Climate science from climate scientists...
1 Oct 2020 by group
This month’s open thread.
Western Hiker says
27 Oct 2020 at 4:31 PM
MA Rodger #140
Now I feel bad for pointing out something you were already aware of.
Karsten V. Johansen says
27 Oct 2020 at 6:28 PM
I thank Barry Finch # 125 and 126 for interesting comments and coreections to my post regarding the eemian sealevel and the Greenland and Antarctic icesheets.
In the meantime we have heard distressing news about the fate of the Arctic sea ice:
What distresses me most, is the repeated optimistic bias among the overwhelming majority of researchers, as can be seen in this graphic:
Among 42 research models, 35 underestimates the melting (about half of these underestimates it a lot), only 2 hits the target, while 4 almost hits it and one grossly overestimates the melting (I apologize if my fast counting on the screen isn’t completely correct, but you get the picture).
After the IPCC in its report 2001 grossly underestimated how fast the arctic seaice is melting away, this – almost twenty years later! – is still the case with by far the great majority of research being done on this subject.
I wonder why?
27 Oct 2020 at 6:50 PM
‘Sleeping giant’ Arctic methane deposits starting to release, scientists find
This looks like bad news, but it is not a surprise to some of us. The methane release from warmed Arctic seabed is a tipping point that has consequences and will be very hard, probably impossible, to reverse. So, if you have the time, you can start calculating how much methane will be absorbed in the water column, how much will be released into the atmosphere and how much heat will follow from that methane release.
Then, if you are feeling ambitious, you can calculate how much new methane will be released by the heat generated by the initial round of melting clathrates. And so on and so forth.
Gonna be a hot time in the old town when the methane release really takes off. What will this look like? it will look gradual as it starts and then it will look sudden as it ramps up.
Smoke’m if you got’m.
doing good, if up is good:
Last Week September 20 – 26, 2020 411.00 ppm
1 Year Ago September 20 – 26, 2019 408.34 ppm
10 Years Ago September 20 – 26, 2010 386.81 ppm
Richard Creager says
28 Oct 2020 at 5:02 AM
Zebra 123. Perhaps this is more childish word play. “The random kinetic energy of molecules…..is not…..energy”. I do not understand how this statement can be a lead-in to a call for ‘correct definitions’ or ‘terminology that is clearly explained’. I understand the random kinetic energy of molecules to be what drives heat engines. Please ‘clearly explain’.
MA Rodger says
28 Oct 2020 at 7:18 AM
After a very slow start to the freeze season that saw Arctic Sea Ice Extent well below anything seen before at this time of year (see SIE Anomaly graph – usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’), the ice is still not showing great enthusiasm for a surge in the freeze-up. The NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News maps show a lot of unfrozen ocean that would have been iced-over by now in previous years.
And on-cue we hear reports in the press of methane emissions detected in this same bit of ocean, the east Siberian Sea. CarbonBrief covers the news thus:-
“A frontpage “exclusive” story in the Guardian reports that scientists claim to have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean are being released over a large area off the East Siberian coast. While the researchers stressed their findings were preliminary, the discovery of activity in these deposits, known as the “sleeping giants” of the carbon cycle, “raises concerns that a new tipping point has been reached that could increase the speed of global heating”, the newspaper reports. One scientist is quoted as saying: “At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered”. The Times, which also has the story, notes the Russian and Swedish researchers cautioned that the results from their expedition would need to be “checked and confirmed before being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal”. Some prominent climate scientists have taken to Twitter to downplay the findings.”
The final cautionary comments within the CarbonBrief coverage are worth noting – finding something that (in the Guardian coveage) is described by the chief scientist on-board as “unknown until now” does not guarantee it would not have also been found before now if folk had been looking. But that said, the Arctic Ice anomalies are massive and unprecidented and we’ve seen some seriously high temperature anomalies up on the Siberian coast through this year.
Ray Ladbury says
28 Oct 2020 at 9:35 AM
This is outrageous.
These guys appear to think they can negate climate change with a frickin’ sharpie.
Barry Finch says
28 Oct 2020 at 6:27 PM
Re-posting of @117 with the incorrect synonym phrase “, aka “heat”” removed (incorrect definition) as informed by the “zebra” @138. Plus some text removed to simplify.
Photons are continuously both created from other energy by GHG molecules & destroyed by GHG molecules by converting them to other energy. A certain portion, statistically highly constant, reaches surface and a certain portion, statistically highly constant, reaches space.
This is how the so-called “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s troposphere causes warming. The so-called “greenhouse effect” effect is nothing at all like the effect that warms a greenhouse. A vast “shimmer” of transverse electromagnetic radiation in the long-wave band (LWR) is caused by molecules of water vapour (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2) and some other gases in the troposphere due to their collisions (averaging 2,700,000,000 collisions / second) with other molecules, which are almost always going to be nitrogen (N2) or oxygen (O2) because they are almost all of the gas quantity in the troposphere. The H2O, CO2, CH4, NO2 and some other gases are being called “greenhouse gases (GHGs)” because the overall effect (not just this part) ends up causing warming of Earth’s troposphere. All except H2O are called “well-mixed greenhouse gases” because their boiling and freezing points are so low that they don’t condense or freeze in the troposphere, not even near the top, so they get spread out well mixed around Earth and well mixed vertically in the troposphere. The well-mixed GHGs now punch above their weight compared with water vapour (H2O) because the upper half of the troposphere is so cold that almost all H2O forms on dust/salt particles in liquid or solid form there rather than being a GHG but the others remain as GHGs. The lowest quarter or so of the troposphere where it’s warmer and water vapour (H2O) predominates is already somewhat “saturated” without much additional “enhanced greenhouse effect” possible (still, H2O has such a broad absorption band that it still manages to match the “well-mixed greenhouse gases” pretty much exactly 1:1 net as a 100% +ve feedback).
The GHG molecules don’t emit a photon of LWR when they collide and they don’t later get to emit a photon of LWR after every collision, only after a very few of them such as once per 1,000,000,000 collisions (note 1). What happens is that a collision might cause a GHG molecule to vibrate in a certain way (so with a certain energy) of which the GHG molecule has the capability of any one of a selection (called its “vibrational modes”). GHG molecules with more vibrational modes are more powerful GHGs because they have a broader absorption/emission band. The GHG molecule now has “molecular vibrational energy (MVE)” if the collision did cause it to vibrate. Energy cannot be created without destroying matter and matter doesn’t get destroyed by this so what happens is that one or both of the two molecules slows down such that the total “molecular translational energy (MTE)”, aka “molecular kinetic energy”, is reduced by precisely the same amount as the MVE that the GHG molecule acquired, so (m1*v1**2 + m2*v2**2)/2 after collision is less than (m1*v1**2 + m2*v2**2)/2 before collision because either v1 or v2 or both was reduced, thus obeying the Law Of Conservation Of Energy. What happened was energy transmutation from one form to another. When this vibrating GHG molecule hits another molecule it loses its vibration (note 1) and one or both of the two molecules speeds up such that the total MTE, is increased by precisely the same amount as the MVE that the GHG molecule lost. So it just moved kinetic energy from one N2 or O2 (almost always) molecule to another. However, just a few times each second a GHG molecule with MVE will spontaneously emit a photon of LWR and lose its MVE (“relax”). Now it has converted one-photon’s-worth of molecular kinetic energy in the troposphere to one photon of LWR. This “relaxation time” of the “springy” covalent bond harmonic motion (with a photon emitted) happens over 10ths of one second (a very long time indeed).
LWR is also radiated from the surfaces of liquids & solids such as the surface of the ocean, the surfaces of water droplets in spray above the ocean, the surfaces of water droplets in clouds, the surfaces of any water droplets at all, the land surface, the surfaces of trees & grass, the skins of animals, the surfaces of dust, salt, volcanic ash, any ash and any surface whatsoever on the ocean or land or in the troposphere. Except for 8% of the LWR from the ocean+land surface whose photons happen to have wave-lengths in a band called “the atmospheric window” this LWR goes into the vast “shimmer” of LWR in the troposphere with a distribution of energy quantity at each wave-length in the LWR band that is shown in plots of Earth’s IR emission spectrum.
GHG molecules also absorb LWR provided that the photon’s energy (which is its wave-length) perfectly matches one of that GHG molecule’s MVE mode energies and the photon goes through (or tries to go through) the area of the GHG molecule that absorbs that wave-length. Obviously, a GHG molecule neither knows nor cares whether a photon of a certain wave-length trying to go through it was emitted by the surface of the ocean or land, surface of liquid or solid aerosoI, or emitted by another GHG molecule because all photons of the same wave-length are the same. A GHG molecule with MVE that it got by absorbing LWR will a few times each second spontaneously emit a photon of LWR and lose its MVE, exactly the same situation as when it got its MVE by collision. In this case the GHG molecule transmuted LWR back to LWR, it transmuted a photon to an identical photon, so it did nothing at all other than change the direction in which the photon is going. This is the cartoon that scientists show the public because it’s a simple analog that Earth tried to cool itself to space and failed, but since there are 2,700,000,000 collisions / second there’s utterly minimal chance that the GHG molecule will spontaneously emit a photon of LWR and lose its MVE before it collides and loses its MVE (note 1). The “skeptics” use the highly-incorrect nature of this cartoon to “disprove” the physics theory but it isn’t the physics theory that’s incorrect, it’s the cartoon that’s incorrect. The cartoon doesn’t describe the physics theory hardly at all as I’ve explained in detail above. This is why I dislike this cartoon. When a vibrating GHG molecule hits another molecule it loses its vibration (note 1) and one or both of the two molecules speeds up. What happened was energy transmutation from one form to another, energy transmutation from LWR to molecular kinetic energy with MVE as the intermediary step.
Now the so-called “enhanced greenhouse effect” explanation that I think is clearest, obvious and difficult to challenge by mis-direction disinformation and subterfuge per the memes concocted by the coal/oil shills. 8.5% +/- 1.7% of the LWR that Earth sends to space is emitted by the ocean or land surface because the photons are in a wave-length band called “the atmospheric window” that doesn’t get absorbed by the GHGs. It’s my understanding that this will narrow slightly with increased GHGs, but this isn’t the prime “enhanced greenhouse effect” and I’m not addressing any additional warming it might cause. 91.5% of the LWR that Earth sends to space is emitted by the GHG molecules in the troposphere, tropopause and stratosphere (note 2). This 91.5% of the LWR is the part that gets reduced by increased tropospheric GHGs and causes an energy imbalance with insufficient energy going out, which causes global warming, ocean heating and ice fusion, which causes climate change.
The troposphere has an upper and a lower surface. The upper surface is the top of the troposphere (the tropopause) and the lower surface is the surface of the ocean or land. LWR produced in the troposphere that reaches the lower surface will warm that surface so it stays in Earth’s ecosphere but LWR produced in the troposphere that reaches the upper surface has a good chance to make it through the increasingly-thin tropopause, stratosphere and the ultra-thin extended atmosphere to space and be energy lost to Earth’s ecosphere, thus cooling it. LWR reaching the upper/lower surfaces was produced by GHG molecules, the surfaces of water droplets and the surfaces of solid particles (sea salt, ash, dust) throughout the troposphere sending photons upwards/downwards as described in detail earlier.
– There is an average altitude in the troposphere of the LWR quantity that reaches space. If you could float at this altitude and watch/count photons with special eye balls and brain you’d see 50% of those photons that reach space are heading up from below you. If you counted it at 48% then you’d need to float upward to get more of the LWR photon production below you. If you counted it at 52% then you’d need to float downward to get more of the LWR photon production above you. This is obvious. When you float to the place where 50.0000000% of those photons that reach space are heading up from below you then you are at the average altitude in the troposphere of the LWR quantity that reaches space.
– There is an average altitude in the troposphere of the LWR quantity that reaches the surface of the ocean or land. You could float and find that the same way as the preceding.
These 2 altitudes in the troposphere are approximately for illustration only and as a global average (I’m not quantifying the so-called “enhanced greenhouse effect” in this comment, only describing its operation accurately):
=average= =average global ==
= altitude= =temperature=====
— 5,960 —— -23.8 ———— 50% of the “energy shimmer” of LWR photons that will
————————————— make it to the tropopause are emitted by GHG
————————————— molecules and the surfaces of cloud droplets
————————————— and atmospheric particles below this altitude.
— 2,060 ——— 1.6 ———— 50% of the “energy shimmer” of LWR photons that will
————————————— make it to the surface of the ocean or land are emitted
————————————— by GHG molecules and the surfaces of cloud droplets and
————————————— atmospheric particles below this altitude.
These values are approximate. They are to demonstrate how the so-called “enhanced greenhouse effect” works, not to provide quantities. They are approximately correct though. They are based on a global average ~12,000 metres height of the troposphere but it varies geographically from 9,000 to 16,000 metres.
If tropospheric GHGs are increased then 2 changes occur per my explanations above since the start of my comment:
1) More LWR than before is produced by the GHGs, and
2) More LWR than before is absorbed by the GHGs because the LWR photons have to make it through more GHG molecules that might absorb them before they can reach their goal of going up past the top of the troposphere or going down past the bottom of the troposphere and being absorbed into the ocean or land.
Note that I have not included any additional effect there might be due to increased GHGs reducing the 8.5% of the LWR reaching space that’s in the “atmospheric window” wave-length band.
The result of combined effects/changes (1), (2) above is that the average altitude in the troposphere of the LWR quantity that reaches the top of the troposphere gets higher, so perhaps it raises from the 5,960 metres in my illustrative example to, say, 6,060 metres, which is on average 0.65 degrees colder than its prior altitude so its GHGs radiate 2.28 w/m**2 less than before. So less energy than before is radiated to space.
Likewise, identically, the average altitude in the troposphere of the LWR quantity that reaches the surface of the ocean or land gets lower because it has to get past more GHG molecules that might absorb the photon, so perhaps it lowers from the 2,060 metres to 1,960 metres, which is on average 0.65 degrees warmer than its prior altitude so its GHGs radiate 3.07 w/m**2 more than before. So more energy than before is radiated to the surface.
Obviously, the altitude changes just above depend on the GHG change quantity and I just showed a random example. In either case above (upwards or downwards) GHG photons were trying to reach their goal of the top or bottom of the troposphere but now there are more GHGs in the way so it needs, == on average ==, to be a bit closer to make it. So that’s why the “energy shimmer” of LWR that will reach the top is a higher-altitude shimmer than before and the “energy shimmer” of LWR that will reach the bottom (ocean or land) is a lower-altitude shimmer than before. The quantity of LWR energy (power flux) provided by a mass of gas is proportional to its temperature(Kelvin)**4 because lower temperature leads to slower molecules which leads to fewer GHG molecular collisions / second which leads to less LWR production than before. Thus we see that the tropospheric temperature lapse rate is required to cause the so-called “greenhouse effect” in which an increase in tropospheric IR-active gases (with their “springy” harmonically-oscillating covalent bonds) causes less LWR than before to be radiated to space and more LWR than before to be radiated to the surface.
Note 1: I haven’t yet found the collision MVE production & destruction spectra so I don’t know what %age make MVE and what %age destroy MVE. It makes no difference to the description of the mechanism above but it would be needed to confirm the quantity of effect for a specified increase in a specified GHG.
Note 2: Removed because I’ve gotten confirmation.
Note 3: 80% of Earth’s atmosphere is in the troposphere (the top of which is 16 km in the tropics and 9 km in the polar regions, averaging ~12,000 metres). The “greenhouse effect” warming can only happen in Earth’s troposphere, there’s no effect in Earth’s tropopause and the effect is “backwards” in Earth’s stratosphere (and part of its ionosphere) with =increased= stratospheric GHG gases causing =cooling= of the stratosphere because the stratospheric temperature lapse rate has temperature increasing with altitude (that’s how it’s known with total certainty that it’s increased “greenhouse gases (GHGs)” doing the global warming for the last several decades). The increasing GHGs in the stratosphere are a slight -ve feedback to global warming because downwelling LWR radiation from the stratosphere decreases with increased GHGs, but it’s a very slight -ve feedback because only 6.3% of the well-mixed GHGs (and all molecules) are above the tropopause and they are initially colder than the average of the troposphere so they make even less LWR than the 6.3% factor. By the time the stratosphere warms more than the average of the troposphere there’s only 0.4% of Earth’s atmosphere’s molecules above, negligible. Since there’s no temperature lapse rate in the tropopause then any change in the quantity/type of GHGs in the tropopause cannot have any warming or cooling effect.
Note 4: FTIR power flux vs wave-length spectra recorded by the IRIS Infra-Red Interferometer Spectrometer instruments on the Nimbus-1 (1964 – 1964), Nimbus-2 (1966 – 1969), Nimbus-3 (1969 – 1972) satellites show which wave-lengths of LWR heading to space past the satellite came from the surface of the ocean and land and which wave-lengths came, on average, from the GHG molecules and surfaces of solid particles and water droplets in the atmosphere. Examples of these measured FTIR power flux vs wave-length spectra (for western tropical Pacific Ocean, Sahara Desert, Antarctica & southern Iraq) can be seen at:
http://climatemodels.uchicago.edu/modtran/modtran.doc.html (IRIS-C spectrum on the Nimbus 3 satellite over the Sahara Desert to demonstrate the U.S. Armed Forces MODTRAN model’s general accuracy)
https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft8r29p2m6;chunk.id=d0e1726;doc.view=print (Sahara Desert as observed by IRIS-D instrument on the Nimbus-4 satellite)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oog7-KOtpEA&t=1713s at 18:07 (4 FTIR samples for western tropical Pacific Ocean, Sahara Desert, Antarctica & southern Iraq)
From these spectra atmospheric physicists have calculated the 91.5% of the LWR that Earth sends to space that is emitted by the atmosphere rather than by the surface of the ocean and land. Also, the MODTRAN tool on the internet can be used to play with a theoretical calculation of the FTIR power flux vs wave-length spectra by adjusting GHGs.
Note 5: 2020-01-25 edited example altitudes. The Kevin Trenberth & other Earth’s energy budgets show 17% (40 w/m**2) in the atmospheric window but “Outgoing Longwave Radiation due to Directly Transmitted Surface Emission” of S.M.S. COSTA & K. P. SHINE 2012 states that as ad hoc and assesses instead 8.5% (20 w/m**2 +/- 4 w/m**2). I don’t attempt quantifying anything in the effect explanation but I made my examples for illustration as close to reality as is reasonable to do (Stefan-Boltzmann equation & average tropospheric temperature lapse rate).
Note 6: I might perhaps have replaced the former incorrect word “heat” (removed from this version) with a defined phrase “heat content” (in American English: a quantity associated with a thermodynamic system, expressed as the internal energy of a system plus the product of the pressure and volume of the system) since this phrase defines energy contained rather than energy in motion, but since I hadn’t previously realized that definitions are apparently so haphazard that “heat” has a different meaning when used in certain defined phrases such as “heat content” and since “heat content” requires me to think about pressure and since “heat content” includes transverse electromagnetic radiation I’ll instead just give up the attempt to describe molecular translational energy in commonly-understood words/phrases such as “heat” for Web Log & GooglesTubes readers.
Adam Lea says
29 Oct 2020 at 6:50 AM
117: “This is how the so-called “greenhouse effect” in Earth’s troposphere causes warming. The so-called “greenhouse effect” effect is nothing at all like the effect that warms a greenhouse.”
Is the glazing in a real greenhouse not opaque to infra-red radiation so trapping it, and the reason greenhouses are warmer is because they prevent convection to the free atmosphere?
29 Oct 2020 at 7:52 AM
Richard Creager #154,
“perhaps this is more childish word-play”
Well yeah, Richard, since you cut words out of my comment to completely change the meaning. That seems exactly like childish word-play to me.
“Heat” is the energy that is transferred from a volume at a higher temperature to a volume at a lower temperature.
So, it is reasonable to think of the photons of IR as ‘the heat’. (The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.)
“Heat” is the energy that is transferred from a volume at a higher temperature to a volume at a lower temperature.
So, it is reasonable to think of the photons of IR as ‘the heat’. (The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.)
If you actually have a question about what I actually said, I’m happy to answer. But it sounds like you didn’t carefully read #138 either.
Or do you think that there is some vast conspiracy involving me, Wikipedia, all the references given in the Wiki article, (and perhaps the basement of a pizza shop), creating false definitions about thermodynamics?
29 Oct 2020 at 9:12 AM
Karsten V. Johansen @152,
Surely you criticism of those making predictions of the annual minimum of Arctic Sea Ice is a bit too selective. Yes in 2020 84% of the predictions underestimated the 2020 melt. But look back to previous years. In 2019 it was just 23% underestimated, in 2018 it was 29% and back in 2017 nobody underestimated (although there were fewer taking part back then).
29 Oct 2020 at 12:36 PM
@154 Richard Creager You’ve accidentally mis-read & mis-quoted the “Zebra” @123. The words you omitted from your partial quote entirely change the meaning. The Zebra (@94 initially) stated that no form of energy is “heat”. This is because heat is defined in thermodynamics as “energy in transfer to or from a thermodynamic system” so therefore no form of energy can be “heat” because it’s possible to have any form of energy in a “thermodynamic system” with none being transferred (because time is sub-infinitely sub-dividable) so therefore there’s zero “heat” in this situation, but there’s definitely energy, so no energy form is “heat”. You just accidentally added the non-existent word “it” to Zebra @123 (@94 initially). As an aside, it’s evident that either thermodynamics definitions or usage are so sloppy that phrases including “heat” do not always have the same meaning for “heat” as when “heat” is used other than those phrases, else “heat content” would be meaningless (and doubtless other such phrases if I bothered to search). So like “blue funk”.
29 Oct 2020 at 12:54 PM
@152 Karsten V. Johansen I wonder whether it’s possible that the obvious plays any part in that. Probably not because the bits I’ve happened to come acoss are complicated, about Arctic natural fluctuations and beyond my knowledge. The obvious is that climate scientists say correctly that anomalies in quantities (obviously, temperature for example) are measured much more accurately than the absolute quantity. It seems to me that if the entire model world was always 0.1 degrees (or a similar small amount) colder than the real world then ice would melt later in the model world than in the real world but it wouldn’t cause any other significant effect (apart from feedbacks/consequences of ice melt). I wonder whether that plays any significant role. Edit: I mean averaging 0.1 degrees or similar colder than the real world, not necessarily precisely the same amount colder everywhere. I did think of something other than ice/snow freeze/melt a few months back that would be affected by running the 100 years simulation with Earth always a fraction of degree colder than reality, but I’ve forgotten what that was.
29 Oct 2020 at 2:49 PM
Kevin McKinney, #144
“I call BS on the idea that you can’t fight fires with mechanized/motorized gear in protected wilderness areas. The actual text of the applicable policy”
You are correct.
Below are some of the many exceptions, where the use of mechanized/motorized equipment is allowed:
[Approve the use of Motorized Equipment (chainsaws, portable pumps, etc.) when:
• There is a threat to life, property, public or firefighter safety that can only be mitigated with the use of motorized equipment.
• Potential effects to cultural or natural resources will be outside the range of acceptable effects, unless motorized equipment is used.
• The Burning Index (BI) exceeds, or is predicted to exceed, the 90th percentile
level for the affected area.
• The down dead fuel loading or number of snags is such that containment or
control objectives cannot be met without the use of motorized equipment.
• Technically difficult trees (usually “C” level difficulty) must be felled for
firefighter safety, and where using a crosscut saw substantially increases risk to
• Use of motorized equipment will result in substantially less impact to the
Wilderness resource (i.e. using a pump to establish a “wet line”, versus using
handtools to dig line).]
That said, water drops (by airplane or helicopter), seem to be the primary method when fires are still small. The reason is fairly obvious – wilderness fires tend to start in rugged, hard-to-get-to locations, and a quick response is important.
A typical example:
29 Oct 2020 at 3:05 PM
155 MA Rodger: “A frontpage “exclusive” story in the Guardian reports that scientists claim to have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean are being released over a large area off the East Siberian coast…. “raises concerns that a new tipping point has been reached that could increase the speed of global heating”
New? How many times have Semilitov, et al., now found the Arctic shelf emitting CH4? This is a continuation and confirmation of that already known.
the newspaper reports. One scientist is quoted as saying: “At this moment, there is unlikely to be any major impact on global warming, but the point is that this process has now been triggered”
Some genies refuse to go back in their bottles. Even in my best-case scenario of 20 years to 260ppm, I doubt the oceans will cool soon enough for the CH4 there to not have an impact. Soon enough to prevent an ELE? One can hope… but we’re already in a self-imposed ELE, so…
Some prominent climate scientists have taken to Twitter to downplay the findings.”
How many times do Semilitov, et al., have to do this before the “downplay”ing ends? It’s not something that fits the risk assessment. Scientific reticence needs to get off its fat ass. Risk and the science are two different things. It’s fair to say, “We really don’t know. It really shouldn’t cause any major problems in a time frame that matters according to the best science we have today. However, the risk if it *does* is society itself, if not much of the life on the planet, so let’s get the feck moving on drawing down carbon! It’s simply not worth our grandchildren’s lives, is it?”
The final cautionary comments within the CarbonBrief coverage are worth noting – finding something that (in the Guardian coveage) is described by the chief scientist on-board as “unknown until now” does not guarantee it would not have also been found before now if folk had been looking.
WTF does that matter? We equally don’t know if it’s been going for 20 years and is about to blow out tomorrow. The unknown is not our friend here, so using it as a caution to not overreact is exactly *not* what should be going on. The risk is the end of everything we know. Let’s start acting – and talking – like it.
But that said, the Arctic Ice anomalies are massive and unprecidented and we’ve seen some seriously high temperature anomalies up on the Siberian coast through this year.
And I have yet to see an explanation for the temps and the low sea ice beyond, “Well, looky there!”
Regime change, people. We hit some kind of tipping point in the past five years.
“That’s a very bad thing.” – Captain Obvious.
William B Jackson says
29 Oct 2020 at 4:28 PM
#156 Hardly surprising this is after all the administration that has crowed over ending the pandemic:https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2020/10/28/white-house-claim-that-trump-ended-the-pandemic-was-poorly-worded-spokesperson-says/#7cf1f0637eca even as it goes into overdrive!
29 Oct 2020 at 8:56 PM
zebra @159, you said originally “So, it is reasonable to think of the photons of IR as ‘the heat’. (The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.)”
You were well intended but not clear. You should have said “And lets assume “”for the sake of argument”” that the random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy”.
29 Oct 2020 at 9:06 PM
From 155 above “A frontpage “exclusive” story in the Guardian reports that scientists claim to have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean are being released over a large area off the East Siberian coast…. “raises concerns that a new tipping point has been reached that could increase the speed of global heating”
I recall an article on this website about a year ago stating that the oceans methane clathrates were very unlikely to be destabilsed significantly by a warming climate. I cant remember who wrote the article, but what is the response of the writer to the latest claims about east siberian coast?
30 Oct 2020 at 1:38 AM
Zebra 159, OK, without the ellipses, “The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.” Yes, I read 138 and it’s fine, I don’t do conspiracy theories. And yes I have a question about what you actually said. I’m not a scientist but I’m broadly scientifically literate and am here to learn. When I read that random kinetic energy of molecules is not any form of energy, for me that needs explanation, no matter what context the phrase is taken from, because it seems to this tiny mind that yes, it surely is a form of energy (thus heat engines). So to repeat my question of 154, please clearly explain. Thanks in advance.
30 Oct 2020 at 1:44 AM
Barry Finch 161- thanks. lesson- always read the whole thread. Really helpful explanation.
30 Oct 2020 at 3:52 AM
I don’t recall a full article here at RealClimate on Arctic clathrates recently and don’t see one since ‘Much Ado About Methane’ which was back in 2012.
But my search did come across Gavin’s piece from Feb 2019 ‘The Best Case for Worst Case Scenarios’ which does include a passage that perhaps fits the bill as it says on clathrates:-
“But some things can be examined and ruled out. Imminent massive methane releases that are large enough to seriously affect global climate are not going to happen (there isn’t that much methane around, the Arctic was warmer than present both in the early Holocene and last interglacial and nothing similar has occurred).” [My bold]
I would suggest that the meaning of the word “imminent” would need nailing down to assist any discussion on the quote.
30 Oct 2020 at 5:51 AM
Barry Finch #161,
Thanks for your effort, and I wanted to say that you exhibited a rare characteristic here when you were willing to be corrected on your earlier comment.
I’m not sure about your time-subdivision argument applied to radiant energy. But as you say, thermodynamics is a complicated business and the terminology can be confusing.
The main point for me was to make the distinction, as the Wikipedia article says, between the colloquial usage and the “technical” definition, because lots of misunderstanding results in GHG discussions by mixing the two.
30 Oct 2020 at 10:45 AM
@164 Killian I have a recollection of that methane (CH4) clathrate sea bed emission newly discovered being on the Laptev Sea slope (was it 350 m depth ?) rather than the Asian continental shelf. Methane hydrate can’t exist on or near the sea bed of the Asian continental shelf because it requires the pressure of >270 m of water depth to form the hydrate and the continental shelf average depth is 62 m, so this event (if it is an event rather than continuum) is very different as far as the physical science goes from the potential issue of the ice under the shelf melting to its depth of 90 m below the sea bed or whatever it averages and providing numerous new pathways for the release of CH4 that might be trapped under pressure below it, which presently is primarily emitted to ocean by travelling ~horizontally (angled though) through porous layers until it’s exposed because the layers slope up to sea bed, then CH4 emits there (I assume that’s the situation around Svalbard for the CH4 emission in that paper which I saw/heard a talk about some months ago). All such issues/events share in common the warming ecosphere but they need to be delineated for clear thought.
30 Oct 2020 at 11:15 AM
New pub on ECS about ice crystals in clouds.
You can read it here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-020-00649-1
“For decades, global climate models have predicted it as between approximately 2 and 4.5 °C. However, a large subset of models participating in the 6th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project predict values exceeding 5 °C. The difference has been attributed to the radiative effects of clouds, which are better captured in these models, but the underlying physical mechanism and thus how realistic such high climate sensitivities are remain unclear. Here we analyse Community Earth System Model simulations and find that, as the climate warms, the progressive reduction of ice content in clouds relative to liquid leads to increased reflectivity and a negative feedback that restrains climate warming, in particular over the Southern Ocean. However, once the clouds are predominantly liquid, this negative feedback vanishes. Thereafter, other positive cloud feedback mechanisms dominate, leading to a transition to a high-sensitivity climate state.”
I suppose the cooler heads here will jump in right on cue to tell us why this doesn’t warrant concern and consideration. That’s what you do if you are a luckwarmer or cooler head.
I continue to think that it makes good sense to consider the fat tail risks. That’s why most of us carry fire insurance on our homes.
CO2? How are we doing?
Last Week October 18 – 24, 2020 411.52 ppm
1 Year Ago October 18 – 24, 2019 408.73 ppm
10 Years Ago October 18 – 24, 2010 387.54 ppm
They way I look at those number, I see that we have gained about 25 ppm over the ten year period, so average annual rate of about 2.5 ppm
Last month we picked up 2.75 ppm over same month last year.
Sep. 2020: 411.29 ppm
Sep. 2019: 408.54 ppm
It sure would be nice to see a month where the annual gain is closer to the average gain over ten years. I don’t think I will live to see that.
30 Oct 2020 at 11:34 AM
on methane hydrate story from Semiletov and Gustafsso, we have Schmidt, Mann and Hausfather being quoted in The Week. https://theweek.com/speedreads/946300/climate-scientists-throw-cold-water-arctic-methane-bomb-report
They don’t sound very concerned:
from Gavin: “This story is… unconvincing. First off it’s just two scientists (no publication), one of whom has made similar (unsupported) claims before & ignores the context that permafrost & methane have been degrading in this region since it was inundated in the early Holocene.”
from Zeke: Hausfather pointed to a major study of global methane emissions that relied on both satellite data and on-site observations and found that there was no increase in Arctic Ocean methane emissions as of 2017.
from Michael: “There are climate feedback mechanisms to be worried about. A supposed “Arctic Methane Bomb” isn’t one of them.”
There’s a pretty robust discussion on twitter. You can scan that here: https://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/1321152148399362055
Two words that come to mind: precautionary principle. But that seems to be pushed aside by what looks like alpha dog behavior by the big boys of climate science.
30 Oct 2020 at 12:54 PM
@167 nigelj I’m surmising that the two you mentioned are only related in that they, of course, share in common the warming ecosphere as do so many climate events lately, but are not mutually self-contradictory in that one might be (huge) shelf and the other (relatively smallish) slope to the deep ocean so the physical science would differ hugely between them if they are. I’ll not be looking at that item soon. I invite you to obtain detail and provide discussion about their similarities & differences for the audience. Perhaps you’ll find that I’ve mis-remembered or that your “article on this website” also included deeper ocean science. Let us all know in due course please.
30 Oct 2020 at 1:52 PM
If there was no Arctic Ocean sea ice on March 13th then its energy budget would increase by 8.5% due to extra sunshine absorbed through spring/summer.
30 Oct 2020 at 2:02 PM
Fires in Colorado? Pretty big this year.
Is this the new normal or just an unusual year? Who knows for sure?
Time will tell.
30 Oct 2020 at 2:10 PM
In an FB discussion I challanged a denier to a wager about the veracity of his sources, him being unwilling to share them. He seems to think he has a strong case, and has accepted. Now I’m looking for a a service that will host this bet in a safe way. I know these kinds of bets has been attempted before, so I hope to get some pointers for such a service from you guys. I had a quick look myself, but didn’t find anything convincing. Please help :-)
31 Oct 2020 at 2:52 PM
Richard Creager #164,
OK, it’s an English problem, not physics.
You say: “When I read that random kinetic energy of molecules is not any form of energy,”
But you are “reading” what isn’t there. “Nor is any other form of energy” is not the same as “Nor is it any other form of energy.”
Barry picked that up, if you read his #161… he says exactly that you inserted the word “it”, obviously unconsciously.
“Nor is any other form of energy” should be understood, from the sentence structure as “nor is any other form of energy [in either volume heat].
To me this seems obvious. I can’t remember all the grammar terminology, but I’m pretty confident it’s a normal, standard construction:
“The random kinetic energy of molecules in either volume is not heat, nor is any other form of energy.”
“nor is” refers back to the “not heat”. Are we OK now?
31 Oct 2020 at 5:45 PM
With the formation of 2020’s Tropical Depression 29 predicted to strengthen into a hurricane withn 48 hours, the Altantic 2020 hurricane season will equal the season record of 28 Tropical Storms set in 2005 and be delving deeper yet into the Greek alphabet to name this latest addition to the year’s storms, gaining the name Eta. (The 2005 season had an additional storm added to its total in post-season analysis, a storms which thus failed to gain a place in the seasons list of allocated storm names.)
And there is still time for further 2020 Tropical Storms to add more storms to the season and setting a new record for annual storm-numbers, with Theta and Iota the next in the name lists.
31 Oct 2020 at 9:09 PM
MAR @170, thanks and yes it was the 2019 article I was thinking of. Yeah what does “imminent massive releases of methane can be ruled out” really mean? One assumes a great deal this century, but I don’t like assumptions. The road to hell is paved with assumptions.
Barry Finch @175, the article I was thinking about is “The best case for worst case scenarios” page below and as found by MAR.
Sorry I should have tried harder to find it, but I was a bit short of time. MAR has highlighted the related text. “But some things can be examined and ruled out. Imminent (???) massive methane releases that are large enough to seriously affect global climate are not going to happen (there isn’t that much methane around, the Arctic was warmer than present both in the early Holocene and last interglacial and nothing similar has occurred).”
I am just a layperson, but I do understand science basics, and it did seem at first glance that the recent release of methane in the eastern siberia area might suggest we have larger worries than previously thought, but I totally understand the two studies could be comparing apples and oranges, but there is not enough detail to say. Only Gavin can say or some other expert.
I just read a media article on the eastern siberia issue and sometimes the media hype things. There wasn’t anything on the wider implications, so its hard to evaluate how serious it is. I’m just hoping some expert can cast some light on all these things. Are things worse than previously thought of not? No criticism of anyone is intended.
Mr. Know It All says
2 Nov 2020 at 3:49 AM
156 – Ray Ladbury
“This is outrageous.
These guys appear to think they can negate climate change with a frickin’ sharpie.”
Negating climate change with a sharpie is no more outrageous than creating it with a sharpie, right? Some claim the dude was protecting manipulated data. I read it on Al Gore’s internet, and I know Al would not allow lying about CC. :)
To get a little more info on the potential reasons for his reassignment, read this article and ALL the comments below it. Somewhere in the noise may be some truth, but we may never know exactly what it is:
I think one comment said the guy was a lawyer, not a scientist – any truth to that? If he was a scientist, what was his expertise?
177 – mike (on Colorado fires)
“Is this the new normal or just an unusual year? Who knows for sure?
Time will tell.”
Yes, time will tell. Bad fire years come and go – some bad years, some not so bad years, etc. It is unlikely that the burned areas will burn again for a while though.
178 – mrlee
“….I know these kinds of bets has been attempted before, so I hope to get some pointers for such a service from you guys. I had a quick look myself, but didn’t find anything convincing. Please help”
Such bets are sometimes refereed by the court system. Recent cases by have been won mostly by the deniers, so I hope you didn’t bet too much. What IS the bet? You will likely discover that it is not possible to find an impartial judge with sufficient knowledge of the subject to make an educated assessment. A believer will make the believer case, and a denier will make the denier case – it is not conclusive yet what is causing warming since it has happened repeatedly since the earth formed; and many will point to evidence that it isn’t happening much at all. Others will point to manipulated data by certain Universities and researchers, etc. Also, accurate temperature data for the whole earth is less than 100 years old so we have no real idea what the temperature history of the earth is before about 1940, we only have local data from developed nations, and nothing for most of the rest of the global surface.
Tell us the bet – it will make for a lively discussion. :)
2 Nov 2020 at 11:02 AM
Ray Ladbury at 156:
-This is outrageous.
-These guys appear to think they can negate climate change with a frickin’ sharpie.
You can add this to that:
The attacks on the independent civil service really undermine the ability of the US government to operate effectively. These types of moves:
1. Threaten data collection and data integrity – undermining US prestige as a foremost collector and archiver of various global data.
2. Make it much easier for the president and his appointees to dole out favors to their family members, friends, donors and frankly, bribers.
3. Threatens the US with a return to the pre-1880s spoils system of US governance.
It is remarkable that we have come to a point where it is ok to get rid of a merit based civil service and replace it with a spoils system.
Barton Paul Levenson says
3 Nov 2020 at 7:38 AM
This is what dictatorships do. They get rid of the professional civil service and replace it with hacks appointed for party loyalty. Apparatchiks.
Susan Anderson says
3 Nov 2020 at 9:41 AM
I guess the borehole is defunct? This for know it all and a good few others who have cluttered RC, along with people who can’t resist responding, to the point where substance is vastly outgassed.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt
3 Nov 2020 at 10:32 AM
@182 Mr. Know It All “it is not conclusive yet what is causing warming”. The stratosphere is cooling.
3 Nov 2020 at 10:47 AM
Mr. KIA, Jebus, dude, you know you can look this stuff up, right?
Craig McClean is a lawyer, but he is also a scientist, with considerable experience on NOAA research expeditions. He is not an expert on climate science. He doesn’t have to be. He has experts for that, and he listens to them, unlike the morons recently brought in as political hacks.
The idea that political appointees know science better than career scientists is appallingly stupid.
4 Nov 2020 at 10:03 AM
BPL at 184,
Agreed, this is what dictatorships do. And we all have learned over the past several years that our representative government is not as secure as it once seemed.
Even so, we once had a spoils system in place, even in the context of representative government – and we deliberately revised our civil service to get rid of it. Now we are backsliding.
4 Nov 2020 at 1:20 PM
Knucklehead in American (KIA) at 182:
“Somewhere in the noise may be some truth, but we may never know exactly what it is: …”
Here we have Knucklebuckets succinctly stating the Trumpian paradigm –> There may be truth, but we have made so much noise that you’ll never be able to find it – or recognize it if you find it.
4 Nov 2020 at 11:26 PM
“It is unlikely that the burned areas will burn again for a while though.”
The opposite might be true in areas where the fire was fast moving or not too severe. A lot of fuel left over, and extra dry because dead and no longer taking up moisture:
6 Nov 2020 at 12:30 AM
The photo I posted at #190 was a poor example of a “not too severe” fire. This one’s a lot better (Beachie Creek Fire, Oregon):
Again, my thinking is that another fire, same area, might be even more likely now than before.
21 Nov 2020 at 12:29 PM
Watch this then post your (coherent) reasons why my past 10 years of emphasizing long-tail risk and rapid simplification are bullshit and the equanimity of Mann and Schmidt, et al., is justified.
Kevin McKinney says
22 Nov 2020 at 5:17 PM
Amongst his latest farrago of falsehoods, KIA opined that:
Recent cases by have been won mostly by the deniers, so I hope you didn’t bet too much.
I’m not aware of *any* “bets” that have been referred to courts. But there have been quite a few made, and it hasn’t been deniers who’ve mostly been winning.