The Great Blizzard of 2015: Fair to say it is AGW amplified.

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About 20 million people are currently under a blizzard warning, and double that under a winter weather advisory, for a storm moving into the Northeast today and tomorrow, with snow falling though Wednesday. Thousands of flights have been cancelled. Wind will be at tropical storm force, and occasionally, hurricane force, and coastal flooding is expected to be epic. The total amounts of snowfall will be over a foot for a very large area, and well over that here and there, though this is very difficult to predict.

This is a strong low pressure system that will gather significant energy from a warm sea surface as it moves into the Atlantic.

This is a system that would normally not produce a lot of snow, but the odd configuration of the jet stream (once again) is moving the low pressure system through a pattern that will create an epic blizzard.

Storms of roughly this magnitude, in this the New York City area, have occurred in 1888, 1947, 1978, 1993, 1996, 2003, 2006, 2010. A similar pattern would emerge if the focal area was Boston. Weather Wunderground lists these snow events for New York City, indicating that half of the heavy events since the mid nineteenth century have occurred in the last 12 years:

  1. 26.9″ Feb 11-12, 2006
  2. 25.8″ Dec 26-27, 1947
  3. 21.0″ Mar 12-14, 1888
  4. 20.9″ Feb 25-26, 2010
  5. 20.2″ Jan 7-8, 1996
  6. 20.0″ Dec 26-27, 2010
  7. 19.8″ Feb 16-17, 2003
  8. 19.0″ Jan 26-27, 2011
  9. 18.1″ Jan 22-24, 1935
  10. 18.1″ Mar 7-8, 1941

Both the odd jet stream and the warm sea surface temperatures can be pegged as likely effects of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). This added to the clear pattern of more of these storms happening very recently strongly suggest that it is reasonable to characterize this storm as a “global warming amplified storm.” This is not unexpected.

I’m not sure if the sea surface temperatures in the region are at a record high, but they are very high. Over time, North Atlantic sea surface temperatures have certainly risen:

(a) Global annual mean sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies from HadISST for the period 1870–2008 (Ref. 58)(thin black line). (b) Annual mean North Atlantic SST anomalies for the period 1870–2008 (ref. 58; thin black line). (c) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) index for the period 1870–2008. The modern AMO index4 is defined by subtracting the global mean SST anomalies (a) from the North Atlantic SST anomalies (b). Five-year running means are shown by heavy black lines with fill in all panels.
(a) Global annual mean sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies from HadISST for the period 1870–2008 (Ref. 58)(thin black line). (b) Annual mean North Atlantic SST anomalies for the period 1870–2008 (ref. 58; thin black line). (c) The Atlantic multidecadal oscillation (AMO) index for the period 1870–2008. The modern AMO index4 is defined by subtracting the global mean SST anomalies (a) from the North Atlantic SST anomalies (b). Five-year running means are shown by heavy black lines with fill in all panels.

And here is the current sea surface temperature anomaly map for the region, showing current temperatures off New York and New England in the upper range:

NOAA_SST_anomwnc

There has been an increase in extreme precipitation in the Northeast, with a 71% change in the region:

CS_very-heavy-precip_V8-1

This is inline with predictions the IPCC has been making for some time now. According to climate scientist Michael Mann, “The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that Nor’easters like this one may grow stronger w/ human-caused climate change, as they are driven by the contrast between cold Arctic air masses and ever-warming ocean surface temperatures. We also know that ocean surface temperatures off the U.S. east coast right now are unusually warm, and there is no doubt that a component of that anomalous warmth is due to human-caused climate change. Those warm ocean temperatures also mean that there is more moisture in the air for this storm to feed on and to produce huge snowfalls inland. Climate change is making these sorts of storms more common, much as it is making Sandy-like Superstorms and unusually intense hurricanes more common. Asking whether these storms were caused by climate change, however, is asking the wrong question. What we can say is that they were likely made worse by climate change.”

Kevin Trenbeth, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research notes that the main reason there is a big blizzard coming to the northeast is that it is winter, but “it is warm over the oceans and the contrast between the cold continent and the warm Gulf Stream and surrounding waters is increasing. At present sea surface temperatures are more than 2F above normal over huge expanses (1000 miles) off the east coast and water vapor in the atmosphere is about 10% higher as a result. About half of this can be attributed to climate change.” I would add that the actual anomolies over large areas of the sea where this low pressure system will track are closer to 4 degrees.

There is a live blog at Weather Underground that you may want to keep an eye on, here. There, we see that current predictions for the region are:

New York City, NY: 18 – 24″
Boston, MA: 20 – 30″
Providence, RI: 20 – 30″

The National Weather Service has a page on the storm here.

And, yes, folks, this is a trend:

CEI-Winter15-638x474

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117 thoughts on “The Great Blizzard of 2015: Fair to say it is AGW amplified.

  1. I was up in New Jersey during the blizzard of 1996. Where I was, in Woodbridge Township, the snow fall was a staggering 31 inches, not counting the drifts which went up to near the bottom of second story windows! If this latest storm is fueled by climate change, the deniers will sure point to past big snow falls to prove there is not connection.

  2. If climatology is a science, I want the name of the scientist who predicted this blizzard.

    Maybe it’s not a science, and more like scientology.

    1. A few years ago, New Yorker Magazine did an expose on the Koch Brothers, and among other things, they found out that these guys own a big oil and coal business and they and other oil and coal interests have funded all the climate denial that we see in the conservative media. So we have the names of the two biggest players in the climate denial business. So don’t worry about the name of the scientist who predicted this blizzard. It’s enough to know that over 99.7% of the peer reviewed scientific literature confirms that climate change is for real, and we are causing it by burning fossil fuels. But nature is throwing us a curve ball. It’s expelling methane from the Arctic, Siberia, and elsewhere that alone will mean our demise, not to mention over 40 amplifying feedbacks that have engaged. See Guy McPherson’s monster climate essay at http://www.guymcpherson.com to see how bad his assessment of the climate crisis is. As he says, Nature Bats Last.

      Addendum:
      Other sources on the net have said that there are paid climate disinfo trols in blogs.

  3. Where I live (NH), the snowstorm the day before Thanksgiving brought down so many tree limbs that more than a third of the state was without power on Thanksgiving morning. So I’m hoping that we don’t have too many problems this time around. But further south, high winds could be a problem. Utility companies in this part of the country seem not to have realized that putting power lines underground makes your utility network a good deal more robust.

    This probably won’t be a record where I live. The forecast calls for 18-24 inches in this county. In 2001 we got a two-day storm that dropped 32 inches on my driveway, and 40 inches was reported in a town about ten miles west of me. But it’s still serious stuff. Allegedly, Local U will be curtailing operations tonight and not reopening until noon Wednesday. The aforementioned 2001 storm was the last time that operations were curtailed for more than 24 consecutive hours.

  4. Eric B., climatology is not meteorology. It does not predict storms. It has, however, predicted increasing numbers of larger precip events like this storm. See the post you are commenting on.

  5. @Eric Baumholder:
    “If climatology is a science, I want the name of the scientist who predicted this blizzard.”

    * yawn * Another denier troll who doesn’t know the difference between weather and climate.

  6. Gotta say this sounds like a real thing, even in the finnish morning news the meteorologist said ‘not too many finns have been out in the kind of weather projected for upper New York and northwards”. You stay safe in there. The amount of snow projected is pretty staggering, accompanied with the high winds this alone may collapse some roofs. I remember only two storms in my life (+40) that have had similar attributes but not lasting as long as this has been projected. I guess if that sort of thing came in here, we’d be in quite a mess for at least 3 days.

  7. It’s even been on the news in Australia. If the blizzard is not severe there will be a backlash unfortunately, they can’t win.

    Looking at some of the NYC webcams, it looks like conditions are deteriorating quickly. I am surprised by the number of people wandering around at that hour in bad weather.

  8. Blizzard caused by global warming.

    Listen to yourself for a second. Is the irony of this sort of stupidity and adherence to a faulty model lost on you? Apparently so.

    AGW doesn’t explain similar warming trends observed on other planets in the solar system. Here’s a hint: (It’s the sun, stupid!)

    Given that if patterns hold, we’re running right on the end of an interglacial warm period, and are due for the deep freeze any time now. A thousand years from now with Glaciers advancing from the north, they’re going to look back on the early 20th century and shake their heads in amazement that anyone was actually dumb enough to buy this sort of malarkey.

  9. Roland @#1: You’re a bit careless with criticism. The article you are commenting on defines the term in the paragraph beginning “Both the odd jet stream and the warm sea surface temperatures can be pegged as likely effects of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). “

  10. Hey Scruffy, “Given that if patterns hold” — that’s exactly the problem — thanks for pointing it out!

    Patterns are NOT holding (and haven’t been for much of the last half-century+) because humans have been pouring gigatons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

    That activity of burning fossil fuels has DISRUPTED the normal patterns for climate, leading to human-caused global overheating.

    “AGW doesn’t explain similar warming trends observed on other planets in the solar system.” CORRECT! Because there aren’t any humans on other planets burning fossil fuels and knocking their atmospheric compositions out of whack, leading to run-away planetary heating.

    Too bad about that interglacial warming period. With the heat turned WAY UP by humanity, those glaciers aren’t going to be arriving for many, many, millennium. Because, you know, we’ve disrupted the normal patterns.. that no longer hold.

    And so we’re now looking back on the early 20th century and shake our heads in amazement that anyone was actually dumb enough to buy the sort of malarkey that we could keep burning fossil fuels and deluding ourselves into believing it won’t affect anything. ‘Cause we have lots of data to show that it already has done so…

  11. Eric Baumholder: If climatology is a science, I want the name of the scientist who predicted this blizzard.

    Let’s run that argument up the flagpoles of several other sciences and see if anyone salutes.

    * If cosmology is a science, I want the name of the cosmologist who predicted how many cosmic rays would pass through my house this morning.

    * If neurology is a science, I want the name of the neurologist who can predict when I’ll have my stroke.

    * If metallurgy is a science, I want the name of the metallurgist who failed to predict the damage to Aloha Airlines flight 243 in 1988.

    I apologize for my rampant use of cliches, which ought to be avoided like the plague. 😉 But I hope Eric B. gets the point — which is that climatology, like most sciences, can project general trends but is unable to predict specific events.

  12. Gail, I think it’s actually connecting extreme CLIMATE events to AGW (which is being proven correct), not particular weather events. That IS left to the local meteorologists…

    It’s not ammo to the idiots as much as needing to educate the idiots about the differences between climate and weather. The scientists still need to report what they find — even if a bunch of dummies listen to a bunch of frauds distorting it.

  13. Gail, the storm did not fizzle, and the backlash is idiotic. The storm was every bit as large and intense as expected, if not larger.

    And yes, we can link weather to climate change, but it requires a bit more nuance than often allowed. If we add this storm to the other major New England storms (and this was a major storm even if it was merely “really bad” for New York City proper) then something like 6 of the last 11 major storms have happened in the last five years, and of the previous five (spread out over a century) at least 2 happened during an earlier period of elevated SST that was part of the general upward SST trend since the 1940s. This big-ass storms don’t occur during low SST periods any more than once every fifty years, they occur during elevated SST periods once every 2 years.

    So that is the statistical link. The functional link is that AGW has elevated SSTs and SST’s make bigger and wetter storms. Very basic. There is no struggle to make the link between AGW and the simple fact that the East Coast in general and New England/NJ/NY in particular are going to experience mega blizzards in one location or another once every couple of years instead of once every couple of decades, and with increased warming possibly yearly or more often.

    This storm was for real. It moved a few percent of it’s width to the NE. It did not not happen, it was enhanced by high SSTs, and this will continue to happen.

  14. I can remember much worse winter weather when I was a youngster.

    As for the record books.
    “Spring did not come early for northern Wisconsin in 1933. A record 83 inches of snow was on the ground at the Flambeau Reservoir on April 6 that year. Image: Mounds of plowed and shoveled snow line West Grand Ave. in Eau Claire on Dec. 13, 2010. (iWitness Weather/eclectica) ”

    “The west-central Maine town of Farmington was buried under seven feet of snow by Feb. 28, 1969. ”

    “The small farming town of Meadowlands, northwest of Duluth, had 88 inches of snow cover for the entire week of Feb. 15-21, 1969.”

    “Hawley Lake sits on the Mogollon Rim, 8,200 feet above sea level. That’s how this spot halfway between Phoenix and Albuquerque piled up 91 inches of snow by Dec. 21, 1967”

    “The now-defunct Lee Ranch had 96 inches of snow cover on Mar. 15, 1941. The site is better known now as Valle Grande, within the Valles Caldera in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos”

    “Lake-effect snow routinely buries northern Michigan. On the Keweenaw Peninsula, Eagle Harbor sat under 117 inches of snow from Jan. 27-31, 1948. ”

    “Whiteface Mountain, in the Adirondacks, piled up 119 inches of snow by April 20, 1943”

    “Over 10 feet of snow sat on the ground at Grassy Lake Dam in northwest Wyoming on Feb. 4, 1943.”

    “•The longest-standing snow depth record belongs to Louisiana, where the snow depth record has stood since 1895.
    •The newest state snow depth record was broken just five years ago (2008) in Alaska.
    •The decade with the most snow depth records is the 1960s. Eleven of the 50 current state records are from that decade.
    •The year with the most snow depth records is 1969, when six states set records that still stand:”

    The late 60’s-75 also saw Iceland besieged by ice to the point the economy almost failed completely..

    http://www.weather.com/sports-recreation/ski/news/deepest-snow-50-states-record-snow-cover-20130220

    “The functional link is that AGW has elevated SSTs and SST’s make bigger and wetter storms. Very basic. ”
    Then how do you explain the 13th and 14th century super storms that tore Britain a new one and altered the Scandinavian coastlines and were called “the great drowning of men”?

    There have been super storms throughout human history, and many were far more destructive to the landscape than any storms of the last 100 years.

  15. “1) The Great Snow of 1717 – Native Americans could not recall a story in their oral tradition which rivaled the magnitude of this winter storm that hit the colonies in New England. The storm started at the end of February with major bouts of snow hitting on the 1st of March, the 4th and another on the 7th. All together, four storms in about a ten day period totaled over five feet of snow in some areas along with reports of drifting to the point that people could only leave their homes from their second story windows.”

    “2) The Great White Hurricane of 1888 – If one needs to look for a benchmark on which all other blizzards are measured it is the one which occured in March 1888. Ironically this was actually the second major winter storm to hit the United States that year. In January the middle of the country was hit with extremely frigid temperatures dropping as low as -52 degrees. Some areas saw a swing in temperature from 70 degrees to -40 degrees in a matter of days. Nearly 240 people lost their lives which was a large number considering the sparce population between Minnesota and Texas. Livestock also took a major toll due to the low temperatures with cattle getting hardest hit. Many historians have attributed this event to the downfall of the free-range cattle industry. The more famous blizzard however that year was the one that occurred in March. In a 48 hour period anywhere from 40-55 inches of snow fell on areas of New York, Massachusetts, Conneticut, and New Jersey with winds hitting 45 miles per hour.”

  16. @ ^ GY : Yeah, storms of the Century eh?

    Funny how these keep happening just ’bout every other year or three at the moment though isn’t it?

  17. PS. By “funny” I mean actually rather powerful adn directly impactful evidence of a pronounced trend and climate change caused by HIRGO but then y’already knew that didn’t you?

  18. “Funny how these keep happening just ’bout every other year or three at the moment though isn’t it?”
    Exactly how have the blizzards of recent years measured up to those “storms of the century”?

    There’s been some heavy snow fall but hardly any that compare with the earlier “snowmageddons”.

    Heavy snowfall in the north east in January!!!
    Run away run away the sky is falling.
    Or is it the invasion of the albino brain eaters?

  19. In 1888 more snow fell in Massachusetts than in New York. three times as much.
    Now the supposed record snowfall in Massachusetts, which is half that of the 1888 records is used as an excuse for relatively light snow fall in New York.

    The measurements in Massachusetts are all over the map, from less than 5 inches in some places to over 30 inches in other parts.

    The way the news presents it you’d be visualizing Massachusetts blanketed by 3 feet of snow.

    The blizzards of this century would hardly raise an eyebrow in earlier times, yet are promoted all out of proportion.

    I’ve got an idea for a new Scy Fy channel movie. PolarVortexBearnami. A 50 foot wall of starving polar bears are driven into the Streets of New York on rotten sea ice driven by storm surge. Yeah we can blame it on AGW, that always sells.

  20. “In 1888 more snow fell in Massachusetts than in New York. three times as much.”

    You are comparing an 8 inch snow storm in New York with the center of a major blizzard in New England. Why? The storm of 1888 was comparable to this week’s storm and the storm of 78. The winds in the 2014 and 1978 storms were more severe than the 88 blizzard, but the 88 blizzard had a few spots with more snowfall, probably (though I’ve not seen the maximum totals yet). It did not exceed the lake effect storm in Buffalo.

    “The measurements in Massachusetts are all over the map, from less than 5 inches in some places to over 30 inches in other parts.”

    For what storm? The two storms had “all over the map” totals as storm do. They hit different areas, despite your strange comparison with NY vs. Mass.

    “The way the news presents it you’d be visualizing Massachusetts blanketed by 3 feet of snow.”

    I’ve not seen any news reports that MA was blanketed by 3 feet. But if there were, so what, the news often exaggerates or gets things wrong. In any event, I await your documentation of this bad news, it would be interesting.

    So you are saying that if a fifty foot wall of bears (not sure what that actually means) does NOT show up in New York, that global warming is not for real?

    I don’t agree with that.

  21. GY, let me get this straight: You’re casting aspersions on climate change research because you’re bent out of shape over the (typical) media (re)presentation of news, and because the relative snowfall in this 2015 storm matched the same pattern of 1888 (albeit at maybe half the amount).

    HUH? As in “Who cares about how the self-interested, for-profit, popular news media hypes things these days?” That’s a “dog bites man” observation.

    But more to the point, what does it have to do with scientific research into climate and the determination that AGW is affecting the intensity, frequency, and locations of weather patterns?

  22. “HUH? As in “Who cares about how the self-interested, for-profit, popular news media hypes things these days?” ”
    When it falls on its face the public laughs at the predictions and those who made the predictions.

    As for news reports leading people to believe that 3 ft of snow blanketed Massachusetts I can only go by people saying to me “did you hear the news there was 37 inches of snow in Massachusetts”.
    They heard the worst without any attempt by news sources to give a clearer picture.

    If my jest about a Scy Fy Channel movie didn’t click then you aren’t familiar with the lower grade climate terror sci fi movies.
    Which is really to your credit, I stopped watching that trash years ago. They are only good for a laugh.

    What I’ve been getting at from jump street is that if you look too long in one direction you get blind sided, by some events that exceed predictions and others that have far less impact than expected.
    Whenever this sort of blindsiding happens there are excuses, some believable and some no more than stop gap pride savers.

    Before significant Human contributions to Greenhouse gases there were other factors at work. Those factors didn’t take a vacation they are still at work.
    If more effort were put forth to identify those factors then a more balanced view of what we can expect would result.

    And really 30+ inches of snow in Worchester being compared to “storms of the century”?
    A blizzard in January is neither unexpected nor world changing.
    Civilization won’t fall because New Yorkers couldn’t order up a pizza or cruise Times Square for a few hours.

    1. One must see sci-fi movie is Soylent Green from 1973. It shows that even at that early date, scientists knew about the greenhouse effect, and the dying of the oceans. The kicker of the whole movie is that people think they are eating crackers from plankton from the sea, and Charlton Heston’s character sneaks into the Soylent factory and see dead bodies going into a machine on a conveyor belt and crackers coming out the other end of the machine.

  23. Climate scientists (*not* news reporters) already have been putting forth diverse efforts to identify, quantify, deconvolve “those factors” to produce an *accurate* view (as best as is possible at this point) — not “balanced”, but complete and accurate. Which means if the evidence is *really* tipped towards one conclusion, they will not “fudge things” in order to report a “balanced” result. They’ll report the tipped conclusion — because that’s honest/accurate.

    Your equating the public laughing at predictions that are given by careless or reckless newz prognosticators as being something to criticize climate science and its determinations is troublesome. That’s basically blaming the victim when the victim was neither participating nor encouraging the perps.

    If you have it out for popular news outlets and their propensity to hype things to draw eyeballs and raise profits, by all means… But please disentangle your issues. If you or anyone else who’s sincere want to learn about climate science and AGW, you’re *not* going to go looking for it on the TV! Read a real journal or valid blog (like this one) to become informed.

    That’s why we’re here… instead of glued to the boob tube.

  24. “Your equating the public laughing at predictions that are given by careless or reckless newz prognosticators as being something to criticize climate science and its determinations is troublesome. That’s basically blaming the victim when the victim was neither participating nor encouraging the perps.”
    So now its playing the victim. Please mommy they are laughing at me because my predictions were way off.

    “If you have it out for popular news outlets and their propensity to hype things to draw eyeballs and raise profits, by all means… But please disentangle your issues. If you or anyone else who’s sincere want to learn about climate science and AGW, you’re *not* going to go looking for it on the TV!”

    I am critical of present day news sources, with very good reason. I seldom watch TV any more.

    The man on the street only “knows” what he reads in the paper.
    That man on the street is the guy who will be footing the bill for all this in the long run.
    He pays the salary of the scientist. Either through his tax money or by the inflated prices of items bought from companies that employ scientists.
    Even grants from private sources are money earned by selling stuff to the man on the street.
    Every bit of goods and services consumed depends on the labor of the man on the street.

    Public boners (not the other kind of boner) reduces confidence.
    Another thing that reduces confidence even more is the meme that if you don’t buy everything we say whole hog you are stupid. Labels like “Deniers” cast whenever anyone asks a question don’t do much but alienate.

    From the looks of things the vast majority of those labeling others as deniers don’t really understand the science either. They believe it because they want to believe it, and if a really smart guy says he believes it they think agreeing with him will magically boost their own IQ. They will quote the numbers with authority when they can’t even balance their check book.

    As for reducing carbon emissions that’s a great idea. Doing so without freezing to death in the dark is the problem.
    I get all my electricity from hydro electric dams.
    Our Dams sell excess electricity to New York.
    My carbon footprint these days is not much more than that of a Kalahari Bushman.

    So those who want to preach about greenhouse gases should stop using up fossil fuels. Then put all that brain power to work finding viable alternative energy sources that actually work without generating more and longer lasting heavy metal pollution.

  25. “So now its playing the victim. Please mommy they are laughing at me because my predictions were way off.”

    Let’s help you out, GY:
    ‘met·a·phor
    ?med??fôr,?med??f?r/
    noun: metaphor; plural noun: metaphors
    A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.’

    So for you and the other 0.01% who have cognitive difficulties with such simple abstractions: No, climate scientists are not playing the victim.

    “The man on the street only ‘knows’ what he reads in the paper.
    That man on the street is the guy who will be footing the bill for all this in the long run.
    He pays the salary of the scientist.”

    Let’s help you out again: Climate scientists do not publish “the paper” or even edit what “the man on the street” reads “in the paper”. Or television. Once again you fail to distinguish the publishers from the subjects they publish about. (And you’re being obviously obtuse about it.)

    “Public boners … reduces confidence.”

    We’ll be explicit on this one: You’re adding some of those “boners” that are reducing that confidence. Many people commenting in this blog, and Greg himself, have been attempting to communicate this to you. You’ve not been listening.

    “Another thing that reduces confidence even more is the meme that if you don’t buy everything we say whole hog you are stupid.”

    I have yet to see ANY climate scientist publish a statement such as that, nor even hint at it. Please paste links to defend your assertion.

    “Labels like ‘Deniers’ cast whenever anyone asks a question don’t do much but alienate.”

    I have yet to see ANY climate scientist, in response to serious questions, publish a statement such as that, nor even hint at it. Please paste links to defend your assertion.

    “From the looks of things the vast majority of those labeling others as deniers don’t really understand the science either.”

    Please paste links to defend your assertion.

    If you don’t like the term “denier”, please recommend to us a better term. Here’s a start: contradictor, opposer, rebuffer, refuser, refuter, rejector, begrudger, contravener, disbeliever, disclaimer, …

    “As for reducing carbon emissions that’s a great idea. Doing so without freezing to death in the dark is the problem.”

    Do you prefer not reducing carbon emissions and drowning in a flood? Dying in a drought? Causing mass extinctions?

    And why do you presuppose that unless we burn fossil fuels we will be unable to produce energy?

    “So those who want to preach about greenhouse gases should stop using up fossil fuels. Then put all that brain power to work finding viable alternative energy sources that actually work without generating more and longer lasting heavy metal pollution.”

    That’s been accomplished. What has yet to be accomplished is to remove the political & economic power of those who are heavily invested in fossil fuel consumption so that these alternatives can be fully deployed in place of fossil fuel technologies.

    Your attitude is NOT helping.

  26. “So for you and the other 0.01% who have cognitive difficulties with such simple abstractions: No, climate scientists are not playing the victim.”
    See you verified exactly what I’d said.
    “Another thing that reduces confidence even more is the meme that if you don’t buy everything we say whole hog you are stupid. Labels like “Deniers” cast whenever anyone asks a question don’t do much but alienate.”
    Greg didn’t catch my rather obvious reference to trashy sci fi movies, but that doesn’t mean he is stupid.


    Raymond DeBrane

    Texarock
    January 28, 2015

    One must see sci-fi movie is Soylent Green from 1973. It shows that even at that early date, scientists knew about the greenhouse effect, and the dying of the oceans. ”
    I was just about to mention that filom, based on the novel “make room, make room” and possibly “Stand on Zanzibar”.
    Over population was the problem, the Oceans were farmed out and the land long ago stripped of nutrients.
    Sea levels seemed to have not risen to any noticeable degree.
    If we start eating people by 2022 you can say this film was prophetic.
    If you want to reduce greenhouse gases by not producing enough food to feed the present population, or transport it if we had it, then some folks will be chowing down on random homeless people before then.
    At least we can be sure there are no C.H.U.D.s, Sandy would have driven them to the surface.

    Who knows perhaps the sun will start shining less brightly and then some will be complaining that industry didn’t do enough to stave off Global Cooling by providing a protective blanket of C02.

    BTW
    I suspect all the talk about methane from cattle doesn’t take into account that the vast herds of herbivores that once roamed freely also cut wind now and then.
    Some seem to think the vast majority of methane in the atmosphere is coming from melting permafrost. Ancient marshes and such.

    2015 is supposed to be an El Nino year last time I looked.
    When I was in Frisco during an El Nino in the 1990’s they were afraid the city would be inundated, but it wasn’t.

  27. @48. GY :

    Labels like “Deniers” cast whenever anyone asks a question don’t do much but alienate.

    Asking questions won’t get you called a Denier.

    Refusing to accept reasonable answers from the climate experts who actually know their stuff and continuing to spout PRATs* OTOH, will.

    As for the movies of climate change this youtube clip :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AkraoSqzeE&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33&index=49

    ‘Climate Denial Crock of the Week – Hollywood Does Climate Change’ by Greenman 3610 / Peter Sinclair makes a pretty interesting set of reviews and memories. That whole youtube series is one I’d very highly recommend watching too – if you have questions or have fallen fro some standard lines spewed by misinformers on this issue then that’ll answer pretty much all of them for you. (See also Skeptical Science.)

    PS. If you want an accurate prediction, well the opening few lines from right at the start of that linked clip have sadly, proven to be spot on.
    * Points Refuted Already a Thousand Times will

  28. Yes, I remember…. the famous Frico inundation scare. People actually sold their homes, about half the population actually move to New Mexico.

  29. @53. GY :

    Who knows perhaps the sun will start shining less brightly and then some will be complaining that industry didn’t do enough to stave off Global Cooling by providing a protective blanket of C02.

    No danger of that whatsoever!

    Basic astrophysics tells us all that won’t be happening because our daytime star like all main-sequence stars is growing hotter as it evolves and gets through more of its core Hydrogen :

    Our Sun’s brightness is gradually increasing by about 10 % every billion years.
    – McNab, David & Younger, James, ‘The Planets’, BBC Worldwide,1999 & “The Planets – Destiny” (final episode in that series) , BBC TV, screened circa 1995-2005.

    Guess you’ve not heard of the Faint Young Sun paradox either where Earth should’ve been too cold to be habitable early in its history but wasn’t almost certainly due to much higher GHG levels in our early atmosphere.

    Our Sun won’t be cooling off – not until its surface has ballooned out towards us in the transformation into an orange then red giant star. By that stage Earth will already have long since turned into another Venus due to the increased soar radiation.

    Oh & no, speaking much shorter term, even another prolonged Maunder minimum won’t be enough to cause a new ice age. Despite some misinformation sometimes spewed to the contrary – see :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHqgdvXTxE&index=22&list=PL029130BFDC78FA33

    ‘Myth of the Mini Ice Age’ by Greenman3610. (Esp. the NASA report at about the 4 min 50 sec mark.)

    Now when you say : “If we start eating people by 2022 you can say this film (Soylent Green -ed.) was prophetic.” you are partly right – it would be prophetic in that one aspect.

    But that’s not the only aspect of that movie. If we’re not eating cannibal style by 2022 then, yes that one prediction will be wrong and I expect and hope that that’ll be the case.

    However, that same 70’s Sci-Fi flick also suggests that we’ll be living in a future hothouse world. It does look like that aspect is increasingly becoming a reality – not as quickly as the movie predicted but it is a dystopian warning that still seems on track to becoming true.

    1. If you don’t think climate change is a serious problem in the near future, check out the work of the following scientists who say that we are in for abrupt climate change soon.

      Guy McPherson
      Kevin Anderson
      Peter Wadams
      Malcolm Light

  30. “However, that same 70’s Sci-Fi flick also suggests that we’ll be living in a future hothouse world.”
    And “Our Man Flint” 1967 suggests that a cabal of scientists will try to re engineer society by threatening the world’s government with their own brand of Global Warming.


    That’s not a very convincing video, but does make a point that the present level of Global Warming if sustained would prevent an Ice Age from reduced Solar activity on the scale of the Maunder minimum. So if we had another Maunder Minimum like event we’d be better off than if Global Warming had not come along. That’s cool, one thing less to worry about. I bet no one would even think to thank the world’s industries for saving us from another mini ice age.
    Then again the volcanic plumes that reduced the level of sunlight that reached the earth’s surface during that period aren’t factored in.

    According to this
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maunder_Minimum
    The Maunder Minimum coincided with the middle of the Little Ice Age.
    So whatever was at work wasn’t detected by simply observing sunspots.
    What’s your explanation for the beginning of the LIA?
    Not enough CO2?
    Too much CO2?
    Martians?
    none of the above?

    Perhaps the sun has other effects on the earth besides it’s visible or infrared light.
    Perhaps lack of sunspots is a symptom not the disease.

  31. Perhaps there are people who actually *understand* how the world works, including the above items. You might want to listen to some of them.

  32. “Soylent Green is people!” or words to that effect…

    Raymond DeBrane #49,
    Harry Harrison’s Make Room, Make Room (from which the movie plot supposedly derives) did address overpopulation but, as far as I know, it did not mention ‘global warming’ or ‘cannabalism’.

    We discuss the differences between the book and the movie, the eminent personage who wrote the introduction to the book, and how the story has been used to predictively program some of the favourite memes of the eugenics propagandists.

    https://www.corbettreport.com/soylent-green-flnwo-04/

  33. @58. GY :

    And “Our Man Flint” 1967 suggests that a cabal of scientists will try to re engineer society by threatening the world’s government with their own brand of Global Warming.

    Yeah, some threats and predictions and movie plots are plausible and say stuff that’s worth taking seriously, others – such as that one, well not-so-much. In other news water = wet, Pope = Catholic & polar bears defecate on ice.

    That’s not a very convincing video, (Myth of Mini-ice age) ..

    In your opinion not mine. (Shrug) Why not may I ask? What about it made you find it less than convincing?

    So whatever was at work wasn’t detected by simply observing sunspots.
    What’s your explanation for the beginning of the LIA?
    Not enough CO2?
    Too much CO2?
    Martians?
    none of the above?.

    My explanation doesn’t matter – its what the actual scientists say and the observed evidence support that matters.

    In essence, as I grok it, science has worked out that the LIA was caused by a number of factors interacting with each other especially volcanic activity combined with the Maunder minimum and a shift in the jetstream that made Western Europe in particular far colder than usual. (See for instance Phil Plait’s discussion on pages 60-64 of his ‘Death from the Skies’ book, Viking, 2008.) Main points here – there was more than just one cause ie not just the Maunder minimum and was a regional rather than global phenomenon.

  34. “In essence, as I grok it, science has worked out that the LIA was caused by a number of factors interacting with each other ”
    So you would agree that events may have more than a single one size fits all explanation.

    Shifts in the jet stream also produce uncommon snow snows in the north eastern U S.

    “Why not may I ask?”
    The presentation looked fishy to me.
    I’d have to check their sources and see if they are truncating quotes.
    It seemed more like a preaching to the choir video than one intended to educate.


  35. Brainstorms

    January 28, 2015

    Perhaps there are people who actually *understand* how the world works, including the above items. You might want to listen to some of them.”

    And maybe they are stuffed with wild blueberry muffins and only think they know everything about how the world works.
    At one time the consensus of opinion was that the Universe was “Steady State”.


  36. Raymond DeBrane

    Texarock
    January 29, 2015

    If you don’t think climate change is a serious problem in the near future, check out the work of the following scientists who say that we are in for abrupt climate change soon.”

    Where have I said that Climate Change isn’t a real problem?

    I’ve said that problems often have more than a single one size fits all causation.

    How does a 200 year decrease in the protection of the Earth’s Magnetosphere factor in?
    How does a 10% decrease in that protection in the last 50 years factor into Climate Change?

    1. Sorry for the mistake.

      I haven’t heard about this magnetosphere thing before.
      I’ll have to Google it.

  37. “Guy McPherson”

    https://www.google.com/url?q=https://fractalplanet.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/how-guy-mcpherson-gets-it-wrong/&sa=U&ei=dGPKVKq7GNHIsAS224CwBg&ved=0CAcQFjAB&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFZ7g3cB2pQodbMncgg-wovDVSc3g

    “McPherson is a retired professor of ecology at the University of Arizona, and he runs a blog called Nature Bats Last. In recent years, he has turned his energies to dire warnings of impending climate catastrophe. Those warnings go far beyond what you’ll find anywhere else: McPherson believes humans will go extinct in as little as two decades.”

    “In many ways, McPherson is a photo-negative of the self-proclaimed “climate skeptics” who reject the conclusions of climate science. He may be advocating the opposite conclusion, but he argues his case in the same way. The skeptics often quote snippets of science that, on full examination, doesn’t actually support their claims, and this is McPherson’s modus operandi. The skeptics dismiss science they don’t like by saying that climate researchers lie to keep the grant money coming; McPherson dismisses inconvenient science by claiming that scientists are downplaying risks because they’re too cowardly to speak the truth and flout our corporate overlords. Both malign the IPCC as “political” and therefore not objective. And both will cite nearly any claim that supports their views, regardless of source— putting evidence-free opinions on par with scientific research. (In one example I can’t help but highlight, McPherson cites a survivalist blog warning that Earth’s atmosphere is running out of oxygen.)”

    1. I heard Dr. McPherson say that oxygen will stays in the atmosphere a very long time, I forget how long, so he doesn’t base NTHE on that.

      Before you just dismiss Guy McPherson, at least read his monster climate essay, check out the links provided within, and then make a judgement.

  38. The Methane Bomb does not have science supporting it, as noted in that link. Additional Methane being released form permafrost, and maybe (maybe) the sea floor is of course on the list of positive feedbacks.


  39. Greg Laden

    January 28, 2015

    Yes, I remember…. the famous Frico inundation scare. People actually sold their homes, about half the population actually move to New Mexico.”

    And it hasn’t sunk yet, not that Frisco would be any great loss. Though they did have some nice museums and art galleries.

    “The Methane Bomb ”
    Never heard that term before that I remember, just that methane released from melting permafrost gets broken down into other gases in the upper atmosphere.

    Since before humans began raising cattle vast herds of herbivores including wild cattle roamed freely I can’t see why humans raising cattle would have any significant impact on the levels of methane.
    Who knows maybe its frozen Mammoth farts that are to blame. Those big boys probably produced enough gas to heat an office building.

    There have been huge releases of methane from the ocean floor in the past. The effect has been blamed for the sudden sinking of some ships in calm weather.
    Releases of ancient low salt content sea water from sub sea floor caverns has also been reported. I expect that sort of thing could have a local effect at least by reducing salinity of the surrounding waters.

    What about possible effects of decreased protection of the magnetosphere, especially since the poles are involved more than the rest of the earth’s surface?

    Not sure of the figures but I’ve read that the magnetosphere has decreased by 15% in the last 200 years, with possibly 2/3rd of that decrease happening in the last 50 years.

    Any chance that might contribute to loss of ice at the poles?

    1. I’m a bit confused by some scientists asserting that methane release in the short term can’t possibly happen and by those that say it’s a big problem now. The most radical of the climate scientists is Guy McPherson who asserts that methane release from the Arctic, Siberia, and elsewhere has gone exponential and that alone is going to cause near therm human extinction, NTHE for short.
      Guy has a monster climate essay, as he calls it (it’s loooong) that he updates at http://www.guymcpherson.com.

      It’s interesting that Guy McPherson and British climate scientist Kevin Anderson assert that mainstream climatologists are holding back from telling us just how dire the climate change situation is.

      Guy McPherson and James Hansen are both telling us that there is about a 40 year lag between the CO2 we emit and the effects on temperature. So we are only feeling the warmth caused by the greenhouse gases we have emitted roughly over 40 years ago. So as McPherson says, that warming is already backed into the cake and just not realized yet, ( which takes us to 2C alone) and also asserting that methane warms things up on a much shorter time scale, a few months to a few years instead of decades.

      That methane bomb is going off because the poles are warming at a faster rate than the rest of the globe. That’s ironic seeing as how they are the coldest places on Earth. It seems counter intuitive.

      Speaking of manmouth size farts, there is a Japanese TV show that is a farting contest show. Contestants put the mic to their butts and the judges award points for how good the fart is. Call me immature, but I can’t stop laughing when I watch it on YouTube.

  40. No, no chance that the magnetosphere is involved. It actually is a thing; cosmic rays interact in the atmosphere to affect water vapor and droplet formation, etc., but it is a small effect.

  41. Here’s something on the effect of sunlight in transforming organic carbon into carbon dioxide.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sunlight-boosts-co2-from-thawing-permafrost/
    Not just thawing permafrost but acting on organic compounds in melt water run off.

    NASA from 2008 on breach in magnetosphere
    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/16dec_giantbreach/

    under sea upwelling of methane.
    https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.biogeosciences.net/5/1119/2008/&sa=U&ei=qqfKVL3QCsK1ggT184GwDg&ved=0CAkQFjAC&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNE8JLa2kERDijizzyHkfcaU-mAL_A

    Methane in upper atmosphere turns to H2O.
    https://www.google.com/url?q=http://arctic-news.blogspot.com/2012/09/noctilucent-clouds-indicate-more-methane-in-upper-atmosphere.html&sa=U&ei=EKjKVIbyBoaggwTNpoLQCw&ved=0CAgQFjAC&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNFbtMV7sDuGOneHRPM_4e4qd4hilQ

    Methane has 34 times the warming effect attributed to co2.
    Methane does not last as long in the upper atmosphere though so that affect is mitigated.

    “Before you just dismiss Guy McPherson, at least read his monster climate essay”
    I’ll do that.
    Thing is I’m trying to find a proper balanced view without wild claims or gnashing of teeth.

    On another page I had mentioned that I thought the possible 27 ft sea level rise if the Greenland ice cap melted away completely seemed exaggerated. The island just isn’t that big compared to the surface area of the worlds oceans. Greg kindly linked to the calculations in use.
    I’d not realized that the Greenland cap had basically ironed out most of the island till some was at or very near sea level.
    If there had been the more common terrain for such an island there would have been mountains or at least hills under the ice, which would have meant fewer cubic meters for the same surface area.

    At the same time I noticed articles repeated the claim of a projected 27 ft sea level rise in X number of years from general melting in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as glaciers . Whoever wrote those articles may have just used the first and least number they found on the list of ice caps. A number that sounds good enough to pass, but no information on how they arrived at it. Others seem to have just repeated that number and used it no matter what the article itself was about.
    I could be wrong but the way some claims are presented do seem fishy.

  42. Correction to the above post

    I went back to check the figures.
    I’d said that 23 feet (not 27 ft) had seemed exaggerated . Greg linked to a site that stated the rise if the Greenland cap melted would be 6.55 meters, which would actually be 21’6″.So the 23 ft figure was a bit off.
    Seems like they often round things up a bit ( in this case to 7 meters rather than 6.55 and then some more after converting to feet) here and there.

    Anyway once a figure is in print it sometimes gets repeated over and over without much real thought behind it.

    First time I heard anyone quoting what they had found on the internet about global warming they claimed that there was only half as much oxygen in the air as there had been before the 20th century. They believed that doubling of CO2 meant halving of 02. it must be true because they read it on the Huffington Post, most likely in the comments section.

  43. “quife a bit of it is well below sea level”
    Any ice that’s already below sea level wouldn’t raise the sea level if it melted.

  44. “Any ice that’s already below sea level wouldn’t raise the sea level if it melted”.

    Depends on where you are measuring the sea level rise:
    http://sealevelstudy.org/sea-change-science/whats-in-a-number/attractive-ice-sheets

    Also remember differences in salinity between the ocean water and the ice. I know that floating ocean ice, contrary to popular opinion, actually *will* contribute to sea level rise if it melts.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030784/abstract
    The effect is small, though (a few cm of sea level rise if all floating ice would melt).

  45. I would add that the actual anomolies over large areas of the sea where this low pressure system will track are closer to 4 degrees.

    Yes, that part of the Gulf Stream does appear to stand out. Why not the whole thing?

    (1.) More laminar flow/less mixing?

    (2.) Dinural changes in type/extent of cloud cover such that it is more ‘blanketed’ during the night or more insolated during the day?

    (3.) A fleet of Russian nuclear subs parked off the coast from North Carolina to Main?

    (4.) The Gulf Stream has meandered so that it appears as an ‘anomoly’ on the anomoly map?
    ============================

    Big Nor’easter. Big deal. And what was it ten years ago? Oh yea; Big hurricane in N’Orleans was a harbinger for those attributing it to AGW, as well.

    Did the models predict the relatively phenomonally low frequency of Atlantic tropical storms such as we have seen this last decade? It occurs to me that these warm-core tropical systems are pretty good at taking surface latent/sensible heat and transporting it up top to where it then radiates out to space as well as reducing surface insolation/warming; There’s less mixing with cooler waters just below the ‘surface’ to. As such, I might expect a slight rise in SST in and around the Atlantic Basin.

  46. “Any ice that’s already below sea level wouldn’t raise the sea level if it melted.”

    That would be nice if true! Unfortunately the entire mass of Greenland is depressed by the ice. As the ice melts off the land will rise. Long before the parts of the ice that are sub sea level are exposed to melting, it will be above sea level.

    Here’s the thing you may not be considering; We know how much the sea will raise if all the ice melts because we can count the ice. Independently from that we know how much ice there is at a given time in the past because of oxygen isotope ratios in sea floor sediment organism remains, and independent of that we know how much sea level actually has gone up and down in the past, though with less accuracy, because of the physical evidence of ancient shorelines (this applies mainly to the upper level, not the lower level, for obvious reasons). The three estimates agree with each other.

  47. Tim, the Atlantic hurricane seas was indeed predicted by the models to be attenuated many years because of various effects of warming. You may be right about SST’s in the atlantic being affected by a lack of storms, but I wouldn’t be too sure of the amount. There are other things going on in the Atlantic as well.

    There is a paper coming out on this that I only recently got a copy of, but have not looked at yet. I keep meaning to get to it. I probably won’t be able to write about it until it is published but that should be soon.

  48. “Unfortunately the entire mass of Greenland is depressed by the ice. As the ice melts off the land will rise. Long before the parts of the ice that are sub sea level are exposed to melting, it will be above sea level. ”
    That’s a lot of rock to simply rise up off the sea floor. Rock doesn’t float and the sea bed itself would have to rebound, How long would that take?
    Rock is normally subject to plastic deformation, not elastic deformation.

  49. I promise you that the surface of the earth, where depressed by miles of ice, rebounds after the ice removes. It is called isostatic rebound. It is a well known phenomenon.

    During the melting of glaciers at the end of the last glacial maximum it happened fairly quickly. The thing is, the melting of ALL of the ice on Greenland will take some time, and isostatic adjustment will probably keep up with it or be just a bit behind it, for most of the rebound. The last bit will take longer …. there is still minor rebound happening from the last glacial, but it is very slow.

  50. “During the melting of glaciers at the end of the last glacial maximum it happened fairly quickly. The thing is, the melting of ALL of the ice on Greenland will take some time, and isostatic adjustment will probably keep up with it or be just a bit behind it, for most of the rebound. The last bit will take longer …. there is still minor rebound happening from the last glacial, but it is very slow.”
    So we are talking hundreds of thousands of years rather than by 2100 AD.
    So the rebound effect would not be a factor in those dire predictions I’d mentioned.
    If the Greenland cap were to completely melt to present sea level there would still be Greenland ice below sea level, perhaps for hundreds of thousands of years.

    How would shrinkage of the Earth’s crust affect sea levels?
    How about massive mountains and islands pushed up from the sea beds.
    I can remember an island being pushed up from the sea bed near Iceland in my life time, It was a memorable event at the time.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surtsey

  51. No, the last glacial ended completely in a couple of thousands of years. Most of the rebound was much faster than that. As I said, most of the rebound will happen at roughly the same rate at which the ice melts off, simply because it will keep up with the ice, probably with a small percentage continuing for a much longer time once the melting is all over.

    I never said anything about 2100. I have no idea how long it would take to melt all of the ice off the poles. This is currently unknown. The rate of CO2 increase is outside of any prior experience, we don’t know how long heating will happen, the slower or modest estimates of heating are off the charts compared to prior experience. So, the glaciers will presumably melt at the maximum possible rate, and we simply do not know what that rate is.

    Shrinking of the Earth’s crust? Not a thing unless I misunderstand you.

    Islands being pushed up from the sea beds push down the sea bed around them. So probably, that’s equilibrium.

  52. You beat me to it, GY #84. Greg Laden #83 has a pretty good point about the lifting land (Antarctica would be a huge contributor if it were to melt and yet, much of the MSL rise would still need to be from thermal expansion from a general warming — According to geology, mean sea level seems to modulate about 300 ft, epoc to epoc).

    In this way, it is possible to find former sea cliffs and associated wave-cut platforms hundreds of metres above present-day sea level. The rebound movements are so slow that the uplift caused by the ending of the last glacial period is still continuing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isostasy

    I suppose it is valid to *assume* the asthenosphere somewhat hydrostatic so that a rise in one place equates to sinking somewhere else… It is important to account for every millimetre when making long-term policy because human ingenuity and engineering just can’t keep up with a little geologic change; It is much more important to spend six trillion beating the camel jockeys into freedom.

  53. sb. ‘whipping the camel jockeys…’

    Is this a wordpress limitation that there is no edit function on these SBs? Even with the caveat that one did so and highlight what was edited would be most appreciated — I note that other ‘sciency-like’ blogs allow this.

  54. Tim I’m not sure what you are saying exactly, but sea level rises of the amount I previously indicated are assured were all the glacial ice to melt. This is one of those thing you’ve got to accept as a “scientific fact.” It is not in dispute.

    #87, wtf are you talking about? Looks to me like you meant to put that comment on a different blog and accidentally put it here!

  55. “I never said anything about 2100.”
    I was referring to the sometimes hysterical predictions we find on the net and in publications.
    There’s a news outlet that passes itself off as being involved in serious research. I don’t trust what they have to say.
    They mix journalism with supposed research, and as the author’s of the “Tailwind” scandal pointed out truth is not a prerequisite for journalism, not that its any thing new.

    The mantle is “viscoelastic”, but the surface of Greenland is not the mantle its only subject to plastic deformation. The surface features ironed flat and the deep depressions aren’t going to rebound.

    If the deep depressions inland don’t have open channels to the sea then if the island rises they would simply form land locked fresh water lakes.

    “Shrinking of the Earth’s crust? Not a thing unless I misunderstand you. ”
    I don’t understand it myself, I ran across a claim that some sort of resonance with the core due to weakening of the earth’s Magnetosphere can result in shrinkage of the Earth’s crust.
    Last I heard the Earth’s crust has shrunk quite a bit since that last big collision that NASA seems to believe formed our moon. It may be continuing to shrink a bit by stages.
    Anyway NASA appears to have taken the various theories seriously enough to spend a good deal of time and resources trying to find out for sure.
    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20110816.html
    If they are still making these measurements I’m sure we will get the news if the Earth starts shrinking again.

    “so that a rise in one place equates to sinking somewhere else…”
    Yep Northern England rising while Southern England sinks. That’s a bummer for those who live in Southern England.

    “Islands being pushed up from the sea beds push down the sea bed around them. So probably, that’s equilibrium.”

    Not as much as the mass pushed upwards or belched up from under the crust or the island would never break the surface and we’d see Hawaii slowly sinking back into the sea along with every other island.

  56. “So that is the statistical link. The functional link is that AGW has elevated SSTs and SST’s make bigger and wetter storms. ”
    Wait a moment, haven’t they been saying that the reason sea surface temperatures haven’t been rising as expected is because the El Nino effect has been forcing warmer water from the surface deep into the oceans and the oceans are acting as heat sinks?
    Or are you saying the snow storms are soley driven by slightly higher surface temps in the Arctic seas?

    Was there an increase in sea surface temps in 1888?
    How about the other great blizzards before 1940?
    Was sea surface temp a factor or was there another explanation.
    Since Icelanders nearly froze to death locked in sea ice in the mid 60’s to early 70’s the sea temps in the arctic region couldn’t have been a factor in the blizzard of 69.

  57. From your link, GY #89:

    “Our study provides an independent confirmation that the solid Earth is not getting larger at present, within current measurement uncertainties,” said Wu.
    I’d suggest that a better way to get a handle on ‘expansion’ would be through the conservation of angular momentum/mass and directly measure rotational period — This signal may be suppressed (though, by a linear factor?) by the tidal drag of the moon acting as a kind of ‘slippy clutch’ and transferring kinetic energy to it; Slinging the moon to ever increasing orbit at the cost of slowing the rotation of Earth — That is where it all breaks down, in my mind, as shrinking/expansion becomes obscured with a less-than-perfect hydrolic-like interior.
    ==========
    We are likely to have a more instantaneous and profound anthropogenic shrinking if the LHC were to inadvertantly squeeze out a ‘strangelet’:

  58. “the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 13.06 million square kilometers (5.04 million square miles)”
    Last year’s ice
    http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

    Arctic sea ice coverage for this winter as of today is 13,421,780 square kilometers, far above average for a thirty year period.

    Sea ice coverage regardless of how thick it is prevents heat exchange with the atmosphere and the release of moisture from the sea into the atmosphere.

  59. Cosmic rays have been implicated in the triggering of electrical breakdown in lightning.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray#Role_in_lightning

    Raymond DeBrane #25, Christopher Winter #29, Greg Laden #69,

    It is completely accepted in mainstream science that galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) might be able to influence the nucleation process of potential cloud condensation nuclei

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/cern-cloud-proves-cosmic-rays-causing-global-warming-intermediate.htm

    I’d like to add one extra postulate that these rays may influence the high, blanketing cirrus in a dinural manner and may even be due to delta extrasolar** irradiance — If there are more of these clouds only at local night then…

    It is not in dispute.

    I’m not disputing that.. I’m suggesting we have the technology to empower people to deal with it; As you have pointed out elsewhere, Greg Laden, in the very long term we will eventually be baked by our one and only Sol — Can a species that can’t deal with a few inches of inundating water over several decades but wastes itself attempting to hold it back ever expect to leave the ‘nest’ and cast forth it’s collective wad to the stars?

    **anybody got a chart on delta cosmic ray background vs our current crossing of the galactic disk?

  60. That would be *Antarctic* sea ice, GY #92. They argue that it is because of AGW; It is like the level-lever broke on the icemaker so now the icecubes are all over the floor (not ‘new’ ice but rotten, stale, last years’ ice at that).

  61. “but rotten, stale, last years’ ice at that).”
    Finally found a photo of “rotten ice”. It was eaten away by methane at the edge of a glacier that meets the sea.

  62. ” a November 2013 study showed that less than 14 percent of global warming since the 1950s could be attributed to cosmic ray rate, and while the models showed a small correlation every 22 years, the cosmic ray rate did not match the changes in temperature, indicating that it was not a causal relationship”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray#Role_in_lightning

    Seems to me they are discounting this theory completely because it doesn’t account for more than 14% of global warming.

    BTW
    Who is going to tell Pakistan, India, Red China and the rest of Asia that they can no longer eat rice because rice paddies generate methane?

    Also I remembered two more good movies.
    “the Last Child”
    “the People Trap”
    The people trap aka the last generation seems to have disappeared completely. It was originally broadcast in 1966 as a TV movie,I saw it on TV when it first was shown.
    IMDB lists it as “the last generation” with a date of 1971. Perhaps it was re edited for theatrical release.

    Both deal with over population and dwindling resources.
    “the Last Child” is available on youtube. A truly disturbing film for its time.

  63. “What is the AMO?

    The AMO is an ongoing series of long-duration changes in the sea surface temperature of the North Atlantic Ocean, with cool and warm phases that may last for 20-40 years at a time and a difference of about 1°F between extremes. These changes are natural and have been occurring for at least the last 1,000 years.

    How much of the Atlantic are we talking about?

    Most of the Atlantic between the equator and Greenland changes in unison. Some area of the North Pacific also seem to be affected.

    What phase are we in right now?

    Since the mid-1990s we have been in a warm phase.”

    “Is the AMO a natural phenomenon, or is it related to global warming?

    Instruments have observed AMO cycles only for the last 150 years, not long enough to conclusively answer this question. However, studies of paleoclimate proxies, such as tree rings and ice cores, have shown that oscillations similar to those observed instrumentally have been occurring for at least the last millennium. This is clearly longer than modern man has been affecting climate, so the AMO is probably a natural climate oscillation. In the 20th century, the climate swings of the AMO have alternately camouflaged and exaggerated the effects of global warming, and made attribution of global warming more difficult to ascertain. ”
    http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/amo_faq.php

  64. As for islands depressing the sea floor.
    “The heights of mountains are generally given by their elevation above a datum, such as sea level. The highest point on Mauna Loa is 4,170 m (13,680 ft) above sea level. But the flanks of Mauna Loa continue another 5,000 m (16,400 ft) below sea level to the sea floor. The massive central portion of the volcano has depressed the sea floor another 8,000 m (26,000 ft) in the shape of an inverted cone, reflecting the profile of the volcano above it. Thus, the total relief of Mauna Loa, from its true base to its summit, is about 17,170 m (56,000 ft).”
    http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/1998/98_08_20.html

    It doesn’t affect the sea floor around the island, the depression is directly beneath and filled in by the island. Like the root of a tooth.
    So normally when an island is pushed up from the sea floor it displaces a volume of water equal to is volume from sea floor to where it breaks the surface.
    The larger the diameter so to speak the larger the volume of water it displaces.
    Mauna Loa is still growing.

    Maybe some other types of islands leave depressions that extend beyond the boundary of the island itself.

    [GL responds: I assure you, putting mass on top of the sea floor pushes it down. You are working here at two different scales. Broadly speaking, tectonic movements over thousands of years may cause changes in sea level, but that is not even close to what we are talking about here. What you need to stop doing is finding random factoids on the internet and using them to develop grand theories in your head. This is quickly going to become too much work for me, fixing the misinformation you are now spewing like a firehose. You are hereby warned, throttle is on.]

  65. “The Hawaiian Trough, also known as the Hawaiian Deep, is a depression of the sea floor surrounding the Hawaiian Islands, where the massive weight of the island chain downwarps the oceanic lithosphere; surrounding the islands like a moat, it is roughly 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) deep.[1] However, in accordance with the principle of isostasy, the sinking of the lithosphere is balanced by a corresponding rise beyond it, known as the Hawaiian Arch. The arch is lifted 200 metres (660 ft) above the local seafloor, and has tilted coral reef terraces that used to lie flat.[1]”

    So the depression surrounding the entire chain of islands known as the Hawaiian deep is balanced out by the Hawaiian Arch.

    The main island is sinking at a rate of 1″ per year but at the same time Mauna Loa is growing higher.
    Last time I looked the island is also extending itself by means of lava flows reaching the sea.

  66. GY”Arctic sea ice coverage for this winter as of today is 13,421,780 square kilometers, far above average for a thirty year period.” (92)

    No it is not. Look, I think it is great that you are interested in all this stuff, but you keep stating things as fact that just aren’t. No more of that. I do not want this blog to become a source of misinformation!

    The current sea ice extent is actually almost exactly at 2 standard deviations below the long term average.

  67. Tim, we are running with a primarily 19th century technology (coal running turbines) with a mix of very early 20th century technology (IC engines). These technologies are at a maximum, and they are not going to cause a few inches of inundation. That statement is either blinding ignorance on your part or it is very seriously offensive to those of us who give a damn.

    You have always been weird, Tim, now you are also getting annoying. Watch your step.

  68. Have I missed something.
    December 2014 was below the average for that month
    “Sea ice extent in December averaged 12.52 million square kilometers (4.83 million square miles). This is 540,000 square kilometers (208,495 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 13.06 million square kilometers (5.04 million square miles) and 500,000 square kilometers (193,051 square miles) above the record low for the month observed in 2010.”
    Is the long term average for January greater than the average for December?
    I could be wrong there.
    If so what is the long term average (30 years) for January arctic sea ice?
    is the information on the sea ice monitoring site updated for January 29th 2015 not correct?
    “•The sea-ice extent is calculated as the areal sum of sea ice covering the ocean where sea-ice concentration (SIC) exceeds a threshold (15% for AMSR-E). SICs are derived from various satellite-borne passive microwave radiometer (PMR) sensors using the algorithm developed and provided by Dr. Comiso of NASA GSFC through a cooperative relationship between NASA and JAXA.”
    ” The latest value: 13,503,573 km2?(January 30, 2015) ”
    Arctic sea ice still growing.

  69. GY,
    “Seems to me they are discounting this theory completely because it doesn’t account for more than 14% of global warming.”

    It is generally advisable to go to the source, and not just take what Wikipedia says. The article is open access, you can find it yourself. Reading it shows that this “less than 14% attributable” to cosmic rays/solar activity is when one takes an approach that is most favorable towards the hypothesis, ignoring various objections

  70. “Since Icelanders nearly froze to death locked in sea ice in the mid 60’s to early 70’s the sea temps in the arctic region couldn’t have been a factor in the blizzard of 69.”

    Sigh. Since when is the sea ice around Iceland, heavily affected by the NAO phase, a general proxy for sea temperatures in the arctic?

  71. Ok. I don’t like being yoked mostly* to fossil fuel either. My pet pipe dream carbonwise was a ‘green’ economy where biomass grown on a portion of one’s land would count as its tax (Should one have the choice to go that route instead of being constrained only to cohersion to expend yet more energy chasing a buck). {But, ohh! The Spirit of all the ‘isms’, ‘ists’, and International Central Banking yet again drums in my head — “Shut up, slave.”}

    At the risk of overstepping, I would like to point out that places such as Amsterdam, New Orleans, and Venice seem to have staved off their watery fate using the technology and construction techniques at hand.

    *I don’t discount hydroelectric though it sometimes comes with a different set of environmental problems. I have become a little more wary of SO2/NOx than perhaps I’ve been in the past (Your post of Gail Zawacki’s Ghosting Trees is pretty powerful) — The argument that electric vehicles don’t really solve anything due to only shifting the effluence of power generation elsewhere seem weak in regions with existing hydro infrastructure.

    I strongly discount centralized Big Nuclear with the type of dirty, damaging, and dangerous reactors that became the norm — Perhaps it is only a personal belief but I feel that large-scale fission of uranium is invariably not about ‘clean’ and affordable energy so much as the desire to put more Peace™ into bombs.

    While I’m not so keen on coal, I do confess a love of the steam turbine and the simplicity of efficient external combustion. Development of geothermal, ground exchange heat pumps, Stirling cycle based engines and generators, Peltier, Seebeck, and Thomson thermoelecric devices for the laptop, birds, bees, flowers, and trees; A Steampunk’s Utopia.

    I recognize there should be room left for Nature — That is one virtue that, thus far, Humanity as a whole has proven unable, uncaring, or unwilling to claim.

    I recognize that this is the world we have. But must we really adhear to Gates’ CO2=PSEC and reduce P to zero to all get along? I’d say not if CO2 in and of itself is not leading to change which is insurmountable. War certainly is not carbon neutral; We have allowed ourselves to be conditioned to believe that P needs to tend more toward zero for us all to get along anyways.

    I realize that colonization of our other heavenly bodies seems all but a faded fantasy save for those few elite ‘non terrestrial officers’ who may already secretly be there. Militarized. Harrumph. Technology aside, there would only be a corporofascist federal overreach and space-grabbing by the Space Management Bureau under the guise of protecting ET anyways.

  72. “Since when is the sea ice around Iceland, heavily affected by the NAO phase, a general proxy for sea temperatures in the arctic?”
    Any records on sea surface temps for those years?
    Any signs of increased sea surface temps or retreating arctic ice for those years?
    If the level of Icelands sea ice is directly connected to that of the Greenland sea, then there should be a direct connection to arctic sea surface temps.
    “The East Iceland Current (EIC) is a cold water ocean current that forms east of Greenland at 72°N, 11°W as a branch of the East Greenland Current that merges with the Irminger Current [1] flowing southward until it meets the northeast part of Iceland. It quickly rotates in a counterclockwise direction and flows eastward along the Iceland-Faeroe Ridge before turning north and flowing into the Norwegian Sea.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Iceland_Current

    The eastern tip of Iceland is normally ice free due to it being at the furthest west border of the milder Norwegian sea.

    So was there any indication of the sort of situation we see in more recent years?

    According to this sea surface temps were lower and sea ice extent was much greater in the 1960s than in recent years.
    Which is to be expected.
    http://mashable.com/2014/10/21/scientists-1960s-satellite-climate-data/
    But there were also as yet unexplained holes in that coverage.

    Maybe we’ll get a more complete picture when they have finished restoring all those old cold war satellite images.

  73. “Any records on sea surface temps for those years?”
    That is a good question – why don’t you investigate?

    You will find it is not that easy to find any strong correlations between the SSTs around and above Iceland and the SSTs on the US East Coast.

  74. “While I’m not so keen on coal, I do confess a love of the steam turbine and the simplicity of efficient external combustion. Development of geothermal, ground exchange heat pumps, Stirling cycle based engines and generators, Peltier, Seebeck, and Thomson thermoelecric devices for the laptop, birds, bees, flowers, and trees; A Steampunk’s Utopia.”

    I’ve seen a video showing a solar enhanced steam generator.
    Sunlight is reflected and focused directly onto the boiler greatly reducing the amount of heat needed to bring the water to full boil.
    Another simple method of heating water for household use is to run black plastic tubing back and forth along the side of a roof that gets the most sunlight during the day. The water from the tubing runs into the water heater.

    But one thing I find odd is that methane emissions are seldom mentioned, perhaps because so much of it comes from natural sources and agriculture.
    People have to eat.
    Much of the methane comes from rice paddies, some more comes from marsh lands and swamps. Yet those who want to save the environment would have a stoke if anyone suggested draining the swamps.
    Out law rice paddies and you’d really see some billions up in arms.

    “I strongly discount centralized Big Nuclear with the type of dirty, damaging, and dangerous reactors that became the norm — Perhaps it is only a personal belief but I feel that large-scale fission of uranium is invariably not about ‘clean’ and affordable energy so much as the desire to put more Peace™ into bombs. ”
    Yep we were all promised safe clean nuclear power, the we get Three mile Island and Chernobyl .
    If they did manage to get a lot of new nuclear power stations online we’d have good times then, a two headed chicken in every pot.
    Main problem is that no matter how many safe guards they install Homer Simpson will be in the control room.
    If a major earthquake breaches a containment dome its Wormwood all over again.

    At present even the sudden disappearance of all of man’s industries and agriculture wouldn’t guarantee an end to Global Warming. It would guarantee an end to mankind’s civilization.
    We could then have that fourth world war Einstein spoke of.
    Best we gather a good pile of rocks while we can.

  75. If ice coverage and sea surface temps of arctic waters are no indication of warm moist air generated by the Gulf Stream and large scale blizzards have happened in the NE US when sea surface temps were far below 21st century levels then something else may be at work in recent years.

    The AMO might be a factor since it affects temperatures from the equator to the arctic.
    Its also believed to exaggerate the effects attributed to global warming.

    There’s been talk of the sea surface temps not rising for the last decade plus, with the explanation that the warming surface water has been drawn down into the deeper waters.

    Perhaps something is at work to stir the pot at some locations but not others and only at certain times of the year, releasing more warmth to the surface which then cools as the surface winds carry away the moisture.

    If in the mid 60’s the warm waters of the gulf stream gave up a significant portion of that warmth along the coast of the U S then the Norwegian Current which gets some warmth from the North Atlantic Drift extension of the Gulf Stream could not warm the eastern tip of Iceland enough to prevent it from being surrounded by sea ice.

    “Models of the ocean and atmosphere that interact with each other indicate that the AMO cycle involves changes in the south-to-north circulation and overturning of water and heat in the Atlantic Ocean. This is the same circulation that we think weakens during ice ages, but in the case of the AMO the changes in circulation are much more subtle than those of the ice ages. The warm Gulf Stream current off the east coast of the United States is part of the Atlantic overturning circulation. When the overturning circulation decreases, the North Atlantic temperatures become cooler.”

    http://ossfoundation.us/projects/environment/global-warming/atlantic-multidecadal-oscillation-amo

    There’s always been Nor Easters they just vary in intensity,
    If they dump most of their snow burden in coastal waters its no biggie, if it dumps a buttload of snow in New York its snowmageddon.
    Massachusetts gets dumped on more than most, and to a greater or lesser extent not necessarily connected to global temperatures. As the snow measurements for the last storm have shown some parts of Massachusetts got less than 5″ while a few miles away they got 30+”.

    Like they say in real estate its location location location.

  76. “”But one thing I find odd is that methane emissions are seldom mentioned

    Au contraire, GY #111. It is certainly already mentioned in the context of policy:

    … As a key element of Climate Action Plan, this strategy outlines new actions to reduce methane emissions… …The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) will jointly release a “Biogas Roadmap” outlining voluntary* strategies to accelerate adoption of methane digesters and other** cost-effective technologies to reduce U.S. dairy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020 …

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/strategy_to_reduce_methane_emissions_2014-03-28_final.pdf

    * ‘voluntary’ — I’ll bet.
    ** these other strategies are to include low lignin GMO grass, GMO cows, and ‘probiotic’ gut bacteria to bypass metabolic routes that produce methane.

    http://sullivanfiles.net/gm_crops/student_projects/hagner_gmo/pros.html

    http://discovermagazine.com/2008/aug/08-fighting-cow-methane-at-the-source

    Perhaps the general populace is not so introduced to the idea yet as a PR move — The idea of telling cows not to fart in the privacy of their own field does seem a little ludicrous to many named John Q. Public.
    =======================================

    Man, don’t play with the protein:
    I believe this GMO grass and more efficient (less CH4) cows to be quite misguided (and potentially dangerous) as actual grassfed cows are already somewhat efficient and ‘in compliance’ with the stated reductions — It is feeding them crap (corn, soy, et. al) that gives them the extra gas. It is factory farming which is the greatest offender here and not the local citizen farmer with seven cows on his back-fourty; Any restrictions will weigh most heavily on small-time individuals who can’t afford to wade through the bureaucratic bull-stink by ‘offsetting’ his own very small buttprint through some kind of flatulence indulgence.
    ————————-

    I cringe to see the flaring off of methane in the oil/gas industry. Why do they do this? Could it be because the product that contributes to the ‘petro-dollar’ is petroleum so that allowing others to cheaply use that ‘waste product’ undercuts the bottom line?

    I believe we should mine the methane hydrates/clathrates and reduce ‘drilling’.

    An old and perhaps naive pet hypothesis of mine for the cycling glacial periods was this — (1) photosynthesis uses up all the co2 –> (2) things ice over –> (3) everything dies, lying around and rotting producing only CH4 instead of being burned and/or properly metabolized to release CO2 –> (4) the GHG action of the methane leads to warming and resumed photosynthesis–>> return(step 1).

  77. “I believe we should mine the methane hydrates/clathrates and reduce ‘drilling’. ”

    They’d find a way to screw that up and set off a chain reaction that released billions of tons of methane from the sea floor all at once.

    One thing I’ve been wondering about is whenever a “Storm of the Century” is brought up they only speak of hurricanes or blizzards.
    The most deadly and destructive storms since Medieval times have been the Cyclones that hit Pakistan and India, with the most deadly happening before 1980.

    This
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Nargis
    Was the only one on the list for the 21st Century and deadly as it was it pales compared with the earlier Cyclones in the region.

  78. Greg Laden: Not only that, but everybody is required to die at a certain age. But they think they are going somewhere cool.

    That was in Logan’s Run. Are you saying it was in Soylent Green too? (I never saw Soylent Green.)

  79. In “Logan’s Run” the citizens were required to die at a certain and early age, with some sort of pseudo religious ceremony.
    In “Soylent Green” the older people were not required to commit suicide but the state encouraged assisted Suicide by providing a very pleasant method of euthanasia and a glimpse of the beauty that had long left the world.
    I don’t think there was any real religious significance to the proceedings.
    In “the Last Child” those who had passed a certain age were not killed or encouraged to end their lives, but all medical care other than state issued pain medications were withheld.
    Nothing was allowed that would extend life, only those meds that would alleviate the worst symptoms of diseases.
    Unauthorized pregnancies were terminated by government mandate. If a unauthorized pregnancy were not discovered early enough to terminate without danger to the expectant mother the infant would be euthanized as soon as it was born.
    Of the three films I found “the Last child” the most disturbing.

    Another great Film in this genre is “‘The People Trap” but so far as I can tell this film is lost with no surviving copies available, or at least none in intact condition. It first aired on TV in 1966 so the original video tape may have been recycled as so many Dr Who episodes were.

    There are hydrogen based fuels that offer carbon free exhausts, but whether these can be produced without use of existing carbon based energy sources is hard to say.
    One company has suggested non polluting tide motors and deep ocean heat exchange power sources to generate hydrogen from sea water and transport the hydrogen to ports by way of special tanker ships similar to existing LPG carriers.

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