global warmng

The Oman geoengineering scheme to save the planet

A story in the Arizona Daily Star, 4-14-17 (the great march for science issue) shows how some scientists create the most tenuous links between their research and climate change as a plea for funding.

This story is “Oman’s mountains may hold clues for reversing climate change.” (Link) The lede: “Deep in the jagged red mountains of Oman, geologists are searching for an efficient and cheap way to remove carbon dioxide from the air and oceans — and perhaps begin to reverse climate change. They are coring samples from one of the world’s only exposed sections of the Earth’s mantle to uncover how a spontaneous natural process millions of years ago transformed carbon dioxide into limestone and marble.”

The researchers are excited because the exposed mantle rock is mostly peridotite, a coarse-grained igneous rock made up of the minerals olivine and pyroxene, both magnesium silicates. “They hope to answer the question of how the rocks managed to capture so much carbon over the course of 90 million years — and to see if there’s a way to speed up the timetable.” A researcher goes on to say, ““Every single magnesium atom in these rocks has made friends with the carbon dioxide to form solid limestone, magnesium carbonate, plus quartz.”

A couple of nitpicks: Limestone is calcium carbonate, not magnesium carbonate (Calcium and magnesium together with carbonate form a rock called dolomite). Marble is a metamorphic rock which requires heat and/or pressure to form. That “spontaneous natural process” happened not only millions of years ago, but is a continuing natural process in the ocean when calcium ions derived from weathering of surface rocks combine with carbonate ions in the ocean. Basaltic ocean crustal rocks act as a buffer by continuously removing CO2 from the ocean by combining carbonate with calcium derived from surface weathering of rocks.

Their great scheme is this: “a drilling operation could cycle carbon-rich water into the newly formed seabed on oceanic ridges far below the surface. Just like in Oman’s mountains, the submerged rock would chemically absorb carbon from the water. The water could then be cycled back to the surface to absorb more carbon from the atmosphere, in a sort of conveyor belt.”

Perhaps the researchers made the climate change link to their research just to suck up grant money so they can continue studying. The geology is interesting, but their idea sounds like another crazy, expensive, and totally unnecessary geoengineering scheme. (See Wacky Geoengineering Schemes to Control Climate)

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

March 2017 – Hottest Ever in Tucson?

Front page news in the print version of Arizona Daily Star on April 4th proclaimed “March here was hottest on record.” (See online version) That may be true but the headline is also misleading because apparently the “record” refers to the weather station at Tucson International Airport which starts in the mid 1940s. Hot weather in the early 1900s is ignored.

The following graphs come from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “climate at a glance” page. (Note: NOAA data does not yet include any 2017 measurements.) The National Weather Service is part of NOAA.

Here is the average March temperature for all of Arizona:

Here is the average March temperature for Southeastern Arizona:

Here are the plots for Tucson March average temperatures and maximum temperatures:

 

 

 

 

 

I assume that the truncation of data prior to about 1945 reflects the start of the official temperature record from a weather station at the Tucson International Airport. Other weather stations in Tucson, such as the one on the University of Arizona campus, have been ignored. BTW, the UofA weather station was established in 1891. So, the question is whether or not the “hottest on record” was in fact, the hottest.

For additional perspective, see average and maximum Arizona temperatures for each month here.

Tucson is subject to warming from the urban heat island effect. All the asphalt and concrete absorb energy during the day and release it at night. Also the Tucson weather stations are sited near asphalt and concrete which tend to make the readings higher than they would be in properly sited stations. To demonstrate this, compare Tucson temperatures with Tombstone. Tucson temperatures show a steady rise while Tombstone, shows that after warming from the “little ice age” in the late 1800s, temperatures remain relatively constant.

 

Finally we have a plot of global atmospheric temperatures as measured by satellites. These data include March, 2017 and show that global temperatures are cooling from the heat of our recent El Nino.

For some additional perspective, see 2014 was the third or sixth or 8000th warmest year The material in that article applies to this year also.

The “Social Cost of Carbon” Scam

The “social cost of carbon”(SCC) is a computer-generated artifice that puts a dollar figure on the alleged environmental and economic damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. This number is supposed to allow bureaucrats to offset the alleged damage through regulation and taxes, i.e., it will increase the cost of electricity. The computer models fail to take into account the benefits of carbon dioxide, such as making our crops more robust and more water efficient. Also, there is absolutely no physical evidence that our carbon dioxide emissions have any significant role in controlling global climate.

To read the grisly details of this scam, I recommend three articles:

Marlo Lewis, Hearing Shines Light on Social Cost of Carbon Sophistry

Ronald Bailey, The Social Cost of Carbon: Garbage In, Garbage Out

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger, Obama’s ‘Social Cost of Carbon’ Is at Odds with Science

To read about the benefits of carbon dioxide, see:

Craig Idso: The Positive Externalities of Carbon Dioxide: Estimating the Monetary Benefits of Rising Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations on Global Food Production

Lewis succinctly reports the basics of SCC:

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is the present discounted value of cumulative damages allegedly inflicted on society by an incremental metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over a period of decades to centuries.

Discernible in neither meteorological nor economic data, carbon’s social cost exists in the virtual world of “integrated assessment models” (IAMs) — computer programs that combine speculative climatology with speculative economics. By fiddling with non-validated climate parameters, made-up damage functions, and below-market discount rates, SCC analysts can get almost any result they desire.

What they typically desire is to make fossil fuels look unaffordable no matter how cheap, and renewables look like a bargain at any price. However curious as an academic exercise, when used to make or influence public policy, SCC analysis is computer-aided sophistry.”

Lewis also notes: “Agencies have an incentive to periodically increase SCC estimates to make their regulations look more beneficial.”

The computer models fail to fully consider the positive side of rising carbon dioxide and a warming climate. Idso notes that the results of a wide-ranging study found that the aerial fertilization effect of carbon dioxide on crop production was substantial. “The results indicate that the annual total monetary value of this benefit grew from $18.5 billion in 1961 to over $140 billion by 2011, amounting to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961-2011. Projecting the monetary value of this positive externality forward in time reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050.”

The Idso study also found that “With respect to human health, several studies have shown that the net effect of an increase in temperature is a reduction in sickness and death rate. A warmer climate, therefore, is less expensive in terms of health care costs than a colder one.”

The House Committee on Natural Resources recently held a hearing on the process and development of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) commented:

“The Obama Administration has given itself – and future administrations – a mammoth blank check to stop any project based on a radical fantasy. The Social Cost of Carbon is exactly that – a social restructuring of the way Americans live their lives. This unprecedented authority, disguised as an innocuous guideline for regulatory analysis, is a dangerous ideological weapon for the Administration. The numbers can be so easily manipulated that it simply allows any Administration to pick winners and losers, but the American people and the American way of life will be the ultimate losers.”

In testimony before Congress, Dr. Judith Curry (Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences) said that Obama’s proposed reduction of U.S. emissions of 28% “will prevent 0.03 C in warming by 2100.”

Billions of dollars of economic disruption for barely discernable climate result.

Dr. Curry goes on to say (source):

“…these estimates assume that climate model projections are correct; if the climate models are over sensitive to CO2, then amount of warming prevented will be even smaller.

“The economic argument is rather dicey; economic impact models are far more uncertain even than climate models. The social cost of carbon estimates made by the White House require assumptions out to the year 2300 for drastic CO2 reductions to be cost effective.

“The public health arguments are even weaker. CO2 has absolutely nothing to do with asthma. Extreme weather events are not increasing with increased CO2; extreme weather events are dominated by natural climate variability. Particularly in the U.S., extreme weather was substantially worse in the 1930’s and 1950’s.”

SCC is another example of what H L Mencken warned us about: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” And “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

See also:

Renewable energy causes electricity cost to skyrocket

EPA’s Clean Power Plan would disproportionally hurt the poor

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Comments on the Pope’s Encyclical

Pope Francis’s new encyclical embraces the United Nation’s political orthodoxy on climate change even though observational evidence shows the UN’s claims and prognostications diverge widely from reality.

Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina), according to Wikipedia, worked briefly as a chemical technician and nightclub bouncer before beginning seminary studies. He seems to have little scientific training and has been ill-advised on the subject of climate change see here and here.

Last April, the Vatican held a conference on climate change from which climate realists were banned. (See one example from the Washington Post.) However, the Heartland Institute sent a delegation to Rome and held its own parallel event while the Vatican conference was in session. (read more).

Some comments on the encyclical from Heartland:

“Sad to say, despite Pope Francis’s best intentions, the policies he recommends to mitigate global warming would make it far more difficult to overcome poverty. And, ironically, by prolonging and even spreading poverty, those policies would put more of the natural environment at risk.

“People worried about putting food on the table, clothes on the back, and a roof over the head can’t afford to care or do much about air, water, and solid waste pollution. Gathering enough twigs and branches to cook tonight’s measly meal and heat a miserable hut take precedence over any concerns about deforestation, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss.

“Wealth enables people to afford better environmental stewardship. Pope Francis should champion economic development as a solution both to poverty and to environmental degradation. Unfortunately, at least as regards climate change, the leaked draft of the new encyclical does the opposite.”

***

Myron Ebel, commenting on the encyclical for Globalwarming.org, is not so kind, “It is, in general, scientifically ill-informed, economically illiterate, intellectually incoherent, and morally obtuse. It is also theologically suspect, and large parts of it are leftist drivel, albeit couched in the vocabulary of Catholic social teaching…The encyclical is a diatribe against modern industrial civilization.” (read article).

That criticism is mild compared to an article at NoTricksZone which claims that the encyclical breaks four of the 10 commandments (read article).

Emma Green, writing in The Atlantic, says that the Pope is “declaring a new enemy for the Catholic Church: modern capitalism.” She goes on to note: ” Fifty years ago, around the time of the Second Vatican Council, Church leaders quietly declared a very different economic enemy: communism. But Pope Francis’s communitarian, populist message shows just how far the Church has shifted in five decades….(read article).

Aerospace engineer and solar physicist, Dr. Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon writes “As a scientist, I am not simply disappointed by the issue of encyclical named Laudato Si’ (Praised Be) from the office of the Pope, but I am highly disgusted because of the blatant misuse of science and the scientific method of inquiry as part of the excuse to prevent social injustice and wrong-doing.” (read article). Dr. Soon was one of the major targets of Raul Grijalva’s inquisition of climate skeptics (see: Raul Grijalva on witch hunt for climate skeptics.)

Patrick Michaels of the CATO Institute writes in the Daily Caller, “Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si’ is, in parts, passionately and beautifully written. And it really is about recycling — of old, tired, and discredited ideas. Much of it reads like the disproven doomsday predictions that have been churned out since the early days of the environmental movement…Since the turn of the 20th century, life expectancy has doubled in the developed world, per capita income has grown elevenfold, and wealth as been democratized far beyond the wildest opium dreams of Karl Marx. This happened in energy-driven free market economies, not the command-and-control world that Francis envisions. Crucially, the developed world brought into existence by overcoming energy poverty is largely immune to the vagaries of weather and climate. Poor countries are not.” (read article)

John Mclean writes in Quadrant, “No doubt inspired by the loftiest motives, Pope Francis appears poised to emblazon a document of blithering climate-change nonsense with the authority and endorsement of the Vatican seal. If only he had taken a moment to remind himself of those warnings about false prophets…….there will be false teachers among you … Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. — 2 Peter 2:3.” (read article).

Finally, Dr. Tim Ball writes of the irony of the recent encyclical:

“Spanish-born American Philosopher George Santayana famously said, ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ The recent Papal Encyclical announced the Catholic Church’s decision to join the scientific claims that humans are causing global warming and denounce climate scientists who oppose the claim. It came almost exactly 400 years after Galileo was denounced to the Roman Inquisition in the spring of 1615. The Catholic Church only acknowledged the errors of their actions, their last and most negative brush with science, when they forgave Galileo in 1992. Pope John Paul said labeling Galileo a heretic and confining him to life imprisonment was an error. It only took 377 years for the Church to catch up with reality. No doubt Galileo is delighted, assuming he made it to heaven….Now history repeats itself because the latest conflict between science and the Church involves the Sun, or more accurately, exclusion of consideration of the Sun as the primary cause of climate change.” (read article).

P.S. Reuters reports that Pope Francis, speaking to a group of young people in Turin, Italy, condemned weapons manufacturers. In the same talk the Pope commented on the Holocaust by saying, “The great powers had the pictures of the railway lines that brought the trains to the concentration camps like Auschwitz to kill Jews, Christians, homosexuals, everybody. Why didn’t they bomb (the railway lines)?” Rather conflicting statements don’t you think?

The Sea Level Scam

Climate alarmists put forth scary scenarios saying that carbon dioxide induced global warming is causing unprecedented and accelerating sea level rise which will drown our coastal cities and wipe out South Pacific Islands, but observational evidence shows there is no reason for alarm.

Measuring sea level is more complicated than pounding a stake into a beach. Sea level and the rate of rise or fall are subject to daily and seasonal variations, storm surges, and effects from decadal to multi-decadal oscillations such as El Niño. For instance, the west-blowing equatorial trade winds can pile up an extra foot of water in the western Pacific compared to the eastern Pacific. There are also tectonic events: is the ocean rising or is the land sinking? Pumping groundwater causes soil compaction and hence sinking land. Another complication: isostatic rebound of North America is tipping the northeast coast into the sea. (For a more detailed explanation of glacial isostacy see here.)

Let’s start with the big picture.

Since the end of the last glacial epoch, global sea level has risen 120 meters (393 feet), about one meter per century. Most of that was the result of melting of continental ice sheets between 18,000 and 8,000 years ago. The rate of sea level rise has leveled off to about 1- to 3 millimeters per year, about the thickness of two pennies.

post-glacial-sea-level-rise

Several recent studies show what is happening now:

Larsen and Clark (2006) studied the rate of sea level rise for the past 6,000 years, based on geologic evidence and the historic record. The researchers found that there has been no acceleration of sea level rise in response to increased temperature or CO2 levels.

Holgate (2007), using data from worldwide coastal tidal gauge records, shows that the rate of sea level rise is cyclical, but decreasing over the period studied. Specifically, the mean rate of global sea level rise was “larger in the early part of the last century (2.03 ± 0.35 mm/yr 1904-1953), in comparison with the latter part (1.45 ± 0.34 mm/yr 1954-2003).”

Sea-level-Holgate_update_fig1

Satellite measurement of the rate of sea level rise is reported at 3.2±0.4 mm/yr versus Holgate’s value of 1.45 mm/yr. It just so happens that satellite measurement started at the bottom of a cycle, thereby giving a false impression of the overall rate of rise. Because the rate of sea level rise is cyclical, it is easy to cherry-pick time intervals to suit an agenda.

Holgate does not address possible causes of the rate cycle. However, Kolker and Hameed (2007), report “a major fraction of the variability and the trend in mean sea level at key sites along the Atlantic Ocean are driven by shifts in the position and intensity of the major atmospheric pressure centers that reside over the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores High and the Icelandic Low,” which they refer to as atmospheric centers of action. Apparent sea level is also affected by variability of storms, winds, floods, waves, shifts in major ocean currents, volcanically-induced ocean heat content variations, the El Niño Southern Oscillation, subsidence, uplift, tectonics, and freshwater fluxes.

Houston and Dean (2011) analyzed the records of 57 U.S. tidal gauges for the period 1930 to 2010. They found “almost a balance with 30 gauge records showing deceleration and 27 showing acceleration, clustering around 0.0 mm/y. The mean is a slight deceleration of -0.0014 mm/yr.

In more recent research, Scafetta (2013), studied six long-term tidal gauge records sited to represent all of the world’s oceans. He found the rate of sea level rise “…to be characterized by significant oscillations at the decadal and multidecadal scales up to about 110-year intervals. Within these scales both positive and negative accelerations are found if a record is sufficiently long. This result suggests that acceleration patterns in tide gauge records are mostly driven by the natural oscillations of the climate system. The volatility of the acceleration increases drastically at smaller scales such as at the bi-decadal ones.”

“Tide gauge accelerations oscillate significantly from positive to negative values mostly following the PDO, AMO and NAO oscillations. In particular, the influence of a large quasi 60–70 year natural oscillation is clearly demonstrated in these records.”

A conclusion from the Scafetta paper has implications for climate model predictions: “at scales shorter than 100-years, the measured tide gauge accelerations are strongly driven by the natural oscillations of the climate system (e.g. PDO, AMO and NAO). At the smaller scales (e.g. at the decadal and bi-decadal scale) they are characterized by a large volatility due to significant decadal and bi-decadal climatic oscillations. Therefore, accelerations, as well as linear rates evaluated using a few decades of data (e.g. during the last 20-60 years) cannot be used for constructing reliable long-range projections of sea-level for the twenty first century.”

About those South Pacific Islands:

You may recall several years ago much press about Tuvalu and other South Pacific islands being endangered by rising sea level. For an example of some of the hype, see my October, 2011, post: “University of Arizona Dances with Sea Level.”

The Australian government has been monitoring sea level on Pacific islands with modern instruments since 1992. In the case of Tuvalu, they state, “If the depression of the 1998 cyclone is ignored, there was no change is sea level at Tuvalu between 1994 and 2009: 14 years. (See report of studies by Vincent Gray here.)

Finally, new research by Kench et al. (2015) finds that these same South Pacific islands, rather than sinking beneath the waves, have in fact been growing. Here is the abstract from their paper:

“The geological stability and existence of low-lying atoll nations is threatened by sea-level rise and climate change. Funafuti Atoll, in the tropical Pacific Ocean, has experienced some of the highest rates of sea-level rise (~5.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr), totaling ~0.30 ± 0.04 m over the past 60 yr. We analyzed six time slices of shoreline position over the past 118 yr at 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll to determine their physical response to recent sea-level rise. Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897–2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level. Results suggest a more optimistic prognosis for the habitability of atoll nations and demonstrate the importance of resolving recent rates and styles of island change to inform adaptation strategies.” Source

In other words, the slow rise of 1- to 2 mm per year in global sea level is an artifact of our current interglacial period. Local sea level rise or fall depends on local geology, the amount of groundwater pumping in coastal areas, and the cyclic weather patterns. It has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions.

But be warned: “Civilization exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice.” -Will Durant

References;

Holgate, S.J. 2007. On the decadal rates of sea level change during the twentieth century. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2006GL028492

Houston, J.R. and Dean, R.G., 2011. Sea-level acceleration based on U.S. tide gauges and extensions of previous global-gauge analyses. Journal of Coastal Research, 27(3), 409–417. West Palm Beach (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208. (Source)

Kench et al., 2015, Coral islands defy sea-level rise over the past century: Records from a central Pacific atoll, Geological Society of America, in Geology Magazine, March 2015. (Source)

Kolker, A.S. and Hameed, S. 2007. Meteorologically driven trends in sea level rise. Geophysical Research Letters 34: 10.1029/2007GL031814

Larsen, C.E. and Clark, I. 2006. A search for scale in sea-level studies. Journal of Coastal Research 22: 788-800.

Scafetta, N., 2013, Multi-scale dynamical analysis (MSDA) of sea level records

versus PDO, AMO, and NAO indexes, Climate Dynamics, DOI 10.1007/s00382-013-1771-3.

See the full paper here.

Leaked IPCC report undercuts anthropogenic global warming

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is in the process of preparing its next major report (called AR5 for short) to be published next year. The IPCC has been a strong proponent of human-cause global warming via our carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. The IPCC has always downplayed solar forcing saying that total solar irradiance (TSI) is too weak to make much of a difference. In that respect, they have a point. However, the IPCC has always ignored the other, stronger major solar variation, that of the sun’s changing magnetic field which controls the amount of cloud-forming galactic cosmic rays (GCR) reaching our atmosphere.

I reported last year on the CERN experiment which reconfirmed that cosmic rays have a strong influence on cloud formation and hence on climate. In the newly leaked draft report, the IPCC now admits to the “existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link.”

You can read the whole story about the leaks and their implications at Anthony Watts’ “Watts Up With That”(WUWT) blog here.

The IPCC authors “are admitting strong evidence (“many empirical relationships”) for enhanced solar forcing (forcing beyond total solar irradiance, or TSI), even if they don’t know what the mechanism is.” This directly undercuts the case for anthropogenic global warming.

Refer to WUWT for updates on this breaking story.

Most US maximum temperature records set in the 1930s

Global warming is a funny thing. Whenever we experience a heat wave the press proclaims it is the face of global warming, but when we have an unusual cold snap, it is merely natural variation.

The Arizona Daily Star had an interesting article today concerning the number of days in Tucson with maximum temperatures over 100° F. The story says the record was set in 1994 with 99 days over 100° F and speculates upon our chances of breaking that record this year. The “normal” number of days over 100° F is 62 according to the National Weather Service.

Also interesting is the statistic that July 4, 2012, had the coolest maximum temperature on record, 86°F.

Looking at a larger picture and a slightly different statistic, we see that the greatest number of maximum temperature records in the U.S. were set in the 1930s. Below is a graph compiled by Steven Goddard from U.S. Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) records:

USHCN-record-max-temps

Getting back to Tucson, we see from the graphics in the Star article that we have had more years, with more days over 100° F than “normal” within the last 25 years or so. That could be a reflection of the urban heat island effect. Our asphalt and concrete absorbs more heat and reflects it back at night. I discuss that in my post Warmer nights no proof of global warming.

A graphic from that post demonstrates the problem by comparing the temperature trend in urban Tucson with that from rural Tombstone:

Tucson-Tombstone temp

You can see that Tucson temperatures have been rising but there is no trend in the rural Tombstone station. Carbon dioxide works in mysterious ways.

So, the big news from the Arizona Daily Star is: Summers in Tucson are hot.

See also:

Human induced warming in Tucson

Arctic and Antarctic instrument errors produce warming bias

Two new investigations found instrument errors in both Arctic and Antarctic temperature measurements that introduced a warming bias into the data. In the Antarctic, the errors produced a warming bias of as much as 18º F.

Antarctic paper:

Atmospheric temperature measurements biases on the Antarctic plateau, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology

The abstract reads:

Observations of atmospheric temperature made on the Antarctic plateau with thermistors housed in naturally (wind) ventilated radiation shields are shown to be significantly warm biased by solar radiation. High incoming solar flux and high surface albedo result in radiation biases in Gill (multiplate) styled shields that can occasionally exceed 10°C in summer in case of low wind speed. Although stronger and more frequent when incoming solar radiation is high, biases exceeding 8°C are found even when solar is less than 200 Wm 2. Comparing with sonic thermometers, which are not affected by radiation but which are too complex to be routinely used for mean temperature monitoring, commercially available aspirated shields are shown to efficiently protect thermistor measurements from solar radiation biases. Most of the available in situ reports of atmospheric temperature on the Antarctic plateau are from automatic weather stations that use passive shields and are thus likely warm biased in the summer. In spite of low power consumption, deploying aspirated shields at remote locations in such a difficult environment may be a challenge. Bias correction formulae are not easily derived and are obviously shield dependent. On the other hand, because of a strong dependence of bias to wind speed, filtering out temperature reports for wind speed less than a given threshold (about 4–6 ms 1 for the shields tested here) may be an efficient way to quality control the data, albeit at the cost of significant data loss and records biased towards high wind speed cases.

Arctic paper:

Screen, James A., Ian Simmonds, 2011: Erroneous Arctic Temperature Trends in the ERA-40 Reanalysis: A Closer Look. J. Climate, 24, 2620–2627. doi: 10.1175/2010JCLI4054.1.

The abstract reads:

Atmospheric reanalyses can be useful tools for examining climate variability and change; however, they must be used cautiously because of time-varying biases that can induce artificial trends. This study explicitly documents a discontinuity in the 40-yr European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Re-Analysis (ERA-40) that leads to significantly exaggerated warming in the Arctic mid- to lower troposphere, and demonstrates that the continuing use of ERA-40 to study Arctic temperature trends is problematic. The discontinuity occurs in 1997 in response to refined processing of satellite radiances prior to their assimilation into the reanalysis model. It is clearly apparent in comparisons of ERA-40 output against satellite-derived air temperatures, in situ observations, and alternative reanalyses. Decadal or multidecadal Arctic temperature trends calculated over periods that include 1997 are highly inaccurate, particularly below 600 hPa. It is shown that ERA-40 is poorly suited to studying Arctic temperature trends and their vertical profile, and conclusions based upon them must be viewed with extreme caution. Consequently, its future use for this purpose is discouraged. In the context of the wider scientific debate on the suitability of reanalyses for trend analyses, the results show that a series of alternative reanalyses are in broad-scale agreement with observations. Thus, the authors encourage their discerning use instead of ERA-40 for examining Arctic climate change while also reaffirming the importance of verifying reanalyses with observations whenever possible.

Another new paper shows that there are also problems with readings of surface temperatures in the U.S. Historical Climatology Network:

Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. Christy, and R.A. Pielke Sr., 2011: Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.Copyright (2011) American Geophysical Union.

(Full paper here.)

That paper found that poorly-sited stations produced a warming bias whereas well-sited stations showed no century-scale trend.

Criteria for evaluating station siting are given in the table below:

surface-stations-site-criteria

The study found that only 1.2% of stations were in the highest category and 70% of the stations had a warming bias of at least 3.6º F or more. Keep that in mind the next time headlines blare that it was the warmest month, year, decade since…. it was cooler.

See also:

Your Carbon Footprint doesn’t Matter

The State of our Surface Temperature Records

Natural Climate Cycles

Arctic Temperatures: Not So Hot

2010 the 9000th Warmest Year

Book Review: Reporting On Climate Change, Understanding the Science

This 96-page book is intended as a tutorial for journalists. The book is written by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), a Washington, D.C.-based environmental advocacy organization.

The book covers most of the climate change issues and takes its science mostly from the U.N. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, so it is hardly an objective science tutorial. Because the IPCC has been caught in some well-publicized errors, the book consumes several pages attempting to rationalize and downplay these errors.

The book seems to be written for a junior high-school level of comprehension which I presume is how ELI regards journalists lacking scientific training.

I found many apparent errors and contradictory statements in the book. I document some of them below.

On page 3, in their explanation of the Greenhouse Effect, ELI makes the common mistake of attributing the high surface temperature of Venus to the high concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, there is no greenhouse effect on Venus because sunlight cannot penetrate the thick atmosphere and reach the planet surface.

A more fundamental error is made on page 4 with the explanation of the Coriolis effect. “This is the force that causes wind to rotate clockwise around low-pressure centers in the Northern Hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.”

katrinaIn the Northern Hemisphere, low pressure areas, such as hurricanes rotate counter-clockwise, not clockwise. A clockwise-rotating high-pressure dome brings Arizona its summer monsoon by drawing moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California into the State. The graphic to the left shows hurricane Katrina and its counter-clockwise rotation. Interestingly, ELI uses this same graphic on page 79. I guess the PhDs who wrote the first part didn’t check with the PhDs who wrote the later part. You can see counter-clockwise rotation in videos of hurricane Rita here.

On page 11, we find these statements:

“A careful examination of the data in Figure 9 shows that CO2 increases precede temperature increases in Earth’s geologic history. Contrarians have used this to argue (incorrectly) that CO2 cannot be causing any warming.”

These two sentences are in conflict. Think about it. If the second sentence is true, then the first sentence should say that CO2 increases follow temperature increases. And, in fact that is the case. Throughout the larger geological history, there is no correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature. However, ice core data show that in the glacial-interglacial cycles, temperature increases are followed by carbon dioxide increases. Farther down the page ELI contradicts the first sentence in the paragraph above and says that temperature increases cause the oceans to give off CO2. That same sentence is also contradicted on pages 19 and 20. And, by the way, figure 9 shows radiative forcing, not temperature.

On page 63, journalists are told:

“Trust only peer-reviewed science.” But we found from Climategate that certain groups conspire to keep opposing views out of peer-reviewed journals, and that there are certain groups of scientists that review papers written by each other, hardly an objective review.

And:

“Build stories on consensus science, while recognizing that many areas of eventual scientific consensus originate as minority viewpoints.”

But the concluding chapter warns in a highlighted box: “It is critical for journalists to understand that the ‘he said, she-said’ style of reporting …. is simply inappropriate for reporting on the science of climate change: it means giving equal voice to a tiny minority of opinions.” In other words, stick to the orthodoxy and ignore other views.

My note to journalists: Theories, no matter how widely held, can never be proven, only disproven by that lone minority voice who just happens to provide the critical piece of evidence.

Throughout the book, ELI repeats that current warming is caused mainly by carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. But neither ELI nor the IPCC provide any physical evidence to support the contention that these emissions have a significant effect on global temperature.

The IPCC does make one cogent statement on the climate, but that statement does not appear in the ELI book:

“In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC.

The  ELI book is available through Island Press books for $39.95. To order your copy, visit http://bit.ly/osDMj1 or call 800-621-2736.

My advice to journalists is to skip this book; it is more propaganda than science, and it will give you a false view of how the climate works.

For a free “tutorial” on climate science read my articles from the WryHeat blog:

Carbon Dioxide and the Greenhouse Effect

Your Carbon Footprint doesn’t Matter

The Assumed Authority a commentary on IPCC science and methods

Natural Climate Cycles

A Basic Error in Climate Models

Climate Model Projections vs Real World Observations

How Mother Nature Fools Climate Scientists

IPCC and Peer Review

Sea Level Rise in the South Pacific: None

Sea Level Rising?

Size matters in sea level studies

The State of our Surface Temperature Records

Ice Ages and Glacial Epochs