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Unforced variations: Sep 2020

Filed under: — group @ 1 September 2020

This month’s open thread on climate science topics. Things to look for – Arctic sea ice minimum, boreal wildfires and the Atlantic hurricane season – you know, the usual…

231 Responses to “Unforced variations: Sep 2020”

  1. 101
    Killian says:

    First it was thought we had maybe a century b4 Antarctica suffered a negative mass balance, then it turned out it had been negative for decades, and now PIG and Thwaites ice shelves are collapsing.

    I told you, long ago, time is short.

  2. 102
    MA Rodger says:

    Vendicar Kahn @89,

    Your analysis is perhaps a bit too cursory.

    Roughly with the same result, we can put an OLS through the PIOMAS September average Arctic SIV 1979-2019 and the projected linear decline in ice crosses the axis in 2032. But that does assume the decline is linear.

    Using the first half of the data, the linear projection goes zero in 2077 while using the second half of the data zero arrives in 2027, suggesting an acceleration. But that would assume a sudden decline to zero with nothing decelerating the decline as it approaches zero. Yet the data is increasingly saying otherwise. If it is the last 17 years of data is used (instead of the last 22y) the zero appears a little later – 2029. And for the last 12 years zero shoots out to 2050 because the last decade has shown little signs of any continuation of that acceleration (although the error bars are exceeding wide by this point but that is more due to the lumpy un-acceleraty data rather than the reduced number of data points).

    You can run the same analysis with Extent rather than Volume and the run of years showing acceleration disappear in mid-series (as illustrated by this graphic sourced from last October’s NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News), so excepting using the last 12 years which shows no statistical result, the tests over the other year ranges (all 41y, first 22y, last 22y, last 17y) all give 2050 for a projected 1.5M sq km SIE minimum. (The thought was to put the measure of ‘Ice-Free Arctic Summer’ at the usual 1M sq km but add 0.5Msq km for interannual wobbles.)

    From memory (& mainly backed up by good old Wikithing), the usual numbers found in the literature give 2040+/-10y with earlier timings from the usual suspects and models often giving far late timings.
    I would suggest the 2040+/-10y is probably a fair assessment. And if we do keep emissions down and restrict AGW, the models suggest ASI loss may be more a ‘glancing blow’ than a total car crash.
    But the instability of the Arctic ice pack may still result in the sudden appearance of a big unexpected and unprecedented melt-years as jaw-dropping as 2007 was. And that would certainly get the ice modellers scurrying back to check the robustness of their modelling (again).

  3. 103

    K 84: Capitalism cannot be without a huge proportion of the population being extremely poor…

    BPL: Nonsense. You’re assuming no redistribution.

  4. 104

    VK 85: If this can’t be done though the courts, then it must be done through fire.

    BPL: Making threats over electronic media is a violation of the Telecommunications Act of 1983 (the Helms Act) and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment.

  5. 105

    VK 86: If there is to be progress then they will need to be either steamrolled or exterminated.

    BPL: See above. Are you stupid?

  6. 106
    Chuck says:

    Victor says:
    15 Sep 2020 at 9:31 AM
    “You’re a low level troll, an asshole and a moron rolled into one. Congratulations!”

    Thank you, Chuck, for this remarkably thoughtful and insightful assessment.

    If anyone belongs in the bore hole it is YOU.”

    >>>It’s nice to see that Killed In Action (KIA) has the support of his mini-me, Weaktor, another sponsor of misinformation and propaganda. You should take your “intellect” over to one of those maskless Trump rallies and educate them on Climate Change.

    On a more serious note, I’m wondering if hurricane Sally has stalled due in part to the position and speed of the jet stream? The storm is moving at only 3 mph. At that speed it’s going to dump copious amounts of rain on top of storm surge. This reminds me of hurricane Harvey a few years ago that sat over Houston and dumped ~50″ of rain. Then there are the four other tropical systems brewing in the Atlantic. It’s about to get real down South.

  7. 107
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Not related to the recent conversation on economics, but this being an open thread, I have a question for the better versed in radiative physics:
    It is difficult to explain the GH effect when not calling on overly simplistic analogies but even more difficult to go into the details of the physics. I have a way to think about it, although with a missing piece, and would like to know if it is valid enough to refine and eventually share.

    If we could see infra-red, I imagine that the GH effect would cause an ambient “glow” of IR light, most intense close to the surface, and decreasing in intensity with altitude, until reaching a threshold altitude. With an increase in GH effect, I expect that the glow would intensify and the threshold altitude would increase. What I can’t quite put in words is what happens at the threshold altitude. Comments welcome.

  8. 108
    Barry Finch says:

    @92 Kevin McKinney It’s absurd junk science for you to postulate that an increase in the fraction of open water in the Arctic Ocean for 1 day in September (under the setting Sun) from the present and recent years 78% to some larger amount, even to 100%, has some ==special== power to absorb more than its fractional portion of total solar radiation absorbed spring/summer (averaging 12.4 w/m**2 minus whatever gets balanced) so it’s definitely a social thing because it’s no ==special== physical thing. The negligible relevance is exacerbated by the fact that most remaining ice is at 80N-90N where the Sun is lowest in September. The Asian shelves are ice-free from August ~20th or earlier each year (for the last decade+). Explain why you aren’t reporting annual compares for August month, for example. What’s the physical science, thermodynamic, not social, basis for doing this rather than that ?
    Your “the more open water there is after Arctic seasonal nightfall, the greater the energy flux from ocean to atmosphere” is devoid of merit because it’s unquantifed. Quantify it and then we’ll discuss its fraction of the heat that went into the ocean spring/summer to give it its correct proportional merit. I can assure you though that the September heat isn’t kept separate as ==special== heat by the Arctic Ocean to use as Special Reserve Vintage Quality Heat Flux To Release, it’s just bundled in with the plebian heat of spring/summer.
    The organizations doing the sea ice extent & concentration should be doing the integration of the product of the open water portion and the solar radiation bell curve for 6 months and reporting the energy flux absorbed but I suppose that’s too much work for them, so all that’s left is this 5-cent quasi-statistic to substitute for what actually matters. That’s my point right there.
    Your “but it is very much another red light flashing on the planetary dashboard. I don’t think it’s too much to suggest we spare it a few glances” is a confirmation of my physical science note that “it’s strictly a social thing”. I’ll take it. Thanks.
    Your “maybe you’re forgetting that climate change, and especially its mitigation, are also “social things?””. No. That’s precisely what I’m not forgetting (and you seem to have switched to agreeing with me). I’m giving an opinion, and was before by implication, that conflating those social things with physical science leads to the physical science being a junk-science Gong Show. I’m saying you’all need to make it clear that September minimum extent is only a milestone (I called a “social thing”) and is a very poor proxy for spring/summer radiation absorption (actually, I’m fishing for Gavin, Mike or Stefan to leap in & point to analysis for just how very great a proxy for spring/summer radiation absorption is the September minimum extent, I’d likely retract it all then).
    I’m not so much responding to you. I’m responding to a “Guy McPherson” and (to a lesser extent) a “Paul Beckwith” who aren’t here. The source of my annoyance about this foolishness, obvious I suppose, though not in your comment I replied to, is that this concocted “Blue-Ocean-Event (BOE)” non-event is actually triggering mind-bogglingly-dense comments on the Interweb from persons about preparing for starvation within one year of the 1 day, or 9 minutes, in September that open water fraction is above 94.2% rather than below 94.2%. These persons fretting about starvation death due to the deadly 94.22% (the NUMBER OF THE DEATH CURSE that you are all aiming for) appear to be actually serious in their jaw-dropping ignorance and low brain functionality, and the first “gentleman” named above assured me, you and all humans in July 2018 that you, me and all would definitely be dead (I typed “dead”) by October 2018 if that open water fraction crossed above 94.2%, such as 94.3%. And you’re helping him greatly by your stoic silence on the non-meaning of September minimum extent for 1 day. In this venue here I expect superior physical science.

  9. 109
    Barry Finch says:

    @89 Vendicar Kahn “Arctic is is free in Summer by 2030”.
    “Arctic Ocean is ice-free for ~1 day in September by 2030”.
    Otherwise, very interesting. Thanks.

  10. 110
    MA Rodger says:

    GISTEMP has snick in its posting for August 2020 with an anomaly of +0.85ºC, a bit down on July’s anomaly and the lowest monthly anomaly of the year-to-date. (The monthly anomalies of the year-to-date had previously sat in the range +0.90ºC to +1.25ºC).

    August 2020 is the 4th warmest August on the GISS record (2nd on the NOAA record), sitting below August 2016 (+1.02ºC), 2019 (+0.94ºC) & 2016 (+0.87ºC) and above August 2014 (+0.82ºC), 2015 (+0.81ºC), 2018 (+0.76ºC) & 2011 (+0.75ºC).

    August 2020 has the =53rd highest anomaly in the all-month GISS record (=25th in NOAA).
    The 2020 year-to-date average anomaly continues to sit 2nd in the ranking tabled behind 2016. To gain the “warmest year” accolade from 2016 would require the Sept-Dec average to top +0.94ºC and to slip to 3rd below 2019 would require Sept-Dec to average below +0.83ºC.

    …….. Jan-August Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +1.08ºC … … … +1.02ºC … … … 1st
    2020 .. +1.05ºC
    2019 .. +0.96ºC … … … +0.98ºC … … … 2nd
    2017 .. +0.95ºC … … … +0.92ºC … … … 3rd
    2018 .. +0.83ºC … … … +0.85ºC … … … 5th
    2015 .. +0.83ºC … … … +0.90ºC … … … 4th
    2010 .. +0.76ºC … … … +0.73ºC … … … 7th
    2014 .. +0.73ºC … … … +0.75ºC … … … 6th
    2007 .. +0.72ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … … 10th
    1998 .. +0.69ºC … … … +0.61ºC … … … 16th
    2002 .. +0.67ºC … … … +0.63ºC … … … 14th

    A year-on-year plot of GISS LOTI monthly anomalies is posted here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’).

  11. 111
    Seattle John says:

    Some of the goals of the Green New Deal are no pigs, no cows, no fracking, no fossil fueled airplanes, no gas powered cars.
    So here we are with a 70% reduction in fracking and an 80-90% reduction in air plane flights. And they are parked so you do not even get emissions from the power plants charging their batteries.
    I ask the experts to consider that there is a real impact from there being almost no contrails. I used to see 5 at a time from my porch. Now I see one every 5 days.
    Almost no contrails between California and Asia and Hawaii. Could the changes being seen be coordinated with the lack of airplane flights? Could this mean that the GND would actually make this years conditions be a forever thing?

  12. 112
    dhogaza says:

    Western Hiker:

    “I have a hunch the smoke messes with wind forecasts as well. The lack of surface heating creates an inversion, with the atmosphere ending up much more stable than the models ‘expected’.”

    I live on the Monterey Peninsula, and the River Fire (in the hills west of the Salinas Valley) and Carmel Valley Fire emitted enough smoke that the inland temps stayed lower than predicted, lowering the pressure gradient with the coast and therefore leading to the 10-15 knot predicted afternoon onshore breezes failing to materialize for a few days. 5 knots max. It seemed clear that the models don’t incorporate a “smoke from hell” component :)

  13. 113
    dhogaza says:


    “Perhaps the most recent large fire that dwarfed the fires of today occurred in 1910, burning 3,000,000 acres in a single fire”

    Dwarfed the fires of today? So far over 3,000,000 acres have burned in CA alone, and the fires aren’t done yet. Add to that 1,000,000 acres in Oregon burned, still growing, and more fires in WA and it would appear you have a odd definition “dwarfed”.

    It wasn’t a single fire, it was a large number of small fires, mostly contained, that blew up due to high, hot and dry winds, joining to form very large fires across the landscape – much like what happened in Oregon recently.

    And this ignores the much higher quantity and quality of firefighting forces available to attack the current fires. No helicopters for helitack crews, no airplane tankers or helicopter drops of water or retardant, no tanker trucks or four-wheel drive backcountry engines (or logging roads for them to use, for that matter), far fewer numbers of firefighters and no specialized training or radios to coordinate crews over wide areas, etc.

  14. 114
    zebra says:

    Barry Finch #109,

    Barry, I don’t know about you, but I’ve been trying to make your point for a long, long, time, here and in other venues. If you are just starting out, well, good luck… but don’t expect the breathless reporting of every little excursion to stop anytime soon.

    We chastise the idiot Denialists for exactly this kind of unscientific reasoning, but some people are unwilling to give up on the numerological high of “below the line”, meaningless as it may be.

    When we get to a true “ice-free-summer”, of significant duration, it will be coincident with and driven by a really, really, f’d-up pattern of atmospheric and ocean circulations. The ice-free part will be the least of our worries.

  15. 115

    #109, Barry–

    It’s absurd junk science for you to postulate…

    …something I didn’t say at all. If you’re going to respond, please try to read for comprehension first.

    …it’s definitely a social thing…

    As I said–so, not at issue.

    Your “the more open water there is after Arctic seasonal nightfall, the greater the energy flux from ocean to atmosphere” is devoid of merit because it’s unquantifed.

    No more so than your unsupported assertion to which that served as response.

    …conflating those social things with physical science…

    That’s you, dude, not me. I made no pretense of ‘doing science’; I was merely reporting some observations. If you want to do a more complete analysis, feel free.

    I’m not so much responding to you.

    Yes, that’s painfully obvious. If you’d like to converse, you really need to do better. Loading all your issues about Guy McPherson–anent whom I’d almost surely agree with you–onto my little comment is the behavior, witting or otherwise, of a troll.

  16. 116
    jb says:

    Re: Seattle John at 112:”Some of the goals of the Green New Deal are no pigs, no cows, no fracking, no fossil fueled airplanes, no gas powered cars.”

    If you’re going to lie, do a better job.
    This is not a Fox News or WSJ audience.
    There are plenty of places to find the real goals of the Green New Deal. Oh, here’s an idea. Read the Green New Deal Resolution that was introduced in the House of Representatives.

  17. 117

    #112, Seattle John–

    Some of the goals of the Green New Deal are no pigs, no cows, no fracking, no fossil fueled airplanes, no gas powered cars.

    Dunno where you got that, but it isn’t in the text of the GND.

    For instance, all it says about ag is this:

    [Government will be] …working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including

    (i) by supporting family farming;
    (ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and
    (iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food…

    Definitely a long way from “no pigs, no cows.” And similarly for the other ‘nos’. You’re way too granular for what the text actually says.

  18. 118
    Western Hiker says:

    #98, Mal Adapted. #113, dhogaza,

    My local TV weather guy has been showing computer generated smoke forecasts. Apparently same modeling as for temperature and wind, because just as wrong. IOW, smoke is screwing up the smoke forecast!

  19. 119
    nigelj says:

    Barry Finch @109, I don’t think KM was claiming anything was “special” as such. Sounds like you are erecting a bit of a strawman. He was just making an observation. But I agree about people like Guy McPherson. They are letting their imaginations run very wild into crazy territory. Makes me despair.

  20. 120
    jgnfld says:

    @114 Re.: “And this ignores the much higher quantity and quality of firefighting forces available to attack the current fires.”

    killed also “accidentally” neglects to mention that the envornoment fires started in 80-150 years ago tended to be miles upon miles of slashings piles left over from clearcut logging. Such “accidents” are common when a propagandist presents out-of-context factoids meant to deceive.

  21. 121
    MA Rodger says:

    Philippe Chantreau @108,

    It is an interesting idea you present to provide an understanding of the AGW mechanism.

    Adding a little to the complexity, the glowing fog will also have a density/thickness which would be independent of the brightness of the glow. Whatever the density, when properly within the fog, there would always be the same number of molecules of any particular molecule species in line of sight. Brightness would be a function of how much this fixed number of surrounding molecules are radiating, and that is temperature-dependent. Density would be a measure of how far away those surrounding molecules are.

    And of course, if you can see the IR spectrum (say from 9 microns to 20 microns) it presumably would comprise a rainbow of colours which we can simplify as red-yellow-blue. The red and the blue would be due mainly to water vapour and the yellow (14 to 16 microns) would be due to the CO2.

    At ground level this rainbow would be mixed to become a white glow and appear as a thick glowing fog. It would be so thick that at ground level you literally would be unable to see your hand in front of your face with your IR vision.

    As you rise through the atmosphere, the fog would begin to thin with decreasing pressure as well as become less bright as the temperature drops. Rising higher, as the brightness lessens and the fog continues to thin, the colour of the fog changes because the red and blue glow of the radiation from water vapour thins to nothing as the temperature reduces humidity to zero. With no water vapour*, the fog would then glow yellow due solely to the CO2. Eventually, you would get to a point with the fog thinning where above you there are holes between the CO2 molecules and suddenly you can see the stars above.

    (*One aspect of this IR being ‘visible’ is that the CO2 will not stop the red/blue radiation from the water vapour as would a normal solid object with visible light. So rising above the altitude where water vapour is present, the glow from above would be solely the dimming-with-altitude yellow CO2 but from below, initially the white glow would continue but with the yellow fading and the red/blue from the water vapour undiminished, the white glow would slowly turn a red/blue.)

    Now, as you hover at the point where the stars had become visible, somebody releases extra CO2 into the atmosphere which quickly mixes-in to a very high altitude. The fog around you, while retaining its brightness, thickens and the stars above disappear.

    Then the atmosphere begins to warm because the energy of the radiation which once escaped into space from where you hover is now retained in the fog. Instead it has to escape higher up where the fog is less bright because it is colder and thus radiating less energy, this creating an energy imbalance.

    As the atmosphere warms because of the imbalance, the fog at all altitudes brightens until the Earth’s energy-equilibrium is again achieved.

  22. 122
    Mr. Know It All says:

    109 – Barry
    “In this venue here I expect superior physical science.”

    That right there is funny! :)

    112 – Seattle John
    ” Could this mean that the GND would actually make this years conditions be a forever thing?”

    I’d think it could. With less pollution in the air, the sun will be more intense, like it was in pre-industrial times. The nasty smoke we are experiencing could help out AGW since it is traveling around the world. It is thick here and kept us 20 F cooler than predicted, which saved our bacon because you can’t open the windows for cooling, and I’d hate to turn on an AC unit which would suck the smoke into it. No fun driving in a car though – have to drive with no outside air flow and my car has no AC since we don’t need AC very often.

    114 – dhogaza
    “And this ignores the much higher quantity and quality of firefighting forces available to attack the current fires….”

    And it ignores the fact that the lack of firefighting forces back then meant there were likely more frequent fires to remove dangerous undergrowth, yet, the fire was larger than any of the fires of today. Today’s fires are numerous, but much smaller.

    117 – JB
    “Oh, here’s an idea. Read the Green New Deal Resolution that was introduced in the House of Representatives.”

    Why? It was VOTED ON in the Senate, and not one Senator voted for it – not even the sponsors!!

  23. 123

    Barry may want to stick his metaphorical fingers in his metaphorical ears for this, but it looks like we have a minimum in the record books–provisionally at least.

    JAXA’s VISHOP is showing a marked uptick that is unlikely to be reversed. Consequently, it’s highly likely that the September 13 extent of 3.55 million km2 will end up the lowest daily value of 2020. That doesn’t rival 2012’s 3.18 million km2, but it’s a very solid second ahead of the barely sub-4 million logged last year.

    NSIDC’s Charctic graph tells a similar but not identical tale, as usual. In that record, the upturn is considerably smaller, but the (likely) minimum fell on September 15, when the NSIDC algorithms totted up 3.737 million km2. That’s in the context of 2012’s minimum of 3.387 million km2.

    Barry does make a good point about insolation, though; its biggest impact is indeed felt earlier in the melt season when the 24-hour sun is at its highest. Accordingly, it’s worth noting that 2020 was lowest-ever from roughly June 13th through August 6th (VISHOP)–the heart of summer. In fact, on July 22nd 2020 extent was ~10% below the next-lowest year. I’ll leave it to the appropriately skilled to quantify what the impact of those (and related) facts may have been. But we clearly had a heck of a melt year this time around.

    For me, the bottom line conclusion isn’t any more startling than it is cheerful: 2012 wasn’t a fluke, and won’t remain the record low for too many more years.

  24. 124

    SJ 112: Some of the goals of the Green New Deal are no pigs, no cows, no fracking, no fossil fueled airplanes, no gas powered cars.

    BPL: Don’t just make stuff up, John. It’s too easy for people to check.

  25. 125
    Barry Finch says:

    @116 Kevin McKinney I don’t need to do anything much by way of more complete analysis because the scientists did essentially all in the June 2019 paper (CERES analysis) and there’s no way I’m restricting my hobby to being all of my twilight/dotage/Golden hours just to learn Earth’s regional cloud covers better than climate scientists do. I’ll reply eventually to 2 “new” blokes here who claim to be interested in this bit of physical science (which is what I’d been fishing for with the trial balloon) but this time I’ll do my calculations carefully, as best I can, so it might be weeks, because when I did my own estimates August 2018 to March 2019 & proudly posted them around it turned out I was a ridiculous 39% too high on the heating, found when the June 2019 CERES paper was published with the correct heat quantities. Thanks for the chat. Bye.

  26. 126
    MA Rodger says:

    NOAA NHC shows Storm Wilfred has just been named in the Eastern Atlantic putting 2020 into sole 2nd place for the number of named storms and pushing 1933 down into 3rd spot. In equal 4th spot is 2012, 2011, 2010, 1995 & 1887.
    And with a tropical depression meandering across the Gulf of Mexico expected to be uprated to storm-force in a few hours (and thence to hurricane-force), 2020 will become the second time (after 2005) when the storm names run out of alphabet and resort to using Greek letter names.
    Relative to 2005, 2020’s storms are appearing significantly earlier than the 2005 sequence suggesting 2020 may end up in top spot for number of named storms. The remainder of the 2005 sequence of storms & their time of naming runs:-
    2005 Named Atlantic Storms
    21 Vince 8 Oct (nineteen days behind Wilfred, 2020’s 21st storm)
    22 Wilma 17 Oct
    23 Alpha 22 Oct
    24 Beta 26 Oct
    25 Gamma 15 Nov
    26 Delta 22 Nov
    27 Epsilon 29 Nov
    28 Zeta 30 Dec

    The early 2020 storms didn’t rate highly for Accumulated Cyclone Energy but, with more storms over the recent weeks becoming hurricane strength, 2020 now looks set to easily top a seasonal total ACE of 100. Recent years do appear more frequently with higher seasonal ACE (although ACE data in pre-satellite days is less definitive).
    The 25-year period 1995-2019 compares with the period 1850-1994:-
    ☻ Pre-1995 only a quarter of years saw ACE>100. For 1995-2019 it was two-thirds, a 2.6x increase in frequency.
    ☻ Pre-1995 one-in-10 of years saw ACE>150. For 1995-2019 it was one-in-3, a 3.7x increase in frequency.
    ☻ Pre-1995 one-in-30 of years saw ACE>200. For 1995-2019 it was one-in-6, a 4.6x increase in frequency.

  27. 127
    sidd says:

    Re: MAR, visible IR

    Very nice visualization. Perhaps one of the audience here with spare time could depict that altitude and temperature dependence in living colour.


  28. 128
    dhogaza says:

    KIA lies again …

    “And it ignores the fact that the lack of firefighting forces back then meant there were likely more frequent fires to remove dangerous undergrowth, yet, the fire was larger than any of the fires of today. Today’s fires are numerous, but much smaller.”

    Again, the Montana blow-up happened when a bunch of small, mostly contained, fires blew up and joined into a massive burn.

    Today, with modern firefighting equipment (including in CA a modified 747 tanker), firefighters manage to prevent the River and Carmel Valley fires from joining, and in Oregon the Beachie and Riverside fires from joining.

    You’re ignoring science and evidence again.

    “there were likely more frequent fires to remove dangerous undergrowth”

    Fires driven by extreme high winds have been shown not to be particularly correlated with “dangerous undergrowth”. The Big Blowup you are so fond of blew embers up to 50 miles away. It didn’t require “dangerous undergrowth” to spread. Likewise up in Oregon similar high winds drove the fires a week ago.

    I’m doubtful you are even capable of enunciating the conditions under which increased undergrowth due to fire suppression becomes a driver of increased forest fire risk.

  29. 129
    Vendicar Kahn says:

    Why Science is such a spectacular failure in America.

    American Democracy is a failure and will continue to fail because of this.


  30. 130
    Vendicar Kahn says:

    Re: 103 – “Your analysis is perhaps a bit too cursory.”


    The decimal places are not relevant.

    PIOMAS shows a linear decline. It will soon be super-linear as the thin layer of slush that exists today vanishes and exposes even more dark water to heating.

    So more realistically 2028.

  31. 131

    Vendicar Kahn claims:

    Why Science is such a spectacular failure in America.

    … but points to a Coronavirus news report on what is supposedly a climate science discussion blog.

    That’s a strawman argument, as climate science is pure physics and so should be subjected to a “hard science” evaluation, which is free from the vagaries of a “soft science” trying to predict unpredictable human behavior.

    I will give you an example. The climate cycles of El Nino and La Nina will occur whether humans exist or not and so can be studied as a geophysical behavior not tied to irrational human choices such as to whether to wear a face-mask or not. So any real comparison should be made with respect to pure physics, such as how straightforwardly natural climate cycles can be modeled via geophysical fluid dynamics. However, I wouldn’t consider this as a “spectacular failure” in American science as much as a spectacular advance in human knowledge.

    Science only makes advances and the failures are forgotten.

  32. 132
    Barry Finch says:

    @122 MA Rodger “As you rise through the atmosphere” S.B. “As you rise through the troposphere”. The stratospheric temperature lapse rate is backwardsy and tropopause is flattish (scientific terms). No so-called “greenhouse effect” in tropopause and backwardsy “greenhouse effect” in stratosphere.

  33. 133

    Hmm, @ #126, Barry said:

    I’ll reply eventually to 2 “new” blokes here who claim to be interested in this bit of physical science (which is what I’d been fishing for with the trial balloon)… Thanks for the chat. Bye.

    He may not see this, I guess, but I observe that one really doesn’t have to “fish”. It’s actually possible to ask directly for what one would like. Even helpful, often.

    And WRT my own #124, I think we can now take away the ‘provisional’ tag.


    2020 JAXA minimum: Sept. 13, 3.55 million km2
    2020 NSIDC minimum: Sept. 15, 3.737 million km2

    Not as low as 2012, but well beyond what we’d seen in any other year but that one.

  34. 134
    Adam Lea says:

    MA Roger@127: You are comparing ACE statistics from one of the multi-decadal active periods with a 150 year period containing active and inactive periods, the latter containing pre-satellite records where at least some tropical cyclones out at sea have been undersampled or even missed enitirely, and so ACE values in some years have almost certainly been underestimated. It is not surprising the former period will have a greater fraction of years of ACE > 100. It is like comparing UK May-June-July-August-September 2020 daily maximum temperatures in the UK with 1995-2019 daily maximum temperatures for all days in the year and saying the former has a greater proportion of daily maximums over 20C.

    You can’t meaningfully compare a short time period of data with a much longer one wihout considering if there is natural variability or short term trends, multi-decadal or otherwise in the data. Denialists could just as easily take the trend in global ACE from the mid 1990’s to 2010 and claim global tropical cyclone activity is decreasing, which would clearly be a flawed statement.

  35. 135
    Russell says:

    “At ground level this rainbow would be mixed to become a white glow and appear as a thick glowing fog. It would be so thick that at ground level you literally would be unable to see your hand in front of your face with your IR vision.”

    Really ? Please explain how thermal IR video cameras see through it so easily?

    Climate communication is hard enough without people photoshopping the Apocalypse to suit the taste of their imagination.

  36. 136
    patrick027 says:

    136 Russell

    It depends on the humidity level and the distance you’re trying to see. Outside of the most humid air-masses, absent clouds, the atmosphere has some transparency in the ~ 8 – 12 micron range. In my color scheme, this is blue. The most opaque part of the spectrum might? be ~ 15 microns, the peak of the CO2 absorption spectrum, which is green in my color scheme.

  37. 137
    patrick027 says:

    MA Rodger 122 ,
    Philippe Chantreau 108,

    I had thought the CO2 band should be yellow as well, but when I worked out a trichromatic color system based on 300 K being white hot, I found it more natural to let CO2 be green – see

  38. 138
  39. 139
    patrick027 says:

    Super helpful: (note this is, as I understand it, for a vertical path through the whole atmosphere. The impact of H2O is thus understated relative to the lowest part of the troposphere and overstated relative to the upper troposphere and above.)

  40. 140
    patrick027 says:

    128 sidd – I regret not having already done this; I’ve fallen **way** behind schedule with my blog, but recently I’ve been working on a tutorial on how to see the greenhouse effect which would pair well…

    I have some excel spreadsheet files that it occurs to me I could make downloadable from my blog, though they could use some work first, and before that, I have to fix a licensing issue (it’s asking for the code or something… did I only have a 1-year term? weird…) – maybe in a few weeks…

  41. 141
    patrick027 says:

    Quick guesstimations, could require adjustments:

    So at ground level in the tropics, No clouds. it would look

    whitish looking down, yellowish (?) depending on humidity, looking up


    blue-grey looking down, dimmer green-yellow-grey looking up


    faded blue-grey looking down, even dimmer green-yellow-grey looking up, with less grey and more green?


    ~ same looking down, black looking up

    Clouds would, up close, look like blackbodies glowing white hot or dimmer yellow-white, yellow, orange-ish… with decreasing temperature; through clear air the cloud colors would be filtered by intervening gases.

  42. 142
    Barry Finch says:

    @108 Philippe Chantreau From space, I assume. I always thought it green in my head the last 7 years since I had that picture (I never bothered typing the analogy any place but that’s just laziness, you could maybe phrase a nice analogy). Green because red, yellow, orange, blue are used all over the place for temperature pictorials so they would confuse. You’d see a green haze like the China air pollution but pretty green hues, intensities – colder==darker warmer==brighter. 92% of what you see would be hazy green from GHGs & 8% would be the water solid surface greens from ocean land (92% of radiation to space is from the GHGs, 8% is the “atmospheric window” frequency band).
    Your “With an increase in GH effect, I expect that the glow would intensify” is backwards (GHGs would cause cooling with that). Increase the GHGs and the 8% land/ocean background would be unchanged but the 92% green haze from GHGs would darken because they are coming at you from higher/colder. It’s the -6.5 degrees/km lapse rate that enables the so-called “greenhouse effect” by the IR-active gases. So now you see a less-brilliant haze but the surface unchanged. This lesser radiation to you in space means there’s now more sunshine in than the radiation out, so ocean, air & land will warm up (sunshine goes in the ocean & heat comes out of the ocean is how 51% of the sun input works). As ocean, air & land warm up the greens brighten until they are as bright ON AVERAGE as before you added GHGs. Now here’s the effect. Above I had that the air haze darkened but the surface was unchanged (“atmospheric window” frequency band). As they warm & brighten though the surface warms & brightens too (can’t warm all the air & surface stay unchanged) so that’s how the surface warms, or one simple way of looking at it. The haze will not brighten to quite where it was before because the surface brightened to brighter than it was at the start, but with the 92%:8% ratio it’s a small thing to notice in the eyes seeing green from space analogy.
    More advanced bit: Because of the ocean (biggish) the green brightens to the same as before you added GHGs over 2,000 years but nobody cares about that, so, the green brightens to 40% of the way back to what it was over 4-5 years, then 35% more back to what it was over 100 years, then 25% more back to what it was over 2,000 years. It’s called “climate lag” and it’s 400,000 gigawatts right now.

  43. 143
    patrick027 says:

    actually, going up, looking down, I believe it would go from whitish to bluish-white (with a touch of cyan) to a darker bluish (with a touch of cyan) grey; the blue (with a touch of cyan) color initially getting more saturated as the violet, green and red etc. are subtracted at a higher rate (especially violet because the blackbody spectrum shifts toward the red with cooling), but then another window opens up more between CO2 and the red-H2O, allowing some of the yellow through from below (the yellow wouldn’t increase going up but it would stop decreasing as much) The H2O absorption bands don’t quite dissappear though, they still contribute to stratospheric opacity (so in parts of the spectrum the brightness would increase a little going up through the stratosphere – where the

  44. 144
    patrick027 says:

    … opacity is great enough that the effect of increasingly hiding the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere beneath the warmer upper stratosphere exceeds the effect of increasingly hiding the parts of the troposphere/surface that are even warmer – I’m not sure if this happens in the H2O bands or not but it definitely happens in the central part of the 15-micron CO2 band.)

  45. 145
    patrick027 says:

    Just checked – tropical clear sky – the only visible differences in the graph for looking down, between 20 km and 70 km, are in the CO2 and O3 bands. Interestingly, the O3 still reduces the brightness going upward – I expect this is simply because the band is not particularly opaque, especially in the troposphere, so the upward radiation in that band is still dominated by emissions from the surface or lower tropospheric H2O, which are warmer than anywhere in the stratosphere.

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  48. 148
    MA Rodger says:

    Russell @136,
    My “unable to see your hand in front of your face” assertion @122 was prompted solely by my in-the-past calculations of the path length of IR through CO2 at 15 microns which showed 15 microns is not a good wavelength for seeing that far using IR because of CO2 absorption.

    However, you will note the point also made @122, this with a little more consideration, that viewing the world using a broad IR frequency band will show the emissions of things at some frequencies which are blocked at other frequencies.

    So if you want to see the world with IR, chose your frequency with a little care.
    I note there are IR cameras that operate at different wave bands – 0.9-1.7 microns, 2-5 microns (which apparently suffers most from absorption problems, including from CO2 at 2.7 microns & 4.3 microns), and 7-12 microns. This latter operates within what is called the infrared window. And do note that I entirely ignore the presence of this IR Window in my comment @122 (which was expanding on the interesting idea proposed by Philippe Chantreau @108) with its fake red-yellow-blue spectrum through 9-20 microns. (I was actually more mindful of providing a ‘realistic’ breadth of spectrum within Earth’s IR emissions to mirror the 0.35-0.75 micron visible spectrum within sunlight.)
    Given the reasons behind my comment @122, simplification of the situation every time trumps reality in its full complexity.

    Barry Finch @132,
    Similar to the reply to #136, “simplification of the situation every time trumps reality in its full complexity.” The stratosphere does indeed get warmer with height and, further, the central absorption of CO2 is continues acting strongly up in the stratosphere (thus the spike seen in the middle of the CO2 absorption band in this graphic of Earth’s IR) and, for that tiny portion of the spectrum (although it does become less tiny with rising CO2), it would cloud vision of the stars at the top of the troposphere. I felt this minor complication within the operation of the CO2 GH-effect (along with the secondary CO2 bands either side of 9.6 microns) could be overlooked.

  49. 149
    MA Rodger says:

    Adam Lea @135,
    Are we back to learning our ABC?
    (A) You say I compare ACE stats “from one of the multi-decadal active periods with a 150 year period containing active and inactive periods.”
    Can you be sure the last 25 years does not contain “inactive periods” which are now not apparent due to AGW?
    (B) You say that in earlier years “ACE values in some years have almost certainly been underestimated” suggesting this underestimation of earlier years would be ‘like’ comparing today’s summer temperatures with past annual temperatures. Despite the crazy analogy you make, the record, (even back to 1850 is not that inaccurate) you set out no obvious “almost certain[ly]” reason for missing storms or underestimation that would significantly impact my analysis.
    (C) And you suggest a denialist could run a OLS through Atlantic ACE data 1995-2019 and “and claim global tropical cyclone activity is decreasing.” I don’t think that is correct. It would be more the assertion that there is no statistically significant trend through that period.

    I am entirely conscious of the inter-decadal wobbles in ACE data (graphed here – usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’ and numbers of storms here) and did consider presenting a comparison of the last 25-year +100ACE, +150ACE & +200ACE frequency with the maximums for such frequencies for any rolling 25-year period over the rest of the 170-year record. (They are for 1995-2019 respectively 20%, 33% and 50% higher than the highest found 1850-1994.) But I was mindful of my ABC (or at least the A).

  50. 150
    Killian says:

    Dear @ClimateofGavin and #DavidArcher, did I not TELL you?