Monday, January 27, 2014

That "submerged" heat

Warmists are clinging to their "ocean heat" theory like rats clinging to the debris from a shipwreck.  That the hiatus in land surface warming accompanied by a big CO2 buildup DISPROVES their theory they cannot contemplate.

On the global warming theory as I see it, CO2 reflection is such a minor source of heating that the effects of variations in it SHOULD be so minuscule as to be  undetectable  -- and the facts tally with that.  So both theory and observations point to CO2 levels as being of no concern.

So the theory that there is "missing" heat that has somehow buried itself in the ocean deeps is just desperate ad hocery.  But even Warmists need SOMETHING to back up their theories so what is it?  It's not much.  Judith Curry has just done an extensive coverage of what little we know of deep ocean temperatures and finds that it is only guesswork that transforms what we know into support for the theory.  A few excerpts:

Reanalysis versus observations

So exactly where does the argument come from that the deep ocean is sequestering the ‘missing heat’?  It seems to come from the Balmaseda et al paper  that is based on ocean reanalysis

Now, the theoretical advantage of ocean data assimilation is that it ‘fills in’ unsampled regions using the model dynamics and thermodynamics.  Lets compare the Balmaseda et al. reanalysis with the observational climatologies. Focus first on the 0-700 curves, and compare with the corresponding figures in the AR5 and Lyman &  Johnson.   Balmaseda et al. shows a large increase from 1983-1992 (between the two volcanoes), whereas most of the observational climatologies show little trend during this period and none show a large trend during this entire period.  The strong warming trend shown by the observations during the period 1995-2003 followed by weaker trend since 2003, contrasts with Balmaseda that shows no trend between 1992 and 2000, and then a strong warming trend since 2000.

The most surprising thing about the Balmaseda analysis is that the warming increases with increasing depth (largest warming for the 0-7000 m layer).  In comparing Balmaseda with the other figures, pay attention to the different scaling for the OHC.  But the bottom line is that there does not seem to be any observational support for this large sequestration of heat in the deep ocean that is shown by the reanalysis.

Warming trends (0-2000 m) are seen in the Indian Ocean and the South Atlantic, with slight cooling trends in the Pacific and North Atlantic.  Now it seems difficult to me to cook up an explanation for this regional variation in trends that relies on external forcing, although I suspect that someone will think of some rationale for aerosol/black carbon forcing to explain this.  This most likely reflects natural internal variability.  It doesn’t look like an AGW signal to me.

JC summary

Roger Pielke Sr. has often stated that ocean heat content is a much better metric for climate change than surface temperature.   I don’t prefer one over the other as an intrinsic metric (they provide two different pieces of information), but I find the ocean heat content data to be a much less mature data set than the surface temperature data set.  The sampling  particularly of the mid to deep ocean is very sparse prior to 2000.  And the oceanographic community is still debating the calibration of MBT and XBT profiles.  There is substantial disagreement among the various OHC climatologies, and there are no OHC climatologies prior to 1950.   Global sea level trend data suggests substantial thermal expansion in the earlier part of the 20th century, which is an issue that seems insufficiently explored.

Ocean reanalyses can potentially provide new insights into global OHC variations, but ocean reanalysis is in its infancy.

The main issue of interest is to what extent can ocean heat sequestration explain the hiatus since 1998.  The only data set that appears to provide support for ocean sequestration is the ocean reanalysis, with the Palmer and Domingues 0-700 m OHC climatology providing support for continued warming in the upper ocean.

All in all, I don’t see a very convincing case for deep ocean sequestration of heat.  And even if the heat from surface heating of the ocean did make it into the deep ocean, presumably the only way for this to happen involves mixing (rather than adiabatic processes), so it is very difficult to imagine how this heat could reappear at the surface in light of the 2nd law of thermodynamics.


Miss global warming yet? Just you wait…

By Larry Bell

Perhaps you noticed a recent chill in the air. So did some numb Green Bay Packer fans who watched their team get frozen out of the NFL playoffs by the San Francisco 49ers in near-zero temperatures, Israeli residents confined to homes by three feet of snow that fell in Jerusalem as the worst winter storm in decades swept through the Middle East, and a group of Australian climate scientists hell-bent upon documenting global warming aboard a Russian ship that got dangerously trapped in Antarctic sea ice.

And sure, while climate really does change, none of such incidents really mean much in the context of longer-term trends. After all, the term “climate” generally refers to patterns extending over periods of at least three decades (depending a whole lot on when you begin measuring). Like for example, there was a period from about 1940 to the early 1970s when records showed a cooling trend. Some scientists at that time even predicted that the Earth was heading for the next in a regular series of Ice Ages.

The popular press, including Time, Newsweek, and the New York Times, featured these claims in a number of alarming headline articles. Within only about half of a 30-year-long climate period later media attention shifted to a new and opposite threat…one that set Al Gore’s pants on fire during his 1988 Senate hearings on the matter.

By that time the United Nations had already determined that global warming was a crisis and that human fossil fuel CO2 emissions were the cause.  To avoid any doubt of just how bad conditions were and who was most responsible the UN convened an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which rapidly fixed blame on rich nations.

From there the UN was less than a frenetic hop, skip and jump away from prescribing solutions. In short order they established a cap and trade program (the Kyoto Protocol) to tax carbon emissions, plus demanded additional economic penance from developed countries for all that climate damage their prosperity is causing.

Then everything ran into an unanticipated snag…that “best laid plans of mice and men going awry” conundrum thing. Just when those random noise data IPCC hockey stick chart-producing computer programs predicted carbon dioxide-driven temperatures going orbital and sea levels flooding Capitol Hill, something went terribly wrong.

Yup, in case you noticed, global temperatures went flat, and have stayed that way now since the time most of today’s high school students were born. Incidentally, we’re at that time now Al predicted in his December 10, 2007, “Earth has a Fever” Nobel Prize acceptance speech that Arctic summer sea ice could “completely disappear.”

Instead, the Arctic actually gained 920,000 square miles of ice during 2013 over 2012, the largest year-to-year increase since satellite records began. But if you thought global warming was scary, here’s an alternative to consider. Some really smart scientists predict that Planet Earth is now entering a very deep and prolonged cooling period attributable to 100-year record low numbers of sunspots. Periods of reduced sunspot activity correlate with increased cloud-forming influences of cosmic rays. More clouds tend to make conditions cooler, while fewer often cause warming.

Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov, who heads Russia’s prestigious Pulkovo Observatory in St. Petersburg, predicts that: “after the maximum of solar Cycle-24, from approximately 2014, we can expect the start of the next bicentennial cycle of deep cooling with a Little Ice Age in 2055 plus or minus 11 years” (the 19th to occur in the past 7,500 years).

Dr. Abdussamatov points out that Earth has experienced such occurrences five times over the last 1,000 years, and that: “A global freeze will come about regardless of whether or not industrialized countries put a cap on their greenhouse gas emissions. The common view of Man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect.”

While solar output typically goes through 11-year cycles with high numbers of sunspots seen at their peak, we are currently approaching the peak of “Cycle-24” with numbers running at less than half of those observed during other 20th century peaks.

Are scientists such as Dr. Abdussamatov right? Darned if I know! After all, I’ve never claimed to be a real climate scientist like Al Gore or the people who got paid to make those expensive computer program charts. I’m just a space guy.

But just on the chance that they are, harsh winter temperatures and shorter growing seasons like those that occurred during the “Little Ice Age” between about 1300-1850 are nothing to wish for. Shortened, less reliable growing seasons in Europe brought on the Great Famine of 1315-1317. Norse colonies which had settled in a formerly warmer Greenland starved and vanished by the early fifteenth century as crops failed and livestock froze.

During the mid-seventeenth century encroaching glaciers destroyed farms and villages in the Swiss Alps. Sea ice surrounding Iceland closed harbors to shipping. Boxed in and experiencing cereal crop farming failures, Iceland’s population fell by half. In the late seventeenth century agriculture dropped off so dramatically that Alpine villagers lived on breads made from ground nutshells mixed with barley and oat flour.

Famines claimed about ten percent of the people in France, Norway and Sweden, about one-fifth of those in Estonia, and one-third in Finland during the late 1600s. Near the end of that Little Ice Age Washington’s troops endured brutally cold conditions at Valley Forge during the winter of 1776-77, and Napoleon’s suffered a frigid retreat from Moscow in 1812. New York Harbor froze in 1780, allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Staten Island.

Gregory Willits, an avowed global warming worrier, recently wrote in a December Orlando Sentinel piece that “We are not capable of addressing climate change” (meaning we can’t stop it), so “Let’s accept climate change and deal with it in a big way.”

Since the climate has been warming little-by-little in fits-and-starts since the end of that Little Ice Age (before the Industrial Revolution brought with it those CO2-belching smoke stacks and SUVs), are we to assume that Willits is referring here to natural climate change after 1850? I doubt it.

Still, there have been a couple of climate changes since then. In fact the past century has witnessed two distinct periods of warming and cooling. The first warming period occurred between 1900 and 1945. Since CO2 levels were relatively low then compared with now, and didn’t change much, they couldn’t have been the cause before 1950.

The second, following a slight cool-down, began in 1975 and rose at quite a constant rate until 1998, a strong Pacific Ocean El Niño year…although this later warming is reported only by surface thermometers, not satellites, and is legitimately disputed by some. (There’s some background on this in my June 18 column.)

No, Gregory Willits is apparently referring only to that half-cycle period or so of warming that occurred about a half cycle of flat temperatures ago. But even then, he does offer some constructive ideas. One is to conserve energy.  Sure, although his proposal to put windmills atop buildings might fall several knots short of breezy progress in that direction.

The other is to construct sea walls to hold back the rising tides. Although fluctuating sea level rises over the past several centuries have averaged about 7 inches, and continue to rise at that rate with no evidence of acceleration, land subsidence and hurricane risks are ever-present issues that must be taken into account.

Incidentally, the East Antarctic ice sheet which contains about 90 percent of the Earth’s fresh water is not melting… it is expanding, as is Antarctic shelf ice. Only the West Antarctic Peninsula which contains less than 10 percent of Antarctic ice has lost mass. The South Pole has shown no warming since records began in 1957.

But let’s all agree that practical preparation for all reasonable contingencies, including climate change, makes sense. And while we’re at it, let’s include planning for global cooling: times when long winter nights, snow-covered solar panels and intermittently operating iced-over wind turbines can’t recharge those plug-in cars we are being urged to purchase.

After all, where are we going to get all the power we need after EPA shuts down coal-fired plants that provide about 40 percent of our electricity? And where’s that non-fossil heat going to come from to keep the kids and grandma safe from hypothermia? Finally, how about a little gratitude for the climate conditions we presently have?

Although no one really knows how long global temperatures will remain flat as they have now for well more than a decade, maybe we’ll get lucky. Let’s truly hope that those scientists predicting we’re in opening rounds of another chiller-diller are wrong.


EPA’s Car Buying Guide Touts Electric Vehicles -- and Walking or Biking

An Environmental Protection Agency’s website that offers car buying tips lists the best and worst vehicles based on fuel economy. Small electric vehicles top the most efficient list, while luxury vehicles are listed as the least efficient.

Nine of the top 10 cars are electric vehicles. The 2014 Smart Fortwo electric drive convertible and coupe, which have only two seats, tops the list with 107 mpg.

Also on the list are the Fiat 500e, Chevrolet Spark, Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, Honda Fit and Toyota Prius (the only hybrid).

On the “worst” list are many of the most luxurious cars in the world, including the Bugatti Veyron, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Bentley, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet Camaro and Cadillac, in that order.

The Bugatti Veyron – which cost more than $2 million – gets 10 miles per gallon, according to EPA estimates.

Visitors to the website can also read about why driving a small car is beneficial – from reducing climate change to less dependence on foreign sources of oil.

“Oil price shocks and price manipulation by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have cost our economy dearly—about $2 trillion from 2004 to 2008,” the website states.

The website also makes suggestions of how to reduce climate change. In addition to driving fuel-efficient cars, visitors who are shopping for a car are told “walking, biking or taking public transit more often” can help.

As reported earlier, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for less than half of one percent of the 11.7 million light vehicles purchased in the U.S. over the first nine months of 2013.


UK: "Green" Tory MP to get the boot

Tory Tim Yeo’s hopes of avoiding the sack as an MP suffered a setback last night after three fellow grandees piled the pressure on him.

Mr Yeo has been criticised for earning £400,000 from green energy interests since 2009 while chairing the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee since 2010.

Now three fellow Tory MPs – who also chair Commons select committees – have distanced themselves from Mr Yeo, fighting to overturn a decision by local party chiefs to deselect him as Suffolk South MP.

Mr Yeo’s neighbouring North Essex MP, Bernard Jenkin, has backed moves to force MPs to give up all commercial interests linked to committee work.

And he refuses to add his name to MPs calling on Mr Yeo’s activists to save him in a ballot on his future.

And Tory MP James Arbuthnot said he is stepping down as Commons Defence Select Committee head to pursue outside interests in defence as staying on as chairman would be ‘wrong and a conflict of interests’.

Tory John Whittingdale, who leads the Culture, Media And Sport Committee, has indicated he is unwilling to back Mr Yeo and believes Commons committee chairmen should not have ‘substantial earnings’ linked to their political duties.

Mr Yeo, who will be 70 at the next Election, was deselected over claims he spends too little time in his constituency and abused his position as chairman of his Commons committee.

The result of a ballot of 600 local activists on whether to overturn the decision will be announced on February 3.

South Suffolk Tory executive member Simon Barrett said: ‘Many people will agree wholeheartedly with these three senior Conservatives. Dissatisfaction with Mr Yeo has grown over a long time. People are tired of his arrogant attitude.’

Mr Yeo insists he was ‘totally exonerated’ by the report into claims he abused his job running the Climate Change Committee.

David Cameron yesterday added his name to Tory MPs backing Mr Yeo, who said last night he would abide by any changes in the rules for committee chairman approved by the Commons, though had no plans to give up his ‘green’ interests until then.

He said: ‘In more than 30 years as an MP I have always abided by the rules of the House.’


UK: Somerset Levels: There’s nothing 'natural’ about this man-made flooding

As I stood on the Somerset Levels on Thursday, watching one of the most spectacular sights known to nature – the aerobatic display of half a million starlings preparing to roost in the reeds – there was no clue that a few miles to the west a disaster was taking place: the flooding of 26 square miles of the Levels with water up to 6ft deep, marooning whole villages and likely to block the main A361 road across the county for weeks to come.

What is truly shocking about this “major incident”, as it has now been officially declared – costing, it is estimated, well over £50 million to clear up – is that it is not just largely man-made but it results from a deliberate decision by a Government agency out of control.

Talk to the locals, and to the experts of the Royal Bath & West agricultural society, representing hundreds of farmers – the Levels comprise a fifth of all Somerset’s farmland – and they are in no doubt as to why these floods are the most devastating in memory: it is because, since it took over prime responsibility in 1995 for keeping this vast area drained, the Environment Agency has deliberately abandoned the long-standing policy of dredging its rivers.

Thanks to the agency, the four main rivers have become so clogged with silt that there is no way for floodwaters to escape. The farmers and the local drainage boards that used to keep the pumping stations in working order are only too keen to play their part in clearing the maze of drainage ditches. But the agency’s officials have decreed that, as soon as silt is lifted on to the banks, it cannot be spread on nearby fields without being classified as “controlled waste”, making it so difficult to move that much of it just slides back into the water.

Last Wednesday in Westminster Hall, the four MPs for the area, one Tory and three Lib Dems, were at one in blaming this disaster squarely on the Environment Agency, calling one after another for the resumption of dredging. Leading the debate, Bridgwater’s Tory MP Ian Liddell-Grainger pointed out that, while the agency says it doesn’t have the £3 million needed to dredge the rivers, it is happy to see £31 million spent on dismantling flood defences on the nearby coast to provide a wildlife habitat.

The Levels farmers pay hefty rates to their drainage boards, only to see £560,000 a year of it going to the Environment Agency – to be spent, as they see it, on little more than providing its officials with shiny new 4x4s to drive around in announcing “flood alerts”, and to provide warnings on local television of yet more inundations that they did nothing to avert.

What the tens of thousands of people who live and work on the Levels want to see is our Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, taking a grip on this disaster, by forcing the Environment Agency to spend a fraction of its £1.2 billion a year income on a job it was set up to do. Mr Paterson cannot afford any repetition of the highly embarrassing recent episode, when one of his junior ministers was ferried to the marooned village of Muchelney, only to convince the residents that he hadn’t the faintest idea what he was talking about.


Coralline algae in a high CO2 world:  How do they cope?

Discussing:  Ragazzola, F., Foster, L.C., Form, A.U., Buscher, J., Hansteen, T.H. and Fietzke, J. 2013. "Phenotypic plasticity of a coralline algae in a high CO2 world". Ecology and Evolution 3: 3436-3446.

Ragazzola et al. (2013) introduce their study by noting that coralline algae have been shown to be a major contributor to the formation and stabilization of coral reefs and in enhancing coral larvae settlement, citing Chisholm (2000). And due to what they call "their crucial role in shallow water ecosystems and their worldwide distribution," they say that "understanding the impact of ocean acidification on calcifying algae is fundamental," especially since "their high-Mg calcite skeleton is the most soluble polymorph of CaCO3 (50% more soluble than calcite and 20% more soluble than aragonite)," and that coralline algae are therefore "likely to be particularly sensitive to a reduction in Ω," which is the calcium carbonate saturation state of seawater, citing Ries (2011), Burdett et al. (2012) and Martin et al. (2013).

Due to the fact that "species with wide geographic ranges, such as coralline algae, are in general very plastic and able to acclimatize to a variety of habitats through morphological and functional responses (Brody, 2004)," Ragazzola et al. cultured Lithothamnion glaciale, one of the main maerl-forming species in the northern latitudes, under different elevated CO2 levels (410, 560, 840, 1120 ppm = 8.02, 7.92, 7.80, 7.72 pH ) for a period of ten months, but with initial analyses of the various parameters they measured being conducted at the three-month point of the study, as reported by Ragazzola et al. (2012).

In doing so, the six scientists report that the growth rates of the plants in the three CO2-enriched treatments after the first three months of their study were not significantly different from either each other or from those of the ambient-treatment plants.

At the end of the ten-month experiment, however, the CO2-enriched plants' growth rates were approximately 60% lower than that of the ambient-treatment plants. On the other hand, they found that the individual cell wall thicknesses of both inter and intra filaments at the three-month point of the study were significantly thinner than those of the control plants, whereas at the end of the ten-month study they were equivalent to those of the control plants.

In discussing these findings, Ragazzola et al. (2013) write that a possible explanation for them is "a shift from what could be termed a 'passive' phase during the first three months to an 'active' phase by the end of ten months," whereby "during the 'passive' phase, the increased energy requirement for calcification due to higher CO2 results in a reduction in the amount of calcite deposited in each cell well," but during the 'active phase,' L. glaciale reduces its growth rate so that the cell wall structure can be better maintained.

Noting that maintaining skeletal integrity is one of the main priorities of marine organisms living in high CO2 environments, the German and UK researchers say "the results of this study indicate that seawater chemistry can drive phenotypic plasticity in coralline algae," and that "the ability to change the energy allocation between cell growth and structural support is a clear adaptive response of the organism," which they say "is likely to increase its ability to survive in a high CO2 world."



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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