Bering Sea Ice Blues Mid April 2019

“Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose.” (Kris Kristofferson)

In April, Arctic ice extent is declining as usual with the notable exception of Bering Sea, along with ice retreating in nearby Okhotsk.  Bering still has some ice to lose, but at 178k km2 it is only 31% of the ice there January 27, the largest Bering extent this year.  It is unusual since the Bering ice is only 25% of the 12 year average for this date.  Nearby Chukchi Sea is hardly showing any open water, down only 10k km2 from its maximum.  Open water is also gaining in Okhotsk, the other Pacific basin, but ice extent there is still 6% above the 12-year average.

Elsewhere things are mostly typical with Russian and Canadian basins still frozen with high extents.  The other two places losing ice are Barents and Baffin Bay/Gulf of St. Lawrence shown below.
On the right side is Barents losing ice along the Russian coastline, while holding onto Svalbard.  On the left, water in Baffin Bay is pushing north along the western Greenland coast.  On the extreme left is open water taking over in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The graph below shows how the Arctic extent has faired since the March maximum compared to the 12 year average with and without the Pacific basins of Bering and Okhotsk.  The green line is the 12yr. average without B&O, while 2019 appears in purple when Bering and Okhotsk are excluded.
As of day 105, 2019 ice extent is 858k km2 below the 12yr. average, a gap of 6%.  529k km2 of that difference comes from the combined losses in Bering and Okhotsk.

The graph below shows March/April 2019 compared to average and some years of interest.

All years are tracking below the 12-year average.  2019 MASIE and SII are the same and well below 2018, largely due to Pacific ice losses. 2007 is only slightly higher than 2019 at this point.  The table below shows ice extents by regions comparing 2019 with 12-year average (2007 to 2018 inclusive) and 2007.

Region 2019105 Day 105 
Average
2019-Ave. 2007105 2019-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13443363 14301788 -858425 13588722 -145359
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1070498 1069781 717 1068692 1806
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 955995 965240 -9245 961638 -5643
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1086417 721 1078666 8471
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897845 893203 4642 843501 54344
 (5) Kara_Sea 932750 922684 10066 890594 42156
 (6) Barents_Sea 586518 611095 -24577 439904 146614
 (7) Greenland_Sea 601126 652308 -51182 673585 -72458
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1133317 1349987 -216669 1215526 -82208
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 853337 852527 810 848812 4526
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1238689 1252970 -14281 1208588 30101
 (11) Central_Arctic 3241460 3236044 5416 3235648 5811
 (12) Bering_Sea 177335 714883 -537548 600281 -422946
 (13) Baltic_Sea 16987 48771 -31784 23534 -6547
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 648664 640205 8459 491121 157543

Of course both of these basins will melt out long before the September minimum, along with the Russian shelf seas.

As indicated earlier, Bering supplies almost 2/3 of the deficit to average, with Baffin Bay providing most of the other 1/3. Of course both of these basins will melt out long before the September minimum, along with the Russian shelf seas.

 

 

 

 

Populist Wave Rolls Into Finland

Contextual Remarks

It is worth remembering that “populist” is a term used by the established elites to demean those expressing the plebes’ concerns and thereby forging political constituencies.  Christopher Caldwell explained:

“Le monde, the French newspaper of record, admitted last summer that readers had been complaining about the indiscriminate way its journalists flung around the word “populist.” It seemed to describe dozens of European and American political actors with nothing in common except the contempt in which Le Monde held them. The meaning of “populist” was nonetheless easy to decode. A dispatch in that same edition of Le Monde, about a new political alliance between populist governments in Italy, Austria, and Hungary, was titled: “Europe’s hard right lays down the law against migrants.” To call someone a populist is to insinuate that he is a fascist, but tentatively enough to spare the accuser the responsibility of supplying proof. If one sees things as Le Monde does, this is a good thing: populism is an extremism-in-embryo that needs to be named in order that it might better be fought. Others, though, will see populism as an invention of the very establishmentarians who claim to be fighting it, an empty word that allows them to shut down with taboos any political idea that they cannot defeat with arguments. In Europe, populism is becoming the great which-side-are-you-on question of our time.” For more see What is Populism?

Suffice it to say that the hoi polloi are on the march in many European nations and beyond, and the latest breakthrough in Finland adds disgust with climate policy to immigration concerns to forge a potent voter appeal.

Alex Kliment writes insightfully on the recent Finnish election in Finland at GezeroMedia: Finnish Populists Shift Aim From Browns to Greens.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric has been a political winner for populist parties across Europe in recent years, but as the flow of new asylum-seekers wanes, Finland’s main right-wing outfit found a new way to win votes over the weekend.

In a national election defined largely by a polarizing debate over what to do about climate change, the euroskeptic nationalists of the Finns Party came in second place, just a hair behind the center-left Social Democrats. And they did it by taking square aim at climate policy.

Finland, of course, is on the front lines of climate change. A third of its territory lies above the Arctic Circle, where rapidly melting ice caps are transforming the environment both locally and globally.

But Finland is already one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly countries, and the Finns party’s message on this subject was simple: we’ve done enough.

Their beef isn’t with climate science itself, but with policy proposals like higher fuel taxes, electric vehicle requirements, and restrictions on meat consumption that impose short-term pain for uncertain longer-term gains.

The Finns Party says these measures disproportionately hurt working people, particularly their supporters in the countryside, and scare away foreign companies that may choose to invest in other countries that impose fewer environmental restrictions.

What’s more, Finns asks, why should a small country like Finland make more sacrifices to help the planet when progress depends almost entirely on actions taken by bigger polluters like China, the US, and India?

It’s unclear whether the Finns Party will have a role in the next Finnish government, but the party’s strong showing has drawn notice from other populist parties across the continent, which are hoping to make big gains in elections to the European Parliament next month.

The upshot: Several years on from the peak of the migrant crisis, Europe’s populist parties need new campaign issues that resonate with their voters. Climate policy – which often imposes clear economic and lifestyle sacrifices while promising fewer tangible benefits – may be the next ripe issue for anti-establishment politicians across Europe.

Background

Though Steve Bannon is currently out of Trump’s favor, he is nevertheless lucid and convincing on the subject of the populist wave from UK to Brazil, Eastern Europe, and two years ago the Trump election, so upsetting to those who know better than the rest of us.  Below is reprinted a previous 2016 post Trump Revolution World Outlook.

Lots of scorn, slurs and insults directed at Trump’s appointment of his chief advisor, Steve Bannon. The invective is so pervasive and intense, it exemplifies a new phenomenon in the global village: the Lie Swarm.  From the Streetwise Professor (here)

Bannon, and especially Trump, are primary targets of the Lie Swarm, especially since Trump had the temerity to actually prevail in the election. Don’t get me wrong–there is much about Trump to criticize. But there has been a kind of Gresham’s Law at work here: the bad criticism has driven out the good. Screeching “racist!” “Anti-Semite!” “Fascist!” on the basis of the most twisted and biased interpretation of the flimsiest evidence has overwhelmed substantive argument.

And the Swarm really hasn’t figured out that their attack will do little to get Trump supporters to change their minds. If anything, it will do the opposite, because the “deplorables” know that they are being attacked and smeared as much as Bannon and Trump. Furthermore, the Swarm seems hell-bent on living out Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Hillary’s whole campaign was based on personal attacks on Trump and his supporters, and she enlisted the Swarm in this endeavor.

Bannon in his own words

Martin Luther King said people should be judged by the quality of their character, not superficial identifiers like race, gender or religion. So someone like Steve Bannon should be evaluated by what he himself says and thinks, not by the words of others. And in fact if you listen with a mind to understand him, you discover why Trump values his advice on world realities and strategies to move America forward.

This Is How Steve Bannon Sees The Entire World is a transcript of an extended presentation by Steve Bannon from 2014, published at Buzzfeed (here). Some excerpts that struck me as particularly insightful.

Inclusive Capitalism Saved Us

That war (WWI) triggered a century of barbaric — unparalleled in mankind’s history — virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we’re children of that: We’re children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age.

But the thing that got us out of it, the organizing principle that met this, was not just the heroism of our people. . . The underlying principle is an enlightened form of capitalism, that capitalism really gave us the wherewithal. It kind of organized and built the materials needed to support, whether it’s the Soviet Union, England, the United States, and eventually to take back continental Europe and to beat back a barbaric empire in the Far East.

That capitalism really generated tremendous wealth. And that wealth was really distributed among a middle class, a rising middle class, people who come from really working-class environments and created what we really call a Pax Americana. It was many, many years and decades of peace. And I believe we’ve come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we’re starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.

Modern Perversions of Capitalism

But there’s a strand of capitalism today — two strands of it, that are very disturbing.

One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that’s the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it’s what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn’t spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century.

The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I’m a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that’s a very big part of the conservative movement — whether it’s the UKIP movement in England, it’s many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.

However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the “enlightened capitalism” of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost — as many of the precepts of Marx — and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they’re really finding quite attractive. And if they don’t see another alternative, it’s going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of “personal freedom.”

Crony Capitalism Gives Rise to a Populist Revolt

General Electric and these major corporations that are in bed with the federal government are not what we’d consider free-enterprise capitalists. We’re backers of entrepreneurial capitalists. They’re not. They’re what we call corporatist. They want to have more and more monopolistic power and they’re doing that kind of convergence with big government. And so the fight here — and that’s why the media’s been very late to this party — but the fight you’re seeing is between entrepreneur capitalism, and the Acton Institute is a tremendous supporter of, and the people like the corporatists that are closer to the people like we think in Beijing and Moscow than they are to the entrepreneurial capitalist spirit of the United States.

The underpinning of this populist revolt is the financial crisis of 2008. That revolt, the way that it was dealt with, the way that the people who ran the banks and ran the hedge funds have never really been held accountable for what they did, has fueled much of the anger in the tea party movement in the United States. . . In addition, I think you really need to go back and make banks do what they do: Commercial banks lend money, and investment banks invest in entrepreneurs and to get away from this trading — you know, the hedge fund securitization, which they’ve all become basically trading operations and securitizations and not put capital back and really grow businesses and to grow the economy.

I think it’s particularly more advanced in Europe than it is in the United States, but in the United States it’s getting pretty advanced — is that when you have this kind of crony capitalism, you have a different set of rules for the people that make the rules. It’s this partnership of big government and corporatists. I think it starts to fuel, particularly as you start to see negative job creation. If you go back, in fact, and look at the United States’ GDP, you look at a bunch of Europe. If you take out government spending, you know, we’ve had negative growth on a real basis for over a decade.

And that all trickles down to the man in the street. If you look at people’s lives, and particularly millennials, look at people under 30 — people under 30, there’s 50% really under employment of people in the United States, which is probably the most advanced economy in the West, and it gets worse in Europe.

So you can understand why middle class people having a tough go of it making $50 or $60 thousand a year and see their taxes go up, and they see that their taxes are going to pay for government sponsored bailouts, what you’ve created is really a free option. You say to this investment banking, create a free option for bad behavior. In otherwise all the upside goes to the hedge funds and the investment bank, and to the crony capitalist with stock increases and bonus increases. And their downside is limited, because middle class people are going to come and bail them out with tax dollars.

And that’s what I think is fueling this populist revolt. Whether that revolt is in the midlands of England, or whether it’s in Middle America. And I think people are fed up with it.

Secularization and the Rise of Islamic Fascism

The other (worrying) tendency is an immense secularization of the West. And I know we’ve talked about secularization for a long time, but if you look at younger people, especially millennials under 30, the overwhelming drive of popular culture is to absolutely secularize this rising iteration.

Now that call converges with something we have to face, and it’s a very unpleasant topic, but we are in an outright war against jihadist Islamic fascism. . .That war is expanding and it’s metastasizing to sub-Saharan Africa. We have Boko Haram and other groups that will eventually partner with ISIS in this global war, and it is, unfortunately, something that we’re going to have to face, and we’re going to have to face very quickly.

Because it is a crisis, and it’s not going away. You don’t have to take my word for it. All you have to do is read the news every day, see what’s coming up, see what they’re putting on Twitter, what they’re putting on Facebook, see what’s on CNN, what’s on BBC. See what’s happening, and you will see we’re in a war of immense proportions. It’s very easy to play to our baser instincts, and we can’t do that. But our forefathers didn’t do it either. And they were able to stave this off, and they were able to defeat it, and they were able to bequeath to us a church and a civilization that really is the flower of mankind, so I think it’s incumbent on all of us to do what I call a gut check, to really think about what our role is in this battle that’s before us.

I’m not justifying Vladimir Putin and the kleptocracy that he represents, because he eventually is the state capitalist of kleptocracy. However, we the Judeo-Christian West really have to look at what he’s talking about as far as traditionalism goes — particularly the sense of where it supports the underpinnings of nationalism — and I happen to think that the individual sovereignty of a country is a good thing and a strong thing. I think strong countries and strong nationalist movements in countries make strong neighbors, and that is really the building blocks that built Western Europe and the United States, and I think it’s what can see us forward.

Global Center-Right Populist Movement

Look, we believe — strongly — that there is a global tea party movement. We’ve seen that. We were the first group to get in and start reporting on things like UKIP and Front National and other center right. With all the baggage that those groups bring — and trust me, a lot of them bring a lot of baggage, both ethnically and racially — but we think that will all be worked through with time.

The central thing that binds that all together is a center-right populist movement of really the middle class, the working men and women in the world who are just tired of being dictated to by what we call the party of Davos. A group of kind of — we’re not conspiracy-theory guys, but there’s certainly — and I could see this when I worked at Goldman Sachs — there are people in New York that feel closer to people in London and in Berlin than they do to people in Kansas and in Colorado, and they have more of this elite mentality that they’re going to dictate to everybody how the world’s going to be run.

I will tell you that the working men and women of Europe and Asia and the United States and Latin America don’t believe that. They believe they know what’s best for how they will comport their lives. They think they know best about how to raise their families and how to educate their families. So I think you’re seeing a global reaction to centralized government, whether that government is in Beijing or that government is in Washington, DC, or that government is in Brussels.

And that center-right revolt is really a global revolt. I think you’re going to see it in Latin America, I think you’re going to see it in Asia, I think you’ve already seen it in India. Modi’s great victory was very much based on these Reaganesque principles, so I think this is a global revolt, and we are very fortunate and proud to be the news site that is reporting that throughout the world.

 

Climate Hearsay

global-warming

In a legal proceeding, a witness can only testify to what he or she personally experienced. Anything reported to them by others is dismissed as “hearsay”, not evidence by direct observation, but rather an opinion offered by someone else.

In the current public commotion over global warming, almost all the discourse is composed of hearsay.  Ross McKitrick explains that the alleged changes in temperatures are so small that no one can possibly notice. Thus, their concern over global warming can only come from repeating hearsay in the form of charts and graphs published by people with an axe to grind. His article in the Financial Post is Hold the panic: Canada just warmed 1.7 degrees and … thrived. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.

A recent report, commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada (also known as the federal Department of the Environment), sparked a feverish bout of media coverage. Much of it keyed off the headline statement that Canada warmed “twice as fast” as the entire planet since 1948. If that is self-evidently a bad thing, what to make of the finding that the Canada’s Atlantic region warmed twice as fast as the Prairies? Or that Canadian winters warmed twice as fast as summers?

Saying Canada warmed twice as fast as the whole planet doesn’t prove anything

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Maritimes warmed twice as fast as the Prairies. But now that I’ve told you, you might tell yourself it makes sense based on what you’ve seen or heard — that’s called confirmation bias. In fact, I was lying. It’s the other way around. The Prairies warmed almost three times faster than the Maritimes.

Would you have known either way? One of the psychological effects of a report like this, and the attendant media hype, is that it puts ideas in peoples’ heads. Tell everyone over and over that the climate is changing, and soon they will see proof of change everywhere. Rain, snow, wind, floods or dry spells; it will all seem to eerily confirm the theory, even though we have always had these things.

Most of what people are noticing, of course, are just natural weather events. Underneath, there are slow trends, both natural and (likely) human-caused. But they are small and hard to separate out without careful statistical analysis. A few years ago, climatologist Lennart Bengtsson remarked:

The warming we have had over the last 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have meteorologists and climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all.

And so we get reports with charts and graphs to tell us about the changes we didn’t notice. Remember last summer when the media hyped a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning that warming 1.5 degrees Celsius (compared to preindustrial times) was a disaster threshold we must avoid crossing at all costs? Now we learn that Canada warmed 1.7 degrees Celsius since 1948. Far from leaving the country a smoking ruin, we got wealthier and healthier, our population soared, and life improved by almost any measure of welfare you can imagine. If only every so-called catastrophe was like this.

We deal with lots of changes over time. Go back to Bengtsson’s thought experiment. Today’s 80-year-olds entered their teens in 1950. Ask them what changes they experienced over their lives and they will have plenty to say. Then ask if, where they live, the fall warmed more than spring did. Without peeking at the answer, most will have no idea. Yet, according to the federal government’s latest report, depending on the province, one likely warmed twice as fast as the other. Which one?

If you can’t tell without looking it up, that’s the point.

Alarming news headlines are always part of the ritual (though you’d have thought journalists would be a bit jaded by now, after all the hyperventilating Only-Ten-Years-Left blockbuster claims over the past 30 years). Saying Canada warmed twice as fast as the whole planet doesn’t prove anything. Pretty much any large country warmed faster than the global average, because countries are on land. Oceans cover 70 per cent of the Earth, and the way the system works, during a warming trend the land warms faster than the oceans. So the scary headline only confirms that we are on land.

The best antidote, if you find yourself alarmed by the press coverage, is to turn to chapter four of the Department of the Environment’s report and start reading. The section on the observed changes in 1948 is factual, data-focused and decidedly non-alarmist. But there are some points I would quibble about: 2016 was a strong El Niño year, so the end point of the data is artificially high.

Some of the report’s bright-red heat maps would probably look different if they stopped in, say, 2014. And most of the report’s comparisons start in 1948 to maximize data availability, but this boosts the warming rate compared to starting in the 1930s, which was a hot decade. When the authors talk about attributing changes to greenhouse gases versus natural variability, they don’t explain the deep uncertainties in such calculations. And they make projections about the century ahead without discussing how well — or how poorly — their models can long-term forecast.

If you want to learn about changes to the Canadian climate, read the report. But if you need to look at the report to know what changes you lived through, that tells you how much — or rather, how little — they mattered to you at the time.

Ross McKitrick is a professor of economics at the University of Guelph and senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

Postscript:  No one under 20 years old has experienced a trend of warming temperatures.  Yet they are in the streets instead of classrooms demanding action (anything) to stop something they have never known.  Think about it.

The West vs. Africa: Energy Hypocrisy as Seen from Kenya

Suleiman Shahbal writes in Kenya at Standard Media Global warming: Why the West preaches water yet drinks wine.. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

A few months ago I was with a group of Kenyan politicians in Abu Dhabi. Hosting us for a cup of coffee was my good friend Abdalla Nassir. Abdalla is a serial entrepreneur who owns 94 businesses, including the coffee shop. His 95th business is a steel mill that he was going to open in Djibouti, targeting the Ethiopian market of 80 million people.

I asked him why not in Kenya; the gateway to the Comesa market of 150 million people, to which he replied that the cost of power in Kenya is more than twice that of Djibouti and Ethiopia. One week later, I read that a glass company in Mtwapa had just closed down, with the loss of over 400 jobs. The reason? The high cost of power.

So what do we do? The quickest solution that everyone would like to come up with is solar or wind power. Both, ‘clean energy’. The problem is, what do you do when it doesn’t shine for three days? Or if there is no wind? You cannot run a hospital hoping for the sun to shine. Those baby incubators or that poor patient being operated on cannot depend on the weather being conveniently agreeable.

We are forced to look for dependable energy or, to use the lingo of the industry, ‘base load’. That leaves you with two energy sources – coal or gas. Coal is the cheapest. Gas prices are closely correlated to oil prices, which are very volatile and expensive. Remember that we have fewer industries and jobs because of cost. We have little choice but to go for the cheaper option. But the world doesn’t like coal. Why?

Affecting forests

In 2004, the world met in Copenhagen and came to the conclusion that global warming was a real threat to the planet. The world resolved not to allow global temperatures to rise above another 2 degrees.

Anything more would lead to catastrophic changes affecting forests, air, water and the environment. All true so far. No one doubts the disaster of global warming. The solution was either for the world to stop making any new coal plants or for the developed world to reduce their emissions by 10 per cent.

The developed world categorically refused. Such a drastic drop in emission would lead to loss of livelihoods and jobs, something they were not willing to take. So, let us force the poor Third World to stop starting such plants. Let the poor make the sacrifices. Who cares if they lose jobs or new companies? That’s why we have such a strong opposition to our coal power.

Shiekh Mohamed Al Maktoum is considered one of the most visionary leaders in the world. After all, he took the desert and transformed it into one of the world’s leading cities. He has all the gas and oil in the world, but he chose to build the Hassyn Coal Power Plant of 5,000 Megawatt. That is five times the one proposed in Kenya.

Do you think he is unwise to use coal when he has all the other alternatives? Turkey, one of Europe’s major economies, gets over 70 per cent of its power from coal and it is building a new one called Karabiga plant of over 1,500 megawatts. South Africa gets over 90 per cent of its power from coal. Do you think all these people are unwise?

Acceptable levels

Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel once said: “there comes a time in every nation when they have to make sacrifices with their conscience and to make hard choices’’. Kenya is now at that cross point. Either we make that difficult choice and use the cheaper coal and create those jobs – or spend another 20 years dreaming of industralisation and job creation. Fortunately for Kenya, over 90 per cent of our power is from clean energy, mainly geothermal and hydro so the world can forgive us for trying to create jobs.

Chemicals can be deadly if used in excess. For example, 500mg of paracetamol (Panadol) will cure you, but 5,000 grams will kill you. That is the logic of chemistry. The same logic applies to all emissions from a coal plant, whether it be sulphur, carbon-dioxide or nitrogen. What is acceptable and what is not? The World Bank has set the standards that are acceptable and the proposed coal plant in Lamu meets all the requirements – and the day they don’t meet those standards then shut it down. No point arguing about the chemicals without stating the acceptable levels.

I am writing this in Lamu and I have to admit that I am one of the promoters of the coal plant. I am from Lamu, my family lives here and no one can claim to love this place more than I do. I would never do anything that would harm my people. However, there is no greater pollution than having millions of our youth remaining jobless and having their ambitions crushed through loss of hope. To quote Golda Meir, we need to make sacrifices with our conscience and bring the cheap power. Even if this annoys our rich friends.

Mr Shahbal is Chairman of Gulf Group of Companies

Summary

So wealthy elites in Europe and North America get to take virtuous postures on the imaginary problem of global warming, while Africans pay the price.  Racism anyone?  They are not asking for reparations, just letting them play by the same rules other nations used to build prosperous and healthy societies.

On Sexual Brains: Vive La Difference!

As Jordan Peterson has pointed out, an ideology takes a partial truth and asserts it as the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  With global warming\climate change, we see how a complex, poorly understood natural system is reduced to a simplistic tweet:  “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”  That is the work of a small but dedicated group of ideologues who captured and overturned climate science so that it now only functions as a tool of political operatives.

The post shows how decades of painstaking work in neurological science are being attacked by gender ideologues, who cannot tolerate any biological differences between men and women.

Larry Cahill writes at Quillette Denying the Neuroscience of Sex Differences Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

For decades neuroscience, like most research areas, overwhelmingly studied only males, assuming that everything fundamental to know about females would be learned by studying males. I know — I did this myself early in my career. Most neuroscientists assumed that differences between males and females, if they exist at all, are not fundamental, that is, not essential for understanding brain structure or function. Instead, we assumed that sex differences result from undulating sex hormones (typically viewed as a sort of pesky feature of the female), and/or from different life experiences (“culture”). In either case, they were dismissable in our search for the fundamental. In truth, it was always a strange assumption, but so it was.

Gradually however, and inexorably, we neuroscientists are seeing just how profoundly wrong — and in fact disproportionately harmful to women — that assumption was, especially in the context of understanding and treating brain disorders. Any reader wishing to confirm what I am writing can easily start by perusing online the January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research, the first ever of any neuroscience journal devoted to the topic of sex differences in its entirety. All 70 papers, spanning the neuroscience spectrum, are open access to the public.

In statistical terms, something called effect size measures the size of the influence of one variable on another. Although some believe that sex differences in the brain are small, in fact, the average effect size found in sex differences research is no different from the average effect size found in any other large domain of neuroscience. So here is a fact: It is now abundantly clear to anyone honestly looking, that the variable of biological sex influences all levels of mammalian brain function, down to the cellular/genetic substrate, which of course includes the human mammalian brain.

The mammalian brain is clearly a highly sex-influenced organ. Both its function and dysfunction must therefore be sex influenced to an important degree. How exactly all of these myriad sex influences play out is often hard, or even impossible to pinpoint at present (as it is for almost every issue in neuroscience). But that they must play out in many ways, both large and small, having all manner of implications for women and men that we need to responsibly understand, is now beyond debate — at least among non-ideologues.

Recognizing our obligation to carefully study sex influences in essentially all domains (not just neuroscience), the National Institute of Health on January 25, 2016 adopted a policy (called “Sex as a Biological Variable,” or SABV for short) requiring all of its grantees to seriously incorporate the understanding of females into their research. This was a landmark moment, a conceptual corner turned that cannot be unturned.

But the remarkable and unprecedented growth in research demonstrating biologically-based sex influences on brain function triggered 5-alarm fire bells in those who believe that such biological influences cannot exist.

Since Simone de Beauvoir in the early 1950s famously asserted that “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman,” and John Money at Johns Hopkins shortly thereafter introduced the term “gender” (borrowed from linguistics) to avoid the biological implications of the word “sex,” a belief that no meaningful differences exist in the brains of women and men has dominated U.S. culture. And God help you if you suggest otherwise! Gloria Steinem once called sex differences research “anti-American crazy thinking.” Senior colleagues warned me as an untenured professor around the year 2000 that studying sex differences would be career suicide. This new book by Rippon marks the latest salvo by a very small but vocal group of anti-sex difference individuals determined to perpetuate this cultural myth.

A book like this is very difficult for someone knowledgeable about the field to review seriously. It is so chock-full of bias that one keeps wondering why one is bothering with it. Suffice to say it is replete with tactics that are now standard operating procedure for the anti-sex difference writers. The most important tactic is a comically biased, utterly non-representative view of the enormous literature of studies ranging from humans to single neurons. Other tactics include magnifying or inventing problems with disfavored studies, ignoring even fatal problems with favored studies, dismissing what powerful animal research reveals about mammalian brains, hiding uncomfortable facts in footnotes, pretending not to be denying biologically based sex-influences on the brain while doing everything possible to deny them, pretending to be in favor of understanding sex differences in medical contexts yet never offering a single specific research example why the issue is important for medicine, treating “brain plasticity” as a magic talisman with no limitations that can explain away sex differences, presenting a distorted view of the “stereotype” literature and what it really suggests, and resurrecting 19th century arguments almost no modern neuroscientist knows of, or cares about. Finally, use a catchy name to slander those who dare to be good scientists and investigate potential sex influences in their research despite the profound biases against the topic (“neurosexists!”). These tactics work quite well with those who know little or nothing about the neuroscience.

The book is downright farcical when it comes to modern animal research, simply ignoring the vast majority of it. The enormous power of animal research, of course, is that it can establish sex influences in particular on mammalian brain function (such as sex differences in risk-taking, play behavior, and responses to social defeat as just three examples) that cannot be explained by human culture, (although they may well be influenced in humans by culture.) Rippon engages in what is effectively a denial of evolution, implying to her reader that we should ignore the profound implications of animal research (“Not those bloody monkeys again!”) when trying to understand sex influences on the human brain. She is right only if you believe evolution in humans stopped at the neck.

Rippon tries to convince you (and may even believe herself) that it is impossible to disentangle biology from culture when investigating sex differences in humans. This is false. I encourage the interested reader to see the discussion of the excellent work doing exactly this by a sociologist named J. Richard Udry in an article I wrote in 2014 for the Dana Foundation’s “Cerebrum,” free online.

Rippon does not mention Udry’s work, or its essential replication by Udry’s harshest critic, a leading sociologist who has described herself as a “feminist” who now “wrestles” with testosterone. (The Dana paper “Equal ≠ Same” also deconstructs the specious “brain plasticity” argument on which Rippon’s narrative heavily rests.)

Of course, Rippon is completely correct in arguing that neuroscientists (and the general public) should remember that “nature” interacts with “nurture,” and should not run wild with implications of sex difference findings for brain function and behavior. We must also reject the illogical conclusion that sex influences on the brain will mean that women are superior, or that men are superior. I genuinely do not know a single neuroscientist who disagrees with these arguments. But she studiously avoids an equally important truth: That neuroscientists should not deny that biologically-based sex differences exist and likely have important implications for understanding brain function and behavior, nor should they fear investigating them.

You may ask: What exactly are people like Rippon so afraid of? She cites potential misuse of the findings for sexist ends, which has surface plausibility. But by that logic we should also stop studying, for example, genetics. The potential to misuse new knowledge has been around since we discovered fire and invented the wheel. It is not a valid argument for remaining ignorant.

After almost 20 years of hearing the same invalid arguments (like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” waking up to the same song every day), I have come to see clearly that the real problem is a deeply ingrained, implicit, very powerful yet 100 percent false assumption that if women and men are to be considered “equal,” they have to be “the same.” Conversely, the argument goes, if neuroscience shows that women and men are not the same on average, then it somehow shows that they are not equal on average. Although this assumption is false, it still creates fear of sex differences in those operating on it. Ironically, forced sameness where two groups truly differ in some respect means forced inequality in that respect, exactly as we see in medicine today.

Women are not treated equally with men in biomedicine today because overwhelmingly they are still being treated the same as men (although this is finally changing). Yet astoundingly, and despite claiming she is not anti-sex difference, Rippon says “perhaps we should just stop looking for [sex] differences altogether?” Such dumbfounding statements from a nominal expert make me truly wonder whether the Rippons of the world even realize that, by constantly denying and trivializing and even vilifying research into biologically-based sex influences on the brain they are in fact advocating for biomedical research to retain its male subject-dominated status quo so disproportionately harmful to women.

So are female and male brains the same or different? We now know that the correct answer is “yes”: They are the same or similar on average in many respects, and they are different, a little to a lot, on average in many other respects. The neuroscience behind this conclusion is now remarkably robust, and not only won’t be going away, it will only grow. And yes, we, of course, must explore sex influences responsibly, as with all science. Sadly, the anti-sex difference folks will doubtless continue their ideological attacks on the field and the scientists in it.

Thus one can at present only implore thinking individuals to be wary of ideologues on both sides of the sex difference issue — those who want to convince you that men and women are always as different as Mars and Venus (and that perhaps God wants it that way), and those who want to convince you of the demonstrably false idea that the brains of women and men are for all practical purposes the same (“unisex”), that all differences between women and men are really due to an arbitrary culture (a “gendered world”), and that you are essentially a bad person if you disagree.

No one seems to have a problem accepting that, on average, male and female bodies differ in many, many ways. Why is it surprising or unacceptable that this is true for the part of our body that we call “brain”? Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Her sage advice applies perfectly to discussions about the neuroscience of sex differences in 2019.

Larry Cahill is a professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at the University of California, Irvine and an internationally recognized leader on the topic of sex influences on brain function.

Footnote:  This video uses humor to look at sexual brains based on observed human behavior “Why Men and Women Think Differently.)

See Also Gender Ideology and Science, including excerpts from Jordan Peterson

Warmists Epic History Fail

epic fail

Geologist Gregory Whitestone provides a climate history lesson for warmists who skipped history classes protesting against global warming.  His article at Town Hall is Ocasio-Cortez’s Climatology Lacks Historical Context. Excerpts in italics with my bolds. H/T Climate Depot.

When Sam Cooke sang “Don’t know much about history” in 1960 he could not have had U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in mind, but only because she lives a half century later.

Whatever Ocasio-Cortez got from history classes during her time at Boston University, it wasn’t an appreciation of historical context because it is sorely lacking in her assertions about climate and its effect on humankind. She and others promoting the Green New Deal have the facts exactly backwards when they claim that warming temperatures are an existential threat to humanity.

Ocasio-Cortez recently warned in a House Oversight Committee hearing that the United States would have “blood on our hands” if legislation to tackle climate change was not passed. In questioning former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, she alleged that “denial or even delaying in that action could cost us American life.”

Is that the case? Has increasing temperature been associated with negative impacts on the human condition? Common sense would seem to dictate that higher temperatures would lead to more drought and then to famine and ultimately to loss of life.

However, the story is different upon checking several thousands of years of extensive documentation covering the most recent warming trends to see how humans fared with temperatures like those predicted to occur by 2050 or 2100.

As it turns out, there is a great correlation between the rise and fall of temperature and the rise and fall of civilization, and the human experience is not the apocalypse you are being told to expect. Very consistently, throughout the last 3,500 years, humanity has prospered and thrived during warming periods, while the intervening colder periods witnessed crop failure, famine and mass depopulation. In fact, before climate science became politicized in the late 20th century, the warm eras were known as “Climate Optima” because both people and the Earth’s ecosystems benefited.

The last three warming trends corresponded with large advances in culture, science and technology. The Minoan (Bronze Age), Roman (Iron Age) and Medieval (High Middle Ages) periods were all much warmer than our current temperature and all benefited greatly from the rising temperature. Likely the most significant factor that allowed advances in civilization was a plentiful supply of food. Crops flourished and allowed time for the citizens of each culture to think, to dream and to invent.

Lucas van Valckenborch painted a cold winter landscape set near Antwerp, Belgium, in 1575, when Europe was in the midst of the Little Ice Age. Städel/Wikimedia Commons

Contrary to what we are being told by modern prophets of climate doom, it was the intervening cold that was devastating and led to the fall of empires and the collapse of civilizations. With names like the Greek Dark Ages, the Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age, these cold periods’ accompanying crop failure, famine, and mass depopulation were horrific for people.

The most recent and best documented cold period was the Little Ice Age (1250 – 1850 AD) which brought severe hardship, primarily in the northern latitudes. The combination of bitterly cold winters and cool, wet summers led to poor harvests, hunger and widespread death. Half the population of Iceland perished, and as much as one-third of humankind was decimated.

The worst cold of the Little Ice Age occurred in the late 17th century during a time known as the Maunder Minimum, which is linked to inactivity of the Sun. Based on the Central England Temperature record (the longest thermometer-based record) the depths of the cold were reached in the year 1695. For the next 40 years temperatures rose quickly and at several times the rate of warming measured in the 20th century.

The warming that began in the late 17th century continued for the next 300-plus years, ushering in an era of advancement unseen during any other period in humanity’s existence. It is what author W. Cleon Skousen called the “5,000 Year Leap” — five millennia of advances in communication, transportation, energy and exploration, and a doubling of the average length of human life, all condensed into less than 200 years. A myriad of factors were responsible, but it is certainly not clear that this progress would have occurred had Earth still been mired in the frigid temperatures of the Little Ice Age.

Last year, while Scott Pruitt was still the administrator of the EPA, he posed the question of how anyone could know what the ideal temperature of the Earth should be. Well known climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann of Penn State responded to Pruitt’s question by stating that the ideal temperature would be that which pre-dated the burning of fossil fuels. That temperature would put us squarely in the middle of the Little Ice Age’s devastating cold and history tells us that it turned out quite poorly.

History tells us that warming is very, very good, while cold is very, very bad.

Perhaps both Ocasio-Cortez and Mann should be labeled as “history deniers” for ignoring the true relationship between temperature and the human condition.

Footnote:  The obsession with a slight rise in average temperatures in the last 100 years is all the more remarkable for taking that warming totally out of context.
Any warming is good, even this small amount seen in the context of a year in the life of a typical American.  Moreover, the details of the statistics reveal that the rise is the result of cold months being warmer, while hotter months have cooled very slightly.  False Alarm.

Postscript (old soviet joke):  During soviet Russia era a professor addressed his history class, “I have good news and bad news about your final exam.  The good news is that all the questions are the same as last year.  The bad news:  Some of the answers are different.”

To Save the Earth, Get Down in the Dirt

Family Farmed is proud of the blossoming Good Food movement in their hometown of Chicago

Activists are directing school children to the streets to protest for more action against CO2 and their fear of global warming/climate change. In their desire to feel good about saving the planet, they ignore what is being done, and they march rather than picking up shovels and hoes and literally caring for the earth under their feet.

Overlooked is our potential to enhance the performance of the biosphere in capturing CO2 and greening the land. The soil itself is second only to the oceans, and the plant biomass is an additional sink for CO2. Below is an overview of the win-win proposition for humans to sequester carbon in the soil and restore its health and productivity at the same time. H/T Mark Krebs for suggesting this topic and providing resources from his own research and teaching.

Global Sequestration Potential of Increased Organic Carbon in Cropland Soil by Robert J. Zomer, Deborah A. Bossio, Rolf Sommer & Louis V. Verchot 2017.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and titles.

Overview

The role of soil organic carbon in global carbon cycles is receiving increasing attention both as a potentially large and uncertain source of CO2 emissions in response to predicted global temperature rises, and as a natural sink for carbon able to reduce atmospheric CO2. There is general agreement that the technical potential for sequestration of carbon in soil is significant, and some consensus on the magnitude of that potential. Croplands worldwide could sequester between 0.90 and 1.85 Pg C/yr, i.e. 26–53% of the target of the “4p1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate”. The importance of intensively cultivated regions such as North America, Europe, India and intensively cultivated areas in Africa, such as Ethiopia, is highlighted. Soil carbon sequestration and the conservation of existing soil carbon stocks, given its multiple benefits including improved food production, is an important mitigation pathway to achieve the less than 2 °C global target of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Soil as Both Sink and Source

Soils, however, can act as both sources and sinks of carbon, depending upon management, biomass input levels, micro-climatic conditions, and bioclimatic change. Substantially more carbon is stored in the world’s soils than is present in the atmosphere. The global soil carbon (C) pool to one-meter depth, estimated at 2500 Pg C, of which about 1500 Pg C is soil organic carbon (SOC), is about 3.2 times the size of the atmospheric pool and 4 times that of the biotic pool. An extensive body of research has shown that land management practices can increase soil carbon stocks on agricultural lands with practices including addition of organic manures, cover cropping, mulching, conservation tillage, fertility management, agroforestry, and rotational grazing. There is general agreement that the technical potential for sequestration of carbon in soil is significant, and some consensus on the magnitude of that potential.

This diagram of the fast carbon cycle shows the movement of carbon between land, atmosphere, and oceans in billions of tons per year. Yellow numbers are natural fluxes, red are human contributions, white indicate stored carbon.

Croplands Are Key

On this basis, the 4p1000 initiative on Soil for Food Security and Climate, officially launched by the French Ministry of Agriculture at the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change: Conference of the Parties (UNFCCC COP 21) in Paris, aims to sequester approximately 3.5Gt C annually in soils. Croplands will be extremely important in this effort, as these lands are already being actively managed, and so amenable to implementation of improved practices. Furthermore, because almost all cropped soils have lost a large percentage of their pre-cultivation SOC, they potentially represent a large sink to re-absorb carbon through the introduction and adoption of improved or proper management aimed towards increased SOC.

Multiple Benefits of Soil Organic Carbon (SOC)

However, carbon is rarely stored in soils in its elemental form, but rather in the form of organic matter which contains significant amounts of other nutrients, above all nitrogen. Nutrients, biomass productivity, the type of vegetation and water availability, among other constraints therefore can be major limiting factors inhibiting increases in soil carbon sequestration. Further imperative to sequester carbon in soils arises from the multiple co-benefits that are obtained from sequestration of carbon in soils that have been depleted of their organic matter. Soil fertility, health, and functioning are immediate consequences of the amount of soil organic matter (and hence carbon) a soil contains; this is even more important for highly weathered soils, as is the case for the majority of soils in the humid lowland tropics. Increasing carbon in soils also means improving its physical properties and related ecosystems services, such as better water infiltration, water holding capacity, as well as potentially increasing agricultural productivity and ecological resilience.

Reversing Lost SOC

An implicit basic assumption is that in general, 50 to 70% of soil carbon stocks have been lost in cultivated soils, such that the SOC status of almost all cultivated soils can be increased. It is expected that these cropped soils will be able to sequester carbon for at least 20 years before reaching saturation points and new SOC equilibriums, while meta-analysis of field studies suggests that in some instances significant sequestration can continue for 30 or even up to 40 years before reaching new equilibriums.

Where Lies the Greatest Potential

The regions of North America, Eurasia (Russia) and Europe currently store the greatest amount of carbon on cropland, each with more than 21 Pg C, and all together accounting for over 50% of all SOC stocks on cropland globally. By contrast, Central America, North Africa, and the Australian/Pacific region have very low amounts of stored SOC, together comprising 6.48 Pg C or just over 4.6% of the global total. Western Asia, South Asia, Southeast East Asia and East Asia each have moderate amount ranging from 4.38 Pg C to 9.14 Pg C, but together accounting for just less than 2% of global total.

The Top 30 cm are Vital

On these croplands adoption of improved management practices offers the opportunity to sequester significant amounts of carbon in the near term, and potentially to make an important contribution to global mitigation efforts. The 4p1000 Initiative has identified an aspirational sequestration target of 3.5 Pg C/yr to provide substantive global mitigation. Our estimates suggest that from 26% up to 53% (0.90–1.85 Pg C) of this target could be reached in the top 30 cm of cropland soils alone, and continue over at least 20 years after adoption of SOC enhancing management, such as incorporation of organic manures, cover cropping, mulching, conservation tillage, some types for agroforestry practices, rotational grazing, or other practices known to increase soil carbon at the decadal scale.

Carbon Smart Agriculture

Given the large amount of cropland potentially available, sequestering carbon via increases in the soil component on agricultural land is an achievable and potentially effective route to quickly increasing CO2 sequestration in the near term. For comparison, above-ground losses due to tropical land use conversion are currently estimated at 0.6–1.2 Pg C yr-1. A strategy of enhancing agriculture with soil carbon enriching improved practices, e.g. via appropriate policy mechanisms, thus offers significant potential to mitigate land use related carbon emissions and provide an opportunity for agricultural production to positively contribute to global mitigation efforts. SOC may be either enhanced by, or enhance above- and below-ground biomass carbon on agricultural land, allowing for synergistic increases in on-farm carbon stocks. Agroforestry systems and planting trees, for example, may increase soil carbon sequestration.

Productivity and Resilience as well

The benefits of increasing soil organic matter in croplands goes far beyond climate change mitigation potential. Facilitation of increased SOC through improved farming and soil conservation practices, enhancing resilience through improved fertility status and water holding capacity, also provide important adaptation benefits. It is generally recognized that changes in the moisture regime (e.g. drought or heavy precipitation events) can significantly impact crop productivity. These climatic conditions are mitigated by SOC, which adds structure, improves water infiltration and holding capacity, increases cation exchange capacity, and impacts soil fertility, a major controlling factor of agricultural productivity and both regional and household food security. Soil conditions have dramatic effects on the abundance and efficiency of N-fixing bacteria, which are vitally important in cropping systems that lack fertilizer inputs. Thus increased SOC through improved management practices is likely to add substantial resilience to croplands and farming systems, particularly during drought years or increased seasonal variability, helping to avoid edaphic (soil related) droughts that result from land degradation.

Better than the Alternatives

For the most part, agricultural practices that increase soil organic matter are supportive of enhanced food production and other ecosystem services. This is in contrast to other proposed negative emission strategies, such as afforestation (plantations of fast growing trees) and BECCS (bioenergy and carbon capture and storage) that will entail destruction of huge amounts of natural ecosystems or productive agriculture land if implemented at scales large enough to impact CO2 in the atmosphere. Given that hundreds of millions of small farmers for their subsistence depend upon croplands around the world, mitigation benefits of enhanced SOC storage must be recognized as only one significant component of an array of multiple benefits to achieve.

It Won’t be Easy, But We Can Do This

Despite the large technical potential to sequester carbon in soils, there are often significant limitations to achieving that potential in any particular place and within specific farming systems, including lack of biomass and other inputs. In addition, there may be tradeoffs with productivity, food security or hydrologic balances, as well as concerns regarding other GHGs, such as N2O. As with any efforts to sustain notable changes in practice significant understanding of cultural, political and socioeconomic contexts are required.

Humans Should Maximize the Benefits of Global Warming and Rising CO2

Numerous studies are referenced at the NIPCC chapter on CO2, Plants and Soils. While our knowledge of the biosphere CO2 sink is incomplete, much is known to scientists and the information points not to alarm but to opportunity. The surplus CO2 from burning fossil fuels represents an occasion for us to assist nature to replenish soils depleted of the carbon content plants need to achieve their potential. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Assist Forests to benefit even more from rising CO2.

1.2.1 Forests pg. 45

Forests contain perennial trees that remove CO2 from the atmosphere during the process of photosynthesis and store its carbon within their woody tissues for decades to periods of sometimes more than a thousand years. It is important to understand how increases in the air’s CO2 content affect forest productivity and carbon sequestration, which has a great impact on the rate of rise of the air’s CO2 concentration. 

Where tropical forests have not been decimated by the targeted and direct destructive actions of human society, such as the felling and burning of trees, forest productivity has been growing ever greater with the passing of time, rising with the increasing CO2 content of the air. This has occurred despite all concomitant changes in atmospheric, soil, and water chemistry, including twentieth century global warming, which IPCC claims to have been unprecedented over the past one to two millennia.

The planet is greener with the rise in CO2.

Forest growth rates throughout the world have gradually accelerated over the years in concert with, and in response to, the historical increase in the air’s CO2 concentration. As the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration rises, forests likely will respond by exhibiting significant increases in biomass production, and thus likely will grow much more robustly and significantly expand their ranges, as is already being documented in many parts of the world.

As the air’s CO2 content rises, therefore, saplings growing beneath the canopies of larger trees will likely increase their rates of photosynthesis under both high and low light conditions characteristic of intermittent shading and illumination by sunflecks. Moreover, because elevated CO2 concentrations allow saplings to maintain higher rates of photosynthesis for longer periods of time when going from lighted to shaded conditions, such trees should be able to sequester greater quantities of carbon than they do now. So powerful is this phenomenon, in fact, the two researchers state current estimates of the enhancement of long-term carbon gains by forests under conditions of elevated atmospheric CO2 “could be underestimated by steady-state photosynthetic measures.”

In contrast to frequently stated assumptions, old growth forests can be significant carbon sinks, and their capacity to sequester carbon in the future will be enhanced as the air’s CO2 content rises.pg 75

What has put the planet’s trees on this healthier trajectory of being able to sequester significant amounts of carbon in their old age, when past theory (based on past observations) decreed they should be in a state of no-net-growth or even negative growth? The answer is rather simple. For any tree of age 250 years or more, the greater portion of its life (at least two-thirds of it) was spent in an atmosphere of much reduced CO2 content.

Zhou et al. (2006), “conducted a study to measure the long-term (1979 to 2003) dynamics of soil organic carbon stock in old-growth forests (age > 400 years) at the Dinghushan Biosphere Reserve in Guangdong Province, China.” and “measurements on a total of 230 composite soil samples collected between 1979 and 2003 suggested that soil organic carbon stock in the top 20-cm soil layer increased significantly during that time (P < 0.0001), with an average rate of 0.61 Mg C ha-1 year-1.” 

Manage the land to enhance soil health and productivity

As the CO2 content of the air increases, nearly all plants, including those of various forest ecosystems, respond by increasing their photosynthetic rates and producing more biomass. These phenomena allow long-lived perennial species characteristic of forest ecosystems to sequester large amounts of carbon within their trunks and branches aboveground and their roots below ground for extended periods of time. These processes, in turn, significantly counterbalance CO2 emissions produced by mankind’s use of fossil fuels.

Elevated CO2 enhances photosynthetic rates and biomass production in forest trees, and both of these phenomena lead to greater amounts of carbon sequestration. Elevated CO2 also enhances carbon sequestration by reducing carbon losses arising from plant respiration and in some cases from decomposition. Thus, as the air’s CO2 content rises, the ability of forests to sequester carbon rises along with it, appropriately tempering the rate of rise of the air’s CO2 content.

It would appear the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content will not materially alter the rate of decomposition of the world’s soil organic matter. This means the rate at which carbon is sequestered in forest soils should continue to increase as the productivity of Earth’s plants is increased by the aerial fertilization effect of the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration. 

“The accumulation of refractory organic carbon in soils that developed after the deglaciation of the American Pacific Northwest is ongoing and may still be far from equilibrium with mineralization and erosion rates.” This further suggests, in their words, “the turnover time of this carbon pool is 10,000 to 100,000 years or more and not 1,000 to 10,000 years as is often used in soil carbon models.” Smittenberg et al.

These independent experimental observations suggest claims to the contrary have no backing in empirical science. Both the aerial fertilization effect of atmospheric CO2 enrichment and the soil fertilization effect of the increase in nitrogen mineralization induced by global warming increase carbon sequestration in forest ecosystems, providing a strong, double-barreled, negative-feedback brake on the impetus for warming created by the enhanced greenhouse effect of the ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content. Pg 98

Warming has produced bumper crops most everywhere.

Grasslands

Most of Earth’s terrestrial plant life evolved around 500 to 400 million years ago, when the katmospheric CO2 concentration was possibly 10 to 20 times higher than it is today. As a consequence, the biochemical pathways and enzymes involved in carbon fixation should be better adapted to significantly higher-than-present atmospheric CO2 levels, which has in fact been demonstrated to be the case. As the atmosphere’s CO2 content has dropped from that early point in time, it has caused most of Earth’s vegetation to become less efficient at extracting carbon dioxide from the air. However, the recent ongoing rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is gradually increasing photosynthetic rates and stimulating vegetative productivity and the terrestrial sequestration of carbon around the globe. 

In a five-year study of a grassland growing on a moderately fertile soil at Stanford University’s Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve in central California— which utilized 20 open-top chambers (ten each at 360 and 720 ppm CO2)—Hu et al. (2001) found a doubling of the air’s CO2 content increased both soil microbial biomass and plant nitrogen uptake. With less nitrogen left in the soil to be used by a larger number of microbes, microbial respiration per unit of soil microbe biomass significantly declined in the elevated CO2 environments; with this decrease in microbial decomposition, there was an increase in carbon accumulation in the soil.pg.114

Jasper Ridge outdoor laboratory at Stanford.

Thus, as the atmosphere’s CO2 content rises, carbon sequestration in the soils of Mediterranean grasslands likely will increase for two reasons. First, it should rise as a consequence of the greater retention times conferred upon the carbon in older soil organic carbon pools, which represent the largest reservoir of terrestrial carbon on Earth. Second, even though soil microbes exhibit a preference for newer carbon under CO2-enriched conditions, it should rise because of the great increase in the amount of carbon going into newer soil carbon pools due to CO2-enhanced root exudation, root turnover, and other types of litter production. Pg.115

How much extra carbon can be sequestered in the planet’s grassland soils as a result of a doubling of the air’s CO2 content? A good first approximation at an answer is provided by Williams et al. (2000), who studied this phenomenon for eight years in a Kansas (USA) tallgrass prairie. . . Extrapolating this value to all of Earth’s temperate grasslands, which make up about 10% of the land area of the globe, Williams et al. calculate the CO2-induced increase in soil carbon sequestration could amount to an additional 1.3 Pg of carbon being sequestered in just the top 15 cm of the world’s grassland soils over the next century. Pg 114

Restore barren land to natural or managed productivity.

1.2.5 Soils 1.2.5.1 Bacteria • Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations likely will allow greater numbers of beneficial bacteria (those that help sequester carbon and nitrogen) to exist in soils and anaerobic water environments. This two-pronged phenomenon would be a great boon to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Pg.132

Nearly all of Earth’s plant life responds favorably to increases in the air’s CO2 content by exhibiting enhanced rates of photosynthesis and biomass production. Consequently, these phenomena tend to increase soil carbon contents by increasing root exudation of organic compounds and the amount of plant litter returned to the soil. Thus, it can be expected that CO2-mediated increases in soil carbon content will affect soil bacterial communities.

The great deserts of Africa and Asia have a huge potential for sequestering carbon, because they are currently so barren their soil carbon contents have essentially nowhere to go but up. The problem with this scenario, however, is that their soils blow away with every wisp of wind that disturbs their surfaces. The ongoing rise in the air’s CO2 content could do much to reverse this trend. At higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations, nearly all plants are more efficient at utilizing water

The end result of all these phenomena working together is greater carbon storage, both above- and below-ground, in what was previously little more than a source of dust for the rest of the world. And therein lies one of the great unanticipated benefits of the CO2-induced greening of the globe’s deserts: less airborne dust to spread havoc across Earth.

“It’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems.” Environmental film maker John D. Liu documents large-scale ecosystem restoration projects in China, Africa, South America and the Middle East, highlighting the enormous benefits for people and planet of undertaking these efforts globally.

Educate and enable gardeners and farmers to apply practices that sequester CO2 and enhance soil health and productivity.

Various programs and initiatives are underway promoting land management practices that improve soil health by enhancing its storage of carbon. One example comes from Mark Krebs, master gardener, who conducts seminars encouraging people to apply these principles to plots of land on their property or publicly available for such care.  They educate the public on how soil is degraded and how it can be regenerated.

As well practical methods are recommended to restore the health and productiviy of the soil, as well as increase its carbon storage.  Various associations offer resources, for example:

The Living Soil

 

International CSA (Climate Smart Agriculture) initiative

Conclusion

Rather than protesting the use of fossil fuels essential to modern life and to social and economic development in our age, people who want to make a difference should get down in the dirt.  The soil is starved for carbon and it is more and more available in the air.  Nature is already accessing this renewed source of CO2,  We humans should claim this unique opportunity to help the land regenerate and recover its productivity.

See also CO2 Fluxes, Sources and Sinks

Carbon Sense and Nonsense

 

March Cools Seas More Than Land Warms

banner-blog

With apologies to Paul Revere, this post is on the lookout for cooler weather with an eye on both the Land and the Sea.  UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for March.   Previously I have done posts on their reading of ocean air temps as a prelude to updated records from HADSST3. This month also has a separate graph of land air temps because the comparisons and contrasts are interesting as we contemplate possible cooling in coming months and years.

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 March 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 March. The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. This month also involved a change in UAH processing of satellite drift corrections, including dropping one platform which can no longer be corrected. The graphs below are taken from the new and current dataset.

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.

Open image in new tab to enlarge.

The anomalies over the entire ocean dropped to the same value, 0.11C  in August.  Warming in previous months was erased, and September added very little warming back. In October and November NH and the Tropics rose, joined by SH.  In December 2018 all regions cooled resulting in a global drop of nearly 0.1C. The upward bump in January in SH was reversed in February.  Despite some February warming in both NH and the Tropics, the Global anomaly cooled. Now in March the cooling appears in all regions resulting in a global decline in SST anomaly of 01C since 01/2019. Except for the Tropics, the ocean SSTs match those of 2015.

Land Air Temperatures Tracking Downward in Seesaw Pattern

We sometimes overlook that in climate temperature records, while the oceans are measured directly with SSTs, land temps are measured only indirectly.  The land temperature records at surface stations record air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for March is below.

The greater volatility of the Land temperatures was evident earlier, but has calmed down recently. Also the  NH dominates, having twice as much land area as SH.  Note how global peaks mirror NH peaks.  In November air over NH land Global and surfaces bottomed.despite the Tropics.  By January  all regions had almost the same anomaly. Now in March an upward bump in NH has pulled the Global anomaly up, and both are comparable to early 2015.  SH and the Tropics air over land are currently matching other regions, in contrast to starting 2015 much cooler.

TLTs include mixing above the oceans and probably some influence from nearby more volatile land temps.  Clearly NH and Global land temps have been dropping in a seesaw pattern, now more than 1C lower than the peak in 2016.  TLT measures 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.

 

Climatism vs. Eugenics: Which is Worse?

Ralph B. Alexander writes at his blog Science Under Attack Belief in Catastrophic Climate Change as Misguided as Eugenics was 100 Years Ago. H/T Yen Makabenta Manila Times. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Last October’s landmark report by the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which claims that global temperatures will reach catastrophic levels unless we take drastic measures to curtail climate change by 2030, is as misguided as eugenics was 100 years ago. Eugenics was the shameful but little-known episode in the early 20th century characterized by the sterilization of hundreds of thousands of people considered genetically inferior, especially the mentally ill, the physically handicapped, minorities and the poor.

Although ill-conceived and even falsified as a scientific theory in 1917, eugenics became a mainstream belief with an enormous worldwide following that included not only scientists and academics, but also politicians of all parties, clergymen and luminaries such as U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt and famed playwright George Bernard Shaw. In the U.S., where the eugenics movement was generously funded by organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, a total of 27 states had passed compulsory sterilization laws by 1935 – as had many European countries.

Eugenics only fell into disrepute with the discovery after World War II of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazi regime in Germany, including the holocaust as well as more than 400,000 people sterilized against their will. The subsequent global recognition of human rights declared eugenics to be a crime against humanity.

The so-called science of catastrophic climate change is equally misguided. Whereas modern eugenics stemmed from misinterpretation of Mendel’s genetics and Darwin’s theory of evolution, the notion of impending climate disaster results from misrepresentation of the actual empirical evidence for a substantial human contribution to global warming, which is shaky at best.

Instead of the horrors of eugenics, the narrative of catastrophic anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming conjures up the imaginary horrors of a world too hot to live in. The new IPCC report paints a grim picture of searing yearly heatwaves, food shortages and coastal flooding that will displace 50 million people, unless draconian action is initiated soon to curb emissions of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels. Above all, insists the IPCC, an unprecedented transformation of the world’s economy is urgently needed to avoid the most serious damage from climate change.

But such talk is utter nonsense. First, the belief that we know enough about climate to control the earth’s thermostat is preposterously unscientific. Climate science is still in its infancy and, despite all our spectacular advances in science and technology, we still have only a rudimentary scientific understanding of climate. The very idea that we can regulate the global temperature to within 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.5 degrees Celsius) through our own actions is absurd.

Second, the whole political narrative about greenhouse gases and dangerous anthropogenic warming depends on faulty computer climate models that were unable to predict the recent slowdown in global warming, among other failings. The models are based on theoretical assumptions; science, however, takes its cue from observational evidence. To pretend that current computer models represent the real world is sheer arrogance on our part.

And third, the empirical climate data that is available has been exaggerated and manipulated by activist climate scientists. The land warming rates from 1975 to 2015 calculated by NOAA (the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) are distinctly higher than those calculated by the other two principal guardians of the world’s temperature data. Critics have accused the agency of exaggerating global warming by excessively cooling the past and warming the present, suggesting politically motivated efforts to generate data in support of catastrophic human-caused warming.

Source: Tony Heller, Real Climate Science

Exaggeration also shows up in the setting of new records for the “hottest year ever” –declarations deliberately designed to raise alarm. But when the global temperature is currently creeping upwards at the rate of only a few hundredths of a degree every 10 years, the establishment of new records is unsurprising. If the previous record has been set in the last 10 or 20 years, a high temperature that is only several hundredths of a degree above the old record will set a new one.

Eugenics too was rooted in unjustified human hubris, false science, and exaggeration in its methodology. Just like eugenics, belief in apocalyptic climate change and in the dire prognostications of the IPCC will one day be abandoned also.

Ralph B. Alexander is a retired physicist and a science writer who puts science above political correctness. He is the author of Science Under Attack: The Age of Unreason and Global Warming False Alarm. Ralph grew up in Perth, Western Australia and received his PhD in physics from the University of Oxford.  Dr. Alexander has held a variety of positions in research, academia and industry over the course of his scientific career, and now lives in California. 

See also:  On the Hubris of Climatism

Control Population, Control the Climate. Not.

“Hottest Year” Misdirection

Man Made Warming from Adjusting Data

About Canadian Warming: Just the Facts

Just in time for the Trudeau carbon tax taking effect, we have all the media trumpeting “Canada Warming Twice as Fast as Global Rate–Effectively Irreversible.”  That was written by some urban-dwelling climate illiterates who are woefully misinformed.  Let’s help them out with some facts surprising to people who don’t get out much.  Unfortunately ignored this week was an informative CBC publication that could have spared us “fake news” spewing across the land, from Bonavista to Vancouuver Island, as the song says.

Surprising Facts About Canada are presented in a CBC series 10 Strange Facts About Canada’s Climate  Excerpts below provide highlights in italics with my bolds.

Through blistering cold winters to hot muggy summers; torrential rain, blinding snowstorms, deadly tornados and scorching drought, Canadians experience some of the planet’s most diverse weather systems.  [ Uh oh, averaging all of that could be a problem]

Canada is as tall as it is wide, creating a wide range of climate conditions.

Canada has the largest latitude range of any country on the planet. Our southern border lies at the same latitude as northern California, while our northern edge reaches right to the top of the world. It’s rarely the same season in the same place at the same time. In early April, the Arctic may still be in the throes of a frigid winter, while the south can experience summer-like temperatures. No doubt, our weather forecasters are the busiest in the world!

Canada has an ‘iceberg alley’.

Pieces of glaciers from the coast of Greenland are picked up by the Labrador Current, a counter-clockwise vortex of waters in the North Atlantic Ocean. Those broken pieces become icebergs that float in the sea off northeast Newfoundland where Fogo Island lies. Navigating the area is risky for ships; in fact this is where the mighty Titanic sank in 1912. But it’s a boon to tourism. Iceberg seekers flock to the area to watch (safely) from the shore and boast about drinking 10,000-year-old fresh water taken from an iceberg floating in the ocean.

Cold Weather Niagara Falls

Niagra Falls (the Canadian side)

Canada is (really) cold.

It’s certainly not surprising to most Canadians that we are tied with Russia for the title of ‘coldest nation in the world.’ Over our vast country, we have an average daily temperature of -5.6C. This is deadly cold. More of us — about 108 — die from exposure to extreme cold than from any other natural event. And that’s not counting Canadian wildlife who are more susceptible to Canada’s icy climate than we are.

Calgary Golfer February 9, 2016.

Every winter, southern Alberta is the ‘Chinook’ capital.

For six months — from November to May — warm dry winds rush down the slope of the Rocky Mountains towards southern Alberta. Often moving at hurricane-force speeds of 120 km per hour, they can bring astonishing temperature changes and melt ice within a couple of hours. In 1962 Pincher Creek saw a record temperature rise of 41C, from -19 to 22 in just one hour. Chinook is also known as the ‘ice-eater’ among locals who appreciate the break from winter that the winds provide.

Newfoundland is the foggiest place in the world.

At the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, the cold water from the Labrador Current from the north meets the warmer Gulf Stream from the south. The result is a whopping 206 days of fog a year. In the summer, it’s foggy 84 per cent of the time! It’s also the richest fishery in the world, the fog is a serious hazard to ships in the region.

Aerial view of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station (HMPRS) on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada is shown in this undated handout image.

Canada’s North is actually a desert

Canada’s North is very cold and dry with very little precipitation, ranging from 10-20 cm a year. Temperatures average below freezing most of the year. Together, they limit the diversity of plants and animals found in the North. And it’s huge: this polar desert covers one seventh of Canada’s total land mass.

In 1816, Canada didn’t have a summer.

If winter in Canada weren’t bad enough, in 1816 the country’s eastern population were sledding in June and thawing water cisterns in July. Trees shed their leaves and there were reports of migratory birds dropping dead in the streets.

Over in Europe, the weird weather stoked anti-American sentiment. People opposed to emigration said that North America was inhospitable and getting colder every year.

Representation of Mount Tambora 1815 eruption in Indonesia.

Ironically, as eastern Canada stayed cool, the Arctic warmed, creating flotillas of icebergs off the coasts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. At the time, it was thought that the icebergs were the cause of the cooling, like a giant glass of iced lemonade. What was the real reason? In 1815, the Tambora volcano erupted in Indonesia, spewing tonnes of ash and dust into the air. Less sunlight reached the earth and this caused the planet’s surface to cool. The volcanic eruption changed the climate in different ways around the world, but Eastern Canadians were treated to the summer that just didn’t come.

The Prairies face brutal temperature extremes.

It’s no surprise that Regina, Saskatchewan — which lies smack in the middle of Canada’s prairies — lays claim to both the country’s lowest recorded temperature, -50C on January 1, 1885 and the highest, 43.3C on July 5, 1937. Without the moderating effects of a large body of water, Canada’s Prairies are vulnerable to some of the worst weather Canada has to offer.

Hopewell Rocks at the Bay of fundy. Photo: gregstokinger

The Bay of Fundy has the largest tides in the world.

Twice each day, 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of this small area in Nova Scotia — more than the combined flow of the world’s freshwater rivers. The tides reach a peak of 16 metres (as high as a five-storey building) and take about six hours to come in. The most extreme tides in the Bay occur twice each month when the earth, moon and sun are in alignment and together they create a larger-than-usual gravitational pull on the ocean, creating a “spring tide” (not to be confused with the season spring).

Lightning over Lake St. Clair Photo: seebest

Windsor is the thunderstorm capital of Canada.

Hot, humid air from the Gulf of Mexico funnels up through Windsor and the Western Basin of Lake Erie creating the perfect conditions for thunderstorms. About 251 lightning flashes per 100 square kilometres happen every year when small pieces of frozen raindrops collide within thunderclouds. The clouds fill with electrical charges that are eventually funnelled to the ground as lightning.

Summary

With all that going on, all the variety of temperature, precipitation, weather events and seasonalities, no one noticed it had warmed much, and would be grateful if it had.  With all the alarms sounding about the Arctic meltdown in the last decades, let’s consider the best long-service stations in the far north.

According to the “leaked report”, Canada’s annual average temperature over land has warmed 1.7 C when looking at the data since 1948. But that claim is misleading when recent data is considered.

Over the past 25 years, since scientists began to warn that the planet was warming in earnest, there has not been any warming when one looks at the untampered data provided by the Japan meteorology Agency (JMA) that were measured by 9 different stations across Canada. These 9 stations have the data dating back to around 1983 or 1986, so I used their datasats.

Looking at the JMA database and plotting the stations with longer term recording, we have the following chart:

Though temperatures over Canada no doubt have risen over the past century, there has not been any real warming in over 25 years. Rather, there’s been slight cooling, though not statistically significant. Clearly there hasn’t been any Canadian warming recently.

So it is misleading — to say the least — to give the impression that Canada warming has been accelerating. Thanks to Kirye for posting this at No Tricks Zone

See also Cold Summer in Nunavut