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Two graphs show the path to 1.5 degrees

Filed under: — stefan @ 21 April 2021

In the Paris Agreement, just about all of the world’s nations pledged to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”. On Saturday, the top climate diplomats from the U.S. and China, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua, reiterated in a joint statement that they want to step up their climate mitigation efforts to keep that goal “within reach”.

But is that still possible? Here are two graphs.

Global temperature trend (relative to mean 1880-1910, NASA data). The colored curve shows the moving average over 12 months, the black line the linear trend over the last 50 years. Transient warmth following two strong El Niño events in the tropical Pacific is indicated by arrows. If everything continued like this, the 1.5 degree limit would be exceeded around 2040.

The first graph shows the global temperature trend. Warming has progressed essentially linearly for fifty years in response to increasing CO2 emissions. Although the latter accelerate the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere, on the other hand, radiative forcing (which causes warming) increases only with the logarithm of CO2 concentration, and therefore roughly linearly since the 1970s. Any acceleration of warming over the last decade is not a significant trend change. It is linked to two El Niño events in recent years, but that is part of natural variability. Does anyone remember the discussion about the supposed “warming pause” in the early 2000s? It also never was statistically significant, nor did it signify a trend change.

Therefore, if emissions continue to grow, we expect a further roughly linear increase in temperature, which would then exceed 1.5 degrees around 2040. If we lower emissions, the trend will flatten out and become roughly horizontal as we reach zero emissions. Therefore, these observational data do not argue against the possibility to still keep warming below 1.5°C.

Exemplary emission trajectories with CO2 emission budgets that, according to the IPCC, correspond to limiting warming to 1.5 °C with 50% probability (solid) or limiting it to 1.75 °C with 67% probability. The same emissions as in 2019 were assumed as the starting point in 2021, assuming the “corona spike” in 2020 is likely to be temporary.

The second graph shows global CO2 emission trajectories with which we can still limit warming to 1.5 °C, at least with 50:50 probability. This means: given the uncertainties, this could also land us at 1.6 degrees, but with a bit of luck, it could land us a bit below 1.5 degrees. The core conclusions:

  •     It is not yet impossible to keep warming below 1.5 °C.
  •     This requires roughly a halving of global CO2 emissions by 2030 (as already stated in the IPCC 1.5 degree report).
  •     If the world dithers for another ten years before emissions fall, it will no longer be possible (red curve).

It should be noted that I have not assumed net-negative emissions here. Many scenarios assume that we first emit too much and that our children then have to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere after mid-century – I think this is not very realistic and also ethically questionable. I think we will probably not be able to achieve more than reducing global emissions to net zero. Even that would require CO2 sinks to compensate for unavoidable residual emissions, e.g. from agriculture.

Conclusion: The limitation to 1.5 degrees is still possible and from my point of view also urgently advised to avert catastrophic risks, but it requires immediate decisive measures. I am curious to see what the climate summit scheduled by US President Joe Biden will bring in the coming days!

Link

Fact check by Climate Analytics to the claim that we can no longer limit warming to 1.5°C.

This article originally appeared in German at KlimaLounge.

105 Responses to “Two graphs show the path to 1.5 degrees”

  1. 51
    Killian says:

    48
    Barton Paul Levenson says:
    26 Apr 2021 at 5:40 AM

    J4 33: we use only market “solutions” that are not solutions at all but more problems;

    BPL: A cap and trade system got rid of the acid rain problem in the United States, and effluents taxes are used to great effect in Germany. Market-based solutions work just fine.

    The madness of ideoogical delusions… “Market solutions” gave us a dying planet.

  2. 52

    RC 50: if you have a defensible position on the issue, why wouldn’t you state your evidence? It seems like you don’t have any evidence, and are merely praying that I’m incorrect. You sound like a religious fanatic who says “please read the Bible.”

    BPL: See my response at #50.

  3. 53

    RC 51: This sounds more like Zombie-science than climate science.

    BPL: And you sound more like a global warming denier than someone actually interested in the science.

  4. 54

    Victor, #30–

    Oh, FFS!!

    The only difference between Stefan’s graph and yours is the 12-moving average. The shapes are identifiably the same if you use that function on Woodfortrees:

    https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:2021/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/trend/plot/none

    And all it does is filter the high-frequency noise a bit. (I’ve added the trend since 1998 to emphasize just how pointless the so-called ‘pause’ has become.)

    But thanks (I guess!) for confirming yet again your propensity to see what you what to see in any given temperature graph.

  5. 55
    R. Colombe says:

    Piotr (46)
    Your concern with my face is touching, but my face is fine, and doesn’t need saving, thank you very much. You seem to be stuck on this 0.8C predicament. You reject my ideas as to why the atmospheric temperature hasn’t risen higher than that limit, but you have not, as yet, preferred a better answer, you simply point to the observed record. We all can agree that the rate of increase does not carry over even to the next “100 ppm increase”, but the question is Why? Up to this point, you have yet to give me evidence to show that my ideas are incorrect, you haven’t given me alternate explanation, you haven’t given me any indication you even understand the question.

    Are you able to tell me Why the rate of increase does not carry over to the next 100 ppm increase?

    It is not MY graph, and you haven’t shown that I don’t know how to read it, you have only declared it. Yes, had whatever stopped the atmospheric temperature from increasing not been an impediment, the temperature probably would have gone higher than the 5-10C that I mentioned. The atmospheric temperature has been hovering around the same level for over 10,000 years, according to my graph. Why? What stops the atmospheric temperature from increasing at a faster rate? This is the important question.

    [Ice Caps as Temperature Regulators
    What do we rely on polar ice caps for? It’s vital they stay frozen because the bright white snow can reflect a large amount of sunlight back into space. With no ice caps, the overall temperature of Earth increases. In other words, the polar ice caps act as Earth’s temperature regulators, keeping it at a nice temperature. With polar ice caps melting comes increased rates of global warming.]

    The atmospheric temperature does NOT show all of the heat the system has absorbed over the past 10,000 years, yet that is all you have focused on. Not properly accounting for all of the heat that has gone into the ocean is, I believe, what has led to the erroneous idea that we can keep atmospheric temperature down by curbing our current emissions.

    I didn’t bring the deep ocean in an attempt to save my face. As I’ve stated, my face is near perfect. I brought the deep ocean into it, because that is where some of the heat has gone, since it is “blocked” from going into the atmosphere. If it isn’t “blocked” from the atmosphere, then what is the correct explanation?

    http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/threat.html shows a graph indicating the atmospheric temperature increase is somewhere around 12C. As I indicated, different versions of the graph show different levels of increase – it’s not my fault scientists cannot agree on how much the temperature has increased.

  6. 56
    R. Colombe says:

    BPL (49),
    “….something they always and everywhere tell you not to do in every data analysis course.” So in other words, I’m coloring outside the lines. I don’t care, because I’m not trying to get a paper published, so I’m not bound by your rules. When you do thought experiments, you sometimes bend the rules to answer What If questions.

    If my “conclusions are wrong–definitely wrong, known to be wrong,” then you should have no problem demonstrating that they are wrong, but all I see are declarations of such. I have made a cause and effect argument, and you have countered with procedure and process. Why should I take your word for it that my conclusions are definitely wrong? You have yet to indicate you even understand the point I have been making. Many times in the past things that have been “known to be wrong” have subsequently been proven to be correct, so why should I not believe this is one of those times?

  7. 57
    Richard Caldwell says:

    This post is flimsy and superficial.

    NO aerosol overshoot.
    NO discussion about how the ocean will behave.
    NO nothing.
    I rate it “sophomoric” at best.

  8. 58
    jgnfld says:

    @57

    The waters in the deep ocean are decoupled from the surface by on the order of about a millennium of time. It can store an immense number of joules as a sink, true. What is your hypothesis? What data/observations do you think you are explaining?

    There’s literally tonnes of research on oceanic thermohaline circulation and transfer. What accounting failures do you think you have discovered? Have you even read a single paper by Lynne Talley who has been publishing in this area since the 80s or any other scientist knowledgeable in the area?

  9. 59
    t marvell says:

    All this depends on the lag between greenhouse gas emissions and the effect on temperature. I cannot tell what lag Stefan assumes. The lag is likely to be spread over many decades, similar to the lag between temperature increase and sea level increase (see the “fact check” link at the end of the post). Both lags are presumably caused mainly by how the oceans absorb heat and CO2. I doubt that the climate models can estimate the impact of current CO2 emissions on temperature in 20 or more years.
    That is, it appears that temperature trends caused by emissions are already “baked in” for several decades, such that near-term energy policies can do almost nothing about keeping to the the 1.5 limit.

  10. 60
    R. Colombe says:

    My Darling Piotr, Please stop doing this to yourself. No one will ever take you seriously again, after this.

    Do you seriously believe a dead actor stared in a documentary entitled: “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet”?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Attenborough:_A_Life_on_Our_Planet
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Attenborough

    You are becoming unhinged, my dear.

    If your inability comprehend logic is typical of climate scientists, then I believe we have put our finger on the problem. It takes the foolishness of climate scientists to believe the climate of pre-industrial 10,000 yrs was relatively stable. That is a complete misreading of the condition. As I have been eluding to in my posts, it has only been the atmospheric climate that has appeared to be relatively stable. If you take into account the activity of the oceans, I believe, you will find the system has not been all that stable, and our current climate situation is beginning to demonstrate that fact. https://phys.org/news/2021-04-arctic-sea-ice.html

    “….compare THE SLOPE of T in the last 10,000 yrs with the slopes in most of the 10,000 yr periods in the last 425,000 yrs….”

    This has officially turned from farce to tragedy. You either cannot or will not understand the argument I am making, but you; nevertheless, insist that I am wrong, and since you are unable to discern where my argument is in error, if it is, you resort to ad hominem attacks. You continue to insist the atmospheric temperature tells the complete story, and I continue to point out that it does not, and I offered many examples why this matters, but you cannot argue against any of it, all you do is “read” the graph. Do you possess any analytical abilities at all?

  11. 61
    R. Colombe says:

    BPL (54) Is this an indication of your work ethic? You respond to RC 50, and then you place your response at #50 in the same post. Did you mean “See my response at #49,” perhaps? If so, please see my response at #58. You address a cause-and-effect argument by pointing out procedure and process, and you fall woefully short. Again, you have failed to even demonstrate that you have any understanding of what my argument even is, yet you, as well as Pitor insist on making unsubstantiated declarative statements on my errors. Until you are anointed Queen, this will not suffice.

    Are you able to tell me the reason why atmospheric temperature stopped following CO2 and methane at the same rate after the climate APPEARED to become “stable”? I’m willing to bet you cannot, and your response won’t even address the issue.

    The very fact that you say I resemble a climate change denier, is proof you do NOT understand the points I have been making. The responses I have received from both you and Pitor demostrate that I was being far too generous when I only poked fun at the ability of climate scientists to read a graph. The truth seems to be far far more troubling. Please read a book on logic.

  12. 62

    At the risk of coping a scolding from the moderators for pointing out a glaring, obvious, stupid error that is not a typo,Piotr would you like to correct your 52 and apologise to RC, as well as David Attenborough. You could try and apologise to Richard Attenborough but he has been dead for 7 years

  13. 63
    nigelj says:

    Keith Woollard @64 Piotrs mistake probably was a typo. It’s very easy to mix up Richard and David Attenborough, (done it myself ) especially when you are responding to someone called ‘Richard’ Colombe. I doubt David Attenborough is distraught, or that Richard Attenborough is turning in his grave in horror.

  14. 64
    nigelj says:

    R. Colombe, paraphasing your basic proposition it appears to be that a 100 ppm increase in CO2 levels coming out of the last ice age caused the 5 degrees c (or more) of warming . This suggesting that the 125 ppm we have added to the atmosphere since about 1900 until presently will cause 5 degrees or more of warming. The mistake you might be making is thinking warming back 10,000 years ago was JUST caused by CO2. It was also caused by solar insolation changes. There are other reasons as well that explain why there was a lot of warming back then. I raised the same issue on the Forced Variations thread and there are some interesting answers. Of course we are still in for very damaging levels of warming, but I see no reason to doubt the predictions in the IPCC reports.

    Your other proposition appears to be that the current interglacial starting about 10,000 years ago is not stable, because it has a warming trend. Normally when people say its stable they are ignoring the warming period since 1900. If you mean the slight warming trend from about 10000 – 4000 years ago its very slight. When scientists argue the current interglacial is unusually stable, I recall they mean fewer ups and downs within the overall trend than compared to previous interglacials. Fyi its believed the current interglacial is stable due to slightly increased CO2 levels due to early farming and deforestation. ( I think you alluded to this yourself, but its not clear). These ideas sound plausible but theres no overall agreement on them as below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Ruddiman

  15. 65
    Piotr says:

    R. Colombe (57): It is not MY graph

    Since it was you who brought it up, to advance your “argument”:
    It seems to me if you scientists knew how to read charts (try https://history.aip.org/climate/xMethane.htm), you would know that with every 100 ppm increase of CO2, there is a corresponding 5 – 10 degrees C increase in temperature. R. Colombe (21)
    then this graph is as close as you probably ever get to having “your” scientific graph.

    R. Colombe (57): you haven’t shown that I don’t know how to read it, you have only declared it.

    Declarations instead of a proof is what you do. I, on the other hand, have shown you in (26), that you have no idea how to read even the graph you call upon: upon seeing there that dT (177-277ppm)= 4.5-5.5C and dT(277-377ppm) =0.8, you concluded that …. dT= “ 5-10C for EVERY 100ppm“. Ergo you lecture others on lacking the graph reading skills you obviously don’t have yourself. Ignorance breeds arrogance.

    R. Colombe (57)::You seem to be stuck on this 0.8C predicament.

    It’s the reality that is “stuck”, which you could have read from your own graph: dT over pCO2 277-377ppm = 0.8C. 0.8C over 100 ppm is NOT = “5-10C” (c) R. Colombe.

    R. Colombe (57): you have not, as yet, preferred a better answer

    To show how full of shit you in your: if you scientists knew how to read charts (try https://history.aip.org/climate/xMethane.htm), you would know that with every 100 ppm increase of CO2, there is a corresponding 5 – 10 degrees C increase in temperature. [R. Colombe, 21] ALL I needed was to show that it is you who don’t know how to read (your own!) graph. And I did show it already:

    a) that you misrepresented the graph by claiming the “5-10C” per 100ppm change when NONE of the periods on the graph had increases even close to the upper range of 10C (the graph max. of 5.5C does NOT round to “10C”)

    b) that the “next” 100ppm increase (277->377ppm) was associated with … 0.8 C, INSTEAD of “5-10C”, as you were claiming as proof of the ignorance of scientists.

    The question “why?” 0.8ppt is a separate question, and I don’t have to re-invent the wheel on this one – it was invented HALF a CENTURY ago – see Rasool and Schneider 1971 or Broecker 1975.

    R. Colombe (57): The atmospheric temperature does NOT show all of the heat the system has absorbed over the past 10,000 years, yet that is all you have focused on.

    Because the discussion you joined is NOT about … 10,000 yrs into the future, genius. If you KNEW how to read the charts – you would have known that X-axes on both Fig1. and Fig.2 of the opening article of this thread span ca. 70 yrs, NOT “10,000 yrs“.

    R. Colombe (57): I didn’t bring the deep ocean in an attempt to save my face. As I’ve stated, my face is near perfect.

    Unfortunately, it is not up for you to decide: By their arguments, not by their delusions about themselves, you shall know them.

    And the deep ocean won’t save you – as I already explained in (previous post: if the recent heat stays in the atmosphere and surf. ocean because it didn’t have time to go into the deep ocean, as you claimed, then IF we gave it MORE time to move into the deep ocean, then LESS of it would have stayed in … air and surface ocean – i.e. dT of air on your graph would be LESS than the current 0.8C, i.e. EVEN FURTHER from your “ 5-10C for every 100 ppm

    So much for your “near perfection”.

  16. 66
    Piotr says:

    Re: Keith Woolward (64)
    You are right – I used a wrong first name for David Attenborough. My mistake.

    But need to pose on being a truth martyr though – if you end up in the Borehole, it won’t be because you spotted a trivial mistake, but rather because of the posts like those in https://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2021/01/climate-adaptation-summit-2021/ where you
    – questioned the knowledge of his own land by an Australian farmer, by saying that shouldn’t worry about less moisture on his land, because … in some town of “Corrigin [in] 110 years of [rain] records there is no clear trend“;

    – or when your brilliantly disproved the link between global warming and a change in precipitation patterns in Australia by saying:
    “ if you were to plot [local] annual rainfall [in Perth or Sydney] Vs annual [local] temperature anomaly you will find there is NO correlation”

    Which would make sense if all weather was local in origin – i.e. precipitation in Perth originated only from Perth, i.e. no such a thing like “wind”, and each town and village has its own stationary air mass above it.

    But you are right – it is the mistaken first name that is laughable here.

  17. 67
    Piotr says:

    Re: Richard Colombe (62)

    Yes, I have used wrong first name (must be too many “Richards” in this exchange) My mistake.

    Now, how does _this_ compare to your presentation of David Attenborough views ?
    Knowing his films and his position on climate change and conservation, the only logical context for his saying would be that our civilization started around 10,000 yrs ago with the advent of agriculture, which in turn was possible only under stable climate. And now we are destroying the very systems that kept the climate stable until the industrial revolution.

    How much ignorance or ill will does it take to portray the above as David Attenborough’s … indifference to the destruction of wildlife by humans, and denier’s conviction that the systems that supported us in preindustrial will continue stabilize the climate in the future despite the destruction we bring them:
    so, while most, if not all, of these systems are in distress, severe decline, and/or dying out all together, they still maintain the same ability to “stabilize” the climate – WTF! This sounds more like Zombie-science than climate science.” Richard Colombe (62)

    Colombe: It takes the foolishness of climate scientists to believe the climate of pre-industrial 10,000 yrs was relatively stable. That is a complete misreading of the condition.

    No, that is called: “the ability to read charts”. In fact, the very chart YOU brought into this discussion: Richard Colombe (21): “if you scientists knew how to read charts (try https://history.aip.org/climate/xMethane.htm)

    Climate on such graph is “stable” when T=f(t) is, well, stable, i.e. flat. The less flat is temp. curve => the steeper its SLOPE (=dT/dt) =>the LESS stable is the climate. That’s what it means to “read the chart”. Hence my:

    Piotr(52): “compare THE SLOPE of T in the last 10,000 yrs with the slopes in most of the 10,000 yr periods in the last 425,000 yrs … Now, if there only was somebody to lecture us about the value of the ability to read graphs…”

    If you are unable to follows even such a simple explanation, then perhaps science forum is not the best place for a mind of your .. caliber.

    > As I have been eluding to in my posts

    ;-) Sigmund F. must be chuckling

    Colombe: “If you take into account the activity of the oceans, I believe, you will find the system has not been all that stable

    Show the data, your beliefs are irrelevant.

    Colombe: https://phys.org/news/2021-04-arctic-sea-ice.html

    First, there are no DATA in that link.
    Second, it is about the CURRENT situation (mentions: “2018”). In logic, you can’t disprove a statement about the past (10,000 yrs before human changes to the climate) by saying that … today is different.

    Third, EVEN if the data have shown that the ocean temp. changed wildly, but atm. temps didn’t – in logic you can’t disprove a claim about the stability of AIR temps. by saying that although air temps. were stable, but you believe that the ocean temp. were not.

    Fourth, you believe …scientists(!), given how superior you feel compared to them???
    – “ If you scientists knew how to read charts”
    – “I don’t know whether Dr. Attenborough compiled this list from his own knowledge, or if he was given this from climate scientists [yada, yada, yada] WTF! This sounds more like Zombie-science than climate science.”
    -“Do you possess any analytical abilities at all?”
    – “I was being far too generous when I only poked fun at the ability of climate scientists to read a graph.

    Powerful stuff! ;-)

  18. 68
    zebra says:

    R. Colombe various comments,

    I tend to agree that some people responding to you don’t understand what your “argument” is, because I sure as heck don’t.

    If you sincerely want to have a rational scientific discussion (or “argument” or “debate”, if you like), you have to be able to communicate. This means

    1. Stating your hypothesis (definitively), as jgnfld requests at #60.
    2. Being willing to define your terms when asked…this avoids ‘definition debates’, where people are just talking past each other.

    It isn’t about “coloring outside the lines” as you say; you can disagree all you want, but you can’t expect people to read your mind based on a bunch of jumbled concepts that you express in different comments. That, I think, is what various people are trying to do, with little success.

    Why don’t you try writing out a short paragraph that states, explicitly, whatever point you are trying to make. Then we can see where the ‘disagreement’, if there is one, actually resides.

  19. 69

    BPL: A cap and trade system got rid of the acid rain problem in the United States, and effluents taxes are used to great effect in Germany. Market-based solutions work just fine.

    K 53: The madness of ideoogical [sic] delusions… “Market solutions” gave us a dying planet.

    BPL: Killian can’t distinguish between market failure and market solutions.

  20. 70

    RC 58: So in other words, I’m coloring outside the lines. I don’t care, because I’m not trying to get a paper published, so I’m not bound by your rules.

    BPL: Sorry, but you can’t make up your own rules when you’re doing science. Yes, you are bound by “my” rules, because they are simply the rules and procedures of statistics, and you don’t get to choose those.

    RC: If my “conclusions are wrong–definitely wrong, known to be wrong,” then you should have no problem demonstrating that they are wrong, but all I see are declarations of such. I have made a cause and effect argument, and you have countered with procedure and process. Why should I take your word for it that my conclusions are definitely wrong?

    BPL: Because you are simply drawing a line between two points and assuming it’s a physical principle. In reality carbon dioxide and temperature are not the only parts of the equation; there are a dozen other factors that matter, and matter greatly. What you’re doing is equivalent to saying, “it was fifty degrees this morning at 9, now it’s noon and it’s seventy degrees, so by tomorrow the world will be at boiling temperature and we’ll all die.” Same logic.

  21. 71

    RC 62: It takes the foolishness of climate scientists to believe the climate of pre-industrial 10,000 yrs was relatively stable. That is a complete misreading of the condition. As I have been eluding to in my posts, it has only been the atmospheric climate that has appeared to be relatively stable. If you take into account the activity of the oceans, I believe, you will find the system has not been all that stable, and our current climate situation is beginning to demonstrate that fact.

    BPL: The ocean is MORE stable than the atmosphere. It has a much greater thermal inertia.

  22. 72

    RC 63: You respond to RC 50, and then you place your response at #50 in the same post. Did you mean “See my response at #49,” perhaps? If so, please see my response at #58.

    BPL: Is this an inadvertent admission that both RCs are the same person, and that either one of them is a sock puppet or you both are?

  23. 73
    Keith Woollard says:

    Nigelj, read Piotr’s first sentence in his 52 again. It isn’t a typo, Piotr puts quotes around the David. He is mocking RC for his supposed mistake

  24. 74
    Ray Ladbury says:

    So, pray, why are people here still engaging Mr. Colombe? Nothing he has said is worth a bucket of warm puppy shit. Point him to the Start Here button and see if his learning curve has a positive slope. I’m not hopeful.

  25. 75
    R. Colombe says:

    Nigelj (66), Thank you for attempting to understand the argument I’m trying to make. You are close, but not yet there. I will write a more detailed post that will attempt to explain the points I have been making in more detail, but for now I will simply say that the 125 ppm increase has already caused that 5 degrees of warming, the only difference is that, instead of the warming going into the atmosphere, it has gone into the ocean; therefore, it doesn’t show up on the atmospheric temperature gauge.

    Of course the temperature is controlled by more than just CO2. I’m using CO2 as a proxy for all of the forces that effect temperature and climate change, but because it’s the one most people are familiar with, and it, along with CH4 so closely aligns with atmospheric temperature change, that it makes sense to simply refer to CO2. For the purpose of this argument, a more detailed explanation of atmospheric temperature change would not make the argument any easier to understand. If the theory I am proposing is correct, I am confident that after you read my more detailed explanation (to be posted later today or tomorrow), you will see the reasons to doubt the predictions in the IPCC reports.

    Regarding the stability issue: The problem, as I see it, is that when we talk about the climate being relatively stable, what we are talking about is the atmospheric climate has been relatively stable, and ignoring the stability of the planet’s climate system as a whole, i.e. taking the stability of the oceans into account. When CO2 vacillated between roughly 180 – 280 ppm, the atmospheric climate was unstable. With CO2 climbing above 280, the atmospheric temperature has been unable to rise, thus making the atmospheric climate appear to be stable, but instability has been transferred into the ocean along with the heat that is associated with the CO2 and CH4 increase. That may not be stated as clearly as I would like, but I hope it will suffice for the time being. I appreciate the info on W. Ruddiman, and I will give if further thought, but I don’t it has an influence on the argument I am making.

  26. 76
    Victor says:

    #56 Kevin McKinney says:

    Victor, #30

    “The only difference between Stefan’s graph and yours is the 12-moving average. The shapes are identifiably the same if you use that function on Woodfortrees”

    V: Sorry, Kevin, but your smoothed version (https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:2021/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/trend/plot/none) changes nothing of importance. The difference between the steep runup from the late 70s through 1998 and the levelling (or, if you prefer, slowdown) from 1998 through 2015 remains all too clear.

    K: I’ve added the trend since 1998 to emphasize just how pointless the so-called ‘pause’ has become.

    V: The trend line you’ve added includes the two recent El Ninos, beginning in 2016, data that Stefan wisely discounted, if you recall, as “not a significant trend change” as “[i]t is . . . part of natural variability.”

    And I’m not talking about “the pause” in this case, but the manner in which the data (however you wish to interpret it) is displayed. The graph provided by Stefan effectively nullifies the difference so readily apparent in just about every other global temperature graph available, giving the misleading impression of a steady, uninterrupted rise in temperature from 1970 through the present. And Stefan’s graph is not based on the widely publicized corrections by Karl et al., as these corrections have little affect on any data collected after 1940: https://i.guim.co.uk/img/static/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2015/6/7/1433648291783/394aae6c-6f45-4f69-ae79-a7e7c19887b5-620×520.png?width=445&quality=45&auto=format&fit=max&dpr=2&s=cf473961bd28749f459e1711af9e1cd5

    The impression of a steady, uninterrupted upward trend in global temperatures, from the 70s all the way up to 2015, as suggested by Stefan’s graph, strikes me, therefore, as highly questionable.

  27. 77
    William B Jackson says:

    #5 Mr Know Nothing nobody with a clue cares what Thomas Sowell says or thinks, if he does think!

  28. 78
    Piotr says:

    Keith Woollard (75): “ Nigelj, read Piotr’s first sentence in his 52 again. It isn’t a typo, Piotr puts quotes around the David. He is mocking RC for his supposed mistake

    Hear, hear, Mr. Woollard, “ read Piotr’s first sentence in his 52 again”!
    Here it is:
    Piotr 52: “ While it’s impressive that you [are] on the first name basis with Sir Richard Attenborough, or for you: “ David”

    So …which part of my mocking of Richard Colombe for FANCING himself to be “on the first name basis” with … the world-renowned naturalist Attenborough (RC: “ David offers the following explanation“) in your mind became a proof that I “mock RC for his supposed mistake [of using wrong name]“? Sometimes
    being on the first name basis“, means “being on the first name basis“, you know …

    And you didn’t ask yourself why would I be SO STUPID as to ridicule RC for something that truth could been established IN THE VERY SAME SENTENCE:

    Richard Colombe (51): “In “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet” (2020), David offers the following explanation”

    And seeing RC, a loudmouth nobody, who thinks he is BETTER than Attenborough: he called him paternalistically by his first name, suggested that his arguments may not be even his own(“or if he was given [them] from climate scientists“), ridiculed those arguments with “ WTF!” and “ Zombie-science – you, Keith Woollard, thought, that I would give up on all those and go after RC for a trivial mistake of a misspoken name???

    You can tell a lot about a man from the assumptions he makes about others …

  29. 79
    nigelj says:

    This graphic (which changes as you look at it) just might get across to a certain person why el nino is not causing the global warming trend:

    https://skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=67

  30. 80
    Simon C says:

    Richard Colombe’s argument at #49 is really quite funny. It is reminiscent of the argument that (was once) made about the night being just the right length for humans to sleep. Humans were around for a long time before the Holocene, but the unusual climate stability of the Holocene (still a bit mysterious) was almost certainly a very significant factor in the development of farming – and therefore of everything that we call civilisation. The climate of the glacials – and to some extent of other interglacials – was a pretty wild ride that humanity perhaps barely survived, outside Africa. One of the main lessons about climate and the Holocene is that humans may only develop sophisticated civilisations when the climate (for whatever reason) is relatively stable. If we destabilise it we might end civilisation, at least for the vast majority of humans. Much would be lost.

  31. 81
    nigelj says:

    Ray Ladbury @74 “Nothing he has said is worth a bucket of warm puppy shit.” Ray you are a funny guy and know your stuff, but that nearly made me vomit up my breakfast.

  32. 82
    nigelj says:

    R. Colombe @75 , you don’t yet grasp that the warming thousands of years ago of 5 degrees c for 100ppm change in CO2 was caused by a range of combined factors that are not all operating right now, so the current warming for a change of 100 ppm of CO2 will be less (although still very concerning). And this is the case whether that warming goes into the atmosphere or oceans, so it cant warm the oceans or atmosphere 5 degrees c. It certainly hasn’t warmed the oceans 5 degrees, we know that. And the oceans aren’t going to burp out all their heat energy to warm the atmosphere catastrophically to 5 degrees or more (if that’s what you were thinking). Evidence shows it doesn’t work like that. Ocean to atmosphere heat exchange cycles are roughly neutral as you would expect.

    The real problem to worry about is that the middle range warming estimates look like they could disrupt weather and cause more sea level rise than originally thought and cross various tipping points. However I’m a layperson, so I will leave it all to the experts.

  33. 83

    Victor, #76–

    The impression of a steady, uninterrupted upward trend in global temperatures, from the 70s all the way up to 2015, as suggested by Stefan’s graph, strikes me, therefore, as highly questionable.

    Let me say it differently: the shape of the graph you present is not materially different from the shape of the “questionable” graph Stefan presented. Bluntly, you are imagining things.

  34. 84
    DasKleineTeilchen says:

    It should be noted that I have not assumed net-negative emissions here. Many scenarios assume that we first emit too much and that our children then have to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere after mid-century – I think this is not very realistic and also ethically questionable. I think we will probably not be able to achieve more than reducing global emissions to net zero

    well, seems its fucked beyond repair…and much-sooner-than-anticipated™…again:

    From 2010 through 2019, Brazil’s Amazon basin gave off 16.6bn tonnes of CO2, while drawing down only 13.9bn tonnes, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change…“We half-expected it, but it is the first time that we have figures showing that the Brazilian Amazon has flipped, and is now a net emitter”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/30/brazilian-amazon-released-more-carbon-than-it-absorbed-over-past-10-years

    great. just great.

  35. 85
    Victor says:

    83
    Kevin McKinney says:

    K: Let me say it differently: the shape of the graph you present is not materially different from the shape of the “questionable” graph Stefan presented. Bluntly, you are imagining things.

    V: Really? Talk about seeing what you want to see. Here’s Hadcrut4, from 1998 through 2015: https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/to:2015/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/to:2015/trend

    And yes, there is a slight upward trend — negligible in comparison with the very steep trend displayed in Stefan’s graph: https://www.realclimate.org/images/1.5-degree-limit-ENSO.png

  36. 86
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Victor @85

    V: Really? Talk about seeing what you want to see. Here’s Hadcrut4, from 1998 through 2015

    But then here’s Hadcrut4, for the same years as Stefan’s graph, 1970 through 2020:
    https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:2020/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1998/to:2015/trend
    Looks a lot like Stefan’s graph doesn’t it?

    Victor is just a tad dishonest. As usual.

  37. 87
    Piotr says:

    Re: DasKleineTeilchen (84) – in the Guardian article: “tropical rainforests are more effective at soaking up and storing carbon than other types of vegetation“.

    It is often said, but I am not sure whether it is and even was in the past true . Tropical rainforest are very important as the guardians of the already large CO2 storage (in biomass and soil), but I doubt they re more effective in soaking up net carbon, which is what we mean by “sink”.

    Has anybody seen any numbers from BEFORE the “flip”, i.e. where the Amazon was supposed to be a major sink?

    I ask because, the only way for being a net sink is to get more growth than decomposition. Warmer humid temps are good for bacteria and fungi and therefore for decomposition.

    Growth of rain forest is nutrient limited – so to increase it you need a) to get more nutrients supplied or b) have a higher efficiency of N or P cycling compared to C cycling. Neither seems obvious/easy in the Amazon.

    Now, the net increase in CO2 uptake by the high latitude forests – is much simpler – since their growth is either temperature- or water-limited – human emissions help in both – warming extends the growing season (more accumulation of biomass -> more uptake), while higher CO2 allows for smaller losses of H2O so the same limiting water can be used more effectively.

    So the role of the high lat. forests is for the net uptake of some of our emissions, while the role of the tropical forests is mainly preventing creating a new source.
    Which thanks, to Bolsenaro and to us, works no longer. Bolsenaro for obvious reasons, us – not only we didn’t apply the international pressure or imposed economic sanctions for the accelerated systematic destruction of the jungle, but quite the opposite – we are buying Brazilian beef and palm oil.

    And in Amazon they compound the CO2 emissions for the burning forests, with using them for the most GHG form of agriculture – raising cattle, the veritable CH4 emitting machines …

    But I need my burger and I need it now!

  38. 88
    MartinJB says:

    Victor @85 scolds Kevin for showing a trend line that includes the recent El Niños, ignoring that Kevin’s trend line STARTS with an El Niño as well. To make Victor’s complaint worse, his own citation of a lower slope from from 1998 STARTS with an El Niño and ENDS in a La Niña.

    Victor likes to pick cherries. Don’t be like Victor.

  39. 89

    #85, Victor–

    Yes, really.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1j3k4q859u859h/Superimposed%20curves.jpg?dl=0

    Gonna believe your eyes–or your lying mind?

  40. 90
    Victor says:

    89 Kevin McKinney says:

    “Victor–

    Yes, really.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1j3k4q859u859h/Superimposed%20curves.jpg?dl=0

    Gonna believe your eyes–or your lying mind?”

    V: OMG! Do I have to spell it out for you? I suppose I do. (sigh)

    OK, here’s Hadcrut 4 from 1970-2020, smoothed out as in Stephan’s graph:

    https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:2021/mean:12

    Nota Bene: If you use a ruler you’ll see that the peak at ca. 1998 (.6 celsius) is just about the same as the peak at 2010 (also .6).

    Now let’s take another look at Stefan’s graph:
    https://www.realclimate.org/images/1.5-degree-limit-ENSO.png

    You don’t need a ruler to see very clearly that the peak at 2010 is considerably higher than that of 1998. The previous peak (circa 2007) is also higher.

    So. Before accusing me of being a liar, I suggest you clean your glasses.

  41. 91
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Victor and his absurdity

    There are approximately 20 different temperature data sets all of which are very similar to the chart presented by Stefan. He could have picked any of them to show the warming trend.

    Between these two charts one can see the major temperature data sets being HadCRUT, NASA GISS, Japan Met., Berkeley Earth, Cowtan and Way, and NOAA. And they are all very similar.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/1987_yearly_temperature_anomalies_from_1880_to_2019.jpeg

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record#/media/File:20200324_Global_average_temperature_-_NASA-GISS_HadCrut_NOAA_Japan_BerkeleyE.svg
    Furthermore, Victor likes to pretend that 2016 as an El Nino year should not be considered when looking at temperature trends. An absurdity, of course. This is especially true since Victor likes to cherry pick a period that begins with an exceptional El Nino but then he ends it before the next major El Nino to show a supposed slow down in warming or lack of a *steadily increasing trend*, The impression of a steady, uninterrupted upward trend in global temperatures, from the 70s all the way up to 2015, as suggested by Stefan’s graph, strikes me, therefore, as highly questionable. Um, the trend line is stated as being for the past 50 years, 1970 through 2020, not 2015.

    Anyway, so its okay for Victor to use an El Nino when it serves his purpose, but not when it doesn’t. Also, apparently Victor pretends that not only the 2016 El Nino doesn’t matter, but neither do the years following the El Nino even though Stefan has included those years in his trend. I guess when studying the data we are suppose to ignore that 2020 was a virtual tie with the 2016 El Nino record temperature year while actually being, gasp, a La Nina year which one would assume to have resulted in a cooler year. It didn’t.

    https://www.eco-business.com/news/state-of-the-climate-2020-ties-as-warmest-year-on-record/

    Warming has been quite steady since 1970. Victor can’t seem to grasp reality and only sees what he wants to see.

  42. 92
    Jim Eager says:

    R. Colombe, you have put forward a number of logical fallacies, factual errors, and made several assumptions that are simply not based on the science or even on reality

    Charitably assuming that your learning curve does have a positive slope, please, please learn a bit about earth’s climate system and how changing CO2, among other factors, changes climate. I heartily recommend this starting point from the Start Here page: Discovery of Global Warming
    You can read it on line for free.

    There are also several free MOOC* courses on the subject that you can easily partake of that will guide you through understanding the science step-by-step, complete with references, homework assignments, quizzes, and discussion groups.

    *Massive Open Online Course

  43. 93
    William B Jackson says:

    86 Victor stretches the truth? Say it ain’t so!This what he has always done!

  44. 94
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Victor @90

    You don’t need a ruler to see very clearly that the peak at 2010 is considerably higher than that of 1998. The previous peak (circa 2007) is also higher.

    Victor is using the raw Hadley data here prior to the adjustments that are needed to correct the numbers for coverage differences and/or lack of coverage. When comparing the final temperature set of HadCRUT to the NASA chart that Stefen used–apples to apples–you can see they are actually quite similar.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/1987_yearly_temperature_anomalies_from_1880_to_2019.jpeg

  45. 95
    Victor says:

    91 CCHolley says:

    “There are approximately 20 different temperature data sets all of which are very similar to the chart presented by Stefan. He could have picked any of them to show the warming trend.”

    Oh really? I see some significant differences in your second graph, especially when expanded (the first is all but illegible):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record#/media/File:20200324_Global_average_temperature_-_NASA-GISS_HadCrut_NOAA_Japan_BerkeleyE.svg

    Moreover, there are others which offer a radically different picture, such as UAH6 (https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah6/from:1970/to:2020/mean:12), in which the peak at 2010 is far below that of 1998, or RSS (https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1970/to:2021/mean:12) or, as already noted, Hadcrut4 (https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1970/to:2020/mean:12); or even the Wood for Trees index (https://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/from:1970/to:2021/mean:12)

    However, Stefan did not choose just any, or all, of the many different datasets, but the one that makes his point most effectively: NASA GISS (in yellow), the dataset with the highest values after 1998. Despite the fact that this is only one out of many, it is presented as if it were unique, definitive. No other possibilities are considered.

    CC: Furthermore, Victor likes to pretend that 2016 as an El Nino year should not be considered when looking at temperature trends. An absurdity, of course. This is especially true since Victor likes to cherry pick a period that begins with an exceptional El Nino but then he ends it before the next major El Nino to show a supposed slow down in warming or lack of a *steadily increasing trend*,

    V: Oh my. Lack of basic reading skills abounds on this blog. It was not my decision to discount the two El Ninos beginning in 2016, but Stefan’s. Go back and read his second paragraph.

    CC: Um, the trend line is stated as being for the past 50 years, 1970 through 2020, not 2015.

    V: If so, then it contradicts Stefan’s disavowal of the years 2016-2020 as part of a trend rather than natural variation.

    CC: Anyway, so its okay for Victor to use an El Nino when it serves his purpose, but not when it doesn’t.

    V: You’ve completely failed to get the point. It is Stefan who both includes the 1998 El Nino in his dataset and also discounts the El Ninos following 2015. I was not trying to “use” any of these El Ninos, but simply questioning the validity of Stefan’s representation, which gives the (false) impression of a steady trend upward from the 1970’s through 2015.

    Now as far as the notorious “hiatus” or “pause” is concerned. This unexpected (and unwanted) development has stuck in the craw of true believers for many years and there have been a great many attempts to explain it away, from the old “ocean ate my warming” excuse all the way to the present, as reflected in the graph so carefully selected by Stefan in the above essay. Time after time the hiatus has been “debunked,” which is strange, since one debunking should have been enough. Since an array of totally different and often contradictory “explanations” was not sufficient, the latest trend has involved “updating” the evidence itself. Hey, if the data doesn’t support your theory then change the data.

    As far as I’m concerned what we see reflected in Stefan’s graph is just the most recent in that long long line of futile attempts to make the data support the theory by whatever means possible. In the future we can look forward to many others, no doubt.

  46. 96
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Victor @95

    Oh really? I see some significant differences in your second graph, especially when expanded (the first is all but illegible)

    The first is all but illegible because the data sets match so well. The second hardly shows *significant* differences, that’s just Victor seeing things that aren’t really there.

    Moreover, there are others which offer a radically different picture, such as UAH6, in which the peak at 2010 is far below that of 1998, or RSS or, as already noted, Hadcrut4); or even the Wood for Trees index

    These are NOT apples to apple comparisons. The satellite records are for the lower troposphere, and are NOT surface temperatures, which is what the discussion is about. The others show RAW data that has not been corrected for coverage biases.

    However, Stefan did not choose just any, or all, of the many different datasets, but the one that makes his point most effectively: NASA GISS (in yellow), the dataset with the highest values after 1998. Despite the fact that this is only one out of many, it is presented as if it were unique, definitive. No other possibilities are considered.

    What a moron Victor is. Stefan is trying to show that limiting temperature increase to under 1.5C is still possible. In doing so, he should be using the data set that shows the highest trend to date, which he did–the dataset that would indicate the worst case for staying under that 1.5C.

    Oh my. Lack of basic reading skills abounds on this blog. It was not my decision to discount the two El Ninos beginning in 2016, but Stefan’s. Go back and read his second paragraph.

    Any acceleration of warming over the last decade is not a significant trend change. It is linked to two El Niño events in recent years, but that is part of natural variability.

    Stefan isn’t discounting the El Ninos in his trend analysis, not in the least. His trend line includes them. What he discounts is that they are a sign of a potential trend change. Big difference. Does Stefan show an acceleration in his trend due to the El Ninos? NO. But they are certainly part of his trend.

    CC: Um, the trend line is stated as being for the past 50 years, 1970 through 2020, not 2015.
    V: If so, then it contradicts Stefan’s disavowal of the years 2016-2020 as part of a trend rather than natural variation.

    The colored curve shows the moving average over 12 months, the black line the linear trend over the last 50 years. Transient warmth following two strong El Niño events in the tropical Pacific is indicated by arrows. If everything continued like this, the 1.5 degree limit would be exceeded around 2040.

    Victor apparently can’t read nor can he see. The trend line starts at 1970 and ends at 2020 after the El Nino years. Stefan does not disavow those years.

    V: You’ve completely failed to get the point. It is Stefan who both includes the 1998 El Nino in his dataset and also discounts the El Ninos following 2015. I was not trying to “use” any of these El Ninos, but simply questioning the validity of Stefan’s representation, which gives the (false) impression of a steady trend upward from the 1970’s through 2015.

    LOL. Stefan doesn’t discount the El Ninos, that is just a figment of Victor’s imagination. They are included as part of his 50 year trend. Stefan’s representation is simply the NASA data set, not his own. As such, it is as valid. And it does represents reality. Only Victor sees things that aren’t there.

    As far as I’m concerned what we see reflected in Stefan’s graph is just the most recent in that long long line of futile attempts to make the data support the theory by whatever means possible.

    An opinion from a musicologist with no formal training in the sciences or higher math who thinks he knows more than thousands of highly trained, highly competent, highly skilled scientists that have made a career of understanding the data and physics. What a joke is our dear Victor.

  47. 97

    V, #90–

    What I said was that the two graphs were “not materially different.” So, Victor, you refute that by saying that there is a noticeable difference in two particular peaks.

    Well, it’s dependent upon smoothing, and these two datasets are not the same anyway, which means that you would expect some small differences. So already your case is not robust. But the big point is that clearly there is enormous similarity between the two shapes, as shown by the superimposition I presented.

    But presumably that doesn’t matter because of the great importance you place on the direct comparison you put forward. In other words, you judge not by the whole, but by a selected subset to which you ascribe unwonted significance.

    That’s prima facie evidence of you lying to yourself–the prime hazard the scientific method (which you scorn) is intended to prevent.

  48. 98

    #95, Victor–

    More lies and bafflegab. If the issue is the alleged ‘minimization’ of warming to 2015, the height of the 2010 peak is irrelevant.

    Stefan didn’t “misrepresent” anything; he used a standard, well-accepted data set to illustrate a point.

    Victor doesn’t like the point, so he flings feces. Luckily, this sort doesn’t stick.

  49. 99
    nigelj says:

    Victor @95

    “Lack of basic reading skills abounds on this blog. It was not my decision to discount the two El Ninos beginning in 2016, but Stefan’s. Go back and read his second paragraph.”

    I can see how you would think that, but Stefan didn’t do that. He did not say the el ninos in 2016 and 2019 can be ignored when calculating a climate trend over for example the period 1998 – 2020. No scientist would ever just leave out data that is available. If you have data you use it. He only said that the two el ninos do not constitute an ACCELERATION of warming (defined as a fundamental change from the trend over the last 20 years, or longer ). Neither did the 1998 el nino. And so if you join the peak of the 1998 el nino to those in 2016 and 2019 there is obviously a significant warming trend comparable to 1980 – 1998 for example. The slow period of warming around 2002 – 2010 is over. Finished.

  50. 100
    Victor says:

    94 CCHolley says:

    Victor is using the raw Hadley data here prior to the adjustments that are needed to correct the numbers for coverage differences and/or lack of coverage. When comparing the final temperature set of HadCRUT to the NASA chart that Stefen used–apples to apples–you can see they are actually quite similar.

    https://climate.nasa.gov/system/internal_resources/details/original/1987_yearly_temperature_anomalies_from_1880_to_2019.jpeg

    V: Thanks for the link. And sorry, but the impression we get from the graph displayed there is not at all like the one offered by Stefan. Even after the adjustments, the contrast between the steep rise from the late 70’s to the late 90’s and the levelling after the El Nino of 1998 remains apparent, while Stefan’s version obscures it. The contrast is especially striking when we run the numbers: a stretch of .8 degrees Celsius from 1979 through 1998 compared with little more than .1 degree from 1998 through 2015.

    A careful reading of the so-called “pause-buster” paper of 2015, by Karl et al. (https://science.sciencemag.org/content/348/6242/1469.full ) is instructive in this respect. For one thing, the graph displayed reveals very little change between the uncorrected and corrected data after 1940:
    https://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/348/6242/1469/F2.medium.gif (see lower graph)

    So how was it possible for Karl to declare “that temperatures did not plateau as thought and that the supposed warming “hiatus” is just an artifact of earlier analyses. Warming has continued at a pace similar to that of the last half of the 20th century, and the slowdown was just an illusion”? Not on the basis of his “corrections,” obviously, as the differences he found are minimal. No. Karl managed to “kill” the troublesome hiatus by a clever feat of misdirection:

    “Our new analysis now shows that the trend over the period 1950–1999, a time widely agreed as having significant anthropogenic global warming (1), is 0.113°C decade−1, which is virtually indistinguishable from the trend over the period 2000–2014 (0.116°C decade−1).”

    In fact the period from 1950-1999 begins with a 30 year temperature plateau followed by a 20 year rise. Comparing temperatures during this very mixed 50 year period with the clear slowdown from 2000-2014 is comparing apples with oranges. Karl never attempts to explain his choice of dates, but to this skeptic it looks very much as though his selection was based on little more than convenient cherry picking.

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