Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Climate is a chaotic system and as such cannot be accurately modelled

In her latest Week in review – science edition, Judith Curry gave us a link to a press release from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (which is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation – often written NCAR/UCAR) titled “40 Earths: NCAR’s Large Ensemble reveals staggering climate variability”.

What is this? UCAR’s Large Ensemble Community Project has built a data base of “30 simulations with the Community Earth System Model (CESM) at 1° latitude/longitude resolution, each of which is subject to an identical scenario of historical radiative forcing but starts from a slightly different atmospheric state.” Exactly what kind of “different atmospheric state”? How different were the starting conditions? “[T]he scientists modified the model’s starting conditions ever so slightly by adjusting the global atmospheric temperature by less than one-trillionth of one degree”.

The images, numbers 1 through 30, each represent the results of a single run of the CESM starting from a unique, one/one-trillionth degree difference in global temperature – each a projection of North American Winter temperature trends for 1963-2012.   The right-bottom image, labeled OBS, is the actual observed trends.

There is a paper from which this image of taken: Forced and Internal Components of Winter Air Temperature Trends over North America during the past 50 Years: Mechanisms and Implications, the paper representing just one of the “about 100 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles [that] have used data from the CESM Large Ensemble.” I will not comment on this paper, other than my comments here about the image, its caption, and the statements made in the press release itself.

I admit to being flummoxed — not by the fact that 30 runs of the CESM produced 30 entirely different 50-year climate projections from near-identical initial conditions. That is entirely expected. In fact, Edward Lorenz showed this with his toy weather models on his “toy” (by today’s standards) computer back in the 1960s. His discovery led to the field of study known today as Chaos Theory, the study of non-linear dynamical systems, particularly those that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. Our 30 CESM runs were initialized with a difference of what?   One/one-trillionth of a degree in the initial global atmospheric temperature input value – an amount so small as to be literally undetectable by modern instruments used to measure air temperatures. Running the simulations for just 50 years – from starting time of 1963 to 2012 – gives results entirely in keeping with Lorenz’ findings: “Two states differing by imperceptible amounts may eventually evolve into two considerably different states … If, then, there is any error whatever in observing the present state—and in any real system such errors seem inevitable—an acceptable prediction of an instantaneous state in the distant future may well be impossible….In view of the inevitable inaccuracy and incompleteness of weather observations, precise very-long-range forecasting would seem to be nonexistent.”

What is the import of Lorenz? Literally ALL of our collective data on historic “global atmospheric temperature” are known to be inaccurate to at least +/- 0.1 degrees C. No matter what initial value the dedicated people at NCAR/UCAR enter into the CESM for global atmospheric temperature, it will differ from reality (from actuality – the number that would be correct if it were possible to produce such a number) by many, many orders of magnitude greater than the one/one-trillionth of a degree difference used to initialize these 30 runs in the CESM-Large Ensemble. Does this really matter? In my opinion, it does not matter. It is easy to see that the tiniest of differences, even in a just one single initial value, produce 50-year projections that are as different from one another as is possible(see endnote 1).   I do not know how many initial conditions values have to be entered to initialize the CESM – but certainly it is more than one. How much more different would the projections be if each of the initial values were altered, even just slightly?


The Guardian’s ’100 Months To Save The Planet’ Was Always Just Bunk

100 months ago, The Guardian proclaimed that we have only “100 months” left to save the world from “irreversible climate change”: soaring temperatures, melting ice caps, dangerously rising sea levels, more hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and all the other familiar harbingers of catastrophe. Now those “100 months” are up and not one of these predictions has come true.

You may not have noticed, but 2016 was the hottest year for over 100,000 years. At least this was the claim reported last week by The Guardian, under the headline “Planet at its hottest for 115,000 years thanks fo climate change, experts say”.

The “experts” in question are a bunch of US scientists led by James Hansen, the former Nasa employee who did so much to set the great global warming scare on its way in 1988. And of course such a claim could only be made by ignoring all the evidence that the earth was actually hotter than today during the Mediaeval Warm Period, less than 1,000 years ago, and even more so during the thousands of years of the Holocene Optimum, following its emergence from the last ice age 10,000 years ago.

But Hansen and his gang do not stop there. They argue that we can only hope to save the planet by finding ways to suck vast quantities of CO2 out of the atmosphere, at a cost, they estimate, of up to $570 trillion. That figure which may trip off the tongue, but it equates to seven times the world’s entire current annual GDP, or $77,000 for every human being now alive.

If this only shows how dottily desperate some of our wilder climate alarmists have become, we may come back to earth a little by focusing on another version of the great climate scare which also got The Guardian very excited eight years ago, when it launched a campaign under the heading “The final countdown”. This proclaimed that we then had only “100 months” left to save the world from “irreversible climate change”: soaring temperatures, melting ice caps, dangerously rising sea levels, more hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, and all the other familiar harbingers of catastrophe.

Now those “100 months” are up, it has prompted the diligent Paul Homewood to publish on his website, Not A Lot of People Know That, a set of graphs meticulously compiled from official data. The show what has actually happened to the earth’s climate in these past eight years. Despite the 2016 El Nino spike, now rapidly declining, satellite measurements still show that the trend in global temperatures has not risen for 18 years.

Far from the ice caps melting, the total amount of polar ice in the world is almost exactly the same in today’s Arctic and Antarctic as it was when satellite records began in 1979. Despite all those computer models predicting otherwise, the rise in global sea levels has been barely detectible, not having accelerated in more than a century.

Despite Hurricane Matthew, there has been no increase in the incidence or power of tropical cyclones. Tornadoes in the US have been at a historic low level. The number of severe droughts across the world since the first half of the 20th century has actually declined.

All the computer models which predicted these horrors were programmed to assume that they would be the inevitable result of that increase of CO2 in the atmosphere which has steadily continued all through these past 100 months. Yet not one of their predictions has come true. Indeed the most startling of Homewood’s charts (taken from the BBC website, no less) shows that the most obvious consequence of the rise in CO2 has been its effect, as plant food, on the “greening” of the planet, helping to boost a dramatic rise in crop yields across the world.

Yet to all this our politicians remain wholly oblivious. The irony is that 2008, when global warming hysteria was still at its height, was the very year when they landed us with the Climate Change Act, committing us to spending hundreds of billions of pounds on “decarbonising” our economy, at a time when other countries, led by China and India, are planning to increase their own “carbon” emissions by far more each year than the UK’s entire annual contribution to the global total.


After Paris: Investment in Green energy declining

Global investment in clean energy fell to the lowest in more than three years as demand for new renewable energy sources slumped in China, Japan and Europe. Third-quarter spending was $42.4 billion, down 43 percent from the same period last year and the lowest since the $41.8 billion reported in the first quarter of 2013, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report Monday.

Financing for large solar and wind energy plants sank as governments cut incentives for clean energy and costs declined, said Michael Liebreich, founder and chairman of the advisory board of the London-based research company, a unit of Bloomberg LP. Total investment for this year is on track to be “well below” last year’s record of $348.5 billion, according to New Energy Finance.

The third-quarter numbers “are worryingly low even compared to the subdued trend we saw” in the first two quarters, Liebreich said in a statement. “Key markets such as China and Japan are pausing for a deep breath.”

Part of the reason for the steep decline in the quarter was a slowdown following strong spending in the first half of the year on offshore wind. Investors poured $20.1 billion into European offshore wind farms in the first and second quarters, “a runaway record,” according to Abraham Louw, an analyst for energy economics with New Energy Finance. That was followed by a “summer lull,” with $2.4 billion in spending in the third quarter.


Coffee shortfall blamed on global warming

Which is utter nonsense.  The problems go back some years and it was only last year that there was any significant global warming

Three decades ago, Costa Rica outlawed cultivation of the robusta coffee bean in order to promote production of arabica, the variety prized by high-end roasters around the world.

Now, however, with warmer temperatures and disease threatening arabica production, the world's 14th-largest coffee producer is looking back to robusta — just as the more bitter, higher-caffeinated bean is gaining favor around the world.

The National Coffee Congress for Costa Rica, a group of industry and government representatives that sets national coffee policy, is set to gather in an extraordinary session Saturday to consider whether the 1988 decree against robusta should be dropped. Its decision is binding on the government, said Luis Zamora, the agriculture ministry's national manager for coffee.

Zamora said the meeting shows that the calculus around robusta is changing. "In the case of the quality and the price, robusta coffee, as a result of free trade deals, has demand," he said.

Costa Rica's reconsideration of the once-taboo bean also illustrates how climate change is affecting crop production.

Long-term problems

While global demand for coffee is rising, both main species, arabica and robusta, are climate-sensitive and under threat over the long term.

By 2050, the area suitable for growing coffee worldwide is expected to shrink by as much as 50 percent, with arabica endangered by rising temperatures and robusta by increasing climate variability, according to a study published last year in the journal Climate Change.

In Guatemala, some growers have planted robusta trees in place of arabica that was stricken by roya, a leaf rust disease made more virulent by heat.

In Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, arabica farmers, particularly at lower altitudes, have switched to warm-weather crops, including cocoa, tomatoes and chilies.

Adolfo Martinez walks at a experimental plantation of robusta coffee in Turrialba, Costa Rica, Aug. 16, 2016.
Adolfo Martinez walks at a experimental plantation of robusta coffee in Turrialba, Costa Rica, Aug. 16, 2016.
In Costa Rica, the turn toward robusta is not without controversy. In spite of a nascent robusta makeover, some fear it would dilute Costa Rica's reputation as a producer of premium arabica.

"The great name is one of the concerns," said Ronald Peters, president of Costa Rica's largest trade group, the Coffee Institute (ICAFE).

Despite the worries, ICAFE last month recommended that robusta no longer be considered an agricultural outlaw. It also forecast a 7 percent decline this year in production of arabica, a prestigious but small part of the country's economy, involving more than 47,182 registered producers.

Allowing robusta production would reduce the need to import the bean for domestic consumption, a practice that picked up as arabica production declined. It also could improve the livelihoods of farmers outside the country's arabica-suited highlands.

To avoid tainting Costa Rica's premium arabica beans, ICAFE recommended robusta be cultivated in separate zones. Still, a decision in favor of robusta is anything but certain, Peters said.

"There are voices in favor and against," he said.

Growing appetite

A growing taste for coffeehouse brews, as well as instant, among the emerging middle class in the developing world is driving up global coffee consumption. That appetite can't be met by arabica alone, said Andrew Hetzel, a consultant with Coffee Strategies in Hawaii.

"There is no way," he said, "we as an industry can produce enough arabica coffee to satisfy their demands."

Discovered in Ethiopia and now grown largely in Latin America, Africa and Asia, arabica has long dominated production and commands about 60 percent of the world's coffee output.

But its susceptibility to frosts, droughts and warmer temperatures has caused supply shocks and volatile prices. In 2014, for instance, a drought and high temperatures struck Brazil, the world's biggest coffee grower, when the arabica cherries were developing, a potentially devastating time.

Supply fears caused futures prices to nearly double within four months to around $2.15 per lb.

Robusta — grown mostly in Vietnam, Brazil, Indonesia and Uganda — has higher yields, lower input costs and is more resistant to roya. Some roasters have looked to robusta as a more reliable and less expensive bean, helping to double its share of global output over the past 50 years to 40 percent. Robusta also has begun attracting some interest from the specialty coffee market as producers improve cultivation and processing techniques.

One new niche application is high-end Nespresso's roasted blend launched with robusta from South Sudan.

Climate change

Central America's arabica crops are on the front lines of climate change. The tree had long thrived in the relatively cool temperatures and rich volcanic soil of the region's mountain slopes.

But, in 2012, an outbreak of roya began spreading — aided by warmer temperatures — to elevations that had previously not been susceptible to the airborne fungus. Growers pruned trees and replanted with rust-resistant varietals where they could.

Some growers abandoned farms and migrated to cities and to the United States, said Rene Leon-Gomez, executive secretary of Central American coffee industry group Promecafe.

Almost a fifth of Central America's coffee workforce, about 374,000 people, lost jobs amid the roya crisis in 2012 and 2013, according to the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation.

In Costa Rica, roya contributed to the decline in area planted with arabica to 84,000 hectares this year, down from 98,000 in 2011 before the outbreak, according to reports by an agricultural specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's foreign service.

Production fell to 1.4 million 60-kilogram bags last crop year, down from 1.9 million in the crop year that ended in 2008.

The Costa Rican government responded by making $42 million available to help growers rehabilitate farms with fungicides and technical assistance.

Roya was a climate change wakeup call. Even as growers work to recover from the immediate crisis, experts say other climate-driven threats loom, including the coffee berry borer, an endemic beetle that is more active — and destructive — in warmer temperatures.

Earlier this year after a small farmer asked permission to grow robusta, the agriculture ministry decided to look more broadly at whether the ban on the bean still made sense in light of market and climate changes.

Jose Manuel Hernando, who heads the Chamber of Costa Rican Coffee Roasters and participated in the study committee, said robusta now represents a "great opportunity" and should no longer be treated as an outlaw.

"The taboo is falling down," Hernando said.

Australia: Qld govt invokes special power for new coal mine.  Greenies wail

Qld has long been a pro-mining State so it is interesting that that continues under a Labor government

The Queensland government has invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.

The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure - the first time this has happened in seven years.

As well, the development's special "prescribed project" status has been renewed and expanded to include its water infrastructure.

State Development Minister Anthony Lynham says the decision will mean less red tape for the proposed $21.7 billion Adani venture.

"This step bundles together major elements of the project for the first time - the mine, the 389 kilometre rail line and the water infrastructure, including a pipeline, pumping stations and a dam upgrade," he said.

Adani now has the 22 commonwealth, state and local approvals for its project.

However Whitsunday residents are taking court action in a bid to show the Queensland government failed the environment when it approved a port expansion for the mine.

Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping said last week dredging required for Adani's expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, north of Bowen, could do untold environmental harm and the mine itself will fuel global warming and endanger the reef.

Dr Lynham said in a statement on Sunday the critical infrastructure declaration was based on advice from the independent co-ordinator-general.


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