Richard Black : Missing Data

[ UPDATE : JOE ROMM OF CLIMATE PROGRESS IS ALMOST CAUSTIC : “Dreadful climate story by BBC’s Richard Black” ]

Richard Black has noticed that the Arctic sea ice is melting – bravo ! But I can’t help thinking there’s something missing in this report of his. I know he probably didn’t write the headline, but he could have included a discussion on record low volumes of sea ice as well as nearly record low extent :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11322310

“16 September 2010 : ‘Rapid’ 2010 melt for Arctic ice – but no record : Ice floating on the Arctic Ocean melted unusually quickly this year, but did not shrink down to the record minimum area seen in 2007. That is the preliminary finding of US scientists who say the summer minimum seems to have passed and the ice has entered its winter growth phase. 2010’s summer Arctic ice minimum is the third smallest in the satellite era…Walt Meier, a researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado, where the data is collated, said ice had melted unusually fast. “It was a short melt season – the period from the maximum to the minimum was shorter than we’ve had – but the ice was so thin that even so it melted away quickly,” he told BBC News…”

That’s right, Walt. And it should concern us.

The amount of older ice has dropped away – see graph at the top of this post – which suggests that the overall volume of ice could be much reduced as only older ice is thick.

But what does Richard Black focus on ?

“…computer models projecting a disappearance [ of summer Arctic sea ice ] very soon – 2013 was a date cited by one research group just a few years ago – seem to have been too extreme…”

Well that’s alright then. We can relax. The Arctic sea ice will be here for many summers to come. Or not. Who cares, really ? The important thing is that we have established by our cleverness that the whole Global Warming situation is not as bad as those alarmists/warmists say.

The Arctic is melting away and Richard Black needs to deny dire projections ?

The BBC : managing public perception for the benefit of a generally positive state of mind ?

Arctic Sea Ice Crunching

Movie Credit : Fool Me Once
Hat Tip : A Few Things IllConsidered

To check the most recent graphs :-


http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

  


http://psc.apl.washington.edu/ArcticSeaiceVolume/IceVolume.php

Continue reading Arctic Sea Ice Crunching

Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Dr Judith Curry insists, quite correctly, that we should take uncertainties into account when deciding Climate Change policy.

Yet I think our respective positions probably strongly differ on which way we weight the uncertainties.

I strongly favour the Precautionary Principle, implemented Early, making it the “Early Precautionary Principle”.

One of the reasons I come down on this end of the spectrum of possible responses to uncertainties is that there are quite a spectrum of unknowns that form the pillars of those uncertainties.

After all, if we don’t know a term in an equation, how can we possibly calculate anything meaningful with any kind of confidence ?

How can anybody feel safe and secure not knowing for certain what the actual equilibrium Climate Sensitivity amounts to ? The response of the Earth’s Climate system to extra airborne Carbon Dioxide-forced temperature rise is a number that is becoming firmer, but there are error bars. Surely this points to conservatism in emissions ?

Moreover, we could be well advised to cut back on Fossil Fuel burning not just to protect the Climate, but to save the Economy. How can we pursue our normal everyday Carbon-emitting lives not knowing how much Fossil Fuel there is left in the ground that can be inexpensively mined ?

How can we know the order of magnitude of Fossil Fuels left to extract ? And how can we know what kind of impact this will have on the Climate ?

Continue reading Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

The Rate of Change

I well remember the huffing and puffing over the release of James Hansen’s paper “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?” :-

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf

“…Decreasing CO2 was the main cause of a cooling trend that began 50 million years ago, large scale glaciation occurring when CO2 fell to 425 +/- 75 ppm…”

The sceptic-deniers laughed and scoffed and said things to the effect that clearly there’s nothing to worry about that the current concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the air is over 390 parts per million – it won’t melt the polar ice caps.

What the sceptic-deniers haven’t understood, or pretend not to have understood, is that it is a combination of factors that caused major lasting glaciation on Earth. Yes, the level of Carbon Dioxide in the air is important. But the rate of change of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is a significant component.

If the levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere change rapidly, the heating or cooling effect is amplified, in effect. You have to take account of the relative change in levels of Carbon Dioxide, not just its level at any particular point in time.

Continue reading The Rate of Change

Make Me a Model

Statistical analysis of the raw data on Global Warming suffers from two major pitfalls :-

1. You are looking at the combined effects from several causative sources. Unless you have the means to distinguish the various factors, you cannot apply statistical techniques to the data and expect to get anything truly meaningful out. All that can be said, at best, is, “The Globe. Still Warming.”, as the warming trend over a long enough period of time has managed to stand out over the short-term variations.

2. Looking at the data purely by eye, some of the warming or cooling effects are clearly short-term, others longer-term; so picking a range of years/months/seasons at random, or according to some bias, is likely to distort the analysis. This is known as “cherry-picking”. The results of cherry-picking include the fallacious and discredited claim that, “Global Warming stopped in 1998”, or the much more crafty and misleading, “There has been no statistically significant Global Warming since 1998”.

Some researchers are content just to point to the overall effect of the raw data – global temperatures on land and at sea are rising sharply and the charts should be sufficient to understand the basic problem.

However, some people still contest that Global Warming is taking place, or that if it is, it isn’t serious. This then, is the cue to do an in-depth analysis into the known factors in global temperatures, and to attempt to “deduct” obvious short-term warming and cooling features in order to eyeball the underlying trends :-

Continue reading Make Me a Model

BBC Hedges

[ YouTube Credit : The link to the video above comes thanks to the endeavours of that most fair and balanced individual James “no net global warming since 1998” Delingpole. “No net global warming since 1998” ? James ! You’re quoting Pat Michaels, but did he perhaps make that up ? Or was it something that Christopher Monckton might have made up ? ]

The BBC puts the blame on Climate Change – almost – in a report on the Russian heatwave-wildfire disaster.

But they just can’t bring themselves to admit it as an organisation – and put the claims into the mouths of others – using quotation marks in the headline (‘partly to blame’) and ascribing the opinion to “researchers”, the “UK Met Office” and “experts” :-

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10919460

“10 August 2010 : Climate change ‘partly to blame’ for sweltering Moscow : By Katia Moskvitch : Science reporter, BBC News : Global climate change is partly to blame for the abnormally hot and dry weather in Moscow, cloaked in a haze of smoke from wildfires, say researchers. The UK Met Office said there are likely to be more extreme high temperatures in the future. Experts from the environmental group WWF Russia have also linked climate change and hot weather to raging wildfires around the Russian capital. Meteorologists say severe conditions may linger for several more days…”

Well, I’ve got a bit of a question to pose – it might not be possible to ascribe the current weather conditions in Russia (and Pakistan and China and and and…) to Climate Change, statistically. I mean no one weather event can be said to have been caused 100% by Climate Change. But would these extreme weather events have happened without Climate Change ?

That is by far the most important question to ask, and Michael Tobis does just that :-

http://initforthegold.blogspot.com/2010/08/moscow-doesnt-believe-in-this.html

“…Are the current events in Russia “because of” “global warming”? To put the question in slightly more formal terms, are we now looking at something that is no longer a “loading the dice” situation but is a “this would, practically certainly, not have happened without human interference” situation? Can we phrase it more formally? “Is the average time between persistent anomalies on this scale anywhere on earth in the undisturbed holocene climate much greater than a human lifetime?” In other words, is this so weird we would NEVER expect to see it at all?…”

Continue reading BBC Hedges

Death by Hot Tub

It’s been a bad month or so for ignominious ends in unusually hot and sticky conditions : drunk Russians drowning as they try to cool off from a once-in-a-thousand-year heatwave centred on Moscow; hundreds of Chinese swept away; a Darwin award surely going to the man who died whilst participating in the World Sauna Championships, thousands of Pakistanis snatched by flood waters, and then there’s poor Matthew Simmons, leader of the Peak Oilers, bursting his aorta in a private spa :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/7891040/Drunk-Russians-drowning-due-to-heat-wave.html

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/08/10/sauna-championships-tragedy-the-weird-and-frankly-lethal-lengths-people-go-just-to-win-a-contest-115875-22476900/

http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/08/09/controversial-peak-oilist-matthew-simmons-dies/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-09/matthew-simmons-investment-banker-peak-oil-theory-advocate-dies-at-67.html

http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2010/08/09/without-matt-simmons-has-peak-oil-well-peaked/

“AUGUST 9, 2010 : Without Matt Simmons: Has Peak Oil, Well, Peaked? : By Michael Corkery : Matt Simmons, the maverick investment banker who championed the concept of peak oil, died of a heart attack in a hot tub in Maine. He was 67. Simmons is best known for raising the alarm, in books, in lectures, television interviews and to anyone who would listen, that the world’s oil reserves had peaked. The concept of “peak oil” wasn’t new when Simmons wrote Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy, in 2005. In fact, peak oil was first posited by a geophysicist named M. King Hubbert in the 1950s who predicted that world oil supply would peak in 1995. But Simmons helped to being the theory to the mass media, after traveling to Saudi Arabia in 2003 to research that nation’s secretive data on oil reserves, or the amount of oil able to be pumped out of the ground. His book became an instant classic among conspiracy theorists…”

Hey ! Don’t disrespect the dead ! He made a very valid contribution to the world’s understanding that the Fossil Fuel free ride won’t last forever, and is, in fact, stopping short as I write…

Continue reading Death by Hot Tub

Little Green Critter News

It seems that anthropogenic interference with the atmosphere has undermined two important things :-

(a) The ability of phytoplankton to reproduce because of the heat and the acidity of the oceans – thereby compromising the base of the entire global food chain and, more seriously,

(b) By reducing the conditions for phytoplankton success, cutting off one of the “Carbon sinks” on the planet that we really need to soak up a proportion of the excess Carbon Dioxide that we are pumping into the air.

http://climateprogress.org/2010/07/29/nature-decline-ocean-phytoplankton-global-warming-boris-worm/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/full/nature09268.html

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7306/edsumm/e100729-03.html

http://www.physorg.com/news199471106.html

http://scienceblips.dailyradar.com/story/global-phytoplankton-decline-over-the-past-century/

Currently, the world’s biomass processes somewhere between 40% and 50% of all humankind’s excess Carbon Dioxide emissions, the CO2 we have made by taking Fossil Fuels out of the ground and burning them.

If this Carbon sink becomes less effective, Global Warming will become much stronger, as there will be a faster build-up of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere.

Continue reading Little Green Critter News

Fiona Harvey : Whoops, Cat !

Now, I’ve met Fiona Harvey, and she gives the general impression of being a reasonable woman, with her own mind, smart, knowledgeable and pragmatic.

What she writes about is Environment in general, but she takes in Policy, Politics, Economics and Science, and her output is normally balanced, accurate, and free from interference from propaganda and propagandists. Well-rounded, I’d say. Informative and straight.

So how come she’s writing a Financial Times article with quotations from extreme Climate Change sceptics and deniers ?

I suspect a heavy editorial hand :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6d1fd25c-9a69-11df-87fd-00144feab49a,dwp_uuid=728a07a0-53bc-11db-8a2a-0000779e2340.html

“Research says climate change undeniable : By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent, Published: July 28 2010”

Continue reading Fiona Harvey : Whoops, Cat !

Judith Curry : Lost to the Dark Side ?

This is my second appeal to Dr Judith Curry to come in from the cold, wrap up warm and sit by the fire of rational sanity with her professional colleagues.

While the “Curry Unfavour” saga continues, I have continued reading some history on anti-science propaganda, “Merchants of Doubt”, courtesy of Naomi Oreskes and her pardner-in-grime Erik M. Conway.

It is a lesson in how easily we can forget things, how meddling sceptics, deniers, delayers and obstructers down the decades have influenced the course of public communications on science, and prevented sound policy.

All the same arguments that were used against the science and scientists back in the 1980s, about the research on nuclear winter, acid rain and ozone depletion have been resurrected in the attacks on Climate Change.

Sadly, some of those involved in attacking the process of scientific progress were themselves scientists, some having been instrumental in fighting regulation on smoking by downplaying and warping the conclusions of the medical evidence.

Continue reading Judith Curry : Lost to the Dark Side ?

Judith Curry : Credibility Seppuku ?

Dr Judith Curry of the Georgia Institute of Technology, should read up a little on the history of anti-science, its methods, its proponents and its arguments, before throwing in her lot with the anti-science people of today : Steve McIntyre and his buddies.

To demonstrate that anti-science arguments are nothing new, she should try to work out what science the following excerpt is about, and when the events it describes took place :-

Continue reading Judith Curry : Credibility Seppuku ?

WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

File under : “That’s never going to ever happen if the United States of America have anything at all to do with it”.

The illustrious German Advisory Council on Global Change, the WBGU, or “Wissenschaftliche Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveraenderungen” in longhand, have done some excellent work on proposals for a global Carbon framework.

As part of their 2009 paper entitled in English “Solving the climate dilemma: The budget approach” they came to some useful conclusions, but also some startlingly unworkable recommendations :-

http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.pdf
http://www.wbgu.de/wbgu_sn2009_en.html

Continue reading WBGU : Equity, Today : Agreement, Never

So Solid Climate Policy

Really groovy global policy on Climate Change would be more clever and more accurate than assumptions on averages that were foundational to the hep cats who wrote the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol.

Why keep up the narrative that there are “developing” nations and “developed” nations ? Some formerly “developing” nations have emissions profiles quite like some “developed” nations today.

Also, why are we taking national averages ? There is stratification of society : the urban and merchant classes in many countries have a much higher Carbon Dioxide emissions count than the poorest in society, even if the countries are wealthy on average.

The wealthy are high emitters, no matter what region of the world they come from. Continue reading So Solid Climate Policy

Thank You, Stephen Schneider

Thank you for everything, Stephen Scheider.

Some of us have been listening.

Thank you for your consistent, urgent voice and your valuable research.

Sleep peacefully.

Amazongate Scientist : Enduring Chaos

Arindam Samanta of Boston University was one of the scientists behind the challenge to “Amazongate” : the false theory that the Amazon can not only withstand, but flourish under increased levels of drought :-

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2010/2009GL042154.shtml

“GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 37, L05401, 5 PP., 2010 : doi:10.1029/2009GL042154 : Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought… There was no co-relation between drought severity and greenness changes, which is contrary to the idea of drought-induced greening. Thus, we conclude that Amazon forests did not green-up during the 2005 drought.”

And now he’s back, describing some of the “one way only” changes to the Earth System from Global Warming brought on by increasing Carbon Dioxide emissions from mankind’s activities :-

http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010EI325.1

http://cybele.bu.edu/download/manuscripts/samanta-02.pdf

“Physical Climate Response to a Reduction of Anthropogenic Climate Forcing : Earth Interactions d Volume 14 (2010) d Paper No. 7 : …Here, using a simple set of experiments employing a current generation numerical climate model, the authors examine the response of the physical climate system to decreasing CO2 [Carbon Dioxide] concentrations following an initial increase. Results indicate that many characteristics of the climate system, including global temperatures, precipitation, soil moisture, and sea ice, recover as CO2 concentrations decrease. However, other components of the Earth system may still exhibit nonlinear hysteresis. In these experiments, for instance, increases in stratospheric water vapor, which initially result from increased CO2 concentrations, remain present even as CO2 concentrations recover…While this asymmetric response does not necessarily impact the global mean surface temperatures, it does suggest that certain components of the full Earth system could experience nonlinear hysteresis as CO2 concentrations return to their current levels…”

Even as we make moves to reduce our Carbon Dioxide emissions, we cannot expect everything to immediately – or always – come back to normal.