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    More than 100 comments found. Only the most recent 100 have been displayed.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 08:31 AM on 16 January, 2022


    I appreciate your patient discussion of the topic, which I believe has met its desired level of mutual understanding. I think you understand my desire for folks to use the term "greenhouse gases" or the related phrases: "changes in the chemistry of the atmosphere linked to human activity," "anthropogenic greenhouse gases," "increased AGGI index," or any other term you want to choose, when trying to attribute the causes of a particular extreme weather event, or trends for that matter. For clarity's sake, it leads to a cleaner understanding of the causes of the observed changes, in the same way as pointing to steroid use is a cleaner understanding of the causes of changed performance patterns in sports. It is also more encompassing in that the change in greenhouse gases is linked to observed physical phenomena outside the realm of the earth's climate.

    On my part, I have a renewed respect that the terms climate change, AGW and global warming are still useful terms, especially when they are used outside the discussion of causality. The observation that most years I cannot skate on ponds that I grew up skating on in the winter is one example of global warming that I can point to in my neck of the woods, just as peonies that were planted by my ancestors to bloom on Memorial Day at the end of May but now bloom weeks too early most years is another indication of a changing climate.

    Regarding when terms first began to be used, I am not so interested in when they were first used so much as what terms are currently being used, which is increasingly climate change, as evidenced here: LINK

    Personally I find climate change to be more inclusive so I'm fully supportive of using that phrase when talking about generalities, for the reason I've already stated. But I understand that this is a usage preference only, as any term is fraught with and susceptible to misuse and abuse. So thanks for the conversation and hopefully we have all gained something from the exercise.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 01:26 AM on 15 January, 2022

    #18 Eclectic,

    Thank you again for your continued discussion, which on the whole has been much more extensive on this thread than I ever expected. I agree that "global warming" and "climate change" have become extremely recognizable in the media and the public around the world, and wanting to replace it with a mouthful of words with nearly the same meaning has questionable merit, so I understand why you are wondering why I want to shift it to what seems to be a subtle point which might be lost on most people. And you may be right.

    But there are a couple of points I want to bring up for consideration. The first point is that do you remember when the phrase "global warming" was first popularized, the denialists got a lot of coverage whenever a greenhouse gas turbocharged polar vortex came barreling down from the arctic? Or when the north Atlantic cooling and salt dilution from all the ice melt from Greenland became a thing, potentially causing colder weather for northern Europe, as another example?  The climatological community quickly realized that "global warming" did not adequately capture the complexity of changes that were occurring as a result of the changing atmospheric chemistry that were being observed. So "climate change" became the new replacement mantra, at least in the US community. This is an example of how popular terms are changeable, and made more accurate, thereby short circuiting misinformation in the process.

    The second point to consider is how the use of steroids has played out in the sporting world.  I've used baseball as an example, but steroid use clearly has had its impact across all sports as is evidenced in the Olympics Committee rules development and the increasingly complex monitoring of athletes across all sports. If the conversation in the sporting community just focused on homerun inflation, or increasing serving speeds in tennis, or other sports specific measures, then it would perhaps be harder to connect the dots to reveal the larger cause: steroid use. As we know, climate science has had to look at the much larger net of causality and relationships that impact and are impacted by the increase in the atmospheric greenhouse gas component. The ocean has increased CO2 absorption rates, resulting in acidification. The oceans themselves, not just the atmosphere, is warming, which contributes to sea level rise. The bottom line is that there are several monitoring indexes that are important to watch to understand the impact of greenhouse gas composition in the atmosphere. So just as the sporting community has focused on steroid use as the source of the myriad changes occurring in the sporting community, it makes sense to me to focusing on the source of ocean acidification, sea level rise relating to ocean water temperature, etc. AND climate change: greenhouse gases. It leaves the conversation about whether humanity is causing the problem behind us so we can move ahead with the next steps.  

    Thanks again for persisting, and I hope that this clarifies why I think it is worth considering this.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    One Planet Only Forever at 13:23 PM on 14 January, 2022

    Bob Loblaw @21,

    Indeed, the Canadian Building Codes include regional climate design requirement extremes (like snow, wind, rain, temperatures) based on the Climate Normals and Averages that Environment Canada updates every 10 years (EC has not yet published the 1991-2020 data). And design requirements like the Canadian Building Code are written as if they establish design requirements that will be adequate for the potential extreme weather conditions that would potentially impact a structure or system that is being built to last an established number of years like 50 or 100 years. But the rate of climate change and uncertainties of future climate make a difference to design requirements that is hard to establish.

    What you have pointed out is indeed a challenge for designing things to successfully deal with the potential future climate conditions in any region. The Building Code only establishes “minimum design requirements to be met”. Everyone is free to design for more extreme requirements but, as I mention @16, without knowing how quickly the human impacts causing climate change will ‘change the climate’, and without knowing the expected peak level of impact, it is a bit of a fool’s errand to try to establish a regional design basis that would be sufficient to withstand conditions that may occur in the next 100 years, or even 50 years. Even if the regional climate forecasting could reasonably provide potential climate change results far enough into the future (like 100 years), knowing the peak human impact and how quickly it will be reached is required to establish appropriate design requirements.

    Of course, absurdly severe design conditions could potentially be used. But who will establish what is ‘absurd enough’? And who will choose to impose the absurd requirements on what they ask to have designed and built, with the person making the request paying what it costs to get the result?.

    And, as I mentioned @16, food producers have an even harder challenge attempting to plan their ‘adaptation to rapid human caused climate change’.

    The conundrum of designing Civil and Structural systems for hard to predict (uncertain) rapid human-caused climate changes (and the potential absurdity of requests for that to be done) is what initially sparked my interest in learning more about this issue of “Rapid human caused Global Warming causing significant Climate Changes”.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Eclectic at 14:47 PM on 11 January, 2022

    Wilddouglascounty  ~  so far in this discussion, my mind has not been subtle enough to discern the effect of the distinction, or difference, that you draw between the concept of global warming vs increased greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

    To clarify your position: how would you describe the distinction (regarding increase in extreme weather events) in the - strictly hypothetical - case that the current rapid global warming were instead being caused by an ongoing rise in total solar irradiation?

    Admittedly there is the crucial difference that such global warming would be beyond direct human intervention in its causation ~ but otherwise the nett effects would mimic AGW.   But how would one (i.e. you) draw distinctions in the wording of attribution?  And why so?

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 02:23 AM on 11 January, 2022

    #11 David Kirtley,

    Thank you for referring me to the Grist post, which I had not read before. Yes, Mr. Roberts accurately captures the inherent difficulties in trying to create causal distinctions between different parts of one atmosphere. The point I was making can best be outlined in his article by quoting his steroid example: 

    "When the public asks, “Did climate change cause this?” they are asking a confused question. It’s like asking, “Did steroids cause the home run Barry Bonds hit on May 12, 2006?” There’s no way to know whether Bonds would have hit the home run without steroids. But who cares? Steroids mean more home runs. That’s what matters."

    I just wish Mr. Roberts had gone on to say that while "climate change" is  a compilation or measure of the severity and frequency of weather episodes, it is greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that are causing it to change. It is best to say that increased greenhouse gases mean more extreme weather events. That's what matters.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    One Planet Only Forever at 09:56 AM on 9 January, 2022

    As a civil/structural engineer I have a different perspective regarding the debate about the merits of attribution analysis of extreme weather.

    Civil designs, especially water run-off collection systems, and structures need to be designed to withstand 'weather extremes'. The rapid changes of weather extremes due to human action causing global warming and resulting climate change is critically important work.

    It is inevitable that more frequent and more severe extreme events will be attributed to the human impacts. We have to hope that our designed systems are designed to perform successfully under the more extreme conditions, and fix already built stuff that isn't up to the challenge because it wasn't anticipated to need to be.

    The science that anticipates the attribution of more extreme weather impacts is critical to the success/survival of what we build.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    MA Rodger at 06:11 AM on 7 January, 2022

    wilddouglascounty @8,

    This interchange becomes perplexing.

    I expressed the situation as I saw it @7 saying "I feel you are still attempting to paper over the idea that extreme weather will be worse under AGW and that will bring with it serious problems for humanity," believing you were happy that AGW resulted from increased GHGs in the atmosphere but that you had objection to the "statistical abstration" involved with the assessment of AGWs influence on extreme weather events.

    But @8 you say I am wrong in this interpretation of your position.

    It appears now that you are attempting to paper over the concept of "climate change" or AGW as you want the term "climate change" replaced by the rather lengthy phrase "a 40% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere or whatever mix of all greenhouse gases you want to choose." You even @8 describe "climate change" as being a"statistical construct we've created to monitor the impact of greenhouse gases" while @4 it is "climate"  you describe as being "a statistical abstraction."

    So is it simply use of the terms "climate change" and "AGW" or even use of the term "climate" you are objecting to? And I would find an affirmative response "perplexing" given your opening line @1 and your final line @8.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 08:19 AM on 6 January, 2022

    MA Rodger,

    Thanks so much for voicing your concerns, which I can assure you are completely unfounded.  You say you feel that I am attempting to paper over the idea that extreme weather will be worse with AGW and cause increasing problems for humanity, but your concerns are completely unfounded. Nowhere do I imply this and I'm sorry you draw this conclusion from my stating and restating that my concern is that people are being inaccurate by saying that the statistical construct we've created to monitor the impact of greenhouse gases, i.e. "climate change" is CAUSING the observed changes (more severe, frequent extreme weather events, sea level rise, acidification, etc.). It is the greenhouse gases that are CAUSING the climate to change, the rising sea levels, the acidification, etc. Climate change is merely a constructed indicator that we use to communicate the impact of increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (and oceans, for acidification's sake). The only way to reduce and reverse AGW is to reduce the greenhouse gases being emitted to a level that the carbon sinks on our planet can absorb in order to return to an equilibrium that results in a climate we have become accustomed to.

    In other words, when talking about attribution, instead of saying that a drought's severity is increased X percent due to climate change, I would like to see folks say that the drought's severity is increased X percent due to a 40% increase in CO2 in the atmosphere or whatever mix of all greenhouse gases you want to choose.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    MA Rodger at 23:51 PM on 5 January, 2022

    wilddouglascounty @4,
    Thank you for the added clarity but I feel you are still attempting to paper over the idea that extreme weather will be worse under AGW and that will bring with it serious problems for humanity. (Of course, the sporting analogy breaks down here.)

    You appear to be saying that the science should restrict itself to study of the physics of "the roll of greenhouse gases in changing the atmospheric chemistry and its heat retention properties." You say "science should be focusing more on the physical impact of greenhouse gases than on what fraction of an event can be attributed to climate change."

    So AGW should be understood soley as, what, causing an increase in average global surface temperature of a degree or so, or more? Or perhaps even global averages are too statistical to have any meaning in the real world where AGW can even result in regional cooling. And sea level rise too. That may seen a solid physics thing but outside a few amphidromic points it is still dwarfed by the tidal range and requires weather to drive tidal surges.

    Weather is a series of events and climate is a measure of what weather events can be expected. The science of climatology attempts to unravel the whats and the whys of weather stuff that together comprise climate. If climate changes so will the weather we can expect.
    Yet you appear to be wanting to ignore the impacts of AGW, of say, 100-year events happening every year (on average) and even unprecidented 10,000-year events potentially now happening because it is not CO2 that directly causes these events as they are caused more correctly due to the effect of the atmospheric warming resulting from higher CO2 concentrations which in turn cause, say, on average deeper cyclones at higher latitudes which in turn occasionally drives far greater volumes of atmospheric H2O to suddenly rain-out over places where it will cause flash flooding that destroys buildings and forests and communities that have been happily standing for centuries and which would be a complete disaster if there happens to be an 'r' in the month; all of which is a "statistical abstration" which we shouldn't be bothering ourselves with.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 02:54 AM on 5 January, 2022

    Phillipe, MA Roger,

    Sorry for not being more clear: what I am saying is that just as the conversation in athletics is about how steroid use impacts the batting average/number of sixes, instead of focusing on the nonsensical statement that that last hit can be attributed to an increased batting average, science should be focusing more on the physical impact of greenhouse gases than on what fraction of an event can be attributed to "climate change."

    Climate is a statistical abstraction that can be summarized in all kinds of ways, whereas the roll of greenhouse gases in changing the atmospheric chemistry and its heat retention properties is a physical process that can be addressed by science. In other words "climate change" does not CAUSE more extreme weather events: a changed atmospheric chemistry does, and climate indicators are proof of those impacts CAUSED by greenhouse gases. Hope this helps.

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    MA Rodger at 19:33 PM on 4 January, 2022

    wilddouglascounty @1,

    I'm not familiar enough with the game of baseball to discuss a "last individual baseball hit" but if this were the game of cricket, the analogy of an increased incidence of extreme weather would perhaps be analogous to a batsman hitting more sixes which would be a contribution to an overall increase in the steroid-taking batsman's batting average, the overall increase being analogous to the changing climate.

    So in the analogy we can see the batting average increasing with the steroid-taking and we can see within that performance, the rise in the number of almost-sixes, the rise in actual sixes and the times now in which the ball sails clean out of the stadium. A statisitcal assessment can thus be made.

    Note that your posed question "Did the increased batting average cause the (baseball) player to hit that ball further, or was it the steroids?" was answered by you within your analogy as you say "Now it is the steroids which caused the change, just as a jump in the amount of greenhouses in the atmosphere has caused an increase in extreme weather events that cumulatively changes the climate, right?"

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    Philippe Chantreau at 08:00 AM on 4 January, 2022

    WDC, you're splitting hair.

    It is a little ironic, since another, even more intense, winter heatwave has just hit Western Europe again.


    A warming climate is predicted to lead to an increased frequency of extreme weather events. The climate is warming, and an increased frequency of extreme weather events is observed.

    Going into the subtleties of: "this event was x times more likely to reach the extent that it did in a warming climate, but can not definitely be said to have done so because of it," may have merit, but is beyond the comprehension of the vast majority of the general public, who have no concept about differential probabilities. They can hardly even wrap their mind around probabilities at all, and are stunted in their quantitative thinking in general, as has been showed by the recent waves of denial and incomprehension associated with the pandemic. 

    Meanwhile, there is this:

  • How weather forecasts can spark a new kind of extreme-event attribution

    wilddouglascounty at 01:01 AM on 4 January, 2022

    Isn't attribution of individual extreme weather events more of a psychological pursuit than actual science?  I mean, climate is an aggregated construct that is not unlike a baseball batting average, i.e. a statistical cumulative creation designed not to predict weather, but to evaluate what past activities show us and to tease out trends, correct?  For a baseball player, if he starts injecting steroids into his body, all things being equal, his batting average or the number of homeruns may jump.

    Now it is the steroids which caused the change, just as a jump in the amount of greenhouses in the atmosphere has caused an increase in extreme weather events that cumulatively changes the climate, right? But it seems to me that just as it is questionable science to try to tease out how much those steroids added to that last individual baseball hit compared to that player hitting that ball before he started taking steroids, the same pursuit with individual extreme weather events seems to be confusing the cumulative indicator with the observed data point. In other words, did the increased batting average cause the baseball player to hit that ball further, or was it the steroids?  To conflate the two is a psychological pursuit, not a scientific one in my mind.

  • Fighting back against climate misinformation and the damage being done

    Mal Adapted at 07:14 AM on 10 October, 2021

    I've been commenting on climate-related articles on for a few years now. I've noticed a change in the science-denying participants, as public opinion has tilted in favor of the scientific consensus, perhaps shocked by widely-reported new weather extremes. Denialism is ever more automatic and reactive. Some regular pseudonyms appear to be software agents, deployed to spout denialism on triggering. OTOH, the overwhelming consensus of commenters in these articles is science-respecting. Every once in a while, a comment of mine will get enough 'recommends' to make me think I'm not just talking to myself. I'll probably keep  commenting for awhile, at least.

  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #36

    Jonas at 11:13 AM on 6 September, 2021

    Thanks for providing this service: hard, good work, that I regularly share into my channels!

    Adding to the above article on food as a breaking point for society as a result of extreme weather/climate desasters ( ): see the free PDF download (text and data) from Lester Browns 2012 book: "Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity".

  • It's not bad

    MA Rodger at 05:23 AM on 22 August, 2021

    DPiepgrass @400,

    The accounting of deaths due to hot/cold weather is not at all easy. While I have no idea as to the source of the OP statement "deaths attributable to heatwaves are expected to be approximately five times as great as winter deaths prevented," there is a source that puts the 'prevented' total across 49 large US cities at 100/y while projecting "that changes in extreme hot and extreme cold temperatures would result in 9,300 additional premature deaths per year by 2090."  So that is approaching a whopping 100-to-1.

    But, to repeat, the assessment of the level of death due to hot/cold weather is not a straightforward exercise. If you're curious as to why that would be, see this Jeff Masters web-page (which does mention the numbers yielding that 100-to-1 finding), an account that sets out some of the difficulties.

  • As scientists have long predicted, warming is making heatwaves more deadly

    John Hartz at 05:02 AM on 22 July, 2021

    Recommended supplementary reading:

    Scientists are worried by how fast the climate crisis has amplified extreme weather by Angela Dewan, CNN, July 20, 2021

    An exceprt from the article:

    "Climate scientists have for decades warned that the climate crisis would lead to more extreme weather. They said it would be deadly and it would be more frequent. But many are expressing surprise that heat and rain records are being broken by such large margins.

    Since the 1970s, scientists have predicted the extent to which the world would warm fairly accurately. What's harder for their models to predict — even as computers get more and more powerful — is how intense the impact will be."

    A number of prominent climate scientists were interviewed for the article and are extensively quoted.

  • Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

    Eric (skeptic) at 12:23 PM on 11 July, 2021 is better to look at all the data and apply a frequency distribution, then use the fitted distribution to assess extreme values.

    Thanks for the added feedback Bob.  Initially I thought my question was simpler: how much of the recent event was weather and how much was global warming using the trend of monthly maximums.  Then your frequency distribution suggestion led me to this paper:

    The changing shape of Northern Hemisphere summer temperature distributions  (the Wiley link may not work, so I included the title)

    They are doing what you suggested, a frequency distribution of all Tmax values.  Then they trend the percentiles.  That seems very sensible.  My trend of the maximum value of the month does not capture the nature of global warming because global warming affects averages.

    That's of course using my assumption from the discussion in the rapid response paper: that the weather was not affected by global warming, just the temperature.  So I have to go back and redo my work.

    It seems reasonable that a warmer Gulf of Mexico could pump out more moisture and temper Tmax in the central and eastern US.  Out west there may be a "desert amplification" effect in dry locations, but there's a lot of variability and that could be Tmax cooling from reforestation (e.g. Nevada City CA), Tmax warming from draining the delta (Sacramento around 1920), and some weather amplification.  Soden and Held said the wet get wetter and dry get drier, and I think that applies to weather and seasons more than locations.

    Drought is natural but amplification of any drought is part of global warming, and that clearly contributed to Tmax in Portland with 14% RH and Lytton, which I believe went all the way down to 9%.  I'll have to leave that for later.

    Finally, thanks for the Canada info.  I drilled into a directory and found gridded anomalies.  That could provide a global warming trend but probably for Tavg, rather than Tmax.  I could compare the trend to the raw Tmax values for the recent event.  But I'll probably stick with USA for now.

  • Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

    Bob Loblaw at 07:48 AM on 9 July, 2021

    Thank you for providing additional information, Eric.

    Regarding Lillooet. What is your source of data, and are you going by name, or the Climate ID used by the Meteorological Service of Canada? The information sources I have contain 29 entries for Lillooet, starting in 1878. Each entry indicates small changes in observing programs.Although there are gaps (as suggested by your graph), I see information that suggest a station was active in the period 1948-1970, and other stations in the 1970s and 1980s.

    There are nine Climate ID values associated with those 29 station information records - a few have additional information in the names, such as "Lillooet A', which indicates an airport location. The nine Climate IDs are associated with slight variations in location, which would indicate a need for homogenization if records are joined.

    You may be looking at a very incomplete record for the Lillooet area.

    You may wish to look at the recent discussion where several of us talked about the Lytton location (record all-time Canadian high temperature) and fire:

    In the information I have access to, the current Lytton RCS station (Climate ID 1114746) has been operating since 2006, but there are other records in Lytton going back to 1966. Lytton also has nine different Climate IDs associated with the name (incuding variations such as "Lytton", "Lytton RCS", "Lytton 2"). Again, homogenization would be required to join these together, but the current Lytton RCS station is within one arc-minute of the 1966 location (and 50m higher in altitude).

    A great many weather observing locations in Canada (and throughout the world) have undergone many changes over the years, and it takes a lot of work to collect all the different bits and pieces. That's why people do homogenization, and they do tend to know what they are doing.

    Although you mention "that web site", you did not actually provide a link.

    You also state "Homogenization may or may not be a factor..." and "...that doesn't guarantee that extreme temperatures were not moderated by homgenization in prior years".

    That is a very weak argument. Maybe it is? Maybe it isn't? Maybe you don't really know?

    What do you consider to be a "short record station? How many years? On what basis do you decide that this is too short?

  • Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

    Philippe Chantreau at 02:44 AM on 9 July, 2021

    Like Bob, I would like to know more about why exactly Eric has a problem with the World Weather Attribution Group method. 

    There is a discussion at RC about this and they link to the preprint, where this can be found in section 2.1 (Observational data):

    "The main dataset used to represent the heatwave is the ERA5 reanalysis (Hersbach et al., 2020), extended to the time of the heatwave by ECMWF operational analyses produced using a later version of the same model. All fields were downloaded at 0.25º resolution from the ECMWF. Both products are the optimal combination of observations, including near-surface temperature observations from meteorological stations, and the high-resolution ECMWF weather forecast model IFS. Due to the constraints of the surface temperature observations, we expect no large biases between the main dataset and the extension, although some differences may be possible under these extreme conditions."

    It would be nice to propose a potential better methodology before condemning this one to the Gemonies.


    Per NOAA, the period of record for Vancouver, WA starts in 1872. For Portland, OR in 1872. For Seattle, WA in 1891. For Vancouver BC in 1877. Etc, etc...

  • Analysts dissect historic Pacific Northwest ‘heat dome’

    Eric (skeptic) at 20:10 PM on 8 July, 2021

    Link to study is on this page, and please read "main findings" bullets. The bullets are sensible.

    I'm not sure if they are intent on showing the event was mostly weather.  But they are comparing adjusted, homogenized data from prior years to unhomogenized data from this year which exaggerates the current event.  That makes it even more likely to be weather.  They are comparing ERA to the euro model in the bounded area box.  The 5C outlier extreme temperature in the bounded box is not verified by any station other than very short record stations, which I suspect is the problem with the analysis of the box.

    In any case they are showing an event with an extreme outlier temperature without showing an increase in similar extremes. They claim an increase but have no long term data to show an increase.

  • The cool, lush Pacific Northwest roasts in Death Valley-like temperatures

    Bob Loblaw at 00:13 AM on 3 July, 2021

    This morning's Globe and Mail has a picture of the town of Lytton, showing the remains of downtown:

    The picture is currently visible on their main page, but the link to the main story is paywalled. (Same picture in paywalled story.)

    The print version is less zoomed in, and from what I see there it looks like the trees to the south of town (surrounding where I'm pretty sure the weather station is located) have not burned.

    However if the power is out, then the ventiatlion of the Stevenson Screen at the weather station is likely not working, so temperature readings will be unreliable until the power is back on. (Data is still not flowing at the moment.) The area has cooled since the extreme heat at the start of the week, though.

    Let's just say that this particular aspect of the MSC observation network is something I have an "inside baseball" knowledge of.

  • Explainer: The polar vortex, climate change and the ‘Beast from the East’

    TVC15 at 03:37 AM on 19 April, 2021

    As more and more researchers look at the effects of the weakening polar vortex, we are now starting to see these types of cold snaps in TX.

    More climate extremes ahead for Galveston County, experts agree

  • 2010 - 2011: Earth's most extreme weather since 1816?

    Philippe Chantreau at 04:33 AM on 15 March, 2021

    Crystal Wolf, you need to up your game, pay attention, and do some work of your own.

    The posts you are attempting to respond to are 10 years old; every post bears a time stamp that shows the date and time. Tom Curtis has not contributed to this site for a number of years.  His analysis of Norman's weaknesses was accurate, as Norman was called out repeatedly for picking more favorable US statisitcs than the ones considered by Jeff Masters, which were global and therefore much more representative of a global phenomenon.

    The original post is about extreme weather events and their correlation with the extra energy accumulated in the climate system. Since the post was written, global temperatures have gone up steadily, and set records five times. You read that right, the 5 warmest years on the record have all occurred since 2015, years after this post was written, and after the comments you responded to. If you had done even the most basic reading about the problem, you would have already been aware of that fact. Extreme events have also increased.

    If you want to slam SKS, do so for failing to update the OP and show how much worse the situation is today than 10 years ago.

    As for the correlation with extreme events, it has become only stronger, as shown by this excellent summary from NOAA. Unfortunately  it is limited to the US, but nonetheless shows an unmistakable trend. 

  • 2010 - 2011: Earth's most extreme weather since 1816?

    Crystal_Wolf at 08:39 AM on 14 March, 2021

    Tom Curtis @30 "It turns out that you are just another denier who poses as a neutral questioner, but whose real agenda is to raise doubt - any doubt regardless of rationality - with relation to any evidence for AGW." Actually Tom I think the physics to AGW is valid. People are burning lots of carbon based fuel and are most likely increasing the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. It will cause some warming of the Globe. As this website states, a denier is one who will not change based upon valid evidence. I am a skeptic in this issue (Weather extermes due to Global warming). I will change my view when valid evidence is presented to prove this conclusion. What I have been requesting is balance with historical data as well as wanting some mechanisms to explain why warming is causing the extremes. If it be flooding, drought etc. what is the warming atmophere doing to cause these events to take place at a greater frequency or intensity. Jeff Masters lists a lot of bad events that happened in 2010 but provides very little linking mechanisms to explain how global warming was responsible. He is a PhD meterologist and would have the knowledge to provide links and mechanisms. If I am given this type of information and would still deny it, then your label of "denier" would be most correct. (-Snip-). I agree with Norman.

  • A Climate Bet Impossible to Lose

    Bob Loblaw at 11:17 AM on 2 February, 2021

    Johnny's point about "raw data" raises an important issue. What is "raw" data? When does data processing start?

    For the satellite data, what is being measured is actually microwave emissions form the atmosphere, and it take a lot of modellig to derive "temperature" from that data. Rob's post has some good links in the "Selection of data sets" paragraphs that explain much more.

    Pretty much any environmental variable has some sort of processing that needs to be carried out. Even something as simple as the regular temperature measurements aren't that "raw":

    • In the "olden days" (and probably still at some community-based volunteer observing stations), a liquid-in-glass thermometer was used. The "raw" data is the length of liquid in a tube, and the model used to transform that into temperature involves the temperature-dependence of liquid volume.

    • Most current system measure temperture electronically, where the resistance of some material (either platinum or a semicondutor material) is measured. It is then transformed into temperature using models that relate the electrical properties of materials to temperature.

    Both of these still just give you the temperature of the thermometer, not the air, so the temperature measurement system has to try to make sure the thermometer is at air temperature, usually using a Steveson Screen or some other form of ventilated radiation screen.

    That gives you local air temperature, and then  you need to make sure that your local temperature is telling you the information you need at a regional scale. There is a good series of posts here on how temperature measurements taken for the purpose of weather observations are used to estimate global temperature changes:

    Everything in science has "models" involved at some point. Some are simple and extremely well-defined. Others are complex and involve considerably more uncertainty.

  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1

    michael sweet at 23:38 PM on 14 January, 2021

    Today (01-14-21) Politico (an online news organization) posted an article claiming that major banks and insurers want to start sending more money to address the climate crisis.  Apparently they want a promenent seat at the table during the Biden administration.  

    While the proposals described in the Politico article do not go as far as many climate activists would like, it seems to me that it is a hopeful sign that financial institutions are talking about the climate crisis.  

    This carbon brief article claims that models used by the IPCC severely underestimate the damages currently caused by climate change.  Apparently the IPCC models try to estimate general damages from climate change and assume extreme weather events cause little damage since they are rare.  If fact, extreme weather events currently cause billions of dollars and a large part of that damage is attributable to climate change.  For example hurricanes have long existed but Hurricane Harvey did more damage from increased rain due to climate change.

    If insurers become concerned that they are losing money from climate change the pressure to take significant action will increase dramatically.  Even 5 years ago financial institutions were mostly silent about climate change.  Hopefully this will result in significant action being taken.  I am interested in what other SkS readers think about this topic.

  • Fighting climate change: Cheaper than 'business as usual' and better for the economy

    SteveW at 23:44 PM on 2 December, 2020

    This article is a laughable mishmash of disinformation. To cite a few:The "levelized" costs referenced do not include most costs needed to integrate solar or wind power into an industrial economy such as transmission costs and storage needed to ensure baseload power during times these variable source of electricity just don't work. These actual very real costs can and do easily exceed the costs included. The supposed "savings" from limiting temperature rise, even if such a thing were possible, are illusory. One can easily find that there has been NO increase in hurricane, flooding, fires or extreme weather events over the last 50 years so all the tremendous "costs" these flawed analysis attribute to "curing" this mirage will be nonexistent. 

    Basically the article prevaricates in the interest of supporting an unsupportable narrative and this should tell you all you need to know about how much "prrof" exists supporting these savings! The authors can make all the scary maps they choose showing half the country in a fiery red color but that doesn't change the facts that there are very little downside to a slightly warming climate but that there are numerous benefits. Interesting isn't it that they completely fail to add in the "negative damages" (normally called benefits) that even their flawed charts show much of the country to be "suffering"?  Wonder how they missed this point?

  • Why a climate vote for Biden means the Earth

    nigelj at 07:34 AM on 9 October, 2020

    Good points, although I think it could have been stated a bit more simply.

    There is some evidence here that efforts to date with renewable energy and declining use of coal and better data on actual remaining coal reserves mean we have already stopped the most extreme and destructive warming scenario of RCP 8.5 (5 - 6 degrees c). Of course we still have a huge problem at lower warming rates, even at 2 degrees, but the point its not too late to  make a difference.

    I think Biden is pushing a credible plan to keep warming under 2 degrees. He doesn't come across as a huge self promoting ego, he listens to experts, hes rational, hes not a rigid thinker, and his spending plan on renewable energy projects is probably the best political option in a country that is very suspicious of taxes.

  • What Tucker Carlson gets wrong about causes of wildfires in U.S. West

    Daniel Bailey at 03:35 AM on 7 October, 2020

    JoeZ, increased forest fire activity across the western U.S. in recent decades is due to a number of factors, including a history of fire suppression and human encroachment in forest regions, natural climate variability, and human-caused climate change. Forest management would help in some areas, however the wildfire numbers and burned area are also increasing in non-forest vegetation types. Wildfire activity appears strongly associated with warming temperatures (California spring/summer temperatures have increased by more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1970) and earlier spring snowmelt.

    Source: NASA

    "For all ecoregions combined, the number of large fires increased at a rate of seven fires per year, while total fire area increased at a rate of 355 km2 per year. Continuing changes in climate, invasive species, and consequences of past fire management, added to the impacts of larger, more frequent fires, will drive further disruptions to fire regimes of the western U.S. and other fire-prone regions of the world."

    Since the 1980s, the wildfire season has lengthened across a quarter of the world's vegetated surface.

    "We show that fire weather seasons have lengthened across 29.6 million km2 (25.3%) of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in an 18.7% increase in global mean fire weather season length. We also show a doubling (108.1% increase) of global burnable area affected by long fire weather seasons (>1.0 σ above the historical mean) and an increased global frequency of long fire weather seasons across 62.4 million km2 (53.4%) during the second half of the study period."

    "The start of the Southwestern fire season—as indicated by the date of first large-fire discovery—has shifted more than 50 days earlier since the 1970s, accounting for about one-third of the increase in the length of the fire season. The substantially earlier SW fire season start is consistent with warmer temperatures and earlier spring seasons leading to earlier flammability of fuels in SW forests."

    "Anthropogenic increases in temperature and vapor pressure deficit significantly enhanced fuel aridity across western US forests over the past several decades and, during 2000–2015, contributed to 75% more forested area experiencing high (>1 σ) fire-season fuel aridity and an average of nine additional days per year of high fire potential.

    Anthropogenic climate change accounted for ∼55% of observed increases in fuel aridity from 1979 to 2015 across western US forests, highlighting both anthropogenic climate change and natural climate variability as important contributors to increased wildfire potential in recent decades.

    We estimate that human-caused climate change contributed to an additional 4.2 million ha of forest fire area during 1984–2015, nearly doubling the forest fire area expected in its absence.

    Natural climate variability will continue to alternate between modulating and compounding anthropogenic increases in fuel aridity, but anthropogenic climate change has emerged as a driver of increased forest fire activity and should continue to do so while fuels are not limiting."

    "By 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, one study found that the frequency of extreme wildfires would increase, and the average area burned statewide would increase by 77 percent. In the areas that have the highest fire risk, wildfire insurance is estimated to see costs rise by 18 percent by 2055. "

    "The clearest link between California wildfire and anthropogenic climate change thus far has been via warming-driven increases in atmospheric aridity, which works to dry fuels and promote summer forest fire, particularly in the North Coast and Sierra Nevada regions.

    Importantly, the effects of anthropogenic warming on California wildfire thus far have arisen from what may someday be viewed as a relatively small amount of warming. According to climate models, anthropogenic warming since the late 1800s has increased the atmospheric vapor-pressure deficit by approximately 10% and this increase is projected to double by the 2060s. Given the exponential response of California burned area to aridity, the influence of anthropogenic warming on wildfire activity over the next few decades will likely be larger than the observed influence thus far where fuel abundance is not limiting.

    Since the early 1970s, California's annual wildfire extent increased fivefold, punctuated by extremely large and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2018. This trend was mainly due to an eightfold increase in summertime forest‐fire area and was very likely driven by drying of fuels promoted by human‐induced warming. Warming effects were also apparent in the fall by enhancing the odds that fuels are dry when strong fall wind events occur.

    The large increase in California’s annual forest-fire area over the past several decades is very likely linked to anthropogenic warming.

    Human‐caused warming has already significantly enhanced wildfire activity in California, particularly in the forests of the Sierra Nevada and North Coast, and will likely continue to do so in the coming decades."

    Wildfire mitigation efforts can reduce wildfire intensity and severity while improving forest resilience to fire, insects and drought. The total area burned by wildfires is a trend driven by the warming climate (which is warming because of human activities), so mitigation efforts will not likely be able to affect the total area burned trend.

    Droughts in the Southwestern US have been made nearly half-again worse by human activities and are projected to worsen yet.

    These droughts couple with rising temperatures, reduced soil moisture and lower humidity to kill vast amounts of trees, providing an ever-increasing amount of fuel loads for wildfires.

    California’s frequency of fall days with extreme fire-weather conditions has more than doubled since the 1980s. Continued climate change will further amplify the number of days with extreme fire weather by the end of this century.

    California Fires

    There is strengthened evidence that climate change increases the frequency and/or severity of fire weather around the world. Land management alone cannot explain recent increases in wildfires.

    Analysis shows that:

    • Well over 100 studies published since 2013 show strong consensus that climate change promotes the weather conditions on which wildfires depend, enhancing their likelihood.

    • Natural variability is superimposed on the increasingly warm and dry background conditions resulting from climate change, leading to more extreme fires and more extreme fire seasons.

    • Land management can enhance or compound climate-driven changes in wildfire risk, either through fuel reductions or fuel accumulation as unintended by-product of fire suppression. Fire suppression efforts are made more difficult by climate change.

    • There is an unequivocal and pervasive role of climate change in increasing the intensity and length in which fire weather occurs; land management is likely to have contributed too, but does not alone account for recent increases in wildfire extent and severity in the western US and in southeast Australia.

    Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, enhancing their likelihood and challenging suppression efforts. Although the global area burned by fires each year is declining, the majority of this trend is explained by conversion of natural savannahs and grasslands to agriculture in Africa (Andela et al. 2017). In contrast, the area burned by forest wildfires is increasing in many regions, including in the western US and southeast Australia.

    • “Fire weather” refers to periods with a high likelihood of fire due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds.

    • Human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire.

    • Land management can ameliorate or compound climate-driven changes in wildfire risk.

    • Wildfires can have broad impacts for human health and wellbeing and for the natural environment.

    US fires:

    • Fire weather has become more frequent and intense in western US forests.

    • Fire weather is driving more wildfire activity in western US forests.

    • Demographic factors alone cannot account for the magnitude of the observed increase in wildfires in the western US, but increased population leads to greater impacts.

    Land management practices are contributing factors, but cannot alone explain the magnitude of the observed increase in wildfires extent in the western US forests in recent decades.

    Australia fires:

    • The scale of the 2019–2020 bushfires was unprecedented.

    • Fuel management through prescribed burns and improved logging practice cannot fully mitigate increased wildfire risk due to climate change.

    • Extreme weather and Pyroconvection are projected to increase wildfire risk under future climate change in southeastern Australia.

    Scientific evidence that climate change is causing an increase in the frequency and extent of fire weather, contributing to extreme wildfires around the world, continues to mount.

    The severe droughts in the USA and Australia are signs that the tropics, and their warm temperatures, are expanding in the wake of climate change, due to the warming of the subtropical ocean.
    PDF here

    Climate change will continue to drive temperature rise and more unpredictable rainfall in many parts of the world, meaning that the number of days with “fire weather” – conditions in which fires are likely to burn – is expected to increase in coming decades.

    Carbon Brief Wildfire explainer

  • Siberia’s 2020 heatwave made ‘600 times more likely’ by climate change

    wilddouglascounty at 02:29 AM on 5 September, 2020

    I wish these types of articles would be more careful with the way they describe the observed changes. Instead of saying that the observed extreme weather event "...would have been “almost impossible” without human-caused climate change" they should say that it "would have been almost impossible without increased carbon emissions from human activity." 

    The problem with saying that "human-caused climate change" is that it's a short distance away from saying that the extreme weather event was caused by climate change. But climate change is a change in the average number of weather events, in the same way a baseball player's hitting average goes up if he hits the ball more frequently. In other words, the hitting average does not "cause" the player to hit better--the improved number of hits increases his batting average. Just as the player's improved performance has its causes: steroids, better coaching, more practice, less stress in his personal life, etc., the increased number of extreme events has a cause: increased carbon emissions from human activity. 

    By saying "increased carbon emissions from human activities" instead of "human caused climate change" you get to the true causes of the changed weather patterns, and avoid saying the equivalent of the nonsensical phrase: "Joe's improved hitting average caused him to hit 2 singles and a home run in last night's game."

  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23, 2020

    michael sweet at 19:26 PM on 12 June, 2020

    The Guardian reported that new research dramatically increasing the assessment of how much economic damage extreme weather causes.

    The original scientific article estimates the cost of Hurricane Harvey due to climate change was about $67 billion, about 3/4 of the total damage.

    Thank you for all the hard work organizing this section Doug.

  • Climate's changed before

    michael sweet at 19:17 PM on 24 February, 2020

    The Skeptic:

    1) Your question is hard to read.  Indirectly proportional means as one variable goes up the other goes down.  Directly proportional means as one variable goes up the other goes up.

    We expect that as ocean temperature goes up less CO2 will be dissolved.  The CO2 goes from the ocean into the atmosphere.  We see in the Copenhagen graph that as temperature goes up, CO2 also goes up.  That is exactly what was predicted by scientists decades before the ice core was obtained.

    2) Scientists first predicted that increasing CO2 would result in increasing temperature in around 1855.  The ice core measurements made over 100 years later confirmed this prediction.  A prediction made over 100 years in advance of the data is not the same as "assum[ing] there is a direct causal relationship between the greenhouse gases and temperature".  Validation of predictions is strong confirmation that the theory is correct.

    The ice core data end before the start of the industrial age.  Note that the first line on the timeline is 50,000 years ago.  You need to look at the Hocky Stick to see the changes due to the industrial age.  That data shows a clear link between dramatic increases in temperature and release of CO2.  This temperature increase is known to cause sea level rise, unprecedented wild fires and extreme weather. 

  • Australia's wildfires: Is this the 'new normal'?

    Mark Thomas at 17:42 PM on 20 February, 2020

    BaerbelW @23

    Thank you for replying.

    OK i will properly delve into your links to reading and viewing material, which I can see is extensive and I am up for it.  

    May I have a personal reply that shows the position of the climate science community regarding the relavent percentage value of broad scale land clearing to climate change.  In other words, what percentage do you think is from anthropogenic CO2/methane (re main GHG's), what percentage from land clearing in Australia?

    From all my years of reading and with a solid scientific research back ground, I am currently seeing broad scale deforestation in Australia is 0.75 percentage value to our climate situation in Australia, (being fires drought increase in extreme weather etc), 0.25 percentage value anthropogenic CO2/methane and the nasty CFCs.  

    Being genuinely honest, and look forward to sensible dialogue. 

    Kind Regards


  • I had an intense conversation at work today.

    Doug_C at 09:12 AM on 16 January, 2020

    As far as wildfires go, it's not jsut their extent, but how they start and spread has greatly changed in this region. Our BC summers used to have far more moisture with shorter intervals of hot dry weather. Now we tend to get fairly intense rainfall in early spring and summer then longer period of hot and dry weather as summer progresses. This causes an acceleration of growth in the forests which then dry out and become tinder to start fires. 

    Then in years like 2017 and 2018, thunder storm systems that can span thousands of square kilometers start hundreds of fires in a very brief period of time. A brother who as a member of the Forest Service here and an expert in fighting wildfires for decades has never seen anything like it. Our father also a forestry expert can attest that even with some of the large wildfires in the 1950s, the situation was never as chaotic and dangerous as it is now.

    That's just one tiny window into this critical subject that all the evidence says is about as serious as it gets. When placed in the context of the overall change in climate globally documented on this and many other sites like the Extreme Ice Survey and others plus all the data available from centers of higher learning, GISS, and other research institutes, there's no question that this is happening and almost certainly because we have significantly altered the Earth's radiative balance by changing how the atmosphere exchanges heat with space mostly due to the introduction of hundreds of billions of additional carbon dioxide.

    The heat meter constantly running here tells the constant tale and how this become more critical every day.

    It can be an intense exchange in trying to explain this to some people. My mother a trained geologist and someone who I usually have a free exchange of ideas with including politics even though we are on different parts of the spectrum, can't talk about climate change because of how emtional she becomes about it.

    I've tried to direct her to this site and some others, but I don't she'll ever fully be able to accept the reality of this subject.

    The more people who do and who then demand the necessary actions be taken are a benefit to us all. This is a quest anyone who cares about this issue and its implications to life itself on Earth should never give up on.

  • I had an intense conversation at work today.

    Doug_C at 11:45 AM on 15 January, 2020

    TomJanson @18

    From geogrpahically isolated droughts and heat waves, my point is this is global in scale and we are seeing the exact same effects across the planet that is entirely consistent with climate change as forced by the massive use of fossil fuels.

    Which is also entirely consistent with the scientific evidence that the Earth is fact warming due to all the carbon dioxide we emit and other large scale human changes to the Earth.

    10 key climate indicators all point to the same finding: global warming is unmistakable

    We already have a perfectily valid explanation for what is happening including the increase in catastrophic extreme weather events like severe droughts and the wildfires that can follow, why look for something much less likely.

    Expecially since the time to actually mitigate this unfolding catastrophe is rapidly running out.... if it hasn't already.

  • Doubling down: Researchers investigate compound climate risks

    Hank at 11:00 AM on 8 January, 2020

    @11 OPLF
    Nice to see engineers are represented here and concerned about climate change.

    I am only familiar with the US codes. I do know that in the 1980’s steel mills started suing more modern production processes that resulted in steels specified as A36 had a higher yield strength of around 50 ksi are more. As a result the beam to flange weld metal at the joints became under-matched which may have contributed to excessive strains at the joint. The Northridge earthquake in 1994 resulted in several studies that were initiated by AISC and the AWS over the next few years which revealed the problem. Soon after the codes were changed to address this and numerous other issues. I did not realize there was ever a delay in updating any codes due to protectionist actions. However I’m always eager to learn so would appreciate any documentation you know of regarding this.

    I graduated in 1971 and have worked in 5 different industries, transmission lines, railroad bridges, large satellite antennas, consulting engineering, and high voltage sub-stations. Maybe I’ve just been lucky but I have never been asked to compromise any design based on costs or any other factor. I have of course been asked if a less expensive product could be substituted for some part but only if it checked out to meet code requirements. The only thing close to this was a somewhat humorous experience when I was going over a part with some people in the shop. One of the welders stated he had built many of these and the plate was too thicker than needed. I handed him my pin and stated “Ok just write that on the drawing and sign and date it”. He didn’t make any more comments.

    I certainly realize the need to stay on top of changing weather and agree with you that areas can experience changing environmental requirements. I believe the engineers on the committees that write and revise the codes in the US do track extreme weather events and take this into account. Living in the South ice and snow are not usually controlling conditions so I’m not as familiar with those types of loading. With the exception that even in the South, ice on wires combined with wind can control the design of supporting structures.

    Concerning your final note. The US code does not consider hurricane categories. Instead it has wind maps that specify the wind speed at locations throughout the US. At this time the highest wind speeds are 180 MPH along the Gulf Coast. I don’t think any hurricane has hit the US with those wind speeds. I would also point out that the highest wind speeds in a hurricane are limited to near the eye of the storm. In addition for most structures the maximum wind speed must attack the structure from one specific direction for the structure to be fully loaded to the design load. That reduces the likelihood that a structure will be fully loaded in a hurricane. But as I said, structural loading is statistical in nature. So there is always the risk that any storm could exceed the design loading on a structure. We just want to lower that risk to an acceptable number.

  • Video: Is CO2 actually dangerous?

    Doug_C at 10:15 AM on 3 December, 2019

    BillyJoe @21

    After the literally decades of work that James Hansen has done, why include the comment at all if your intent is to inform. It totally misrepresents the massive contribution that James Hansen has made to science as a whole and climate change specifically. It was a cheap shot for pure entertainment value and nothing more.

    Potholer's latest video is more meaningless nitpicking as he's going after Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for claiming that we have a very limited amount of time to deal with this crisis which is what all the information is saying, not just on climate change but as far as biodiversity and the presence of life itself on Earth.

    Read the peer-reviewed article I linked above on how humans have killed half the life on Earth already. And as report after report is now indicating, this process is accelerating not slowing down. And climate change is a huge part of that. You'd expect someone concerned about that to be for bold ambitious plans that are now needed after decades of inaction. 

    I get absolutely no impression of that from Peter Hadfield, just petty shots at others who he apparently is convinced lacks his brilliance. 

    There was also a piece from 2013 all about how projections of negative impacts of climate change on a global scale are just one more myth. I can't turn on the news without the latest climate change linked disaster being reported on. I've been caught in several myself with weather so extreme and dangerous I feel like I'm in a disaster movie.

    Watch Potholer's video on science vs. "feelies" to get a sense of the contempt that Hadfield shows for those who dare to be emotional at all about this catastrophe. Which he would probalby claim isn't a catastrophe at all.

    Climate Adam has a constructive purpose, he is presenting what can often be difficult to understand concepts in a way that allows people otherwise not well versed in science to connect with. In some regards with the same sense of whimsy as employed by science communicators like Carl Sagan.

    With Peter Hadfield I'm often left wondering if I'm not in the presense of a sociopath for the almost total lack of empathy he seems to have. Emotional intelligence is a real thing and Adam has heaps of it over Hadfield is my impression.

    Eaxch to his own, I get value from the Climate Adam videos and think they teach more than talk down to his audience. 

    Potholer54 is a master class in how to talk down to literally everyone else on the planet.

  • Sea level rise is exaggerated

    Daniel Bailey at 09:28 AM on 1 December, 2019

    "When I look at the graphs and tables for each island/islands, I find that the graphs are uniformly even and NOT showing increases in sea level."

    Not sure what your definition of "uniformly even" is.  Did you expect them to be so?

    Firstly, global sea level rise is a global average and the surface of the oceans are anything but level (the surface of the oceans follow the gravitic shape of the Earth and are also subject to solar, lunar, sloshing and siphoning effects and oceanic oscillations, etc, all of which need to be controlled for). 

    From the NCA4, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993:



    Global SLR

    "Only altimetry measurements between 66°S and 66°N have been processed. An inverted barometer has been applied to the time series. The estimates of sea level rise do not include glacial isostatic adjustment effects on the geoid, which are modeled to be +0.2 to +0.5 mm/year when globally averaged."

    Regional SLR graphics are also available from NOAA STAR NESDIS, here.

    This is a screenshot of NOAA's tide gauge map for the Western Pacific (NOAA color-codes the relative changes in sea levels to make it easier to internalize):

    Western Pacific Tide Gauges

    Clicking on the Funafuti, Tuvalu tide gauge station we see that sea levels are rising by 3.74 mm/yr (above the global average) there, with a time series starting around 1978 and ending about 2011:

    Funafuti - NOAA

    However, the time series used by your BOM link for Funafuti (1993-2019) is shorter and the BOM also does not apply a linear trend line to it like NOAA does:

    Funafuti - BOM

    Feel free to make further comparisons, but comparing a set of graphics with no trend lines vs those with trend lines is no comparison at all.

    From the recent IPCC Special Report 2019 - Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate - Summary for Policy Makers, September 25, 2019 release (SROCC 2019), the portions on sea level rise:

    Observed Physical Changes
    A3. Global mean sea level (GMSL) is rising, with acceleration in recent decades due to increasing rates of ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets (very high confidence), as well as continued glacier mass loss and ocean thermal expansion. Increases in tropical cyclone winds and rainfall, and increases in extreme waves, combined with relative sea level rise, exacerbate extreme sea level events and coastal hazards (high confidence).

    A3.1 Total GMSL rise for 1902–2015 is 0.16 m (likely range 0.12–0.21 m). The rate of GMSL rise for 2006–2015 of 3.6 mm yr–1 (3.1–4.1 mm yr–1, very likely range), is unprecedented over the last century (high confidence), and about 2.5 times the rate for 1901–1990 of 1.4 mm yr–1 (0.8– 2.0 mm yr–1, very likely range). The sum of ice sheet and glacier contributions over the period 2006–2015 is the dominant source of sea level rise (1.8 mm yr–1, very likely range 1.7–1.9 mm yr–1), exceeding the effect of thermal expansion of ocean water (1.4 mm yr–1, very likely range 1.1–1.7 mm yr–1) (very high confidence). The dominant cause of global mean sea level rise since 1970 is anthropogenic forcing (high confidence).

    A3.2 Sea-level rise has accelerated (extremely likely) due to the combined increased ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets (very high confidence). Mass loss from the Antarctic ice sheet over the period 2007–2016 tripled relative to 1997–2006. For Greenland, mass loss doubled over the same period (likely, medium confidence).

    A3.3 Acceleration of ice flow and retreat in Antarctica, which has the potential to lead to sea-level rise of several metres within a few centuries, is observed in the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica and in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica (very high confidence). These changes may be the onset of an irreversible (recovery time scale is hundreds to thousands of years) ice sheet instability. Uncertainty related to the onset of ice sheet instability arises from limited observations, inadequate model representation of ice sheet processes, and limited understanding of the complex interactions between the atmosphere, ocean and the ice sheet.

    A3.4 Sea-level rise is not globally uniform and varies regionally. Regional differences, within ±30% of the global mean sea-level rise, result from land ice loss and variations in ocean warming and circulation. Differences from the global mean can be greater in areas of rapid vertical land movement including from local human activities (e.g. extraction of groundwater). (high confidence)

    A3.5 Extreme wave heights, which contribute to extreme sea level events, coastal erosion and flooding, have increased in the Southern and North Atlantic Oceans by around 1.0 cm yr–1 and 0.8 cm yr–1 over the period 1985–2018 (medium confidence). Sea ice loss in the Arctic has also increased wave heights over the period 1992–2014 (medium confidence).

    A3.6 Anthropogenic climate change has increased observed precipitation (medium confidence), winds (low confidence), and extreme sea level events (high confidence) associated with some tropical cyclones, which has increased intensity of multiple extreme events and associated cascading impacts (high confidence). Anthropogenic climate change may have contributed to a poleward migration of maximum tropical cyclone intensity in the western North Pacific in recent decades related to anthropogenically-forced tropical expansion (low confidence). There is emerging evidence for an increase in annual global proportion of Category 4 or 5 tropical cyclones in recent decades (low confidence).

    B3. Sea level continues to rise at an increasing rate. Extreme sea level events that are historically rare (once per century in the recent past) are projected to occur frequently (at least once per year) at many locations by 2050 in all RCP scenarios, especially in tropical regions (high confidence). The increasing frequency of high water levels can have severe impacts in many locations depending on exposure (high confidence). Sea level rise is projected to continue beyond 2100 in all RCP scenarios. For a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), projections of global sea level rise by 2100 are greater than in AR5 due to a larger contribution from the Antarctic Ice Sheet (medium confidence). In coming centuries under RCP8.5, sea level rise is projected to exceed rates of several centimetres per year resulting in multi-metre rise (medium confidence), while for RCP2.6 sea level rise is projected to be limited to around 1m in 2300 (low confidence). Extreme sea levels and coastal hazards will be exacerbated by projected increases in tropical cyclone intensity and precipitation (high confidence). Projected changes in waves and tides vary locally in whether they amplify or ameliorate these hazards (medium confidence).

    B3.1 The global mean sea level (GMSL) rise under RCP2.6 is projected to be 0.39 m (0.26–0.53 m, likely range) for the period 2081–2100, and 0.43 m (0.29–0.59 m, likely range) in 2100 with respect to 1986–2005. For RCP8.5, the corresponding GMSL rise is 0.71 m (0.51–0.92 m, likely range) for 2081–2100 and 0.84 m (0.61–1.10 m, likely range) in 2100. Mean sea level rise projections are higher by 0.1 m compared to AR5 under RCP8.5 in 2100, and the likely range extends beyond 1 m in 2100 due to a larger projected ice loss from the Antarctic Ice Sheet (medium confidence). The uncertainty at the end of the century is mainly determined by the ice sheets, especially in Antarctica.

    B3.2 Sea level projections show regional differences around GMSL. Processes not driven by recent climate change, such as local subsidence caused by natural processes and human activities, are important to relative sea level changes at the coast (high confidence). While the relative importance of climate-driven sea level rise is projected to increase over time, local processes need to be considered for projections and impacts of sea level (high confidence).

    Projected Changes and Risks
    B3.3 The rate of global mean sea level rise is projected to reach 15 mm yr–1 (10–20 mm yr–1, likely range) under RCP8.5 in 2100, and to exceed several centimetres per year in the 22nd century. Under RCP2.6, the rate is projected to reach 4 mm yr-1 (2–6 mm yr–1, likely range) in 2100. Model studies indicate multi-meter rise in sea level by 2300 (2.3–5.4 m for RCP8.5 and 0.6–1.07 m under RCP2.6) (low confidence), indicating the importance of reduced emissions for limiting sea level rise. Processes controlling the timing of future ice-shelf loss and the extent of ice sheet instabilities could increase Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise to values substantially higher than the likely range on century and longer time-scales (low confidence). Considering the consequences of sea level rise that a collapse of parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet entails, this high impact risk merits attention.

    B3.4 Global mean sea level rise will cause the frequency of extreme sea level events at most locations to increase. Local sea levels that historically occurred once per century (historical centennial events) are projected to occur at least annually at most locations by 2100 under all RCP scenarios (high confidence). Many low-lying megacities and small islands (including SIDS) are projected to experience historical centennial events at least annually by 2050 under RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. The year when the historical centennial event becomes an annual event in the mid-latitudes occurs soonest in RCP8.5, next in RCP4.5 and latest in RCP2.6. The increasing frequency of high water levels can have severe impacts in many locations depending on the level of exposure (high confidence).

    B3.5 Significant wave heights (the average height from trough to crest of the highest one-third of waves) are projected to increase across the Southern Ocean and tropical eastern Pacific (high confidence) and Baltic Sea (medium confidence) and decrease over the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea under RCP8.5 (high confidence). Coastal tidal amplitudes and patterns are projected to change due to sea level rise and coastal adaptation measures (very likely). Projected changes in waves arising from changes in weather patterns, and changes in tides due to sea level rise, can locally enhance or ameliorate coastal hazards (medium confidence).

    B3.6 The average intensity of tropical cyclones, the proportion of Category 4 and 5 tropical cyclones and the associated average precipitation rates are projected to increase for a 2°C global temperature rise above any baseline period (medium confidence). Rising mean sea levels will contribute to higher extreme sea levels associated with tropical cyclones (very high confidence). Coastal hazards will be exacerbated by an increase in the average intensity, magnitude of storm surge and precipitation rates of tropical cyclones. There are greater increases projected under RCP8.5 than under RCP2.6 from around mid-century to 2100 (medium confidence). There is low confidence in changes in the future frequency of tropical cyclones at the global scale.

    C3. Coastal communities face challenging choices in crafting context-specific and integrated responses to sea level rise that balance costs, benefits and trade-offs of available options and that can be adjusted over time (high confidence). All types of options, including protection, accommodation, ecosystem-based adaptation, coastal advance and retreat, wherever possible, can play important roles in such integrated responses (high confidence).

    C3.1. The higher the sea levels rise, the more challenging is coastal protection, mainly due to economic, financial and social barriers rather than due to technical limits (high confidence). In the coming decades, reducing local drivers of exposure and vulnerability such as coastal urbanization and human-induced subsidence constitute effective responses (high confidence). Where space is limited, and the value of exposed assets is high (e.g., in cities), hard protection (e.g., dikes) is likely to be a cost-efficient response option during the 21st century taking into account the specifics of the context (high confidence), but resource-limited areas may not be able to afford such investments. Where space is available, ecosystem-based adaptation can reduce coastal risk and provide multiple other benefits such as carbon storage, improved water quality, biodiversity conservation and livelihood support (medium confidence).

    C3.2 Some coastal accommodation measures, such as early warning systems and flood-proofing of buildings, are often both low cost and highly cost-efficient under current sea levels (high confidence). Under projected sea level rise and increase in coastal hazards some of these measures become less effective unless combined with other measures (high confidence). All types of options, including protection, accommodation, ecosystem-based adaptation, coastal advance and planned relocation, if alternative localities are available, can play important roles in such integrated responses (high confidence). Where the community affected is small, or in the aftermath of a disaster, reducing risk by coastal planned relocations is worth considering if safe alternative localities are available. Such planned relocation can be socially, culturally, financially and politically constrained (very high confidence).

    C3.3 Responses to sea-level rise and associated risk reduction present society with profound governance challenges, resulting from the uncertainty about the magnitude and rate of future sea level rise, vexing trade-offs between societal goals (e.g., safety, conservation, economic development, intra- and inter-generational equity), limited resources, and conflicting interests and values among diverse stakeholders (high confidence). These challenges can be eased using locally appropriate combinations of decision analysis, land-use planning, public participation, diverse knowledge systems and conflict resolution approaches that are adjusted over time as circumstances change (high confidence).

    C3.4 Despite the large uncertainties about the magnitude and rate of post 2050 sea level rise, many coastal decisions with time horizons of decades to over a century are being made now (e.g., critical infrastructure, coastal protection works, city planning) and can be improved by taking relative sea-level rise into account, favouring flexible responses (i.e., those that can be adapted over time) supported by monitoring systems for early warning signals, periodically adjusting decisions (i.e., adaptive decision making), using robust decision-making approaches, expert judgement, scenario-building, and multiple knowledge systems (high confidence). The sea level rise range that needs to be considered for planning and implementing coastal responses depends on the risk tolerance of stakeholders. Stakeholders with higher risk tolerance (e.g., those planning for investments that can be very easily adapted to unforeseen conditions) often prefer to use the likely range of projections, while stakeholders with a lower risk tolerance (e.g., those deciding on critical infrastructure) also consider global and local mean sea level above the upper end of the likely range (globally 1.1 m under RCP8.5 by 2100) and from methods characterised by lower confidence such as from expert elicitation.


    To sum:

    1.  Global sea levels continue to rise, with the rise itself accelerating (due to an acceleration in land-based ice sheet mass losses).  This will continue, for beyond the lifespans of any now alive.

    2.  Beware of the eyecrometer.  It will deceive you, if you allow it to.

    SLR Components

    SLR Components, from Cazenave et al 2018



  • Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    Eclectic at 09:32 AM on 15 October, 2019

    JamesKL , I am not clear whether you are meaning average temperature for daytime, for nighttime, or for a strict average over the 24 hour day.  Then there are the monthly or seasonal averages (or for "annual average" ~ which is almost a meaningless concept for temperate regions).

    Speaking generally, deserts are "pale" (high albedo = high reflection of sunlight energy) . . . and rainforests are dark, low albedo regions, which absorb more sunlight energy ~ nevertheless much of their temperature difference comes from the cooling effect of evaporation from vegetation. And for deserts at night, the dryness of the land & air means more heat is lost to space.

    Thermometer temperatures are one thing.  But humans' sensation of regional temperature will be perceived according to the extremes of daytime highs and overnight lows, and we tend not to notice those periods when it's "comfortable".  As you know, a high-humidity "hot" day (or night) will be felt as hotter.

    I would imagine that the town of Adrar is quite pleasant, part of each day at least!  Except when the weather produces heat wave conditions

  • Greta Thunberg is a painful reminder of decades of climate failures

    Mal Adapted at 03:02 AM on 23 September, 2019

    Excellent historical summary, Dana. I'm a boomer, who went through the 1970s and '80s as a conservationist without being aware of anthropogenic global warming. In 1988 I happened to be newly employed in the Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, when GISS's James Hansen made his historic appearance before Congress. I remember the Earth scientists in LTP discussing Hansen's claim, and quickly (within weeks, IIRC) reaching a consensus that it was well-supported by the evidence. Again if memory serves, three basic items clinched it for me personally: the known radiative properties of CO2, the steady annual increase in atmospheric CO2 recorded by C.D. Keeling, and estimates of the rate of the anthropogenic transfer of fossil carbon to the atmosphere (e.g. Marland et al. 1985). The 1989 EPA Report to Congress was further persuasive. The costs of ensuing climate change were still mostly hypothetical at that time, however.

    In the early 1990s, with a Democratic POTUS in place after three terms of Reagan-Bush, the 'Wise Use' movement was gaining momentum in the US, with the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress an early payoff for its backers. I was thus aware but still shocked at the success of efforts to conflate concern about climate change with political environmentalism and therefore liberalism, and the subsequent public backlash against climate science. Having since learned damning details of the long-term strategy, by fossil fuel producers and investors, to build an AGW-denial industry that could forestall collective action to decarbonize the US economy as long as possible, I'm over being shocked. Now, as the public's attention is caught by ever greater weather extremes, dare I be optimistic about Greta Thunberg's global youth movement? Al Gore says in the NYTimes that I can be. With due respect to the former VPOTUS through the political debacles and missed opportunities of the '90s, I'm not sure his is the voice America needs to hear now. OTOH, the US contingent of all those protesting youths will start voting soon. More power to 'em.

  • Consensus on consensus hits half a million downloads

    nigelj at 07:14 AM on 6 September, 2019

    markpittsusa @1

    "All these articles on concensus are a waste of time. Even most Republicans who oppose legislation believe there is global warming. "

    No the consensus articles are not a waste of time. While most republicans do indeed believe climate is changing, as you say, the more important issue is whether they think humans are causing it, because this will influence what responses they think are appropriate. It's very possible that only a minority of republicans think humans are causing climate change discussed here so its still important to better communicate the consensus studies to the public.

    "The real question is what should we do now, which in turn depends upon the target for warming. Should the target be 1C, i.e., the current level? 1.5C which is the political solution reached with island nations? Maybe 2C, the original UN target? Or higher as Nordhaus argues, more like 3.5C?

    Limiting warming to 1 degree is impossible because we have already passed this number (refer to the NASA Giss temperature record or Hadcrut). Getting warming back down to 1 degree would  be possible but would take time and would require amongst other things negative emissions technology on a vast scale at huge cost.

    Can you provide a link to some evidence that 1.5% is a political solution. According to the IPCC here the reasons are "Furthermore, the report finds that "limiting global warming to 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being" and that a 2 °C temperature increase would exacerbate extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, coral bleaching, and loss of ecosystems, among other impacts."

    In any event 1.5 degrees is what the IPCC are suggesting, and they are the expert panel appointed to review these things.

    Nordhaus number of 3.5 degrees has come in for a lot of compelling criticism for example here. He fails to consider a whole range of climate impacts and makes some overly optimistic economic assumptions.

  • There is no consensus

    Rob Honeycutt at 09:21 AM on 10 August, 2019


    "That the AGW hypothesis is true and it will have increasing implications on global weather patterns? Or that there it is a catastrophic situation and human must immediately and completely restructure our social and economic systems if the species is to survive?

    Why is this an either/or question? Can they not both be true?

    Think of climate change impacts as a sliding scale that vary based on our total emissions. Within a reasonable range of uncertainty, probably the best understood elements of AGW are the basics of radiative forcing and the response in global mean temperature. The concensus is that we'll likely see about 2.8°C of warming for each doubling of CO2 over preindustrial levels. I think almost every scientist working in the field would agree with that statement.

    We also know for certain, the more we push the system, the more damage we're ultimately going to see. Again, that's not a controversial statement for scientists.

    What you're doing, though, is running off into hyperbole. I don't think many scientists would agree that we must "...immediately and completely restructure our social and economic systems if the species is to survive." Our species is likely to survive whatever happens. We're extraordinarily adaptable. But, most of the natural world that we rely on to sustain 7+ billion people on the planet is not nearly as adaptable as we are.

    Therein lay the problem. Yes, if we continue to burn everything we can get dig out of the earth, most scientists will likely agree that would probably mean a total collapse of modern civilization. Lots of death, destruction and suffering.

    Can we avoid that? Yes, of course. We are going to see significant challenges and costs due to our emissions so far. We are already seeing very good signs of progress with the cost of wind and solar continuing to fall. But there are so many more challenges we're going to see.

    Nothing I'm saying here is controversial, and I believe this would all fall within the definition of the "scientific consensus on AGW." 

    Here's what should give you the most concern about all this: thermal inertia.

    I hope you agree that we are now seeing many of the impacts of climate change starting to emerge. Melting ice sheets, extreme weather events, heat waves, etc. Now, consider that there is a 30 year lag in the climate system since most of the heat goes into the world's oceans. That heat takes time to come into equilibrium with the land, ice and atmosphere. Thus the impacts we're seeing today are the result of where CO2 levels were some 30 years ago. 

    If we were to stop all carbon emissions tomorrow the planet would continue to warm through the middle of this century. If we're seeing impacts already you can bet your bottom dollar they're going to start getting a lot worse over the coming three decades. Best case scenario says we'll be able to bring emissions to zero by ~2050. That means continued warming through 2080 at a minimum.

    Also consider that, in the past at 450ppmv CO2 levels, there were no ice sheets on this planet. The planet was too warm to sustain them. It'll take another 1000 years to melt them entirely, but we're talking about sea levels rising to up to 70m over the coming centuries. That's a completely different planet than we currently live on. No Florida at all. It's gone. LA, SF, NYC, Tokyo, and 100's of other cities. All under water. 

    It's not the end of our species but replacing entire cities ain't gonna be cheap. The better investment is to reduce our carbon emissions as quickly as we can and keep CO2 levels as low as we possibly can. That's an enormous task. It's one that needs to happen fast.

    Again, none of this is controversial. Gore, DiCaprio and Thunberg are not scientists but they are doing their level best to help convey to the world what is overwhelmingly agreed in the scientific community.

  • There is no consensus

    cstrouss at 21:44 PM on 9 August, 2019

    Please forgive me if this sub-issue has been covered already... I read the first few pages where it was being discussed without resolution, and in the last few pages it is not mentioned.

    But what exactly is "the consensus"?  That the AGW hypothesis is true and it will have increasing implications on global weather patterns?  Or that there it is a catastrophic situation and human must immediately and completely restructure our social and economic systems if the species is to survive?

    In some of the arguments I've read so far, the believers seemed to be defending the former, and the skeptics were challenging the latter.

    In the previous post (sorry, I don't know how to do that thing that references it yet) Eclectic seemed to criticize anti-AGW propaganda films masquerading as information, yet the same critiques could be made of the propaganda films from the other side, like Gore and DiCapprio's popular films, full of dramatic music and hyperbole.

    I find it surprising that any intelligent and well meaning people still take the position that AGW is a complete hoax, but there is certainly a huge space for reasonable debate on the costs and risks of various strategies to reduce it or mitigate the damage.

    Furthermore, I suggest it is the fact that so many people are taking a rather extreme alarmist position (if we don't do something radical in the next xyz years, we're doomed!) that make many other people rebel, and say obviously that's ridiculous, I think you're making the whole thing up.

    It really is a thorny problem, considering the vast number of people now coming out of poverty, and having access to electricity and other technologies for the first time.  And I see no recognition of the logarithmic nature of the greenhouse effect, which makes the political problems almost insurmountable.

  • Climate's changed before

    Rob Honeycutt at 23:57 PM on 23 July, 2019

    Here's a question I've often thought of related to past climate... In periods of a hothouse Earth, like the cretacious, what would the weather have been like? All we ever see are illustrations of dinosaurs in lush tropical landscapes. There would have been a helluva lot more energy in the climate system and so many more extreme weather events.

  • CO2 effect is saturated

    Philippe Chantreau at 04:52 AM on 2 July, 2019


    You have a severe reading comprehension problem. I did not call you, Morano, or anyone ignorant or worthless. I called Morano's comment ignorant and worthless, and I stand by that statement. There is plenty of scientific literature to justify calling it that, literature that you have declined to discover, despite being repeatedly pointed toward it. Now if you want to have your little feelings all hurt and be a snowflake by proxy of an inanimate thing like a comment, be my guest.

    You say "I think the site is arguing that Morano is not including heat retained by convection." You think wrong. The site does not mention convection a single time. I read it again, the word convection does not appear in the OP. You pulled it out of thin air, showed that you do not understand what it means, then argued about it. That pathetic attempt at spreading the confusion raging i your mind is evident here too: "the convection story does NOT invalidate the saturation argument." There is no convection story othe than what you made up.

    jjworld " I do have concerns with the calculations that attempt to explain the amount of heat trapped by convection." I am not aware of any atmospheric dynamics that can accomplish that, you must cite scientific works including such calculations and expose where you believe the weaknesses are. 

    Further "convection delivery molecule". What in the world is that? How do molecules deliver convection?

    "The thread quotes Hulburt." No, it does not. Where is the quote? Who the heck is Hulburt, why is it relevant? The name, or a quote from the person does not figure anywhere in the OP.

    "The error rate is so large" talking about the diagrams at the top of this page. What is the error rate? Where is the error rate in the diagrams? These diagrams have no other purpose than to explain concepts in a graphic way to a lay audience; as such they do not contain any numbers. They are not graphs of exact data, they are not calculations, they are not from scientific publications, so your attack of "who would want to publish that" is once again BS, completely removed from any reality. Nothing but hot air.

    "When the climate moves the molecules around we have tremendous negative feedback." SO the climate moves molecules around? I would have thought that weather does that. In any case, there is an immense scientific literature on feedbacks, positive and negative. Your arguments seems to be that negative feedbacks prevail; it is again, nothing but hot air if not supported by scientific work, where are the citations?

    "we don't even know if CO2 molecules are the primary convection vehicle or just a secondary heat transport." What in the world could this possibly mean other than that you do not have any grasp of the subject? 

    This funny one " I think we are both agreeing that Morano is correct if we are only talking about radiative heat." So grotesque, it truly falls within the not even wrong category. We do not agree at all, and Morano is so far from being correct that he would need a super fast "vehicle" (of convection or other) to make it back to relelvance within his lifetime.

    This "If CO2 can possibly hold more heat through convection, it can possibly not hold enough heat to explain the temperature anomalies." comes in response to being pointed to the fact that having the central part of the radiation spectrum of CO2 saturated does not preclude the possibility of absorbing more heat, namely in the wings of the spectrum. In a sort of lawyer fashion, you latch on the word possibility and attempt to sow confusion, as if it meant probability, when in this case, it means capability. The gas does absorb more, that can be demonstrated by both experiment and calculation. 

    This gem is priceless "I just wish we could be intellectually honest about what we don't know" and then a suggestion that Morano is a scientist, and "incomplete." I'll let readers appreciate the supreme irony.

    You have been pointed in the right direction and have refused to engage with that. You have attributed fantasy-like concepts to the OP, and a careful read shows that it is all pure invention on your part. You have been asked repeatedly to support you extremely wide-ranging and bold assertions with references, and the only one you mustered does not accomplish anything close to that.

    You have contributed thousands of words to this thread, and so far they amount to little more than technical sounding word salad.

  • Ocean advocates are increasingly concerned about climate change

    3-d construct at 10:53 AM on 19 June, 2019

    Sorry about the drift and some characterizations in the previous post. I can understand your postion.

    Informed and appropriate national policy along within a global framework is essential to implementing adequate responses. Unfortunately there is a lot of backsliding instead of needed cooperation. Certainly this is now so in the U.S.

    Outside of the U.S. 500 coal plants are about to be and another 1000 are slated to be constructed globally. The stated total is down 100 plants from two years ago. Perhaps the 350 organization and others, working to promote alternatives are having a crucial positive effect. I have read some that were started in India have become stranded assets. The new Australian President wants to build more. Without adequate energy storage or other national resource alternatives, Germany, unwisely, is replacing nuclear with coal for base load and load following for its misapplied solar technology. Following Fukushima, Japan is replacing its nuclear with coal. On top of wind and solar strides, China and India are domestically building more coal plants. The national government claims that these are local departures from national intentions. Disturbingly, two large Chinese companies are promoting outdated technology, coal fired plants to other developing regions under the aegis of Xi Jinping’s One Belt One Road’s commercial expansion. The new Brazilian president has pledged to increase the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

    This is crazy stuff that promotes warming and changes in the oceans. Thermohaline (temperature and salinity) mixing and overturning currents in the oceans have significant systematic influence. Wind driven currents producing cyclonic and anticyclonic gyres, also, play an important role in determining local climate aberrations. The Coriolis Effect has a role in shaping some of these currents. As water cools or salinity increases it becomes denser. Historically, there are flushing areas in the North Atlantic and off the coast of Antarctica where these qualities are abundantly present and large columns descend to the ocean floor and continue to flow down to deeper waters directed by topographical features there. Similarly, this water eventually ascends to the surface, circuitously, flowing back to flushing points. Coldest water temperatures occur in the high latitudes and it’s there that salinity can be increased when sea ice freezes, ejecting brine into local sea water. Less freezing ice and injections of fresh water from melting ice or rivers can reduce salinity and retard flushing. Such haloclines currently determine other local stratifications and will reinforce future widespread oceanic stratification. Similar mechanisms in the Antarctic will more directly affect circulation in other oceanic basins. The occurrence of these factors are now increasing and noticeably reducing the strength of north AMOC. It is projected to reduce the strength of the Gulf Stream and subsequently, produce local cooling of climate in areas now warmed by it. Congruently, colder North Atlantic and warmer South Atlantic sea surface temperatures resulting from the overall disruption of the AMOC by the above described fresh water input could have remote consequences. This could indirectly promote increased annual additions of CO2 of about 0.3 ppm up to a total of 40 ppm as happened 16,000 years ago. Intensified circumpolar wind pushed closer to Antarctica by a restructured pressure gradient would dredge up CO2 from deep southern oceanic waters to the atmosphere. Generally a slowdown of deep ocean circulation will affect the all oceanic basins ability to absorb and store heat and CO2 long term. Also, as formerly stated, uptake of these important factors will be diminished by reducing the active sink volume. Expanding areas of stratification will develop and support eutrophic conditions. Deep water oxygen depletion will also increase.

    In the Arctic ocean , the rapid loss of sea ice there is a major concern. Albedo loss and precipitous reduction of the endothermic summer melt will greatly add to SSTs there. Without the ice, looping feedbacks will ensue. Rapid warming of the water and subsequent discharges of CO2 and added evaporation will increase the greenhouse effect. This will oppose the Polar high pressure down flow. Subsequently, with major regional impacts the Polar Weather Cell may shift 15 degrees south to a colder high pressure center over Greenland as long as there is sufficient remaining land ice present. This will wrack both the Polar and Ferrel Cells and further derange both the Polar Jet and Vortex, while impacting the most heavily populated areas of the Earth, the north mid-latitudes. If there is no shift, it will weaken to the point that both the jet and vortex will become extremely deranged and ineffectual, further impacting both the Arctic and mid-latitudes. This will accelerate CO2, methane and nitrous oxide emissions with further feedbacks and will have warming impacts extending all of the way to the South Pole. Greenland would lose its ice and Antarctica’s loss would accelerate.

    Oceans are becoming more stratified so that areas of deep water are becoming more hypoxic or anoxic. The Baltic Sea has long presented expanding areas of hypoxia associated with nutrient inputs and eutrophic phytoplankton blooms. 70,000 square kilometers were affected including areas of severe hypoxia, anoxia and euxinia in 2018, four times that of 1950. Eight thousand square miles of the Gulf of Mexico and an average of about 7 % of the Chesapeake Bay present large seasonally enhanced hypoxic, anoxic and euxinic dead zones. These water bodies do not emit hydrogen sulfide to the atmosphere. Their affected bottom waters are capped by a metal ion strengthened chemocline layer. Numerous aquatic areas are now being similarly challenged globally in roughly 400 maritime locations, largely at river mouths and in numerous fresh water bodies.

    Recent emergence of purple surf along parts of Oregon’s coastline is indicative of purple sulfur bacteria thriving at the base of the surface waters on a source of hydrogen sulfide that is developing within deeper benthic zones. Occasionally, there are discharges of the highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas. In a similar fashion, the only other oceanic location where this also occurs is along the coast of Namibia. The Oregon emissions are likely enhanced by the stalling polar jet and associated weather systems to be later discussed. The affected area is large, 40 by 200 km (8,000 sq. km) that has in recent years become seasonally more and less hypoxic containing areas of anoxia on the continental shelf along the Oregon and Washington coastline. There may be some association to numerous recently discovered methane hydrate seeps at about 500 meters depth in the same area as methanotrophs, also, consume oxygen in order to oxidize methane until shifting to sulfate reduction and promoting euxinia. However, it is reported that low oxygen, nutrient bearing, upwelling caused by more persistent northerlies is there promoting depleted benthic oxygen levels compounded by aerobic microbes there consuming the organic matter that descends from phototropic plankton blooms at the surface.
    With some interruptions, deep water in meromictic lakes, certain fiords and the Black Sea have been completely euxinic for a long time (7,500 hundred years without hydrogen sulfide emissions for the later), but this is due to morphological and halocline peculiarities.

  • Climate's changed before

    John Hartz at 00:09 AM on 5 June, 2019

    I accidently deleted the following comment. My bad.


    TVC15 at 19:59 PM on 4 June 2019 

    Is there an easy answser for this question being asked by a climate denier?

    And as you know, nature's impact on climate can and has been EXTREME prior to man, and man's industrialization. How do you account for that?

    So far from what I've learned from you guys is Earth's orbit, solar output, the sun being cooler, greater volcanic activity, rock weathering, surface ice albedo, massive amounts of Dinosaur gas? (sorry guys I had to toss that in for grins)

    Are there other factors I missed?


  • Inspiring, not depressing, film fest messages

    Evan at 22:55 PM on 14 May, 2019

    We've had wild fires and extreme weather for a while now, and I hear the same old tired denier arguments from people who have not been personally affected.

    If we all have to be personally affected by these extreme events before we take action there won't be anybody to help us out.

  • Inspiring, not depressing, film fest messages

    nigelj at 07:15 AM on 14 May, 2019

    I suspect it will be wild fires and more extreme weather that really starts to motivate climate action. These things are very serious and life threatening, and happening more frequntly right now so are more likely to get peoples attention than sea level rise. Hopefully the climate influence in these things gets highlighted more in the media.

    Sea level rise is obviously serious, but a little bit longer term and easier to dismiss as gradual and some other generations problem. Humans Wired to Respond to Short-Term Problems

  • Climate change could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions a year by 2090

    One Planet Only Forever at 00:47 AM on 3 May, 2019


    I agree that the article could have added clarifying points regarding the statement that only a small protion of impacts are estimeated. But the following statements in the article indicate that the costs determined by  study were based on a limited evaluation.

    "examines 22 different climate economic impacts related to health, infrastructure, electricity, water resources, agriculture, and ecosystems."

    "The challenge is that humans tend to most easily visualize and focus on economic impacts, but it’s difficult to quantify the costs of many climate change consequences like lost health and lives, trauma and suffering, or species extinctions and reduced biodiversity."

    "The Martinich-Crimmins report does not take into consideration impacts of worsening extreme weather events on crops, and it therefore underestimates agricultural losses. The research anticipates that although yields will decline for most staple crops – especially for barley, corn, cotton, and rice, but with the exception of wheat – farmers will adapt by using more farmland, changing the crops they grow, and increasing prices. As a result, most of the climate change impacts on the agricultural sector would be passed on to food consumers, in effect, to everybody."

  • Climate change could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions a year by 2090

    nigelj at 07:41 AM on 2 May, 2019

    Regarding the article is not entirely clear why "only a small portion of the impacts of climate change are estimated". Its also not clear if infrastructure damage includes more extreme weather as only sea level rise and associated flooding is mentioned.

  • Climate change could cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions a year by 2090

    wideEyedPupil at 23:08 PM on 1 May, 2019

    sorry, was their any confirmation analysis that the USA as a political and economic enitity will exist in 2090? I agree this kind of analysis is overly conservative and fails to be cognisation of the inabililty to responded (even rich antions) when a nation gets hit by compounding catastrophic event i.e. health epidemic + crop failure/food scaricty + infrastructure collapse + population movement + hostilities/civil unrest/civil war + governece failure + new exrteme weather events on the back of all that.

    There was an online futurecasting thing called "superstruct" IIRC many years ago at they had people look at extreme events in five or six seperate areas like health, farming/food, climate, population movments, war, resource scarity and even just a few combined could paralys many countries abililty to respond to new events. But when CC was put in the mix many professions in these fields and disaster responce were saying it was potentially catastrophic in major ways, serious break down of law and order, millions of deaths etc etc

  • 3 clean energy myths that can lead to a productive climate conversation

    Philippe Chantreau at 03:21 AM on 16 April, 2019

    Thinking man, it would be appreciated if you could format the links so they actually function and can be clicked on. Use the insert tab, the rest is fairly self explanatory. As it stands, I didn't follow your links because I didn't have the patience. It may be that you have a point with the Australian electricity prices but so what? The higher prices reflect the real costs, they are not as artificially low as fossil fuel electricity that relies on higher externalization. Everywhere in the world, we are going to have to get used to higher electricity prices, or pay dearly in other ways. Where I live, we enjoy very low electricity prices due to the abundance of hydropower in our mix. I personally would have no problem absorbing a cost increase of 50 or 75% if it was for the purpose of switching to all or more renewables. That is something I am willing to spend money for, it's worth the cost. I will gladly cut on less important petty consumption to allow for that.

    Whatever we think we save with cheap power is externalized. It does not go away. It accumulates, compounding interest in that pesky physical world where money is irrelevant. Then the physical world leverages its position, most recently in the disastrous form that has been predicted by climate science. Australia, and Europe, and the US all have experienced record heat, fires, drought and heavy rains on a regular basis in the recent past. Houston saw three 500 year type of rain events in 3 consecutive years; this year's extreme weather in the midwest is adding to the bill; Australia has been burning its summers with fervor several years in a row, while the great barrier is showing signs of stress never seen before. What's the price tag? 

    I do have to agree with you on one point though, the regular joes are the ones coughing up the dough in this mess. I don't see the people who raked in profits from fossil fuels pitching in now to help those who lost their farm, their house. Are the fossil fuel barons offering extraordinary help for the great barrier? Considering how much denial they spread, even if they did, that would be a token. Capitalism being what it is, they continue to try to obtain maximum advantage, at the expense of everything and everybody else. Within this dominant ideology, one can hardly blame the wind industry of also trying to obtain maximum advantage...

  • What will Earth look like in 2100?

    Brentkn at 05:43 AM on 13 April, 2019

    This year the Arctic is expected to become ice free.
    When that happens the polar air will shift to Greenland where there still is ice. This will dramtically change the jet streams in the northern hemisphere and we can expect to see even more wild weather extremes.
    But that is not the biggest threat.
    Warmer air will move into the Arctic region which just so happens to be surrounded by permafrost. There is enough greenhouse gases in the permafrost to triple what we currently have in our atmosphere. It is over 7 times more than what we have emitted with the burning of fossil fuels in the last 300 years.
    In the seabed below the Arctic ocean there are vast reserves of methane hydrates that can destabilize from the water warming up. Just 1% of that being released will cause a global extinction.
    The President of Finland has already stated that if we lose the Arctic, we lose the world.
    When the Arctic loses all of it's ice, it will be like turning off the air conditioner in the Northern Hemisphere during the hottest time of the year.
    Temperatures will very quickly climb by as much as 18°C in just a decade.
    We will see a 4-5°C rise in just 3 years. A 3°C rise is probably enough to kill off most humans.
    It's not the temperature rise that will kill us but the speed in which it happens.
    Whereas humans have proven to be versatile with temperature change, the species that we depend on for food and the air we breathe are not so resilient to temperature changes.
    Even if we could somehow survive the extreme heatwave events during the summer months, we would still need food, clean water and an atmosphere with at least 19% oxygen content.
    Sorry folks but the oxygen content is also falling. That is to be expected when we chop down the trees that provide the oxygen. Wildfires will destroy the rest as well as convert some of the oxygen to CO2.
    Can the world really change in 81 years?
    Just in the last 40 years there has been a loss of 60% of the world's wildlife. It's not going to take another 40 years for the rest to die off.
    81 years is more than enough time for the world to change.

  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11

    citizenschallenge at 16:07 PM on 18 March, 2019

    John, thanks for the heads up,  Great example of the point I keep trying to make.  ;- )

    Edited by Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, Mar 8, 2019

    {hat tip to -}

    "The science is clear, climate change is making extreme weather events, including tornadoes, worse.” SOURCE: Bernie Sanders, Facebook, 4 March 2019's fact checking verdict was misleading.
    Overstates scientific confidence: Research clearly shows that certain types of weather extremes are increasing as a result of climate change, but it is not clear how tornadoes are responding to a warming climate.
    ClimateFeedback misses the point.

    It’s not about tornadoes and score keeping, it’s about learning to appreciate how our climate engine operates.

    Take back the narrative !

    Research clearly shows us that our global heat and moisture distribution engine has accumulated a degree Centigrade worth of extra heat since the advent of the steam engine.

    Weather's job is to circulate this heat (and moisture) from the broiling equator to the poles.

    This warming also increases the moisture holding capacity of air.

    Physics tells us this added energy gets circulated throughout the global weather system.

    This extra heat is now available to be released through various destructive forms, not limited to tornadoes, consider destructive macrobursts, microbursts, downbursts, derechos, bomb cyclones, hurricanes and others.

    It doesn’t much matter which particular climatological conditions come together, the point is when they do, they now have increasingly more energy, heat and moisture available, meaning more intense events must to be expected.

    It’s elementary. It's physics. It's certain as people can be about anything.

    It’s about establishing an appreciation for what’s happening within our global heat and moisture distribution engine. Well that and learning to appreciate the fragility of the biosphere upon who's health we all depend on for everything.

  • 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #9

    nigelj at 06:53 AM on 4 March, 2019

    “Trump is a branding guy,” said David B. Srere.... “He knows his audience and understands how to tell a clear, simple story."

    Trump is more of a manipulator of emotion, but he is mostly just convincing his already convinced hard core supporters, just look at his polling numbers. Middle America clearly respond better to a calm reasoned delivery (as long as it doesn't bore them to death). Political history shows attack campaigns are sometimes risky and you need positive alternatives. 

    Yes there is something to be said for keeping things simple, depending on context and time limits. I find most scientists and climate writers have good delivery but one or two scientists get lost in details.

    It needs to be said there is no magic simple phrase that will convince people of the climate problem. If there was it would have been discovered by now.

    But I feel one thing is missing . I do not hear enough mainstream scientists and climate jounalists in the general media articles pointing out how the denialists are using missleading logical fallacies (this website excepted). I think many in the mainstream are too frightened to criticise denialists too directly (again this website and similar ones excepted).

    “It might be that climate has become so wrapped up in one’s identity and worldview that it’s not the sort of thing that’s susceptible to better messaging,”

    Quite probably, but it appears nobody is certain exactly what is going on in this regard, and so surely we should at least have the facts out there on how the weather is changing and some specific events have been linked to climate change? Just don't exaggerate them.

    "Democrats tend to see it as part of a broader pattern of climate change, Republicans as more of an aberration. "

    That is what Republicans say when questioned. They might think something differently, but not want to admit it to the "tribe". So again keep the facts flowing on extreme weather.

    "With so many voices in the GND debate, one that is conspicuously silent is the voice of the scientific community. We urge scientists to engage in the discussion, both with their scientific expertise and as citizens."

    There are fairly obvious reasons why scientists would be reluctant to enter the world of politics. Their job is to communicate the science and they do pretty well. My one criticism is scientists are not perhaps highlighting the extreme but possible scenarios well enough (J Hansen excepted). The job is being left to people like Wallace Wells and he is a good writer (The Economist has given his book positive feedback) but he is a journalist, so will not have the same credibility as a scientist.

  • Extreme weather isn't caused by global warming

    sebi at 07:21 AM on 23 February, 2019

    Weather extremes are often not a direct thermodynamically-driven consequence of increasing temperatures and humidity, but often indirectly driven by global warming via associated changes in the dynamics of weather systems. A prominent example is the projected poleward shift of the storm tracks under global warming scenarios (Ref. 1). The storm tracks are the accumulated footprint of the pathways of numerous extratropical cyclones, which then can cause, among others, extreme precipitation events. If the storm tracks shift poleward, storm frequencies change from one location to another. Storm intensities must be treated distinct from storm frequencies and their clustering.

    One related example are weather fronts, along which most precipitation in an extratropical cyclone is formed. Forecasters may use slightly different definitions of what exactly a weather front is, but it is clear that extreme precipitation events (or hail) are often triggered ahead of cold fronts, due to the related forced vertical motion, for example during a hot summer day with high convective potential. It is known that the intensity of weather fronts scales with the precipitation during the following hours.

    Consequently, changes in extreme events are often linked to changes in weather systems and related changes in their local frequencies and their intensities. This acts as an additional dynamical driver of changes in extreme weather, in tandem with the more direct thermodynamic change, i.e., the increase in the atmosphere's water holding capacity, due to global warming. Trends in the frequency of weather fronts and their intensity changes are presented for example in Ref. 2.

    Selected references:

    (1) Chang, E. K. M., Y. Guo, and X. Xia (2012), CMIP5 multimodel ensemble projection of storm track change under global warming, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D23118, doi:10.1029/2012JD018578.

    (2) Schemm, S., M. Sprenger, O. Martius, H. Wernli, and M. Zimmer (2017), Increase in the number of extremely strong fronts over Europe? A study based on ERA‐Interim reanalysis (1979–2014), Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 553–561, doi:10.1002/2016GL071451.

    [Nature Climate Change, V7, page 96 (2017):]

  • SkS Analogy 18 - Cliff jumping and temperature changes

    Doug_C at 12:01 PM on 31 January, 2019

    michael sweet @3 

    You're right to advise caution as weather extremes are often misrepresented as "proof" that a long term warming is not taking place.

    It's important to note that global warming and climate change is a long term trend taking place over the entire globe. And while local cold weather records may be broken, this is almost certainly a result of the chaotic disruption of weather caused by a global transition to a warmer Earth.

    In the case of some periods of cold weather in North America, this may be due to the fact that generaly warmer temperatures in the Arctic have disrupted atmospheric circulation that in the past has tended to isolate very cold air masses above the Arctic in the winter.

    This can result in unusual weather across North America such as a few year ago when we in Edmonton Alberta were experiencing unusually mild weather well above freezing when Florida was seeing sub zero weather and snow.

  • The Methane 'Time Bomb': How big a concern?

    Doug_C at 04:09 AM on 31 January, 2019

    nigelj @3

    We already have crossed climatic tipping points that already have profound impacts on all our lives and the biosphere as a whole.

    It's not pessimism to keep pointing out that coral reef systems are probably going largely extinct in what is an instant in geological terms.

    That the cryosphere is in rapid retreat that is going to have significant impacts globally for people and ecosystems.

    That extreme weather events are creating hellish conditions already and more. 

    And we're still at the same rate or higher of carbon dioxide emissions as decades ago when some of the earliest experts were warning of this growing catastrophe.

    And it is a catastrophe already with the very real potential to eclipse all other catastrophes in human history. In fact it is guaranteed to do so if we just keep collectively doing what we're doing for a little bit longer.

    The inertia in change created by this one radiative forcing is incredible and we keep adding to it each year based on the myth that we can suddenly turn it around when it becomes so destructive that it is impossible for anyone to deny the danger.

    It's iike if a mob of people were levering a massive boulder on a slope above a town. It moves slowly at first and they keep up the process of forcing to a gradually higher and higher speed as the slope it is on increases. This is exactly what is happening with fossil fuels created climate change. 

    The longer it goes on and the more it is forced the more force it has until it is totally out of control and every in its path is destroyed.

    And a huge part of the debate is still if it's even happening.

  • Hurricanes aren't linked to global warming

    Bob Loblaw at 12:26 PM on 24 January, 2019

    Somewhat old now, but Pielke's work has been discussed over at Tamino's Open MInd in the past:

      Slightly newer discussion of hurrixcane frequency at RealClimate. The post presents some behaviour by Pielke that is, shall we say, not particularly flattering.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #51

    michael sweet at 21:37 PM on 24 December, 2018

    Thomas Thorne,

    I have a strong recollection thinking about the changes from global warming after the IPCC AAR4 was released in 2007.  They described many changes that could occur like sea level rise and intensification of storms.  At the time I was 49 years old.  I remember wondering if I would live long enough to see definitive changes in sea level rise and weather caused by climate change.  I thought that if I lived to 85 I might see some effects.

    Today I am 60.  News reports regularly describe catastrophies caused by climate change.  Four record hot years in the past four years, streets regularly flood from sea level rise, record damage from weather, Arctic sea ice has collapsedExtraordinary rainfall causes floods around the world.  Record drought grips Australia.  I note that you do not specify a single prediction scientists have incorrectly made.  What evidence do you need to become alarmed?

    I still have 25 years left before I turn 85.  Scientists have been way off in their calculations: they have underestimated the danger.  Pray that recent reports of tipping points past that cause the Earth to continue heating regardless of what humans do are incorrect.

    We have no choice but to try our hardest to minimize the damage caused by fossil fuels.

  • Climate Change Cluedo: Anthropogenic CO2

    alonerock at 10:40 AM on 17 December, 2018

    Excellent! Thanks very much for your clearification. I was confused because I would consider atmospheric emmissions as anthropogenic emissions. My apologies. My expertise is biogeochemistry and Holocene forsest ecology dynamics of the Central New Hampshire Region and as such, the climate change issue is of grave concern to me concerining abundance and distribution of species- so much so, that I have about 200 pages addressing it in one chapter of my book I have been writing for the past 20 years based on document, field and parol evidence of in excess of 500 sites I am studying.

    The massive inertia of the ocean appears to be a serious problem for which naysayers do not account, enabling a huge lagtime for consequences. They will someday learn, nature bats last.

    This is some non-scholarly text that I recently wrote for our local paper concerning climate change that you might enjoy:

    Real Eyes Realize Real Lies
    The True Story of Climate Change, Part I
    Historically, the natural changes in global climate have occurred at rates that enable species to either survive by adapting, evolving, or relocating, or in the case of extreme events, species perish. With extinction comes consequences of reduced biological diversity and many other ecological problems.
    The biological species that live on Earth are able to do so largely in part due to many complex biogeochemical relationships which include the precarious balance of energy coming into Earth from the Sun with that of the heat radiated back out into space.
    Irrefutable scientific evidence indicates that commencing with human activities associated with the the industrial revolution, there has been an anthropogenic induced trend of more energy coming in to Earth than is being radiated back out into space. Until this energy balance is restored, the planet will continue to warm, and will do so at a non-typically increased rate.
    The major reason for present climate warming is the elevated level of atmospheric CO2, which has not existed at current levels for in excess of 600,000 years. Destructive events associated with continued increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations will include continually increasing global temperatures, increased intensity and frequency of storms and wildfires, increasing drought and flood events, rise in sea level and if carrying on business as usual, a mass extinction of species.
    The climate change issue is a grave inter-generational matter in which the present generation, through their current production of comparatively inexpensive fossil fuel emissions, benefit briefly, while burdening future generations with the long-term negative and perhaps irreversible destructive ecological effects resulting largely from an irresponsible, decadent behavior.
    The climate change issue is clouded by misinformation. The confusion stems largely from ignorance or greed. Most non-scientists lack the time, desire or ability to acquire a collective in-depth knowledge of chemistry, biology, physics, geology, botany, mathematics, oceanography, thermodynamics and meteorology which form the basic foundation necessary for understanding climate change. In recent decades, due to ignorance or dishonesty, the issues have been in many cases, tragically corrupted into a political tool to promote many socio-ecological failures involving concepts of world government, denial of problems associated with over- population and destruction of entire terrestrial ecosystems along with a re-distribution of wealth, all the while exhibiting a blatant disregard of long-term environmental consequences involving the burning of fossil fuels. Much of the misinformation peddled by scientific impostors and those of morally questionable economic interests or dark political agendas is carelessly accepted by people, many of whom lack the understanding, are unwilling to sacrifice their perceived luxuries, find the truth too disturbing to accept or fail to acknowledge a planet of finite resources and limited resilience. Such people often become easy prey for self-appointed climate change “expert” skeptics. Additionally, it is often difficult to get a person to accept the truth when their livelihood depends on denying it. The “American Dream” is in fact, largely based on the erroneous concept of unlimited natural resources.
    Furthermore, a great deal of confusion regarding the understanding of climate change results from comparing unrelated temporal or spatial scales of weather and climate or cherry-picking data to support a particular position as well as a general misunderstanding of terms or concepts. It is all about statistics/trends- not individual events. Make no mistake, the distribution of extreme events is swiftly shifting inward on the “bell-curve”. Additionally, the delayed response of the climate system in and of itself further clouds the grasping of the immediate, necessary concerns to be recognized by the present generation.
    Past global and national governmental “attempts” to successfully address the climate change issue have shared similar fates of failing miserably. The Clinton and Obama administrations were complete failures regarding this issue, as were the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord. Nothing but talk, half-measures, corruption or irrational concepts at various levels… Ironically, the Montreal Protocol, with its successful goal of reducing Freon emissions to save atmospheric ozone, likely did more to slow the problem of global warming than all other attempts combined.

    Many conservatives appear to be worried about a failing economy and filling their coffers while most liberals are more interested in grabbing money for themselves, their friends and their favorite failed social agendas. This climate change issue is however not a political issue and in the absence of radical change in the near future, will devastate all, regardless of political aspirations. There is hope and there is still time to fix the problems, however the clock is ticking.
    Suicidal policies of past executive and legislative branches of the United States are largely influenced by the fossil fuel industry and their influential lobbyists. Perhaps a wiser approach would be to address the matter through the U.S. Supreme Court based on language of the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution of clearly challenging if not outright denying future generations of their “Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”.
    The United States has always been and will always be the greatest political experiment to exist in the history of the world due to its foundation of documents which embrace the concepts of the celebration of the human spirit, freedom, and accountability.
    The United States, with many of the greatest minds in the world, has the ability to lead the world in a gradual shift toward cleaner energy which will lead to a stronger, stable economy and more importantly, a far improved environment. Anyone who thinks the economy is more important than the atmosphere should try counting their money while holding their breath.
    . Wendell Berry once stated: “Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory and a sterner sense of justice than that of man.”
    Anyone who thinks otherwise is gravely mistaken. Anthropogenically induced climate change is not a political issue. It is not a debate. It is a scientific fact. It is all about quality of life and leaving the place better than how we found it. We truly borrow the future from our children. Sometimes choices require sacrifice of perceived luxuries. We all have choices and those choices define us as a species.

    As Edmund Burke once suggested, “…evil prevails only if good men sit back and do nothing…”
    Similarly, Gene Brewer stated in his book, “K-Pax”; a purported “alien” warns humans of their accountability by stating, “...the Universe will expand and collapse on itself...repeating this process forever...and every mistake you will live through again and again forever, so my advice to you is get it right this time around, because this time, is all you have.”
    Perhaps the greatest legacy that this generation can pass on to the next is the acknowledgement that we “got it right with climate change.
    In conclusion, the Earth will survive regardless of what humans do to it. Its survival however, might not include humans.

    Tick-tock, tick-tock….

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    JWRebel at 22:36 PM on 9 December, 2018

    It is very tricky to go from attribution of the climate change component of extreme weather to convincing skeptics. To begin with, skeptics are not skeptical, they are flogging excuses and long-debunked favorite "urban myths". There is no good faith, and hard physics about CO² absoption spectra are likely harder to ignore than aberrant weather. Moreover, on popular media people often list weather events which themselves (out of context) are not all that extreme. This only serves to muddy the thinking all the more. Attribution works with statistics and probabilities and ranges of certainty ... these are not good material for convincing stories. Pointing to local weather phenomena seems a dubious strategy, all things considered.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

    nigelj at 07:37 AM on 9 December, 2018

    No doubt there will come a point where more extreme weather is so obvious and undeniable, that most sceptics will finally undersand, but that point will come too late. I think we have to hammer the message that more heat energy must lead to more intense and frequent heatwaves, stronger hurricanes and more intense rainfall, because its basic physics, and also generally supported by empirical evidence over recent decades.

    They say facts don't change peoples minds. Maybe with the most dogmatic and politically tribal, but I think its a nonsensical statement really. The article clearly shows once sceptical people accept weather is changing, ie it's a fact, it changes their minds.

    A lot of people really struggle with science, its a hard subject but persistence pays off.

  • Climate impacts

    citizenschallenge at 04:35 AM on 5 November, 2018

    The author summarizes what some think: "One possibility is that the global economic impact will indeed be relatively small, even if the climatic and ecological changes are large.”

    How’s that work? Our economy isn’t created by spreadsheets and computer algorithms fine tuned to profit making. It’s a vast interdependent network fueled by exploiting and consuming Earth’s valuable resources, this includes farmland, forests, fishing.

    I don’t think economists recognize the Earth has entered a one way climate regime shift.

    The course of the near future is determined and it’s a game of global Weather Roulette. Increasingly extreme and destructive weather events will happen. Where they strike is the Global Economic wild card, location, location, location.

    Seems that all too few recognize the depth of the complexity and interdependencies, nor vast variety of cascading consequences of AGW will inevitably trigger. Economy needs energy, energy production needs cooling water, river water or coastal ocean water. River waters are warming, rivers are drying, sea water is warming and sea levels are rising, increasingly intense storm surges and flooding are to be expected.

    Healthy global agriculture, communication and transportation networks likewise are absolutely dependent on relatively moderate and predictable weather patterns for any number of reasons - yet most seem to have no appreciation for the myriad of interdependent linkages. Worst, seems most couldn't care less.

  • Climate impacts

    Xulonn at 02:05 AM on 4 November, 2018

    Predicting a "sea change" in complex, chaotic systems like climate and economics is extremely difficult, and disastrous change can occur much more quickly than most people realize.  I do, however, agree with others in this conversation that the science of climate research is on much more solid footing than that of modern economics. 

    I remember reading many years ago about someone who challenged an American meteorologist (weatherman?) on next-day forecasting.  By simply predicting every next day to have the same weather as the current day, he won - because the meteorological predictions of change in the day were so inaccurate.  That matches my feelinga about our current global capitalist system - as long as governments cater to the ultra wealthy and corporate sectors, they believe that the good times and exponential growth can go on forever. 

    Another factor in overly rosy economic predictions is that people don't want to hear bad news about the future. Often, any predicted change in a negative direction that does not come to fruition leads to people no longer believing the source -unless you are Donald Trump.  The U.S. president is a master at telling his fans just what they want to hear - and it is almost always based on falsehoods and inaccuracies. Even when his words are immediately debunked, his fans refuse to accept the truth.  Following this surrealistic  phenomenon leads me to believe that a similar psychology leads to the stubborn denialism that refuses to accept the reality of the looming disasters that will be precipitated by AGW/CC. 

    Economists do the same thing as Trump without overtly lying, but simply refuse to consider and include all of the obvious possibilities and their liklihoods in their calculations.   Their theories, hyphtheses, and calculations may be mathematical marvels, but the "garbage in garbage out" maxim applies here. 

    Reading this post and its replies prompted me to go to Google to look for "economic prediction failures" - and I was a bit surprised at how the first page of results was filled with exactly what I was looking for.  It looks like I've found some very interesting information to peruse over the next few days. 

    I see two possibilities for the next few decades - either modern civilization and its global economy will hit a wall - or drive over a cliff. And either one will likely be at full speed with "the pedal to the metal."

    At age 76, I probably will not be around to see it. Many of my contemporaries are already gone, and unlike me, did not live long enough to see even the real beginning of the global "tragedy of the commons" surfacing so obviously.  The current path of modern technological civilization will likely lead to its end.  The focus on "saving the earth" was completely wrong. The earth will survive and life will continue to evolve - just not in the way we humans with out collective monumental hubris expected.

  • Climate impacts

    TTauriStellarBody at 19:10 PM on 2 November, 2018

    Well how much of an impact do people expect from 1.5C or 2C?

    A developed world economy like the UK or Canada will often see agriculture, the sector most at risk as only 2%ish of GDP. Areas like service sector will be closer to 60%. How many days shopping do they expect to see lost nationally from extreme weather at 1.5C?

    What is the realistic expectation of infrastructure damage at perhaps 2C? The UKs annual infrastructure spend by the government is projectd to be about £110 billion a year. Are we really expecting £110 billion a year in damage to road, rail, schools and hospitals? That would require something on the sclae of hurricane Harvey\Sandy hitting the UK every year.

    Now developing world economies have a far higher % of gdp in agriculture, are often in regions more at risk from smaller changes (due to the tropics being generally more stable) and have far smaller spends on infrastrcuture so much smaller scale events will chew up their entire annual budget then see them going backwards. 

    The biggest cost to the developed world economy is going to be insurance and increasing premiums.

    I am not an economist and fully support radical action to cut CO2. I am just trying to be realistic about the financial side of 1.5 and 2C on the GDP of the big economies.

  • 1.5 Degree Climate Limit: Small Number; Huge Consequences

    nigelj at 08:57 AM on 20 October, 2018

    Evan @8, good points. There are indeed several benefits to changing to renewable electricity and direct air capture really has just one in that it removes CO2. However I would just suggest theres still a perception issue with both.

    I think its more of a timing issue. By the time people wake up fully to the more immediate threats from extreme weather and that climate change is here with a vengeance, at that point (but not before) they may start to see the need for projects like direct air capture in addition to reducing emissions at source. I mean by then we may be in a siutation of just having to do everything possible pretty quickly. 

    And playing devils advocate, people might actually be more receptive to negative emissions projects because it means they dont have to make as many painful adjustments to their own lives. 

    However this is not how I want things to happen. Its just the odd way that people probably react. The way I see it is ideally the focus should be on renewable energy, and negative emissions technologies should ideally be a last resort just to mop up remaining emissions that we simply struggle to reduce. I think the case for this has been made plenty of times.

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    wilddouglascounty at 05:52 AM on 20 October, 2018

    I think you are right: the scientific community is pretty good about saying that increasing extreme weather event frequency and severity is attributable to changes in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic chemistry. But most of the public does not read scientific journals. Instead they read things like the following:

    "How climate change causes extreme weather"

    "Climate change causes severe storms that damage our homes, crops, and cost more than hundreds of millions in insurance claims." in

    "Climate Change Causes Extreme Weather Like Smoking Causes Cancer, Scientist Says" in

    "Where’s the proof climate change causes the polar vortex?" in

    ...and on and on and on.

    In the public forums that we are all part of, it benefits moving the discussion ahead if we keep bringing up the true causes of the changing climate, reminding folks that it's not some abstraction called "climate change," rather it is human emissions that are overwhelming our planet's ability to maintain a homeostatic balance.  That's all I'm advocating for, because we need to quickly shift gears to looking at ways to change those emissions.

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    nigelj at 05:15 AM on 20 October, 2018


    Your concern appears to be that the media say "climate change is causing more extreme weather". I have heard them say this, and superficially this is illogical because some people might see climate change as changing weather patterns, so obviously changing weather patterns are not causing changing weather patterns. But climate change is actually technically a change in the heat balance of the atmosphere longer term. I think most people more or less understand this, or at least interpret the issue as "global warming" is causing more extreme weather patterns,  so I dont think theres likely to be huge confusion out there that you think there might be. 

    But I think you are right that more specific explanations are needed on just what it is that is causing the more extreme weather.

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    One Planet Only Forever at 00:14 AM on 20 October, 2018


    Got it now. Thanks for the clarification.

    It is ioncorrecrt to say "climate change "causes" increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather events". Anyone who has presneted a point like that should be advised to say "human induced climate change due to global warming caused by burning fossil fuels is seen in many ways including increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather events"

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    wilddouglascounty at 12:46 PM on 19 October, 2018

    One Planet 12

    I am merely pointing out that saying that climate change "causes" increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather events is a confusing statement because it is the increasingly number of more severe extreme events that changes the climate.  It is the elevated carbon fraction in oceanic and atmospheric composition that "causes" increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather events, not the change in the statistical averages of those weather events, otherwise known as the climate. You don't need to use the steroids in sports example if you don't like it; there are plenty of other apt attributions of carbon as the reason for the changing weather patterns instead of confusing people by saying that "climate change" caused it. Come up with your own. 

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    wilddouglascounty at 02:34 AM on 19 October, 2018

    One Planet @ 9,

    The reason for the clarification is so that the average "Joe" understands the role that steroids play in sports, and knows that the enhanced "performance" from even a little increase is illegal for good reason. Furthermore, it is confusing to attribute a baseball player's enhanced performance to "batting average change," which is exactly what we are doing when we attribute increased freqency and severity of extreme weather events to "climate change."  We need to start referring to the sources of those changes, just like we do with steroids, so the public understands the connection, and once they do, we can move ahead. If new langage helps, it should be used. If you can do it with existing langauge, that's fine, too.

  • Republican lawmakers react to the IPCC report – ‘we have scientists’ too!

    wilddouglascounty at 23:20 PM on 18 October, 2018

    I believe that the whole debate has been obscured by terminology, specifically looking at the changing weather patterns and referring to it as climate change--hear me out a bit.  Scientists have a good understanding of the causes that drive the changing weather patterns and increasing severity/frequency of extreme weather events, but when they summarize that dynamic as being “caused” by “climate change,” it confuses many, many people. We need to look at it more like baseball. That's because “climate” is an abstraction, i.e. the averages of actual weather events over time. “Climate” is very analogous to the “batting average” of a baseball player, which is an abstraction created by averaging the numbers of hits and misses the player performs over the baseball season, right? But if the player’s batting average jumps 50 points, from say .250 one season to .300 the next season, we start looking for the reasons. If blood tests show that the player has started using steroids this season, we say that the player’s batting average jump was “caused” by his using steroids because of what we know about the physiological effects of steroids on the human body. It’s not that he doesn’t possess a wide range of skills that got him to the major league in the first place; it just means that those skills were enhanced through the presence of steroids. When he steps up to bat and hits another home run, we say that the home run was “juiced” or likely assisted by his use of steroids. What we DON’T say is that the home run was “caused” by the increase in his batting average.

    But that’s exactly what the media and the scientific community has latched onto saying about the increasing frequency and severity of weather events. In baseball, enhanced performance is clearly understood to be an outcome of steroid use, and not referred to as “batting average change,” which sounds nonsensical and confusing. The scientific community clearly understands the physical role of carbon in the atmosphere and oceans and with great confidence can say that the resulting changed atmospheric and oceanic chemistry is what is driving the more extreme weather events, oceanic acidification and sea level rise. Excess carbon in these system and the resultant changes is “juicing” the atmosphere in the same way that steroids can juice the baseball player’s performance, and if we start saying that Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence were carbon-juiced weather events or some such terminology, the public will “get it” and will be more likely to move past the climate change debate and get down to what we’re going to do to get the carbon back into the earth so our weather patterns, sea levels and acidification will gradually return to levels we can live with.

  • New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    nigelj at 10:16 AM on 30 September, 2018

    MA Rodger @21

    Thank's for the research links. I have read both and they are mighty interesting reading, although a lot to absorb, and I agree they leave some things unclear, and I think they leave questions unanswered as to how fast a hothouse earth might happen, other than a vague note about possibly a couple of centuries, but it's still a genuinely alarming statement. So is the 12 degrees in your IPCC emissions profiles table if we just go on burning fossil fuels.

    I do wish Americans would use celsius. Its very confusing using fahrenheit.

    "Firstly, how good is that 0.5°C estimate of additional warming at +2°C? "

    I assume you are suggesting forests spreading northwards would stabilise soils and absorb CO2. Interesting thought, and its not clear to me if they considered this. However the CO2 is plantfood effect is supposed to saturate fairly quickly or cancel out, because warming also affects photosynthesis and other soil processes and it intuitively seems to me that the march of forests northwards would tend to lag behind areas of thawing permafrost, but the question would be how much. They didn't really say. But it was apparently not enough to stop the earth entering past houshouse conditions assuming there were substantial areas of permafrost soils, so perhaps their 0.5 degree estimate is not far off the reality.

    The map in the research suggests total melt of permafrost is not locked in until about 5 degrees, which gives some hope because its this sort of CO2 feedback and consequent warming which really will spin us towards a hothouse earth in terms of temperature and thus horrendously extreme weather, although according to the study total ice melt will be locked in well before we hit 5 degrees. Hope in the sense that we could avoid the worst of the permafrost issue if we reduced emissions promtly to Paris time goals.

  • Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

    alea at 08:36 AM on 19 August, 2018

    Evan@10: I personally think there is a big difference between talking the talk (acknowledging the climate change threat and collective responsibility), and talking the talk (making personal lifestyle changes), simply because the former is much easier to do than the latter. I have tried to reduce my carbon footprint by turning the heating right down in winter and compensating by wearing more clothes, using publicv transport where feasible instead of driving, growing my own food, recycling, reducing consumption, and cycling most local journeys and to work (20 mile round trip). The problem is that doing many of these things requires significantly more effort and less comfort, and in the worst case increased risk. I gave up driving back in 2013 and did all journeys by bicycle and/or train. To do this required living a more localised life, it was not feasible to drive 20 miles out and back to a remote area to go on a group walk. I ultimately nearly paid the price with my life whan I was hit by a careless driver and at my worst, was two days from having the life support switched off before I came out of the coma. My experience is the extreme, but even growing your own food, it is much easier to go to a supermarket for your veg than spend many hours of the week toiling away on an allotment, with pests and poor weather periodically threatening to destroy your crop. The second issue is that making those sacrifices entails the tangible drawbacks I mentioned, but any tangible benefits are far from obvious. When I cycle for utility purposes, it makes no difference to the local air pollution or traffic levels, because everyone else is still driving around, the only personal benefit being an increase in fitness and a small monetary saving. Ultimately, to advocate people changing to a lifestyle with a significantly lower carbon footprint, or more sustainable, is equivalent (at least now) to asking them to sacrifice comfort and convenience for no tangible benefit. That is always going to be a hard sell. Things might be different if the whole system was changed to something where sustainability was prioritised instead of money, but we have a long long way to go to even get close to that, and to get there is beyond the power of any one individual, hence many will say the climate change issue is the responsibility of governments and business.

  • Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

    Evan at 06:58 AM on 19 August, 2018

    Phillipe@13 and nigelj@14 thanks for your encouragement. I will however, keep holding myself to a tightening standard, because we must. Fortunately in Minnesota 25% of our electricity is nuclear and over 20% is renewable, so driving an EV makes a lot of sense. We've communicated to our architect that low-carbon and low-energy impact is important. He seems to understand, and he even just bought an EV himself two weeks ago.

    Definitely agree about passive solar design.

    It's interesting that what really drove me to buy an EV was when I started writing at SkS about climate change. To me it was simply unacceptable to be writing about the urgent need for change and driving a gas hog. We still have one vehicle that burns gas, but we drive it very little. And our compact tractor burns diesel, but as soon as John Deere comes out with a compact electric tractor we will trade it in. This is one of the big problems is that it takes time to transition, even when one wants to.

    By the way, take a look at CarbonCure, which is an initiative to begin decreasing the carbon footprint of concrete.

    The other point here is to be an example. Hopefully, and I do me hopefully not certainly, as extreme weather events become more common place and more people are affected, more people will be open to the message of our need to reduce our carbon footprint. We have to set examples as soon as we can and as best as we can.

  • Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

    nigelj at 15:58 PM on 18 August, 2018

    Evan @10, that is not a rephrasing, it's more a total restructure of the question :) Still, its a good question.

    I think personal upfront experience of weather becoming more extreme has to motivate some degree of action. A slap in the face like this normally motivates change, yet I do not see much evidence of "huge change". There are at least three possible explanations:

    1) General reluctance to change well established habits (laziness)

    2) Climate change is a gradual thing.Frog being slowly boiled alive syndrome.

    3) I think this is the critical one. Fossil fuels are still the cheapest easiest fuel source for many people, and low carbon products are not common or attractively priced. Its human nature to buy the cheapest product that meets immediate needs, and somewhat irrational to do otherwise.

    I deplore battery chicken farming, but I still buy the damn things. I deplore single use plastic bags, and have managed to stop that but it took me a while to get there. I dont think Im a hugely lazy or irresponsible person. On the plus side I have a small fuel efficient car, but this was a relatively pain free decision to make.

    The answer to 3) should be carbon levy and dividend. This puts a price on carbon, and makes petrol unattractive, and low carbon alternatives more price competitive.

    The challenge is then how do we get this carbon fee and dividend policy? Not many people are crying out for it, and not many politicians support it, except for in a few places like British Columbia. I think the reason is over the last 40 years tax has been branded as evil, and as  theft and as the wrong sort of economic policy. Therefore we have made things difficult for ourselves, and I think its going to be hard work changing this mindset. But I try to remain an optimist on it.

  • Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

    Evan at 12:57 PM on 18 August, 2018

    Perhaps I should ask the question another way. Polls say that a little over 50% of the people accept that humans contribute to global warming. Yet IMO far fewer than 50% of the general public are modifying their lives to acknowledge the reality of climate change. For people who already acknowledge climate change as real and our contribution as key, do these extreme weather events move them to start taking stronger action?

  • Climate change and wildfires – how do we know if there is a link?

    nigelj at 06:54 AM on 18 August, 2018

    Evan, I think people directly experiencing extreme weather first hand would mostly increase their acceptance of climate change science, especially warmists and fence sitters. I'm assuming here they are convinced the weather is getting more extreme or have seen data to that effect. Once the threat becomes real and perhaps painful, it clears the mind.

    I dont think it would harden anyones attitudes against climate science , unless they are really deep in conspiracy ideation and think its the government altering the weather, in order to bring on one world government . And yes, I have seen comments like this, but it cant be that many people.

    Of course even quite dramatic change probably won't increase acceptance among many of the denialists either, because they just rationalise it away with claims that climate changed before, the data is fake, its just weather. My guess is it would change maybe about half their minds at best. 

    Needs a poll or survey.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

    michael sweet at 22:49 PM on 24 July, 2018


    Summer in Winter was March, 2012.  The current weather forcast (link will only be good today) shows extreme heat across most of Australia for today.  It will not make the news because it is hot in winter so no all time heat records will be broken (daily heat records will be broken).

  • There's no empirical evidence

    Philippe Chantreau at 23:28 PM on 3 July, 2018

    Drawing a line between any arbitrarily chosen points will likely show exactly wat you want to see and is useless for figuring out what is happening in reality. Flat lines can be drawn at multiple time periods in the record, yet the overall trend is painfully obvious. There is not and there never was a pause, only variations around a trend that is resolutely up. Temperatures after the 1998 El Nino did not settle back to the pre-Nino level, the same thing is happening now following the 2016 El-Nino. The current US heat wave is showing us what the new normal is, as have all the extreme weather events accumulating everywhere in the world. The radiative properties of CO2 are very well known and the measured values for all altitudes match MODTRAN as well as one could wish for. Look it up.

  • Arctic sea ice has recovered

    scaddenp at 07:51 AM on 29 June, 2018

    BeesKnees - I dont where you are getting your "elsewhere" information on arctic ice volume, but I would suggest that it is either extremely unreliable or you have misinterpreted.

    Here is the arctic ice volume from PIOMAS.

    Source: Polar Science Center

    It is higher than 2016, 2017, 2012, but weather causes year to year variability. The trend in ice volume is pretty clear in picture:

    Well below 2003 level.

  • Climate Science Denial Explained: Tactics of Denial

    nigelj at 13:53 PM on 22 April, 2018

    The steelman strategy is intriguing and very useful. However the climate conspiracy theory I have heard is fairly specific, namely that climate change was invented by the UN to further their socialist goals to globalise and control the world from the UN and redistribute wealth.

    The Paris accord does involve helping poor countries with renewable energy projects. The email leak played into the conspiracy theory.This all gets the conspiracy theorests all excited, and no matter how much proof you provide that the emails revealed nothing wrong, the denialists don't listen, because they don't want to listen and learn. Or at least it's slow progress convincing people, but worth the effort.

    This conspiracy like others is all utter garbage of course. I mean its seriously moronic. I'm reluctant to even discuss it and publicise the issue, but I'm relying on the fact most people can probably see it for what it is, ridiculous. It falls over because countries give aid to poor countries anyway and for numerous other reasons. But the trouble is it all creates doubt and confusion with the public, which is the goal of the people really pulling the strings on all this, namely the heads of certain companies and political think tanks.

    Most people probably realise its far more likely the oil and transport companies deliberately spread doubt about the science.

    Imho in the end physical reality will increasingly show conspiracies and climate pseudoscience are both nonsense. I have noticed more people talking about extreme weather the last couple of years. Thats a good sign.

  • There is no consensus

    Is it Really That Hard at 19:55 PM on 11 April, 2018

    How is anyone against what the scientists are saying against global warming? They're telling you to, you know, drive less, use less coal/petrol/other forms of fossil fuel, don't litter, recylce, etc. To me, it seems win-win either way and so far anyone who wants to disbelieve these scientists seem to be trying to justify themselves for their environmentally destructive behaviours. Let's give everyone a benefit of the doubt and use two hypotheses:

    a) Global warming is real.
     If it is real, then if you do all the things the scientists are saying, you'll be slowing down the process. Sweet, we get extra years, we don't have to experience such extreme weather conditions/changes, etc. Good for us.

    b) Global warming is a hoax.
     If it is fake, then if you do all the things the scientists are saying, you'll be cleaning up the planet. Sweet, we get a clean planet to live on. Good for us.

    So tell me, why is it so hard for you to accept global warming?? Do you only disagree because it seems like the "mainstream" thing to do and you want to seem "different"? I never understood this.

  • CO2 limits will hurt the poor

    DPiepgrass at 18:49 PM on 28 March, 2018

    I skimmed Samson et al 2011 and found it bizzarely obsessed with population density. Perhaps I am not understanding the paper, but it seems to be saying "high population density is good, rural living is bad, and climate change is projected to increase conditions correlated with rural living, especially in poor countries, so that's bad." Surely this is an overly narrow and simplistic perspective. Have I misunderstood? In the "Notes" below these comments there are more sources; Patt et al. (2010)'s focus on extreme weather made more sense.

    I learned the most by reading the IPCC report (AR5 WG2 Chapter 11 pages 721-732):

    • Most of the poor people in the world live near the equator where the weather is hot. Global warming means higher average temperature, and worse heat waves. Heat waves kill many people every year. High body temperature can decrease physical abilities and mental function, and is uncomfortable. Example: in Australia, the number of “dangerously hot” days (when core body temperatures may increase by ≥2°C and outdoor activity is hazardous) is projected to rise from 4-6 days per year to 33-45 days per year by 2070.
    • During extreme heat, danger to health is higher for manual laborers, including farmers. Poor people usually do not have enough money for air conditioning.
    • Climate change is a threat to crop productivity in areas that are already food-insecure. Climate change will reduce food availability, and will cause undernutrition in children.
    • Floods are the most common natural disaster. It is expected that more people will be exposed to floods in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Increases in intense tropical cyclones are likely in the late 21st century.
    • Climate change is likely to increase the risk of malaria, and perhaps Dengue fever.
    • Higher temperatures are associated with more diarrhea. Bacterial pathogens are more likely to grow on produce crops (e.g., lettuce) in simulations of warmer conditions. This hurts poor people, who have less access to health care, more.
    • Human conflict is increased by soil degradation, freshwater scarcity, and other forces related to climate. So climate change can make armed conflicts worse.

    Also, fossil fuels cause air pollution. Usually, poor countries have lower standards against pollution, so poor people breathe much more air pollution for each unit of "unclean" energy produced nearby.

  • Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    Aomsin at 00:20 AM on 25 March, 2018

    Greenhouse gases include water vapour ,carbon dioxide ,methane ,nitrous oxide and other gases.
    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).”Deforestation is the second largest anthropogenic
    source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere ranging between 6 percent and 17 percent,”said Daley.Then water vapour is actually the most powerful greenhouse gas and has a strong effect on weather and climate.As the planet get warmer ,more water evaporates from the Earth’s surface and become water vapour in the atmosphere.
    If there a place where is ocean then it will have more of water vapour than the desert or not? And if want to reduce these problem then the place which dry or desert will have more stable of temperature than the ocean which has higher evaporation of water in the atmosphere.Because these issue is the positive feedback loop.How human can figure out greenhouse gas effect? And it’s not just only 1 problem because it will effect in a chain for example climate change ,global warming and methane pollution.
    Global Warming is harming the environment in several ways including desertification ,increased melting of snow and ice ,sea level rise , stronger storms and extreme events.These problem made by human activities affect to the environment so in every year water vapour will more increasing to reach greenhouse gas effect and other problems.It was the responsibility of human to take care our Earth’s.

  • There Will Be Consequences

    Doug_C at 18:30 PM on 7 March, 2018

    I can't see business as usual lasting much longer in regards to fossil fuel use.

    I live in British Columbia in the Okanagan valley, we are already seeing the impacts of much more chaotic weather here and across this province. Last summer we had record forest fires across BC, one fire alone was over 500,000 hectares. We are also being warned once again this spring to be prepared for spring flooding as the snow packs are not behaving as they have in the past.

    And while this is happening this province has been in conflict with another who's government resents even talking about stopping a massive increase in the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline which carries diluted bitumen from the Athabasca tar sands to shipping terminals in the Vancouver area. One of the least sustainable of fossil fuels and if spilled one of the most polluting. If the billions of dollars required to build the new pipeline capacity which is close to 1 million barrels a day, is allowed that would require many years to see a return. We are still planning on the commercial exploitation for decades of the worst possible energy sources in this country even as governments at all levels discuss the need to mitigate climtae change.

    We here in Canada live in the bizarre state of being told we need to use more fossil fuels to fight climate change.

    The same goes for gas fracking and LNG. This is a huge issue here with the "new" provincial government approving a dam in the middle of the Montney gas formation who's only real intent can be powering an explosion of fracking across NE BC. Something the federal government also supports. While natural gas has only about 50% of the carbon intensity of coal, fracking for it also releases large amounts of methane from leakage. Making it as bad as coal as a climate change forcer.

    BC has commit to spending at least $12 billion which will likely climb to $15 billion before the Site C dam is finished. We could be spending that money on alternative energy sources across the province that would make a real difference in carbon emissions and also drive innovation in sectors that need significant stimulation to replace fossil fuels. Instead the electricty from that dam will likely go to powering gas fracking operations across the Montney gas fields. The government here has stated that no matter what its own scientific studies on the issue say, a moratorium on fracking is "unthinkable".

    We are still going in the wrong direction in regards to fossil fuels and climate change in BC and in Canada. Do not listen to claims from our politicians that they are doing something about this growing catastrophe.

    As early as 1993 the federal government was claiming that Canada was planning for a fossil fuel free future and doing our part to mitigate climate change. And investment and exploitation of fossil fuels across the nation has only grown.

    As I said at the begining, I don't think this will last much longer. We have already lost a Canadian city to climate change induced heats waves, this one in April of 2016 in Northern Alberta where temperatures reached over +20 C when usual temperatures are often -20 C in that area at that time. And came very close to losing several BC cities to fires last summer.

    At some point there will also be a political tipping point where it is simply no longer possible to deny this growing catastrophe and pretend we can base our future on fossil fuels.

    Here in Canada and BC this will mean huge stranded assets, but the alternative is changes that happen so fast and are so significant that they could possible drive our species extinct.

    Before much longer I don't think we will be talking about even carbon neutral energy models, we will be talking about carbon negative models to at least try and mitigate some of the impacts that are predicted before long and some like extreme heat waves and massive forest fires are already happening here.

    A future such as James Hansen is discussing with superstorms strong enough to hurl 1,000 ton boulders on shore is not an option. Or the loss of sea coasts through greatly increased erosion and then inundation.

    How will Asian populations feed themselves as well with areas like the Mekong and Yangtze deltas where much of the rice is grown, going under the sea or made useless to agriculture by salt water intrusion.

    Any policy that relies on fossil fuels on the decade scale should be treated in the same way we would with crimes against humanity.

    Because that is exactly what it is.

  • What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Alchemyst at 06:13 AM on 2 March, 2018


    now do you know the significance of 1962 weather in Britain? I find it exraordinary that 

    "Arctic warmer than much of Europe is a worrying sign of climate change"

    is the headline in the ref  niegelj posted.

    The headline of the newspaper article states that the reversal of temperature between W Europe
    is linked with climate change, yet this pattern of weather has been observed
    (or has got proxies worked out by Mann!) for 350 years.

    page 17 of the Burt report shows that in 1962. Greenland was significantly warmer than normal and Britain had an extremely anomalously low temperature.

     A pattern of weather that peridically hits europe and has been recorded in 26 winters in 350 years with very strong correlation with the low of sunspots activity

    I have never attribted a causal link, yet swampfoxh is strongly insinuating it.

    I think you should moderate others.

  • What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    John Hartz at 01:43 AM on 2 March, 2018

    A slew of high-quality articles about the recent heat wave in the Arctic and its impact on weather in the Northern Hemisphere have been published around the world over the past few days. I have posted links to some of them on the SkS Facebook page. Here's listing of the links I have posted to date.

    Has the Arctic Finally Reached a Tipping Point? by Brian Kahn, Science, Earther, Feb 23, 2018

    Really extreme' global weather event leaves scientists aghast by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 26, 2018

    North Pole surges above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists by Jason Samenow, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, Feb 26, 2018

    Arctic warmer than much of Europe is a worrying sign of climate change by Stuart Braun, Deutsche Welle (DW), Feb 27, 2018

    Arctic heat spasm caused by stratosphere warming has a southern cousin by Peter Hannam, Sydney Morning Herald, Feb 28, 2018

  • What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    David Kirtley at 10:48 AM on 1 March, 2018

    David Roberts has a few good quotes on this topic of how "climate change" is related to extreme weather. This one is from when he wrote for Grist:

    There is no division, in the physical world, between “climate change storms” and “non-climate change storms.” Climate change is not an exogenous force acting on the atmosphere. There is only the atmosphere, changing. Everything that happens in a changed atmosphere is “caused” by the atmosphere, even if it’s within the range of historical variability. Climate change is just the term we use to describe those changes.

    And more recently, writing for Vox on last year's hurricanes:

    “Did climate change cause this hurricane?” is a malformed question.

    Climate change does not cause things, because climate change is not a causal agent. “Climate change” is a descriptive term — it describes the fact that the climate is changing. What’s causing the changes is an increase in heat energy trapped in the atmosphere, due to greenhouse gases.

  • What role did climate change play in this winter’s US freezes, heat, and drought?

    Philippe Chantreau at 04:49 AM on 1 March, 2018

    It would be good also to mention more specifically the extraordinary Arctic winter event that has unfolded this year, with temperatures above freezing at extreme lattitudes in the dead of the polar night and the lowest sea ice extent recorded for January.

    WaPo article previously referenced by OPOF on another thread. Links to the Danish Meteorological Institute. Arctic Temperatures as high as 20 deg C above normal.

    Sea ice is not tracking any better now, NSIDC shows that we are fast approcahing the max extent time and have barely made it above 14 millions square kilometers. Of all the features of climate change, I find the loss of Arctic sea ice to be one of the most worrisome; it is truly a geological scale event that we are witnessing in a blink of an eye.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

    One Planet Only Forever at 14:54 PM on 22 February, 2018

    In addition to the recent dramatic and concerning history of Arctic Sea Ice and climate changes, there is the following new news report today February 21, by  Jason Samenow in the Washington Post (not Fake): Arctic temperatures soar 45 degrees above normal, flooded by extremely mild air on all sides

  • News network climate reporting soared in 2017 thanks to Trump

    jclairea at 05:15 AM on 17 February, 2018

    The fact that our digital age enables people to “stay up to date” with current events strictly through outlets that do not pose a threat to their viewpoint or identity is a curious phenomenon. Theoretically, the interconnectivity that technology offers allows for diversity in coverage and opinion relating to a particular issue (e.g., yet many people have constructed their own worldview and voluntarily choose to stay within its confines. For instance, according to the article’s “US Corporate News Network Climate Coverage” figure, in 2016, FOX News only discussed climate-related matters for approximately five minutes in total. This is in part due to the presidential election, and for those who view FOX News exclusively, the topic of climate change is simply irrelevant, even nonexistent within the lens by which they interpret the world. Further, I found the comparison of major news networks’ — ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and FOX — coverage of extreme weather events in 2017 in the context of climate change to be very interesting and helpful for better understanding the scope of these outlets. Luckily, climate reporting in 2017 generally increased relative to 2016; however, the corporate broadcast networks including ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX only aired four total segments relating to natural disasters and climate change. Contrastingly, PBS continues to be an exemplar in publicly advancing climate science data, yet may face substantial reductions in federal funding in light of Trump’s proposed budget. It is critical that as conscious citizens we continue to be skeptical and inquisitive of what we hear and see on the news, pushing back against vested monetary interests that value arbitrary wealth over planetary longevity.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

    wili at 05:31 AM on 12 February, 2018

    Thanks as always for these.

    Something for next week's News Roundup?

    Climate Impacts From a Removal of Anthropogenic Aerosol Emissions


    “Limiting global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C requires strong mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Concurrently, emissions of anthropogenic aerosols will decline, due to coemission with GHG, and measures to improve air quality. However, the combined climate effect of GHG and aerosol emissions over the industrial era is poorly constrained. Here we show the climate impacts from removing present-day anthropogenic aerosol emissions and compare them to the impacts from moderate GHG-dominated global warming.

    Removing aerosols induces a global mean surface heating of 0.5–1.1°C, and precipitation increase of 2.0–4.6%. Extreme weather indices also increase.

    We find a higher sensitivity of extreme events to aerosol reductions, per degree of surface warming, in particular over the major aerosol emission regions. Under near-term warming, we find that regional climate change will depend strongly on the balance between aerosol and GHG forcing.”

  • Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    Philippe Chantreau at 00:23 AM on 10 February, 2018

    Thank you Sir Charles for speaking sense. One of the most significant risks associated with AGW is the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events and it's already been happening. It is not only visible in Europe. The US incurred 306 Billion dollars of damage from extreme events in 2017. What used to be 500 years events happen now on a regular basis. The cost/benefit analysis of not doing anything about climate change does not hold water for second, even from a purely short sighted capitalistic point of view.

  • Climate change is increasing flood risks in Europe

    nigelj at 10:57 AM on 9 February, 2018

    The total cost of climate change through flooding, crop damage, sea level rise, and extreme weather, etcetera combined are estimated to cost 12 trillion dollars per year globally by 2050, from an article in the Independent. I understand elevated temperatures will last roughly 1000 years or more, so these are large ongoing costs.

    The costs of converting the entire world to renewable electricity are estimated by Jacobson as 5 trillion dollars per year globally, over 20 years. However I would say the amortised cost over a thousand years is more pertinent, and clearly less than one trillion dollars per year. The costs of reducing industrial and agricultural emissions, creating carbon sinks and burying carbon is unknown to me, but I hazard a guess it’s a couple of trillion dollars a year.

    To put this in context, global gdp is approximately 100 trillion dollars per year.

    So the costs of climate change are 12 trillion per year and the costs of mitigation are perhaps 3 trillion. That’s before one considers human costs, hidden costs, species loss and possible abrupt climate change. It seems the costs of climate change outweigh the costs of mitigation.

    This is just my very rough guesstimate simplified calculation, does anyone have a link to a formal up to date study?

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

    chriskoz at 07:47 AM on 4 February, 2018


    The anticyclone you're talking about affected not just NZ. The whole east of OZ have been under the same heat stress. In NSW, it was maybe not as hot but extremely humid for some 2 weeks, making the wet bulb temp unusually high and unconfortable. The nighttime lows, running at 24-25 degrees with 100% humidity were the most terrible part of the conditions because you could not sleep. In Melburne VIC, last sunday night, during evening tennis final starting 8pm, they must have applied extreme heat policy and close the roof of the arena. This was an unprecedented decision, because this is an outdoor event and with the exception of couple daylight matches in extreme heat of 40+ played in recent years, the roof is meant to stay open. Both fans and at least one player were unhappy that the playing conditions were so distort, unprecedented final in OZ open history. But if you check the weather data in Melbourne at 8pm that evening, you note that it was 39 degrees and some 50% humidity and wet bulb conditions were unprecedently exceeded so organisers acted according to their rules.

  • 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1

    Philippe Chantreau at 07:57 AM on 9 January, 2018

    Dunno if this has been mentioned before but NOAA has confimed that there were 16 extreme weather events costing over $1Billion in the US in 2017, which ties with 2011, although the total cost is the highest on record (adjusted for inflation), coming at 306 billions. No doubt the California fires played a role in that cost.

    The year was also the 3rd warmest on record, beating 1998 without the help of El Nino. This was also the case on a global scale. It seems that we are going to experience the same thing that happened after the 1998, when temperatures "settled" back down to a much higher level than what they were before El-Nino.

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