Friday, January 05, 2018

New study identifies thermometer for global ocean

It should be noted that this is an estimate of ocean heat, not a direct measure of it and that no attempt seems to have been made to validate the estimates -- by repeating the study with (say) Arctic cores.

For what it is worth however the study should be disappointing to Warmists.  An estimated temperature rise of only one tenth of one degree over the last 50 years is way below what Warmists normally talk about.  Note that 50 years ago is roughly when Warmists claim anthropogenic global warming started

There's a new way to measure the average temperature of the ocean thanks to researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. In an article published in the Jan. 4, 2018, issue of the journal Nature, geoscientist Jeff Severinghaus and colleagues at Scripps Oceanography and institutions in Switzerland and Japan detailed their ground-breaking approach.

Determining changes in the average temperature of the entire world's ocean has proven to be a nearly impossible task due to the distribution of different water masses. Each layer of water can have drastically different temperatures, so determining the average over the entirety of the ocean's surface and depths presents a challenge.

Severinghaus and colleagues were able to bypass these obstacles by determining the value indirectly. Instead of measuring water temperature, they determined the ratio of noble gases in the atmosphere, which are in direct relation to the ocean's temperature.

"This method is a radically new way to measure change in total ocean heat," said Severinghaus. "It takes advantage of the fact that the atmosphere is well-mixed, so a single measurement anywhere in the world can give you the answer."

In the study, the scientists measured values of the noble gases argon, krypton, and xenon in air bubbles captured inside ice in Antarctica. As the oceans warm, krypton and xenon are released into the atmosphere in known quantities. The ratio of these gases in the atmosphere therefore allows for the calculation of average global ocean temperature.

Measurements were taken from ice samples collected during the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide coring project, of which Severinghaus is a leader. Over the course of six field seasons in Antarctica, a drill removed ice in cylindrical samples 3.7 meters (just under 9 feet) in length. The final sample was taken at a depth of 3,405 meters (over 11,000 feet) in 2011. This record spans nearly 100,000 years and the age of the layers can be determined to within 50 years. Earth's atmosphere mixes on a scale of weeks to months, so a measurement of these air bubbles gives what is essentially a global average. For this study, scientists focused on samples 8,000 to 22,000 years old, and collected data in increments averaging 250 years in resolution.

New insights into the glaciation cycles that occurred on Earth long before humans began affecting the temperature of the atmosphere and oceans are now possible using the technique of measuring noble gas quantities. The study determined that the average global ocean temperature at the peak of the most recent ice age was 0.9 ºC (33.6 ºF). The modern ocean's average temperature is 3.5 ºC (38.3 ºF). The incremental measurements between these data points provide an understanding of the global climate never before possible.

"The reason this study is so exciting is that previous methods of reconstructing ocean heat content have very large age uncertainties, [which] smooths out the more subtle features of the record," said co-author Sarah Shackleton, a graduate student in the Severinghaus lab at Scripps. "Because WAIS Divide is so well dated, this is the first time that we've been able to see these subtle features in the record of the deglaciation. This helps us better understand the processes that control changes in ocean heat content."

"Our precision is about 0.2 ºC (0.4 ºF) now, and the warming of the past 50 years is only about 0.1 ºC," he said, adding that advanced equipment can provide more precise measurements, allowing scientists to use this technique to track the current warming trend in the world's oceans.


The End of the Ocean Acidification Scare for Corals
Paper Reviewed: McCulloch, M.T., D'Olivo, J.P., Falter, J., Holcomb, M. and Trotter, J.A. 2017. Coral calcification in a changing world and the interactive dynamics of pH and DIC upregulation. Nature Communications 8: 15686, DOI:10.1038/ncomms15686.

The global increase in the atmosphere's CO2 content has been hypothesized to possess the potential to harm coral reefs directly. By inducing changes in ocean water chemistry that can lead to reductions in the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater (Ω), it has been predicted that elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 may reduce rates of coral calcification, possibly leading to slower-growing -- and, therefore, weaker -- coral skeletons, and in some cases even death. Such projections, however, often fail to account for the fact that coral calcification is a biologically mediated process, and that out in the real world, living organisms tend to find a way to meet and overcome the many challenges they face, and coral calcification in response to ocean acidification is no exception, as evidenced by findings published in the recent analysis of McCulloch et al. (2017).

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, this team of five researchers developed geochemical proxies (δ11B and B/Ca) from Porites corals located on (1) Davis Reef, a mid-shelf reef located east-northeast of Townsville, Queensland, Australia in the central Great Barrier Reef, and (2) Coral Bay, which is part of the Ningaloo Reef coastal fringing system of Western Australia, in order to obtain seasonal records of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and pH of the corals' calcifying fluid (cf) at these locations for the period 2007-2012. And what did those records reveal?

As shown in the figure below, coral colonies from both reef locations "exhibit strong seasonal changes in pHcf, from ~8.3 during summer to ~8.5 during winter," which "represents an elevation in pHcf relative to ambient seawater of ~0.4 pH units together with a relatively large seasonal range in pHcf of ~0.2 units." These observations, in the words of McCulloch et al., "are in stark contrast to the far more muted changes based on laboratory-controlled experiments" (as shown in the dashed black line on the figure), which laboratory-based values are "an order of magnitude smaller than those actually observed in reef environments."

With respect to DICcf (also depicted in Figure 1), McCulloch et al. report that the "highest DICcf (~ x 3.2 seawater) is found during summer, consistent with thermal/light enhancement of metabolically (zooxanthellae) derived carbon, while the highest pHcf (~8.5) occurs in winter during periods of low DICcf (~ x 2 seawater)."

The proxy records also revealed that coral DICcf was inversely related (r2 ~ 0.9) to pHcf. Commenting on this relationship, the marine scientists say it "indicate[s] that the coral is actively maintaining both high (~x 4 to x 6 seawater) and relatively stable (within ± 10% of mean) levels of elevated Ωcf year-round." Or, as they explain it another way, "we have now identified the key functional characteristics of chemically controlled calcification in reef-building coral. The seasonally varying supply of summer-enhanced metabolic DICcf is accompanied by dynamic out-of-phase upregulation of coral pHcf. These parameters acting together maintain elevated but near-constant levels of carbonate saturation state (Ωcf) of the coral's calcifying fluid, the key driver of calcification."

The implications of the above findings are enormous, for they reveal that "pHcf upregulation occurs largely independent of changes in seawater carbonate chemistry, and hence ocean acidification," demonstrating "the ability of the coral to 'control' what is arguably one of its most fundamental physiological processes, the growth of its skeleton within which it lives." Furthermore, McCulloch et al. say their work presents "major ramifications for the interpretation of the large number of experiments that have reported a strong sensitivity of coral calcification to increasing ocean acidification," explaining that "an inherent limitation of many of these experiments is that they were generally conducted under conditions of fixed seawater pHsw and/or temperature, light, nutrients, and little water motion, hence conditions that are not conducive to reproducing the natural interactive effects between pHcf and DICcf that we have documented here." Given as much, they conclude that "since the interactive dynamics of pHcf and DICcf upregulation do not appear to be properly simulated under the short-term conditions generally imposed by such artificial experiments, the relevance of their commonly reported finding of reduced coral calcification with reduced seawater pH must now be questioned."

And so it appears that alarmist claims of near-future coral reef dissolution, courtesy of the ever-hyped ocean acidification hypothesis, have themselves dissolved away thanks to the seminal work of McCulloch et al. Clearly, the world's corals are much more resilient to changes in their environment than acidification alarmists have claimed them to be.


Environmentalists freak out over Trump’s repeal of rule which never went into effect

The green energy, “keep it in the ground” folks are off to a bad start in 2018. It turns out that another one of Barack Obama’s signature “achievements” in energy regulation, the one which would heavily regulate fracking on federal lands, is going away. Given what a dirty word “fracking” has become in liberal circles, this is causing all manner of outrage on the left. There’s only one catch here… the rule in question never even went into effect for even a single day. (Washington Times)

The Obama administration’s 2015 fracking rule was never actually implemented, thanks to an ongoing court battle, and it apparently never will be.

The Interior Department published a final rule Friday in the Federal Register repealing immediately the hydraulic-fracturing regulation on federal lands, saying that “we believe it imposes administrative burdens and compliance costs that are not justified.”

The previous fracking rule was already moribund after a federal judge in Wyoming struck it down in June 2016 in response to a four-state lawsuit, holding that the Bureau of Land Management had overstepped its authority by acting without congressional approval.

Under Obama, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had been fighting the lower court ruling every step of the way. The 10th Circuit had given them until January 12th to file their next appeal and keep the case going. But now that the new rules have come out and the regulation under discussion has disappeared, the point is moot and the case has collapsed in upon itself.

That’s a sensible approach since each state already sets their own rules regarding fracking. If the residents of certain states (such as New York, sadly) wish to elect leaders who ban fracking and miss out on that sort of economic opportunity, that’s up to them. As the Trump administration is pointing out, that’s why it’s best left up to the states. Meanwhile, other states such as Pennsylvania are seeing an employment boom and rising personal wealth for people who lease out their land for energy development. And after many years of this, the Keystone State doesn’t seem to have fallen into a black hole.

Meanwhile, on a somewhat related note, do you recall how we finally got the Dakota Access Pipeline approved and finished? You might be wondering how that’s working out for the people of North Dakota. The Wall Street Journal looked into the question (subscription required) and found that things are coming up roses.

In just six months of service, the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline has boosted North Dakota’s economy and energy sector, helping lower transportation costs for energy companies and increase oil production by 78,000 barrels per day in October from September — the biggest-ever monthly rise. As a result, the state had an unemployment rate of 2.3% in November, while revenue climbed by about $43.5 million in the first five months since the pipeline came online.

That’s the result for a pipeline which only occupies space inside the United States. We’re still seeing too many delays on international pipeline work thanks to ongoing court challenges. And do you know what that means for shipping volumes? Environmentalists will probably cheer and tell you that less oil is being moved, but that’s not the case. It just means that more and more of it is moving by train. According to Reuters, Canadian crude-by-rail exports to the United States hit a six-month high of 137,000 barrels per day in October and it’s not slowing down. They’d better hope those trains are smarter than some of our recent passenger rail service lines or they’ll be wishing they had more pipelines in operation.


Little Ireland being bullied over climate by EU

Ireland is facing a fine of €75 million each year if 16% of its energy doesn’t come from renewable-energy sources by 2020, such as solar panels and wind turbines.

EU member states have committed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

Currently, Ireland is one of four member states that are predicted to miss their emissions target.

Varadkar said there will be a “big focus” on climate change by his government this year, and over the next ten years “to enable us to meet our commitments which we are not meeting at the moment”.

He said:

In fact from 2020 onwards we’re heading into some pretty major fines for not meeting our obligations. I would rather spend money now on meeting our commitments than on fines from 2020 onwards.

In an interview with, Environment Minister Denis Naughten admitted that the Ireland’s progress on the 2020 emissions targets has been disappointing.

Attending a climate summit in Paris last year, Naughten reaffirmed Ireland’s commitment to the global objectives set down by the Paris Agreement to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“I am going to get us as close as possible to the target,” he told, stating that despite missing the 20% reduction for 2020, he hopes to hit the 30% reduction mark in 2030.

The bigger issue for the minister is the renewable energy targets, said Naughten.

The current trajectory puts Ireland at 13% so far, but if we fail to hit these targets, the country face annualised fines from the European Union, explained the minister.


Failed Polar Bear Predictions Have Climate Change Community In A Panic

Polar bear experts who falsely predicted that roughly 17,300 polar bears would be dead by now (given sea ice conditions since 2007) have realized their failure has not only kicked their own credibility to the curb, it has taken with it the reputations of their climate change colleagues.

This has left many folks unhappy about the toppling of this important global warming icon but ironically, consensus polar bear experts and climate scientists (and their supporters) were the ones who set up the polar bear as a proxy for AGW in the first place.

I published my professional criticisms on the failed predictions of the polar bear conservation community in a professional online scientific preprint journal, which has now been downloaded almost 2,000 times (Crockford 2017; Crockford and Geist 2017).

My paper demonstrates that the polar bear/seaice decline hypothesis, particularly the one developed by Steven Amstrup, is a failure. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as emails obtained from the US Fish and Wildlife Service show. The argument the paper lays out and the facts it presents have not been challenged by any one of the consensus polar bear experts who object to it so strenuously. Instead, they have chosen to misrepresent my work, and publicly belittle my credentials and scientific integrity in the published literature (Harvey et al. 2017) and online.

Harvey and colleagues suggest in their paper that I and others use polar bears as a proxy for AGW as part of a deliberate plan to undermine the public’s confidence in global warming. Harvey et al. state:

“…the main strategy of denier blogs is therefore to focus on topics that are showy and in which it is therefore easy to generate public interest. These topics are used as “proxies” for AGW in general; in other words, they represent keystone dominoes that are  strategically placed in front of many hundreds of others, each representing a separate line of evidence for AGW. By appearing to knock over the keystone domino, audiences targeted by the communication may assume all other dominoes are toppled in a form of “dismissal by association.”

I do not recall ever stating or implying that if polar bear predictions of doom were wrong, then general climate change models must also be wrong. But if any other bloggers have done so, they can hardly be blamed.

A bit of reflection shows it was the climate science community itself — in collaboration with Arctic researchers and the media — who by the year 2000 set the polar bear up as an icon for catastrophic global warming. They made the polar bear a proxy for AGW.

Al Gore used the polar bears on an ice flow image to seal global warming icon status for the polar bear in his 2007 movie, An Inconvenient Truth.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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