Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Atlantic Ocean Invaded Its Neighbor Earlier Than Anyone Thought: The saltier Atlantic broke through layers of ice and freshwater, contributing to the Arctic’s warming

The NYTimes (below) reported on November 28, 2021 that the melting of the Arctic began before industrialization. To now blame melting on CO2 emissions is just false propaganda

Arctic. Atlantic. Long ago, the two oceans existed in harmony, with warm and salty Atlantic waters gently flowing into the Arctic. The layered nature of the Arctic — sea ice on top, cool freshwater in the middle and warm, salty water at the bottom — helped hold the boundary between the polar ocean and the warmer Atlantic.

But everything changed when the larger ocean began flowing faster than the polar ocean could accommodate, weakening the distinction between the layers and transforming Arctic waters into something closer to the Atlantic. This process, called Atlantification, is part of the reason the Arctic is warming faster than any other ocean.

“It’s not a new invasion of the Arctic,” said Yueng-Djern Lenn, a physical oceanographer at Bangor University in Wales. “What’s new is that the properties of the Arctic are changing.”

Satellites offer some of the clearest measurements of changes in the Arctic Ocean and sea ice. But their records only go back around 40 years, obscuring how the climate of the ocean may have changed in prior decades.

“To go back, we need a sort of time machine,” said Tommaso Tesi, a researcher at the Institute of Polar Sciences-CNR, Italy.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, Dr. Tesi and colleagues were able to turn back time with yard-long sediment cores taken from the seafloor, which archived 800 years of historical changes in Arctic waters.

Their analysis found Atlantification started at the beginning of the 20th century — decades before the process had been documented by satellite imagery. The Arctic has warmed by around 2 degrees Celsius since 1900. But this early Atlantification did not appear in existing historical climate models, a discrepancy that the authors say may reveal gaps in those estimates.

“It’s a bit unsettling because we rely on these models for future climate predictions,” Dr. Tesi said.

Mohamed Ezat, a researcher at the Tromso campus of the Arctic University of Norway, who was not involved with the research, called the findings “remarkable.”

“Information on long-term past changes in Arctic Ocean hydrography are needed, and long overdue,” Dr. Ezat wrote in an email.

In 2017, the researchers extracted a sediment core from the seafloor of Kongsfjorden, a glacial fjord in the east end of the Fram Strait, a gateway between the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard and Greenland, where Arctic and Atlantic waters mingle.

The researchers sliced up the core at regular intervals and dried those layers. Then came the painstaking process of sifting out and identifying the samples’ foraminifera — single-celled organisms that build intricate shells around themselves using minerals in the ocean.

When foraminifera die, their shells drift to the seafloor and accumulate in layers of sediment. The creatures are crucial clues in sediment samples; by identifying which foraminifera are present in a sample and analyzing the chemistry of their shells, scientists can glean the properties of past oceans.

The team’s original idea was to reconstruct the oceanographic conditions of a region that contained both Arctic and Atlantic waters, going back 1,000 to 2,000 years. But, in the slices of the core dating back to the early 20th century, the researchers noticed a sudden, massive increase in the concentration of foraminifera that prefer salty environments — a sign of Atlantification, far earlier than anyone had documented.

“It was quite a lot of surprises in one study,” said Francesco Muschitiello, an oceanographer at the University of Cambridge and an author on the paper.

The sheer amount of sediment was so high that the researchers could assemble a chronology of past climate down to five- or 10-year increments. Additionally, a molecular biomarker could pinpoint a specific year, 1916, when coal mining began in Kongsfjorden. Since the foraminiferal shift occurred just before this marker, the researchers estimate Atlantification began around 1907, give or take a decade.

When the researchers compared the data from their paleoclimate model with others to see if they overlapped, they found existing climate models had no sign of this early Atlantification. The researchers suggest a number of possible reasons behind this absence, such as an underestimation of the role of freshwater mixing in the Arctic or the region’s sensitivity to warming.

Dr. Lenn, who was not involved with the research, sees a difference between this early Atlantification and the present, rapid Atlantification, which is largely driven by melting Arctic sea ice. “It’s too soon after the start of the industrial revolution for us to have accumulated excess heat in the planetary system for it to be anthropogenic at that point,” Dr. Lenn said.

The authors are not sure of the precise reasons behind the early Atlantification. If human influences are the cause, then “the whole system is much more sensitive to greenhouse gases than we previously thought,” Dr. Muschitiello said.

In another possibility, earlier natural warming may have made the Arctic Ocean much more sensitive to the accelerated Atlantification of recent decades. “Could it be that we destabilized a system that was already shifting?” Dr. Tesi said.


Chemistry Expert: Carbon Dioxide Can’t Cause Global Warming

Written by Dr Mark Imisides (Industrial Chemist)

Scarcely a day goes by without us being warned of coastal inundation by rising seas due to global warming.

Why on earth do we attribute any heating of the oceans to carbon dioxide, when there is a far more obvious culprit, and when such a straightforward examination of the thermodynamics render it impossible.

Carbon dioxide, we are told, traps heat that has been irradiated by the oceans, and this warms the oceans and melts the polar ice caps. While this seems a plausible proposition at first glance, when one actually examines it closely a major flaw emerges.

In a nutshell, water takes a lot of energy to heat up, and air doesn’t contain much. In fact, on a volume/volume basis, the ratio of heat capacities is about 3300 to 1. This means that to heat 1 litre of water by 1˚C it would take 3300 litres of air that was 2˚C hotter, or 1 litre of air that was about 3300˚C hotter!

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. If you ran a cold bath and then tried to heat it by putting a dozen heaters in the room, does anyone believe that the water would ever get hot?

The problem gets even stickier when you consider the size of the ocean. Basically, there is too much water and not enough air.

The ocean contains a colossal 1,500,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres of water! To heat it, even by a small amount, takes a staggering amount of energy. To heat it by a mere 1˚C, for example, an astonishing 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 joules of energy are required.

Let’s put this amount of energy in perspective. If we all turned off all our appliances and went and lived in caves, and then devoted every coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, wind and solar power plant to just heating the ocean, it would take a breathtaking 32,000 years to heat the ocean by just this 1˚C!

In short, our influence on our climate, even if we really tried, is miniscule!

So it makes sense to ask the question – if the ocean were to be heated by ‘greenhouse warming’ of the atmosphere, how hot would the air have to get? If the entire ocean is heated by 1˚C, how much would the air have to be heated by to contain enough heat to do the job?

Well, unfortunately for every ton of water there is only a kilogram of air. Taking into account the relative heat capacities and absolute masses, we arrive at the astonishing figure of 4,000˚C.

That is, if we wanted to heat the entire ocean by 1˚C, and wanted to do it by heating the air above it, we’d have to heat the air to about 4,000˚C hotter than the water.

And another problem is that air sits on top of water – how would hot air heat deep into the ocean? Even if the surface warmed, the warm water would just sit on top of the cold water.

Thus, if the ocean were being heated by ‘greenhouse heating’ of the air, we would see a system with enormous thermal lag – for the ocean to be only slightly warmer, the land would have to be substantially warmer, and the air much, much warmer (to create the temperature gradient that would facilitate the transfer of heat from the air to the water).

Therefore any measurable warmth in the ocean would be accompanied by a huge and obvious anomaly in the air temperatures, and we would not have to bother looking at ocean temperatures at all.

So if the air doesn’t contain enough energy to heat the oceans or melt the ice caps, what does?

The earth is tilted on its axis, and this gives us our seasons. When the southern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun, we have more direct sunlight and more of it (longer days). When it is tilted away from the sun, we have less direct sunlight and less of it (shorter days).

The direct result of this is that in summer it is hot and in winter it is cold. In winter we run the heaters in our cars, and in summer the air conditioners. In winter the polar caps freeze over and in summer 60-70{154653b9ea5f83bbbf00f55de12e21cba2da5b4b158a426ee0e27ae0c1b44117} of them melt (about ten million square kilometres). In summer the water is warmer and winter it is cooler (ask any surfer).

All of these changes are directly determined by the amount of sunlight that we get. When the clouds clear and bathe us in sunlight, we don’t take off our jumper because of ‘greenhouse heating’ of the atmosphere, but because of the direct heat caused by the sunlight on our body. The sun’s influence is direct, obvious, and instantaneous.

If the enormous influence of the sun on our climate is so obvious, then, by what act of madness do we look at a variation of a fraction of a percent in any of these variables, and not look to the sun as the cause?

Why on earth (pun intended) do we attribute any heating of the oceans to carbon dioxide, when there is a far more obvious culprit, and when such a straightforward examination of the thermodynamics render it impossible.


Biden’s Green Energy Kabuki Theater

Kabuki theater is presentational, not representational. Audience members aren’t supposed to suspend disbelief, as with most Western theatrical formats, and immerse themselves in the story. Instead, Kabuki is all about staging, costumes, makeup, vocal intonations, and the actors’ well-practiced facial contortions.

Aficionados know the stories; they’ve seen them dozens of times. When I saw it at the old Kabukiza Theater in Ginza years ago, the crowd’s reaction reminded me somewhat of the midnight screenings of “The Rocky Horror Show” I used to see when I was a student at NYU. Nearly the entire crowd knew what was coming and readied itself to respond when it happened.

I mention Kabuki theater because progressives and the Biden administration seem to have adopted a Kabuki theater motif to their climate policies. President Biden’s executive order signed early last month gives the appearance of urgent and important action, setting critical timelines for federal government adoption of clean energy alternatives, starting as early as 5 years from now.

It all looks spectacular!

Until it doesn’t.

As with Kabuki, the Biden administration doesn’t want us to look beyond what it has presented. And we also know what is coming: well-worn promises of wind farms, solar panels, and electric vehicles that will “end climate change.” Americans are being told our future is in renewables and that we must reduce our carbon emissions or endure a climate catastrophe.

But those of us who look deeper than the presentation see it as but a thin, phony, unsustainable, veneer.

Biden’s “Build Back Better” bill is replete with incentives for us to purchase electric vehicles, millions of dollars in grants to build out charging stations, and mandates to generate electricity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

But there seems to be little consideration given to how to affect the changeover or how it will change daily life in the USA.

Take, for example, Biden’s agenda to make natural gas an environmental bogeyman. Efforts to shut down natural gas use have succeeded or are already underway in New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. Bloomberg reports President Joe Biden would like to “edge natural gas out of the power mix within 15 years.”

But Biden also shut down the KeystoneXL pipeline within the first 24 hours of taking office; then, in November, proposed greater restrictions on federal lands. (He had earlier attempted to ban new oil and gas leases on public lands, but was rebuffed by a federal judge.)

Still, as Biden attempted to reduce domestic production, he turned to OPEC to increase production to reduce the rate of price inflation in domestic fuels.

And just recently, CCP China signed a 20-year deal with Venture Global LNG to supply 4 million tons of LNG from the USA every year with nary a whimper about climate change from the federal government. It appears that, for the Biden administration, “Climate change” is limited only to the airspace immediately above the USA.

In much the same manner, nearly all the most important components of the electric cars the Biden administration wishes us to adopt are found in CCP China, our political adversary and prospective enemy. Neodymium, the rare earth element used for permanent magnets that are the most useful for electric cars, and nearly half a ton of which is required for each wind turbine, is mined almost exclusively in CCP China. Both the mining and processing of Neodymium is horrendously damaging to the environment.

Similarly, the solar panels the Biden administration hopes to use to supply so much future electricity are loaded with deadly toxic chemicals.

As with the struggle against the global pandemic, the challenge of reducing human-influenced climate change needs to be a global effort; a “Moon shot” as it were, involving the development of collaborative, clean, energy technology among the most technologically advanced economies of Europe, the USA, and Asia. It’s not something the United States can fix by outsourcing carbon-based fuel consumption and environmentally devastating mining to other countries. Out of sight will not be out of mind.

The absurd Kabuki theater of Biden administration climate policy—made only for appearances to mollify the U.S. electorate while polluting much of the rest of the world—deeply offends American sensibilities. It is a type of environmental imperialism that will, eventually, create troubled, volatile—even belligerent—relations with the nations we pollute and exploit while doing nothing to arrest the disastrous global effects of climate change.

Kabuki theater on climate policy by the USA will lead to a rocky climate horror show for us and the world


Is Australia weathering the climate storm?

Australia has benefited from the effects of two La Nina years, much to chagrin of catastrophists.

In a land of boom and bust, feast and famine, drought and flooding rains, it is a time of plenty. For the nation’s climate catastrophists, an inconvenient set of realities has captured the natural world. Back-to-back La Nina weather systems plunged Australia’s average temperatures in 2021 to their lowest levels in a decade.

Rains that were predicted by experts either not to come or to fall out of phase with agricultural needs have failed to heed the script. The nation’s great river systems have been recharged after a period of extended drought that some thought would never end. Dams and water catchments are full and agricultural production is at record levels. The Great Barrier Reef is tracking levels of healthy coral cover not seen for decades across its entire system, an area the size of Italy.

Scientists insist the underlying warming trend, suppressed by La Nina, is still there. But for nature lovers everywhere the present conditions reinforce a belief that nature is not broken, the natural cycles continue to operate and that resilience persists on land and at sea.

The Great Barrier Reef has become a proxy for the existential threat of climate change. But the latest results from long-term monitoring by the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows that coral growth has been recorded in all regions. Hard coral cover on the Northern Reef has risen from a low in 2017 of 13 per cent to 27 per cent last year. For the Central region, hard coral cover has risen from a low of 11 per cent in 2012 to 26 per cent. In the Southern region hard coral cover has risen from a low of 12 per cent in 2011 to 39 per cent.

According to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the AIMS report “shows that despite a decade of impacts such as marine heatwaves, the Great Barrier Reef is still a resilient ecosystem and can recover from extreme events if disturbance-free periods are long enough”. Despite the bounce-back in coral cover, the Great Barrier Reef remains subject to an international push to have it listed as a World Heritage asset in danger.

For farmers, the news is also positive.

The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics says the value of agricultural exports in 2021 is a record high. When the final numbers are in, production is expected to have increased year on year for every major livestock commodity and almost every major crop commodity – with farmers forecast to produce the largest volume ever. ABARES executive director Dr Jared Greenville says Australia is enjoying an extraordinary combination of favourable conditions and 30-year price highs. “It would be the first time in at least half a century that production will increase for so many products at the same time,” Greenville says.

Things will change, of course. Booming vegetation fed by healthy rains will dry out once La Nina passes, intensifying the risk of bushfire. There is still a chance that elevated sea temperatures will cause problems for some areas of the Great Barrier Reef this year.

But according to the Bureau of Meteorology annual climate statement, 2021 was the coolest year in nearly a decade and wettest since 2016. By the end of 2021 – and for the first time in five years – no large parts of the country were experiencing rainfall deficits and drought conditions.

This week, Sydney’s Warragamba Dam was at 100 per cent capacity and the average across the Greater Sydney catchment is 96.9 per cent. In southeast Queensland, the Wivenhoe Dam, used for water storage and flood mitigation, is at 52 per cent but other dams in the region are full and spilling across the catchment. In Melbourne, storage levels are at 89.5 per cent.

Announcing BoM’s 2021 temperature data, climatologist Dr Simon Grainger says: “After three years of drought from 2017 to 2019, above-average rainfall last year resulted in a welcome recharge of our water storages but also some significant flooding to eastern Australia.”

In 2021, Australia’s mean temperature was 0.56C above the 1961-1990 climate reference period. It was the 19th-warmest year since national records began in 1910, but also the coolest year since 2012. Rainfall was 9 per cent above the 1961-1990 average, making 2021 the wettest year since 2016, with November the wettest on record.

Visitors to Sydney’s Bondi Beach enjoy the arrival of higher summer temperatures. Picture: NCA Newswire/Flavio Brancaleone
Visitors to Sydney’s Bondi Beach enjoy the arrival of higher summer temperatures. Picture: NCA Newswire/Flavio Brancaleone
Of course, Australia is not the world.

According to figures released by US space agency NASA on Friday, Earth’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth-warmest on record. Global average temperatures in 2021 were about or about 1.1 degrees Celsius warmer than the late 19th-century average, the start of the industrial revolution.

A separate, independent analysis by US weather agency National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also concluded that the global surface temperature for 2021 was the sixth-highest since record-keeping began in 1880.

“The complexity of the various analyses doesn’t matter because the signals are so strong,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS, NASA’s leading centre for climate modelling and climate change research. “The trends are all the same because the trends are so large.”

NOAA says many factors affect the average temperature in any given year, such as La Nina and El Nino climate patterns in the tropical Pacific. NASA scientists estimate the La Nina weather pattern may have cooled global temperatures by about 0.03 degrees Celsius from what the average would otherwise have been.

But at a time when the United Nations has declared “Code Red for humanity” because of climate change, on the ground there is evidence that things are not being received quite as the headlines would suggest. This has implications for green groups wanting to harness public support to push for nature. And for politicians on the hustings looking for advantage in a tightly contested federal poll.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has been testing public opinion on nature and been surprised at what it found.

Ninety-five per cent of those surveyed say it is important to preserve nature for future generations to enjoy.

This sentiment was shared across all voting groups including Liberal, National, Labor and Greens. On the question of feeling deeply connected to nature in Australia, the biggest response was among National voters on 86 per cent, higher than among Greens voters on 79 per cent. Counter to the narrative of environmental doom, respondents overwhelmingly felt the state of the environment was excellent, good or fair. Only 13 per cent thought the state of nature was poor or terrible.

Climate change was listed as a concern by 74 per cent of respondents, behind bushfires, floods and plastic waste. Cost-of-living pressures was the biggest concern for 95 per cent of respondents. Only 32 per cent could be considered “active nature protectors” or “diehard nature worriers”, with the majority “hopeful”, “detached” or “unconcerned”.

According to the report, active nature protectors and diehard nature worriers believe nature is in a fair or poor state while all other segments believe it is good or excellent.

ACF nature campaigner Jess Abrahams says green groups must learn the lessons of the climate wars and have a message other than catastrophe. He uses the cry-wolf analogy of a fire alarm that is tuned out because it never stops ringing. The findings are in line with published research that the indiscriminate use of negative appeals results in emotional burnout and a decreased likelihood of acceptance of any messages – even the important ones.

Abrahams says the survey, conducted by research group fiftyfive5, is a strategy document and represents the new approach that ACF will take.

“We need to speak to more than just the deep green and this has given us a lot of help on how to do that,” Abrahams says.

“It is a love message – tapping into people’s love of nature. People who vote Nationals report a stronger connection to nature than almost the Greens.

“A lot of people who are very sceptical about the climate debate are really knowledgeable and passionate about mangroves and fish breeding and the impacts of dredging. People in regional areas have a deep understanding of these issues.”

For campaigners, there is frustration that positive attitudes to the state of the environment do not properly reflect the full suite of research. That challenges exist will be confirmed in the upcoming State of the Environment report, due for release early this year.

But the results of the ACF research put a fresh perspective on how the major parties can approach their environmental credentials in the looming federal poll. Anthony Albanese has spent the past week on a tour of North Queensland, a vital area for the ALP given its comprehensive loss at the last election on the back of its perceived anti-coal and climate change message. This time, the message from Labor has been love of the Great Barrier Reef but support for mining as well.

Albanese says the market will decide if it was still profitable to dig coal up to burn for energy and, if that was the case, any project that clears environmental hurdles should go ahead.

Albanese told journalists he had no appetite for “these games” on coal.

“We have a positive message for Queenslanders. It’s one of regional jobs. It’s one of making sure there is secure work,” Albanese said in Cairns. “Existing power stations will continue to exist for the lifespan that’s been established. With regard to exports of resources, they’re dependent upon international markets, but they won’t be affected by our policy.”

Albanese says the ALP will “make sure that we provide support for the reef” to “make sure that it’s never ever put on that (World Heritage in Danger) list”.

The challenge for Labor is to narrow the gap between itself and the Morrison government on climate action without surrendering support in inner-city seats where it faces competition from the Greens.

The Morrison government has moved closer to the centre as well, adopting a net-zero target for 2050. The decision was taken in the lead-up to the much-hyped Glasgow climate conference and was in tune with the demands of corporations and international peers. But agreeing to a net-zero target for 2050 has given the Coalition less room to move against Labor. And despite embracing net zero, the Coalition is facing its own challenge in inner-city seats from climate independents bankrolled by businessman Simon Holmes a Court under the C200 banner.

On the hustings, concerns about supply lines and availability of rapid antigen tests are swamping the climate message.

Internationally, two months on from Glasgow, the World Economic Forum has put “climate action failure” at the top of the list in its 2022 Global Risks Report but the global politics of climate change is strained.

Glasgow ended with deep divisions between developed nations and the developing world on plans to stop the use of fossil fuels. Since then, the International Energy Agency has said global demand for coal will reach record levels in 2022 and continue to surge for at least three years.

“All evidence indicates a widening gap between political ambitions and targets on one side and the realities of the current energy system on the other,” the IEA says.

“This disconnect has two clear implications: climate targets are getting further out of reach, and energy security is at risk.”

Increased coal use is being driven primarily by China and India but it is also rising in Europe, Britain and the United States. Rising prices for gas have at least temporarily ended a trend of switching from coal to gas for power generation.

Faced with a shortage of energy partly due to the intermittency of wind generation, the European Union is preparing to approve gas and nuclear energy as “green” fuels, outraging environment groups.

But politicians everywhere are starting to feel the heat of rising energy costs.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who led the push against coal in Glasgow, is being warned the energy crisis represents a threat to his government.

Climate scientists rightly insist that the La Nina cycle, which has cooled temperatures across the globe, does not undermine the longer warming trend.

But the reverse is also true. Peaks in temperature and heightened bushfires that coincide with the El Nino phase must also be considered outliers rather than the norm.

US climate scientist Judith Curry says the latest IPCC report is less alarmist on future warming, discounting extreme scenarios and reducing the best estimate sensitivity of climate to rising levels of CO2.

The big unknown, Curry says, is the future impact of natural climate variability.

“It looks like all the modes of natural climate variability are tilted towards cooling over the next three decades,” Curry says in an interview published on her website.

“It looks like we’re heading towards a solar minimum. Any volcanic eruptions by definition are negative. And we expect the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation to shift to the cold phase on the timescale of about a decade.

“So all of these modes of natural variability point to cooling in the coming decades. This buys us decades to figure out what we should do.”

But despite lower average temperatures in 2021, NASA says there is no less cause for alarm.

“Science leaves no room for doubt: Climate change is the existential threat of our time,” says NASA administrator Bill Nelson. “Eight of the top 10 warmest years on our planet occurred in the last decade, an indisputable fact that underscores the need for bold action to safeguard the future of our country – and all of humanity.”

NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt told the Associated Press the long-term trend is “very, very clear. And it’s because of us. And it’s not going to go away until we stop increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”.

But Curry says a sustained cooling would force people to reconsider. “If I’m right about natural variability having sort of a cooling effect in the coming decades, this will be the one piece of evidence that people will have to pay attention to,” she says.

“If that transpires, I would say that would be the single most effective thing at bringing this dialogue back to some level of rationality, but how much confidence do I have in that prediction? How much money am I going to bet on that?

“I don’t know, but it’s a very plausible scenario that natural variability will lead to cooling in the coming decades, or at least slow down the warming.

“On the current path, we are not managing this risk in a sensible way that would leave our countries stronger and less vulnerable to whatever may transpire in the future.




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