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Unforced variations: Sep 2016

Filed under: — group @ 1 September 2016

To come this month: Arctic sea ice minimum, decisions from the IPCC scoping meeting on a report focused on the 1.5ºC target, interesting paleo-climate science at #ICP12 and a chance to stop arguing about politics perhaps.

Usual rules apply.

292 Responses to “Unforced variations: Sep 2016”

  1. 151
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    42: Chris: In Australia they might get retrenched, in America soon they might all get shot?

  2. 152

    #136, Lawrence–

    According to this diagram from the DOE via NASA, annual absorption of carbon by the oceans amounts to 90 Pg (gigatonnes), so over 20 years that would obviously be 1800. Terrestrial sinks are actually larger, perhaps counterintuitively, at 120 Pg. So the total for natural ‘fast’ fluxes over 20 years would be 4200.

    But note that natural emissions are much larger than human ones: just 9 PG annually versus 210.

    So marine (and terrestrial) sinking of carbon won’t be as strongly affected by the human component as I suspect you are thinking.


  3. 153
    Chris O'Neill says:

    150 Thomas

    You didn’t say anything about why Exxon sponsor the AGU’s support for research into carbon-caused global warming. That research shows that their product is causing a serious problem.

    Why did you ask ‘why’ Chris?

    Why did you ask why I asked ‘why’?

    Maybe you need to think about my question a little more.

  4. 154
    Nemesis says:

    @Chris O’Neill, #137

    ” Exxon’s conflict of interest means it is against its interest to sponsor the AGU’s support for research into carbon-caused global warming. So if it is against Exxon’s interest to sponsor the AGU then why does it do it?”

    (Not just) ExxonMobil et al will soon be over anyway, muhahaha. Why ExxonMobil, the criminal perpetrator sponsors AGU? To keep a foot in the door to public discussion of climate change. It is a long tradition of CORRUPTION all over the place. Have fun:

    All these funny, funny gamez will SOON be OVER. And man, I really like that. Empire will be FINISHED soon, gnahaha. It’s all simply about Karma (call it CAUSALITY, if you don’t like that term).

  5. 155
    James Cross says:

    #31 Bill Ruddiman

    I was hoping there would be a post here about this.

    I am wondering how much of the early temperature rise in 19th century came from land use changes in Asia and CH4 rather than industrialization. It seems there was a substantial rise in Asian population from mid-1700’s to early 1800’s and continuing increase through the the 19th century. That would had to have been accompanied by a substantial increase in rice farming. CH4 goes from ~750 ppb to over 900 ppb during the 19th century, I think.

    I think you posted here here sometime ago and I was skeptical of your hypothesis but I am increasingly persuaded you are on the right track.

  6. 156
    wili says:

    Thanks, alan.

  7. 157
    mike says:

    I have generally switched to posting the weekly averages for year on year CO2 growth, but yesterday daily average was above 4 ppm I think and today is a whopper at 5.09 ppm increase. It is a noisy number, and there are a lot of reasons to keep eye on larger time spans, still… anything above 5 ppm is pretty remarkable.

    Our 2016 number has fallen faster than I thought it could from the EN bump. Maybe the 2015 number carries a little LN dip, or storm that blew “old world air” at MLO last year. Who knows. The trend, however, is unmistakable.

    Daily CO2

    September 13, 2016: 400.97 ppm

    September 13, 2015: 395.86 ppm


    stay cool,


  8. 158
    Scott Strough says:

    @146 Chris Machens says:
    13 Sep 2016 at 6:39 PM
    re: #145 Scott Strough “…and we could be negative CO2 net in a decade or less…”

    “That is a very optimistic conclusion.”

    Actually not at all. First off applying the math to multiple case studies around the world actually gives a result of about 3 years +/-. But of course there does need to be a training period. The methods involved in regenerative Ag are seldom intuitive and always require both training for the farmer/ rancher/ range manager and a recovery time for the soil biology.

    Also I am actually quite pessimistic. I don’t see any reason to believe any country will be adopting these measures any time soon, much less every country on the planet. Two of the leading countries in this research are Australia and US. We saw what happened to CSIRO recently and I am so disgusted with US politics from both sides of the political aisle I can’t even talk about it. From a biological standpoint can it be done? Absolutely. Will it be done or even tried? Little to no chance due to organizational inertia. In fact as we speak here in the US regulations are being written specifically designed to prevent individual farmers from doing it on their own, since many “stubborn” farmers are jumping ship irrespective of the subsidies designed to keep them “towing the company line”. So they are clamping down even harder. So what you basically have is one part of the USDA in a battle of wills against the “heretic” sections of the USDA. (Specifically USDA-SARE and USDA-NRCS.)

    Ever hear of the wise old saying, “A house divided against itself can not stand?” Well agriculture is an extreme example of this, and AGW is just one symptom of many that is the result.

  9. 159
    Susan Anderson says:

    Unbelievable (from a Gavin tweet: about the Exxon Attorneys General, and Rep. Lamar Smith’s certainty that lies are true):

    I didn’t have time for the whole thing, but Rohrabacher, he probably has grandchildren. Will he live to regret complaining about “balance” and “insults” from the people he’s insulted?

  10. 160
    Mark C says:

    The latest on Lamar Smith’s attempts to silence climate scientists:

  11. 161
    Hank Roberts says:

    “the melting of Greenland is not going to stop in a decade or so. It will keep melting….”

    Their results show the widespread presence of well-eroded, deep bed troughs along the edges of the ice sheet that are generally grounded below sea level, with fast-flowing ice. They extend more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) inland, not the 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) that had been thought. The full extent of some of these bed troughs had never been detected by previous radar sounders.

    “In many places we thought that the bed was raised above sea level but it was below sea level,” Morlighem said. For the first time, for example, they could see that the bed of the three main branches of Upernavik Glacier in West Greenland runs below sea level for more than 80 to 140 kilometers (50 to 87 miles) inland. Up north, Humboldt Glacier’s submarine bed runs 140 kilometers (87 miles) inland. Morlighem said, “We now know that the melting of Greenland is not going to stop in a decade or so. It will keep melting. As the ice retreats, it will still be in contact with the ocean because it will follow it inland.”

  12. 162
    Thomas says:

    Unsettled Malcolm Roberts queries United Nation’s science : Comments
    By John Nicol and Jennifer Marohasy, published 16/9/2016


  13. 163
    Rob Dekker says:

    This is a quest to find out why IPCC changed the definition of an “ice free” Arctic from the definition used in many scientific journals (“less than 1 M km^2”) to a much more restrictive “less than 1 M km^2 for five consecutive years.

    There are many reasons why this re-definition is at best simply wrong given the underlying data, and at worst a malicious attempt to delay the (definition) of the inevitable, but we know for SURE that the current definition will occur at least 5 years (and likely much longer) after the former definition used in scientific journals.

    And as such, this re-definition will provide ammunition for climate science deniers, well after the Arctic has already dropped to virtual ice free conditions.

    This is why I wanted to investigate how this re-definition came about, and I need some help with that.

    All we know for sure is that the addition “for five consecutive years” it IS NOT present in the June 7 ‘final draft SPM’ as prepared by WG1 :
    and it IS present in the ‘approved SPM’ after the September 23-26 session :

    Not just that, but the same re-definition re-appears in two places in the Technical Summary.

    If this change of definition was indeed run through the standard update procedure, then it SHOULD have shown up in this list (of updates between the SPM and the TS documents) from the Stockholm session :

    It does NOT show up in this list, which suggests that the change was made OUTSIDE of IPCC’s standard editing procedures.

    How such a redefinition came about in the TWO most important IPCC documents (the Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) and the Technical Summary (TS)), without leaving a trace in the normal procedural records is as of now quite a mystery.

    So my question is : Does anyone involved in the IPCC process, and specifically the 2013 Stockholm session, have any information on how this re-definition came about ?

  14. 164
    Russell says:

    Ever wonder who nominates the winners of Heartland Institute Climate Awards?

    If you have a thousand dollars to spare,

    It could be you !

  15. 165
    Thomas says:

    How climate scientists cut through a political log-jam of gigantic proportions
    15 September 2016 10:36AM

    When climate scientists first set out to convey their findings to the public and policy makers, they led with facts, backed up by volumes of scientific evidence. They changed tack after realising – with help from cognitive scientists – that their initial approach did not take into account how humans think and make decisions.

    This finding led to further research from a much wider body of disciplinary experts. Climate science communication is now a research field unto itself, one that helps us understand what is needed to engage people, and thus influence behaviour, rather than merely inform them.

    The starting point is understanding how humans makes decisions, as Lakoff writes:

    “Real reason is: mostly unconscious (98%); requires emotion; uses the “logic” of frames, metaphors, and narratives; is physical (in brain circuitry); and varies considerably, as frames vary.”

    It is now understood that people’s values, identity, beliefs and worldviews exist as a wide network of interconnected neuron pathways, sometimes called ‘deep frames’, which influence behaviour at the subconscious level.

    The good news, as the work of David Eagleman and Norman Doige has demonstrated, is that the human mind is malleable: it can be re-wired.

  16. 166
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Rob Dekker … IPCC changed the definition of an “ice free” Arctic from the definition used in many scientific
    > journals (“less than 1 M km^2”) to a much more restrictive “less than 1 M km^2 for five consecutive years.

    One year is weather — condition of the moment, or the season, what many scientific papers are looking at
    Multiple years is climate, weather summed over a longer period of time, which is the IPCC”s brief

    I don’t think you need to invoke a conspiracy here.
    Though feel free, of course, not my business to tell you …..

  17. 167
    Hank Roberts says:

    > malleable: it can be re-wired

    Horribly mixed metaphor there.
    Ask any blacksmith.

  18. 168

    I wish that Gavin Schmidt had included his fine Ted talk in his fivethirtyeight article:

    (Yes, I know you all know about this, but it is such an amazingly good presentation of why uncertainty is real but does not support denial of the best science on climate; it opens rather than closing doors.)

    For a person like myself who has some but not nearly enough science literacy to really follow statistics, this was a brilliant and thought-provoking presentation of what is being done to increase our understanding.

  19. 169
    Steve Fish says:

    Question for management.

    The Comments (pop-up) link doesn’t work for me anymore. I greatly prefer the stripped down pop-up window for access to the comments. Steve

    [Response: Odd. Trying to see why, but coming up blank. Any ideas from other readers? (this uses comments_popup_link in WordPress). Note this happened in updating the WordPress code from 4.4 to 4.6, and it seems that the functionality has been depreciated. Not sure what the thinking is there or what the replacement should be. – gavin]

  20. 170
    Hank Roberts says:

    popup link working fine with Mac Firefox for me.

    Looking on the bright side (ain’t what it used to be)

  21. 171
    Thomas says:

    161 Hank Roberts, greenland, that’s quite old news.

  22. 172
    Killian says:

    Re #98 AJ said silly things about the oceans sucking up all that carbon we need to get out of the atmosphere. One small problem, between OHC and acidification, the oceans are already starting their own very nasty spiral down.

    I.e., we need to get that carbon out of the air and the water.

  23. 173
    Rob Dekker says:

    Hank said

    “I don’t think you need to invoke a conspiracy here.
    Though feel free, of course, not my business to tell you …..”

    I don’t want to invoke any conspiracy here, Hank.
    I just want to know how this change in definition of “ice-free” came about.

    After all, the only thing that is certain is that the new IPCC definition (“less than 1 M km^2 for 5 consecutive years”) will occur AT LEAST 5 years or more than the standard definition used in scientific journals (which is simply “less than 1 M km^2).

  24. 174
    Killian says:

    Re #102 Nemesis said no more carbon budget!

    Yup. told y’all that back in 2007 or 2008, I think. Simple: Everything already going to heck in a handbasket, all systems failing simultaneously = no hysteresis. Add to that, Arctic Sea Ice started melting when CO2 was 300-315.

    We never had a carbon budget. It’s back to sub-300 or Russian Roulette. Pick one.

    Re #105 Mike says Slushie, anybody?

    Yeah, this was a bad year for the sensors to go whacky-doodles. Seeing how solid the pack was in 2012 vs 2016, anybody seriously think the total volume didn’t hit a new low this year? Extent s a nearly useless metric at this point. There’s just too much space for ice to spread out.

    If I were given one climate science wish, it would be for a highly accurate measurement for ASI volume. As I stated last August, here we are with a tie for second lowest extent (the theory is near-record or record within two summers of El Nino) and, imo, a new low in volume and nearly there in area.

    With Gavin saying elsewhere ’17 should be only a little cooler than ’16 and nothing but mush anywhere but north of the Archipelago, and much of that much more broken up than used to be the norm, I expect further deterioration of the ice over the coming 11 months and to be right back here at these levels in Sept ’17. I still expect a new record low in area and volume, if we have not already hit it.

  25. 175
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I think Hillary’s Opponent may be a symptom of Climate Change in an indirect way. He’s certainly playing up to the fears of those in the ‘basket’. Building a wall to keep people out etc. Why would people be heading North in the near future?

    As per Hank’s post # 161 it sounds like Greenland is on it’s way to the ocean. If it all melts people have said that we’re looking at 23′ SLR. I assume that’s correct. And as usual things are moving much faster than most have predicted. If Hillary doesn’t win in a landslide we’ll be looking at 4 more years of gridlock in the House and Senate. Especially the House. I don’t expect any intelligent and informed decisions in the near future. International conflicts can’t be too far behind.

  26. 176
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    169: I’ve also been having trouble accessing the monthly comments from my IPhone 6. The 1234 doesn’t progress when you press next, so can’t access recent posts. On the PC everythings fine!

  27. 177
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    152 Kevin: yep..thanks for that. I think it shows how delicately balanced the entire carbon cycle is and has always been. That a rapidly growing but modest 9Gt anthropogenic component can have obvious effects now on the ocean’s ecosystems…and atmospheric systems. As the oceans warm they will absorb less CO2 thus rapidly increasing the rate of manmade CO2 quite markedly. I’ve hammered on to all and sundry friends and acquaintances ad- infinitum over many years but few really appreciate the fine balance. I was also surprised that terrestrial sinks were indeed larger when I first read it. That is why we need rain forests and boreal forests so crucially..and healthy permafrost/tundra regions.

  28. 178
    Hank Roberts says:

    Rob D., see if this helps:

    One year is one melt season — that’s weather
    Now I obviously can’t speak for the IPCC.
    Someone who has the numbers can assess the variability and comment whether five years is enough to detect a likely change in the trend — that would be climate.

    Maybe if you point to specific scientific papers it will help clarify whether the papers are referring to one year’s melt and refreeze — one season — or to an ongoing trend, for which several years’ data is needed.

    Just speculating that the IPCC is talking about climate change, so they’d use more than one year’s data to discuss it.

    Someone more knowledgeable may happen by to help us out here.

  29. 179
    mike says:

    A lot of folks are coming to the “zero carbon budget” conclusion, some more slowly than others. Meanwhile, CO2 and CO2e continue to rise and rate of rise is rising. I think we are in big, slow-building trouble and there may be very little we can do about it… but we can try. So far, I see our efforts as so modest that I would have to say, we are not trying. I know some folks will jump and down about the move to renewables, industry reports of falling emissions, etc, but we are accomplishing nothing where it counts: the atmospheric levels of CO2 and CO2e.

    If I looked around the neighborhoods where I live and heard no lawnmowers and leafblowers, and saw lots of folks walking or biking and only very rarely saw a gas powered vehicle moving around,I would think, wow, we are taking this seriously, maybe we have a chance of stopping AGW.

    We have to change the way we live on the planet or face serious consequences. Installing low energy deckchairs on the cruise ships is not going to get the job done.

    Here are some numbers to consider:

    2015 400.83 ppm
    2014 398.61 ppm
    2013 396.48 ppm
    2012 393.87 ppm

    per the usual Anybody like those numbers? In a lot of ways, that is the only number that matters and this number is going the wrong way and picking up speed. Everything else is connected to or driven by this number.

    But, hey, what do I know? I don’t hear the climate scientists here talking like I do, so I am probably exaggerating or misunderstanding the situation, things are probably fine.

    Warm regards


  30. 180
    Scott Strough says:

    @177 Lawrence
    You said, “I was also surprised that terrestrial sinks were indeed larger when I first read it. That is why we need rain forests and boreal forests so crucially..and healthy permafrost/tundra regions.”

    Yes we need all those, but the reason it surprised you is you missed the biggie. It’s the grasslands, not the forests.

    Don’t feel bad though, even though it has been observed and well vetted for over 100 years that grassland soils are the important terrestrial carbon sink, soil scientists never understood exactly why until very recently.

    What you are talking about parallels Freeman Dyson’s geoengineering “solution” of just plant more trees. There are many reasons this won’t work, but the basic one is that planting trees increases stocks, but doesn’t stabilize fluxes. Using the bucket analogy, you have a created a bigger bucket, but still a bucket with no drain. It helps temporarily … until the new bigger bucket gets full. We call that Saturation. It’s a temporary fix that helps, but it is not a long term solution.

    One reason so many climate scientists (even the esteemed Bill Ruddiman who I very much admire) keep missing this would be the fact forests do hold more biomass (carbon) in the short term or labile carbon cycle. So using that same bucket analogy, grasslands are a smaller bucket but with a very much larger drain that never saturates like most the forest biomes do (with a few exceptions). That drain enters the long term carbon cycle via mollisols (a soil of an order comprising temperate grassland soils with a deep, dark, carbon-rich surface layer typically a meter or more deep) and similar soils with a mollic epipedon. So most forests appear superficially to be a bigger sink up until they reach maturity because of that greater biomass. But all along the atmospheric “signal” we should have been looking for was the weaker but persistent signal caused by the degradation of the world’s vast grassland/grazer biomes. The larger temporary signal from forests masking the smaller but more important long term signal from grasslands.

    So you really cant blame most climate scientists for missing what soil scientists missed for over 100 years! It wasn’t until very recently that soil scientists actually found the biochemical pathway carbon enters the long term carbon pool via grasslands that made those deep rich mollisols. It has been coined the “Liquid carbon Pathway”. The importance of this new understanding for both climate science and agriculture can not be stressed enough. Because it doesn’t do any good to “fix” the climate if we still cant feed ourselves sustainably long term. Right now we can feed ourselves, but not long term at our current population levels. Once we use up the rest of those mollisols a big crisis will follow. Currently we are using up 100 tons of soil to produce 1 ton of food on average. It won’t last long.

    Here is some information on that new understanding. Read up a bit on it if you wish.

  31. 181
    Killian says:

    Re #119, #145-6, Yeah, we know. Have for a long time.

    Throwback to 2010

    We CAN start reducing atmospheric carbon in 10 years… or less. The problem is purely human, an issue of *will* we, not can we.

  32. 182
    Lawrence Coleman says:

    180: Thanks Scott. Very interesting! Looks like we keep overlooking the micro in our obsession with the macro. Stands to reason also that as long as the grasses are continually growing, ie: are grazed regularly or burnt off periodically that that will optimise it’s CO2 sequestration abilities. Being grazed and burnt enriches the soil underneath by the potash and animal fertiliser regularly falling on it. Rice however does the opposite. The sheer amount of CH4 it produces negates all virtues of the speed it grows and the CO2 it takes in. How do the vast cereal crops fit into this? If it’s all about healthy and microbe rich soil then they should rotate their crops with sorghum or legumes as a cover for a while. Fascinating stuff! Thanks Scott!

  33. 183
    Digby Scorgie says:

    Rob Dekker

    Looking at the graph of September sea-ice extent in the SPM, I can see why somebody might want to redefine “ice-free”. The average of the models projects an ice-free state near mid-century, with of course considerable uncertainty. Regarding this uncertainty, if one takes the worst case, there is very nearly an ice-free state in the late 2020s, but it’s another decade before the Arctic is permanently ice-free.

    Incidentally, there was an interesting article in the Guardian recently that described a reconstruction of sea-ice extent since 1850. It includes a graph of the March and September extents. The latter seems to imply a faster decline than the SPM, which includes observed data up to 2005 only. Exercising my mark-one artist’s eyeball and extrapolating the reconstructed curve (with absolutely no scientific justification), I reach an ice-free state in the early 2020s. ‘Cor! The next SPM will make really, really interesting reading!

  34. 184
    Scott Strough says:

    @182 Lawrence Coleman,
    You asked, “How do the vast cereal crops fit into this?”

    Glad you asked. The three big grain crops are rice, Triticum (wheat and related small grains), and maize (corn). All are currently produced in a manner that makes then a cause of AGW. And each has it’s solution already in practice, but still less than 3% of the acreage. We need to flip that around to 97%+ acreage.

    Here is some information about how rice production can change to increase yields per acre, reduce methane emissions, and restore the carbon sink function to those soils, mitigating AGW. It even improves profits to the small, often poverty stricken, rice farmers. SRI:

    Here is how we can change those vast cereal grain fields to restore that acreage to a significant carbon sink. Pasture cropping:

    And here is how we can change “king corn” to make it restore the fertility of those lost prairie soils and mitigate AGW as a “side effect”. Integrated animal husbandry combined with a covercrop/corn rotation:

    That covers the “big 3” staple crops. There are a few nuances by region, and a few minor gaps with a couple of the minor crops. But if we could change these three, the rest is easy.

    “Yes, agriculture done improperly can definitely be a problem, but agriculture done in a proper way is an important solution to environmental issues including climate change, water issues, and biodiversity.”-Rattan Lal

  35. 185
    Rob Dekker says:

    Hank, thanks for your notes. They make it clear that you completely missed the point.

    I guess I will have to look elsewhere for any explanation for why the IPCC changed the definition of “ice-free”, from the “less than 1 M km^2” in the final draft, to “less than 1 M km^2 for 5 consecutive years”, and why that was done OUTSIDE of the standard editing procedures documented here :

  36. 186
    wili says:

    Rob, I have no more direct insight into the thinking at IPCC than anyone else. But I do wonder if the fairly recent finding that Arctic sea ice loss was potentially reversible had anything to do with it.

    If it is irreversible, then even a one year near-total loss pretty well spells the end, even if there is a ‘dead cat bounce’ or two along the way. But if it is reversible if caught soon enough, then you would need a longer period to be more certain that it was really gone for good.

    Just a guess. Here’s one article on that finding:

    And the abstract:

  37. 187
    Thomas says:

    175 Chuck Hughes, politics is out, normal rules apply. tsk tsk bad boy.
    You’ll find Self-Control in aisle 8, opposite the daipers, you’re welcome.

    183 Digby Scorgie says: “(with absolutely no scientific justification), I reach an ice-free state in the early 2020s.”

    I assume you mean ‘ice-free summer minimum’? 5 years ago (?) a cranked some math in the millions of sq klms, using past history, recent history, and late rapid exponential assuming relatively normal co2/gmt based on energy projections expectations and I came up with a Total Ice-Free Arctic Aug-Sept in 2025 +/- 2 years. (non-scientific – just common sense, reasonable assumptions, and math – for own interest. )

    ‘Ice free’ being as per Nsidc 15% figure iow very slushy and the odd ‘ice berg’.

    Killian, yes yes and yes. Weren’t you accused of being hyperbolic and handwaving all these ‘unscientific’ future scenarios of doom and gloom. Not how gloomier things could be atm. Ice free summer in 2050 the IPCC said, while RC aficionados railed against anything outside the ‘standard text’ – even after Stefan (?) wrote a piece about how many active ocean scientists disagreed with the IPCC SMP on future sea level rise the non-expert experts here still continue to rail against Peter Wadhams, russian scientists, the RC authors and plain common sense by folsk like Strough.

    How could anyone know more about any subject than a permanent RC Hall Monitor Groupie – especially the PhD ‘scientists’? Bah hum bug :-)

  38. 188
    Thomas says:

    Face the truth square on. Planet Earth only has ever had one seriously intractable problem. Human beings live on it’s surface.

    That’s my cheery thought for the day. Work that one out and the world’s your oyster.

  39. 189
    Nemesis says:

    @Killian, #174

    ” Yup. told y’all that back in 2007 or 2008, I think. Simple: Everything already going to heck in a handbasket, all systems failing simultaneously = no hysteresis. Add to that, Arctic Sea Ice started melting when CO2 was 300-315.

    We never had a carbon budget. It’s back to sub-300 or Russian Roulette. Pick one”

    So, I am asking myself once again:

    WHO spread the “carbon budget” meme? Science? Politics? The FF industry? Let me ask like a little child:

    Could the FF industry have any interest, to spread that “carbon budget” meme via the media, science, politics? Oh, and is there any hope, that the folks of the FF industry will ever stop to influence the media, science, politics, economy?

    After all, I am sure, that the russian roulette has been picked, the game goes like this:

    Grab and rule it all or die trying.

    They will fulfill the latter ;-)

  40. 190
    Nemesis says:

    Addendum to my last comment:

    We have to dig deeply into the psyche of politics and economy, to lose any delusions once and for all:

    ” 6.9.2016 – U.S. companies tout climate policies, fund climate skeptics”

    The diagnosis in this case is rather easy:


    My question to the professionals:

    Will that schizophrenic strategy solve climate change? Gnahaha, I don’t expect any answer ;-)

  41. 191
    mike says:

    for RD at 185: you got some good answers from a few people on your “ice-free definition” question. and you got trolled a little. Be careful about getting too engaged with the trollers. Some are subtle and are know how to bait, but they seldom add anything to the conversation. Just ignore that type.

    wili commented on Robert Scribbler:

    And then there’s: “Global warming making Calif. wildfire season longer, more severe”

    (Good to see that some media sources are naming the culprit here!)

    That is exactly the kind of coverage that would help folks understand our situation. Lead with the lead: Global Warming. I would prefer to have that lead be CO2 buildup in atmosphere, but maybe global warming works better, then the journalist can have a first sentence like this:

    Global warming, driven by rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, is extending the California wildfire season and making the fires more severe…

    Daily CO2

    September 16, 2016: 401.20 ppm
    September 16, 2015: 397.57 ppm

    3.63 ppm increase on weekly average 2015 to 2016 source as usual

    what does it mean?

    Warm regards all,


  42. 192
    Nemesis says:

    One more about corporate/political schizophrenia- you got the choice (democracy, freedom of choice and shit, you know^^):

    So, pick your choice carefully 8-)

  43. 193
    Hank Roberts says:

    Geophysical Research Letters

    How predictable is the timing of a summer ice-free Arctic?

    First published: 14 September 2016
    DOI: 10.1002/2016GL070067

    Climate model simulations give a large range of over 100 years for predictions of when the Arctic could first become ice free in the summer, and many studies have attempted to narrow this uncertainty range. However, given the chaotic nature of the climate system, what amount of spread in the prediction of an ice-free summer Arctic is inevitable? Based on results from large ensemble simulations with the Community Earth System Model, we show that internal variability alone leads to a prediction uncertainty of about two decades, while scenario uncertainty between the strong (Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5) and medium (RCP4.5) forcing scenarios adds at least another 5 years. Common metrics of the past and present mean sea ice state (such as ice extent, volume, and thickness) as well as global mean temperatures do not allow a reduction of the prediction uncertainty from internal variability.

  44. 194
    Killian says:

    Re #80, #82, #84, y’all are missing the biggies: 1. Smallholdings. The massive grain crops? Need to go the way of the Dodo. It is only on small scales that the sort of intensive bio-sequestration we need while also building soils is possible. You need to be using animals *as needed where you are.* This is a key point: There is no one solution except to understand the systems must follow regenerative principles adapted to place.

    Yes, grasslands sequester a lot of carbon and we can copy and enhance that process. Agroecology is a term that attempts to say hat permaculture also attempts to say, but perhaps makes more sense to the uninitiated.

    Sorry… teaching, so short response.
    At the end of the day, build soils, grow more plants, grow more animals, do it locally, integrated into bio-regional sustainability.

  45. 195
    Rob Dekker says:

    @mike: thanks for your note, but I think I was just misunderstood by all three commenters :

    @wili, @hank @digby: Thanks for your reply.
    All three of you are coming up with creative ideas on WHY the IPCC added “for five consecutive years” to the definition of (nearly) “ice free”.
    But that was not what my question was about.

    From a scientific point of view it does not matter how you define “ice free” or “nearly ice free”.
    Either way the Arctic will decide what to do.

    As an analogy, a drinker in the bar may claim that his glass is not empty yet since he defines “empty” or “nearly empty” only after 5 glasses.
    That is scientifically a fine definition of an “empty glass” (since is changes nothing about what happened in reality), while it just postponed his own feeling of when it is time to be heading home….

    Same thing with the definition of (nearly) “ice free”. By redefinition “ice free” from “1 M km^2” to “1 M km^2 for 5 consecutive years” IPCC simply postponed their own feeling of when there is no more ice left in the Arctic.

    Note that this is a non-scientific re-definition. And note that its ONLY effect is that now the denier have the IPCC on their side long after the first time that the Arctic hits 1 M km^2.

    Since the change in definition is not scientific, yet it shows up in two places in the Summary for Policy Makers and another 2 places in the WG1 Technical Summary (arguably the two most important documents that the IPCC produces), I wanted to know how this change came about.

    We know this change happened during the 36th session of the IPCC in Stockholm, because the addition “after 5 consecutive years” is NOT present in the June 7 ‘final draft SPM’ as prepared by WG1 :
    and it IS present in the ‘approved SPM’ after the September 23-26 session :

    And there seems to be no record of this change in the “differences” document that IPCC member countries signed off on during the Stockholm session :

    So the point I was trying to make, and the question that comes with it is :
    WHEN exactly was this change in definition made, WHO changed it, under WHICH IPCC procedure, and WHY does it not show up in the “changes” document from the Stockholm session ?

  46. 196
    Jim Hunt says:

    I’m somewhat surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned this yet, but the NSIDC have (tentatively!) called the 2016 Arctic sea ice minimum extent a “statistical tie” with 2007:

    However if you look at area instead of extent 2016 is clearly well below 2007. And if you then look at annual average extent 2016 is clearly the lowest, since satellite records began at least:

  47. 197
    Hank Roberts says:

    For those who want to participate in the “ice free” definition kerfuffle, it’s been available at considerable length
    and continued in other threads Rob Decker points to from within that discussion.

    Key point: scenarios play out over time.
    That’s illustrated by several charts in that thread.

  48. 198
    Hank Roberts says:

    The pseudonyms further unraveled with a tweet from NASA researcher Gavin A. Schmidt, which alerted Retraction Watch to the withdrawal. “Top tip for climate contrarians: When you submit nonsense papers to journals,” Schmidt wrote, “spell your name backwards so no one knows who you are.”

    The withdrawn study “is just a curve-fitting exercise of five data points using four free parameters and as many functional forms as they could think of,” Schmidt, an expert in atmospheric climate modeling, said in an email. Like the previous pseudonymous research, “it too has nothing fundamental to add.”

    He added, “The authors’ insistence that they are ‘contradicting mainstream theory’ is just delusional self-aggrandizement.”

    Grinspoon, too, said the model does not invalidate decades of research into Earth’s atmospheric science. “I don’t think they’ve made this case,” he said. “Certainly not enough to rearrange everything we know about climate.”

    There were other red flags embedded within the study. Nikolov and Zeller recalculated Mars’ pressure and temperature data, in lieu of using the “known data for Mars that people had been carefully studying for decades,” Grinspoon said. “If they hadn’t, their model would not have worked quite as well.”

    Rather than aiming to be a universal paradigm-buster, Grinspoon said the study is better served as a handy mathematical approximation. “It’s a kind of clever, back-of-the-envelope way to calculate planet temperatures,” Grinspoon said. Should scientists find themselves with limited exoplanet data, something like the Volokin and ReLlez model could be a simple way to approximate distant temperatures.

    As such, Nikolov and Zeller have positioned themselves within a burgeoning scientific discipline. There is a relatively new effort underway for scientists to apply Earth climate models to other planets….

  49. 199

    Slightly enhanced version of Bill McGuire’s talk on geological hazards and climate forcing, he gave back in 2012.

    Waking the Giant: Climate Force and Geological Hazards

  50. 200
    Scott Strough says:

    Killian says, “y’all are missing the biggies: 1. Smallholdings.”

    In principle I have nothing against what you are saying. However, in order to make sure it is a high enough % of the worldwide agricultural land to actually mitigate AGW significantly, in my honest opinion it needs to be scale-able to any size operation and profitable at every level. True in recent years agricultural policy and subsidies have purposely tried to destabilize the smallholder operations economically, forcing farmers to get big or get out. This is indeed part of the problem. So in principle I am behind you. However, the reason I posted the regenerative systems above was due to their capability to be used at many scales at a profit for the farmer.

    What you were saying about the massive overproduction of grain crops is valid. That solves itself though. When you use the methods I posted instead of overproducing grains, you integrate forage based animal husbandry and actually end up producing more food and fiber per acre for human use than the production models commonly in use now. (cuts the acreage in grains by ~1/2 +/- without reducing supply of end product to consumer)

    That gives us the option to actually rewild some areas where appropriate without reducing food and fiber production. Many rewilded areas would actually be a carbon sink too!

    I really don’t see a downside unless you have a vested interest in the status quo. Best way to solve that is change up the commodity markets buffer stock scheme (ever full granary) so it applies to what we actually need, instead of a surplus twice as large as we need now. Then shift those same subsidies towards carbon farming. (no need for new taxes) Beef for example is a product of the properly managed grassland and a value added commodity over grain. Because of this even the markets would see an increase in profits, not just the farmers large and small.

    The only losers would be the “Luddites” who refuse to change and adapt to these far more efficient and profitable systems. Then instead of the mantra told to farmers “get big or get out” we would have a new mantra, “get carbon negative or get out”. And anyone in any sector of agriculture who refused would end up being destabilized financially.