Wednesday, October 11, 2017

New Paper: Temperature Increase From Doubling CO2 Is ‘Insignificant Compared to Natural Variability’

In his paper below, Engineer Pontius covers both global and local climate causes and effects.  Abstract followed by selected excerpts from the paper

Sustainable Infrastructure: Climate Changes and Carbon Dioxide

Frederick W. Pontius,  California Baptist University


Civil infrastructure provides the physical backbone of all societies. Water supply, wastewater treatment, transportation systems, and civil structures must be sustainable over multiple decades (e.g. 20, 30, 50 years) for human populations to survive and flourish. Over such a long time-period, climate changes are inevitable. The global atmospheric system is dynamic. Weather and climates are constantly adjusting. To date the effects of carbon dioxide have been evaluated almost exclusively using a global reference frame. However, civil infrastructure is stationary and local in nature. A locational reference frame is introduced here as an alternative framework for evaluating the effect of carbon dioxide on civil infrastructure. Temperature data from the City of Riverside, California from 1901 to 2017 are analyzed to illustrate application of a local reference frame. No evidence of significant climate change beyond natural variability was observed in this temperature record. Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO 2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr which is insignificant compared to natural variability

4.1. Surface Temperature Data Quality

There are three primary global temperature data bases; the combined Climate Research Unit (CRU)-Hadley record (HADCRU), the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)-GISS (GISTEMP) record, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) record. All global surface temperature data bases rely on the same underlying archive of weather station data known as the Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) [23]. GHCN version 2 (GHCN v 2) compiles 31 different data archives each with differing amounts of coverage over time [24, 25]. GHCN v 2 has some data from most places in the world, but continuous coverage for the whole of the 20thcentury is limited to the United States, southern Canada, Europe and a few other locations. Global coverage is non-existent for maximum-minimum temperature data back to 1900.

The HADCRU, GISTEMP, and NOAA surface temperature archives rely on the same underlying input data and therefore are not independent data sets. Limitations of the GHCN affect all data sets. Sampling discontinuities, urbanization and land use changes have decreased the quality of GHCN data over time. Differences in data processing methods between research teams do not compensate for poor underlying data quality inherent in the GHCN data. A similar situation exists with historical Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data sets which are derived primarily from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICODADS) [23].

4.3. Computer Model Simulations The climate system is a highly non-linear complex system with many feedbacks both positive and negative. In the global reference frame, natural processes show variations at spatial and temporal scales. Indeed, the global climate system is continually changing and does not reach an equilibrium state. The global average TOA solar irradiance is 340 ± 0.1 Wm-2 and based on the best available information the resultant net energy flux to the earth is 0.6 ± 0.4 Wm-2 [35]. The energy difference between incoming solar irradiance and net energy flux to the earth drives global climate changes.Figure 7. Global Average, Global Land, and Global Ocean Monthly Temperature Departure from 1981-2010 Mean.

Computer simulations involve mathematical models implemented on a computer imitating one or more natural processes. Models are based on general theories and fundamental principles, idealizations, approximations, mathematical concepts, metaphors, analogies, facts, and empirical data [36, 37]. Judgments and arbitrary choices must be made in model construction to apply fundamental laws to describe turbulent fluid flow. The large size and complexity of the atmosphere prohibit the direct application of general theory. Applying Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics to the global atmosphere is not feasible even with the fastest computers.

Models of the atmosphere rely on parameterizations of physical processes that cannot be directly simulated. A parameterization is a separate mathematical model calculating the net effects of unresolved processes on the processes that can be directly simulated

Sophisticated climate models (coupled ocean-atmosphere GCMs) are very complex and apply a large number of input and feedback parameters. Such atmospheric models are useful but limited in their representation of underlying physical processes. Uncertainties in climate change attribution include internal climate variability, natural forcing, anthropogenic forcing, response patterns to natural and anthropogenic forcing, and discrepancies between observed and modeled temperature variations [38, 39, 40].Simulation-based climate predictions use the method of ensemble prediction, producing multiple simulations for predictive periods of interest with differing initial conditions, parameter values and/or model structures. The predictions of GCMs and ensembles are highly uncertain [39]. In general, ensemble model forecasts have been found unreliable for long-term climate prediction

American Journal of Civil Engineering 2017; 5(5): 254-267

Hydraulic fracturing has done more to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions in the last decade than all renewable energy sources and nuclear power combined, according to data from the Energy Department’s statistical arm

The shift from coal to natural gas alone cut CO2 emissions more than 2 billion metric tons in the last decade, which is about 72 percent more than emissions reduced through increased “non-fossil generation.”

“Between 2005 and 2016, CO2 emissions declined by a cumulative 3,176 [million metric tons] as a result of these two factors,” the Energy Information Administration notes in a new report on U.S. emissions.

Utilities have been investing more in power plants, and converting many coal-fired plants, to burn natural gas in recent years, spurred by the massive increase in shale gas production.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and horizontal drilling has allowed drillers to unlock once out of reach shale gas reserves. The fracking boom collapses the price of natural gas since 2008, giving utilities a low-cost alternative fuel as environmental regulations forced coal plants to install expensive equipment or retire.

“It is now clearer than ever that if we are interested in addressing climate change, natural gas must play a significant role,” Steve Everley, spokesman for the industry-backed Texans for Natural Gas, said in a statement.

Environmentalists have given natural gas a mixed reception. Many groups see the shift from coal to lower-emitting natural gas as a positive step, but at the same time oppose fracking into shale.

Activists argue fracking can contaminate groundwater — of which there’s little evidence — and releases methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Environmentalists backed Obama administration regulations on fracking on federal lands and rules to limit methane emissions.

The Trump administration is working to repeal Obama-era rules restricting oil and gas drilling, but environmentalists are using the courts and working through state governments to put areas off-limits to fracking.

The Interior Department entered into a legal settlement in May with the Center For Biological Diversity (CBD). The Bureau of Labor Management had effectively banned fracking on 1 million acres of federal land in California. That area of California will continue to be off-limits to drilling.

Nearly 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide has been reduced through the “growth in non-carbon electricity generation, especially wind and solar,” but that figure also included hydropower and nuclear energy, estimated the Energy Information Admistration (EIA).

“Although total electricity generation use grew by about 1% from 2005 to 2016, related CO2 emissions fell by 24% over that period,” EIA found, attributing most of this decline to natural gas.

“The EIA’s report may be an inconvenient truth for the ‘Keep It In the Ground’ campaign, but it’s further confirmation that affordable energy is linked to a cleaner environment,” Everley said.


Arctic Sea Ice Remarkably Stable Since 2007

Arctic ice extent has been fairly stable since 2007 and is now 500.000 square kilometres (193,000 sq miles)  higher than 10 years ago.

September daily extents are now fully reported and the 2017 September monthly results can be compared with years of the previous decade.  MASIE showed 2017 exceeded 4.8M km2  and SII was close behind, also reaching 4.8M for the month.  The 11 year linear trend is more upward for MASIE, mainly due to 2008 and 2009 reported higher in SII.  In either case, one can easily see the Arctic ice extents since 2007 have not declined and are now 500k km2 higher.

In August, 4.5M km2 was the median estimate of the September monthly average extent from the SIPN (Sea Ice Prediction Network) who use the reports from SII (Sea Ice Index), the NASA team satellite product from passive microwave sensors.

The graph below shows September comparisons through day 273 (Sept. 30).Note that starting day 26 2016 had begun its remarkable recovery, and is now well above the 10 year average, nearly matching 2017. Meanwhile 2007 is 1.1M km2 behind and the Great Arctic Cyclone year of 2012 is 1.4M km2 less than 2017.  Note also that SII is currently matching MASIE.

The narrative from activist ice watchers is along these lines:  2017 minimum is not especially low, but it is very thin.  “The Arctic is on thin ice.”  They are basing that notion on PIOMAS, a model-based estimate of ice volumes, combining extents with estimated thickness.  That technology is not mature, and in any case refers to the satellite era baseline, which began in 1979.

The formation of ice this year does not appear thin, since it is concentrated in the central Arctic.  For example, Consider how Laptev and East Siberian seas together added 180k km2 in the just the last ten days:


Erratic hurricane history
Hurricane incidence does not in any way mirror the fairly smooth and incremental rise in CO2 levels

What a hurricane season! It started very early with Arlene in April but the real action held off until the last week of August, when Hurricane Harvey flooded Texas and Louisiana. Harvey was the first hurricane to make landfall in Texas since Ike in 2008 and the first Category 4 hurricane in Texas since Carla in 1961.

Irma, the 11th strongest Atlantic storm on record (using central pressure, the most reliable measure), had major impacts on islands like Barbuda and St. Martin, the Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos and southern Bahamas. Then crossing northern Cuba it curled back into Florida. It was the first landfalling hurricane and major hurricane in Florida since Wilma in 2005.

Jose too became a major hurricane but never made landfall, though it created large swells along the eastern seaboard and pounded southeastern New England, Cape Cod and the islands with tropical storm winds and coastal flooding as it stalled for days.

Maria, the third major hurricane of the season and 10th strongest Atlantic storm on record, crossed the northern Leeward Islands and plowed through Puerto Rico, doing catastrophic damage to the island. It then moved north into the Atlantic, close enough to pound the Atlantic Coast with large swells from Florida to New Jersey.

And then Hurricane Nate avoided another “Katrina moment” for New Orleans but produced storm surge damage to southeast Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

Before the landfall of two major storms on the U.S. we had gone just short of 12 years without a major hurricane landfall, the longest such lull since the 1860s.

The quiet period came after three big years. Isabel made landfall on the Mid Atlantic in 2003. Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004 and Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005 all made landfall on the mainland. Emily in 2005 was another major hurricane but turned west into Mexico. 2005 holds the record for five Category 4 or greater and four Category 5 impact storms. Some speculated this was the new norm for the Atlantic before nature gave us that 12-year break.

Nothing is new in weather. Great Colonial hurricanes in the Northeast with storm surges up to 20 feet occurred in 1635 and 1675. A Katrina-like storm made landfall in Louisiana in 1722 with major flooding and damage in Louisiana. The Great Chesapeake storm in 1769, like Isabel in 2003, brought major flooding to North Carolina and Virginia. In the Caribbean, the Great Hurricane of 1780 killed an estimated 27,500 people while ravaging the islands of the eastern Caribbean with winds estimated to top 200 m.p.h. It was one of three hurricanes that year with death tolls greater than 1,000.

1893 had at least 10 hurricanes. Of those, five became major hurricanes. Two of the hurricanes caused over two thousand (2,000) deaths in the United States. At the time, that season was the deadliest in U.S. history.

1886 came close with at least 10 hurricanes, seven making landfall. Four of the hurricanes were major hurricanes.

The Galveston Hurricane in 1900 killed at least 8,000 people with some estimates as high as 12,000, making it the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

So major hurricanes have occurred even during cold periods


Tony Abbott tells climate sceptics forum global warming may be good and climate science is ‘crap’

TONY Abbott has told a climate sceptics’ forum in London that global warming may actually be a good thing, while doubling down on his view that climate science is “absolute crap”.

The former prime minister likened climate scientists to the “thought police” in his address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation on Monday night and said that a “gradual lift in global temperatures” may be beneficial.

Meanwhile, it became clear yesterday that Malcolm Turnbull would likely cave to internal backbench pressure on energy reform and reject a recommendation from the Chief Scientist to introduce a Clean Energy Target.

In his speech, Mr Abbott said there was growing evidence data sets had been slanted to fit the theory of “dangerous” man-made global warming. And while that did not make the warnings about global warming false, “it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it”, he said.

He then raised the possibility that global warming might be beneficial if higher concentrations of carbon dioxide were “greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields”.

“In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heatwaves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it’s accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.”

Mr Abbott doubled down on his 2009 pronouncement that climate science was “absolute crap” and likened the current policy position to primitive people killing goats to “appease the volcano gods”.

Australia’s stance on limiting greenhouse gas emissions through supporting renewable technology was only hurting its industry and would have little impact unless other major emitters followed suit, Mr Abbott claimed.

“We’re more sophisticated now but are still sacrificing our industries and our living standards to the ­climate gods to little more effect,” he said.

“So far, climate change policy has generated new taxes, new subsidies and new restrictions in rich countries, and new demands for more aid from poor countries.

“But for the really big emitters, China and India, it’s a First World problem. “Between them, they’re building or planning more than 800 new coal-fired power stations — often using Australian coal.

“Should Australia close down its steel industry; watch passively while its aluminium industry moves offshore; export coal but not use it?  “Of course not, but these are the inevitable consequences of continuing current policies.

“That’s the reality no one has wanted to face for a long time: that we couldn’t reduce emissions without also hurting the economy; that’s the inconvenient truth that can now no longer be avoided.

“The only rational choice is to put Australian jobs and Australia’s standard of living first; to get emissions down but only as far as we can without putting prices up.

“After two decades’ experience of the very modest reality of climate change but the increasingly dire consequences of the policy to deal with it, anything else would be a dereliction of duty and a political death wish.”

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen accused Mr Abbott of stopping any sensible policy progress on climate change.

“It’s 2017 and we have a former prime minister overseas denying the science of climate change,” he told ABC radio.

“He can say what he likes, he’s calling the shots on the policy of Australia. He is an effective handbrake on the elected prime minister.”

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg told an energy summit on Monday the government was considering its new policy against a backdrop of the rapidly falling cost of renewables and storage, greater efficiencies being found in thermal generation and the need for sufficient dispatchable power.

In 2013, former prime minister John Howard told the annual lecture an international agreement on emissions would never be reached and Mr Abbott’s own election victory was in part a backlash to “overzealous action” on global warming.




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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