Unforced Variations: April 2015 3 Apr 2015 by group April already? Time for a new climate science open thread…
339 Responses to "Unforced Variations: April 2015"
“Wave” G’bye to ASI?
This might be worth some R&D dollars.
Plankton, positive feedback in Arctic Amplification
john byatt says
Does anyone have a copy updated to 2013 and 2014 ?
Clark Harrison The Pirate Master says
So I had a question and I thought i’d ask it here.
What are the Global Climate Implications if this valcano erupted?
The Valcano :http://www.theweathernetwork.com/uk/news/articles/climate-and-environment/mount-baekdu-volcano-responsible-for-one-of-the-worst-eruptions-in-last-2000-years-set-to-explode/49474/
I’ve been freaking about about this.
The “iris effect” much promoted by Dickie Lindzen has reappeared with new advocates in a paper by Mauritsen & Stevens from the Max Plank Institute (Abstract here). From outside the paywall, their work is better described here. They see an “iris effect” potentially accounting for the less-than vigorous global temperature rises of recent years, as indeed do other potential causes (aerosol cooling, volcanic eruptions, ocean heat uptake). Importantly, the paper also addresses another issue. That is
Denialists should however take note that:-
The full paper (or an appreciation thereof) would be most interesting.
Thomas O'Reilly says
189 Killian said: “The problem is propaganda and ideology. More science, better science, doesn’t change political views of authoritarian (strict father ideology) thinkers.
“What we need is inclusion of systems thinking and design. It’s very hard to see the world in pieces once you’ve become aware if the interdependence of its systems. It affects beliefs profoundly as it puts paid to a great deal of nonsense.”
Yep.Now ain’t that the truth.
This comment thread is what is exhibiting the characteristics of a chaotic system spinning out of control, not the climate system.
I asked way back, if I had control of funding, and wanted to improve our ability to measure things– improving sensors, expanding coverage– so that the public would be more engaged and confident in the activities of climate science, where such resources might best be directed.
The point would be to better make predictions and projections, locally in time and space, which is how most people think of the practice of physics.
But apparently, no matter how much resolution I have in any local measurement, there are these Mysterious Forces at work that make such activity futile. Only when we decode the Harmony Of The Spheres will there be True Understanding.
Come on people, give it a rest. Making better telescopes did a lot back then; maybe we need to appreciate some of the more mundane contributions people are making– and publicize them– instead of quasi-religious ‘controversies’ that aren’t going to be resolved in anyone’s lifetime.
Hank Roberts says
I’m giving up on this thread for the month. There’s only so much time and so many words.
Just sayin’. If there’s something important up, I trust someone will mention it at one of the four-legged bloggers’ sites.
Jim Baird says
The hiatus is attributed to the uptake of heat in Pacific depths according to NOAA researchers. http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00616.1
The thermal coefficient of expansion of sea water is less virtually anywhere in the depths than at the tropical surface. At 1000 meters it is half. It would be expected therefore sea level rise would decline with the movement of heat into the depths and increase as that heat is returned as it is appearing to.
Anthropogenic movement of heat into the depths with heat pipes therefore serves three purpose. First you can produce zero emissions energy in the process, it cools the ocean surface and atmosphere and finally it reduces sea level rise.
A lot of wins for a single technology.
Kevin McKinney says
#205–“What are the Global Climate Implications if this valcano erupted?”
It’s not clear what they would be, or even if there would be any, as far as I can tell; most volcanic eruptions affect the climate not at all. While there are indications that a Baekdu eruption may be near, there’s no knowing how big, when, or what the detailed parameters of that eruption would be.
The biggest immediate effect of volcanic eruptions in general is a temporary climate cooling–Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption was, famously, successfully modeled by James Hansen in time to predict the cooling consequences. But that only happens with eruptions powerful enough to inject sizable quantities of sulfur aerosols into the stratosphere.
There’s also an opposing effect, whereby volcanoes can emit CO2, which of course has a warming effect. But contemporary volcanic activity contributes much less than does human activity–“…not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value”:
That’s not true forever and always; the Siberian and Deccan Traps episodes seem to have released really massive amounts of CO2. But I think we’re safe concluding that Baekdu isn’t going to approach anything like that level.
206 MARodger: The “iris effect” much promoted by Dickie Lindzen has reappeared with new advocates in a paper by Mauritsen & Stevens from the Max Plank Institute (Abstract here).
Thank you. That link permits reading the full paper, though not downloading it.
There is almost a sea-lion hidden in Ellison.
Latest ENSO paper by Chicamoto et al: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421084810.htm
We are discussing this over at the Azimuth forum
Like I said, it is only a matter of time before ENSO becomes predictable.
Rob Ellison says
‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1
As I have said – the reality of climate seems to be more or less extreme change in climate shifts every 2 to 3 decades. It leads to abrupt change at scales from decades to millennia. There are clearly natural components in that.
So what is the cause of recent – 1976 to 1998 – warming.?
‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-1.html
So the satellite sources – as well as ocean heat – are consistent. It is mostly shortwave as a result of cloud radiative forcing – but this is countered by sporadic surface observations of cloud over land – especially the US. Frankly – you would expect an increase in cloud over parts of the the US during a warm multi-decadal Pacific mode.
Cloud shows large changes associated with changes in patterns of ocean and atmospheric circulation on scales of decades and presumably longer.
‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf
The ‘large natural variability’ creates large uncertainties in interpreting and attributing recent warming. Abrupt change at multi-decadal scales adds another layer to uncertainty. Yet these uncertainties barely figure in the oversimplified claims around ‘the science’. Indeed – complexity science introduces a whole new perspective on the mechanisms of abrupt change in the climate system. One that – however – implies an inherent instability within some limits as a result of changes in control variables.
This btw – seems an idea too far for true believers in ‘the science’ memes who have built too much of their self validation on being morally and intellectually superior to ‘deniers’. It leads to strong self censorship and disapprobation of others.
The other area of departure from moderate, classically liberal policy – e.g. http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation – is the proposed solutions that are driven by political ideologies that are out of touch with the general populace. These are rejected out of hand and this leads to claims of demagogues poisoning the well of scientific enlightenment and to quite open denunciations of democracy and capitalism. What a hopeless muddle it all is.
A comprehensive response to emissions and the added instability – in an abruptly changing system – requires a multi-gas strategy including aerosols, conservation and restoration of ecosystems, enhancing organic content of agricultural soils, etc. This is only possible with continuing global economic development. The other side of the problem is population restraint in the context of better health and education outcomes.
The solutions for carbon dioxide – in both electricity (26% of greenhouse gases) and transport (13%) are technological. This is happening as a result of concerns with emissions – but perhaps primarily in response to higher prices and prospective scarcity of fossil fuels.
Brian Dodge says
@ Jim Baird re heat pipes. Why not put the generators in the arctic, running them on the temperature differential between the ocean below the ice(-2.5 at freezing to +4 degrees C depending on depth) and the -40 degree C wintertime air temperature. Freeze sea water, creating ice to increase albedo (important during the following summer), and cold dense brine to augment thermohaline circulation, and carry CO2 and O2 to depth, plus warming the atmosphere to enhance thermal radiation carrying away excess GHG captured energy. How many million km2 at -2.5C instead of -40C would be required to radiate away 10^22 joule in 5 months?
Rob Ellison says
Very much meant to put my comment at #214 in the new post. Never mind.
But WTF does he mean by sea lion?
[Response: This might help. – gavin]
The paper webby alludes to can be found here in it’s entirety – http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150421/ncomms7869/pdf/ncomms7869.pdf
They are suggesting that what they term tropical basin variability (TBV) – mostly natural – has a longer memory than ENSO suggesting the possibility of extending ENSO predictability from less than a year – much less at certain times of the year – to 2 or 3 years. While that is of active interest to an Australian hydrologist such as myself – the reality is that ENSO varies over millennial scales.
Moy et al (2002) present the record of sedimentation shown above which is strongly influenced by ENSO variability. It is based on the presence of greater and less red sediment in a lake core. More sedimentation is associated with El Niño. It has continuous high resolution coverage over 12,000 years. It shows periods of high and low ENSO activity alternating with a period of about 2,000 years. There was a shift from La Niña dominance to El Niño dominance some 5,000 years ago that was identified by Tsonis 2009 as a chaotic bifurcation – and is associated with the drying of the Sahel. There is a period around 3,500 years ago of high ENSO activity associated with the demise of the Minoan civilisation (Tsonis et al, 2010). Red intensity exceeded 200 – for comparison red intensity in the 97/98 El Nino was 99. It shows ENSO variability considerably in excess of that seen in the modern period.
‘Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’ Julia Slingo and Tim Palmer – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751
Insisting that ENSO is in principle predictable is not the same as actually being able to do it.
213 WebHubTelescope: Latest ENSO paper by Chicamoto et al: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421084810.htm
Thank you for the link. Here’s hoping.
Recently the AVISO SLR graph shows a pronounced increase in SLR in a very short period of time. At the rate it’s going, it’s going to plow through the 7s in less than a year. It looks like it usually takes a lot longer to do that. My question was, from where is it coming? In the past Paul S has referred to a region in the Western Pacific that was experiencing a great deal of SLR that was not in, if I understood him correctly, an area of the ocean sampled by ARGO. I believe he was trying to explain why the steric component is small in some recent studies. So I was speculating it may have something to do with it:
AVISO SLR graph
Ellison is an ‘a’ short of Sealion.
It is just a matter of time. The fact that QBO provides a rather periodic forcing to ENSO as a boundary condition makes predictions plausible.
You don’t seem to realize that scientists do research on a topic because they think that they will make progress.
You’re from Oz, right? Isn’t that the country where they like rugby? Don’t they sometimes punt on first-down in rugby? That’s the spirit :) Give us the ball — we know what to do with it.
Paul S says
The AVISO altimeter dataset doesn’t have anything to do with ARGO though, and does cover the Western Pacific region. As noted above, much of the Arctic is not covered, which may be a factor if there’s a big change in heat flux into the Arctic from lower latitudes.
The simple, and incomplete, answer is that it’s probably in some way related to the burgeoning El Niño, similar to the rise in 1997. Positive feedbacks associated with the early phases of El Niño mean greater thermal expansion. Ocean-land water exchanges are also affected by ENSO shifts.
Kevin McKinney says
#205, 211–And then this happens:
Stay tuned. This report says the ash column is hitting an altitude of 20 km, which is more or less the tropopause. Will ash and sulfates make into into the stratosphere in sizable quantities?
Chris Machens says
President Obama’s Earth Day Speech 2015 http://climatestate.com/2015/04/23/president-obamas-earth-day-speech-2015/
Very good speech!
Chris Machens says
Earth Under Water – Worldwide Flooding | Sea Level Rise (SLR) with Peter Ward, James Hansen among other scientists http://climatestate.com/2013/08/09/earth-under-water-worldwide-flooding-global-warming-national-geographic-documentary/
Jim Baird says
Brian Dodge 215
What would you use as a working fluid? The heat pipe would require something that boils at 0C and condenses at -40, which you would only get during the winter. In the tropics on the other hand the surface is seldom below 24C which is the minimum for operational OTEC considering at a depth of 1000 meters the oceans are universally about 4C. Also the problem appears to be the accumulation of heat first in the tropics which then migrates towards the poles. I think it is better to deal with it there and short-circuit its capacity to migrate to where it can melt the icecaps and permafrost. I certainly have no objection however to your approach for added benefit if it could be made to work.
David B. Benson says
Kevin McKinney @219 — Those Andean volcanoes often leave a plume of ash clear across the Argentinian portion of Patagonia but rarely much further.
Future changes to clouds will cause slightly more warming, which is a net positive feedback currently not accounted for by AR5.
Kevin Trenberth, Yongxin Zhang, John Fasullo, and Shoichi Taguchi (2015), “Climate variability and relationships between top-of-atmosphere radiation and temperatures on Earth”, Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1002/2014JD022887
(Thanks to aslr at neven’s forum for the link and text.)
Rob Ellison says
webby @ 219
A sea lion apparently civilly asks for proof – and there is no equivalent to first down in rugby. A field goal is well rewarded – so if in position taking a shot is worthwhile. You might aim wildly for the sideline and a throw in – but that’s hardly likely to create any advantage. I tend to avoid – however – clumsy sporting metaphors.
The glib aspersions – labelling obviously welcomed here at realclimate –was objectionable the first time. The laboroured repetition gets tedious.
ENSO modulates the QBO – e.g. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2247/abstract
Here’s the graph.
Neither is all that predictable – especially at multi-decadal to millennial scales.
The researchers used a climate model, a so-called coupled ocean-atmosphere model, which they forced with the observed wind data of the last decades. For the abrupt changes during the 1970s and 1990s they calculated predictions which began a few months prior to the beginning of the observed climate shifts. The average of all predictions for both abrupt changes shows good agreement with the observed climate development in the Pacific. “The winds change the ocean currents which in turn affect the climate. In our study, we were able to identify and realistically reproduce the key processes for the two abrupt climate shifts,” says Prof. Latif. “We have taken a major step forward in terms of short-term climate forecasting, especially with regard to the development of global warming. However, we are still miles away from any reliable answers to the question whether the coming winter in Germany will be rather warm or cold”. Prof. Latif cautions against too much optimism regarding short-term regional climate predictions: “Since the reliability of those predictions is still at about 50%, you might as well flip a coin”. http://www.geomar.de/en/news/article/klimavorhersagen-ueber-mehrere-jahre-moeglich/
Science progresses incrementally – especially with the immensely complex and the as yet relatively poorly observed climate system. But you don’t seem to understand that tossing a coin is not quite there yet.
Steve Fish says
Re- Comment by Rob Ellison — 23 Apr 2015 @ 9:41 PM, ~#227
Rob, does your reference to “glib aspersions” also apply to calling another commenter “Webby?”
Re: Heat Pipes
How expected people here are willing to get into detail on a silly idea like heat pipes, but one says, well why don’t we expand forests and regenerative farming, etc., all anyone wants to do is shut conversation down.
Hint: Heat Pipes are mitigation.
The problem with sustainability? It requires people.
Hank Roberts says
For those who love hunting for correlations, try sunspots (fewer) vs. sea ice (less). Red line is the current solar cycle through mid-2014
Why do you have to constantly misrepresent ?
You say that “ENSO modulates the QBO”. That can not possibly be the correct mechanism since QBO is much more periodic than is ENSO. Think about it. How can an erratic waveform such as ENSO produce a periodic waveform such as QBO ? No such physical mechanism exists. But the converse is true, as a periodic waveform can act as a forcing function to interact with the natural response and produce something that is erratic. This happens all the time in nature.
So that figure you provided was a huge cherry-pick. You found a 5-year interval whereby the QBO and ENSO more-or-less align. Yet, if you go over the entire record of QBO, which goes back to 1953, you won’t find this correlated alignment. Check the graph I just made:
Again, I have to ask, Why do you have to constantly misrepresent and lie with your graphs? You have always been able to get away with this over at Curry’s blog, endlessly spouting the same tripe with no resistance (apart from the criticisms from me), but you won’t be able to get away with that behavior here.
Chris Machens says
Re Rob Ellison #213
It also requires behavior changes to solve the climate problem, and people like the Koch’s are single entities with to much power and influence on the topic of climate change. A single private body shouldn’t be allowed to threaten the survival of many generations, because they do not care. Thus, required are regulation aimed at secret laws for money, to prevent the manipulation of climate policy, by unregulated CO2 interests.
Clark Harrison The ex Pirate Master says
221: And if it does, What are the implications then?
Rob EEllison says
Unless you can suggest improvement to the 26 degree north array – which I mentioned much earlier – and win the lottery – there is nothing to be gained. It would be better for you to understand what is there first,
Rob Ellison says
webby @ 231
webby btw is a contraction with absolutely no negative connotations. Unlike sea lion.
Until there is some consideration of the science I linked to there is no point in continuing. Ask him if there is any science – real science that is – that suggests that the QBO is any more predictable than ENSO. Ask him for a prediction – or even an interesting theory that doesn’t rely on eyeballing.
The QBO – btw – is modulated by ENSO by tropical upwelling.
Here’s the graph again. It’s not my graph – it’s a graph from Nature showing the connection that is all too obvious.
Chris Machens says
Gavin Schmidt recently gave The Vancouver Sun an interview, he explains the climate change problem and solution http://climatestate.com/2015/04/24/gavin-schmidt-nasa-explains-the-climate-change-problem-and-solution/
Jim Inhofe advocating carbon-free energy and quoting Jim Hansen?! What next? Tony Watts swtching off his website on Earth day?
You do not seem to understand the context of the modulation. The QBO operates on an average periodicity of 28 months. There is no debate about that. This is easily described to first-order as an atmospheric wave equation with a characteristic period of 28 months.
In contrast, there is no strict 28 month periodicity in ENSO. If there was, we would have no difficulty in predicting ENSO.
So the question is what causes the slight jitter in the QBO? It is not ENSO as the peaks and valleys do not match up with the QBO jitter since 1953. It is just as likely that the jitter is associated with Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) events which would force a perturbation on the flow.
So please stop with the blatant misrepresentation of the current science.
226 wili, thank you for the link. I look forward to the whole paper becoming freely available.
Jim Baird says
Re: Heat Pipes
Killian 59 “Principle: Natural before mechanical/technical”
229 “silly idea like heat pipes”
Nature’s response to overheating oceans, which are accumulating 93% of warming heat, is to convert part of that heat to mechanical energy in the form of tropical storms. These are in fact atmospheric heat pipes that transfer heat through phase changes of water. Since it is impossible to harness that energy, far better it be sent in the opposite direction, into the other heat sink, which is a process that can be harnessed to produce at least as much energy as is currently derived from fossil fuels.
Kevin McKinney says
#225–Well, we’ll just have to see how typical Calbuco turns out to be, no?
Nenana Ice Classic update for all those who’re holding their breath. The tripod tilted ~45 degrees on Tuesday then on Thursday moved at around 7pm AKDT (UTC -10). But that movement wasn’t enough to trip the onshore WW1 era indication device that is the betting pool determinant. the tripod then became part of an ice jam.
#197 Mal Adapted
Yup. Been saying this for years here. I am alternately amused and disgusted when otherwise intelligent-seeming people here deny I, others, and even themselves are uncapable of accurate analysis because, gosh, we don’t DO the science.
Nope. We bring a much broader spectrum of knowledge to the table, in fact. That one doesn’t have to master all fields in order to synthesize them intellugently is what makes compkex civilization possible!
#240 Baird said, I repeat, heat pipes.
Look, natural convection, etc., of energy through a system determined by the system is not equal to heat pipes. Period. Both move energy as heat, but very, very differently.
Give up trying to convince anyone otherwise because it is self-evident that they are the same is baloney. But, I repeat just in case repetition encourages learning:
1. Heat pipes and natural system are not equal.
2. Unintended consequences. Period.
4. Uses up non-renewable resources.
5. Heat will come back out of the oceans.
6. CO2 reduction is a permanent solution, heat pipes are a band-aid, so why bother?
Rather than repeat yourself, explain away these points.
More than a year ago Gavin wrote that TOA measurements are not accurate enough to constrain energy imbalance directly, hence it is inferred indirectly from ocean heat content. However, a new study by Trenberth et al. uses CERES data to infer energy imbalance. What gives?
My guess is that while inference by changes in ocean heat content is more accurate, temporal resolution is very pure. Since the aforementioned study needed good temporal resolution, TOA measurements were better even though they were less accurate. Am I correct?
[Response: What I said is still true. ;-) But I think the confusion is in the newspaper article, not Trenberth et al’s paper. In there, they are mostly looking at the variations in the CERES imbalance, not the absolute value. That should be better constrained, but I haven’t looked at the paper in detail. – gavin]
Unless you can explain why anyone should care about your claims, right or wrong, about the abstract characterization of some arbitrarily defined system, I prefer to have the public see climate science as a maturing, empirically based effort to make their lives better and their grandchildren’s not terrible.
How many people have heard of the 26degN array?
How many people have heard of the Mars rover?
Do we need more Mars rovers, or more arrays?
Paul S – thanks. It’s an odd looking thing, and it will be interesting to see where it goes. Since I asked the question, this:
has become this:
Zebra, right on.
I hate it when an Ellison-type character comes along and tries to quash the spirit of scientific research by pontificating over how some authority says something is impossible.
I am looking at ENSO because there is a clear dipole in operation that has a clear role in climate variability. RC isn’t the best place to discuss this in detail, so check out http://forum.azimuthproject.org/discussions for an ongoing discussion. When the math and physics gets going, the fakes get lost.
Chuck Hughes says
This video also appears on Talkingpointsmemo.com
Bill Nye and President Obama discuss Climate Change Denial:
“I’m not a scientist, either, but I know a lot of scientists,” Obama responded. “I have the capacity to understand science. I have the capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence. And part of shifting our political culture, I think, is we’ve gotta model for our kids that facts matter.”
Watch the video via the White House:
Kevin McKinney says
At the risk of reinforcing the ‘CAGW is a religious cult’ meme, hallelujah and amen, brother!
(And can we forget the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy yet, as being not well supported by the physical exigencies, as opposed to being well supported by political palatability?)