Posts Tagged ‘climate’

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James Delingpole, please correct this mistake

November 23, 2013

The only thing that bugs me more than when climate alarmists get things wrong is when skeptics get it wrong.

A case in point is the assertion by James Delingpole that a recent volcano in Iceland put more CO2 into the atmosphere that all of human activity since 1950.

Delingpole is a vocal supporter of the skeptic community, and the fact the he has a widely viewed blog , writes for several publications and authored several books, all give his words wide dissemination.  The problem is that when a fence-sitter who is trying to make up his mind about the global warming issue realizes that somebody like Delingpole is asserting and defending an indefensible claim, well, that fence-sitter is likely to fall off the fence to the side of the alarmists.  This will happen even if Delingpole is correct on other points.  Fence-sitters don’t necessarily have the time or inclination to sort out and weigh all the arguments, and something like this can easily tip their judgement scales one way or the other.

Delingpole appeared as a guest on the Mike Rosen Show on Denver’s AM station KOA.  This is a 50,000 Watt station and tens of thousands of people probably heard this exchange.  Rosen is a pretty smart guy and usually nobody’s fool, but he let this bogus assertion slide by…

Audio version: Rosen/Delingpole 11/20/13 MP3

Rosen: 713-8585 our telephone number in Castle Rock. Cliff, you’re on 850 KOA. James Delingpole our guest. Hi Cliff.

Cliff: Mike and James, good morning.

Rosen: Morning

Delingpole: Hi Cliff.

Cliff: Hey, I finally think I have somebody who can actually answer this question.

Rosen: Alright.

Cliff: Ah, you know we’ve got, the greenies are all against cars and the exhaust, and you know, all this pollution that we put in the air. Ah, whats the equivalency of a volcano that’s erupting and spewing stuff into the air thirty miles high.

Delingpole: That’s a good question. You remember that volcano that erupted in Iceland a couple of years ago?

Cliff: Yep, that’s the one that made me start thinking about it

Delingpole: Yeah, I think that, I think that that – that volcano produced more CO2 than I think humans have produced in the last, in the last fifty years.

Cliff: Watta we gonna do about that? (…unintelligible…)

Delingpole: We should ban volcanoes.

You  can hear the entire interview (Wednesday, 10AM, 11/20/13) on KOA’s podcast

What are the facts?

The facts are well know, easily accessible, and have been presented to Delingpole before now.  Here it is summed up by the USGS…

Do the Earth’s volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activities? Research findings indicate that the answer to this frequently asked question is a clear and unequivocal, “No.” Human activities, responsible for a projected 35 billion metric tons (gigatons) of CO2 emissions in 2010 (Friedlingstein et al., 2010), release an amount of CO2 that dwarfs the annual CO2 emissions of all the world’s degassing subaerial and submarine volcanoes (Gerlach, 2011).

The published estimates of the global CO2 emission rate for all degassing subaerial (on land) and submarine volcanoes lie in a range from 0.13 gigaton to 0.44 gigaton per year (Gerlach, 1991; Varekamp et al., 1992; Allard, 1992; Sano and Williams, 1996; Marty and Tolstikhin, 1998). The preferred global estimates of the authors of these studies range from about 0.15 to 0.26 gigaton per year. The 35-gigaton projected anthropogenic CO2 emission for 2010 is about 80 to 270 times larger than the respective maximum and minimum annual global volcanic CO2 emission estimates. It is 135 times larger than the highest preferred global volcanic CO2 estimate of 0.26 gigaton per year (Marty and Tolstikhin, 1998). 

It is an embarrassment to me, as a skeptic, that the alarmist site “Skeptical Science” gets it right while Delingpole, a well know mouthpiece for skepticism, gets it wildly wrong.  This meme has been around for years and was long ago thoroughly debunked.  

I would forgive an acquaintance at a coffee shop or around the water cooler for making this mistake.  Then I would gently try to set him straight with the facts  But if you are going to put yourself forth as some kind of expert, then you need to get your facts straight.  This type of mistake may win converts to your side in the short run, but when people realize how wrong you have were, then they will not believe you even when you are right.  Worse yet, they will also be less inclined to believe other skeptics when they are right.

So, James, please fess up on this issue.  Admitting this mistake will only improve your credibility in the long run.

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By the way, this reminds me of another misinformed claim:that underwater volcanoes in the Gakkel ridge were causing reduced sea ice in the Arctic.

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November 17, 2013

Nuclear Roundup 11/17/13

If you are worried about CO2 (I’m not), then you should be pro-nuke (I am).

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Japan

Japan slashes climate reduction target amid nuclear shutdown

Japan had previously pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions to 25% below its 1990 levels in a (misguided) bid to battle global warming.  Now it is likely that there will be no reduction below the 1990 level because they have pulled back from nuclear power and have re-embraced fossil fuels 

According to  BBC Asia, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said “Our government has been saying… that the 25% reduction target was totally unfounded and wasn’t feasible.”  Japan’s chief negotiator at UN climate change talks in Warsaw, Hiroshi Minami, said “The new target is based on zero nuclear power in the future. We have to lower our ambition level.”

BBC Asia points out…

Since the Fukushima disaster, Japan has been forced to import huge amounts of coal, liquid natural gas and other fuels.

Reuters reports

“Given that none of the nuclear reactors is operating, this was unavoidable,” Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara said.

Japan’s 50 nuclear plants were closed on safety concerns after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima reactors northeast of Tokyo. Nuclear accounted for 26 percent of Japan’s electricity generation and its loss has forced the country to import natural gas and coal, causing its greenhouse gas emissions to skyrocket.

Natural-gas consumption by Japan’s 10 utilities was up 8.4 percent in October from a year earlier and coal use was up 4.4 percent as the companies used more fossil fuels to compensate for the nuclear shutdown, industry data showed on Friday.

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United States

As nuclear is shut down in California, CO2 emissions rise.

From Bloomberg

Greenhouse-gas emissions from power generators, oil refineries and other plants in California climbed in 2012 as a nuclear plant shutdown and low hydropower supplies increased the state’s reliance on natural gas.

Power-plant releases rose 35 percent to 41.6 million metric tons last year, according to data posted today on the state Air Resources Board’s website. Total emissions were 437.8 million metric tons, up from 429.3 million in 2011. Edison International (EIX) shut the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California in January 2012, and the state that year faced one of the lowest snowpack levels on record.

“The rise in total emissions is primarily due to emission increases from California electricity generation using natural gas as a fuel,” the board said. “The majority of this additional natural-gas electricity generation is due to a decrease in available hydroelectric generation for 2012 and a reduction in nuclear generated power.”

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Movie – Pandora’s Promise

This is a documentary featuring prominent environmentalists that are pro-nuclear.  It is soon to be released by Netflix

Netflix description…  

Former antinuclear activists and groundbreaking scientists speak out in favor of the much-maligned energy source in this provocative documentary that explores the history and future of nuclear power.

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The Search for Acceleration, part 9, the Baltic Sea

October 23, 2013

magnifying glass 145This is part 9 of a series of posts in which I am searching for a large acceleration in sea level rise rate in the latter part of the 20th century.  Such a rise rate acceleration is needed  to reconcile the 1.8 mm per year average rise rate for the century attributed to tide gauge data and the approximately 3 mm per year rise rate for the tail end of the century attributed to the satellite data.

The Baltic Sea

There are 22 tide gauge stations in the Baltic Sea area that are at least 90% data complete from 1960 to 2005.  Eighteen of those are 90% complete all the way back to 1930 and ten are 90% complete back to 1900.  The weighting (using a 200 km threshold) is nearly constant for the entire 20th century (see weighting graph below).  I will use the usual technique of detrending, weighting, averaging and derivatives, as shown in the following slide show.  (Note that you can pause or increment the slide show forward or backward by using the buttons that appear when your cursor is placed over the image.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Conclusion

The following graph makes clear that the Baltic Sea tide gauge data DOES reconcile the sea level rise rate from the tide gauge data with the higher late century rise rate from the satellite data.

Baltic Sea Detrended Acceleration annotated 2
On the other hand, the tide gauge sea level rise rate immediately before the era of satellite data is higher than rise rate after….

Baltic Sea Detrended Acceleration annotated 3

See an index of the Search for Acceleration series here.

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Sources

20th century rise rate average of 1.8 mm/year

1. Church and White Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction

2. Links to Church and White sea level data

Satellite data (about 3 mm/year): CU Sea Level Research Group

RLR tide gauge data: Permanent Service For Mean Sea Level

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The Search for Acceleration, part 8, Hawaii

August 16, 2013

magnifying glass 145This is part 8 of a series of posts in which I am searching for a large acceleration in sea level rise rate in the latter part of the 20th century.  Such a rise rate acceleration is needed  to reconcile the 1.8 mm per year average rise rate for the century attributed to tide gauge data and the approximately 3 mm per year rise rate for the tail end of the century attributed to the satellite data.

Hawaii

There are only four tide gauge stations in Hawaii with at least 90% of the data from 1960 to 2008.  One of them has good data back to 1910.  Evaluation of this small set of data sites is very simple and I will use the usual technique of detrending, weighting, averaging and derivatives, as shown in the following slide show.  (Note that you can pause or increment the slide show forward or backward by using the buttons that appear when your cursor is placed over the image.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is very hard to make an argument in support of a century end acceleration in sea level rise rate based on this Hawaiian data.

ENSO

SInce I removed the ENSO correlated component of the sea level for Western North America and for Australia, it stands to reason that the same thing should be done for Hawaii.  See here for the math.

The top graph in the following image shows the weighted, detrended, averaged Hawaiian  sea level (white), ENSO3.4 sea surface temperature (blue),  and the component of sea level data that is orthogonal to the ENSO3.4 data (red).  The bottom graph shows the corresponding relative rise rates associated with sea level (white) and with the ENSO orthogonal component of the sea level (red).  All data is through a 5 year FWHM Gaussian filter.

Rise rate orthongonal to ENSO
The correlation is small and, if anything, subtraction of the ENSO correlated component of the sea level makes a century end acceleration look even less plausible.

See an index of the Search for Acceleration series here.

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Sources

20th century rise rate average of 1.8 mm/year

1. Church and White Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction

2. Links to Church and White sea level data

Satellite data (about 3 mm/year): CU Sea Level Research Group

RLR tide gauge data: Permanent Service For Mean Sea Level

ENSO/Global warming relationship: Cobb, et. al., Science, 339, 1/4/13

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When was the last time this happened?

August 4, 2013

We are in the middle of the Arctic melt season.  The rate of sea ice melt is at it greatest from about mid-June (day 156) to about mid-August (day 216).  Thirty years ago, according to satellite data, the arctic lost about 5 million square kilometers of ice during this period.  For the last decade the arctic has lost closer to 6 million square kilometers of ice during this period.  That averages out to about 100,000 kilometers per day.  Of course, it recovers all, or most, of that area during the freezing season.  This point is illustrated in the follow image from Cryosphere Today (8/4/13, with my annotation).

Northern Hemisphere sea ice area 5

Now look closer.

Northern Hemisphere sea ice area 4

Notice that for the last 10 days there has been no drop in sea ice area. We would have expected a loss on the order of one million square kilometers!  Either something extraordinary is happening, or there is a problem with the satellite data.

When was the last time this happened this time of year?  This image shows the entire history of the arctic (which everyone knows really means back to 1979).  This is “unprecedented!”

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The Search for Acceleration, part 7, Western North America

July 30, 2013

magnifying glass 145This is part 7 of a series of posts in which I am searching for a large acceleration in sea level rise rate in the latter part of the 20th century.  Such a rise rate is needed  to reconcile the 1.8 mm per year average rise rate for the century attributed to tide gauge data and the approximately 3 mm per year rise rate for the tail end of the century attributed to the satellite data.

Western North America

This region  has 13 tide gauge sites with at least 90% data completion between 1950 and 2008.  Seven of the sites have data back to 1920 or earlier (but with some gaps).  I will analyse this data in the same manner as the Australian data.  I will start with the usual detrending, weighting, averaging and derivatives.  Then, I will find the portion of the sea level that is orthogonal to the ENSO3.4 sea surface temperature.

This slideshow shows my standard analysis.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

ENSO

Like Australia, the sea level around the Western coast of North America seems to be related to the El Nino Southern Oscillation.  The following plot shows an overlay of the detrended weighted average of the 13 Western North American tide gauge sites and the NINO3.4 index from the Hadley Centre.  Both are detrended from 1920 to 2008.  Note that the ENSO data scale is inverted.

Enso and Western North America

Now I will  remove the part of the sea level data that correlates to ENSO  by breaking the sea level data down into ENSO correlated and ENSO orthogonal parts. If the ENSO orthogonal part of the sea level is truly independent of ENSO, then it shows what the sea level around Australia would look like without an ENSO effect. Here is the formula for finding the ENSO orthogonal component of the of the sea level data.

 

Conclusion

The highest rise rate during the period covered by this data occurs around 1980.  But that peak was gone before the the beginning of satellite data.  The 1990s and 2000s show some high and low rise rates, but the highs are no higher than the 1930s, and the lows are lower than the 1940s.  Despite some periods of high rise rates in the 1990s and 2000s, the average rise rate does not indicate a large acceleration over the earlier part of the century.  These conclusions are the same whether or not the ENSO correlated part of the sea level is removed.

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Sources

20th century rise rate average of 1.8 mm/year

1. Church and White Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction

2. Links to Church and White sea level data

Satellite data (about 3 mm/year): CU Sea Level Research Group

RLR tide gauge data: Permanent Service For Mean Sea Level

ENSO/Global warming relationship: Cobb, et. al., Science, 339, 1/4/13

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The Search for Acceleration, part 6, Australia

July 17, 2013

magnifying glass 145This is part 6 of a series of posts in which I am searching for a large acceleration in sea level rise rate in the latter part of the 20th century that could reconcile the 1.8 mm per year average rise rate for the century attributed to tide gauge data and the approximately 3 mm per year rise rate for the tail end of the century attributed to the satellite data.

Australia

Australia has only 5 tide gauge stations with data sets that are at least 90% complete going back to 1960, but four of those go back to 1940 or earlier.  I will analyse this data in my usual way (detrend, weight, average, and derivative).

Regional sea level rise rates are usually swamped by things other than just global effects.  In the case of Australia we may be able to disentangle one of these effects – the El Nino Southern Oscillation.  I will also consider the component of the Australian sea level data that is orthogonal to the ENSO3.4 sea surface temperature.

The slide show shows my standard analyse.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

ENSO

The El Nino Southern Oscillation dominates the sea level around Australia.  The following plot shows an overlay of the detrended weighted average of the five Australian tide gauge sites and the NINO3.4 index from the Hadley Centre.  I am including tide gauge data after 1915 which include at least two tide gauge sites at all times and no large data gaps.  The similarities are obvious.

ENSO sea level overlay

Let’s try to remove the ENSO effect from the sea level around Australia. I will do that by breaking the sea level data down into an ENSO correlated and ENSO orthogonal parts. If the ENSO orthogonal part of the sea level is truly independent of ENSO, then it shows what the sea level around Australia would look like without an ENSO effect.  Here is the formula for finding the ENSO orthogonal component of the of the sea level data.

orthogonal formula440

The top of each of the following slides shows the weighted, detrended, averaged Australian sea level (white), ENSO3.4 sea surface temperature (blue),  and the component of sea level data that is orthogonal to the ENSO3.4 data (red).  The bottom of each slide shows the corresponding relative rise rates associated with sea level (white) and with the ENSO orthogonal component of the sea level (red).  Each successive slide shows the same original data with increasing Gaussian smoothing.

The most important thing to notice is that when the ENSO influence is removed the sea level rise rate at the end of the century is significantly reduced.

ENSO and global warming

If the higher relative rise rates at the end of the century are due to ENSO, then it is interesting to ask whether ENSO fluctuations are greater now (because of global warming?) than in the past.  The best answer to this question can be found in Highly Variable El Niño-Southern Oscillation Throughout the Holocene (Cobb, et. al., Science, 339, 1/4/13).

The abstract states…

Twentieth-century ENSO variance is significantly higher than average fossil coral ENSO variance but is not unprecedented. Our results suggest that forced changes in ENSO, whether natural or anthropogenic, may be difficult to detect against a background of large internal variability.

and the body of the paper mentions…

[T]he detection (and attribution) of any changes in ENSO properties would require very long time series spanning many centuries, to the extent that detection of such changes is even possible.

[M]uch of the observed differences in ENSO variance over the past 7 ky reflect strong internal variability… Relatively robust 20th-century ENSO variability may reflect a sensitivity to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, but definitive proof of such an effect requires much longer data sets than are currently available, given the large range of natural ENSO variability implied by the available fossil coral data.

Conclusion

According to my usual analysis the rise rate at the end of the century was clearly higher than the average (from 1940 to present), but no higher than the 1940s.   Does the reconcile the satellite data and tide gauge data?  Yes.

But, when the part of the detrended sea level that is correlated to ENSO3.4 is removed, the remaining orthogonal part of the rise rate appears to be lower at the end of the century than during the 1940s, and not particularly high compared to the rest of the century. So if my removal of the ENSO effect is correct, then there was nothing “unusual” about the rise rate at the end of the century
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Sources

20th century rise rate average of 1.8 mm/year

1. Church and White Global Mean Sea Level Reconstruction

2. Links to Church and White sea level data

Satellite data (about 3 mm/year): CU Sea Level Research Group

RLR tide gauge data: Permanent Service For Mean Sea Level

ENSO/Global warming relationship: Cobb, et. al., Science, 339, 1/4/13