Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Arctic temperatures soaring and "locked in"

Two days ago I reproduced a new UN Environment report on the Arctic which not only claimed that the Arctic temperatures would soar but also that they were "locked in".  I dismissed it as attributing to climate factors effects which were much more likely caused by subsurface vulcanism.

That old warrior of global warming, Ezekiel Hausfather, has also however rubbished the report -- rather swingeingly. Apparently it was some sort of cut & paste job that got lots of things wrong. Zeke takes his numbers seriously and insists that a whole range of future temperatures is possible and that NOTHING is "locked in".  He explains below:

A new UN Environment report on the Arctic was released last week, which covered a broad range of changes to the region’s climate, environment, wildlife and epidemiology.

The accompanying press release focused on the report’s section about climate change. It warned that, “even if the Paris Agreement goals are met, Arctic winter temperatures will increase 3-5C by 2050 compared to 1986-2005 levels” and will warm 5-9C by 2080.

The report was covered by a number of news outlets, including the Guardian, Wired, Hill, CBC and others. Media coverage focused on the idea – promoted in the press release – that large amounts of Arctic warming is “locked in”, “inevitable” or “unavoidable”.

However, an investigation by Carbon Brief has found that the section of the report on climate change erroneously conflates the Paris Agreement target – which is to limit warming to “well below” 2C by the end of the century relative to pre-industrial levels – with a scenario that has much more modest emission reductions which result in around 3C of global warming.

In climate-model runs using a scenario limiting global warming to below 2C, the Arctic still warms faster than the rest of the world. But future Arctic winter warming will be around 0.5-5C by the 2080s compared to 1986-2005 levels, much lower than the 5-9C values stated in the report.

This means that much of the future warming in the Arctic will depend on our emissions over the 21st century, rather than being “locked in”, as the report claims.

Erroneous paragraph

The UN Environment report is titled, “Global linkages: A graphic look at the changing Arctic”. It provides a brief, accessible and infographic-heavy look at a number of different areas in which the Arctic has changed in recent decades and may change in the future.

The section of the report covering Arctic temperatures – which is only two pages long – does not present any new research. Rather, it summarises the findings of a number of recent, more technical studies. The future temperature projections, which were the focus of the press release and associated media coverage, are contained in a single paragraph of the report:

“Warmer temperatures in the Arctic resulted in a record low in the winter sea ice extent between 2015–2018 (Overland et al., 2018). Indeed, under a medium- or high-emission scenario, projected temperature changes for the Arctic will follow a winter warming trend at least double the rate for the northern hemisphere (AMAP 2017a). This means that even if countries manage to cut GHG emissions to the targets outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, winter temperatures in the Arctic will still be 3 to 5C higher by 2050 and 5 to 9C higher by 2080, relative to 1986–2005 levels. In fact, even if we stopped all emissions overnight, winter temperatures in the Arctic will still increase by 4 to 5C compared to the late twentieth century. This increase is locked into the climate system by GHGs already emitted and ocean heat storage (AMAP 2017a).”

However, this paragraph contains a number of unclear statements and errors that undercut the message that large amounts of future Arctic warming are “locked into the climate system”.

While the first two sentences are accurate, problems begin in the third when the report argues that meeting Paris Agreement targets would still result in winter Arctic warming of 3-5C by 2050 and 5-9C by 2080, relative to 1986-2005 levels.

The reference for these numbers is the 2017 Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) report. The 2017 AMAP report states:

“Over the Arctic Ocean, which is ice-free in early winter in some models and covered by thin sea ice during late winter, the warming is 3–5C by mid-century and 5–9C by late century under RCP4.5.”

The UN Environment report drops the reference to the Arctic Ocean, referring to these warming projections as ”winter temperatures in the Arctic” – a much larger area of the Earth than just the region over the Arctic Ocean. The actual warming in RCP4.5 for the full Arctic (between 60N and 90N) in the 2017 AMAP report is a bit lower: around 3.8-7.8C in the 2080s. There is another minor issue where the new report gives specific years (2050 and 2080), while the 2017 AMAP report actually uses the periods from 2050-2059 and 2080-2089.

The major problem with the paragraph comes when it associates the 2017 AMAP warming numbers – which refer to the RCP4.5 scenario – with “the targets outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change”.

In the Paris Agreement, countries set a target to limit warming “well below” 2C, with an aspirational target of limiting warming below 1.5C. However, the 2017 AMAP report only considers two future emissions scenarios: a very-high-emission RCP8.5 scenario, where the world experiences more than 4C warming; and a medium-emission RCP4.5 scenario, where the world experiences around 3C warming compared to pre-industrial levels by the end of the century.

If countries were to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting warming to “well below” 2C, global emissions would actually follow a RCP2.6 scenario (or cut emissions even more quickly to limit warming to 1.5C). While RCP2.6 still sees some additional Arctic warming, it is much smaller than the numbers contained in the report.

The figure below shows the winter warming in the Arctic from all of the CMIP5 climate models used in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth assessment report for the RCP2.6 scenario. The black lines show the average of all the models, the dark area shows the range in which two-thirds of the models fall (the one-sigma range), and the light area shows the range covering 95% of the model runs (the two-sigma range).

RCP2.6 climate-model runs from CMIP5 for the region between 60N and 90N for the winter months (December, January and February) for the 32 different climate models providing RCP2.6 runs (with one run used per model). Model data obtained from KNMI Climate Explorer.

In a scenario where the Paris Agreement target is met, the actual winter warming projected for the Arctic is 0.8-4.5C in the 2050s and 0.5-5C in the 2080s relative to 1986–2005 levels (following the approach used in 2017 AMAP report of giving one-sigma ranges). The multi-model mean shows 2.8C warming in both the 2050s and 2080s, as falling global emissions limit further warming after the middle of the century.

The statement in the report that “even if we stopped all emissions overnight, winter temperatures in the Arctic will still increase by 4C to 5C compared to the late twentieth century” is puzzling, as it does not appear anywhere in the 2017 AMAP report that it cites.

Confusingly, the UN Environment report is claiming that cutting emissions to zero immediately would lead to more warming than occurs in climate models running the RCP2.6 scenario – a scenario which only has emissions reaching zero by around 2080. Carbon Brief reached out to a number of climate scientists, all of whom expressed puzzlement as to what might provide the basis of this claim. Carbon Brief asked UN Environment and the report’s authors for a response, but did not receive one before publication. (This article will be updated to include any response.)

According to an analysis featured in the recent IPCC special report on 1.5C, reducing all human emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols to zero immediately would result in a modest short-term bump in global temperatures of around 0.15C as Earth-cooling aerosols disappear, followed by a decline. Around 20 years after emissions went to zero, global temperatures would fall back down below today’s levels and then cool by around 0.25C by 2100. While reducing aerosols might have a larger warming impact in the Arctic than other regions, an additional long-term warming of 4C to 5C seems rather unlikely.

Not ‘locked in’

Why might the report conflate a 3C global-warming scenario (RCP4.5) with the Paris Agreement target (RCP2.6)? The actual commitments made by countries in the Paris Agreement – the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – fall well short of what would be needed to meet the Paris target. If countries only take these actions – and do not ratchet up their commitments after the Paris commitment period ends in 2030 – studies suggest that the world would be on track for a bit more than 3C warming, though how much depends largely on assumptions around emissions between 2030 and 2100.

However, even if the report meant to say “the warming implied by existing Paris commitments” rather than the “Paris targets”, the press release and subsequent media coverage are still misleading. Unless the authors are arguing that the world as a whole is already locked into 3C warming – and there are plenty of scenarios that would keep global warming below 2C, or even down to 1.5C warming – the amount of future warming that will occur in the Arctic during the 21st century will depend in large part on our future emissions.

The figure below shows the winter Arctic warming relative to 1986-2005 from the average of all the IPCC CMIP5 climate models for each future RCP emission scenario. There is a wide range of potential future warming, from as little as 2.7C in 2100 in RCP2.6 to as much as 12C in RCP8.5. Which of these future warming scenarios will occur depends largely on our greenhouse gas emissions over the rest of the 21st century.

CMIP5 Multimodel mean for each RCP scenario for the region between 60N and 90N for the winter months (December, January and February). Model data obtained from KNMI Climate Explorer

If the world actually meets the Paris target of limiting warming below 2C, the future Arctic winter warming will be around 0.5-5C, much lower than the 5-9C values stated in the report.

There is still a wide range of possible outcomes for the region. As a result, any claim that massive amounts of future warming for the region are “locked in” is misleading.


Comment: Interesting that under the most realistic temperature projection (green line in the second graph) temperatures will rise a bit to mid century and then level out! Not too scary.

Climate Hysteria Run Amok: California’s ‘Permanent’ Drought Not So Permanent

For the first time since 2011, the state shows no areas suffering from prolonged drought and illustrates almost entirely normal conditions, according to a map released Thursday by the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order in 2017 that lifted the drought emergency in most of the state, leaving some breathing a sigh of relief.

But he cautioned Californians to keep saving water as some parts of the state was still suffering from extreme drought. Now, two years later, that deficit seems to have been erased, thanks to an exceptionally wet winter.

“The reservoirs are full, lakes are full, the streams are flowing, there’s tons of snow,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist with the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “All the drought is officially gone.”

The Drought Monitor, which collects data from scientists from the National Drought Mitigation Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and dozens of weather agencies, last showed a drought map that was clear in December 2011.

In updating the map, scientists consult with hydrologists, water managers, meteorologists, and other experts to determine the amount of water in the state’s reservoirs, the snowpack level, and other key measurements. With the wet winter streak going strong, their reports have been good.

In January, storms filled up many of the state’s water reserves almost to capacity and added about 580 billion gallons of water to reservoirs across the state. That month, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, a major source of California’s water supply, doubled — and then doubled again in February.

“California has been getting a tremendous amount of rain, storms, and snow,” Blunden said. “It’s just been extremely wet and it’s been so wet … that we’ve been able to alleviate drought across the state.”

A year ago, just 11% of the state was experiencing normal conditions while 88.9% of the state was “abnormally dry,” according to the drought report. Some parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties were still colored dark red, meaning they were experiencing “extreme drought.”


Brainless ‘Beto’ on Climate Change Leadership: ‘Those Who Were on the Beaches in Normandy … Showed Us the Way’

He just parrots extreme Warmism

On his first day on the campaign trail Thursday, Democratic presidential hopeful Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke called for urgent action on climate change, and linked the leadership required to confront the issue with the storming of “the beaches in Normandy” in 1944.

O’Rourke threw his weight behind the “Green New Deal,” warning that the planet faces “catastrophe and crisis … even if we were to stop emitting carbon today.” And in an echo of a comment by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in January, he warned that “we have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.”

In one of several stops in Iowa, O’Rourke asked listeners in Burlington how it was that out of all the nations of the world, the U.S. has “removed itself from any obligation to work with anyone on perhaps the most pressing problem” – the fight against global warming.

“When you think about leadership,” he continued, “those who preceded us, right, those who were on the beaches in Normandy, those who faced an existential threat to Western democracy and our way of life, they showed us the way.”

“We can all come together, we can unite, we can marshal the resources, and we can convene the countries of the world around otherwise unsolvable problems.”

D Day, June 6, 1944, saw more than 160,000 American and allied personnel land on the beaches of northern France, paving the way for the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. Some 2,500 allies were killed on June 6 alone, and many more over the weeks that followed.

At a “meet and greet” in Keokuk earlier, O’Rourke was asked about the Green New Deal, and in a lengthy response shared some of his views on the anticipated effects of climate change, among them:

--“We face catastrophe and crisis on this planet, even if we were to stop emitting carbon today.”

--“Along this current trajectory, there will be people who can no longer live in the cities they call home today.”

--“There is food grown in this country that will no longer prosper in these soils.”

--“There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from places that are going to be uninhabitable or under the sea.”

“This is the final chance,” said O’Rourke. “The scientists are unanimous on this. We have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis.”

Some people view the Green New Deal as too bold or unmanageable, he said.

“I tell you what, I haven't seen anything better that addresses this singular crisis we face, a crisis that could at its worst lead to extinction.”

“Not to be dramatic,” he concluded. “But literally, the future of the world depends on us right now, here where we are. Let's find a way to do this.”


Central Europe’s 30-Year Winter Temp Trend Still Cooling

The winter temperature trend for Germany over the past 32 years is not cooperating with “experts’” forecasts of rapid warming and snow and ice becoming a thing of the past.

The European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here presents two charts which I’m featuring today.

The first chart, using the data from Germany’s DWD national weather service, shows that wintertime’s mean temperature trend in Germany has not risen in 32 years:

Temperature winter Germany

The green trendline shows that although CO2 in the atmosphere globally has increased from about 350 ppm since 1988 to about 412 ppm currently, Germany’s mean winter temperature has fallen a bit.

France winters cooling

The story is true for much of France as well. Japanese blogger Kirye prepared a chart depicting the winter mean temperature of 12 stations across the country using the untampered data available from the Japan Meteorology Agency (JMA):

Germany trending away from droughts

Also, the German media are often filled with scare stories telling us we will be seeing an increasing number of droughts and dryness, and that last year’s dry summer was just a taste of what is to come.

Yet once again the data contradict all the doomsday drought reports. The long term winter precipitation trend since records began has been upward.

However, we acknowledge the trend has been decreasing (to normal levels) since about 2000. Interestingly German precipitation shows a 40-year cycle, and so likely has nothing to do with CO2.

The annual precipitation trend for Germany has also been upward overall, and it too has been trending downward since about 2000 (during this time sunshine hours have increased):


Four Priorities for Australia (and the World)

Viv Forbes

There are four priorities for the coming election.

Firstly: Decimate the Foreign Green Snakes in the Grass.

The climate/emissions obsession started with unelected foreigners in the UN and the IPCC who drafted deep green agendas to be imposed via elected Federal, State and Local governments. Australia must immediately withdraw from the Lima/Paris/Kyoto agreements, reject the 2030 Agenda, and repeal all the green tape they spawned. This costly mess creates no measurable climate or environmental benefits.

Secondly: Build more Reliable Base-Load Power Stations.

Green extremists want to destroy the carbon energy that powers our industries, supports our life style, funds our welfare and provides our jobs. They want to take us back to primitive green energy that can never support modern civilised life.

We have played with weather-dependent wind-solar toys for too long. They will never power an advanced economy, nor will they lift poor nations from poverty. And they provide no demonstrated benefits for the climate, the landscape or consumers. All taxes, subsidies and energy targets that prop up unreliable intermittent energy must be abolished.

Thirdly: Build More Dams and Weirs.

Much of our continent cycles between droughts and floods. Both problems have the same positive solution – catch and store flood waters. The oceans are never short of water, but our land often is.

Finally: Fight Fire with Fire.

Every dry season we lose homes, properties, livestock, parks and wildlife to massive bushfires. There is only one positive solution – copy aboriginals and old-time graziers and use small, managed, early-season fires to remove flammable ground litter. This will require landowners and local fire-fighters (not urban greenies) to manage fuel-reduction burns.

We must fix these four issues. Stop draining Australian money to support foreign agendas and the bloated UN bureaucracy. Let’s help Australians instead.


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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