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Wayne Kernochan
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Fascinating stuff in a Daily Kos article about the potential super El Nino (although since it's written by amateurs, a little grain of salt recommended): p.s. sorry Neven, I haven't got the hang of posting to your thread yet :(
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on Mission possible at Arctic Sea Ice
Hi all, Just a quick delurk to say that Joe Romm has posted a piece ( stating that data are making a "super El Nino" starting in April and cresting in 2015 between 60-75% likely. As we've discussed in the past, this seems to have follow-on effects on Arctic sea ice melt. If not this year, therefore, then next year we may well anticipate record Arctic sea ice melt. Btw, Joe also stated that if such a "super El Nino" occurs, it is likely not merely to break but to shatter previous record global temperatures. He noted that a previous such "super El Nino" was in 1997-1998, causing that unusually high global temperature; and global warming has continued apace since then.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on Mission possible at Arctic Sea Ice
@neven: as noted in my blog, Hansen in his recent draft paper attempted to estimate the contribution to global warming from methane and a couple of other GHGs aside from carbon dioxide, and based on past episodes he came up with an estimate of 75% CO2, 25% other (I would assume methane is the major component of "other"). So if we say methane will contribute about 0.6 degrees C to the heating already in the pipeline (total 2.3 degrees C), of which 3/4 should affect things in the short run (a few decades) - and another 0.3 degrees by 2100, then we would have Hansen's projected methane effect overall. Plus, the effect in the Arctic is 5/3 that, or 1.5 degrees C overall.
Toggle Commented Nov 27, 2013 on And the wind cries methane at Arctic Sea Ice
@Neven, all: Once again, I have posted something of relevance to Arctic sea ice, in this case a horrified assessment of James Hansen's latest scientific draft publication, at Once again, I'm not sure where to note this, so I'll note it here. Once again, I would really appreciate this group's comments and thoughts. Thanks again all, in advance.
Toggle Commented Nov 12, 2013 on PIOMAS October 2013, take two at Arctic Sea Ice
Oh, sigh. I'd better delurk and deal with Judith Curry -- as quickly as possible, so we can get back to real issues like volume trends. There has been extensive discussion of Curry over at climateprogress (and, of course, real climate) over the last 4 years. She is a climate denier pure and simple. Her value as a researcher is best summed up by a study that found that she and others like her were publishing few if any studies that passed peer review in a reputable journal -- although they were able to pass muster in "front" journals set up to foster climate denial. In other words, their data was bad and/or selective and their analysis was bad and consistently ignored contradictory valid research. Contrast James Hansen's recent magnum opus. Although it has not yet been peer reviewed, it clearly draws extensively on superb research from a wide body of researchers, it does the same kind of analysis that in the past has passed the peer review test, and it focuses on vital research issues with regard to climate change. Now back to real discussion: I am getting a sense that one possibility that we are discussing for the unusual volume increase at low point this year is that decreasing ice has triggered interactions with weather further south (e.g., a wider fluctuation in the jet stream) that in turn are (a) putting the NAO in the wrong mode during summer months and (b) keeping worldwide weather in la Nina rather than el Nino mode -- both of which hinder melt during summer months. In turn, it is possible that this state of affairs will continue (with volume being "flat") until the underlying increase in worldwide and Arctic air temperatures reaches a level high enough to begin to drive the volume down again. Is my understanding of this being a possible analysis of what's happened correct?
I am unsure where to note this (and unsure if this has been noted already). James Hansen has now come out with a study including a comprehensive climate model with yet more sobering conclusions ( Of particular relevance to this blog are his findings on the importance of albedo change and the likelihood of full Arctic meltout given the present climate state, much less the one we are heading towards. On a brief layperson's scan, I also have to say that this is an exceptionally comprehensive, well-founded climate model, and it appears to have a grasp on all the major factors driving changes in climate today. Its conclusion -- that we are headed for increases of 54 degrees F (obviously, more at night and in the winter) in the Arctic and 36 degrees away from the poles (not immediately, but inevitably, once all coal/shale/gas/tar sands is used) is therefore all the more agonizing to me. There are also interesting side notes on our methane vs. carbon dioxide wrt permafrost/hydrates discussions.
Toggle Commented Sep 23, 2013 on IPCC crisis meeting at Arctic Sea Ice
Another de-lurk to say: (1) @Neven, I think you're selling yourself short. You have in a short space of time assimilated a lot of the science, to the point where it's clear that you can perceive the flaws in scientists' comments when these are not dealing with various facts they should be considering, like the relevance of Arctic sea ice volume and observations of large methane bubbles. As a result, you ensure that not only us non-scientists but the scientists I see on the site "keep their eyes on the prize". (2) Remembering what things were like 3 years ago, I want to echo Kevin McKinney -- thank you, thank you for sparing us.
It's great that you happened on this book -- imho, the best thing he wrote, although unfortunately not as popular as his endless series of alternate histories. There are, iirc, 2 more books, not quite as peripatetic, but covering Judea and Athens, rule by the Macedonians and the extraordinary surge of ideas with Aristotle. If you like this one, you will probably like those. Alas, he stopped (probably because of lack of reader buying) before a promised book covering Egypt under Ptolemaios the First. As for the position of slaves, I think you will find further frankness about male child prostitution and the treatment of female household slaves in later books.
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I have tried to create a plausible scenario for Arctic methane mattering, in amateur fashion, via my blog, (too long for a post here}. Please, anyone who cares to comment and amend, I'd appreciate reasoned critiques.
Toggle Commented Jul 28, 2013 on Arctic time bombs at Arctic Sea Ice
A quick comment on some of the subtext in the above comments: as I understand it from and comments from Dr. James Hansen, we are uniquely fast in how we are moving from 250 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm now to 500 ppm and beyond in the future. As a result, ancillary non-CO2 warming mechanisms are occurring now and not being counteracted by later cooling mechanisms like weathering. This in turn heightens the heating effect for today's rise beyond what the CO2 itself would cause. In other words, a doubling of CO2 would by itself cause 2-3 degrees C of warming; the unique "knock-on" effects occurring now may add 1-2 degrees C to that. (There are also counteracting aerosol-pollutant rise effects as of now that will likely cease in the next 30 years, as otherwise we will start dying in serious numbers from that pollutant). Back then, it may have been a matter of our underestimating climate sensitivity to CO2, although I lean against that; today, I think it's less a matter of climate sensitivity to CO2 and more a matter of these ancillary effects.
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2013 on When the Arctic was 8 °C warmer at Arctic Sea Ice
Because there will be many cyclones in coming years, albeit few in any given year, I propose a naming convention similar to that for hurricanes. However, rather than first names, to distinguish cyclones from hurricanes, we should use last names. As serious scientists, we should start (as in naming asteroids and species) with the last names of those performing research in this field. Since the members of this blog are in the forefront of said research, we should start with the names of said members. I therefore propose that this cyclone be named Arctic Cyclone Neven. On a more serious note, I believe that eating the same thing for long periods of time can be characteristic of one's teenage years. I was told at computer science graduate school that a recent entrant had subsisted entirely on mushroom pizza and diet coke for three months, at which point he had to be admitted to a facility for the mentally bewildered. I myself one summer had a regular diet of cheeseburger, fries, and black raspberry ice cream. To keep my weight down, I of course drank diet coke.
Toggle Commented Jul 24, 2013 on Second storm at Arctic Sea Ice
I'm not sure how to respond to something that apparently was written in 2004, and I admit to being confused as to who is saying what. So (since I myself came in around 2009) here's my understanding of the present "most likely" scenario, given that we have pursued "business as usual" since then and are doing so right now: (1) CO2 reaches 560 ppm (doubling) by 2050, 1000 ppm by 2100, each involving 2.8 degrees C increase in global avg. temps. (2) Arctic open in summer in 2018, year-round in 2040, adding to speedup of permafrost as well as decreasing albedo for 1 degree F of global warming. (3) Methane release on Arctic shelf, in oceans, in permafrost adds another 1 degree F of warming by 2100. (4) CO2 release from permafrost contributes to (1). (5) follow-on effects from the above (e.g., Greenland snow melt) decrease global albedo and add another 1 degree F, for a total of about 13 degrees F global, 20 degrees in northern latitudes. (6) oceans rise by 1 foot by 2150, 16 feet by 2100, with additional storm surge of 20 feet compared to now on top of that. (7) most temperate agriculture zones are in drought by 2050, with northern Argentina plus a strip in Northern Canada and one in Siberia the only areas of non-drought (the last two are presently in permafrost, and would become mosquito-ridden and methane-ridden swamps), and north of the last two would involve too rainy/snowy and violent weather for feasible farming. Meanwhile, the 16 feet plus 20 foot storm surge would wipe out 1/3-3/4 of the world's present farmland (much of it in deltas). I would simply echo Joe Romm at in his assessment of the research, and say that limiting the temp. rise to 2.8 degrees is now unlikely due to past inaction, but doable if we emulate WWII in America, aimed at mass conversion to wind/solar in a very short time. However, I see no signs of it being done. However, giving up hope simply makes the situation worse sooner, and faster. The longer you delay stopping the stone rolling downhill, the greater its momentum, and its eventual destructiveness also goes up exponentially. Let me also add my own political/economic thoughts: (1) present analyses ignore the "sunk infrastructure" advantages of oil/gas/coal, and therefore poorly capture the cost/benefit once solar/wind have their own comparable infrastructure -- in other words, those comparative additional costs of wind/solar are a one-time occurrence and should not be adduced as reasons for delay; (2) "mitigation" (reduction in CO2) must be done as a greater priority than adaptation (compensating for global warming's effects), because such adaptation efforts are effectively always in reaction to today's disasters, and therefore simply chase the disasters up an exponentially increasing cost curve. To pick just one example, NYC is now adapting to future hurricanes like Sandy, ignoring the likelihood that by 2040 they will see a hurricane storm surge that's 10-20 feet higher, and may (according to Heidi Cullen) force the sewer outlets to close, backing up the sewers onto the streets of NYC and causing a major health crisis.
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@Mishafratz, @Werther: I appreciate Werther's clarification on where I see Mishafratz as understating the connection between CO2 levels and climate, translating to "average" changes in weather. I had a more modest goal in mind: to consider whether the 3 ppm (or 0.75%) increase in CO2 would have a comparable effect on the exponential (up to now) decrease in volume. We have been debating, as I understand it, whether changes in weather patterns that lead to relative cold during June would result in a "bounce-back" of volume and hence area and extent. That would require counteracting not just the linear decrease in volume (I'm speaking very loosely) due to CO2-fueled temp increases so far but also the acceleration due to the CO2 atmospheric increases. In effect, the CO2 increase increases the difficulty of achieving a volume increase (in Sept.). By how much? Well, (I realize this is bogus math, but it does suggest a significant role for the CO2 increase) if we take the last 5 years as a guide, the volume has decreased by perhaps 10% per year, so the CO2 emissions make it 8% more difficult to achieve bounceback. Not the major factor; but not negligible. I would summarize by saying that when it is not clear whether all the other factors this year will cancel out, it's still worth it to consider an effect that is lost in the short-term noise in most circumstances -- like this one.
Too lazy to figure out which post/forum this goes in. I recently checked Mauna Loa (and global) CO2 for the first time since Mauna Loa crossed 400 ppm for a day. It appears that in the last week in May, it was above 400 ppm on average for a full week, and on one day it approached 400.5 ppm. For the month of May, Mauna Loa CO2 was nearly 400 ppm (399.77) and was approximately 3 ppm higher than last year. It appears that so far this year Mauna Loa and global CO2 are averaging close to 3 ppm above last year, which would be a figure well above all other years since 1998 (2.93 ML). Btw, last year's was the second largest increase on record (2.65). My overall conclusion: I don't know if this will affect overall weather the way 1998 may have (global yearly temp record which has not been surpassed in a major way since, although we're getting pretty darn close), not to mention Arctic sea ice melt. But it does add a potential melt booster. It does seem to confirm that CO2 atmospheric concentration continues to increase exponentially rather than linearly. And it does present a bleak prospect for the next few years.
@Neven thx for kind words. I don't know if you've already discussed this, but what I was particularly interested in was the way he discussed particular areas (Northern Maritimes, Barents/Siberian Seas, NP) and their possible differences in melt given less thickness in that area right now -- which is likely to determine both area and volume outcomes compared to 2012 in Sept. To put it colloquially: If it's thinner now in the areas that haven't yet melted out in past years, then the signs aren't good for a 2012-type Sept. result -- and the cracking leading to more side melting could counteract lower initial temps. Am I missing something comforting?
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2013 on Russia abandoning ice station at Arctic Sea Ice
Not sure if someone has noted this, but please see . They seem to be more pessimistic than Neven about Sept. ... - w
Toggle Commented Jun 5, 2013 on PIOMAS June 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
@dabize: please stamp on the idea that nuclear winter will save us, very firmly. The chilling effects of nuclear winter, according to Hansen (I think), as well as those of a massive above-ground volcanic eruption, will last for about seven years, on average. After that, we will be right back where we would have been had no nuclear explosion occurred. And, right now, the "overkill" in nuclear winter will create massive problems of starvation on its own.
Toggle Commented Apr 16, 2013 on Perception of the Arctic at Arctic Sea Ice
I'm sorry, it may be off-topic but I can't resist posting this Flanders & Swann ditty on English weather: January brings the snow; Makes your feet and fingers glow! February's ice and sleet - Freeze the toes right off your feet! Welcome March with wintry whine ... Would thou wert not so unkind :( April brings the sweet spring showers ... On and on for hours and hours! Farmers fear unkindly May: Frost by night and hail by day. June just rains and never stops! Thirty days and spoils the crops. In July the sun is hot! Is it shining? ... No, it's not! :( August, cold and dank and wet Brings more rain than any yet. Bleak September's mist and mud Is enough to chill the blood! Then October adds a gale! Wind, and slush, and rain, and hail ... Dark November's chill and fog - Should not do it to a dog! Freezing wet December then ... Bloody January again!!!! (January brings the snow, etc.)
@Neven: if volume is "per abnormal" but average thickness is down at this time of year, that probably means additional ice at lower latitudes, which will melt out early anyway, plus less thickness than usual further north. I'm afraid I'm not reassured by this at all ...
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2013 on PIOMAS March 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
Hi all - I have just done a blog post on a peripherally-related topic (runaway greenhouse gas effect) at I would very much welcome any input from this community explaining to me how I'm wrong - because it was very depressing writing it. Thx in advance - wayne
Toggle Commented Feb 18, 2013 on Open Thread February 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
@bob wallace: If your concern is showing that solar and wind make sense, all this is true. If you are assessing what's likely to happen and its effects in the next few years, I think you're being too optimistic. First, as Joe Romm notes, because of the way it is typically produced, natural gas decreases carbon emissions per amount of resulting energy used very little -- not by 50%. Second, the US may be stopping planning for new coal plants, but because plants of a certain age are not required to have certain pollution equipment, they have been and will be kept open far past their usual lifetime. As far as China is concerned, that reduction is either a reduction in carbon emissions per unit of energy (but the amount of energy used goes up sharply) or is a pure fantasy. China has indeed increased wind and solar by large amounts, but has also increased coal by large amounts, and continues to plan to do so in the next few years. There also seems to be an assumption that small decreases in carbon emissions is the only thing that matters. No -- we also need to worry about keeping significant amounts of coal and oil in the ground for the next 100 years, if not probably the next 1000 years. At a certain point, it becomes more difficult to resequester it, no matter how much we reduce additional emissions. With regard to solar pricing, if pure price was the only criterion, you would be absolutely correct about solar's oncoming superiority to oil and coal. Our present infrastructure was built for coal and oil. Yes, you can do new infrastructure that's suited for solar on an individual basis quite effectively, but on a national and global basis, there has to be a huge superiority before the market (and governments) make the switch. Witness, for example, the delay of substitution of fiber for copper and telephone poles. This is not to say we shouldn't do this; quite the opposite. It is to say that we shouldn't be satisfied at all with "we're on our way to changing fundamentally semi-automatically." We desperately need to cordon off oil and coal resources even where people will object that they might suffer (and bend our efforts to making sure the new solar/wind doesn't make them suffer), and start solar/wind installation now even where the economics seem strongly against it -- because that pricing will turn around soon. May you be right that the ice-free Arctic causes people to fundamentally change their thinking. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they'll fundamentally change what they do. Here's hoping they do that as well -- even if I see few if any signs of it.
Toggle Commented Feb 16, 2013 on PIOMAS February 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
@lanevn: according to Hansen, the temperature of the Earth due to the Sun's light/heat goes up by 1 degree Centigrade every billion years. While this has imperceptible effects over human time periods, it does say that (because, according to Hansen, we are apparently surprisingly near Venus' acid-rain-plus-heat life-ending "runaway greenhouse effect") the results of human carbon emissions are much more dangerous than they would have been 2 billion years ago.
Toggle Commented Feb 14, 2013 on PIOMAS February 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
I haven't seen this mentioned. The Mauna Loa global CO2 figures for 2012 are now out. They show an increase of 2.56 ppm over 2011 -- the second largest increase on record. The biggest (2.93) was in 1998 -- a far better year for the global economy. It appears that CO2 year-to-year growth is indeed accelerating. If this trend holds, we may see a daily reading above 400 ppm at Mauna Loa this year. - w
Toggle Commented Feb 5, 2013 on Open Thread February 2013 at Arctic Sea Ice
First Arctic sea ice goes, Then most of the world's ice goes, Then most of the world's cropland goes, Then 80% of our great-great-grandchildren go -- if we're lucky. What else in your life is more important than stopping using carbon?
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2013 on Slogan contest at Arctic Sea Ice
@crandles: actually, I was looking at thickness, not volume. Otherwise, it sounds as if we are in massive agreement, if I can be said to agree with one who knows one heck of a lot more about sea ice mechanisms than I :) - w
Toggle Commented Jan 8, 2013 on Looking for winter weirdness 5 at Arctic Sea Ice