India: Show Us the Climate Money

Playing his cards close to the vest, India’s prime minister first promised they would soon ratify the Paris accord, then said the climate reparation money must be on the table first.  Details are at GWPF:


The climate charade reminds me of what Russians said privately during the Soviet era:  “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay.”


The Coming Climate

Update July 4 below

When you see a graph like that below, it is obvious that an unusually strong El Nino just happened in our climate system. It resulted in higher global temperatures the last two years and so far in 2016. But that event is over now, and naturally we wonder what to expect in the months and years ahead.

For example some comments from a recent thread at WUWT (here) were intriguing:

It will be interesting to see what comes next. The major difference between the 1998 el nino and this one is that in 1998 the sun was increasing in solar activity, while this one solar activity is decreasing. (rishrac)

Nino3,4 and UAH LT dC Anomalies, and UAH LT Scaled *3 and Lagged 4 Months h/t Allan MacRae

And richard takes the long view of the situation:

While we all stare at the short-term ups and downs of the global temperatures, pay a little thought to the fact that the Earth’s orbit around the Sun causes snow in the winter and warmth during the summer, so it may be important?

Perihelion presently occurs around January 3, (Northern hemisphere winter, Southern summer) while aphelion is around July 4. Therefore, the southern hemisphere receives more solar radiation and is therefore warmer in summer and colder in winter (aphelion). The Northern hemisphere has cooler summers and milder winter (solar radiation-wise).

Also the northern hemispheres autumn and winter are slightly shorter than spring and summer, because the Earth is moving faster around the Sun in winter slower in summer.

This alone could account for “Global Warming” attributed to CO2, (which no doubt plays some part in it).

Over the next 10,000 years, northern hemisphere winters will become gradually longer and summers will become shorter, due to the change in the Earth’s Orbital Eccentricity.

Couple this with changes in the Earth’s tilt, which varies from 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees, (currently at 23.4 degrees). More tilt means more solar radiation gets to the poles (global warming) and less tilt means less radiation gets to the poles (global cooling). The last maximum tilt occurred in 8700 BC (Holocene maximum) and the next minimum tilt will happen in 11,800 AD (the advance of the ice sheets), precisely at the time of longer northern winters and shorter summers.

Orbital Climate Factors: E for eccentricity, T for tilt, and P for precession

Predicting the Future is Tough

Chiefio (E.M. Smith) has a good post (here) reminding us that statistical projections do not help us much in this case. Temperature series produced by our climate system have special qualities. The patterns are auto-correlated, meaning that tomorrow’s weather will be similar to today’s; the occurrence is not totally independent, like the flip of coin. IOW there is momentum in the climate characteristics, which can and do fluctuate over seasons, decades, centuries and more. Our attempts to use linear regressions to forecast are thwarted by temperature time series that do not follow a normal gaussian distribution, and are semi-chaotic and non-stationary.

Four Possibilities Forward From Today

From past experience, the next few years could logically follow one of four temperature scenarios:
1. The Plateau since 1998 continues.
2. The Warming prior to 1998 resumes.
3. A new Plateau begins with 2016 at a higher (step up) level.
4. A Cooling begins comparable to the years after 1940.

All of these have analogues in our recent climate observations. If this now finished El Nino triggers a regime change comparable to the 1998 event, then a step-up plateau can result. If warmists are right, and there is a release of pent-up heat in the system, then a warming trend would resume.

If this El Nino is not strong enough to shift the regime, then the Plateau could continue at the same level. Finally, it could be that several factors align to reverse the warming since the 1970’s, and bring a return to cooler 1950’s weather.

Those who see a quasi-60 year cycle in weather patterns note that it is about time for the PDO in the Pacific and the AMO in the Atlantic to be in cooler phases, along with a quiet sun, which went spotless last week. There are also those attending to orbital climate patterns, which gave us the Modern Warming Period and will eventually take it away.


Changes in climate due to earth’s orbit around the sun

Update July 4

In the thread below is a chart from J Martin displaying the effects of the changing tilt of earth’s axis.  As shown, the long term pattern is toward cooling.

In addition, ren provides interesting links to studies showing SA (Sunspot numbers) correlating to Middle Ages Warm period and LIA, and a 2012 study forecasting the next 2 cycles.

Figure 1. Bottom plot: the summary component of the two PCs (solid curve) and the decaying component (dashed curves) for the “historical” data (cycles 21–23) and predicted data (cycles 24–26). The cycle lengths (about 11 yr) are marked with different colors.
shepherd etalfig1

Again, to the extent that SSNs are a proxy for changes in heat content within the earth’s climate system, the graph is also indicating future cooling.

For quantification of climate effects from Solar Activity, see:
Quantifying Natural Climate Change

Climate Partly Cloudy

Dr. Curry has a new very informative post (here) on clouds and climate, including links to several studies recently announced from CERN and others. It reminded me of Joni Mitchell’s song Both Sides Now:

Bows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air
And feather canyons everywhere
I’ve looked at clouds that way
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s clouds’ illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all
– Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now Lyrics

The above chorus could serve as an anthem for climate modelers. Clouds are arguably the least understood and most unpredictable of factors in climate change. We are getting much better at the weather connection between storms and cloud formation. But the long-term effects of clouds and cloudiness are still uncertain. Dr. Curry helpfully separates the cloud problem into two issues: cloud microphysics and cloud dynamics. She observes that the latter is much more difficult and also has much more impact on climate.

Some things are known and described in textbooks of Atmospheric Physics. In introducing Chapter 9: Aerosols and Clouds in his updated volume, Murray Salby (here) suggests the complexities involved:

Radiative transfer is modified importantly by cloud. Owing to its high reflectivity in the visible, cloud shields the Earth-atmosphere system from solar radiation. It therefore introduces cooling in the SW energy budget of the Earth’s surface, offsetting the greenhouse effect. Conversely, the strong absorptivity in the IR of water and ice sharply increases the optical depth of the atmosphere. Cloud thus introduces warming in the LW energy budget of the Earth’s surface, reinforcing the greenhouse effect. We develop cloud processes from a morphological description of atmospheric aerosol, without which cloud would not form. The microphysics controlling cloud formation is then examined. Macrophysical properties of cloud are developed in terms of environmental conditions that control the formation of particular cloud types. These fundamental considerations culminate in descriptions of radiative and chemical processes that involve cloud.

Cloud Formation

The microphysics is mostly related to how clouds form, and the role of aerosols. Even though clouds can form simply from enough water vapor, in practice the required conditions for such “homogenous” formation are higher than those needed for “heterogenous” formation from ever-present aerosols, termed CCN. From Salby (pg. 272):

The simplest means of forming cloud is through homogeneous nucleation, wherein pure vapor condenses to form droplets. . . Yet, the formation of most cloud cannot be explained by homogeneous nucleation. Instead, cloud droplets form through heterogeneous nucleation, wherein water vapor condenses onto existing particles of atmospheric aerosol. Termed cloud condensation nuclei (CCN), such particles support condensation at supersaturations well below those required for homogeneous nucleation.

Cloudiness Impact on Radiative Balance

The extent of cloudiness varies a lot, as shown by measures of OLR (Outgoing Longwave Radiation) by satellites above TOA (h/t greensand). Notice that the scale has a range of 100 W m^2 compared to estimated CO2 sensitivity of ~4 W m^2.

OLR or ‘Cloudiness’ at the equatorial dateline 7.5S – 7.5N, 170E – 170W (large sea surface area) has been below norm for 15/16 months. Below average OLR is the result of increased cloud cover, which in turn = reduced insolation, less incoming solar energy. Yet as Salby says, cloud tops can reflect SW solar energy away while the cloud mass absorbs IR from the surface, delaying cooling. Different types of clouds have different impacts on radiative forcing. Not to mention water changing between all 3 phases inside.

Therein lies the cloud conundrum: How much warming and how much cooling from changes in cloudiness?


Clouds Complicating Climate

A quantitative description of how cloud figures in the global energy budget is complicated by its dependence on microphysical properties and interactions with the surface. These complications are circumvented by comparing radiative fluxes at TOA under cloudy vs clear-sky conditions. Over a given region, the column-integrated radiative heating rate must equal the difference between the energy flux absorbed and that emitted to space.

Shortwave cloud forcing represents cooling. It is concentrated near the Earth’s surface, because the principal effect of increased albedo is to shield the ground from incident SW. Longwave cloud forcing represents warming. It is manifest in heating near the base of cloud and cooling near its top (Fig. 9.36b).

That radiative forcing depends intrinsically on the vertical distribution of cloud. For instance, deep cumulonimbus and comparatively shallow cirrostratus can have identical cloud-top temperature, yielding the same LW forcing of the TOA energy budget. However, they have very different optical depths, producing very different vertical distributions of radiative heating. The strong correlation between water vapor and cloud cover introduces another source of uncertainty.


Since 90% of water in the atmosphere comes from the ocean, clouds are another way that Oceans Make Climate. And as Roger Andrews demonstrates (here) cloudiness correlates quite positively with SSTs.

Bottom Line: Any CO2 effect is lost in the Clouds

Globally averaged values of CLW and CSW are about 30 and −45 W m−2, respectively. Net cloud forcing is then −15 W m−2. It represents radiative cooling of the Earth atmosphere system. This is four times as great as the additional warming of the Earth’s surface that would be introduced by a doubling of CO2. Latent heat transfer to the atmosphere (Fig. 1.32) is 90 W m−2. It is an order of magnitude greater. Consequently, the direct radiative effect of increased CO2 would be overshadowed by even a small adjustment of convection (Sec. 8.7).


Rise and Fall of El Nino (illustrated)

cdas_v2_hemisphere_2016june2Here is a great view of how the 2015-16 El Nino caused higher surface temperatures last year and this, displayed in 2-meter temp anomalies (weather station height). The satellites’ data show the uptick began in earnest October 2015 and returned to neutral in May 2016. SSTs are now firmly in neutral.
h/t Joe Bastardi


The temperature variations portrayed above were 100% Natural, no additives were involved.   Keep your popcorn handy as we await temperature measurements for the second half of 2016.

Source: Weatherbell

So-So Arctic Melting May 31


Arctic scientists examining sea ice and melt ponds in the Chukchi Sea in high north. NASA photo.

In the chart below MASIE shows May Arctic ice extent is below average and lower than 2015 at this point in the year.

MASIE 2016 day152

Comparing the first 5 months of the melt season shows why 2016 so far is a so-so melt season, meaning not very good, not very bad; or same old, same old if you prefer.

Monthly 2016 2015 2016-2015
Jan 13.922 13.941 -0.019
Feb 14.804 14.683 0.121
Mar 14.769 14.668 0.101
Apr 13.917 14.121 -0.204
May 12.086 12.646 -0.560
YTD Ave. 13.900 14.012 -0.112

Until May, the two years had the same average extents.

Looking into the details, the difference arises from some marginal seas melting earlier than last year, while the central, enduring ice pack is relatively unaffected.  In fact, the overall difference between 2016 and 2015 is similar to comparable losses from maximums in a single place: Sea of Okhotsk:  To date 1231k km2 of ice lost this year vs. 696k km2 lost in 2015 in that sea at the same date.

Ice Extents Ice Extent
Region 2015152 2016152 km2 Diff.
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 11451596 11019134 -432462
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 964315 826699 -137616
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 842142 851939 9797
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1079340 1067698 -11641
 (4) Laptev_Sea 866996 879446 12450
 (5) Kara_Sea 765985 805737 39752
 (6) Barents_Sea 249999 79548 -170451
 (7) Greenland_Sea 536081 515701 -20380
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1015753 863421 -152333
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 806783 814863 8080
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1005981 1040263 34282
 (11) Central_Arctic 3219508 3131102 -88406
 (12) Bering_Sea 14523 61632 47108
 (13) Baltic_Sea 0 1441 1441
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 82806 78103 -4703

Of interest this year is the Beaufort Gyre cranking up ten days into May, compacting ice and reducing extent by about 150k km2, and putting the loss there ahead of last year.  As Susan Crockford points out (here), this is not melting but ice breaking up and moving. Of course, warmists predict that will result in more melting later on, which remains to be seen. In any case, Beaufort extent is down 23% from its max, which amounts to 5% of losses from all Arctic seas so far.

Comparing the Arctic ice extents with their maximums shows the melting is occurring mostly in the marginal seas, as expected in May.

2016152 NH Max Loss % Loss Sea Max % Total Loss
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 4058466 26.92% 100%
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 243746 22.77% 5%
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 114050 11.81% 3%
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 19422 1.79% 0%
 (4) Laptev_Sea 18363 2.05% 0%
 (5) Kara_Sea 129252 13.82% 3%
 (6) Barents_Sea 519831 86.73% 12%
 (7) Greenland_Sea 144011 21.83% 3%
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 781161 47.50% 18%
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 38316 4.49% 1%
 (10) Hudson_Bay 220608 17.50% 5%
 (11) Central_Arctic 115608 3.56% 3%
 (12) Bering_Sea 706600 91.98% 16%
 (13) Baltic_Sea 96141 98.52% 2%
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 1230594 94.03% 28%

Note: Some seas are not at max on the NH max day.  Thus, totals from adding losses will vary from NH daily total.

It is clear from the above that the bulk of ice losses are coming from Okhotsk, Barents and Bering Seas, along with Baffin Bay-St. Lawrence; all of them are marginal seas that will go down close to zero by September, and only Baffin has more than 15% of its ice left. The entire difference between 2016 and 2015 arises from Okhotsk starting with about 500k km2 more ice this year, and arriving at this date virtually tied with 2015.

CPC shows the Arctic Oscillation waffling between positive and negative values, recently negative and forecasted to rise back toward neutral. Generally, negative AO signifies higher pressures over Arctic ice, with less cloud, higher insolation and more melting.  The outlook at this point is mixed.


The first panel shows the observed AO index (black line) plus forecasted AO indices from each of the 11 GFS ensemble members starting from the last day of the observations (red lines). From NOAA Climate Prediction Center

September Minimum Outlook

Historically, where will ice be remaining when Arctic melting stops? Over the last 10 years, on average MASIE shows the annual minimum occurring about day 260. Of course in a given year, the daily minimum varies slightly a few days +/- from that.

For comparison, here are sea ice extents reported from 2007, 2012, 2014 and 2015 for day 260:

Arctic Regions 2007 2012 2014 2015
Central Arctic Sea 2.67 2.64 2.98 2.93
BCE 0.50 0.31 1.38 0.89
Greenland & CAA 0.56 0.41 0.55 0.46
Bits & Pieces 0.32 0.04 0.22 0.15
NH Total 4.05 3.40 5.13 4.44

Notes: Extents are in M km2.  BCE region includes Beaufort, Chukchi and Eastern Siberian seas. Greenland Sea (not the ice sheet). Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA).  Locations of the Bits and Pieces vary.

As the table shows, low NH minimums come mainly from ice losses in Central Arctic and BCE.  The great 2012 cyclone hit both in order to set the recent record. The recovery since 2012 shows in 2014, with some dropoff last year, mostly in BCE.


We are only beginning the melt season, and the resulting minimum will depend upon the vagaries of weather between now and September.  At the moment, 2016 was slightly higher than 2015 in March, and is now trending toward a lower May extent.  OTOH 2016 melt season is starting without the Blob, with a declining El Nino, and a cold blob in the North Atlantic.  The AO hovering around neutral, giving no direction whether cloud cover will reduce the pace of melting or not.

A so-so year is like a glass half full or half empty.  If you are hoping for an Arctic ice decline, 2016 so far is good, but not very.  If you want Arctic ice to hold steady, the year is bad, but not very.

Meanwhile we can watch and appreciate the beauty of the changing ice conditions.


Arctic Sunset Chukchi Sea Ice Wrangel Island UNESCO World Heritage Site Russia