Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another Paper Confirms Greenland's Accelerating Ice Loss

Here's a plot about Greenland's ice, from a recent paper in The Cryosphere by Hurkmans et al.

But note that the y-axis isn't the amount of ice in Greenland, it's the rate of change of the amount of ice, dM/dt.

In other words, it's the acceleration of ice loss. Eyeballing it, it looks like a change of about 325 Gt/yr in 13 years, or an acceleration of about 25 Gt/yr2, in agreement with Enderlin et al 2014 (27.0 ± 9.0 Gt/yr2 since 2000) and Wouters et al 2013 (25 ± 9 Gt/yr2).

It doesn't seem like much, but: if the melt rate for 2008 were to continue to 2100, with no acceleration, the loss in ice would be about 25,000 Gt, or 1% of Greenland's 2.6 M gigatons of ice. And it'd be another 1% for each century that goes by.

But with an (constant) acceleration of 25 Gt/yr2, the loss in 2100 will 106,000 Gt, or 4% of Greenland's ice, if I did the math correctly.

With the same acceleration, 18% of Greenland's ice would be gone by 2200, 74% by 2400, and all of it before 2500 -- 7.2 meters (24 ft) of sea-level rise. And that's with the same acceleration as today, which, given the world's trajectory, doesn't seem likely.

Greenland's ice gone in 400-500 years at most. Coastal cities mostly underwater. Is that a tragedy, or is it something worse?

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Patrick Moore No Long a Big Cheese at NEI

As this commenter on another post points out (thanks), Patrick Moore stepped down as co-chair of the NEI's Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy). In January 2013 he wrote:
" it is with mixed emotions that I share with you today my decision to retire as Co-Chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition. I will remain an active member, but am at the point in my career where I am ready to step down from a leadership role and spend more time with my family."
So he's still a member, just not one of the Big Co-Cheeses (Co-Big-Cheeses?). That's probably why the NEI still puts in on its poster.

Feb 25, 2014
As the commenter said
"The only reason companies pay him for his op-ed work is because his signature can include the fact that he used to be a member of greenpeace."
and that's easy to believe, since Moore obviously doesn't have any expertise in climate science or physics.

Note, in the interest of full disclosure, Moore's affiliation with NEI wasn't disclosed in the transcript of his Feb 2014 statement to the Senate.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Patrick Moore, Still Inconsistent (Via New Orleans)

I hear that a poster of Patrick Moore (@EcoSenseNow) is on display at the annual conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists in New Orleans, and the Nuclear Energy Institute (whom he works for) has a display table with a large poster of him touting "carbon free" nuclear energy.
Moore poster at SEJ, a ittle blurry

At the same time he's saying there is "no proof" of AGW.

The mind boggles at this man's inconsistencies.... You have to wonder if he doesn't get it all mixed up himself at times....

More Asimov

The Relativity of Wrong

Here's a great thought from a 1989 essay ("The Relativity of Wrong") by Isaac Asimov, inspired by a letter he received from a reader:
The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. "If I am the wisest man," said Socrates, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing." the implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal.

My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
(The Earth is an oblate spheroid, a little squashed at its poles.)

I see a lot of deniers write "Climate models have been proven wrong" because they didn't predict the hiatus*. And the quick answer is that all models are wrong, but some are useful.

A more detailed answer is, compared to what? They're much better than doing the calculations by hand, or by merely guessing it's all the Sun due to a few correlations.

* First, models don't predict, they project. To predict they'd need to know the future, for ENSOs, volcanic eruptions, solar changes, shifts in ocean cycles, GHG emissions pathways, and aerosol emissions. (For volcanoes and aerosols, youi need to know not only the amount, but the locations too, because how much they reflect sunlight depends on their latitude.)
     How are modelers supposed to divine the future?
     But over the long-term, these things average out to zero, or peter out to zero, or are small compared to other factors (like GHGs). So if you make an educated guess at the future emissions of GHGs and aerosols, you can get a good, usable answer out of climate models. Not perfect, sorry, but useful.
     Climate models will never be "proven wrong." They will, as they have been, be ever more refined on the basis of observations compared to their projections.
     And, it will never be "proven wrong" that CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas. Sorry. Nothing in climate science makes sense if it isn't. And the absorption spectrum of CO2 has been the same throughout the history of the Universe (or the Multiuniverse, or parallel universes, or the future Universe**).

** Unless the fine-structure constant changes with time, but that's been ruled out to about 1 part in 1017.***.

*** And by then, the Sun will have (maybe) engulfed the Earth ****.

**** Unless an huge asteroid or planet hits the Earth first and breaks it into pieces, as probably happened long ago, leading to the formation of the Moon*****.

***** Talk about your climate changing......

Gordon Fulks' PhD in Cherry Picking

Gordon Fulks, PhD in physics (ever in pursuit of credibility, he insists on using the PhD part, though credibility eludes him at every turn), Oregon climate change denier and serial harraser, has a typical rant in Oregon magazine.

It's full of the usual misleads and falsehoods, like this:
Even the worst of the climate fanatics cannot miss the stark evidence: no net global warming for seventeen years (something none of their climate models predicted), Northwest cooling for 25 years....
Of course, the "17 years" claim is laughably wrong, and a cherry pick itself, but why might Fulks have chosen "25 years" for his claim abou northwestern cooling? You know this by now -- it gives him the result he wants, which is the very definition of cherry picking.

I don't have all the data for the entire Pacific Northwest (the site isn't working at the moment), but I do have it for Oregon. Here's how much warming there's been (linear slope*interval) since depending how far in time back you go:

That's right -- there's been warming in 22 years, and a good bit in 29 years and beyond, so what time period did Fulks pick? The one in the middle that just happens to show no warming. Sneaky,

It doesn't seem to matter to this physics PhD that 25 years isn't a period representative of climate. Here's what the World Meteorological Society says:
Climate “normals” are reference points used by climatologists to compare current climatological trends to that of the past or what is considered “normal”.  A Normal is defined as the arithmetic average of a climate element (e.g. temperature) over a 30-year period.  A 30 year period is used, as it is long enough to filter out any interannual variation or anomalies, but also short enough to be able to show longer climatic trends. 
So that's two misleads in half a sentence..... I wonder what that comes to over a 30 year period?

There's lots of other B.S. in Fulks' article too, but a man has only so much time in a day.

Update: Here is the same plot for Washington state:

So, unlike Oregon, no real temperature change there in 30 years (unless you want to cherry pick the last 9 years), The average temperature over 30-years there is currently at a record high.

Fulks also claims there is "above normal global sea ice," which is very wrong. It's wrong even if you think ice is 2-dimensional: as of 8/30, global sea ice extent is 310,000 km2 below the long-term average (1978 to today). Added 9/7: that's 0.45 standard deviations.

Then there's this falsehood:
Correlating the warming observed after the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1977 with “Global Warming” from increasing atmospheric CO2 was wrong, because the 1977 event was clearly a Pacific Ocean effect. And that warming did not continue after 1998, because the Pacific Ocean began to change backto its earlier configuration.
In fact, the warming of the top half of the ocean since then has been global, and it started before 1977, and has continued after 1998, even accelerating.

Global Ocean Heat Content 1955-present 0-2000 m

Then there's this sneaky line: acidic oceans anywhere...
It's sneaky because no one expects an acidic ocean, but instead an ocean that is acidifying, which it is.. (Most Oregon magazine readers likely won't understand the distinction, and, instead of educating his readers, Fulks seems happy to take advantage of their ignorance and bamboozle them).

and this:
...near record winter snowfall across the Northern Hemisphere...
which is not reflected in the (2-dimensional) data for Northern Hemisphere snow cover:

In fact, it's pretty hard to find anything in Fulk's article that is true. Which just goes to show that almost everyone can get a PhD, but not everyone knows how to use it.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Average Daily Arctic Sea Ice Extent is Below Last Year's

Here's an anomaly: even though this year's minimum in Arctic sea ice extent probably won't be lower than last year's (though there's still a chance), the year-to-date average daily SIE is 1.4% below 2013.

In the long run, that might matter more (for the ice-albedo effect, for example). I don't know.

Or it might be Gaia toying with us.

Arctic Sea Ice Volume Highest in a Generation*

(* measured in dog-generations)

PIOMAS's Arctic sea ice volume for August is 8,150 km3. That's a lot of ice no matter how you chip it. It's the highest August volume since 2009, which was way back in the very first decade of this century, and the lowest anomaly since April 2010, which is just as ancient. Back then Obama was still new to his office, and hadn't yet sent the entire country into unfettered freefall. It was before the death of the great actor Dennis Hopper, and he was born in 1936. So in a way you can sort of say Arctic sea ice is at its highest since a dying man who had grew up in the midst of the Great Depression.  

A quadratic (2nd-order) fit to the data is still much better than a linear fit, which just goes to show you can prove anything with statistics. But in the last five years an exponentially rising fit probably beats all in the sense that a warmist would never mean it. (I'm afraid to actually calculate it, though.)

All of the six lowest August SIE volumes have happened since 2007, a time when Dennis Hopper was still widely considered to be the edgiest actor in the world, if not the greatest. (Did you know he as in Cool Hand Luke?) And there must have been a gazillion puppies born since then, and who really knows how many generations of dogs that entails? And that's certainly not going to stop now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Patrick Moore: Concerned About Fossil Fuels Just 5 Years Ago

Patrick Moore was, as co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy), interviewed by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in 2009. (CASEenergy is the public relations arm of the NEI, so this is, needless to say, a fake interview):
NEI: What are the drivers for that [Moore's claim, earlier in the interview, that there was more public support for nuclear power]?

Moore: For a lot of people, it is climate change. A lot of people see that connection between nuclear energy and reducing greenhouse gases [and] that nuclear power is nearly 75 percent of the U.S.’s clean electricity and is the most important carbon-free technology.

It’s clear to me that the big change that needs to be made is in clean electricity, which means reducing the use of fossil fuels and increasing nuclear energy, with a bit of wind power in the mix. The clean energy can then be used to run geothermal heat pumps in all our buildings, eliminating fossil fuels for heating, cooling and hot water. The clean electricity can also be used to charge batteries in plug-in electric hybrid cars that are coming along soon. If we actually did just those three things, we could move into a far less carbon-intensive world without huge economic pain.
(Emphasis mine.) This is from someone who, only four and a half years later, would tell a Senate committee:
There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. 
Moore included a chapter from his 2010 book with his Senate testimony, and requested it be made part of the record. In it he wrote (p. 360):
Perhaps our CO2 emissions will have some negative effects. But in my view CO2 is one of the most positive chemicals in our world.
The chapter he included is full of some very egregious errors and simple-minded (even laughable) arguments. Somehow I can't bring myself to recommend it.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

When Patrick Moore Warned About "Catastrophic Climate Change"

Patrick Moore (environmentalist).jpgThis is interesting.... It's from a 2006 op-ed in the Washington Post by none other than ex-Greenpeace member Patrick Moore:
"In the early 1970s when I helped found Greenpeace, I believed that nuclear energy was synonymous with nuclear holocaust, as did most of my compatriots. That's the conviction that inspired Greenpeace's first voyage up the spectacular rocky northwest coast to protest the testing of U.S. hydrogen bombs in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. Thirty years on, my views have changed, and the rest of the environmental movement needs to update its views, too, because nuclear energy may just be the energy source that can save our planet from another possible disaster: catastrophic climate change."
(Emphasis mine.) There's more:
"Look at it this way: More than 600 coal-fired electric plants in the United States produce 36 percent of U.S. emissions -- or nearly 10 percent of global emissions -- of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas responsible for climate change." 
Compare that to Moore's 2/25/14 Congressional testimony, when he said
"There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the  dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100  years." [video]
There's more in Moore's 2006 op-ed:
"When I attended the Kyoto climate meeting in Montreal last December, I spoke to a packed house on the question of a sustainable energy future. I argued that the only way to reduce fossil fuel emissions from electrical production is through an aggressive program of renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, geothermal heat pumps, wind, etc.) plus nuclear."
His Washington Post op-ed was published April 16, 2006. Yet just a year later Jon Henley wrote in The Guardian
...he [Moore] wrote last year to the Royal Society arguing there was "no scientific proof" that mankind was causing global warming....
which would have also been 2006.

So what changed? As if you have to ask: in 2006 Moore became a co-chair of the "Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CSEC)," which, as Media Matters wrote in 2007:
Moore is co-chair and paid spokesman for the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CSEC), which describes itself as "a large grassroots coalition that united unlikely allies across the business, environmental, academic, consumer and labor community to support nuclear energy." In fact, as the Columbia Journalism Review reported, CSEC was formed by the Nuclear Energy Institute in 2006 and continues to receive most of its funding from that body. NEI is the policy organization of the nuclear energy and technology industry, and seeks to "promote the beneficial uses of nuclear energy and technologies in the United States and around the world."
[note added 9/3: but see this]

Not surprisingly, Moore gets called a lot of names from people who knew him. Again from Wired:
Moore's enemies have a simpler explanation for his conversion: revenge. After all, he left Greenpeace amid complaints about an autocratic leadership style and abrasive personality. When it became obvious that he lacked enough votes to keep his seat on the board of directors, he went off to farm fish. When that didn't work out, he joined the loggers.

And then there's money. Even 18 years after he left Greenpeace, Moore's business relationships with polluters and clear-cutters elicit disgust from his erstwhile comrades. "He'll whore himself to anything to make a buck," says Paul George, founder of the Western Canada Wildlife Committee. In an email, former Greenpeace director Paul Watson charges, "You're a corporate whore, Pat, an eco-Judas, a lowlife bottom-sucking parasite who has grown rich from sacrificing environmentalist principles for plain old money."
There's lots more where this came from....

Monday, September 01, 2014

Sea Surface Warmer than Peak of 1997-98 Super El Niño

Sea-surface temperatures as determined by NOAA (Reynolds OIv2) are currently higher than even the peak of the 1997-98 super El Niño: