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Archive for July 2019

 

FIGURE 1: CO2 & TEMPERATURE DATA0102

 

FIGURE 2: OBSERVED CLIMATE SENSITIVITIES: T-TEST03

 

 

 

FIGURE 3: CLIMATE SENSITIVITY ESTIMATES FROM HADCRU RECONSTRUCTIONS04

 

FIGURE 4: CLIMATE SENSITIVITY ESTIMATES: UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE DATA04uah

 

FIGURE 5: GRAPHICAL COMPARISON OF HADCRU SENSITIVITIES 050607

 

FIGURE 6: GRAPHICAL COMPARISON OF UAH SENSITIVITIES 050607uah

 

FIGURE 7: SPLIT HALF TEST OF RELIABILITY08-splithalf09split-half

 

 

ESSENTIAL FINDINGS OF THIS WORK:

Averaging the values for the two temperature datasets in Figure 6 we estimate mean global climate sensitivity as λ={1.88 to 1.97}. Climate sensitivity is somewhat higher for land surfaces at λ={2.32 to 2.35} and somewhat lower for sea surfaces with λ={1.23 to 2.00}. With one exception, these means are statistically significant for HA: λ>0 against H0: λ<=0. However, a split-half test of reliability reveals large differences in sensitivity values among the full span and the two halves of the full span. These differences, in the context of differences among calendar months imply instability and unreliability of climate sensitivity within the constraints of this empirical test. The observed instability makes it difficult to interpret the observed sensitivity values in terms of the GHG effect of atmospheric CO2 claimed by climate science. It is noted however, that the full span values, though low when compared with Charney/IPCC results are in close agreement with the earlier results of Professor Syukuro Manabe (Manabe 1964).

 

SUMMARY:

  1. In 1958, Charles Keeling devised a highly accurate technique for the measurement of atmospheric concentration of the trace gas carbon dioxide using spectroscopic analysis of cryogenic condensation (Keeling, 1978) (Keeling, 1982). This technique has been sanctioned by the WMO and subsequently by the IPCC. Since 1959 these precise estimates of atmospheric CO2, measured on an isolated mountain in Hawaii far from Industrial interference, have been made available as monthly mean CO2 concentrations of the atmosphere.
  2. Observational studies of the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS) normally involve longer study periods that reach back well beyond 1959 and are therefore forced to make use of atmospheric CO2 data that may not be reliable (Callendar, 1958) (Keeling, 1986) (Wigley, 1983) (WMO, 1983). It is possible that the uncertainty issue in climate sensitivity research (Munshi, 2018) (Caldeira, 2003) (Curry, 2011) (Curry/Webster, 2011) (Stainforth, 2005) may derive at least in part from measurements of historical atmospheric carbon dioxide prior to the Mauna Loa era that have been deemed as unreliable.
  3. Monthly mean Mauna Loa CO2 data 1959-2017 are used in conjunction with monthly mean temperatures from two sources 1959-2017 and 1979-2017 for five regions defined as NHLAND, NHSEA, SHLAND, SHSEA, and GLOBAL are used in estimating the climate sensitivity λ. For each calendar month in each region, three values of λ are computed for three time spans – the full span and the first and second halves of the sample period.
  4. Differences among the three spans and the twelve calendar months serve as a measure of the stability and reliability of the estimate. These patterns vary by region with the greatest anomalous result seen when the HADCRU temperature data for NHLAND are used (land surfaces in the Northern Hemisphere). This result implies that there is something anomalous and unreliable in the Hadley Center’s CRUTEM4 dataset for the Northern Hemisphere. These results are removed from consideration on this basis.
  5. Averaging the remaining climate sensitivity values we estimate mean GLOBAL climate sensitivity as λG= {1.88 to 1.97}. Climate sensitivity is somewhat higher for LAND surfaces at λ= {2.32 to 2.35} and somewhat lower for SEA surfaces with λL= {1.23 to 2.00}. These values appear to be stable. A comparison with values found in the literature (Munshi, From Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity to Carbon Climate Response, 2018) places these values on the low end of the scale in observed climate sensitivity values and also on the low end of the IPCC and Charney range of λ= {1.5 to 4.5} and with tighter intervals. However, differences observed in the split half test and comparison of calendar months make it difficult to interpret observed sensitivity values in terms of a GHG effect of atmospheric CO2.
  6. The results are presented with the disclaimer that they may be a peculiarity of the brief intervals used in their estimation. A prior test with a moving 60-year window in the study period showed wide variability of climate sensitivity according to the placement of the 60-year period within the full span of the study period of 1859-2018 [LINK] .

BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION:

  1. The so called greenhouse effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide and water vapor is based on the theory that solar irradiance reaches the surface of the earth relatively unhindered but the longer wavelength re-radiated by the surface does not escape to outer space unhindered but is absorbed by carbon dioxide and water vapor and re-radiated at a lower frequency such that much of it is returned to the surface causing the surface temperature to be higher than it would have been without this absorption effect.
  2. The modern version of the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) holds that atmospheric CO2 is “the control knob” that determines surface temperature at an annual time scale and that therefore there is a direct logarithmic relationship between atmospheric CO2 and surface temperature (Callendar, 1938) (Hansen, 1981) (Lacis, 2010). This relationship has been formalized as the so called Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity or ECS (Manabe 1964),(Charney, 1979).
  3. The ECS is the key parameter in the theory of AGW that relates temperature to atmospheric CO2. In a related post [LINK]  empirical values of the ECS from observational data are presented for the sample period 1850-2018 using annual means for both atmospheric CO2 and temperature. The use of annualized temperature was necessary because CO2 data prior to 1959 were taken from the Law Dome ice core data and are available only as annual means (CSIRO, 2017).
  4. However, it has been shown that temperature trend profiles of the calendar months tend to differ and that this information is lost when calendar months are aggregated into annual mean temperatures; with the further disadvantage of an inability to detect changes in the seasonal cycle. These differences among calendar months and the greater precision of the Keeling CO2 data (Keeling, 1978) (Keeling, 1982) provide the motivation for this further study of climate sensitivity as an extension of the prior work.

 

DATA AND METHODS:

  1. The greater precision of the Mauna Loa data for atmospheric CO2 levels as well as their availability as monthly means makes it possible to compute reliable climate sensitivity estimates for calendar months. These data are available from 1959 to the present and they are used in conjunction with surface temperature reconstructions as well as satellite data for lower troposphere temperatures available since 1979. Two different study periods are used. The longer study period is 1959-2017 constrained only by the availability of high quality Mauna Loa CO2 data. A shorter sample period of 1979-2017 is used for satellite temperatures s these data are not available prior to 1979.
  2. Surface temperature reconstructions 1959-2017 are provided by the Hadley Centre of the Met Office of the Government of the UK (Hadley Centre, 2017). Monthly mean lower troposphere temperatures from satellite data are provided by the University of Alabama Huntsville (Christy/Spencer, 2018). All temperature data are provided as temperature anomalies in Celsius units as global means and also as regional means.
  3. The regions used in this study are (1) NHLAND = Land surfaces in the Northern Hemisphere, (2) NHSEA = Sea surfaces in the Northern Hemisphere, (3) SHLAND = Land surfaces in the Southern Hemisphere, (4) SHSEA = Sea surfaces in the Southern Hemisphere, and (5) GLOBAL = a combination of these four distinct regions. Data for atmospheric CO2 levels for the period 1959-2017 are provided by the Scripps Institution for Oceanography as monthly mean parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere by volume (Scripps, 2017).
  4. The existence of an Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity parameter implies a unique linear relationship between surface temperature and the natural logarithm of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in terms of a universal constant of proportionality λ=ECS=Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity. In terms of OLS linear regression we can write T=α+β*Ln(CO2). Here, β, the regression slope, represents the average temperature rise for a unit increase in Ln(CO2) and that in turn corresponds to an increase in CO2 by a factor of 2.718282. Multiplication of β by Ln(2)= 0.693147 converts the regression coefficient to the conventional climate sensitivity format as λ=0.693147*β where λ is the temperature increase due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration (Manabe 1964, Charney, 1979).
  5. To assess the stability and robustness of λ, it is computed three ways; first for the full time span of each temperature dataset used (1959-2017 and 1979-2017), secondly for the two split halves of each temperature dataset (1959-1988 & 1988-2017, 1979-1998 & 1998-2017). The full span sample sizes are 49 years and 39 years long and the two halves of these time series are 20 and 30 years long.
  6. Since, ECS estimates are derived from regression coefficients, multiple measures of this coefficient, at different time spans and locations over the length of the study period, allow us to assess the stability and robustness of the coefficient (Kuder, 1937). These measures are estimates of the same underlying and unobservable value of climate sensitivity. Therefore, differences among them serve as a measure of uncertainty and close agreement as robustness and stability (Hansen B. , 1992) (Box, 1994) (Draper&Smith, 1998) (Shumway, 2011).

 

 

DATA ANALYSIS

  1. The data used in this study are displayed graphically in Figure 1 for each of the twelve calendar months such that each of the six charts contains twelve lines one for each calendar month. These charts show significant differences among calendar months, more so in the temperature data but not as much in the CO2 data that might be implied by the finding of a seasonal cycle in GHG forcing described in a related post [LINK] . The comparison implies that observed differences in ECS among calendar months are derived mostly from differences in the properties of the temperature series rather than from differences in the CO2 series. Only two of the five regional temperature series are displayed. They are for GLOBAL and NHLAND (land in the Northern Hemisphere). The NHLAND results are somewhat anomalous and they likely derive from unique properties of its temperature profile.
  2. The computed climate sensitivity values appear in the charts and tables labeled Figure 3 to Figure 6. Figure 3 shows results for the HADCRU temperature reconstruction in the full 59-year length of the Mauna Loa CO2 dataset 1959-2017. The corresponding results for the UAH temperature data appear in Figure 4. The time span for the UAH temperatures in Figure 4 is shorter at 39 years 1979-2017 due to non-availability of satellite temperature data prior to 1979.
  3. In each case (Figure 3 and Figure 4), ECS values are computed for the full span of the data and also for the two split halves of the full span. The split half test is used to gauge the stability and reliability of the ECS estimate. Thus, thirty six values of ECS are computed for each region, three for each of twelve calendar months, the three estimates being for the full span, first half, and second half of the sample period.
  4. The comparison of these values shows interesting differences between the two temperature datasets and among the four distinct regions. In the HADCRU temperature data 1959-2017, very close agreement between the three estimates is seen in the Southern Hemisphere but not so in the Northern Hemisphere where the first half of the time span shows significantly lower ECS values. We also find that ECS tends to be higher over land than over oceans and higher in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere.
  5. These relationships don’t hold for the UAH temperature dataset 1979-2017 where a very different pattern is seen. Here we find that the older half of the time span yields the highest values of ECS. Also, the higher ECS values for land over oceans and for the Northern Hemisphere over the Southern Hemisphere seen in HadCRU data are not evident in UAH data. Also a higher variability among the twelve calendar months is seen in the split half test.
  6. These stark differences between the two temperature datasets notwithstanding, the mean value of the thirty six ECS estimates for each region across calendar months and the split half tests are in close agreement except for an unusually high ECS for land in the Northern Hemisphere when the HADCRU temperatures are used 1959-2017. A clearer comparison of these means is presented in Figure 7.
  7. The comparison of the means across calendar months and split half samples in Figure 7 shows remarkable agreement among the regions and the two temperature datasets with the exception of the ECS for NHLAND computed with HADCRU temperatures (an outlier in the context of the rest of the analysis). Rejecting the high value of mean ECS=3.62 and median ECS=3.81 for NHLAND in the HADCRU temperatures as an anomalous outlier result, the remaining values in Figure 7 are in close agreement and they consistently indicate fairly low climate sensitivity globally as well as for each distinct region.
  8. ESSENTIAL FINDINGS OF THIS WORK: Averaging the values for the two temperature datasets in Figure 6 we estimate mean global climate sensitivity as λ={1.88 to 1.97}. Climate sensitivity is somewhat higher for land surfaces at λ={2.32 to 2.35} and somewhat lower for sea surfaces with λ={1.23 to 2.00}. With one exception, these means are statistically significant for HA: λ>0 against H0: λ<=0. These results, though low when compared with Charney/IPCC results are in close agreement with the earlier results of Professor Syukuro Manabe (Manabe 1964). The relevant Manabe papers  are listed below in the bibliography. More about Professor Manabe [LINK] .

 

 

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ECS Bibliography

  1. 2018: Dessler, A. E., and P. M. Forster. “An estimate of equilibrium climate sensitivity from interannual variability.Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (2018). Estimating the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS; the equilibrium warming in response to a doubling of CO2) from observations is one of the big problems in climate science. Using observations of interannual climate variations covering the period 2000 to 2017 and a model‐derived relationship between interannual variations and forced climate change, we estimate ECS is likely 2.4‐4.6 K (17‐83% confidence interval), with a mode and median value of 2.9 and 3.3 K, respectively. This analysis provides no support for low values of ECS (below 2 K) suggested by other analyses. The main uncertainty in our estimate is not observational uncertainty, but rather uncertainty in converting observations of short‐term, mainly unforced climate variability to an estimate of the response of the climate system to long‐term forced warming.: Plain language summary: Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) is the amount of warming resulting from doubling carbon dioxide. It is one of the important metrics in climate science because it is a primary determinant of how much warming we will experience in the future. Despite decades of work, this quantity remains uncertain: the last IPCC report stated a range for ECS of 1.5‐4.5 deg. Celsius. Using observations of interannual climate variations covering the period 2000 to 2017, we estimate ECS is likely 2.4‐4.6 K. Thus, our analysis provides no support for the bottom of the IPCC’s range.
  2. 2018: Cox, Peter M., Chris Huntingford, and Mark S. Williamson. “Emergent constraint on equilibrium climate sensitivity from global temperature variability.” Nature 553.7688 (2018): 319. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) remains one of the most important unknowns in climate change science. ECS is defined as the global mean warming that would occur if the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration were instantly doubled and the climate were then brought to equilibrium with that new level of CO2. Despite its rather idealized definition, ECS has continuing relevance for international climate change agreements, which are often framed in terms of stabilization of global warming relative to the pre-industrial climate. However, the ‘likely’ range of ECS as stated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has remained at 1.5–4.5 degrees Celsius for more than 25 years1. The possibility of a value of ECS towards the upper end of this range reduces the feasibility of avoiding 2 degrees Celsius of global warming, as required by the Paris Agreement. Here we present a new emergent constraint on ECS that yields a central estimate of 2.8 degrees Celsius with 66 per cent confidence limits (equivalent to the IPCC ‘likely’ range) of 2.2–3.4 degrees Celsius. Our approach is to focus on the variability of temperature about long-term historical warming, rather than on the warming trend itself. We use an ensemble of climate models to define an emergent relationship2between ECS and a theoretically informed metric of global temperature variability. This metric of variability can also be calculated from observational records of global warming, which enables tighter constraints to be placed on ECS, reducing the probability of ECS being less than 1.5 degrees Celsius to less than 3 per cent, and the probability of ECS exceeding 4.5 degrees Celsius to less than 1 per cent.
  3. 2018: Schurgers, Guy, et al. “Climate sensitivity controls uncertainty in future terrestrial carbon sink.” Geophysical Research Letters 45.9 (2018): 4329-4336. For the 21st century, carbon cycle models typically project an increase of terrestrial carbon with increasing atmospheric CO2 and a decrease with the accompanying climate change. However, these estimates are poorly constrained, primarily because they typically rely on a limited number of emission and climate scenarios. Here we explore a wide range of combinations of CO2 rise and climate change and assess their likelihood with the climate change responses obtained from climate models. Our results demonstrate that the terrestrial carbon uptake depends critically on the climate sensitivity of individual climate models, representing a large uncertainty of model estimates. In our simulations, the terrestrial biosphere is unlikely to become a strong source of carbon with any likely combination of CO2 and climate change in the absence of land use change, but the fraction of the emissions taken up by the terrestrial biosphere will decrease drastically with higher emissions.
  4. 2018: Wagner, Gernot, and Martin L. Weitzman. “Potentially large equilibrium climate sensitivity tail uncertainty.” Economics Letters 168 (2018): 144-146. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), the link between concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and eventual global average temperatures, has been persistently and perhaps deeply uncertain. Its ‘likely’ range has been approximately between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Centigrade for almost 40 years (Wagner and Weitzman, 2015). Moreover, Roe and Baker (2007), Weitzman (2009), and others have argued that its right-hand tail may be long, ‘fat’ even. Enter Cox et al. (2018), who use an ‘emergent constraint’ approach to characterize the probability distribution of ECS as having a central or best estimate of 2.8  °C with a 66% confidence interval of 2.2–3.4  °C. This implies, by their calculations, that the probability of ECS exceeding 4.5  °C is less than 1%. They characterize such kind of result as “renewing hope that we may yet be able to avoid global warming exceeding 2[°C]”. We share the desire for less uncertainty around ECS Weitzman (2011)Wagner and Weitzman (2015). However, we are afraid that the upper-tail emergent constraint on ECS is largely a function of the assumed normal error terms in the regression analysis. We do not attempt to evaluate Cox et al. (2018)’s physical modeling (aside from the normality assumption), leaving that task to physical scientists. We take Cox et al. (2018)’s 66% confidence interval as given and explore the implications of applying alternative probability distributions. We find, for example, that moving from a normal to a log-normal distribution, while giving identical probabilities for being in the 2.2–3.4 °C range, increases the probability of exceeding 4.5 °C by over five times. Using instead a fat-tailed Pareto distribution, an admittedly extreme case, increases the probability by over forty times. (blogger’s commentsome statistical issues in the treatment of ECS by climate scientists.)
  5. 2018: Jonko, Alexandra, Nathan M. Urban, and Balu Nadiga. “Towards Bayesian hierarchical inference of equilibrium climate sensitivity from a combination of CMIP5 climate models and observational data.” Climatic Change 149.2 (2018): 247-260. Despite decades of research, large multi-model uncertainty remains about the Earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide forcing as inferred from state-of-the-art Earth system models (ESMs). Statistical treatments of multi-model uncertainties are often limited to simple ESM averaging approaches. Sometimes models are weighted by how well they reproduce historical climate observations. Here, we propose a novel approach to multi-model combination and uncertainty quantification. Rather than averaging a discrete set of models, our approach samples from a continuous distribution over a reduced space of simple model parameters. We fit the free parameters of a reduced-order climate model to the output of each member of the multi-model ensemble. The reduced-order parameter estimates are then combined using a hierarchical Bayesian statistical model. The result is a multi-model distribution of reduced-model parameters, including climate sensitivity. In effect, the multi-model uncertainty problem within an ensemble of ESMs is converted to a parametric uncertainty problem within a reduced model. The multi-model distribution can then be updated with observational data, combining two independent lines of evidence. We apply this approach to 24 model simulations of global surface temperature and net top-of-atmosphere radiation response to abrupt quadrupling of carbon dioxide, and four historical temperature data sets. Our reduced order model is a 2-layer energy balance model. We present probability distributions of climate sensitivity based on (1) the multi-model ensemble alone and (2) the multi-model ensemble and observations.
  6. 2018: Skeie, Ragnhild Bieltvedt, et al. “Climate sensitivity estimates–sensitivity to radiative forcing time series and observational data.” Earth System Dynamics 9.2 (2018): 879-894. . Inferred effective climate sensitivity (ECSinf) is estimated using a method combining radiative forcing (RF) time series and several series of observed ocean heat content (OHC) and near-surface temperature change in a Bayesian framework using a simple energy balance model and a stochastic model. The model is updated compared to our previous analysis by using recent forcing estimates from IPCC, including OHC data for the deep ocean, and extending the time series to 2014. In our main analysis, the mean value of the estimated
    ECSinf is 2.0 ◦C, with a median value of 1.9 ◦C and a 90 % credible interval (CI) of 1.2–3.1 ◦C. The mean estimate has recently been shown to be consistent with the higher values for the equilibrium climate sensitivity estimated by climate models. The transient climate response (TCR) is estimated to have a mean value of 1.4 ◦C
    (90 % CI 0.9–2.0 ◦C), and in our main analysis the posterior aerosol effective radiative forcing is similar to the range provided by the IPCC. We show a strong sensitivity of the estimated ECSinf to the choice of a priori RF time series, excluding pre-1950 data and the treatment of OHC data. Sensitivity analysis performed by merging the upper (0–700 m) and the deep-ocean OHC or using only one OHC dataset (instead of four in the main analysis) both give an enhancement of the mean ECSinf by about 50 % from our best estimate. FULL TEXT PDF
  7. 2018: Qu, Xin, et al. “On the emergent constraints of climate sensitivity.” Journal of Climate 31.2 (2018): 863-875. Differences among climate models in equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS; the equilibrium surface temperature response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2) remain a significant barrier to the accurate assessment of societally important impacts of climate change. Relationships between ECS and observable metrics of the current climate in model ensembles, so-called emergent constraints, have been used to constrain ECS. Here a statistical method (including a backward selection process) is employed to achieve a better statistical understanding of the connections between four recently proposed emergent constraint metrics and individual feedbacks influencing ECS. The relationship between each metric and ECS is largely attributable to a statistical connection with shortwave low cloud feedback, the leading cause of intermodel ECS spread. This result bolsters confidence in some of the metrics, which had assumed such a connection in the first place. Additional analysis is conducted with a few thousand artificial metrics that are randomly generated but are well correlated with ECS. The relationships between the contrived metrics and ECS can also be linked statistically to shortwave cloud feedback. Thus, any proposed or forthcoming ECS constraint based on the current generation of climate models should be viewed as a potential constraint on shortwave cloud feedback, and physical links with that feedback should be investigated to verify that the constraint is real. In addition, any proposed ECS constraint should not be taken at face value since other factors influencing ECS besides shortwave cloud feedback could be systematically biased in the models.
  8. 2018: Rohling, Eelco J., et al. “Comparing climate sensitivity, past and present.” Annual review of marine science 10 (2018): 261-288. Climate sensitivity represents the global mean temperature change caused by changes in the radiative balance of climate; it is studied for both present/future (actuo) and past (paleo) climate variations, with the former based on instrumental records and/or various types of model simulations. Paleo-estimates are often considered informative for assessments of actuo-climate change caused by anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, but this utility remains debated because of concerns about the impacts of uncertainties, assumptions, and incomplete knowledge about controlling mechanisms in the dynamic climate system, with its multiple interacting feedbacks and their potential dependence on the climate background state. This is exacerbated by the need to assess actuo- and paleoclimate sensitivity over different timescales, with different drivers, and with different (data and/or model) limitations. Here, we visualize these impacts with idealized representations that graphically illustrate the nature of time-dependent actuo- and paleoclimate sensitivity estimates, evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, agreements, and differences of the two approaches. We also highlight priorities for future research to improve the use of paleo-estimates in evaluations of current climate change.
  9. 2017: Feldman, Daniel, et al. “How Continuous Observations of Shortwave Reflectance Spectra Can Narrow the Range of Shortwave Climate Feedbacks.” AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 2017. Shortwave feedbacks are a persistent source of uncertainty for climate models and a large contributor to the diagnosed range of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) for the international multi-model ensemble. The processes that contribute to these feedbacks affect top-of-atmosphere energetics and produce spectral signatures that may be time-evolving. We explore the value of such spectral signatures for providing an observational constraint on model ECS by simulating top-of-atmosphere shortwave reflectance spectra across much of the energetically-relevant shortwave bandpass (300 to 2500 nm). We present centennial-length shortwave hyperspectral simulations from low, medium and high ECS models that reported to the CMIP5 archive as part of an Observing System Simulation Experiment (OSSE) in support of the CLimate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO). Our framework interfaces with CMIP5 archive results and is agnostic to the choice of model. We simulated spectra from the INM-CM4 model (ECS of 2.08°K/2xCO2), the MIROC5 model (ECS of 2.70 °K/2xCO2), and the CSIRO Mk3-6-0 (ECS of 4.08 °K/2xCO2) based on those models’ integrations of the RCP8.5 scenario for the 21st Century. This approach allows us to explore how perfect data records can exclude models of lower or higher climate sensitivity. We find that spectral channels covering visible and near-infrared water-vapor overtone bands can potentially exclude a low or high sensitivity model with under 15 years’ of absolutely-calibrated data. These different spectral channels are sensitive to model cloud radiative effect and cloud height changes, respectively. These unprecedented calculations lay the groundwork for spectral simulations of perturbed-physics ensembles in order to identify those shortwave observations that can help narrow the range in shortwave model feedbacks and ultimately help reduce the stubbornly-large range in model ECS
  10. 2017: Schneider, Tapio, et al. “Climate goals and computing the future of clouds.” Nature Climate Change 7.1 (2017): 3. How clouds respond to warming remains the greatest source of uncertainty in climate projections. Improved computational and observational tools can reduce this uncertainty. Here we discuss the need for research focusing on high-resolution atmosphere models and the representation of clouds and turbulence within them
  11. 2016: Ullman, D. J., A. Schmittner, and N. M. Urban. “A new estimate of climate sensitivity using Last Glacial Maximum model-data constraints that includes parametric, feedback, and proxy uncertainties.” AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 2016. The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) provides potentially useful constraints on equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) because it is the most recent period of large greenhouse gas and temperature change. In addition, the wealth of proxy data from ice cores, ocean cores, and terrestrial records during this time period helps to test the relationship between greenhouse gas concentrations and temperature. A previous study (Schmittner et al., 2011) has estimated probability distributions of ECS using a small ensemble of model simulations that varies model sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentrations by changing only one model parameter. However, that estimate neglected cloud feedbacks, although they are the largest source of uncertainty in comprehensive climate models. Here, we provide a new estimate of ECS using a much larger ensemble of simulations (>1000) including cloud feedbacks and other uncertainties. We apply a new method to diagnose separately shortwave and longwave cloud feedbacks from comprehensive models and include them in the University of Victoria Earth System Climate Model (UVic-ESCM). We also explore parametric uncertainties in dust forcing, snow albedo, and atmospheric diffusivities, which all influence important feedbacks in UVic-ECSM. Finally, we use Bayesian statistics to compare LGM proxy data with this new model ensemble and to provide a new probabilistic estimate of ECS that better includes dominant sources of model and data uncertainty.
  12. 2016: Marvel, Kate, et al. “Implications for climate sensitivity from the response to individual forcings.” Nature Climate Change 6.4 (2016): 386. Climate sensitivity to doubled CO2 is a widely used metric for the large-scale response to external forcing. Climate models predict a wide range for two commonly used definitions: the transient climate response (TCR: the warming after 70 years of CO2 concentrations that rise at 1% per year), and the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS: the equilibrium temperature change following a doubling of CO2 concentrations). Many observational data sets have been used to constrain these values, including temperature trends over the recent past inferences from palaeoclimate and process-based constraints from the modern satellite era However, as the IPCC recently reported, different classes of observational constraints produce somewhat incongruent ranges. Here we show that climate sensitivity estimates derived from recent observations must account for the efficacy of each forcing active during the historical period. When we use single-forcing experiments to estimate these efficacies and calculate climate sensitivity from the observed twentieth-century warming, our estimates of both TCR and ECS are revised upwards compared to previous studies, improving the consistency with independent constraints
  13. 2015: Ullman, D. J., A. Schmittner, and N. M. Urban. “Incorporating feedback uncertainties in a model-based assessment of equilibrium climate sensitivity using Last Glacial Maximum temperature reconstructions.” AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 2015. As the most recent period of large climate change, the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) has been a useful target for analysis by model-data comparison. In addition, significant changes in greenhouse gas forcing across the last deglaciation and the relative wealth of LGM temperature reconstructions by proxy data provide a potentially useful opportunity to quantify equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), the change in global mean surface air temperature due to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Past model-data comparisons have attempted to estimate ECS using the LGM climate in two ways: (1) scaling of proxy data with results from general circulation model intercomparisons, and (2) comparing data with results from an ensemble of ECS-tuned simulations using a single intermediate complexity model. While the first approach includes the complexity of climate feedbacks, the sample size of the ECS-space may be insufficiently large to assess climate sensitivity. However, the second approach may be model dependent by not adequately incorporating uncertainty in climate feedbacks. Here, we present a new LGM-based assessment of ECS using the latter approach along with a simple linear parameterization of the longwave and shortwave cloud feedbacks derived from the CMIP5/PMIP3 results applied to the University of Victoria Earth System intermediate complexity model (UVIC). Cloud feedbacks are found to be the largest source of variability among the CMIP5/PMIP3 simulations, and our parameterization emulates these feedbacks in the UVIC model. In using this parameterization, we present a new ensemble of UVIC simulations to estimate ECS based on a Bayesian comparison with LGM temperature reconstructions that determines a probability distribution of optimal overlap between data and model results.
  14. 2015: Lewis, Nicholas, and Judith A. Curry. “The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates.” Climate dynamics 45.3-4 (2015): 1009-1023. Energy budget estimates of equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and transient climate response (TCR) are derived using the comprehensive 1750–2011 time series and the uncertainty ranges for forcing components provided in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Working Group I Report, along with its estimates of heat accumulation in the climate system. The resulting estimates are less dependent on global climate models and allow more realistically for forcing uncertainties than similar estimates based on forcings diagnosed from simulations by such models. Base and final periods are selected that have well matched volcanic activity and influence from internal variability. Using 1859–1882 for the base period and 1995–2011 for the final period, thus avoiding major volcanic activity, median estimates are derived for ECS of 1.64 K and for TCR of 1.33 K. ECS 17–83 and 5–95 % uncertainty ranges are 1.25–2.45 and 1.05–4.05 K; the corresponding TCR ranges are 1.05–1.80 and 0.90–2.50 K. Results using alternative well-matched base and final periods provide similar best estimates but give wider uncertainty ranges, principally reflecting smaller changes in average forcing. Uncertainty in aerosol forcing is the dominant contribution to the ECS and TCR uncertainty ranges.
  15. 2014: Sherwood, Steven C., Sandrine Bony, and Jean-Louis Dufresne. “Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing.” Nature 505.7481 (2014): 37.  Equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the ultimate change in global mean temperature in response to a change in external forcing. Despite decades of research attempting to narrow uncertainties, equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates from climate models still span roughly 1.5 to 5 degrees Celsius for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, precluding accurate projections of future climate. The spread arises largely from differences in the feedback from low clouds, for reasons not yet understood. Here we show that differences in the simulated strength of convective mixing between the lower and middle tropical troposphere explain about half of the variance in climate sensitivity estimated by 43 climate models. The apparent mechanism is that such mixing dehydrates the low-cloud layer at a rate that increases as the climate warms, and this rate of increase depends on the initial mixing strength, linking the mixing to cloud feedback. The mixing inferred from observations appears to be sufficiently strong to imply a climate sensitivity of more than 3 degrees for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is significantly higher than the currently accepted lower bound of 1.5 degrees, thereby constraining model projections towards relatively severe future warming.
  1. 1963: Möller, Fritz. “On the influence of changes in the CO2 concentration in air on the radiation balance of the earth’s surface and on the climate.” Journal of Geophysical Research68.13 (1963): 3877-3886. The numerical value of a temperature change under the influence of a CO2 change as calculated by Plass is valid only for a dry atmosphere. Overlapping of the absorption bands of CO2 and H2O in the range around 15 μ essentially diminishes the temperature changes. New calculations give ΔT = + 1.5° when the CO2 content increases from 300 to 600 ppm. Cloudiness diminishes the radiation effects but not the temperature changes because under cloudy skies larger temperature changes are needed in order to compensate for an equal change in the downward long‐wave radiation. The increase in the water vapor content of the atmosphere with rising temperature causes a self‐amplification effect which results in almost arbitrary temperature changes, e.g. for constant relative humidity ΔT = +10° in the above mentioned case. It is shown, however, that the changed radiation conditions are not necessarily compensated for by a temperature change. The effect of an increase in CO2 from 300 to 330 ppm can be compensated for completely by a change in the water vapor content of 3 per cent or by a change in the cloudiness of 1 per cent of its value without the occurrence of temperature changes at all. Thus the theory that climatic variations are effected by variations in the CO2 content becomes very questionable.
  2. 1964: Manabe, Syukuro, and Robert F. Strickler. “Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a convective adjustment.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 21.4 (1964): 361-385. The states of thermal equilibrium (incorporating an adjustment of super-adiabatic stratification) as well as that of pure radiative equilibrium of the atmosphere are computed as the asymptotic steady state approached in an initial value problem. Recent measurements of absorptivities obtained for a wide range of pressure are used, and the scheme of computation is sufficiently general to include the effect of several layers of clouds. The atmosphere in thermal equilibrium has an isothermal lower stratosphere and an inversion in the upper stratosphere which are features observed in middle latitudes. The role of various gaseous absorbers (i.e., water vapor, carbon dioxide, and ozone), as well as the role of the clouds, is investigated by computing thermal equilibrium with and without one or two of these elements. The existence of ozone has very little effect on the equilibrium temperature of the earth’s surface but a very important effect on the temperature throughout the stratosphere; the absorption of solar radiation by ozone in the upper and middle stratosphere, in addition to maintaining the warm temperature in that region, appears also to be necessary for the maintenance of the isothermal layer or slight inversion just above the tropopause. The thermal equilibrium state in the absence of solar insulation is computed by setting the temperature of the earth’s surface at the observed polar value. In this case, the stratospheric temperature decreases monotonically with increasing altitude, whereas the corresponding state of pure radiative equilibrium has an inversion just above the level of the tropopause. A series of thermal equilibriums is computed for the distributions of absorbers typical of different latitudes. According to these results, the latitudinal variation of the distributions of ozone and water vapor may be partly responsible for the latitudinal variation of the thickness of the isothermal part of the stratosphere. Finally, the state of local radiative equilibrium of the stratosphere overlying a troposphere with the observed distribution of temperature is computed for each season and latitude. In the upper stratosphere of the winter hemisphere, a large latitudinal temperature gradient appears at the latitude of the polar-night jet stream, while in the upper statosphere of the summer hemisphere, the equilibrium temperature varies little with latitude. These features are consistent with the observed atmosphere. However, the computations predict an extremely cold polar night temperature in the upper stratosphere and a latitudinal decrease (toward the cold pole) of equilibrium temperature in the middle or lower stratosphere for winter and fall. This disagrees with observation, and suggests that explicit introduction of the dynamics of large scale motion is necessary.
  3. 1967: Manabe, Syukuro, and Richard T. Wetherald. “Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 24.3 (1967): 241-259. [ECS=2]bandicam 2018-09-21 13-24-28-297
  4. 1969: Budyko, Mikhail I. “The effect of solar radiation variations on the climate of the earth.” tellus 21.5 (1969): 611-619. It follows from the analysis of observation data that the secular variation of the mean temperature of the Earth can be explained by the variation of short-wave radiation, arriving at the surface of the Earth. In connection with this, the influence of long-term changes of radiation, caused by variations of atmospheric transparency on the thermal regime is being studied. Taking into account the influence of changes of planetary albedo of the Earth under the development of glaciations on the thermal regime, it is found that comparatively small variations of atmospheric transparency could be sufficient for the development of quaternary glaciations.
  5. 1969: Sellers, William D. “A global climatic model based on the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system.” Journal of Applied Meteorology 8.3 (1969): 392-400. A relatively simple numerical model of the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere is set up and applied. The dependent variable is the average annual sea level temperature in 10° latitude belts. This is expressed basically as a function of the solar constant, the planetary albedo, the transparency of the atmosphere to infrared radiation, and the turbulent exchange coefficients for the atmosphere and the oceans. The major conclusions of the analysis are that removing the arctic ice cap would increase annual average polar temperatures by no more than 7C, that a decrease of the solar constant by 2–5% might be sufficient to initiate another ice age, and that man’s increasing industrial activities may eventually lead to a global climate much warmer than today.
  6. 1971: Rasool, S. Ichtiaque, and Stephen H. Schneider. “Atmospheric carbon dioxide and aerosols: Effects of large increases on global climate.” Science 173.3992 (1971): 138-141. Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.
  7. 1975: Manabe, Syukuro, and Richard T. Wetherald. “The effects of doubling the CO2 concentration on the climate of a general circulation model.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 32.1 (1975): 3-15. An attempt is made to estimate the temperature changes resulting from doubling the present CO2 concentration by the use of a simplified three-dimensional general circulation model. This model contains the following simplifications: a limited computational domain, an idealized topography, no beat transport by ocean currents, and fixed cloudiness. Despite these limitations, the results from this computation yield some indication of how the increase of CO2 concentration may affect the distribution of temperature in the atmosphere. It is shown that the CO2 increase raises the temperature of the model troposphere, whereas it lowers that of the model stratosphere. The tropospheric warming is somewhat larger than that expected from a radiative-convective equilibrium model. In particular, the increase of surface temperature in higher latitudes is magnified due to the recession of the snow boundary and the thermal stability of the lower troposphere which limits convective beating to the lowest layer. It is also shown that the doubling of carbon dioxide significantly increases the intensity of the hydrologic cycle of the model. bandicam 2018-09-21 15-17-14-922
  8. 1976: Cess, Robert D. “Climate change: An appraisal of atmospheric feedback mechanisms employing zonal climatology.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 33.10 (1976): 1831-1843. The sensitivity of the earth’s surface temperature to factors which can induce long-term climate change, such as a variation in solar constant, is estimated by employing two readily observable climate changes. One is the latitudinal change in annual mean climate, for which an interpretation of climatological data suggests that cloud amount is not a significant climate feedback mechanism, irrespective of how cloud amount might depend upon surface temperature, since there are compensating changes in both the solar and infrared optical properties of the atmosphere. It is further indicated that all other atmospheric feedback mechanisms, resulting, for example, from temperature-induced changes in water vapor amount, cloud altitude and lapse rate, collectively double the sensitivity of global surface temperature to a change in solar constant. The same conclusion is reached by considering a second type of climate change, that associated with seasonal variations for a given latitude zone. The seasonal interpretation further suggests that cloud amount feedback is unimportant zonally as well as globally. Application of the seasonal data required a correction for what appears to be an important seasonal feedback mechanism. This is attributed to a variability in cloud albedo due to seasonal changes in solar zenith angle. No attempt was made to individually interpret the collective feedback mechanisms which contribute to the doubling in surface temperature sensitivity. It is suggested, however, that the conventional assumption of fixed relative humidity for describing feedback due to water vapor amount might not be as applicable as is generally believed. Climate models which additionally include ice-albedo feedback are discussed within the framework of the present results.
  9. 1978: Ramanathan, V., and J. A. Coakley. “Climate modeling through radiative‐convective models.” Reviews of geophysics16.4 (1978): 465-489. We present a review of the radiative‐convective models that have been used in studies pertaining to the earth’s climate. After familiarizing the reader with the theoretical background, modeling methodology, and techniques for solving the radiative transfer equation the review focuses on the published model studies concerning global climate and global climate change. Radiative‐convective models compute the globally and seasonally averaged surface and atmospheric temperatures. The computed temperatures are in good agreement with the observed temperatures. The models include the important climatic feedback mechanism between surface temperature and H2O amount in the atmosphere. The principal weakness of the current models is their inability to simulate the feedback mechanism between surface temperature and cloud cover. It is shown that the value of the critical lapse rate adopted in radiative‐convective models for convective adjustment is significantly larger than the observed globally averaged tropospheric lapse rate. The review also summarizes radiative‐convective model results for the sensitivity of surface temperature to perturbations in (1) the concentrations of the major and minor optically active trace constituents, (2) aerosols, and (3) cloud amount. A simple analytical model is presented to demonstrate how the surface temperature in a radiative‐convective model responds to perturbations.
  10. 1985: Wigley, Thomas ML, and Michael E. Schlesinger. “Analytical solution for the effect of increasing CO2 on global mean temperature.” Nature 315.6021 (1985): 649. Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is expected to cause substantial changes in climate. Recent model studies suggest that the equilibrium warming for a CO2 doubling (Δ T2×) is about 3–4°C. Observational data show that the globe has warmed by about 0.5°C over the past 100 years. Are these two results compatible? To answer this question due account must be taken of oceanic thermal inertia effects, which can significantly slow the response of the climate system to external forcing. The main controlling parameters are the effective diffusivity of the ocean below the upper mixed layer (κ) and the climate sensitivity (defined by Δ T2×). Previous analyses of this problem have considered only limited ranges of these parameters. Here we present a more general analysis of two cases, forcing by a step function change in CO2 concentration and by a steady CO2 increase. The former case may be characterized by a response time which we show is strongly dependent on both κ and Δ T2×. In the latter case the damped response means that, at any given time, the climate system may be quite far removed from its equilibrium with the prevailing CO2 level. In earlier work this equilibrium has been expressed as a lag time, but we show this to be misleading because of the sensitivity of the lag to the history of past CO2 variations. Since both the lag and the degree of disequilibrium are strongly dependent on κ and Δ T2×, and because of uncertainties in the pre-industrial CO2 level, the observed global warming over the past 100 years can be shown to be compatible with a wide range of CO2-doubling temperature changes.
  11. 1991: Lawlor, D. W., and R. A. C. Mitchell. “The effects of increasing CO2 on crop photosynthesis and productivity: a review of field studies.” Plant, Cell & Environment 14.8 (1991): 807-818. Only a small proportion of elevated CO2 studies on crops have taken place in the field. They generally confirm results obtained in controlled environments: CO2increases photosynthesis, dry matter production and yield, substantially in C3 species, but less in C4, it decreases stomatal conductance and transpiration in C3 and C4 species and greatly improves water‐use efficiency in all plants. The increased productivity of crops with CO2 enrichment is also related to the greater leaf area produced. Stimulation of yield is due more to an increase in the number of yield‐forming structures than in their size. There is little evidence of a consistent effect of CO2 on partitioning of dry matter between organs or on their chemical composition, except for tubers. Work has concentrated on a few crops (largely soybean) and more is needed on crops for which there are few data (e.g. rice). Field studies on the effects of elevated CO2 in combination with temperature, water and nutrition are essential; they should be related to the development and improvement of mechanistic crop models, and designed to test their predictions.
  12. 2009: Danabasoglu, Gokhan, and Peter R. Gent. “Equilibrium climate sensitivity: Is it accurate to use a slab ocean model?.” Journal of Climate 22.9 (2009): 2494-2499. The equilibrium climate sensitivity of a climate model is usually defined as the globally averaged equilibrium surface temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is virtually always estimated in a version with a slab model for the upper ocean. The question is whether this estimate is accurate for the full climate model version, which includes a full-depth ocean component. This question has been answered for the low-resolution version of the Community Climate System Model, version 3 (CCSM3). The answer is that the equilibrium climate sensitivity using the full-depth ocean model is 0.14°C higher than that using the slab ocean model, which is a small increase. In addition, these sensitivity estimates have a standard deviation of nearly 0.1°C because of interannual variability. These results indicate that the standard practice of using a slab ocean model does give a good estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity of the full CCSM3. Another question addressed is whether the effective climate sensitivity is an accurate estimate of the equilibrium climate sensitivity. Again the answer is yes, provided that at least 150 yr of data from the doubled carbon dioxide run are used.
  13. 2010: Connell, Sean D., and Bayden D. Russell. “The direct effects of increasing CO2 and temperature on non-calcifying organisms: increasing the potential for phase shifts in kelp forests.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences (2010): rspb20092069. Predictions about the ecological consequences of oceanic uptake of CO2 have been preoccupied with the effects of ocean acidification on calcifying organisms, particularly those critical to the formation of habitats (e.g. coral reefs) or their maintenance (e.g. grazing echinoderms). This focus overlooks the direct effects of CO2 on non-calcareous taxa, particularly those that play critical roles in ecosystem shifts. We used two experiments to investigate whether increased CO2 could exacerbate kelp loss by facilitating non-calcareous algae that, we hypothesized, (i) inhibit the recovery of kelp forests on an urbanized coast, and (ii) form more extensive covers and greater biomass under moderate future CO2 and associated temperature increases. Our experimental removal of turfs from a phase-shifted system (i.e. kelp- to turf-dominated) revealed that the number of kelp recruits increased, thereby indicating that turfs can inhibit kelp recruitment. Future CO2 and temperature interacted synergistically to have a positive effect on the abundance of algal turfs, whereby they had twice the biomass and occupied over four times more available space than under current conditions. We suggest that the current preoccupation with the negative effects of ocean acidification on marine calcifiers overlooks potentially profound effects of increasing CO2and temperature on non-calcifying organisms.
  14. 2011: Schmittner, Andreas, et al. “Climate sensitivity estimated from temperature reconstructions of the Last Glacial Maximum.” Science 334.6061 (2011): 1385-1388. Assessing the impact of future anthropogenic carbon emissions is currently impeded by uncertainties in our knowledge of equilibrium climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide doubling. Previous studies suggest 3 kelvin (K) as the best estimate, 2 to 4.5 K as the 66% probability range, and nonzero probabilities for much higher values, the latter implying a small chance of high-impact climate changes that would be difficult to avoid. Here, combining extensive sea and land surface temperature reconstructions from the Last Glacial Maximum with climate model simulations, we estimate a lower median (2.3 K) and reduced uncertainty (1.7 to 2.6 K as the 66% probability range, which can be widened using alternate assumptions or data subsets). Assuming that paleoclimatic constraints apply to the future, as predicted by our model, these results imply a lower probability of imminent extreme climatic change than previously thought.
  15. 2012: Fasullo, John T., and Kevin E. Trenberth. “A less cloudy future: The role of subtropical subsidence in climate sensitivity.” science 338.6108 (2012): 792-794. An observable constraint on climate sensitivity, based on variations in mid-tropospheric relative humidity (RH) and their impact on clouds, is proposed. We show that the tropics and subtropics are linked by teleconnections that induce seasonal RH variations that relate strongly to albedo (via clouds), and that this covariability is mimicked in a warming climate. A present-day analog for future trends is thus identified whereby the intensity of subtropical dry zones in models associated with the boreal monsoon is strongly linked to projected cloud trends, reflected solar radiation, and model sensitivity. Many models, particularly those with low climate sensitivity, fail to adequately resolve these teleconnections and hence are identifiably biased. Improving model fidelity in matching observed variations provides a viable path forward for better predicting future climate.
  16. 2012: Andrews, Timothy, et al. “Forcing, feedbacks and climate sensitivity in CMIP5 coupled atmosphere‐ocean climate models.” Geophysical Research Letters 39.9 (2012). We quantify forcing and feedbacks across available CMIP5 coupled atmosphere‐ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) by analysing simulations forced by an abrupt quadrupling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. This is the first application of the linear forcing‐feedback regression analysis of Gregory et al. (2004) to an ensemble of AOGCMs. The range of equilibrium climate sensitivity is 2.1–4.7 K. Differences in cloud feedbacks continue to be important contributors to this range. Some models show small deviations from a linear dependence of top‐of‐atmosphere radiative fluxes on global surface temperature change. We show that this phenomenon largely arises from shortwave cloud radiative effects over the ocean and is consistent with independent estimates of forcing using fixed sea‐surface temperature methods. We suggest that future research should focus more on understanding transient climate change, including any time‐scale dependence of the forcing and/or feedback, rather than on the equilibrium response to large instantaneous forcing.
  17. 2012: Bitz, Cecilia M., et al. “Climate sensitivity of the community climate system model, version 4.” Journal of Climate 25.9 (2012): 3053-3070.Equilibrium climate sensitivity of the Community Climate System Model, version 4 (CCSM4) is 3.20°C for 1° horizontal resolution in each component. This is about a half degree Celsius higher than in the previous version (CCSM3). The transient climate sensitivity of CCSM4 at 1° resolution is 1.72°C, which is about 0.2°C higher than in CCSM3. These higher climate sensitivities in CCSM4 cannot be explained by the change to a preindustrial baseline climate. This study uses the radiative kernel technique to show that, from CCSM3 to CCSM4, the global mean lapse-rate feedback declines in magnitude and the shortwave cloud feedback increases. These two warming effects are partially canceled by cooling because of slight decreases in the global mean water vapor feedback and longwave cloud feedback from CCSM3 to CCSM4. A new formulation of the mixed layer, slab-ocean model in CCSM4 attempts to reproduce the SST and sea ice climatology from an integration with a full-depth ocean, and it is integrated with a dynamic sea ice model. These new features allow an isolation of the influence of ocean dynamical changes on the climate response when comparing integrations with the slab ocean and full-depth ocean. The transient climate response of the full-depth ocean version is 0.54 of the equilibrium climate sensitivity when estimated with the new slab-ocean model version for both CCSM3 and CCSM4. The authors argue the ratio is the same in both versions because they have about the same zonal mean pattern of change in ocean surface heat flux, which broadly resembles the zonal mean pattern of net feedback strength.
  18. 2012: Rogelj, Joeri, Malte Meinshausen, and Reto Knutti. “Global warming under old and new scenarios using IPCC climate sensitivity range estimates.” Nature climate change 2.4 (2012): 248. Climate projections for the fourth assessment report1 (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were based on scenarios from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios2 (SRES) and simulations of the third phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project3 (CMIP3). Since then, a new set of four scenarios (the representative concentration pathways or RCPs) was designed4. Climate projections in the IPCC fifth assessment report (AR5) will be based on the fifth phase of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project5 (CMIP5), which incorporates the latest versions of climate models and focuses on RCPs. This implies that by AR5 both models and scenarios will have changed, making a comparison with earlier literature challenging. To facilitate this comparison, we provide probabilistic climate projections of both SRES scenarios and RCPs in a single consistent framework. These estimates are based on a model set-up that probabilistically takes into account the overall consensus understanding of climate sensitivity uncertainty, synthesizes the understanding of climate system and carbon-cycle behaviour, and is at the same time constrained by the observed historical warming.
  19. 2014: Sherwood, Steven C., Sandrine Bony, and Jean-Louis Dufresne. “Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing.” Nature 505.7481 (2014): 37. Equilibrium climate sensitivity refers to the ultimate change in global mean temperature in response to a change in external forcing. Despite decades of research attempting to narrow uncertainties, equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates from climate models still span roughly 1.5 to 5 degrees Celsius for a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, precluding accurate projections of future climate. The spread arises largely from differences in the feedback from low clouds, for reasons not yet understood. Here we show that differences in the simulated strength of convective mixing between the lower and middle tropical troposphere explain about half of the variance in climate sensitivity estimated by 43 climate models. The apparent mechanism is that such mixing dehydrates the low-cloud layer at a rate that increases as the climate warms, and this rate of increase depends on the initial mixing strength, linking the mixing to cloud feedback. The mixing inferred from observations appears to be sufficiently strong to imply a climate sensitivity of more than 3 degrees for a doubling of carbon dioxide. This is significantly higher than the currently accepted lower bound of 1.5 degrees, thereby constraining model projections towards relatively severe future warming.
  20. 2015: Mauritsen, Thorsten, and Bjorn Stevens. “Missing iris effect as a possible cause of muted hydrological change and high climate sensitivity in models.” Nature Geoscience 8.5 (2015): 346. Equilibrium climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 falls between 2.0 and 4.6 K in current climate models, and they suggest a weak increase in global mean precipitation. Inferences from the observational record, however, place climate sensitivity near the lower end of this range and indicate that models underestimate some of the changes in the hydrological cycle. These discrepancies raise the possibility that important feedbacks are missing from the models. A controversial hypothesis suggests that the dry and clear regions of the tropical atmosphere expand in a warming climate and thereby allow more infrared radiation to escape to space. This so-called iris effect could constitute a negative feedback that is not included in climate models. We find that inclusion of such an effect in a climate model moves the simulated responses of both temperature and the hydrological cycle to rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations closer to observations. Alternative suggestions for shortcomings of models — such as aerosol cooling, volcanic eruptions or insufficient ocean heat uptake — may explain a slow observed transient warming relative to models, but not the observed enhancement of the hydrological cycle. We propose that, if precipitating convective clouds are more likely to cluster into larger clouds as temperatures rise, this process could constitute a plausible physical mechanism for an iris effect.
  21. 2015: Schimel, David, Britton B. Stephens, and Joshua B. Fisher. “Effect of increasing CO2 on the terrestrial carbon cycle.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.2 (2015): 436-441. Feedbacks from terrestrial ecosystems to atmospheric CO2 concentrations contribute the second-largest uncertainty to projections of future climate. These feedbacks, acting over huge regions and long periods of time, are extraordinarily difficult to observe and quantify directly. We evaluated in situ, atmospheric, and simulation estimates of the effect of CO2 on carbon storage, subject to mass balance constraints. Multiple lines of evidence suggest significant tropical uptake for CO2, approximately balancing net deforestation and confirming a substantial negative global feedback to atmospheric CO2 and climate. This reconciles two approaches that have previously produced contradictory results. We provide a consistent explanation of the impacts of CO2 on terrestrial carbon across the 12 orders of magnitude between plant stomata and the global carbon cycle.
  22. 2016: Tan, Ivy, Trude Storelvmo, and Mark D. Zelinka. “Observational constraints on mixed-phase clouds imply higher climate sensitivity.” Science 352.6282 (2016): 224-227. How much global average temperature eventually will rise depends on the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), which relates atmospheric CO2 concentration to atmospheric temperature. For decades, ECS has been estimated to be between 2.0° and 4.6°C, with much of that uncertainty owing to the difficulty of establishing the effects of clouds on Earth’s energy budget. Tan et al. used satellite observations to constrain the radiative impact of mixed phase clouds. They conclude that ECS could be between 5.0° and 5.3°C—higher than suggested by most global climate models.
  23. 2018: Watanabe, Masahiro, et al. “Low clouds link equilibrium climate sensitivity to hydrological sensitivity.” Nature Climate Change (2018): 1. Equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and hydrological sensitivity describe the global mean surface temperature and precipitation responses to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. Despite their connection via the Earth’s energy budget, the physical linkage between these two metrics remains controversial. Here, using a global climate model with a perturbed mean hydrological cycle, we show that ECS and hydrological sensitivity per unit warming are anti-correlated owing to the low-cloud response to surface warming. When the amount of low clouds decreases, ECS is enhanced through reductions in the reflection of shortwave radiation. In contrast, hydrological sensitivity is suppressed through weakening of atmospheric longwave cooling, necessitating weakened condensational heating by precipitation. These compensating cloud effects are also robustly found in a multi-model ensemble, and further constrained using satellite observations. Our estimates, combined with an existing constraint to clear-sky shortwave absorption, suggest that hydrological sensitivity could be lower by 30% than raw estimates from global climate models.

 

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THIS POST IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE DR. DEMMING YOUTUBE VIDEO 

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Congressional Testimony of Dr Demming, University of Oklahoma, Geologist and Geophysicist. 2006 Youtube video [LINK]

  1. In recent years I have turned to the study of the history of science. In 1995 I published a short paper in the academic Journal Science. In that study I reviewed borehole temperature data that recorded a warming of about 1C in North America over the last 100 to 150 years.
  2. The week the article appeared, I was contacted by a reporter for National Public Radio. He offered to interview me but only if I would state that the warming was due to human activity. When I refused to do so he hung up on me.
  3. I had another interesting experience around the time my paper in Science was published. I received an email from a researcher in the area of climate change. He said “we need to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP)”.
  4. The MWP was a time of unusually warm period that began about 1000AD and it persisted until a cold period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA) took hold in the 14th century. During the MWP, warmer climate had brought a remarkable flowering of prosperity, knowledge, and art to Europe. The existence of the MWP had been recognized in the scientific literature for decades. But now it is a major embarrassment to those maintaining that the Twentieth Century Warming (TCW) was truly anomalous in the context of the climate history of our planet and that therefore the MWP had to “be gotten rid of”.
  5. In 1769, Joseph Priestly warned that scientists overly attached to a favored hypothesis would not hesitate to warp the whole course of nature to prove the correctness of their hypothesis. In 1999 Michael Mann and colleagues published a reconstruction of past temperatures I which the MWP simply vanished. This unique achievement became known as “The Hockey Stick” (THS) because of the shape of the temperature graph.
  6. Normally in science, when you have a novel result that appears to overturn previous work, you have to demonstrate why the earlier work was wrong. But the work of Mann and colleagues was initially accepted uncritically even though in contradicted the results of more than a hundred previous studies. Other researchers have since re-affirmed that the MWP was both warm and global in its extent.
  7. There is overwhelming bias today in the media regarding the issue of global warming. In the past two years (2004-2006) it has turned into irrational hysteria such that every natural disaster that occurs is now linked with global warming no matter how tenuous or impossible the connection. As a result, the public has become grossly misinformed on this and other environmental issues.
  8. Earth’s climate system is complex, chaotic, and poorly understood; but we do know that throughout human history, warmer temperatures have been associated with stable climate and increased human health and prosperity. Colder temperatures have been correlated with climatic instability, famine, and increased human mortality.
  9. The amount of climatic warming that has taken place in the past 150 years is poorly constrained and its cause, whether human or natural, is unknown. There is no sound or scientific basis for predicting future climate change with any degree of certainty. If the climate does warm, it is likely to be beneficial to humanity rather than harmful. In my opinion it would be foolish to establish national energy policy on the basis of misinformation and irrational hysteria.

 

 

RELATED POSTS 

  1. JOURNALISM’S CLIMATE CRUSADE
  2. A Chaotic Holocene Climate?
  3. Hegerl 2018: AGW rescued by Volcanoes.
  4. Evolution of The Climate Scare: Callendar to Greta
  5. Hansen Congressional Testimony 1988
  6. Tropical Cyclones of the Pre-Industrial Era
  7. The Medieval Warm Period
  8. The Hidden Hand of Activism

OTHER POSTS ON STATISTICAL FLAWS IN THE CARBON BUDGET

ILLUSORY CARBON BUDGETS

CARBON BUDGETS AND THE TCRE

 

 

FIGURE 1: IPCC SR15 REMAINING CARBON BUDGET 7/2019

Joeri Rogelj, Grantham Institute & Piers Forster University of Leeds

Schematic showing how the remaining carbon budget can be estimated from various independent quantities, including the historical human-induced warming, the zero emission commitment, the contribution of future non-CO2 warming, the transient climate response to cumulative emissions of carbon (TCRE), and further correcting for unrepresented Earth system feedbacks. Source: Rogelj et al. (2019)

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NEW APPROACH TO THE REMAINING CARBON BUDGET  [LINK TO SOURCE]

FIGURE 2: TCRE EXAMPLE: FULL SPAN, 1ST HALF, 2NDHALFFULLSPANFIRSTHALFSECONDHALF

 

  1. ROGELJ AND FORSTER: The concept of a carbon budget is simple but putting it into practice is complicated. The carbon budget theory is based on the proportionality between cumulative warming and cumulative emissions described in the Matthews 2009 paper on the TCRE. The proportionality is used to compute the cumulative emissions that are possible when cumulative warming reaches the target temperature and emissions cease. Stated another way, the carbon budget is the cumulative CO2 emitted (until emissions are taken down to zero) that will determines the maximum warming that the world will subsequently experience.
  2. COMMENTS: The carbon budget is determined by using the proportionality equation to compute cumulative emissions for a target cumulative warming to the target temperature. Suppose the target is 1.5C of warming and that currently we stand at 1C of warming. And suppose that the TCRE = 2 trillion tons of cumulative emissions per degC of cumulative warming. To restrict AGW to  0.5C of additional cumulative warming, we must hold cumulative emissions to 0.5*2 = 1 trillion tons of cumulative emissions.
  3. Now, suppose that after temperatures have risen to 1.3C, we wish to estimate the so called “remaining carbon budget (RCB)”. If the TCRE were a real proportionality, the RCB would be a simple ratio problem. Since we used up 0.3C of the 0.5C of warming or 60%, we must have used up 60% of the 1 trillion tonne carbon budget and the RCB is therefore 0.4 trillion tons. But in the TCRE carbon budget it does not work that way because the TCRE proportionality is illusory and not real.
  4. That the TCRE proportionality is a spurious correlation is shown in a related post on this site [LINK] and the relevant demonstration is shown in the video at the top of this post. When two time series have mostly the same sign (both mostly positive or both mostly negative), their cumulative values will tend to be correlated.
  5. However this correlation is illusory and has no interpretation because it is a product of a sign pattern and not a responsiveness of one variable to changes in the other. It is also noted that a time series of the cumulative values of another time series has neither time scale not degrees of freedom. It can be shown that when finite time scales are inserted with finite degrees of freedom, the TCRE correlation vanishes as shown in another related post at this site [LINK] .
  6. Various carbon budget issues with which climate science struggles, including the Remaining Carbon Budget (RCB) issue described below by Rogelj and Forster, are creations of a failed struggle to make sense of a spurious correlation and an illusory TCRE proportionality. For details please see the related post on the TCRE  [LINK] . This is at the root of the problem of what climate scientists call “the unresolved “remaining carbon budget” issue in the carbon budget theory.
  7. The three charts above in Figure 2 is an example of how the attempt to interpret the illusory correlation between cumulative values creates the RCB problem in climate science. In the same time series, the TCRE=2.8 in the full span, 0.84 in the first half, and 0.24 in the second half.  Yet, as can be seen from the values of the R-squared, all three charts show very high correlations.
  8. Therefore, carbon budgets become specific to the span for which it was computed and they do not apply to any other span. This is why there is a RCB problem in climate science. It is not a science problem. It is simply a failed attempt to interpret a spurious correlation that has no interpretation. Below, in the next paragraph, is the text from the Rogelj and Forster paper, where climate science misinterprets a spurious correlation issue in terms of the climate change theory.
  9. Here we see how climate science tries to solve problems by resorting the suite of variables with which they are familiar so that an attempt is made to solve a spurious correlation issue with things like non-CO2 drivers of temperature and Earth System feedbacks including thawing permafrost.
  10. The authors struggle with the logical implausibility of the carbon budget and Remaining Carbon Budget issues and credit to their intelligence and persistence they come up with solutions that must sound reasonable in the climate science context. However, they also underscore the thesis of this post which is that climate budgets based on a illusory correlation is fiction. The upside of such statistical fiction, as explained by Carl Wunsch [LINK] , is the unbounded potential for fantastic explanations. The less constrained one is by the data, the more fantastic the interpretation can be. In Carl’s own words, “… distinct advantage because they can construct interesting and exciting stories and rationalizations.  Colorful, sometimes charismatic, characters come to dominate the field, constructing their intriguing interpretations“.
  11. BACK TO ROGELJ AND FORSTER: The size of the Remaining Carbon Budget (RCB) can depend on many factors. It is not as easy as we thought it was. Our inability to compute the RCB makes it difficult to use the carbon budget concept. A new study was undertaken to untangle the carbon budget mess. The problem is that estimates from early carbon budget studies can’t be reconciled with estimates from new carbon budget studies. Also the conclusions of these studies are not consistent and they can’t be reconciled into a single coherent projection in the evaluation of the effectiveness of climate action proposals such as the Paris Agreement (PG).
  12. The essential issue is that the carbon budget mathematics developed by climate science, and used to impose climate action targets on the Parties in the conference of Parties (COP), is flawed. It does not work the way they  thought it did.
  13. In 2014 the IPCC had written in AR5 that there is a linear relationship between the cumulative emissions and cumulative warming in conformance with the Matthews 2009 paper described in a related post [LINK]. This is where the carbon budget theory comes from. It is based on the idea that the cumulative warming is determined by cumulative emissions.
  14. This is the idea used to propose and impose global emission reduction climate action programs such as the PG. The PG was designed to limit warming to either 2C or 1.5C. For reasons not known there is some confusion as to which of these targets is the real PG target. Even if we can agree on one of these targets, the harder question that still remains is this: how much of a carbon budget do we have left to meet the Paris Agreement? What is the RCB?
  15. Given the carbon budget theory that cumulative warming is proportional to cumulative emissions, it should be easy to figure out the RCB by subtraction and this is what has been done. But with the passage of time, as historical data became available, the RCB values that had been projected were found to be in error. In other words, it has been found in historical data that the RCB does not work. If this issue cannot be resolved, nothing remains of the carbon budget concept.
  16. Knowing how much remaining carbon budget is left is necessary to establish mitigation pathways towards achieving the PG and evaluate global climate action plans in terms of meeting PG targets.  Climate science and climate action cannot proceed without resolving this issue by providing the mathematics of the RCB.
  17. Many climate scientists have worked on thee project to develop the science and the mathematics of computing a reliable and robust estimate of the RCB and many solutions to the RCB problem have been proposed. However, these results created a greater confusion than that from which they started. Although the proposed procedures do provide an answer to the RCB question, the proposed procedures yield very different answers. The large and unexplained variations among the different estimates of these research works leaves the RCB issue in a greater state of confusion that which they had set out to resolve.
  18. It was in this context that the IPCC’s SR15 project set out to resolve this confusion by devising a method for projecting a reliable and reproducible RCB for a given warming target be it 1.5C or 2C without which no rational climate action initiative can be proposed.  It was decided that this procedure must involve an analysis of all factors , not just CO2, that could affect the size of the RCB.
  19. In the IPCC effort, the RCB issue was defined as a case of missing factors that had not been taken into account in the proportionality of cumulative warming with cumulative emissions. It was decided that five additional variables are needed to make an estimate of the RCB on the basis that they can explain the difference in the amount of warming for any given RCB.
  20. The proposed additional variables are non-CO2 forcings described as methane, black carbon soot, and the cooling effects of sulphate aerosols. The new model is to e verified against existing warming since pre-industrial times and then used to make the projections needed to compute the RCB. Five factors were proposed as the foundation of the new RCB procedure.
  21. The five factors are described as: (1) The estimate of global warming up to the present day, (2) The assumed future warming from non-CO2 forcings such as methane and black carbon and the reduction of cooling sulphate, (3) The amount of warming still in the pipeline due to lag, once emissions are brought back to zero (4) The ratio between cumulative CO2 emissions and global warming (TCRE); and (5) The extra emissions from Earth system processes or feedbacks that are typically not included in the models used to make these estimates, such as thawing permafrost.
  22. The revision of the RCB estimation procedure has been completed with positive and encouraging results. The result appears above in the chart marked Figure 1. In the chart, the x-axis is the cumulative CO2 emissions from today; along the y-axis is the temperature increase since pre-industrial times. The dashed lines show the different factors that can affect the total budget – such as the estimate of historical warming and the contribution of non-CO2 emissions. And then joining it all together is the estimate of TCRE – the diagonal bold black line, with the uncertainty range shaded grey.
  23. The chapter in the IPCC SR15 relevant to this effort, and authored by Rogelj and Forster, uses a version of framework shown in Figure 1 to assess the RCB (remaining carbon budget) to keep warming to 1.5C. Presented below is a demonstration of this procedure for the RCB.
  24. ASSUMPTIONS AND ESTIMATES: (1) First we assumed 0.97C of warming for the 2006-2015 (midpoint 2011) decadal mean temperature since pre-industrial times due to CO2 warming. (2) We estimated an additional non-CO2 warming of about 0.1C. The total warming as of 2006-2015 is thus 1.07C since pre-industrial. The value of the TCRE range from the AR5 of 0.8-2.5C per 1,000 gigatonnes of carbon (equivalent to 3,664Gt of CO2). The zero-emissions commitment was assessed to be around zero for warming of 1.5C by a different chapter of the report – and the estimated total remaining allowable warming was, thus, of the order of 0.4C. Finally, Earth system processes that are typically not included in models were assessed to be roughly of the effect of 100 GtCO2 additional emissions over this century, but would increase further over the following centuries.
  25. RCB ESTIMATE: Putting all these factors together and taking into account emissions since 2011 results in a remaining carbon budget from 2018 onwards of 580GtCO2 for a 50% chance of keeping warming below 1.5C. This is less than 15 years of global emissions at current rates.
  26. INTERPRETATION OF RCB ESTIMATE: This means that if we start reducing emissions steeply now and by the time we reach net-zero levels we have not emitted more than 580GtCO2, our best scientific understanding tells us have we expect a one-in-two (50%) chance that warming would be kept to 1.5C. 
  27. Moreover, if we want to be sure that this is also true until the end of the century, we’d have to aim to emit only 480GtCO2 until we reach net-zero instead. This is under 12 years of current emissionsOur best scientific understanding will, of course, improve with time and this number will, thus, be adjusted either up or down.
  28. If a current 50% chance of avoiding 1.5C is not enough, the budget you aim for should be smaller. And if you want to avoid the risk of a downward adjustment putting a particular climate target beyond reach, then you should start aiming for a smaller budget now. The variations around this number are now much better understood and quantified, and an overview of these can be found in chapter two of SR15.
  29. WHY WAS THERE RCB CONFUSION IN THE FIRST PLACE?  Now that we understand why estimates of remaining carbon budgets can differ, some of the confusing variations between earlier published carbon budget estimates can be explained. First of all, carbon budgets estimates starting from pre-industrial times are more likely to vary than those calculated from the present day. The main reason for this is that uncertainties and errors accumulate over the several centuries that are modelled in the lead-up to today. As a result, these studies are using starting points that are already less precise. When expressing remaining carbon budgets relative to a more recent reference period that is validated by observations, the variation between estimates is strongly reduced but not entirely eliminated.
  30. ADDITIONAL SOURCE OF UNCERTAINTY: An additional source of carbon-budget variations is the method that is used to estimate global warming. Different methods of calculating global temperatures are used by different scientific groups in the US, UK and Japan, for example. And each group uses slightly different approaches for how they treat issues such as changes in the way measurements have been taken over the decades and a lack of observed data over the Arctic. Also, analysis of climate change projections with climate models can also use yet another slightly different method. These differences are really nothing more than a labeling issue. However, when inappropriately mixed up, they result in arbitrary changes in reported remaining carbon budgets that, ultimately, can result in pursuing weaker climate targets than the well-below 2C and 1.5C limits set in the Paris Agreement.
  31. FUTURE WARMING DUE TO NON CO2 DRIVERS: Next, the contribution of future warming due to factors other than CO2 is difficult to assess if this information is not explicitly provided by the underlying studies. Hence, we call to make this information available when publishing new estimates of remaining carbon budgets. But it is worth noting that studies that provide estimates with and without particular additional Earth system feedbacks, such as permafrost thawing, do tend to show that the inclusion of such feedback consistently results in smaller remaining carbon budgets.
  32. COMPARISON OF UNRELATED VALUES: A final source of confusion is when numbers are compared that have little relationship to each other. This is the case when studies report cumulative CO2 emissions from scenarios – for example, from 2016 to 2100. Such numbers have little relationship with the physical definition of carbon budgets as discussed here, although at times they have been mistaken for carbon budgets. In our paper, we provide an overview of the various ways in which carbon budgets can be presented in scientific literature. And we have made available online an accompanying checklist of key information that future studies should provide so that their estimates can be adequately put into context.
  33. COMMUNICATING THE FUTURECarbon budgets have been proven to be a robust concept to characterize the climate change mitigation challenge. They also provide the scientific underpinning for net-zero targets and their implied adequacy of limiting warming to acceptable levels. However, communication around them can still vastly improve. Our new framework allows us to clearly understand and explain how scientific improvements result in updated estimates of the remaining carbon budget. Science communicators and analysts can then use this information both to track changes in estimates of the remaining carbon budget over time and to inform their expert judgment about how plausible or reliable updated estimates are.

    TWEETS ON CARBON BUDGETS & EMISSION PATHWAYS  7/27/2019: The discussion reveals a general sense of confusion about the carbon budget in support of the thesis of this work that the carbon budget is a figment of a spurious correlation between cumulative values of time series data.

    1. And for those who’ve criticised this because it is based on an apparently unrealisticly high emission scenario, it is still possible to have 4C of warming even if we follow a lower emission pathway.
    2. To understand how big this is, 7 deg F (4 deg C) is about the same amount of warming as we experienced between the last glacial maximum and present day. That warming caused 300 ft of sea level rise, melting of huge glaciers, and enormous changes in what the world looked like.
    3. Trump admin assumes a (disastrous) 7 degree rise in temperature in this century based on its policies. And intends to do nothing about it (except make it worse). Can’t make this stuff up.
    4. RCP8.5 is a concentration pathway. Can we rule out carbon cycle feedbacks producing this pathway even for a lower emission pathway?
    5. How to turn as emission pathway into concrete actions so that the pathway is followed. This has to take in realities, can’t just be a simplified approach like a global carbon price.
    6. We also need to bear in mind that we could end up with an RCP8.5 concentration pathway even if we follow an emission pathway typically associated with a lower RCP (uncertainty in associating emissions with concentrations and carbon cycle feedbacks).
    7. every year’s delay before initiating emission reductions decreases by approximately two years the remaining time available to reach zero emissions on a pathway still remaining below 1.5°C.
    8. Carbon cycle feedbacks “could” lead to an addition 0.5°C if we follow a 2°C pathway. Could be bigger, could be smaller. Understanding these feedbacks is important yes, but the implication is not “hothouse earth imminent even with emission reductions” (as in some media)
    9. with 13 partner countries called today for an enhanced EU 2030 target, by 2020 ; and a 2050 EU strategy including a net zero emission pathway.
    10.  only 38% of emission cuts will come from technological change. […] the majority will need to come from societal and behavioral changes.” 
    11. 21st century civilization was founded on and is still based on fossil fuels. To wean ourselves, we must move beyond the easy wins of energy efficiency and a modest increase in renewable energy. We must completely transform our homes and businesses, our transport systems, and our food production.
      As a geologist, I recognize the specific challenge of creating an electrical society. Electrifying agriculture, transport, and heat will require more lithium, cobalt, copper, and more. We need to consider the balance of behavioral change, technology, and potential environmental tradeoffs elsewhere. We need to consider the impact of our own renewable revolution on the nations from which we will extract these resources. Tackling climate change creates opportunities in innovation and leadership—but it will not be easy, and the solutions will be contested. And that is why this is an emergency. It is not just because climate change is already causing harm. It is because addressing this challenge will be difficult, and arguably we have not even had the conversations necessary to identify an environmentally and socially just path forward. [LINK] .
    12. MEPs support 55% emission cuts for 2030, up from 40%. Follows Council conclusions on Tuesday, which urged the Commission to provide a 1.5°C-compliant scenario and “at least one pathway towards net-zero emissions in the EU by 2050”.
    13. Discussing the macro-criticality of climate change, fiscal policy tools and non-fiscal related instruments to incentivize a low carbon emission development pathway. There is an urgent need for action!
    14. A Nature paper presents a framework that allows researchers to track estimates of the remaining carbon budget and understand how estimates may improve. The framework may also help to reconcile differences between estimates (PRESENTED ABOVE)

ONCE AN ECONOMIC FORUM, NOW A CLIMATE WHORE

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PERMAFROST MELTING 70 YEARS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

Four terrifying things are happening in the Arctic right now.  The last four years have been the hottest ever recorded as global warming thaws and dries vast areas of tundra. With fires starting earlier spreading further north and burning more intensely. Wildfires are ravaging Alaska where last quantities of greenhouse gases are trapped in the ice. The have remained frozen for millennia. As hotter summers destabilize giant underground ice blocks, scientists say the permafrost is melting 70 years ahead of schedule. Far above average July temperature highs of 6C, the temperature in the Alert military base hit 21C. A heatwave has hit the most northerly inhabited spot on the planet. The starving bears are forced to roam farther afield to seek food as the Arctic sea ice they hunt on continues to shrink. Polar bears are travelling more than 1000km to Russian cities to look for food.

 

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THIS POST IS AN EXAMINATION OF THE CLAIM THAT THE JUNE/JULY 2019 WILDFIRES IN SIBERIA, ALASKA, AND GREENLAND ARE THE RESULT OF TEMPERATURES PUSHED UP TO RECORD LEVELS BY AGW CLIMATE CHANGE. 

 

Large wildfires broke out in the Arctic regions of Siberia and Alaska along with a small fire in Greenland in July 2019. The media, NASA, and the WMO have claimed that the fires had been caused by climate change by way of rising temperatures. The climate change signature  is presented as the hottest June ever in the Arctic. The media reports are as follows:

THE GUARDIAN: The Arctic is suffering its worst wildfire season on record, with huge blazes in Greenland, Siberia and Alaska producing plumes of smoke that can be seen from space. The Arctic region has recorded its hottest June ever. Since the start of that month, more than 100 wildfires have burned in the Arctic circle. In Russia, 11 of 49 regions are experiencing wildfires. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations’ weather and climate monitoring service, has called the Arctic fires “unprecedented”. The largest blazes, believed to have been caused by lightning, are located in Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk and Buryatia. Winds carrying smoke have caused air quality to plummet in Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia. In Greenland, the multi-day Sisimiut blaze, first detected on 10 July, came during an unusually warm and dry stretch in which melting on the vast Greenland ice sheet commenced a month earlier than usual. In Alaska, as many as 400 fires have been reported. The climatologist Rick Thomas estimated the total area burned in the state this season as of Wednesday morning at 2.06m acres. Mark Parrington, senior scientist with the Climate Change Service and Atmosphere Monitoring Service for Europe’s Copernicus Earth Observation Programme, described the extent of the smoke as “impressive” and posted an image of a ring of fire and smoke across much of the region. Thomas Smith, an environmental geographer at the London School of Economics, told USA Today fires of such magnitude have not been seen in the 16-year satellite record. Arctic wildfires emitted as much CO2 in June as Sweden does in a year. The fires are not merely the result of surface ignition of dry vegetation: in some cases the underlying peat has caught fire. Such fires can last for days or months and produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases. “These are some of the biggest fires on the planet, with a few appearing to be larger than 100,000 hectares,” Smith said. “The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from Arctic circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together.” In June alone, the WMO said, Arctic fires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2, equal to Sweden’s total annual emissions.

BBC:  Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic, with areas of northern Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland engulfed in flames. Lightning frequently triggers fires in the region but this year they have been worsened by summer temperatures that are higher than average because of climate change. Plumes of smoke from the fires can be seen from space. Mark Parrington, a wildfires expert at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (Cams), described them as “unprecedented“. There are hundreds of fires covering mostly uninhabited regions across eastern Russia, northern Scandinavia, Greenland and Alaska.

SCIENCE ALERT: Wildfires Ravaging The Arctic Right Now Are So Intense, You Can See Them From Space. The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and after the hottest June ever recorded on Earth, the region is literally on fire. From Greenland to Siberia to Alaska, huge swathes of flame and smoke are wrapping themselves around the upper Northern Hemisphere of our planet, like a suffocating scarf.

CNN:  More than 100 intense wildfires have ravaged the Arctic since June, with scientists describing the blazes as “unprecedented.” New satellite images show huge clouds of smoke billowing across uninhabited land in Greenland, Siberia and parts of Alaska. The wildfires come after the planet experienced the hottest June on record and is on track to experience the hottest July on record, as heatwaves sweep across Europe and the USA.

 

UAH Satellite temperature data for land surfaces in the the Arctic region are presented graphically below for each calendar month from January to June. July temperatures are not currently available but projected values are shown below in the charts labeled “July”.

 

FIGURE 1

LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURES OVER ARCTIC LAND SURFACES01T02T03T04T05T06T07T

 

FIGURE 2

5-YEAR AND 10-YEAR TEMPERATURE TRENDS IN A MOVING WINDOW

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FIGURE 3: TREND SUMMARYSUMMARY

 

DISCUSSION

  1. Figure 3 summarizes the trend data for the seven calendar months presented. The chart shows close agreement between the full span trend and the mean of the decadal trends indicating little or no violation of OLS assumptions and reliability of full span OLS trends. The 5-year trends may be over too short a duration to render meaningful data. The comparison of the full span OLS trends for the seven calendar months presented shows that the highest trends, 0.03C to 0.035C per year are seen in the spring and summer months of April, May, and June providing some credibility for the high rate of warming in June as a rationale for the attribution of the fires to AGW climate change.
  2. Figure 2 shows decadal  temperature trends on the right frame of the charts for each calendar month. These trends are computed in a moving 10-year window that moves through the time series one year at a time. The decadal temperature trends for the decade ending in 2014 to 2019 show a cooling from 2014 to 2016 at rates of 0.005C, 0.015C, and 0.004C per year turning to warming in 2017 at rates of 0.031C, 0.025C, and 0.0075C/year in 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively. These results imply that that the rate of warming in June went up from 2014 to 2017 but thereafter declined. The average for June is 0.03C/year. The results indicate that 2018 and 2019 are not unusual in their warming rate for June with 2019 showing a particularly low rate of warming. These data do not support the contention that rising rates of AGW climate change warming rates triggered the wildfires.
  3. Similar results are seen in the moving 5-year window in Figure 2. Here  we see that the warming rate was very high at in 2012 (0.359C/year) which declined to cooling in 2014 to 2017 returning to lower rates of warming 0.114C/year in 2018 and 0.16C/year in 2019.
  4. An examination of the temperatures in Figure 1 presents a similar pattern. Temperature anomalies from 2012 show temperature declining from 1.09C in 2012 to a low of 0.02 in 2014 before rising to 0.73C in 2018 and again to 0.89C in 2019. This figure is higher than the recent past but much lower than the 1.2C temperature anomaly of 2007. Thus the 2019 temperature cannot be described as unprecedented.
  5. The analysis presented shows that neither the lower troposphere temperature over land surfaces in the Arctic region nor its rate of warming in 2019 is unprecedented. The attribution of the wildfires to AGW climate change on that basis is therefore not supported by the data.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GRETA THUNBERG GAVE A CLIMATE SPEECH JULY 23, 2019. This post is a transcrption of the speech but not as delivered but as interpreted by the transcript writer. 

 

  1. OK so the world will not end in the year 2030. I know I used to say stuff like that but I changed my mind. The new program is this. By the year 2030, if we continue with business as usual we will likely be in a position where we may pass a number of tipping points. The first tipping point is that I have been coached on the use of words like LIKELY, MIGHT, COULD, and MAY because they allow you to say stuff without the possibility of being held accountable. Another tipping point is that we might no longer be able to undo the irreversible climate breakdown.
  2. I am not sure what an irreversible climate breakdown is or how that differs from a reversible climate breakdown but I am sure it is something so horrible that you don’t want to take a chance of going there. A lot of politicians, business leaders, and journalists say that they don’t agree with what we are saying and that is probably because they don’t know the meaning of the words LIKELY, MIGHT, COULD, and MAY. They say that we are exaggerating, that we are alarmists. Tell me something, do I sound like an alarmist? If I were an alarmist, would I use nice phrases like “climate breakdown” and “tipping point”? Of course not.
  3. But anyway NOT ONCE! NOT ONE SINGLE TIME, have I heard any of these guys mention these numbers. I am not sure what numbers I am talking about but that’s what it says on the teleprompter. It is almost like they don’t even know they exist. Maybe they haven’t even read the latest IPCC report on which the future of our civilization is depending . Can you imagine being a politician or business leader or journalist and not reading the latest IPCC report?
  4. In case you are unaware, the phrase “latest IPCC report” is synonymous with the phrase “the word of God”. Maybe these guys are simply not mature enough to tell it like it is. Because even that burden they have left to us children. I know it was climate activists and climate scientists that got us to skip school so we can do this instead but it sounds really cool if I blame the politicians instead.
  5. We the children thus become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things that the IPCC writes and nobody reads. The reason it is now up to us to tell you these uncomfortable things is that neither the IPCC, nor climate activists like Gore and Bill McKibben, nor climate scientists like Stefan Rahmstorf and  Myles Allen, are willing to do it. This is why they had to turn to grooming children into the climate activism business.
  6. And just for quoting and acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we the groomed children received unimaginable amounts of hate and threats and we are being mocked and lied about by elected officials, members of parliament, business leaders, and journalists. It is thus that the groomed children shield climate scientists and activists from this kind of abuse.
  7. As for climate science you should know that you can’t just make up your own facts just because you don’t like what you hear! There is no middle ground when it comes to the climate and its ecological emergency. But political leaders in some countries are starting to talk the way we want them to talk. They are starting to declare climate emergencies and announcing dates for reaching climate neutrality.
  8. Declaring a climate emergency is a good thing but there is a danger here that politicians and business leaders are creating appearances of climate action when in fact there is nothing of substance being done apart from clever carbon accounting and creative PR. The climate and ecological emergency is right here right now!  There is nowhere to hide. The climate apocalypse has only just begun and it will get worse. In fact, since I started this speech, the world has emitted about 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  9. Some people have chosen not to come here today. Some people have chosen not to listen to us. Well, that’s just fine! We are after all just a bunch of groomed children mouthing the words we have been told to say. You don’t have to listen to us. But you do have to listen to the UNITED SCIENCE OF AMERICA! And that is all we ask. Just UNITE BEHIND THE SCIENCE. Thank you and I hope I did a good job and that my groomers are happy with what I did up here.

 

thisone

 

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UAH LT GLOBAL MEAN ANOMALIES & DECADAL TRENDS : 1979-201901020304050607AUGUST-COOLING

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THIS POST IS AN EVALUATION OF THE CLAIM IN THE YEAR 2019 THAT WE ARE ENTERING A COOLING PHASE.

  1. UAH global mean lower troposphere temperature anomalies 1979-2019 and their decadal trends are presented in Figure 1 for the calendar months January to August. The thick red line traces temperature anomalies in the left frame and their decadal trends in a moving 10-year window in the right frame. In both frames, the dotted black line is a third order polynomial regression line. Curves in the third order regression line indicate changing trends in temperature in the left frame and changing trends in decadal trends in the right frame. Since no cooling trends are seen in these charts, we propose to examine the curvature of the third order polynomial for signs of “entering a cooling phase”.
  2. If we were “entering a cooling phase” we would expect that the 3rd order polynomial line would show a dip at the inception of the cooling phase. No such dip in the 3rd order polynomial regression line is found in any of the 7 calendar months either in temperature anomalies or in decadal trends. In fact, the opposite is true for temperature anomalies in the calendar months of May and June where the polynomial shows an upward curve. In the 3rd order polynomial for decadal trends, the opposite is true for all seven calendar months where the time series ends in a rising trend.
  3. These data do not support the repeated claims in various blogs and social media that we are “entering a cooling phase” or “entering a new ice age” or that the much anticipated solar grand minimum is already evident in the the surface temperature data. 
  4. Regional data for ten regions are presented in GIF format below. Each GIF animation cycles through eight calendar months from January to August. The third order polynomial regression curve through the temperature data for each region is examined for a downward curvature at the end of time span close to 2019. Such curvature where found is interpreted as a harbinger of imminent cooling with the possible implication that “we are entering a cooling phase“.
  5. In this examination of the GIF charts below, we find such curvatures in 12 of 77 possibilities (11 charts and 7 months). Two of the 12 positive results are found over Antarctica, where no global warming exists.  Even if the Antarctica data are included we get about 16% positive findings. The low percentage of positive results does not provide convincing evidence of an imminent cooling trend. The 16% positive curvature found can be explained as random variability as such curves are also seen elsewhere in the span earlier in time. It is noted that without Antarctica in the sample, the positive finding percentage drops to 14%. It is also noted that many of these regression curves end in an upward curvature. We conclude that these data do not provide convincing evidence that we have entered a cooling phase nor that we are entering a cooling phase.

 

COUNT OF ENDING DOWN-CURVES IN THE GIF CHARTS BELOWCOUNTS

 

 

 

 

GIF-D: GLOBAL LAND AND OCEAND-GIFF

 

GIF-E: GLOBAL LANDE-GIF

 

GIF-M: TROPICSM-GIFF

 

GIF-N: TROPICS LANDN-GIF

 

GIF-P: NORTHERN EXTENTP-GIF

 

GIF-Q: NORTHERN EXTENT LANDQ-GIF

 

GIF-S: SOUTHERN EXTENTS-GIF

 

GIF-T: SOUTHERN EXTENT LANDT-GIF

 

GIF-V: NORTH POLAR REGIONV-GIF

 

GIF-W: NORTHERN POLAR LAND

W-GIF

 

GIF-Y: SOUTH POLAR REGIONY-GIF

knows about the ArcticFIGURE 1: MAP OF ANTARCTICA

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antarctica-LOCATION

 

FIGURE 2: GREENLAND ICE SHEET 

 

 

FIGURE 3: THWAITES GLACIER

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FIGURE 4. LARSEN B ICE SHELF COLLAPSE OF 2002

 

FIGURE 5: THE ROSS ICE SHELF 2018

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FIGURE 6: THE LARSEN & WILKINS ICE SHELVESantarctic-peninsula-iceshelves

 

FIGURE 7: SEA LEVEL IN GLACIATION AND INTERGLACIAL PERIODSglacial-cycle-sea-levels

 

FIGURE 8: GLACIATION CYCLE FROM THE EEMIAN TO THE HOLOCENE

 

 

 

FIGURE 9: PAST FORECASTS OF AGW DRIVEN SEA LEVEL RISE

  1. 1999: An article in the Journal Science says that the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is a natural event not related to global warming contrary to claims by climate scientists. The WAIS is indeed melting quite rapidly receding at the rate of 400 feet per year but it has been doing so for thousands of years long before human activity and greenhouse gas emissions, having receded 800 miles since the last ice age. If the process continues unchecked it will melt completely in another 7000 years.Therefore it seems unlikely that the event is linked to human activity or that the time frame of a collapse of the ice shelf could fall within 100 years.
  2. 2001 ABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE: A report by the National Research Council (USA) says that global warming may trigger climate changes so abrupt that ecosystems will not be able to adapt. Look for local or short term cooling, floods, droughts, and other unexpected changes. A growing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere due to the use of fossil fuels is to blame. Some regional climates have changed by as much as 10C in 10 years. Antarctica’s largest glaciers are rapidly thinning, and in the last 10 years have lost up to 150 feet of thickness in some places, enough to raise global sea levels by 0.4 mm. Global warming is a real problem and it is getting worse.
  3. 2002, ICE SHELF COLLAPSE: A piece of ice the size of Rhode island broke off the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica and within a month it dissipated sending a huge flotsam of ice into the sea. At about the same time an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the Thwaites Glacier. A few months ago parts of the Ross ice shelf had broken off in a similar way. These events serve as a dramatic reminders that global warming is real and its effects are potentially catastrophic and underscores the urgent need for a binding international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. 2004: An unprecedented 4-year study of the Arctic shows that polar bears, walruses, and some seals are becoming extinct. Arctic summer sea ice may disappear entirely. Combined with a rapidly melting Greenland ice sheet, it will raise the sea level 3 feet by 2100 inundating lowlands from Florida to Bangladesh. Average winter temperatures in Alaska and the rest of the Arctic are projected to rise an additional 7 to 13 degrees over the next 100 years because of increasing emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. The area is warming twice as fast as anywhere else because of global air circulation patterns and natural feedback loops, such as less ice reflecting sunlight, leading to increased warming at ground level and more ice melt. Native peoples’ ways of life are threatened. Animal migration patterns have changed, and the thin sea ice and thawing tundra make it too dangerous for humans to hunt and travel.
  5. 2004A meltdown of the massive Greenland ice sheet, which is more than 3km-thick would raise sea levels by an average seven meters, threatening countries such as Bangladesh, certain islands in the Pacific and some parts of Florida. Greenland’s huge ice sheet could melt within the next thousand years if emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and global warming are not reduced.
  6. 2004: The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report says: increasing greenhouse gases from human activities is causing the Arctic to warm twice as fast as the rest of the planet; in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia winter temperatures have risen by 2C to 4C in the last 50 years; the Arctic will warm by 4C to 7C by 2100. A portion of Greenland’s ice sheet will melt; global sea levels will rise; global warming will intensify. Greenland contains enough melting ice to raise sea levels by 7 meters; Bangkok, Manila, Dhaka, Florida, Louisiana, and New Jersey are at risk of inundation; thawing permafrost and rising seas threaten Arctic coastal regions; climate change will accelerate and bring about profound ecological and social changes; the Arctic is experiencing the most rapid and severe climate change on earth and it’s going to get a lot worse; Arctic summer sea ice will decline by 50% to 100%; polar bears will be driven towards extinction; this report is an urgent SOS for the Arctic; forest fires and insect infestations will increase in frequency and intensity; changing vegetation and rising sea levels will shrink the tundra to its lowest level in 21000 years; vanishing breeding areas for birds and grazing areas for animals will cause extinctions of many species; “if we limit emission of heat trapping carbon dioxide we can still help protect the Arctic and slow global warming”.
  7. 2007: A comparison of Landsat photos taken on 8/11/1985 and 9/5/2002 shows that global warming caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting the massive Greenland ice sheet and exposing the rocky peninsula beneath the ice previously covered by ice.
  8. 2007: Climate scientists say that the current rate of increase in the use of fossil fuels will melt the Greenland ice sheet and cause sea levels to rise by 7 meters in 100 years and devastate low-lying countries like Bangladesh. When these estimates were challenged and their internal inconsistencies exposed, the forecast was quietly revised downward 100-fold from 7 meters to 7 centimeters on their website but the news media alarm about 7 meters continued unabated with “thousands of years” inserted in place of “100 years. 
  9. 2008: IMMINENT COLLAPSE OF PETERMANN GLACIER IN GREENLAND 
    Climate scientists looking through satellite pictures found a crack in the Petermann glacier in Greenland and concluded that it could speed up sea level rise because huge chunks of ice the size of Manhattan were hemorrhaging off. Yet, scientists who has been travelling to Greenland for years to study glaciers say that the crack in the glacier is normal and not different from other cracks seen in the 1990s.
  10. 2008: When there was a greater focus on Antarctica climate scientists said that global warming was melting the West Antarctic Ice Sheet; but the melting was found to be localized and with an active volcano underneath the melting and the attention of “melt forecast” climate science shifted to Arctic sea ice after the an extensive summer melt was observed in September 2007.
  11. 2008: Climate scientists have determined that Adelie penguins in Antarctica are threatened because climate change is melting Antarctic glaciers although it is not clear whether the melting is caused greenhouse gas emissions or by volcanic activity underneath the ice.
  12. 2008Mt. Erebus along with most of the mountains in Antarctica are volcanic mountains and it is now known with certainty that volcanic activity under the ice there is causing great amounts of ice to melt and to cause glaciers to flow faster. The attempt by climate scientists to represent these events as climate change phenomena is inconsistent with this reality.
  13. 2008: THE FIRE BELOW: A volcano under the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, that last erupted 2000 years ago, is now active and responsible for melting ice and for retreating glaciers in that part of the continent (The fire below, Bangkok Post, April 28, 2008). Yet, climate scientists claim that these changes are man-made and that they are caused by carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels as predicted by their computer model of the earth’s climate.
  14. 2008: In March 2008, the Wilkins Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula lost more than 400 square kilometers to a sudden collapse. Following that event, the it continued to break up even as the Southern winter brought frigid temperatures.
  15. 2009: Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels have caused the Wilkins Ice Shelf to break up. If all of the land based ice in Antarctica melted it would raise the sea level by 80 meters
  16. 2009: Human caused global warming is causing havoc in Antarctica with potentially incalculable results. Over one hundred icebergs broke off and a huge flotilla of them are floating up to New Zealand. 
  17. 2009: Our carbon dioxide emissions are causing the East Antarctic ice shelf to lose 57 billion tonnes of ice per year and that if CO2 emissions are not reduced this process could raise sea levels by 5 meters.
  18. 2009: Temperature data 1957-2008 show that the whole of Antarctica including Western Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Eastern Antarctica, is warming due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
  19. 2009: Man-made global warming is causing Greenland’s glaciers to melt at an alarming rate. By the year 2100 all the ice there will have melted causing a calamitous rise in the sea level that will inundate Bangladesh, the Maldives, Bangkok, New Orleans, and atolls in the Pacific. 
  20. 2009: Climate scientists say that the melting of Antarctica is more severe than “previously thought” because the melt is not limited to the Antarctic Peninsula but extends to West Antarctica as well. The melt could cause devastating sea level rise. (although new data show that the West Antarctic ice shelf collapses every 40,000 years or so and that this cyclical process has been regular feature of this ice shelf for millions of years (Antarctica ice collapses were regular, Bangkok Post, March 19, 2009). These melting episodes can raise the sea level by as much as 5 meters but the process takes a thousand years or more.
  21. 2009: Climate scientists say that the Wilkins Ice Shelf collapse is caused by warming of the Antarctic Peninsula due to man-made “global climate change”.
  22. 2009: In 2005 two glaciers in Greenland were found to be moving faster than they were in 2001. Scientists concluded from these data that the difference observed was a a long term trend of glacial melt in Greenland and that carbon dioxide was the cause of this trend. The assumed trend was then extrapolated forward and we were told that carbon dioxide would cause the land based ice mass of Greenland to be discharged to the sea and raise the sea level by six meters. They said that the only way out of the devastation was to drastically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. However, in 2009, just before a meeting in Copenhagen where these deep cuts in emissions were to be negotiated, it was found that the glaciers had returned to their normal rate of discharge.
  23. 2009: Some glaciers on north and northeast Greenland terminate in fiords with long glacier tongues that extend into the sea. It is found that the warming of the oceans caused by our use of fossil fuels is melting these tongues and raising the specter of devastation by sea level rise.

 

RELATED POST: GEOGRAPHY AND GEOLOGY OF ANTARCTICA  [LINK]

RELATED POST: ANTARCTICA MELTING  [LINK]

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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF CONCERNS RAISED IN THE MEDIA AND BY CLIMATE SCIENTISTS WITH RESPECT TO THE IMPACT OF ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING (AGW) ON ANTARCTICA IN TERMS OF ICE MELT AND SEA LEVEL RISE. THE FULL TEXT OF FIVE REFERENCE ARTICLES ARE POSTED BELOW AND PRESENTED AS A CASE STUDY OF SEA LEVEL RISE ALARMISM IN THE CONTEXT OF THE IMPACT OF AGW ON ANTARCTICA AND THE GEOLOGICAL FEATURES OF ANTARCTICA DESCRIBED IN A RELATED POST [LINK] . 

 

  1. We live on an ice planet. The normal equilibrium climate condition of the earth is a state of glaciation in which very cold temperatures and icy conditions persist. The poles and the temperate zones of the earth are shrouded in large ice formations in the form of ice sheets, glaciers, and ice shelves. So much of the ocean water is trapped in land based ice that the mean global eustatic sea level is more than 100 meters lower than the interglacial sea level with which we are familiar. This difference in sea level is shown in Figure 7. 
  2. Every ≈100,000 years or so give or take 20,000 years, the glacial equilibrium state of the earth is interrupted by brief balmy warm periods for ≈15,000 years give or take 5,000 years. Both states of the earth – glaciation and interglacial – are dynamic and chaotic with violent changes in both directions. The video in Figure 8 shows the chaotic rise of glaciation from the previous interglacial (the Eemian) through the last glacial maximum (LGM) to an equally chaotic decline to the current interglacial, the Holocene, in which we live.
  3. By “chaotic” we mean that the system exhibits non-linear dynamics possibly due to Hurst persistence in both directions. In terms of the albedo effect of ice, the more the ice forms, the more the ice can form and the more the ice melts, the more the ice can melt. This kind of behavior is known to impose Hurst persistence and that in turn creates the kind of chaotic behavior seen in Figure 8.
  4. In both glaciation and interglacial states there are sharp changes in both directions – towards warming and ice melt and toward cooling and ice formation at millennial and longer time scales. The difference between glaciation and deglaciation is simply a small advantage to ice formation in glaciation and the glacial state and to ice melt in deglaciation and the interglacial state. This dynamic is discussed in a related post [LINK] .
  5. In the initial phases of an interglacial, the ice sheets of the glaciation state go through violent disintegration and melt events that in turn cause catastrophic sea level rise relative to the very low sea level of the glacial maximum. It must be emphasized that these ice melt and sea level rise events occur early in interglacial period or in the final stages of deglaciation prior to the interglacial state. Although warming and cooling cycles are found throughout the duration of interglacials these cycles do not involve significant changes in global mean sea level (GMSL).
  6. The current Holocene Interglacial period is now more than 11,700 years old. The violent ice melt and sea level rise events of this interglacial have already occurred in the early part of the interglacial. These sea level rise events were driven primarily by disintegration of non-polar ice sheets such as the Laurentide. They are recorded by paleo climatology as melt pulses, described in a related post [LINK] and indicated above in the chart labeled Figure 7
  7. Polar ice may also be taken down in interglacial deglaciation. An example of such an event is seen in the previous interglacial, the Eemian, when the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) disintegrated early in the Eemian to cause significant sea level rise events described in a related post [LINK]It is important to note, however, that even when there is a significant effect of deglaciation on polar ice, that ice melt and disintegration and consequent sea level rise event occurs early in the initial stages of the interglacial.
  8. The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) era comes rather late in the Holocene Interglacial well after the large and violent sea level rise events of the transition to interglacial warmth have already taken place and have already raised mean global sea level by ≈130 meters. It is thus a difficult task to relate the ice melt and sea level rise events of the Holocene to AGW.
  9. The current warming since the Little Ice Age (LIA) is thought to have begun at some time around 1830 accoroding to Abram et al [LINK]. It is attributed by climate science to fossil fuel emissions of the industrial economy. However, it comes rather late in the interglacial to participate in the violent and catastrophic sea level rise events that tend to occur in or soon after the transition from glaciation to interglacials. Furthermore, the current warming period does not seem unusual in the context of the warming and cooling cycles seen throughout the Holocene as described in a related post [LINK] .
  10. However, it remains an important objective of climate science to establish a fear of AGW in terms of ice melt and sea level rise. Since only polar ice remains this late in the Holocene, and since the WAIS had disintegrated early in the Eemian interglacial, climate science has emphasized polar ice melt and sea level rise as a dangerous consequence of AGW that could cause catastrophic melt of the WAIS with equally catastrophic sea level rise. It appears that the underlying motivation for this assessment is to motivate climate action in terms of reducing or eliminating fossil fuel emissions.
  11. Specifically mentioned in Figure 9 (past forecasts of sea level rise) are the Greenland Ice Sheet in the North polar region. In the South Polar Region various features of the ice continent of Antarctica are of interest in this regard. These include the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier, the Pine Island Glacier, the Ross Ice Shelf, the Larsen Ice Shelves, and the Wilkins Ice Shelf. (Figure 1 to Figure 6).
  12. In this line of reasoning in climate science, it is argued that the warming since the LIA being artificial and human caused, is an anomaly in earth’s climate history that may cause a catastrophic collapse of polar ice that are still intact after the natural portion of the deglaciation and sea level rise have already taken place. From the weight of the polar ice that could melt a figure can be computed for sea level rise that the melt would cause, and it is claimed that the theoretical projection of sea level rise thus caused would be a global catastrophe that would inundate low lying areas such as Florida, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and the atolls of the South Pacific.
  13. No evidence exists for sea level rise of this magnitude this late in an interglacial, but climate science explains this anomaly in terms of the artificial nature of the current warming period that is expected to make the warming more intense and more harmful than the natural cycles of warming and cooling seen in the prior history of the Holocene described in a related post [LINK] . The anticipation of such a calamity may serve a purpose in climate change politics aimed at banning the use of fossil fuels [LINK] .
  14. Much of the AGW sea level rise discussion, including those by climate scientists, appear to be emotionally charged with an alarmist component in tone and language. This pattern in the discussion of AGW driven catastrophic sea level rise can be seen in the Congressional testimony of Earth Science professor Robin Bell who admits to being emotionally affected and motivated by the disintegration of the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002 which she had witnessed. Reference Article #1.
  15. It appears that, not just Professor Bell, but many climate and polar scientists working on the AGW driven ice melt and sea level rise hypothesis, have been deeply and emotionally affected by the rapid collapse and disintegration of the Larsen B Ice Shelf shown in the video in Figure 4. Their emotional response is derived from the coincidence that the scientists happened to be there, carrying out polar research on ice sheets and ice shelves and searching for evidence of their possible destruction, when the disintegration of the Larsen B began.
  16. Melting of land ice is expected to cause sea level rise with the extra water added by the ice that melted; but melting of ice shelves do not cause sea level rise directly (ice shelves are already submerged in the sea), but rather as a secondary consequence of the melt. When an ice shelf melts, the source glacier that feeds the ice shelf begins to flow directly into the sea unhindered by the ice shelf. That flow rate is much faster than flow into an ice shelf with rates of 8-times the ice shelf rate reported in the case of the Larsen B ice shelf collapse of 2002.
  17. A history of the interest in climate science of the possibility of catastrophic polar ice melt an sea level rise is described in a related post [LINK] with some salient features listed above in Figure 9This history reveals a keen interest in and apprehension of the possibility of collapse of polar ice formations that would cause catastrophic sea level rise and submerge low lying areas (Florida & Bangladesh).
  18. Specific polar ice areas targeted by these forecasts in Figure 9 include the Greenland Ice Sheet, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, the Thwaites Glacier, the Larsen Ice Shelves, the Wilkins Ice Shelf, the Ross ice shelf, and Mt. Erebus. As seen in the reference articles below and in Figure 9 above, climate science has often mistaken geological phenomena in the Antarctic as climate change phenomena driven by a warming atmosphere.
  19. In a related posts on Antarctica [LINK] and the Arctic [LINK], it is shown that both of these regions are very active geologically such that warming and melting of ice as well as warming of the ocean can be understood in terms of he known geological features of West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula. It appears that, in its investigation of sea level rise by melting polar ice, climate science is hindered by an atmosphere bias.
  20. The atmosphere bias in climate science favors the presumption of atmospheric heat driven by fossil fuel emissions as the the primary planetary force that explains ice sheet and ice shelf melt phenomena. The atmosphere bias of climate science is described in a related post [LINK]  and also in an online paper posted by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] . In the attribution of ice melt phenomena in Antarctica, it is necessary to understand the seasonal cycle there. In the context of atmospheric explanations of Antarctica’s ice melt phenomena, it is instructive to appreciate its seasonal cycle described below (source: antarcticajournal.com)
  21. Antarctica’s seasonal cycle: In Antarctica, the sun rises in September and sets in March with essentially 6 months of daylight and 6 months of darkness. During the summer the temperatures can rise up to 0C in the Antarctic Peninsula but it remains at -10C to -60C in the rest of the continent. During 6 months of winter the temperature can fall by as much as 20C.
  22. As an example of atmosphere bias, consider items #8 &#9 in Figure 9. Item#8 describes an event in which climate science identified ice melt in the WAIS as an AGW impact of the atmosphere but eventually had to concede that the ice melt in the WAIS was due to volcanic activity under the ice. In item#9 climate science attributes the disintegration of the Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2008-2009 [LINK] to AGW as the effect of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.
  23. The breakup of the Wilkins Ice Shelf began during the southern summer in March 2008 (southern summer) and it was reported by climate science as “Antarctic Ice Shelf Disintegration Underscores a Warming World“. However, the melt continued and intensified into the depth of the southern winter in July 2008. It was then that it began to disintegrate. It was reported as “Wintertime disintegration of Wilkins Ice Shelf“. It was feared that in the coming summer weather the ice shelf would fully disintegrate and break off into icebergs. Instead, in December 2008, all they could report was that “New Cracks” had appeared on the Wilkins Ice Shelf. As the summer intensified researchers gathered to watch what they thought would be the demise of the strip of ice connecting the Wilkins Ice Shelf to Charcot Island; but this did not happen. But in April (southern autumn) the ice bridge did finally collapse.
  24. The articles below shed further light on the atmosphere bias of climate science in the investigation of ice melt in West Antarctica, a region that is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire and with known geological sources of heat and fluid flow that can cause ice melt directly and also warm the oceans under ice shelves.
  25. Reference Article #1: Professor Robin Bell addresses a Congressional body with multiple diverse objectives that include (1) informing audience on the nature of Antarctica, the AGW concerns about Antarctica, and how much climate science knows about Antarctica and its relationship with climate change particularly in terms of catastrophic sea level rise. But it appears that she is also there to seek additional research funding and in doing so she emphasizes how much they don’t know and how much more they need to learn before they can save the planet from AGW caused sea level rise. More noteworthy in the presentation is that the climate science emphasis on taking climate action by eliminating fossil fuels from the energy infrastructure reinforced by the fear of the catastrophic consequences of inaction and inadequate research funding. As part of this presentation, Professor Bell becomes emotional about her personal experience with the Larsen B Ice Shelf Collapse in 2002 describing her feelings during that event and the importance for properly funded research expeditions to learn more about these events so that she and her fellow scientists can save the planet from these kinds of horrors of AGW climate change.
  26. Reference Article #2 is an assessment of the risk faced by the Ross Ice Shelf and of sea level rise consequences of its collapse. It says that the Ross ice shelf is the largest ice shelf in the world and if it collapses in the way the Larsen B shelf collapsed in 2002, it would speed up glacial flow of sufficient quantities of ice into the sea to cause sea level rise of 11.6 meters. What concerns the authors is that the potentially catastrophic collapse of the huge Ross Ice Shelf is not being taken seriously because there is no evidence that the ice shelf is at risk. The authors suggest that the rapid and dramatic disintegration of the Larsen B in 2002 should serve as a wake up call that the Ross Ice Shelf could do the same but with more catastrophic results. This assessment if a logical anomaly where we are told to fear things without evidence based entirely on the enormity of consequences without consideration of the absence of evidence that the hypothetical events could occur. This assessment also serves as an example of the Larsen-B hangover. The emotional impact of the Larsen-B collapse of 2002 appears to have created an irrational fear of ice shelf collapse that can now be assessed purely on the basis of the enormity of the consequences regardless of the probability of the event.
  27. Reference Article #3: This is a media report of studies by climate scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Washington published by the PNAS. It is a continuation of the fear of the collapse of the Thwaites glacier that also goes back to an event in the year 2002 when it was described as “an iceberg the size of Delaware broke off the Thwaites Glacier”. Since then climate scientists have kept a close watch on thee Thwaites glacier for further signs of what is thought to be its imminent collapse due to climate change and a collapse that can be prevented by taking climate action. However, no further alarming signs have been found for this glacier.  The scientists then undertook a climate model simulation of the glacier to examine how the glacier could degrade. A time span of 800 years was used. The simulation did not show that the glacier was at risk of imminent collapse. However, it did show that “the glacier was in danger of becoming unstable“. Instability is then interpreted as a potential for collapse and collapse is interpreted as a sea level rise of one meter that could inundate Florida and Bangladesh at some time 200 to 600 years from now. These scientists recommend that “engineers and planners start building future critical infrastructure farther away from the sea-level line” as a precaution so that future generations will be safe from the projected sea level rise.
  28. Reference Article #4: This report describes the results of research undertaken by scientists from the University of Otago in New Zealand who used a hot water drill to dig a hole deep into the Ross Ice Shelf. They expected that as they go deep into the part of the ice shelf below water level they will find evidence of melting and potential collapse. Instead, what they found was that the deeper they went the more ice crystals they found indicating that the ocean was not as warm as they had thought and that the Ross Ice Shelf was apparently not about to undergo the 2002 event seen in the Larsen B Ice Shelf.
  29. Reference Article #5: This article from The Express in the UK cites climate scientists Rob DeConto, “an Antarctic expert at the University of Massachusetts” to report that since the West Antarctic Ice Sheet disintegrated in the Eemian interglacial which was similar to the Holocene, it is likely to disintegrate in the Holocene as well with catastrophic sea level rise of the same magnitude (5 to 9 meters) seen in the Eemian. The parallel drawn between the Holocene and the Eemian is not supported by the data LINK] .

 

UAH TEMPERATURE DATA FOR THE SOUTH POLAR REGION

antarctica-panorama

FIGURE 10: TEMPERATURE ANOMALIES AND DECADAL WARMING RATES

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FIGURE 11: FULL SPAN WARMING RATE FOR EACH CALENDAR MONTH

 

FIGURE 12: MAX & MIN TEMPERATURES FOR EACH CALENDAR MONTH

 

FIGURE 13: AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR EACH CALENDAR MONTHAVG

 

FIGURE 14: STATION DATA 

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  1. UAH satellite measurements of lower tropospheric temperature over the South Polar region are displayed in Figure 10Figure 11, Figure 12, and Figure 13. It should be noted that the temperatures used in the analysis are not temperature as measured but temperature anomalies, that is, differences between the measured temperature and the corresponding temperature in a reference period.
  2. Figure 10 consists of GIF animations cycle through the twelve calendar months showing the temperature in the left frame and decadal trends in the right frame. The top panel shows data for the entire South Polar region both land and sea. The middle and bottom panels displays data for land and sea surfaces respectively.
  3. Figure 11 compares the full span warming rate for each calendar month computed as the mean decadal trend. A common pattern across the three surfaces shows low rates of warming and even cooling for the calendar months January to September.  Very high rates of warming for are seen for the months of October to December, when it is daylight and summer in Antarctica. The warming rates during this period is very high for land at 0.055C/year and a low for sea surfaces at 0.012C/year. The average over both surfaces is 0.025C/year. The average temperature trend for all calendar months is found to be a warming rate of 0.0084C/year for land surfaces and a cooling rate of -0.0014C/year for sea surfaces with an overall warming rate of 0.0017C/year for the whole of the south polar region.
  4. Figure 12 compares the maximum and minimum temperatures seen in each calendar month. These temperatures are averages across the geographical region specified and not for any specific weather station thermometer. The comparison of the average temperature for each calendar month over the period 1979-2018 in Figure 13 shows that in the Arctic summer (September to March) land temperatures are the highest and they rise steeply from September to November reaching a high of +0.25C before declining to +0C by February. A slight warming is seen in the southern Autumn before a steep decline to -0.25C in the southern winter. Though sea temperatures follow the same general pattern, there are significant differences. Sea temperatures decline from +0C in May (southern autumn) to -0.2C in June (southern winter) before returning to +0C by August. Thus for sea surface temperatures, there are only two states – -0.2C in the dead of winter and +0C otherwise. This behavior makes it unlikely that melting of ice shelves by warm sea water is an atmospheric phenomenon and suggests that ice shelf melts are geological phenomena.
  5. Some examples of measured temperatures in weather stations in Antarctica are displayed in Figure 14. A comparison of three different weather stations shows some differences in the demarcation of seasons. Two seasons are identified as summer and winter. Also of note is that no much separates the highs in the winter months from the lows in the summer months with the most dramatic difference between the two seasons is the very low temperatures possible in winter. A thick black line is used to trace the seasonal mean temperature in each of the two seasons. These temperature profiles of the continent do not indicate that ice melt in Antarctica are explained by in terms of atmospheric phenomena.

 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

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  1. A survey of forecasts about catastrophic sea level rise ascribed to anthropogenic global warming and climate change (AGWCC) made in the context of ice melt in Antarctica is presented.  The survey reveals patterns in these claims and certain anomalies in the collection and interpretation of data in the context of an interglacial initiated more than 12,000 years ago. Although dramatic ice melt and catastrophic sea level rise events are normal in interglacials, and this pattern is seen in this interglacial, it is noted that these events occur at the initiation and in the early stages of interglacials as described in a related post [LINK] .
  2. Figure 7 is a time stamp of these events in the current interglacial, the Holocene. It shows a series of catastrophic sea level rise events that raised global mean sea level (GMSL) by more than 120 meters from its low point in the last glaciation. It is noteworthy that the early violent sea level rise events were driven mostly by continental ice sheets in the temperate zones and not by polar ice. It is noted however, that polar ice can also play a role, as seen in the disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet early in the prior interglacial, the Eemian [LINK].
  3. The eventual flattening out of the curve in Figure 7 about 6,000 years ago suggests that the sea level rise chapter of this interglacial is now over. The history of the Holocene interglacial since the violent sea level rise events shows a series of  warming and cooling cycles at millennial time scales as described in a related post [LINK]. These warming and cooling cycles have not had significant sea level implications. The most recent such cycle, shown in the chart above, displays the cooling from the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) [LINK] to the the Little Ice Age (LIA) by about 0.8C [LINK] and the subsequent warming from the LIA to the Current Warm Period (CWP) by about 1C. The polar ice melt and consequent sea level rise concerns are presented in terms of this event.
  4. Since the melt pulses ended after the initial Holocene sea level rise of 120 meters, the sea level has continued to rise at an inconsequential rate of <2mm/year equivalent to a 2 meter sea level rise in a thousand years. Yet, climate science appears to be desperate for a catastrophic sea level rise event by way of massive ice collapse and disintegration in Antarctica, This line of inquiry in climate science likely derives from events that left an impression. These are two ice shelf melts (Larsen B and Wlkins), and two significant melt events, one in the WAIS and the other in the Thwaites glacier.
  5. Yet in all of these events, the likely cause is not the atmosphere but known geological sources of heat in Antarctica. First, these events are highly localized and second, the temperature data presented above do not imply an atmospheric cause. A related post on the geology of Antarctica presents detailed evidence that highly localized events that cannot be related to atmospheric temperature changes turn out to  e geological and not atmospheric phenomena [LINK]

 

 

 

 

REFERENCE ARTICLE #1: A CASE FOR FUNDING ANTARCTIC RESEARCH BY PROFESSOR ROBIN ELIZABETH BELL. [LINK] Introduction: the changing ice sheets: The ice is melting on home planet. This change is happening at the ends of our planet but is lapping at our doorsteps now. Thirty years ago when I first flew over Antarctica in a Naval Research Laboratory P-3 it seemed unimaginable to me that the vast ice sheet below could change. Now we know those white expanses are changing and these changes matter to our homes and communities around the globe. The changing polar ice is tightly linked to the changing coastlines. My testimony is based on decades of experience studying our planet’s ice. Evidence for Changing Ice: The surprising wakeup call for the polar science community came in early 2002. This buzzing alarm came from the Antarctic Peninsula, the part of Antarctica that is the furthest north, jutting towards South America. The Antarctic Peninsula is where global temperatures have risen the most – more than 7°F over 50 years (3.88C, 0.0776C/year). We had thought that ice shelves changed very slowly. Ice shelves are floating extensions of continental ice sheets. By 2002, warming temperatures had started to produce more meltwater on top of the ice shelves. The floating Larsen B Ice Shelf, the size of Rhode Island, developed hundreds of lakes. Suddenly the ice shelf disintegrated into thousands of icebergs over the course of two weeks. The change occurred before our very eyes. The Larsen B ice shelf had been in place for over 10,000 years. Once the floating ice shelf disintegrated, the glaciers that flowed into the ice shelf sped up, pushing more ice into the ocean. Glaciers are the earth’s conveyor belts delivering ice to the ocean and an ice shelf controls the speed — if an ice shelf collapses, the conveyor belt speeds up. Satellite images of this collapse were printed in major newspapers around the globe. Suddenly, changing ice was newsworthy. Together scientists and the public from Harrisburg to India learned Antarctic ice could change faster than we imagined. The Antarctic conveyor belt had sped up. For the first time many around the world saw the link between blue meltwater on the ice shelf surface, the glacier conveyor belt speeding up and sea level rising. The large ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are thick ice, in places over two miles thick, that rest on solid ground although the ground may be below sea level. Melting these ice sheets will raise sea level around the globe. Antarctica holds 200 feet of potential sea level rise and Greenland 20 feet of potential sea level rise. These very thick ice sheets on land are distinct from the thin floating sea ice that covers much of the Arctic Ocean Antarctic Oceans. Arctic sea ice has been steadily shrinking over the past two decades and recently the Antarctic sea ice has begun to retreat. Changing sea ice reduces the Earth’s albedo thereby increasing the rate of warming and creating weather patterns that impact food available to wildlife from penguins to polar bears. But shrinking sea ice itself will not cause sea level to rise, since sea ice is already floating in the water. The major source of future sea level rise are the grounded ice sheets. Changing ice is not a belief system but knowledge gained from three different sets of satellite data. The first measurement is how fast the ice moves. Several parts of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (key parts of the conveyor belts) have doubled their speed in the past two decades, showing that the ice is speeding up. The second measurement is the height of the ice surface, and is made using laser and radar instruments from a satellite or aircraft. In the same places where the ice is speeding up the ice surface is getting lower. Ice is stretching. The third measurement is ice sheet mass calculated from observations from satellite measurements of changes in the gravity field. In the same places that the ice is speeding up and lowering, it is losing mass. These three measurements together demonstrate in more detail than ever before how the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is changing. We can use these three key observations to quantify how fast the ice sheets are changing. For a large continent like Antarctica, the size of the lower 48 states, requires careful examination of each measurement. After much debate and tests of assumptions, a team of 77 scientists found a clear signal that both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice. The current mass loss from these ice sheets is contributing one millimeter of global mean sea level per year. Sea level rise is not evenly distributed around the globe. Antarctica is now losing mass at twice the rate it was in the 1990s. For these calculations, the team broke Antarctica up into three parts, the Peninsula where the Larsen B Ice Shelf was; West Antarctica, the ice sheet that rests on low-lying topography and is exposed to changes in the ocean temperature; and East Antarctica, the large ice sheet where the South Pole is located at a higher topography. Each region stores different amounts of ice, has a different history and a different susceptibility to a warming world. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is the most susceptible to warming oceans and atmosphere as it sits lower and is in direct contact with the ocean. West Antarctica is where the greatest changes have occurred over the past decade. Most of the 8 mm of sea level rise from Antarctica in the last decade has come from West Antarctica. Evidence for Changing Coastlines: Why did the changing ice emerge as the highest priority in the National Academy Report? We are beginning to see the melting ice, including from Antarctica, at the tide gauges along our coastline. Globally, average sea level has risen 8-9 inches since 1880, with the global rise since 1993 being 3 inches. Right here at the dock along the bike path in Southeast Washington sea level has risen a foot in since 1919. I put my hand on my leg just below my knee and realize the water level has risen that far since my father was born. At most locations around the globe sea level is rising. At a few locations, sea level is actually falling. Three major components make up the change at an individual coastal city: the change in ocean temperature, the melting ice and whether the land the city rests on is rising or sinking. Up to now the warming of the ocean waters by 0.72°C since 1960 is the major signal that of warming that has appeared at our coasts. Melting ice has the greatest potential for new rapid sea level rise globally. The contribution of ice melt to changes in global mean sea level rise is modulated by the self-gravitation of the ice sheets. Already the modulation of the impact of melting ice in Greenland by the self-gravitation is apparent in the tide gauges along the east coast of the United States. Because of this gravitational effect, sea level is rising faster in the Southeastern US than in New England. Atop these signals are local impacts. The land cities and towns are built on can be rising or sinking, impacting local sea level. In cities like Juneau and Stockholm the land is rising due to the loss of ice 20,000 years ago while cities like Norfolk, Virginia and New Orleans are sinking due to removal of groundwater. Every community is going to see a different future sea level depending the ocean temperature, the changing ice, and whether the land is rising or falling. Linking the changing ice to the changing coastlines is a challenge that will require collaboration from the ice to the shorelines. Impacts of Changing Coastlines We have begun to witness the melting ice and see the impact along our shorelines. The higher sea level made the impact of recent major storms like Maria, Harvey, Irma and Sandy more devastating. For example, close to my home 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean they used bulldozers to clear boats from the roads after Superstorm Sandy. Because of the sea level rise over the past century, 45,000 more people were impacted by Sandy’s flooding. The impact of rising sea level is not just during major storms. All around the US we are seeing increased nuisance flooding. Nuisance flooding is called sunny day flooding where high tides in fair weather make it difficult to get home because the roads are flooded. Miami and Norfolk are both experiencing this and are working to adapt to this. Scientists are working to provide these cities with the forecasts of future sea level they need to adapt. Ice Sheet Change Projections: Looking ahead the scientific community is scrambling to provide answers to how fast and how much will sea level rise in each community from ice sheet melt. Suddenly city managers, architects, reinsurance companies and resiliency officers care about Antarctic ice. The efforts to answer the how-fast-how-much question range from simple exercises to frame the problem to quizzing experts locked in a room to probabilistic projections and Ice Sheet Models. These models are like climate models only for ice. In contrast to weather and hurricane models, these models are still in the early stages of development. Ice sheet modeling scientists have made big advances in these efforts, such as figuring out how to capture mathematically the changing forces when ice goes afloat and using the latest supercomputing resources to allow the models to include many of the important stresses at play within the ice. The ice sheet models are now linked to different futures, whether temperatures go up a little, a lot or a huge amount. These different futures will be determined by how much CO2 we release into the atmosphere. The science community is working through this collaboratively and through peer review, the way good science happens. An idea is published, the community tests it and new ideas are advanced. Since scientists have never watched an ice sheet disappear, we use records from the past. We know sea level rises when temperature rise — Miami is built on rocks formed in a shallow sea very similar to the Bahamas today. The hills of Miami formed 120,000 years ago when the planet was warm and sea level was 19-30 feet higher than it is now. The other point we use to calibrate our models is from three million years ago, the last time CO2 was as high as it is now sea level was 19-65 feet higher than it is now. The challenge faced by climate scientists working on the models is that we are still learning so much about how ice sheets work. For example, while we are all familiar with how water flows across our familiar landscape, we are still trying to understand what happens when water collects on Antarctica. Greenland wears a necklace of blue ponds every summer and has water hidden in crevasses and in the snow. What happens if Antarctica warms until it looks like Greenland? Will all the new water make the remaining ice shelves disintegrate like the Larsen B, triggering more glaciers/conveyor belts to accelerate, or will rivers form atop the ice? Will we will see giant ice cliffs that become unstable causing a sudden runaway collapse of the ice switching the glacier conveyor belts to hyper-fast? These are the ice processes that might produce drastically accelerate sea level rise. Models with lots of meltwater and collapsing cliffs predict close to six feet of sea level rise from Antarctica by 2100. More recent publications suggest that the number might be closer to 1-1.5 feet (45 cm). As we discover new important processes and discover more, these numbers will change. Our knowledge-base and our models are evolving. My family has a boat on the Hudson and we worry about hurricanes every summer. Thirty years ago the hurricane models could not tell us whether the hurricane was going to hit Maine or our New York home, now we can plan much better. We knew Sandy was possibly coming ten days out and were able to prepare. The improvement in hurricane prediction illustrates that the ice predictions can improve if we work on it by building our knowledge base, deepening the bench of scientists and fostering interdisciplinary and international collaborations. Three Essentials to Improve Ice Sheet Melt Projections: The Antarctic melt projections for 2100 range from just below my knee or over my head, or, quantitatively 1-6 feet. How can we narrow down this answer about how Antarctica will melt in the coming decades? There are three critical things essential to improving the predictions: knowledge of processes (or how ice sheets work), people (to explore, discover, model and communicate, and fostering collaboration: 1) Processes: We have never witnessed an ice sheet collapse and improving our predictions requires getting up close and personal with the ice sheets to better understand how ice sheets work and intense efforts to decide how best to describe these processes in ice-sheet models. 2) People: The community studying ice around the world has grown but the community is still really small. 3) Collaboration: Because changing ice is controlled by the ocean, the atmosphere, the underlying geology and ice physics and Antarctica are huge, this work requires collaboration across disciplines and nations. Our understanding of the process of how ice sheets work has made huge advances. Prior to the International Geophysical Year in 1958, we did not know how much ice there was in Antarctica. By the 1980s we began to understand why those giant conveyor belts of ice can deliver so much ice to the ocean (Alley 1986). These conveyor belts can be over 60 miles wide and in Antarctica move up to about 1.5 miles per year. In Greenland the conveyor belts move even faster – more than 5 miles a year. In the 1990s we began both to drill through the ice sheet and to study extensive regions with aircraft and we discovered that the geology underneath matters. In the 2000s we realized there were extensive networks of water beneath the ice including large lakes, one the size of New Jersey, smaller lakes that will slowly fill and drain, and water networks that move the water. Where the water goes matters because the water is part of the basal lubrication system. Some of the big unknowns include: what is happening in this hidden environment beneath the ice, how will the warming ocean and atmosphere attack the ice sheet and will surface water trigger collapse of all the major ice shelves? A lot remains to be learned. We as a species have lived with changing weather and have a deep knowledge of weather systems Our grandmothers understood the wispy angular clouds they called mare’s tails meant rain soon, but we can now predict to the hour when the rain will arrive. We as a species have far less experience with collapsing ice sheets. To improve our models, we must get up close and personal with the ice sheets. The satellite record has clearly shown us that change is happening but it is the work in Antarctica from surface ships and aircraft that is essential to foster the advances in understanding of how ice sheets work that will improve our projections. NASA’s Operation Icebridge is an example of the importance of comprehensive imaging of the ice sheets that fostered a new norm of freely available open data. The National Science Foundation has responded to the 2015 National Academy report by launching a major program collaboratively with the United Kingdom’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the International Thwaites Glacier CollaborationThe Thwaites Glacier is one of the largest conveyor belts: It is considered one of the most unstable pieces of ice on the planet. Thwaites Glacier is wide and is perched on a topographic ridge where the warming ocean is known to be thinning the ice. Because this glacier can deliver a lot of ice to the ocean fast and because it is already showing signs of thinning and shrinking it is a major threat and a high priority. The major NSF/NERC initiative this as an example of the type of work that is essential to launch around all of Antarctica. Advancing the basic understanding of how the ice sheets work and the processes that control their melting, will improve our predictions. Antarctic scientists are the sea level hunters. The second critical need to improve our projections is people. As President of AGU and as former President of the Cryosphere Section, I am acutely aware of how small our community is. Now, the AGU Cryosphere section has 1,492 members. This number includes scientists from around the globe studying ice, snow and sea ice. To put that in perspective in 2010, there were about 140,000 people enrolled in law school in the US. In a single year, 100 times more people were studying law than the entire global community studying changing ice. There is an acute personnel problem. We need more scientists working on this problem if we are to improve our projections. Science and the science of melting ice from the Arctic to the South Pole must be an open welcoming community. The science is remarkable and the discoveries to be made remarkable. We have barely started to scratch the surface of the ice sheets. The third need is to fully embrace ice as part of the changing earth and enable truly convergent work. When your child is in the hospital with a sudden ailment you really want the specialists to be working together to provide the best care. The ice community is coming to the realization that we need to take a similar approach. We recently completed ROSETTA, a study of the largest ice shelf in Antarctica, the Ross, just a little smaller than Texas. Using Recovery Act funding, in partnership with the New York Air National Guard, we repurposed military imaging technology for ice studies. After three years of flying the IcePod over the Ross Ice Shelf we realized that it was impossible to understand how the ice will melt without bringing all the specialists to the table. We learned that the geology is in essence protecting that sector of West Antarctica from the warming global ocean but the vulnerability is to heat pumped under the ice shelf from the shallow ocean waters by strong winds. It took scientists from many disciplines working together on the same data sets to converge on these complex processes. We were acting like that team of specialists working together for the good for a patient. It is essential to foster this convergent work for the planet and our species. To move the Antarctic work forward will require interdisciplinary and international collaboration as fostered by NSF in the ITGC program but on a larger scale. Ice science must also be more tightly linked to our changing coastlines so each community will know how to respond and adapt. I am hopeful. With investment the hurricane forecasts have improved. We can improve the melt forecasts and provide better information to our neighbors.

 

 

REFERENCE ARTICLE #2: Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf, World’s Largest, is Melting in a Way Not Seen Before [LINK]: Most of the worry over melting ice in Antarctica has focused on the rapidly melting western shore where there is enough ice to raise worldwide sea levels by up to 3 meters. But new research suggests that the massive Ross Ice Shelf, which has long been considered stable, might be at risk potentially leading to a slower sea level rise of up to 11.6 meters as glaciers that were once held back by the shelf slide more quickly into the ocean. The researchers suspect that other crucial ice shelves could also be at risk. A primary concern is that the potential for melting and collapse of the big ice shelves is not being taken seriously enough because they are not presently showing much signs of change. But on a 100-year timescale, they have the potential for significant change. The largest ice shelf in the world: Located on the side of Antarctica closest to New Zealand, the Ross Ice Shelf spans an area about the size of Spain and has an average thickness of ≈1,300 feet. It is one of many ice shelves that stick out into the ocean from the edge of Antarctica with about 90 percent of their bulk submerged. Melting of these ice shelves has no direct effect on global sea levels, since the ice is already at equilibrium with the surrounding water. But the ice shelves greatly slow the flow of glaciers on the continent that would otherwise slide faster into the ocean, causing water levels to rise. Ice shelves hold back grounded ice: In 2002, Antarctica’s Larsen B ice shelf broke apart in less than a month, and afterward some of the adjacent glaciers sped up by as much as eight times. The shattering of Larsen B shocked scientists, since no one had previously realized that an ice shelf could disappear so quickly. It is thought that the collapse of the Larsen-B was triggered by pools of water that had formed on the ice shelf’s surface. The proposed mechanism is that water leaked into fissures and forced them open in a process described as hydrofracture. Hydrofracture is one of two mechanisms thought to account for most of the ice loss in the Antarctic. The other mechanism happens when deep, warm ocean currents flow far under an ice shelf: The warm water eats away at the “grounding line” where the shelf connects to the land. That’s what’s happening to the smaller Amundsen Sea ice shelves on Antarctica’s western shore. Satellite measurements over the past 26 years show that these ice shelves sinking. indicating that some are thinning by up to 7 meters per year. As a result, the glaciers they support — which contain enough ice to raise global sea levels by over four feet — are flowing rapidly into the sea. A new way to melt: Satellite measurements suggest that the Ross Ice Shelf has been stable for the past few decades, even growing thicker in certain regions. But ROSETTA-Ice researchers have built a computer model of the interconnected factors that control the Ross Ice Shelf, including seasonal conditions, ocean currents, and the structure of ice and bedrock on the adjacent continent. The model is based on data collected by the ROSETTA-Ice team using instruments mounted on aircraft and on undersea robots. The findings suggest that a spot on the northwestern side of the ice shelf is melting in a way researchers have not seen before — neither hydrofracture nor deep currents at the grounding line. Instead, the Ross’s problem is that seasonal masses of warm water near the ocean surface in front of the ice shelf is melting the ice shelfIn winter, a crust of sea ice — far thinner than the actual ice shelf — covers the ocean in front of the shelf. But in summer, that sea ice melts, and the dark water absorbs solar energy and warms the water beneath. This warm surface water then erodes the northwestern corner of the Ross Ice Shelf, eating away at ice under the lip and causing small icebergs to crumble from its edge. In the Ross Ice Shelf, there are some regions that are showing very high melt rates at the front, by the calving front of the ice shelf, as opposed to the grounding line. What it means for sea level is that the lost ice is currently being replaced by ice flowing down from the continent, so the shelf is not yet getting thinner. But it could easily start to thin as the climate continues to warm, and current projections don’t take the processes the ROSETTA-Ice team observed into account. Most of the grounded glacier ice that is being held back by the Ross Ice Shelf is unlikely to melt anytime soon, in part because it is also held in place by the shape of underlying mountains and valleys. But the melting corner of the Ross happens to be located right in front of a particularly vulnerable swathe of ice on the continent. It just happens to be in the right area where if  the ice shelf thinned, you would have an effect on the amount of grounded ice coming into the ocean. Even in a worst-case scenario, melting in the Ross won’t cause a sudden jump in sea levels over the next few decades BUT over centuries or millenia, the changes could be massive. The researchers are working to estimate how fast they might occurIt’s possible that other Antarctic ice shelves also have spots that are melting rapidly due to summer surface warming. For example, no one has yet looked for such a process on the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, a huge ice shelf currently holding back glaciers that could raise sea levels by about 45 feet if they melted completely. “We’re seeing a new process that we didn’t really think was an issue before. “There is no reason why the stuff that they’re seeing on the Ross Ice Shelf wouldn’t be applicable elsewhere.”

 

 

 

REFERENCE ARTICLE #3: THE ROSS ICE SHELF IS FREEZING NOT MELTING [LINK]  In November 2018, scientists from New Zealand used a hot water drill to go deep into Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf. The shelf, which can be up to 10,000 feet thick, is the largest of several that hold back West Antarctica’s massive amounts of ice. If these were to collapse, global sea level would rise by ten feet. Drilling a hole and lowering a camera and thermometer inside is a way for researchers to understand the history of the shelf, and what is happening to it now. In measuring the temperature and currents below the shelf, they expected to find that the ice was melting. Instead, the water appeared to be crystalizing and freezing. In the video from National Geographic, we can see the white dots of ice crystals as the camera is lowered towards the dark sea below. If the shelf were melting, the hole at that level would have smooth sides. It blew our minds” Scientists have left instruments deep in the hole to measure currents and temperatures below the shelf for the next few years. Though the freezing seems to be a promising sign for the shelf’s stability, it doesn’t tell the whole picture. Scientists also hope to learn whether the ice shelf has melted in the past due to other climate shifts. Though results of this study were unexpected, that doesn’t change the larger trend of accelerated warming and icecap melting. In fact, NASA just confirmed we are losing ice in Antarctica at a faster rate every year. The reasons for these odd Ross results probably won’t become clear until much more research is done. But for now, at the very least, it’s a decent sign that catastrophic melting of the Ross Ice Shelf won’t occur in the near future.

 

 

 

REFERENCE ARTICLE #4: ANTARCTICA’S ICE DEGRADING FASTER THAN PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT [LINK] : There are plenty of ominous indicators of the consequences of climate change, but few are more worrying to scientists than the ice sheets of Antarctica. They have been melting for quite some time, and it doesn’t take a degree in physics to understand the risk there. As the ice melts it flows into the ocean, causing sea levels to rise. And rising sea levels are obviously a huge problem. New NASA-funded research published in the journal PNAS reveals a concerning complication. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Washington ran hundreds of simulations to predict how one large ice sheet, Thwaites Glacier, could degrade over the next 50 to 800 years. The results showed the glacier was in danger of becoming unstable. “Unstable” here means something very specific. An “instability” means a frozen, ticking time bomb. The area of the glacier behind where it cantilevers over the water is eaten away, which can cause the glacier’s ice to break off and flow faster out to sea and add to rising sea levels. What’s more ominous, the research finds, is that once this instability is triggered it will be hard to untrigger it. If you trigger this instability, you don’t need to continue to force the ice sheet by cranking up temperatures. It will keep going by itself, and that’s the worry. In other words, even if climate change were magically reversed, it wouldn’t stop the dangerous and rapid rise in sea levels that could be triggered by unstable ice sheets. The worst-case scenario” could be a rise of two or three feet from the Thwaites glacier. Engineers and planners should start building future critical infrastructure farther away from the sea-level line, you don’t need to pack up your coastal homes like it’s high tide yet.

 

REFERENCE ARTICLE #5: WARNING ANTARCTICA is a ticking TIME BOMB and could one day unleash a staggering 20 feet of sea level rise, scientists have warned. By SEAN MARTIN. 2019.  Some 115,000 years ago when humans first arrived, the Earth was going through a warm period. Early Homo sapiens’ space was more limited at this point, as sea levels were 20 to 30 feet (six to nine metres) higher. The climate was largely the same as it is today, but scientists have noticed that our sea levels are nowhere near as high as it was for the first humans. This has led some to the fearful conclusion that excess water is locked up in the ice sheets of Antarctica, and if the Earth and its oceans continue to warm, then sea levels could quickly stack up. Researchers reached the conclusion by analysing ancient plants in the northern hemisphere – specifically the Arctic Circle. The plant fossils were located on Baffin Island, in northeastern Canada, and scientists determined that the last time they grew was 115,000 years ago when the ice was also not covering them then. A group of researchers then determined that the ice has been locked up on the other side of the world, in the ice sheets of Antarctica. More specifically, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which is mainly submerged under water. The sheet has already thinned by more than 700 metres near the coast throughout the past 10,000 years, and as oceans continue to warm, sea levels could rise astronomically in the future. Rob DeConto, an Antarctic expert at the University of Massachusetts, told the Washington Post: “There’s no way to get tens of meters of sea level rise without getting tens of meters of sea level rise from Antarctica.  “What we pointed out was, if the kind of calving that we see in Greenland today were to start turning on in analogous settings in Antarctica, then Antarctica has way thicker ice, it’s a way bigger ice sheet, the consequences would be potentially really monumental for sea level rise. “We cannot recreate six meters of sea level rise early in the Eemian without accounting for some brittle fracture in the ice sheet model.” Mr Decanto and his colleague David Pollard, ran simulations which examined the melting of ice in the North Pole, and they warn that if the same process happens in the Antarctic, the consequences could be devastating.  According to Google’s interactive map, FireTree, a nine metre sea level rise would make Britain and Ireland much narrower, while the likes of Holland will be almost completely submerged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATED 8 DECEMBER 2019 TO CORRECT AN AVERAGING ERROR

  1. The original post below computes an warming rate for the “Rest of the World” (ROTW), not including the Arctic, as a simple arithmetic average. Here we show that if the average warming rate for the ROTW is computed as an area weighted average instead of a simple arithmetic average, the result is very different in that it validates the claim that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.
  2. In the charts displayed in Figure 1, Figure 2, and Figure 3 below, the ordinate identifies the twelve calendar months as numerals 1 to 12. The 13th value is the average of the first twelve and represents a mean annualized estimate. Warming rates are studied for five latitudinal regions as the North Polar Region (ARCT), Northern extent (NEXT), Tropics (TROP), Southern Extent (SEXT), and the South Polar Region (ANTA). The left frame displays the warming rates for each latitudinal region and the right frame graphically displays the ratio of the ARCT warming rate over the mean for the other regions.
  3. In Figure 1 all four reference regions are used in the ROTW average. In Figure 2, the ROTW is redefined by excluding the South Polar Region (ANTA) as an outlier; and in Figure 3, the ROTW is further restricted by also excluding the Southern Hemisphere.
  4. The results are summarized in Figure 4 where we find that the Arctic is indeed “warming twice as fast as the rest of the world” as claimed by climate science, by the media, and by Catherine McKenna. The original analysis that appears below the update came to the wrong conclusion that the removal of the South Polar region (ANTA) reduced the ratio to well below the “twice as fast” claim. The error in that analysis is that the ROTW average was not area weighted but a simple arithmetic average of warming rates. Since the ANTA region represents a relatively small region of the globe, the area weighted average for ROTW does not show a significant difference between including or not including the ANTA region (that does not show a statistically significant warming rate). With apologies to Catherine McKenna and others who had correctly claimed that the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

 

UPDATE FIGURE 1: NO REGION EXCLUDED IN ROTW AVERAGEARCTIC-1

 

UPDATE FIGURE 2: SOUTH POLAR REGION REMOVED FROM ROTWARCTIC-2

 

UPDATE FIGURE 3: SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE REMOVED FROM ROTWARCTIC-3

 

UPDATE FIGURE 4: SUMMARY TABLEARCTIC-4

 

 

 

 

IS THE ARCTIC WARMING TWICE AS FAST AS THE REST OF THE WORLD? 

 

 

FIGURE 1: ARCTIC VS ROTW (INCLUDE ANTARCTIC)TWICEASFAST-TABLE1

 

FIGURE 2: ARCTIC VS ROTW (LEAVE OUT ANTARCTIC)TWICEASFAST-TABLE2

 

FIGURE 3: COMPARISON OF ZONAL WARMING RATES 

 

 

 

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  1. THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE CLAIM THAT THE ARCTIC IS WARMING TWICE AS FAST AS ANY OTHER PLACE ON EARTH AND THE CORRESPONDING CLAIM BY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT THAT CANADA IS LIKEWISE WARMING TWICE AS FAST ANY OTHER PLACE ON EARTH. BOTH OF THESE CLAIMS ARE OFTEN WORDED AS “WARMING TWICE AS FAST AS THE REST OF THE WORLD although the implication of the two claims are very different. Both of these claims are evaluated against zonal mean temperature data in this study.
  2. The data used in the analysis are UAH satellite data for zonal mean temperatures for each calendar month for the South Polar, Southern Extent, Tropical, Northern Extent, and North Polar zones. The study period is constrained by data availability to 1979 to 2018, a span of 40 years. The full span warming rates computed with simple OLS linear regression are presented in Figure 1 and Figure 2 above in units of Celsius units per century.
  3. Figure 1 is a comparison of all five zonal warming rates. The computed OLS full span warming rates for each of the twelve calendar month are shown in the top 6 rows labeled SPOL (South Polar Region), SEXT (Southern Extent),  TROP (Tropical zone), NEXT (Northern Extent), and NPOL (North Polar Region). The sixth row, marked ROTW (rest of the world) is the average warming rate for the four zones south of the North Polar Zone.
  4. The NPOL zone is taken as a proxy for the Arctic and for Canada and it is compared with the ROTW as well as to the other four zones one at a time. Very high rates of warming are seen for the NPOL zone from 1.67C/century in November to 3.36C/century in April with an average of 2.27C/century. Low rates of warming but but with large differences among the calendar months are found in the SPOL (south polar region) where the warming rates for the calendar months range from cooling (-2.65C/century) in July to warming at 4.44C/century in November with an average warming rate of 0.81C/century. The ROTW (rest of the world outside of the NPOL) average ranges from 0.395C/century in July to 2.462C/century in November with an average of 1.43C/century. The month of November contains a number of extreme values.
  5. A comparison of the warming rates in the top six rows of Figure 1 shows that the NPOL contains the highest average warming rate for all calendar months of 2.27C/century followed closely by NEXT at 2C/century, and well above ROTW at 1.64C/century. The next five rows of Figure 1 contain the ratio of the NPOL warming rate divided by the warming rate for the other four zones individually as well as the other four zones combined into the ROTW figures. Some negative values are seen in these ratios for the SPOL due to cooling in the South Polar region. Almost all of these ratios are greater than unity except for some low values of for the NEXT and SEXT zones.
  6. The average ratio is seen in terms of the ROTW figures shown in bold in the bottom row of Figure 1. Here most ratios are greater than unity but with some low values in October and November that are more than offset by very high ratios April to July. The average of all calendar months is seen here as NPOL/ROTW = 1.96, a value very close to the claim that NPOL is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. However the same analysis when carried out without SPOL (Figure 2), shows an averate ratio of NPOL/ROTW = 1.42. This result implies that the claim that NPOL is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world is an artifact of cooling in Antarctica. If Antarctica is removed from the comparison, we find that NPOL is warming about 42% faster than the rest of the world and not twice as fast.
  7. The further claim often heard that NPOL is warming twice as fast as any other place on earth, is clearly not supported by the data presented above. The column of averages on the far right of Figure 1 shows the NPOL warming rate of 2.27C/century implies ratios of 1.1 to 1.6 when the SPOL is not included.
  8. CONCLUSION: Comparison of zonal warming rates shows that the North Polar Region is warming faster than the rest of the world but the usual claim that it is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world is an artifact of cooling in the South Polar Region and is not found when that region is removed from the comparison. The further claim that the North Polar Region is warming twice as fast as any other place on earth is not supported by the data although the data do show that the North Polar Region is warming faster than the other four zonal regions studied in this analysis. A bibliography for this issue is presented below. Geological sources of heat in the Arctic that may have a role in this phenomenon are discussed in a related post on this site [LINK] .

 

 

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  1. Johannessen, Ola M., et al. “Arctic climate change: observed and modelled temperature and sea-ice variability.” Tellus A: Dynamic meteorology and oceanography 56.4 (2004): 328-341.  Changes apparent in the arctic climate system in recent years require evaluation in a century-scale perspective in order to assess the Arctic’s response to increasing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas forcing. Here, a new set of centuryand multidecadal-scale observational data of surface air temperature (SAT) and sea ice is used in combination with ECHAM4 and HadCM3 coupled atmosphere’ice’ocean global model simulations in order to better determine and understand arctic climate variability. We show that two pronounced twentieth-century warming events, both amplified in the Arctic, were linked to sea-ice variability. SAT observations and model simulations indicate that the nature of the arctic warming in the last two decades is distinct from the early twentieth-century warm period. It is suggested strongly that the earlier warming was natural internal climate-system variability, whereas the recent SAT changes are a response to anthropogenic forcing. The area of arctic sea ice is furthermore observed to have decreased~8 · 105 km2 (7.4%) in the past quarter century, with record-low summer ice coverage in September 2002. A set of model predictions is used to quantify changes in the ice cover through the twenty-first century, with greater reductions expected in summer than winter. In summer, a predominantly sea-ice-free Arctic is predicted for the end of this century.
  2. Otto-Bliesner, Bette L., et al. “Simulating Arctic climate warmth and icefield retreat in the last interglaciation.” science311.5768 (2006): 1751-1753.  In the future, Arctic warming and the melting of polar glaciers will be considerable, but the magnitude of both is uncertain. We used a global climate model, a dynamic ice sheet model, and paleoclimatic data to evaluate Northern Hemisphere high-latitude warming and its impact on Arctic icefields during the Last Interglaciation. Our simulated climate matches paleoclimatic observations of past warming, and the combination of physically based climate and ice-sheet modeling with ice-core constraints indicate that the Greenland Ice Sheet and other circum-Arctic ice fields likely contributed 2.2 to 3.4 meters of sea-level rise during the Last Interglaciation.
  3. Serreze, Mark C., and Jennifer A. Francis. “The Arctic amplification debate.” Climatic change 76.3-4 (2006): 241-264.  Rises in surface air temperature (SAT) in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are expected to be amplified in northern high latitudes, with warming most pronounced over the Arctic Ocean owing to the loss of sea ice. Observations document recent warming, but an enhanced Arctic Ocean signal is not readily evident. This disparity, combined with varying model projections of SAT change, and large variability in observed SAT over the 20th century, may lead one to question the concept of Arctic amplification. Disparity is greatly reduced, however, if one compares observed trajectories to near-future simulations (2010–2029), rather than to the doubled-CO2 or late 21st century conditions that are typically cited. These near-future simulations document a preconditioning phase of Arctic amplification, characterized by the initial retreat and thinning of sea ice, with imprints of low-frequency variability. Observations show these same basic features, but with SATs over the Arctic Ocean still largely constrained by the insulating effects of the ice cover and thermal inertia of the upper ocean. Given the general consistency with model projections, we are likely near the threshold when absorption of solar radiation during summer limits ice growth the following autumn and winter, initiating a feedback leading to a substantial increase in Arctic Ocean SATs.
  4. Kaufman, Darrell S., et al. “Recent warming reverses long-term Arctic cooling.” Science 325.5945 (2009): 1236-1239.  The temperature history of the first millennium C.E. is sparsely documented, especially in the Arctic. We present a synthesis of decadally resolved proxy temperature records from poleward of 60°N covering the past 2000 years, which indicates that a pervasive cooling in progress 2000 years ago continued through the Middle Ages and into the Little Ice Age. A 2000-year transient climate simulation with the Community Climate System Model shows the same temperature sensitivity to changes in insolation as does our proxy reconstruction, supporting the inference that this long-term trend was caused by the steady orbitally driven reduction in summer insolation. The cooling trend was reversed during the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2000-year-long reconstruction occurring between 1950 and 2000
  5. Screen, James A., and Ian Simmonds. “Increasing fall‐winter energy loss from the Arctic Ocean and its role in Arctic temperature amplification.” Geophysical Research Letters37.16 (2010).  Arctic surface temperatures have risen faster than the global average in recent decades, in part due to positive feedbacks associated with the rapidly diminishing sea ice cover. Counter‐intuitively, the Arctic warming has been strongest in late fall and early winter whilst sea ice reductions and the direct ice‐albedo feedback have been greatest in summer and early fall. To reconcile this, previous studies have hypothesized that fall/winter Arctic warming has been enhanced by increased oceanic heat loss but have not presented quantitative evidence. Here we show increases in heat transfer from the Arctic Ocean to the overlying atmosphere during October–January, 1989–2009. The trends in surface air temperature, sea ice concentration and the surface heat fluxes display remarkable spatial correspondence. The increased oceanic heat loss is likely a combination of the direct response to fall/winter sea ice loss, and the indirect response to summer sea ice loss and increased summer ocean heating.
  6. Semenov, Vladimir A. “Meteorology: Arctic warming favours extremes.” Nature Climate Change 2.5 (2012): 315.  The twenty-first century was marked by a number of extreme weather events over northern continents. Amplified warming in the Arctic region and associated changes in atmospheric dynamics may provide a clue for understanding the origin of these recent extremes.
  7. Pithan, Felix, and Thorsten Mauritsen. “Arctic amplification dominated by temperature feedbacks in contemporary climate models.” Nature Geoscience 7.3 (2014): 181.  Climate change is amplified in the Arctic region. Arctic amplification has been found in past warm1 and glacial2 periods, as well as in historical observations3,4 and climate model experiments5,6. Feedback effects associated with temperature, water vapour and clouds have been suggested to contribute to amplified warming in the Arctic, but the surface albedo feedback—the increase in surface absorption of solar radiation when snow and ice retreat—is often cited as the main contributor7,8,9,10. However, Arctic amplification is also found in models without changes in snow and ice cover11,12. Here we analyse climate model simulations from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 archive to quantify the contributions of the various feedbacks. We find that in the simulations, the largest contribution to Arctic amplification comes from a temperature feedbacks: as the surface warms, more energy is radiated back to space in low latitudes, compared with the Arctic. This effect can be attributed to both the different vertical structure of the warming in high and low latitudes, and a smaller increase in emitted blackbody radiation per unit warming at colder temperatures. We find that the surface albedo feedback is the second main contributor to Arctic amplification and that other contributions are substantially smaller or even opposeArctic amplification.
  8. Cohen, Judah, et al. “Recent Arctic amplification and extreme mid-latitude weather.” Nature geoscience 7.9 (2014): 627.  The Arctic region has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average — a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification. The rapid Arctic warming has contributed to dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice and spring snow cover, at a pace greater than that simulated by climate models. These profound changes to the Arctic system have coincided with a period of ostensibly more frequent extreme weather events across the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, including severe winters. The possibility of a link between Arctic change and mid-latitude weather has spurred research activities that reveal three potential dynamical pathways linking Arctic amplification to mid-latitude weather: changes in storm tracks, the jet stream, and planetary waves and their associated energy propagation. Through changes in these key atmospheric features, it is possible, in principle, for sea ice and snow cover to jointly influence mid-latitude weather. However, because of incomplete knowledge of how high-latitude climate change influences these phenomena, combined with sparse and short data records, and imperfect models, large uncertainties regarding the magnitude of such an influence remain. We conclude that improved process understanding, sustained and additional Arctic observations, and better coordinated modelling studies will be needed to advance our understanding of the influences on mid-latitude weather and extreme events.
  9. Gramling, Carolyn. “Arctic impact.” (2015): 818-821.  Against the backdrop of “Snowmageddon” and other powerful winter storms that have blasted the United States, Europe, and Asia in the past few years, a different kind of tempest has been swirling within the Arctic science community. Its core is a flurry of recent research proposing that such extreme weather events in the midlatitudes are linked through the atmosphere with the effects of rapid climate change in the Arctic, such as dwindling sea ice. The idea has galvanized the public and even caught the attention of the White House. But some Arctic researchers say the data don’t support it—or that the jury is at least still out. Now, scientists are tackling the issue in earnest, and an increasing number of conferences and workshops are bringing together scientists with a range of viewpoints on this issue, in hopes that a coordinated effort will measure the reach of the north.

 

 

 

 

IMAGE#1: THE FIVE MILLION YEAR STUDY [LINK] 5-MILLION-YEARS

IMAGE#2: THE MILANKOVITCH THEORY

ICEAGE-2

IMAGE#3 THE LAST GLACIATION CYCLE

IMAGE#4: TWO DIMENSIONAL PROJECTION OF THE EARTHbandicam 2019-07-03 14-06-05-514

IMAGE#5: KAMIS GLACIATION CYCLESkamis-temp-chart

 

IMAGE#6: MIT NEWS GIF IMAGE SHOWINGmit-gif

 

 

 

 

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REFERENCE:Glacial Periods in Earth’s History [LINK]

REFERENCE: Sullivan (2016): Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO047001 [LINK]

REFERENCE: Lecture by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK]

 

THIS POST IS A STUDY OF GLACIATION CYCLES 

  1. Human civilization got started in the current interglacial, the Holocene. It was in the “Holocene Climate Optimum” [LINK] early in this interglacial about 8,000 years ago, that wild animal-like humans came out of the forest and the hills and out of their caves to farm and raise farm animals and to cut down forests for wood to build homes and the community of homes and farms created a social culture and social identification. This dramatic change in our history, the Neolithic Revolution, gave us human civilization that began in an interglacial. It is in this context that we must understand our relationship with and our view of glaciation cycles. This view is an interglacial-centric view. This is why we see interglacials as the norm and study glaciation as the departure from this norm even though interglacials are rather brief when compared with the time span of glaciation. It is thus that our research question in the study of glaciation cycles is not “why are there interglacials?” but rather our research question is “why are there glaciations?“.
  2. The interesting and ground breaking contribution of James Kamis [LINK] in the study of glaciation cycles is the acknowledgement that the normal state of the earth is glaciation. It is the interglacial that is the the brief and unusual blip of warming and ice melt in the context of a cold and icy earth as the norm. In the Kamis view, to understand glaciation cycles we must understand not by glaciations happen but why interglacials happen.
  3. IMAGE#1 above is a 5 million year history of glaciation cycles from the study cited in the link. The full text of the study is available in pdf format at this site [ FIVE-MILLION-YEARS ].  It shows that the surface conditions have cooled over this period and that 41,000 year glaciation cycles 2 million years ago have changed over the years to more 100,000 year cycles. The high level of volatility in the chart is indicative of significant random changes at shorter time scales both in temperature and in duration.
  4. IMAGE#2 above is a visual rendition of the Milankovitch theory of glaciation cycles. The theory explains these cycles of icy and warm conditions on earth in terms of the earth’s changing relationship with the sun by virtue of tilt and precession in its rotation and in terms of the eccentricity of its orbit around the sun. This theory implies glaciation cycles are explained in terms of changing solar energy incident on the Northern Hemisphere of the earth.
  5. IMAGE#3 above is a video representation of the Last Glaciation cycle from the Eemian interglacial, going through the Last Glacial Maximum, and ending in the mid Holocene. This cycle is typical of the chaotic interplay between ice accumulation and ice dissipation found in all aspects of the glacial cycle that is discussed in a related post on this site [LINK]  [LINK] . It is thus that we find both ice growth and ice dissipation at millennial and centennial time scales in all aspects of the glaciation cycle but with a slight advantage to growth in glaciation and to dissipation in deglaciation and interglacials.
  6. IMAGES#4 & #5 above describe an alternate theory of glaciation cycles described by geologist James Edward Kamis [LINK] . IMAGE#4 is a two dimensional projection of the Earth. In the color grey are seen the continents of Africa, South America, Australia, and Asia. Along the bottom of the image, in the hashed white area, is an indication of the ice sheet extent along a timeline measured in millions of years before the present. Above that and in red are the ocean floor plate boundaries. The color red is used here to indicate a high level of geological activity. These are very active sediments. The cooler colors are older sediments. Regions in cooler colors are older and less active sediments. Along the black lines through the center, the rock is very young with a high level of heat flow.
  7. Recent research from MIT shows that glaciation cycles are driven by plate collisions [LINK] . The MIT press release says that collisions of tectonic plates along the tropics cause glaciation because the exposed rocks absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and that therefore, without the CO2 to keep earth warm, it slides into glaciation; but here James Kamis offers a broader interpretation of the correlation between plate collisions and glaciation with the observation that the MIT finding confirms only that there is a relationship between plate tectonics and climate and thereby validates the Kamis Plate Climatology Theory (KPCT) [LINK] . That their interpretation of this finding is in terms of atmospheric phenomena is a different matter altogether and not a consideration in this analysis where a different interpretation is offered. The essential tenet of the KPCT theory is that geological forces have a strong influence on climate and climate related events and that therefore these phenomena cannot be understood purely in atmospheric terms. Glaciation is a climate related event.
  8. The research show that anomalies in the earth’s rotation around its axis and its revolution around the sun create periodic changes in the relationship between the earth and the sun. The traditional interpretation of these changes, in purely atmospheric terms is that they cause periods of warming and cooling because of varying amounts of the sun’s energy reaching the northern latitudes of the planet. The alternate interpretation of he same anomalies in KPCT is that these changes place stresses on plate movements and generate heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries and these in turn cause changes to the climate.
  9. The Lamont and Doherty 2005 paper confirms a cycle of large heat flow pulses from the plate boundaries with period of roughly 100,00 years give or take, and this period matches the that of glaciation cycles within their natural variance. If we combine the Lamont&Doherty results and the recent MIT findings we find a sound basis for developing a relationship between plate tectonics and glaciation cycles consistent with the KPCT proposition that plate tectonics is the dominant force in climate.
  10. IMAGE#5 is a chart of earth’s surface temperature from 400,000 years ago to 1950. The chart is inverted so that warm periods appear below the x-axis with cool periods above the x-axis. It is evident that the the normal state of the planet is the cool period but with periodic brief excursions into warmth, colored red on the chart. Secondly, it is noted that the transition from cool period to warmth a steep and sudden decline – almost instantaneously in the context of the time scale of the chart. It just so happens that we have a mechanism on our planet that can generate that kind of heat flow, and that mechanism is plate tectonics. Also noteworthy is that many of the warm periods are not really warming periods. There is a sharp and steep dive into the warmth and then almost immediately it begins its return to the cold.
  11. The cold periods are the earth’s natural state and the brief excursions into warmth are anomalies that are quickly corrected. The current warming period dives into its peak warming in the initial transition from cold and then it slowly begins its journey back to the cold. These transitions are not smooth however as can be seen in the sawtooth shape of the return to the cold where some periods of stalled warmth will be found. The current warming event also shows the sawtooth return to the cold with relatively brief alternating warming and cooling periods. These observations are made relative to the very long time cycle of the glaciation cycle compared with for example life spans of humans and their civilizations. The current warm event is not about 12,000 years old and the shape of the curve appears to indicate that it is about to end.
  12. CONCLUSION: From these data and from his study of plate tectonics and volcanism, Kamis concludes that the concept of glacial periods (often referred to as “ice ages”) is anomalous in the context of what we see in IMAGE#3. Rather than calling them ice ages or glacial periods, we should understand them as earth’s standard and equilibrium climate state that is from time to time interrupted by plate tectonic events that cause warming and deglaciation. It should be noted however, that this natural state of the planet is extremely volatile with countless dives toward deglaciation that don’t make it all the way into an interglacial state. These cycles are best understood as the brief warming interruptions of the earth’s normal glacial climate state which we tend to describe as glaciation.