RealClimate logo


Note 3/23/2021: we had a few hiccups with comments after moving the site to https/SSL. Hopefully they're fixed now. Please let us know if there are remaining issues.

Unforced Variations: Mar 2021

Filed under: — group @ 1 March 2021

This month’s open thread. Northern Hemisphere Spring is on it’s way, along with peak Arctic/minimum Antarctic sea ice, undoubtedly more discussion about the polar vortex, and the sharpening up of the (currently very uncertain) ENSO forecast for the rest of this year.

115 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Mar 2021”

  1. 51
    Killian says:

    43 nigelj says:
    15 Mar 2021 at 2:21 AM

    mike @40 I have posted this before which is similar to your commentary:

    https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5530483

    “Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert argues that humans are exquisitely(psychologically) adapted to respond to immediate problems, such as terrorism, but not so good at more probable, but distant dangers, like global warming. He talks about his op-ed piece which appeared in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times…..”

    This explains why so many people can acknowledge the seriousness of the climate problem but dont do a whole lot about it. This is a big road block to solving the problem.

    This is a specious claim so long as the risk is incorrectly defined. You have to tell the risk and you have to explain the options, then you know people’s reaction. The metric of “tend to/tend not to” is meaningless in specific circumstances of real threats. The truth is, they, like you do not understand the risks and/or deny them.

  2. 52
  3. 53
    Chuck says:

    Killian says:
    3 Mar 2021 at 1:09 AM
    7 mike says:
    2 Mar 2021 at 1:26 PM

    Mike – I gather that it is hard for you because of the level of rage you carry on these matters.

    Killian – No, mike, I don’t like stupidity and lying. Your problem with me is you don’t like a direct, blunt style, even if you are not being insulted. That is, you like most, have a fair bit of intolerance for the non-PC-speak folk like myself.

    ____________

    Mike, this isn’t complicated. Killian is an “asshole”. That’s all. I’m used to it and tend to try and overlook it because sometimes there’s good information coming from his posts, but he’s still and asshole and he’s perfectly okay with it.

    No offense intended, Killian. Just trying to clear things up.

  4. 54
    Chris Korda says:

    “The ongoing crisis of global civilization is caused in large part by loss of respect for scientific authority. Individuals increasingly feel entitled to their own facts, and essentially to their own realities, in what amounts to a pandemic of solipsism. Our refusal to face facts is childish and incompatible with our survival. Rapidly accelerating lethal threats—including climate change, overpopulation, over-consumption, plagues and mass extinction—require coherent collective responses, and such responses are inconceivable without widespread agreement that the universe is objectively real, explicable, and predictable.

    “Solipsism is similar to religiosity in that both argue from ignorance and erroneously conclude that reality is fundamentally unknowable, but the history of science demonstrates the opposite conclusion: that with time and effort, we can overcome the limitations of our senses, form increasingly predictive explanations of phenomena, and gain comprehensive knowledge of the universe and its laws. Perhaps magical thinking served a useful purpose in our prehistoric past, cushioning us from the traumas of an unpredictable and brutally violent existence, but however adaptive it may have been, it’s clearly counterproductive now, with nearly eight billion humans wielding immense technological power.

    “As Peter D. Ward writes in The Flooded Earth, we needn’t worry about escaping to exoplanets, because we’ll be too busy moving our airports, and he’s assuming a relatively optimistic scenario. There are plenty of scenarios—such as melting the permafrost and incinerating the rain forests—in which runaway positive feedback starts and it no longer matters whether we come to our senses. The environment is quite capable of releasing vastly more CO2 than all of humanity’s activities combined and has done so in the past. Our only hope for long-term survival is to put away childish things and devote ourselves to keeping earth habitable. That’s reality.”

    -from my interview published today in Ransom Note.

  5. 55
    Mr. Know It All says:

    DANG! Maybe we’d better stop denying CC.
    HEADLINE: GREAT TITS TO BE WIPED OUT BY CLIMATE CHANGE!

    https://nypost.com/2020/11/11/great-tits-could-be-wiped-out-by-climate-change-in-near-future/

    :)
    :)
    :)

  6. 56
    Chuck says:

    https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/bitcoin-nfts-other-crypto-fads-are-destroying-our-planet-n1261139?icid=msd_topgrid

    It’s a fascinating technology, but unfortunately it takes a tremendous amount of energy to power these computers at the scale currently needed to sustain and grow crypto markets. A new study from Cambridge University found that mining bitcoin, perhaps the best known blockchain-backed digital currency, now consumes more energy per year than the entire nation of Argentina. Another study estimates that bitcoin’s carbon emissions are on track to equal that of the entire city of London. Scholars also argue that bitcoin emissions alone could raise the Earth’s temperature by two degrees. Surely this is not a sustainable technology, especially given our current, ever-worsening climate crisis.

  7. 57
    Chuck says:

    Mr. Know It All says:
    16 Mar 2021 at 7:27 PM
    DANG! Maybe we’d better stop denying CC.
    HEADLINE: GREAT TITS TO BE WIPED OUT BY CLIMATE CHANGE!

    KIA, Don’t be a Boob.

  8. 58
    nigelj says:

    Killian @51 regarding the research on humans being psychologically hardwired to respond strongly to immediate threats like terrorism and tornadoes rather than longer term threats like the climate problem. I agree to the extent the bigger the longer term risk the more likely you will get action now. This seems like commonsense, and would counter the psychological issue.

    But its not clear that your views around 2-3 metres, possibly more, of sea level rise end of this century (to pick a random example) would motivate everyone. People are still great at rationalising these things away and its not an immediate threat to them personally. Even 10 metres might not be enough for some twits. So we are back to what I said: How do we solve the problem? I stated two possibile answers in my previous comment.

    By the way I think we are seriously at risk of two metres sea level rise end of this century, stated several times previously, so the difference between our views isn’t that huge.

  9. 59
    nigelj says:

    Killian @51, I meant to say “I agree to the extent the bigger the longer term ‘problem’, the more likely you will get action now…”

  10. 60

    KIA 52: the USA just had their coldest winter in all of recorded human history:

    BPL: And for the thousandth time, idiot boy fails to distinguish between weather and climate. And he always, always will, because no matter how many times this is explained to him, he just plugs his fingers into his ears and shouts “LA LA LA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

  11. 61
    Killian says:

    53
    Chuck says:
    16 Mar 2021 at 8:31 AM

    Killian says:
    3 Mar 2021 at 1:09 AM
    7 mike says:
    2 Mar 2021 at 1:26 PM

    Mike – I gather that it is hard for you because of the level of rage you carry on these matters.

    Killian – No, mike, I don’t like stupidity and lying. Your problem with me is you don’t like a direct, blunt style, even if you are not being insulted. That is, you like most, have a fair bit of intolerance for the non-PC-speak folk like myself.

    ____________

    Mike, this isn’t complicated. Killian is an “asshole”.

    No offense intended, Killian. Just trying to clear things up.

    The gaslighting has gone on for years. You’re nothing new here. Fact: Mike did the insulting, not me. I had not been rude to him, yet he saw fit to comment negatively towards me. This is how the Peanut Gallery works. This is how it always works when the sanest, best analysis goes against the common view.

    Yet, more and more what mike says here, and what others say, apes what I have been telling them for ten years. That will continue, and even as they come to fully regurgitate what I have told them as it becomes clearer they have no other option, they will still be refusing to acknowledge I led them all here by the nose.

    They will lie, I will call them liars. They will be assholes, and I will call them assholes – just as you here do – and they will still claim that me *responding* to insults is the problem. Just as you do here. I did not insult you and I did not insult mike, yet, here we are.

    Because you’re both gaslighting, putting your egos before solutions – as the Peanut Gallery has long done.

  12. 62

    CK 54: Solipsism is similar to religiosity in that both argue from ignorance and erroneously conclude that reality is fundamentally unknowable

    BPL: Except that that’s a straw-man definition of “religiosity” [sic].

  13. 63

    C 56: Scholars also argue that bitcoin emissions alone could raise the Earth’s temperature by two degrees.

    BPL: [CITATION NEEDED]

  14. 64
    mike says:

    at chuck at 53: I find that the challenge is how to be civil and considerate with folks even when they say nasty/stupid things. It’s easy to simply ignore the folks who never or almost never post anything insightful or informative. Just skim their posts and/or ignore.

    It’s more challenging with the folks who sometimes post very interesting/novel ideas or have sophisticated insight into some aspect of the climate and our predicament as despoilers of the planet, but it’s not rocket science, you just ignore these folks when they go off the deep end and engage with them again when they post in a reasonable and informative manner.

    I think that slipping into the name-calling back and forth is a bad idea.

    My two pennies on that matter,

    Daily CO2

    Mar. 16, 2021 = 417.31 ppm

    Mar. 16, 2020 = 414.37 ppm

    Mike

  15. 65
    JCH says:

    Kevin and John – thanks for the replies. Question in part inspired by the claim that DWIR cannot heat anything: is not a source of heat. It is also somewhat akin to the experiment Minnett used to test his theory on how GHG warm the ocean despite the fact DWIR only penetrates the ocean skin layer by a few micrometers. He used clouds as a proxy for GHG. Or, I think he did that.

  16. 66
  17. 67
    nigelj says:

    Chuck @56, Bitcoin sounds like a bad idea to me for several reasons, but I did read somewhere that the goal is to create a finite number of bitcoins, and 80% are already mined, so this huge electricity use might be nearing a limit.

  18. 68
    Killian says:

    59 nigelj says:
    17 Mar 2021 at 2:48 AM

    Killian @51, I meant to say “I agree to the extent the bigger the longer term ‘problem’, the more likely you will get action now…”

    You said size, but size isn’t really the issue. I assume you meant threat? That’s not quite it, either. It’s the combination of the nature of the threat (is it existential?), how widespread (a threat to a few, some, or all?), the rate of change (is there time for mitigation and/or adaptation?), and whether or not there is a solution.

    All but the last can vary. The last point is a necessary precondition to widespread action. Right now, more and more people are responding, but to what? They’re taking 2 steps forward and 1.9 steps back (Look at me, global 1 percenter, buying my Tesla!) because we are badly screwing up on ALL aspects – but most seriously in identifying the nature of the problem, the risk, and thus the solutions.

    As to rate of change, I am beginning to think we are too late when forests can’t regrow.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/10/is-this-the-end-of-forests-as-weve-known-them

    But starting in about 2013, she noticed something unsettling. In certain places, the trees were not returning. For an analysis she led of sites across the Rocky Mountains, she found that almost one-third of places that had burned since 2000 had no trees regrowing whatsoever. Instead of tree seedlings, there were shrubs and flowers.

    This shift – echoed across a warming world – is a distinct phenomenon from trees dying because of direct human intervention such as logging. These trees are dying without humans laying a hand on them, at least physically, and they are not resprouting. Forests cover 30% of the planet’s land surface, and yet, as humans heat the atmosphere, some locations where they would have grown now appear too dry or hot to support them.

    “I have to be a little careful about not sounding like some Cassandra saying the sky is falling and forests are going to die and burn – but I have seen what that looks like,” said Allen, who founded the US Geological Survey’s New Mexico Landscapes Field Station.

    On a personal level, he added, “it’s actually disorienting to me to be out in the landscapes in some ways because they’re so different from how I first knew them. Now you see a vista literally for 100 miles – you see the next mountain range 100 miles away. And [previously] you couldn’t see more than 20 meters. The canopies are thin, the whole productivity and vigor of the system is suppressed.”

    We truly may have left it too late. This is what I saw coming back in the 2007~10 period. I said then time is short. I say now, gods help us.

  19. 69
    Killian says:

    58 nigelj says:
    16 Mar 2021 at 11:52 PM

    its not clear that your views around 2-3 metres, possibly more, of sea level rise end of this century (to pick a random example) would motivate everyone.

    Do you really see one data point as being a meaningful way to discuss this? Do you really now know my framing around risk?

    How do we solve the problem? I stated two possibile answers in my previous comment.

    You cannot clearly see the solutions until you accept the nature of the risk. So long as you confidently think we have till mid-century, and even then doing nothing but becoming carbon-neutral, then virtually any approach, gadget, etc., seems like a good idea.

    When you understand and accept we cannot possibly know if that is safe, and have a clear understanding of how long it takes to build ecosystems, restore ecosystems, create villages, build soils – hell, even just change out the national car fleets (typically 17 years in the US) – and really get trophic flows, ecosystem functions, etc., then the urgency becomes acute because we don’t know when or which typing points will be triggered, or already have been.

    The pathways narrow considerably the fuller one’s understanding becomes.

    By the way I think we are seriously at risk of two metres sea level rise end of this century, stated several times previously, so the difference between our views isn’t that huge.

    2M is pretty much my low end, but when you say it could be five, people stop listening, so I tend to repeat my comments from a decade ago: 1M nearly certain, 2Ms probable, 3M possible.

  20. 70
    John Pollack says:

    BPL @60 Unfortunately, you give KIA too much credit. Not only doesn’t he distinguish between weather and climate, but his claim that the USA just had their coldest winter “in all of recorded human history” is TOTALLY FALSE.
    source: NOAA’s climate at a glance for the contiguous US
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/national/rankings
    1. Meteorological winter is considered to be the months Dec. through Feb
    2. The average temperature (“coldest” clearly refers to temperature) was
    33.64F, 1.41F ABOVE the 1901-2000 mean, but the coldest since 2019!
    3. Humans were recording these temperatures all the way back to 1901, making it part of “recorded human history.”
    Conclusions: We weren’t born yesterday, and Mr. Know It All is lying.

  21. 71
    nigelj says:

    Killian @68

    “You said size, but size isn’t really the issue. I assume you meant threat? That’s not quite it, either. It’s the combination of the nature of the threat (is it existential?), how widespread (a threat to a few, some, or all?), the rate of change (is there time for mitigation and/or adaptation?), and whether or not there is a solution.

    Yes threat is a better word, and its more than just size. I just didn’t have time to give it much thought and was only really posting on the psychological issue because I had come across that study.

    Killian @69

    “Do you really see one data point as being a meaningful way to discuss this? Do you really now know my framing around risk?”

    I wanted to put some numbers on something because you can instantly get a sense of how people will react to those specific numbers. In principle I expect there would be some roughly linear or curvilinear relationship between the size of the future climate threat and how strongly people will react now. Its hard to see why their reaction would change dramatically at any specific number. And as I suggested even a huge number probably wont convince everyone to act because we are psychologically wired up to react most strongly to short term threats.

    “You cannot clearly see the solutions until you accept the nature of the risk. So long as you confidently think we have till mid-century, and even then doing nothing but becoming carbon-neutral, then virtually any approach, gadget, etc., seems like a good idea.”

    I’m suggesting people still wont react strongly enough now to the climate problem, even if we tell them its likely to be considerably worse than the IPCC say, and even if we don’t have very long to tackle it which we dont, which I think people already know anyway. If some people are not psychologically stressed by relatively distant impacts of climate then obviously they wont be that concerned about not much time left to stop these things. However obviously people do need constant reminding time is running out, because this is likely to have at least SOME effect on motivating people.

    So at the risk of repeating myself, the solution seems like it should be 1) making sure people are aware the climate problem is serious and will be very serious and The IPCC are conservative in their predictions, 2) focus a bit more energy on communicating the impacts of climate change happening now because this is on peoples radar, and 3) sell the wider benefits of renewable energy, flying less, sustainable lifestyles etc, etc. So not just the climate benefits. And this actually widens peoples consciousness that we would be solving a range of environmental problems all at once and engaging in a wider set of changes so that is consistent with what you are saying to a point anyway.

    People also react strongly when they think they will personally benefit for example more jobs in the economy if we build wind power. I’m certainly not saying take attention off the climate end game. Just that focusing mostly just on the end game hasn’t worked that well so far to motivate people.

  22. 72
    K D McKinney says:

    #65, JCH–

    I’ve seen the notion proposed that DWIR ‘can’t heat anything.’. Sometimes that’s accompanied by the quasi-explanation that it’s not energy, it’s ‘information.’

    This is of course BS of the purest ray serene.

    The grounds for saying so are numerous, but one is to point out that to be detected DWIR must do work on a detector. (In the case of the WC Wells experiments, that meant causing the expansion of mercury in a thermometer bulb.) No energy (heat), no information.

  23. 73

    KIA 66,

    “Push global warming above two degrees” is not the same thing as “add two degrees to global warming.” You need to review your basic arithmetic.

  24. 74

    #66, KIA–

    Yes, there were many *stories* to the effect that bitcoin mining could by itself raise GMST by 2 degrees by 2033. However, there is just one actual citation, which is Mora etc al., 2018. And while the conclusions were as stated, that number isn’t an estimate of a plausible rise, it’s essentially an upper limit–and a very generous one at that.

    So BPL’s skepticism is warranted. After all, how likely is it that Bitcoin mining alone will achieve emissions roughly comparable to those of the current entire global economy? Indeed, if you follow the links KIA searched, you will find the original paper, and discover that by August 2019 not 1 but 3 teams published responses saying “this estimate is unrealistically high.”

    That’s not to say Bitcoin mining isn’t either significant nor problematic, of course. But decarbonizing the power grid and transportation are still what we should focus on. After all, if we decarbonized the power grid, presumably we’d have mostly green Bitcoin. Though whether that’s a socially productive use of computer power is another question.

  25. 75
    William B Jackson says:

    #52 As I look around me I don’t see 1816!

  26. 76
    Piotr says:

    JCH (65) “akin to the experiment Minnett used to test his theory on how GHG warm the ocean despite the fact DWIR only penetrates the ocean skin layer by a few micrometers

    That DWIR absorbed by the top few micrometers is then spread throughout the mixed layer by ocean mixing (wind and tidal mixing). Why would one need an experiment on that?

  27. 77
    Piotr says:

    nigel (67) “ Bitcoin sounds like a bad idea to me for several reasons, but I did read somewhere that the goal is to create a finite number of bitcoins, and 80% are already mined, so this huge electricity use might be nearing a limit

    Alas, this is only one of the “5,000 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap as of February 21, 2020” – even if most them will die, they will likely be replaced by others.

    And so far practically all of them the same major problem – your produce unnecessary GHG emissions (and raise the prices for processors and laptops for everybody else) – to do … futile calculations of something that has no value outside given cryptocurrency. It’s like you were paid to idle your car for hours – gets you nowhere at the cost of unnecessary pollution.

    At the very least they should have used all this calculating power to solve for some real life problems – running the computer-intensive global ocean circulation models, finding a cure for cancer, your pick…

    There may be a couple that try to do it (eg. Golem — GNT “a Peer-to-Peer marketplace for sharing computing power. Golem is often compared to an Airbnb of computing power.”), but as far as I know – it is an exception not the rule.

  28. 78
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    @nigelji:

    “but I did read somewhere that the goal is to create a finite number of bitcoins, and 80% are already mined, so this huge electricity use might be nearing a limit”

    nope. to mine bitcoins, the processing-power has to increase exponentially at all times; the first bitcoins in existence were fairly easy to mine, a normal office-pc was enough, now you need server-farms to mine just one bitcoin; thats the main problem. so, without massive increase in processing-power with the same amount of energy needed, the last 1% of bitcoins to “mine” will consume the entire energy of all power-plants globally.

    furthermore, “nearing a limit” isnt done till ca 2140, exactly because its getting increasingly difficult to mine BTs, from wiki:

    “All bitcoins in existence have been created in such coinbase transactions. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years). Eventually, the reward will decrease to zero, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins[g] will be reached c. 2140; the record keeping will then be rewarded solely by transaction fees”

    bitcoin serves no purpose anymore, except to make more “fiat”-money for a few, BS-capitalism at its best and a massive investment-scam we all pay for.

  29. 79
    Nemesis says:

    Btw, I repeatedly said over the last couple of years that Europe is drying up and that is no joke:

    ” 15.3.2021 – Recent European drought extremes beyond Common Era background variability”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41561-021-00698-0

    ” Signs of Drought in European Groundwater”
    https://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146888/signs-

    German drought monitor:

    https://www.ufz.de/index.php?de=37937

    As I said earlier repeatedly:

    THIS will not go away. It’s a multifactorial problem, the overall weather patterns in Europe changed dramatically because of fossil fool induced climate heating (mainly weakened jetstream), the soil is vastly degraded because of the industrialized agriculture mafia ect, it can’t take in and store water sufficiently anymore, trees are dying to a vast degree wich will dry up the region further… To nail it down:

    The hydrocycle of Europa is kaputt. Now go on piling up beautiful climate numbers, funny technical solutions ect, but don’t count on Europe in the long run anymore, ALL scientific, technological and political blather will be doomed without water. See you there quickly.

  30. 80
    nigelj says:

    DasKleineTeilchen @78 and Piotr@77, thanks for the info. Bitcoin certainly sounds like a bad idea and sounds like a pyramid scheme to me and not practical as a universal fully scaled up currency. Wouldn’t the blockchain become so large you wouldn’t be able to store it on your own computer, and it would need a truly massive ever expanding server farm in the cloud so to speak? I think bitcoin is not a sensible use of the worlds resources, and its not clear that it has any genuinely useful benefits to justify the resource use. However I know very little about blockchains and this might be a dumb question.

  31. 81
  32. 82
    CCHolley says:

    John Pollack @70

    BPL @60 Unfortunately, you give KIA too much credit. Not only doesn’t he distinguish between weather and climate, but his claim that the USA just had their coldest winter “in all of recorded human history” is TOTALLY FALSE.

    Not to mention that the United States only represents roughly 2 per cent of the earth’s surface so what happens there is hardly indicative of what is happening globally.

  33. 83
    Piotr says:

    Re: JCH (81) – Still, I don’t see any plausible “paradox” that needs explaining (and the link to such paradox in your RC link does not open).

    Even with all IR absorbed in the surface microlayer, the bottom of that microlayer is still in the contact with the underlying top of the mixed layer – so whatever changes in the IR absorption in the microlayer – they are ultimately COUPLED which heat content change in the mixed layer. And that’s ALL that is needed to disprove the “paradox” and can be done WITHOUT going into any modelling.

    So the modelling paper you gave in the second link is about DETAILS on how this happens, and how would it change under stronger greenhouse forcing. Which may be interesting, but it is NOT NECESSARY to shot down the supposed paradox that can be disposed off with a single sentence (see above).

    No need to shoot a mosquito with an advanced canon.

  34. 84
    Susan Anderson says:

    Can we get back to science and what is possible in a positive way on the policy front? Please??

    I do think feeding trolls is a terrible waste of time, and descending to insults simply amplifies nonsense.

  35. 85
    mike says:

    Daily CO2

    Mar. 20, 2021 = 418.46 ppm
    Mar. 20, 2020 = 414.34 ppm

    Last Week

    March 6 – 13, 2021 416.94 ppm
    March 6 – 13, 2020 414.34 ppm

    per co2.earth

    Mike

  36. 86

    Appreciate the new, more secure URL. I did have a little trouble as the initial redirect didn’t work, but it didn’t amount to much.

    And it seems like a good time to say once again to the moderators “Thanks for all that you do!”

  37. 87
    JCH says:

    Piotr – I suspect Minnett would disagree. I believe he is definitely saying much of the energy, DWIR, being absorbed just micrometers into the skin layer is not being mixed down into the ocean layers below.

    Does the amount of energy accumulating in the oceans change if Minnett is wrong or right? If it remains the same, then you’re right. If it doesn’t remain the same, then it would seem to be an important physical process to understand.

  38. 88

    #87, JCH–

    FWIW, my takeaway from the link was that DWIR (per Minnott et al., at least) warms the oceans by reducing the net *upward* flux. (But I wouldn’t want to be too dogmatic about that; it was a pretty technical paper and well above what might laughingly be called my pay grade.)

    But no, I don’t think it matters for the current purpose; it’s just interesting of itself.

  39. 89
    Piotr says:

    Re: JCH(87) – “I suspect Minnett would disagree. I believe he is definitely saying much of the energy, DWIR, being absorbed just micrometers into the skin layer is not being mixed down into the ocean layers below.

    But the heat does not STAY there! Because, if it did then Minnett we would have proven the very claim (that DWIR cannot heat the ocean) that he was trying to disprove ;-)

    The ocean is covered with a thin surface film, the top of which absorbs the DWIR, and gets warm as a result of it. Then this heat diffuses downward toward the bottom of the film. And this bottom of the film the heat transfers down into the turbulent mixed layer. And that’s how DWIR can heat the ocean’s mixed layer even though it is absorbed in the micrometers of it.
    Conversely, when the ocean is a net heat source, then top of the mixed layer will warm the bottom of the surface film, heat diffusion will move the heat from this bottom to the top of the film, from which it will move in the air in form of conduction, convection, latent heat of evaporation AND upward IR. So the mixed layer heat will able to affect the upward IR even though it is being emitted from the top few micrometers of surface film…

    So the claim that “DWIR cannot heat the ocean” can be put down with this simple qualitative argument, and you don’t need to invoke the long and rather technical quantitative paper like the one by Minnett et al.

    I am not saying the paper is wrong or irrelevant (I didn’t go through the details of it), but I merely say that to kill the mosquito you don’t need this “cannon” of a paper, when swatting with a hand would do. (No actual mosquitoes were harmed in this laboured metaphor)

    In fact, that complicated paper might have confused even an informed reader like you into thinking that DWIR “being absorbed just micrometers into the skin layer is not being mixed down into the oceans layer below“…

  40. 90
    MA Rodger says:

    Piotr @89,
    Your argument is that the micro-layer absorbing IR into the oceans from the atmosphere is thermally coupled with the mixed layer beneath and so excess absorbed IR results in a downward heat flux.

    I would suggest that argument fails to address the denialist argument (which I haven’t seen deployed for a while now), or at least the less crazy versions of such an argument. They argue that by only warming a micro-layer less than 0.1mm deep and which significantly is only the upper skin of the 1mm viscous layer atop the ocean waters, any excess heat in that micro-layer will be transmitted back into the atmosphere by increased upward IR or evaporation rather than be absorbed within the ocean as the viscous layer insulates the micro-layer preventing the strong thermal coupling your reasoning relies on. The depth of the viscous layer means there is no ‘defusing downward’ but only conduction which greatly limits any downward flux. Note that the thermal inertia of a 0.1mm depth of ocean is roughly that of 300mm of atmosphere and the reach of IR in that atmosphere is of similar length. The ocean’s micro-layer is strongly coupled with the adjacent atmosphere not very strongly coupled with the ocean beneath.

    I would therefore suggest that your “swatting with a hand” is inadequate to refute the denialists’ nonsense. Rather it does require a hand gripping the lanyard of Minnett’s howitzer.

  41. 91

    I tried the experiment of posting on Judith Curry’s blog. She allowed 16 comments over several days, then deleted everything after that, on the grounds that the thread was about UK politics and climate science was off topic.

    Of course, her denier contributors continue to post idiocy about climate science and do NOT get their posts removed.

    Hypocrisy, thy name is Judith Curry.

  42. 92
    Killian says:

    85 mike says:
    21 Mar 2021 at 1:55 PM

    Daily CO2

    Mar. 20, 2021 = 418.46 ppm
    Mar. 20, 2020 = 414.34 ppm

    Last Week

    March 6 – 13, 2021 416.94 ppm
    March 6 – 13, 2020 414.34 ppm

    per co2.earth

    Mike

    Highs, eyeballed via Keeling:

    Hourly: 421
    Daily: 419
    Weekly: 418

    with 2 to 3 ppm yet to go. Let’s hope these are onky excursions, which it looks like. Back in February I estimated the daily would be between 420 and 421 based on the 2-year record.

    Higher? Yikes… let’s hope not.

  43. 93
    Mal Adapted says:

    Gavin Schmidt’s appointment as senior climate adviser to NASA is written up in the NYTimes: A Biden Administration Strategy: Send In the Scientists. That’s our Gavin 8^D!

  44. 94
    nigelj says:

    Killian #238, you should give Biden at least SOME positive feedback for his plan. If all he gets is negativity he will eventually just give up on the climate issue. Its not as if hes short of other issues that need attention and probably of more immediate concern to his voter base. Governments cant solve all the climate problem, but we want governmenets doing all they can to help combat the climate problem.

  45. 95
    Piotr says:

    Re: MA Rodger (90): The depth of the viscous layer means there is no ‘defusing downward’ but only conduction

    – How being viscous negates diffusion? And wouldn’t heat conduction here be the same as heat diffusion?

    – Since Minnett didn’t propose any _different_ mechanism of getting heat across the surface viscous layer, then by “disproving” mine, wouldn’t you have also spiked that “Minnett’s howitzer” as well?

    – If this surface viscous layer were indeed decoupled from the mixed layer underneath, wouldn’t the ocean have boiled by now? I mean, it has been absorbing heat from solar shortwave radiation for eons, but if it couldn’t release this heat back into atmosphere …

  46. 96
    MA Rodger says:

    Piotr @95,
    Taking you points in reverse order:-
    ☻ It is not the viscous layer that is decoupled from (or more correctly ‘not strongly coupled with’) the ocean mixed layer beneath, but the viscous layer that decouples the micro-layer from the mixed layer, the micro-layer that is warmed by IR from the atmosphere including the IR that is passing the warming from AGW into the oceans. And yes it is correct to say of the the ocean – “it has been absorbing heat from solar shortwave radiation for eons” but at these shorter wavelengths, the penetration is far greater with blue light penetrating perhaps 20m and red light 5m (on average).
    ☻ The point of the work of Minnett is that he does show how an increase in IR which only penetrates a matter of microns into the ocean surface will result in ocean warming.
    ☻ While there will be diffusion of water molecules in the likes of the viscous layer, I cannot imagine this being a major contributor to thermal conduction in a stationary water mass, a mechanism which already plays a minor roll at the ocean surface. There are usually just the three mechanisms of sensible heat transfer usually considered by thermodynamics. Mind, I do recall a pair of swivel-eyed denialists (the Connollys) announcing that they had found another mechanism of heat transfer beyond conduction, convection & radiation but I wouldn’t pay any heed to such crazy idjits.

  47. 97
    JCH says:

    If this surface viscous layer were indeed decoupled from the mixed layer underneath, wouldn’t the ocean have boiled by now? I mean, it has been absorbing heat from solar shortwave radiation for eons, but if it couldn’t release this heat back into atmosphere …

    Would Minnett propose something that would boil the oceans?

    I think he is saying when clouds are present, Energy In (for simplicity, call it ~240) and Energy Out (call it ~239) remain balanced by the change in the emission ratio between absorbed solar and DWIR that makes up the 239.

  48. 98
    Piotr says:

    JCH (97) Would Minnett propose something that would boil the oceans?

    I didn’t say so – Quite the opposite – I have pointed that UNLIKE in Minnett,
    the ocean boil, in MARodger explanation (because he argeud that the heat flow between the mixed layer and the surface film is negligible).

    JHC: I think he is saying when clouds are present, Energy In (for simplicity, call it ~240) and Energy Out (call it ~239) remain balanced by the change in the emission ratio between absorbed solar and DWIR that makes up the 239.

    I am not sure what you numbers represent and how exactly solar (I presume you mean shortwave) is presumably accounted for. So let’s have a look at the global heat budget by Kiehl and Trenberth (1997), global:
    (downward) DWIR is 324 W/m2 + solar 168 W/m2 = (upward) UWIR 390 + evapotranspiration 78 + thermals 24.

    But this equilibrium works ONLY if the heat for absorbed solar rad. CAN be send upward from the mixed layer into the surface film and from there into the air.
    But this is not the case in the MARodger criticism of my argument which he dismissed on the grounds that the heat flow between the mixed layer and the surface film is negligible.

    But it were negligible, then most the solar radiation absorbed in the mixed layer will be trapped there and over the last 4bln years – the ocean would have boiled by now.

  49. 99
    Piotr says:

    Re: MARodger (96). Your three points, in reverse order:

    – your 3. We were talking about “ heat diffusion“, which for me is synonymous with conduction: See also Wikipedia: “Heat conduction, also called diffusion“. Hence my confusion at hearing you: “ there is no ‘defusing downward’ but only conduction.

    – your 2. MAR: The point of the work of Minnett is that he does show how an increase in IR which only penetrates a matter of microns into the ocean surface will result in ocean warming.
    Err …so was my explanation that you dismissed? The new thing in Minnet was quantifying the fluxes across the film and trying to verify it with in-situ observations (largely unsuccessful, if I read it correctly).

    – your 1. If understood your point as meaning that: “the viscous layer decouples the micro-layer from the mixed layer” – then it does not make ANY difference to my argument – with microlayer decoupled, or even “mostly decoupled”, from the mixed layer – the ocean still boils – a 50m-deep mixed-layer boils in mere … 3 years .

    But since the ocean is not covered with a boiling fish-soup – the heat flow from mixed-layer into microlayer must be close to the short-wave absorption by the mixed-layer, i.e. about 190 W/m2. Not the impression one gets from your: viscous layer insulates the micro-layer preventing the strong thermal coupling [with the mixed layer] your reasoning relies on”.

  50. 100
    Bob Loblaw says:

    Not wanting to get in the way of a good fight, but let’s clarify the correct meaning of terms such as “thermal conduction” and “thermal diffusion”. They both cover the same thing, and both form part of Fourier’s laws of heat conduction.

    Thermal Conduction

    Conduction refers to the part where heat flows along a temperature gradient. Thermal conductivity is the ratio between heat flow and gradient, and is a property of the medium.

    Diffusion is also affected by heat capacity. As heat is conducted, the rate of temperature change at a point is a function of the divergence of the heat flow: is the amount of heat conducted into the point more, less, or equal to the amount conducted away from the point. Once you know the amount of heat accumulating, the temperature change depends on heat capacity.

    Thermal diffusivity is the ratio of thermal conductivity to heat capacity. It is also a property of the medium.

    The mathematics of thermal diffusion are identical to the mathematics of diffusion of mass (e.g., diffusion of one gas or liquid through another medium).

    Thermal diffusion does not require movement of mass.