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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
FoS Climate Science Newsletter - 2020

By: Ken Gregory, P.Eng.


CliSci # 319          2020-02-01


Climate Sensitivity, Agricultural Productivity and the Social Cost of Carbon in FUND

A paper by Dayaratna, McKitrick & Michaels evaluates the implications of recent empirical findings about CO2 fertilization and climate sensitivity on the social cost of carbon (SCC) in the FUND economic model. New satellite and experimental evidence suggests that the agricultural productivity gains due to CO2 fertilization are at least 30% greater than what is parameterized in the FUND model. The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) probability distributions used are from the Lewis & Curry 2018 (L&C) and Christy & McNider 2017 (C&M) empirical studies, which gives ECS best estimates of 1.5 °C and 1.4 °C, respectively. Using a 5% discount rate, the 30% increase of CO2 fertilization and L&C ECS parameters, the FUND model calculates a best estimate SCC in 2020 of 2018US$-4.08/tCO2 and  there is a 0.78 probability that SCC is negative. Assuming that no CO2 mitigation policies are implemented, the SCC increases to 2018US$-3.43/tCO2 by 2050. Using a 3% discount rate and the C&M ECS, the best estimate SCC in 2020 is 2018US$‑6.85/tCO2. Using empirically estimated climate sensitivity, the FUND model indicates that CO2 is for all practical purposes not a negative global externality through mid-century. This means that carbon taxes and other policies that increase the costs of fossil fuels are harmful and counterproductive. The negative SCC implies that CO2 emissions should be encouraged, not taxed, because the social benefits of emissions exceeds the costs.

The ECS estimates used here assume that all of the warming was caused by human activity (greenhouse gases and aerosols), but a substantial portion of the measured warming was caused by natural causes and urban warming. Correcting the ECS for these effects would make the calculated SCC even more negative. As reported in CliSci # 317, an empirical study shows that the energy impact function in FUND is miscalibrated, and correcting this would substantially reduce the calculated SSC, making it even more negative.


Will Humanity Ever Reach 2XCO2? Possibly Not

Dr. Roy Spencer shows that a simple carbon cycle model that matches measured CO2 concentrations predicts the CO2 concentrations stabilizes at under a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels when emissions remain constant after 2050. He wrote “The Energy Information Agency (EIA) projects a growth in energy-based CO2 emissions of +0.6%/yr through 2050. But translating future emissions into atmospheric CO2 concentration requires a global carbon budget model, and we frequently accept the United Nations reliance on such models to tell us how much CO2 will be in the atmosphere for any given CO2 emissions scenario. Using a simple time-dependent CO2 budget model forced with yearly estimates of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and optimized to match Mauna Loa observations, I show that the EIA emissions projections translate into surprisingly low CO2 concentrations by 2050. In fact, assuming constant CO2 emissions after 2050, the atmospheric CO2 content eventually stabilizes at just under 2XCO2.”


Friends of Science 17th Annual Event

Please join us for this special event on April 6, 2018 for “Freedom of Speech! NO Climate Emergency!” featuring Donna Laframboise - Investigative Journalist and Dr. Roy W. Spencer - Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. Doors open at 5:45 pm. The event includes a buffet dinner. Donna will speak on "Climate Activists Want Your Freedom" and Roy will explain “10 Reasons Why there is No Climate Emergency".

Deadline to order tickets here is March 27, 2020. Early bird tickets are on sale until February 29, 2020. As climate dogma increases, your freedoms are lost, your kids are scared. Debunk it! Join us April 6th.


Contributions to Global Warming

I prepared two pie charts which show the contributions to global warming over two time periods, 1910 to 1980 and 1980 to 2018.  The contributions of greenhouse gases (GHG) are based on forcing estimate from NOAA and an estimated transient climate response of 0.85 °C, which corresponds to an equilibrium climate sensitivity of 1.0 °C for a doubling of CO2. This estimate is based on the energy balance calculations of Lewis&Curry 2015 and 2018, but adjusted to account for urban warming from McKitrick and Michaels 2007 (M&M) and the natural warming from the Little Ice Age. Aerosol forcing is estimated to have a net cooling effect, so this effect was added to the total measured warming to get the warming without aerosols, which was allocated to the factors that cause warming in the pie charts. The four components are CO2, non-CO2 GHG, urban warming, and solar effects. The urban warming was forecast to increase linearly from zero in 1920 such that the warming matched the M&M results. The solar component includes ocean oscillations such as the AMO, ENSO and the millennium cycle as the sun is the only energy source available that can drive these cycles. The GHG and urban warming was explicitly calculated and the solar component was estimated by difference. From 1910 to 1980, solar contributed 58% and CO2 contributed 26% of the global warming. From 1980 to 2018, solar and CO2 contributed 17% and 41%, respectively. Solar activity peaks in 1992 and has generally been declining since resulting in a lower contribution to warming.


50 Years of Global Hurricane Landfall Data

Dr. Roger Peilke published an article in Forbes which reported on a new historical time series of tropical cyclones that made landfall around the world. The article features a graph of 50 years of landfall hurricanes of strength 1&2, and 3 to 5 of the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. Tropical storms with wind speed of at least 119 km/h are hurricanes and those with wind speeds of at least 178 km/h are classified as major hurricanes of category 3 or greater. Peilke writes “There are a lot of ups and downs in the data, but no obvious trends. Last year saw 17 total storms, with 7 making landfall as major hurricanes.” From 1970 to 2019 there were 15.4 landfall hurricanes on average each year, including 10.4 categories 1&2 and 5.0 categories 3+.


Ocean Acidification Does Not Impair Coral Reef Fishes

As CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increases, more CO2 is absorbed by the oceans causing the alkaline oceans to become more neutral. Contrary to some reports, this study comprehensively shows that ocean pH levels predicted by the end of the century have negligible effects on important behaviours of coral reef fishes. The abstract concludes “Together, our findings indicate that the reported effects of ocean acidification on the behaviour of coral reef fishes are not reproducible, suggesting that behavioural perturbations will not be a major consequence for coral reef fishes in high CO2 oceans.”


Attenborough’s Arctic Betrayal: New video

Dr. Susan Crockford, former adjunct professor and zoologist at the University of Victoria, released a new 13-minute video that shows “the strong polar bear component to the terrorization of the world’s children about climate change, which began for many youngsters in 2006 with the BBC and Sir David Attenborough’s commentaries about the dire future of polar bears – and continues to this day.” Children and young adults get climate change information from watching emotionally-charged and deceptive information about the Arctic through Attenborough’s productions. A press release issued by the Global Warming Policy Forum states: “It is the responsibility of teachers and parents to reassure these worried youngsters that polar bears and walrus are not suffering because of sea ice loss blamed on climate change.” In the BBC Frozen Planet series called ‘On Thin Ice’, Sir David Attenborough falsely claimed that polar bear numbers had been falling “in many regions”. The 2019 BBC’s ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet: Asia’ shows several ‘hungry’ polar bears driving walrus over the cliff, all falsely blamed on climate change. Attenborough is fed false information from activist NGOs and biologists. Crockford wrote “Sir David Attenborough never questioned his sources and neither has Greta. Both are out of touch with reality on what is happening in the Arctic and it has tarnished their outlook on life”.


CliSci # 318          2020-01-18


Early Holocene Temperature Oscillations Exceed Amplitude of Observed and Projected Warming in Arctic Svalbard Lakes

A paper published last month presents centennially resolved summer temperature reconstructions from sediments of three Svalbard lakes in the Arctic. The paper shows that early Holocene temperatures fluctuated between the coldest and warmest extremes of the past 12 thousand years, exceeding the range of instrumental observations and future projections. Peak warmth occurred about 10,000 years ago, with temperatures 7 °C warmer than today as more solar radiation and warm water reached the Arctic. The growing season temperatures increased by about 7 °C between 10.5 and 9.5 thousand years ago and peaked at values that were up to 7 °C warmer than at present. Comparison with model output shows that the amplitude of warming was on par with 21st century emission scenarios, but that temperatures rose much slower than today. The first major Early Holocene cooling episode is centered on 11,000 years ago and marked by a ~3.5 °C growing season temperature decline. Between 9.5 and 8 thousand years ago, temperatures dropped in response to freshwater fluxes into the North Atlantic from melting ice. The reconstructions indicate multiple times in the Holocene, for hundreds of years at a time, summer temperatures in the Arctic were at times warmer than now, only to fall later to temperatures colder than those experienced in recent centuries. The presented records span the entire Holocene, placing variability in a 12,000 year context.


The Hotter-Drier “Climate Change” Myth

The news media, politician and celebrities are all saying, especially in Australia, that greenhouse gas induced climate change are causing a hotter, dryer world which leads to the wild fires in Australia. This is false. Blogger Joanne Nova wrote that a central canon of the theory of man-made global warming is that climate change leads to a hotter, wetter world. In fact, the multi-model 60°S to 60°N near global precipitation trend from 2005 to 2030 is an increase from 3.245 mm/day to 3.266 mm/day, an increase of 0.65% in 25 years. Nova presents six charts of precipitation at six cities and none of them show any drying trend. In Australia, the average precipitation of the 21st century was 1.4 mm/day according to the CRU TS4 dataset, and the trend from 1900 to 2019 is upward at 0.013 mm/day/decade. This proves that the often heard narrative that “climate change will make dry areas drier” is false. Nova asks “When will Australia’s climate scientists correct the politicians and celebrities who benefit from making false claims?”

Larger fires are more frequent when soils are dry. NASA's Land Data Assimilation Systems produces a high quality dataset of soil moisture to 10 cm depth by integrating satellite and ground-based observational data products, using advanced land surface modeling and data assimilation techniques. The measured soil moisture content is a key indicator of the forest fire potential that is related to climate. The soil moisture content in Australia has been increasing at 0.164%/decade since 1985. This suggests that climate change may be inhibiting forest fires in Australia.


Fuel and Poor Forest Management is the Main Factor in Australian Wildfires

Friends of Science published an open letter on its blog January 13 to the Poynter Institute and Facebook that states “Your International Fact Check Network project is misreporting the facts” regarding the issue of the Australian wildfires. The document attached to the letter includes comments from a forest fire expert who states that “Heat is proportional to the fourth power of weight of fuel. Doubling even a sparse fuel loading has a huge consequence for fire intensity.” He says in Australia, there is lots of coarse debris on the ground. Surface fuels that were previously herbaceous and cured grass, now replaced by accumulating leaf and bark nested in woody perennial shrubs. It is worse than just the biomass increase. Fuel bed bulk density is very low, and the resinous vegetation and debris makes for extreme combustibility. The worst stand structure is most likely closest to and in communities. Fire suppression methods and community structure and building codes that were adequate for the previous fire regime completely fail with these stand replacing fires. Properly applied to forestry wildfire risk management would save lives and property in any forested region of the world.


New 80-Year Deep-Ocean Temperature Dataset Compared to a 1D Climate Model

A new paper Cheng et al 2020 presents a dataset of 0-2000 m ocean heat content (OHC) from 1940 to 2019 that uses “optimum interpolation” to extend the geographic coverage of limited data. The ARGO network of floats has dramatically improved the global coverage as it was deployed 2001-2005. Dr. Roy Spencer updated his 1D model of ocean temperature with this dataset to match its warming trend over the 80-year period. The model includes El Nino and La Nina (ENSO) variability to capture year-to-year temperature changes. If it is assumed that all of the ocean warming was human-caused, the best fit to the data gives an equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) of 1.85 °C. Spencer says this is only about 50% of the ECS from climate models. Temperature changes in the oceans below a few hundred metres are very small and difficult to measure. The average ocean temperatures (0-2000 m) have warmed over the last 10 years by 0.036°C. Spencer wrote “the global energy imbalance (less than 1 W/m2) corresponding to such small rates of warming is much smaller than the accuracy with which we know the natural energy flows (1 part in 300 or so), which means Mother Nature could be responsible for the warming and we wouldn’t even know it.”


40% of Warming Since 1979 Is Due to Early Volcanic Cooling

Spencer used the same 1D ocean model to show that 41% of the ocean warming in the model was simply due to the two major volcanoes early in the record. The model is forced with RCP6 radiative forcings scenario which includes greenhouse gases, aerosols and volcanoes. The model also includes the observed history ENSO. The model was run with and without the volcanic aerosols that block sunlight. The trend of average sea surface temperatures changes from 0.090 °C/decade with volcanoes to 0.053 °C/decade without volcanoes.


Divergent Consensuses on Arctic Amplification Influence on Midlatitude Severe Winter Weather

Arctic amplification refers to the phenomenon that the Arctic warms more, or is more variable, than the global average. This paper says “Recently, there have been considerable advances in understanding the physical contributions to ‘Arctic amplification’, and progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms that link it to midlatitude weather variability.” Observational studies show that Arctic amplification is contributing to winter continental cooling. However, most modelling results show little connection between Arctic amplification and severe midlatitude weather. Divergent conclusions between model and observational studies continue to obfuscate a clear understanding of how Arctic amplification is influencing midlatitude weather.

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