Thursday, February 06, 2020

Ozone-depleting gases might have driven extreme Arctic warming

"Might have".  Since we are just speculating let me mention something much less speculative:  All those subsurface volcanoes in the Arctic.  Having a volcano underneath you has got to be toasty.  Sure beats CO2 up in the air

Most of the Arctic is water covered and there are huge volcanoes under that water -- along the Gakkel ridge and elsewhere.  So the heat emitted under the water would readily travel to the surface and affect the land-based bits of the Arctic as well

The far north is heating up twice as fast as the global average.

Gases that deplete the ozone layer could be responsible for up to half of the effects of climate change observed in the Arctic from 1955 to 2005.

The finding could help to explain the disproportionate toll of climate change on the region, which has long puzzled scientists. The Arctic is warming at more than twice the average rate of the rest of the globe — a phenomenon known as Arctic amplification — and it is losing sea ice at a staggering pace.

Ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), are known to warm the atmosphere thousands of times more efficiently than carbon dioxide. But most of the research on these chemicals has focused on their effects on the planet’s protective ozone layer — especially over the Southern Hemisphere, where they are responsible for the formation of the Antarctic ozone hole, says Mark England, a climate scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. He co-authored the study, published on 20 January in Nature Climate Change1, which he says is “really reframing a lot of the discussion on a more global basis”.

England and his colleagues compared climate simulations both with and without the mass emission of CFCs that began in the 1950s. Without CFCs, the simulations showed an average Arctic warming of 0.82 °C. When the presence of ozone-depleting compounds was factored in, that number jumped to 1.59 °C. The researchers saw similarly dramatic changes in sea-ice coverage between the two sets of model simulations. By running the models with fixed CFC concentrations while varying the thickness of the ozone layer, the team was able to attribute the warming directly to the chemicals — rather than changes these substances caused in the ozone layer.

England’s team has “done a careful study in a single model”, says Marika Holland, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. “I think that it makes a lot of sense.” She says that the warming effect of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere is a well-documented phenomenon. However, she notes, the complexities of climate models make it hard to say for certain what the exact magnitude of the effect on the Arctic is.

Susan Strahan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, says that the work is “interesting and provocative”, but she is not yet convinced of its conclusions. A stronger argument could be made, she continues, if the team had been able to provide a clear physical explanation for the modelled amplification.

Both Strahan and Cecilia Bitz, a climate scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, say that replicating these results in multiple climate models will be crucial for improving estimates of just how much responsibility CFCs bear for heating the Arctic.

Global CFC concentrations have been on the decline since the turn of the millennium, following the 1989 adoption of the Montreal Protocol, which called for a phase-out of the substances. Although many other factors contribute to Arctic amplification, the result suggests that Arctic warming and sea-ice melt might be tempered in the future as ozone-depleting substances continue to leave the atmosphere, Bitz says. “It’s a very important paper because it has a little shred of optimism.”


Iowa cardiologist shares health concerns over wind turbinesnoise from wind turbines

While continuing the conversation over a public outcry southwest of Des Moines, KCCI's Tommie Clark speaks to people who believe wind turbines are hurting their health and others who don't agree with that claim.

"You get up every day. You go to work with it every day. I mean the silence is gone, and it's forever gone. Yeah, it's gone," said Tanya and Mike Lamb, of Greenfield. The Lambs live 500 feet down from a wind turbine and can't forget the seven surrounding their property. "It's so loud and it hurts my ears that I mean we can't sit outside," Tanya Lamb said.  Inside their Greenfield home a grassroots effort is growing. Community members have come together to search for a solution.

"People will pay dearly for what's happening," said Dr. W. Ben Johnson, a cardiologist. Johnson hears Tanya Lamb's concern. He's coming at the issue from a landowner and medical professional perspective. "My concern has been around environmental noise and how it can adversely affect health," Johnson said. "Wind is another form of environmental noise."

Iowa State University graduate professor James McCalley, an expert in wind energy, said the wind turbines do not affect health. "Not with sufficient setback," McCalley said. "I don't see that wind turbines pose a significant health impact in any way, as long as noise and shadow flicker are addressed."

Johnson said while the issue is obvious to him, others may not understand. "We just need to have an epiphany of understanding what the dimensions are. What don't people get? They don't see it as a real threat because they aren't burned out villages and piles of bodies," Johnson said.

"There are people who are quietly saying, 'I can't handle this,' so they pack up and leave. They sell their farm at a loss."The Lambs said there simply needs to be more regulations and dialogue between those putting up the turbines and the people living underneath them.

"Nobody knows until they live around them," Tanya and Mike Lamb said. "You don't know. You might think you know. You might think it's good and it may be good around certain places, but not around somebody's home.


The climate case for childlessness

I love articles like this.  I jst hope that all greenies read it and act on  it

It brings a smirk to the lips that Thomas Malthus was one of eight children and had a further three. Unremarkable numbers in Georgian England, true, but if you are going to argue that population growth beggars the species, people will hold you to it. The sense that reproductive restraint was for thee, not he, nor his class, is one reason for the economist’s ongoing infamy. That, and his empirical wrongness.

Until, perhaps, now. Climate change is graciously according Malthus a second life. It is hard to do anything kinder for the environment than have fewer children. Even if an infant grows to become a Prius-driving vegan who forswears air travel and line-dries the laundry, he or she will still contribute to the problem. A human cannot inhabit real time and space in a post-agrarian economy without generating carbon.

When the scholars Seth Wynes and Kimberley Nicholas calculated the most effective green steps a person can take, “have one fewer child” was first by such a margin as to make the second scarcely worth naming. When they then tracked the number of high school textbooks that offered this as guidance, the answer was zero. “Live car-free” and “conserve energy” were common.

Some sugar-coating of things is excusable for the young. But there are adults who are just as deluded that innovation will neutralise the climate costs of children. “There is no limit to human ingenuity” is a fun thing to say (and Nikola Tesla did), but it is also credulous Enlightenment hokum. Even those who know this, who know that electric cars and Impossible Burgers are not enough, who are open to less growth, not just green growth, tend not to pursue the thought to the question of family size. I have noticed this in newspapers, even fetchingly salmon-coloured ones.

At some point, societies will have to treat childlessness, or at least small families, as a kind of public good. “What do you want,” readers will say, “a medal?” As a start, yes. Stalin used to pin an Order of Maternal Glory on Soviet women who bore seven or more children. France still has its Médaille de la Famille Française. The state is not above the use of symbols and exhortation to encourage desirable behaviours. It now has to do it for the act opposite to the one it has traditionally heroised.

Material incentives would not go amiss, either, I can report: the inverse of Nordic pro-natalism. Only after that are we are into the realms of coercion, and if democracy cannot sustain air fares that internalise the environmental costs, it will not wear that.

Nor should it. For it can end up in a dark place, this anti-natalism — in the misanthropy of Schopenhauer and his “burden of existence”. But a soft version is amazingly difficult to propose too, even now, even among people who demand a “serious conversation” and “honest debate” about climate change.

I can understand why. This issue forces people to contemplate that which is most hateful: the non-existence of their own children. Then there is the collective action problem. Even if it is in the planet’s interest to have fewer people, it is not always in the interest of any one nation. Had its birth rate not declined in the 19th century, France would have entered the subsequent one as a larger country than Germany. The world wars might not have played out as they did. The persistence of the Médaille in such an advanced culture seems rational enough once put in due context.

Nor do I mean to paint a green veneer on my or anyone else’s life choices. Friends and I who decided against family life did so for reasons as self-serving as often billed: a taste for leisure, a dread of sexual monotony. We did not hate to “bring a child into this world” — that smarmy anguish — so much as into our diaries.

It is just that the motive for an action matters less than its practical effect. And the effect here is of existential value to the planet. (Don’t mention it.) Societies might have to make it easier for others to do the same, at least until human ingenuity really does decouple population growth from its carbon impact. The alternative is worse than the sound of Malthus cackling his vindication from the deep beyond.


Meeting at Rockefeller Mansion Shed Light on Climate Politics

Newly obtained public records — including handwritten notes, a “Black Swan” event in the freedom of information world — open a window onto conversations between high-ranking government officials and environmentalist activists.

These notes and emails reflect often amusing candor, in which a prurient interest is understandable. What is most important, however, is the distinction between the officials’ public stances and their private confessions, among friends, about the shared “climate change” policy agenda.

The transparency group Energy Policy Advocates obtained these records chronicling a two-day, July 2019 meeting hosted by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (RBF) at the Rockefeller mansion at Pocantico, NY.

Host and RBF President Michael Northrop emailed one state official that the Rockefellers’ air conditioning encourages long sleeves in July. There is some irony here given the agenda of making energy less abundant and more expensive.

The event was titled “Accelerating State Action on Climate Change.” It brought together twenty senior political appointees from fifteen states, from Hawaii, the West Coast, across the southwest and mountain states, then from Maine down through Maryland.

Participating staff held titles including governor’s Chief of Staff, Senior Policy Advisor and Cabinet Secretary, and Chair, Director, Commissioner, and Secretary of regulatory agencies.

RBF flew them in, passing the costs through the Georgetown Climate Center — a Georgetown Law School vehicle that runs climate campaigns for donors and which, for purposes of taxes and other legal matters, is simply the non-profit Georgetown University.

Also participating were two environmentalist activist groups that RBF finances. An official from billionaire Tom Steyer’s Energy Foundation helpfully typed up and circulated her notes.

The handwritten notes, taken by Carla Frisch of RBF-beneficiary and meeting sherpa Rocky Mountain Institute, are particularly clarifying.

The Chief Policy Advisor to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, is credited with joining Massachusetts’ Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs in complaining that “enviros want moratorium on fossil infrastructure,” but this causes problems with labor, because the coach in reality is “gas + jobs vs. no jobs + climate” (agenda).

Proponents of the “Green New Deal” and otherwise the “climate” agenda must explain away this confession of net economic pain and job loss (which “substantial job losses,” related records show, they also privately admit to).

The tension is further exposed in New Mexico’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Minerals, & Natural Resources Department, diagnosing the “problem,” which is the state’s booming oil & gas production.

Per the notes, Sarah Cottrell Propst bemoans the “problem is oil production in Permian [is] 1.5b/month in commerce, 400% ↑ in production.” That seems to be a rather odd position for an Energy Secretary to take, privately or not.

The notes indicate that former Obama Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is not being helpful, saying mildly favorable things about natural gas: “Ernie Moniz saying gas is a bridge fuel.”

Meaning, gas as a replacement for coal while renewable energy continues its struggle to become reliable and economic. Climate activist politicians attempt this straddle with some regularity. But it simply is not acceptable to many environmentalists.

Ms. Frisch’s notes attribute the diagnosis of how this apostasy came about to California Air Resources Board Chair, and former Obama EPA official, Mary Nichols: “Moniz has not been well-managed.”

One state official from the Mountain West voiced the obvious concern among his team “to be careful about keeping” members of his political party in office.

That is not always easy given friends like theirs. According to New Mexico’s Propst, the climate activist officials’ green group NGO allies — called NGOs, for non-governmental organizations — are “having [a] hard time pivoting from enemy approach to friend approach.”

Steyer’s delegate’s typed notes characterize the sentiment slightly differently: “NGOS have a hard time pivoting from enemy admin to friendly admin.”

Emails between RBF and one of its partners in advocacy, the Center for a New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, reveal concern that these public records would find their way to the American public.

For example, RBF’s Northrop raised the prospect of mailing the notes instead of email, having been tipped off to one of Energy Policy Advocates’ records requests by the same New Mexico Energy Secretary.

Another correspondent gently suggested to Northrop that “Snail mail is probably subject to open records too, no?” Yes. Yes, it is.

The notes contain much more information offering a window into this movement’s actual beliefs and intentions, and assertions of political and legal realities. These will be released in the near future. The public should know when their government officials’ private statements contradict what they tell the public.


Conservative Australian radio jock accuses public broadcaster of being 'out of touch' and 'biased' after conservative senator  was heckled during a climate change debate

Jim Molan is a retired general.  He is not an expert on science.  Putting him up against a top Warmist was bound to make him look bad

Broadcaster Alan Jones has labelled Q&A 'out of touch' and 'clearly biased' after a fiery episode discussing climate change and the bushfire crisis on Monday night.

Liberal senator Jim Molan was laughed at and heckled by the show's audience as he admitted he was not convinced humans were causing climate change.

Q&A host Hamish Macdonald also pressed Mr Molan for evidence changes in the climate was not human-induced, to which the latter responded 'I'm not relying on evidence.'

But Jones hit out at Macdonald's line of questioning in his debut show, saying the senator was a politician and should not be expected to have detailed evidence.

'Jim Molan is not a climate scientist so why would he be expected to have detailed scientific knowledge of the "evidence" relied on by climate scientists who dispute anthropogenic climate change?' Jones wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Molan's response that he was not relying on evidence had prompted laughter and looks of disbelief from the studio audience.

Jones added Macdonald had not lived up to the 'even-handed approach' Q&A executive producer Erin Vincent had paid tribute to in the days before the episode aired.

'Why conservatives agree to appear on this clearly biased program I have no idea,' Jones wrote. 'Last night guest senator Jim Molan was set up as the clay pigeon for the studio audience and panel to target.'

Macdonald had to twice step in to quieten the audience so Mr Molan, a 69-year-old former general, could be heard.

Following the exchanges of the night before, Jones on Tuesday morning said it was time for the ABC to stop pretending it was impartial and admit to being biased.

'Q&A and its unrepresentative studio audiences remain profoundly out of touch with mainstream Australia,' the 2GB host wrote as he concluded his post.

Jones' comments followed a testing first episode of the year for the new host, which was filmed in Queanbeyan.

In a section on climate change, American panellist Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, said: 'Climate change is real and human caused.' 'It's already leading to disastrous impacts here in Australia and around the rest of the world. And it will get much worse if we don't act.'

Hamish MacDonald then asked Senator Molan if he agreed with the scientists.

The senator replied: 'I accept the climate is changing. It has changed and it will change… and what it's producing is hotter and drier weather and a hotter and drier country.'

Macdonald pressed him, saying: 'What's causing that?'

Senator Molan continued: 'As to whether it is human-induced climate change is...'

At that point he was cut off by frustrated jeers and boos from the crowd.

Mr Molan hushed to crowd by saying: 'Thank you, thank you' before Macdonald helped him by shushing the audience.

He went on to say he respected 'scientific opinion' but 'every day across my desk comes enough information for me to say that there are other opinions.'

Macdonald asked him to outline exactly what opinions he was referring to but Mr Molan repeatedly dodged the question.

Macdonald pressed him again, saying: 'You haven't answered the question. You said you get information across your desk every day which leads you to doubt or be open-minded about the science.'

Mr Molan replied: 'I am open minded' before Macdonald said: 'What is that information?'

'It's a range of information which goes,' Mr Molan said before he was cut off by heckling.

Macdonald tried to tame the crowd, saying: 'Sorry. Could we just respectfully listen to this question.

He then asked the senator once more to explain his position: 'What is the evidence that you are relying on?'

Mr Molan replied: 'I'm not relying on evidence, Hamish,' prompting laughter from the crowd.

As the crowd laughed, Dr Mann said: 'You said it. You said it.'

Dr Mann then put on an Australian accent and said: 'Come on now, mate.'

Prompting a huge laugh from the audience, he added: 'You should keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out.'

Later, the scientist said: 'When it comes to human caused climate change, it is literally the consensus of the world's scientists that it's human caused... natural factors would be pushing us in the opposite direction.'

It is literally the consensus of the world's scientists that climate change is human caused

Molan was mocked online for being unable to explain why he doubted climate change was human caused.

Even Tasmania senator Jacqui Lambie piled in, writing: 'Oh dear @JimMolan it's gone from a car crash to a train wreck #qanda #ClimateEmergency.'



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