Outbreak of Fake Hurricane Reports

Inspired by the Weather Channel’s reporter faking the strength of winds, social media is going viral with numerous videos expanding on the theme.  A compilation can be viewed above.

The watershed video from Weather Channel (pun intended) inadvertently showing people walking around normally in the background.

 

Arctic Ice Recovery Update Sept. 17

ims2018252to259

October Update:  Full September 2018 Results

arctic-sept-2007-to-2018

More details at Try to Remember: There’s Ice in September

One week ago on day 252 MASIE reported the lowest daily extent of the year at 4.43M km2.  One week later the image above shows how the ice edges have refrozen and extended.  Note also the significant snowfall both in Canada and Russia

Mid September we can see the long predicted collapse of Arctic ice is postponed for yet another year.  The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents above 4.5M km2 for the month of September.  A dip on day 252 to  4.43M km2 will likely be the daily minimum for the year, since 200k km2 of ice has been added in the last week.  The graph also shows that 2018 is presently 96k km2 above the 11 year average ice extent, 350k km2 more than 2016,  472k km2 more than 2007, and 1.2M km2 (a full Wadham!) more than the record setting 2012.

ArcticIce201809016

Interestingly, in September until yesterday NOAA’s officially referenced Sea Ice Index (SII) was showing more ice than MASIE, by about 200k km2.  That means the SII September monthly result will continue the plateau in Arctic ice since 2007.

The table below shows ice extents in the various basins comprising the Arctic Ocean for day 259 for 2018 and 2007 in comparison to the 11 year averages (2007 to 2017 inclusive).

Region 2018259 Day 259 
Average
2018-Ave. 2007259 2018-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 4622484 4526053 96431 4150314 472171
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 560233 471483 88750 515813 44420
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 163790 150187 13604 48053 115737
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 467586 270891 196695 311 467275
 (4) Laptev_Sea 27262 140510 -113248 238846 -211584
 (5) Kara_Sea 235 23504 -23268 52498 -52263
 (6) Barents_Sea 0 23798 -23798 7420 -7420
 (7) Greenland_Sea 83223 203153 -119930 329643 -246420
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 40128 29596 10532 32287 7841
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 346993 274872 72121 237669 109324
 (10) Hudson_Bay 6051 7085 -1034 4355 1697
 (11) Central_Arctic 2926584 2929894 -3309 2682144 244440

Presently, 2018 is about 100k km2  or 2% above average, and 472k km2 or 11% more than 2007.  The Eastern Arctic shows surpluses in East Siberian, Chukchi, Beaufort, and CAA.  The Western Arctic shows deficits in Laptev, Kara, Barents and Greenland seas.  The Central Arctic is matching average, while East Siberian sea ice is 73% above average.

As reported previously, the Northwest Passage through Nunavut was closed this year due to excessive and thick multiyear ice blocking the way.  The chart below shows the conditions as of Sept. 14.
20180914180000_wis38ct_0010229536

It won’t get any better than this for yachts attempting the passage west, since more than 3/10 (green) ice conditions blocks their progress.  A post at the Northwest Passage blog S/V CRYSTAL Escape from Prince Regent Inlet  explains how the passage is closing.

przez-lc3b3d-w-stronc499-wolnej-wody-300x225

Breaking through the ice corridor, already close to the shore, we suddenly saw something unusual. Static ice so far began to flow very rapidly towards the shore! In this way he closed the road ahead of us and – which is much worse – cut off our retreat. We turned back and rushed to escape. It was the only option.

We drove the gas to the top, and the free water in front of the bow disappeared in her eyes . Giant ice floes moved towards the shore like in a river stream. We jumped out of some of the channels with maybe a meter of side wall, and the path behind us disappeared after a few dozen seconds.

After about thirty minutes of such a crazy slalom we got to the water so slow that the danger of being closed and pressed to the shore was averted . That was good news for us. The bad news was that this time we were unable to get out of Prince Regent Inlet. It was waiting for the next chance . (note: the log is translated from Polish)

Update September 19, 2018

Here is the latest ice chart showing that in Franklin strait, all the green conditions (<3/10) are now gone, while red and brown are taking over.

Bottom line: They succeeded to get out and are now docked on Greenland coast.

algore_ice_gone_by_2013

 

 

Hurricane Science Expert Q&A

Here is a briefing on the state of hurricane science regarding any discernible effects from humans burning fossil fuels.  Hurricane Florence raises questions about link between climate change, severe storms  Storm expert David Nolan explains what we know and what we’re still trying to figure out.

The questions are posed by NBC News, a source of many stories promoting climate alarm/activism. The answers are from David Nolan, professor and chair of the department of atmospheric sciences at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and a noted expert on hurricanes and tropical weather. Excerpts are in italics with my bolds.

Just where are we with hurricane science? What have we learned, and what questions remain to be answered? And what about the role of climate change in the formation and propagation of severe storms?

Q: The National Hurricane Center today upgraded Florence to a Category 4 storm. What exactly does that mean?
A: It means that, by their best estimate, there are wind speeds somewhere at the surface of 130 miles per hour or greater. This estimate comes from a combination of satellite images, and, in this case, from NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] aircraft that have been flying in Florence this morning.

Q: How many categories are there?
A: The categories go from 1 to 5.

Q: Could there ever be a Category 6?

A: No. Fives themselves are very rare. And reaching higher speeds — like 170 or 180 mph — is extremely rare. So it doesn’t make sense to make a category for something that will still be extremely rare, even if it happens a little more, like once every five years instead of once every 10 years.

Q: What in general dictates whether a Category 4 storm will turn into an even more destructive Category 5?

A: The conditions that are most favorable are warm ocean temperatures, like above 85 degrees [Fahrenheit], and light winds in the larger environment around the storm. Storms become category 5 in only the most favorable conditions.

Satellite images show three Atlantic hurricanes, from left, Florence, Isaac and Helene.Satellite images show three Atlantic hurricanes, from left, Florence, Isaac and Helene.NOAA

Q:  Is severe weather getting more severe and more frequent?

A: Whether or not severe weather is actually getting more severe is not clear. It is clear that the most extreme rainfall events have increased in frequency, and this is consistent with our understanding of how global warming will change the weather.

Q: Some hurricanes seem to hit land and then quickly dissipate, causing little damage. Others, like Harvey last year, give way to heavy rainfall and flooding. What determines which course a storm will take?

A: There are two factors. First, whether or not the storm keeps moving inland steadily, or whether it lingers near the coast. This is determined by the steering patterns of the larger atmosphere around it, as the hurricane is essentially carried along by the even larger weather systems around it.

Second, it depends on the kind of terrain the storm is over. In the case of Harvey, the land [in and around Houston] is relatively flat and smooth and also still near the Gulf of Mexico, so Harvey did not dissipate quickly.

Q: You said climate change seems to be changing global weather patterns to make extreme rainfall events more frequent. Can you explain exactly what’s happening?

A: The main reason is that warmer air can hold more water vapor. So when air rises and forms clouds and then rain, more water is released and then more water falls to the ground as rain.

Q: But there’s no evidence that climate change is making hurricanes more frequent?

A: There is not. Unfortunately, the existing modern records of hurricanes are only of good quality for about 60 years. Because hurricane activity varies so much from year to year, then it’s not long enough to say for sure if there is a clear trend upward due to global warming.

There has been an enormous amount of research on whether TC numbers or strength will increase in the future because of global warming. But the results of those studies are mixed and sometimes contradictory, so we can’t make a conclusive statement yet. (TC refers to tropical cyclones (hurricanes) that occur each year, in each ocean.)

Q: What exactly is the difference between a hurricane and a cyclone?

Q: Physically, they are the same thing. They are called hurricanes in the Atlantic and in the Eastern Pacific, typhoons in the West Pacific and cyclones around Australia and India.

Q: What causes these storms to form, and what makes them move as they do?

A: Hurricanes form when areas of disturbed weather — rain and thunderstorms — over the ocean start to organize into a swirling pattern. As the winds increase, they extract more and more energy and water from the ocean, thus getting stronger and larger. As for their motion, they are carried along by the larger weather patterns around them, the usual lows and highs that most people often see on weather maps.

Q: How big can hurricanes get?

The areas of hurricanes with significant weather (winds and rain) are usually about 200 miles across. Some can be larger, as much as 300 miles. Some are quite small, only 50 miles.

Q: Do they always swirl in the same direction?

A: In the northern hemisphere, they rotate counterclockwise. In the southern hemisphere, it is the opposite. They get their rotation from the Earth’s rotation, which has an opposite sense whether you are in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere.

Q: You’re an expert in the use of computer modeling to study hurricanes. What have you learned from your research?

A: Most of my research has been about hurricane formation. We’ve used computer models to understand the physical processes by which hurricanes form. There are many “disturbances” over the oceans every summer, but most of them do not become hurricanes. We want to understand why some of them do.

Q: How does computer modeling work?

Computer models attempt to simulate the motions of the atmosphere. The first step is to assemble a digital “image” of the weather right now, much the same way that a camera image is made up of pixels of many different colors. But next, it uses the laws of physics and mathematics to determine how each part of the atmosphere will change with time, as they are influenced by the other pixels around them.

Q: Any new findings?

A: Our work showed the importance of moisture in the middle levels of the atmosphere, around 10,000 to 20,000 feet, in the regions where hurricanes tend to form. Higher-than-average moisture is much more favorable for hurricanes to form.

Q: In addition to computers, aircraft and satellites, are there any new tools that hurricane scientists are now using to facilitate their research?

A: The new generation of satellites, such as the new GOES 16 which recently became operational, are excellent. They make it much easier to see what is going on in these storms. The other developing advance is the use of drones. There are large drones, such as the NASA Global Hawk aircraft, which is about the size of a corporate jet and can fly over a hurricane for 24 hours straight. And there are small drones that can be dropped into a hurricane out of one of the NOAA aircraft, and can get much closer to the ocean’s surface than the NOAA planes (with people in them) are allowed to fly.

Q: What’s next for hurricane science ?

A: Many scientists these days are trying to better understand “rapid intensification,” which is when a hurricane’s winds increase by two or more categories in a single day. But there has been a lot of progress on that, and the computer models have become pretty good at predicting this, just as they are for Hurricane Florence right now.

The other very popular topic is how hurricane activity will (or will not) change with global warming. While everyone seems to think it will make it worse, there is no proof of that yet.

Q: As a hurricane researcher, is there some scenario that keeps researchers up at night?

A: I think it does make us more aware that bad events can and will happen. But we also understand that the chances of it happening to any one place is also very small.

Q: The National Weather Service website has a list of common misperceptions about hurricanes. What do you think are the most common ones people have?

A: I’m not sure about most common. But one that I think is most dangerous is that many people have the perception that they have experienced hurricane conditions before. Many people experience fringe effects of a hurricane and think they have been through a hurricane. Real hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 75 mph or higher) are actually much worse than people realize.

Summary

In theory, global warming (for whatever causes) should produce more moisture and extreme rainfall. In practice there is no evidence that this has happened.  It is also not clear that extreme weather events are more severe than in the past, or that hurricanes are more frequent.  The idea of a category six hurricane is an alarmist fantasy, akin to the notion of a geologic period called the “anthropocene.”  “Climate Change” is still something we see in the rear view mirror, not a causal agent in nature.

Arctic Ice Growing Again

ArcticIce201809014

Mid September we can see the long predicted collapse of Arctic ice is postponed for yet another year.  The graph shows MASIE reporting ice extents above 4.5M km2 for the last two weeks.  A dip on day 252 to  4.43M km2 will likely be the daily minimum for the year.  The graph also shows that 2018 is presently close to the 11 year average ice extent, 233k km2 more than 2016,  266k km2 more than 2007, and 1M km2 (a full Wadham!) more than the record setting 2012.

Update:  Full September Results at Try to Remember: There’s Ice in September

Interestingly, in September NOAA’s offcially referenced Sea Ice Index (SII) is showing more ice than MASIE, by about 200k km2.  That means the SII September monthly result will continue the plateau in Arctic ice since 2007.

As reported previously, the Northwest Passage through Nunavut was closed this year due to excessive and thick multiyear ice blocking the way.  The chart below shows the conditions as of yesterday.
20180914180000_wis38ct_0010229536

It won’t get any better than this for yachts attempting the passage west, since more than 3/10 (green) ice conditions blocks their progress.  A post at the Northwest Passage blog S/V CRYSTAL Escape from Prince Regent Inlet  explains how the passage is closing.

przez-lc3b3d-w-stronc499-wolnej-wody-300x225

Breaking through the ice corridor, already close to the shore, we suddenly saw something unusual. Static ice so far began to flow very rapidly towards the shore! In this way he closed the road ahead of us and – which is much worse – cut off our retreat. We turned back and rushed to escape. It was the only option.

We drove the gas to the top, and the free water in front of the bow disappeared in her eyes . Giant ice floes moved towards the shore like in a river stream. We jumped out of some of the channels with maybe a meter of side wall, and the path behind us disappeared after a few dozen seconds.

After about thirty minutes of such a crazy slalom we got to the water so slow that the danger of being closed and pressed to the shore was averted . That was good news for us. The bad news was that this time we were unable to get out of Prince Regent Inlet. It was waiting for the next chance . (note: the log is translated from Polish)

Bottom line: They succeeded to get out and are now docked on Greenland coast.

algore_ice_gone_by_2013

Hurricanes Not a Problem for Nuclear Power

NASA-NOAA satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean captured on September 11, 2018 at 11:45 AM EDT showing Hurricane Florence approaching the east coast with Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Helene fast on her heels.NASA/NOAA

Dr, James Conca explains in his Forbes article Hurricane Florence No Problem For Nuclear Power Plants  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Along with most everyone else, nuclear power plants in North and South Carolina, as well as Virginia, have been preparing for the natural onslaught.

Hurricane Florence will most likely hit two nuclear power plants operated by Duke Energy – their 1,870 megawatt (MW) Brunswick and 932MW Harris nuclear plants in North Carolina. If Florence turns north, it could also hit Dominion Energy’s 1,676MW Surry plant in Virginia. Brunswick is expected to get a direct hit.

The Brunswick Nuclear Power Plant, two miles north of Southport, North Carolina will get a direct hit by Hurricane Florence. But there’s no worry as nuclear plants are the most resistant to severe weather of all energy sources. The plant produces over 15 billion kWhs a year and provides power to over 4 million people.DOC SEARLS

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is watching carefully. But no one is really worried that much will happen, contrary to lots of antinuclear fearmongering. Power outages will occur as lines and transformers are destroyed and non-nuclear buildings get damaged, and it might takes a few days to a few weeks to bring power back up, something that includes all energy sources.

‘We anticipate Hurricane Florence to be an historic storm that will impact all customers,’ said Grace Rountree, a spokeswoman for Duke. These reactors provide power to about 4 million customers in the two Carolinas.

The Brunswick plant has withstood several hurricanes since the two reactors there began operation in the mid-1970s, including Category 3 Hurricane Diana in 1984 and Category 3 Hurricane Fran in 1996. Category 4 Hurricane Hugo, the most often-compared with Florence, made landfall about 150 miles southwest of Brunswick in South Carolina in 1989.

Following protocols, the reactors at the nuclear plants have started shutting down before the hurricane is scheduled to arrive. While all nuclear reactors are protected against extreme winds, including tornado-strength gusts up to 300 mph, they shut down as a protective measure.

Food, water and other necessities are kept onsite at these nuclear plants to prepare for potential isolation of the site, and staff needed during the storm are brought in to ensure proper resources are available for an extended period.

The Carolinas have a heavy concentration of power reactors – 12 of the country’s 99 reactors. Four more reactors are in Virginia and five are in coastal Delaware and Maryland. These reactors provide enough electricity to power 30 cities the size of Raleigh.

Nuclear is the only energy source immune to all extreme weather events – by design. Plants have steel-reinforced concrete containments with over 4-foot thick walls. The buildings housing the reactors, vital equipment and used fuel have steel-reinforced concrete walls up to 7 feet thick, which are built to withstand any category hurricane or tornado. They can even withstand a plane flying directly into them.

Whether it’s hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, heat waves or severe cold, nuclear performs more reliably than anything else. There’s no better reason to retain our nuclear fleet, and even expand it, to give us a diverse energy mix that can handle any natural disaster that can occur.

James Conca

I have been a scientist in the field of the earth and environmental sciences for 33 years, specializing in geologic disposal of nuclear waste, energy-related research, planetary surface processes, radiobiology and shielding for space colonies, subsurface transport and environmental clean-up of heavy metals. I am a Trustee of the Herbert M. Parker Foundation, Adjunct at WSU, an Affiliate Scientist at LANL and consult on strategic planning for the DOE, EPA/State environmental agencies, and industry including companies that own nuclear, hydro, wind farms, large solar arrays, coal and gas plants. I also consult for EPA/State environmental agencies and industry on clean-up of heavy metals from soil and water. For over 25 years I have been a member of Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the NRDC, the Environmental Defense Fund and many others, as well as professional societies including the America Nuclear Society, the American Chemical Society, the Geological Society of America and the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Florance Not a Climate Fortune Teller

Some rare and timely common sense from David Kreutzer Hurricane Florence Is Not an Omen About Climate Change  Excerpts from Daily Signal article in italics with my bolds.

In today’s hyper-politicized world of climate science, hardly a thunderstorm passes without somebody invoking the “scientists say” trope to blame it on carbon emissions.

The logic seems to be: If it’s bad, it was caused by carbon emissions, and we are only going to see more and worse. More and worse floods, droughts, tornadoes, and of course, hurricanes.

The problem with this argument is that overall, we are not seeing more floods, droughts, tornadoes, or hurricanes in spite of the steady rise in the small amount of carbon dioxide, and in spite of the mild warming of the planet. The data show that there is no significant upward trend in any of these weather events.

These are not the conclusions of climate skeptics. They are conclusions drawn by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and our own National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This week, the Carolina coast and some yet-to-be-determined inland counties will endure the heavy and destructive rains of Hurricane Florence. Without a doubt, some places will see records broken.

As the hurricane arrives, talking heads will hit the airwaves claiming that “scientists say” it was caused by carbon emissions. Some may spin it more subtly, saying that while we cannot identify which storms are caused by increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the storms today are getting stronger and more frequent.

But this simply is not true. We are not seeing more frequent hurricanes, nor are we seeing a greater number of major hurricanes.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said as much in its latest science report:

Current data sets indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cyclone frequency over the past century and it remains uncertain whether any reported long-term increases in tropical cyclone frequency are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities. … No robust trends in annual numbers of tropical storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes counts have been identified over the past 100 years in the North Atlantic basin.

Be on the alert for those who quote the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as saying there has been an upward trend in hurricanes since the 1970s. That is a misleading claim. Hurricane landfalls actually fell for the decades before the 1970s.

Cherry-picking endpoints can produce “trends” that are either up or down. The fact is that for the past century, there is no trend.

Furthermore, there was never a time when the climate was stable (as some would claim), when weather events happened with smooth regularity. There have always been cycles—years and decades that included large numbers of hurricanes, and others with few.

Whether carbon dioxide levels rise, fall, or stay the same, we will continue to see hurricanes. Some of these hurricanes will be immensely destructive of both property and human life. Some will break records for wind and/or rain. And they will be tragic.

The fact that tragic weather events have not stopped is not evidence that carbon emissions are leading us to a climate catastrophe. Perhaps we will see a decades-long increase in one category or another, it has happened before—but that will not prove the predictions of catastrophic climate change one way or the other.

Even if all of the mild (though uneven) warming that seems to have occurred over the past century were due to man-made carbon emissions, that would still not be a reason to fear for the future. The overall story does not point to climate catastrophe.

But weather catastrophes will continue to strike, and we will still face the danger wrought by nature’s wrath. Hurricane Florence is shaping up to be exactly such a storm.

Ocean SSTs Tepid in August

globpopThe best context for understanding decadal temperature changes comes from the world’s sea surface temperatures (SST), for several reasons:

  • The ocean covers 71% of the globe and drives average temperatures;
  • SSTs have a constant water content, (unlike air temperatures), so give a better reading of heat content variations;
  • A major El Nino was the dominant climate feature in recent years.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.  More on what distinguishes HadSST3 from other SST products at the end.

The Current Context

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 starting in 2015 through August 2018

Hadsst082018

A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH cycling downward since 2016.  2018 started with slow warming after the low point of December 2017, led by steadily rising NH. Since 4/2018 SH and Tropics cooled slightly in the Spring and NH dipped in July 2018.  Now in August all ocean regions bumped upward.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in January 2016, and steadily declining back below its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added three bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year.  Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

2018 is the coolest August since 2013 Globally, in NH and the Tropics.  In the SH August 2018 is matching 2017. The biggest difference from August 2015 is the Tropics anomaly being 0.36C lower this year (half of 0.74C in 2015).

A longer view of SSTs

The graph below  is noisy, but the density is needed to see the seasonal patterns in the oceanic fluctuations.  Previous posts focused on the rise and fall of the last El Nino starting in 2015.  This post adds a longer view, encompassing the significant 1998 El Nino and since.  The color schemes are retained for Global, Tropics, NH and SH anomalies.  Despite the longer time frame, I have kept the monthly data (rather than yearly averages) because of interesting shifts between January and July.

Hadsst95to082018

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

1995 is a reasonable starting point prior to the first El Nino.  The sharp Tropical rise peaking in 1998 is dominant in the record, starting Jan. ’97 to pull up SSTs uniformly before returning to the same level Jan. ’99.  For the next 2 years, the Tropics stayed down, and the world’s oceans held steady around 0.2C above 1961 to 1990 average.

Then comes a steady rise over two years to a lesser peak Jan. 2003, but again uniformly pulling all oceans up around 0.4C.  Something changes at this point, with more hemispheric divergence than before. Over the 4 years until Jan 2007, the Tropics go through ups and downs, NH a series of ups and SH mostly downs.  As a result the Global average fluctuates around that same 0.4C, which also turns out to be the average for the entire record since 1995.

2007 stands out with a sharp drop in temperatures so that Jan.08 matches the low in Jan. ’99, but starting from a lower high. The oceans all decline as well, until temps build peaking in 2010.

Now again a different pattern appears.  The Tropics cool sharply to Jan 11, then rise steadily for 4 years to Jan 15, at which point the most recent major El Nino takes off.  But this time in contrast to ’97-’99, the Northern Hemisphere produces peaks every summer pulling up the Global average.  In fact, these NH peaks appear every July starting in 2003, growing stronger to produce 3 massive highs in 2014, 15 and 16, with July 2017 only slightly lower.  Note also that starting in 2014 SH plays a moderating role, offsetting the NH warming pulses. (Note: these are high anomalies on top of the highest absolute temps in the NH.)

What to make of all this? The patterns suggest that in addition to El Ninos in the Pacific driving the Tropic SSTs, something else is going on in the NH.  The obvious culprit is the North Atlantic, since I have seen this sort of pulsing before.  After reading some papers by David Dilley, I confirmed his observation of Atlantic pulses into the Arctic every 8 to 10 years.

But the peaks coming nearly every summer in HadSST require a different picture.  Let’s look at August, the hottest month in the North Atlantic from the Kaplan dataset.
AMO August 2018

The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and untrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N. The graph shows warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since. Because the N. Atlantic has partnered with the Pacific ENSO recently, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 082018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks. Most recently August 2018 is 0.34C lower than August 2016, and is the coolest August since 2007.

Summary

The oceans are driving the warming this century.  SSTs took a step up with the 1998 El Nino and have stayed there with help from the North Atlantic, and more recently the Pacific northern “Blob.”  The ocean surfaces are releasing a lot of energy, warming the air, but eventually will have a cooling effect.  The decline after 1937 was rapid by comparison, so one wonders: How long can the oceans keep this up?  Lower SSTs in July suggested climate change of the cooling variety, but August has offset that.  Once again, ENSO will probably determine the outcome.

Postscript:

In the most recent GWPF 2017 State of the Climate report, Dr. Humlum made this observation:

“It is instructive to consider the variation of the annual change rate of atmospheric CO2 together with the annual change rates for the global air temperature and global sea surface temperature (Figure 16). All three change rates clearly vary in concert, but with sea surface temperature rates leading the global temperature rates by a few months and atmospheric CO2 rates lagging 11–12 months behind the sea surface temperature rates.”

Footnote: Why Rely on HadSST3

HadSST3 is distinguished from other SST products because HadCRU (Hadley Climatic Research Unit) does not engage in SST interpolation, i.e. infilling estimated anomalies into grid cells lacking sufficient sampling in a given month. From reading the documentation and from queries to Met Office, this is their procedure.

HadSST3 imports data from gridcells containing ocean, excluding land cells. From past records, they have calculated daily and monthly average readings for each grid cell for the period 1961 to 1990. Those temperatures form the baseline from which anomalies are calculated.

In a given month, each gridcell with sufficient sampling is averaged for the month and then the baseline value for that cell and that month is subtracted, resulting in the monthly anomaly for that cell. All cells with monthly anomalies are averaged to produce global, hemispheric and tropical anomalies for the month, based on the cells in those locations. For example, Tropics averages include ocean grid cells lying between latitudes 20N and 20S.

Gridcells lacking sufficient sampling that month are left out of the averaging, and the uncertainty from such missing data is estimated. IMO that is more reasonable than inventing data to infill. And it seems that the Global Drifter Array displayed in the top image is providing more uniform coverage of the oceans than in the past.

uss-pearl-harbor-deploys-global-drifter-buoys-in-pacific-ocean

USS Pearl Harbor deploys Global Drifter Buoys in Pacific Ocean

 

N. Atlantic Cooling in 2018

RAPID Array measuring North Atlantic SSTs.

For the last few years, observers have been speculating about when the North Atlantic will start the next phase shift from warm to cold.

Source: Energy and Education Canada

An example is this report in May 2015 The Atlantic is entering a cool phase that will change the world’s weather by Gerald McCarthy and Evan Haigh of the RAPID Atlantic monitoring project. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

This is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the transition between its positive and negative phases can be very rapid. For example, Atlantic temperatures declined by 0.1ºC per decade from the 1940s to the 1970s. By comparison, global surface warming is estimated at 0.5ºC per century – a rate twice as slow.

In many parts of the world, the AMO has been linked with decade-long temperature and rainfall trends. Certainly – and perhaps obviously – the mean temperature of islands downwind of the Atlantic such as Britain and Ireland show almost exactly the same temperature fluctuations as the AMO.

Atlantic oscillations are associated with the frequency of hurricanes and droughts. When the AMO is in the warm phase, there are more hurricanes in the Atlantic and droughts in the US Midwest tend to be more frequent and prolonged. In the Pacific Northwest, a positive AMO leads to more rainfall.

A negative AMO (cooler ocean) is associated with reduced rainfall in the vulnerable Sahel region of Africa. The prolonged negative AMO was associated with the infamous Ethiopian famine in the mid-1980s. In the UK it tends to mean reduced summer rainfall – the mythical “barbeque summer”.Our results show that ocean circulation responds to the first mode of Atlantic atmospheric forcing, the North Atlantic Oscillation, through circulation changes between the subtropical and subpolar gyres – the intergyre region. This a major influence on the wind patterns and the heat transferred between the atmosphere and ocean.

The observations that we do have of the Atlantic overturning circulation over the past ten years show that it is declining. As a result, we expect the AMO is moving to a negative (colder surface waters) phase. This is consistent with observations of temperature in the North Atlantic.

Cold “blobs” in North Atlantic have been reported, but they are usually a winter phenomena. For example in April 2016, the sst anomalies looked like this

But by September, the picture changed to this

And we know from Kaplan AMO dataset, that 2016 summer SSTs were right up there with 1998 and 2010 as the highest recorded.

As the graph above suggests, this body of water is also important for tropical cyclones, since warmer water provides more energy.  But those are annual averages, and I am interested in the summer pulses of warm water into the Arctic. As I have noted in my monthly HadSST3 reports, most summers since 2003 there have been warm pulses in the north atlantic.
AMO August 2018The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and untrended dataset. By definition, the data are monthly average SSTs interpolated to a 5×5 grid over the North Atlantic basically 0 to 70N.  The graph shows warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since.  August is the hottest month in the dataset, and note the considerable drop from 2017 to August 2018.  Because McCarthy refers to hints of cooling to come in the N. Atlantic, let’s take a closer look at some AMO years in the last 2 decades.

AMO decade 082018

This graph shows monthly AMO temps for some important years. The Peak years were 1998, 2010 and 2016, with the latter emphasized as the most recent. The other years show lesser warming, with 2007 emphasized as the coolest in the last 20 years. Note the red 2018 line is at the bottom of all these tracks.  Most recently August 2018 is 0.34C lower than August 2016, and is the coolest August since 2007.

With all the talk of AMOC slowing down and a phase shift in the North Atlantic, we await SST measurements for August and September to confirm that cooling has set in.  As of August, the momentum is certainly heading downward, despite the band of warming ocean  that gave rise to now receding European heat waves.
cdas-sflux_ssta_atl_1

 

Germany & California Could Already Have 100% Clean Power from Nuclear

California Governor Jerry Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel SHUTTERSTOCK

Michael Shellenberger has the story at Forbes Had They Bet On Nuclear, Not Renewables, Germany & California Would Already Have 100% Clean Power  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Had California and Germany invested $680 billion into new nuclear power plants instead of renewables like solar and wind farms, the two would already be generating 100 percent or more of their electricity from clean (low-emissions) energy sources, according to a new analysis by Environmental Progress.

The analysis comes the day before California plays host to a “Global Climate Action Summit,” which makes no mention of nuclear, despite it being the largest source of clean energy in the U.S. and Europe.

Here are the two main findings from EP’s analysis:

  • Had Germany spent $580 billion on nuclear instead of renewables, it would have had enough energy to both replace all fossil fuels and biomass in its electricity sector and replace all of the petroleum it uses for cars and light trucks.
  • Had California spent an estimated $100 billion on nuclear instead of on wind and solar, it would have had enough energy to replace all fossil fuels in its in-state electricity mix.

The finding that Germany could have entirely decarbonized its transportation sector with nuclear is a significant one. That’s because decarbonizing transportation is considered a major challenge by most climate policy experts.

As a result of their renewables-only policies, California and Germany are climate laggards compared to nuclear-heavy places like France, whose electricity is 12 times less carbon intensive than Germany’s, and four times less carbon intensive than California’s.

France’s nuclear-heavy electricity is 12 times less carbon intensive than Germany’s, and four times less than California’s.EP

Thanks to its deployment of nuclear power, the Canadian province of Ontario’s electricity is nearly 90 percent cleaner than California’s, according to a recent analysis by Scott Luft, an energy analyst who tracks decarbonization and the power sector.

In the 1960s and 1970s, California’s electric utilities had planned to build a string of new reactors and new plants that were ultimately killed by anti-nuclear leaders and groups, including Governor Jerry Brown, the Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Fund (NRDC).

Other nuclear plants were forced to close prematurely, including Rancho Seco and San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, while Diablo Canyon is being forced to close by California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which excludes nuclear.

California’s power sector emissions are over twice as high today as they would have been had the state kept open and built planned nuclear plants.

But the new EP analysis underscores that the problem is not just closing plants but also choosing to build solar and wind farms instead of new nuclear power stations.

Summary

Who appointed these two mistaken politicians to lead a worldwide “fight against climate change”?

Footnote: In this short video Alex Epstein explains the problem replacing fossil fuels by wind and solar energy.

Ocean Air Temps Drop in August

Presently sea surface temperatures (SST) are the best available indicator of heat content gained or lost from earth’s climate system.  Enthalpy is the thermodynamic term for total heat content in a system, and humidity differences in air parcels affect enthalpy.  Measuring water temperature directly avoids distorted impressions from air measurements.  In addition, ocean covers 71% of the planet surface and thus dominates surface temperature estimates.  Eventually we will likely have reliable means of recording water temperatures at depth.

Recently, Dr. Ole Humlum reported from his research that air temperatures lag 2-3 months behind changes in SST.  He also observed that changes in CO2 atmospheric concentrations lag behind SST by 11-12 months.  This latter point is addressed in a previous post Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

The August update to HadSST3 will appear later this month, but in the meantime we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are already posted for August. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above.

The UAH dataset includes temperature results for air above the oceans, and thus should be most comparable to the SSTs. There is the additional feature that ocean air temps avoid Urban Heat Islands (UHI).  The graph below shows monthly anomalies for ocean temps since January 2015.

UAH Oceans 201808

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

Remarkably, the anomalies over the entire ocean dropped to the same value, 0.12C (Tropics are 0.13C).  In previous months both the Tropics and SH rose, while NH rose very slightly, resulting in a small increase in the Global average temp of air over oceans. Now that warming is gone in NH and Globally.

Taking a longer view, we can look at the record since 1995, that year being an ENSO neutral year and thus a reasonable starting point for considering the past two decades.  On that basis we can see the plateau in ocean temps is persisting. Since last October all oceans have cooled, with offsetting bumps up and down.

UAHv6 TLT 
Monthly Ocean
Anomalies
Average Since 1995 Ocean 8/2018
Global 0.13 0.12
NH 0.16 0.12
SH 0.11 0.12
Tropics 0.12 0.13

As of August 2018, Global ocean air temps as well as SH and Tropics are matching the average since 1995.  NH is now cooler than the average.  Globally,  2018 is the coolest August since 2013. NH, SH and the Tropics are the coolest August since 2014.

The details of UAH ocean temps are provided below.  The monthly data make for a noisy picture, but seasonal fluxes between January and July are important.

The greater volatility of the Tropics is evident, leading the oceans through three major El Nino events during this period.  Note also the flat period between 7/1999 and 7/2009.  The 2010 El Nino was erased by La Nina in 2011 and 2012.  Then the record shows a fairly steady rise peaking in 2016, with strong support from warmer NH anomalies, before returning to the 22-year average.

Summary

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  They started the recent cooling later than SSTs from HadSST3, but are now showing the same pattern.  It seems obvious that despite the three El Ninos, their warming has not persisted, and without them it would probably have cooled since 1995.  Of course, the future has not yet been written.