2014 the warmest? NASA now says “never mind”

A joint press release by NOAA and NASA on January 16 claimed that “The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880…” The mainstream press ran with the story as if it portended doom. Now, we find that the NOAA/NASA press release left out several vital pieces of information.

The press release failed to mention that the calculated global temperature for 2014 was only 0.02 deg C (two-hundredths of a degree) higher than the formerly hottest 2010; not anything to get excited about. The press release failed to mention that the error range in the measurements was at least ±0.1 deg C, an order of magnitude greater than the difference touted. And they failed to mention that NOAA/NASA did not include data from satellites which show that 2014 was no where near the warmest. The touted temperature high was based only on surface measurements which are subject to a great many biases and do not cover the whole globe as satellites do.

Former Harvard physicist Luboš Motl says they did it on purpose and the press release provides “A direct proof that the professional alarmists are intentionally lying.” (Source)

Reporter David Rose of the Daily Mail in England interviewed Gavin Schmidt head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). During that interview Schmidt conceded that because of the uncertainties in temperature data, NASA is only 38% confident that 2014 was the warmest since 1880. The press release failed to mention that fact also. (Source)

Marc Morano, publisher of Climate Depot wrote, “The Feds are conning the public on 2014 being the ‘hottest year.’ We now know that both NASA and NOAA knew their ‘hottest year’ claims would not hold up to scientific scrutiny. But both agencies chose instead to loudly push the global warming narrative to a willing and compliant news media. The ‘hottest year’ claims had already been exposed as statistically meaningless…”

Dr. Roy Spencer of UAH (one of the two keepers of NASA satellite data) comments:

“In the three decades I’ve been in the climate research business, it’s been clear that politics have been driving the global warming movement.

“We still don’t understand what causes natural climate change to occur, so we simply assume it doesn’t exist. This despite abundant evidence that it was just as warm 1,000 and 2,000 years ago as it is today. Forty years ago, “climate change” necessarily implied natural causation; now it only implies human causation.

“What changed? Not the science…our estimates of climate sensitivity are about the same as they were 40 years ago.

“What changed is the politics. And not just among the politicians. At AMS

[American Meteorological Society] or AGU [American Geophysical Union] scientific conferences, political correctness and advocacy are now just as pervasive as they have become in journalism school. Many (mostly older) scientists no longer participate and many have even resigned in protest.

“Science as a methodology for getting closer to the truth has been all but abandoned. It is now just one more tool to achieve political ends.

“In what universe does a temperature change that is too small for anyone to feel over a 50 year period become globally significant? Where we don’t know if the global average temperature is 58 or 59 or 60 deg. F, but we are sure that if it increases by 1 or 2 deg. F, that would be a catastrophe?”




Surprising results from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory

Results from NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory show that atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is highest in the Southern Hemisphere (or very close to the equator) – not in the areas of all that fossil-fuel burning in the Northern Hemisphere.

In July, 2014, NASA launched a satellite which is dedicated to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from space. NASA describes it as follows:

“The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) is NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space. OCO-2 will be collecting space-based global measurements of atmospheric CO2 with the precision, resolution, and coverage needed to characterize sources and sinks on regional scales. OCO-2 will also be able to quantify CO2 variability over the seasonal cycles year after year.”

NASA has just released data from that satellite for the period October 1 through November 11, 2014. Brighter colors on the map show areas with higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Presumably, those areas are emitting carbon dioxide. The surprise is that the Southern Hemisphere is the big emitter during this time period, not the Northern Hemisphere where we are burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, run our automobiles, and heat our homes and businesses. The only exception seems to be China where they are burning great quantities of coal.

OCO NASA Nov2014

So what accounts for all those emissions in the Southern Hemisphere? Here I will do some speculation.

Hot spots occur in the Amazon and in sub-tropical Africa. There, carbon dioxide emissions could be coming from rotting vegetation and/or from burning to clear jungle for agriculture.

The hot spots in the Western Pacific (right side of graphic above) are interesting. Martin Hovland, Geophysicist and Professor Emeritus, Center for Geobiology, University of Bergen, Norway, suggests these carbon dioxide emissions are from volcanoes and tectonically active areas on the sea floor. (See his post here).

Hovland presents an annotated version of the map above:

OCO Hovland

Hovland writes:

“Using the Smithsonian Volcano database, it is seen that these CO2-hotspots occur above seafloor features which are suspected to issue CO2, CH4 and occasionally large amounts of heat (especially for FH and EH). Here, it can be seen that the TH occurs over a deep-water accretionary subduction wedge. This is a collision zone, where huge amounts of oceanic sediments pile up before they sink into and are swallowed up beneath the island masses to the north. In such settings, it is well-known that continuous seepage of methane occurs out of the seafloor. Therefore, it is here speculated that the underwater and aerial oxidation of this excess methane gas provides the regional CO2-anomaly detected by OCO2.

The seafloor beneath the FH is also highly tectonized (Fig. 3), but in a completely different fashion to that of the TH. At Fiji, there are both colliding plates and rifting zones. The whole region is highly contorted and there are lots of seepage, both hot vents and cold, methane-dominated vents. Transmittal of methane and CO2 to the atmosphere is likely also here.”

(Note: methane quickly reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide.)

These tectonically active areas contain many sub-marine volcanoes.

NASA has (perhaps unwittingly) provided proof that natural carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for most of the rise seen in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In fact, in 2001, the Energy Information Administration produced a table which shows (with a little arithmetic) that anthropogenic activities account for only 3 percent of the total annual carbon dioxide flux.

Global CO2 emissions EIA IPCC

Now, look back at the first graphic. Notice that the mapped range is 387ppm to 402ppm, a difference of 15ppm. Near-surface daily variation can be greater than 30ppm, but NASA claims that variation range decreases with altitude.

Some questions: Is NASA measuring something real? What is the actual range of instrumental error? Does the human contribution fall within that error range? See if you can figure out instrumental error from a rather dense NASA document here.

For some perspective, I remind you that your exhaled breath contains 40,000ppm carbon dioxide.

By the way, back in November, NASA released a computer-generated animation video of global carbon dioxide concentrations based on computer modeling conducted in 2006. The input data were surface measurements of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and completely ignored natural sources. That computer-based model is pretty, but seems to be contradicted by actual measurements by the satellite system. The video, for some reason, puts the highest carbon dioxide concentrations in the Arctic. Another case of garbage in, garbage out. Take a look here.

See also:

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

Why Your Carbon Footprint doesn’t Matter

NASA hypes Arctic algal blooms as “unprecedented” but they are common

The NASA headline reads: “NASA Discovers Unprecedented Blooms of Ocean Plant Life.” Within the article we find:

“Scientists have made a biological discovery in Arctic Ocean waters as dramatic and unexpected as finding a rainforest in the middle of a desert. A NASA-sponsored expedition punched through three-foot thick sea ice to find waters richer in microscopic marine plants, essential to all sea life, than any other ocean region on Earth. The finding reveals a new consequence of the Arctic’s warming climate and provides an important clue to understanding the impacts of a changing climate and environment on the Arctic Ocean and its ecology.”

“If someone had asked me before the expedition whether we would see under-ice blooms, I would have told them it was impossible,” said Kevin Arrigo of Stanford University in Stanford, Calif., leader of the ICESCAPE mission and lead author of the new study. “This discovery was a complete surprise.” (See full article here)

Perhaps these NASA scientists should research the scientific literature more carefully. If they did, they might have discovered that Arctic algal blooms are not “unprecedented” or even unusual.

For instance, we have this paper from 1996 reporting on research in 1993:

Occurrence of an algal bloom under Arctic pack ice” by R. Gradinger, Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 131.


“Summer melting of sea ice leads to the formation of under-ice melt ponds in Arctic seas. The biological characteristics of such a pond were studied in summer 1993. The chlorophyte Pyramimonas sp. (Prasinophyceae) formed a unialgal bloom with cell densities of 19.1 thousand cell per ml and a pigment concentration of 29.6 mg per cubic meter. A comparison with ice core data revealed differences in algal biomass and community structure. Physical data indicate that under-ice ponds are a common feature in the Arctic Ocean. Thus, communities within under-ice ponds, which have not been included in production estimates, may significantly contribute to the Arctic marine food web.”

I wonder if the Arizona Daily Star will, in a few days, report NASA’s “unprecedented” discovery just as the Star uncritically reported the last NASA “unprecedented” claim: Greenland “melting” and media hype.


See also:
The Arctic-Antarctic seesaw
Arctic ice reached record low extent in 2012 – or maybe not

Greenland “melting” and media hype

A press release from NASA titled “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt” set off a media frenzy and many blog articles reporting a great melting of 97% of the Greenland glacier surface. This announcement was based on a change in albedo, detected by satellites, which was interpreted as surficial melting. It is true that for a few hours between July 9 and 12, the surface temperatures crept barely above freezing. But, according to the Byrd Polar Research Center, changes in albedo can also be caused by temperature-driven snow metamorphism that reduces reflectivity by rounding the sharp ice crystal edges that scatter visible light and by increased snow impurities like carbonaceous soot from wildfires or diesel exhaust. We note that there have been many large, soot-creating wildfires lately.

Whatever the cause of the recent, sort-lived change in albedo, of greater concern is the news release itself with its hyped title and contradictory content. The ‘melting’ event was not “unprecedented.” Within the press release is this: “’Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time,’” says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data.” Ice cores from another station (NEEM) showed similar melting in 1879 and 1935. It seems that the news release headline was purposely hyped to grab headlines, and so it did. This event does not bode well for NASA’s scientific reputation and shows that NASA is becoming much more political than scientific.

I’ve noticed that the term “unprecedented” is a favorite with global warming alarmists. It says much about NASA that they would write a self-contradictory press release, accompanied by a very misleading graphic, and also much about the credulous media (such as the Arizona Daily Star) which used the word “unprecedented” even though their own stories clearly showed it was not.

Below is a satellite image of Greenland from July 12, 2012. It does not appear to be melting. Also below is the temperature record for July from Summit Camp which sits atop the continental glacier at an elevation of 10,551 feet and a view from the live webcam at Summit Camp.




 See also

Greenland from 39000 feet  some photos I took of Greenland in June.

NASA satellite data show climate models are wrong – again

According to the University of Alabama:

Data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.”

The result is climate forecasts that are warming substantially faster than the atmosphere, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The previously unexplained differences between model-based forecasts of rapid global warming and meteorological data showing a slower rate of warming have been the source of often contentious debate and controversy for more than two decades.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle. The models forecast that the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks. Instead, the satellite data shows the climate system starting to shed energy more than three months before the typical warming event reaches its peak.

These data are examined in a new paper:

Spencer, R.W.; Braswell, W.D. On the Misdiagnosis of Surface Temperature Feedbacks from Variations in Earth’s Radiant Energy Balance. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613.

Read the full paper here.

See also:

Your Carbon Footprint doesn’t Matter

NASA Lowers Estimate of Carbon Dioxide Warming Effect

How Mother Nature Fools Climate Scientists

Astronomers predict a major drop in solar activity, that means a cold spell

A Basic Error in Climate Models

Moon has liquid core says NASA

The Apollo moon missions planted seismometers on the Moon beginning in 1969 and collected data until 1977. Apparently those data were not fully analyzed until recently.

Modern, “State-of-the-art seismological techniques applied to Apollo-era data suggest our moon has a core similar to Earth’s.”



As a result of that analysis, NASA says:

the moon possesses a solid, iron-rich inner core with a radius of nearly 150 miles and a fluid, primarily liquid-iron outer core with a radius of roughly 205 miles. Where it differs from Earth is a partially molten boundary layer around the core estimated to have a radius of nearly 300 miles. The research indicates the core contains a small percentage of light elements such as sulfur, echoing new seismology research on Earth that suggests the presence of light elements — such as sulfur and oxygen — in a layer around our own core.

The inner iron core and fluid outer core explains how the Moon developed and maintains its strong magnetic field. By analyzing how seismic signals from Moonquakes were passed through or reflected, the researchers were able to deduce the composition and location of layer interfaces within the Moon.

A primary limitation to past lunar seismic studies was the wash of “noise” caused by overlapping signals bouncing repeatedly off structures in the moon’s fractionated crust. To mitigate this challenge, …the team employed an approach called seismogram stacking, or the digital partitioning of signals. Stacking improved the signal-to-noise ratio and enabled the researchers to more clearly track the path and behavior of each unique signal as it passed through the lunar interior.

Future NASA missions will help gather more detailed data. The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, is a NASA Discovery-class mission set to launch this year. The mission consists of twin spacecraft that will enter tandem orbits around the moon for several months to measure the gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission also will answer longstanding questions about Earth’s moon and provide scientists a better understanding of the satellite from crust to core, revealing subsurface structures and, indirectly, its thermal history.

Wryheat Top Ten Stories

These ten stories were the most viewed for this blog:

Tarantula Hawks Deliver The Big Sting

Edible Desert Plants – Barrel Cactus Fruit

NASA Says Earth Is Entering A Cooling Period

Creatures of the Night: Kangaroo Rat

Gulf Oil Disaster – Beneath the Waves

Cancun Climate Conference, Japan Says No To Kyoto

What happened to the Gulf oil

Geologic Setting of Icelandic Volcanoes

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

NASA’s Mono Lake Arsenic Microbes Not Quite As Advertized

To see a complete list of stories with links visit the Quick Link Index page.

NASA Lowers Estimate of Carbon Dioxide Warming Effect

In a new paper in Geophysical Research Letters, NASA scientists estimate that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in 1.64 degrees Celsius of warming over the next 200 years. Estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) range from 3-to 5 degrees Celsius.

The problems with IPCC climate models, NASA says, is that they “did not allow the vegetation to increase its leaf density as a response to the physiological effects of increased CO2 and consequent changes in climate. Other assessments included these interactions but did not account for the vegetation down regulation to reduce plant’s photosynthetic activity and as such resulted in a weak vegetation negative response. When we combine these interactions in climate simulations with 2 × CO2, the associated increase in precipitation contributes primarily to increase evapotranspiration rather than surface runoff, consistent with observations, and results in an additional cooling effect not fully accounted for in previous simulations with elevated CO2.”

Reference: Bounoua, L., F. G. Hall, P. J. Sellers, A. Kumar, G. J. Collatz, C. J. Tucker, and M. L. Imhoff (2010), Quantifying the negative feedback of vegetation to greenhouse warming: A modeling approach, Geophys. Res. Lett., 37, L23701, doi:10.1029/2010GL045338.

It seems that as climate models get more sophisticated, the carbon dioxide effect gets closer to zero, which would be consistent with the geologic record.

There are many modeling estimates of the warming effect of carbon dioxide, but there is no physical evidence that human carbon dioxide emissions have a significant effect on global temperature.

NASA Says Earth Is Entering A Cooling Period

Most of the headlines are grabbed by NASA’s James Hansen, Head of Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Hansen has been the doomsayer-sayer-in-chief of the climate alarmists along with Al Gore. Hansen has been quoted as saying, “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains.” But other NASA scientists who use satellites to collect real data, take a different view, and are now saying that “our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling — perhaps the next ice age.”

Here is the complete NASA article:

What are the primary forcings of the Earth system?

The Sun is the primary forcing of Earth’s climate system. Sunlight warms our world. Sunlight drives atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. Sunlight powers the process of photosynthesis that plants need to grow. Sunlight causes convection which carries warmth and water vapor up into the sky where clouds form and bring rain. In short, the Sun drives almost every aspect of our world’s climate system and makes possible life as we know it.

Earth’s orbit around and orientation toward the Sun change over spans of many thousands of years. In turn, these changing “orbital mechanics” force climate to change because they change where and how much sunlight reaches Earth. Thus, changing Earth’s exposure to sunlight forces climate to change. According to scientists’ models of Earth’s orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling — perhaps the next ice age.

However, a new force for change has arisen: humans. After the industrial revolution, humans introduced increasing amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and changed the surface of the landscape to an extent great enough to influence climate on local and global scales. By driving up carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (by about 30 percent), humans have increased its capacity to trap warmth near the surface.

Other important forcings of Earth’s climate system include such “variables” as clouds, airborne particulate matter, and surface brightness. Each of these varying features of Earth’s environment has the capacity to exceed the warming influence of greenhouse gases and cause our world to cool. For example, increased cloudiness would give more shade to the surface while reflecting more sunlight back to space. Increased airborne particles (or “aerosols”) would scatter and reflect more sunlight back to space, thereby cooling the surface. Major volcanic eruptions (such as that of Mt. Pinatubo in 1992) can inject so much aerosol into the atmosphere that, as it spreads around the globe, it reduces sunlight and cause Earth to cool. Likewise, increasing the surface area of highly reflective surface types, such as ice sheets, reflects greater amounts of sunlight back to space and causes Earth to cool.

Scientists are using NASA satellites to monitor all of the aforementioned forcings of Earth’s climate system to better understand how they are changing over time, and how any changes in them affect climate.

I note that other NASA pages contradict the statement above and are more alarmist. So much for consensus.

NASA’s Mono Lake Arsenic Microbes Not Quite As Advertized

800px-Wfm_mono_lake_landsatThe announcement was exciting. The NASA media advisory, Nov. 29 that said in part: “NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.”

Many people thought maybe NASA would announce discovery of extraterrestrial life. But, as it turned out, NASA was talking about a study at Mono Lake, California, which showed, NASA claimed, that they had discovered a microbe that could grow using arsenic rather than phosphorus which all other known life uses. If true, even this would be a great advance, but microbial use of arsenic, itself, is not news. The 2004 paper, The microbial arsenic cycle in Mono Lake, California, goes into great detail about microbial use of arsenic. But, these microbes still use phosphorus also.

After several microbiologists analyzed the NASA paper and its methodology, they concluded that laboratory errors caused NASA scientists to think the microbes did not use phosphorus.

In fact, says Harvard microbiologist Alex Bradley, the NASA scientists unknowingly demonstrated the flaws in their own experiment. They immersed the DNA in water as they analyzed it, he points out. Arsenic compounds fall apart quickly in water, so if it really was in the microbe’s genes, it should have broken into fragments, Bradley wrote Sunday in a guest post on the blog We, Beasties. But the DNA remained in large chunks—presumably because it was made of durable phosphate. Bradley got his Ph.D. under MIT professor Roger Summons, who co-authored the 2007 weird-life report. Summons backs his former student’s critique.

But how could the bacteria be using phosphate when they weren’t getting any in the lab? That was the point of the experiment, after all. It turns out the NASA scientists were feeding the bacteria salts which they freely admit were contaminated with a tiny amount of phosphate. It’s possible, the critics argue, that the bacteria eked out a living on that scarce supply. As Bradley notes, the Sargasso Sea supports plenty of microbes while containing 300 times less phosphate than was present in the lab cultures. (Source 1, Source 2)

So NASA hyped the study, but there is nothing nefarious about this incident. It’s the way science works. Researchers think they make a discovery; they write a paper; and other scientists either do experiments to replicate the work or poke holes in it. As it stands, the claimed NASA “discovery” is simply questionable and unverified. The way NASA hyped the story, however, is not good practice. And sadly, NASA has been treating climate data the same way.