The Greenhouse Deception Explained

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

A nice and concise video, well worth watching and circulating:

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Scientific Hubris and Global Warming

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Scientific Hubris and Global Warming

Guest Post by Gregory Sloop

Notwithstanding portrayals in the movies as eccentrics who frantically warn humanity about genetically modified dinosaurs, aliens, and planet-killing asteroids, the popular image of a scientist is probably closer to the humble, bookish Professor, who used his intellect to save the castaways on practically every episode of Gilligan’s Island. The stereotypical scientist is seen as driven by a magnificent call, not some common, base motive. Unquestionably, science progresses unerringly to the truth.

This picture was challenged by the influential twentieth-century philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn, who held that scientific ”truth” is determined not as much by facts as by the consensus of the scientific community. The influence of thought leaders, rewarding of grants, and scorn of dissenters are used to protect mainstream theory. Unfortunately, science only makes genuine progress when the mainstream theory is disproved, what Kuhn called a “paradigm shift.” Data which conflict with the mainstream paradigm are ignored instead of used to develop a better one. Like most people, scientists are ultimately motivated by financial security, career advancement, and the desire for admiration. Thus, nonscientific considerations impact scientific “truth.”

This corruption of a noble pursuit permits scientific hubris to prosper. It can only exist when scientists are less than dispassionate seekers of truth. Scientific hubris condones suppression of criticism, promotes unfounded speculation, and excuses rejection of conflicting data. Consequently, scientific hubris allows errors to persist indefinitely. However, science advances so slowly the public usually has no idea of how often it is wrong.

Reconstructing extinct organisms from fossils requires scientific hubris. The fewer the number of fossils available, the greater the hubris required for reconstruction. The original reconstruction of the peculiar organism Hallucigenia, which lived 505 million years ago, showed it upside down and backwards. This was easily corrected when more fossils were found and no harm was done.

In contrast, scientific hubris causes harm when bad science is used to influence behavior. The 17th century microscopist Nicholas Hartsoeker drew a complete human within the head of a sperm, speculating that this was what might be beneath the “skin” of a sperm. Belief in preformation, the notion that sperm and eggs contain complete humans, was common at the time. His drawing could easily have been used to demonstrate why every sperm is sacred and masturbation is a sin.

Scientific hubris has claimed many. many lives. In the mid 19th century, the medical establishment rejected Ignaz Semmelweis’ recommendation that physicians disinfect their hands prior to examining pregnant women despite his unequivocal demonstration that this practice slashed the death rate due to obstetric infections. Because of scientific hubris, “medicine has a dark history of opposing new ideas and those who proposed them.” It was only when the germ theory of disease was established two decades later that the body of evidence supporting Semmelweis’ work became impossible to ignore. The greatest harm caused by scientific hubris is that it slows progress towards the truth.

Record keeping of earth’s surface temperature began around 1880, so there is less than 150 years of quantitative data about climate, which evolves at a glacial pace. Common sense suggests that quantitative data covering multiple warming and cooling periods is necessary to give perspective about the evolution of climate. Only then will scientists be able to make an educated guess whether the 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit increase in earth’s temperature since 1930 is the beginning of sustained warming which will negatively impact civilization, or a transient blip.

The inconvenient truth is that science is in the data acquisition phase of climate study, which must be completed before there is any chance of predicting climate, if it is predictable [vide infra]. Hubris goads scientists into giving answers even when the data are insufficient.

To put our knowledge about climate in perspective, imagine an investor has the first two weeks of data on the performance of a new stock market. Will those data allow the investor to know where the stock market will be in twenty years? No, because the behavior of the many variables which determine the performance of a stock market is unpredictable. Currently, predicting climate is no different.

Scientists use data from proxies to estimate earth’s surface temperature when the real temperature is unknowable. In medicine, these substitutes are called “surrogate markers.” Because hospital laboratories are rigorously inspected and the reproducibility, accuracy, and precision of their data is verified, hospital laboratory practices provide a useful standard for evaluating the quality of any scientific data.

Surrogate markers must be validated by showing that they correlate with “gold standard” data before they are used clinically. Comparison of data from tree growth rings, a surrogate marker for earth’s surface temperature, with the actual temperature shows that correlation between the two is worsening for unknown reasons. Earth’s temperature is only one factor which determines tree growth. Because soil conditions, genetics, rainfall, competition for nutrients, disease, age, fire, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations and consumption by herbivores and insects affect tree growth, the correlation between growth rings and earth’s temperature is imperfect.

Currently, growth rings cannot be regarded as a valid surrogate marker for the temperature of earth’s surface. The cause of the divergence problem must be identified and somehow remedied, and the remedy validated before growth rings are a credible surrogate marker or used to validate other surrogate markers.

Data from ice cores, boreholes, corals, and lake and ocean sediments are also used as surrogate markers. These are said to correlate with each other. Surrogate marker data are interpreted as showing a warm period between c.950 and c. 1250, which is sometimes called the “Medieval Climate Optimum,” and a cooler period called the “Little Ice Age” between the 16th and 19th centuries. The data from these surrogate markers have not been validated by comparison with a quantitative standard. Therefore, they give qualitative, not quantitative data. In medical terms, qualitative data are considered to be only “suggestive” of a diagnosis, not diagnostic. This level of diagnostic certainty is typically used to justify further diagnostic testing, not definitive therapy.

Anthropogenic global warming is often presented as fact. According to the philosopher Sir Karl Popper, a single conflicting observation is sufficient to disprove a theory. For example, the theory that all swans are white is disproved by one black swan. Therefore, the goal of science is to disprove, not prove a theory. Popper described how science should be practiced, while Kuhn described how science is actually practiced. Few theories satisfy Popper’s criterion. They are highly esteemed and above controversy. These include relativity, quantum mechanics, and plate tectonics. These theories come as close to settled science as is possible.

Data conflict about anthropogenic global warming. Using data from ice cores and lake sediments, Professor Gernot Patzelt argues that over the last 10,000 years, 65% of the time earth’s temperature was warmer than today. If his data are correct, human deforestation and carbon emissions are not required for global warming and intervention to forestall it may be futile.

The definitive test of anthropogenic global warming would be to study a duplicate earth without humans. Realistically, the only way is develop a successful computer model. However, modeling climate may be impossible because climate is a chaotic system. Small changes in the initial state of a chaotic system can cause very different outcomes, making them unpredictable. This is commonly called the “butterfly effect” because of the possibility that an action as fleeting as the beating of a butterfly’s wings can affect distant weather. This phenomenon also limits the predictability of weather.

Between 1880 and 1920, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were not associated with global warming. These variables did correlate between 1920 and 1940 and from around 1970 to today. These associations may appear to be compelling evidence for global warming, but associations cannot prove cause and effect. One example of a misleading association was published in a paper entitled “The prediction of lung cancer in Australia 1939–1981.” According to this paper, “Lung cancer is shown to be predicted from petrol consumption figures for a period of 42 years. The mean time for the disease to develop is discussed and the difference in the mortality rate for male and females is explained.” Obviously, gasoline use does not cause lung cancer.

The idea that an association is due to cause and effect is so attractive that these claims continue to be published. Recently, an implausible association between watching television and chronic inflammation was reported. In their book Follies and Fallacies in Medicine, Skrabanek and McCormick wrote, “As a result of failing to make this distinction [between association and cause], learning from experience may lead to nothing more than learning to make the same mistakes with increasing confidence.” Failure to learn from mistakes is another manifestation of scientific hubris. Those who are old enough to remember the late 1970’s may recall predictions of a global cooling crisis based on transient glacial growth and slight global cooling.

The current situation regarding climate change is similar to that confronting cavemen when facing winter and progressively shorter days. Every day there was less time to hunt and gather food and more cold, useless darkness. Shamans must have desperately called for ever harsher sacrifices to stop what otherwise seemed inevitable. Only when science enabled man to predict the return of longer days was sacrifice no longer necessary.

The mainstream position about anthropogenic global warming is established. The endorsement of the United Nations, U.S. governmental agencies, politicians, and the media buttresses this position. This nonscientific input has contributed to the perception that anthropogenic global warming is settled science. A critical evaluation of the available data about global warming, and anthropogenic global warming in particular, allow only a guess about the future climate. It is scientific hubris not to recognize that guess for what it is.

Half of 21st Century Warming Due to El Nino

Reblogged from Dr.RoySpencer.com  [HiFast bold]

May 13th, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A major uncertainty in figuring out how much of recent warming has been human-caused is knowing how much nature has caused. The IPCC is quite sure that nature is responsible for less than half of the warming since the mid-1900s, but politicians, activists, and various green energy pundits go even further, behaving as if warming is 100% human-caused.

The fact is we really don’t understand the causes of natural climate change on the time scale of an individual lifetime, although theories abound. For example, there is plenty of evidence that the Little Ice Age was real, and so some of the warming over the last 150 years (especially prior to 1940) was natural — but how much?

The answer makes as huge difference to energy policy. If global warming is only 50% as large as is predicted by the IPCC (which would make it only 20% of the problem portrayed by the media and politicians), then the immense cost of renewable energy can be avoided until we have new cost-competitive energy technologies.

The recently published paper Recent Global Warming as Confirmed by AIRS used 15 years of infrared satellite data to obtain a rather strong global surface warming trend of +0.24 C/decade. Objections have been made to that study by me (e.g. here) and others, not the least of which is the fact that the 2003-2017 period addressed had a record warm El Nino near the end (2015-16), which means the computed warming trend over that period is not entirely human-caused warming.

If we look at the warming over the 19-year period 2000-2018, we see the record El Nino event during 2015-16 (all monthly anomalies are relative to the 2001-2017 average seasonal cycle):

21st-century-warming-2000-2018-550x733
Fig. 1. 21st Century global-average temperature trends (top) averaged across all CMIP5 climate models (gray), HadCRUT4 observations (green), and UAH tropospheric temperature (purple). The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI, bottom) shows the upward trend in El Nino activity over the same period, which causes a natural enhancement of the observed warming trend.

We also see that the average of all of the CMIP5 models’ surface temperature trend projections (in which natural variability in the many models is averaged out) has a warmer trend than the observations, despite the trend-enhancing effect of the 2015-16 El Nino event.

So, how much of an influence did that warm event have on the computed trends? The simplest way to address that is to use only the data before that event. To be somewhat objective about it, we can take the period over which there is no trend in El Nino (and La Nina) activity, which happens to be 2000 through June, 2015 (15.5 years):

21st-century-warming-2000-2015.5-550x733
Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but for the 15.5 year period 2000 to June 2015, which is the period over which there was no trend in El Nino and La Nina activity.

Note that the observed trend in HadCRUT4 surface temperatures is nearly cut in half compared to the CMIP5 model average warming over the same period, and the UAH tropospheric temperature trend is almost zero.

One might wonder why the UAH LT trend is so low for this period, even though in Fig. 1 it is not that far below the surface temperature observations (+0.12 C/decade versus +0.16 C/decade for the full period through 2018). So, I examined the RSS version of LT for 2000 through June 2015, which had a +0.10 C/decade trend. For a more apples-to-apples comparison, the CMIP5 surface-to-500 hPa layer average temperature averaged across all models is +0.20 C/decade, so even RSS LT (which usually has a warmer trend than UAH LT) has only one-half the warming trend as the average CMIP5 model during this period.

So, once again, we see that the observed rate of warming — when we ignore the natural fluctuations in the climate system (which, along with severe weather events dominate “climate change” news) — is only about one-half of that projected by climate models at this point in the 21st Century. This fraction is consistent with the global energy budget study of Lewis & Curry (2018) which analyzed 100 years of global temperatures and ocean heat content changes, and also found that the climate system is only about 1/2 as sensitive to increasing CO2 as climate models assume.

It will be interesting to see if the new climate model assessment (CMIP6) produces warming more in line with the observations. From what I have heard so far, this appears unlikely. If history is any guide, this means the observations will continue to need adjustments to fit the models, rather than the other way around.

Mighty Greenland glacier slams on brakes

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Jakobshavn glacier, West Greenland [image credit: Wikipedia]
Even the climate alarm oriented BBC has finally had to admit the inconvenient truth about Greenland’s largest glacier. Instead of dropping in height by 20m. a year, it’s now thickening by 20m. a year. This isn’t supposed to happen when one of the stock phrases of the fearmongering media is ‘the rapidly melting Arctic’. Of course logic says that since glaciers can grow naturally they can also retreat naturally, despite attempts to blame humans.

European satellites have detailed the abrupt change in behaviour of one of Greenland’s most important glaciers, says BBC News.

In the 2000s, Jakobshavn Isbrae was the fastest flowing ice stream on the island, travelling at 17km a year.

As it sped to the ocean, its front end also retreated and thinned, dropping in height by as much as 20m year.

But now it’s all change. Jakobshavn is travelling…

View original post 230 more words

The Cooling Rains

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I took another ramble through the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) satellite-measured rainfall data. Figure 1 shows a Pacific-centered and an Atlantic-centered view of the average rainfall from the end of 1997 to the start of 2015 as measured by the TRMM satellite.

Figure 1. Average rainfall, meters per year, on a 1° latitude by 1° longitude basis. The area covered by the satellite data, forty degrees north and south of the Equator, is just under 2/3 of the globe. The blue areas by the Equator mark the InterTropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The two black horizontal dashed lines mark the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, the lines showing how far north and south the sun travels each year (23.45°, for those interested).

There’s lots of interesting stuff in those two graphs. I was surprised by how much of the planet in general, and the ocean in particular, are bright red, meaning they get less than half a meter (20″) of rain per year.

I was also intrigued by how narrowly the rainfall is concentrated at the average Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ is where the two great global hemispheres of the atmospheric circulation meet near the Equator. In the Pacific and Atlantic on average the ITCZ is just above the Equator, and in the Indian Ocean, it’s just below the Equator. However, that’s just on average. Sometimes in the Pacific, the ITCZ is below the Equator. You can see kind of a mirror image as a light orange horizontal area just below the Equator.

Here’s an idealized view of the global circulation. On the left-hand edge of the globe, I’ve drawn a cross section through the atmosphere, showing the circulation of the great atmospheric cells.

Figure 2. Generalized overview of planetary atmospheric circulation. At the ITCZ along the Equator, tall thunderstorms take warm surface air, strip out the moisture as rain, and drive the warm dry air vertically. This warm dry air eventually subsides somewhere around 25-30°N and 25-30S of the Equator, creating the global desert belts at around those latitudes.

The ITCZ is shown in cross-section at the left edge of the globe in Figure 2. You can see the general tropical circulation. Surface air in both hemispheres moves towards the Equator. It is warmed there and rises. This thermal circulation is greatly sped up by air driven vertically at high rates of speed through the tall thunderstorm towers. These thunderstorms form all along the ITCZ. These thunderstorms provide much of the mechanical energy that drives the atmospheric circulation of the Hadley cells.

With all of that as prologue, here’s what I looked at. I got to thinking, was there a trend in the rainfall? Is it getting wetter or drier? So I looked at that using the TRMM data. Figure 3 shows the annual change in rainfall, in millimeters per year, on a 1° latitude by 1° longitude basis.

Figure 3. Annual change in the rainfall, 1° latitude x 1° longitude gridcells.

I note that the increase in rain is greater on the ocean vs land, is greatest at the ITCZ, and is generally greater in the tropics.

Why is this overall trend in rainfall of interest? It gives us a way to calculate how much this cools the surface. Remember the old saying, what comes down must go up … or perhaps it’s the other way around, same thing. If it rains an extra millimeter of water, somewhere it must have evaporated an extra millimeter of water.

And in the same way that our bodies are cooled by evaporation, the surface of the planet is also cooled by evaporation.

Now, we note above that on average, the increase is 1.33 millimeters of water per year. Metric is nice because volume and size are related. Here’s a great example.

One millimeter of rain falling on one square meter of the surface is one liter of water which is one kilo of water. Nice, huh?

So the extra 1.33 millimeters of rain per year is equal to 1.33 extra liters of water evaporated per square meter of surface area.

Next, how much energy does it take to evaporate that extra 1.33 liters of water per square meter so it can come down as rain? The calculations are in the endnotes. It turns out that this 1.33 extra liters per year represents an additional cooling of a tenth of a watt per square meter (0.10 W/m2).

And how does this compare to the warming from increased longwave radiation due to the additional CO2? Well, again, the calculations are in the endnotes. The answer is, per the IPCC calculations, CO2 alone over the period gave a yearly increase in downwelling radiation of ~ 0.03 W/m2. Generally, they double that number to allow for other greenhouse gases (GHGs), so for purposes of discussion, we’ll call it 0.06 W/m2 per year.

So over the period of this record, we have increased evaporative cooling of 0.10 W/m2 per year, and we have increased radiative warming from GHGs of 0.06 W/m2 per year.

Which means that over that period and that area at least, the calculated increase in warming radiation from GHGs was more than counterbalanced by the observed increase in surface cooling from increased evaporation.

Regards to all,

w.

As usual: please quote the exact words you are discussing so we can all understand exactly what and who you are replying to.

Additional Cooling

Finally, note that this calculation is only evaporative cooling. There are other cooling mechanisms at work that are related to rainstorms. These include:

• Increased cloud albedo reflecting hundreds of watts/square meter of sunshine back to space

• Moving surface air to the upper troposphere where it is above most GHGs and freer to cool to space.

• Increased ocean surface albedo from whitecaps, foam, and spume.

• Cold rain falling from a layer of the troposphere that is much cooler than the surface.

• Rain re-evaporating as it falls to cool the atmosphere

• Cold wind entrained by the rain blowing outwards at surface level to cool surrounding areas

• Dry descending air between rain cells and thunderstorms allowing increased longwave radiation to space.

Between all of these, they form a very strong temperature regulating mechanism that prevents overheating of the planet.

Calculation of energy required to evaporate 1.33 liters of water.

#latent heat evaporation joules/kg @ salinity 35 psu, temperature 24°C

> latevap = gsw_latentheat_evap_t( 35, 24 ) ; latevap

[1] 2441369

# joules/yr/m2 required to evaporate 1.33 liters/yr/m2

> evapj = latevap * 1.33 ; evapj

[1] 3247021

# convert joules/yr/m2 to W/m2

> evapwm2 = evapj / secsperyear ; evapwm2

[1] 0.1028941

Note: the exact answer varies dependent on seawater temperature, salinity, and density. These only make a difference of a couple percent (say 0.1043 vs 0.1028941). I’ve used average values.

Calculation of downwelling radiation change from CO2 increase.

#starting CO2 ppmv Dec 1997

> thestart = as.double( coshort[1] ) ; thestart

[1] 364.38

#ending CO2 ppmv Mar 2015

> theend = as.double( last( coshort )) ; theend

[1] 401.54

# longwave increase, W/m2 per year over 17 years 4 months

> 3.7 * log( theend / thestart, 2)/17.33

[1] 0.0299117

Basic Science: 4 Keys to Melt Fears About Ice Sheets Melting

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

William Ward, April 18, 2019


[HiFast BLUF:  Here’s the author’s summary/bottom line up front.] Despite the overwhelming number of popular news reports to the contrary, studies of ice sheets melting over the past century show remarkable ice stability. Using the proper scientific perspective, analysis of ice-melt rates and ice-mass losses show the ice sheets will take hundreds of thousands of years to melt, assuming the next glacial period doesn’t start first. An application of basic physics shows that for every 1 °C of atmospheric heat exchanged with the ice sheets we get a maximum 0.4 inches of SLR and a correspondingly cooler atmosphere. Over the 20th century, we observed a worst-case 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained atmospheric heat. It is proposed that this ratio can be used to assess potential ice-melt related SLR for a hypothetical atmospheric temperature increase scenario over the current century. Using a reasonable range for all of the variables we can estimate an SLR of between 1.4 – 6.4 inches, but our current observations support the rise being toward the lower end of that range.

The atmosphere and oceans do not show the increase in energy necessary to cause catastrophic SLR from rapidly melting ice. Humankind does not possess the technology to melt a significant amount of ice because the energy required is enormous and only nature can meter out this energy over very long periods. With the proper scientific perspective about the amount of energy required to melt ice, it should be much more difficult for Climate Alarmists to scare the public with scenarios not supported by basic science.


 

The world is drowning in articles about catastrophic sea level rise (SLR), reminding us that if the ice sheets melt, 260 feet of water will flood our coastal cities. We know that sea level today is 20-30 feet lower than it was at the end of the last interglacial period 120,000 years ago. We also know that sea level has risen 430 feet since the end of the last glacial maximum 22,000 years ago. Research shows this rise was not monotonic but oscillatory, and during periods over the past 10,000 years, sea level has been several meters higher than today. So, evidence supports the possibility of higher sea levels, but does the evidence support the possibility of catastrophic sea level rise from rapidly melting ice?

In this paper, basic science is used to show that catastrophic SLR from melting ice cannot happen naturally over a short period. Additionally, humankind does not possess the capability to melt a large amount of ice quickly even through our most advanced technology. This news should relieve the public, which is routinely deceived by reporting that misrepresents the facts. The public is susceptible to unnecessary alarmism when melt rates and ice-melt masses are presented without perspective and juxtaposed against claims that scientists are worried. This paper uses the same facts but places them in perspective to show that catastrophic risks do not exist.

Ice Sheets Melting: Deceptive Reporting

The growing alarm over melting ice sheets is directly attributable to deceptive reporting. The sheer number of reports inundates the public with an incessant message of angst. A single scientific study can be the source for headlines in hundreds of news articles. With social media repeating the news and the subsequent chorus of lectures from celebrities and politicians, we find ourselves in the deafening echo chamber of Climate Alarmism. However, it is a mistake to assume the real risks are proportional to the frequency or intensity of the message.

The primary problem is that the news writers do not have the scientific background to report on the subject responsibly, and therefore they routinely corrupt and distort the facts. Take for example an article in Smithsonian dated September 1, 2016, entitled “Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth’s Crust.” The first two sentences of the article read:

“You’ve no doubt by now been inundated with the threat of global sea level rise. At the current estimated rate of one-tenth of an inch each year, sea level rise could cause large swaths of cities like New York, Galveston and Norfolk to disappear underwater in the next 20 years.”

A sea level rise rate of one-tenth of an inch per year yields 2 inches of SLR in 20 years. Topographical maps show the lowest elevations of these cities are more than ten feet above sea level. No portion of these cities will disappear underwater from 2 inches of SLR.

The news writers seem obligated to pepper the facts with their own opinions such as “… climate change is real, undeniable and caused by humans.” It is often difficult for the reader to discern the facts from the opinions. However, even the facts become troubling because they consist of numbers without the perspective to understand their significance and are wrapped in existential angst. Consider the following excerpt from a June 13, 2018 article in the Washington Post, entitled “Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.”

“Antarctica’s ice sheet is melting at a rapidly increasing rate, now pouring more than 200 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually and raising sea levels a half-millimeter every year, a team of 80 scientists reported… The melt rate in Antarctica has tripled in the past decade, the study concluded. If the acceleration continues, some of scientists’ worst fears about rising oceans could be realized, leaving low-lying cities and communities with less time to prepare than they had hoped.”

As reported, the reader assumes a melt rate that has tripled must be dire, and billions of tons of melting ice must be extreme. However, this perception changes if the facts are analyzed to provide perspective. An analysis shows that the original annual melt rate of 1.3 parts-per-million (ppm) has increased to nearly 4 ppm over 26 years. The news writer failed to inform us of these facts which provide perspective. The new melt rate is analogous to losing 4 dollars out of 1 million dollars. Losing slightly less than 4 parts in 1 million each year means that it will take over 250,000 years to melt entirely. No natural process is static, so we should expect variation over time. Most change is cyclical. Sometimes the ice is increasing and sometimes it is decreasing. The average person’s body mass fluctuates by 20,000 to 40,000 ppm each day. By comparison, Antarctica varying by 1-4 ppm over a year should be considered rock-solid stability in the natural world.

Ice Sheets Melting: What Happened Over the Past Century

Antarctica holds 91% of the world’s land ice, Greenland 8%, and the remaining 1% is spread over the rest of the world. Therefore, by understanding what is happening to the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland, we understand what is happening to 99% of the world’s land ice.

NASA is a good source for research about what is happening in Antarctica. However, two NASA agencies have recently published studies with conflicting conclusions. The Goddard Space Flight Center recently published research concluding Antarctica is not contributing to SLR. According to the study, snow accumulation exceeded ice melting, resulting in a 0.5-inch sea level reduction since 1900. Contrarily, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) reports that the rate of Ice loss from Antarctica has tripled since 2012 and contributed 0.3 inches to SLR between 1992 and 2017. To cover the worst-case scenario, we can analyze the JPL study and provide the perspective to understand their results.

Over 26 years, Antarctica’s average annual mass loss was less than 0.00040% of its total. If Antarctica were a 220 lb man, his mass loss each year would be 0.4 grams or about eight tears. (Eight human tears weigh about 0.4 g.) At this alarming rate that makes our most elite climate scientists worried, it would take 250,185 years to melt all of the ice. It would take over 1,000 years of melting to yield 12 inches of SLR from Antarctica if we ignore natural variability and the cyclical nature of ice volume and assume the melt rate continues uninterrupted.

The best information we have about Greenland comes from a study in the journal Nature, estimating Greenland’s ice losses between 1900 – 2010. Using current ice volume estimates from USGS, we calculate the ice mass in 2010 was between 99.5% – 99.8% of what it was in 1900. Ice melt from Greenland in the 111 years contributed 0.6 – 1.3 inches to SLR. It would take over 1,300 years of melting to yield 12 inches of SLR from Greenland if we ignore natural variability and the cyclical nature of ice volume and assume the melt rate continues uninterrupted.

The average annual inland temperature in Antarctica is -57 °C and most coastal stations average -5 °C to -15 °C. The much talked about Western Antarctica averages several degrees below 0 °C. Southern Greenland does experience summer temperatures above 0 °C and seasonal melting. Northern Greenland stays below 0 °C even in the summer months, and the average annual inland temperatures are -20 °C to -30 °C. The temperatures in Greenland and Antarctica are not warm enough to support significant rapid ice melt. In the past century, we have 1 °C of retained atmospheric heat, and enough heat exchanged with ice in Greenland and Antarctica to raise sea level by 0.9 – 1.6 inches. Despite all of the reports in the media to the contrary, we have no real observations of any ice melt crisis. The past 111 years have been remarkable because of ice stability – not because of ice melting. We are 19 years into the 21st century with no evidence supporting an outcome much different from the 20th century.

Ice Sheets Melting: The Process

The lifecycle of an ice sheet begins as snow. Snow falls in the higher elevations and over time it compacts and becomes ice. The ice thickness in Antarctica is over 12,000 feet in the center of the continent and over 9,000 feet over most of East Antarctica. The force of gravity initiates a thousand-year journey where the ice flows from its heights back to the sea. At the end of this journey, when its weight can no longer be supported by the sea, it “calves” and becomes an iceberg. Some icebergs can float around Antarctica for over 30 years before fully melting. So, young ice is born inland from snow, and old ice dies near the coast from seasonal melting or after drifting for years as an iceberg. This process is the natural cycle of ice and not one which should create panic. During some periods we have more snow accumulating than ice melting, such as the period between 1300 CE and 1850 CE, known as the “Little Ice Age.” During other periods we have more ice melting than snow accumulating, such as the Medieval Warm Period and our present time.

In our present time, sunlight alone is insufficient to cause significant changes to ice sheet mass. Sunlight must act in concert with other effects such as cloud cover, water vapor and other “greenhouse” gasses such as CO2. Regardless of the mechanisms, the Earth system must do two things to melt more ice: 1) retain more heat energy and 2) via the atmosphere, transport this heat to the poles and transfer it to the ice. Additional heat energy in the system cannot melt ice unless this transport and transfer happen.

Ice Sheets Melting: Conservation of Energy

A 2007 study by Shepherd and Wingham published in Science shows the current melt rate from Greenland and Antarctica contribute 0.014 inches to SLR each year. For perspective, the thickness of 3 human hairs is greater than 0.014 inches. The results align reasonably well with the other studies mentioned. Despite the minuscule amount of actual SLR from melting ice, NOAA and the IPCC provide 21st century SLR projections that range from a few inches to several meters. The wide range of uncertainty leads to angst about catastrophe; however, the use of basic science allows us to provide reasonable bounds to the possibilities.

Before the start of the American Revolution, Scottish scientist Joseph Black (and others) solved the mysteries of specific heat and latent heat, which gives us the relationship between heat energy, changing states of matter (solid/liquid) and change of temperature. Equations 1 and 2 give us the mathematical relationships for specific heat and latent heat respectively:

(1) E = mc∆T

(2) E = mL

Where E is thermal energy (Joules), m is the mass (kg), c is the “specific heat” constant (J/kg/°C), ∆T is the change in temperature (°C), and L is the latent heat constant (J/kg). Specific heat is the amount of heat energy that we must add (or remove) from a specified mass to increase (or decrease) the temperature of that mass by 1 °C. Latent heat is the thermal energy released or absorbed during a constant temperature phase change. If we know the mass of the ice, water or atmosphere, it is easy to calculate the amount of energy it takes to change its temperature, melt it or freeze it.

Understanding that energy is conserved when melting ice, the equations above can be used to calculate the temperature effects that must be observed in the oceans or atmosphere to support an ice melt scenario. We can provide reasonable bounds and reduce the uncertainty.

See the reference section at the end of the paper for all sources and calculations.

Key #1: Importance of the Latent Heat of Fusion

It is essential to understand the latent heat of fusion because of the enormous amount of heat energy that is required to change the state of H2O from solid to liquid. Figure 1 shows the specific heat and phase change diagram for water. The blue line shows the temperature of water in °C (y-axis) plotted against the change in thermal energy in kJ/kg (x-axis). It shows how temperature and energy are related as we go from cold solid ice to boiling liquid water. The average annual inland temperature of Greenland is -25 °C and this is the reason for Point 1 on the line. If we start at Point 1 and progress to Point 2, this shows how much heat energy must be added to change the temperature of 1kg of ice from -25 °C to 0 °C. It is important to note that at Point 2, the ice is still 100% solid at 0 °C.

Figure 1: Water Phase/Specific Heat Diagram

The diagram reveals something interesting about the behavior of water. As we progress from Point 2 to Point 3, the water undergoes a phase change from solid to liquid. There is no temperature change as the ice becomes liquid water; however, a large amount of heat energy must be added. The energy that must be added to change the phase of water from solid to liquid is the latent heat of fusion. For melting ice, temperature alone does not inform us about what is happening to the system. To assess ice melting, we must understand the net change of energy. Whether we melt 1kg of ice or the entire ice sheet in Greenland, using Equations 1 and 2, we can easily calculate the energy required to do so. Going from Point 1 to Point 3 requires 3.86×105 Joules of energy for each kg of ice mass warmed and melted. For simplicity, we call this quantity of energy “E.”

Figure 1 also shows what happens as we move from Point 3 (0 °C liquid seawater) to Point 4 (seawater starting to boil at 100 °C). It takes a measure of energy “E” to move between Points 3 and 4, just as it does to move between Points 1 and 3. Therefore, as shown in Table 1, the energy required to melt the ice is equivalent to the energy required to heat the meltwater to a boil at 100 °C. (Note: the fresh water from the ice is assumed to flow to the oceans.)

Energy to melt 1kg of polar ice from -25 °C to 0 °C water <– Is Equal To –> Energy to raise the temperature of 1kg of seawater from 0 °C to 100 °C

Table 1: Relating Energy Between Polar Ice Melt and Boiling Water

Key #2: Total Energy Required to Melt the Ice Sheets

Using Equations 1 and 2, we calculate that the total heat energy required to melt the ice sheets entirely is 1.32×1025 J. This value can be given perspective by calculating the increase in ocean water temperature that would result from adding 1.32×1025 J of heat. We know that deep ocean water below the thermocline is very stable in temperature between 0-3 °C. 90% of the ocean water mass is below the thermocline. The thermocline and surface layer above contains the ocean water that responds to changes in atmospheric heat, whether that be from seasonal changes or climate changes. Therefore, if we constrain the 1.32×1025 J of heat energy to the upper 10% of the ocean mass, we calculate the temperature increase would be 25.6 °C, assuming equal heat distribution for simplicity of analysis. This increase would make the surface temperature of equatorial ocean water close to 55 °C, similar to a cup of hot coffee. Polar seas would be perfect for swimming at nearly 25 °C. According to NOAA, over the past 50 years, the average ocean surface temperature has increased approximately 0.25 °C.

Another way to give perspective is to calculate the increase in atmospheric temperature that would result from adding 1.32×1025 J of heat to the atmosphere. First, we must understand some related facts about the atmosphere. Heat energy must be transported by the atmosphere to the polar regions, or no ice can melt. However, the atmosphere’s capacity to store heat energy is extremely low compared to the energy required to melt all of the ice. The ice sheets contain more than 900 times the thermal energy below 0 °C as the atmosphere contains above 0 °C, and therefore the atmospheric heat energy must be replenished continuously to sustain ice melting. Melting polar ice with heat from the atmosphere is analogous to filling a bathtub with a thimble. The low specific heat of air is one reason the atmosphere lacks heat carrying capacity. The other reason is its low mass.

Figure 2 shows the vertical profile of the Earth’s atmosphere. The red line in Figure 2 shows the temperature of the atmosphere in °C (x-axis) plotted against the altitude in km (y-axis). 75% of the mass of the atmosphere is contained in the Troposphere, where all life (outside of the oceans) exists on Earth. Figure 2 reveals that most of the atmosphere is far too cold to melt ice. We can ignore the Upper Thermosphere as the mass of atmosphere contained in that layer is negligibly small. Only the Lower Troposphere below 2.5 km altitude contains air at a warm enough temperature to melt ice. (See the region of the graph enclosed in the yellow oval.) 35% of the atmospheric mass exists below 2.5 km, and the average temperature is ~ 8 °C.

Figure 2: Vertical Profile of Earth’s Atmosphere

Using Equation 1 with E = 1.32×1025 J, the mass of the atmosphere below 2.5 km and solving for ∆T, we can calculate what the temperature of the air below 2.5 km would be if it contained the energy required to melt all of the ice. The atmospheric temperature would have to be 7,300 °C, which is 1,522 °C hotter than the surface of the sun. Life on Earth would be in jeopardy from the increased atmospheric heat long before all of the ice melted. While there are no plausible thermodynamic pathways to heat the Earth’s atmosphere to such temperatures, the calculations of energy required are accurate. According to NASA, the global average temperature over the past 50 years has increased approximately 0.6 °C.

Key #3: SLR From Incremental Atmospheric Heat Exchange with Ice Sheets

It is said, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” Similarly, you can’t have atmospheric heat and melt with it too. If the ice consumes heat, then the atmosphere cools. If the atmosphere retains its heat, then no ice melts. So, let’s examine some scenarios where we trade energy from the atmosphere with ice to see how much corresponding SLR we can get.

Using Equation 1, we can determine the change in energy for a 1 °C temperature decrease in the atmosphere below 2.5km. We can then apply this energy to the ice, assume maximum melting volume and translate that to SLR. For every 1 °C of atmospheric energy transferred to the ice, we get 0.4 inches of SLR. Some IPCC scenarios project a 4 °C rise in “global average temperature” in the 21st century, due to increased atmospheric CO2. An increase in temperature does not melt any additional ice unless the heat is transferred to the ice. If 4 °C of energy from the atmosphere is transferred to the ice, we get a corresponding 1.7 inches of SLR and an atmosphere that is 4 °C cooler. If we transfer all of the energy in the atmosphere above 0 °C to the ice, then we get 3.4 inches of SLR and a world where the entire atmosphere is at or below 0 °C. The global average temperature would be 6 °C less than the coldest experienced during the depth of a glacial period.

To raise sea level by 12 inches would require the atmosphere to heat up by 28 °C before exchanging that energy with the ice. As we would experience it, the atmosphere would have to heat up by some incremental value, then exchange that incremental value of energy with the ice, thus cooling the atmosphere, and then repeat this process until the 28 °C of atmospheric heat is consumed.

Key #4: Maximum Ice Melt Potential from Technology

Keys #1-3 don’t offer much to support the possibility of large quantities of ice being melted rapidly by natural causes. The next obvious question is, can humankind generate enough heat with our most advanced technology to melt a significant amount of ice rapidly?

The power of the atom is one of the most awesome powers humankind has harnessed. There are 8,400 operational nuclear warheads in the world’s nuclear arsenal, with a total yield of 2,425 Megatons of TNT. It is interesting to note that the energy contained in this nuclear arsenal is over 800 times the equivalent explosive power used in World War II. It is said that there are enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world a hundred times over. So, perhaps this is enough energy to melt the ice sheets entirely. For this exercise, we assume the nuclear weapons release their energy slowly – only fast enough to melt ice and no faster. For maximum melting, we evenly distribute all of the weapons in the ice. However, when we convert 2,425 MT to Joules, we get a number that is far below the energy required to melt all of the ice. The SLR we could get by using all of the world’s nuclear weapons for melting ice would be 0.002 inches. For reference, the diameter of a human hair is 2.5 times thicker than this. If we want all of the ice to melt, we need to duplicate each weapon more than 1,300,000 times. So, it looks like our current arsenal of nuclear weapons is no match for the ice.

What other sources of power does humankind have that could be used to melt a significant amount of ice? The annual global energy production of electric power is 25 petawatt-hours (25×1015 Whr) or 9×1019 Joules. If we could, through some advanced technology, transfer all electric energy generated over one year to heaters buried in the ice, and do this with no transmission or distribution losses, then how much ice could we melt? The answer is 0.02 inches of SLR (equivalent to 4 human hair diameters). This scenario would require that humans not use any electric power for that entire year, for anything other than melting ice. Humanity would have to forego the benefits of electric power for over 146,000 years to melt all of the ice, assuming static conditions in the ice.

Ice Sheets Melting: Analysis

Since 1900 we have 1 °C of retained atmospheric heat, and enough heat consumed by the ice sheets to produce 0.9 – 1.6 inches of SLR. From Key #3 we learned 1.7 inches of SLR results from trading 4 °C of atmospheric heat for ice melting. Therefore, as a worst-case approximation, if there had been no net ice melt since 1900, the atmosphere would have heated by approximately 5 °C. We can conclude that ice melting consumed 4 °C of heat, leaving the atmosphere with 1 °C of retained heat. We observed a 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained heat in the 20th century, worst case. For the best-case approximation, we use the lower estimate of 0.9 inches of SLR, which yields a 2:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained heat over the same period. In one of the more extreme scenarios, the IPCC climate model projects 4 °C of atmospheric temperature rise in the 21st century. For a 4 °C rise scenario, using the worst-case ratio of consumed to retained heat, we can estimate a 6.4 inch SLR over that period. In a more moderate scenario, the IPCC projects a 1.5 °C temperature rise. For a 1.5 °C rise, using the best-case ratio of consumed to retained heat, we can estimate an SLR of 1.4 inches. Unfortunately, none of the climate models have been able to predict the climate accurately, and none of them backtest successfully. We are one-fifth of the way through the 21st century and do not appear to be on course for the IPCC’s worst-case temperature projections. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the results for the 21st century will likely be very similar to the 20th century, with 1-2 inches of SLR.

Detailed analysis of the claimed Earth energy imbalance is beyond the scope of this paper. The analysis presented here exposes the effects that must occur from an imbalance that leads to catastrophic melting. The ice must absorb large quantities of heat energy for sustained periods. Therefore, inland temperatures over Antarctica and Greenland would need to be maintained well above 0 °C for significant portions of the year. Atmospheric heat lost to the ice would need to be continually replenished to perpetuate the process. The oceans store heat energy, but the large mass of the oceans with the high specific heat of seawater blunts the possible effects from that energy. The energy that would raise the first 2.5 km of atmospheric air by 1 °C would raise the first 1,000 feet of seawater by only 0.0035 °C. The 2nd law of thermodynamics requires a temperature difference to transfer heat energy. Small increases in ocean temperature cannot lead to large movements of heat energy to an already warmer atmosphere. Finally, the system must transport more heat energy to the polar regions. In reality, the Earth maintains a very large temperature gradient between the equator and the poles. Our observations do not show gradient changes that would support significant additional heat transport. Without the increased energy storage and transport, and sustained polar temperatures well above freezing, catastrophic ice melt scenarios are not possible.

Ice Sheets Melting: Summary

Despite the overwhelming number of popular news reports to the contrary, studies of ice sheets melting over the past century show remarkable ice stability. Using the proper scientific perspective, analysis of ice-melt rates and ice-mass losses show the ice sheets will take hundreds of thousands of years to melt, assuming the next glacial period doesn’t start first. An application of basic physics shows that for every 1 °C of atmospheric heat exchanged with the ice sheets we get a maximum 0.4 inches of SLR and a correspondingly cooler atmosphere. Over the 20th century, we observed a worst-case 4:1 ratio of consumed heat to retained atmospheric heat. It is proposed that this ratio can be used to assess potential ice-melt related SLR for a hypothetical atmospheric temperature increase scenario over the current century. Using a reasonable range for all of the variables we can estimate an SLR of between 1.4 – 6.4 inches, but our current observations support the rise being toward the lower end of that range.

The atmosphere and oceans do not show the increase in energy necessary to cause catastrophic SLR from rapidly melting ice. Humankind does not possess the technology to melt a significant amount of ice because the energy required is enormous and only nature can meter out this energy over very long periods. With the proper scientific perspective about the amount of energy required to melt ice, it should be much more difficult for Climate Alarmists to scare the public with scenarios not supported by basic science.

References

NASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

Ramp-up in Antarctic ice loss speeds sea level rise: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2749/ramp-up-in-antarctic-ice-loss-speeds-sea-level-rise/?fbclid=IwAR2Vnkbxxa-NTU_v0lRUUGGDffMs4Q6BGvHX-KHzcHM7-q2B7IO59wCEiQc

Sea Level and Climate (Fact Sheet 002-00): https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

Spatial and temporal distribution of mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet since AD 1900: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature16183

Recent Sea-Level Contributions of the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/315/5818/1529

All of the constants and calculations are provided in the associated Excel file located here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ice-Atmosphere-Ocean-Energy-20190407-1-1.xlsx

Inconvenient stumps

Reblogged from Watts Up With That:

Climate alarmists tell us that the Earth has never been warmer, and that we can tell by looking at tree rings, treelines, and other proxy indicators of climate.

Climate scientists claim the warmth is unprecedented.

We’ve been told it is warming so fast, we have only 12 years left!

Yet nature seems to not be paying attention to such pronouncements, as this discovery shows.

This photo shows a tree stump of White Spruce that was radiocarbon dated at 5000 years old. It was located 100 km north of the current tree line in extreme Northwest Canada.

The area is now frozen tundra, but it was once warm enough to support significant tree growth like this.

If climate was this warm in the past, how did that happen before we started using the fossil fuels that supposedly made our current climate unprecedentedly warm?

A simple demo of order and chaos; Climate Models are not so simple

Here’s a fascinating example of oscillating systems.

In this demonstration 15 independent cyclic systems with different periods begin in phase, then watch how the total system departs from being in phase to apparent chaos to split phases and so on.

Now consider this demonstration as a model for all the contributors, big and small, to Earth’s climate–certainly more than the 15 billiard balls depicted here. And put the balls on springs of varying elasticity (permitting varying periods). And then allow the balls to hit each other (adding the third dimension to their oscillation and…..energy transfer).

Try to model and predict that!

In Aftermath of Volcanic Eruption, Photosynthesis Waxes, Carbon Dioxide Wanes

From Scientific American:

By Laura Wright on March 28, 2003

 

Read more from this special report:

A Guide to Volcanoes

In June 1991, when Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines spewed tons of volcanic ash and gases into the atmosphere, it just so happened that halfway around the world scientists were beginning to obtain good data from carbon dioxide monitors high above the tree canopy in Harvard Forest, outside Boston, Mass. Now, more than a decade later, the measurements taken during the years following the eruption are providing new insight into how atmospheric aerosols affect photosynthesis. The findings, published today in the journal Science, are forcing scientists to rethink the factors that influence the cycling of carbon through the environment, particularly carbon dioxide, a major player in global warming.

 

Within three weeks of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the largest volcanic blast of the century, a band of sulfur aerosol had encircled the globe. By early 1992, the volcanic gases and aerosols had diffused through the stratosphere, veiling the earth. During that time, global carbon dioxide levels fell more sharply than any other decline on record. Some scientists suggested that global cooling caused ecosystem respiration to drop, lowering the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. But Lianhong Gu of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, lead author of the Science report, didn’t think that could be the only explanation.

Gu knew that crop scientists had discovered that plants grow best in diffuse light. When sunlight is too intense, some leaves fall into shadow, unable to photosynthesize, while others bask in the direct beams but will reach a photosynthetic saturation point. Moderate cloud cover and aerosols block direct beams, but allow light to bounce back and forth off water vapor and other molecules, creating a “softer” light that reaches leaves that would otherwise be shaded. As a result, the plants photosynthesize more, using up carbon dioxide in the process. Gu and his collaborators determined that the same principles apply to forest canopies. The Harvard Forest data show that carbon dioxide levels dropped for two years following the eruption at Mt. Pinatubo findings that the scientists suggest represent a worldwide phenomenon given that the eruption had a global atmospheric effect. “Up until now we hadn’t linked aerosols and clouds with carbon studies,” Gu says. “In order to understand atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, which affect climate, we have to look at how aerosols and clouds affect the global carbon cycle.”

California water supply dream

sunshine hours

I’m dreaming of a wet California …

“With full reservoirs and a dense snowpack, this year is practically a California water supply dream,” California DWR Director Karla Nemeth said April 2, 2019, after latest Sierra snowpack measurement.

California state officials made their monthly snowpack measurement at Phillips Station in the Sierra and confirmed there will be no lack of water this year.

Snowpack at the station was at 200% of average while statewide snowpack is 162% of average.

“This is great news for this year’s water supply, but water conservation remains a way of life in California, rain or shine,” California Department of Water Resources said.

The state has experienced more than 30 atmospheric rivers since the start of the water year, six in February alone, and statewide snow water equivalent has nearly tripled since February 1, officials said.

Phillips Station now stands at 106.5 inches (270.5 cm) of snow…

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