intuition, that’s fine. As I said, I gave it a shot, and we all miss, sometimes.

  22. 72
    Western Hiker says:

    Piotr, 61

    “To sum up: as a result of the air mass swap we increase in the absorption of solar radiation due to albedo feedback AND reduced amount of IR emitted toward space. Both of them increased the temp. of the Earth surface. How big is the overall effect on the global averages – one would have to run realistic model.”

    I fully agree, and especially like that you included the part about T^4. That said, the main point of my comment may not have been clear. Let me restate it as a question, “why are global temperature anomalies for the months October – March so similar to those for April – September, given the strong warming trend we’ve seen in the Arctic during the former period?”

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2019.png

  23. 73
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Zebra and James McDonald, Tamino looked at this question wrt anomalous hot streaks. He found definite evidence the mean had shifted, but not that the variance had changed. An interesting result.

  24. 74
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Mike says: “It’s strange that there is so little consternation when scientists have to say over and over, well, that’s happening faster than expected, but a guy like Wadhams who is essentially very close to a bulls eye on Arctic sea ice gets treated like a terrorist for erring (slightly) on the other side of the speed of change spectrum.”

    I remember thinking at the time that Pete Wadhams was highly credible in his predictions and he specifically mentioned 2020 as an approximate date. He was very close! We’re going to get there sooner rather than later and it won’t be long at all.

  25. 75
    Chuck Hughes says:

    William B Jackson says:
    9 Dec 2020 at 1:18 PM
    #49 Mr Know Nothing you managed to encapsulate a ton of nonsense in one post. Why are you not consigned to the borehole?”

    Answer: It’s all part of the “Fair & Balanced” approach to Climate Science where bogus claims and propaganda get “equal time” so the public can draw their own conclusions rather than being force fed facts by the “experts”.

  26. 76
    nigelj says:

    Al Bundy, I don’t understand what you are getting at with this whole geothermal energy / permafrost / methane thing. Are you thinking a giant bubble of methane is forming deep down, that will escape as the top surfaces melt from above? If so, this is implausible for several different reasons. Or what are you saying?

  27. 77
    nigelj says:

    Piotr @62, agreed. I cringe when I hear the extreme forms of climate alarmism especially when they come from scientists, because it just is a free gift to the denialists, who use it to discredit the entire scientific effort. Have said it myself. I just don’t understand why certain people cant work this out.

    That said, there has to be a way of freely discussing possible worst case scenarios and fringe ideas. Perhaps its just a case of choosing the right place, so not too much under the medias gaze, and choosing words carefully especially if writing a book or media article.

  28. 78
    William B Jackson says:

    #75 It is terrible that some (KIA) for instance, might be forced to deal with reality.

  29. 79
    mike says:

    The thing about being conservative with global warming alarms that perplexes me is that fat tail outcomes and the precautionary principle goes out the window so that we might prevent folks like Victor or MKIA from having things to crow about when good estimates and warnings are slightly overstated. That approach ignores the reality that the denialists don’t need to have any facts to come up with their crap arguments. What we need is an open and respectful discussion between the adults in the room, we all know how to relegate the children to the children’s table where they may blather to their heart’s content.

    Who cares what they think? When they get quoted in the media, it’s a pretty simple matter to suggest that journalists review their past positions and recognize that these folks are the intellectual descendants of folks like Fred Singer, the scientists at the tobacco institute, etc. It’s not hard to spot crackpots.

    Or, play it safe and compromise the future based on averaging the opinions of the crackpots in with the scientists. I don’t really have a dog in that fight anymore because I think we have passed a point where the short term outcomes might allow compromisers any real time to play that sad game.

    If you think that Wadhams is the guy who can be blamed for delayed action on global warming by sounding the alarm a bit too strenuously, all I can say, is well, good for you. You have identified your scapegoat of choice. I just don’t agree with you that Wadhams is the problem. I think time and events will prove that we would have been very smart to have taken Wadhams seriously and acted upon his concerns instead of playing silly intellectual argument games to protect against bad faith rhetoric.

    Let’s talk during the nice El Nino about whether we should have acted on Wadhams’ concerns or whether it made good sense in retrospect to play defense against the Fred Singer Intellectual Society.

    The truth/reality may be that we were going to get cooked either way. I don’t see a lot of evidence building that indicates our species is able to cut emissions in a manner and to a degree that could stop warming from taking the planet to a place that our children and grandchildren won’t like. That is of no real consequence if the situation for you children and grandchildren is just not that big a deal. I have come to the conclusion that indifference to the plight of future or distant beings has more play in the world than I might have hoped.

    Too bad, that. from my perspective

    Cheers

    Mike

  30. 80
    zebra says:

    Ray Ladbury #73,

    I don’t know what question Tamino is addressing…reference would help.

    Take a look for yourself:

    https://www.pnas.org/content/109/37/E2415

    See fig. 9, the plot using the original base period. What do you think?

    I tend to agree with Hansen that this is a better way to illustrate what is going on.

  31. 81
    Al Bundy says:

    nigelj: Are you thinking a giant bubble of methane is forming deep down, that will escape as the top surfaces melt from above?

    AB: NO, EMPHATICALLY NO.

    nigelj: this is implausible for several different reasons.

    AB: Glad you agree.
    ______

    Piotr quoting me: The more fringe idea is

    Piotr: To which you counter with your “more fringe idea”,

    AB: Lets clear this up again:

    THE 0.6C BUBBLE IS NOT MY IDEA AND I HAVE SAID MULTIPLE TIMES THAT I DISAGREE WITH IT. TAKE IT UP WITH WADHAMS, NOT ME. ALL I DID WAS SHOW HOW WADHAM’S 0.6C BUBBLE RELEASE OVER A THREE MONTH PERIOD ISN’T LIKELY EVEN IN A CRAZY SCENARIO.

    And again:

    IT IS HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY UNLIKELY THAT WADHAM’S 0.6C METHANE BUBBLE EXISTS. LITTLE BUBBLES MOST ASSUREDLY DO, BUT THEY (LIKE THOSE CRATERS IN SIBERIA) ARE ALREADY INCLUDED IN THE ATMOSPHERIC CH4 MEASUREMENTS. I DO NOT KNOW, BUT MY GUESS IS THAT THESE SMALL BUBBLES’ RELEASE WILL TRACK SIMILARLY TO RELEASES FROM WITHIN THE PERMAFROST.
    ___________________

    Jan1: “Earth-system models do not include vertical heat transfer in the oceans – they use a fixed parameter.”

    Øyvind: I think this is an unsubstantiated claim possibly except in some of the early ESMs.

    AB: Thanks, guys. I look forward to additional info.
    ____________

    Piotr: Wadhams didn’t put himself in the limelight by announcing a … tautology that “the loss of the Arctic as a cold and icy place” will happen in the unspecified future, BUT BY SLAPPING a concrete DATE on it: “2016”.

    AB: Your solution, lowballing everything, is not a solution at all. Wadham’s error, as you say, was slapping a narrow range (2013-2019) when there was no way the error bars were that small. Assuming he keeps 2016 as his peak probability he should have said, “Sometime between 2013 and 2050 (or whatever), with my educated guess being 2016, and so-and-so’s educated guess being 2040”. Communication needs to include broad error bars, not lowballs.
    _______________

    mike: The thing about being conservative with global warming alarms that perplexes me is that fat tail outcomes and the precautionary principle goes out the window

    AB: I don’t see the problem. Simply communicate the whole truth, including the fat tail, NOT as you see it but as any respected climate scientist sees it. Communication NEEDS error bars broad enough that you will bet millions of lives that reality is within said bars BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BETTING FOLKS’ VERY LIVES.

    So Wadhams should have used the most conservative respected scientist’s opinion for the conservative tail and the least conservative respected scientist’s opinion (his own) for the other, along with BOTH scientists’ opinions about the most likely date. “Fair and Balanced” is NOT about scientists v deniers, but reasonable differences in opinion amongst climate scientists. Pretty basic, eh?

  32. 82
    Al Bundy says:

    MA Rodger: The idea that an “increase in water vapor over an open ocean gives more insulting power than a layer of ice” sounds like an interesting argument in the context of the Arctic winter, mainly because it sounds so crazy. So if any can remember more of this paper from “a couple of years ago … (reported on RC)” so it can be identified, it could be worth a read.

    AB: I didn’t find it. IIRC Kevin McKinney used the phrase “losing our planetary radiator”. I think is was around the time a paper discussed the possibility of a blue ocean event resulting in year-round ice-free conditions. I haven’t heard anything recently so it is possible that I’ve referring to a debunked hypothesis, but I am certain RC covered it and we discussed it.

    This ring a bell, Kevin?

  33. 83
    mike says:

    https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/12/noaa-report-card-arctic-is-having-more-and-more-difficulties/?ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_WEEKLY_120720)
    “More fire, less ice

    One of the banner events documented by this year’s report card was unprecedented heat in the Sakha region of northeast Russia and the adjoining Arctic Ocean. Wildfires – some of which wintered over in the topmost layer of organic matter, lurking as “zombie fires” – burst onto the Siberian landscape months ahead of schedule, some burning within 10 miles of the Arctic’s Chukchi Sea. On June 20, the town of Verkhoyansk (latitude 67.55°N) reached 100.4 degrees F, the highest reading ever confirmed north of the Arctic Circle.

    In tandem with the spring heat observed on land, sea ice pulled away from the Laptev coast far sooner than usual, with the basin seeing record-low ice extent for June.

    The Arctic’s fire season began settling down on the early side this year (see graphic). Before that point, though, the Sakha blazes helped push the region to a new global record in the satellite-monitoring era (2001-present) for acreage burned north of the Arctic Circle, handily beating an impressive record set just last year.”

    The folks who have worked to delay significant reductions are to blame for some of the results that we now see. Many of these folks have engaged in what appears to be deliberate mis and disinformation campaigns to slam the scientists and question the science about global warming.

    This has been hard to watch. As the warming and warming consequences ramp up and become more difficult to question and discredit more and more folks who have been able to keep their heads in the sand are pulling their heads up and looking around. I think that’s a good thing. Maybe we can make substantial reductions in the warming and suffering, but I really think that depends on more folks reading the scientific recommendations from the various reputable panels and understanding what these recommendations mean. The IPCC process and recommendations have not been cutting edge. They have been compromises for consensus reports with significant weaknesses for changing the trajectory of global warming.

    Speaking of the trajectory of global warming and emission reductions:
    http://click.revue.email/ss/c/41iAGPJjZJOWpePAl2nuCAO5AiLcVp2YyyubAsSsPwserLQgfDsD1PQbVCjN2DKvBzF5injDZmuAstTNsFKEpifAUDUV2RvkSEAO7JWtS8qldRS2wYZBOfcgMd4pCKYfWqo88YPttIRR1sOVFmZl5OyH549oYH3jvDsDgLdT96R1qyEwFFhwVsfiQ3z_Yz1n0r4B4DvKnKsIeaWcWoUH9ebf7hlIsyL4pmFJ0zQzLcei82CNpTWnSWag6I8Zi6NoKsnc7j_CGOY_gqIGtafA7IRa35U8VDA-WLk6M-qkQFA/37m/a2UZa19rTLe8ITwK-Ku-WA/h0/edOUWZXCMG24VXEzE3OR3St9-gUK-6s7s0UiBjkB7v0

    here we are again: straddling the fence between FR and UV. The current state of the Arctic seems like UV material, but how we got here and where we need to go next definitely seem like FR material.

    Cheers

    Mike

  34. 84
    nigelj says:

    For the record I’m definitely not against scientists with extreme climate views speaking out, and I don’t want to get into the blame game. We need people like that in an open society. Its more about when they “think aloud” or make very extreme and speculative statements not backed by much if any evidence, or they make precise and controversial predictions that get proven wrong, and denialists just make them look foolish for all this and it makes the public sceptical of climate science in general as well.

    Its just about speaking out, but choosing words carefully, and making sure there is an evidential basis somewhere, especially when in the gaze of the media who will grab any weakness and distort it. I’m as susceptible as anyone to such mistakes, and I had to do a public relations course for my job (not a scientist). Al Bundy @81 understands it.

  35. 85
    mike says:

    ab says: “So Wadhams should have used the most conservative respected scientist’s opinion for the conservative tail and the least conservative respected scientist’s opinion (his own) for the other”

    yes, this would work. there is a problem with the fact that we might not agree on who is the most conservative respected scientist is. Would Freeman Dyson or Bjorn Lomborg fit that bill for you? I think those guys might qualify as conservative respected scientists.

    ??

    Cheers

    Mike

  36. 86
    mike says:

    for AB: The 10 Most-Respected Global Warming Skeptics

    https://www.businessinsider.com/the-ten-most-important-climate-change-skeptics-2009-7?op=1

    how do you feel about this list of respected scientists?

    Mike

  37. 87
    Al Bundy says:

    mike: here we are again: straddling the fence between FR and UV.

    AB: Or, between fantasy and reality, between virtual and physical, between serious and games, between science and religion. Stuff is shredding. Kind of like a preview of the end of the universe, where everything pulls itself apart via expansion. We’re losing the framework on which our shared reality is hung. Well, “losing” isn’t quite right. That implies that it isn’t on purpose.

    Magic doesn’t have to be real to work. Fermi’s paradox here we come?

  38. 88
    Steven Emmerson says:

    Mike@86, I note the education of the skeptics in the “Business Insider” list:

    Freeman Dyson: Physics
    Bjorn Lomborg: Political Science
    Myron Ebell: Political Science
    Bjorn Lomborg: Physical Chemistry
    Ivar Giaever: Physics
    Will Happer: Physics
    Ian Plimer: Geology
    Michael Crichton: Medicine
    Alan Carlin: Economics
    Patrick Michaels: Biology

    There’s a lot of noise out there. I’ll take my advice on climatology from climatologists who publish climatology-related papers in peer-reviewed periodicals.

  39. 89
    nigelj says:

    Mike @85 & 86, virtually all the people on the list you posted are climate denialists and scientific cranks, and several are not even climate scientists (lomberg is a political “scientist”, Michael Crichton has a medical degree and writes fiction novels)) . I’m not sure who they are respected by, and I suspect not by many people on this website. I don think we have to consider the views of cranks. Snip, snip cut them out. I think that is different to a “conservative leaning scientist” and one who is genuinely qualified and respected and not a crank, like Roy Spencer.

    Likewise we don’t have to consider warmist cranks like Guy Macpherson. Hansen might be one of the least conservative scientists who does have genuine respect, and is clearly qualified and not a scientific crank. Those examples of Roy Spencer and James Hansen would set boundaries.

  40. 90
    jgnfld says:

    Re. “Would Freeman Dyson or Bjorn Lomborg fit that bill for you? I think those guys might qualify as conservative respected scientists.”

    Conservative, respected CLIMATE scientists??? No. Not at all. On climate, Bjorn probably ranks a bit better than Dyson and tends to stay closer to areas where he really is competent. But NEITHER is a climate scientist. Period.

  41. 91

    WH asks (#72):

    “…why are global temperature anomalies for the months October – March so similar to those for April – September, given the strong warming trend we’ve seen in the Arctic during the former period?”

    Haven’t done the math, but I suspect it’s because the Arctic only comprises about 4% of the world’s area, so the signal gets swamped.

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

  42. 92

    AB, #82–

    IIRC Kevin McKinney used the phrase “losing our planetary radiator”.

    FWIW, I think that was someone else–not that it really matters.

    I think is was around the time a paper discussed the possibility of a blue ocean event resulting in year-round ice-free conditions. I haven’t heard anything recently so it is possible that I’ve referring to a debunked hypothesis, but I am certain RC covered it and we discussed it.

    This ring a bell, Kevin?

    Yeah. As I recall, there’s a paper showing that IF the forcings revert to suitably low levels, sea ice in models will return. So in that sense, the BOE (“blue ocean event”) is not a true tipping point. (But what are the odds of the forcings reverting any time soon?)

    https://www.pnas.org/content/106/1/28.short

    Hmm, seems like I remembered the optimistic part of their conclusion, but not the kicker to it:

    …critical threshold behavior is unlikely during the approach from current perennial sea-ice conditions to seasonally ice-free conditions. In a further warmed climate, however, we find that a critical threshold associated with the sudden loss of the remaining wintertime-only sea ice cover may be likely.

    I think there was also an earlier discussion about precisely whether seasonal BOEs would lead to a perennially ice-free Arctic Ocean, and IIRC, there was another modeling study that answered that question in the affirmative.

    This is pretty old, and I’m not sure it’s the study I was thinking of, but it does say that:

    Of a large number of IPCC AR4 climate model runs examined, only two warm to the point of year‐around elimination of Arctic sea ice.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2006GL028017

    More recently, there’s this:

    https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/clim/29/7/jcli-d-15-0466.1.xml?tab_body=fulltext-display

  43. 93
    Mr. Know It All says:

    79 – mike
    “The truth/reality may be that we were going to get cooked either way. I don’t see a lot of evidence building that indicates our species is able to cut emissions in a manner and to a degree that could stop warming from taking the planet to a place that our children and grandchildren won’t like…………..I have come to the conclusion that indifference to the plight of future or distant beings has more play in the world than I might have hoped.”

    You may be right about getting cooked either way – this may be part of the great plan from our creator – just a guess, but it’s possible. There is lots of evil today – in the Good Book, such evil was often brutally stopped, perhaps our fate will be the same.

    On lack of concern for future beings, I agree. The VAST majority of people who express concern for AGW – people like Greta and AOC as well as the neighbor across the street are apparently willing to do almost nothing to stop spewing CO2. Their excuse is that they are waiting on a goobermint program to save us, to force us to stop spewing. I am sure I am not alone in this observation; and it gives deniers great reason to think AGW is not really a concern for “believers”; and that perhaps it is just an excuse for more goobernmint control. If the 1/2 of us that claim to be “believers” stopped spewing, that would buy more time, but most aren’t willing to do it. Even blue states and leftist-greenie nations are making little progress, and the big developing nations are RAPIDLY increasing CO2 emissions. As long as we are waiting on the goobermint to save us, nothing will change.

    Speaking of reduced spewing, can we see ANY slowing in the CO2 increase this year from the reduced economic activity around the world? Anyone have a graph?

  44. 94
    Piotr says:

    AB: “ Piotr quoting me: The more fringe idea is. Piotr: To which you counter with your “more fringe idea. Lets clear this up again: “THE 0.6C BUBBLE IS NOT MY IDEA […] I DID WAS SHOW HOW WADHAM’S 0.6C BUBBLE RELEASE OVER A THREE MONTH PERIOD ISN’T LIKELY EVEN IN A CRAZY SCENARIO.”

    … and you are shouting with capital letters to me, because I … didn’t say _anything_ about “0.6C bubble”? ;-)
    But since you are on record calling it “CRAZY”, how do you reconcile it with … your own words last month:

    AB (Nov. 148):“ 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 […] 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.

    So set me straight:
    – Wadhams “0.6C bubble” over 3 months – “CRAZY”
    – “huge bubble [of] Siberia burping out 20 years humanity equivalent carbon, but in the form of CH4 in a matter of months[resulting in] temperatures spike” – hmm, perhaps something “worth considering”?

    Piotr
    P.S. And to make it even more bizarre – by “fringe idea” I have meant what … you called as “fringe idea” – your … hotplate theory:

    MA Rodger: “ 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.

    See? So many good sentences shouted in capital letters – wasted so senselessly. Oh, the humanity! … ;-)

  45. 95
    Killian says:

    68 Barton Paul Levenson:“We know ECS…”

    K 45: Incorrect. We know PAST ECS.

    BPL: Which gets us into Hume’s proof that what happened in the past won’t necessarily happen in the future. Which is absolutely useless.

    (Hey, you guys, do you think he realizes he just agreed with me?)

  46. 96
    Killian says:

    55 MA Rodger says: So relative to pie-eyed denialists, Wadhams is correct. But relative to more main-stream climatology he has not so far been proved correct and, unless we see some dramatic new downward trend on the road to an ice-free Arctic, he will remain ‘not correct’.

    You mean like the last two years? Great. Glad you have come to your senses.

  47. 97
    Guest (O.) says:

    Global human-made mass exceeds all living biomass
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-3010-5

  48. 98
    Western Hiker says:

    Kevin, #91
    “Haven’t done the math, but I suspect it’s because the Arctic only comprises about 4% of the world’s area, so the signal gets swamped.”

    I spent some fiddling with data from NOAA, and it seems you’re right, even with the very strong winter warming compared to summer months, the Arctic is just too small an area to overwhelm global trends. Honestly, I was a knucklehead to expect otherwise.

  49. 99
    James McDonald says:

    zebra@77:

    From Hansen’s paper:

    “The temperature anomaly distribution with standard deviation based on 1951–1980 data falls close to the normal distribution for each decade in the 1951–1980 base period. The anomaly distributions for these decades become more peaked than the normal distribution if they employ the standard deviations of 1981–2010 because of greater temperature variability in 1981–2010.”

    He doesn’t refer to the post-1980 decades, but to my eye it looks as if each those decades in isolation also follow a normal distribution. Those decadal distributions look “off” from a normal distribution when compared to the overall distribution, but their exaggerated peekedness is sort of what you’d expect due to rescaling.

    I guess it would be interesting to get a measure of closeness of fit to a normal distribution for each decade, but I don’t have the time or obvious access to the data to do that, so I guess that leaves this hanging.

    My layman’s intuition of the normal distribution is that as you increase the number of factors involved in producing a value, the more likely you’ll get a normal distribution and weather data certainly has a large number of factors.

  50. 100
    mike says:

    the point at 86 is that one person’s list of respected scientists is another’s person’s list of cranks/skeptics/charlatans.

    Each one of us chooses to decide who is credible and who is not. I find Wadhams credible and I always have. I find Semiletov/Shakhova/Gustaffson to be credible and I always have. That is not to say that I think they will always be proven to be correct in every respect, but that their analysis and practice of climate science falls within the range of what I find to be reasonable, not ideologically skewed.

    The changes that have happened in the Arctic are shocking to many of us, including some solid arctic scientist types. The Arctic region warming should give us all pause and cause us to listen carefully and engage honestly with any scientists doing observational science in the region.

    But, hey, that’s just like my opinion, man.

    Cheers

    Mike

    Cheers

    Mike