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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2019

By: Ken Gregory, P.Eng.


CliSci # 298      2019-02-10


CO2 Caputure at Drax Wood-Burning Power Station

The Drax power station in North Yorkshire, England started a pilot project to capture one tonne of CO2 per day from its wood combustion. This has resulted in much media fanfare. The BBC says Drax is the first in Europe to capture CO2 from wood-burning. The power station burns 7 million tonnes of wood per year to generate about 9,800 GWh/year of electricity. Burning woodchip releases 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per MWh of electricity generated.  The plant produces about 15 MtCO2/yr due to wood burning.  The project will capture 0.0024% of its wood burning CO2 emission. Drax invested £400,000 in the project and it is unclear how much government funding the project received. Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said that the startup of the pilot project “requires us to identify ways in which the carbon dioxide we're now capturing can be stored …”. Currently, at great cost, the CO2 is captured and released into the atmosphere. Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch said “Burning biomass is absolutely the wrong option for so many reasons. Forests are vital for the health of the climate so we need to keep them not burn them.”


Tropical Hurricanes in the age of Global Warming

The Global Warming Policy Foundation published a report by Paul Homewood about Tropical Hurricanes that summarizes recent studies and hurricane data. The IPCC reported in its 2013 assessment “It is unlikely that annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes counts have increased over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.” The observation methodology of hurricanes have changed dramatically since the 19th century, so older records prior to the satellite era likely under report the frequency and intensity of hurricanes. Homewood wrote “Data provided by HURDAT also shows that recent hurricane activity in the North Atlantic has not been unusual by historical standards. In 2017, there were six major Atlantic hurricanes, but the highest total recorded was eight in 1950.” The hurricane record show decadal variability that strongly correlates to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation which has been occurring for at least a millennium. The cold phase of the AMO results in drought in the Sahel, causing dust over the Atlantic Ocean that lowers the intensity of hurricanes. Available evidence confirms that hurricane frequency has been as great in many prior periods as it has been recently. There is no evidence that global warming has increased the frequency of hurricanes.


Polar Bears Have Been Terrorizing a Russian Town Since December

Polar bear scientist Dr. Crockford reports on her blog that since early December a group of 52 polar bears have terrorize the Russian village of Belushaya Guba on southern Novaya Zemlya on the Barents Sea. Some of the bears are aggressive and have entered residential and office buildings. A state of emergency was declared to help the town residents. Crockford wrote “Global warming is blamed for the problem but as is so often the case, that claim does not stand up to scrutiny.” The region is influenced by warm ocean currents that keep the area free from winter ice since the early 1989s. Ice maps show that by late November there was enough ice for bears at Novaya Zemlya to return to the ice and resume hunting. The polar bear population around Svalbard and the Barent Sea are still increasing. The polar bear problem “reflect the confluence of a growing human presence in the Arctic and thriving polar bear populations, not lack of sea ice due to global warming.”


Disrupting the Theory on Polar Vortex and Global Warming

Some scientists have promoted the idea the global warming causes more polar vortex disruptions thereby leading to more frequent extreme cold outbreaks in the mid-latitudes. Bob Vislocky tests this theory using long temperature records of the northern USA from NOAA. Vislocky says If there has been an increase in extreme cold outbreaks, “then the temperature difference in winter between the warmest day and the coldest day should increase over time.” The average trend over 1875 to 2019 of the temperature difference between the warmest and coldest winter days of the records he selected is a decrease of 0.22 °C/decade. This means that the coldest winter days are increasing at 0.22 °C/decade faster than warmest days, thereby disproving the theory that warming is causing more extreme cold outbreaks.


The Upper Stratospheric Solar Cycle Ozone Response

The variability of the ultraviolet (UV) part of the solar electromagnetic spectrum is 100 to 1000 times greater than the variability of the total solar irradiance depending on the wavelength. Solar output has generally increased throughout the 20th century, contributing to global warming. Changes in UV radiation affects the quantity of ozone in the stratosphere which changes its temperature, eventually affecting surface temperatures. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letter says that recent “advancements have let to more robust observational data.” The ozone response to solar variations is best represented by a new BASICv2 ozone composite and those based on Solar Backscatter UV satellite instruments alone should not be used. The observed solar cycle signal exhibits an upper stratosphere U‐shaped spatial structure with lobes emanating from the tropics to high altitudes at mid‐latitudes. See here for a description of the UV-Ozone-Climate process.


Friends of Science 16th Annual Event  “Polar Bears and Solar Flares”

We are pleased to announce a Climate Change Science evening featuring two excellent speakers who fight climate dogma every day. Please join us on April 10th for our Friends of Science Annual Event. * Early Bird ticket pricing discount ends February 28th. Polar Bears: Researcher and Author – Dr. Susan Crockford: "Polar Bears: Too Hot to Handle" will be speaking about how a thriving species like the polar bear came to be classified as ‘threatened’ with extinction based on untested computer models. Solar Flares: Astrophysicist - Dr. Willie Soon: "The Sun Also Warms" will discuss the solar and orbital boundary conditions necessary for the study of Earth climate and how the sun affects the climate. No special climate science knowledge required. Purchase your tickets now.


2018 Surface Temperatures

NASA scientists from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) said that the Earth’s average surface temperature in 2018 was the fourth-highest ever recorded. The GISS index is contaminated by the effects of urbanization and poor siting of surface stations. Here is a graph of the GISS temperature index compared to the UAH6.0 lower troposphere satellite temperature index of global temperatures. According to AGW theory, the lower troposphere is supposed to increase at a faster rate than the surface temperatures, but the datasets show the opposite results. The graph shows that the GISS trend is too high by 0.05 °C/decade due to the urban heat island effect.  By the satellite record, 2018 was the 6th warmest year since 1977.


CliSci # 297      2019-01-28


A comparison of CMIP5 Climate Models with HadCRUT4.6

Dr. Clive Best compared suite of climate model temperature anomaly simulations for different representative concentration pathways (RCPs) to HadCURT4.6 near-surface global temperature measurements. The models runs and the observations temperatures are relative to the monthly base period 1961-1990, meaning that the average of each month over this 30-year period of each climate model run and the temperature measurements are equal, but the trend over the period may be different. His graph shows the temperature data lies below all the RCP simulations after 1998. Best also produced a graph of absolute temperatures, not anomalies, from 12 different models of the RCP8.5 emissions scenario. He wrote, “The disagreement on the global average surface temperature is huge – a spread of 4°C. This implies that there must still be a problem relating to achieving overall energy balance at the TOA [top-of-atmosphere].” This appears to a big problem for the calculation of the albedo related to snow and ice, which depends critically of the actual temperature difference from the melting/freezing point.


No, Oceans Are Not Warming Faster than Previously Thought

The journal Science published another climate paper containing substantial errors that resulted in numerous alarmist media reports.  The New York Times falsely reported that “Ocean Warming Is Accelerating Faster Than Thought”. Climatologist Nic Lewis published a rebuttal of the paper “Cheng et al 2019” titled “How fast are the oceans warming?”.  He wrote “Contrary to what the paper indicates:

•    Contemporary estimates of the trend in 0–2000 m depth ocean heat content over 1971–2010 are closely in line with that assessed in the IPCC AR5 report five years ago
•    Contemporary estimates of the trend in 0–2000 m depth ocean heat content over 2005–2017 are significantly (> 95% probability) smaller than the mean CMIP5 model simulation trend.

On the first point; the IPCC AR5 report mentioned 5 studies of ocean warming 0 to 700 m, but it used only the highest estimate of global warming for good reasons, the other assessments did not evaluate all of the ocean areas. AR5 assessed the 0 to 2000 m warming rate at 0.36 W/m2, which is almost identical to the average of 3 recent estimates of 0.37 W/m2. [The m2 relates to the total Earth’s area, not ocean area] The Cheng 2019 paper falsely said that AR5 reported a 0 to 2000 m warming rate of 0.20 to 0.32 W/m2.

On the second point; Cheng 2019 falsely claimed that the warming rate over 2005–2017 for the top 2000 m from recent studies is consistent with the climate model mean. The model mean rate is 0.70 W/m2, much greater that the 0.54 estimated by Cheng 2019, and greater than the 0.60 W/m2 average of three recent studies. Lewis says the uncertainty of the Cheng estimate is three time that reported by the authors.


Ocean Warming in Climate Models Varies Far More than Recent Study Suggests

Dr. Roy Spencer also reviewed the Cheng paper and emphasizes that the climate models give a huge range of ocean warming rates as shown in this graph. He writes “for the period in question (1971-2010) [the plot] shows a factor of 8 range between the model with the least ocean warming and the model with the most warming, based upon linear trends fitted to the model curves”.  This huge range is mainly due to uncertainty in climate sensitivity and the effects of aerosols. The error ranges on the climate model mean in the paper “refer to how well each time series of heat content (whether observations or models) is fit by a regression line. That tells us nothing about how certain the dataset or model is as it assumes the datasets are perfect. He gives the warming rate of the oceans in more familiar units of degrees Celsius, “During the period 2005-2017, the oceans (0-2000 m) have warmed at a rate of 0.003 °C per year.” That is 0.03 °C/decade; very slowly.


Early 20th Century Global Warming

Dr. Judith Curry reviewed the early 20th century warming period (and mid-century cooling) with respect to climate forcing attribution. According to the global near-surface temperature record HadCRUT4.6, the warming trend 1910 to 1945 was 0.14 C/decade, which was almost identical to a UHIE corrected HadCRUT warming trend 1970 to 2003 of 0.15 °C/decade, see graph.

Curry discusses a paper Hegerl et al 2017 and writes that it “analyzed the internal variability associated with ocean circulations during the period since 1900. They found that the unusual cold anomaly circa 1910 originated in the South Atlantic, and then spread globally in the subsequent decade, leading to cold anomalies in both Atlantic and Pacific.” Warm phases of the both the AMO and PDO contributed to early 20th century warming. The Arctic warming began in 1915, with an increase of about 1.6 °C between 1917 and 1937, then cooled by 1.4 °C to 1967. A paper by Tokinaga et al says “concurrent phase shift of Pacific and Atlantic interdecadal variability modes is the major driver for the rapid early 20th-century Arctic warming.” Northern summer cloud cover is strongly correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) that causes low cloud cover during warming periods. Curry criticized the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment report for circular reasoning to attribute late 20th century warming to greenhouse gases. Curry states “The Arctic in particular responds very strongly to multidecadal and longer internal variability, and also to solar forcing.”


Do Atmosphere Temperatures Support Greenhouse Gas Warming Theory?

A paper published this month in Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics evaluated the atmospheric temperature trends of the UAH satellite temperature record to determine if the data supports the theory that global warming is mainly due to the increase in greenhouse gases, hereafter GHG theory.  The paper evaluated temperature trends in four vertical regions and five latitudinal bands. The GHG theory (as used in climate models) requires that the temperature change is more enhanced at high altitudes than near the surface, that near-surface temperature trends are amplified at high latitudes in each hemisphere, that the stratosphere temperature decline in response to tropospheric warming and that the tropopause increases in height.
The paper reports;
•    The troposphere temperature trends decreases with height.
•    The lower troposphere temperature trends in the southern hemisphere decreases at high latitude.
•    The thermal regime in the lower stratosphere is mainly affected by the ozone dynamics and not by the thermal regime in the troposphere alone. Therefore, the observed cooling in the lower stratosphere cannot be attributed unambiguously to the warming of the troposphere.
•    The near zero trend of the tropopause cannot support the increase in the height of tropopause.

Each of the four points is contrary to GHG theory. The atmospheric temperature data does not support the GHG theory, but contradicts it.


CliSci # 296      2019-01-13


Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover Increases Significantly from 1990

It is ski season again! I was skiing at Lake Louise the day after 77 cm of new snow. I am interested in how global warming might be effecting fall and winter snowfall. Rutgers Snow Lab of Rutgers University publishes weekly data of the northern hemisphere and regional snow cover.  The average snow cover of the northern hemisphere from 1972 to 2018 is 25 million km2 and the trend is -0.14 ± 0.11 million km2/decade, which is tiny. The trend from 1990 to 2018 is +0.24 ± 0.11  million km2/decade, which is small but positive. On a quarterly basis, from 1979 to 2018, the trend in the fall (months S,O,N) is significantly positive. There is no trend in winter (D,J,F) and snow in the spring and summer have decreased slightly. Dr. David Viner of Climate Research Unit in the U.K. predicted in March 2000 “within a few years winter snowfall will become a very rare and exciting event. Children just aren’t going to know what snow is.” His prediction was a major blunder.


Sea-Surface Temperature Errors in Climate Models

The climate forecasts produced by the IPCC are done by taking the simple average of the predictions of 29 groups of climate models. Dr. Pat Michaels says that this practice is “foolhardy” as some models are terrible at forecasting, example, the Canadian climate model, most of them are running too hot, and some models are better than others in specific applications.  The Russian climate model actually tracked the observed climate quite well.  A paper “Taking climate model evaluation to the next level” published this month says “Owing to different model performances against observations and the lack of independence among models, there is now evidence that giving equal weight to each available model projection is suboptimal.”  That is an understatement. The paper proposes “advanced methods for model weighting” based on comparisons of models to observations. The paper presents a map of sea-surface temperature errors of the average of all the climate models compared to the observations. The model errors range from -2.5 °C to over 2.5 °C is some regions. The models have almost the entire southern circumpolar sea too warm, much of it off more than 1.5°C. The seas off the west coasts of South America and Africa are more than 2 °C too warm in the models. These are regions where cold water upwells to the surface and are responsible of El Nino events.


Antarctica and “alarming” Sea Level Rise

Rud Istvan, author of “Blowing Smoke: Essay of Energy and Climate” wrote an interesting article on the possibility of melting ice sheets to dangerously accelerate sea level rise.  He shows that Greenland can’t cause significant sea level rise as its ice sheet is land-locked in a bowl surrounded by mountains. Ice cores reaching back to the Eemian interglacial period proved that even much higher temperatures than today for thousands of years did not melt the ice sheet. In Antarctica, the east Antarctic ice sheet (EAIS) has been stable and may be gaining ice.  Most of the EAIS is anchored by mountains. The west Antarctic ice sheet (WAIS) is losing ice, but a third of it is anchored by mountains. A 2012 ice core shows that a portion of the WAIS called Ronne remained stable during the warm Eemian period. The recent Andrill ice core program shows that the Ross portion of the WAIS did not collapse during all previous interglacials for at least three million years. The smaller Amundsen Embayment is losing ice, but much of that may be due to volcanism. A recent paper suggests it might become unstable in 200 to 900 years, so it might contribute 1 mm/yr of sea level rise. One paper says “…the effect of anthropogenic climate drivers at this location [Amundsen Embayment] has not exceeded the natural range of climate variability in the context of the past ~300 years.”


National Climate Assessment: A crisis of Epistemic Overconfidence

Judith Curry published an initial review about “overconfidence” of the US 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA) report, volume 1, which is about climate science. She notes that chapter 1 says that average temperatures in recent decades have been much higher, and have risen faster than at any time in the past 1,700 years, with ‘high confidence’.  This contradicts IPCC AR5 report which says the average “NH temperatures, the period 1983-2012 was … likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence).” Based on various statements in AR5, the “medium confidence” is not justified. “High confidence” also contradicts a statement in the NCA that says “there are still many uncertainties in understanding the hemispheric and global changes in climate over Earth’s history, including that of the last few millennia.” The NCA relied on Mann et al. 2008 and PAGES 2k Consortium 2013. The Mann et al 2008 report was a hockey stick paper that used stripbark bristlecone pine trees which grows rapidly in response to CO2 fertilization, not temperature. The PAGES 2k reconstructions were strongly criticized by Steve McIntyre for also using the stripbark bristlecone pine series and for only selecting series that had a hockey stick shape. The definition of ‘high confidence’ in NCA is “moderate evidence (several sources, some consistency, methods vary etc.),  medium consensus” which sounds like only ‘medium confidence’.


Global Reconstruction of Historical Ocean Heat Storage and Transport

A paper published this month presents estimate of ocean heat content from 1875 to 2017 for depths 0-700 m, 0-200 m and below 200 m for both the global ocean and the Atlantic ocean. The paper reports that the global ocean absorbed as much heat during 1921–1946 as during 1990–2015. Since the 1950s, up to one-half of excess heat in the Atlantic Ocean at mid-latitudes has come from other regions via circulation-related changes in heat transport. The abstract says “We find that the global ocean absorbed heat during this period at a rate of 0.30 ± 0.06 W/m2 in the upper 2,000 m and 0.028 ± 0.026 W/m2 below 2,000 m, with large decadal fluctuations.” The authors wrote “Our results highlight that the substantial amounts of heat accumulated in the ocean and associated sea-level rise can be influenced by ocean circulation changes and low- to midlatitude air–sea interactions.


Climate Change Had Nothing To Do With the Camp Fire in Paradise

James Steele was director of a university field station in the Tahoe National Forest for 25 years. He wrote about the horrific Camp Fire is Paradise, California that destroyed rows of homes while surrounding trees were merely scorched. He says that large fires have recently burned 1.8 million acres per year in California, but before 1800, fires burned 4 million acres per year despite cooler temperatures. Wildfire have increased since 1970 relative to previous decades when there was intensive fire prevention and fire fighting to extinguish fires as soon as possible. In the 1970s the US Forest Service switched to a “let it burn” policy if human-made structures were not endangered. The Ponderosa pines around the town of Paradise endures fires about every 11 years. Governor Brown vetoed a bill to secure the power grid two years ago. A power line caused the ignition that started the fire that was fed by “fine fuels” such as leaves and underbrush. High wind fanned the fire into an inferno. Buildings that had “defensible space” without “fine fuels” nearby were spared. Any warming of the land during the cool seasons due to CO2 will help to reduce the winds that fan wildfires. Climate change had nothing to do with the fire.


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