Climate Change Thinking for Open or Locked-Down Minds

William Happer provides a framework for thinking about climate, based on his expertise regarding atmospheric radiation (the “greenhouse” mechanism).  But he uses plain language accessible to all.  The Independent Institute published the transcript for those like myself who prefer reading for full comprehension.  Source: How to Think about Climate Change  Some excerpted highlights in italics with my bolds,

clouds_from_space_1200x650

 

This presentation by Dr. William Happer was delivered at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona, that was held on February 19, 2021. The Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor Emeritus of Physics at Princeton University, Dr. Happer is the author of the foreword to the Revised and Expanded Third Edition of the Independent Institute book, Hot Talk, Cold Science: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, by S. Fred Singer, David R. Legates and Anthony R. Lupo.

2021_03_11_happer_02_1400x787

The Climate Crusade for a False Alarm

The best way to think about the frenzy over climate is to consider it a modern version of the medieval Crusades. You may remember that the motto of the crusaders was “Deus vult!”, “God wills it!” It is hard to pick a better virtue-signaling slogan than that. Most climate enthusiasts have not gone so far, but some actually claim that they are doing God’s work. After decades of propaganda, many Americans, perhaps including some of you here today, think there really is a climate emergency. Those who think that way, in many cases, mean very well. But they have been misled. As a scientist who actually knows a lot about climate (and I set up many of our climate research centers when I was at the Department of Energy in the early 1990s) I can assure you that there is no climate emergency. There will not be a climate emergency. Crusades have always ended badly. They have brought discredit to the supposed righteous cause. They have brought hardship and death to multitudes. Policies to address this phony climate emergency will cause great damage to American citizens and to their environment.

Part of the medieval crusades was against the supposed threat to the holy sites in Jerusalem. But a lot of it was against local enemies. The medieval Inquisition really did a job on the poor Cathars, on the Waldensians of southern France, and on the Bogomils in the Balkans. Climate fanatics don’t know or care any more about the science of climate than those medieval Inquisitors knew or cared about the teachings of Christ.

2021_03_11_happer_05_1400x787

Don’t Confuse CO2 with Air Pollution

Just about everyone wants to live in a clean environment. I do, and I am sure everyone here does. This is a photograph of Shanghai, and that’s real air pollution. You can just barely see the Bottle Opener Building in the back through all the haze. Some of this is due to burning coal. But a bigger fraction is due to dust from the Gobi Desert. They have had this type of pollution in Shanghai since the days of Marco Polo and long before. Part of it is burning stubble of the rice fields, which is traditionally done before planting next year’s crop. This is real pollution. I would not want to live in a city like that. If there is anything to do that would make it better, I would certainly support that.

But, none of this has anything to do with CO2. CO2 is a gas you cannot see, smell or taste. So, hare-brained schemes to limit emissions of CO2, which is actually beneficial, as I will explain a little bit later, will only make it harder to get rid of real pollutants like what I just showed you in Shanghai.

2021_03_11_happer_08_1400x810

Like all wind farms it is now falling to pieces we can’t dispose of.

Renewable energy is what I would call the inverse Robin Hood strategy—you rob from the poor to give to the rich. Utilities are permitted to raise rates because of their capital investments in inefficient, unreliable renewables. They junk fully depreciated coal, gas and nuclear plants, all of which are working beautifully, and producing inexpensive, reliable energy. But regulated profits are much less. Taxpayers subsidize the rich, who can afford to lease land for wind and solar farms. Tax incentives pander to the upper class who live in gated communities and can afford to buy Tesla electric cars. They get subsidies from the state and federal government. They even get subsidized electrical power to charge up their toys. The common people have little spare income for virtue signaling. They pay more and more for the necessities of life in order to subsidize their betters.

Climate Facts to Replace Hysteria

You cannot spend a lifetime as a professor and not relapse from time to time into giving a classroom lecture. So, you will have to expect to be lectured for a few minutes. The good news is that there will be no quiz. But for those of you who share my view that this climate hysteria is serious nonsense, it helps to know what the facts are. I hope I can arm some of you with the real scientific facts.

2021_03_11_happer_09_1400x787

Climate involves a complicated interplay of the sunlight that warms us, and thermal infra-radiation that escapes to space. Heat is transported from the tropics to the poles by the motion of warm air and ocean water. We all know about the Gulf Stream that carries huge amounts of heat to northern Europe, even to Russia. Movements of air in the atmosphere also carry a lot of heat, as we know from regular cold spells and hot spells.

2021_03_11_happer_10_1400x787

Here is a picture of Earth’s energy budget. I mentioned we are warmed by the Sun. About half of the sunlight eventually gets to the surface. What prevents it all from reaching the surface are clouds and a small amount of scattering and absorption by the atmosphere. Other parts of America, like New Jersey, now are covered with clouds. Those areas do not get any sunlight directly. But the half of sunlight that does reach the ground heats it. You can notice that in the afternoon, if you go outside. If you are a gardener like me, you can put your hands in the soil and it is nice and warm. It makes the corn grow. But that heat has to be released. If you keep adding heat to the ground, it gets hotter and hotter. So, the heat is eventually released by radiation into space which is that red arrow going up on the viewgraph. But for the first few kilometers of altitude, a good fraction of that heat is not carried by radiation, but by convection of warm, moist air. CO2 has no direct effect on convection near the surface. But once you get up to 10 kilometers or so, most of the heat is transported by radiation.

By the way, I have the meter running now. Remember that the outside air is 400 parts per million CO2. I am not sure you can see the meter but I will read it for you. It is 580 in here. It is not a whole lot higher than the 400 outside. It was at 1,000 parts per million where we were having lunch. CO2 levels are never stable near Earth’s surface. People are panicking about one or two parts per million of CO2. Now, the meter reads 608 parts per million—that is probably because I breathed on it. Hot air sets it off. I sometimes take the meter out onto my back porch. At the end of a summer day the CO2 levels on my back porch drop to maybe 300 parts per million, way below the average for outside air. That is because the trees and grass in my backyard have sucked most of the CO2 out of the local air during the day. If I get up early the next morning and I look at the meter, it is up to 600 parts per million. So just from morning to night CO2 doubles in the air of my back yard. Doubles and halves, doubles and halves. At least during the growing season that is quite common. And we have these hysterics about CO2 increasing by 30 or 40 percent. It is amazing.

2021_03_11_happer_11_1400x787

So, why the frenzy over CO2? It is because it is a greenhouse gas. That is true. This is a somewhat deceptive picture. What it shows in red is sunlight, and the horizontal scale on the top panel is the wavelength of the sunlight. Radiation wavelengths for sunlight are typically about a half a micron (half a millionth of a meter). That is green light, the color of green leaves. The thermal radiation that cools the Earth is that blue curve to the right of the upper panel, and that is a much longer wavelength, typically around 10 microns. So, the wavelength of thermal radiation is 10 to 20 times longer than the wavelengths of sunlight. It turns out that the sun’s energy can get through the Earth’s atmosphere very easily. So essentially all sunlight or at least 90 percent, if there are no clouds, gets to the surface and warms it. But radiation cooling of the surface is less efficient because various greenhouse gases (most importantly water vapor, which is shown as the third panel down, and CO2, which is the fourth panel down) intercept a lot of that radiation and keep it from freely escaping to space. This keeps Earth’s surface temperature warmer than it would be (by about 20 or 30 degrees). The Earth would be an ice cube if it were not for water vapor and CO2; and when I say water vapor, you should understand that I really mean water vapor and clouds, the condensed form of water. Clouds are at least as important as greenhouse gases and they are very poorly understood to this day.

2021_03_11_happer_13_1400x787

This is an important slide. There is a lot of history here and so there are two historical pictures. The top picture is Max Planck, the great German physicist who discovered quantum mechanics. Amazingly, quantum mechanics got its start from greenhouse gas-physics and thermal radiation, just what we are talking about today. Most climate fanatics do not understand the basic physics. But Planck understood it very well and he was the first to show why the spectrum of radiation from warm bodies has the shape shown on this picture, to the left of Planck. Below is a smooth blue curve. The horizontal scale, left to right is the “spatial frequency” (wave peaks per cm) of thermal radiation. The vertical scale is the thermal power that is going out to space. If there were no greenhouse gases, the radiation going to space would be the area under the blue Planck curve. This would be the thermal radiation that balances the heating of Earth by sunlight.

In fact, you never observe the Planck curve if you look down from a satellite. We have lots of satellite measurements now. What you see is something that looks a lot like the black curve, with lots of jags and wiggles in it. That curve was first calculated by Karl Schwarzschild, whose picture is below Planck’s picture. Schwarzschild was an officer in the German army in World War I, and he did some of his most creative work in the trenches on the eastern front facing Russia. He found one of the first analytic solutions to Einstein’s general theory of relativity while he was there on the front lines. Alas, he died before he got home. The cause of death was not Russian bullets but an autoimmune disease. This was a real tragedy for science. Schwarzschild was the theorist who first figured out how the real Earth, including the greenhouse gases in its atmosphere, radiates to space. That is described by the jagged black line. The important point here is the red line. This is what Earth would radiate to space if you were to double the CO2 concentration from today’s value. Right in the middle of these curves, you can see a gap in spectrum. The gap is caused by CO2 absorbing radiation that would otherwise cool the Earth. If you double the amount of CO2, you don’t double the size of that gap. You just go from the black curve to the red curve, and you can barely see the difference. The gap hardly changes.

The message I want you to understand, which practically no one really understands, is that doubling CO2 makes almost no difference.

Doubling would replace the black curve by the red curve. On the basis of this, we are supposed to give up our liberties. We are supposed to give up the gasoline engines of our automobiles. We are supposed to accept dictatorial power by Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez, because of the difference between the red and the black curve. Do not let anyone convince you that that is a good bargain. It is a terrible bargain. The doubling actually does make a little difference. It decreases the radiation to space by about three watts per square meters. In comparison, the total radiation to space is about 300 watts per square meter.

So, it is a one percent effect—it is actually a little less than that, because that is with no clouds. Clouds make everything even less threatening.

Finally, let me point out that there is a green curve. That is what happens if you take all the CO2 out of the atmosphere. No one knows how to do that, thanks goodness, because plants would all die if you took all the CO2 out of the atmosphere. But what this curve is telling you is that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is already saturated. Saturation is a jargon term that means CO2 has done all the greenhouse warming it can easily do. Doubling CO2 does not make much difference. You could triple or quadruple CO2 concentrations, and it also would make little difference. The CO2 effects are strongly saturated.

2021_03_11_happer_14_1400x787

You can take that tiny difference between those curves that I showed you, the red and the black curves, and calculate the warming that should happen. I was one of the first to do this: in 1982 I was a co-author of one of the first books on radiative effects of CO2. On the right panel is my calculation and lots of other people’s calculations since. It is a bar graph of the warming per decade that people have calculated. The red bar is what has actually been observed. On the right is warming per decade over 10 years, and on the left, over 20 years. In both cases the takeaway message is that predicted warmings, which so many people are frantic about, are all grossly larger than the observed warming, which is shown by the red bars. So, the observed warmings have been extremely small compared to computer calculations over any interval that you consider. Our policies are based on the models that you see here, models that do not work.

I believe we know why they do not work, but no one is willing to admit it.

Nobody knows how much of the warming observed over the past 50 years is due to CO2. There is good reason to that think much of it, perhaps most of it, would be there even without an increase in CO2 because we are coming out of the Little Ice Age. We have been coming out of that since the early 1800s, before which the weather was much colder than now. The green curve is measurements from satellites, very much like the measurements of a temporal scanning thermometer. You can look down from a satellite and measure the temperature of the atmosphere. The satellites and balloons agree with each other, and they do not agree with the computer models. This is very nice work by John Christie at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

The alleged harm from CO2 is from warming, and the warming observed is much, much less than predictions. In fact, warming as small as we are observing is almost certainly beneficial. It gives slightly longer growing seasons. You can ripen crops a little bit further north than you could before. So, there is completely good news in terms of the temperature directly. But there is even better news. By standards of geological history, plants have been living in a CO2 famine during our current geological period.

2021_03_11_happer_17_1400x787

This is the greening of the Earth measured from satellites. This picture shows areas of the Earth that are getting greener over the 20-year period. What you notice is that everywhere, especially in arid areas of Sahel (you can see that just south of the Sahara) it is greening dramatically. The western United States is greening, western Australia is greening, western India is greening. This is almost certainly due to CO2, and the reason this happens is that CO2 allows plants to grow where 50 years ago it was too dry. Plants are now needing less water to grow than they did 50 or 100 years before.

2021_03_11_happer_19_1400x787

When you raise all these hard, scientific issues with the climate alarmists, the response is “how can you say that? 97 percent of scientists agree that there’s a terrible emergency here that we have to cope with.”

Here there are several things you should say. First of all, in science truth is not voted on. It is not like voting on a law. It is determined by how well your theory agrees with the observations and experiments. I just showed you that the theories of warming are grossly wrong. They are not even close and yet we are making our policy decisions based on computer models that do not work. It does not matter how many people say there is an emergency. If it does not agree with experiments and observations, the supposed scientific basis for the emergency is wrong. The claim of a climate emergency is definitely wrong.

Secondly, even when scientists agree, what they agree on can be wrong. People think of scientists as incorruptible, priestly people. They are not that at all. They have the same faults as everybody else, and they are frequently wrong.

2021_03_11_happer_20_1400x787

The clincher actually came when the USA finally declassified the World War II North Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly data which we had been sitting on for 10 years. The data showed mirror-image conveyor belts of newly-formed oceanic crust, starting at the mid-Atlantic ridge and going out left and right toward America, and toward Europe. So, there was absolutely no question that the seafloor was spreading. That is the one bit of evidence that Wegner did not have, but he had lots of other evidence that should have persuaded people.

This is just one example. I could tell you about many other scientific consensuses that made no sense. This one is interesting because it had no political background. It was pure science, but it does illustrate the fallibility of scientists, and the group-think that goes on in science. If you wanted to advance as a young geologist you could write a paper scorning Wegner in 1950 and get promoted right away, even though your paper was completely wrong. And, once you get tenure, you are there for good.

So, the takeaway message is that policies that slow CO2 emissions are based on flawed computer models which exaggerate warming by factors of two or three, probably more. That is message number one. So, why do we give up our freedoms, why do we give up our automobiles, why do we give up a beefsteak because of this model that does not work?

Takeaway message number two is that if you really look into it, more CO2 actually benefits the world. So, why are we demonizing this beneficial molecule that is making plants grow better, that is giving us slightly less harsh winters, a slightly longer growing season? Why is that a pollutant? It is not a pollutant at all, and we should have the courage to do nothing about CO2 emissions. Nothing needs to be done.

 

 

Adios, Global Warming

a62edf0f39de560a219b7262163b0d45

The post below updates the UAH record of air temperatures over land and ocean.  But as an overview consider how recent rapid cooling has now completely overcome the warming from the last 3 El Ninos (1998, 2010 and 2016).  The UAH record shows that the effects of the last one are now gone as of April 2021. (UAH baseline is now 1991-2020).

UAH Global 1995to202104 w co2 overlayFor reference I added an overlay of CO2 annual concentrations as measured at Moana Loa.  While temperatures fluctuated up and down ending flat, CO2 went up steadily by ~55 ppm, a 15% increase.

Furthermore, going back to previous warmings prior to the satellite record shows that the entire rise of 0.8C since 1947 is due to oceanic, not human activity.

 

gmt-warming-events

The animation is an update of a previous analysis from Dr. Murry Salby.  These graphs use Hadcrut4 and include the 2016 El Nino warming event.  The exhibit shows since 1947 GMT warmed by 0.8 C, from 13.9 to 14.7, as estimated by Hadcrut4.  This resulted from three natural warming events involving ocean cycles. The most recent rise 2013-16 lifted temperatures by 0.2C.  Previously the 1997-98 El Nino produced a plateau increase of 0.4C.  Before that, a rise from 1977-81 added 0.2C to start the warming since 1947.

Importantly, the theory of human-caused global warming asserts that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere changes the baseline and causes systemic warming in our climate.  On the contrary, all of the warming since 1947 was episodic, coming from three brief events associated with oceanic cycles. 

mc_wh_gas_web20210423124932

See Also Worst Threat: Greenhouse Gas or Quiet Sun?

April Update Ocean and Land Air Temps Continue Down

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.  While you will hear a lot about 2020 temperatures matching 2016 as the highest ever, that spin ignores how fast is the cooling setting in.  The UAH data analyzed below shows that warming from the last El Nino is now fully dissipated with chilly temperatures setting in all regions.  Last month it was the ocean cooling off dramatically.

UAH has updated their tlt (temperatures in lower troposphere) dataset for April.  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. Unusually, last month showed air over land remained cool, while oceans dropped down further.

Note:  UAH has shifted their baseline from 1981-2010 to 1991-2020 beginning with January 2021.  In the charts below, the trends and fluctuations remain the same but the anomaly values change with the baseline reference shift.

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.  Thus the cooling oceans now portend cooling land air temperatures to follow.  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?

After a technical enhancement to HadSST3 delayed updates Spring 2020, May resumed a pattern of HadSST updates toward the following month end.  For comparison we can look at lower troposphere temperatures (TLT) from UAHv6 which are now posted for April.  The temperature record is derived from microwave sounding units (MSU) on board satellites like the one pictured above. Recently there was 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.

UAH Oceans 202104Note 2020 was warmed mainly by a spike in February in all regions, and secondarily by an October spike in NH alone. End of 2020 November and December ocean temps plummeted in NH and the Tropics. In January SH dropped sharply, pulling the Global anomaly down despite an upward bump in NH. An additional drop in March has SH matching the coldest in this period. March drops in the Tropics and NH make those regions at their coldest since 01/2015.  In April despite an uptick in NH, the Global anomaly dropped further.

 

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 sample air temps at 2 meters above ground.  UAH gives tlt anomalies for air over land separately from ocean air temps.  The graph updated for April is below.

UAH Land 202104

Here we have fresh evidence of the greater volatility of the Land temperatures, along with an extraordinary departure by SH land.  Land temps are dominated by NH with a 2020 spike in February, followed by cooling down to July.  Then NH land warmed with a second spike in November.  Note the mid-year spikes in SH winter months.  In December all of that was wiped out. Then January showed a sharp drop in SH, but a rise in NH more than offset, pulling the Global anomaly upward.  In February NH and the Tropics cooled further, pulling down the Global anomaly, despite slight SH land warming.  March continued to show all regions roughly comparable to early 2015, prior to the 2016 El Nino.  Then in April NH land dropped sharply along with the Tropics, bringing Global Land anomaly down by nearly 0.2C.  With NH having most of the land mass, it’s possible the additional Polar Vortex events drove air temps downward last month.

The Bigger Picture UAH Global Since 1995

UAH Global 1995to202104

The chart shows monthly anomalies starting 01/1995 to present.  The average anomaly is 0.04, since this period is the same as the new baseline, lacking only the first 4 years.  1995 was chosen as an ENSO neutral year.  The graph shows the 1998 El Nino after which the mean resumed, and again after the smaller 2010 event. The 2016 El Nino matched 1998 peak and in addition NH after effects lasted longer, followed by the NH warming 2019-20, with temps now returning again to the mean.

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, more than 1C lower than the 2016 peak.  Since the ocean has 1000 times the heat capacity as the atmosphere, that cooling is a significant driving force.  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.

The True Cost of Imaginary Money

cb030221dapr20210302094524

Lionel Shriver explains in his Spectator article The true cost of make-believe money

Biden commands trillions in the way previous presidents have commanded billions

I like Bill Maher. He’s a rare practicing left-wing comic who’s actually funny. But last week, his routine on cryptocurrency hit eerie harmonics.

That monologue was broadcast in the same week Joe Biden promoted the third of his gargantuan spending programs, bringing his first 100 days’ total discretionary spending proposals to $6 trillion. (Context: total US GDP is $21 trillion.) This lavish largesse would be slathered atop the annual (and growing) nondiscretionary budget of nearly $5 trillion, against $3.5 trillion in tax revenue.

Let’s tweak Maher’s routine, then:

‘I fully understand that our financial system isn’t perfect, but at least, or so I’ve imagined, it’s real. But the American dollar increasingly resembles Easter bunny cartoon cash. I’ve read articles about Modern Monetary Theory. I’ve had it explained to me. I still don’t get it, and neither do you.

‘Dollars are now made up out of thin air and comparable with Monopoly money. We thought we knew that money had to originate from and be generated by something real, somewhere. Modern Monetary Theory says, “No, it doesn’t”… Or as another analyst put it, “Quantitative easing is an open Ponzi scheme”. The Federal Reserve is like having an imaginary best friend who’s also a banker.

‘Our problem here is at root not economic but psychological. People who have been raised in a virtual world are starting to believe they can really live in it. Much of warfare is a video game now; why not base our economy the same way? The conjuring of “borrowed” money from ether, only to have that debt swallowed by a central bank and disappear, is literally a game.

‘Do I need to spell this out? There is something inherently not credible about the Fed creating not just hundreds of billions, but trillions in wealth, with nothing ever actually being accomplished, and no actual product made or service rendered. It’s like Tinkerbell’s light. Its power source is based solely on enough infantilized citizens believing in it.’

Somehow that monologue isn’t as funny in the second version.

While Maher decries the electricity squandered on crypto ‘mining’, at least the color of the Fed’s money is genuinely green. Tap a few keys, and voilà: trillions from pennies on the energy bill. So in the past year, the Fed effortlessly increased the world’s supply of dollars by 26 percent and is on track for a similar surge in 2021.

But is drastic monetary expansion truly without cost?

I’ve made Maher’s Tinkerbell analogy myself, but to explain how traditional currency functions. I noted in an essay accompanying my novel The Mandibles, about America’s 2029 economic apocalypse: ‘Currency is a belief system. It maintains its value the way Tinkerbell is kept aloft by children believing in fairies in Peter Pan.’

In the novel, a fictional economics professor pontificates: ‘Money is emotional. Because all value is subjective, money is worth what people feel it’s worth. They accept it in exchange for goods and services because they have faith in it. Economics is closer to religion than science. Without millions of individual citizens believing in a currency, money is colored paper. Likewise, creditors have to believe that if they extend a loan to the US government they’ll get their money back or they don’t make the loan in the first place.

So confidence isn’t a side issue. It’s the only issue.’

My confidence is going wobbly. Biden commands trillions the way previous presidents have commanded billions, while the public is so dazzled by zeros that they don’t know the difference.

I’ve my quibbles with the particulars. Spending in inconceivable quantity courts waste and fraud. Biden’s American Families Plan casts so many freebies upon the waters as to constitute a de facto universal basic income, and government dependency doesn’t seem characteristic of a good life. Pandemic-relief unemployment supplements (which many Democrats would make permanent) are so generous that small businesses can’t find employees willing to work even for two to three times the minimum wage. Biden is effectively reversing Clinton-era welfare reforms, which moved so many poor Americans from state benefits to self-respecting employment. Financing all these goodies by hiking corporate taxes is popular, but only because few people realize that every-one pays corporate taxes through lower pension-fund returns, job losses from corporate flight, lower wages and higher prices.

But it’s the bigger picture that unnerves me. Zero interest rates have installed an accelerating debt loop. Governments, companies and individuals borrow because money is free. Central banks won’t raise interest rates, lest the cost of servicing all this burgeoning debt bankrupt the debtors. Governments, companies and individuals borrow still more because money is free. The Federal Reserve has already announced it won’t raise interest rates even if inflation climbs, while refusing to cite what level inflation would have to hit before reconsidering. I’ve plotted this story before. It doesn’t end well.

Background on Modern (Magical) Money Theory see MMT: Magical Money Theory

money-magician-big

Media Distort India’s Success Fighting Covid

https3a2f2fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com2fpublic2fimages2fd90bb669-7376-41c2-8ca6-986dbc2020da_946x702

The image above confirms that despite what we’ve been told, India and other south Asian nations have much lower Covid fatality rates than the rest of the world, and the US, where the contagion was mismanaged for the political need to take down Trump.  Many of us have wondered what is going on with Covid in India and only have access to inflamed Western media reporting. Since journalists are math-challenged (thinking math is a white supremacist thing anyway) they write stories based on their biases, rather than delving into the facts and numbers.  Mathew Crawford sheds some light in his blog article The Chloroquine Wars Part XVII Why the Story About India’s April COVID-19 Spike is All Wrong excerpted below in italics with my bolds. He is a quant guy and gets statistics from Indian official sources, especially  covid19india.

You’ve probably seen the recent news out of India: Pandemonium. All the important media outlets are talking about it, and since they’re telling the exact same story, you can be sure they checked in with the exact same gatekeeper.

  • The NYT: India sets a global record for daily infections.
  • BBC: COVID in Uttar Pradesh: Coronavirus overwhelms India’s most populous state.
  • NPR: How India Went From A Ray of Hope To A World Record For Most COVID Cases In A Day.
  • Reuters: Oxygen gets armed escort in India as supplies run low in COVID crisis

There is something about phrases like “world record” and “unprecedented” that seem inappropriate for such a solemn topic, but right now I’m having a hard time getting the image of focus group testing out of my head. What kind of newsroom goes with a “It was a dark and stormy night” narrative as opposed to direct fact reporting?

Death is always with us. It is also important that we search for appropriate perspective. On the order of 60,000,000 people died last year around the world, and each was a light in the world. We do our best to serve human health to search for the best ways to support human health.

Now, let us look a little more closely at the portrayal of the story of India’s COVID-19 spike. Let us begin with some of the tweets (here and here) raising the alarm so that all of the [English speaking] world knows what is happening in parts of India. There is a focus on the quickly depleting oxygen supply. We might guess this is the primary variable in the equation.

https3a2f2fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com2fpublic2fimages2ff2f71ac5-9fa6-4096-ada7-dcaeece553df_878x500

The CDC advises American citizens to avoid all travel to India.

Here is a gut-wrenching quote from Reuters news service:

Earlier in the day, the hospital’s chief executive, Sunil Saggar, choked back tears as he described the decision to discharge some patients because the lack of oxygen meant there was nothing his hospital could do to help.

Another Reuters article reminds us that any time an outbreak occurs, a lack of authoritarian measures is to blame.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose government has been criticised for relaxing virus curbs too soon, met chief ministers of the worst-affected states, including the capital Delhi, Maharashtra and Modi’s home state of Gujarat, to discuss the crisis.

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said this week people had largely given up COVID precautions and “became very careless” before the surge.

Now, let’s take a look at the concentration of cases around India.

https3a2f2fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com2fpublic2fimages2fb0d4ee54-242a-4c65-8171-44962bc75b4f_1218x962

The large Central-Western state of Maharashtra has a population of around 125 million people, which is around 9% of India’s massive 1.4 billion people. The second largest number of active COVID-19 cases is in Uttar Pradesh in the north, which has nearly twice as many people (240 million) and less than 40% as many cases. These state populations would qualify as large nations on their own, and we see wildly different results. The total number of deaths per million in Maharashtra is right around 500 per million. There have been only 44 deaths per million residents of Uttar Pradesh. These numbers are different by kind. Of the 221 nations listed in worldometers, India ranks 120th in deaths per million, Maharashtra would alone rank 72nd, and Uttar Pradesh would alone rank 148th. Of the handful of large nations that have suffered lower mortality (per million) than India, nearly all are near neighbors with similar statistics, African nations with low elderly populations, or island nations with less international traffic (and likely protective exposure to other coronaviruses).

In fact, Maharashtra and also Dehli are relatively unique in all of South Asia with such high COVID-19 caseloads relative to population size. It makes sense to focus in on why that might be the case. This leads us immediately to the story that the Western media refuses to talk about—and we have seen it before. One or the other of two drugs are used widely across South Asia: hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and ivermectin (IVM).

Okay, so I can make that claim. I do so after many conversations, emails, and electronic messages with doctors and researchers in India. But I will back it up here with a few sources.

Let us start with covexit.com, which has faithfully covered topics ignored by the larger media during the pandemic. Covexit invited a team of Indian doctors to tell the story of HCQ/IVM use as prophylaxis and medical therapy in India. While many doctors have recently moved to IVM usage, HCQ has been used broadly across most of India during the pandemic.

https3a2f2fbucketeer-e05bbc84-baa3-437e-9518-adb32be77984.s3.amazonaws.com2fpublic2fimages2fc01abf21-3485-4347-8ac0-4b5151cf6a6f_761x447

Similarly, Pakistan chose to use HCQ early on during the pandemic and is one of the nations that has produced several studies on treatment results. The rest of South Asia made the same decision, acquiring stocks of the drug from large manufacturers India and Pakistan: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar all use HCQ to treat COVID-19. Let’s take a look at how all these nations are doing relative to both the U.S. and the entire world (see graph at top).

So, what’s different between Maharashtra and Delhi with respect to the rest of India and South Asia? Instead of relying on HCQ and IVM, many doctors and health officials in Maharashtra and Delhi pushed the expensive and profitable remdesivir drug. Due to its cost and recommended time of usage, remdesivir is not used either as a prophylaxis or for early outpatient treatment. And unlike the cheap and easy-to-produce HCQ and IVM, remdesivir is difficult to replace when it runs out. During this wave in India, many hospitals in Maharashtra and Delhi ran out of the stocks of remdesivir. Perhaps…just perhaps…these contrasts in treatment philosophy make the difference between a substantial viral breakout, and one that is highly manageable.

Where HCQ and IVM are used widely as prophylaxis and to treat COVID-19 early, the outbreaks and deaths are far more manageable. The oxygen doesn’t run out. It’s much like a typical flu season, in fact.

It becomes harder and harder by the day to believe that health officials, pharmaceutical companies, and the media haven’t noticed.

On a positive note, the number of active cases in Maharashtra has begun to recede. Let us hope the trend continues or accelerates.

Here’s the trends bending down as of May 3, 2021

India cases May 3 2021

Footnote:  Media outlets like MSNBC and NPR are stoking Covid alarms generally, and base their stories about India from talking to people like Dr. Sumit Ray, whose hospital in New Delhi is struggling to deal with sick people requiring oxygen support.  As described above, Delhi and Maharashtra are two regions who denied frontline caregivers the use of anti-viral treatment protocols involving HCQ or Ivermectin.  The dire straits are not typical of the entire country, and elsewhere infection rates are coming down.

Shellenberger to NYT: Isn’t a correction merited?

This exchange became interesting to me since Google somehow blocked my access to the twitchy.com page where the tweet thread was published.  This, even though I was using DuckDuckGo in Dissenter browser, supposedly independent of Google.  TorBrowser saved the day, and here are Shellenberger’s tweets offered to NYT for them to salvage an embarrassing badly warped article.

April 2021 Resilient Arctic Ice

 

ArcApr2021 107 to 120

Previous posts noted how Arctic ice extents waxed and waned in response to the wavy Polar Vortex this year.  The animation above showed how the ice fluctuated over the last two weeks.  Okhhotsk upper left steadily lost ~225k km2, while Bering Sea lower left lost ~130k km2 in the first week then waffled around the same extent.  Barents at the top lost ~170k km2 early, then in the last 10 days gained back most of it. Greenland Sea middle right waffled down and up with little change up to yesterday.  Baffin Bay lower right produced the largest deficit on the Atlantic side ~180k km2.

The effect on NH total ice extents is presented in the graph below.Arctic2021120The graph above shows ice extent through April comparing 2021 MASIE reports with the 14-year average, other recent years and with SII.  The average April drops about 1.1M km2 of ice extent.  This year MASIE showed two sharp drops and two recoveries, the last one coming close to average day 118.  SII showed a less than average April loss of ~870k km2.  In the end MASIE 2021 matched 2020, and higher then 2007.

The table below shows the distribution of sea ice across the Arctic regions.

Region 2021120 Day 120 Average 2021-Ave. 2007120 2021-2007
 (0) Northern_Hemisphere 13311402 13551290  -239888  13108068 203334 
 (1) Beaufort_Sea 1058557 1068405  -9848  1059189 -632 
 (2) Chukchi_Sea 962680 954463  8217  949246 13434 
 (3) East_Siberian_Sea 1087137 1085503  1635  1080176 6961 
 (4) Laptev_Sea 897827 888936  8891  875661 22166 
 (5) Kara_Sea 915674 911257  4417  864664 51010 
 (6) Barents_Sea 572380 558256  14124  396544 175837 
 (7) Greenland_Sea 605335 649955  -44620  644438 -39103 
 (8) Baffin_Bay_Gulf_of_St._Lawrence 1004774 1231673  -226899  1147115 -142341 
 (9) Canadian_Archipelago 854597 848502  6095  838032 16565 
 (10) Hudson_Bay 1236512 1242200  -5687  1222074 14439 
 (11) Central_Arctic 3239759 3238255  1504  3241034 -1275 
 (12) Bering_Sea 426670 473606  -46936  475489 -48819 
 (13) Baltic_Sea 12293 20617.28786 -8324  14684 -2390 
 (14) Sea_of_Okhotsk 435360 376555  58804  295743 139617 

Overall NH extent March 31 was below average by 240k km2, or 2%.  With Bering deficit offset by Okhotsk surplus, the entire difference from average matches the Baffin Bay deficit. The onset of spring melt is as usual in most regions.

April 30, 2021 New York Nukes Itself

EIA explains the news today New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant closes after 59 years of operation.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Indian Point Energy Center (Indian Point) permanently stopped generating electricity on April 30, 2021, when it retired its last operating nuclear reactor, Unit 3, earlier than originally planned. The Indian Point nuclear power plant began operations in 1962 and produced over 565 terawatthours (TWh) of electricity in the 59 years it was open. The Unit 3 retirement removes almost 1,040 megawatts (MW) of nuclear generating capacity from New York State, leaving about 3,200 MW of remaining nuclear capacity at three plants in upstate New York.

Background from previous post

“New York Nukes Itself” refers not to the disastrous decisions in managing WuHanFlu, but about New York’s insane decision to close nuclear power plants in favor of wind farms.  Robert Bryce writes at Forbes New York Has 1,300 Reasons Not To Close Indian Point. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

At the end of this month, the Unit 2 reactor at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York will be permanently shut down. Next April, the final reactor at the site, Unit 3, will also be shuttered.

TOMKINS COVE , NY – MAY 11: The Indian Point nuclear power plant is seen from Tomkins Cove, New York … [+] CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES

But the premature closure of the 2,069-megawatt nuclear plant is even worse land-use policy. Here’s why: replacing the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity that is now being produced by the twin-reactor plant with wind turbines will require 1,300 times as much territory as what is now covered by Indian Point.

Here are the facts: Indian Point covers 239 acres, or about 1 square kilometer. To put Indian Point’s footprint into context, think of it this way: you could fit three Indian Points inside Central Park in Manhattan.

Based on projected output from offshore wind projects (which have higher capacity factors than onshore wind projects), producing that same amount of electricity as is now generated by Indian Point – about 16 terawatt-hours per year – would require installing about 4,000 megawatts of wind turbines. That estimate is based on the proposed South Fork offshore wind project, a 90-megawatt facility that is expected to produce 370 gigawatt-hours per year. (Note that these output figures are substantially higher than what can be expected from onshore wind capacity.) Using the numbers from South Fork, a bit of simple division shows that each megawatt of wind capacity will produce about 4.1 gigawatt-hours per year. Thus, matching the energy output of Indian Point will require about 4,000 megawatts of wind capacity.

That’s a lot of wind turbines. According to the American Wind Energy Association, existing wind-energy capacity in New York state now totals about 1,987 megawatts. That capacity will require enormous amounts of land. Numerous studies, including ones by the Department of Energy have found that the footprint, or capacity density, of wind energy projects is about 3 watts per square meter. Thus, 4,000 megawatts (four billion watts) divided by 3 watts per square meter = 1.33 billion square meters or 1,333 square kilometers. (Or roughly 515 square miles.)

UNITED STATES – AUGUST 20: Aerial view of New York City’s Central Park (Photo by Carol M. … [+] GETTY IMAGES

Those numbers are almost too big to imagine. Therefore, let’s look again at Central Park. Recall that three Indian Points could fit inside the confines of the famed park. Thus, replacing the energy production from Indian Point would require paving a land area equal to 400 Central Parks with forests of wind turbines.

Put another way, the 1,300 square kilometers of wind turbines needed to replace the electricity output of Indian Point is nearly equal to the size of Albany County. Would New York legislators who convene in the capitol in Albany consent to having the entire county covered in wind turbines? I can’t be sure, but I am guessing that they might oppose such plan. (See yellow area in Google Earth image  at top).

These basic calculations prove some undeniable facts. Among them: Indian Point represents the apogee of densification. The massive amount of energy being produced by the two reactors on such a small footprint provides a perfect illustration of what may be nuclear energy’s single greatest virtue: its unsurpassed power density. (Power density is a measure of energy flow from a given area, volume, or mass.) High power density sources, like nuclear, allow us to spare land for nature. Density is green.

Alas, the environmental groups that are influencing policymakers in New York and in other states are strident in their belief that nuclear energy is bad and that renewables are good. But that theology ignores the greenness of density and the essential role that nuclear energy must play if we are to have any hope of making significant reductions in carbon-dioxide emissions.

In short, the premature closure of Indian Point – and the raging land-use battles over renewable energy siting in New York – should lead environmental groups to rethink their definition of what qualifies as “green.” Just because wind and solar are renewable doesn’t mean they are green. In fact, the land-use problems with renewables show the exact opposite.

And there is much more wrong about this.  For a complete discussion  see Forbes article The Indian Point Closure Means More Emissions — And More Cynicism About Climate Action

Zombie Melting Glacier Hype (again)

2035807-robert-frost-quote-some-say-the-world-will-end-in-fire-some-say-inAs we’ve seen many times before, this week Climate Crisis Central put out a scary story about glaciers melting, and captive news outlets dutifully amplified the narrative.  For example, from my news aggregator:

Global satellite data shows how much every glacier on Earth is melting Metro.co.uk

Researchers claim glacier melting has accelerated all around the world Slashgear

Our disappearing glaciers / World will lose 10% of glacier ice even if it hits climate targets The Guardian

A Massive Study of Nearly Every Glacier on Earth Just Revealed a Devastating Trend ScienceAlert

Glacier melt is speeding up, raising seas – study RTE

Global glacier melt is speeding up Swiss Info

Study of nearly every glacier on Earth shows ice loss is speeding up Live Science

Climate change: Accelerated global glacier mass loss in the twenty-first century(Nature) Nature Asia

Glacier melt is speeding up, raising seas: global study France 24

Expert reaction to study looking at global glacier mass loss in the 21st century Science Media Centre

Global glacier retreat has accelerated ETH Zurich

Glacier retreat leading to ‘humanitarian crisis’, says top scientist The Independent

World’s Glaciers Melting Faster Than Ever, With Alaska’s Rate Among ‘Highest on the Planet’ NBC Connecticut

Etc., Etc., Etc.

Yes glaciers individually and seasonally advance and retreat over time, and many people depend on the meltwater to survive. The hype is deceptive in several aspects. Typically, present glacier extents are put into hysterical rather than historical context. Also, the amounts of ice lost are never referenced to the total existing ice mass observed over time. Finally, the attribution of local temperature trends to fossil fuels emissions is presumed without evidence of causation. Some examples of sound scientific analyses provide an antidote to the glaciermania.

Alpine Glaciers Wax and Wane, Don’t Panic

06_infographic_wocc

Prof. em. Christian Schlüchter is a geologist and has studied the glaciers of the Alps in great detail. He reports the findings of very old timber in and below glaciers and what those trees taught him about the glacial epochs of the Alps.  One of the most intuitive finds of Schlüchter’s is this huge tree trunk, found at a glacier tongue (see the most beautiful glacier snout behind!).

schluechterbaum

This place nowadays is clearly above the limit of vegetation and still there is this tree which attracted Schlüchter’s curiosity and fuelled his research: How old is it? Where and under what conditions has it grown and why is it here.

The key message from his slides is that all of these records were left in times when the alpine glacier extent was smaller than in 2005.

Warm periods: more life

The timberline was at least 300 meters higher which indicates a minimum of 1.8° C higher temperatures. An example of this gives Hannibal, who managed to cross the Alps with elephants because the higher regions were much less covered by ice than in recent centuries.

Warm periods: more civilization

As his summary, Schlüchter gave the following facts:

  • More than 50% of the last 11000 years alpine glaciers were smaller than 2005
  • This fact he baptized, “dominance of the Hannibalistic world”
  • Alpine glaciers have shown huge dynamics
  • Events of glacier growth were fast and short
  • The little ice age (from the end of the medieval warm period to about 1850) was the longest glacier extension since the last ice age 12000 years ago
  • Every warming followed an accelerated glacier growth

And more recent news Alpine glaciers are not going away:  Alps Winter Warming “Not Significant”…”Astonishing Contrast Between Official Measurements And Public Opinion”

Austrian researcher skeptic Günther Aigner examined 12 mountains stations across the Alps, spanning Switzerland, Germany and Austria, in order to find out how winter temperatures have developed over the past 50 years.  The temperature data from 12 mountain stations in the European Alps show no winter warming in over 30 years, contradicting alarmist claims.

For more on presentations at the 2019 Munich Climate Realism conference that was interrupted by Antifa thugs see post Munich Climate Conference 2019

Alaska Great for Picking Cherries

Alaska 2019 and 2020

Background from 2017 post Glaciermania

The Weather Network (who do a decent job on local weather forecasting) are currently raving about Glaciers:

You know climate change is getting serious when rivers are resorting to piracy.

Canadian geomorphologist Dr. Daniel Shugar and his team headed to the Yukon last year to study changes in the flow of the Slims River, only to find out the river was gone.

The Slims, which was fed by the Kaskawulsh glacier, has become the victim of the first case of what’s known as river piracy in modern recorded history.

The team’s investigation soon turned up the culprit – the retreat of the Kaskawulsh Glacier, which has been retreating thanks to more than a century of climate warming.

What Actually Happened

web_0416-nw-na-climatemap

For context and scientific perspective we can turn to papers like this one:  Contemporary Glacier Processes and Global Change: Recent Observations from Kaskawulsh Glacier and the Donjek Range, St. Elias Mountains 

One of the most iconic and best studied outlet glaciers of the St. Elias Mountains, Kaskawulsh Glacier was the focus of much glaciological research during the Icefield Ranges Research Project between the 1960s and early 1970s  and contemporary studies suggest that the glacier is temperate throughout. The current area of Kaskawulsh Glacier is ~1095 km2. Ice thicknesses range from 539 m near the topographic divide with the upper Hubbard Glacier and ~500 m at the confluence of the north and central arms at ~1750 m asl to 778 m at ~1600 m asl. The equilibrium line altitude is estimated from 2007 late summer satellite imagery as 1958 m asl, and it appears to have changed little since the 1970s.

The size of Kaskawulsh Glacier has varied considerably through time, with radiocarbon dating suggesting that it expanded by tens of kilometres into the Shakwak Valley (currently occupied by Kluane Lake) ~30 kya during the Wisconsinan Glaciation. In the historical past, Borns and Goldthwait (1966) mapped three sets of Little Ice Age moraines in the glacier forefield on the basis of distinctive variations in vegetation cover, morphology, and the ages of trees and shrubs.

Kaskawulsh Glacier was advancing by the early 1500s and reached its maximum recent position by approximately AD 1680. A recent study based on tree-ring dates suggests that the Slims River lobe reached its greatest Little Ice Age extent in the mid-1750s, whereas the Kaskawulsh River lobe reached its maximum extent around 1717. However, it appears that the glacier did not start retreating from this position until the early to middle 1800s. The recent discovery of a Geological Survey of Canada map of the glacier terminus from 1900 to 1904 indicates that the glacier was still in a forward position at that time, suggesting that most of the terminus retreat occurred in the 20th century.

Recent studies conducted by researchers at the University of Alaska and the University of Ottawa indicate that ice losses from Kaskawulsh Glacier have continued through the latter half of the 20th century and first decade of the 21st century, although evidence for any recent acceleration in loss rates is equivocal.

Of the 19 glacierized regions of the world outside of the ice sheets, the region including the St. Elias Mountains made the second highest glaciological contribution to global sea level during the period 1961 – 2000. Only Arctic Canada is expected to exceed this region in sea-level contribution over the 21st century.

The St. Elias Mountains exhibit high interannual variability in ice mass change, which is due in part to the abundance of surge-type and tidewater glaciers in different stages of their respective cycles. Ice dynamics can be a confounding influence when attempting to isolate the effects of climate as an external driver of glacier change. 

About the Two Gorilla Glaciers

World Land Ice Mass

A webpage What is the global volume of land ice and how is it changing? at Antarctic Glaciers.org provides some basic statistics for perspective on land ice.  They provide this table:

World ice table AG org

Notice what they’ve done with this graphic.  A different measure of ice volume hides the proportion of ice melt, covering up how myopic and lop-sided is the alarmist case.  Let’s look at the same table revised with comparable metrics.

World ice table in Gt

 

Now the realities are obvious  99% of the world land ice is on top of Antarctica (88%) and Greenland (11%).  All the fuss in the media above concerns fluctuations in less than 1% of glacier mass.  Secondly, the bottom line is should present melt rates continue ( a big if ) the world would lose 3% of land ice in 1000 years.  Note also the wide range of estimates of the smallest category of glaciers, and also the uncertain reported volume change for East Antarctica.  Note that the melt rates are for 2012 to 2016, leaving out lower previous rates and periods when ice mass gained.

Add to this a recent analysis NASA Surface Station Data Show East Antarctica NOT WARMING Past 4 Decades…Cooling Trend.  

See also Blinded by Antarctica Reports

As for Greenland ice sheet, read the recent research at post  Oh No! Greenland Melts in Virtual Reality “Experiments”.  Excerpts below:

The scare du jour is about Greenland Ice Sheet (GIS) and how it will melt out and flood us all.  It’s declared that GIS has passed its tipping point, and we are doomed.  Typical is the Phys.org hysteria: Sea level rise quickens as Greenland ice sheet sheds record amount:  “Greenland’s massive ice sheet saw a record net loss of 532 billion tonnes last year, raising red flags about accelerating sea level rise, according to new findings.”

gis-smb-2017-to-2020

Panic is warranted only if you treat this as proof of an alarmist narrative and ignore the facts and context in which natural variation occurs. For starters, consider the last four years of GIS fluctuations reported by DMI and summarized in the eight graphs above.  Note the noisy blue lines showing how the surface mass balance (SMB) changes its daily weight by 8 or 10 gigatonnes (Gt) around the baseline mean from 1981 to 2010.  Note also the summer decrease between May and August each year before recovering to match or exceed the mean.

The other four graphs show the accumulation of SMB for each of the last four years including 2020.  Tipping Point?  Note that in both 2017 and 2018, SMB ended about 500 Gt higher than the year began, and way higher than 2012, which added nothing.  Then came 2019 dropping below the mean, but still above 2012.  Lastly, this year is matching the 30-year average.  Note also that the charts do not integrate from previous years; i.e. each year starts at zero and shows the accumulation only for that year.  Thus the gains from 2017 and 2018 do not result in 2019 starting the year up 1000 Gt, but from zero.

Summary

So it is a familiar story. A complex naturally fluctuating situation, in this case glaciers, is abused by activists to claim support for their agenda. I have a lot of respect for glaciologists; it is a deep, complex subject, and the field work is incredibly challenging. And since “glacial” describes any process where any movement is imperceptible, I can understand their excitement over something happening all of a sudden.

But I do not applaud those pandering to the global warming/climate change crowd. They seem not to realize they debase their own field of study by making exaggerated claims and by “jumping the shark.”

Meanwhile real scientists are doing the heavy lifting and showing restraint and wisdom about the limitations of their knowledge.

kyvp5x

 

 

Two Views of Oceans SST End of April 2021

My preferred SST dataset has been HadSST3, for reasons noted at the end.  However, no new data has been provided for either February or March, so I have been looking at alternatives.  This post will feature ERSST5, with some comparisons with HadSST4 which has now been updated through March 2021.   First the usual contextual introduction.

Overview

The 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.

The Current Context

The various ERSST sources and history are described at the home page NOAA Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST), Version 5.  A major distinction is the practice of interpolation, which involves infilling 2° by 2° grid cells missing sufficient observations in a month.  The values are anomalies from average anomalies for the period 1971 to 2000.  HadSST3 reports only on 5° by 5° grid cells observed in a month, and compares to a baseline 1961 to 1990. HadSST4 is the same as v.3, except that the older data from ship water intake was re-estimated to be generally lower temperature than shown in v.3.  The effect is that v4 has lower average anomalies for the baseline period 1961-1990, thereby showing higher current anomalies than v3. Clive Best has a fuller analysis comparing HadSST3 and HadSST4 in this post HadSST4 and knock on effects.

The chart below shows SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST4 starting in 2015 through March 2021. Though the anomaly values are higher than those reported in HadSST3, the patterns of sst changes remain the same. After three straight Spring 2020 months of cooling led by the tropics and SH, NH spiked in the summer, along with smaller bumps elsewhere.  Now temps everywhere are dropping the last six months, with all regions well below the Global Mean since 2015, matching the cold of 2018, and lower than January 2015. A small upward bump in March still leaves all regions the same as March 2015.

Hadsst4 202103

 

A global cooling pattern is seen clearly in the Tropics since its peak in 2016, joined by NH and SH cycling downward since 2016.  In 2019 all regions had been converging to reach nearly the same value in April.

Then  NH rose exceptionally by almost 0.5C over the four summer months, in August 2019 exceeding previous summer peaks in NH since 2015.  In the 4 succeeding months, that warm NH pulse reversed sharply. Then again NH temps warmed to a 2020 summer peak, matching 2019.  This has now been reversed with all regions pulling the Global anomaly downward sharply.

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.  A fourth NH bump was lower and peaked in September 2018.  As noted above, a fifth peak in August 2019 and a sixth August 2020 exceeded the four previous upward bumps in NH.

And as before, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.  The major difference between now and 2015-2016 is the absence of Tropical warming driving the SSTs, along with SH anomalies reaching nearly the lowest in this period. Presently both SH and the Tropics are quite cool, with NH coming off its summer peak.  Note the tropical temps descending into La Nina levels.  At this point, the 2016 El Nino and its NH after effects have dissipated completely.

ERSST202103rev

 

ERSST5 reports only Global SSTs, unlike HadSST4 which also shows results for NH, SH and the Tropics (latitudes 20N to 20S).  The graph shows in green ERSST5 anomalies are much more volatile with both higher and lower extremes, compared to the blue HadSST4.  NH is added since it appears to vary similarly to ERSST, with the notable contradiction in 2016.  Also, the 2019 peak is much higher than 2015-16 in ERSST, whereas HadSST Global shows them comparable.  Both datasets show SSTs dropping sharply since summer 2020, and now below the mean anomaly for the period (only ERSST mean is shown).

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.

ERSST95to2103rev

 

In the longer record the 1998 El Nino stands as one bookend and 2019 as the other.  Note that HadSST Global warming events appear more as extended periods of slightly higher anomalies, while ERSST events appear as sharp peaks and valleys.  Note also that present Global SSTs are matching the mean since 1995.

Hadsst4 1995to 202103

1995 is a reasonable (ENSO neutral) 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.  NH July 2017 was only slightly lower, and a fifth NH peak still lower in Sept. 2018.

The highest summer NH peak came in 2019, only this time the Tropics and SH are offsetting rather adding to the warming. Since 2014 SH has played a moderating role, offsetting the NH warming pulses. Now September 2020 is dropping off last summer’s unusually high NH SSTs. (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.
The AMO Index is from from Kaplan SST v2, the unaltered and not detrended 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 August warming began after 1992 up to 1998, with a series of matching years since, including 2020.  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 032021

 

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. The black line shows that 2020 began slightly warm, then set records for 3 months. then dropped below 2016 and 2017, peaked in August and is now below 2016. Note this year is starting out among the coolest analog years.

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? If the pattern of recent years continues, NH SST anomalies may rise slightly in coming months, but once again, ENSO which has weakened will probably determine the outcome.

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

 

The National Climate Bank Con

national-climate-bank-1-1536x803-1

At a Hearing April 27, 2021: “Legislative Hearing on S.283, National Climate Bank Act”, Benjamin Zycher provided testimony Summarized at AEI: Statement submitted for the record: Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, Committee on Environment and Public Works.

Summary

This Statement Submitted for the Record offers a critical review of legislation proposed in the 117th Congress, 1st Session, as S. 283, The National Climate Bank Act (hereafter NCBA), the subject of a hearing scheduled for April 27, 2021 before the Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. A summary of the arguments presented below is as follows:

  • A National Climate Bank cannot increase the capital resources available to the U.S. economy or to the federal government, and the true economic cost of the outlays envisioned to be made by the National Climate Bank would be almost double the notional budget.
  • The “climate” projects envisioned for the National Climate Bank would be highly inefficient regardless of the assumptions made about climate phenomena and the current and prospective effects of greenhouse gas emissions. This is because the envisioned projects would yield future climate impacts either trivial or undetectable. This explains the failure of the proposed legislation to specify a requirement or to offer a projection of reductions in GHG emissions attendant upon the projects to be funded by the National Climate Bank.
  • The “Findings” in the proposed legislation on current climate phenomena are not supported by the evidence.
  • The “Findings” in the proposed legislation on future climate phenomena are based upon Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5, an extreme scenario of future atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases virtually impossible.
  • Because the proponents of the National Climate Bank have based their analytic arguments in substantial part upon the findings and policy proposals presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Special Report “Global Warming of 1.5°C,” they implicitly are endorsing a gasoline tax of $28 per gallon by 2030.
  • The obvious underlying purpose of the National Climate Bank is a shift of political responsibility for the inevitable financial losses to be incurred from the Congressional proponents of the legislation to the administrators of the National Climate Bank. Such a shift is inconsistent with the basic constitutional structure of American governance, and thus with essential accountability inherent in our political institutions.
  • The actual results of a National Climate Bank would be substantial resource waste, a less-productive capital stock, lower wages, and an increase in the politicization of economic activity.

Read  the full report  Zycher Statement Senate EPW climate bank

Climate Piggy Bank