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Unforced variations: July 2016

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2016

A week is a long time in politics climate science: Nonsense debunked in WaPo, begininngs of recovery in the ozone hole, revisiting the instrumental record constraints on climate sensitivity

Lots of lessons there.

Usual rules apply.

225 Responses to “Unforced variations: July 2016”

  1. 1
    Radge Havers says:

    @ 286 June UFV:


    Randall Carlson seems to be out there in uncharted Time Cube territory.
    Meanwhile here’s something to chew on:

  2. 2
    Leslie Graham says:

    It might be more constructive to also highlight Robert Scribbler’s posts when he gets things right.
    Which is most of the time.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    vukcevic says:

    North Hemisphere’s temperate region summer is slow to start, if the CET is its good proxy, it shows that for most of the historic records’ time the summer temperatures closely follow changes in the solar activity.
    As the solar activity is winding down, the northern summers will cool, starting late and ending early.
    “Summer’s lease hath all too short a date.”

  5. 5
  6. 6

    Another new month, another round of temperature updates. Dr. Spencer has the June value for UAH (v.6–not yet the version implemented at the official UAH site, mind!) at 0.34. Warm, but not crazy warm, and reflecting the apparent rapid decay of this round of El Nino.

  7. 7
    mike says:

    Daily CO2

    June 29, 2016: 406.07 ppm
    June 29, 2015: 401.95 ppm (4.12 ppm increase)

    Daily CO2

    June 30, 2016: 406.13 ppm
    June 30, 2015: 401.96 ppm (4.17 ppm increase)

    May CO2

    May 2016: 407.70 ppm
    May 2015: 403.94 ppm (3.76 ppm increase)

    Climate change 101: we have created a problem by spewing a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere. That creates ocean acidification and rising temperature to the extent that carbon sinks cannot process the amount of CO2 we are creating. The increasing accumulation of CO2 ppm in the atmosphere is mediated by numerous processes, but we can get a pretty good handle on how we are doing at responding to the problem by watching the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. We have good records on this number back to 1958. How are we doing? Not so good. The CO2 level continues to rise and the rate of the rise is increasing. Look at simple raw decadal numbers from NOAA to see the rate of rise increasing. All of these numbers and more are available here:

    Warm regards,


  8. 8
    Karen Street says:

    I am confused by discussions of keeping temperature below 1.5°C above pre-industrial. Please identify the errors in my understanding.

    We are currently well above 1°C above pre-industrial. By 2002, a non-La Nina year was almost as warm as 1998. It takes about a decade for Earth’s temperature to feel the full effects of atmospheric GHG. If we stopped burning fossil fuels today, Earth would warm within weeks—AR5 shows a middle estimate of -0.82 W/m2 due to aerosols and their effects on clouds, almost half as large as the effect of CO2.

    It seems to me that if we ceased to exist, that Earth’s temperature would reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial within weeks to a decade.

    Negative emissions scenarios require huge amounts of land for 2°C scenarios, unrealistically large areas. Are we anticipating even larger amounts of BECCS? What is implied in the discussion that I am missing?

  9. 9
    MA Rodger says:

    As Kevin McKinney reports @6, UAHv6beta5 has been posted for June at +0.34ºC. Adding my usual blather on the matter, this is the =29th highest anomaly on record. The 2015/16 El Nino continues to show a significantly spikier warm wobble than that during the 1997/98 El Nino. The 28 monthly UAH anomalies warmer than June 2016’s comprise ten from 1997/98, seven from 2015/16, six from 2010, two from 2003/04 and the other two from 2007 & 1987.

    For UAHv6beta5 to have 2016 as warmest calendar year (currently that is still 1998 averaging +0.484ºC), the remainder of 2016 would have to average +0.35ºC or more. Of course, UAHv6 is still a beta version. UAHv5.6 which remains the grown-up UAH temperature series (until Woy Spencer gets round to having v6 published) and is still to post for June 2016 but would require an average anomaly Jun-Dec of +0.195ºC for 2016 to be warmest year on record. Note also that UAH5.6 is running about 0.1ºC warmer than Woy Spencer’s yet-to-be-published UAHv6 series given below.

    ……….1997/99 … 2015/16
    Dec … +0.250ºC … +0.450ºC
    Jan … +0.479ºC … +0.540ºC
    Feb … +0.653ºC … +0.832ºC
    Mar … +0.475ºC … +0.734ºC
    Apr … +0.743ºC … +0.715ºC
    May … +0.643ºC … +0.545ºC
    Jun .… +0.575ºC … +0.34ºC
    Jul … +0.511ºC
    Aug … +0.516ºC
    Sep … +0.441ºC
    Oct … +0.403ºC
    Nov … +0.123ºC
    Dec … +0.246ºC
    Jan … +0.060ºC
    Feb … +0.166ºC
    Mar … -0.081ºC
    Apr … +0.009ºC
    May … -0.037ºC
    Jun … -0.154ºC

  10. 10
    Edward Greisch says:

    RC: Could you give us the real info on this cross the equator jet stream stuff please? A complete go of it since I am clueless about it now?

    [Response: It’s complete nonsense. Beckwith looking for weirdness and finding it without ever doing the analysis that would justify it. Ignore anything coming from that lot. Many previous examples of overexcited pronouncements. – gavin]

  11. 11

    A paper on the nitrogen limitation of plant fertilization via increased CO2: it’s the mycorrhizae, stupid!

    “This synthesis helps resolve a long-standing debate about the role of nitrogen limitation for plant responses to CO2. Without enough nitrogen, it is thought that plants will be unable to respond much to rising CO2, and many experiments support this idea. But in some experiments where nitrogen is in short supply, the plants still grow more with elevated CO2, and the reasons have puzzled scientists for many years. The new synthesis offers a clear answer: “Plants need nitrogen to respond to high CO2, whether they find it readily available in the soil, or whether their mycorrhizal partners can help them get it,” explained Hungate.

    “The research should help project climate change into the future. Forests, grasslands and other ecosystems around the world currently absorb about 30 percent of human CO2 emissions, without which climate change would be happening even faster than it is now. The future of this terrestrial carbon sink depends on carbon accumulation by ecosystems through plant growth. This new research shows that it is essential to take into account mycorrhizal fungi, and suggests that the next generation of global carbon cycle models should include mycorrhizae as an important control point on plant responses to rising CO2 in the atmosphere. It is well known that grasses and herbs form arbuscular mycorrhizae, and that many trees form ectomycorrhizae. Since global carbon cycle models already recognize these different plant forms, adding mycorrhizae to models of the carbon cycle should be straightforward, and the team is already moving toward that goal.”

  12. 12

    #8, Karen–

    This discussion from the friendly folks at HADCRU–well, I’m presuming they are, anyway–is germane, I think.

    November 2015 – Global annual average surface temperature in 2015 is looking set to reach 1°C above the pre-industrial average (as represented by the 1850-1900 reference period) for the first time, according to the HadCRUT4 dataset produced by the Met Office and the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (see figure 1)…

    …This is based on the current January to September 2015 temperature anomaly, and is also expected to hold when the final full-year anomaly is calculated.

    In the event, the projection was pretty accurate, with the official mean anomaly for 2015 coming in at 0.75 or so, relative to the 1961-1990 baseline. Add another 0.25 or so on for the warming from ‘pre-industrial’ temperatures, and there you are. So, per HADCRUt4, we’re just about at 1 degree now.

    Perhaps that’s enough ‘headroom’ to avoid 1.5 in your ‘rapture’ warming scenario. But I’ve got to say, given the technological, social, and political inertia, avoiding 1.5 C in the real world doesn’t look very likely to me, either.

  13. 13
    Digby Scorgie says:

    Karen Street @8

    I remember reading an article at some months ago that summarized a paper on the subject of cutting fossil-fuel combustion. The conclusion was that, if we suddenly cut such combustion to zero, the average global temperature would remain roughly constant for some decades. This is due to two competing effects:

    Firstly, natural processes would immediately begin absorbing the excess carbon dioxide, which would normally have a cooling effect. But secondly, because of the geophysical inertia of the climate system, delayed warming would occur. The two effects approximately cancel. I presume that, given enough time, the climate would eventually begin to cool.

    I hope I have this correct. People more energetic than I might be able to track down the original paper.

    As for avoiding 1.5 or 2.0 degrees of warming, you should hear Kevin Anderson on the subject — but perhaps you have already. He also has some scathing things to say about BECCS.

  14. 14
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    #4 “vukcevic says” – Nothing of substance.

  15. 15
    vukcevic says:

    In the real world where the data is even modestly scrutinised, the CET data is among the best or perhaps the best long term data set we have.
    The most recent data shows that the short term average temperature has followed the fall in the solar activity with about five years delay. It may be of some concern that this is the sharpest fall since 1870.
    here I used 11 year (solar cycle length) low pass filter, but a very similar result is obtained by 11 year moving average, the LPF processing is preferable since the moving averages introduce some minor artefacts.

  16. 16
    Geoff Beacon says:

    I have been reading Sensitivity of carbon budgets to permafrost carbon feedbacks and non-CO 2 forcings by MacDougall et. al.

    I’ve just managed the first part so far and note the following …

    The authors “conducted model experiments using the frozen ground version of the UVic ESCM, a climate model of intermediate complexity” and the “frozen ground version of the model includes full freeze-thaw physics, a multi-layer soil model extending to 250 m depth and hydrology in the top 10 m of soil”.

    The carbon budget they calculate for 2°C and RCP6.0 is 1320 PgC (4840 gigatonnes CO2). This is reduced by 105 PgC (385 Gt CO2) by the feedback from the permafrost carbon pool and by a further 405 PgC (1485 GtC CO2) when the non-CO2 forcings (implicit in RCP6.0) are taken into account. This gives a carbon budget of 810 PgC (2970 GtCO2).

    I think the carbon budgets they compute are for total anthropogenic CO2 emissions since 1850.

    If I understand table 2.2 of the IPCC Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report(*) the amount of the carbon budget for 2°C that was used by 2011 is 1700 Gt CO2. That is 3000 GtCO2 (Cumulative CO2 emissions from 1870 in GtCO2) less 1300 GtCO2 (Cumulative CO2 emissions from 2011 in GtCO2).

    If this “used budget” of 1700 GtC is subtracted from the total budget 2970 GtCO2 of MacDougall The remaining carbon budget from 2011 becomes 1270 GtCO2. Dividing this by the number of people in world (7.4 billion) gives a remaining carbon budget for 2011 of 170 tonnes per person.

    I may have made conceptual as well as simple arithmetic mistakes in this – and previous attempts using different sources have given me rather lower estimates of “remaining carbon budget per person”. However, I like MacDougall because it is the first I have come across that reduces the carbon budgets by one of the “missing feedbacks”. However, I note that the carbon budget the authors calculate for 2°C of 1320 Pg C (4840 gigatonnes CO2) is rather higher than IPCC estimates.

    Worldwide, current emissions are about 5 tonnes CO2 per person a year. Should the 170 tonnes be reduced by five years worth of emissions giving 135 tonnes as the remaining carbon budget for 2016?

    What effect would the other missing feedbacks have? (e.g. See Carbon budgets: A straightforward answer from DECC)

    (*) IPCC, 2014: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, R.K. Pachauri and L.A. Meyer (eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland, 151 pp

  17. 17

    KS 8: It seems to me that if we ceased to exist, that Earth’s temperature would reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial within weeks to a decade.

    BPL: Well, not weeks. The annual global average only goes up about 0.2 K per decade.

  18. 18
    mike says:
    says: “Forest fires that blanketed Southeast Asia in thick haze last year released the greatest amount of climate-changing carbon since record blazes in 1997, producing emissions higher than in the whole of the European Union, scientists said on Tuesday.”

    says: “The Amazon could be facing fire risks in the coming dry months greater than those experienced in the last 14 years due to the long lasting effects of El Niño, according to the Amazon fire forecast unveiled by NASA and the University of California, Irvine, Wednesday.”

    (amazon – big forest I think. Named after the Puget Sound retail giant? not sure on all the details, just eyeballing thing, you know.)

    and Siberia – having a little trouble keeping fires in the firepits:

    The tally on the Indonesia fire CO2 output is helpful in scaling the impact of these events (if the tally is accurate, not a beckwith tally, so…)

    I think the global warming-enhanced planetary forest fire situation might be a significant factor and fraction of the historic jump in CO2 being detected in the atmosphere. Some of this CO2 could be sucked back into vegetative growth in a decade or two as burned ground recovers, but meanwile, the CO2 just bangs around the environment driving ocean acidification and global warming, so it’s not a good thing. Plus, it is not certain that the CO2 sequestration of forest lands will simply rebound on a warmed planet with changes in rainfall patterns.

    But, hey, why worry? Beautiful days. Headed to Portland this afternoon to catch the Freak Mountain Ramblers. Life is good. Death and destruction are out on the horizon for now. Agree with LG at 2: I think Scribbler gets it right most days, too bad he bit on the story.

    Too warm spring really jammed up the Cascadia strawberry crop. Bummer! We usually make a bunch of strawberry jam and syrup. Hoping for good blueberry crop now for that staple for this year. Avocados also jammed up by heat, so guacamole season appears to be over for this year. Great suffering, but could be a first world problem.

    Warm regards


  19. 19
    Hank Roberts says:

    Research Letter
    What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets?
    2 July 2016
    DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069563View/save citation

  20. 20
    Karen Street says:

    #12, #13, #17, thanks. I do now remember reading that inertia over the next decade in warming would be compensated for by CO2 and CH4 and etc leaving the atmosphere. I will ignore that aspect, then, and assume that the only relevant portion is about 0.4 – 0.5°C of immediate (within weeks) warming, both direct and indirect effects of removing particulates.

    Also, some of the 2°C scenarios assume an overshoot, don’t know if the 1.5°C scenario does as well.

    NASA has year to date more than 1°C above 1951-80 average.

    It’s an El Nino, so temperatures are higher, eg, T decreased by more than 0.2°C from 1998 to 99. On the other hand, by 2002, 1998’s temperature was normal.

  21. 21
    Omega Centauri says:

    Barton @17. What KS was getting at is the the negative aerosol forcing would stop within a week or two, but the greenhouse gas forcing would remain. Net anthropogenic forcing would spike. So the planet would fairly rapidly try to warm up towards the longterm average value expected with the current inventory of gases. Of course we would still have the ocean thermal response to deal with. And Co2 would start dropping, as the process whereby some of the excess atmospheric CO2 is transferring to terrestrial CO2 reservoirs wouldn’t stop.

  22. 22
    wili says:

    It’s always good to correct errors, wherever they occur and whoever makes them.

    But I’m rather curious as to why WaPo found it so necessary to immediately jump on some misstatements by a rather obscure blogger (quoting a number of notorious ‘climate skeptics’ in the process), while they rarely seem to be compelled to correct the hundreds of outright fabrications that constantly flow from the likes of WUWT, even though the latter claims to have a much vaster readership, and therefore it would seem much more important for a major news source to correct such widespread errors. Thoughts?

  23. 23
    Geoff Beacon says:


    The increased in forest fires is a “missing feedback”

    Carbon budgets: A straightforward answer from DECC (mentioned in #16) has

    [certain] feedbacks were not used in the models that calculated the “remaining carbon budgets” – as used in the IPCC AR5

    That’s correct, the models used vary in what they include, and some feedbacks are absent as the understanding and modelling of these is not yet advanced enough to include. From those you raise, this applies to melting permafrost emissions, forest fires and wetlands decomposition.

    Although DECC (th UK Department of Energy and Climate Change) note these missing feedbacks, they do not calculating changes to the IPCC remaining carbon budgets but say

    DECC doesn’t estimate the remaining global carbon budget, however others such as the Global Carbon Project have estimated updates to the IPCC’s budget, based on emissions since 2010.

    I haven’t followed that up yet but they may not have dealt with any missing feedbacks.

    Apart from McDougall considering permafrost emissions, has anyone?

  24. 24
    Killian says:

    Re: 275 Andrew Spiteri said, What I wish someone, or anyone, would address in this forum or on this website, is that the 97-98 El Nino only had an increase over one year. Then La Nina kicked in and we saw a decrease to 1.3 from 2.9. When you look at our CO2 data for 2015-2016 it looks like it could show a increase over two years unless there is a very strong La Nina this year.

    Simple, really: We had a near-El Nino in 2014-15, then a real one over 2015-16.

  25. 25
    Killian says:

    Re: #8 Karen Street: Look into permaculture practices aka regenerative practices wrt agriculture, and more. Start with Rodale’s 30-year study.

  26. 26
    Scott Strough says:

    @12 Kevin McKinney “it’s the mycorrhizae, stupid!”

    Yes you are right. I have attempted to explain this in various threads for a while now. But even the effects of AMF are overly simplified. Better to say a more general “soil health”. It’s not JUST AMF, but rather the entire soil microbial balance, and in fact AMF are more important to cycling phosphorus. Nitrogen is actually trivially easy, due to many many microbial nitrogen fixers, both free living and symbiotic. The whole “nitrogen limit” was nothing but bogus advertising claims from the beginning. Just a way to sell more fertilizers while keeping war readiness during times of peace.

  27. 27
    Adam Lea says:

    4: “North Hemisphere’s temperate region summer is slow to start”

    It would be fair to say that south east England’s summer has been slow to start. Where I live there has been around 30-50% sunshine deficit in June and some areas, notably in Greater London and Essex, have had more than double the normal rainfall. In contrast, the Shetland islands have had an unusually dry and sunny month. I had a quick look into this and noticed that Greenland blocking was in place last month, which tends to lead to anomalous high pressure anomalies in the sub-arctic, with low pressure anomalies over NW Europe. This is consistent with the NW/SE split in rainfall and sunshine observed in the UK. One or two studies have suggested that Greenland blocking may be tied in with rapidly diminishing sea ice cover in summer affecting the jet stream, although others challenge this. The summer Greenland blocking index has taken a big upswing since 2007, which ties in with a tendency for cloudy wet summers, especially in the south of England since then (July 2007 and June 2012 were notable for significant flooding, and Greenland blocking with low pressure over the UK was notable in those months.)

  28. 28
    MA Rodger says:

    And hot on the heels of UAHv6beta5, RSS has posted for June at +0.467ºC. This is not greatly different from UAHv6.0b5 being the second warmest June on record (ditto UAH) and the 27th warmest monthly anomaly on record (UAH6.0 was =29th). The 26 monthly anomalies (28 monthly anomalies for UAH) warmer than June 2016 comprise nine from 1997/98 (UAH 10), nine from 2015/16 (UAH 7), six from 2010 (UAH 6), none from 2003/04 (UAH 2) and the other two from 2007 & 2005 (UAH from 2007 & 1987). The 2015/16 El Nino continues to show a significantly spikier warm wobble than that during the 1997/98 El Nino.
    For RSS TLT to have 2016 as warmest calendar year (currently that is still 1998 averaging +0.550ºC), the remainder of 2016 would have to average +0.47ºC or more, which is pretty much the value of the June anomaly (ditto UAH). A comparison of recent RSS TLT anomalies with the 1997/98 El Nino years:-
    ……….1997/99 … 2015/16
    Dec … +0.302ºC … +0.546ºC
    Jan … +0.550ºC … +0.665ºC
    Feb … +0.736ºC … +0.978ºC
    Mar … +0.585ºC … +0.842ºC
    Apr … +0.857ºC … +0.757ºC
    May … +0.667ºC … +0.524ºC
    Jun .… +0.567ºC … +0.467ºC
    Jul ….. +0.605ºC
    Aug … +0.572ºC
    Sep … +0.494ºC
    Oct … +0.461ºC
    Nov … +0.195ºC
    Dec … +0.311ºC
    Jan … +0.181ºC
    Feb … +0.317ºC
    Mar … -0.013ºC
    Apr … +0.182ºC
    May … +0.112ºC
    Jun … -0.083ºC

  29. 29

    #4, #27–

    Why would anyone use CET as proxy for the Northern hemisphere when considering contemporary data? It makes even less sense than using CONUS data for a similar purpose.

    The idea of a ‘slow start to summer’ on a hemispheric or global level is, er, unsupported:

  30. 30

    #26, Scott Strough–

    The whole “nitrogen limit” was nothing but bogus advertising claims from the beginning. Just a way to sell more fertilizers while keeping war readiness during times of peace.

    You may want to read the story I linked. That’s not what they found, at all, at all.

    To summarize, they found that nitrogen limitation is an important factor in predicting the response of vegetation to rising CO2, and they are working to incorporate the relevant information into carbon cycle models.

  31. 31
    Geoff Beacon says:

    Hank Roberts #19

    The paper “What would it take to achieve the Paris temperature targets? ” does look interesting. However, I cannot see how their Integrated Assessment Models (IAMS) can have included the missing feedbacks in climate models mentioned above (#16, #23).
    An author of a similar paper has emailed saying

    Indeed, if natural release of carbon would increase further than what is currently projected under climate change by models, the remaining budget would be reduced. This is a field of active research.

    Does anyone here have references to this “field of active research”?

  32. 32
    mike says:

    Pretty decent article on rise in CO2 in the Guardian. Supports forest fires as partial contributor to the increase, so that fits with other things I have been able to find.
    My projections from 179, jun 14 unforced variations:

    Jun monthly 407.0
    Jul 405.3
    Aug 404.1
    Sep 402.8
    Oct 403.1
    Nov 403.4
    Dec 403.7

    If those are close to the monthly averages, then I come up with 2016 annual ppm at 404.6.

    I hit May on the nose with projection of 407.7

    still waiting for to post the June average.

    IPCC says we have to stay under 450 ppm. Dr. Mann said in 2014 that we need to stay under 405. I think Dr. Mann has it right and the IPCC 450 number is too high, there are too many tipping points that we will blow by as we cruise to 450 to prevent a rise well above 450.

    CO2 saturation in atmosphere is the ballgame. The numbers continue to rise and the rate of rise is increasing at a time when we should be seeing the rate of rise decreasing. An annual rate of increase of 3 ppm and above is disastrous. We need anything we can to drive the rate of increase to zero or into negative numbers. I don’t think we are going to take the steps to make this happen and that is a great tragedy and a source of generational injustice.

    If we accept the IPCC number and we acknowledge our current rate of increase of 3 ppm, then we only have 15 years before we hit the tragic/magic IPCC number. If we accept Dr. Mann’s 405 number, we will almost certainly hit that number as an annual average for 2017.

    Here is the latest:

    Daily CO2

    July 3, 2016: 405.71 ppm
    July 3, 2015: 401.75 ppm (3.96 ppm increase in noisy number)

    May CO2

    May 2016: 407.70 ppm
    May 2015: 403.94 ppm (3.76 ppm increase in less noisy number)

    This single number is like the taking the pulse or blood pressure of the planet. It’s a critical number that represents the state of the planetary carbon cycle. You can’t take one number or measure out of context and make sense of the situation, but if you fail to look at these numbers in context you are very foolish imho.

    I think it is a shame that we waste so much time on a foolish idea like a war on terror and neglect the biggest risk that exists: the buildup of CO2 and CO2e in the atmosphere.

    I would love to be wrong about all of this.

    Warm regards,


  33. 33
    Hank Roberts says:

    Wili, the point is to criticize the _originators_ of widely propagated misinformation.

    There are only a few sources that are easily and clearly identifiable.
    When you can nail a bad source publicly — although the truth will never catch up — it’s worth doing.
    “About 472,000 results”

    How many of the people who rebunked that stuff will bother to correct their blogs?

  34. 34
    Nemesis says:

    Any thoughts on that one?

    ” Leading climate doomsayer Michael Mann recently downplayed the importance of climate change science, telling Democrats that data and models “increasingly are unnecessary” because the impact is obvious.”

    ” Fundamentally, I’m a climate scientist and have spent much of my career with my head buried in climate-model output and observational climate data trying to tease out the signal of human-caused climate change…”

  35. 35
    pete best says:

    Ocean currents getting warmer and moving heat faster. The gulf stream also impacted in the long term causing it to weaken

  36. 36
    wili says:

    “When you can nail a bad source publicly — although the truth will never catch up — it’s worth doing.”

    Yes, Hank, nicely put. And I’m glad they did so here (though some of the tone was a bit over the top).

    But that’s all the more reason that WaPo should be going after WUWT more constantly and intensely, don’t you think?

    It’s right in their title: “Watts Up With That? | The world’s most viewed site on global warming…”

    Shouldn’t WUWT be the main object of any truth-seeking journalist concerned about these issues to debunk? I would still like Hank’s (or any one else’s) answer to the question: Why does WaPo spend so very little space debunking these very dangerous constant lies, but then jump in to correct an overstatement on a relatively obscure site?

    Do they just assume that all their writers would know that WUWT (and all those who copy and ‘widely propagate’ its toxic lies are full of it?

  37. 37

    #15 Vukevic,

    This is a drive by, expect no response…

    Had you really delved into CET you’d have looked at the seasons. You’d have noted the role that the extreme cold winter of 2010 plays in your downturn, and read the research that suggests a role for sea ice loss in that. You’d have noticed the cooling of summers since 2007, and you might have read the research into the emerging summer Arctic Dipole and the wider impacts of that.

    But let’s be frank here. I could waste my time citing a long list of papers. It would have no effect, would it?

    BTW. This paper blew my final refuge out of the water when I was a sceptic.
    By the end of 2007 I had ditched my scepticism.

    “Despite the fact that surface insolation at the turn of the millennium is rather lower than in the 1960s, land surface temperatures have increased by
    0.8C over this period (Figure 1). This suggests that the net effect of surface solar forcing over the past decades cannot be the principal driver behind the overall temperature increase, since over the past 40 years, cooling from solar dimming still outweighs warming from solar brightening. Rather, the overall temperature increase since the 1960s can be attributed to greenhouse forcing as also evident in the BSRN data outlined above.

    Thus, speculations that solar brightening rather than the greenhouse effect could have been the main cause of the overall global warming over the past decades appear unfounded.”

    Considering the wider evidence and the clarification with further evidence since then, they now appear rather silly.

  38. 38
    Adam Lea says:

    #27: It is misleading to only look at monthly average temperatures when talking about summer conditions. Yes the UK has been above average in June but this is primarily caused by milder than normal nights, caused by high cloudiness, whereas the daytime temperatures have been suppressed. Few people care if it is 15C at 3am, but will complain if it is struggling to reach 12C at 3pm, no matter how warm it is at night. Last month, some places were stuggling to get to the mid teens in the middle of the month, and it was so dull that people were driving with lights on no matter what time of day. It really felt more like late November than the start of summer. Just because temperatures were above average over the month does not mean summer-like conditions were experienced, which is what people tend to mean when talking about a slow start to summer, and it is how conditions feel that matters. One set of average figures does not tell the whole story.

  39. 39
    Colin Rust says:

    Giving What We Can has updated their analysis on climate change as a charitable area. I’m interested in the efficient altruism point of view on climate change (and generally), so if anyone has any thoughts I’d be curious to hear them.

    Their top two charities in this space are Cool Earth and the advocacy group Citizens’ Climate Lobby. For Cool Earth, they estimate it averts a ton of CO2-equivalent at between $0.38/t and $1.34/t, which is remarkably cheap I think. They do this by protecting tropical rain forest, so there are obviously other benefits. If you look at charities purely from the standpoint of the effect on human mortality, they estimate that the best developing world health care charities (distributing anti-malaria bed nets) are more efficient in terms of lives saved per charitable dollar, by a factor of at least 30. So comparing climate change charities to other charities (at least on their analysis) likely depends on how you weigh environmental concerns.

  40. 40
    Steve Fish says:

    Re: Comment by Kevin McKinney — 4 Jul 2016 @ 8:53 AM, ~#30

    Hi, Kevin. Perhaps you have some insight regarding the (identical) stories in Science News and ScienceDaily that you and Strough have cited regarding carbon sequestration. These, and many similar popularized stories frequently state that 25% to 30% of anthropogenic CO2 is captured by land plants. However, we are also told that 50% of anthropogenic C02 goes into the oceans and the rest remains in the atmosphere to increase global warming gasses. This doesn’t add up.

    Well, one could say that the portion which is sequestered is divided between plants/soil and achieving short the term pCO2 balance between the ocean surface and the atmosphere, but this also doesn’t add up. This is because it is frequently stated that the soil is losing carbon at an alarming rate worldwide. Without a nuanced explanation of how plants worldwide can sequester 30% of the added CO2 from our use of fossil fuels in addition to their normal uptake, while the soil is being depleted, is confusing. I would be enthusiastic about an article in Real Climate that would explain the big picture regarding where our societal fossil exhalations are going.


  41. 41
    Scott Strough says:

    @30 Kevin Yes I agree they are working to incorporate the relevant information into carbon cycle models. All I am saying is the relevant information has been known 50 years or more … at least. There is a new bit of info, that’s the discovery of glomalin in 1996, but the rest regarding nitrogen is old hat. People have been shouting about that for so long to deaf ears it has become almost a joke. In fact here is a quote from the 1940’s regarding Haber process nitrogen and other “synthetic manures” as they were called back then.

    “As the small trickle of results grows into an avalanche — as is now happening overseas — it will soon be realized that the animal is our farming partner and no practice and no knowledge which ignores this fact will contribute anything to human welfare or indeed will have any chance either of usefulness or of survival.” Sir Albert Howard Father of organic agriculture

    What was this lunatic raving about? ;-) Manure of course! (Well actually the whole agricultural ecosystem) Well finally people are “rediscovering” what he figured out long ago. Only now since one of the side effects of what he was talking about is AGW, some people are listening.

    Now I could go into great detail as long as a book on all the details, but I believe you should be able to figure it out. NPK ferts reduce the soil biology that would normally supply nitrogen and other nutrients. You still get good yields either way, but with the result of gradual soil degradation. The carbon cycle was literally ignored as “unimportant”. All life on this planet is part of the carbon cycle! Calling it “unimportant” or the ravings of the lunatic fringe organic farmer was a huge huge mistake. Only now are a few climate scientists realizing how huge.

    You might ask how huge? More than all the fossil fuel emissions!

  42. 42
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    It may be much much worse than they thought. The double “much” is for the Richardson study (linked in the lead post above) AND the Shaffer PETM study (just came in the news today), which suggests that sensitivity itself may increase in hotter climates:

    “Warning from the past: Future global warming could be even warmer”–wft062316.php

  43. 43
    Aaron Lewis says:

    Re 33; Hank,
    Would you say that Jet Stream patterns (WITH variations) are the same today as they were anytime in human history prior to the 2007 Arctic Sea Ice Melt?

    The Jet Stream is driven by heat in the atmosphere, and as we put heat in the atmosphere, the weather changes including the patterns and variations of Jet Stream flow.

    By 2002, I was seeing changes in Jet Stream patterns, and the change accelerated after the 2007 Arctic Sea Ice Melt Event. Jet Stream path change has been a long and very noisy trend. Weather guys do not deal with things that slow, and climate guys do not deal with things that fast.

    Despite all the noise, and the fact that change takes decades, at some point, we have to draw a line and say “this is really not consistent with the wind roses marked by the old Italian and Spanish sailors” or subsequent charts issued to Navy Airmen. (Did those show up on your Google search?)

    The questions are: “How many samples does it take to separate the trend from the noise?” and what language to use as we draw the line. I think we have enough samples to use rather harsh language.

  44. 44
    mike says:

    Daily CO2

    July 4, 2016: 406.03 ppm
    July 4, 2015: 401.76 ppm (4.27 ppm increase in noisy number)

    May CO2

    May 2016: 407.70 ppm
    May 2015: 403.94 ppm (3.76 ppm increase in slightly less noisy number)

    “After dominating the tropical Pacific for more than a year, El Niño ended in May 2016.” per

    Hence, on daily or monthly annual comparisons, we are now looking at 2016 post-enso CO2 numbers and comparing with CO2 EN numbers from 2015. I hope that we will see a drop of about 1.5 ppm as EN fades during the balance of 2016, but right now, there is only an increase in range of 4 ppm which is historic. If I crunch the numbers for first five months of 2016 v. first five months of 2015, I get an increase of 3.51 ppm.

    We have not seen a year in the record that shows this level of increase over the previous year. I don’t think we will see 4 ppm for 2016 annual average over 2015 annual average. I think we end 2016 at 404.6 over 2015 annual of 400.88, so that gives annual increase of 3.72 ppm. That projection incorporates the loss of 1.5 ppm as EN fades and still leaves us staring at what will be the largest single annual increase in CO2 ppm in the record (1958 forward)

    At some point, a lot of folks are going to take note of what is happening with the CO2 increase and how the rate of increase is rising. Some of that is happening. The numbers are right there, easy to see. It really does not matter what the source of the CO2 increase might be because the long term impact of an increase from burning coal is the same as an increase from permafrost thaw release or other “natural” sources. The important aspect of increase is the ocean acidification and global warming that automatically follow the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. IPCC says we can’t let CO2 rise above 450. Dr. Mann is on the record saying we can’t let CO2 rise above 405. Either way, it is not clear how we are going to prevent the saturation from hitting these numbers.

    coral bleaching, glacial melting, sea level rise, extreme weather – etc. are all driven primarily a single number – the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. I think all claims of progress with AGW must be checked against this number. If this number is rising, we are headed in the wrong direction.

    When we pass 450 or 405 (or any such magic number), we can argue with the natural world about whether the increase is from burning coal, or decay of methane, or forest fires, or thawing permafrost, but argument will not change the fact that we simply live in a much less hospitable environment for a lot of beings as this number creeps up. The solution is to drive this number down. It is not clear if or how we can arrange a decrease in this number.

    I am crunching numbers in spreadsheet based on the table at



  45. 45
    Edward Greisch says:

    Go to
    and sign a letter to BLM asking them to leave coal in the ground. No more leasing federal land to coal companies.

  46. 46
    Dan Miller says:

    #31 Hank:
    Permafrost melt impact on temperature: A 2012 study predicts that the CO2 released from the melting permafrost will add an additional 0.25 to 1°C (about 0.4 to 1.5°F) to the global average temperature by the end of this century. This is on top of current predictions.


Source: Andrew H. MacDougall, et al, Significant contribution to climate warming from the permafrost carbon feedback, Nature Geoscience 5, 719–721 (2012) doi:10.1038/ngeo1573. See:

  47. 47
    Chris G says:

    Submitted for your evening entertainment:

    Chuck DeVore, “New Theory: CO2 And Climate Linked — But Not In The Way The ‘Consensus’ Tells Us”

    Link =

    The ‘study’ he cites is “Modulation of ice ages via precession and dust-albedo feedbacks” by Ralph Ellis and Michael Palmer.

    Link =

  48. 48
    Alfred Jones says:

    KS 8: It seems to me that if we ceased to exist, that Earth’s temperature would reach 1.5°C above pre-industrial within weeks to a decade.

    Ignorant Pontificator: Well, not weeks. The annual global average only goes up about 0.2 K per decade.

    Alfred Jones: And just when I thought you couldn’t say anything dumber. Do you even know what aerosols are? Please start breathing more than twice a day. It might get those neurons to fire. On the other hand, your streak of being wrong 19,927 times in a row is nothing to be sneezed at!

    Karen, yes, there’d be a huge spike in temperature over land the first month, especially in areas where pollution is bad (think Asian Brown Cloud) The oceans have more thermal inertia and fewer aerosols, so things wouldn’t change as much there. (So, more than 0.5C over Asia, less than 0.5C over the central Pacific) Things get complicated over a decade, but that’s just residuals. Ignoring tipping points, the fireworks would all go off in the first month. And yes, I agree with your math. We’ve just blown past the 1.5C “limit” unless we replace our current geoengineering via pollution with geoengineering via other means. (Anybody who says we shouldn’t engage in solar radiation management is simply pretending we haven’t been doing it for 100 years. As if stratospheric sulphur injection is worse than our current breathing-level poison-injection system of cooling. And, as you inferred, NOT continuing solar radiation management would be immediately catastrophic.)

  49. 49
    Hank Roberts says:

    wili, just ask yourself what your own sources are that you rely on.
    If you’ve considered a source reliable over the long term, that’s the one you want to see corrected.

    People who rely on WUWT aren’t coming here, and won’t be likely to find out about WUWT mistakes.

    Look, it’s always tough to hear a source you consider reliable called out for making a mistake.
    But you have to get used to it, in reading science. That’s how science works.

    You’ve read Peter Watts on this, right?

    Sites that claim to be reporting on and explaining science have to be corrected the same way.
    If you consider a site reliable — be critical of it, be skeptical, check the claims, and make it better.

    “Opposition is true friendship.” — William Blake

  50. 50
    sidd says:

    Re:natural carbon sequestration

    my understanding is:

    in approximate atmospheric co2 numbers, seasonal swing is 6ppm, fossil co2 accumulation is 3ppm, and fossil emission is equivalent to 6 ppm. Of that emission, land and ocean each absorb an equivalent of 1.5 ppm in addition to the seasonal swing.

    corrections welcome