March 1st, 2019 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
I’ve received many more requests about the new disappearing-clouds study than the “gold standard proof of anthropogenic warming” study I addressed here, both of which appeared in Nature journals over the last several days.
The widespread interest is partly because of the way the study is dramatized in the media. For example, check out this headline, “A World Without Clouds“, and the study’s forecast of 12 deg. C of global warming.
The disappearing clouds study is based upon the modelling of marine stratocumulus clouds, whose existence substantially cools the Earth. These extensive but shallow cloud decks cover the subtropical ocean regions over the eastern ocean basins where upwelling cold water creates a strong boundary layer inversion.
In other words, the cold water causes a thin marine boundary layer of chilled air up to a kilometer deep, than is capped by warmer air aloft. The resulting inversion layer (the boundary between cool air below and warm air aloft) inhibits convective mixing, and so water evaporated from the ocean accumulates in the boundary layer and clouds then develop at the base of the inversion. There are complex infrared radiative processes which also help maintain the cloud layer.
The new modeling study describes how these cloud layers could dissipate if atmospheric CO2 concentrations get too high, thus causing a positive feedback loop on warming and greatly increasing future global temperatures, even beyond what the IPCC has predicted from global climate models. The marine stratocumulus cloud response to warming is not a new issue, as modelers have been debating for decades whether these clouds would increase or decrease with warming, thus either reducing or amplifying the small amount of direct radiative warming from increasing CO2.
The new study uses a very high resolution model that “grows” the marine stratocumulus clouds. The IPCC’s climate models, in contrast, have much lower resolution and must parameterize the existence of the clouds based upon larger-scale model variables. These high resolution models have been around for many years, but this study tries to specifically address how increasing CO2 in the whole atmosphere changes this thin, but important, cloud layer.
The high resolution simulations are stunning in their realism, covering a domain of 4.8 x 4.8 km: https://d2r55xnwy6nx47.cloudfront.net/uploads/2019/02/CloudGraph_Vimeo.mp4
The main conclusion of the study is that when model CO2 concentrations reach 1200 ppm or so (which would take as little as another 100 years or so assuming worst-case energy use and population growth projections like RCP8.5), a substantial dissipation of these clouds occurs causing substantial additional global warming, with up to 12 deg. C of total global warming.
Shortcomings in the Study: The Large-Scale Ocean and Atmospheric Environment
All studies like this require assumptions. In my view, the problem is not with the high-resolution model of the clouds itself. Instead, it’s the assumed state of the large-scale environment in which the clouds are assumed to be embedded.
Most importantly, it should be remembered that these clouds exist where cold water is upwelling from the deep ocean, where it has resided for centuries to millennia after initially being chilled to near-freezing in polar regions, and flowing in from higher latitudes. This cold water is continually feeding the stratocumulus zones, helping to maintain the strong temperature inversion at the top of the chilled marine boundary layer. Instead, their model has 1 meter thick slab ocean that rapidly responds to only whats going on with atmospheric greenhouse gases within the tiny (5 km) model domain. Such a shallow ocean layer would be ok (as they claim) IF the ocean portion of the model was a closed system… the shallow ocean only increases how rapidly the model responds… not its final equilibrium state. But given the continuous influx of cold water into these stratocumulus regions from below and from high latitudes in nature, it is far from a closed system.
Second, the atmospheric environment in which the high-res cloud model is embedded is assumed to have similar characteristics to what climate models produce. This includes substantial increases in free-tropospheric water vapor, keeping constant relative humidity throughout the troposphere. In climate models, the enhanced infrared effects of this absolute increase in water vapor leads to a tropical “hot spot”, which observations, so far, fail to show. This is a second reason the study’s results are exaggerated. Part of the disappearing cloud effect in their model is from increased downwelling radiation from the free troposphere as CO2 increases and positive water vapor feedback in the global climate models increases downwelling IR even more. This reduces the rate of infrared cooling by the cloud tops, which is one process that normally maintains them. The model clouds then disappear, causing more sunlight to flood in and warm the isolated shallow slab ocean. But if the free troposphere above the cloud does not produce nearly as large an effect from increasing water vapor, the clouds will not show such a dramatic effect.
The bottom line is that marine stratocumulus clouds exist because of the strong temperature inversion maintained by cold water from upwelling and transport from high latitudes. That chilled boundary layer air bumps up against warm free-tropospheric air (warmed, in turn, by subsidence forced by moist air ascent in precipitation systems possibly thousands of miles away). That inversion will likely be well-maintained in a warming world, thus maintaining the cloud deck, and not causing catastrophic global warming.
[Hifast Note: Excellent comment thread here: DrRoySpencer.com]
From The Migrant Mind:
Friday, January 1, 2010
While tooling around the internet, I ran into a report about an upcoming article in Geophysical Research Letters.
“To assess whether the airborne fraction is indeed increasing, Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol reanalyzed available atmospheric carbon dioxide and emissions data since 1850 and considers the uncertainties in the data.
In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.
The research is published in Geophysical Research Letters.
I was surprised to learn that someone thought that CO2 hadn’t gone up. After all we have the famous Keeling Curve.
It has wonderful geometric beauty, and that implies a certitude about the CO2 levels.
Now, while I won’t necessarily support Knorr’s conclusions or methods, he did spur me to look again at the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. It spurred me to ask a question: Why is the Keeling Curve so geometrical?
Let’s start by looking at the CO2 measurements at the South Pole. There is nothing geometrical about it.
How about Baring Head, NZ?
Clearly the Keeling curve looks artificial compared to the other stations on earth. One could say that maybe the other researchers are simply incompetent, but that seems harsh. Why is the Keeling curve so regular, especially since it is sitting on a volcano that occasionally spews out additional CO2? In 40 years has not one single measurment been taken when the volcano was blowing additional CO2 towards the station? That seems highly unlikely.
Below are all the Pacific stations plotted together. Note the scatter. After subtracting the trend of all these temporally aligned measurments, the standard deviation is 6 ppm. Yet the Keeling curve claims, implicitly, accuracy less than 1 ppm.
But these stations all start in the 1950s. What gives? Were there no measurements of atmospheric CO2 prior to that time? Sadly, the IPCC and Keeling, simply ignore the vast literature on previous CO2 measurements.
Ernst-Georg Beck published a paper analysing the 90,000 measurments of atmospheric CO2 from 1812 to the present. It is at Beck, Ernst-Georg, “180 years of atmospheric CO2 gas analysis by chemical methods” Energy and Environment 18,(2007):2, pp. 259-282
The story his analysis tells is a big blow to the climate hysteriacs, who seem never to access or mention CO2 measurments made by chemical analysis over this span. The IPCC uses the ice cores, which, in light of 90,000 atmospheric measurments of CO2 over the past 200 years gives the appearance of cherry-picking. A short version of a peer reviewed paper is found here
Let’s first look at Beck’s chart showing the historical measurments. One immediately sees that CO2 was higher than the ‘consensus’ IPCC scientists would allow. They use the ice core data and ignore actual atmospheric measurements.
Now lest someone say that this kind of high CO2 levels were unusual, look at the bi-weekly data from Giessen, Germany for the years 1939-1941.
The IPCC graphs don’t mention or show the variations in CO2 turned up by Beck here and see the picture below. The IPCC is clearly cherry-picking the data. Look at the insert below.
At the very least, the IPCC should explain specifically why it is rejecting all these historical measurments of CO2. As it is, they act as if these measurements don’t exist.
This dialogue framework was proposed for a debate between William Happer and David Karoly sponsored by The Best Schools. As you can see it reads like an high hurdle course for alarmists/activists. There are significant objections at every leap in connecting the beliefs.
Earth does better with more CO2. CO2 levels are increasing
Atmospheric transmission of radiation: Tyndall correctly recognized in 1861 that the most important greenhouse gas of the Earth’s atmosphere is water vapor. CO2 was a modest supporting actor, then as now.
Radiative cooling of the Earth: Clouds are one of the most potent factors controlling Earth’ s surface temperature.
The Schwarzschild equation: The observed intensity I of upwelling radiation comes from the radiation emitted by the surface and by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere above the surface. The rate of change of the intensity with altitude…
View original post 1,453 more words
Human Activity in China and India Dominates the Greening of Earth, NASA Study Shows
The world is literally a greener place than it was 20 years ago, and data from NASA satellites has revealed a counterintuitive source for much of this new foliage: China and India. A new study shows that the two emerging countries with the world’s biggest populations are leading the increase in greening on land. The effect stems mainly from ambitious tree planting programs in China and intensive agriculture in both countries.
The greening phenomenon was first detected using satellite data in the mid-1990s by Ranga Myneni of Boston University and colleagues, but they did not know whether human activity was one of its chief, direct causes. This new insight was made possible by a nearly 20-year-long data record from a NASA instrument orbiting the Earth on two satellites. It’s called the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS, and its high-resolution data provides very accurate information, helping researchers work out details of what’s happening with Earth’s vegetation, down to the level of 500 meters, or about 1,600 feet, on the ground.
Taken all together, the greening of the planet over the last two decades represents an increase in leaf area on plants and trees equivalent to the area covered by all the Amazon rainforests. There are now more than two million square miles of extra green leaf area per year, compared to the early 2000s – a 5% increase.
“China and India account for one-third of the greening, but contain only 9% of the planet’s land area covered in vegetation – a surprising finding, considering the general notion of land degradation in populous countries from overexploitation,” said Chi Chen of the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, in Massachusetts, and lead author of the study.
An advantage of the MODIS satellite sensor is the intensive coverage it provides, both in space and time: MODIS has captured as many as four shots of every place on Earth, every day for the last 20 years.
“This long-term data lets us dig deeper,” said Rama Nemani, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, in California’s Silicon Valley, and a co-author of the new work. “When the greening of the Earth was first observed, we thought it was due to a warmer, wetter climate and fertilization from the added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to more leaf growth in northern forests, for instance. Now, with the MODIS data that lets us understand the phenomenon at really small scales, we see that humans are also contributing.”
China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.
Land area used to grow crops is comparable in China and India – more than 770,000 square miles – and has not changed much since the early 2000s. Yet these regions have greatly increased both their annual total green leaf area and their food production. This was achieved through multiple cropping practices, where a field is replanted to produce another harvest several times a year. Production of grains, vegetables, fruits and more have increased by about 35-40% since 2000 to feed their large populations.
How the greening trend may change in the future depends on numerous factors, both on a global scale and the local human level. For example, increased food production in India is facilitated by groundwater irrigation. If the groundwater is depleted, this trend may change.
“But, now that we know direct human influence is a key driver of the greening Earth, we need to factor this into our climate models,” Nemani said. “This will help scientists make better predictions about the behavior of different Earth systems, which will help countries make better decisions about how and when to take action.”
The researchers point out that the gain in greenness seen around the world and dominated by India and China does not offset the damage from loss of natural vegetation in tropical regions, such as Brazil and Indonesia. The consequences for sustainability and biodiversity in those ecosystems remain.
Overall, Nemani sees a positive message in the new findings. “Once people realize there’s a problem, they tend to fix it,” he said. “In the 70s and 80s in India and China, the situation around vegetation loss wasn’t good; in the 90s, people realized it; and today things have improved. Humans are incredibly resilient. That’s what we see in the satellite data.”
This research was published online, Feb. 11, 2019, in the journal Nature Sustainability.
For news media:
Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should get in touch with the science representative on the NASA Ames media contacts page.
Author: Abby Tabor, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley
Reblogged from Watts Up With That:
WUWT regular David Burton writes:
One of the most pernicious examples of disinformation promoted by the Climate Industry is the claim that manmade climate change from CO2 emissions threatens agriculture and “food security.” That’s the exact opposite of the truth. CO2 is “plant fertilizer,” and hundreds of agricultural studies have shown that higher CO2 levels are dramatically beneficial for agriculture, to levels far above what we can ever hope for outdoors.
Most plants grow best with daytime atmospheric CO2 of at least about 1500 ppmv. That’s about what CO2 levels are thought to have averaged during the Cretaceous. It’s 1090 ppmv higher than the current average outdoor level of about 410 ppmv.
In other words, most plants would grow best if CO2 levels were increased by more than eight times the measly 130 ppmv by which mankind has managed to increase CO2 levels since the “pre-industrial” Little Ice Age. (Levels even higher than that wouldn’t hurt plants, but they wouldn’t help much, either.)
(click to enlarge)
That’s why most commercial greenhouses use “CO2 generators” to raise daytime CO2 to about that level. It makes the plants healthier, faster-growing, and more productive.
Note: There are several different kinds of photosynthesis. Plants that use “C3” or “CAM” photosynthesis benefit the most from higher CO2 levels. “C4” crops benefit the least, but even C4 crops benefit when under drought stress. Most crops use C3 photosynthesis. There are only four important C4 crops, all of them grasses: corn [maize], sugarcane, sorghum, and millet.)
(dependence of the rate of photosynthesis on the amount of CO2 in the air in C3 and C4 plants, from https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthese; click to enlarge)
The value of higher CO2 levels for agriculture is not a new discovery. Svante Arrhenius wrote about it in 1908, and cited a source from as early as 1872. Arrhenius predicted that:
“By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid [CO2] in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.”
In 1920, Scientific American reported the results of German greenhouse and F.A.C.E. experiments with CO2 supplementation. The experiments were so spectacularly successful that SciAm called anthropogenic CO2 “the precious air fertilizer.” From this photo, which accompanied the article, you can certainly see why:
SciAm 1920: Carbonic Acid Gas to Fertilize the Air
(click to view article)
Over the last century, many hundreds of studies have measured the large benefits of higher CO2 levels for most crops:
(Dr. Sherwood Idso showing the effect of CO2 level on pine trees; click to enlarge)
But the National Academy of Sciences would have you believe that global warming threatens agricultural productivity. So let’s examine that claim.
Here’s a recent article from the Farm Bureau, reporting preliminary U.S. state-by-state corn and soybean yield numbers for 2018:
Farm Bureau 2018: Corn and Soybean Yields are YUUUGE
(click to view article)
Of course the headline obviously suggests that climate change hasn’t hurt corn and soybean production, so far. But that’s not the most interesting part of it.
Look at the wide distribution of states, which grow corn. In this map, from the article, you can see that Minnesota’s 2018 corn yields averaged 191 Bushels Per Acre (BPA), and Mississippi’s corn yields averaged 185 BPA. The “breadbasket” states of Illinois and Iowa both had even bigger bumper crops, with yields above 200 BPA:
Now, compare that map with this growing-zone map (courtesy of arborday.org). In it you can see that Minnesota and Mississippi are about four climate/growing zones apart. Minnesota is mostly zone 4, and Mississippi is almost entirely zone 8. Illinois and Iowa are a mix of zones 5 & 6:
U.S. climate zones span 10°F, so the center-to-center difference between four zone numbers is 40°F = 22.2 °C.
However, in this map you can see that Minnesota’s corn is mostly from the southern half of the state, which is a mix of zone 4 and zone 5, and Mississippi’s corn is mostly from the northwest half of the state, which is upper zone 8.
So the average temperature difference between the middle of the prime corn-growing regions of the two states is a bit less than 40°F, I’d call it about 33 ±2°F.
In Celsius, that’s a temperature difference of 17.2 to 19.4 °C (midpoint 18.3°C), between Mississippi (185 BPA) and Minnesota (191 BPA).
In other words, it is plain that an average temperature difference of about 18°C has little effect on corn yields.
Many other major crops are even less climate-sensitive:
● Wheat is profitably grown in zones 3 through 9, from Saskatchewan to south Texas, a temperature range of over 35°C:
● Maine & Florida are both major producers of Potatoes:
● Soybeans are grown from Louisiana & Mississippi to Minnesota & Canada:
What, then, are we to make of this PNAS paper?
From the title you would probably assume that they found anthropogenic climate change causes crop yields to decline, because negative impacts of temperature increases exceed the positive impacts of CO2 fertilization and improved drought resistance from higher CO2 levels. That’s what you’re supposed to think, and that’s how the press release reported it:
“Global Warming Will Sear Three of Four Major Grain Crops,” said the caption on Haaratz.
But if you read the paper, or if you read Eric Worrall’s excellent 2017 analysis of it on WUWT, you’ll discover that the authors did not actually say that. Instead, they wrote that they were discussing what they think would happen to yields in an imaginary world “without CO2 fertilization, effective adaptation, and genetic improvement.”
Of course “without CO2 fertilization” means they’re ignoring the beneficial effects of higher CO2 levels, which obviously divorces the paper from any pretense of presenting predictions of future reality.
But it’s even worse than that. Can you guess what their assumption of no “effective adaptation” to a warming climate actually means?
For annual crops, “effective adaptation” means adjusting spring planting dates, and perhaps adjusting cultivar selection. That’s all.
It’s not rocket science. In America’s heartland, moving the planting date up by about six days compensates for 1°C of warming:
So +4°C of warming is equivalent to planting about 24 days late.
The assumption of no “effective adaptation” to warming means these 29(!) authors assumed farmers are all idiots, who can’t figure out when they should plant their crops. (Projection, maybe?)
It’s utterly preposterous. The reality is that most farmers are not idiots, anthropogenic CO2 is highly beneficial “air fertilizer,” and the further that CO2 levels rise, the more productive farms will become.
That fact is true for the great majority of crops, nearly everywhere in the world. Yet the NAS has been promoting the anti-scientific claim that rising CO2 levels are bad for agriculture, for years. This 2011 NAS / NRC propaganda graph is a particularly outrageous example:
Notice the red “US Maize” and purple “India Wheat” traces, and where they intersect the 4°C line. You can see that they’re predicting that in the event of a 4°C temperature increase, U.S. maize (corn) yields would decline by a devastating 60%, and wheat yields in India would fall 68%.
(Of course such a large temperature increase is thoroughly implausible, but never mind that. That’s a different rant, for a different day.)
Today’s rant is this: That NAS / NRC graph is a lie.
If a mere 4°C of warming were actually that destructive to corn yields, it would obviously be impossible to profitably grow corn even in Tennessee & Kentucky (zone 7, 174-175 BPA in 2018), let alone Mississippi (zone 8, 185 BPA).
Likewise, if a mere 4°C temperature increase were actually that destructive to wheat yields, then it would obviously be impossible for North Americans to cultivate wheat across seven climate zones, from Saskatchewan to south Texas, spanning an average temperature range of about 35°C.
That NAS / NRC graph is utter nonsense. But even though it is old, it’s still being used by climate change zealots to mislead people. I stumbled across it because someone posted it in the comments on an article at ArsTechnica. (I’m currently banned for a week there, for “ignoring moderation,” because I disagreed with their leftist moderator. My first comment there [screenshot] has been deleted, too, but some of the others are still there. They look “faded” because the ArsTechnica comment system fades-out comments with lots of downvotes.)
On March 22, 2012, Rud Istvan did a wonderful, in-depth demolition of that graph, on WUWT & ClimateEtc:
Yet, despite their propaganda graph having been completely debunked, the NAS is still disseminating it, to promote the climate scare.
Here it is on their web site, on p.28 of a little 40 page propaganda booklet, which appears to be designed to be used as a resource by schoolteachers:
Here it is, in convenient PowerPoint format, for incorporation into your talk at the local garden club (slide 21):
(The file metadata indicates that the slides were created by “Rebecca” in June, 2013 — more than a year after Rud had discredited the graph.)
It’s also on p.161 of this free 299-page ebook:
If Zhao and his 28 co-authors really believe, as they claimed in their PNAS paper, that correctly assessing the impact of climate change on agriculture is “critical to maintaining global food supply,” then it is incredibly cynical of them and the NAS to publish misleading papers and graphs which encourage policymakers to take steps that will actually reduce that the global food supply.
I’m beginning to wonder: Does the “A” in “NAS” is still stand for “Academy of,” or does it now stand for “Anti-,”?
Reblogged from Watts Up With That:
What’s Natural? Guest essay by Jim Steele
American folk lore is filled with stories of how Native Americans observed changes in wildlife and foretold future weather changes. I was fascinated by an 1800s story of Native Americans inhabiting regions around Marysville, California who had moved down into the river valleys during drought years. They then moved to higher ground before devastating floods occurred. Did they understand California’s natural climate cycles? Could changes in salmon migrations alert them?
Observing salmon has certainly improved modern climate science. In the 1990s climate scientists struggled to understand why surface temperatures in the northwest sector of the Pacific Ocean had suddenly become cooler while temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific suddenly warmed. Climate models predicted no such thing. However, fishery biologists noted salmon abundance in Alaska underwent boom and bust cycles lasting 20 to 40 years. When Alaskan salmon populations boomed, their populations from California to Washington busted. Conversely, decades later when Alaskan populations busted, those more southerly populations boomed.
Scientists soon realized the observed alternating patterns in fish abundance not only coincided with those puzzling changes in ocean surface temperatures, but also with regional drought-flood cycles, glacier growth and retreat, and tree-line advances and retreats. Tree rings and lake sediments also recorded cycles of 5 major Sierra Nevada droughts alternating with wetter decades during the past 300 years. This all convinced scientists of the existence of a natural “ocean oscillation” driving climate change. This climate see-saw was finally named the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in 1997. (Science uses the term “oscillation” to describe repeating cycles with general, but imprecise time periods.)
The newly characterized PDO had yet to be included in climate models. But progress in climate research recently argues the PDO largely explains western North America’s last 100 years of climate change. So how do we separate naturally caused weather extremes from human contributions? Unfortunately, few Americans are aware of these “cycles”. But if we don’t educate our children about natural climate change, the next generation will surely fall victim to every Chicken Little climate story told by scientifically illiterate politicians or by journalists who profit from sensationalism; if it bleeds, it leads!
Similar fish tales have been reported globally. In the Atlantic, a similar oscillation was officially recognized in 2000. But according to fishery records, that oscillation has been noted since the 15th century. Norwegian fisheries documented 30 to 60-year boom and bust cycles for herring, sardines and anchovies. In the 1930s Greenland experienced a warming rivaling today’s temperatures. Simultaneously Danish Arctic ice records showed extensive sea ice melt. This all coincided with intrusions of warm Atlantic waters that brought Atlantic cod and herring northwards. Fish retreated decades later coinciding with cooling temperatures and recovering sea ice. Today’s Arctic warming and reduced sea ice has likewise coincided with greater intrusions of warm Atlantic water. Will there be a return cycle of retreating Atlantic waters that causes sea ice to rebound again?
Finally, contrary to recent claims of “unprecedented” rapid warming, Greenland’s air temperatures warmed more rapidly during the 1920s to 30s causing melting around Greenland’s ice cap. After warm waters retreated, Greenland gained ice from the 1960s to the 90s. A new period of rapid melting began in the 90s but peaked in 2012. Since then, Greenland’s melting gradually subsided and Greenland gained ice in 2017 and 2018, perhaps signaling a new cooling phase.
And there is a truly optimistic fish tale. Monterrey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s senior scientist Dr. Francisco Chavez is a Peruvian oceanographer who studies the PDO and upwelling effects on marine life. The upwelling region off the coast of Peru is known as the most productive fishery in the world because robust upwelling brings nutrients from dark ocean depths up to the sunlit layers increasing photosynthesis. During the cold Little Ice Age – 1300 to 1850 AD – marine life off Peru’s coast was at a low point. Starting in the late 1800s as temperatures warmed, plankton rapidly increased, which promoted rapid increases in fish abundance. This dramatic improvement in marine life is well documented in preserved sediments.
To promote plant growth, commercial greenhouses add an additional 1000 ppm to the current 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. So, did marine life also increase due to rising levels of CO2? Or perhaps, because land temperatures warm faster than ocean temperatures, did stronger winds increase ocean upwelling? Whatever the drivers of the observed increases in ocean life, it appears likely that rising CO2 contributed definitive benefits.
If we are to truly understand climate change and discern human contributions, these fish tales all suggest we must first account for natural oscillations that have surely been operating for millennia. So, to rephrase Mark Twain, ‘reports of the earth’s imminent death within 18 years, via rising CO2, are likely greatly exaggerated’.
Jim Steele authored Landscapes and Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism
Published in the Pacifica Tribune January, 29, 2019 (republished here at the request of the author).
Reblogged from Musings from the Chiefio:
The article is cited in a couple of other places. I ran into it here:
Where Tallbloke points to the Elsevier / Science Direct origin (where it is paywalled…)
This supports the idea that temperature cycles in the region of 60 years are very likely a common feature of Earth’s climate.
Deploying a new technique for the first time in the region, geoscientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have reconstructed the longest and highest-resolution climate record for the Northeastern United States, which reveals previously undetected past temperature cycles and extends the record 900 years into the past, well beyond the previous early date of 1850, reports Phys.org.
And points at the description of the article at phys.org:
As Miller explains, they used a relatively new quantitative method based on the presence of chemical compounds known as branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetra ethers (branched GDGTs) found in lakes, soils, rivers and peat bogs around the world. The compounds can provide an independent terrestrial paleo-thermometer that accurately assesses past temperature variability.
Miller says, “This is the first effort using these compounds to reconstruct temperature in the Northeast, and the first one at this resolution.” He and colleagues were able to collect a total of 136 samples spanning the 900-year time span, many more than would be available with more traditional methods and from other locations that typically yield just one sample per 30-100 years.
I make that about a 6 2/3 year long duration per sample. So 9 samples per 60+ year cycle. A bit coarse but it ought to resolve with 4 to 5 samples per arc of excursion.
I find it a bit amusing that they are all worked up about having rediscovered the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age; but OK, at least we’re finally getting back to reality. They are amazed at the “new” finding of the same 60ish year cycle that has been found just about everywhere anyone actually looks for it. OK… All bolding by me.
In their results, Miller says, “We see essentially cooling throughout most of the record until the 1900s, which matches other paleo-records for North America. We see the Medieval Warm Period in the early part and the Little Ice Age in the 1800s.” An unexpected observation was 10, 50-to-60-year temperature cycles not seen before in records from Northeast U.S., he adds, “a new finding and surprising. We’re trying to figure out what causes that. It may be caused by changes in the North Atlantic Oscillation or some other atmospheric patterns. We’ll be looking further into it.”
He adds, “We’re very excited about this. I think it’s a great story of how grad students who come up with a promising idea, if they have enough support from their advisors, can produce a study with really eye-opening results.” Details appear in a recent issue of the European Geophysical Union’s open-access online journal, Climate of the Past.
The authors point out that paleo-temperature reconstructions are essential for distinguishing human-made climate change from natural variability, but historical temperature records are not long enough to capture pre-human-impact variability. Further, using conventional pollen- and land-based sediment samples as climate proxies can reflect confounding parameters rather than temperature, such as precipitation, humidity, evapo-transpiration and vegetation changes.
Or put more succinctly, our thermometer record is short and lousy and our proxy record is pretty damn poor too.
Then TallBloke also points at a couple of other links. Here’s the paywall:
Anthropogenic CO2 warming challenged by 60-year cycle
Author François Gervais
Time series of sea-level rise are fitted by a sinusoid of period ~ 60 years, confirming the cycle reported for the global mean temperature of the earth. This cycle appears in phase with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). The last maximum of the sinusoid coincides with the temperature plateau observed since the end of the 20th century. The onset of declining phase of AMO, the recent excess of the global sea ice area anomaly and the negative slope of global mean temperature measured by satellite from 2002 to 2015, all these indicators sign for the onset of the declining phase of the 60-year cycle. Once this cycle is subtracted from observations, the transient climate response is revised downwards consistent with latest observations, with latest evaluations based on atmospheric infrared absorption and with a general tendency of published climate sensitivity. The enhancement of the amplitude of the CO2 seasonal oscillations which is found up to 71% faster than the atmospheric CO2 increase, focus on earth greening and benefit for crops yields of the supplementary photosynthesis, further minimizing the consequences of the tiny anthropogenic contribution to warming.
I found a non-paywall copy up here:
So download your copy while you can…
A nice summary of other 60 year-ish cycle evidence in this link also from TallBloke:
So what are these “branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers”?
Found that answer here:
From their Figure 2:
Strange things made in the membrane of various microbes in the water column that change with the temperature.
From the actual paper intro:
A cycle of period ~60 years has been reported in global mean temperature of the earth (Schlesinger and Ramankutty, 1994; Ogurtsov et al., 2002; Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003; Loehle, 2004; Zhen-Shan and Xian, 2007; Carvalo et al., 2007; Swanson and Tsonis, 2009; Scafetta, 2009; Akasofu, 2010; D’Aleo and Easterbrook, 2010; Loehle and Scafetta, 2011; Humlum et al., 2011; Chambers et al., 2012; Lüdecke et al., 2013; Courtillot et al., 2013; Akasofu, 2013; Macias et al., 2014; Ogurtsov et al., 2015). This cycle and others of smaller amplitude were found to be correlated with the velocity of the motion of
the sun with respect to the center of mass of the solar system (Scafetta, 2009). This cycle is also in phase with AMO index (Knudsen et al., 2011; McCarthy et al., 2015). Section 2 will search for additional signatures of this 60-year cycle in major components and sensitive indicators of climate. The impact on climate of the CO2 emitted by burning of fossil fuels is a long-standing debate illustrated by 1637 papers found in the Web of Science by crossing the keywords
[anthropogenic] AND [greenhouse OR CO2] AND [warming]
This is to be compared to more than 1350 peer-reviewed papers which express reservations about dangerous anthropogenic CO2 warming and/or insist on the natural variability of climate (Andrew,2014). The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at the time of doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. The range of uncertainty reported by AR5 (2013) is very wide, 1–2.5 °C. More recent evaluations, later than the publication of AR5 (2013), focus on low values lying between 0.6 °Cand 1.4 °C (Harde, 2014; Lewis and Curry, 2014; Skeie et al., 2014; Lewis, 2015). The infrared absorption of CO2 is well documented since the availability of wide-band infrared spectrometry (Ångström, 1900).
OMG! Actually talking about solar motion and AMO connections! Next thing you know they will discover the lunar cycle involvement and how tides are directly shifting the ocean and air flows as part of those celestial motions…
The intro then goes into a discussion of the IR spectra and transmission where it finds the approved models lacking and also finds that yes, Virginia, we have had a pause in temperature rises…
The controversy has reached a novel phase because, contrary to CMIP3 and CMIP5 warming projections (AR5, 2013), global mean temperatures at the surface of the earth display a puzzling « plateau » or « pause » or « hiatus » since the end of the last century (McKitrick, 2014). This hiatus seems to have encouraged climate modelers to refrain from exaggerated warming projections.
The paper is full of many such goodies. It goes on to find a large 60 year cycle effect and a very muted CO2 effect.
Skipping down to the summary:
Dangerous anthropogenic warming is questioned (i) upon recognition of the large amplitude of the natural 60–year cyclic component and (ii) upon revision downwards of the transient climate response consistent with latest tendencies shown in Fig. 1, here found to be at most 0.6 °C once the natural component has been removed, consistent with latest infrared studies (Harde, 2014). Anthropogenic warming well below the potentially dangerous range were reported in older and recent studies (Idso, 1998; Miskolczi, 2007; Paltridge et al., 2009; Gerlich and Tscheuschner, 2009; Lindzen and Choi, 2009, 2011; Spencer and Braswell, 2010; Clark, 2010; Kramm and Dlugi, 2011; Lewis and Curry, 2014; Skeie et al., 2014; Lewis, 2015; Volokin and ReLlez, 2015). On inspection of a risk of anthropogenic warming thus toned down, a change of paradigm which highlights a benefit for mankind related to the increase of plant feeding and crops yields by enhanced CO2 photosynthesis is suggested.
I strongly recommend a download and careful reading of the paper.
Reblogged from Watts Up With That:
Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
As a result of a tweet by Steve McIntyre, I was made aware of an interesting dataset. This is a look by Vinther et al. at the last ~12,000 years of temperatures on the Greenland ice cap. The dataset is available here.
Figure 1 shows the full length of the data, along with the change in summer insolation at 75°N, the general location of the ice cores used to create the temperature dataset.
Figure 1. Temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet (left scale, yellow/black line), and the summer insolation in watts per square metre at 75°N (right scale, blue/black line). The red horizontal dashed line shows the average ice sheet temperature 1960-1980.
I’ll only say a few things about each of the graphs in this post. Regarding Figure 1, the insolation swing shown above is about fifty watts per square metre. Over the period in question, the temperature dropped about two and a half degrees from the peak in about 5800 BCE. That would mean the change is on the order of 0.05°C for each watt per square metre change in insolation …
From about 8300 BCE to 800 BCE, the average temperature of the ice sheet, not the maximum temperature but the average temperature of the ice sheet, was greater than the 1960-1980 average temperature of the ice sheet. That’s 7,500 years of the Holocene when Greenland’s ice sheet was warmer than recent temperatures.
Next, Figure 2 shows the same temperature data as in Figure 1, but this time with the EPICA Dome C ice core CO2 data.
Figure 2. Temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet (left scale, yellow/black line), and EPICA Dome C ice core CO2 data, 9000 BCE – 1515 AD (right scale, blue/black line)
Hmmm … for about 7,000 years, CO2 is going up … and Greenland temperature is going down … who knew?
Finally, here’s the recent Vinther data:
Figure 3. Recent temperature anomalies of the Greenland ice sheet.
Not a whole lot to say about that except that the Greenland ice sheet has been as warm or warmer than the 1960-1980 average a number of times during the last 2000 years.
Finally, I took a look to see if there were any solar-related or other strong cycles in the Vinther data. Neither a Fourier periodogram nor a CEEMD analysis revealed any significant cycles.
And that’s the story of the Vinther reconstruction … here, we’ve had lovely rain for a couple of days now. Our cat wanders the house looking for the door into summer. He goes out time after time hoping for a different outcome … and he is back in ten minutes, wanting to be let in again.
My best to all, rain or shine,
Reblogged from Watts Up With That:
Guest essay by Eric Worrall
President Trump’s choice is approved by both Katharine Hayhoe and Roger Pielke Jr.
Can Trump’s new science adviser convince him that climate change is real?
By Brandon Miller, CNN
Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT) January 3, 2019
(CNN) In the eleventh hour of the outgoing Congress’ term, the Senate confirmed one of President Trump’s nominees that could have a profound impact on the future of our planet.
Kelvin Droegemeier, a meteorologist and former University of Oklahoma professor, was confirmed to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday– a role commonly referred to as “science adviser” and the top scientific office in the country.
The position has sat vacant since Trump’s presidency began nearly two years ago.
“It is encouraging to see that this position is finally filled, and by someone with solid scientific credentials and extensive experience in connecting cutting-edge science to policy decisions,” according to Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist with Texas Tech University.
Trump has a history of dismissing his own experts, whether they be top intelligence reports or senior military officials, so many are skeptical that Droegemeier will have much influence over Trump’s view on climate.
“No one should expect that he will be advising this president on any meaningful manner,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado who studies the intersection of science and politics and who has published on the history of US science advisers. Pielke has worked with Droegemeier and known him for more than 20 years.
“This president does not appear to seek advice,” Pielke said, adding that the primary function of the science adviser has historically been to coordinate budgets and support science and technology programs that cross agency boundaries.
“Science advisers have historically had little, if any, impact on major policies,” Pielke said. “This goes for John Holdren under Obama and all others before him.”
Update (EW): Fixed misspelling of Katharine Hayhoe’s name
[Hifast Note: The Comment thread at WUWT is outstanding. Click here to go.]