JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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There are fewer Australian tropical cyclones (thanks to climate change?)

UPDATE: Cyclone Ita is now Category 5 bearing down on Cooktown in North Queensland, the radars will show it soon. 175km NNE of Cooktown. Winds up to 300km /hr.  931 hPa.  See The BOM warnings. Thoughts for those in the path. (It’s clearly visible in the satellite image on the radar link).

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A new paper by Andrew Dowdy tells us that from 1980 to 2013 the incidence of tropical cyclones around Australia has been falling. If CO2 is influencing cyclones around Australia, presumably this implies we should burn more coal.

Those convinced about the power of CO2 will point out that the models predict an increase in intensity, not frequency. To that end, I say: see the BOM graph below. Note the red bars marked “severe”. Then tell yourself that the science is settled and we should spend billions to change those trends. The BOM say “the number of severe tropical cyclones (minimum central pressure less than 970 hPa) shows no clear trend over the past 40 years.”

Interestingly Callaghan et al 2010 goes back all the way to 1870. It finds the trend of severe land-falling cyclones has fallen by a whopping [...]

Global warming, not so bad at all really: says NIPCC report and thousands of references

I decided that the IPCC Impacts report was irrelevant speculation because it utterly depended on the IPCC science report and the climate models which we already know are wrong. But the dedicated team at NIPCC show that, even if we take the claims of “impacts” working group seriously, they still come to nothing. Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant, there is little risk of famine due to our emissions or due to global warming. Life in the oceans is likely to adapt reasonably well as so many studies have shown, and less humans will die overall as a bonus. For those of you who enjoy well written, well researched arguments, and especially if you are looking for scientific references and the nuance of this debate, there is much to learn. The NIPCC reports are an invaluable reference for me. Careful scientific language is so much more informative than the full-gloss IPCC double-speak about theories which are consistent with uncertainties but not with observations   – Jo

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Report Finds Global Warming Causes ‘No Net Harm’ to Environment or Human Health Independent review of climate science contradicts “alarmist” views of United [...]

The North Atlantic jet stream correlates with Solar output over a millennium

A new paper (Moffa-Sánchez et al) reports that they looked at layers of dead plankton in ocean mud (otherwise known as foraminifera in marine sediments) and have reconstructed the temperature and salinity of a couple of spots in the North Atlantic between 818AD – 1780 with data on δ18O and the Mg/Ca ratios. One immediate thought, an aside, is that if this technique works, there is no shortage of ocean mud, surely, and perhaps we could drill and analyze more mud for solar correlations in other places. (I hear foraminifera live in the Southern Hemisphere too). Perhaps no one is looking for the connection with the sun?

Moffa-Sánchez et al find the big climate shifts (the 100-year variations) correlate with total solar irradiance (TSI). See especially that orange line black line track in the d graph below. I stress, correlations don’t mean causation and the mechanism is mere speculation. But I find the graph intruiging. There are a lot of turning points, and in pure “curve fitting” type of analysis, this is a better curve fit than the one with CO2. (Find me a turning point that matches with carbon dioxide!) I suspect we’ll be referring back to this paper, and I [...]

Sea level rise slowed from 2004 – Deceleration, not acceleration as CO2 rises.

A new paper shows that sea levels rose faster in the ten years from 1993-2003 than they have since. Sea levels are still rising but the rate has slowed since 2004. This does not suggest that the missing energy from the atmosphere has snuck into the ocean, but rather that the oceans and the atmosphere were both warming faster in the 1990′s, then as coal power ramped up in China and billions of tons of CO2 was released, both the atmosphere and the ocean did not gain more energy per year, but less. That message again — something else appears to be the main driver the climate, not CO2.

Their highlights include:

The global mean sea level started decelerated rising since 2004. Deceleration is due to slowdown of ocean thermal expansion during last decade. Recent ENSO events introduce large uncertainty of long-term trend estimation.

This paper discusses and graphs total sea level rise, steric sea level rise and the global mean ocean mass. The Steric Sea Level is the part of the rise due to warming and salinity changes, so it best represents changes in ocean heat content. The total rise also includes water coming or going due to changes [...]

Ocean heat content around Indonesia shows Medieval Warm Period and 2C warmth in holocene

Rosenthal et al have put out quite a humdinger of a paper. They’ve reconstructed the temperature of the water flowing out of the Pacific to the Indian Ocean over the last 10,000 years and as deep as 900m. The Indonesian Throughflow  is pretty significant in global ocean currents. There’s narrow routes for Pacific upper waters to squeeze through to the Indian Ocean through the Makassar and Lombok Straits, and via the Lifamatola Passage through the Banda Sea, and water comes in from both the North and South Pacific.

An important point in global ocean currents where the Pacific flows through to the Indian Ocean.

Points to note (assuming the study is right):

Temperatures started rising around 1700AD –  long before our carbon emissions. That temperatures were much warmer (0.65C)  in 1100AD than they were in 1950. 8,000 years ago water was 1.5 to 2 degrees warmer — isn’t that meant to be a global catastrophe? Apparently coral reefs, fish, and turtles survived.

 

Figure 4.  Holocene changes in Pacific Ocean heat content. (A) Reconstructed anomalies in Pacific OHC in the 0- to 700-m depth interval for the early Holocene, mid-Holocene, MWP, and LIA periods. Reconstructed anomalies are calculated relative [...]

Solar effects seem to shift wind and rainfall patterns over last 3000 years in Chile

A team of researchers looked at the solar influence on Southern Hemisphere Westerly Winds (SWW). These winds influence rainfall patterns and ocean currents in the Southern Hemisphere. Varma et al infer rainfall patterns by looking at iron deposits in marine sediments near Chile, which are apparently higher during drier conditions and lower during wetter times. They compared these to both Beryllium (10Be) and Carbon-14 (14C) which they use to estimate solar activity.

The end result is they find that the westerly winds shift northwards towards the equator during lower solar activity, and conversely move southwards towards the poles during higher solar activity. The shifting wind patterns move the rainfall. An effect is apparent in records for the last 3,000 years.

In graph a below, 10Be (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) have a decent correlation coefficient (r) of 0.45, while the 14C  (solar activity) and Fe (rainfall) correlation in b has a lower correlation (r) of 0.21. Varma et al say:

“the large correlation coefficient for 10Be would suggest that ca. 20% (i.e., r2) of late Holocene rainfall and hence SWW variability could be attributable to solar forcing.”

They conclude that the current models don’t give the sun a large [...]

Paper suggests solar magnetic influence on Earth’s atmospheric pressure

 “…the role of the Sun is one of the largest unknowns in the climate system”

Meteorologists are already aware that changes in the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) can affect the polar regions of Earth. Now, for the first time Lam et al report the magnetic field appears to influence atmospheric pressure in the mid latitudes. Lam compared the average surface pressure at times when the magnetic field is either very strong or very weak and found a statistically significant wave structure similar to an atmospheric Rossby wave. They claim to show that this works through a mechanism that is a conventional meteorological process, and that the effect is large enough to influence weather patterns in the mid-latitudes. The size of the effect is similar to “initial analysis uncertainties” in “ensemble numerical weather prediction” (which I take to mean “climate models”).

They are suggesting that small changes in this solar influence on the upper atmosphere could produce important changes through  “non-linear evolution of atmospheric dynamics”.

Jo suggests that IPCC-favoured climate models don’t include any solar magnetic effect at all, which is just one of many reasons why they don’t work.

The large scale wandering convolutions of the jet stream [...]

Climate Models cannot explain why global warming has slowed

Finally climate scientists are starting to ask how the models need to change in order to fit the data. Hans von Storch, Eduardo Zorita and authors in Germany pointedly acknowledge that even at the 2% confidence level the model predictions don’t match reality. The fact is, the model simulations predicted it would get warmer than it has from 1998-2012. Now some climate scientists admit that there is less than a 2% chance that the models are compatible with the 15-year warming pause, according to the assumptions in the models.

In a brief paper they go on to suggest three ways the models could be failing, but draw no conclusions. For the first time I can recall, the possibility that the data might be wrong is not even mentioned. It has been the excuse du jour for years.

Note in the chart that while the 10 year “pause” passed the basic 5% test of statistical significance, by 13 years, the pause was so long that only 2% of CMIP5 or CMIP3 models simulations could be said to agree with reality. By 16 years that will be 1% of simulations. If the pause continues for 20 years, there would be “zero” [...]

Even with the best models, warmest decades, most CO2: Models are proven failures

This beautiful graph was posted at Roy Spencer’s and WattsUp, and no skeptic should miss it. I’m not sure if everyone appreciates just how piquant, complete and utter the failure is here. There are no excuses left. This is as good as it gets for climate modelers in 2013.

John Christy used the best and latest models, he used all the models available, he has graphed the period of the fastest warming and during the times humans have emitted the most CO2. This is also the best data we have. If ever any model was to show the smallest skill, this would be it. None do.

Scores of models, millions of data-points, more CO2 emitted than ever before, and the models crash and burn. | Graph: John Christy. Data: KMNI.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the blue-green circles and squares that mark the “observations”. These are millions of radiosondes, and two independent satellite records. They agree. There is no wiggle room, no overlap.

Any sane modeler can only ask: “But how can the climate modelers pretend their models are working?” Afterall, predicting the known past with a model is not-too-hard; the modeler tweaks the assumptions, fiddles with the fudge [...]

Can the Moon change our climate? Can tides in the atmosphere solve the mystery of ENSO?

Image by Luc Viatour  www.Lucnix.be

The Moon has such a big effect — moving 70% of the matter on the Earth’s surface every day, that it seems like the bleeding obvious to suggest that just maybe, it also affects the air, the wind, and causes atmospheric tides. Yet the climate models assume the effect is zero or close to it.

Indeed, it seems so obvious, it’s a “surely they have studied this before” moment. Though, as you’ll see, the reason lunar effects may have been ignored is not just “lunar-politics” and a lack of funding, but because it’s also seriously complex. Keep your brain engaged…

Ian Wilson and Nikolay Sidorenkov have published a provocative paper, Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric Tides in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s an epic effort of 14,000 words and a gallery of graphs. As these atmospheric tides swirl around the planet they appear to be creating standing waves of abnormal air-pressure that slowly circle the planet, once every 18 years. If this is right, then it could be the key to finally understanding, and one day predicting, the mysterious Pacific ENSO pattern that so affects the global climate. Even at this early stage, brave predictions are on [...]

Arid regions of the world are 11% greener, mostly thanks to CO2

Increasing CO2 makes life easier for plants that live in hot dry places.

Thanks to satellites we know the world has “greened up” since 1980, but we were not sure how much of that was due to the fertilizing effect of CO2. To solve that, one group suggests we need to look in warm arid environments where water is the predominant limiting factor. These are the areas which ought to show whether CO2 was really helping plants grow,  because when there is more CO2 it enables plants to use water more efficiently for photosynthesis. In places where there is already a lot of water, it won’t make as much difference. So Donohue et al. did that, studying regions with a low level of rainfall. They found that the fertilization effect is real and significant and that the cover in these arid zones  increased 11% from 1982 – 2010 and CO2 played a significant role.

(Thanks to pollution, trees are invading grasslands. Whatever will the Greens do to get us back to the Halycon pre-carbon days? Call Gunns?)

CO2 may be the only “pollution” that greens the deserts.

“Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 [...]

Fourier Analysis reveals six natural cycles driving temperatures, no man-made effect: predicts cooling

Thermometer circa 1790

UPDATED: Post note below, with a couple of extra caveats…

Lüdecke, Hempelmann, and Weiss found that the temperature variation can be explained with six superimposed natural cycles. With only six cycles they can closely recreate the 240 year central European thermometer record. There is little “non-cyclical” signal left, suggesting that CO2 might have a minor or insignificant effect.

The three German scientists used Fourier analysis to pick out the dominant cycles of one of the longest temperature records we have. The Central European temperature is an average of records from Prague, Vienna, Hohenpeissenberg, Kremsmünster, Paris, and Munich.

The dominant cycle appears to be about 250 years. There is also a cycle of about 60 years, corresponding to the Atlantic/Pacific decadal oscillations.

Data is of course, always the biggest problem. If we had 10,000 years of high quality global records, we could solve “the climate” within months. Instead, we have short records, and Lüdecke et al, make the most of what we have. The European records are only 240 years long, or (darn) one dominant cycle, and only one region, so to check that the results are valid over longer periods they also analyze a the 2000 year Spannagel Cave [...]

Ocean plankton suck up twice the carbon we thought they did

Hyperia | Credit Wikimedia

Despite the fuss about CO2 emissions, on a global scale no one is quite sure where a lot of it ends up. Those mystery “sinks” draw in a large proportion of CO2. Here’s a big sink that just got twice as big.

Science Daily  Mar. 17, 2013 — Models of carbon dioxide in the world’s oceans need to be revised, according to new work by UC Irvine and other scientists published online Sunday in Nature Geoscience. Trillions of plankton near the surface of warm waters are far more carbon-rich than has long been thought, they found. Global marine temperature fluctuations could mean that tiny Prochlorococcus and other microbes digest double the carbon previously calculated.

The trouble started when someone made an assumption.

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Hottest summer record in Australia? Not so, says UAH satellite data

There are probably only ten people in Australia who haven’t heard it was the Hottest Ever, Record Summer Downunder. And they were probably born yesterday.

Summer here was so scorchingly awful it was Angry. But a funny thing happened on the orbit overhead. Check out the UAH satellite data on summers since the UAH records began.  The graph below (thanks to Ken) is the temperature data from the NASA satellites, processed by UAH (University of Alabama in Huntsville). Strangely there is a disparity between what the satellites recorded and the BOM.

The satellite data shows that the summer of 2012-2013 was close to ordinary, compared with the entire satellite record going back to 1979. Not a record. Not even extreme?

According to UAH satellite measurements summer in early 2013 was not a record. Not even close.

The graph data comes thanks to John Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center, Distinguished Professor, Atmospheric Science University of Alabama in Huntsville, Alabama State Climatologist and Roy Spencer. It was graphed by Ken Stewart at KensKingdom, and inspired by Tom Quirk at Quadrant. I was very happy to connect them this weekend. The data cover “average lower troposphere temperature anomalies for land grids [...]

Are sea-levels rising? Nils-Axel Mörner documents a decided lack of rising seas

We’ve all heard the dire prophesies: Rising seas will reshape the world’s coastlines, a one meter rise will inundate 7000 sq mi of dry land, and cost over $100 billion in the United States alone. Worse, we thought things were bad before, but now it’s even rising faster than we predicted. (“We” being the unvalidated computer simulations, and “rising”, as it turns out, being one interpretation of some highly adjusted, carefully selected data, all possibly “corrected” by one outlying tide gauge in Hong Kong).

Nils-Axel Mörner is here to point out that the raw satellite data shows barely any rise, and furthermore, the observations from places all over, like the Maldives, Suriname, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, Venice, and Germany show not much either. It’s close enough to zero to call it “nothing”. Oh.

But that’s only spots from The Atlantic, The Pacific and The Indian… there are other oceans.

As we graphed before with Frank Lansner, most of the current “rise” is due to man-made adjustments, not man-made emissions. According to Mörner, it’s not that the sea levels are rising less than expected, it’s more like they aren’t rising much at all, and haven’t been for years . — Jo

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Nature paper: Global droughts unchanged in 60 years

How many images have we seen of drought-stricken cracked land, or been told this is the future? How many headlines have suggested that global warming causes droughts?

Since the end of World War II humans have produced some 85% of all their CO2 emissions, but here is a new study showing that for all those emissions, and for all that warming, droughts back then were just as bad globally as they are today.

Essentially, researchers thought that the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) was the way to measure global drought levels, and they thought that warming would increase global drought conditions. But the PDSI considers only temperature, not humidity, sunlight and wind. This paper shows that when these factors are included, worldwide drought is about the same now as it was in 1950.

Researchers are finally accounting for the fact that a warmer world usually means more evaporation (especially from the ocean) and thus more rain. It’s good to see that someone has crunched those complex numbers on a global scale. Credit to Sheffield, Wood & Roderick.

Figure 1 | Global average time series of the PDSI and area in drought. a, PDSI_Th (blue line) and PDSI_PM (red line). [...]

Australian sea levels have been falling for 7000 years

It’s hard to measure sea levels, because land often moves up and down too (which is known as “isostatic“). But Australia is stable tectonically, so the Australian sea-level record is more useful than most. It preserves the holocene era and the rises and falls, and correspond more with glacio-eustatic (ice equivalent) sea-level changes, rather than changes in land masses.

During the coldest days of the last ice age (known as a glacial maximum) 20,000 years ago, the oceans were 125m lower than today. They peaked at around 1 -2 meters higher than present between 9000 and 5000 years ago, and have been trending down ever since. Our current rate of 30cm/century (if that continues) hardly seems unprecedented or highly unusual. And 10% of that is apparently due to an isostatic “adjustment”. Worse, if you look at the raw data, the rate is closer to zero. Hmm. Lucky we have all those adjustments eh?

If Australian sea levels keep falling at this rate, we might really need to save That Reef.

Clearly there are many details yet to be worked out about sea-levels.

That phenomenal rise out of the ice age:

 

WA and NSW coastlines are considered the [...]

Man Made Global Warming Disproved

 Joanne Nova and Anthony Cox

The theory that failed

It takes only one experiment to disprove a theory. The climate models are predicting a global disaster, but the empirical evidence disagrees. The theory of catastrophic man-made global warming has been tested from many independent angles.

The heat is missing from oceans; it’s missing from the upper troposphere. The clouds are not behaving as predicted. The models can’t predict the short term, the regional, or the long term. They don’t predict the past. How could they predict the future?

The models didn’t correctly predict changes in outgoing radiation, or the humidity and temperature trends of the upper troposphere.  The single most important fact, dominating everything else, is that the ocean heat content has barely increased since 2003 (and quite possibly decreased) counter to the simulations. In a best case scenario, any increase reported is not enough. Models can’t predict local and regional patterns or seasonal effects, yet modelers add up all the erroneous micro-estimates and claim to produce an accurate macro global forecast. Most of the warming happened in a step change in 1977, yet CO2 has been rising annually.

Observations from every angle point to a similar conclusion [...]

Climate Models: 100% right except for rain, drought, storms, humidity and everything else

Yet more observations from the planet show that modelers misunderstand the water based part of the climate – on our water based planet.

Modelers thought that dry ground would decrease afternoon storms and rainfall over those frazzled parched lands (though I don’t remember many headlines predicting “More Drought means Fewer Storms” ). But observations show that storms are more likely to rain over dry soil. Why? Probably the dry soil heats up faster than moist areas thanks to the cooling effect of evaporation, and that in turn creates stronger thermals over dry land. Modelers assumed that wetter soils means more evaporation and thus more rain, but the moisture laden air is evidently coming from further away.

It’s another example of a point where climate modelers assume a positive feedback, yet the evidence suggests the feedback is negative. Once again water appears to be the dominant force with feedbacks (it does cover 70% of the surface). In a natural stable system the net feedbacks are likely to be negative. Positive feedbacks make the system less stable (and more scary and harder to predict.)

Climate change models misjudge drought: “A four-nation team led by Chris Taylor from Britain’s Centre for Ecology and [...]

Models get cloud feedback wrong, but *only* by 70W/m2 (that’s 19 times larger than the CO2 effect)

Yet another paper shows that the climate models have flaws, described as “gross” “severe” and “disturbing”. The direct effect of doubling CO2 is theoretically 3.7W per square meter. The feedbacks supposedly are 2 -3 times as strong (according to the IPCC). But some scientists are trying to figure out those feedbacks with models which have flaws in the order of 70W per square meter. (How do we find that signal in noise that’s up to 19 times larger?)

Remember climate science is settled:  like gravity and a round earth. (Really?)

Miller et al 2012 [abstract] [PDF] find that some models predict clouds to have a net shortwave radiative effect near zero, but observations show it is 70W per square meter. Presumably, cloud shortwave radiative effect means the sunlight bounced upwards off the surface of the clouds and out into space.

What’s especially interesting about this paper is the level of detail. They test shortwave and longwave radiation, precipitation flux, integrated water vapor, liquid water path, cloud fraction, and they have observations from the top of the atmosphere and the surface. With so much information they can test models against short wave and long wave radiation, to see [...]